Hey there Rainmaker, I must be a parent…
Bought a minivan today.
It’s interesting. Even when you want to pay cash, they push you to financing. The banks are running the same racket they ran in the housing market leading up to 2008. Only now it’s in car loans. So now they actually PAY the dealers to get you to finance!
Which means the dealers are ready to wheel and deal, as long as you’ll take a loan.
(Pretty sure it used to be the other way around. The best deals came from walking in with a wad of cash.)
That knowledge — and a little savvy negotiating — and we walked out of the dealership with an incredible bargain.
Anyway, that’s got me a little behind today…
So without further ado…
This chapter, from the Strategies and Systems section of my book Breakthrough Marketing Secrets is called, “Marketing as a Systematic Process.”
I imagine you’re familiar with the 80/20 Principle?
In the very simplest of terms, it says 80% of your results are generated through 20% of your efforts. Also, 80% of any given resource are owned, controlled, or held by 20% of people. (It was actually first observed by Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.)
In business, 80% of profits come from 20% of your activities, or 20% of your customer base. And so on — its applications are near infinite.
It can be stacked, too.
So when you apply it to business and observe that 20% of your customers generate 80% of your profits, it doesn’t stop there. You can go deeper.
You’ll discover the top 20% of the top 20% — 4% of the total — generate 80% of that 80% of profits — or 64% of the total.
Let me say that again: If you look, you’re almost certain to find that the top 4% of your customers generate 64% of profits. (This is incredibly important to know!)
You can keep layering and layering. 8 out of every 1,000 customers — 0.8% — generate 51.2% of profits. About 2 out of every 1,000 — 0.16% — generate about 41% of profits. And if they don’t yet, it’s usually because you haven’t given them the opportunity to do so. (Later on, in the section on What You’re Selling, I will help you create those opportunities.)
The specific ratio may not be exactly 80/20. (It could be 70/30, 90/10, even 95/5.) But the principle of uneven distribution will continue to apply, until you can’t split hairs any further.
This is NOT intended to be a chapter on the 80/20 Principle. (For an in-depth discussion of this topic, I recommend you read Perry Marshall’s 80/20 Sales and Marketing, as well as Richard Koch’s seminal work on applying 80/20 in business, The 80/20 Principle.)
Rather, I want to use the 80/20 Principle to frame the importance of this chapter, and this section of the book.
By the time you’re 20% done developing a marketing campaign, 80% of your results will be determined.
Much of my consulting work with clients is done in the role of “copywriter.” This means the deliverable — the visible work I do for the client — is sales copy.
For most copywriters, nearly 100% of the value of their work is in the copy they provide. They don’t understand this 80/20 distinction. And so their work is done on assignment — the client asks for a sales letter, they deliver a sales letter. And because the sales copy is the only way the copywriter seeks to provide value, that’s where 100% of their value lies.
In my consulting work, though, I apply 80/20, even when working as a copywriter. Because my deliverable is sales copy, it makes up 80% of the work I do on client projects. But as a percentage of the total value I deliver to clients, the copy is only 20%. So what’s the other 20% of work that I do that delivers 80% of the value to clients?
Marketing strategy and systems.
And that’s what this chapter — and this entire section — is about.
Once you’ve established your marketing strategies, 80% of your success has been determined.
Once you’ve created the framework for your marketing systems, you’re 80% of the way to the results.
Yes, the majority of your work is ahead of you. But the results of that work have largely been determined.
And it starts with a critical distinction.
Campaign Thinking vs. Promotion Thinking
This is one of the biggest distinguishing factors between sophisticated marketers, and those who aren’t.
A sophisticated marketer — able to create huge breakthroughs in theirs or any other business — thinks in terms of campaigns and systems.
Compare this to the average marketer who thinks in terms of promotions and ads.
Inexperienced business owners and marketing professionals work and work and work to get the ad or promotion right. Success or failure hinges on the one promotion, sent out one time, designed to do all the work. The business lives and dies by the promotion. If the promotion is a success, the business flourishes — and goes in search of its next winning promotion. If the promotion fails, the business suffers — and goes back to the drawing board, in search of its next winning promotion. If you can succeed here, great. But you’re leaving all sorts of opportunity on the table.
You’re also setting yourself up to be taken this way and that in relation to whatever comes your way. When you think in terms of promotions, it’s easy to find yourself swayed by media reps and ad sales people. They come into your business and pitch their media as the place you need to be to grow your business. And you believe them. So you dive in with the next promotion, hoping for a success. You’re not anchored in a successful, systematic approach by which you can judge opportunities as they present yourself. And that can often also lead to tremendous waste.
Now let’s look at the approach of the sophisticated, strategic, and systematic marketer.
When you think in terms of campaigns and systems instead of promotions, you are thinking in terms of developing relationships with prospects. You’re thinking in terms of bringing them in, and communicating with them often, to help them know, like, and trust you.
You’re not relying on a single touch to turn someone who doesn’t know you into a customer. The best of the best direct marketers are able to accomplish this feat — in part because they retain the world’s best, most-expensive copywriters who know how to close the sale in an ad. And yet I don’t believe this is the appropriate approach for most businesses.
Why try to convince someone to marry you on the first date, when you can build a relationship through many interactions?
The key is to strategically, systematically, and automatically reach out to prospects many times.
Bring value into their life. Establish yourself as someone they can lean on. As someone who has their best interests at heart. And tell them that when they’re ready, you’re able to provide more value.
This is easier than it’s ever been. The technology for doing this on a mass scale is easier and more affordable than it’s ever been.
The options are immense. Newsletters (both email and physical). Automated online and offline follow-up campaigns. The ability to integrate multiple media. Scheduling person-to-person follow-up through your CMS, or contact management system. Drip email campaigns that can go out over weeks, months, years. The list goes on and on.
What matters first though is your decision. Will you think of marketing, advertising, and selling as a one-touch, “do or die” scenario? Or will you think of it as building a relationship?
And once you decide that you’re going to build a relationship, how will you get target prospects to raise their hand and say they’re open to a relationship? Once they’ve raised their hand, how will you start to communicate with them? How will your communication develop as the relationship deepens? At what points will you focus totally and completely on providing value? And at what points will you ask more directly for the prospect to take action and do business with you?
As you answer all these questions, how will you use the technologies and opportunities at your disposal to create a scalable system?
In coming chapters, we’ll talk about specific marketing systems you can build. As well as the principles behind them.
Your goal is to take these lessons and apply them. Change your approach to marketing from one-off promotions to systems for attracting, converting, and building the value of customers.
Systems are an 80/20 activity. Designing your campaigns and bigger marketing systems may only represent a small fraction of your total “marketing” time. But when you do it right, they’ll represent an overabundant majority of your results.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets
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