Day in and day out my biggest challenge is convincing partners and would-be partners to make a radical and fundamental change in their thinking towards marketing [“partners” is how I refer to and think of my clients]. I want them to break twenty or thirty years of tradition and the bad habit of doing whatever everyone else does and make the switch to a more effective direct-marketing methodology.
Even when businesses cross the chasm and embrace the Cunningly Clever Marketing Methodology, all it usually takes is one ad from their competitors in a regional magazine to fire up ALL the staff naysayers.
“LOOK, OUR COMPETITION IS ADVERTISING IN…[take your pick…the local newspaper, regional magazine, trade rag, or style magazine]…and we sit by and do NOTHING!”
“THEY ARE GETTING all our business!” cry the staff and the marketing lady.
“You cancelled all our ads!” they say, pointing at me.
“You are KILLING OUR BUSINESS!”
“The sky is falling!!!”
When this happens, as it frequently does, I ask a simple question.
“Did you run ads in all these places last year?”
“YES!” they cry in unison!
“Did you also lose $500,000 last year?”
“Well, yes,” they say in muffled voices as they look uncomfortably around the room at each other.
“Then…WHY do it again?”
“But,” they always say, “look what our competition is doing!”
Yes, look, at what they are doing — blowing thousands of dollars on ads they aren’t tracking and that don’t work! Running direct-mail campaigns in reverse type that no one can read. Distracting people with their fancy flash website while failing to collect any data!
They are spending their way towards oblivion while you, my friend, are building the largest database of prospective customers of any business in the state. A database of real people who buy the products and services YOU sell.
In the process of building this huge prospect database you will drive more business by accident than your competitors do on purpose. Not only will you drive more business, but you will also have a huge database of people who have identified themselves as potential customers who you can now contact for almost nothing though email, and at an acceptable cost through highly targeted direct mail. Until you have a database of qualified prospects large enough that selling 20% of them allows you to easily reach your goal, you should spend not one dime on anything but growing your database.
Make the critical paradigm shift from traditional advertising and marketing to database-driven direct-response marketing and find the marketing tools to effectively build your prospect lists! If targeted, direct-response driven marketing does not work for your business then I can guarantee that neither will print, radio, TV, or billboards!
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