Friday, December 17, 2010

From Disorder Comes Order(s)

Even if we did not have this little recessionary bump in the economy we would have had a boat load or heavy waves trying to capsize your (business) boat. The twin waves of globalization and technological advancement would have made you look at new ways of doing things. .

Globalization: Companies are being “encouraged” to buy anywhere in the world where they can get the best price. A few years ago the last US shirt manufacturer closed its doors (at least as far as I know) and moved its entire manufacturing out of the United States. That right one typhoon in the Pacific and you might go (literally) shirtless! Why, labor costs. Now of course all those out of work short makers can’t afford to buy the cheaper shirts, but if you have a job I guess you can.

Technology: As we march into information saturation we all know the advancement of what the internet is doing. We are seeing Google and Yahoo, Intel and Dell all pushing to be the newest and best. Opening up their corporate wallets to gobble up what they see as the next better mousetrap of communication. People, you and I can push into Social Media and talk to real people where ever they are about what is important to them in regard to our service or product. Bloggers are out there making comments about business issues. Then there are all the new LAWS that governments are putting in place to get what they think is their cut of the take. (Larson prediction: there will be a National Sales tax on internet transactions)

So how in this mad world do you keep up? You need to systemically, and I do mean get yourself in order, to be able to monitor the outside influences that can and will affect your business. This goes well beyond what in years past you did. You need to be able to look at the negatives to be reactionary and the positives to be proactive and make life difficult for your competition. You need to be moving away from the Harvard Business School of contingency planning and into the realm of Bootstrap picture planning. You need to be thinking, if this happens then I do? Then list out your options and take each option and go through the process of what happens if… You need to be flexible and fast on your feet. Most of you reading this are small business and don’t have layers of bureaucracy to work through. The important thing is to be able to work quickly and decisively to any opportunity or bump in your market.

So how is this craziness affection the customer or prospect? Go out and walk, no run though you’re nearest Mall. Aside from the fact they are empty. (I was out last night) the customers are moving to lower priced offerings. Less and less loyalty. National boarders are making less and less of a difference. Next there is less and less discretionary purchasing going on. It the old one works they are not buying a new one. So what do you do? You need to make your customers feel more comfortable and secure about buying from you.

If we pick on the car industry and you have a prospect looking at a car, you might say, ok, if prices go down in the next 6 months, we will refund the difference, or as some have done, if you lose your job, we will suspend the interest of your car payments or take the car back.

So what are your marketing options? The ones I am going with for 2011 are Telemarketing, Direct mail, classified ads, Web SEM and Social Media Marketing including blogs.

I have always liked the combination of telemarketing and direct mail. I guess that is why when I reinvented my company those to weapons of your marketing arsenal where the 2 areas I pushed into. Why? Because they work. Over the last couple of years I have seen the importance of a solid Web SEM and Social Media Marketing plan and attack which is why I have pushed hard into this area. This is and for the next year my 3 pronged attack for myself and my primary customers.

That leads us to predictive analysis. Yes I am telling you to do selective profiling. Filter out the non-buyers and go after the high probability prospects, harder. Ya go on and rate your prospects. It’s alright, really. No one is looking at your behind the scenes activity. Besides you only have so much time to devote to sales and marketing so be selective.

As now as we advance on to Christmas and the Georgian New Year what is the biggest challenge and mistake you face?

Your advertising budget. Shrink, stay the same, expand. Is what you’re doing working? Would we gain more by looking at other areas? Would we gain market share by lowering price or should we increase service? You should not be thinking short term but long term. This recession will not last forever so you need to plan for the life after recession.

To answer these and other burning questions you need to be looking deeper into your sales areas and sales and profit numbers. If you need to save money, figure out what products are not performing up to projections and/or even costing you money to provide. Are there geographical areas that are non-productive? Are there customers you should let go of?

Today is Friday so over the weekend take an hour or two or three and ponder over your and your company’s future.

Larson Notes & Satire: Where is my competition? India. Philippines. Anywhere cheep. What can they give what I do and can, each and every time? Telemarketing with what we call “ZERO” accent. Technology, like wow, I am running as fast as I can to keep up and try everything I can to keep myself and my handful of social media clients at the forefront of getting found on the web and in their respective Social Media outlets.

Business is not like running a marathon. Not anymore. It’s more like running a 5000 meter (5K) race. You need to go long but so some surges when the opportunity presents its self. Be it to fend off a competitor or to put some distance behind you and your competition when the timing it right.

Have you ever seen a 3 legged stool wobble? I haven’t. I don’t think it can. I am not saying be like me and do as I do. I am unique. Isn’t that a good thing that there is only one of me? What I do works for me as I sit up in my ivory tower looking down on the snow covered grassy yard of my business I see green. The green of spring and the green of money as I work my craft to make my customers money.

I am not cheap. Don’t want to be. You want cheap find an Indian or a Pilipino (and I am not knocking the work of Indian and Philippine companies here) but what I will tell you as much as they might try their people will not sound like an American, they can’t. As much as they might want to act in Social Media like an American, again, sorry but they don’t know the local terms.

You want to market to Chicago and the Midwest. I’ll give you Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Detroit. You want the south; I’ll give you Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis and Miami You want the North East? I’ll give you New York, Boston, Philly, even Buffalo. West, you got it with Phoenix, Denver, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle. Texas? I am there as well, Dallas and fixing problems in Houston.

Web Marketing, Social Media marketing come to us! Why because we are a player in that arena not a bystander company that is playing catch up to figure out what’s happening. We do everything wrong yet we get excellent results. Just ask the pro’s we are terrible at what we do, or are they just now as PRO as they want you to think they are.

We got some big ambitious plans for next year. We are thinking not just 3 months ahead but 3.5 years. Are you?

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.

P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.

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