What’s your message and your story? Are you telling people what you do or why you do it?

Just so we’re clear, marketing is not sales. Marketing leads to sales.

You may know very well why you are in business. And that answer should be a little better than ‘to make money’. Because if that’s the case, your customers are just wallets and not people. That’s a problem as even if you’re just selling something worth pennies, people who want to do business, and open their wallets, to those they trust and feel comfortable with. Marketing is about the message we put across at customer touchpoints. The logo, the perception of the brand, the way a product, or service, is delivered, how unhappy customers are handled.

Marketing involves every activity from product conception, to final delivery to the customer

Are we paying attention to what the customer wants, needs, and how they respond to us? It starts as simple as the basic accounting equation: A-L=OE and gets much more in-depth as those basic elements are unpacked and explored. At The Solution, we start by looking at three things in marketing; the cost of customer acquisition, ‘customer lifetime value’ and customer turnover. Before any marketing suggestions can be made, there needs to be solid answers to these questions. Here’s a simplified scenario that explains this idea:

You buy a booth at a trade show for $1000. You get 10 customer contacts from that trade show out of the thousands that visit your booth. 2 of those contacts eventually turn into a sale worth $100 each. Cost of customer acquisition is $500, and a $100 sale makes each customer a loss of $400. Doesn’t really make sense to have been at the trade show does it? It looks like a cumulative loss of $800.

But what if those customers are now going to be with you for 5 years, and they repeat that $100 purchase every six months? That’s $2000 in sales from a $1000 investment. Cost of customer acquisition is still $500, but we don’t look at the relationship as transactional, we look at it over the lifetime they’ll be with us. The reality is each customer brings us a total of $1000 in sales. We’ve actually doubled our investment. We’ve also started conversations with 8 other people. That’s just a bonus – who knows who, and how many others, they’re going to talk to that could lead to future business.

Long-term thinking, approaching the problems with the right metrics, and listening to the Voice of the Customer. That’s how we solve marketing problems, or more importantly, address issues before they become problems that need to be fixed.

Yes. If you’re in business today, you need a website

That’s a bold statement. Yes, there are exceptions to the that, however, exceptions don’t make the rule. Yes, you probably also need to be on Facebook and Twitter as well. Here’s where the ‘hiccup’ generally shows up, and much like deciding on employee training, it becomes financial. Websites cost, they require maintenance and updating, that may need to be outsourced… the price keeps going up. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, any social media channel for that matter, is free. And that’s where the customers actually are. A good number of them are there every day talking to friends, family, sharing photos and interesting elements of their lives. Things like what they had for breakfast, and what lives in their fridge. Here’s what they’re not doing, and this is key, they’re not looking for things to buy. People, including you, don’t go to social media to buy something. Can you get in front of them there? You sure can, and that’s what it’s for.

When you meet someone on the street, you don’t immediately try to ‘sell’ them. You talk to them. Let them get an idea about what you’re about. After a bit of getting to know each other, you may lead a conversation towards business and then invite them to your office to set something up. The Internet equivalent of ‘your office’ is your website. Social media is where you meet people. Then you get them back to your office.

The game has changed a bit. You have new channels beyond the traditional radio, tv and print. Now you can talk to people. You can get to know them, and even more importantly, they can get to now you. Then you can do business together. We can help you be clear about the difference.