Posts tagged ‘success stories’

Promote your products with case studies and success stories

Quick… name your most effective salesperson. Nope, it’s not your high-performing outside rep who’s made quota for the past five years. Guess again…

It’s your customers.

Your sales and marketing teams can talk about your products and value propositions until they’re blue in the face, but a company’s spokespeople talking about themselves will always lack a certain amount of credibility. A customer, however, is an independent organization that has chosen you over your competitors, and carries genuine credibility and legitimacy. Their word-of-mouth endorsement can easily land a sale. How can you capitalize on this loyal group of enthusiastic supporters? By asking them to participate in a case study or success story. There are benefits for everyone:

  • For your company – you can promote big name customers and add instant recognition via case studies, success stories, YouTube videos, and press releases
  • For your customers – gives them a great opportunity to co-brand with your company. In addition, references and links to their website will help increase their organic search results.
  • For your salespeople – provides fantastic sales tools to further build your company’s customer base
  • For your future customers – takes the guesswork out of purchasing and enables them to confidently make a decision based on the results of current customers

But you don’t have to take my word for it… you can read my success stories and see what I mean. Don’t blow your own horn, let your customers do it for you. Toot toot.

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June 11, 2009 at 1:34 am Leave a comment

What are the characteristics of a great website?

Aximum Marketing's home page
We all have our favorite websites. But what actually makes a website great? Here are my criteria – I’d love to hear your ideas as well:

  1. Visual appeal. The web can act as the great equalizer. Small companies can look big and legitimate with a quality website. Conversely, large companies that have lousy websites can appear distracted and amateur. There’s no substitute for giving a good first impression.
  2. Powerful messages that speak to your customer’s needs. Nobody likes a long-winded talker. Unless you have an information-based website (like Amazon, which provides full reviews of products, etc.), resist the temptation of generating massive amounts of information, especially on the home page. Keep it short, sharp, and targeted, with a predefined objective (see “Lily pad” marketing for more information on objective-based marketing strategies).
  3. Success stories. Providing case studies of your accomplishments have several benefits. You can demonstrate how effectively your company works with customers, provide concrete examples of success using metrics, share experiences with prominent customers to gain legitimacy and credibility, and strengthen the persuasion process through the use of similar customers in similar industries.
  4. Social Networking. Whether it’s a blog (like this WordPress blog), Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, or social bookmarking, you cannot deny the impact of social networking on today’s marketing strategies. Customers now have an expectation of two-way communication, and social networking facilitates symbiotic connections between a company and its audience.
  5. Logical lead generation paths. It’s frustrating when you have to bounce all over a website to find what you want. A well-designed site understands its target audience and develops well-defined, clearly stated communication paths with the proper Calls To Action (CTA). Typical CTAs are filling out a form, downloading a white paper, signing up for a webinar, contacting a salesperson, and purchasing a product through your ecommerce function.
  6. Just the right amount of “wow” for your audience. Know they audience. If your products and services cater to accountants, don’t use bells and whistles that you’d use for, say, a teenage gamer audience. It’ll just turn them off and make them think you don’t understand them. I bet those accountants would love a virtual Dilbert experience, or a flash-based GAAP search tool.
  7. Web 2.0 look and feel. This means many things to many people. To me, Web 2.0 means dimensional or reflective graphics, modest use of Flash, “push button” navigation (like the simplicity of Redbox’s navigation), and the use of negative (white) space to add airiness.

What do you think? Are there other characteristics that are important for creating a great website?

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May 28, 2009 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

Success is not defined as the absence of failure

Recessions can bring out the best in people. I know many successful entrepreneurs that started their businesses during recessions, and they said it’s the best decision they ever made. Some have developed companies that generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Admittedly, though, a lot of those people say their companies are surviving, but not thriving. Many will chalk it up to the economy, or changes in the marketplace, or the cost of raw materials, or increased competition. Some of these factors may be true, but after consulting for several of them I realize that there are reasons why they haven’t achieved the level of success they wanted. Here are some of those reasons:

  1. Not knowing your limitations. We cannot know everything, nor can we do everything. Realize that you have a well-honed set of core skills, and focus your efforts to take advantage of them. Here’s an analogy that all you baseball fans will instantly understand: have you ever seen a National League pitcher try to swing a bat? It’s one of the more painful sights you’ll ever see, because it’s beyond the pitcher’s limitations. Let your batters do the batting for you while you focus on your pitching.
  2. Not understanding the difference between market sizing and market segmentation. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew. You can read all about this from my previous blog entry on the subject. Business is hard enough without trying to conquer the whole world all at once.
  3. Not seeking help from experts. Whether it’s a marketing company like Aximum Marketing, or a full-time employee, recognizing the need for a particular skill that your company doesn’t have is not a sign of weakness or ignorance. Not only can experts give great advice and a different point of view, but they can free you to do what you do best. Again, whether you buy a piece of equipment, or office space, or specialized experts, they will all maximize your return on investment.
  4. Not avoiding the temptation to act in haste. It’s easy to get ‘happy feet’ when you’re not achieving the results you want. However, it will be best to fully think it through before pulling the trigger. Having fellow experts (see #3 above) can act as sounding boards, enabling you to make better decisions.
  5. Not understanding that marketing is an investment, rather than a cost. “I can’t afford to spend money on marketing right now.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard this, I’d have a boatload of nickels. I’ve spoken to many clients who initially look at marketing as a cost, but after I help them focus on their goals and run some numbers with them, they soon realize that all quality marketing activities have an expected, measurable, positive ROI. If you could invest $100 on marketing activities, and receive $1,000 in revenue, how much would you be willing to invest? Every penny you can get your hands on? That’s the beauty of an investment.

Success is most assuredly not defined as the absence of failure. We all work hard, and we deserve to maximize the reward for the effort we put forth. If you avoid the five pitfalls listed above (and I’m sure there are many others you can think of), you’ll unleash your potential and take your business to new heights, whether it’s a startup, a small business, or a multinational corporation. Aximum has some great success stories that illustrate this point very well, and we’ll be happy to help you thrive, too.

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May 26, 2009 at 1:42 am Leave a comment

How do you define a hot lead?

“If you ain’t dialin’, I ain’t smilin’.”

“Fill the pipeline and sort it out later.”

“All leads are good leads.”

We’ve heard them all before. Most people (and seemingly all of my past bosses) equate number of leads with quality of leads. Go to a trade show, have a giveaway contest in the booth, collect 3,000 leads, and consider the show an unparalleled success. Unfortunately, once the smoke clears and the afterglow of the show has passed, you soon realize that those 3,000 leads were nothing more than “trick or treaters” looking for a freebie to take back home. After spending six months chasing down all 3,000 leads, you discover that only 35 of them are actual revenue-generating customers, and only half of them are ready to make a purchase decision. In the end, you’ve spent $100,000 on a trade show that netted 12 customers and generated $150,000 in sales. Take into consideration all the efforts to get the booth ready, manning the booth, and time that the salespeople were out of the field, and suddenly you find yourself in a conversation with your manager about cutting back the number of shows your company attends next year.

The problem, of course, is not the show. Rather, it’s the way you pre-define prospects, leads, and customers. For every marketing program — whether it’s a trade show, advertising campaign, webinar, etc.— you need to have a game plan before, during, and after the event. You need to take the time to fully understand the customers, the needs of those customers, the sales process (see my “Lily pad” marketing entry for more info on nurturing a prospect into a customer), the messages that will resonate with customers in a differentiating manner, and the most effective medium with which to communicate. Complicated? Absolutely, but not on the rocket science level. Effective? Without a doubt.

I’ve helped many companies and clients with their lead generation needs (here’s a success story from my website), so if you’re looking for someone to help you, give me a shout.

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May 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm 5 comments

Lead generation success story

Here’s a great case study of a recent Aximum Marketing client that needed to develop processes for the effective generation of qualified leads. In summary:

A medium-sized, privately owned organization had experienced high growth over the past couple of years, but had recently fallen on hard times. Their lack of understanding regarding systematic marketing/sales processes has increased the number of unqualified leads (and subsequent tail-chasing by the sales team) while drastically reducing the number of qualified leads and revenue opportunities. Consequently, many of its long-time sales champions had left the company, and the exodus continued as their financial results further deteriorated. In addition, the company’s website was in desperate need for a transformation from mid-90’s information source to 21st century lead generation machine.

They needed to

  1. Fill the pipeline with qualified leads
  2. Develop systematic, automated eMarketing programs to nurture leads for sales teams and motivate prospects to buy
  3. In the face of constantly encroaching competition, increase awareness for the company within their industry and measure results from those activities
  4. Create a better, stronger, more universal messaging strategy for marketing, sales, and all customer-facing teams

Read all the details, as well as my other success stories, and contact me if you’d like to increase qualified leads for your company.

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May 21, 2009 at 6:44 am Leave a comment

Social Media success story

Sure, you’ve heard a lot about social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and, yes, even WordPress (I’m being ironic). But there haven’t been a lot of success stories attached to those ‘new marketing’ tools, mostly because a lot of marketers aren’t clear how to measure success. Simply put, success is defined as the achievement of pre-determined goals based on actual, real-life business needs and objectives.

Here’s a great social media success story from my company, Aximum Marketing. One of our clients was trying to elevate his company above the competition during a downtime, while his rivals were scaling back on marketing and overall customer communication. The goals were focused on lead generation, website visits, ecommerce revenue, and industry leadership. By developing a number of different social media programs, we were able to get some amazing results for them. And the real kicker: the initial execution on these initiatives cost only about $5K, and had a ROI of 350:1 after 4 months. Read all the details, as well as my other success stories, and contact me if you’d like to incorporate social media into your company.

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May 13, 2009 at 3:51 am Leave a comment

David’s 2009 predictions – part 2

crystal_ball

Here is Part 2 of my eagerly awaited 2009 predictions… I’d love to hear your comments (after all, I’m not writing this stuff for my health)…

4. Gas prices will remain under $3.

The average price of a gallon of gas in December 2008 was $1.62; in December 2007 it was $3.04. With a recession, layoffs, and less people engaging in discretionary travel, gas prices will remain a lot lower than they’ve been over the past two years. Even with OPEC trying to raise the price by squeezing supply, they’ve been unable to move the needle. Like it or not, world, the U.S. consumer is the strongest component in this equation. One unintended benefit with lower oil/gas prices: Iran’s economy is suffering so badly that they’ve had to virtually abandon their nuclear weapon ambitions. Hopefully North Korea will follow suit.

5. Vista, or Windows 7, or whatever it will end up being, will regain luster and respect.

Worldwide usage of the Windows operating system dipped below 90% for the first time in eons last month. Even with that “bad” news, I can’t imagine how awesome it would be to own a 90% market share of anything. And that’s not going away any time soon. The dirtiest little secret about Vista is the release of Service Pack 1 (SP1) in March 2008, which has made the operating system quicker, safer, more compatible, and more reliable. Essentially, it has helped Microsoft realize the full promise of what Vista was supposed to be. However, with the Jerry Seinfeld/”I’m a PC”/Mojave Experiment TV commercials focused on everything but the word “Vista,” everyone still assumes that Vista is buggy and slow. Maybe they should hire me again…

6. Phoenix will have a white Christmas in 2009.

Sounds crazy, I know. But Las Vegas had 3 ½ inches the week before Christmas, so is it really that far-fetched? Sure, it hasn’t snowed in the city of Phoenix in 18 years (there have been a couple minor dustings since then, but too few to mention) – that just means we’re due for a big one. How funny would it be for all those snow-weary visitors from Minnesota and Iowa to spend their Christmas in a white desert? Don’t worry… it’ll be 65 degrees by lunch time.

7. With shrinking budgets and layoffs, marketing consultants will be more important than ever.

Of course, since I’m a marketing consultant, this is a little self-serving. However, I know that companies are really tightening their belts when it comes to marketing expenditures. I also know that many marketing departments have been forced to reduce headcount. However, they continue to recognize the benefits that marketing can bring them, and if they can’t produce results their jobs are in jeopardy. Marketing consultants bring the best of both worlds; they don’t increase your department’s headcount, and, when you consider the cost of employee health insurance, payroll taxes, 401(k) matching funds, etc., consultants end up costing less money than full-time employees. Below are some of my Success Stories from clients and employers of mine, which should give you a good idea of what you should be looking for in a consultant. Feel free to email me or call me at 480-814-8838 to discuss it further.

Coming up next week… another episode of “Phoning It In”, so stay tuned. Have a great weekend.

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January 30, 2009 at 8:08 am Leave a comment

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