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The Competitive Advantage

tag: process

February 5, 2014

Marketing’s Dirty Little Secret… It’s Not an Exact Science!

345935446_It_Depends_answer_3_xlargeHere are the kinds of questions I regularly hear from my clients…

  • “What email open rate should I expect?”
  • “How many downloads will my new white paper get?”
  • “What’s the average bid conversion rate?”
  • “What are the ‘right’ steps for the lead nurturing process?”

The correct answer for all of the above is… “It depends!”  Sorry… wish I had a better answer.

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September 17, 2013

Get ready to exhibit this fall… part 3 of a 3-part series

writing_a_letterTwenty years ago, before I started in into the MR industry, I worked in the conference and trade show industry.  Back then, one of the industry’s key associations – the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (ceir.org) – reported that only 20% of all leads generated at an exhibition were ever followed-up on.  Today, with all of the new tools and technology available to exhibitors, that number is still 20%!

Stated another way, 80% of everyone who gives up their time to come into your booth this Fall (at TMRE, CASRO, ESOMAR, QRCA, etc.) will not hear from you afterward!  That’s not just bad business… it’s downright stupid!

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July 30, 2013

If your summer is slow, focus on marketing & sales for a competitive advantage; part 7 – develop content ideas

Amazon Kindle in Womans Hands at beachI hope you’ve been following along this summer and implementing some of the ideas we’ve been discussing.  Whether it’s getting ready for the fall conference season, targeting new sales prospects or even cleaning up your in-house database, the summer is a great time to work “on” your business.  But we’ve got a few more to go…

One of the most popular tactics in marketing today – and it’s popular because it works – is ‘content marketing.’  That is, sharing information and ideas to help your clients and prospective clients.  And in helping, it builds credibility for your firm and positions you as a subject matter expert.

This content most often takes the shape of blog posts, articles, white papers, case studies, ebooks, podcasts and videos.  Throw in the occasional webinar and that about covers it.

One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is deciding what to write about… what the ‘content’ in ‘content marketing’ is going to be.  Which leads us to…

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July 16, 2013

If your summer is slow, focus on marketing & sales for a competitive advantage; part 5 – database clean-up

laptop_pool_smSo far, our recommendations for getting through the slower-than-we-want-it-to-be summer have been pretty positive, pretty upbeat…

But now, we’ve got a recommendation that’s a little boring and a little tedious… but hugely beneficial!

Summer tip #5: Clean up your databases

I can see you now… rolling your eyes at the prospect of having to read through hundreds, if not thousands, of client and prospect records.  I get it… it’s no fun.  But it’s critical.

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June 5, 2013

‘Start at the End’… a Book Review

I recently bought and read the book, Start at the End: How Companies Can Grow Bigger and Faster by Reversing their Business Plan, written by Dave Lavinsky.  On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 7 – pretty good.

The premise is all about crafting a business plan… but doing so by starting at end.  So, for example, rather than asking, “We’re a $2 million company now… what level can we grow to next year… and the year after that… and the year after that?,” it pushes us to ask, “What will my company look like in 10 years?  Now, how do I get there?”

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May 21, 2013

How to break down writer’s block and accelerate your content marketing.

MR-writers-block-guyEvery (yes, every) Saturday morning since we opened the doors to Harpeth Marketing, I have gone to a local coffee shop (in fact, I’m here now as I write this) to work on things not necessarily related to taking care of clients.  One of those tasks is writing… for my blog, my monthly article for Quirk’s or developing an eBook.

But this week… I hit the wall.  After 60+ weeks of crankin’ it out… I didn’t know what to write about.  I went to my editorial calendar… but I hadn’t looked this far forward so no topics were listed.  What am I going to write about… what do I want to write about?

And then it hit me… that is not the question to be asking.  Then question is (and should always be)… what do my clients (and prospective clients) want to read about?  What’s important to them?  What do they care about?

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January 29, 2013

Sales Management… how are you defining your ‘sales territories?’

children_fighting_568x240Remember back when you were 5 or 6 years old and you and a sibling or next-door neighbor would be fighting over the newest toy… “It’s mine!” “No, it’s mine!” No, it’s mine… gimme!” And back and forth it went… until your mother stepped in to mediate the dispute.

Well, if you work for a firm with more than one person responsible for sales – especially if they are compensated for new business growth – then unless you’ve got a very structured and manageable way to keep leads and clients separate for each rep, you’re going to end up with that same 5-year-old tug-of-war in your office.  And it ain’t pretty!  But there’s a fairly easy way to fix it…

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January 1, 2013

2013 Marketing & Sales Resolutions

Calendar_imageAt this time of year, we start thinking about how we can improve our lives for the coming year.  We start making our annual resolutions like “I need to lose weight,” “…stop smoking,” or “…pay more attention to my spouse.”

But most of those “goals” never happen.  Why?  Simple… because they are not action-oriented.  You can’t just “lose weight,” but you can go to the gym 3 times a week.  You can’t just “stop smoking,” but you can start chewing nicotine gum whenever you have a craving.  And you can’t just “pay more attention to your spouse,” but you can make sure every Friday night is “date night.”

See the difference?

Now let’s look at your 2013 Business Resolutions, from a marketing & sales perspective and see what you can come up with…

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