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wow, WP did it to me… did not post and did not save…. wow…. so will post it to Facebook.

The lesson learned was that while we should anticipate clients needs, lets not assume that we know what they need more than they do.

I remember growing up, I used to have a fascination with magic. Everything from the interlocking rings, to the deck of cards, to the coin behind the ear tricks I wanted to learn how to do. However, I never got to the level of David Copperfield, or Chris Angel, or many others that we watch on television today. Or did I?

Since the term “magician” refers to one who uses mythical and extraordinary powers, then the question would be, can you TEACH magic? Holding to that definition, the answer is probably a “no,” but you can teach someone with the powers how to use them. Kind of like Obi Wan and Luke Skywalker. What many consider themselves instead, illusionists. Having the ability to make people think they see what they truly do not see, or the other way around.

How does magic apply to business and marketing? Well, hopefully many of you have some kind of business plan or at least a draft of a business plan. For those that do not, consider taking some time away from whatever you are doing, and draft one. There is no time like the present to get a road map to let you and your followers know where you are going. For those that do have a business plan though, you will find that one of the most overlooked “sections” is the marketing plan.

The reason why it is often glossed over is because people think marketing is just advertising and that’s it. Marketing is not just getting business cards out, or “word of mouth,” or tagging each other on social networks. All of those are components of marketing. You wouldn’t define your fingernail as being your entire hand would you?

according to the American Marketing Association(AMA), marketing is defined “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Marketing is a product or service selling related overall activities.”(Wikipedia 2011)  That is a lot of information. But what does it mean?

There are three terms I would like for you to pull out of that statement; create, communicate, and value.

Your marketing plan needs to have fluidity to be able to have both long-term and short-term goals. The creation process should be constant and ongoing, so that you can place your firm in a competitively advanced position. While it’s great to be able to see what someone else has done, people remember you for what YOU have done first.

Communication is so important to your marketing plan. It is great to have a good idea, with all the glitz and glam, but if there is no medium to deliver or exchange your information, is it all for naught? Do you give your plan enough time to fully develop? Do you advertize an after holiday sale the day after the holiday, or a week before? Do you know who you are communicating with? Are you speaking their language? If your marketing fails to communicate with the intended audience, it will often have unintended consequences.

Lastly, what is the value of your marketing and the product or service it is representing. I can not stress how important it is for a firm to place some kind of TRUE value on its product or marketing.

One of my favorite advertising campaigns right now is the “Mayhem” campaign from Allstate. While the commercials communicate well, and are funny, the inference is that “mayhem” can happen at anytime and it is best to be prepared for it. This places tremendous value on the product that is being offered. While the target may not go with Allstate, it does put them in the mindset to get insurance, and hopefully Allstate will be one of the companies they inquire of.

If your entire marketing plan is only social networking, business cards, commercials, or other two dimensional avenues, is that providing the best value to you, or your consumer?  With the Allstate ad, it was easy to see how it would cost a client more to NOT utilize their services than to retain them.  Does your marketing campaign add value to your product?

As a magician of marketing, you must communicate to your clients and customers not just what you do, but what you want them to see you can do. With that understood, remember, that everything you say, do, or show; there is a potential for present and future clients to see. They will develop their expectations of you from what you show them, or how you treat other clients and colleagues. Often we lose site of this aspect of our marketing and we watch clients slip away that we never noticed were there.

 

target practice

Set goals and targets!

Thank you for viewing the new blog. I really appreciate it and hope that you will appreciate the information that will be posted over the coming weeks and months. This is my offering to you. B2B, or in other words Business to Business.

I wanted to do a B2B blog, by having a forum to share information with other entrepreneurs and talent based business. With a new year, we have new goals and resolutions. I will forego the expected of more clients and growth, because those are general goals.

I ask of you, my readers to not make business resolutions, but make good business goals. A good goal should be something that is attainable, qualitative, and measurable. It is not enough to say I want more customers, but put a target on those customers. Will you like to have 20, 200, or 2000 more customers? Or would you like to have 5 more contracts over “x” amount of dollars?  Place a measurement on your goals.

Another thing I would challenge you to do this year is to place deadlines on yourself and your goals. Add some sort of punishment for failing to meet the deadline, or some sort of reward. For example, if you set a Friday deadline to meet a goal, and you meet it by Wednesday or Thursday, consider taking Friday afternoon “off” if possible and spend that time with either family, or a significant other, or even playing “hookie” at a ball game or something. At best, give your mind a break and do some “professional grazing.” Be inspired by others in your industry and see what they are doing. See where you can improve on your work flow. The opposite of this scenario is if its Friday afternoon and work is still incomplete. “Fine” yourself for the overage, AND come in on the Saturday and work the weekend until you complete the assignment. You will soon come to find yourself working more efficient than before.

I mentioned a term, “professional grazing,” which I heard from a fellow photographer, Garrett Nudd. I have always believed you should “feed your head daily.” Take aside one hour a week, and LEARN something new about your job or industry. Sharpen your mental axe by giving your brain food so it can grow and expand.

Last but not least, I want you to remove your focus from the destination of the goal and focus more on the process, on the how. If you were planning a road trip to Los Angeles from Jacksonville, Florida, it would be easy to say just hop on Interstate-10 and keep going until you get there. But without the map, you may see a sign that says LA and stop in Louisiana! Or without forethought, you may not plan for fuel stops, or rest stops. Money would be a consideration, also would “stay on I-10” be the fastest way? Or would it be faster taking multiple highways which, while being longer, may have higher speed limits and less traffic?

Anyone who has ever baked a cake, especially, cheesecake, knows that the process is crucial to the end result. What ingredients are added at certain temperatures and in certain orders may be the difference between pass or fail. So I challenge you all to consider the process along with the consideration of your goals.

I wish you all a great 2011!

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