Why You Should Fire Your Marketing Team…

If your marketing plan consists of one sales promotion after another, your marketing team* is coasting. They are not being creative and stretching the limits. They are parked in a comfort zone and won’t move until an external force applies pressure.

That force can be you, or it can be your competition. You choose. Personally, I’d prefer for it to be me, but not everyone thinks as I do (that’s can be a good thing!). If you are comfortable with your return on investment, you don’t need to read any further. But if you want more sales and profit, please continue.

I have to warn you. It won’t be comfortable, but growth never is (that’s why they call it “growing pains”.)

I cut my professional teeth in the catalog industry. It has been both fun and challenging to participate in the evolution from direct mail to multichannel. The best part is having the technology to access tons of data. The worst part is having to choose from so many marketing opportunities. This is probably why so many marketers are still using the same techniques over and over and over and…

They are scared to move out of their comfort zone. Before you defend them with “they use the strategies because they work” argument, think about it. REALLY think about it. Can you honestly say that a plan with a 97% error rate works? Can you say it with a straight face?

I can. It works because if it is tweaked a little bit, the results will be better than last time by a hair. If you keep it going, you will probably reach a 25% response rate in 2512. OOPS! Odds are you will be gone long before then.

So, I’m guessing that you might want something more effective before then. You can have it, but you have to work to find it.

The first step is to admit that you have a problem. If you receive copies of your company’s emails, save them for two to three weeks. (If you don’t receive them, start!) Sort your inbox by sender and look at your emails. If they look like this…

10/3 Hurry! Only 3 Days Left to Shop This Weekend
9/29 Take 20% Off + Free Shipping
9/27 Ends Sunday! Up to 70% Off! Clearance
9/26 100’s of NEW items – on Sale Today
9/25 Up to 70% Off – Fall Super Sale
9/22 48 HOUR SALE! Save 25% + FREE Shipping

Note: Actual email subjects from one company. I hope it isn’t yours!

…you have problems. Your customers are being desensitized to your emails. You are training them to wait for the best price. Days turn into weeks and they forget why they are waiting, so they don’t buy. Or, they receive an entertaining, informative email from your competition and buy there. (Either way, you lost the sale.)

Stop the sale madness and find REAL reasons for people to buy from you. Try value, lifestyle, quality, fun…it’s your turn to think up a few now. And don’t forget to rattle some cages along the way!

* If you are a member of a status quo marketing team, here is your opportunity to move ahead. Start with small tests and build from there.



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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Will

    All true, but if you are planning on trying this, be ready for some real pain!

    It takes time to wean your customers off constant discounting, and it’s hard.

    Sales will initially take a hit because your customers will be waiting for that discount, stay strong, don’t give in – read a book about beating addiction!

    Some companies take longer than others, it depends on your customer churn but if your product and service it up to it then you will succeed. If your product and service isn’t up to it then fix that instead!

    Reply
  • Debra Ellis

    Hi Will,

    Thank you for your comment. You’re right that it takes time, but it isn’t as painful as one might think if you start small. I recommend that my clients start with a small segment of their customer base and expand as they learn what works. This keeps the sales hit to minimum. In some cases, you’ll see an increase in profits even when the sales dip.

    Reply
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