The 10 Commandments of Marketing
Recently, I did a presentation based on Security Sales & Integration’s 2004 Sales and Marketing Survey. Although the bulk of the material was derived from the article about the study that appeared in our March 2004 edition (see “Cost Per Account Climbs $15.81 Since 2001” on page 46 of that issue), in revisiting it I uncovered 10 best practices to help maximize your sales and marketing efforts. I decided to share them with you this month.
1. Do Not Skimp on Marketing
Often, business managers get so caught up on nickels and dimes they lose sight of how that expense is going to contribute much more to their bottom line. Skimping also applies to time, people and whatever other resources might be required to produce high-quality results.
2. Be Professional in Everything You Do
Do not circulate anything that does not portray your company as a qualified, easy-to-deal-with and reasonably priced organization. This requires a commitment to assuring your materials and interactions are first-rate, down to the smallest details.
3. Meticulously Track Your Leads
Surprisingly, many security dealers and integrators do not keep a record of how someone came to inquire about their services. That is just plain lazy and bad business. Knowing what marketing avenues are most effective means you must keep track of where they came from. Be as scientific as possible.
4. Try New Things
Just because it ain’t broke does not always mean it does not need fixing, or at least tweaking. If your direct-mail pieces get a “pretty good” response, who’s to say redesigning it, changing the frequency or refining the mailing list wouldn’t yield even better results? Or perhaps something entirely different, like billboards, should be used. You’ll never know unless all alternatives are explored.
5. Find Out What Works in Your Market
Los Angeles is considerably different from Rochester, N.Y. People in L.A. might be attracted to radio ads, while those in Rochester might find ads in the local newspaper more appealing. You need to learn the nuances of your particular markets and develop materials with that in mind.
6. Determine What Gives You Top ROI
Just because you believe something is generating a lot of business does not mean it is good for business. Many forms of marketing can be quite expensive and there may very well be more economical alternatives to achieve comparable results. Determining your return on investment requires tracking your leads (see No. 3).
7. Concentrate on Those Methods
Once you learn about your market, experiment with different things, track your leads and determine the best ROI. It is time to really focus your energy and marketing investment in those areas. If your response rates remain unsuccessful, repeat those steps, or consider another line of work!
8. Carefully Qualify Your Leads
Time is an exceedingly rare and valuable commodity that you cannot afford to flitter away on people who have no interest in what you are selling. That’s why rigorous canvassing and prospecting are essential. Combine a good product and a good presentation with a legitimate lead and what do you have? A sale!
9. Network Whenever Possible
A popular saying around Hollywood, Calif., is it’s not what you know, but whom you know. That’s largely true in most business today. You still have to prove your mettle eventually, but getting your foot in the door is half the battle. Therefore, rub elbows with as many people as possible — join associations, community groups, etc.
10. Superior External/Internal Customer Service
Finally, even the most sensational marketing programs cannot withstand abuse — be it associates within a company or its customers. Poor internal relations kill morale and spread to external interactions. At all times, you must treat people inside and outside your organization like they are special. Few things are more detrimental than bad word-of-mouth.
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