Sales and Marketing Advice
To grow business, step outside of your comfort zone and try new strategies
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Really! It’s hard to believe that anyone would declare this. But, that’s exactly what the commissioner of the U.S Office of Patients, Charles Duell, said in 1899.
Then there was this gem of a prediction from Ken Olson, the president of Digital Equipment Corporation, in 1977: “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
Say what! It’s a good thing that entrepreneurs and small business owners ignored these forecasts and pressed on with their ideas to achieve breakthrough results.
What about stepping outside of your comfort zone to try new strategies and tactics to grow you business?
Start by asking why sticking with the conventional wisdom of the day makes sense (or not) for your company. Either way, a little out-of-the-box thinking is called for -- an overused yet under-appreciated marketing term, so let’s use “be creative” instead.
Companies become stuck because they surrender to the idea that “we tried that and it can’t be done that way” or worse, “we always did it this way and there’s no reason to change.” That’s how you hit a wall and have trouble taking your company to the next level.
Your markets and customers are changing. Your competitors aren’t standing still either. And, marketing is changing too -- particularly digital and social media marketing. It may seem easier to stay on the path you’re on, but it’s not.
If the activities you’re stuck on aren’t producing the results you want, then there’s a good chance that a lot of work is getting you nowhere. That’s your hard earned money and time, both of which can be better spent.
You must constantly adapt. Suck it up and deal with it! So exactly how do you revitalize your marketing and breakthrough to the next level of sales growth?
Beef up your creative marketing thinking skills. Before brainstorming ideas, cultivate your ability to look at things differently. For instance, pick up a magazine from an industry other than your own to see what problems they face that are similar to your own -- maybe they’ve developed different ways to deal with them that will spark ideas. Go for a long walk with your spouse or a friend with absolutely no background in marketing and tell them what your goal is -- now work backwards talking through the needed steps and how you might take action. Bring in a marketing coach to facilitate a series of brainstorming sessions -- not someone who tell you what to do, but help you look at what you’re doing from a different perspective and cheer you on!
If Facebook doesn’t work for you, move on. Sometimes we are trapped into thinking that we must do this and that. So-called experts will say this is the way to sell your product or service. And in fact, there are many examples of other companies raking in the business doing that. Yet, it may not be right for your business. All too often it’s easy to try an activity and get it wrong -- even when you think you’re finding success and you’re really not. How will you know? Your posts result in a ton of engagement and nothing else. Your goal is to elevate awareness and increase the bottom line by getting people to take a specific action. Marketing platforms are ever changing and if you’re notwilling to put the time and effort into them, go ahead and move on. Just realize that whatever you end up doing will require an investment of time and money to learn the system. Many marketing activities, especially digital and social media channels, have become extremely powerful tools for advanced marketers and by definition aren’t easy to learn. Otherwise pay someone to do it for you.
Stop playing by the rules, switch it up, and change the game. First define the sandbox you think you’re stuck playing in, otherwise there will be no context and the outcome of a creative idea will hinge on luck if it’s not rooted in strategy. Then begin to consider every other possibility without rejecting any initial ideas. This is how new and unconventional solutions emerge. Identify every aspect of the issue and layout everything you can think of that created the problem -- even situations and topics that you ordinarily wouldn’t consider to be related. Don’t forget to keep your original goals in mind. At this point don’t worry about resources and budget. Write it all down, preferably on a really big whiteboard. Interesting things will begin to happen. Fresh ideas will take shape and new ways of achieving your objectives will appear. Now, sanity check your concepts against your time, resources, and budget.
Throw “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” thinking out the window. The time to be creative and invigorate your marketing is before fresh ideas start to run dry.
Don’t listen to the self-proclaimed pundits and be dissuaded by their conventional wisdom. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s good or effective for your business.
Nothing is impossible. Find a way. If you believe it can be done and that it will add value just do it -- as long as it’s strategic and you’re willing to commit the time and resources. Achieve your breakthrough results!
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.