Practical & Expansive

June 2005
Practical & Expansive

Feedback from many readers indicates preferences for information that’s practical … readily applied, even as a reminder or extension of a Mandeville workshop … and also information that’s expansive … causing readers to think beyond the day-to-day pressures of the work environment. So …

The Practical …

Many firms are busy, even working staff 60+ hours a week. When an RFP comes in, it’s often shunted to the side. As a deadline nears, a marketing coordinator is told to send out a qualifications statement or proposal based largely on boilerplate adaptations from previous works. No relationship-building; and not much return.

How to market, then, when your people are incredibly busy?

1. On-the-Job Mandeville

This process has probably been overkilled in past issues, but use a third party in your firm to ensure client satisfaction throughout each project and, when appropriate, to ask about repeat or referral opportunities. It’s the least expensive, least time consuming form of marketing … and crucial when you’re super-busy.

2. Greater selectivity

As you’re not hungry, set narrower criteria for the types of projects or clients you really want. Some firms won’t add clients who don’t have the potential for sole-source repeat work. Some won’t consider clients who impose fee restrictions. Some won’t respond to an RFQ or RFP unless they have already cultivated a strong relationship with the decision makers. As a profession, we normally don’t gouge clients, but you do have an opportunity to ask for what you perceive is fair.

3. Network maintenance

While you’re busy now, markets behave in cycles. To keep yourself positioned for the future, insist that members of your firm continue to participate in client association meetings. Perhaps spread the assignments, so no one is overloaded. But maintaining your relationship network is key to your firm’s long-term success.

4. Coaching

This comes under the heading of …

“How do you get people to do what they say they’ll do…
but don’t do … because they’re too busy?”

Use a “coach.” The coach can be a principal, a marketing director, or an outside consultant. The key is the style of the coach. Persistence without nagging. Clarity in assignments, with “inch-pebbles” instead of “mile-stones.” Able to support a person, so their promised actions are done. And positive in attitude; encouragement to succeed, not blame for failure. As firms are relationship-based, accountability is rarely enforced; but performance can be achieved with an effective coach.

The Expansive …

While upheavals can be uncomfortable or frightening, they can also be harbingers of something more grand. While the scale of the following three “domains” is enormous, ask yourself, for each … “If it’s real, what can I, personally, do about this?”

1. Peak Oil.

In the early 60s, Hubbert, a Shell geologist, constructed a model for oil field production that approximates a bell curve. Near the curve‘s top is a point after which a well can only produce the same or less. He called that point “Peak Oil.” Cumulatively, he predicted the U.S. would hit Peak Oil in 1970. He was ridiculed, but we hit Peak Oil (also known as “Hubbert’s Peak”) in 1970. Saudi Arabia hit Peak Oil in 2000. Global Peak Oil may be in four to eight years … or as far as twenty years.

Oil affects: Gas prices. Power. Fertilizers and pesticides for food. Plastics. Pharmaceuticals. A huge number of products. It’s not the end of oil; it’s the end of cheap oil … upon which the entire industrial revolution was built. Do some Internet searching; we like three or more independent sources that say essentially the same thing before we consider a trend reliable. Then try constructing a picture of what your personal and firm life may be. Now is the time for “what if” scenarios.

2. Civilization.

Try Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse. He looks at the rise and fall of many civilizations, from ancient to modern times. And he evolves a pattern that’s fairly consistent, even though we have greater technology today and are global. We seem to be sitting at a precipice. But … that’s also a point of opportunity on which to reflect.

3. Corporatocracy.

Try John Perkins’ Confessions of An Economic Hit Man. Easy read. Global perspective explains most of modern history. Keys to multinational corporations. Frightening, but real. Again … “What does this awareness mean for me and for my firm?”

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In case you didn’t see it before, “Mandeville, the DVD” is available. Great packaging. Same $387 cost. Phone or email for a copy; we’ll send it out, with invoice.

Mandeville Marketing Workshop. July 27 – 29 Salt Lake City. For agenda & cost: phone or email.

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