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Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

“If you want to catch a trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel.” – Ann Landers

George said he’s been fishing at times when he would have been happy to catch any fish at all. He’s even had times when his friend a few feet away was catching all kinds of fish.

So he found out what his friend was using – what bait or lure – and changed his, but he still didn’t catch any fish. He concluded he was fishing in the wrong hole.
 


Fishing for business
Sometimes we experience the same thing when we’re fishing for business. We’re putting our line out but we don’t get any bites.

It may be that the customers aren’t where we’re fishing – they’re in another hole!

For example, maybe your customers are primarily shopping for your product or service online and you’re only marketing offline or vice versa.

People don’t use the internet for that

George remembers having a debate with one of his business managers. This happened to be a plumbing business. They were discussing how to allocate advertising dollars between various media. George thought they needed a bigger online presence. His manager insisted that customers wouldn’t go online if they had a plumbing emergency.

After surveying calls that came in, the manager reported back to George that an overwhelming majority of the people who had called with a plumbing emergency during that time period had found them via the internet.

Sometimes we think we know where our customers are, but our perceptions are clouded by our own biases. Fortunately, there’s a way to find out for sure.

Today’s bigg action item – survey your customers.

Find out how they learn about new things. The odds are your future customers are probably a lot like your current customers.

How one car dealer did it

One example of this is a car dealer. He had the employee who pulled the customer’s car into the service bay record what radio station was playing. He analyzed this information to determine which radio stations to use.

Is there some way in your business to naturally find out what media your customers use? If there is, develop a system to track the information so you know in which hole to cast your line.

Work with your direct mail supplier

Here’s another example from George’s service businesses. His mailing service was able to take his customer lists and ping the national databases to see where their existing customers fit in. Then they had a good profile of the people to target with future advertising – target people who are similar to your existing customers.

Survey them directly

You may just have a survey form that your customers fill out. Offer them some incentive to take the time to complete your survey. It may be a product or service you offer that’s relatively inexpensive …

… or cut a deal with another merchant – maybe even work a trade – to offer an incentive to your customers (e.g. movies, dessert, or gas)!

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3 Action Items to Increase Your Productivity

In a new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a group of researchers surveyed 58 random people in a shopping mall. These researchers asked the participants to recall the decisions they had made that day. Then the researchers asked the participants to solve some simple math problems. They found that the more decisions a participants had made, the less likely they were to solve the problems.

 

There appears to be a price to making decisions – we become less productive as we make more decisions. And boy, do we have to make a lot of decisions today!

A six item grocery list
Picture yourself in a grocery store holding a list with six items – orange juice, bagels, Philadelphia cream cheese, Crest toothpaste, Coke, and lettuce.

In 1970, with that list you would have had a choice of 50 items. By 1998, you would need to filter through 250 different products just to get all the items on your list.

This comes from the spectacular book, Simplicity Marketing: End Brand Complexity, Clutter, and Confusion by Steven M. Cristol and Peter Sealey.

Think about it – that was 1998. Do you think it’s any better now?

3 bigg action items to simplify decision making

#1 – Make a list that’s specific.

So specific in fact, that you could send someone else and get exactly what you want. Studies show that people who shop with a list don’t buy as many impulse items so they tend to spend less money.

More importantly, it saves you time and mental fatigue as the studies showed.

#2 – Set a time limit when you’re making a major decision.

Before you begin doing research for a bigg decision, set a time limit. Once you’re satisfied with your findings or once you reach your time limit, make a decision.

As an example, we recently set up the web site for Bigg Studio, a sister company to Bigg Success, for audio production services. We needed to decide on the design for the site. There were an endless number of possibilities. We chose one that fit our criteria and moved on.

Here’s another tip that we love – get out your magic 8 ball. Ask it if you made the right decision. Look at its answer and see how you feel about it. This taps into your intuition about the decision which makes getting to the decision you’re most comfortable easier.

If you like this idea, here are a couple of links you might find helpful:

#3 – Become a partner in stress relief for the important people in your life.
Get to know the preferences of the people who depend on you, like your customers, your co-workers, your boss, and your significant other. Weed through all the options and present them with just a few.

The authors of Simplicity Marketing make the point that

“the next generation of positioning successes will belong to those brands that relieve customer stress.”

So there’s a significant opportunity in the future for people and companies who are able to simplify things. This applies not just to your company brand, but also to your personal brand.

This is one of the things we try to do here at Bigg Success. We try hard to sort through all the information out there and deliver to you those few things we’ve found to be the most important.

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Get in the Loop to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Planning is certainly important to set your direction. Analysis is necessary, but a lot of people take it too far. At some point, you just have to do it.

United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd developed a concept for the military called OODA Loops. OODA is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

It’s a useful concept in business as well. Boyd postulated that you gain an advantage if you work through this loop faster than others. This is particularly true in today’s highly competitive, rapidly changing business world.

Start by getting in the loop

Boyd’s four processes are overlapping and interacting. That’s why you gain an advantage by getting in the loop. As you move through it, you constantly receive new information. Feedback that you don’t get if you never act. You’re able to use that feedback to adapt.

And that’s what gives you an advantage – you know things that the “analyzers” haven’t discovered. You can’t know everything before you make a decision, even if you conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any number of other things.

Because they’re all speculative … conjecture … hypothesis. When you take action, you get real facts. Hard evidence. Things you only get by taking action.

Action is what creates the advantage
Nothing happens until you take action. Once you do, you start gaining information that others don’t have. You’re getting real data, while the others are still analyzing the situation.

By taking action, it’s not guaranteed that you will succeed. However, you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. That education gives you a competitive advantage over those who aren’t yet in this game. That’s part of the process.

So get in the loop … and do something – even if it’s wrong!

Using OODA Loops in business
Let’s say you’re in business. You spot an underserved market – customers want something that your competitors don’t offer. You start gearing your organization in that direction. You choose a strategy to penetrate that market. Then you do it.

Now while that’s going on, your competition is catching up. But you’re there first, so you’re learning things about the market they don’t know yet. You have new observations which you use to tweak your strategy to maintain your competitive edge.

Get your friends in the loop … tell them about Bigg Success!
Just click the Share This button below.

Our bigg quote today comes from Arie de Geus, who said,

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors
may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

So jump in the loop so you stay in the loop and gain the upper hand.

Next time, we’ll offer four tips that can lead you to a million dollars. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Sources

OODA Loop – Wikipedia

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War 

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