Today’s businesses are much more efficient with their marketing spend than any time in history. Disciplined companies can quantify marketing spend, rank it for effectiveness, and optimize it for results. This can (and should) include stopping marketing activities that do not yield sufficient results. Every dollar spent on marketing should be returned back to the business in profit. Marketing is the businesses equivalent to a slot machine, however we can (and should) rig the machine. If you put a nickel into the machine, you should get 6 cents back. Marketing is the Perpetual Money Machine.
John Wanamaker‘s famous quote is “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
There is a lot to this quote. First and foremost, it paints advertising in a negative light. He could have said “…half the money I spend on advertising is effective”, but the quote would have lost its cache. Secondly, it has a “defeatist” tone, he admits that he has a business problem that cannot be fixed. Thirdly, he’s speaking in plain terms. Had he said that “my marketing attribution model is insufficient”, very few people would have raised eyebrows.
Undoubtedly, Wanamaker’s pain still exists today. These circumstances still persist, especially in larger companies that have many marketing activities acting at the same time. However, the power lies with smaller businesses. There are an arsenal of free marketing techniques available to small businesses that can yield new customers and new revenue. A business owner can (and should) post a compelling message on their website, send pointed-emails, and post eye-catching social media. These free techniques grow companies if they are used effectively. The great thing about the perpetual money machine in today’s society is that it does not even require a nickel to play the game. It’s time to rig the slot machine.
If you are interested in growing your business on a limited budget, we can help you–let’s chat.
The majority of organization leaders want their organization to do more. These leaders either want to serve more customers or provide more value to existing customers. This growth mentality is at the heart of the capitalist system. It’s ingrained in us. Our desire to do more is not necessarily a bad thing, achievement is at the heart of the human existence. While many companies want to grow, the manner that they grow can be quite different. The central question is: are you going to raise funds or bootstrap?
The Virtue of Venture Capital Funds
The rise of venture capital is a microcosm of the capitalist system. At the core of capitalism is the believe that markets will resolve discrepancies. Venture capital is the creation of a market to validate business ideas that have not been completely flushed out. While an injection of cash certainly helps many organizations grow, it does not guarantee it. In fact, there are instances where the injection of cash creates more organizational hurdles for companies that were not yet ready for growth.
The Trials and Tribulations of Bootstrapping
Many new organizations are still finding their footing and bringing on investors can be scary. As a result, many organizations choose not to take on any capital, they choose to make it on their own. However, this approach has challenges of its own. Without expanding the team’s knowledge beyond the existing group, the organization is limited to the skills of the existing team.
Bootstrap to Raise Cash
While venture capital funds can be beneficial to growth, often times it glazes over the structural business problems. On the other hand, there is nobility in trying to make it on your own, but that also has limitations.
Our advice to our clients remains the same–bring on investors when you don’t need them. Run your business off cash flow and grow as the cash grows. When an investor wants to help you grow and brings capital to the table, you will get much better terms without needing the money. This route ensures that your business will never be incumbent to shareholders and their often unrealistic expectations.
If you are curious to know how to get to market without raising any venture capital money, let’s have a conversation–I bet we can help you figure it out.
Growing companies understand their ideal customer better than stagnant companies do. This is because many of these growing companies have processes in place to continuously evaluate and incorporate customer feedback. Further, these companies use this information to consistently drive more revenue and streamline costs. Some companies even bring clients into the product development process and build portals to provide visibility to the product road map. Additionally, many of the largest companies use marketing analytics to figure out how best to market their business. Thus, understanding your customers may be the biggest gap between companies on the move and those who are on the treadmill.
Understanding your Customers
Believe it or not, building a feedback loop between the customer and the company is not all that difficult. The first step is to figure out who your ideal customer is. Unfortunately, there are many companies that do not know who their ideal customer is. Don’t worry, we can help. These companies seek more information about their customers, including the customers’ biggest challenges, what they do well, how to help them, and what motivates them. Organizations that can demonstrate that their offering is the most-compelling to their ideal customers are organizations that are going places.
Building a Customer Feedback Process
There are many different ways to capture this information from customers. The passive approach (which Saffron Key does for you) is to evaluate your marketing to see which marketing efforts resonate the most with your ideal customer. Some messages will perform better than others. The active approach requires conversations with your customers. They can be face-to-face meetings, phone calls, surveys, etc… When soliciting active feedback from a customer, it is important to realize that they are busy. If you want them to help you build your business, you’ll have to offer them something of value. The more you ask, the more you should be prepared to give.
Saffron Key and the Voice of the Customer
Saffron Key brings the voice of the customer to your team. We start with a basic understanding of who your customer is. We deploy marketing strategies that will help us learn more about your customer to drive more revenue. If you’re curious about how aligning to customers can help you grow your business: let’s chat.
There are a lot of organizations who know they could be doing better with their marketing. However, many do not know how to do it themselves. Further, they do not know how to find the right marketer to help them started. Often times these organizations do not even know where to start the conversations. Where do I start? Do I do Facebook Ads? Do I put up a billboard? Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the challenges. Once these organizations get started, they typically do not have a sense for whether the marketing investment is working to drive them more business or not. In short, finding the right marketer can be hard.
Saffron Key’s Partners
We have spent a long time cultivating a collection of partners that are capable of delivering on specific marketing tasks, but align to our 5 marketing principles. By staying within our network, we collectively promise to grow your business. We will build the marketing foundation for you to learn more about your customer and deliver value to them. As your company grows, so too will your marketing activities.
- Freelock is a web development company that believes “every website can do more”. This studio specializes in high-quality web presence and a consistent method to consistently improve the overall value of the website to your business.
- Iron Egg is a web development company that serves two audiences exceptionally-well. There are some companies that simply need a basic web presence to start their content marketing services–this should not be expensive or complicated. They also focus on high-end custom-build websites for the companies that require a heavy design touch.
- Highly Anticipated specializes on finding your central voice and delivering a high-quality visually-stunning presence. This organization understands an organization’s brand and central message better than most.
- WebCami delivers custom-built wordpress sites that deliver based on your business need.
While there are many organizations capable of driving high-quality SEO, we have found few better examples of delivering on a shoestring budget than EZRankings.
Finding the Right Marketer
There are many ways to start the marketing process, but few approaches in the beginning are more-effective than a well-built website with search engine-optimized content behind it. It is this foundation that is at the core of the Saffron Key offering. With our partners–we promise to deliver value to your business. As we build a larger following for your business, we’ll be able to expand our offerings and create even more value. Marketing, if it is done right, is like pushing a snowball down a hill.
If you are curious to know how a cohesive brand story, paired with a well-built website and high-quality can grow your business–let’s chat.
There are many organizations who want “more”. They want more revenue, more customers, or more growth. Some companies have more success getting new customers than others. The companies that find new customers tend to follow a series of steps to make sure that their marketing is heading them in a positive direction. These organizations view their marketing activities as a laboratory. Each time they aim to expand what they know and their network of customers. In the early business growth stages, organizations should be using their marketing activities to learn more. As the organization grows, they can learn more AND add more customers.
Building a Marketing Foundation
The first step for many companies is to “stop guessing” what will work and build a data ecosystem to start to understand customers’ sentiments in more detail. Believe it or not, companies have a number of free tools available to them in the early stages. As the company grows, they can add more sophistication to their data capture and learn more about their customers. Building a marketing laboratory will show organizations which messages will land which ones will not. Repeating the messages that resonate is a key to success.
Business Growth Stages
Building on the marketing foundation, the first few stages can be pretty overwhelming.
- If your organization does not have any existing customers, you are “pre-market”. This means you are exploring an idea that might be worth exploring. We strongly encourage entrepreneurs who are “pre-market” to ensure you have your customer pain nailed. Developing a new business or a new offering is expensive–and if it does not have any customers coming with it–it will be devastating.
- There are some organizations that have some customers, but they spend all day every day serving these customers and cannot ever find another set of customers. These companies are on the treadmill. Unfortunately, they’re likely to stay there until they can improve their operations to serve their customers and start marketing to find new customers.
There are many businesses who provide an incredible service to the marketplace, but they do not provide strong marketing. Thus, their business never expands beyond their current size. These organizations are forever in the early stages. Hiring a marketing service provider to broadcast the value of the message will allow the company to focus on its offering and serving the new customers. If you are ready to take your business to the next phase, let’s talk about working together.
Marketers are notoriously good at buzzword bingo. They use terms like PPC, CTA, or CTR. They talk about “customer acquisition activities” or they “optimize their pipeline.” It is usually about this time that their audience’s eyes’ glaze over. Most people do not know what these terms mean–and they lose interest. If they knew this language, they probably would not need any support building a marketing strategy.
Building a Marketing Strategy
Building a marketing strategy is a multi-step approach. Step one is to understand the business in it’s current state. The next step is to understand the organization’s position in the market. Then marketers must figure out where the company wants to go. The fourth step is to explore which marketing strategies will be most effective to get them there and how to deploy them. Unfortunately, the last step is overlooked the most: it must be communicated in the language of the business, not in marketing buzzwords.
Understanding Marketing Options
The challenge that this presents is that it requires marketers to measure marketing actions using marketing metrics and terms. However, these results have to be translated back in a language people can understand. Certainly, PPC may yield higher CTRs than Reputation Management. However, communicating this to somebody that does not understand what PPC, CTR, or Reputation Management is useless. More people are comfortable hearing that “Google Ads will bring you more potential customers than Yelp!” This language makes marketing simple. Effective marketing requires using marketing metrics, but checking that language at the door.
Many organizations simply want more customers to bring them more revenue. Many marketers can help them get more customers and more revenue, but the only thing they seem to offer is a bunch of Scrabble tiles. I’ll see your “Influencer” and raise you a “multichannel”. It goes without saying that SEO is the freespace. In many ways, organizations are not just looking for the marketing results, they are looking to better understand marketing basics so that they can make better business decisions.
If your organization simply wants more customers and more revenue, but does not want to play buzzword bingo, contact us to learn how to build an individual marketing strategy that will find you new customers and new revenue.