To grow your bottom line we only focus on two areas. It keeps things focused.
2.Reducing or optimizing your marketing spend.
Within each area, revenue growth and expense optimization, we drill into sub-components of the marketing mix to discover untapped and innovative ways to increase your bottom line. It could include:
- Market, competitor and current strategy review,
- Customer, segment and market development,
- New and existing product and service planning, product / segment development,
- Brand reviews, customer service satisfaction and user experience development,
- Employee engagement,
- Sales force training, productivity and optimization,
- Marketing communication, including positioning statements, briefing statements and creative strategy development, advertising concept development, copy writing, and creative / idea generation,
- Market research,
- Use of new technologies – website, e-commerce and social media planning and development,
- Promotion, event planning and fundraising,
- Transformative change and culture planning,
Marketing Expense Reviews and Expense Reduction and Optimization
- Review communication mix and amount spent in each.
- Develop plans that either reduce, change or optimize the mix to optimize brand image, customer understanding and awareness.
We will develop a marketing mix that fires on all cylinders to drive new top line growth, reduce expense and increase your bottom line.
Detailed Service Offering
Market, Competitor and Current Strategy Review
We start by conducting a thorough business review. We review your current fact base, current plans, your customers and your competition to help you assess the effectiveness of your current marketing and sales development strategies. You’ll understand where you may be missing opportunities for growth. Based on a the review we’ll augment your fact base with new data as required, take the best of your plans and enhance them with unique new strategies driven by outside the box innovation and creativity. Once the initial assessment is complete, we’ll enhance current data with new information as required to close information gaps, we’ll talk to staff, customers and even suppliers if necessary to search for new growth opportunities. Sometimes the ideas will be simple and sometimes they could encompass transformational change that, when implemented, can be a game changer for your competition.
This phase becomes the foundation that drives all the phases that follow. This step is essential to build understanding and challenge current thinking.
Customer / Segment / Market Development / Product / Category Development
Your revenue is totally dependent on how effective you are at acquiring new, and retaining and growing existing customers.
We answer the questions?
- What is the quality of the relationships you have with current customers?
- What’s holding back non-customers from doing business with you?
- Do you know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors?
- Are each of your markets and sales territories fully developed?
- Do you know what products, markets and territories are under or over developed?
- Do you know the customers / potential customers in each geography?
In today’s market much has been said about innovation. It’s the lifeblood to generate new revenue streams and stay ahead of the competition. Customers are constantly evolving along with their needs. Markets change and the environment that drives consumer behaviour changes with it. Other factors include changing demographics, the attitudes of different target audiences, ethnicity, societal change, the Internet and cultural attitudes that influence how we think, act and decide. Companies need to be in touch and in tune with their existing and potential customers. It’s what drives innovation, new product and segment development. With this understanding you can grow at the expense of your competition.
With a track record of developing breakthrough new products and entirely new segments, we will help increase your revenues and improve your bottom line by enhancing / improving existing products and / or developing entirely new ones. Using idea generating strategies and easy to implement blue-sky sessions we may discover entirely new segments offering unique solutions customers are looking for. We start with the customer and take a bottom up approach, asking the right questions and discovering unmet needs.
Brand Reviews / Reputation Development / Customer Service and User Experience Development
The image you create in the minds of customers must be relevant and unique. Further, your brand image and reputation is based on many different but related factors. When consumers assess your brand it’s not just about how cool or uncool you are or how trustworthy or untrustworthy you are. It’s a lot more complicated and needs to be broken down into its component parts. Today’s successful companies don’t just rely on great products and services. They deliver on a brand promise with a brand experience that is seamless, persuasive and provides high levels of customer satisfaction.
The customer / user experience can set you apart from your competition, or keep your company from realizing its full sales potential. Brand image is built from the customer’s user experience with your products and the service experience delivered by front line staff. Customer satisfaction builds positive brand image and is contingent on consistent service delivery by front line staff. To achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, making the purchase and user experience friendly and easy, staff must know what customers expect from their service provider. This is a complex area and should not be overlooked.
Your brand image and reputation overlaps into customer service, staff culture, employee engagement and training, how you communicate with your customers and how easy or difficult you make it to purchase and use your products across store, web and phone channels. We determine who you think you are in the minds of your customers, who you actually are in their minds and look for ways to close the gaps. We’ll assess if your image is relevant with your customers. If not, we’ll help you develop a new image that resonates with existing and potential customers. We explore the nuances of the brand in detail and ensure solutions address specific problem areas. You’ll understand why it’s a problem, how it drains growth and how the solution paves the way to new growth. We help companies improve the customer experience to build their brand reputation and increase sales, increase customer retention and reduce churn and optimize your operating costs. We can help you bridge the gap between strategy and execution and help you increase revenue.
Areas we explore:
- Building a better customer experience starts with knowing your customers. We leverage customer insight by understanding what your current customers think of the products and, perhaps more importantly, the service you provide. Are you meeting, exceeding or falling short of your customers’ expectations? Often it’s not the service definition or the product itself but how you’re your staff deliver service and interact with customers. Do they know the touchpoints customers determine to be most important? Do they care? Are they engaged? Are they the right fit? If you don’t know, or are not aware of the critical touchpoints that customers determine to be most important in their relationship with you, then it may be costing you business. Worse than this, your front line staff probably don’t know either. You need to know what your customers find important and more importantly you need to share these high demand service attributes with your staff. Staff may be just as frustrated as you that they are not able to provide better service to their customers. By asking a few simple questions we will find out the attributes customers find most important about the services and products you offer. We will understand how customers rank the importance of each service attribute and how they rate you on each. Once we understand the gap between the importance rankings and how well you perform, we’ll outline the solutions you need to implement to ensure your limited resources are invested in the areas your customers tell us are most important to them. Most importantly,
- Channel integration – An essential part of how your customers perceive your brand is based on their user experience and how they access and purchase your products and use your services. Today customers can access your products and services across multiple distribution channels whether its retail stores, the Internet, or through phone channels. It’s essential that when customers migrate between channels they have a seamless experience. If you’re products or services are not easy to access across multiple channels, then it reflects on your brand image and reputation – worse – it’s contributing to lost sales.
In delivering great service, one of the magic ingredients for business success is having great people. Are your employees engaged with their work? Do they care? Having fully engaged staff is essential to fulfilling the brand and customer experience. If you’re employees don’t enjoy the work they do and don’t look at their job like a hobby, you need to find out how you can make your work environment more engaging and enjoyable. Having staff that truly enjoy making customers happy and are fully engaged is essential to delivering on the brand promise and is an essential ingredient to optimizing your revenue growth. Do your hiring practices incorporate the attitudes and skills your employees need to have to deliver great service?
Sales Force Training / Optimization / Productivity
Today, the positive connection marketing staff and the salesforce has to have with each other is nothing short of an absolute necessity. They need to be joined at the hip and the relationship must be harmonious. If the sales team don’t understand the rationale behind the marketing strategies and the features and benefits offered by the products they sell, they won’t be the best sales people they could be. And it’s the marketing department’s responsibility to make sure they know this. How often do you see products dumped into the market just to get them there faster. Typically they fail because the sales force won’t support them. Sales force costs (including sales support) contribute a significant part of your total expense line. It’s one of the biggest opportunities to optimize expense, create more leads, close more sales and have happier sales people. And it’s one of the least understood. Selling isn’t just about not leaving till you get a yes to the order. Today sales requires more of a marketing mindset than ever before. Sales people need to think like a customer. Your sales force can become your competitive point of difference. Today sales forces need to demonstrate a line of questioning that helps them demonstrate how your product will help your client or potential client grow their bottom line – that requires a marketing mindset.
- Sales Training – Are your sales people trained to think like solutions providers? If they aren’t then you are not optimizing your revenue line and suppressing the earning potential of your sales people. Solutions selling is a sales approach that takes the hard sell out and puts the soft sell in by building trust. Building trust comes from ensuring your sales force has the skills to demonstrate how your products help the company they’re selling to increase their sales. It provides your sales force with the skills to ask questions in a way that positions them as facilitators, problem solvers and contributors to increasing your customer’s sales.
- Sales Productivity – Do you use customer relationship contact management software to track sales contacts? If you don’t know who is being called, how often and what your closed ratio is to contacts made then you are not maximizing sales force productivity. Selling costs can be one of the highest contributors to your expense line. Increasing sales force productivity can increase sales and reduce expense making it one of the most effective ways to improve bottom line results.
- Territory Management – Are your sales territories adequately resourced? Do you know who makes up your trade area? Tom can help you understand where untapped opportunities reside.
Marketing Communication – Advertising – Copy Writing – Creative / Concept Development
Does your advertising and marketing collateral send the right message using the right language in the right tone to your current and potential customers in a way that gets them to think about you in the way that you want? If not, you are suppressing your sales potential and not optimizing your marketing investments. You need to re-evaluate your communication. What you say and how you say it is essential to ensure your existing and potential customers find your message relevant. If they don’t, you are at risk of losing current customers and non-customers may buy from a competitor. Secondly, you are wasting your money. Third, are you investing your communications investment in the right amount and in the right areas to effectively reach your customers and non-customers? If not, you are not optimizing your marketing spend. Getting the message right is as important as getting your communications mix right.
Use of New Technologies – Website / E-Commerce / Social Media
Effective use of new and existing technologies, from simple website development to e-commerce applications and the effective use social media applications, can help you increase awareness of your products or expand your sales beyond the customer groups you currently define. Today, more than ever before, websites and social media applications are an integral part of your brand image, communication, sales and distribution mix. Your e-marketing strategy must be customer driven from the bottom up and not the other way around. Many companies profess they have an integrated traditional and e-marketing strategy – but they don’t. Typically they are designed by different people. They need to work together and they need to make sense for the customer. Our experience developing e-strategies in banking and telco industries can ensure your e-strategy is seamless and consistent across communication and distribution channels.
Transformative Change / Culture Planning
While working with a large Canadian bank we were amazed on how little focus was on determining customer needs. With one suggestion to the Senior VP of Marketing, “have we ever considered transitioning from a transactions based culture to one focused on understanding customer needs?”, the bank embarked on a ten year journey to train staff to understand customer needs by asking the right questions and ensuring they had the right training to match products and services to their needs. The bottom line is that corporate transformation is all about staff culture – it’s a mindset shift. We did it successfully for some of Canada’s largest companies. We will work with your staff and equip them with the skills needed to achieve great things for themselves and for your company. Sometimes it can be as simple as ensuring they understand what you want for your company and offering a roadmap to get there…..it takes the fear out of change.
Promotions, Events and Fundraising
Promotions and events can be effective ways to get your message out, increase awareness, improve your brand image and more positively predispose potential customers to do business with you. However, it depends on the audience you are trying to reach. Any event you involve yourself with must be an event that resonates with the audience you want to develop. If it doesn’t you’re wasting your money. Your event strategy needs to be aligned with the customers you are trying to retain and attract. Fundraising and involvement in community charity events can enhance company brand image. However, as stated above, it is essential that your community involvement is consistent with those charities that resonate with the customers you are trying to retain and attract.
Marketing Expense Reduction / Optimization
You’ve probably heard the expression, I don’t know which half of my marketing spend is wasted. All too often the budget is set simply based on what was spent the previous year. This approach could result in over feeding some parts of the marketing mix and starving others. Using a zero based budgeting approach we take an unbiased approach to helping you determine if the mix and the investment in each part of the mix is right.