There are at least three major challenges in marketing our enterprise services:
- More than 90% of the population does not see what we do as relevant to them – when it comes to enterprise they are pre-contemplators
- Getting our messages through – what are our key messages and how to we get them where they can be heard – by the people that matter?
- Giving people the confidence, conviction and commitment to act on the messages – to give us a call, to come to a workshop, to make an appointment, to have a conversation
Now the default setting for the VAST majority of enterprise projects are these:
We won’t worry about the pre-contemplators – we will target those who already have ideas they want to act on or already have the belief and the conviction that they can make progress. This makes it easier for us to hit our numbers.
Our core messages will be:
1. we can help turn your dreams into reality (if you don’t have dreams don’t call us)
2. We can turn your business ideas into reality (ignore the fact that the ‘Dragons’ mash up and humiliate most of the poor saps that go to them – with our help you can’t fail)
3. It is quick – and relatively easy – (if you haven’t got the skills we can teach them to you) – you can be up and running in just weeks or months. 10 000 hours to master a field – forget it – who is Malcolm Gladwell anyway? 3 half day workshops and a bit of one to one on the business plan will “see you ‘reet”. (Glad no-one is measuring survival rates on our projects!)
4. To get people to take action we will lure them in by hinting at the availability of money, childcare, bouncy castles and food. We will even pay them the bus fare (yes, it costs a lot to administer but – what are we to do…?)
5. We will spend a lot of money on marketing collateral, leaflets, web sites and e-mail marketing campaigns (digital exclusion! – you mean some poor people don’t have e-mail accounts – never mind they could never become proper business people anyway – they are not our target group).
6. We will attend every possible event and push our services hard – just like those guys who sell SKY TV and Credit Cards in the Merrion Centre – “You mean we shouldn’t be selling enterprise like any other commodity? Why not?”
We know that these approaches:
- are expensive
- have very low hit rates
- attract a whole load of people who just want to get the money without putting in the work
- attract people easily seduced by the idea of a quick fix – rather than composing a life and a livelihood
- elicit more suspicion, frustration and cynicism than enthusiasm and engagement
- provide us with very high customer acquisition costs. (interesting that most entrepreneurs are very interested in this number – yet most projects funded to support entrepreneurs don’t worry about their own cost per customer acquisition at all – ‘We are below targets – lets throw some more money at marketing then!’).
What about looking at marketing approaches that work.
Word of mouth.
Reputation building, seeking referrals and recommendations – based on the fact that we are bloody good! That we do inspire, transform, care and coach. That we are more than interested in people and their passions. That we are with them for the long haul.
Worrying more about what every customer says about us to their mates, in the pub, in the clubs and on the streets, rather than some abstract and easily manipulated percentage that represents ‘customer satisfaction’ – YUK!
Being the kind of people and the type of service that our customers can’t wait to recommend to their friends.
Once we start to spend time and money on developing marketing and enagement strategies based on:
- reputation management
- social networking
- gatekeepers, and
- the needs, interests, cultures and values of the communities we serve (rather than policy goals and outcomes)
we would start to see the basics of our own businesses transformed.
- 10% of customers influence the purchasing decisions of the other 90%
- 91% of customers are “likely” to buy off of a recommendation
- 92% of customers “prefer” a word of mouth recommendation
Why should small business engage with twitter?
Well this post and video pretty quickly summed it up for me.
Early days for me using twitter – but so far it looks promising!
I am going to twittering some tips and twitter about community based enterprise and how to develop it!
Any of you twittering? What works and what doesn’t?
If you want to you can follow my twitters at:
- Projects designed to develop an enterprise culture should be owned and managed by the community itself. A community that is coerced towards enterprise by outsiders is likely to resist.
- Change agents, coaches, advisers and others working in the community should be recruited, managed and introduced to the community – by the community. They should not be missionaries parachuted in to win converts.
- Change is best effected through a series of 121 meetings, characterised by honesty and openness, where a professional, compassionate and caring coach works to ensure that the client takes control of their own enterprise agenda. To ensure maximum take up and productivity of the service it should be free of charge for as long as it takes for the client to complete their journey and believe that that they no longer need the service.
- Community based enterprise coaches should not replicate existing services. Instead they should signpost and brokers clients to existing services and help them to use them effectively. Where necessary the coach may need to advise existing service providers on how best to effectively serve their clients.
- The community based enterprise coach or business adviser helps the client to develop their commitment, passion and skill to their own enterprise agenda – using the tools and techniques of personal development. Their focus is primarily on the development of the person and secondarily on the development of their enterprise ideas.
- Community based business coaches and enterprise advisers need to be at the heart of a network, of social capital, that can provide advice, guidance and support as required by the coach and their clients.
- Community based business coaches and enterprise advisers work in response to the wants and desires of local people – not to the delivery of strategies, plans and opportunities developed by economic planners. They do not motivate or initiate but work in response to the passion, interests and skills of local people.
- The enterprise project must take a broad definition of enterprise – helping local people to use enterprise skills to tackle problems and opportunities that face them. Entrepreneurship may be on the agenda – but it should not be THE agenda.
Interested in attending a workshop to explore how to make enterprise coaching work in practice?
Three new open workshop dates have just been organised in March.
Find out more, and book on-line, here.