Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Archive for June 2008

Are you the right customer for me?

with one comment

Much is made of marketing customers searching hard for the right marketing company to help them grow. As there is a huge number of marketing organizations out there, customers/businesses must work hard to vet each one to find that special organization that has a mix of experience and expertise to help them move ahead of their competitors and grow.

Internally to the marketing companies, sales representatives spend enormous amounts of effort prospecting, qualifying, and landing leads and turning those leads into clients. The future of a marketing company depends on the ability to generate new project work.

However, smart marketing companies take that extra time before pitching a client to ask themselves “Is this prospect a good fit for us?” We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule. As it applies to this former Production Manager, it means that I had to spend 80% of my time holding the hand of 20% of our clients. This is a reflection of finding a client that’s smart enough to know that they need marketing to grow, but is somehow uncomfortable with the cost they are spending or perhaps they don’t fully understand the process. Or maybe their superiors are directing pressure on them for the same reasons. Innocently, these clients place a drag on the process by not trusting that the agency they hired isn’t working 100% in their best interests.

Or worse. A green sales rep at the marketing company signs a client whom believes they know marketing better than the agency. Maybe they think they know graphic design because they own a pencil or web development because their son used iWeb. In any event, endless rounds of changes ensue dragging the process to a halt and raising expenses on both sides of the equation.

The bottom line here is knowing the importance of spending time analyzing your ideal client profile and targeting potential clients that fit that spec which will pay you dividends in the long run.

Do you spend any time determining who your ideal customer might be? How do you turn away business that might not be a good fit, especially if times are tight? Do you have any strategies that you might be able to share?

Advertisements

Written by Jeff York

June 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Beware of your own success!

with 2 comments

Before embarking on a marketing campaign for your business, you have to have set defined goals for what you hope to achieve. Typically the broad idea is to generate new business and revenue for your company. This is obviously an excellent expectation, however with it comes a hidden danger. What happens if your marketing campaign is too successful? What happens if you have opened yourself up for so many new customers and clients that your current infrastructure can’t handle it all? What will you do then?

Before investigating new marketing strategies for your company with your marketing partners, make sure that you take the time to honestly evaluate your current ability to handle new business. If you suddenly get overloaded, new customers will see your business as unable to satisfy their needs. You can garner a bad reputation quickly and your best efforts at marketing will end up being your undoing.

It’s wise to have a set metric in mind so that you can best gauge if you are coming up short in your marketing efforts or if you are about to become overwhelmed. Hopefully, your marketing partners will have this conversation with you before the implementation of a campaign, but if they don’t, make sure to raise the idea yourself. They should be well prepared to scale back the campaign, or even put it on hold altogether, should you start to approach critical mass.

Clearly, this would be a great problem to have, but it is still a problem. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you started to become too successful? Do you have any horror stories you can share that we can all learn from?

Written by Jeff York

June 21, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Are you being sterotyped?

leave a comment »

Well? Are you? Are you being stereotyped? Clearly, you are.

Let’s face it, people pre-judge us every day. People that we may have never met, that may not have heard us speak yet, have already made judgments about us. It might come from the clothes we wear or the way we carry ourselves. Hopefully, they have taken the time to talk with us a little. From what we say and how we say it, people make further judgments about us. For better or for worse, we are judged.  It’s human nature.

They stereotype us. And that can be good.

Let me explain. There are some things we have no control over. The color of our skin, hair, eyes are all items we have no control over. Whether people find us attractive or repulsive have some root in elements that we have no control over. However, essentially everything else we have full control over. From the way we conduct ourselves to what we wear conveys a great deal of non-verbal clues as to the type of person we are. Wear a nose ring and spiked hair and people may immediately discount you as unprofessional. Wear an expensive suit and people will think you are professional. Conduct yourself with confidence and people will instill a degree of trust in you and will want to work with you.

It’s all about building your image. Take a look in the mirror. Would you do business with you? Would you do repeat business with you? Do you project a degree of professionalism and confidence? If you were a business, what kind of business would you be? Are your competitors envious?

We have full control over these aspects of stereotyping that others project on us. Give some thought as to the image you want to project. Tie that into your efforts toward building a personal brand. If you’re coming up short, that’s OK. It’s not too late and today’s not too soon to start making changes.

What efforts have you made to project an image that speaks to your credibility? Have you built an image that’s helped you in your professional (or personal) life? What success stories can you share that we can all learn from?

Be a brand

with 4 comments

All day, every day, I’m thinking about my clients and how to make their organizations rise above their competitors and become more successful. If you’re like me, you focus on the company, the brand, and the image. But what about us? Are you working on your own personal brand?

When you’re out looking for a job or if you’re in the consulting business like me, you’re looking for people to hire you based on you. Your background, your abilities, your personality, your connections all come into play. When you submit your resume, you want it to be memorable. You want to be memorable. There is real value to that end in building a brand.

Today, the tools for building a personal brand have never been more accessible or powerful. At the beginning of the year, I set a goal. If you type in “Jeff York” in Google, I’m aiming to come up first. Unfortunately, I’m handicapped by having a common name. I’m also challenged by having the same name of an actor that had a long successful career from the ’30s through the ’50s. But he died 13 years ago so hopefully I will have some success.

So what can you do to build your own personal brand? Blogs such as this one help. Joining networking websites such as LinkedIn also help. I would suggest that you spend some time reading some of the experts in the field. Efforts put toward this endeavor will pay substantial dividends today and into the future.

Make your own brand. If you can’t market yourself, why would you think an organization would want to pay you to market them?

Written by Jeff York

June 7, 2008 at 9:19 pm