Too often marketing gets disconnected from sales and operations and customer service.
Is your marketing operating in a silo?
You may not know if you’re running the company but there are simple questions you can ask folks in the marketing department to find out how far they are out of touch. Here are the ones I’ve found always work:
You talk about our customer avatars. Can you connect me to one real person that represents that avatar, now, without calling them first?
How does sales describe prospects?
How do customers and prospects rate our customer service?
When is the last time you surveyed:
Folks that abandoned the checkout process
What did you find out?
What is the purpose of your marketing activities?
How do you know how well you’re doing? Be specific.
Your single most important follow up question is Why?
The purpose of your marketing must be known by you and your people before it can be implemented. It is the reason they do what they do. It is at the heart of their operating system.
They need to know WHY the company operates the way it does.
They need to know WHY you want to go after prospects that think a certain way.
They need to know WHY your products and services are made a certain way.
They need to know WHY the communications they devise must use the same language as the stated purpose of the company.
If you are a founder or the driving force of an organization it should reflect your WHYos.
Your complete statement of Purpose also includes HOW and WHAT which as Simon Sinek spoke about in a TED talk. Understanding your WHY Operating System is the first step in aligning all the components of your company for success.
Learn more. E-mail the word WHYos to me. Give me 15 minutes of your time and an incredible piece of technology I‘ll provide FREE will change your life.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. and a Certified WHYos Coach. See Jerry’s speaker demo reel.
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.
Credibility to Cash TM is his latest way to share experiences so you can take your business up a notch…or two. Get the Newslog at his consulting site.
Serendipity is what happens when we make unexpected connections and create possibilities that never existed before.
For elite marketers it is not a matter of chance.
It consists of three components:
Those can be combined in each and every piece of content and every behavior you exhibit in your business. The quality you need to strive for is to be both surprising and useful.
How to get to serendipity:
Follow the yellow brick road. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Ozyou must be open to the possibilities. Take the road untaken, the path that may lead to connections. Go into your search with an open mind. Find the strengths in apparent weaknesses. Search for triggers. Find bridges that connect results.
Look for outcomes from combinations. Events may not be wholly beneficial taken individually but the unanticipated, unexpected and unsought can produce accidental discoveries that benefit you both short and long term.
Speak about your experience. The innovative value of your coincidental success needs to be shared. Incorporate the findings in a story.Let your passion spill over into the telling.
An example Christian Mickelsen offered food to his audience that had just returned from lunch. There were few takers. He then changed the offer to dessert. A few more showed interest. Next he described the dessert as chocolate covered strawberries. Over 70% of the crowd was interested. Enthusiastically! He learned how the more specific an offer is the more powerful the connection with the audience. All of us can apply that serendipitious finding.
Look for fortunate strokes of Serendipity to move from Credibility to Cash
You don’t have to be sure your marketing is going to work.
But if you don’t take action you will never know. That idea will always just rattle around in your mind. It will stagnate and die never having seen the light of day. It will be resigned to the scrap heap having never been tested. It will die, stillborn.
Action is better than inaction.
We learn from our mistakes. Even if we don’t have a process in place we absorb what works and what doesn’t. We understand what is effective versus what is not. We gather information to formulate new approaches and discover connections we had not perceived before.
Rules for Failure as a strategy:
Take action. Don’t wait. Do it now or forever lose this chance.
Note trial components. Write down the strategy and expected results. Reduce the test to as few elements as possible. Use multi-variant design if you can’t reduce things to A-B split testing.
Analyze results. Look at what happened versus what you thought might. Do not wear your rose-colored glasses. Delve into the fundamentals and scan for hints of affirmative outcomes while quantifying both positive and negative consequences. Look for both strategic and tactical effects.
Build a winners file. Make note of what works whether it is graphics, words, colors, sounds, video or animation. Look at the combinations that work and how changes in one of them impacts your outcome.
Assemble your findings. Build a check list or diagram or a process report that incorporates what you’ve learned. I’ve been doing this since I opened my consulting firm. When you sign up for my Credibility to Cash Newslog you get the benefit of what works by avoiding 25 years of failures.
There is not a lot I remember from my High-School French class.
One phrase is stuck in the little gray cells:
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
That translates to “The more things change the more they stay the same.”
When it comes to marketing, you need to adapt to the Normal particularly the New Normal.
You can’ keep doing the same thing and expecting a better result. That won’t work. (Some people say that is the definition of insanity!)
What has changed and what stays the same?
The ways of presenting your message, carving out a brand for yourself, your service or your product are increasing and morphing on a daily basis. Even the internet is enduring continuing change. Successful Marketing acknowledges and uses new technology (Pepsi is betting on Web3.0 and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)
BUT, human nature is slower to change than technology.
Today I read some research that shows the younger generation prefers face to face over on-line to build relationships. New technology comes at a premium in terms of money and time but since we humans are slow on the uptake, smaller firms can orient to the customer, stick with earlier technology and still compete.
Exploit the changes while maintaining client/customer Trust.
Watch the “big guys” as they experiment with Web 3.0. Learn from their mistakes but do not commit staff, funds or time until you can see a clear path to changing tactics that stays on the winning strategy to stay connected to your customer.
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is an international speaker with clients from Singapore to Spain.
He guides elite individuals and organizations to become more memorable and more profitable.
We will never get back to the Normal we knew before Covid.
The financial arena is in turmoil but the predicted inflation problem is the least we have to worry about. The growing separation of the wealthy and the poor is the real problem. When a tank of gas costs well over $50 your commute from the suburbs, the only place you could afford a home, gets more and more expensive. And if you are not a corporate officer parking will have to come out of the same pay check you are already stretching for food and education and medical care.
Millions of people are walking away from jobs each month.
When you can’t stay ahead of the cost of goods and you don’t see a way out with a current employer you go looking. You look for a better position. You look for a side hustle. Many become desperate.
Hope becomes the best marketing tactic.
Those anxious millions become reckless and impulsive. You will see deals with benefits that are unbelievable.
They are. At the con man level the Nigerian Prince hustle morphs to a perceived charity that selects you as a winner in a drawing. When your situation seems hopeless you are most prone to buy in to schemes cloaked in righteousness.
Trust becomes more valuable than ever.
When the economy is stripping away your lifestyle you begin to look for friends, people that you know really well, merchants that you like and brands that haven’t let you down.
Suppliers that know that Trust is important to you will do everything they can to not betray it. They will stay consistent, truthful and engaged with you. That is how you extend the life of your service and your company.
You can’t go back. You can only go forward.
Your business will have to cope with the disruptions. Your marketing will have to accept the changes and communicate that understanding to customers that are disheartened but yearning for words of shared beliefs. Heed their words and their actions. The life of your company depends on it.
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is an international keynote speaker with clients from Singapore to Spain and across the Americas.
He guides consulting individuals and organizations to become more memorable and more profitable.
The key element in building a brand across multiple platforms is consistency.
You cannot change the words and pictures willy-nilly. It is particularly important to say things the same way as often as possible because we operate in a digital world and the search engines use words to find things. Your Linked in Profile and your website must deliver the same message .They can thanks to Pro Brandr.
Digital and Analog
Both play a role in building your brand. Words are initially most important because they are how people and organizations are differentiated both by digital search and when a referral source needs to convey your capabilities.
Graphics are the main analog elements. Photos, illustrations, art and logotypes all can play a part in making you memorable. Visual elements of your brand can have enormous impact.
But words and pictures have to play together in each presentation and across mediums to be effective.
One of the greatest industrial designers ever understood this. His approach still makes sense today:
“People gravitate to products that are bold, but instantly comprehensible. Loewy called his grand theory “Most Advanced Yet Acceptable”—maya. He said to sell something surprising, make it familiar; and to sell something familiar, make it surprising.”
Raymond Loewy, Industrial Designer
Bold but instantly Comprehensible
Loewy practiced from the 1930s to the 1970s and some of his designs live on and are familiar today:
Air Force One livery Coca-Cola bottle and fountain dispenser Greyhound Scenicruiser bus and logo JFK postage stamp Logos for Exxon, Shell, International Harvester, Nabisco, Quaker, and the U.S. Postal Service
His iconic designs for aircraft interiors, railroad locomotives and automobiles are why we enjoy marvelous changes in vehicles today.
Surprising but familiar The element of surprise gets people’s attention. The familiar allows understanding. This is not a new concept. When the automobile was first introduced it was called the “horseless carriage.” Positioning for a specific market versus competition is best exemplified by “The Uncola” for Seven-Up. Or for the adults in the house, Miller High Life as “The Champagne of Bottled Beers.”
Familiar but surprising
We live in a world that is constantly changing. There are examples of this approach in every product category. For example, an automobile called a hybrid which runs on both gasoline and electricity. Once that truly differentiated the vehicle but now you have a choice of brands. Or how about foods that have Zero Calories. Sugarless desserts.
We need to quickly and surely put things into the matrix between our ears in such a way that we can first understand the item and then quickly recall it.
Impact at speed
Remember that when folks first come upon any new page on the internet that you have just 3 seconds to get your brand across. You have at most 15 seconds to connect with words a potential referral source can use to tell someone about you. Your graphics must connect with that part of the prospects brain that responds to emotion and has no words.
Your web site can serve up a great deal of the information you put into your Linked In profile but in greater depth. Make sure your visuals and words build your credibility to cash. Need help? Check out ProBrandr.
You are going to have a brand whether you want one or not.
Some consultants say that you’re only as good as your last success.
That’s true as far as it goes.
Some believe your brand is about hiring a graphic designer to make you look good.
Not a bad idea but only as good as your brief to her/him.
Others hire branding consultants to find a way to tell their story.
Again, considerably useful but not the complete narrative.
Brand, is not what you want it to be. You can present your case. You can use graphics that set you apart. You can declaim your differences in words that flow gently or stridently. You can muster staff and close ranks. You can posture and pose.
But in the end your brand will be the combined perceptions of all who have been exposed to you.
There are three major phases to your branding:
Your vision for your practice leads you to select a name. With that in hand you seek out a graphic designer to find typography and art that reflects what you want people to think of you.
You are striving to be memorable. Within 15 seconds of receiving your card or landing on the home page of your website the initial perception of you will be formed as will the language used to refer to you in subsequent conversations with other business people.
With a little luck you can become memorable Just don’t assume it will happen automatically or that the initial perception won’t change.
2. Back Story
You find that you need to build a web site and materials for sales and marketing of your services not to mention report formats and word heavy documentation of what you do. Case histories and client quotes can help tell your story.
Within the curve of your growth as a consultant you will need to establish what makes you and your organization unique. That is done by developing a consistent approach to all the elements that lead to trust. Extreme variation will make prospects question your honesty. Lack of imagination will push them to look for alternatives. Being true to your word will move you toward unforgettable but the major factor in that assessment will come from outcomes desired by clients.
3. Battle Hardened
You enjoy multiple engagements and find that you really can help businesses with the concerns and problems they are having.
Suddenly, you are viewed as indispensable. Clients turn to you for advice on every part of their business. Honesty about the extent of your capability and a willingness to find resources that can solve the problem put a shine on your brand.
And so it goes .
For a few of you that find a way to change the way your clients think your brand will go from Credibility to Cash to Legendary.
Without change we would be out of a job. Change is perceived by clients as a problem and they go looking for someone to solve it with expertise or experience they don’t have. We wind up working with them for a single engagement or, over time, for either multiple, linked engagements or just providing services in a single expertise on an ongoing basis.
Most of my interactions with clients are in the latter category. I tend to stay with clients for a while. I’ve worked with a current client now for over 25 years, celebrated a ten-year anniversary with one and I’m coming up on 3 years with another.
I still do singular encounters when I believe I can be of real assistance within the client’s time frame. I’ve come to the conclusion that Contact Relationship Management is no longer an arena I want to work in. Why? Management doesn’t understand it and more importantly does not understand that tasking sales-people with upkeep is a losing proposition.
For the future
I’m shifting my emphasis so that I will offer these services:
Marketing Consulting for consultants and coaches (Solopreneurs, Partnerships and Ensembles short and long term)
Strategic Marketing Counsel for entrepreneurs and start-ups
Speaking on topics that make individuals and organizations more memorable and more profitable. (Keynotes, Breakouts and Trainings for associations and businesses)
NEW Products that offer quick and easy branding, positioning and sales development. Example: Consultant Brandr for Linked In which allows you to inject your brand into your Linked In Profile in just one evening.
NEW The Credibillity to Cash Junto (named for the group Ben Franklin formed– a continuing conversation about establishing and maintaining your six-figure practice—a mastermind group limited to just 8 consultants that want to take their business up a notch.
That means I will continue publishing information on what works and what doesn’t in Marketing in general and consulting in particular.
Blogs I intend to publish blogs both in the USA and internationally on a regular basis every two weeks at a minimum. The topic will continue to be Consultant Marketing and will cover subjects from Practice Management to promos, PR and Premiums. The emphasis will continue to be branding across all the media available and how to move from suspect to prospect to client.
The Newslog, newly named Credibility to Cash will continue on a weekly basis. The new version will have the same information in an article, a video and an audio as requested by the current recipients. The first quarter for 2022 is in production now
The annual Consultant Marketing Survey is now in the field. This year’s results report will be available by New Year’s day! Sorry, no results tabulated as yet so I can’t provide a single finding! And yes, we will do it again next year.
Speak your Way to Business Riches A step-by-step guide to Get Booked, Get Heard and Build Your Business is in first draft. Look for it as a print on demand book from Amazon about the end of the first quarter. (Junto members and Newslog subscribers may receive webinar invitations as well as chapters in PDFs prior to publication)
In all we do in the coming year, the emphasis will be on showing you how to move from Credibility to Cash.
You decided to put your consulting career on the front burner. You decided that it is time to make that side hustle your full-time job.
You need to think about two things that will make or break you. I’ll bet neither have managed to tap you on the shoulder so far. If you’re like most, you are too excited by the potential in front of you to consider these factors. Those important items that are eluding you are:
Before you marshal your arguments, listen to my tale of woe.
The crew you work with was probably assigned to you. Or, rather, you were assigned to it. As your career progressed you were moved from team to team. You may have decided to change companies but once again you were assigned to a team. With experience you were moved more and more into leadership but seldom if ever did you select the people on your team. At best you took on the responsibility of selecting individuals from within the organization to put into teams.
Now you are engaged in building a company. Any business coach or attorney will tell you that you need to have a business entity. No matter what form of business you decide on and no matter what title you assume, you, for the first time possibly, will be the one calling the shots. You will Have to think about teams differently.
Solos don’t have teams
That was my contention until a client pointed out that I had a group of suppliers that I worked with all the time. We were comfortable handling projects together, each of us doing what was needed, each connecting seamlessly to get things done, each a solid member of the unit that wasn’t formal but still functioned by any measure as a team.
Even then I still held that the best thinking came from individuals not teams. I cited all the geniuses of the arts and some of the discoveries in the sciences as “obvious examples”.
Not long after that I was trying to convince the man who has now been a client for a decade that moving from doing turnarounds as a CEO or COO to Leadership and Management Consulting was significantly different and that he did not have a team in place to handle the shift.
Teams can trump persuasion.
I pointed out that That when you have C-suit initials as your title, employees have to follow your orders. They may resist, citing long standing team approaches, but long term they must acquiesce. As a consultant you don’t have that power. You have to convince, persuade, cajole and sway them in any way you can to be effective. And the team you have in place whether they work for you full time or on a 1099 can and will impact your efficiency.
Nobody can do it all alone.
At least not the ones I’ve come across. That was a hard lesson. It took me over 20 years to figure it out. And I was still left with a hole in my knowledge of how to select, build and lead teams starting from scratch. Like a lot of people I searched for answers. I had worried my way through just about every assessment tool you can imagine starting as a beta tester on an early one back when I worked in Denver.
Technology wasn’t the answer.
There were a couple problems with the assessments:
The person you were evaluating had to take the assessment for you to get any kind of real fix on them.
The training requires that you use the labels assigned by the assessment on a daily continuing basis to use it to your greatest advantage.
I found very quickly that I had to become some sort of new millennium astrologer to begin to get any use out of all the time I’d put in studying the assessments. Unfortunately my Mars in retrograde got wrapped around the axle of the conflicting moons and I found myself fizzling out dodging detritus circling Saturn even if I had the code for a people connection.
Maybe their Why is the answer.
I learned of a new piece of Software the other day. It is called the WHYos and will introduce on November 15. I went to the WhyTechnology website to learn more. I tried the free trial and in a matter of minutes was rewarded with the assessment’s view of my Why.
“Why” is associated with Simon Sinek.
He wrote a book called Start with Why back in 2009. He may be better known for a TED talk which can be seen here. He made the world cognizant of what made some individuals and organizations stand out from others. Because of Simon Sinek, a dentist in Texas began searching for software that would allow him to optimize his why.
Dr. Gary Sanchez’s WHY is to find a better way and share it. HOW he does that is by making things clear and easy to understand. WHAT he brings is simple solutions to help people move forward. He and his Team have worked with hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as thousands of companies from small yoga studios to Fortune 500 Companies helping them get clear, stand out and play bigger.
I didn’t know I was looking for that piece of software.
But I was.
I didn’t realize what a difference it could make.
Now I do. I tested it.
I was never quite sure what drew me to trying to find a better way in everything I do.
Now I understand.
Why.os is changing my life.
It will change my product launching December 15 called Linked In Brandr which guides you step-by-step to inject brand into your Linked In profile in just one evening. It will make it possible to base your brand on your why. The product was good before. Now it is great.
It was good to hear how the little golf product company he founded was doing. He has come a long way from when we met in his kitchen to put together the promotional material for the annual Golf Pro Trade show for the USA.
He had already committed to that show when we started working together. It was only one of the areas he needed advice in. Like most entrepreneurs, particularly inventors, he had no idea of what it takes to start a business from the ground up.
Marketing Consultant/Start up Consultant
I came onboard because he wanted a marketing consultant. Very quickly I turned into a start-up consultant. He had worked through and solved his production problems in way that turned out to be scalable. He was handling fulfillment personally pulling, assembling, packaging and shipping product on an as needed basis.
Sales was how he tested whether the product was something that would work in Golf Pro Shops. On-line marketing was being tested, but not in an organized way.
I squired him through getting a distributor sales organization, acquisition feelers from several companies and finally finding a pro to handle his on-line marketing.
These days he tells me he is negotiating a new distributor deal that includes fulfillment and has come to the conclusion that being able to dial advertising on Facebook up and down to manage sales is what he really wants.
Video is what sells is what he believes.
He asked me to respond to some of his ideas generated by comments on his ads and social media. His ideas (did I say he is an inventor?) tend to take comments about alternatives to the product seriously. None of the alternatives were shown side-by-side with his product in his ideas. Then he kept wanting to add things to the product like speaking digital readouts etc.
What does the product get the buyer?
I stopped him in the middle of how he could measure the degree of deflection between a direct line to the hole and how an individual putted the ball. My response was “So what?” Knowing the degree of deflection doesn’t mean diddly if I don’t know how to correct it. If I read the directions on the current product I’ll be able to see exactly how off I am without having any fancy digital sensors. I’ll be able to correct my putting and practice the perfect stroke. I’ll be able to take strokes off my game which is what I want.
The sound is the promise.
Somehow we found ourselves talking about why golfers would buy his product. It all comes down to sinking putts of any length. We were envisioning a dark screen like a golf course green in the twilight. He talked about a point of view video on the putter and ball as it is stroked, following the ball and then seeing it fall in the hole. I told him that vision was nice but it was no good without the sound effects. The putter clicks when it hits the ball. The distinct sound of a golf ball falling into the cup is unmistakable to a golfer.
The 3 second sale
I pointed out that when someone lands on your web page or clicks on your ad you’ve got no more than 3 seconds to get their attention, become memorable and build desire for your offer. Three seconds.
The speed of sound
You can recognize a sound in one half of one second (0.05 seconds). More importantly, for branding purposes, auditory reaction time is four times faster than visual reaction time. Hearing is the fastest of our five senses.
“Sound isincredibly powerful because of the speed at which you can capture your audience’s attention and ‘cement’ your brand in their mind.” — Gary Vaynerchuk.
I told Dave that the sound of the golf ball falling in the hole should be his singular audio brand component. Sound can sell his product. That sound is why a golfer will buy. That sound is the payoff for every golfer.
Imagine if you will
Video: Point of view (POV) Camera looking down on putter lined up on ball
Putter strokes ball.
Sound: Click of ball being putted (SFX)
Video: Fade through black to product at same angle as putt.
SFX: Ball dropping in hole
Video: POV product demo once with deflection once corrected