How your business can make a fortune in 2014

Marketing is the difference between mediocrity and making millions in your business. Make 2014 the year that you master marketing.

Effective marketing is the ultimate business game-changer. It has the ability to propel your business forward, ensuring you the growth that you want. Yet most businesses treat marketing as an afterthought.

Ongoing effective marketing is the hallmark of successful businesses. If you become a superior marketer, you will generate a sustainable and competitive advantage. Nothing has the power to beat the return-on-investment of great marketing. It’s entirely possible for marketing to deliver an ROI of 100 percent or higher on a consistent basis.

Marketing has three primary objectives:

1. To identify the best and biggest possible pool of desirable clients available to you.
2. To convert those buyers into first-time buyers.
3. Then move these new buyers into repeat-buyers and preferably multiple-product clients.

11 Ideas to improve your marketing in 2014:

  1. Change your marketing approach

If you’re losing out to your competition, you need to start doing something different. In particular, you need to change your marketing so you stand out from the crowd. To develop breakthrough marketing like this, a two-stage process is usually required:

A. Optimise – Evaluate what is currently working in your marketing mix. Focus on these initiatives and make it work like never before. Eliminate all marketing that has not been working.
B. Innovate – Start engineering some breakthrough marketing strategies which have never been used before. Measure and test these ideas.

  1. Change your message

Create a new irresistible offer for your current and prospective clients. The message you convey in your marketing will be an extension of what you deliver to the marketplace. Spend time looking for this new irresistible offer, it does exist. When you express your message, you want people to say “Wow!” not “So what?” Spell out this proposition in clear, exciting and vivid terms.

  1. Improve your unique selling proposition (USP)

This is the new compelling message that differentiates your business from everyone else. To create a great USP, find out what your market truly wants and then demonstrate that you’re the only viable option for delivery of the perfect solution. Your goal is not only to be unique, but trustworthy and reliable as well. Develop a USP which articulates what you do and why you do it better than everyone else.

An example of an effective USP – FedEx used to have a brilliant USP, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”. They no longer use this slogan, but while it lasted it was a perfect example of a compelling USP. In a few words, FedEx guaranteed that it would deliver your package safely and on time. They replaced it with the slogan, “The World on Time”, which is vague and doesn’t contain a USP. A good example that you shouldn’t change what is working.

  1. Differentiate your Business

If you believe your product or service is a commodity and that your business behaves just like everyone else in your industry, then you turn your business into a straight-forward commodity. Commodities are normally distinguished by price alone and this is a dangerous place to position your business.

You will get marginalised by the marketplace and everyone will treat your product or service like a commodity. You must achieve the opposite. You have to differentiate and distinguish yourself and your offering in ways nobody else can match.

An example of differentiation – If you are in the pizza delivery business you would typically try and differentiate yourself as follows: “Fresh, hot pizza, delivered in 30 minutes or less…guaranteed, or you don’t pay.”

  1. Choose a strategy of pre-eminence

You must be pre-eminent in your industry in order to stand out from everyone else. Prove in noticeable ways that your business, product or service is a better investment than any of your competitors. You will achieve this goal of goals if you do more, serve better and provide clients with superior value and results. You want to earn the reputation of being your client’s most trusted advisor. You want to position your business and yourself as the authority in your market space.

  1. Make great deals with the media

There has never been a better time to be buying advertising space in newspapers, magazines and on radio. The rate card has been thrown out the window and you can get some unbelievable deals. Take full advantage of this huge opportunity. While your competitors are cutting back on advertising (there’s a recession you know), you can be doubling up on your advertising for modest increases in cost. Consumers are still buying so get to them and sell.

  1. Offer irresistible deals to new clients

Come up with some offers that are just impossible to refuse. These might be added value packages, offer guarantees, extended trial periods, deferred payment plans, up-selling, cross-selling or bundling of add-on products. Do whatever it takes to make people act. Provide more sales support and follow-up than usual so prospective clients get motivated to act. This all happens while your competitors are cutting back and hibernating through the slowdown.

  1. Appropriate (steal) your competitor’s sales force

Approach the best salespeople who work for your competitors and make them an offer. Get the best talent to join your team and get them committed to growing your business. There will never be a better time to recruit sales superstars than right now.

  1. Become an expert at Bartering

During an economic downturn, bartering becomes a powerful tool, especially if it does not hurt your inventory or minimize actual sales. Try and do more effective business bartering, as this is a dynamic way to increase your ROI. Smart bartering creates an impression to other businesses that your product or service is in demand. Always remember – business begets business. Good barter deals leave both parties satisfied. Bartering can be used in many imaginative ways:

  • You can save cash on capital expenditures.
  • You can issue credits to be used in the future.
  • You can convert what you’ve acquired by barter into cash.
  • You can pay employee bonuses in bartered goods.
  • You can conserve your cash resources.
  1. Get busy penetrating new markets

In an economic slowdown, the odds are strong that your competitors will be nervously focusing on their existing business. Use this as a perfect opportunity to focus on other alternative market niches. Even in a tight economy, it’s business as usual. Customers are buying the things they need to solve their problems. Look for creative and innovative ways to access new market niches. Have a growth oriented mindset and look for new opportunities everywhere. In today’s market, if you’re not continuously innovating, then you’re not adding value. And if you’re not adding value, your customers will find it somewhere else.

  1. Measure the lifetime values of your clients

Once you clearly establish how much a new long-term client is worth to your business, then you know how much you can spend in attracting first-time buyers at a profit. Know your numbers. Calculate the exact life-time value of your average client. Don’t create a ‘marketing budget’, but a ‘cost of client acquisition’ budget. The results of this focus and clarity will drive your results.

Conclusion
The goal of this article is to help you generate ideas for your 2014 marketing plan. One great business boosting idea can make a tremendous difference in your business. Now is the time to make something happen in your business.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Refuse to be a victim

“We focus on the negatives, losing ourselves in the ‘problem’. We point to our unhappy circumstances to rationalise our negative feelings. This is the easy way out. It takes, after all, very little effort to feel victimised.”  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

What is a victim? Victims are people who run their lives according to the orders of others. You are a victim when your life is not working for you and you allow others to control it. Victims allow themselves to be dominated and pushed around. They believe that they are not smart enough or strong enough to be in charge of their lives. These self-limiting beliefs are almost always misleading and if not adjusted, become destructive.

Nothing and no one can make you a victim. We do it to ourselves when we allow external circumstances or situations to hold power over us. Although we have no control over what happens to us, we always have a choice in how we respond to events and circumstances.

We hold our power when we accept complete responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions. Feelings of acceptance and responsibility give you immense personal power.

Be a worthy, effective and confident you, rather than a weak permission-seeking victim who believes that everyone else is more important than you.

Your life is precious, so why should you live at the mercy of others. Refuse to be a victim!

“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steven Biko                                                                   

An extract from Smart Thinking for Crazy Times. Get your copy today.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                  

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

 

What trait do the best sales people in the world have?

What is that trait? It’s a balance of empathy and ego strength. Without empathy, a sales person can’t build rapport and connect with a prospect, but too much empathy and there’s no close, and therefore no sale.

What about closing? That comes from ego strength and strong self-esteem. Too much ego strength and you get a bad sales person pushing too hard and frightening clients away. Enough ego strength and you get a confident sales professional.

The ideal sales person is the one with a good balance of empathy and ego. Be aware of the importance of developing a good balance of these two abilities and you will massively improve your chances of success in sales.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

A special lesson from the Special Olympics

This is a true story. A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine runners, all physically or mentally disabled, gathered at the starting line for the 100 yard dash.

At the gun, they all started, not exactly like Usain Bolt, but with an appreciation to run the race to the finish and win. Except one little boy who stumbled on the track, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back, every single one of them. One girl with Down Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better”.

Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there still tell the story today. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves.

The moral of this story: What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

Why am I highlighting this memorable event? I think of the daily news stories about doping and cheating at all costs. I think of the few business people that I frequently come across who hold the belief that selfish, ‘cut throat’ tactics will help their businesses grow and that this gives them the advantage over others.

Some people understand life better, and yet some of these people are called ‘retarded’.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketing consultant, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a consultant who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning? Contact John – john@brandstorm.co.za

Nothing is as contagious as enthusiasm

‘If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.’ – Bruce Barton

This is an essential life skill for everyone, but especially for younger people charting their way to workplace success.

I learnt this vital lesson very early in my career: it is possible to make up for a lack of experience, a lack of skill and a lack of know-how in your chosen career by compensating your shortcomings with sufficient enthusiasm.

And on the other side of the coin: no amount of skill and experience can make up for the absence of enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is one of the critical success skills needed to build a winning career. Nothing is as contagious as enthusiasm.

In my opinion, the three single biggest success skills in your life are Enthusiasm, Attitude, and Rapport. Remind yourself of these by using the acronym EAR.

Wake up each day with the right attitude, display genuine enthusiasm in all you do, build authentic rapport with everyone you deal with and I guarantee you will achieve all you want in life. 

‘Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch.’ – Ivern Ball

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketing consultant, speaker, trainer, columnist and author. Buy a copy of his book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times at a smart bookstore today (www.brandstorm.co.za / john@brandstorm.co.za).

 

Fly with eagles

If you scratch with turkeys, you become a turkey. If you fly with eagles, you become an eagle. If you surround yourself with negative people you take on their negativity. Why? Because in life we tend to absorb all the attitudes and character traits of those we mix with.

Carefully select and surround yourself with people that are optimistic, positive, and who stimulate and encourage you. So surround yourself with people and books that stimulate you, and encourage you to stretch yourself. Avoid those blood sucking moaners and groaners who are negative, pessimistic and miserable about nearly everything. Don’t listen to the doom merchants who transfer their own sense of inadequacy on to you by pointing out all the reasons why you are going to fail.

So at all costs – please avoid those turkeys – and fly!

I conclude with one of my favourite quotes:

“Our deepest fear is NOT that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous’? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God: your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”  Nelson Mandela quoting Marianne Williamson

Get busy living or get busy dying

I was recently watching a rerun of the brilliant movie The Shawshank Redemption. The character Andy in the movie states a classic quote, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”  I’m going to use Andy’s quote as the message of this week’s One Minute Motivator. The key lessons for me that I would like to share with you are:

  1. Your life is finite. Your life is a one-time deal and it is up to you what you make of it. Life is finite, so this fact should be what forces you to take your precious life seriously. Use your time wisely, and make meaningful choices.
  2. You are the author of your life story. Your life is an unwritten book that only you can write. You are the architect of your own destiny, so make sure that your blueprint is based on solid purpose, passion and values. You are nothing else other than what you make of yourself.
  3. It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you respond to it. Life will sometimes give you nasty challenges. This will happen to us all. No matter how things stand in your life, you and you alone, choose how to interpret your situation. You choose how to respond to it.
  4. Stop playing the blame game. When caught in a challenging situation, some people will instinctively blame someone else. It is the always the other person’s fault. There is tremendous power in taking responsibility. Develop a no-excuses philosophy.
  5. Your life is the sum of all your choices. You give your life meaning by the choices you make. With freedom of choice, however, comes responsibility. Because you have the power to choose, you have the power to change. The freedom to choose may be the most powerful attribute and potentially the most precious resource that you have in your life. Change is a choice born of hope, faith and courage.

By the time you lay your head on your pillow at the end of this day, you will have made dozens of choices that will affect the quality of your life, some for better and possibly some for worse (I hope not). The freedom to choose is yours alone to leverage or not. Make the choice to live an empowered life; make the choice to live in the present. I wish you every success.

John Lloyd is the author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times. Grab a copy at a smart bookstore.