Recent Client Work:
Sometimes it’s about knowing where to start. It’s back to ‘if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there’. There is often a strong urgency on the side of the client to get started, to begin the process of transformation, to create compelling, new communications. But from experience I’ve found the critical piece is often where you start the project from. The communications is only the bit the outside world sees, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The thinking and planning needs to happen ahead of the doing. It’s so important to clarify the market understanding (both theirs and mine!) and the desired outcomes at the outset. Strategy is all about the choices a business owner makes. Strategic choices become blurred by organisational noise, red herrings and data. If you are driving the car, it’s basically hard to take in the changing landscape as you go. Sometimes the co-pilot has a much clearer view, they are freed from the everyday doing of your business. As an outsourced resource, I work with a number of clients to clarify their strategic choices. Instead of trying to do too much, too soon; what are the simple next few steps? What are the most important areas to focus on? Sure, strong communications connects with customers and drives sales, but you can’t devise that without having a clear strategy. I run bitesize strategy and ‘clarity’ workshops with clients looking to scale up and embrace new opportunities to grow. You can speak to clients I’ve run these with recently to hear how they have found them as a first step to scaling up their businesses.
once had a client who had an e-commerce website – an online shop – but had a fuzzy understanding of his most important customers. The focus of his communication efforts were spread too thinly and weren’t connecting as they should. When a shop owner isn’t physically meeting and talking to his customers every day like this, knowing ones customers takes some proactive digging.
What is the profile? The average spend? The repeat custom? Where are they coming from? Is there a high churn rate? Through internal sales analysis, Google analytics and some quick online market research we worked together to bridge key information gaps and so could verify his most important market segment. From this other solutions are made clear. The best range of products to offer, a position of differentiation and a pricing strategy. Once we knew who his customers were, we worked on where and how to talk to them. We also used supplier feedback to highlight market opportunities previously unclear in order to complete a targeted, results-focused marketing strategy for the client. The client was left clear on decisions and investments that were needed. We are now beginning phase 2 which includes a new website, a fresh approach to Facebook for business, a refreshed branding as well as the exploration of some international opportunities.
Another time I worked with a client who met her customers all the time but never asked them whether they were really happy with the service. Or at least never asked them in a way they were comfortable giving honest feedback. She believed she was meeting her customer expectations levels because nobody complained. But 97% of customers don’t complain when they are unhappy, they just leave. Marketing is not only about meeting the needs and wants of your customers, but also the anticipated needs.
Do you know the latest trends and developments in your market better than your customers? Better than your competitors? After doing some research on customer satisfaction levels and on marketplace expectations with this particular client – and allowing those surveyed to remain anonymous using online survey tool – we uncovered the gaps in her service levels. There were significant changes in the marketplace in the past 18 months and she had not moved with the times. She was competing on price instead of looking for value-add for her customers. What could you add into your product or service to charge the price you want to charge? We chose key value adds to her services in order to differentiate her business in a price sensitive, competitive marketplace. Know your customer. Know the latest trends in your marketplace. Act where there’s a gap.
I had a client with a successful business looking to expand. She wanted to recruit new customers but she kept spending money on communicating to her existing customers because it was all she knew. There was a reasonable level of marketing and promotion within the business, but it simply wasn’t getting her business in front of the new customers her business sought. Not to put too fine a point on it, if you are looking to talk to new markets you have to speak to them where they are. While it could be true that what you are currently doing might work in generating some publicity for your business with new customers …you need to ask yourself could something more targeted work better?
I recently had a client who was looking to target blue chip businesses with his professional services. A real professional by nature his background was impressive as was his vision for his business. His online presence needed a rework, it wasn’t generating any leads for him. In fact it was letting his pitches down. It was full of industry jargon and left me more confused about the provider after reading it. I struggled to link what he did with what he had on his website. We broke down what needed to be done. 1) Customers couldn’t identify with the problems he was offering to solve. We call these ‘pain points’. They needed to be explicitly identified up-front. 2) Customers needed to see themselves as the type of person that bought this service. The language was too technical, abstract, not the day to day problems you come across in your average mid sized organisation. So it not only needed to speak their language, but it also needed to be meaningful – eg progress their ‘to do’ list. To that end it needed to focus on the practical benefits it was offering its customers. After the fee had been paid, what are the changes that will happen in their organisation. 4) It needed to look more professional, have better images and flow to appeal to his target market. Perception can be everything to some businesses. 5) We needed to put in more about the personality and the values of the service provider into the site content, since they were intrinsic to the offering. The ‘about us’ page is one of the most visited and neglected pages on websites today. So we put more soul and connection into the ‘about us’. 6) Finally we need to put some of the customer stories on show. Reviews, testimonials and recommendations tell a more powerful story about you than the story that comes from you. Here’s I do that on my business here.