Beyond the Horizon

APRIL 2018

Taxing Thoughts:

Last month I requested you share any “new” remedies you were trying AND offered to share a few of my partner-to-the-industry-ideas.  I received exactly zero suggestions.  Either everyone is too busy, there are no “new” ideas (shudder!), or the readership of this enewsletter is much lower (say it ain’t so!) than I feared?

No matter, I’m ready to uphold my end of the bargain! Consider the following notions – I’d love to hear your reactions!

#1.  Pick the same day of the month – first Wednesday or third Thursday, etc. – and host a Customer Solutions Happy Hour.  Ideally, at the same place, but you could also rotate this amongst favored establishments (customers, of course!) who would “pay” to host these sessions.  Perhaps limit the attendance to the first 25 responses?  Larger markets 50 – 75?  Maybe even host a drawing (free color? Free ad design?  One free digital service for a month?) for one lucky attendee?  Make this a special event people clamor to be a part of…something they talk about and share.

The goal is two-fold:  First of all to ask and listen and find out what your customers WANT FROM a media partner; and, secondly, to display your marketing prowess and offer assistance in meeting their stated objectives.

MOST small and mid-sized customers are mystified by the myriad of solutions and offerings available – their focus is on how to survive and grow their business!  Not on marketing (expense!!) which many consider a necessary evil.  So, if the trusted newspaper team-member helps with solutions, they’ll be thrilled.  Time and time again, SMB’s are amazed at how many solutions the traditional newspaper offers!

If done right and consistently and over time, it will be YOU becoming THE recognized marketing experts … how cool will that be?!

#2.  Related, and in case you didn’t notice, those you serve are CUSTOMERS, not just advertisers!  This distinction is worth adopting.  One of the services everyone offers is traditional “advertising”, but many also offer a host of marketing solutions running the gamut from digital, to events, to web site building, to custom publishing to, yes, display ads in paper.

Our print revenue (traditional advertising) is declining and in every case I know of our digital revenue is not growing fast enough, so we do not (repeat DO NOT) want to be known just as advertising sales executives.  Marketing specialists, solution providers, revenue drivers or even marketing mavens, but not just advertising!

3.  Speaking of offerings – cast a critical eye on your product portfolio.  Why?  A) To be sure the dozen (number will vary) or so most frequently deployed solutions have real (no allocations allowed!) margins; B) Be sure your Marketing Maven’s are conversant with all “12”; C) Get rid of unused products; and, D) Absolutely, positively be sure the solutions you offer lead to increased customer penetration.

In order:

  1. Every AD or CRO I speak with proudly proclaims, “…we offer a zillion-and-a-half products!”  That makes little sense to me, since I know our customers are NOT interested in a zillion solutions.  They seek the fewest that will still get the job done!
  2. By limiting the number it’s conceivable that your team will actually have the appropriate product knowledge required to talk about each one.  (I know full well you’ll introduce another one later this year!)
  3. Kudos to those who put a bullet in unprofitable solutions!  Determining what to STOP doing is more critical than ever.
  4. Every reader knows this – GROWTH comes from new customers.  Sure, we want to introduce our expanded offerings to our good partners, but we must systematically penetrate new customer categories with our new solutions or life is really going to suck.

4.  I will make it my personal mission to swiftly kick your derriere if you are not experimenting with a monthly recurring revenue solution!  It’s already the mantra on the content side of the house, but should be for the business side, too.  Capisce?

That’s a wrap.  Four notions to think about or report back if you are already well down these paths.  What do you think?  Want more – just ask.

Good success out there you studly and super-cool Marketing Mavens!

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