Paging Vince Lombardi

When Vince took over the Green Bay Packers in the late 50’s they needed help. He was famous for taking them back to the basics by holding up the pigskin and yelling out “this is a football.” And so it is in our businesses. We get so far from where we started that we think the only thing that can save us is a magic bullet. Marketing is the area that we are always looking for that magic bullet.

Technology may have changed especially since the advent of computers but the heart and soul of marketing is still understanding human motivation. One of the old marketing gurus said “psychology + communication = salesmanship.”

Just like carpet cleaning or restoration we need to always remember the principles. Here are the four marketing principles that create the foundation for everything else we do.

Target – who is my most profitable customer? You cannot be everything to everyone. In the beginning you may do some jobs that do not fall within your designated target. You do have bills to pay. Most everyone says they want to target high-end residential. And that is a great market but if everyone targets them maybe you should choose a different target.  Ultimately the target you want is the one that provides you with the best return on your investment or ROI.

Message – the message is not “I am the best.” Except for Avis Car Rental no one ever says I am second best. The question every consumer has for you is ‘why should I choose you?‘ This is referred to as your Unique Service/Selling Proposition (USP). What is your USP? This is the hardest principle. Some may say how much difference can there really be in carpet cleaning. I am sure you could say the same thing about table salt. Just don’t tell the people at Morton Salt there isn’t a difference.

Media – which media works best within your budget? If you listen to advertising salespeople whatever they are selling today is what will make you rich. Ask for names of satisfied customers.  Ask for a guarantee.  The Internet has changed business by equalizing large and small companies. You can target very small groups or neighborhoods very easily. Mass mailing such as Val Pak and antiquated media such as the Yellow Pages are the wrong vehicles for small businesses. Do not rely on any statistics other than your own testing. Do not run an ad unless you can measure the results.

Retention method – now how do I keep them for  life or what is referred to as Lifetime Value (LTV)? In this business it will average around $100.00 to attract a customer for the first service. You must retain that customer or your business will fail. Ideally that customer should receive a communication from you on a monthly basis. Make sure it is something the customer doesn’t mind receiving such as a newsletter. Ask the customer how they prefer to hear from you. Then do it.

Yes I know you have heard all this before. But when is the last time you actually went back and reviewed your marketing plan to see if you have strayed from the principles. C’mon it is easier than trying to block a blitzing linebacker.

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