Sunday, November 30, 2008

The opportunity to upsell

It's harder to get new customers. Besides the economic climate there's a lot of noise to overcome in order to get your messages heard. Wouldn't it make sense then to better sell to your existing clients? There are lots of opportunities to upsell your clients. All you need to do is put more thought into your customers' needs and what you have to solve those needs.

Each year as I receive my insurance renewals I'm surprised that my agent never takes the extra step to call me up and ask me if I need more coverage. It would take them an extra ten minutes in their day, they'd leave a better impression with me and they'd likely get more business. The simple truth is I do need extra coverage, but because no one has bothered to ask me and I'm too involved with everyday life to take the step to call and ask for more I'm left with the same coverage year after year. The result? I'm under-insured and my insurance company is leaving money on the table.

What extra services do you have that you could be offering to your existing customers?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Identifying Needs

It's the job of the marketing department to identify and/or create needs and then satisfy those needs with its services or products. There are many ways to acheive this - holding focus groups, keeping a feedback loop alive with your customers, talking to people, listening to conversations on-line, etc. If you work for a company that makes toothpaste here's your opportunity at a little free market research.

I have a need and I want a company that makes toothpaste to solve it. This is my call to action to Crest, Colgate, Oral B and any other toothpaste manufacturer that's listening (you are all paying attention to blogs, right?). I have a four year old and she cannot get toothpaste out of a toothpaste tube (I've tried every brand and tube style available at CVS) without making a complete mess. I'm looking for something that is easy for her to dispense herself, only dispenses one "serving" at a time and is mess free; throw in a Disney character to make it more appealing to her and I'm willing to pay $1 premium for the toothpaste. Make sure it's available at CVS and I'm guaranteed to find it. More questions? Feel free to drop me a line.

Image by Leo Reynolds

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Create change with your Marketing Plan

Many of us are in the midst of developing and refining 2009 marketing plans and budgets. It’s one of my favorite activities. For me it’s an opportunity to detach from the daily routine, open my ears and my eyes and evaluate what’s really going on around me. To make the most of yearly planning sessions and budgets it’s important to understand what your organization is trying to improve or change. By taking time out and evaluating where your company has been and where it wants to go you’re guaranteed more success in your plan. Planning against carrying out business as usual can be the most important stop-gap to stagnation. Organizations without the elasticity to change can’t grow and in the current economic climate it’s more important than ever to not simply refresh the yearly plan, but to start anew with tangible goals and measurable actions. To start thinking more strategically try some classic marketing exercises. Throw out your old SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and start a new one. Have a brainstorming session about new opportunities and assign them risk/reward statuses (high risk, high reward; low risk, high reward, etc.), refresh the information on your competitors, it’s likely they too have grown since last year. These activities offer two benefits, they get the creative juices flowing and make getting buy-in from senior management that much easier. Where will you take your company next year?