Small Business Marketing
I don't know about you, but I am tired of people coming to me for advice, and then never doing anything about it. I am not talking about coming to me for advice and not following my advice. I am talking about coming to me with an idea, and never executing it, mostly due to fear of failure.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Then I meet a client that achieves the impossible, and recently, for me that was Frank Richmond, the Founder of Cirrus Networks.
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.
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.
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.
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