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Marketing, Changes, and Good Times

For the past two months, I’ve been heads-down, working almost exclusively on our new marketing plan for FY2012 through FY2013. Wow. What an adventure! There really is something to be said about walking away from the nitty-gritty of running a business and asking key questions like “What makes us different?”, “How do we show that difference?”, and, perhaps most importantly, “How do we embed that difference in our internal culture? “

I went through that process, which has just ended (at least the paperwork has ended—reevaluating your company and culture is never-ending), and I learned a lot about us and our staff.

The big highlights that came out of this process:

  • We clarified our Remarkable Difference. I did this by asking myself and others “Why is it we do this work?” And I kept coming back to the fact that we love that we help people. I’ve written that into our Remarkable Difference Statement.
  • We clarified our Differentiator. Because we’re so focused on quality and process, we have setup a financial penalty if we fail to meet our own standards. We call this the 125% Guarantee, which boils down to this: If we don’t prove ourselves in the first 30 days of a service contract, we write a check for 125% of the service contract fee for that month and the customer walks away. We’ve never had to do this, but it’s definitely a stick hanging out there that will whack us really good if we ever fail to meet our standards.
  • We focus on process. Process, process, process. Everything we do has a name. Every time we go to a customer site, quality control our work, our write a letter, there is a process for it, and a name for that process. Naming things places value on those things, and we recognize that.

So, great, we’ve done all this, but what about the marketing!? This is the marketing: Defining our position in the industry and amongst our competitors. Our marketing plan also includes details on how we do lead generation, lead conversion, and all of that other fun stuff, but ultimately marketing is about defining who you are and how you operate.

For our marketing plan, we used Sales & Marketing Pro. Great software.

If you are about to work on a marketing plan, let’s sit down and have coffee.

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