Friday, March 29, 2013

The First Commandment: Know Thy Customer

According to David Edelman of McKinsey - the first commandment of good marketing is to know your customer. David recently wrote an article about the importance of really knowing your customer in order to get the best return on your marketing dollar. The more a company knows about a customer as an individual the better the marketing message can be tailored to fit a specific person. David talks in the article about senior managers touting the importance of spending time with and getting to know the customer, but that is not the norm.

David wrote the following, "The reason to unlock your data is so that you can be more relevant to your customers by sending them messages, offers, and products they really want. Research shows that personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales 10% or more." This was, for me, the key to the entire article. I find that when I look at our customer base as a whole, by segment, by sales person or by individual account, I see a much different picture. We are fortunate that we only have about thirty customers per rep, so we are able to get a much more personal view of the customer. When there is a personal view of the customer, then a tightly focused personal message can be sent and a much better ROI can be achieved.
Our company can, with digital printing, create direct mail that is unique to each person when we have the right data. This is something we are promoting to our customers because it is a way to cut through the clutter of the generic market. If you are looking at your customers, spend some time to get to know them on a personal basis and then reach out with your marketing in a 1to1 way to get the best impact.

Monday, March 25, 2013

3 Types of Leaders Who Never Succeed

At our company, Hopkins Printing, we have gone through many iterations with strategic planning. We have seen some systems that don't work well and some that work incredibly well. One thing we believe now is that having more focus and limiting the big goals allows us to get more done. Recently I came across an Inc magazine article 3 Types of Leaders Who Never Succeed that talks to this in one of the points.

One of the three points is to not be "The Strategy Yanker" which means changing the strategy on a whim. This would be starting the year with a strategy to grow 30% and then in month three changing the strategy to improving customer service. When we set our three main goals for the year, we go through days of debate over what goals will make the biggest difference. These are not quick or easy decisions because we know that they will last for an entire year. When a member of the management team knows s/he will be held to a goal 12 months later, the decision is much tougher. Once we go through this process we then roll the goals out to develop departmental goals and then personal goals for each person in the company. It isn't an easy or quick process but we have seen some incredible benefits from this process.

The article also gives two others points that are worth reading and then if they apply to you, stop doing those things. Being a leader is a big responsibility so take some time, learn something and improve.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

4 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Micromanager

Tom Searcy is a consultant who helps companies land large customers. I first heard him speak a few years ago when I was a member of Vistage. When I came across his Inc Magazine article I decided to spend a few minutes and find out what I could learn.

Like many perfectionist I struggle with delegation and with letting others do things on their own. I enjoy getting in the details and having my opinions heard. That is OK if I don't want to grow the business because a micromanager limits what a company can accomplish. S/he slows down progress by becoming a bottle neck.

Tom, in his article, has fours tips to overcome this type of management. The article lists four activities that tend to aggravate a micromanager and then offers tips to help in these situations. There are ideas to help with a lack of follow through or with lack of adoption.

If you work for a micromanagers or if you are a micromanager, this would be a worthwhile read.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Number One Rule of Success

Grant Cardone says the number one rule of success is to "suit up and show up". What a simple but profound statement. How may times have we heard that times are tough, the competition is cutting price, the economy is soft or any other excuse? We can either listen to the excuses and give up or we can suit up and show up! I for one want to be in the game.