The Competitive Advantage

tag: management

February 14, 2017

No 2017 Marketing & Sales Plan? There’s still time!

Here we are… a month and a half into the new year and you never got around to putting together a marketing & sales plan for 2017. First of all, know that you’re not alone. A busy Q4 plus the holidays put a lot of businesses behind the eight-ball when it comes to planning.

But, don’t use that as an excuse! Just because the new year had already begun doesn’t mean there’s not time to still put down on paper what you’re going to do this year to achieve your revenue growth goals. So, here are my suggestions for getting it done…

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December 27, 2016

The Top 10 Marketing & Sales Posts of 2016

top-tenDuring this past year, we’ve posted more than 50 articles and blog posts to our website… and they were read by thousands of website visitors. Thank you for your interest. We hope you found the information and stories in those pages to be helpful in some small way. And in case you’re not a regular visitor, below are links to Harpeth Marketing’s top 10 posts and articles of 2016.

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December 20, 2016

Stupid Business Rules

True story… I received a notification from the State of Tennessee recently that it was time to renew my ‘dba.’ Fine… so I filled out the form, wrote the check and sent it in. A few days later, I received an envelope back from the department I had responded to. On top of my form and my check – which they were returning – was a letter from the head of the department and, across the top, stamped in big letters: REJECTED.

Crap! What did I do… wrong amount on the check, improperly filled out form, what? Nope. I had sent in my form and my money too early! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So, let me get this straight… one of your customers (me) pays TOO promptly… and your response is to send the money back?

You can’t make this stuff up!

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June 21, 2016

If these were my employees… I’d fire them!

For wasting thousands of dollars

firedAs I write this, I’m attending Greenbook’s IIeX event in Atlanta… one of the largest conferences in our industry with over 800 participants. Along with the educational sessions, there are several dozen exhibiting companies lining the hallways and in adjacent exhibit rooms.

And here’s where it gets interesting – or infuriating – depending on your perspective. One of the exhibitors had a tabletop display that spanned the length of their 6-foot table. Behind the table, they placed their two chairs… WHERE THEY SAT FOR THE ENTIRE EVENT!

Over the course of the three days, I passed by their table numerous times (the last several times, out of morbid curiosity!). I never saw them engage passersby… and it was a busy event. They – yes, there were two of them – just sat there, talking to each other, ‘working’ on their cell phones and hiding from everyone else. They never once took advantage of the great selling opportunity that was [literally] right in front of them.

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May 31, 2016

Use this 16-point Checklist to help fix your broken website.

website 3This past week, I spent some time online doing research for new project management software. I did a Google search for highly-rated platforms, then went to the website of those that interested me.

One of the first things I do when investigating software is to watch a video demo to get a feel for the platform. This week, though, on the websites of two of the platforms I was investigating, the videos weren’t working! Videos are perhaps the most important element on a website selling software… and they were broken. And these are software companies!

Which got me to thinking about all businesses… after a new website launch, how often do we go back and look through it to make sure everything is functioning properly? If you’re like most businesses, not very often… or more likely – never! At least not until a client calls to alert you about a problem… and by then, the damage has been done.

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May 17, 2016

Too busy for marketing? I don’t think so.

too busyTwice in the last month and a half, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of speaking before groups of market researchers – first in Philadelphia, then later in Chicago. With both groups, we discussed all kinds of ways for firms to grow their businesses without a lot of money, outlined a simple way to build a marketing & sales plan and much more. Great fun!

Interestingly, in each of those presentations… I was challenged with the statement, “but Steve, I don’t have time to do that!”

Sorry, but I’m gonna call, “B.S.”

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April 12, 2016

LITTLE things can make a BIG difference in marketing

steelThe value of A/B Testing

A true story… Down the hall from our office is the sales & marketing office for a construction company that specializes in steel buildings. I’ve gotten to be friends with the heads of sales there.

He was telling me about a new video he recently placed on his website’s home page. He had hired a professional spokesperson, written a friendly script and produced a very nice little welcome video. Immediately, site activity dropped and bounce rates jumped. Huh?!

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March 15, 2016

How to Be Remarkable

FullSizeRenderIn Seth Godin’s ground-breaking marketing book, Purple Cow, he espouses that all businesses should aspire to be ‘remarkable’… as a way to stand out from the crowd and build their brand.

On a recent trip to Dallas to visit my son, Alex, I got to experience something truly remarkable – something Godin, himself, would be proud of! My son took me to a place called Top Golf… ostensibly a driving range – but it was s-o-o-o-o much more! Top Golf combines the skill and sport of golf (they even provide the clubs) with the food and beverages of a fun sports bar (delivered to your ‘driving bay’) with the scorekeeping and competition of bowling (yup – it’s on the overhead screens here, too). It’s all very hi-tech/hi-touch… and it’s only $20/hour for all the balls you can hit, regardless of the number of people you’re with!

It not only redefines what a driving range is… it has created an entirely new category and made it a new kind of destination… ideal for fathers & sons, small groups, corporate outings and dates. A wait of more than 2 hours is not uncommon.

Top Golf is a great reminder that ‘remarkable’ is achievable…. that something truly different will capture people’s attention… and that a unique customer experience will create loyalists who come back again and again.

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