Are You Relevant?
Before WE answer that question, (yes, WE since you also need to be involved in the discussion, and not just as a passive reader) I need to explain that this effort, this online workshop, is not your typical marketing and sales column/blog. My effort is based on over 25 years of marketing experience, with over 18 years in the graphic communications industry alone to provide you with a customizable program to market YOUR print for profit.
Are you relevant? I will ask some specific questions regarding YOUR relevancy later in the article and in future postings, but to be relevant you need to know what is relevant to the marketplace/markets/verticals you plan to attract, support, or serve. Here are some "talking points" that connect directly to relevance. You should get to know them intimately, close up and personal.
The IX Mutant Print-for-Profit Muses:
Relevance, Interaction, Integration, Engagement, Dialogue, Content, Context, Metrics and ROI.
The IX Mutant Print-for-Profit Muses come with many assistants — the Seven Pillars of Sales Promotion (see illustration one), the tools that compose the Chain of Communications (which will be discussed in the next installment), as well as many of the foundation components that support advertising, marketing/communications sectors, and the end users of these channels. These assistants are pathfinders, signposts, mileage markers, and directional arrows that will guide observant, interactive readers along many new routes that can lead to additional profits for YOU from supplemental business.
The VII Pillars of Sales Promotion — Your journey to profit begins here!
What is Relevance? #relevancy #mutantmuserelevancy
Being relevant or being "important to the matter at hand" is a critical component of your brand and the brands that you view as prospects. Your existing client base or your current customer lists are based in part on your firm, your services, and your ability to be "important to the matter at hand." Your customers, prospects, and you yourself use nearly every pillar presented in the chart above, possibly every day, but certainly every week. The key is to understand how your prospects and customers use these and how they can expand their use of the seven pillars — to your benefit as well as theirs.
If you had no importance or lack the ability to demonstrate your impact on the matter at hand, you (your firm) are not relevant. If your clients, customers or prospects view your firm as not important, why would they even keep you on the short or long list?
So How Can You Know if You or Your Firm is Relevant?
Outside of the legal industry, I do not know of any test for relevancy, but I can suggest that you ask your management and sales and production teams a few simple questions like the questions listed below. In fact, you should ask yourself the same set of questions. I would also suggest that to add relevancy to the questions, link them to the segment of your firm that is being asked to reply.
- When was the last time INSERT DEPARTMENT HEAD OR TEAM MEMBER(S) attended a defined event held or sponsored by a current client, customer, or prospect’s vertical, association, or other influencer?
- Can INSERT DEPARTMENT HEAD OR TEAM MEMBER(S) name the top three trends that will impact your current client’s, customer’s, or prospect’s verticals?
- Can INSERT DEPARTMENT HEAD OR TEAM MEMBER(S) define or explain the demographics of your current client, customer, or prospect’s vertical’s customers — the end users?
[If you would like a series of additional questions to test your firm’s relevancy email me at email@example.com, type "Am I Relevant?" in the subject area.]
Don’t think that the print industry is the only vertical that has been seen as not being relevant. Nearly every vertical or industry cycles through being relevant or not. Some survive; others fade in the shadow of history. I am sure we can all name a few ourselves.
To be honest, few if any prospects will find your equipment list relevant. They may also not find your skill set, product offering, or service listing relevant, if it does not fit their specific needs — or more importantly, the needs of their target markets. You will most likely find the same is true of your current clients and customers; they just don’t care or need to know UNLESS what support services promise to provide are relevant to them. Being relevant means, among other things, a way to turn a profit!
If your service mix or the products you currently offer or will offer are not viewed as relevant by those that you plan to attract, then you have a major hurdle to overcome — a hurdle that may too high to clear. Your view of the future might be dim, dark, questionable, and profitless!
Stop thinking only about the end of the race to succeed and start thinking about the first hurdle you are going to encounter. Make sure you are offering a relevant product or service that will allow you successfully to hurdle the first obstacle, then move on to adding the next relevant support product or service. In marketing, the term is to "optimize your media, one media at a time." Allow for proper review analysis, measurement, and understanding of the impact that one type of media has on your program to be sure it is beneficial to all involved — you, your customers/prospects, and their customers and prospects.
Stop and think of the future as optimizing one new service/support at a time, a service or support skill that your markets will view as being more than relevant to them.
How to Make Your Firm Relevant!
Thad Kubis is an unconventional storyteller, offering a confused marketplace a series of proven, valid, integrated marketing/communication solutions. He designs B2B or B2C experiential stories founded on Omni-Channel applications, featuring demographic/target audience relevance, integration, interaction, and performance analytics and program metrics.