Mercenary Marketing means getting more bang for your marketing buck.
Mercenary Marketing can create Marketing Magic!
And, in this message, I take it for granted that your product offering, price, and customer service, etc. are all at a standard which ensures your customers will be delighted with their acquisitions.
However, before you can become a Mercenary Marketer dispensing Marketing Magic, there are two things you MUST do:
1) Resign yourself to the commercial reality that business is 90% marketing. As a business owner or manager, you must concentrate your efforts on getting your marketing tactics and implementation 100% right.
2) Know the basics of marketing. This is one area where rank amateurs abound, wallowing in blissful ignorance of the money they are needlessly squandering and the opportunities they are “burning.” Oh yes, the most dangerous animal in business is the amateur marketer.
13 Reasons Why Your Marketing May Not Be Soaring With The Eagles
1. You don’t have a marketing plan
You must have a clear and very precise profit objective – over any given period of time, but usually a year – for every one of your products and/or services.
Then you have to address the three specifics:
1. What are all the means available to you to reach your dollar objectives?
2. What marketing alternatives can you use, how can you use them, and how often should you use them?
3. How can you convert prospects to customers, and convince your existing customers to buy more, and/or more often?
2. You don’t know your customer
Hey, this violates the most fundamental rule of marketing: “Know Thy Customer”. You have to be customer-oriented.
Mercenary Marketers can give you chapter and verse on what their customer looks like. They have a mental image of the customers’ age, sex, educational status, income levels, and other pertinent demographic information. They know their buying patterns, and they understand what makes them tick.
For now, ponder these two questions:
How does the successful marketer gather all this information about his/her customer?
Who is your customer? (If you can give an accurate answer to this question, congratulations… there are very few of your kind around.)
3. You don’t know what compels your customers to buy something
People don’t buy things because you want them to. They need their own reasons – very good reasons – to buy.
And you and your staff have to understand fully what these reasons and their motivations are, and then cater to them – as many of them as possible – in every marketing and selling situation… in every customer or potential customer contact … in everything you do.
People don’t buy products or services:
• They buy benefits … benefits … benefits!
• They buy solutions to their problems
• They buy other people’s opinions of you, your business and your products
• They buy credibility and believability
• They buy your promises and guarantees (don’t ever let them down)
• They buy your business and product “reliability”
• They buy “value”… and, please, don’t confuse value with price
• They buy certainty, honesty, convenience, and timeliness
• They buy hope, comfort, success, wealth, security, love, and acceptance
• They buy expectations of being pleased
• They buy product selection options
• They buy freedom from making a wrong buying decision
• How many from this list can you line up against your product or service?
Let me ask you this simple question:
Why should I buy your product or service?
Come on … can you tell me right here and now why I should buy from you?
4. You’re not persistent enough
Very rarely does any single marketing effort – one ad, one mailing, one promotion – produce a dramatic result. If you’ve got your two feet on the ground, you’ll look for long-term, solid, predictable returns.
Plan your marketing to produce realistic results, and rejoice when something works better than you expected.
Test your propositions (As a matter of fact, test everything).
And keep at it. Marketing is not a function that should be performed by the weak-at-heart, the impatient, or the imprudent.
5. You forget about the people who have bought from you before
It’s much cheaper, and often a lot easier, to sell to someone who has bought from you in the past – at least so long as it was a pleasant experience for the buyer – than it is to try to attract new customers.
So, why, oh why, do most businesses concentrate almost all their energies on trying to drum up new business?
Have you got something against the people who have bought from you, or used your services, before? Were they rude to you?
Then, why are you neglecting them?
Here’s the order in which you should be directing your marketing:
• Getting existing customers to buy more, and/or more often.
• Going back to people who have bought from you in the past and reactivating them.
• Enticing new customers.
6. You don’t get back to your customers often enough
See above, then consider this:
People need to be constantly reminded what you can do for them … how you can help them – at least every 90 days.
Do you believe that it annoys your customers when you do this?
Are you embarrassed about doing it?
Don’t think it’s worth the effort? Think again.
You have to create a regular program for communicating with prospects and existing customers (don’t give them a chance to turn into “past” customers), and you have to keep it up until…
… they buy from you, or
… you have no option but to give them up as a lost cause.
7. You don’t move your customers up the loyalty ladder
Once someone has bought from you, and you have followed them up to make sure that everything involved with the sale went smoothly, then it’s time to move that person up the loyalty ladder.
If he or she has other problems to solve, and the money to solve them, you’re the man! (or woman, of course).
Every time you successfully conclude a deal with a customer, that customer grows a little closer to you, and becomes increasingly easy to sell things to. So, you keep moving him or her up the loyalty ladder:
From a prospect to a customer,
From a customer to a regular customer,
From a regular customer to an advocate of your business …
and from an advocate to a raving fan!
8. You don’t get to the point
The best marketing is simple, precise … and straight to the point. No beating around the bush. … no cutesy-cutesy pandering. You find out what the prospect’s problem is and, in the simplest, most direct terms, you tell the prospect how you’re going to solve that problem.
Marketing isn’t about art … it isn’t about winning literary or design awards.
Ultimately, it’s about selling – successfully, efficiently, and economically. Get to the point. Tell them why it’s in their best interests to pick up the phone right now and buy whatever you’re offering … before it’s too late. And the only way to do this is to tell them what’s in it for them.
And an extension of this issue is this:
Answer the “why” question.
If your product is higher priced than your competitors’, tell them why. If your product is better, tell them why. The more factual, credible and believable the reasons you give, the more likely they are to give you the business.
Consider this: I am the customer and I want to know … FAST!
9. You don’t make it easy enough for people to do business with you
The easier it is for people to do business with you – the less complicated, embarrassing, time wasting, expensive, etc., etc. – the more business you’ll do.
I can’t tell you how many beautifully-sculptured, clever ads I’ve seen and read, with wonderful, compelling sales messages … and no proper call to action, and/or specific directions as to how I should go about buying the damn thing.
Oh, it’s there all right but, by the time you get the pen, the commercial is over, or you have to be Burke and Wills to navigate your way through the ad TO FIND THE PERSON WHO’LL TAKE YOUR ORDER!
I repeat: The simpler you make it for people to buy from you, the more you’ll sell.
10. Your marketing efforts are dead-set BORING!
No need to labour this point, I’m sure. You’ve all seen so much stultifying, uninspiring rubbish yourself, and wondered:
“Who do these people think they’re going to impress with this load of codswallop?”
Then you toss it where you toss your orange peel. Of course, nobody says this about your marketing material, do they? There’s a strong possibility that this IS the case.
You have to work continuously to ensure not only that you’re not boring people, but that you’re actually inspiring, exciting, captivating, or seducing a significant number of your target audience. That said, make sure that you assess the market’s perception of your marketing efforts, and don’t judge things on how you feel. Many a business has “pulled” a successful marketing effort because they were tired and bored with it, when, in fact, the market audience was not.
One of the most famous, and successful, newspaper advertising headlines ran for 30-plus years. It was, They Laughed When I Said I Could Play The Piano – But They’re Not Laughing Now!
11. You fail to test – test – test
Not every marketing effort will work. In fact, most will fail! The real savvy marketers test and test until they find two things: what works … and then, what works better. Along the way, they document and evaluate their results. They have absolutely no intention of repeating their mistakes.
So, before committing yourself to that big advertisement or mail-out, test your propositions, test your headlines, test whether your ultimate benefits are compelling enough.
Put another way, you have an obligation to conservatively test and let the market tell you what it wants.
12. You’re a small-town thinker
There’s a huge difference between having enough confidence in yourself, your products, or your services to think nationally, or even globally, and being too big for your boots.
Have you got a great product or service that would be appreciated by a wider market than you’re addressing now? But, you don’t have the budget to capitalise on the situation, right? OK. That’s understandable. But, at least you can start working toward a bigger audience. It’s the old power-of-positive-thinking thing.
Put State and international-access telephone codes on your stationery. Send your flyers to a few selected people interstate and overseas. We’re truly entering the doorway to the global marketplace, so start adopting a mindset that will have you right at the front of the queue.
13. Maybe there is no market!
Let’s look at an example … one that is played out every day – unfortunately.
Neville and Nerida have lived in Smallstown all their lives. Smallstown is a remote township of some 10,000 people. Neville, for many years, worked as the manager of the largest hardware store in town. He knew his industry well and, for that reason, he could hardly wait to open his own hardware business.
That day did arrive (courtesy of an inheritance left to Nerida) and so, the Double D Hardware store opened amid a blaze of “Opening Sales.” The first two weeks of trading looked promising.
But then things started to go flat… despite Neville’s attention to marketing and advertising. You see, apart from the large franchise hardware shop, there were four other competitors … and the “Double D” made it six hardware shops in all. Six months after the opening, Neville held his last sale – regrettably, it was a closing-down sale.
Ok, let’s have a “helicopter view” of what happened here.
If Neville had done a bit of homework before the event, Nerida would still have her inheritance, her health and her marriage, because these, too, were the casualties of the “Double D” disaster.
Yes, Neville should have realised that the Smallstown market for hardware is finite. True, it can be ramped up slightly by good merchandising and marketing … but essentially it does have a defined size.
Stuart Street-Smart, owner of the “Yards 10” franchise hardware store, knows this. He knows that the Smallstown market for hardware products is around $2,000,000 – and he owns 60% of the market. Plus, he also knows that old Snowie Davies, the proprietor of Snowie’s Hardware, has around 20% – leaving only 20% or ($400,000) for the other three competitors… and the “Double D.”
Stuart said that Neville wouldn’t last any longer than six months, and he was right. When Stuart did his sums he figured that even if Neville could get 10% of the market – that’s only a turnover of $200,000 – he would make less than $20,000 profit after expenses. Well, Stuart used to pay Neville a salary of $40,000.
Poor Neville! Silly Neville!
Moral of the story: Make sure that a genuine market exists before you dive into business.
So, what do you do if you are faced with a “Neville” situation? Sell! Get the heck out before it’s too late. Take the money and invest in something more profitable.
The message I preach is this:
Your business is a money-making-machine. If it isn’t, your job is to fix it. If, after considerable effort, you don’t believe it’s fixable, sell it!
There is one more mistake … and it’s a biggie, so please note it well. It is:
Failing to monitor the results of your marketing campaigns
Most business owners I speak to have absolutely no idea of the success or otherwise of their advertisements and other marketing efforts. They just go on “gut feeling.” This is absolute lunacy. As a business owner, you should never, ever run a marketing campaign unless you have a way of monitoring the results.
I get a twitch when I see the elaborate systems people put in to monitor their cash, their stock and their other valuables – yet, nothing to monitor their investment in marketing.
For those who say or think, “Just keep your name out there and you’ll get results”… take it from me, you’re dreaming! At best you’ll get deferred results of which you’ll never, ever know. And, just perhaps, you could have got much, much better results if you knew what worked and what didn’t.
The Mercenary Marketer’s Tips For Better Print Marketing
Ok, here’s an example of what the Mercenary Marketer would consider when it comes to marketing through the print medium.
• Before starting, do you know why your target audience should choose your product or service over your competitors’?
• Advertisements that look like news stories get a better response.
• Use a headline that draws attention. (Problem solving is a good start)
• Try to incorporate key words in your headline – New, Free, Easy, Now, Amazing, Help, Proven.
• Write about benefits to the customer, not features.
• Use You and Your, and reduce We, Us, and I.
• Use upper and lower case, in headings and body copy. ALL CAPS get less response.
• Use serif fonts (Like this one – Times New Roman), especially for headlines. Sans serif fonts get less response.
• Avoid using reverse text. Again, less response.
• Include a guarantee.
• Include a call to action, and clear instructions on how to order… Call Now! Complete the order form and fax it back immediately… This offer closes on March 30!
• Include Limited Time! … Only while stocks last! Or similar.
• Include validity/expiry date.
• Make sure your telephone and/or fax numbers are included and are highly visible.
• Include a small map to guide customers to you if this is appropriate.
• Ensure your street address is included. A post office box address is not enough.
• Include your hours of business.
• Avoid an over-sized logo unless your business is well known.
• When art and legibility conflict, legibility must win out.
• Use coloured paper and/or ink to increase response. (But not for material to be faxed)
These simple, but vital, principles and tips will help you increase responses to your marketing efforts. But you want more than improvement. You want to see spectacular results, right?