Leaky bucket?!

Sometimes a business can be represented by a leaky bucket where there is water going in (new business) as well as water going out through the hole (clients leaving). Your objective is to keep the bucket full of water and to make it overflow if possible. However, every business has a hole in their bucket and it virtually impossible to plug the hole. (The hole doesnt represent unhappy clients by the way!).

There is a multitude of reasons why today’s live client can become tomorrow’s lapsed client – the economy, budget cuts, personnel changes, relocation etc etc but do your best to ensure that the leak is as small as possible, maybe by using contracts or client maintenance programmes.

Anyway, I digress. The danger is to see this whole bucket, water and leak scenario as a short term situation. If you truly believe in winning new business then sometimes the best way to proceed is to assume that every client is vulnerable and that new business is a constant need.

Also, no matter how busy you are at the moment, you must sell for tomorrow and this is where I feel marketing plays a vital role. I have experienced a great deal of prospects coming to me as a knee-jerk reaction to hitting quiet times in their businesses looking for a quick fix with a tiny budget. (this is not meant to offend anyone, but merely point out that distressed purchases come with unrealistic expectations and that planning in advance can make all the difference). If you wait until you are less busy with time available for marketing, there is a good chance you will be too late.

In business, it is not unrealistic to assume that you will lose up to 20% of your billings per year and therefore have to bring in a minimum of 20% per year to stay still. In addition, year on year 10% of your clients will vanish from your list and 40% will spend less.

I have written a number of articles over the last 2 years about winning new business which will help you achieve your goals, but ultimately my suggestion is to plan ahead, be realistic, be proactive and, if need be, to engage the help of a marketing professional.

Marketing and the importance of planning and research

Of all the functional areas of a business, marketing can well be the most pervasive and dynamic activity. In my opinion, marketing should lead all other functions as it is in the information culled and the analysis undertaken by the marketing company (or marketing department) where the decisions and planning can be made. For example, once you know how your website performs in search and/or which pages convert the most sales, you can then make a decision on whether to capitalize on this or improve on it. Similarly, existing clients can be the best source of information so the results of analysis into why they bought from you, when and how could again be expanded on and/or improved.

However, every department of a business is dependent on the organisation having clear, unambiguous and quantifiable objectives in order for it to succeed and, with more and more emphasis being placed on achieving a return on any investment made, it is the allocation of and administering of the marketing mix that will influence the long term planning.

The marketing mix consists of 4 key variables – 

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Place

Sometimes packaging is added to the list, but this can also be included into the “promotional” part of the mix. One key aspect to consider is that the mix elements are interdependent – alter one and another will also change.

So, what will be the “the marketing policy” of your organisation? My suggestion would be to try and look at the marketing mix in relation to –

  1. Determining the kind of product to sell
  2. Defining the customers at whom the marketing effort should be directed
  3. Defining the action and procedures to be implemented to get the products/services to the customer
If you or your business needs marketing help, then please let me know.

20 golden rules for running a successful business.

Below is a list of the 20 things to consider when running a successful new business programme:

  1. Plan
  2. Create a fire, it is not about flicking a switch and sitting back
  3. Invest your time as well as your money
  4. Treat your company as a brand – define it
  5. Remember marketing is more than just new business and sales
  6. Develop a clear vision
  7. Aim high – but try and factor in some sort of safety net
  8. It is better to do a few things really well than loads averagely
  9. Remember the competitive framework – be noisy in a loud market
  10. Treasure your database
  11. Test, Test, Test
  12. Use all the tools of the trade – don’t rely on one initiative
  13. Invest in your own development
  14. Consider contra deals with complementary businesses
  15. Selling a meeting is the only thing you can do initially
  16. Work hard at keeping your name in the papers = Press Relations
  17. Prepare
  18. Use thr right team
  19. Keep in touch with your contacts
  20. People give business to people who want their business

As mentioned, these are Bath Marketing Consultancy’s top 20 rules, but they might not all apply to you and your business. If you would like me to elaborate on any particular point, please get in touch with me.

Over to you!