The Shark Effect, Sales Priorities and Marketing Priorities

We pay attention to the big flashy headlines. It’s human nature: “Shark attacks swimmer off Florida Coast!”

Big, intense, and rare threats like these dominate our imagination and change our behavior. We may cancel our beach vacation this summer. Or end up just relegating ourselves to the shore, unable to fully engage in the moment.

But in situations like these, we should ask ourselves: “How likely is a shark attack? Should the thread of a shark attack change my behavior?”

Similarly, we miss the real threats because they’re less interesting and ever-present., For example, did you know that mosquitos, and the illnesses they carry, kill more than 725,000 people each year?

But what receives the headlines? What gets the attention? The shark attacks. The ones killed 6 people in 2018. While the real danger continually (and literally) bites away at you.

Too often, we fail to pay attention to the more insidious threats (and more viable opportunities) because they don’t grab our attention. Our distraction leads us to miss the real opportunities, time and time again.

We obsess on shark attacks because they are exciting, intense, and incite visceral fear in us. It’s human nature.

So, we become distracted from the immediate threat – the biggest threat – and therefore from the most effective opportunity for improvement.

Similarly, we do this in our own day-to-day lives, and in business.

We’ve all sat in that sales meeting, focused on the next big deal. “How are we going to land that one?”

We’ve all sat through that marketing pitch for the fancy, shiny new strategy or technology that is going to bring in an amazing number of new leads!

We’ve all discussed, at length, an employee or a specific client that is “a problem.”

But, when choosing our to focus, we would save time if we would first  look into the data we already have to diagnose problems and find the optimal opportunities.

Are You Focusing on the Right Client Profile?

A client once was focusing almost all of their energy on just one of six different profiles of clients. Every meeting, every conversation, their marketing purchases, all of their business development energy, their branding, their messaging – all focused on this single vertical. Then, on careful analysis, it became clear that this one vertical was a) the smallest segment of their existing business, b) primarily tied up with three competitors in the industry, and c) the smallest market share available. So, working through the numbers, we developed a set of strategies and multi-channel campaigns to focus on the verticals in which they were already succeeding, and in which opportunity for growth existe.

The end result? An increase in market share that has led to greater than 20% growth each year.

Are Your Lead-Generation Efforts Effective?

In another case, a client continually placed ads on Facebook to generate leads. Time, after time, it brought in poor results who did not score well as qualified leads. They were doing the right thing, trying test after test, but it was money going out the window.

They also joined networking groups, meeting people, and inviting them to become clients. The sales process was solid, but the lead generation was not succeeding.

And so, we decided to look first at their current successes by interviewing their clients and looking for patterns, We discovered,with great consistency, that their highest revenue clients came in through referral systems.

We chose to drop the “cool” campaigns with social media, re-focusing their efforts on a digital referral campaign. We equipped their  best clients with the tools and incentives to succeed as brand ambassadors.

The result? A high quality set of leads began to walk through the door, new clients signed contracts, and the business began to grow.

Are You Spending Money on the Right Advertising Campaign?

As with sharks, fear is a powerful driver. One client saw a major competitor continually placing print ads in the local newspaper. The senior leadership of the organization was in dispute: “Should we buy [a significant investment] in advertising in the same paper? Will we lose out against this other company”

We ran an analysis, and came back with a recommendation: 1) your target market is not reading this, and 2) there are far more effective way to optimally target this market and get eyes on your business at less than 5% of the expense.

The result? The client implemented a digital re-marketing campaign that exposes them to thousands of prior website visitors each month. The new campaign generated return visitor after return visitor to explore their offerings.

And, more cost-effective initiatives are underway! We’ll report back on those again later, because every company should continually explore their opportunities.

Marketing Strategy that Actually Works

As we market our businesses, we can all learn from the “shark effect.”  If we can step away from attention-grabbing distractions that don’t really have an impact on our bottom line, we can focus on our strengths, celebrate our successes, and discard the weaknesses. We can build systems and processes that actually grow our businesses.

Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the emotion and spectacle of the sharks. Focus on the intentional work of eliminating the mosquitoes. While it may not be as exciting, there is no replacing the slow and steady process based nurturance of prospective and existing clients.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I recognizing and celebrating the steady contributions to my company’s success?Am I identifying the optimal opportunities for sales improvement, as opposed to the flashy ones?
  • Am I ready to have an external perspective? To explore, diagnose and find my real opportunities?

The real opportunities don’t always grab your attention. They are often not glamorous. It takes focus, analysis, and and strategy to draw them out. That’s where Ignite Strategies does its best work. We shine when it comes time to dive into the details your business. We can help you discover how “the shark effect” might be robbing you of your profits. Contact us for a complimentary market evaluation today!

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.