By Andrea Pirrotti, Pirrotti Marketing Group
Driving efficiencies into your marketing process is critical to achieve optimal ROI. A shotgun marketing approach may yield some quick hits, but will not serve you well in the long run. Here are 5 tips to jump start 2013.
(1) Stop Commoditizing Your Offering
A commodity is a good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market. If Orville Redenbacher was able to differentiate corn kernels, you can absolutely differentiate your offering. You have a lot more to work with.
Action: Review the text on your website and your brochures. If you are competing on fully furnished staffed and equipped offices, on-demand and with flexible terms – then you have commoditized your offering. Dig down deep and ask yourself and your team what it is that makes your offering different. And, while you’re at it, ask your clients. Use Survey Monkey (or another online questionnaire service) to find out why your clients chose you and whether you are delivering on that promise. The info you gain will be invaluable. 57% of clients I survey (for my clients) indicate they have a need for another product or service that had not been identified by the center team. You’ll gain great information and you may even generate more revenue at the same time.
(2) Firmly Establish Your Competitive Advantage
Let’s review some business basics. A “competitive advantage” occurs when an organization acquires or develops an attribute or combination of attributes that allows it to out perform its competitors. A competitive advantage grows, fundamentally, from the value a firm is able to create. Value is a very simple equation: VALUE = Perceived Benefits / Cost. Let’s do a little math here If someone tells you your service is too expensive, then your prospect clearly does not perceive that the benefits he will experience outweighs the costs he will have to pay.
Action: List all the features of your offering: receptionist, center manager, receptionist, hallways, office, meeting rooms, café, furniture, lighting, seating etc. Next to each feature, list one or two compelling benefits. Then incorporate those benefits (as relevant to your prospect) during your tour. Spoon-feeding the benefits to the client while touring turns a “nice” experience into one that is more meaningful and relevant for your prospect. To see this in action, go to Whole Foods. Throughout the shopping experience you will be spoon-fed the relevance of everything from the green toilet handle (flush down when you need more water to flush and pull up when you need less), to messages posted throughout the isles about how their ingredients will create a better “you.” Of course, price is always going to be a component of our negotiation – but when you believe in your offering and can clearly express the benefits – price takes a different role in the negotiation process.
(3) Increase Your Product Offering
There’s a reason why BMW offers the Mini, 3-Series, 5-Series, 6-Series, 7-Seriece and flavors in between. The idea is to have a compelling bundle of benefits and price to convert larger percentages of prospective buyers who want to call an “Ultimate Driving Machine” their own. The same applies to your business. Review your space and your offerings. Do you have a compelling product line to service the unique work style and business needs of a large percentage of prospects that walk through the door?
Action: Right now, many workspace providers are falling into the price death spiral on their core offering because they only offer one flavor of workspace. Review your space plan to ensure it’s configured to yield maximum revenue. Norman Fox of AO Plan says its both Science + Art to fully monetize space. I’ve seen this magical combination in play and agree with him. Review your technology and telephony offerings. These are two areas that will both help you in the conversion process and provide additional revenue streams. Use your expanded product line, technology and telephony offerings in your lead generation materials, and again throughout the sales process from the initial call to tour to agreement and beyond.
(4) Generate High-Converting Leads
There is absolutely no guesswork in the first layer of this plan. Your immediate action is to: (1) Be where your prospects are looking for your product or service, and (2) Build strong relations with anyone who can provide a referral. And, since you are targeting shoppers you need to be there all day, every day. Since frequency is a must, you need to buy this media efficiently. Finally, make sure you use simple and intuitive messaging with a strong offer and call to action.
Action: Build your presence here: (1) Google Pay Per Click, (2) Google Places, (3) SEO, if you can do it cost effectively, (4) Craigslist (yes, deals get done here and they are free), (5) Web Brokers, (6) Online directories including Davinci Virtual, Cloud Virtual, Loose Cubes, Liquid Space etc. (7) Traditional Brokers (Stay top of mind via monthly emails), (8) Clients (both current and past), (9) Leverage the power of “other people money / brands” by forming local relationships. (10) Building signage. This is a list of your top 10 low hanging fruit. Do not pass “Go” until you’ve mastered these tactics.
(5) Convert Your Leads
You’ve provided messaging that is compelling enough for the prospect to reach out to you. Now you have to convert that lead. You must ensure that everyone and all communication that touches the prospect is on message.
Action: Solidify your stance on whether or not to give price on the phone. Create a powerhouse tour that positions the tour giver as a thought-leader and not a glorified guide. Remember, facilities are typically the second largest fixed line item for a business. If you can provide thought-leadership, that decision-maker will be more likely to work with you. Deliver your prospect a powerhouse proposal that lists all features and benefits the prospect is getting with his office and then offset the benefits with a compelling price. Finally, “never” let your prospect go. Use a drip feed marketing communications program to feed that prospect timely and relevant information every month. I’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from simple email campaigns targeting “prospects who were deemed dead.”
There are more elements to your 2013 plan including brand development, defining your target audience, tracking and resource allocation. I’m hopeful these top 5 action points will spark thought for your planning process.
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About the Author:
Bring your entrepreneurial vision and PMG will map out and execute the marketing plan to get you there. For more than 20 years, Andrea has been crafting marketing strategies for business leaders with the vision to transform industries. As the former Global VP of Marketing for the Regus Group, Andrea was a member of the leadership team that grew the company from $200 million to $1 billion in revenue in 5 years. During that time she created and executed the marketing programs to open one center a week, launch new countries, and new products including the Global Membership program, hot-desking. Since then she has run marketing to support more than 750 business centers across 65 countries. She launched Pirrotti Marketing Group in 2005 to help workspace providers to harness the power of tried and true marketing best practice to achieve their business objectives.