After the Fireworks – What happens next?

Published by Alison Gittins

fireworks 2I really enjoy Bonfire night and insist every year on wrapping the kids up warmly (regardless of weather) and heading off down to watch the local fireworks. Again this year, a great display – for 10-15 minutes the packed crowd stood mesmerised, heads pointed towards the skies, eyes focused, gasps of delight from young and old… and then its all over…final puffs of smoke, a last sizzle and gone for another year.

As I sit and consider my sales & marketing thoughts to share with you in this months’ newsletter, I wonder whether for many of my readers their marketing efforts are a bit like a fireworks display – very occasional, all sparkle and bright lights, lots of attention grabbing stuff but then it all fizzles out and fades away. Until the next big surge!

There are a few points I’d like you to think about in relation to your own sales and marketing efforts – really consider whether you are paying lip service to ad-hoc marketing actions or investing in ongoing activity and truly maximising on your efforts and thus reaping the full rewards.

  1. Is your marketing occasional, predictable and reactive?
  2. Is it just about the bright lights and promises? -What happens after the fireworks?

Predictable and Reactive?

Is your marketing calendar based on doing the same old thing over and over again, without wondering if there’s a point to it or whether you might get a better return on your investment by doing something else? I met someone last week who was describing their marketing activity to me, which mainly consisted of going to an annual trade-fair in the Far East, year after year after year (big cost!). When I asked if he got any business from it, the answer was a definite “No”, followed by “not directly”.  In marketing just because you’ve always done it, isn’t a good enough reason to keep doing it. You need to understand what’s working and what’s not and experiment to find the best return on investment. Continuing to place the same old advert in the yellow pages, even though leads from this source has dwindled to practically zero is a further example of reactive “always done it” marketing and might next time require you to consider where are those shoppers gone who used to pull out the yellow pages when they needed a product or service … maybe online? Stop now and look at new opportunities, new ways to generate leads. Identify alternative sources for attracting new customers, who may have changed their shopping habits – times change, your customers change – has your marketing?

Is it just about the bright lights and promises – what happens next 

Are you investing in show stopping marketing campaigns, wonderful graphics, eye-catching images and headlines? Yes, that’s important – it’s the first stage – Getting the “Attention” of your audience in a crowded market place is vital – but then what happens? We spend a lot of time on the creative process and invest significant sums of money but what happens next? Are you really maximising on your investment and proactively trying to convert your leads / inquiries or are you hoping the “Wow Factor” will be enough? Admittedly sometimes it is, particularly in consumer marketing where some people buy on impulse or emotion. However, quite often you might need to do a little more. A few questions:

Do you follow up on every piece of marketing (where feasible) you send out? Is your mailshot followed by a telephone call? If you answer a customer inquiry sending out some literature or standard e-mail response – is this enough? Often, its not! How many proposals are sat on my desk and nobodies ever bothered to ring me to know what I think or if I want to buy? Someone is probably assuming I’ll buy if I want but hey I’m busy and other things have got in the way. Maybe I need someone to nudge things forward, help me make a decision, take action. Do you wait for the business to come or do you seek to assist the buyer in making a decision – to buy YOU?

And if they don’t buy, do you ask why? Do you ask what if? Was it the wrong product, service, sales person, timing, price. Do you understand why your marketing might generate a response but not business?

And if they don’t buy now, are they lost forever or do you capture their details to engage with them in a longer term courtship that may result in engagement and commitment ?

And finally Sales & Marketing – Isolation or synergy?

Is your marketing communications strategy working in sychronisation with your sales effort. Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing? Is someone planning and executing great “Firework displays” without rallying the troops to deliver and follow through. Does the receptionist know about the special offer that’s just been advertised  and are the engineers aware of how your marketing message  is focused on the customer friendly and flexible nature of all your team! Are all the staff (sales force, receptionist, engineers, accountants, customer service) trained and motivated to be effective parts of the marketing and sales process. I believe everyone across your organisation has a responsibility towards winning business. If they’re not involved and up for it, you’re not maximising on your marketing potential. It will end up being all Razzmatazz and Brightlights, without any substance – An annual bright firework display which once over, quickly forgotten.

Author – Jackie Wade, Winning Sales