Welcome to the to the vision to success out developer digital marketing strategy workshop. Today we’re going to go to a slightly higher level in terms of our thinking. If any of you have done MBAs, you’ll recognise this kind of stuff. It’s all the really simple and easy to use tools that actually just when you think about it, it’s kind of common sense. But it is a way of thinking that will get you to think outside of the box a little but, rather than all the stuff you’re used to. It will help you step above the trees, as we call it, and kind of look down on the wood of the forest. And hopefully see some patterns and things that and opportunities to develop business.
So you may have heard this, this is a four by four matrix. I quite like four by fours, because it simplifies the world whilst still getting you to think about your position in the world. They can include STEEP PESTLE or PEST. They’ve been around for ages. And it’s funny a few years ago, in a more stable environment, say 20 years ago, we didn’t really pay that much attention to this. It was it was good for us to have and so forth. And then COVID came along and, the political and the economic changes that are happening around us. Now it’s had a large impact on us. We are looking at what was happening in Russia, what Russia is doing, I have no idea what that guys doing, but the problem is, he’s doing that stuff and its impact on everybody. You know I invest in the stock market. And I’m in cash at the moment, because I’ve just given up for the time being, because I just can’t see any kind of trend, whether other up or down.
You know, we’ve just been through a massive pandemic, you’d expect us to be in a recession. Yet we’ve got a job advert out for a technical person and we’ve had no good candidates come through. We’ve the usual, people just click happy applying for anything type of job applications, but no serious applications. And I run peer groups, I’ve run one this morning and one yesterday and supply chain issues, shortages that you’d never even think of we’re having now. It’s quite incredible what’s happening. So under the political, economic, social and technological factors, you need to know what is happening out there that is going to impact you. And then you need to put this on a spreadsheet or document some form. This is a once a year thing, or if something happens during it, but we’ve got some massive things that are happening, the economic cycle, recruitment is a nightmare at the moment. You’re on the supply chain, and government. Is Boris going to get kicked out or not, is Russia going to invade or not? You know, these are quite big questions hanging around us giving us uncertainty, yet the companies that work in the peer groups, a lot of them are absolutely stressed out because they’re so busy.
And then social, hybrid working, it’s here to stay guys. Talking about mental health as an employer, I’ve never even thought about mental health two years ago, but we’re talking about it with the companies I’m working with, talking about health programmes.
We’ve been looking at putting somebody through The business on a Mental Health First Aid course, this stuff wasn’t heard about five years ago.
So it’s all stuff happening socially as well. And I’m thinking that businesses are having to pick up some of the social stuff that used to happen around so these are the things are all going impact your business. So why does that matter in marketing? Well, with any change is there’s potential for disruption, especially if you can utilise technology. So, you know, once a year, generally, I like to do about January just go through what’s happening, during lots impact, we’re looking for those opportunities. And those are the marketing opportunities that come from it. Yes, there are threats are always threats. But you should be looking with your opportunity glasses on? What are the opportunities? What can you disrupt? Or what will your competitors disrupt?
Then there’s another guy called Michael Porter. And these are the five forces. I still think this is a fantastic model because we’ve looked at all the opportunities, we looked at whether you can use technology or a way of working and so forth, and what’s happening in your marketplace. Before, most buyers had power over the supplier, now we’re working with a company trying to get some silicone compound out to China, and they’re doing on their terms, and then there was Chinese New Year. So now he orders not until March, you know, it’s it’s the power is definitely with the suppliers at the moment. Hopefully, the global supply chains will get working again. And, and that will then reverse because normally the buyer has the power. And certainly if you’re a small company dealing with a big company, they certainly have the past. So what can you do to mitigate that.
We’ve all heard of the Kodak moment when they completely miss digitalisation, they did bring out two digital cameras, but it did so badly. We had a Kodak digital camera, it was rubbish, they completely missed that market because they thought we’ve always done this why should it change? You only need to look at blockbusters and Spotify. Apparently blockbusters could have bought not Spotify, but the one for a song, and look what happened.
But this can happen in your own business as well, where you had a market, and it just disappears through other technology or way things happening. On television, talking about BBC licence and all that sort of stuff. It’s a big thing, because the younger generation, don’t watch Real Time TV, they watch Amazon, Disney, Netflix, now there’s a whole range of other services that they prefer to watch, and they can pick and choose. So it’s it’s happening across all sectors.
So map out where are your competitors? What are your competitors doing? Who’s got the bargaining power? And can you can you get control of that? And what’s your competition doing? And it’s not to copy the competition, it’s to pick the good ideas from the good competition and decide what where you’re going to lead. Because you always have those people who are compete on price. And that is not a great place to be if you want to be a quality company of choice you need to be quality. So what are you doing to stop yourself from being dragged down to into the price wars? At the moment, it’s whether you’ve got supply, which will give you a differentiator, and therefore be able to command your position in the market. So the other thing I like people to do when I do the do sort of workshops is get people think about where are their products in the marketplace. So you know, what generates cash and what takes away cash.
For example, when we were building vision 2 success, it soaked up a lot of time and time and cash as we were sort of writing the book as we were developing these courses and testing the courses out. But now we’ve got it coming, we’ve now got 30 in the in the room today. And we had 59 booked on last night, which is, which is lovely. And hopefully we’ll continue to grow that. But it’s taken quite a lot of money to get to that point. And it’s going to take another 12 months before we actually, as a business start to see anything. But it’s the way I believe we need to go. In order to disrupt the digital marketing, consultancy agency market, we’ve got to do something different. But that does cost money. And hopefully, we will get more work in which we’re going to cover the money that we’ve spent on all this. And hopefully it will become a star. Some of our other projects where we’ve been working with honing the processes and so forth, are more like cash cows. They’re the things we do regularly, month in month out as an agency. And they don’t take much marketing. And so therefore, they generate cash.
And then the dogs are where you have a poor market share your third or fourth or fifth or whatever, in terms of its position with competition. And if you’re a small company, that means local, doesn’t mean you’re going to compare yourself with the rest of the country, because I’ll be very depressing but within your locality. If you’re if your product or service doesn’t travel that far, then who in your localities is getting the lionshare of The business? And if it’s not you and your product third or fourth, behind the main, should you be doing that? Because your efforts need to be focusing on finding new products, which new products or services, which come in here, driving them so they become a star.
Once you’ve got processes refined, got training really sharp and you’ve got the marketing machine running smoothly, then they’ll drop down to being cash cows. And eventually, that product or service may die away, I mean you don’t buy many TV valves anymore. And so stuff does have a lifespan. And where we could talk about that here as well, is we start off dealing with the early adopters and then you move into the early majority, then late majority and then laggards who are those people still buying Nokia 3210s. But everybody has their own preference. I like the iPhones. But I’ve never cued for them so I’m in the early majority for the iPhone technology.
You’ve got to think about what sort of what customers you’re trying to attract. If you’ve got a new product and you’ve got to educate the market, then you’ll be looking at quite an educational piece. But that’s but again, the disruption, I would never have been able to do any of the stuff that we’re doing now, prior to COVID. COVID changed so many things. People know about zoom now. If I’d said to people, I’m going to launch a free marketing series using Zoom, I’d of just got laughed at prior to COVID. So much has changed. We talked about going you know, going back to normal, and then was the new normal. And now each sector has to think about how they should be operating with the new way of working because it ain’t going back to two years ago.
So do this is an analysis on your job list, again once a year. Analyse where are you. A Star cash neutral, it will take money for advertising and acquiring new customers, but it’ll also be going to also bring in cash so it’s neutral. A dog is neutral, but it’s also a waste time. Question marks take money off you. Cash cows bring money in.
So one of things I often used to get when I was used to doing face to face workshops, is people say oh I’m going to diversify. It’s the worst thing you can do. We’ve worked with companies where they’ve saturated their niche. They’ve got a choice, do they develop new markets with the existing product? Or do they develop new products for an existing market?
Now, one of the things that we talked about last week was the buyer persona, really understanding the buyer, and so forth. So these days, a lot more work is involved in actually understanding and talking to your customers. So personally, if I was looking to go outside, of selling more, because don’t forget, it’s a lot easier to sell to the more of your existing customers than it is to sell to new customers. But if you’ve, if you’ve found that you’ve saturated that niche that you’ve got, then the next step is to develop a new product or service. Because I think that’s less risky because you know your customers, you know what they want. Yes, you’re going to be tackling different needs and requirements with the new product, but at least you’ve got existing customers you can talk to, or I hope you have.
The next one after that is, of course, taking existing products and finding new sectors. So if you’re providing telephones for the law sector, you think well actually the medical sector has very similar characteristics, so you might think right, we’ll go for that sector next. And then you’d have to learn the new language, because, medical sector language is different to the legal sector, and so there’s some work to be done. Once those are embedded, they will then become existing products in an existing market. Then you can do the same again, but never drift into the high risk box where you’ve got a new product into a new market. There’s a phrase, stick to knitting. And it’s not about being completely right. We do joinery windows. That’s it. It’s but it’s about that, okay, what can we bolt on that makes a lot of sense to our existing customers, and other sectors who’ve got similar characteristics that would also find what we do as useful?
We talked about our telecoms company, and with telecoms, it is good to segment the marketplace. So we’ve got medical, legal, insurance, customer contact centres, and so forth. Or it might be on geography. If you’re a local business you might go right, I’ve got Manchester sorted out, should I go for London? Or should I go for Birmingham? And how you’re going to do that- a lot of Northwest companies do end up working for south east companies because our cost base is a lot lower here and there is more availability up here than there is down south east. And for certain sort of trades and projects and so forth, it doesn’t make a difference if they’re using the Northwest company.
So make sure you understand the segments, we talked about the buyer personas, but then the segments is which area do they share the same buying characteristics?
Okay, Matt Miller is on the line from eco enable group and is talking about an ecosystem. So Matt and I are doing some stuff together about trying to improve the environment, mental impact of large blue-chip companies in helping them meet their CSR. And yeah, you can, you know, which of those companies are environmentally aware, which are just meeting the minimum, and those that are completely avoiding it altogether? And you would segment certainly those blue-chip companies into that because each of them needs a different message. It’s all about can you say the same message to that segment, and it makes sense to them because it’s based on the characteristics.
And then you’ve got to think, right, where am I gonna position my products? Am I going to pile it high and sell it cheap? I’m going to be quality? Am I going to be m&s and go for middle ground? You know, quality but value for money? How you’re going to position yourself to those companies? How do you want them to perceive you?
A lot of branding agencies will, if you wanted to go the higher one, you’ve then got to then spend more work on your brand. If you’re cheap as chips, then your brand needs to say, you can get it from us. It’s a no-frills service but you can get a lower price. So where you can position yourself in the market?
Then you’ve got to decide, so if we go back to Matt’s ecosystem, and we decide we want to go after that middle ground of those people who are sort of ticking the environmental box but actually not really doing a lot because they feel the need to do something, so, therefore, there’s going to be some kind of budget. So what sort of message is going to go out? And so that’s then in your plan, you’ve identified your the segment you’re going after, you’ve identified where you’re going to sit in terms of price, the middle ground or high end or any other position you decide that you want to be and then it’s then that message of how are we going to tackle it?