True marketing is about the discovery of new opportunities - new and better ways to serve your customers.
To create some new opportunities, try creating a little chaos. Have executives swap areas of responsibility so they look at old problems with fresh perspectives. Look for ways to bypass conventional arrangements and deal directly with consumers. Try a contrarian approach outside of industry norms, and see what results. Throw out the old company rule book and see where you can head give a little creative freedom.
To measure the effectiveness of your new initiatives, try calculating the lifetime value of your new customers. This is a straightforward concept: lifetime value incorporates initial business, retention business and repeat business with that customer. If you can create a loyal, satisfied customer rather than a short-term one off profitable transaction, your new marketing initiatives are paying off.
And once you have a loyal and growing customer base, your focus should then move to continually adding to the products and services provided to those customers. Getting additional business from customers who are happy to deal with you will most often be more cost effective than simply trying to add more new customers. It’s the key to driving your business enterprise forward at prolific and sustainable rates of growth.
Disregard the traditional marketing, sales and distribution of products or services and think outside the box: How can potential customers best be reached and how can your company derive greater value from serving fewer customers.
Rather than trying to avoid mistakes, today’s managers need to encourage breakthrough thinking which will inevitably lead to false starts and mistakes. In that situation, the company needs to quickly move to cuts its loses, learn what it can from its errors and move on.
Your greatest successes may come when you refuse to let experience block experimentation. Challenge the status quo. Ask bizarre and outlandish questions. Try doing things backwards and see what comes of it. You have to keep changing a little every day if you and your company are going to grow.
All progress is based on constructive dissatisfaction of the status quo. Without that, many of the products we now take for granted would never have been developed. To actively foster an environment in which new ideas can take root and blossom, managers must be prepared to shake things up frequently.
One way of doing that is to constantly pose the question: “What would happen if we did the opposite of what we’re doing now?” That question allows companies to systematically refuse to let new ideas be smothered by yesterday’s thinking.
Example: Traditional advertising has always focused on the product or service being offered. Personal ads in newspapers, on the other hand, usually advertise for the type of person being sought. How would a traditional product ad look if it was advertising for the customer rather than for the product?
Of course, change simply for the sake of change is not the objective of the exercise either. Systems shouldn’t be changed unless there are compelling and worthwhile reasons to make those changes, and it makes good sense to test new strategies first before embarking on major revamps.
In essence, don’t get into a business rut. Keep your thinking fresh, challenge long established traditional ways of conducting business frequently and keep an open mind about the best way to structure your company or personal operations. At the very least, you may be able to spark significant increases in productivity and profitability.