A few weeks ago I described what I do as “making the phone ring and generating enquiries” but I am no salesman. I am creative marketer who has REAL life experience working to make sales in some cases to help keep a company alive!
Firstly, marketing is the process of attracting customers, retaining customers and winning new business. It permeates every department, every person and process. Marketing, done well, will pay you dividends in the future. Marketing builds and builds, yes, you advertising as part of a marketing strategy to make immediate sales, but it isn’t the most effective way to utilise marketing resource.
Rather than looking at this from a typical ten steps to make the phone ring angle, I thought I would share my reasons why your phone is not ringing DAILY with enquiries.
What we all want, which is a sure sign of a successful business, is organic enquiries, no google ad’s, no heavy SEO guru fees…here are my reasons why your phone isn’t ringing.
You are boring
I don’t need to add to this. If you are boring and uninteresting you will send people to sleep. Long copy aka waffle is the most frustrating thing for prospective customers. Get to the point.
You are not talking often enough
It takes, on average, 4-7 times for someone to remember your message. Too many people give up sharing their message or campaign too soon. Radio jingles, whilst generally are a thing of the past, everyone can remember one, why? because it has been heard so often.
You are not talking in the right places
Go where the customers are! Not where you can brag to your competitors or do some backslapping. Get onto social media, produce content which will help people in their daily work. Give away value. I recently had a client who was more focused on industry magazines, winning awards and accolades than winning new business. Spending £5k on adverts in professional publications only works if your clients read them.
You are not communicating consistently
Red, Green and then Blue. I have seen clients where their advertising is all over the show. Following the latest trends at the expense of consistency is suicide. Sure you will make great looking designs, but there will be zero brand recognition. Consistency of presentation is essential to be remembered. Inconsistency in presentation tells me one thing, you don’t know who you are!
You are not listening
The key to getting the phone to ring with enquiries is to listen to what the market is saying. If you’re offering isn’t fitting the needs of your prospective clients, they are never going to make an enquiry.
A big part of my working life is spend locked in rooms with business owners, entrepreneurs and management teams. There is no crisis, but everyone is frustrated that the marketing and promotion of the business seems ineffective or never gets executed.
Often the failure of marketing is not a lack of planning, it’s not even a bad idea. It’s really silly things which bottleneck your team or frustrate the work, meaning nothing gets done.
I would like to share some of the common issues I come across that hinders people marketing effectively…
The Marketing Mafia
The mafia is the process of consulting lots of people and soliciting their opinion on a campaign or strategy. What results is a mass of opinion which has to be processed, evaluated and incorporated. If that process doesn’t slow things down, then when you come to final stage you result in either watering down the effectiveness or offending people whose opinions have not been incorporated.
There is one more issue I see a lot, the family problem. The significant other of the MD who prefers to market the business in their style or preference. This makes the marketing departments job a nightmare because if you disagree or object it could hurt your future with the company.
In the end you have irrelevant marketing, safe marketing or no marketing until the next department head meeting.
We all love a bit of bling every now and then. Magpie leaders love shiny things. New stuff, new ideas and new opportunities. The new stuff comes, goes and marketing picks up the pieces and takes the blame when other things are scrificed. The team are told which tools to use and then held to account when those same tools fail to deliver. What results is resentment both on both sides.
Òne of the issues here is that the next new idea is implemented before the last one had chance to take root what results is that the strategy behind this falls apart because of a Magpie’s love for new things. When marketing is then implemented it is a crisis mode approach, being pushed by the next shiny thing.
The devil of detail
I have literally seen a filing cabinet full of marketing plans that have never been implemented. It is a topsy-turvy world where all the fine details have to be worked out before a course of action is agreed. In some of the silliest situations I have seen amazingly thought-through plans never get signed off or worse leadership won’t sign off ‘in principal’ until all the detail is presented. This means tons of work is done just to get a yes or no, if it is a no, then so much time and energy has been wasted.
You need a plan, sign off of the plan and then a detailed plan will follow. There will be adjustments and sometimes things will have to be canned, but it shouldn’t be the norm to have every detail worked out before you get agreement to implement.
Some plans never get signed off because decision-makers are too busy. Leaders need to get out of the way of holding up marketing because they are too busy to sign it off. It destroys morale and wastes so much time.
Coming back to the filing cabinet, it was filled with campaigns which never got signed off because of the leaders schedule, plans which were detailed, but rejected as well as some great ideas which were shelved because marketing didn’t want to waste time working up another plan to be rejected.
This is too common. Marketing is done as a reaction to events. High cost, high energy at short notice. It breaks the backs of the team and the true potential of the campaign is never seen because compromises have to be made to make it happen.
You bounce around from campaign to campaign and at the end of the year people are shocked at how much money has been spent.
I am not meaning implementation here. I mean literally execution. Marketing is killed before it can be measured. This is common across the agency world as well as within businesses. Marketing is a process not an event. It is subjective, sometimes intangible and takes time to pay off. Unlike a sales person who you can fire if they don’t hit their target, not all marketing activity is measurable and it often takes months to see any positive results. A marketing strategy may take more than a year to see a benefit and even longer to see real performance.
Implementing a new strategy has to change the organisation, how it presents itself and the tactics used to deliver it. That isn’t an overnight outcome and there are no get-rich-quick schemes that work.
I have seen companies abandon projects literally within weeks of signing it off because ‘it isn’t working’. That is a dangerous way to operate in marketing. If the marketing campaign needs six months in your plan, you need to give it six months.
All marketing should be about ROI, the strategy you implement to market your business has to deliver but often the organisations issues hamper the ROI by not taking marketing as a seriously as perhaps finance or sales.
If you are a business leader, marketing is important, invest time in it, you cannot delegate it away but you cannot micro-manage it either.
Marketing done well can pay dividends to your bottom line for years to come. It can remove objections in the sales process and attract inbound sales and leads. Invest in your strategy, invest in your people and invest in your implementation.
Frustrated with your marketing?
Let’s talk! We’d be happy to help you build a strategy but only if you promise not to do any of the above.
Inspiration is one of those things that we all need, but cannot easily quantify. For me I get inspiration from reading quotes, articles and stories but I can never quite predict which story, which article or which quote will trigger that inspiration. We all need inspiration for life.
The dictionary defines inspiration as
The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
I was watching TV a few months back and I received a big dose of inspiration through a powerful quote
“If you want to venture on a new journey, you have to take a step”
I don’t know who the author was and the whole context was around train journeys, but this little line resonated with me so powerfully that I knew I had to take a step. A step into the unknown.
Inspiration is often a little thought about a big idea. Perhaps a new business opportunity, a new product or even a new career path. Inspiration often challenges about existing thought patterns and shows us an alternative approach or way of thinking. Inspiration helps us see a new way forward.
It’s so important that our minds absorb new ideas and concepts because often we develop limiting beliefs which hinder our future. Inspiration challenges self limiting beliefs and allows you to see beyond some of the negative talk in our heads.
I personally believe that inspiration is more critical than motivation. Motivation is much easier to obtain, inspiration is something you cannot work for, it simply comes to you at the right time. Inspiration can help you see how change the world, motivation can help you fight for it. Inspiration help you relentlessly pursue what you believe in despite the odds. Here are some of my tips for creating an environment where inspiration can happen.
Inspiration needs rest
To be inspired you need to be relaxed and clear headed. Inspiration doesn’t come under pressure or on demand. Your mind needs to be in a restful place. Do something relaxing, make sure you have had a good nights sleep. If you are run down your mind cannot function properly. In recent research showed 75% of Americans are classified as suffering from some form of dehydration. Even mild dehydration can massively affect your mind and thought processes. Dehydration can be a factor in low mood, low motivation and reduced productivity levels Not drinking for 4-8 hours can cause mild dehydration.
Inspiration can’t be hunted.
Inspiration cannot be found by hunting for it, it is something you stumble upon. In your journey inspiration will come to you when you are in the right place mentally, emotionally and physically. You can create a good environment but inspiration is when two mental cog’s click together, it can’t be engineered or manufactured. That ‘clicking’ process is when your mind slots two things together.
I’ve read stories of inspiration being like trying to solve a difficult maths problem without a calculator. Often, it cannot be solved by just working at it, you have to mentally process the question over and over again until something clicks. There are two levels of thinking in our minds, concious and sub-concious thinking. Inspiration comes from your sub-concious which works in the background, like a duck swimming on water, you can only see the calm and chilled duck on the surface, but underneath the water the rest of it’s body is working away.
The Duck can’t bring it’s legs above the waterline and keep swimming, so we cannot easily access our sub-concious mind.
Stay in the moment.
Sometimes you can find moments which have special meaning or a significance you can’t quite understand. Try to stay with those moments for as long as you can. Often we can experience something or see an object which is partially triggering inspiration but we move on too quickly.
I often watch Murder, She Wrote episodes. The stories are all similar but there is always a ‘clicking moment’ for Jessica Fletcher where facts slot together. Information already known collates itself into an order which reveals the murderers identity.
These moments of inspiration, which trigger revelation, are usually brought about by a random comment of someone or observing something around. Make time for these moments.
So, these are my tips for gaining inspiration, what triggers inspiration for you?