While I’m on vacation, I’ve asked some very smart bloggers whom I am fortunate to consider my friends, to share some insights with you. Enjoy their brilliance because before you know it, you’ll be stuck with me again! I’m back tomorrow, so soak up this last bit of smarts.
Last but in no way least, Steve Roesler.
"One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.”
–Dennis A. Peer
Do you measure your contribution and success by the caliber of the people who follow you? In this case, let’s talk about clients.
I’m betting that most people are simply "happy to have clients." I read the news.
I also read my own financials to find out what’s profitable and who is profitable. Not all clients are created equal. Right now it’s easy to ignore cost-of-doing-business in order to opt for any business at all. So let me ask you this:
Are you in business for the long haul?
If so, you’ve already looked at how to differentiate yourself from the pack "technically." Now it’s time to rise higher above the crowd as a Marketing Leader by the caliber of your clientele.
No Gas But Plenty of Yacht Buyers
In the ’70s I lived in a tiny town in New Jersey whose main employer was Pacemaker Yachts. These 60-foot puppies sold for six figures in 1970s dollars. At the same time, gas was being rationed on odd/even days according to the number on one’s license plate. Bad times, eh?
One morning I walked to the diner (uh, it was New Jersey) for an artery-clogging breakfast. Seated at the table across from me was the Sales Manager of Pacemaker Yachts, comedian Jerry Lewis, and Olympic swimming champ-turned-Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller. A deal was being closed for the purchase of two yachts while I was counting the change in my pocket to make sure I could leave a decent tip.
What I learned was this:
- In bad times, people with lots of money still buy lots of expensive, exclusive things.
- The publicity from this sale–due to the fame and "quality" of the clients–generated more business from "quality" clients.
- The company shut down it’s small-boat, dinghy operation. Not enough buyers, not enough profit margin, and no publicity when someone did make a purchase.
Who Are Your Yacht Buyers and Dinghy Dwellers?
According to a survey of U.S. senior executives, marketing will be the most important area of expertise for the next-generation of leaders.
The study, commissioned by the Institute of International Research, sought to identify key areas for leaders. Marketing was the clear choice, with 31% of votes, followed by 20% for operations and 16% for financial expertise. Sales and engineering were deemed least critical to leadership with 11 and 6% respectively.
I’m choosing to take this as super-encouraging news. It means that organizational leaders are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about, and accountable for, marketing. It also indicates that the importance of marketing won’t be the "sell" that it had to be in the past. Leadership and Marketing now appear on the landscape as intertwined.
With that in mind:
- Sit down today and figure out who, in your world, are the Yacht Buyers and the Dinghy Dwellers.
- Are you willing to allow those DD’s to float out to sea while you free up time to target your Yacht Buyers?
- Will your decision position you as a profitable Marketing Leader or a weekend sailor?
Life is filled with choices. Successful lives are filled with wise choices.
Your choices and the actions that follow will reveal the kind of marketing life you really want.
Drew’s Note: Steve Roesler is one of those guys who just seems to know quite a bit about everything. His blog, All Things Workplace, has won many an award and earned Steve a legion of fans. I’ve always found him to be not only smart as a whip, but incredibly generous and quite witty. Who could ask for more?