Petes Weekly: Just-in-Time Marketing

 Just-in-Time Marketing

If you are like most of us, by now your bank balance is telling you that times are getting hungrier. This seems like a good time to share one of the truths of small business: Most firms fail because we do not make enough sales. And, most firms fail.(Hang on, the good news is coming…)When I started out in 1984 I was in mortal battle with IBM. They were the big gorilla in the market, and the people that wanted what I sold all used IBM minicomputers. Sadly they did not know of my existence. (Neither IBM nor the users.)
I knew less than nothing about running a business. I knew that marketingcomprised all the stuff one did to get people to knock at your door. And sellingwas opening the door, inviting them in, and using what one sold to help those people solve their problems.
That was the simple part. But how to help them to find the door, let alone have them knock on it?
In my case, IBM was running television campaigns featuring elephantsand the Hollies, with a budget of millions. My startup could barely afford business cards.
Back then there were two broad genres of marketing.
On the one hand there was mass marketing. The key concept was to reach everyone, all the time, in the hope that when somebody wanted, for instance, a drink, they would reach for Coca Cola instead of Pepsi. This relied on people seeing your ‘brand’ so often that they would never forget it in a time of need. So, you reach them through television, wireless, magazines and national papers.
This works fine if every human being is a possible buyer, and you have pockets deeper than the Fish River Canyon. It is not so effective when there are only 600 people in SA who might possibly need what you sell, and then only once each year.
We small businesses need to box clever, and for every R1,000 that a large firm invests in marketing, we need to do better with just 50 cents.
Mass marketing reaches everyone, most of whom will never need what you offer, and of the few that might, mass marketing reaches most of them at the wrong time.
Direct marketing, on the other hand, tries to reach just the group that might one day purchase from you. As you can imagine, it is a lot cheaper because your money does not have to reach as far. Adverts in a specialist industry magazine like IBM AS/400Monthly cost a lot less than the R100,000 needed for a one page colour ad in Mens Health. And a monthly mailing or fax mailing cost even less.
Nandos Hot SauceEven this was not perfect, because most of the audience were not buying on the day they saw the advert. They never came knocking. At least, however, mail and fax allowed us to tell them stories and offer case studies which they understood and remembered. But there was still a heck of a lot of cold calling. (Cold calling is like swallowing a bottle of Nandos, the uberhot version, and then because it hurts so much, taking a cup of drain cleaner to ease the pain.)
The Holy Grail of marketing is to just reach those folk who want what you sell NOW. And in 2000 Google offered an answer – Adwords.
This means that our metaphorical 50 cents can be used to find someone who right now needs a new 5251 vdu (or 27 of them). And once that person has placed the order (tonight) and become a client, that means that we can keep selling to them for the rest of time.
And it means, as a business owner, that the firm will continue to sell while you are in hospital for that first myocardial infarction, or while you are planning retirement.
And that’s what we do with SalesMotor. We help people find your firm on the exact day they need whatever you sell. Most of our clients spend less than R3000 per month for more than 20 enquiries per month, of which between 7 and 14 turn into instant sales, and the rest become longer term prospects.
All the best
Peter Carruthers

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