Tips for Becoming the Best Marketing Services Provider: Part I
How can you be the best marketing services provider possible? In my next two posts, I will present several best practices that every marketing services provider can benefit from. Each and every one will spur your business to even greater success. All of these things take time, and your days are probably already way too hectic, so make sure to find ways to delegate more to your stellar staff in order to make time for you to be the thought leader they need to take them through the balance of this journey. You and your business will see the value, and your employees will benefit and grow as well, especially as you begin demonstrating even more confidence in their abilities to take on new and challenging assignments as you lead them into the future.
Stay Well-Read and Educated
While you certainly don’t need to know everything about marketing, technology, social media, and the like, there is no free pass. If you want your business to be successful, you must take the time to stay current with the trends and happenings that affect the marketplace. Whether it is new technology, new communication platforms, new developments in mobile communications, or something else, you must keep yourself informed. Believe me, your customers make time to do these things, and when you call on them, you will want to be able to discuss trends and issues with them knowledgeably as well—taking the conversation to the next level relative to how new developments position you to add even more value for your customers.
What publications are your clients reading? If you don’t know, you need to find out, because you should be keeping an eye on the information that is important to them. What associations do they belong to? What trade shows do they attend? What books are they reading? All of these will give you much more than simple topics for cocktail party conversations. It will increase your knowledge and your credibility. It will position you to say to your customers, “I know the challenges that are facing you, and I know how I can help.”
You should also stay on top of marketing and business basics by reading blogs, newsletters, and other publications with the latest industry information. If you find a good blogger, you can subscribe to be notified when something new is posted. One site I recommend to help you find great resources is StumbleUpon.com. Once you set up a free account, you will be amazed at the information you can find. A simple search for marketing turned up more than a half million hits, ranging from the free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, to MarketingProfs. This is not about information overload. It’s about staying on top of things that are happening that affect your business and your target market(s).
While you’re staying on top of the game, you should always be thinking about how you can make things work for the future. How can you use technology or information in the near- (and long-) term to better position your business and help your clients? 'Status quo' should no longer be your mindset. It’s all about taking what you know and using it to think up ways to work better, faster, and more efficiently in the future. It is about innovation and entrepreneurship. It is about the spark of an idea you get when reading your favorite blogger or publication, a news item, or a new book and growing that into a bonfire of a great new business idea.
Take notes in your books, write things down as you think of them, conduct brainstorming sessions with your employees, take the time to listen to a few of the many webinars being offered. Be curious. You never know when you will stumble upon the next greatest-ever business idea that can propel you and your customers into an even more profitable future.
You also want to find ways to visually demonstrate to your clients that you are a forward-thinker. Sure, some situations may require that you take notes. But why not bring your iPad with you to business meetings? Demonstrate that you have and use new technology. Not only will this help start conversations, it will position you as someone that is moving forward.
Understand what is next in the world of marketing services. New channels will emerge, and marketing departments will certainly become curious and want to investigate whether they can use them to reach prospects and customers. If you look forward like they do, you will be able to provide help when they need it.
This is not the time to sit back and relax. Yes, you’ve made the decision to transform your business into a marketing services provider model, and that’s great. But the ambition shouldn’t stop there. You should be thinking aggressively about how to further build your business and your client base moving forward. How can you woo those prospects and make them fall in love with your business? How can you ensure that existing customers will always wonder how they ever got along without you? How can you make your competitors sit up and take notice—yet stay miles ahead of them as you develop new and innovative products and services?
Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Yes, making the jump to offering marketing services may not be the prettiest or easiest undertaking of your career, but being willing to work hard and be aggressive will help you find success.
Enjoy these tips on becoming the best marketing services provider that you can be for your customers? Stay tuned for my next article to see the rest of my recommendations!
John Foley Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team help printers get on a strong path to marketing success. Their approach includes software solutions, consulting, Website development, marketing audits, and strategic marketing plans. interlinkONE’s software solutions for the print industry include their marketing automation platform, MAX, and ilinkONE V8. Learn more about MAX: Marketing Automation. Executed. by visiting MarketWithMAX.com, John at JohnFoleyJr.com, and his companies at interlinkONE.com and GrowSocially.com.