I read a great definition of capitalism recently:
A system in which there are winners and losers, in which someone with a brilliant idea gets rich, while most of us get by.
I think of Apple CEO Steve Jobs when I read that. He had several brilliant ideas (like the Macintosh, the iPod and Pixar, to name a few). He’s rich while I’m getting by.
Then there’s Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. I should have been Mark Zuckerberg. I was a web designer and my partner was a web developer. We could have created Facebook… we had the technology. But Mark Zuckerberg had the brilliant idea. He’s rich while I’m getting by.
In a SpongeBob SquarePants episode, Mr. Krabs sees a group of tourists outside his restaurant, the Krusty Krab. With dollar signs in his eyes, he hurries out to entice them inside. As they scurry past, he shouts:
“Don’t you want to give me your money?”
Needless to say, they continue on without giving him so much as a moment’s notice.
Whether it’s busy tourists or busy decision makers, no one cares about what you want or what you’re selling. That’s where a strong value proposition comes to the rescue. Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, defines a value proposition as:
…a clear statement about the tangible business results customers get from using your product, service or solution.
I just read an interesting analysis [pdf] of the “Get a Mac” ad campaign… you know, the ones with the nerdy businessman (“I’m a PC”) and the cool hipster (“I’m a Mac”) politely bantering about which is superior.
The long-running commercials have won advertising awards, been praised by Mac users, denegrated by PC loyalists, and parodied numerous times on sites like YouTube. There’s even a website where you can watch all 60+ commercials.
But the ultimate success of any advertising campaign is, How much did it affect sales? Here are the results:
Sales and marketing gurus are always talking about value — that in order to have a successful product or service, we must “create value” for the customer. But what exactly does that mean?
While the theory is absolutely correct, the concept of value is subjective and nebulous. What is valuable to one person may be completely irrelevant to another.
In this video, marketing consultant/author Simon Sinek gives a great presentation based, in part, on his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Whether you’re a salesperson, business owner, marketer or entrepreneur, there’s something for everyone here.
Over the years, I’ve participated in a number of online forums, where business owners gather to discuss various issues that affect them. On one such forum, someone who had just started a carpet cleaning business posted this question: “What’s the best way to get new business?” The answers that followed were typical, if not predictable:
- The web designer said, “Get a website.”
- The direct mail guy said, “Send out some postcards.”
- The newspaper guy said, “Take out a classified ad.”
- The promotional items guy said, “Get some pens and fridge magnets made.”
- The yellow pages guy said, “Take out an ad in the Yellow Pages.”
And on it went…
Instead of searching for the one “magic bullet,” think of your advertising mix as a “team.” By adding members to the team, you can accomplish more than just one member could by himself. This is the best way to improve the response you get from your marketing.
Everyone in business want to decrease their costs, so here are three sure-fire ways to reduce your advertising costs:
- Increase your close ratio
- Increase your response rate
- Decrease your cost per month
If you are doing any sort of advertising then each month, year or whenever it’s time for the next campaign, you are faced with a choice: continue with what you were doing, increase your advertising, or decrease/cut your advertising. When it comes to reducing costs, most people naturally focus on the actual cost of the thing, but you don’t cancel your phone service simply because your telecom costs are too high. You might consider a reduced service plan, but not without taking into account exactly how that might negatively affect your business, right?
Advertising is no different. The goal of marketing is to get responses and ultimately sales. So you cannot look at your advertising costs outside of the context of: (1) What your current advertising produces in terms of responses and sales, and (2) What the potential negative effects of reducing that advertising would be.
Most people decide to cut advertising because they believe or perceive that it’s not working. Assuming that’s not the case with you, here’s how to make the most from your advertising dollars.
Studies show that businesses who maintain or increase their marketing during a recession experience higher sales growth – both during the recession and immediately following.
During a recession, money gets tight and fewer people are buying. If both you and your competitors continue to advertise, you wind up competing even harder for the few customers that are left.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that, even though there are fewer customers, there are also fewer companies marketing to them, because many of your competitors will cut back their advertising. Advertising during a recession gives you a unique opportunity to win their customers and gain market share.
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Thanks for visiting. I’m a Marketing Evangelist, Blogger and Sales Trainer.
I get excited about geek stuff. But I’m also passionate about helping people and companies reach their fullest potential and becoming wildly successful.
That’s why I love helping businesses figure out how to market (especially web marketing) and why I train sales people to be the best they can be at what they do.