Archive for target market
I love my clients – said it before and I’ll say it again. I love my clients – each and every one of them. They’re all quite different as people and sure each of them has their quirks (I love that by the way), but they’re all people I would choose to have a drink and chat with out of hours. All of them make me laugh – not at them, but with them. Some of them, I swear should be in the comedy business – they’re that cool.
The weird thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that ever before in my 20-ish years of consulting. Oh, sure – I’ve adored some of my clients along the way, but others – well, let’s just say there were pre-set budgets and targets to be met all in the name of being part of someone else’s business and keeping a job. I couldn’t say “actually this client is wrong for the business.” I think I tried that once and got told to “suck it up”. Every time I had that beacon go off – there was pain. It usually involved being beaten up by the client for work would never live up to the expectations of the client no matter how good it was, getting stuck in someone’s internal political mess, not being paid or just work that felt like trying to swim through a vat of molasses. In short – not fun experiences.
Truth be told every business owner, particularly those in service businesses, will face the prospect of being hired by the ‘wrong’ client. Now my wrong client might be your dream client – it’s a completely personal decision. And when you’re just starting out, sometimes you might be more about the revenue through the door than whether it’s right for you or not – and that’s understandable. But once you’ve got some revenue flowing through the business, getting the right customer fit is important.
Hire the right customers and going to work each day will still be a joy – even if the work itself is challenging. However, hire the wrong customer and they can destroy you, your sanity and your business.
So how do you build a business of totally awesome clients? Here are 6 tips;
1. Only take on clients (or work) you really like/respect and work you believe in – the client and the work will inspire you to bring your A game and you’ll have a great time along the way
2. If you can, only take work that’s referred to you. That tends to weed out the total nutters and those that won’t pay. Don’t forget to thank the person who referred you!
3. If people call you on the phone, haven’t done any due diligence and talk about price on that call – that’s a fairly good indication that they’re not after you per se, they’re after anyone who’ll do the work for as little as possible. And they’ll continue to screw you for more along the way. If this happens – suggest they’d be better suited being serviced by someone else.
4. Be vigilant about staying true to your rules. I had a narrow escape the other day because the work was fabulous, gritty and challenging, but the client was known for being abrasive. So when it went another way due to budget constraints, I thanked my lucky stars and got annoyed at myself for wasting their and my own time – and yes, this prospect, despite being referred, hadn’t done due diligence and asked about price on that first call. Worse still, I got sucked into that conversation. Note to self: Don’t do that again!!!!
5. Before you meet with the client or even phone them back to talk turkey or set up meeting, do your due diligence – check them out on LinkedIn, Facebook, call someone who knows them and see what they’re like, check their website and Google them. See what comes up. After all, do you really want to work with an axe murderer that got off on a technicality?
6. Finally, ask yourself if you really like what you see. Could you make a difference in their business (or life) doing whatever it is you do. Is their work in a part of your business you’d like to do more of? Will you be happy and comfortable talking to them every other day? Is their business interesting, challenging, lovely or whatever it is that makes you jump out of bed in the mornings? If the answer’s yes, accept that client with open arms. If it’s a no – politely decline and help them in the direction of someone else for whom they might be a better fit.
When I mentor junior industry folk, I’ve been known to say to them when they’re considering changes of job (especially the ones where they’ve got nagging concerns but the money is fabulous), “never sell your soul – they can never pay you enough”. The same is true of business. We’ve all heard stories about or experienced ‘those’ bosses/employers (and in some cases that’s why we started a business). But guess what, those people also employ other businesses.
If, after everything suggested above, if you’re still in doubt, go with your gut – it never lies. Best of luck with it. Feel free to connect via social media, leave a comment about your experiences or drop me a note.
Okay so this post isn’t really about brain surgery or rocket science – would you really want to be your own brain surgeon? Or accidently propel yourself into space never to return (with only so much oxygen at your disposal). Nope didn’t think so.
So now that we’ve established that’s not for you – what about DIY accounting and tax returns? Yes, there will be some of you out there. But did you know that you’re statistically more likely to get less in your return if you DIY (that and probably want to stick pins in your eyes long before you finish).
Heck, I wouldn’t even cut my own hair. Ok, well maybe just the fringe bit (but it’s never as good as when a great hairdresser has a go).
And it’s the exactly the same with creating your own website, doing your own marketing or creating your own materials or designs. Why – you ask? When you have a pen, a computer and a host of other technology you’re itching to use? Why shouldn’t you do your own thing?
Well in essence unless you’ve been a marketer for a while, you’re likely to spend (possibly even waste) a great deal of time pfaffing, yes pfaffing about getting frustrated that what you’re doing is not going according to plan. Even if it does go according to plan, maybe and I hate to be the one that says this, but maybe the plan is headed in the wrong direction or missing a couple of vital ingredients – one in particular.
So what might this vital ingredient be?
It’s experience. I did say this wasn’t rocket science.
Experience makes a massive difference to your marketing projects. People who’ve eaten, slept and breathed marketing for a decade or more can offer you so much more than just technology or passing you onto to someone who claims to be able to use the technology. They’ll guide the process, create stuff of value and find that great space between what you want to achieve and what your clients want you to give them.
So, sure technology is sexy, but it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) claim to understand what people (your customers) want, nor how best to give it to them.
You wouldn’t trust your brain to your next door neighbour (unless they’re a qualified neurology surgeon), so why would you risk your business – possibly the lifeblood of your family to have a go yourself.
If you’re now thinking about outsourcing, you might also want to read 7 ways to tell if your marketer is any good (or not).
As always would love to chat further – either in comments below or in person. The number’s at the top of the screen.
After starting on the journey of the top three reasons you should outsource your marketing, more and more reasons just seemed to keep popping into my head. So here are another three.
Consistency, consistency, consistency! Just because you’ve seen your marketing message so often you’re a little bored with it, doesn’t mean you should change it (unless there are real reasons for doing so). The more complex a product or service you sell, the more times your prospects need to see your message in order to understand your offer to feel comfortable buying from you. A good marketer knows how to incorporate your message consistently across whatever materials your business requires.
Time – If you’re anything like most business owners, you’re probably stretched to find a single extra minute in your day – much less hours or whole days a week – every weeek to dedicate to your marketing efforts. Successful marketing requires not only marketing knowledge, experience and skill – it also requires frequent interactions with your customers and prospects. And that takes time – away from your business.
Insight – Most business owners and senior executives know a lot about their industry or product segment. And whilst a good marketer might not have as in-depth a knowledge of your market as you, they bring a breadth of knowledge from other industries/markets. If I’ve learned anything from my 20 years in marketing, it’s that often killer campaigns from other industries, if correctly applied, also work brilliantly in others.
One of the first experiences I had doing this was applying a campaign model I’d worked on in the healthcare space with Drs to the tourism industry. Whilst you might wonder where the similarities are – they’re there and in spades. Nobody else at the time was applying that model to tourism and it gave my tourism client a cutting-edge campaign.
Have you outsourced your marketing? What was your reason for doing it – drop me a comment below. Or chat to me on twitter http://twitter.com/GlitteratiChic
The first time I was ever asked “what’s the difference between marketing & PR?”, I didn’t quite know how to answer it. Certainly there were the definitions put forward at uni and from the various industry bodies – but then (and I’d profer, even now) there was some academic argy bargy going on.
So I set about coming up with my own working explanation – that was short, to the point and that those not in the industry had a hope in hades of understanding (not something academics are well known for).
Marketing leads to a transaction (or a sale from a member of the organisation/product/service’s target market)
Public Relations leads to an interaction (designed to build trust or open/continue a conversation with a member of the organisation/product/service’s target audience)
If you combine the two, you get MPR – an interaction that ultimately leads to a transaction.
However the true value of PR is not all about building sales, nor is it about getting media coverage/publicity. Sometimes it’s just as important to stay less attainable and/or out of the media (and yes, there is such a thing as bad publicity).
Great PR and marketing people are not necessarily interchangeable. Marketing is often about data/research, PR less so.
The best marketers aren’t just about stuff, they’re about strategy – watching and listening to the marketplace in order to determine whether or not product/service A is going to work, if it needs tweaks, how to best position it and then they work to get it out there.
Great PRs are about building relationships with stakeholders – a much broader subset of people who may or may not ultimately buy from you – but who could be extremely influential to those who can. Stakeholders might be purchasing gatekeepers (mums, Drs, hospitals or governments) or they might be activists who dislike how your organisation does something and are determined to have it stopped at a local, industry or even government level or just about anyone else in the mix.
Too often people (and that includes some industry folks) think both are just about marketing materials, advertising or publicity (which is mainly one way communication). That seriously minimises the impact marketers and PRs can make to your business, organisation, product or service.
Ultimately, great marketers launch great products/services, in the right place, at the right price, to the right people using the right mediums and great PRs nuture, defend and protect them.
Hope that helps. Let me know your thoughts.