Marketing Ahead of the Curve: New Levers of Change

Leslie Lyon

If you survived the last couple of years, you may now be feeling that everything will be ok.  But unfortunately “the rising tide does not lift all boats”.  Real change has happened and our approach to marketing has to change too.   Your mature offerings are undoubtedly causing you to suffer revenue declines.  You must freshen them up fast, and that’s just the beginning…

These power tips are not marketing ideas.  They are facts that you’ll need to master to ensure your marketing ideas will work.

First and foremost, it’s hard to ignore the fact that your competitors are probably doing many of the same things you are to meet their goals.  You need to assume the role of “thought leader” now.  No more “me too” mentality.   “Big data” research is your key to competing effectively and rising above.  Leverage the large flow of data that is now available to pinpoint consumer preferences and improve your decision making processes and minimize risk.  (Go2 Google Reader to access your favourite stuff all in one place, as soon as it’s posted).  Strive to create entirely new categories of your business.  Watch for things that you want, but can’t get. 

You just need to do one thing better or differently than anyone else in the world.  Period.

Your “wiredness” will be noticed by your audience, because they want to gauge and engage you.  I know you already have a crowded list of tasks, but experts will tell you that the highly networked business is the business that will see the quickest payday.  If you haven’t already, now is the time to develop your networking package and formally introduce yourself to the social world.  Try off the shelf solutions for blogs (WordPress or Serendipity) and social media packages (Social Media Management Mavens).  Website design and SEO companies have saturated the market, so just make sure they are at the top of their game with the newest platforms and highest page rankings. 

Social Proof – Virtual audiences favour industry experts.  Show evidence that what you do is true and of essential importance.  Use testimonials, endorsements, expert opinions, client lists, awards, memberships, and certificates.  But, be ingenious about it.  Link testimonials to our industry’s main objections (price and service) and use third party and once-removed endorsements (my husband says that I have never looked better…Oprah loves this product…). 

Perceived Value – If your brand dominates in high perceived value, you are considered relevant, on-trend, and influential.  Dominant brands share one primary point: they boast an excellent service and buying experience, which means a lot of things are working.  Set up your test and learn kitchen, try value pricing and over servicing a small selection of key items, for a moderate period of time.  Did your more expensive, less visible items offset this sacrifice, and very importantly, did you heighten perceived value?  And consider giving something away for free, like an educational eBook.  This not only boosts PV, it exponentially grows your data base. 

Passive (online) Income – Use this third revenue stream to lower your costs of doing business.  Set up your e-commerce website (Volusion or Interspire) to sell your products and services online. Or, use the ad-supported model where you offer information at no cost to users, and collect advertising dollars from companies who will pay for exposure to those users.  The cross-subsidization model may also appeal to you, where you offer something free to a certain group, which is offset by a group who have chosen to pay a premium for broader use of it. 

Mobile Marketing – Over 4 billion people use cell phones, and 450 million use the web as a fully mobile experience.  Start collecting mobile contact numbers now because before you know it, mobile ads will be a primary form of advertising, and you’ll have missed that boat. Smart phones usually display websites nicely, but you may want to consider eventually upgrading your website to a mobile-friendly format.

Rules of Engagement: Always attempt to emotionally connect to your client and make them want to help you achieve your goals.  And never forget:  To thy own self be true.  Your choices must float your boat!

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