Thursday, February 19, 2009

How to Maximize your Marketing in a Turbulent Economy

Recently I have been blogging about how individuals can do something positive during these turbulent economic times. One choice I have made is to be more selective about the companies I do business with. I commented on a local repair shop in Collingwood, Coxy’s and my financial institution, Parama. Both provide great customer service.

Since then, I have been asked to take this a step further. Steve, a good friend, challenged me to get out and help good companies improve the effectiveness of their marketing in this challenging business environment. He gets credit for the title of this week’s post, “Maximize your Marketing in a Turbulent Economy”. Thanks Steve.

Since then I have refined a simple 3-step program that any business can implement to get their marketing programs working more effectively. And NOW is the time to start!

Here is the 3-step plan: Give great customer service, charge a fair price and provide added value. In these turbulent times, these are the only three things a business needs to focus on in order not only to survive, but thrive. And while every company operates in different circumstances, these can be applied to improve marketing effectiveness.

First, give great customer service. I can’t say enough about this. Companies are always looking for a point of difference, a unique selling proposition (USP). This is it! It is at the heart of marketing because it puts the customer first. And for a smaller business facing stiff competition it is the one thing that can provide a tangible point-of-difference against larger competitors.

Second, charge a fair price. Here is a quick example they don’t teach in business school. On a recent ski day at Blue Mountain with a good friend who operates a successful business in the GTA, he received a call from a customer asking if he could get a reduced price on a quote. My friend confidently responded that at the quoted price, the customer would get his products on time, guaranteed, and would get his usual level of follow-up service. That brief exchange demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the price/value equation. And it worked!

Third, provide added value. You don’t always have to discount your prices to increase sales. Charge a fair price but offer the customer more that has great perceived value for the customer. At a restaurant chain I worked for, we offered a free soft drink with purchase of regularly priced sandwiches. It worked because the soft drink had good perceive value at a low cost.

Com-Tekk in Wasaga Beach does all three really well. (www.comtekk.net)

I had a problem with my computer last week. No, I didn’t break it as I did with the snow blower; it just started to shut down intermittently. I took it in to Com-Tekk dreading the worst. When Jeff, the Sales Manager called after only a day and a half, telling me it was ready, I was pleased. They performed extensive tests of the hard drive and other components and cleaned the interior thoroughly all for about an hour’s service time. Turns out that the power unit had likely been overheating leading to the power shutting off. And to top it off, he offered suggestions for how to back up my work files more effectively.

Obviously I will use them again. They understood my problem, fixed it at a fair price and cheerfully gave some great advice.

If these 3 steps are implemented, success will follow.

4 comments:

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  2. It's truly amazing how many companies don't seem to get the customer service thing...what is it? Too expensive to train their staff or what? But despite how important it is...I'm still baffled why it's in such short supply??

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  3. Chris, I liked your post. It says what we all should have learned in Kindergarten or Business 101 or wherever. Thanks for stating it in a way to make it more relevant, we all needed to hear it again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comments. I too am always surprised when companies can't figure out that there really is no silver bullet. Or put another way, the silver bullet is doing the basics well all the time. :)

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