Monday, July 26, 2010

Doing What is Required

“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”

I’m sure Winston Churchill wasn’t talking about marketing specifically when he made this statement, but he may as well have been. It applies here as it does everywhere else.

If you feel you’ve done your best, but your marketing isn’t bringing the results you’d like, perhaps you’ve missed some requirements. You may not be spending the time you need to. You may not have the right team in place. You may be sending the wrong message out. You may be sending that message to the wrong audience… The possibilities for falling short of meeting the requirements necessary to be successful in our marketing efforts are many.

Quick self-assessment:

:: Is your marketing everything you’d like it to be? Are you getting the results you want?

:: Are you really doing your best? Are you aware of things you should be doing that you aren’t?

:: Are there things you should be doing you’re not even aware of? What are you going to do to become better educated?

Always do your best. That goes without saying. But along with doing your best, make sure you’re doing what is required. The best of misdirected efforts won’t bring the results you are seeking.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Monday, July 19, 2010

Accountability in Marketing

I once attended a breakfast meeting in which the speaker asserted that marketing is all the soft things we do in promoting our businesses that cannot be measured, while advertising constitutes the hard, measurable activities in which we engage. How unfortunate that he, and anyone who subscribes to his way of thinking, is missing out on the lion’s share of actionable, measurable marketing that goes on every day for those who understand otherwise.

I’d like to apply my thoughts on accountability to our in-house teams--the people who make the products we sell, fill the orders, provide services, answer the phones, enter client data, and even sweep the floor. All these things play a role in marketing our businesses--especially if we see our businesses as marketing businesses first, regardless of the products or services we provide.

A number of years ago, I worked with a company that was failing. As I evaluated the situation, I found quality defect issues, equipment problems, low production numbers, and general lack of employee morale. I corrected this situation by establishing aggressive accountability measures; but not in the way one might imagine. Here’s the five-step approach we took:

1. With my executive team, we determined what the company needed in terms of production levels, acceptable reject rates, and so on. These were non-negotiable if we were to succeed.

2. I called our entire team together (yes, delivery drivers, production personnel, office staff…everyone), told them what the company needed out of them, and asked what they wanted to make it happen.

3. They devised their own reward system. It was nothing like anything I would have suggested. It fit well within the financial needs of the company. I approved their package deal.

4. I had to do very little in the way of holding anyone’s feet to the fire. The team became a real team. They helped each other. They kept each other motivated. They collectively enjoyed the financial, physical, and emotional fruits of their efforts.

5. The company’s production numbers, quality level, revenues, and profits soared.

It’s tough to sell products when you can’t deliver. It’s even more difficult when the delivered products are sub-standard in quality. Does this apply to marketing? You’d better believe it!

Look inside your own organization. Where are internal shortcomings thwarting the overall marketing efforts of your company?

Focus on these issues. Fix them. Marketing encompasses the entire client experience. Stop thinking in terms of “marketing” meaning only the vehicles that carry your message to your audience; or worse, that “marketing” is that department down the hall.

What I’ve shared today is just one of many facets of the face of marketing. You may have this one under control in your business. Where else can you apply accountability in your marketing?

If you can’t measure your marketing, you’re doing it wrong. Period.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jump On This "Train"

Have you ever found yourself in the situation of being a new-hire who is expected to perform “by the book,” yet not only is there no book, there’s no real formal hands-on training? We all have at some point in the past. So my big question for you as a business owner or marketing decision-maker is this: Are your employees suffering from this problem?

A significant part of marketing is delivering the experience promised, or even alluded to, in your ads, articles about your business, on your blog, on your website, or anywhere else a prospect may encounter information about your company and develop an expectation. And delivering this experience can’t happen without quality, consistent employee training.

Here are a few thoughts from my history as an employer that will help you engage in more effective, consistent training that will ensure your clients of the experience they are seeking:

1. Training is not a one-time event. A 30-minute, full-day, or even multi-day training session is not going to immerse your new employees in the culture you want to create for them and your clients.

2. Training is not something that should be detached from the work experience. If all one’s training is in a classroom, yet all his work is done at a service counter, on a production floor, driving a bus, helping clients on the phone, or anywhere else (other than a classroom, I suppose), you’re missing the most powerful training opportunities. Get hands-on in real-world scenarios to make the training stick.

3. The most powerful, yet most subtle, training comes from you as a leader every day. Every thought you think about your employees and clients, every word you say, every action you take screams your true beliefs. Are your thoughts, words, and actions training your employees the way you’d like?

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Marketing Success Institute

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

3 Concepts Embodied in Ultra-Successful Companies

I’m going to share three concepts with you. You’ve heard them before. But perhaps you haven’t linked them together to see the powerful situation they can create for your company. And none of us, regardless of how diligently we work at perfection, ever “arrive,” so we need to keep working to be our best and make our companies all they can be.

Concept #1: Every truly successful company is a marketing company first

Too often, we focus on our products or services, thinking we have to make them better. While consistent improvement of our offerings is good, consistent improvement of our clients’ or guests’ experiences is more important. From the first time someone becomes aware of our existence to our ongoing relationship with them, it’s all marketing. It’s all about the client.

Concept #2: Marketing is a mindset, not a department

If we’re really going to create a marketing company, marketing can’t be the sole responsibility of a department or individual. Marketing is a way of doing business. It’s a cultural mindset. Which leads us to our final concept…

Concept #3: Every employee, agent, or other company representative is the company

For good or bad, every human point of contact a prospect or client has with our company creates the face of our company. Years of pleasant association and rapport can be destroyed by one careless moment on the part of one thoughtless company representative. By the same token, the person who goes above and beyond the call of duty in the name of the company can create an instant bond between our company and a newly won client.

As I stated earlier, you’ve heard these concepts before. Where does your company rank in the implementation of them? What steps can you take today to set a path toward becoming a full-on, world-class marketing company?

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope