Small Business Marketing

What's next for 2015

What's next for 2015

Dec 27, 2014 Written by
December was a short month in the office; only two weeks in length, yet it produced the most sales on record. We surpassed our sales forecast by 62 percent in the first week, and finished off hard with two contracts coming in from Geelong Grammar and Parramatta City Council on the last day in the office.

Internationally, we are in a fast-growth phases and this holiday has been spent working out how we will accomodate the extra sales and at the same time keep moving forward, leveraging our unique positioning. 

We now have three inside sales executives in the company, with that set to double by the end of the first quarter next year. This investment has paid dividends as it allows marketing managers to focus on their jobs and not be tied down by talking to prospects that are warm and not hot. They no longer put together the proposals or the contracts, which are all done by our well trained inside sales executives.

An inside sales executive at Marketing Eye is an entry level position, giving marketing graduates the first taste of what it is like to work at Marketing Eye. Their job to date is to manage incoming leads generated from social media and our website, following them through first point of contact via email or phone through to presentation of Marketing Eye services and sending of proposal documents. They then close with a contract. 

This usually takes up most of their day, but we try and keep time aside for marketing. They get to work on client marketing strategies, social media, writing of electronic direct mail pieces and copywriting for our 600+ page websites.

By ensuring that they work on client marketing activities and marketing our company, they are getting experience to jump to the next level as a marketing executive. They also understand what they are talking about when a lead comes in because usually they have either done it too or have worked as part of a team to achieve a particular client goal.

Selling Licensing Agreements

We have a huge announcement to make on January 5, 2015, in relation to Licensing Agreements. Over time we have realized how unique our business model is and the fact that we have so many systems and processes, along with technologies to ensure that our people work harder, faster and smarter than our competitors is appealing to other marketers looking to set up their own businesses.

Our licensing model provides highly skilled marketers with an opportunity to build a successful business while leveraging of a well-recognised marketing consulting brand, and a sophisticated backend of marketers, branding experts, public relations, journalism, social media, web development and graphic design.

We will help licensees build a business that is sustainable, retainer based and collaborative in its approach.

One of the standouts of Marketing Eye's model is our commitment to excellence. We have identified a gap in knowledge in the market and continually strive to educate those in our team on the latest in marketing techniques and processes. 


Launching into 2015

There are many things that we need to improve in our business, and this time of year we have dedicated ourselves to ensuring that it happens. If you don't continually improve your business, you will fall to the wayside and find that other competitors capture greater market share.

Hiring new people is imperative to our growth as we don't have an issue getting clients, but finding quality marketing managers is a lot more difficult than we would like. Is there a global shortage of qualified marketing managers? I think there is. So many marketing managers don't have the opportunity to work across the entire marketing mix and therefore are not 'qualified' to be consulting on a clients business. Or they have had so many agencies at their disposal in corporate that they only know how to manage an agency, not how to do tactical marketing activities nor do they know what the latest in marketing techniques or analytics are, relying on agencies to feed them with information. Bu we are the agency, so our job is to know what we should be doing for a client in order to help them reach their business goals.

It's a fine line but education is key. 2015 is very much about education of marketing managers internally and externally. We are committed to lifting the benchmark in marketing talent around the world and will be hosting marketing strategy seminars around the US and Australia over the upcoming year.

What is your business theme for 2015?
Being part of Atlanta Technology Village, I have had the privilege to see first hand companies that go from zero to 100 in 12 months, others that prod along, and some that unfortunately did not make the grade.

The buzz that surrounds the Atlanta Technology Village is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur, and visionary, David Cummings. He is a great guy with an even better philosophy. Due in part to the sale of Pardot and his big pay check that followed, he commands the respect of everyone, and rightfully so. He has a formula and if you spend enough time observing him, you will see it.  Being a member at the Atlanta Technology Village, I have had the opportunity to see the fruits of his labour and I have to say, I am impressed. To me, he reminds me of Adrian Giles and Andrew Barlow who founded Hitwise and went on to build a tonne of other successful businesses in Melbourne and Australia.
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Earlier this week, the don of Vogue accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, joining a host of A-listers including David Beckham, Taylor Swift and George Bush, who also voluntarily subjected themselves to an iced-water drenching to raise funds and awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that controls voluntary muscle movement, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
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It only took a video camera, a chicken suit and an office back room to engineer one of the most successful viral marketing campaigns at that point in time. 

In 2004, Burger King launched ‘Subservient Chicken’; a man in a gaudy chicken suit that would perform “any” task dictated by the customers via a web cam.  The Subservient Chicken did The Worm, jumping jacks, and perfected his golf swing as millions of Burger King fans eagerly watched on.  It wasn’t exactly highbrow marketing material, but it did the job; the Burger King website clocked over 1 billion hits.
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In my experience, graphic designers can be a marketing company’s biggest weapon, with their ability to create collateral that packs a visual punch.  Cohesive graphic design communicates key messages within seconds, solving problems through the carefully selected combination of type, space and image.  It’s more than an art form; it’s a powerful tool.

If your market isn’t blown away within seconds of viewing your design, you’re doing it wrong.


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Then I meet a client that achieves the impossible, and recently, for me that was Frank Richmond, the Founder of Cirrus Networks.

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Recently, a client shared a sage piece of marketing advice, he said “If you have just $100 left in your advertising budget, your best investment is to use it to travel and share your story with your market face-to-face”. Today Marketing Eye put this advice to the test, with great success for one of our clients – Papa Gusto.

A marketing plan does not have to boast an exorbitant budget to be effective, nor does it have to be overly complex and multi-levelled to achieve your goals.  We have proven this.  
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When writing my business plan 9 years ago, I took many things into account like how the business would look in 10 years time, who we would employ, what services we would provide, and how we would expand into new markets.

But what I didn't take into account is how I would actually make it happen. You see, like many entrepreneurs, I have struggled with working in the business and trying to at the same time work "on" the business - never quite getting the mix right.

At long last, since I made some smart strategic business moves last year, including changing management, I have become the entrepreneur I always wanted to be. I am implementing our business plan that was written so long ago, and it feels really good. There is a sense of satisfaction that is growing deep inside me and I believe in every single thing that we are doing.

Beware of the global startup
When I started Marketing Eye more than 9 years ago, I had a vision to be the world's best small business marketing firm. I dreamt that I would open offices all over the world that would sell marketing services backed by sophisticated technology platforms, media and education, to businesses that had revenues of $1 million to $200 million.

Primarily, the companies that would be ideal clients were one's that were entrepreneur-led, like me, and who had a dream to significantly grow their businesses and mostly be industry game-changers - although the latter wasn't exactly necessary.

In the early days, we had hurdles. The first was our own mind-set of being use to working with funded startups or medium to large corporations and shifting the way we interacted, engaged and nurtured our clients to success to cater for burgeoning SMB market.

It took time. More time than I ever imagined. 

"Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations." —Peter Drucker

If you look at Steve Jobs and his role as a leader and marketer at Apple Inc., it's easy to see how the two roles work closely together. Without marketing, no-one would be any the wiser about Steve Jobs role at Apple Inc nor would we have had the opportunity to be captivated by his performances each time he launched a new product. Instead, we would simply wait for a product to be on the shelves and without all the "sizzle" we probably would never have been as enticed to stand in line and buy each product the minute it was launched.

Some leaders fail to see the value in marketing, and although they may have a role in the organisation that is responsible for certain outcomes, they may see it more as a sales related function which is why it often falls under this umbrella.

Smart, insightful, charismatic, thought leaders understand the value of marketing. They use it and often abuse it to become leaders that everyone follows. Rather than focus solely on a product or service marketing campaign, they use it to elevate their position in the market with a double edge sword, by at the same time ensuring that the company brand and positioning benefits from association.

3 Ways Leaders Use Marketing 

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It was 8pm at night and as we boarded the plane at La Guardia Airport in New York, Maikayla (#24yrold), our 24 year old President of US Operations, started a conversation about the things we are not doing as a business to get clients.

Marketing Eye Atlanta has gone from startup to multi-million dollar company in over a year of operations. The company provides SMB's with an ability to have a qualified outsourced marketing department for an investment that any business that has opened their doors can afford.

The goal post has changed from the original business plan of 1,000 clients over 5 years. Our sales targets have been moved by 2 years and now the entire team is in a spin working out how they will achieve this goal in 3 years. 

It's an ambitious task, but one that is doable and if something is too easy, then it won't be as rewarding. Stretching ourselves and pushing limits, dreaming big and opening doors, is something that will keep everyone in the game.

Maikayla's thoughts:
The one thing that keeps me going

Another weekend has just passed, and we went over the same old topic that keeps popping up; what do we want out of life and why do we do the things we do.

We read theories about entrepreneurs and what makes them tick; money, competition and passion. It's like a broken record that keeps on repeating itself. I for one wish that someone would come out with something a little different. Some piece of inspiration that is going to make me stop in my tracks and go "yeah!".

I am not an over-the-top passionate person - or at least that is my self-reflection. While I get up early each morning and race to the office, with a coffee and croissant from my local cafe on the way, its more a sign of routine than anything more "entrepreneurial". Meld that in with organized and fluent chaos, and big ideas followed by what seems like an endless stream of tactical plans - then you have me in one. 

What I do have though is dreams - lots of them! In every aspect of life, I dream and its these dreams that push me to keep going day after day. But that still isn't getting to the route of things and the more I realize it - the more I see things from a different perspective. 

The first point being that no two entrepreneurs are the same. We are all dealing with our own set of influencers and motivators that make us who we are. Just like no two people are the same and let's face it; what makes us different makes us beautiful.

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