During The Question-And-Answer Period Of A Presentation You Should Not The Best Marketing Tools Ever – And How to Pick The Right One(s)

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The Best Marketing Tools Ever – And How to Pick The Right One(s)

One of the most frequent questions I get from other cash flow professionals is “What are the best marketing tools and methods to find new prospects?” The truth is that there is no silver bullet and one size does not fit all. Some marketing tools and strategies work better for some, while others… well, you get the idea.

So, the correct answer to these questions is “It depends”. Of course, no one wants to hear that answer because it’s not what anyone wants to hear and everyone thinks I’m avoiding the question. Is this an honest and correct answer? Yes. Does this help? No. Or is it?

Perhaps if we understand what “it depends”, we will better focus on how to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing by choosing the most productive tools and strategies. By the way, by “effectiveness” I mean the quantity and quality of marketing results, while “efficiency” refers to the investment (ie, money and/or time) required to achieve the results.

So what does it depend on? What are the variables that really influence the success or failure of your marketing the best? This may come as a surprise, but here are the main contributors and most important variables that you can directly influence that account for most of the difference between your marketing success and failure:

1. You (your background, skills, abilities, personality, style, etc.)

2. You marketing message and communication

3. Your investment (time and money)

However, the marketing tools you choose to send your marketing messages to your target group also play a role, of course.

To illustrate this point I first grouped the various and commonly used marketing tools/strategies into three distinct groups:

1. Direct method such as ads, direct mail, flyers, brochures, websites, and even cold-calling: The purpose of marketing is clear. This is a one-on-one delivery directly to your target group and clearly focused on the benefits of your product/service).

2. Indirect method such as networking, presentations, articles, press releases, and social media: Marketing is more subtle and more than informative in nature. The benefits communicated may be more generic, ie, not only linked to your specific product/service but to the product/service category. It is delivered to groups – not individuals – which may also include contacts outside of your intended and immediate target group.

3. A 3rd party referral method is a typical relationship based marketing approach; you are not “marketing” per se, but you are building relationships and a network of strategic alliances with people who can and will refer business to you. Also called “word of mouth” marketing.

Based on our own experience and what others have told us about theirs, we can rank various marketing “delivery tools” by their effectiveness and efficiency. Now, this information can be useful when you need to decide which marketing tools to use and which ones you can do without. Here’s a summary of what we found:

Referral based marketing / word-of-mouth strategies are rated as most effective and most efficient. It seems reasonable, because nothing beats a good recommendation, and all you have to do is earn one! Of course, this is often easier said than done.

Including “indirect methods‘, networking is also seen as very effective, but not very effective, because it involves a heavy investment of time and patience. The results are visible in the medium and long term, but success does not come overnight.

Direct methods“- especially advertising, direct mail, and even the often avoided cold call are effective marketing delivery tools. Of course, they also rank among the least efficient, because they require a lot of investment (both money and time).

The final vote on social media strategies hasn’t been and still is and is currently a mixed bag at best. Some have high hopes and swear by it, others consider it a waste of time.

others”direct methods” such as websites, brochures, and business cards are considered a clear “must have”, but their value as New-Business-Development tools seems limited.

While this is a good start and can work as an initial guide, we must realize that this is not a “scientific model” with lots of numbers behind it. This is just an aggregate of opinions. Opinions of experts, but opinions still. Second, the model is only derived from marketing tools used in a B2B environment without any validation in the business-to-consumer marketing world. Although I suppose the similarities are probably there.

However, the most “noise” in this data comes from three variables that aren’t even on the map: You, your marketing messages, and your investment (money and time)! And this is why.

While most people agree that “client referrals” are one of the most effective and efficient methods to develop new business, other “tools” are less clear, because it really depends on how you it is used.

Take networking for example. Again, most people report that networking is a very effective and efficient business development tool for them. But imagine what would happen if you were a bad networker who made all the common networking mistakes under the sun. Do you think networking is an effective marketing tool for you?

Or get cold calling. People who do it right see it as an effective tool for business development. Those who don’t do it right usually pooh-pooh it and consider it an anachronism or a waste of time and resources. But think about it! Of course, cold calling won’t work for you if…

  • you are too scared to pick up the phone
  • you don’t say the right things when someone answers the phone
  • you don’t invest enough time to make enough calls
  • you are wasting too much time calling the wrong people.

Or, if you can’t give a decent speech or presentation in front of a group of people, even if your life depends on it, don’t do it! Presentations and public speaking engagements will not work for you.

The same goes for any other marketing tool or method as well, by the way. If you don’t use it properly, it won’t work. No surprises here I hope.

What’s worse, if your marketing message stinks, it doesn’t matter how you broadcast it to planet prospects, ie, through advertising, direct mail, flyers, websites, magazine articles, brochures, etc. not just a job. End of story.

The point of all this nonsense is this:

1. Referral based marketing system usually gives the best results at the most reasonable level of investment. The downside is that you can’t control your pipeline, because you’re relying on leads that other people send your way. To manage towards specific, measurable goals in a given period of time, so you can’t just rely on referrals to build your business.

2. Indirect marketing methods provide an excellent complement to whatever else your marketing plan calls for. They allow you to establish an “expert” status and – if done correctly – move you away from a hard-selling approach to a consultation. However, since you can’t always control who your audience is, you also can’t manage numeric and time-sensitive business development goals with this method.

3. Direct marketing method it’s the only thing that puts you in control of your business development goals. However, those that are considered the most effective are also the ones that require the most investment. Either in terms of money or time or both.

However, before you decide which marketing tools and methods to use, make sure you get the other parts right: Persuasive marketing messages as well as the professional skills and expertise required for the particular marketing tools (eg for cold calling, networking, article writing, public speaking, etc.). Then figure out how much money and time you can invest in your marketing efforts.

So, to hit a home run in your next marketing plan, consult the analysis above with the caption, create a powerful marketing message, and focus your marketing resources and budget only on marketing methods that

a) play to your personal strengths, and

b) reach and penetrate your target group.

Remember, in the end, it’s not about which marketing methods you choose, but how you implement them. And don’t forget: While your target group may consist of businesses, the recipient of your marketing barrage is still a human. So whatever you do, keep it personable!

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