7 Ways Marketing has Changed (and It’s Not Just the Tools)

By Ilana Rabinowitz for Socialmediaexplorer.com

I keep hearing about how the rules of marketing haven’t changed —- we’re just using new tools.  I think that’s hogwash. Marketing has changed in profound ways.

First of all, it’s no small matter that the tools have changed.  When we started using the phone instead of the letter, or mobile phone instead of the land line, our lives changed in significant ways.  New communication tools have meant lost industries and jobs as well as new opportunities. The same is and will be true in marketing so we should not deny the major changes that face us.

But when I say that marketing has changed, I’m talking about the outdated stuff that was in your marketing textbooks in college and what you learned in your first few jobs if you’ve been in this business for more than 5 or 10 years.  But, there is one exception that I’ll get to later.

At Shop.org this year, Arthur Kurzweil spoke about the pace of change in technology and how the pace is doubling each year.  He spoke of how computer storage and speed has changed exponentially and what this means for the possibility for artificial intelligence. It was a stunning presentation, yet I could hear people grumbling in the seats at his keynote, wondering what he was doing at an e-commerce summit.  It was an ironic moment to see people resisting the message of exponential change.   It may be hard to see change except in retrospect. But I, for one, did not imagine just two years ago that I would ask my phone, “Where’s the closest Thai restaurant with three stars closest to where I’m standing at that moment?” and get a better answer than I asked for.  That is one small example of how technological change effects marketing.

So, one important change in marketing is its intimate connection to technology which should make us question the status quo every day. And there are more:

  1. Marketing and its tools change so quickly, that your marketing team needs to become a research department. You can’t simply attend a marketing conference once a year and expect to keep up. You really do need to find curators and be your own curator of what’s important in the cutting edge of marketing.  Are you aware of how platforms like  Pinterest or Vyou  could be used in your business? Do you know the research on how people actually use Facebook or any of the other platforms?  Are you aware of cutting edge developments and case studies on social media measurement?
  2. The changing tools of marketing mean that your initiatives have to shift.  Video is one example. If you haven’t started to use your smartphone and inexpensive video cams to use video more this year to introduce your website, answer customer questions, and communicate one on one, you’re not even using the tools to their advantage. If your focus is totally on words, it’s as if you’re still sticking a stamp on all your letters and taking them to the post office. Here are eight inexpensive, highly effective ideas for using video to wow your readers that you can implement today.
  3. Your entire business has to change to accommodate the use of social media.  Before marketing became social, the rest of the business didn’t have to revolve around what you were doing in your department.  Today, your company needs to be an open book.  It’s more important than ever to break down departmental silos because your customers don’t care and they are in control now.  I wrote about nine ways that the entire business needs to rethink its way of operating to become social a few months ago.  Here is one way to add to that list: having a flexible, open and entrepreneurial approach to business, no matter what your size.
  4. Your marketing department needs to become a media and education department.Marketing has moved from creating punchy little messages to producing content that moves people over a period of time to make you their provider of choice. That means hiring differently, whether they are in house, freelance or consultants.  Some of these talents include video production, writing, editing of text and video, WordPress technical skills, analytical skills.
  5. How you spend your marketing dollars is different. A Facebook business page is free. A Twitter profile is free.  How much extra do you need to spend on services, apps and design?  What agency is going to be able to help you make the right decisions at the most prudent cost? How much of the expertise should you bring in-house? Does social media demand more in-house expertise than broadcast media? The budgetary questions are more nuanced. It’s not a matter of buying time and space on someone else’s media.Some of the money that once went into traditional media will move into digital media.  Just a year or two ago, few companies had line items for app development, social media monitoring, or training or hiring staff in how to use the new tools. I may be raising more questions than answers here but they need to be asked.
  6. Even the Four Ps of marketing have changed.  Brian Fetherstonhaugh of Ogilvy One has spoken and written about how marketing is no longer about Product,  Place, Price and Promotion but about Experience, Everyplace, Exchange and Evangelism.  Well, if the Four Ps of marketing have changed, then the textbooks need to be rewritten.
  7. People have changed. You might think that  the basic rules of marketing don’t need to change because people don’t change.  But people have changed.  In three significant ways, your potential customers are different.   First, they don’t see themselves as passive consumers. They don’t expect to call your toll free help line and be placed on hold forever.  They expect to get the attention of someone on Twitter or Facebook NOW. And if not, they will get the attention of plenty of others about their problems. Second, their attention spans are shorter.  Attention marketing is where there is hope.  You can’t just be providing a wonderful product anymore. You have to use your platform as a business to make their lives more meaningful.  That’s a tall order for the marketing department.Third, they don’t see themselves as the targets that marketing people have traditionally seen them as. They see themselves as people with innumerable options. They’ll call you when they decide.  Don’t call them.  This means you’ve got to be a great looking suitor with alluring content.

One thing has not changed: the importance of the Unique Selling Proposition. 

It’s more important than ever. What was true then is truer now.  Seth Godin has written over 30 books, thousands of blog posts and spoken hundreds of times on what is essentially this one topic. They all say the same thing.  Be extraordinary. I don’t mean this as a criticism because I’ve read every one of his books I’ve heard him speak five times.  Today this means being more meaningful, being better at whatever it is that you promise, and creating a better experience.  This one marketing principle has stood the test of time and technology because of the proliferation of choice and content and the loss of people’s attention span.  It’s a good place to focus as the ground shifts beneath us.

Ilana Rabinowitz is the vice-president for marketing for Lion Brand Yarn and blogs about social media at Marketing Without A Net. Rabinowitz approaches marketing with an uncompromising focus on the customer and a grounding in psychology and neuroscience to understand what motivates people to make buying decisions.  She believes that businesses need to develop their own media as a means of creating a branded experience for customers.  She has spoken at digital marketing conferences including Web 2.0, Blogher Business and Internet Retailer. She is the author of a book about psychology, a book about mindfulness and co-author of a book about the culture of knitting. Follow her on Twitter at @ilana221.

Successful Sales: Goal Setting and Accountability

In Sales, goal setting and accountability are the greatest keys to determining success, both for an individual and for the business as a whole. Approaching the goal setting process correctly and following up with the right frame of mind will ensure that those goals are realized.
Establishing Direction
Nobody gets anywhere without a destination. When creating your goals, you need to look at the big picture—what are you ultimately trying to achieve? But you also have to be specific; saying to yourself “My goal is to have more sales this year” isn’t going to cut it. Focus in on what you’re trying to achieve with precise figures and a deadline like “My goal is to have $35,000 in new sales over the next two months.”
Get Detailed
Take the time to analyze your situation—look at the driving numbers behind your current workflow and understand how you can improve them. For instance, if 10% of your calls yield a sale, and your average sale is $100, you can count on $100 for every 10 calls you make.
Break your goals down to make them more manageable. If you want to achieve $10,000 in a month, plan to work toward that goal in small chunks—that’s only $325 in sales per day!
 
Reinforce Your Success
Take time throughout your goal setting period to stop and assess how you’ve progressed. Reanalyze your figures, and adjust your process—maybe you need a betterlead generation system, or a different timing structure. Reward yourself for your successes, even if they’re small, and recognize your failures as opportunities to further improve.
Record your progress in writing—seeing your results will help keep you motivated. Publicize your goals in order to hold yourself more accountable. If several people know what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll likely work harder to make sure you achieve it.

THE ONE SMALL THING THAT SEPARATES YOU FROM SUCCESS

By Dan Waldschmidt

No one likes to fail. Whether it’s professional goals or personal goals, no one likes to try hard and come up short.

It sucks to apply for a job that you never get. It hurts to get told “I don’t think so” when you ask for that second date.

Right?  It’s not fun.  Not the slightest bit enjoyable, even if you try to categorize it as a “learning experience”.

Failure is deeply personal.

It can be crippling if you aren’t careful.

There are two specific ways that it affects you:

  1. You stop trying to do amazing things so that you don’t run the risk of failing.
  2. You pretend like everything is OK and don’t learn from the experience.

While both are damaging, the second one problem — not learning from failure — is the one that we most often revert back to when we feel discouraged.  That’s probably because we fail to see the experience as it really is.

The irony of failure is that the more you fail, the closer you to get to figuring it out — to finally be successful.

That’s not hype either.

That’s reality. The more you get it wrong, the closer you are to getting it right.  If you learn and adapt and adjust then you have a steady stream of clues to guide you to success.

It’s a mindset.  A powerful way to stay focused in spite of your recent results – “This is helping me get closer to success…”

Keep that in mind when things get tough.  You might be closer to the solution than you thought.

Maybe the only thing holding you back is what is in your head.

Territory Management: How to Prioritize Your Sales Activities to Produce Maximum Results

By Alan Rigg

How you prioritize your sales territory management activities depends upon whether you are managing a territory that has existing customers, or whether you are building your customer base from scratch.

If you manage a territory that has existing customers, your first priority should be to introduce yourself to every single one of your customers. This should be a pleasant, low-key introduction along the lines of, “I just wanted to introduce myself and see if there is anything I can do to help you.” Then, as you are chatting with your customers, you can ask, “Would you mind sharing with me how you think my company’s relationship with you has been going so far? What have we been doing well? Where could we improve?”

Collecting this kind of feedback is a great way to start relationships with customers. It also helps you draw any festering problems out into the open. If you can address the problems quickly, it can really jump-start your relationships with the affected customers.

This same approach can also be effective for customers that have been reducing their purchases from your company over time, or customers that have stopped ordering completely. It is never much fun to listen to people complain. But, if you can isolate and solve the problems that are causing the dissatisfaction, you can produce a rapid and substantial boost in sales.

If you find customers that are really happy with the service your company has provided, drill down (with more questions) to determine just what has made them so happy. Their answers will provide you with a template for successfully managing their (and other) accounts. Also, ask these happy customers for referrals, regardless of whether you have contributed in any way to their happiness! Happy, satisfied customers are usually delighted to share their positive experience with others.

Once you have met all of your existing customers, the next step is to identify target prospects in your territory

Start by checking with your manager. If they have been managing your sales team for any period of time, they should be able to suggest some good target prospects.

Once you have compiled a list of target prospects, determine which ones you will pursue first. Which target prospects have the greatest potential to purchase the largest amounts of products and services? Which ones are likely to be “quick closes”? If you have both types of target prospects on your list, pursue several of each type at the same time. In the words of a well-respected executive that I used to work with, “Elephant hunting is great.but those rabbits sure taste good in between the elephants!”

When you are ready to begin pursuing your target prospects, start by asking your existing customers whether they know anyone that works in the target organizations. If they do, ask for referrals. Once you have exhausted available referrals, proceed with the other activities in your prospecting plan – but tailor these activities to attract the attention of your target prospects.

Conclusion

Effective sales territory management begins with touching base with every single one of your existing customers. Ask questions to gauge their satisfaction with their relationship with your company. If they identify any problems, work aggressively to solve these problems as your first priority.

If a customer expresses happiness and satisfaction, ask questions to determine what your company has been doing right. Use this information to create a template for managing all of your accounts. Also be sure to ask for referrals, both in general and to specific target accounts. Exhaust these referrals before you begin the other (less productive) activities in your prospecting plan.

Prioritize your activities as described in this article, and you will maximize sales growth in your territory!

‘Wheel of Activity’ can spin sales activity

By Roy Chitwood    Wheel of Activity Graphic

 The adage “Time is money” never has been more true than it is today, especially for the professional salesperson.

With the advent of technologies such as Web-enabled cellular phones and personal digital assistants that complement the growth of the Internet, the business promise of 24-hour customer service and instant communications finally is being fulfilled. We truly live in a world where salespeople must be prepared to have around-the-clock interaction with their clients.

Although the time demands made of salespeople are great, the rewards can be too. This makes it imperative for salespeople to master personal time planning and management to help ensure success. An effective method for doing so is “The Wheel of Activity.”

To balance your personal and professional life in a healthy fashion, imagine your allotment of time in terms of a “wheel” — a “Wheel of Activity.”

At the hub of your wheel is planning.

Planning is the most vital aspect of every salesperson’s day. By planning, I mean deciding how you’re going to use each precious hour of your time — everything from planning the objective of each sales call to what you’re going to read on a particular day to enhance your professional mind.

Understanding that planning should be at the hub of all salespeople’s activity, the “Wheel of Activity” has five parts, or spokes, on how to spend time effectively: prospecting, selling, service, personal and study.

* Prospecting

Prospecting, the first spoke, isn’t the most enjoyable activity for most salespeople, and I’m not going to attempt to convert you to love the process. I will tell you, however, that without many prospects, you won’t have many customers.

Therefore, it’s important to have a routine in place for prospecting, such as an hour set aside each morning during which you make 40 cold calls. This is precisely what I did when I began my sales career in life insurance. My hands shook every time I dialed a prospect’s number; the sweetest sound was a busy signal. I even would call home every so often just to hear the sound of a friendly voice.

But what separates true sales professionals from the mediocre is they make a habit of doing the necessary things, even those they might dislike.

* Selling

The second spoke is “selling.” It doesn’t do much good to have ample prospects if you don’t follow up. That’s the essence of selling: finding the people to sell and selling the people you find.

Selling relates directly to the hub of your wheel — planning. You want to use your golden hours for selling only. Every industry has it’s own prime hours, during which you’re most successful at contacting and meeting with prospects. Real estate might be evening and weekends, computer software might be weekday mornings, and so on.

Whenever those times are that prospects are most willing to meet with you, spend as much of this time actually selling and shelving less productive tasks, such as writing reports, until later.

To determine when the best times are for you to make your sales calls, answer these questions:

1. How much of my day is spent actually selling?

2. When are my most productive hours to sell each day?

3. What changes can I make in my daily activities that will allow me to spend more time selling?

* Service

“Service” is the third spoke: If you don’t forget your customers, they won’t forget you. Plan time to give service as an ongoing activity, not only immediately after a sale. Closing a sale should be the opening of a relationship, and this requires ongoing communication and interaction.

If you don’t regularly interact with your clients between sales, an effective step you can take now is to spend 10 to 15 minutes daily calling one or two prospects for the sole purpose of learning how that person is doing. These small deposits will yield tremendous future rewards.

* Personal

The fourth spoke is the “personal” spoke. It puts fun and relaxation into your life. It means finding time for yourself and loved ones. You need to find time off from work to relax and recharge your batteries.

Some salespeople find it difficult to relax when they know how much has to be done and realize they have limited time to accomplish it all. They feel guilty being away from their jobs; personal interests and friends tend to play second fiddle to work.

If personal activities are sacrificed in place of business pursuits for too long, the result can be burnout, fatigue or both. When you plan your recreation time much as you do your work time, you’ll have more fun and increased energy.

Consider the word “recreation” and its actual meaning. It means re-creation — creating anew your vitality, enthusiasm and interest. It is essential for personal growth.

* Study

School’s never out for the true sales professional; the more he learns, the more he realizes how little he knows. This makes “study” the fifth and final spoke in the “Wheel of Activity.”

We’re living in a rapidly changing world, and we’re inundated with massive amounts of information. However, if the average person committed to reading only 15 minutes each day, he would read more than 18 books annually. How much more effective could you become by committing yourself to 15 minutes of educational time each day?

But it will happen only if you plan the time, which brings us back full circle to the hub in our “Wheel of Activity” — planning.

All salespeople are given the same 24 hours in a day. What helps to separate the high producers from the low is how effectively they plan their time and when they choose to perform specific activities. Instead of working harder, why not work smarter by using the “Wheel of Activity”?

Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.

Leading for Innovation

By Tom Stevens 

Does the future success of your organization require ongoing innovation? Let me ask another way, if you keep doing things exactly as you do them today will you be just as successful in five years? If your organization is dependent on knowledge work and professional competencies it’s highly unlikely the winning formula will remain unchanged. Innovation is essential!

The challenge is that leading a team or organization for continuous high-performance innovation requires different structures, processes, and culture than managing for continuous high-performance operations. The latter conventionally focuses on rewarding high performing individuals who get results most efficiently using tightly controlled structures. In contrast, organizational characteristics that encourage ongoing innovation include:

~ Rewards emphasizing group performance over that of individuals

~ Minimal formal structures and hierarchal roles

~ A climate that is personal and non-critical

The implications are that leaders must do the following to create opportunities for innovation in their organizations.

~ Establishing rewards for innovation

~ Aligning innovation structures with operational ones

~ Encouraging a climate conducive for innovation

Establishing Rewards for Innovation
Reward process as much as results. Innovation requires experimentation, false starts, stretching for possibilities…and therefore typically includes failed attempts. Effort must be rewarded. If you only reward results, you’ll only get what people can safely accomplish without stretching.

Reward group performance over that of individuals. Likewise, innovation requires increasing the information pool, a cooperative process. Group rewards encourage collaboration, whereas individual rewards can create incentives for competition that squelches contributing to the group effort.

Aligning Innovation Structures with Operational Ones
Innovation thrives where there are minimal formal structures and hierarchal roles, because this most encourages everyone to contribute to the information pool from which creative ideas can originate. This may not be an issue in organizations that have a naturally open structure, say, a new high-tech start-up. Organizations that have established hierarchal structures can apply one or more structural strategies to promote innovation – each has pros and cons that should be carefully considered:

~ Creation of functional units dedicated to innovation, the ol’ R & D department

~ Cross-matrix structures, bringing people together across regular functional boundaries to address common issues

~ Support for communities of practice, which are semi-formal organizations within or across companies where people with similar professional interests share information regarding professional issues

~ Retreats or meetings that get people out of routines and functional structures, with established objectives, third party facilitation, and ground rules that encourage wide participation

Effective leaders create alignment of functional and operational structures with more innovation and open structures by communicating a shared purpose. They also support careful hiring and development of people who can manage multiple roles and work well with others in complex environments, in addition to technical expertise. Think about organizations such as SouthWest Airlines, that manage to integrate these high-innovation and people-oriented characteristics with high-performance operational functions, despite their competing natures.

Encouraging a Climate for Innovation
Stimulating innovative ideas means getting people’s brains to work at their best, and brains work best when people are emotionally open and invested. Leading for innovation requires establishing a climate that is supportive, non-critical, and personal. Two ways that effective leaders can encourage this climate are to model it, and to support development of leadership in the truest sense of the word.

Leaders modeling the climate they wish for their organization serves as a powerful example indeed. This includes not just saying the right words, but backing it up with a congruent emotional tone.

Finally, organizations do well to develop leadership in its truest sense. By truest sense, I mean leadership not based on position but on influence that gains willing followers for a course of action when the way forward is unclear. When an organization develops, supports, and nurtures a wide base of leadership – people who know how to gain willing followers regardless of their position – then there is a solid basis for collaborating creatively for innovation. Give a wide group of real leaders a shared purpose and you’ve given an organization its best shot at enduring success.

***
by Tom Stevens (c)2004
Tom Stevens helps individuals and organizations create brilliant futures and make a difference. To contact him, visit www.ThinkLeadershipIdeas.com

The Three Facts of Leadership

By Mark Bowser

There are Three Facts of Leadership. If we understand these facts then our influence has the opportunity to grow. And when our influence grows so does our effectiveness as leaders.
THREE FACTS OF LEADERSHIP

1. One person can make a difference
2. Start leading today
3. The office doesn’t make the person

Fact Number One: One Person Can Make a Difference

This is probably not a new saying to you, but what pictures came to your mind when you read that statement? If you are like many people, it was pictures of Billy Graham, Martin Luther King, Jr, Mother Theresa, Ghandi, and many others. However, do you see someone missing from that list? I do. That someone is YOU!

Mother Theresa didn’t go out to become a saint, she went out to save one dieing person. She was walking down the street and saw a person dieing in a gutter. She said to herself, “That is not right. Everyone should die with dignity.” And the rest they say is history. Great leaders, great physicians, sales champions, and consultants figure out how their influence can touch a life and by doing that their influence may touch hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of lives.

So, the question is where can your leadership grow to make a bigger difference then you are today? You are probably making a difference, but how can your leadership grow? You make a difference and people need you!

Fact Number Two: Start Leading Today

Many times, young leaders for example will say, “I’m not ready to lead. I will wait till I read that leadership book, or go to that seminar, or learn that skill, etc….” Now, those are all important things and I encourage them but the truth of the matter is that your organization and your team can’t wait. You need to start leading today…and learn as you lead. None of us will ever know all there is to leadership. It is a continual growing process. We can’t wait till we know all there is to leadership or we will do absolutely nothing. We must become influential today and grow throughout our leadership journey.

Fact Number Three: The Office doesn’t make the Person

Leadership is not about the corner office. Have you ever worked for someone who thought it was? They were more concerned with their promotion, their prestige, and there accolades. In the process, they lost their team (and many times their customers) as a result.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I have no problem with comfortable offices and a comfortable work environment. In fact, I am actually for it. But we must not put the cart before the horse. Today, my family’s company, the Bright Corp. has a comfortable work environment and the executives have nice offices. But it wasn’t always that way. My dad and my uncle made sure the horse came before the cart and now the company has the resources to support that type of environment. They were more concerned with helping their team succeed and serving their customers then they were about having a cushy sofa and a picture window in their office. As a result of this wise decision, they don’t have a revolving door for their team or worst yet for their customers. Their team has tremendous loyalty. They have team members that have worked for the Bright Corp. for over twenty years. They have customers that also go that far back. How rare is that? Very!!! Focus on your team and focus on your customers and the rest will take care of itself.