It’s a pretty clear contrast.
I spoke about this some last week in one of my video briefings from Chicago, and I’m referring to the sad tendency for businesses in this environment to *cut* their marketing. You can see another example of what I spoke about in this article: http://adage.com/article?article_id=136552.
There’s plenty to discuss about government takeover of already-anemic companies (so…government bureacrats will do a better job? Right…we’ll see how that works out.), but what I mostly wanted to point you towards was this passage:
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez then asked the witness: “Idle plants, why market?” referring to Chrysler’s shutdown of its factories for nine weeks. “The belief on all sides was that it was essential for Chrysler not to lose its brand image in the marketplace,” Mr. Manzo[consultant to Chrysler] testified. “Advertising and marketing dollars are critical to make sure the right message is out there about Chrysler, what’s happening to Chrysler during this interim period and why Chrysler will be a brand going forward that is one that a consumer should continue to look at as one of their purchase opportunities.”
So let me get this straight…we’ve got a judge telling a corporation how to market.
Further, did you catch what their consultant responded? “Advertising and marketing dollars are critical to make sure the right message is out there about Chrysler.”
Now look, this might make a certain amount of sense for a big (very dumb) corporation…but what about for your business?
That’s what I meant when I spoke earlier about the contrast–it’s a contrast between big, fat corporations and small, lean businesses like yours.
On one side, we’ve got a host of competing interests: media perception, stockholder concerns (and the big daddy stockholder is now Uncle Sam-Obama), board member consensus, unions…and a marketing style which is driven by these concerns in many ways.
On YOUR side, you should be paying attention to direct-response marketing, because it’s the only kind of marketing where you can track your ROI. I don’t know about you…but I’d like to be able to point to a top-line revenue stream for ALL my marketing.
That’s what we did in the firm whose marketing I directed, and which grew from $50K in annual fees to $4.2 million in under ten years. And direct response, relationship-oriented marketing is what I’ve been since advising my clients towards for the last six years…to breakthrough success.
So, in this week’s Profit For Life Strategy Note, I’ve got a few more words for you about a key element of direct response marketing…and how to do it right.
[And, I’ve got some big announcements coming over the next few weeks which will put more of that revenue in your bottom line. More soon.]
Profit For Life Marketing Strategy
Get Your Message Right
First of all, if you scan the yellow pages in your category, I’ll make a bet with you: 90% of the ads–actually probably ALL of them look very similar. They all offer the same services, with the same features. Classic “big corporation” branded-style marketing.
What makes your business any different? Well, here’s a good place to start…
Giving clients what they WANT is the place to start when developing a marketing message. How do you make YOUR message stop your target market dead in their tracks? The only way to truly get their attention is to “give ’em what they want!”
For the individual taxpayer client, that means the kind of tax return they want filled out. How fast do they want their taxes prepared? Do they want a bank product? RAL or direct deposit or a balance due EF return? Do they want an audit-protection plan? Do they want financial planning services on top of their high-end return?
For the individual legal client, that means the kind of estate plan or specific legal service they want. How fast do they want their plan prepared? Do they want a maintenance plan? Are they looking for more than just planning services?
For the business owner accounting client, that means how do they want you to handle their books? Can you help them find sources of credit? Do they prefer a flat-fee arrangement (in packages, which is what I’ve been recommending), or do they prefer by the hour? Can you speak to their fears and hopes during this recession?
Further…does your target market want a guarantee? If so, guaranteeing what? How many multiple guarantees backing up your services are they interested in? Sure, they may want a guarantee of accuracy, but many firms do that. How will yours be different?
But don’t stop there…what about the kind of employee you have representing you in your office? Does your targeted client want an experienced practitioner or just someone who takes one-on-one time with them and makes them feel important?
I can go on and on. The point is your marketing message must be centered around giving your target market everything they REALLY want, not what YOU THINK they want and definitely not what you are just going to give them because “that’s what other businesses do.”
And as you can see, your message is NOT confined to just “what” kind of services you can offer your client. Marketing and developing a marketing message deals with everything from “how” you say your guarantee to “who” is doing the selling to “when” you’re actually going to follow up with your prospect (or existing client) again!
So the big question is, “How do I find out what my target client wants?”
And the million dollar answer is ASK ‘EM! (And continue to ask them more and more each year.)
Many business owners have hundreds and hundreds of client records sitting in their filing cabinets. These clients came into the office the previous year and the business knows nothing more about them than the information on their file.
By the way, re-looking at someone’s file can tell you a lot about them. You know another way to find out more about them? Send an email to your clients and ask them a few questions on what they would really want in the coming months. You will be amazed what you find.
Or, you could also go through the effort to call 40 or 50 clients and get direct feedback that way. A bit more painful, but you get great info.
By starting to properly promote your business this way, you won’t fight as many uphill battles as most businesses do. Your marketing becomes much easier and you’ll make more money if you’re giving taxpayers and business clients EVERYTHING THEY WANT IN AN ADVISOR!