Time And Your Marketing
Time has become the most important commodity to your customers. How are
you using your time? Are you taking advantage of time in your marketing
programs? Time is just as critical to you as it is to your customers
when you're marketing your technology.
There are two ways to implement strategies around time: The first
involves how you make use of your time; the second is taking advantage of
your prospects' perception of their time usage.
Seconds From Success
Take a moment to ask yourself how you or your employees use time. How
effective are you at time management? Are you always doing so much in the
marketing "process" that you have little time for strategic
planning? Follow these guidelines to bring time back under your control.
Reduce non-essential demands on your time
Identify ways that time is being wasted. Are you searching for
opportunities, such as article placements, which could be handled by a
public relations firm or part-time consultant? Look at all the activities
you participate in and see which can be delegated to junior staff or
outsourced. If you're on you own, list the priority activities. You may
want to consider getting help with time management from a training
Have priorities and focus
Are you spending too much time with your ad agency? The design process
for a simple display ad can steal hours and hours from you. Get your
outsourced companies to know as much about your products and services as
soon as possible. Then you don't have to be in on the design process --
you'll just be approving the results. This allows you more time to be
Value time and book it off for strategy, reflection, and evaluation
How often do you, your executive team, and other appropriate team members
-- or even outside advisors -- get together to discuss and create
strategic business development plans? Schedule time to do so, and stick to
Build in the capability to handle busy-work and disqualification
processes with automated process
I always say, "Use marketing to keep people away from you."
That means use automated processes, like a Web site, to give introductory
and repetitive information for new inquiries. Personally, I use GoldMine
software. This saved me 95 percent of my prospecting time. Its automated
Web processes allow me to accept free registrations for my e-zine online,
and put prospects' data automatically into my database. This way,
information is distributed to those who may never even buy my consulting
services...but they haven't cost me any significant time or money either.
Say "no" to ineffective sales and marketing programs
Many companies continue to test their own marketing and sales
techniques. They don't know if a particular program or ad works because no
quantitative data is collected or the ad is not "keyed" (given a
promotion-specific phone number or certificate number). Keep track of your
programs, and eliminate the ones that don't work.
Limit time entangled in office politics or socializing
This is Management 101 stuff and not really in the realm of technology
marketing, but it does impact the effectiveness of your marketing
department. I have heard that most marketing people like to talk and
socialize...but of course, I couldn't tell you that myself.
Consciously experiment with time as a managerial practice
There are many versions of an expression that says, "A job takes
the amount of time you give it." Well, give yourself or your team a
little less time and a little more pressure to see if you can still pull
it off. Better yet, offer rewards at the end of each project based on
time-to-market, in addition to the results. You may be surprised at how
much more can be accomplished in less time.
Be aware of your public relations (PR) schedule
If you want to be quoted in articles or have your products reviewed or
mentioned, you need a plan and a PR schedule. Many print publications
require two to three months of lead time, and some are even as long as 6
months. On the other hand, some Internet publications are created
overnight and you must respond immediately when called.
Using Your Customers
Perceptions of Time
Your customers are victims of time and are as concerned about its use as
you are. They face similar challenges in meeting deadlines for product
development, keeping a competitive advantage, and handling stakeholder
concerns. If you can help them with their time issues, you'll become one
of their prized partners in perceived value -- read, "they will pay a
premium for your service."
There are several ways to influence prospects to call you or to meet
If you can position your product or service to assist your clients in
meeting their product development issues, you are much more attractive as
a supplier. Your customers constantly face marketplace issues like limited
lifecycles for their products, especially software.
Let customers be "first in line"
You can charge more for "front of the line" service. For
example, if you are an outsourced software development company and you
have a client that needs their project started immediately, then you can
charge a premium. You can simultaneously offer lower rates to customers
who plan ahead, and are willing to take your flextime and a later product
Limit the time you offer something
When you limit the period in which the prospect will benefit, they are
more likely to call. It can be a straightforward promotion for cost
savings. It can be access to a limited supply of a specific product.
Another very effective method, especially in technology, is the use of
complimentary information. White papers or sponsored third party research
are a great way to get attention, and you can distribute it automatically
and cost-effectively via the Internet.
Keep Internet content fresh
You must change and update information on your Web site on a regular
basis. This gives clients and prospects a reason to keep returning. It
also means they need to act sooner rather than later, as valuable
information may disappear or an offer will end.
How you use time is crucial to the success of your marketing
objectives. You need to be concerned with time management issues for
marketing executions, and find the appropriate timing for maximum
results. More importantly, clearly understanding your customers'
perceptions of time and their challenges means you can help them beat the
clock. If you do that, you get both their attention and their business.
Martin Wales is the eFounder and Chief Catcher at Customer
He welcomes your e-mail at email@example.com.
He is a technology-marketing specialist, speaker, and facilitator focused
on maximum results with minimal risk using your existing resources.