Who Feeds Your Children? Who Can Feed Your Children?

Posted by John Park on Sep 25th, 2011
2011
Sep 25

I have business executives asking me all the time about time management and priorities.  As a business executive myself, believe me when I tell you that this is something I am working on as well.

Having said that, here is how I try to prioritize my to do list on a daily basis.

FIRST:  Take care of everyone that feeds you and your children.  (existing clients and customers)
SECOND:  Take care of everyone that can potentially feed you and your children.  (sales and prospects)
THIRD:  Everything else.

Don’t have children?  Substitute with anything or anyone that is of great value to you.

Can’t get to everything else?  Delegate or pay someone to do everything else for you.

2011
Jan 3

With the start of a new year, many businesses will decide to raise their prices. Sometimes, this significant step may be taken without any real logic or research behind the decision. This scenario is fueled by the fact that many are expecting the economic recovery to start in 2011. I caution businesses from doing this.

Optimism or a gut feeling doesn’t create demand. Price considerations should closely match actual demand for your products and services. In addition, significant competitive analysis should take place before implementing price increases.

Here are some reasons why raising prices at the beginning of the year is risky.

1) Many businesses are in the shopping mode in January because they are hoping to implement new initiatives. Don’t force them to add your products or services on the shopping list due to a price increase.

2) Raising prices is a great way to alienate your existing customers. Remember, these are the same customers that have helped you ride out the last few turbulent years.

3) The practiced logic of raising prices on the calender year is ridiculous. This action does not serve anyone except the accountants who wish to keep things in neat order.


Don’t over step your own confidence about your business, the industry and the marketplace by raising prices abruptly. When it comes to raising prices, the cart does not come before the horse.

Have you identified who your customers are?

Posted by John Park on Dec 1st, 2010
2010
Dec 1

 

When I meet for the first time with a prospective client, one of the first questions I ask is…

Who is your customer?

It’s a simple question really because in order for us to help them locate more customers, we need to define who these ideal prospects are.  Unfortunately, most of the answers I get are very general or in some cases, the question outright stumps them. Here are some example answers.

“Everyone!”

“Any woman!”

“Teenagers!”

“Any business.”


Okay… but who exactly are they?  Anyone who has experienced high school or 3rd grade for that matter knows how different people can be regardless of their obvious and mostly generalized similarities.  As you plan for 2011 and as you attach numbers to your marketing and advertising budgets, defining exactly who your customers are and challenging yourself as well as your staff to be as specific and detailed as possible should be a worthwhile exercise.

Only after you’ve truly defined your customer can you benefit from where you have been and determine where you are going.  When defining your customers, here are some things you should take in to consideration.


1)  Make a list of your 10 favorite existing customers.  Who are they?  What do they have in common?  They are your favorites because they value your products or services the most.  And they value it the most because they see value in what they are receiving from your products and services.
 
2)  Make a list of what you do or sell REALLY well.  Be honest.  You can’t be everything to everyone.
 
3)  A gender is not an identified customer.
 
4)  Everyone or every business is not an identified customer.
 
5)  When attaching an age range, don’t use a span greater than 10 years.
 
6)  An income range is not generally an identified customer unless further defined by buying habits and lifestyle.
 
7)  An identified customer is often in a “situation”.  When we are in a “situation”, we generally need something or someone.
 
8)  The chances are who you think or want to be your customers are not your customers.  This is not an exercise in who you want as your customers.  Instead, it’s about identifying who your customers are TODAY.
 
 
Define your customers first before deciding where to spend your ad and marketing dollars.

Once they are defined, GO AFTER THEM!
 
 
 


Until Next Time…



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Choose Your Customers, Choose Your Future

Posted by John Park on Nov 12th, 2009
2009
Nov 12

This is a great post by Seth Godin.  His advice may be one of the hardest approaches to actually act upon but he is right.  After you read his post, you’ll agree.  The problem is… can we ALL do this in this economy?

Marketers rarely think about choosing customers… like a sailor on shore leave, we’re not so picky. Huge mistake.

Your customers define what you make, how you make it, where you sell it, what you charge, who you hire and even how you fund your business. If your customer base changes over time but you fail to make changes in the rest of your organization, stress and failure will follow.

Sell to angry cheapskates and your business will reflect that. On the other hand, when you find great customers, they will eagerly co-create with you. They will engage and invent and spread the word.

It takes vision and guts to turn someone down and focus on a different segment, on people who might be more difficult to sell at first, but will lead you where you want to go over time.


Until Next Time…



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Business Discounting — The Rules of Engagement

Posted by John Park on Feb 15th, 2009
2009
Feb 15

 
If you’re running a business, it’s pretty tough these days to avoid offering your products and services at a discount.  Everywhere you turn, there are sales, promotions and giveaways to entice the all elusive buyer.  Offering incentives is a good thing but like all marketing endeavors, there are some basic rules of engagement you should abide by to garner maximum results.
 
Here is a quick refresher for you.
 
 
1)  If you sell a product that costs less than $75, use percentages instead of actual dollar figures.  10% off of $25 sounds a lot better than $2.50 off.  There are exceptions like low cost food items but this is generally the rule to follow.
 
2)  ALWAYS add a time limit.  This creates a sense of urgency to act now.
 
3)  Offering a product for free when it already has an established value is very powerful.  I am referring to the timeless tactic of “2 for 1″.  Let’s face it.  We just love these offers.
 
4)  If the product or service does not have a clear established value, you must clearly define one.  What sounds better?
 
- Buy a coat and get a cashmere scarf for free!
- Buy a coat and get a cashmere scarf valued at $75 for free!
 
5)  Consider marketing loss leaders.  This is a strategy in which a business offers a product or service at a price that is not profitable for the sake of offering another product or service at a greater profit or to attract new business relationships.  Have you ever walked through Ikea?  Do you remember the large baskets at every corner promoting $5 clocks and desk lamps?
 
6)  If you offer a service, let them try it for free.  Use this only when you have complete faith and confidence in the value of your service.  Use a white hat (ethical) approach.  Don’t charge their credit card just because they forgot to cancel the free trial.  Allow them to upgrade to a pay service.  Establish a value for what you’re letting them try for free.
 
7)  If you sell a product that can be sold on an on-going basis, give them an initial purchase price that is significantly lower than your regular price.  Again, you must have complete faith and confidence in the value of your product.  For example, a manufacturer of rubber gaskets might offer a new prospect a significantly low price for the initial shipment.  And, if the new customer loves the product, you now have an on-going repeat customer.  Again, establish a value for the initial purchase.
 
8)  Don’t be a Business Discount Wimp?  This is what I call the “What would you do?” rule.  Remember, you are trying to inspire buyers to act.  You won’t do this by offering little to no savings and by preloading your offers with cumbersome conditions.  Just ask yourself, “Would I be inspired to act on this offer?”  Be honest.  You know the answer.
 
9)  Don’t forget the SECOND reason why you are offering an incentive.  The first reason is obvious.  It’s to generate immediate revenues.  The second rule might not be so obvious.  By offering a product or service at a discount, you are initiating a new business relationship.  And if you take care of this new relationship properly, it should garner you many more sales down the road for years to come.  Be careful about being too short-sighted.  In my opinion, the second reason is more important than the first.
 
 
Until Next Time…
 
“Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated.  You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” David Lloyd George
 
 
 

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