It’s amazing how people tend to become so enamored with Social Media, and all of the benefits attributable to it, that they completely neglect the fact that most businesses rely on contact with other individuals to close the sale. Like football, business is still a contact sport, even in the Social Media era.
Sure you can fill the funnel and crank up the new business lead generating “machine”, but at the end of the day, human contact is still necessary to close the deal for the majority of businesses. Unless you have a business that relies entirely on the Internet for the complete business cycle, human touch, and what you make of it, will dictate the ultimate success of the business. For many smaller businesses and professional service firms, this can involve face to face meetings and actual “eyeball to eyeball” contact. For others it may involve phone conversations with potential buyers. Regardless, in these situations, the sales skills of those interacting with the prospects and/or existing customers will almost always have a bearing on the success of the transaction.
Consider the importance of successful contact within your business and don’t put all of your eggs in the Social Media basket. Make sure that you staff accordingly and utilize Social Media and other marketing tools to fill the funnel, but ensure that you have capable individuals at the other end who can effectively interact with others and close the sale. All of the preparation and front end work could be meaningless, if this isn’t taken into consideration in your business planning.
Over the years many (many) people have asked me how to pitch to an Angel Investor for funding. To me it is very simple. As Tom Cruise said “Show me the MONEY,” Simply put an Angel Investor wants a clear, crisp and compelling path to how they are going to make much more money in a risky investment than they could on a very less risky Index Fund.
You say “What does an Angel Investor look for in that path?” Again simple. They look at five areas. They first look for a strong and experienced Management team with significant passion other than money, that they can trust in business as the world changes, that are optimistic they can succeed and also have character and integrity that others will follow. They secondly look for a strong and growing business opportunity in a growing industry and usually at least US $0.5B. Third, they look for a strong, relatively predictable business strategy that is practical and methodical so they can get their investment back in a defined period of time with significant profit. Fourth, they look to see if they believe the product/service’s value to the business’s customer is significant and Fifth, they look for a significant return on their investment by looking at a strong investment return.
You need to cover all these five areas in addition to talking in simple terms what the product is upfront. For example something like “We design, market, install and service Hospital Information Management Systems.” “The problem we solve is being more efficient while providing better quality of care for your family and mine” Again, very clear, crisp and compelling.
Then let the Angel Investor ask the questions they are most interested in.
For so many years, those who have been engaged in the marketing profession, have always used the 4P’s as the basic framework for their work in this area. This concept, however, has been challenged in recent years by many Social Media pundits as being irrelevant in this era of two-communication and direct engagement with audiences. I beg to differ, however, and contend that they are still quite relevant and should be the foundation of initiatives within marketing and its various disciplines, including Social Media. In order to adjust to the times, it is essential that the 4P’s, like anything in business or life, need to evolve. It appears that this is definitely the case with many now advocating further extensions of the concept to where it now includes up to 9P’s, or even more.
Just this week, in a talk in India, Philip Kotler, an icon in the marketing world, author of Kotler on Marketing and many other books and textbooks, as well as a distinguished professor at Northwestern University, elaborated further on the concept. He explained that the 4P’s needed to be expanded to include Pace, Passion and Public Relations as additional components. This was outlined in a blog posting by Pitch On Net.
For those who are not familiar with the term, the 4P’s were the creation many years ago by marketing professor E. Jerome McCarthy. He felt that marketing really should be focused on 4 key concepts: 1)Product; 2)Place; 3)Price; and 4)Promotion. I totally agree, as without subscribing to these your success in business will be greatly compromised. To be successful, you need:
1)A great, quality product(s) that satisfies the needs of the consumer.
2)A location either online or in a brick and mortar facility where you can be readily found.
3)Pricing that is competitive in the marketplace. If a luxury or unique item something which is positioned accordingly.
4)Promotional activities that create the necessary awareness and demand for the product. It could be the greatest product(s) in the world, but if no one knows about it, you’ll never sell any.
An Additional 5P’s
With the inclusion of Pace, Passion and Public Relations as additional components of the P’s of Marketing, it is apparent that an evolution is truly taking place. In addition, I’d like to add a couple of of others to round out this list and coin the phrase the 9P’s of Marketing. These include:
5)People, as these are critical to any marketing equation. Brian Solis, a well-known media strategist and author of Engage, and The End of Business As Usual, clearly explained why this should be listed in a blog post which he wrote in late 2011.
6)Persona, as this becomes part of who your company is and what it represents. This was so eloquently stated by professional writer, Pamela Rossow, in a guest blog post she wrote for this blog last June: ” The Additional 3P’s of Marketing & Social Media You Need to Know.”
I’m confident that the items listed above as additions to the 4P concept will continue to expand as conditions change. It’s only natural. In the meantime, I’d like for you to embrace the concept of the 9P’s of Marketing and use this as the framework for structuring your work in the marketing and Social Media arena. These are:
I, like many people, enjoy reading quotes. One good quote can really enlighten your day and provide you with the catalyst to spark your inner self to overcome obstacles or challenges that are in your way. Read often enough, they can help to change your mindset by continually feeding it with positive affirmations.
Below I have compiled a list of some of the top quotes that I have read this week which have been the most popular among my Twitter followers. I hope that you will enjoy this brief list and use it to quickly brighten your day.
Top Ten Quotes For W/E 3/9/13
3)Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.― Unknown RT @AnnTran_
5)Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing impossible. -St Francis of Assisi RT @ptarkkonen
6)All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney RT @EmpoweredLife
7)It is easy to be proud & harsh & selfish – so easy. But we have been created for better things. Mother Teresa RT @kimstarry
8)If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle RT @DrJeffersnBoggs
9)If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.~Frank A. Clark RT @Nicklaseter
10) Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out. ~ Art Linkletter RT @LoriMoreno
It’d be great to be joining all of the others attending SXSW, but many of us are simply unable to do so for one reason or another. It ‘s hard to say if Austin would even be able to accommodate all of us if we decided to all attend at one time. Many of us would probably end up in College Station or some other remote cities in order to find a comfortable hotel room.
In an effort to ensure that all of those not able to attend can enjoy the festivities, SXSW is providing a live stream of the events. Given the many great presentations, it would certainly be well worth your while to view many of these, if time allows. I would also suggest that you follow the #SXSW Twitter stream to see the reaction of the audience to the multiple events. It should be well worthwhile.
Even though you’re not able to attend this year, I, like you, should be making plans to attend next year’s festivities. #SXSW has really positioned itself as one of the most important events in Social Media. It will likely to continue to gain momentum as Social Media continues to permeate societies throughout the world.
WOW! The big game is only a day away. It’s hard to believe. It should be quite the EVENT. Both the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49er’s are great teams. It will be very entertaining and enjoyable for anyone, whether you’re a fan of football or not. Just the commercials alone are worth the price of admission. There’s already been a lot of buzz around a number of them including:
Coke- a number of Arab Rights Groups have indicated that the desert chase commercial is racist. It appears that over the past few days some of the controversy has subsided, but, nevertheless, it has created quite a bit of unanticipated commotion.
Besides these two controversial ones, we’ll probably all be treated to great TV commercials from the likes of Budweiser, Doritos, and Chrysler, to name a few. All have prepped for months to provide us with what will hopefully be captivating ads. Twitter Tweets and Facebook Posts will provide great feedback for the advertisers and entertain us with an added dimension to the game. It will certainly be the most engaged “second screen” experience to date.
Unlike the advertisers and players in the game, we’ve had it easy over the past few months and weeks. While the advertisers were probably finished with their ads a couple of months ago or earlier, the past week has undoubtedly been quite intense for the teams playing in the game. Just like they’ve done for months, they probably practiced hours on end on how to mount a solid offense to counteract the other’s defense, and the same on the defensive side. They both want to be capable of reacting to any possible situation that presents itself and achieve the ultimate goal of becoming the champions of Super Bowl XLVII.
You may be asking yourself what this has to do with Social Media and what we’re doing? Like the Super Bowl, we practice and prepare hours on end for what we’re doing. We should be focusing on both mounting a sufficient offense to attract new business and a defensive strategy to fend off any competitors. We also need to make sure that we have our “special teams” in place to capitalize and properly execute on any potential surprises that might arise. Also, as they will be doing in the game, we need to make adjustments on a quarterly basis so that we can become more productive and prosperous. We also need to enjoy a halftime where we can take some time away from the game and enjoy ourselves.
Unlike the Super Bowl, the final outcome for our business or personal “Super Bowl” won’t be known until the end of the year when we reflect on our annual performance. Did we have the correct strategies in place to grow our businesses? Did we assess our performance on a quarterly basis and have new strategies and tactics in place to remain competitive? Did we keep score throughout the game and measure the right things?
As we enjoy the few hours before the big game, I can’t think of a better time to get our own game plans in shape to ensure that the points we’ll score throughout the year will be maximized. We also want to surrender very few points, if any, to the competition.
Enjoy the game!
Regardless of whether you’re a fan of baseball or not, you’re probably aware of what a grand slam is and the significance it can make to a team’s success in running up the score and winning a game. I’d have to say that after reading “The Pursuit Of Social Business Excellence”, by Vala Afshar ( @valaafshar ) and Brad Martin ( @Brad_W_Martin ) that they’ve hit a grand slam in providing anyone in management with a well presented case for the complete integration of Social Media into a corporation and the critical role it can play in the overall success of the organization. Whereas there’s so much hype in how Social Media is the greatest thing since sliced bread, Vala and Brad provide a compelling argument that it can be a great thing for an organization if properly integrated within the overall business culture and processes of an enterprise. This is a MUST READ for any executive who wants to remain competitive in today’s business environment.
As part of the senior management team at the networking company, Enterasys, Vala and Brad do an excellent job in describing the who,what,why,and how of a company succeeding in the application of Social Media and Social Collaboration within a business. They’ve learned to love and embrace it. What’s more, it has produced phenomenal results with increased sales, significant cost savings, enhanced customer relationships, and improvements in employee satisfaction and retention. In fact, Enterasys has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best places to work in the greater Boston area. As they’ve emphasized, however, Social Media is not a “lone” soldier, but part of the transformation of an entire corporate culture and buy-in by employees. Without this, they contend that they would not have been successful and that no company can be in applying Social Media or Social Collaboration if these components aren’t present.
One thing I admire about the book is that it is a true case study of the best practices within a company. There’s no B.S.. It’s one of the best overall business books that I have read in years and encompasses many of the methodologies that I was exposed to in working with a large number of the world’s leading edge technology companies over the years. It appears that Enterasys has done an excellent job in benchmarking what others have done and has not only incorporated these within the company, but thoroughly utilizes continuous improvement to enhance them.
The “Customer As King” philosophy is paramount and is discussed throughout the book, but rather than strictly focusing on external customers, the importance of addressing the needs of internal customers and all stakeholders as a critical component to maximizing revenues and enhancing the bottom line is highly stressed. They highlighted the importance of adopting a customer in the kitchen attitude where the stakeholders are all part of mixing the ingredients to ensure the “meal” is the tastiest and most filling available. It’s all about creating an ecosystem that thrives from these initiatives.
Coupled with the stakeholder initiatives, Entrasys has embraced SalesForce.com’s Chatter application and utilizes this as the backbone for what it is doing. Not only is it being employed internally, but is being used with business partners, suppliers, and customers to encourage instantaneous communication and problem resolution. By integrating Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as emails, and other correspondence into this system, the entire platform has been transformed into a tool known as ISAAC (Intelligent Socially Aware and Automated Community). Now, almost everything that the company does is done through this system.
In closing, I was quite fortunate to have met with Vala last week while on a trip to Boston. We discussed the book and all of the great things going on with him personally and professionally. I found so many things about Vala and Enterasys to be fascinating, but perhaps one of the things that really hit home was his sincere appreciation for the works of Tom Peters, author of “In Search Of Excellence” and so many other books and one of the management authorities that I have been following for so many years. It was obvious to me that many of the ideas that have already been implemented at the company have been based on Tom’s principles, but that Vala, Brad and the others have been able to take these to new levels utilizing tools that were not available when Tom wrote his original works. Nevertheless, Vala and Brad are acutely aware that basic concepts still apply when it comes to ensuring success and that tools can’t replace a solid corporate culture, empathy for and proper engagement with all corporate stakeholders.
For further information on the book, or to order it, simply click on the following link:
It’s hard to believe that we’re closing in on the end of January. This month has really passed very quickly. For anyone seriously engaged in marketing and social media, it’s probably seemed like a real blur given the speed at which social media moves. Have you neglected to put a plan in place?
Nevertheless, there is still plenty of time left for planning and for proper execution of these plans during 2013. Wouldn’t be great to create some real fireworks with your plans or are you going to settle for the same old, same old?
Intuit has done a great job of summarizing how you should really take a look at this year and break it down into more manageable segments on a monthly basis to maximize your potential for success. These 12 monthly steps include:
JANUARY -Assess Your Social Fitness
FEBRUARY- Revisit Your Goals
MARCH- Establish Ways To Measure Success
APRIL- Be A Better Listener
MAY- Communicate In New Ways
JUNE – Develop Your Response To Customers
JULY- Integrate All Your Social Platforms
AUGUST-Integrate Other Inbound Activities
SEPTEMBER- Integrate Team Members
OCTOBER-Don’t Be Discouraged By Challenges
NOVEMBER- Lean From The Year In Review
DECEMBER- Look To The Future
Like any plan, you may find it necessary to skip a few steps or jump around in order to adjust to market conditions or customer needs. This infographic is a keeper and something which should be clearly posted as a reminder of how you might more effectively manage your precious time and realize the greatest results.
What do you think? Does this align with what you’re thinking for 2013? Is there anything that should have been added, removed, or out of place? I’d love to know.