Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What's Your Marketing System?

Being from the Detroit area, I'm a big fan of statistician and management guru W. Edwards Deming, who basically shamed the Big 3 automakers into improving the quality of their products by first helping the Japanese to do so after World War II.

His philosophy has been summarized as follows, by Wikipedia:

Dr. W. Edwards Deming taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs (by reducing waste, rework, staff attrition and litigation while increasing customer loyalty). The key is to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits and pieces.

So ... what's your system for marketing?

Your marketing system can be defined as everything you do with a person who comes into contact with your business, from their first email or phone call until the day exit the marketplace forever.

Here are essential elements of marketing system:

1) Lead capture. You record the name, email address, and other needed information from prospects in a database -- with your prospects' permission, of course.

2) Follow-up. You contact prospects who do not buy the first time, answering their questions and offering them information to move them along in the buying process.

3) Sales scripts. You deliver the same sales pitch to every prospect, tailored to their unique questions and objections, but as uniform as possible, to eliminate variation from tested "selling words" that have worked before.

4) Customer care. You have policies and procedures in place to maximize client satisfaction while minimizing frustration.

5) Referrals. You take the same steps with every customer to encourage and reward referrals.

Get the idea?

Unless you have a marketing system, you don't have a business. You have a hobby.

If you're unhappy with the results your marketing is producing so far this year, it may be tempting to blame the economy. Or Washington. Or penny-pinching customers who don't appreciate your brilliance.

But blaming outside forces leaves you powerless to make improvements where it counts, on the inside of your business.

Instead, the cause of low sales and miniscule profits more likely lies in your marketing system.

So blame the system. But only for about 10 seconds, because beating yourself up won't bring your sales up.

Instead, get busy improving your system, one small step at a time. That's how systematic, continual improvement in your profits happens.

(For more ideas like these, download Guaranteed Marketing for Service Business Owners.)

1 comment:

  1. Whoa, I've just realized that I have a hole in my marketing system and am missing #5 on your list. Thanks for the advice.