This topic is a bit more esoteric, but I think worthy of discussion. In our careers we encounter various requests from customers, business partners, and corporate colleagues - all asking of us something. I like to group these requests into two categories:
Accomplish task A and B and deliver them on-time and on-budget. Do the job as requested and everyone is happy.
Behind the requested task is often something deeper. It could be organizational, a lack of project clarity, constraints on manpower and budgeting, even reluctance on the part of the person asking for the project to move forward.
Your ability to first realize and then attempt to address this unspoken request can prove invaluable to your customers and partners and can build an order from a single task to a larger project if you are able to effectively communicate a solution that addresses both their immediate and deeper concerns.
In my own career, I have encountered many situations in which, after first acknowledging the immediate need, I was able to get more information on what I suspected was the unspoken request and then was able to formulate a fuller solution for the customer that not only increased the breadth of the project, but also demonstrated greater value to them and strengthened our relationship.
In terms of colleagues and business partners, anticipating and understanding their unspoken requests can head-off problems and project delays before they happen. Opening up that dialogue gets you out in front of what could be an issue before it effects your deliverables.
As marketers I think sometimes we get too focused on filling the order versus looking at the client and the situation and determining what they really need and what will give them the greatest value in the long-term.
When have you realized and addresses a customer's or colleague’s unspoken request?
Please join the conversation.
When I look at businesses quite often the skill set I find missing in the executive management team is marketing. Most organizations are well staffed with seasoned employees who understand Finance and Accounting, Engineering, and Operations, but when it comes to the discipline of marketing they are lacking. In the past, when I have asked about this knowledge gap at the management level, the usual response I get is “Oh, we have so-and-so who handles creating brochures.” That is not marketing. And that missing skill set could be the difference between success and failure in your business.
So what is marketing and why does a company need a high-level marketing asset at the executive level? In a nutshell, marketing is strategy. It is looking at the internal strengths and weaknesses of the organization and the marketplace as a whole and plotting a course for the company that will lead to financial reward. A good Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has his/her attention focused on making sure every aspect of the organization is in alignment and focused on meeting the needs of the company’s target audience – that includes everything from the product itself to the customer service experience to the promotional campaigns. The CMO is also responsible for researching and discovering new markets for existing products as well as working with engineering and product management on product line extensions and new product development to keep the organization thriving. A good CMO understands market research, product and campaign development, and is an expert in strategic development and execution.
When clients ask me what to look for in a CMO, I recommend the following:
While a chief marketing officer can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful business, they are not inexpensive and finding a good one may take time. In lieu of bringing on a full-time CMO, I have recommended to clients that they add a marketing executive to their board of directors. While it may not offer the same level of interaction as a full-time employee, it does give the company the benefit of having a disciplined marketing perspective on their business and can keep the organization from making a costly mistake. If your company does not have a board of directors you can accomplish much the same thing by forming an advisory committee that can fill in these missing skill sets and provide the organization with C-Level expertise at a lower cost than trying to hire full-time employees.
As the saying goes “You don’t know what you don’t know” but as you look around your company if you find you are missing a skill set from your executive team, such as marketing, take steps to fill in that missing knowledge. Rest assured, what you are lacking is mission-critical to your business success.
You’re a manufacturer - you make things. Good things. While that should be enough to bring new customers to your door, unfortunately it is not. You see, all of your competitors are claiming they make a product that is just as good as yours. Perhaps they boast different features, higher outputs, or a lower price that makes their product more appealing - the possibilities are endless. The point is this; whether you operate in a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) or Business-to-Business (B2B) environment, your competitors are shouting just as loudly as you, if not louder, to get the attention of your target audience. If you think just being a good manufacturer is enough, you need to think again.
Three Things You Need To Ask Yourself:
“If You Build It, They Will Come.” was a wonderful sentiment from the movie Field of Dreams. Unfortunately, in manufacturing it is probably closer to “If you Build It, Build It Well, Market it Well, Follow-Up Promptly on Customer Requests, Provide First Rate Customer Service, Excellent Sales Support, and Make Sure You are Properly Differentiated in the Market and In-Front of Your Target Audience, They Will Come.” Not as romantic, I know.
Are you a manufacturer challenged by how to market your products or with some good advice to share with others? Join the conversation.
Glad to talk with Hassan Archer about "the one thing" he thinks clients really need to address first - even if it's uncomfortable.
We are worried about what we will miss. What decisions will be made without us…and maybe, just maybe, that we are not as indispensable as we like to think we are.
What if you could completely unplug and take the time you need to rest and recuperate? No emails, no text, and no Zoom conference calls. Just time to recharge your batteries so you come back fresh and ready to take on the world.
You can. Prior to the Internet and smart phones, the very nature of days off and vacations was to be unplugged from your everyday.
The decision starts with setting boundaries. Letting those you work with, from direct reports to supervisors and clients, know that you will not be reachable. That they will have the ball in your well-earned absence. True, you will have to trust those you work with to competently handle the tasks left to them – as they will have to do with you when they take a time off.
Imagine working with a group of people that offers that level of trust and support to each other. Some pre-planning and tasks lists may be required initially, but this is kind the culture you want, and for many of us, need.
Have a great 4th of July weekend.
This short assessment will give you a quick snapshot of where your company stands in the areas of marketing, strategy, and finance compared to other organizations.
Seth Avergon and Marni Hale discuss "the one thing" she thinks really makes a difference with her clients in marketing - both in how they operate and their bottom line.
I had a chance to speak at Empower Lab this week on Marketing for Top Talent.
Sometimes we run into unexpected surprises. I was doing some research for a client who wanted to see a list of publications I had been cited in when I ran into a listing from April of this year that noted one of my podcasts on marketing as one of the Top Eight Marketing Podcasts to listen to in 2020. Needless to say, I was both excited and surprised. I had no idea. A nice holiday surprise.
Happy Holidays everyone. :)