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The Competitive Advantage

tag: process

December 11, 2012

It really is all about the customer ‘experience’: A 10-point checklist for providing memorable service.

Twice in the last two months, I have had really lousy experiences at retail specialty stores.  Yeah, I know you’re not a retailer… but bear with me – the same ideas (and ideals) apply.

I went into these stores with every intention of buying (one was a bike shop, the other a computer store – so they were pretty good-sized purchases).  In both instances, I literally stood in the aisle near the products that interested me for 15 minutes waiting for some help to be able to ask some questions and make my purchasing decisions.  In both cases, it was the middle of a weekday and there were store employees just walking or standing around, not busy and simply ignoring me.

I left both stores frustrated and took my business elsewhere.

But those experiences got me to thinking about our industry… are we being proactive and responsive to our clients so they don’t “walk way” frustrated? To help you review your client interaction processes, here’s a 10-point checklist that can help:

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December 5, 2012

Get prepared… part 5 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

One of the key parts of crafting your plan (Phase 3) is building in the mechanisms for measuring each of your marketing & sales tactics (which you execute in Phase 4).  If you’ve been disciplined about measuring and testing your tactics, in Phase 5, you will go through the results and decide what worked / what didn’t / and what needs to be tweaked.

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November 27, 2012

Get prepared… part 4 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

So, how’s your 2013 marketing & sales plan coming along?  Have you been following the steps in our process?

Have you done your homework and analysis (Phase 1)?  Did you establish the strategies to help drive your business (Phase 2)?  Have you crafted your plan with all the details (Phase 3)?  Great!

OK, now it’s time to execute and manage that plan (Phase 4).  And here are some guidelines for doing it…

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November 20, 2012

Get prepared… part 3 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

In last two weeks, we discussed the first two phases of the marketing & sales plan process:  Phase 1 – Conducting your Background Review & Analysis; the results of which lead to Phase 2 – Developing your Marketing Strategies.

Phase 3 is about Creating the Marketing & Sales Plan.  It starts with determining which tactics are the best ones to support the strategies. This is where all of the details are spelled out for your action plan – the what, who, when, how many, how much, how often and so on.   Yes, there is a lot of detail to manage here… but without it, you’ll be flyin’ by the seat of your pants.

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November 13, 2012

Get prepared… part 2 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

In last week’s post, we discussed Phase 1 of the marketing & sales plan process – Conducting your Background Review & Analysis.  This week, we’ll look at Phase 2 – Developing your Marketing Strategies.

‘Strategies’ are broad directional statements that define WHAT you will do to achieve your goals.  Don’t confuse these with ‘tactics’ – which are the HOW you’ll do it.  For example, a strategy might be to ‘position our CEO as an expert on the topic of mobile research.’  A tactic that might help you support that strategy could be ‘to have him write an ebook on mobile research.’

In this phase of the process, you will take what was learned during Phase 1 and use it as the basis for developing your strategies. This is the most critical step in developing your marketing & sales plan.  Here are several things to think about:

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October 10, 2012

Are you out of touch with your clients? It’s not too late to reconnect.

I ran into a friend of mine on Saturday at the local coffee shop (the real social networking site!)… he works for an international manufacturer of equipment for the healthcare industry.

We were talking about the bureaucracy of working for such a large firm and how their marketing department is actually divided into two groups: strategic marketing and operational marketing.  He then made an interesting comment. He said that the marketers, while being really smart people, have no real idea what’s going on “in the field” because they rarely talk to their sales team and never talk to clients.

I was shocked!  How can you build an organization to serve customers if you don’t know what customers want… because you never talk to them?

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September 26, 2012

If Content Marketing is not part of your Marketing Strategy… it should be!

(Part 1 of a 2-part series.)

Read through any marketing resource, website or blog post these days and you’ll see that ‘content marketing’ is THE hot marketing topic… and with good reason (we’ll get to that in a minute).

First, what is ‘content marketing?’

As simply as I can state it, content marketing is the development and sharing (a.k.a. giving away) of useful information that will help the reader to better understand a particular subject and/or help them to do his or her job better.  As an example, for a research firm, that could include providing content with titles like:

  • 10 things to look for when sitting “behind the glass”
  • Conducting ethnographic research in the digital age
  • How to save time and money with online bulletin boards
  • The top 5 coming trends in CPG research

Notice anything unusual?  None of the topics are salesy.  None of them are internally focused.  Content marketing is about providing genuinely helpful information.

Are you giving away some of your ‘secret sauce’ when you do this?  Maybe.  But, it’s the price of admission.  If you don’t – your competitors will.  And those that provide the best content often win.

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September 18, 2012

Download our latest eBook on Marketing & Sales for the MR Industry

This week, we released Marketing & Sales for the Market Research Firm: Part 2 – How to Build an Effective Business Development Structure, a 14-page eBook that can be downloaded for FREE from our website.

Some of the eBook’s topics include:

  • Understanding the goals and responsibilities of the marketing and sales functions
  • Exploring the different marketing and sales positions common in the MR industry
  • Reviewing options for sales commissions plans
  • Managing marketing & sales inside the small firm.

To download your copy, CLICK HERE.

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