computer security

There is a growing focus in business on:

  • healthcare
  • security
  • efficiency and
  • internet.


Which of these represents the area of greatest potential financial trouble for your business? For your customers?

What should your company do to avoid the dip in profits that will result if it does not change the way it is addressing this area of challenge?

What specific advice can you offer customers to help them continue to grow in the face of these challenges?

handshake

"I'll grow you if you'll grow me" - Strategic Marketing Ideas for Mature Businesses

by Anne Yeiser

Stop being driven by the competition and start teaming up with customers you can grow! That is the message mature businesses need to hear according to Recompetitive Strategies by Mack Hanan. Stop trying to plan FOR customers- they can only be planned WITH. Find ways of integrating your growth objectives and strategies with theirs!

These methods have worked for many Fortune 500 companies whose profits were declining, according to Hanan who is an internationally recognized consultant, author and lecturer on marketing, sales and business growth.

Growth followed by maturity followed by decline is not inevitable in the life cycle of a product, says Hanan. In the recompetitive model, maturity is followed by rebirth of growth, and the good news is: "The profits from recompetitive growth can, and most of the time do, exceed the profits from new growth, in their rate of return and very often in volume as well."

Hanan's insights are based on his consultation and research for large manufacturers and retailers, but they will be appreciated by any size firm seeking a new burst of growth, whether selling services or products. The only mature businesses which he has found not eligible to recompete are those with obsolete technology or "old school" managers.

Recompetitive Strategies states that efforts to restore competitiveness to old products usually focus on:

  • enhancing the product (usually unnecessary),
  • selling harder to current customers,
  • expanding sales to new customers, and
  • entering allied markets.

Hanan calls this "rouging the cheeks of the corpse."

The mature business should instead undertake:

  • market concentration
  • asset base shrinkage, and
  • product redefinition.

Market concentration means focusing on the customers who contribute the most profits. The ones willing to pay a premium price are those whose profits are being increased by their relationship with the mature business. It is crucial to understand their business and why yours is prospering theirs. They and new customers whose businesses can be grown are the mature business's "growth niche," according to Hanan. "Competitive maturity begins with one market-narrowing question: Whom can we grow?" The number of customers forming the growth niche may be only 20% of the total customer base. The remaining 80%, not to be ignored, are not a primary focus.

Asset base shrinkage, the second rule for becoming recompetitive, refers to the downsizing of product lines to those which best contribute to improved customer profits and those which still can be profitably mass marketed.

Product redefinition means replacing the tangible product or actual service with a financial product-- the profits it offers the customer's business. "[Profits] are the only true tangibles in any business transaction," says Hanan. "When profits instead of products are offered, price can be detached from product benefits and attached to their dollar benefits." This is how prices may be justifiably raised.

Hanan also outlines how to internalize customer data in order to merge into problem-solving partnerships with customers, how to re-train and reorganize for "consultative selling," how to price profits (not products), and how to identify customers who will be growth partners.

By permission of publisher from RECOMPETITIVE STRATEGIES, by Mack Hanan ©1986 AMACOM. a division of American Management Association, New York. All rights reserved.

man listening

"Mashup" connotes varying products to different industries. For musicians it may denote Mashup MixedInKey. The Digital DJ offers a good review on YouTube. See it below.

Keeping abreast of music and sound creation technologies is important to any advertiser or agency because music makes ads memorable.

Here are five recent studies that confirm the link between music and memory.

Sound, too, has immense power to boost a brand. Find out what the 10 Most Addictive Sounds in the World are here.

man thinking

What industries are hot?

Of these, which ones are most likely to use our services? Why?

Which of our services are the hot industries most likely to use?

How are we pursuing these specific businesses?

Which of our people can best provide these services?

Specifically, how many of our people does it take to provide ______ to ______?

What will their time be billed?

Is this fee in line with other competitors, including those firms that are not on a par with our length of service (depth of experience)?
••••••••
Is the Internet doing my job?

If so, how can I counter its intrusion?
••••••••
How can we improve our website?
••••••••
What is the probable effect of the top five franchise successes on my business?

Have these franchises entered my local market yet?

If so, how will their presence affect my clients who are their competitors? List 10 ways you can help your client to outperform this newcomer/up and coming threat.
••••••••
What is the current status of artificial intelligence relative to my field, and what will its effect be on my industry this year? In two years? In five years?

How can we use AI to help our clients?
••••••••
What is the state of manufacturing in our area?

How many jobs have been lost? Were they lost to foreign competition or to robotics and smart software, etc?

How will these losses affect our bottom line? Our clients' revenues?

computer board

by Anne Yeiser

What can you learn from the Silicon Valley marketing experience? Can the hard-won insights of a high-tech marketing consultant benefit you?

The Regis Touch by Regis McKenna is subtitled "Million Dollar Advice from America's Top Marketing Consultant." The author has worked with more than 150 companies in Silicon Valley and helped bring success to upstarts such as Apple and its Macintosh.

He learned by experience that fast-changing industries must play by a new set of marketing rules since the old rules assumed that technologies and markets change slowly.

McKenna reveals these major points...

The new marketing, like the old is a battle for positioning, but the new requires dynamic positioning which is achieved through positioning the company, not just the product.

In a culture where constant flux and radical change are the norm, one must focus on intangibles such as quality and leadership in carving an image, rather than on price or product specifications. That is the only way to combat the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) that trail rapid change, and to survive when the unexpected occurs-- and it will.

Recognizing that complexity is a growing cultural phenomenon, a company must target a specific niche rather than trying to be all things to all people. Products must be viewed in terms of unique benefits to capture prospects who are diverse and demanding.

Product positioning must be shored up through word-of-mouth campaigns in the marketplace because buying decisions hindered by FUD are based on personal recommendations more than on advertising. McKenna outlines how to launch a word-of-mouth campaign.

Strategic press relations and a good reputation in the financial community are also indispensable. All these elements and processes result in dynamic positioning.

Market creation, not market sharing, is essential in fast-changing industries. The traditional market-share strategies focus on advertising, promotion, pricing and distribution and on winning market share from others. Market-creating strategies instead emphasize 1. applying technology, 2. educating the market, 3. cultivating the good will and recognition of retailers, analysts and anyone between the customer and manufacturer who has an influence on the buying process, and 4. creating new standards. Marketing managers must think like entrepreneurs and be willing (allowed) to experiment and take risks.

Companies in the fast lane must be market-driven, not marketing-driven. Marketing-driven businesses stake their livelihood on advertising and promotion, while a market-driven approach 1. develops strong products, 2. requires the manager to understand the structure of the market, and 3. focuses on building relationships and strategic alliances with other people and companies in the marketplace. It uses advertising and promotion to reinforce positions, not to create them.

The new marketing is qualitative, not quantitative. Marketeers who rely on numbers can miss the action since extrapolating the trends of the past or the present "almost never works," says McKenna. Example: In the 1940s, computer companies estimated the total world market for computers to be several dozen. They obviously failed to envision the rapid spread of new applications, or the sharp decline in prices.

Qualitative marketing is based on intuition-- that sense of what is going on in the marketplace based on a broad-based, first-hand study of it. It takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, the perceptions and attitudes of customers and prospects, and the social and political trends of the nation. These factors are continually, creatively monitored, and marketing strategy is adjusted accordingly.

McKenna recommends:
»» a clear but flexible company mission,
»» internal and external audits to define company goals and market trends before strategies are laid,
»» roundtable discussions rather than lengthy marketing reports,
»» a company culture that encourages innovation,
»» an organization that enables fast decision making, and
»» selling to the right customers - those that make quick buying decisions, which often are not the [bureaucratic] Fortune 500.

He discusses 10 intangible competitors which marketing managers in fast-changing industries must confront. The first one mentioned is change. The U.S. auto industry is cited for ignoring the growing demand for small cars, which is how it lost market snare to the Japanese.

To discover McKenna's other nine intangible competitors, read The Regis Touch. To evaluate whether they might threaten your company, consult with us!

THE REGIS TOUCH, by Regis McKenna. Copyright 1985. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.

guy with mobile phone

"You can catch more flies with honey than you can swat with a sharp stick."

In this analogy, the flies are your customers--very hard to catch-- and the product or service you offer is the honey. The question is: Are your offerings wonderfully irresistible? How can you make them so?

Quality is important, but in the current marketplace it is more important to know precisely what matters most to your customer. A "total quality" product may not be affordable; your customers may be happy with a lot less. Of course, customer service is a key, but that is no different than what your competitors are offering. What makes products and services truly irresistible is a unique differentiation-- something that the customer can't get anywhere else. For example, there is a self-serve gas station where the manager will pump your gas for you at the self-serve price. Now that's honey.

The sharp stick of Top Marketing Concept #1 is direct mail or email facilitated by database marketing. People will invest a lot in this form of advertising because they believe that sending a message by mail or email into homes or businesses insures that it will be noticed and read. Not so. You see, even with a pointed stick you can still miss your target. You need a swatter, a broader instrument. Some experts call that "integrated direct marketing" and they define such an effort as comprising print advertising in appropriate trade or niche publications, an 800 number, some telemarketing or personal selling efforts, perhaps some billboards or www banners, plus direct mail.

We recommend complementing your direct mail/email with other media. This builds your image and reinforces your message, and it is the interplay among various media that increases your direct mail/email response to way over the 2% which is the industry average for mailings that are not supported by any other media or efforts.

But first, start with the honey. Because you can point and swat all you want, but without honey, you may never catch the busy things.

shopper

"A bridge over troubled waters is better than burning your bridges after you've crossed them."

Companies tend to stop advertising in times of economic downturn or at a point when it just doesn't seem like the program is working. The troubled waters could be a recession or they could represent a time of year when people don't buy as much of what you sell. But at those times, what will happen if you drop your advertising? Will people forget you? Will someone steal your customers? Possibly.

Picture this: You have built a bridge, that is, a communication link to your customers. You have built up a certain amount of awareness. If you stop advertising, that will be lost. You will lose your investment. As one marketing guru has put it, "The bond of communication is too precious to break capriciously." Remember, it does take time for a program to show results. So be consistent in your efforts; regard them as an investment and be committed.

You need one bridge or program to reach, retain and cross-sell customers, and another to reach prospects. Often, people think of advertising only as a way to reach prospects, and that is unwise. In today's marketplace, retaining your customer base is a key to survival. To retain customers, do simple things like reinforcing purchase decisions with a "thank you" or with an elaborate brochure that celebrates the benefits of the purchase.

We usually court the customer with a brilliant website and gorgeous printed materials to sell the product, but once it's sold, we think all is well. However, that may be the very time when the customer begins to doubt his decision especially on large ticket items. At this point he needs a congratulations or other positive reinforcement. That will assure positive word-of-mouth advertising.

To get new customers, you need a creative advertising program which features a simple message touting customer benefits, not product attributes. Remember, a benefit is what a product or service attribute does for the customer. Make that clear to capture their attention and awareness. Then repeat the strategic yet simple message with as much frequency as your budget will allow.

©2014. DAY Communications/fastzone.com. All rights reserved.

Color talks

Your company colors communicate. Ideally, they add suggestive and symbolic connotations to your name and logo, accentuate them, and make them more perceptible, easier to identify. Ideally, they evoke a positive response and feeling in your customers and prospects. How are your colors performing?

We all instinctively recognize that colors symbolize concepts, and even the least artistically inclined among us would know not to use bright red on a nursing home letterhead or light blue for a trial attorney. But how does one determine the right colors for a new company or for a firm seeking to update its image? How will you determine the best selection of colors for your firm brochure? Consult with us. We'll help you be original without straying from the ground rules of good taste.

Times change. Architectural styles evolve, fashions are updated, and so are the colors of business. Rapid technological change and the trend of our society toward a service economy have made fresh colors and new color combinations the rule rather than the exception, because they have the power to tell the story.

Also, colors can help you achieve various communications objectives. For example, dull colors help to reduce tension. Add gray to a vivid color to get a dull one. Or, keep that vivid color if you want people to pay attention.

Want to show you are unique? Use an eccentric color like fuchsia, or introduce an unusual color combination such as burgundy with peach rather than gray or navy as is usually seen.

The ink companies always keep pace with the times by creating new colors for graphic designers. The Internet boasts thousands of colors! We're sure there’s a new color especially for your firm.

Of course, changing colors will affect nearly all the items which identify your firm to its publics. However, as with all professional advertising, it is a justifiable operating expense, and an investment which may spur new inquiries and growth. Contact us to profit by new colors.

nervous man

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained" is especially true in marketing. Successful programs require calculated risk taking. We are in business to help you develop communications programs that will target the right audience--grab attention--relate your message--and be remembered. Achieving that level of impact requires planning, creativity, and a willingness on the part of the client--you--to take some risks.

One agency executive has said: "An advertising agency that shows you work that does not contain some sense of the unexpected - at least a few surprises - is simply not doing its job the way it should. I am quite serious when I say that one of the main responsibilities any advertising agency has is to prepare, propose, and fight for ads that make clients nervous!!"

If you feel nervous after your agency has made a presentation, ask yourself: Is my reaction based on a valid intuition that these creatives simply won't achieve my goals, or am I timid about really making an impact?

Would customers and others consider the program under review refreshing-- inspiring-- meritorious-- clever-- thought provoking-- innovative? Would your competitors wish it was theirs? If so, your nervous feeling is a good sign. And if the program has no breakthrough qualities, why consider it at all?

Breakthrough programs are the way to go in marketing, so relax, and take a risk!