By M. Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant
This post is part of a series taken from M. Dana Baldwin’s article Marketing: A Key to Long Term Success published in Compass Points February 2002. In Part One, we introduced the series and discussed What is marketing? In Part Two, we discussed taking the long view. In Part Three, we discussed What is included in the marketing effort? In this post we will discuss What Next?
What next? What relatively inexpensive things can we do to improve our image in the market place over time? Good question, and the answers here get a little less obvious and a little more difficult. One area to start with might be our sales force. Yes, earlier we said that the focus of selling is immediate and short term, and the focus of marketing is longer term. But, any sales person worth his/her salt has to realize that an investment in a longer-term strategy of positive image will eventually pay off for their immediate goals of more orders. Example: When I was in the machinery business, during the “depression” of 1980-81, we required our sales force to continue to make sales calls on all their customers and prospects. The purpose of this was, of course, to ask for orders. The second purpose (not secondary) was to be sure that our customers and prospects knew we were interested in serving them for the long term, in good times and in bad times, and that we were willing to make the effort and investment in contacting them, even if there was no immediate business to be had. Our competitors were sitting in their offices, waiting for the telephone to ring, while we were out, face to face, with our prospects. Who do you think got the phone calls when business started to improve? We did, and we reaped the benefit from this effort for a number of years after the recovery began.
If you are not already doing so, start to do some networking with your peers and your best customers. Talk with customers to find out whom else might need your products or services. Get referrals from satisfied customers. A referral from a satisfied customer is often one of the quickest ways to get the attention of new prospects. Talk to former customers to find ways to get them back. Tell them what you are doing better, and ask questions to determine how you might be able to lure them back.
In the next part of this series we will discuss What about longer term goals for marketing?
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M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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