“If we always do, what we’ve always done;
then we’ll always have, what we’ve already got!”
The term might be familiar to us, but how often do we find ourselves doing the same thing time and time again still wanting different results?
I was recently commissioned to support a small team to conduct a marketing audit for a complex set of businesses seeking to increase the return on investment from their marketing spend. It is an established business, with a complex set of independent departments looking to attract a very varied range of customers and has recently gone through a significant period of change resulting in wishing to attract a different demographic of clientele.
Our remit was to review and report on their current marketing activity in order to ensure the change in business direction is reflected in the various marketing activity and to make recommendations and suggestions as to how this current very manual intensive process can be modernised to benefit more from systems, processes and automation.
There is a highly experienced, able and passion marketing manager in place with a clear vision as to what they wish to achieve and a new management structure that recognises need for change, this ought to have been a relatively painless process of review….
However, it quickly became obvious the mass amount of hurdles currently preventing the business from any form of real change, and the poison chalice currently held by the Marketing Manager! You see, I don’t believe that Marketing is the issue, I think given the managers experience, ability and passion this is not the issue by far.
ANY business is predominantly based on three principles:
You HAVE to have the RIGHT people to run a business. Getting the right team is critical for business success. Despite whatever ANYONE else tells you, the most outgoings you will see in a traditional business is salary! Make this a wise investment and you can almost be guaranteed an exceptional ROI, get it wrong and it’s the most costly mistake in business.
For a business to scale, to grow, to develop it HAS TO HAVE processes. There is no room in business for multiple ways of doing one task. We might amend, change, update, modernize, streamline a process, but there has to be A way of doing EVERYTHING. Failure to create processes within a business is simply trying to drive with the handbrake still applied! You ain’t goin nowhere FAST! Standard Operating Procedures MUST be a living, breathing part of any business, something that is constantly referred to, updated and reviewed. Your ‘Business Bible’ should begin the MOMENT you start in business and follow you throughout your businesses progression
“Anyone should be encouraged to make mistakes, it’s how we learn!
Only a fool, makes the same mistake twice, it’s when we stop learning!”
Systems are predominantly the resources required to carry out the processes effectively. Be that a computer, a wheelbarrow, a telephone or a video; it’s the right resource to perform the task effectively. We HAVE to embrace change, technology is moving far faster than we can ever imagine, software is often outdated before it leaves the box, with new updates, bolt on’s and fixes constantly being pushed to devices. Traditional might be nice, but nice isn’t business, PROFIT is business and unless your systems embrace profit, they are also driving blind!
This was the makings of a REALLY good business, but it clearly lacked a number of essential ingredients for the mix to work. It was missing some key fundamentals in any business and had been papering over the cracks by suggesting profit margins needed to improve, sales needed to increase, the marketing needed to improve without understanding STEP 1
What is your WHY?
Why are you here?
Why are you doing what your doing?
To what purpose do you serve?
Without a CLEAR VISION, a Mission that EVERYONE understands, agrees to and buys into, everything else is relatively pointless!
When I spoke with the Managing Director and Finance Director the goals were to increase turnover, reduce costs and grow profit margins for shareholders. But elsewhere when presented with the same set of questions it was to:
➢ Become a centre of excellence
➢ Become the local go-to destination
➢ Win regional and national awards for our…..
➢ Be the best … in …
And the more people I asked, the more diverse the answers I received! No-one within the business had a clear, concise and deliverable message as to what the business WHY? was!
Over the period we were there I saw a huge amount of silo mentality between departments, a ‘that’s not my job’ mentality and a lack of congruency between departments, brand or business goals. Everything on its own was of a good quality, but thrown together haphazardly with little thought or concern for the customer experience or how this reflected the business BRAND!…….
Arhhhh, that’s what was lacking a BRAND!
It was hardly the staffs fault for their lack of cohesiveness, you see they lacked direction, they lacked a joint identity, they lacked being part of a brand! “We don’t know, what we don’t know!” A BRAND is also vital if we are seeking to create significant and sustainable growth. I’ve only got to mention “Virgin, Nike, Disney, Apple, McDonalds” they all have a BRAND. Something which is easily identified and resembles everything they stand for. Something the public, the prospects the customers can identify with and as such enable it to represent them.
If we were to review UK based supermarkets for a second, I’m going to list a number and I want you to determine in which ORDER you would priorities them in regard to personal preference:
➢ Marks & Spencer
So far you might have found this relatively easy to determine personal preference and a reason why! However now lets throw in one more:
You see if you base this on PAST perception you might have considered Aldi relatively low on the personal preference scale? However, more recently Aldi have given both Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s Morrison’s and Asda a real run for their money both in terms of quality, quantity, price perception and brand positioning!
So BRAND and perception of it, is vitally important for a business in order to determine long term viability and progression.
In closing, I leave you with a series of questions and welcome your feedback, simply email Hi@mytruenorth.biz with your thoughts or suggestions.
1. What is your WHY?
2. How is this reflected in what you do/offer?
3. What do your current customers suggest is your why?
4. What do your previous customers suggest was your why?
5. Do you have a brand?
6. How is that represented throughout your business?
7. What do others see as your brand?
8. Have you got a ‘Business Bible?’
9. Does it represent your business as it is, as it was or how you’d like it to be!