Saturday, July 19, 2014

What You Can Do

Of late, I've attended a large number of parades in a variety of venues. Small towns. Neighborhoods. Fairgrounds. A few weeks ago while walking to the parade route, I stumbled across this message set in concrete in front of a small house with a beautifully tended yard. I've always been a fan of the similar phrase  - "Do what you can with what you have." Sometimes that philosophy is called being resourceful. Occasionally it means being creative. This sign was a wonderfully generous and always timely reminder that you have more resources than you realize.  And that philosophy can be applied to business/ marketing resources, too.

Recently, a colleague said I was an uncommon marketer  due to my common sense and my ability to repurpose what is at hand rather than dream of grand ideas that are impossible to execute with available resources. That might be the best compliment I've received in my career as that - the idea of doing what you can with what you have - is the core of my marketing philosophy.

Here are a few everyday, business examples of the "Do what you can  - where you are - with what you have" marketing communication philosophy in action - plus, a couple of examples that overlooked the available resources and missed the opportunity:
  • I was shopping in a high-end resale shop several months ago. And as I often do, I chatted with the owner. While she checked e-mail on her iPhone, she mentioned Constant Contact was a dreaded monthly expense  - in the same breath she said that she did not have enough repeat business. I noted that Constant Contact has an iPhone app - she could take a picture of the adorable LBD in the front window and send a quick Constant Contact e-blast on the "Dress of the Week". That would take just a few minutes a week and would leverage what she had. She had a contact list. She had a delivery system. She had great message/product. Last week I noted the shop is closed. (Missed opportunity.)
  • A politician with a limited budget and a tiny social media presence wants to engage with the community to raise his profile as he runs for election. His resources are an interest in people, time, and the ability to listen. My suggested solution is a "listening tour"  - going to community-oriented events, such  church congregations* and public festivals, to speak with groups of people. (*These would need to be scheduled visits, of course, so as not to intrude on the congregation.)
  • A favorite winery is hosting a big event over the weekend. They created and ran a TV commercial in a weekend time slot - not an inexpensive effort. The winery has over 1200 Twitter followers. Not one tweet to this interested and engaged social media audience via the free channel to let them know about the big event. (Missed opportunity.)
    • Another flavor of the same issue - local airport announced a press conference and bombarded social media with "big change is coming". Did they bother to  post a press release in the media section of their website? No. The half-life of social media is brief - perhaps 4 hours on Facebook or 8 on LinkedIn - but the real estate on your website is yours forever to tell your story on. (Missed opportunity.)
  • A client builds websites and helps with SEO, whether he build the site or not. He has a list of 150+ clients that he infrequently contacted - even though existing clients are one of his prime recurring revenue sources. He has useful information. He has client contact information. The solution is an e-newsletter highlighting a client success, which any contact on the list could replicate, and offering an expert tip.

To think about...
What are your resources? What can you do with what you have? (Better yet, what else can you do with what you have?)

This is an Everyday Marketing Post. There will be others.