I have in the past, and still do actually, work with companies whose head office is based overseas. This is also where the global marketing department often send out the concepts and design graphics for their international subsidiaries to utilise in their own marketing.
Sometimes it is really good and translates perfectly to suit the UK market. Other times it misses the mark. But of course we still have to follow the global lead.
So do I want to ‘reinvent the wheel’? No. All I want to do is make it go in the right direction and a bit faster, or with a bit more grip, or both!
In this way we can achieve the perfect compromise. Keeping global happy because we are utilising their collateral. Keeping our client happy by making the most of the given material for this market. And keeping both happy by helping to increase sales and stay within budget.
I remember my Grandad telling me this at a very young age. He also said I should learn to play golf as the ‘right sort of people’ were to be found in golf clubs and on the greens. Sadly I followed in my father’s footsteps and played cricket. I had a go at golf (my mother’s uncle was club champion at Carnoustie so I got some pretty good coaching whenever we went to visit) but I just couldn’t hit the long balls straight enough. I was also pretty good at cricket and really enjoyed the game. It turns out I was also pretty good at rugby although I didn’t find this out until I was seventeen. I was invited to make the numbers up in the local rugby clubs second team one Saturday. I played for the rest of the season and then was picked for the first team, county U19s, U23s and the senior side. For some reason rugby seemed to be much better for meeting ‘the right sort’ than cricket. Or maybe it was because I was playing at a much higher level.
Anyway I went away to university and game playing stopped for a time. Thinking about it, my very first job after graduating came to me through one of the lecturers and I became a biologist in a hydroponics based business. Then my real breakthrough came from playing cricket for a Pharmaceutical giant works team. I was informed of a vacancy in the promotions department by a team mate and successfully applied for the post. Then a bit later on one of the medics, who signed off adverts or brochures as being medically correct and ethical, approached me on behalf of a larger healthcare advertising agency. I was headhunted.
Where am I going with this? It was obvious that my Grandad was right back then and is still right today. This is why networking is so important, both to owners and employee of SME’s and larger multinationals. Whether you are looking for new business, a new position, a new employee or a new supplier we all like to have a personal introduction from an influential person as this can at least break down any initial barrier and give you a better chance to be heard.
Like I said before, there are no hard fast rules about making contact with potential clients. Give yourself a budget and consider all options. Spread your hard earned cash as thickly or thinly as you like but be aware of what each opportunity, done well, could bring to the table (and what it cannot do!).
Much will depend on what type of client you are hoping to attract. Local or national, retail or business to business, service sector or manufacturer, the list goes on. When you can specify your target audience you can tailor your approach to suit.
Starting with the most expensive we have advertising in local or national media, direct mail, telesales, email marketing, blog, PR/social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram etc.). Any of these might encourage a new customer to contact you directly. But they are more likely to be a step in the right direction, a step that you need to be ready for.
Of course the next step will be your website. Your website will be your backbone. You won’t survive without one. It is the reference point for all new and existing customers. It is where potential customers are most likely to go to find out more about you. On here you can explain yourself, tell of new developments and most importantly, sell your products (if that’s what you do).
However, there is another way – networking. Get yourself in front of likeminded individuals and tell them about your business. They might be interested in using your products or services themselves. However, they are much more likely to know someone who would be interested and they could pass your name forward.
There are no guarantees with any of these but they will put you in a position to increase your business. They can set you up for more sales, new contacts or more clients. They can also do the opposite if you’re not careful!
New clients or customers are that elusive element that all businesses should be looking to attract. Elusive because as any business owner knows it’s not that easy and doesn’t happen by itself. The dangers if you don’t are a stagnating customer base who may or may not increase their current level of trading with you. What if it decreases? If this happens, or you lose a customer through no fault of your own, then finding a replacement becomes a matter of urgency. Complacency is a business killer. Do nothing and you will fade away. You still have an excellent product so what are you going to do about it?
What is going to convert a prospect into a new client or customer?
Reputation a. Skills a. Knowledge a. Experience a. Track record a. All good and very relevant, but unlikely to get you over the first hurdle on their own. The introduction. Getting yourself in front of a potential client or customer is very often the hardest part of this whole process.
You have to be attractive to the person(s) on the other side of the desk or counter. I don’t mean physically attractive although very often this can make a difference. No, what I mean is attractive to their business goals and ambitions. What can you do for them? What can you do that will make a difference? What can you do that will make their job easier and successful? What do you have that they want?
There is no golden rule as every individual has their own likes, dislikes, or requirements. It might help if they already know you, it might also put them off. So what are the ways to get in the right place at the right time?
‘We will maximise the effectiveness of your marketing budget’. You may think that you’re already doing this by keeping an eye on where and how you’re communicating with your customers and negotiating the best deals from your printer or your media supplier.
If you are then this is all good and tells me that this is important to you.
But are you shouting loud enough? Are you using the right words and images to get the response you’re hoping for. In other words, are you maximising your message potential and the return on your investment.
There’s not much point in being canny with your finances if the message you’re trying to get across falls short. After all, it costs exactly the same to place a really good advert (or whatever vehicle you’re using to communicate) as it does to place a poor one.
Next question. Do you really have the time to put together a great piece of marketing communication? Maybe you have someone on the payroll who already does it for you. Maybe you’re personally a natural and pretty good at this sort of thing. But if you’re not……wouldn’t it be better to be getting on with maintaining the smooth operation and production capability of your business, and let a creative professional look after your marketing communication?
It will certainly maximise the efficiency of your marketing budget and, will in all probability, actually save you money long term.