The Five Pillars of Marketing Success

Does the following give a pretty good picture of your current marketing activity?You have a website but you’re not really satisfied with it. You go to networking events once in awhile. If someone asks you to give a talk, you’re happy to do it. You post on Facebook and/or LinkedIn semi-regularly. When you find the time, you send an article to those on your relatively small email list. You occasionally set up meetings with colleagues to explore opportunities.Now there’s nothing wrong with any of those marketing activities. And usually, they will result in landing some new clients.But this is not the approach that works to get a steady, predictable stream of new clients.Please don’t tune me out here, thinking, “Well, I really can’t do more than this. I’m already stretched thin. If you give me too much to do I’ll get overwhelmed.”I agree. It’s not that you need to do more marketing, it’s that you need to shift your marketing paradigm from one of “Randomness” to one that is “Focused.”Random marketing is just that; it’s all over the place. You do a little bit here and a little bit there on an inconsistent basis. You are trying to keep your face, name, and message in front of your prospective clients but the results are unpredictable.The Random marketing paradigm is not very effective because it doesn’t gain a lot of momentum. You don’t do enough of one marketing activity to grab the attention of your prospective clients and move them to take action.The Focused Marketing Paradigm is very different. It’s based on repeatedly communicating very directly to your target market with a very definite end in mind. It gets the attention of your prospective clients and they ultimately take action.The Focused Marketing Paradigm has Five PillarsUnderstand and implement these five pillars and I promise you’ll see a shift in your marketing results.Pillar One: Focused GoalsA Random goal is saying something like, “I’d like to attract a few more clients to my business.” Not very compelling is it?A Focused goal is much more specific. “My goal is to land 3 new clients in the high-tech plastics business in the Houston area with an average project size of $30,000 each by the end of the year.”The more detail, depth, and specificity about the goal, the better. You’ve really thought through what you want to achieve and also have confidence that you could deliver if you did reach your goal. It’s so real to you that you can taste it.What is the Focused Goal for your marketing?Pillar Two: Focused Program or Service Random programs or services are generalized consulting, coaching or training programs. “I offer management consulting and training to corporations.” Kind of vague, right? But this is what I hear all the time.A Focused Program or Service is more tangible. “I offer the high-tech plastics industry Management Acceleration Programs for emerging leaders in the industry.”In my business, I’ve always offered programs: The Marketing Mastery Program, the Marketing Action Group, and the More Clients Club. And each program has very specific parameters, deliverables, and objectives. It sure makes intangible services easier to market and sell.What is the Focused Program or Service you’re offering?Pillar Three: Focused Target MarketIn the above example, the target was the “high-tech plastics industry.” But it’s more common to hear things like, “I work with large companies who want to increase productivity.” This is too general and it makes it hard for clients to know if you understand them and can help them.A Focused target market is where you are absolutely clear what kinds of people or companies can most benefit from your expertise. And then you articulate that clearly.I worked with a financial planning company last year that targeted middle class families in the Buffalo New York area. Guess who they attracted to their practice? When people read about who they worked with on their website, they said, “That’s Us!” and called them.Who exactly is your Focused Target Market?Pillar Four: Focused Message and Value PropositionA Random message or value proposition tends to be too general and can be hard to pin down. It avoids making a promise that is meaningful to the prospective client.Messages such as, “We offer the best service in the industry,” or “Smart insights into great management,” are meaningless to your prospective clients. The value is not immediately obvious.A Focused message or value proposition zeros in on exactly what your clients get and what it means to them. I admit that this can be the marketing pillar that is hardest to pin down. Ultimately you have to test a number of different things.For the re-launch of the More Clients Club, my current value proposition is: “Everything Self-Employed Professionals Need in One Place to Attract More Clients.” And now, of course, I’m bending over backward to deliver on that promise.And a marketing message or value proposition is much more than a sound bite. Your message must permeate every aspect of your marketing, from your website to the emails you send out. Your prospects need to be constantly reminded of the value you offer.What is your Focused Message or Value Proposition?Pillar Five: Focused Marketing StrategyA Random marketing strategy is much like the collection of marketing activities I outlined at the top of the article. You’re just all over the place, throwing something at the wall, hoping it will stick, with no organized system or plan.A Focused marketing strategy is more like a putting on a theatrical production. You have the script, the actors, rehearsals, and opening night, all executed on a strict timeline.Two examples:For my Marketing Mastery Program, I held a series of introductory teleconferences, invited those interested to apply for the program, interviewed each applicant, and then converted 50% into participants. Over a 6-week period, I filled my business for a full year – four years in a row.A career coach in one of my programs recently filled her practice in three months with a focused campaign of personalized emails designed to get appointments with her ideal clients. Then she converted a large percentage into paying clients.That’s the power of a focused marketing strategy.You need to identify the right marketing strategy for your business, but even more important is the way you organize and implement the strategy.Developing a focused strategy is the most complex and challenging of the Five Pillars. You can’t just put together something haphazardly and hope you get the equivalent of a professional Shakespearian production.What is your Focused Marketing Strategy?If you work to build a focused plan with these five solid pillars, your marketing will work better and faster, attracting more of your ideal clients, usually at a higher rate.I recommend you work on one pillar at a time. Write them out and fine-tune them until you feel confident and excited about them. Yes, you will need to do some research and study to make sure your plan is viable. But this is certainly better than spinning your wheels with a random strategy that is going nowhere.Cheers, Robert

Online Shop – Future of Shopping

Online shopping  witnessed spending of £178 million per week during January 2009. This means 3.7 percent of overall retail sales were through internet shopping. During 2008, online retail sales experienced steady and steep growth rate. It accounted for 3.1 percent in January 2008 and went up to 3.5 percent in December 2008. The trend is expected to continue as more and more people are showing interest in this arena of shopping.

Online shopping is extremely convenient and attract shoppers with lucrative offers. Almost every thing that is purchasable appears on the various online stores. It is impossible to summarize the entire list but few examples are books, gadgets, accessories, clothes, groceries, movies, music, shoes, heath and fitness products, cosmetics, eatables and travel tickets etc. Great variety of the products adds on to the excitement of buying online. Best holiday packages to the world’s greatest destinations are planned online within a short span of time. Even food joints accept delivery orders over the internet. Online shopping avoids the unnecessary wastage of time and money.

Initial cost to start a shop includes land prices, cost of the stock, construction rates and many more hidden costs. Additional to these costs are the running expenses of the store. On the other hand, selling products online requires no such setup and initial cost is very low. This allows attractive discounts on the deals and makes internet shopping economical for the buyers and profitable for the sellers. It is a win-win situation at both ends. The reduced cost is forwarded to the shoppers as discounts. This encourages the clientele to depend upon e-shopping for everything. The web stores offer discounts throughout the year and deals become very lucrative during peak seasons. The discounts vary from one shopping portal to another for the same product. Everyone tries to provide their products at cheapest possible rates to attract customers. Therefore shopping sites reduce their profits by offering heavy discounts to increase the volume. This calls for the concept of comparison shopping. There are many sites which offer comparison between the prices of same product on different sites. This allows user to view all deals at one location and make the best purchases. Companies and shopping portals distribute discount codes to attract internet shoppers toward their sites. The code number can be entered before leaving the shopping portal to avail discounts. Online shopping is becoming interactive and consumers share their views on various social shopping communities and blogging sites. They provide their personal experience with the products to help others make the right choice. The social shopping brings fun and excitement to the shopping experience.

Few other aspects about internet shopping requires careful attention. First is the Free Delivery advertised by sellers. It is not truly free as the delivery expenses are included in the product’s cost. Dealers accept shipment charges depending upon the distance. Therefore products delivered from close locations attract low shipment charges and other additional costs. Online dealers provide warranty for their products but the returns are difficult due to long distances. It requires the user to ship back the product and pay some additional charges in many cases. Maintaining privacy of the information supplied by buyers is another crucial issue. There are no law preventing this and sellers are free to get your information. This leak of information results in more direct-mail marketing, spam e-mails and telemarketer calls.

The online shopping is gaining continuous popularity and is becoming a growing trend among shoppers. The advantages of internet shopping are too attractive for people to resist. It is time to accept the new ways of shopping and enjoy its benefits.

Value at Risk (VaR)

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