Marketing Process: The Secret To Making Amazingly Accurate Sales Results And Forecasts, Repeatedly, And Without A Crystal Ball.

The secret is developing and using a marketing process that is proven effective. And supporting it with a proven sales process. Going forward we will abbreviate this to marketing process.

Isn't this something that every business should want to do? How quickly do you want to get started? If you read that first sentence again carefully, you will probably notice the catch. And that is that the process must be proven effective. We'll come back to that.

Some time every year, you and your colleagues start the exercise of forecasting what the next 12 months revenue will look like. Everyone uses different methods, and they arrive at some kind of answer. And based on that answer, costs are forecast, and deducted from revenue. That calculation leads to gross profit, and then to pretax profit. But whether you recognize it or not, there is likely great uncertainty about how useful these numbers really are. Their foundation is the revenue forecast.

Does your business have and use a proven effective marketing process that can lead to accurate revenue forecasts? Have you systemized it? If not, you better pay attention. The real benefit from having such a system is not that is a substitute for a crystal ball. It is because it will take most of the guess work out of making sales. It will allow you to act with confidence, knowing that if you do X, then Y will surely be the result. It would be nice if the relationship of Y to X was universal, but it isn't. It is specific to your business in your particular market.

The significance of this comes back to the term proven effective. Proven effective means that things can and have been measured. That's how you know their effectiveness. But let's get back to the X and Y example. You did X and the result was Y. One thing that is very important is that X is something very specific. But once you can demonstrate to your own satisfaction that doing X will produce Y, where Y is a measure of revenue, you have a proven successful system.

This sounds easy when you say it fast, doesn't it. Well, it isn't, and I never promised you easy. Make no mistake, getting to where you can make this kind of prediction, is work. But it is work worth doing. Because it removes most of the uncertainty from making sales. And having enough X produces Y like relationships, where they work as frequently or infrequently as you work them can almost put generating revenue on autopilot.

Let's demystify this process even more. Let's get down to a specific example of a component part of a marketing and selling system. Your business has a big customer list with current contact information for each customer. You decide to test so you mail something to a small number of them with a specific offer. You know how many you send, and the mailing cost. You keep track of the response. You can then measure the response to this particular offer. And based on that response, you can have a reasonable degree of assurance that you will get a comparable response rate if you mail the same offer to the rest of your customers.

The offer that you mailed fell into the category of direct response marketing. It is the only type of marketing where measurement is possible. And you must measure. Otherwise how can you prove that you have an effective system. Now it is a bit more complicated than that. There may be seasonal and other factors that impact response rates. And you can't always use mail, although you should always capture customer information, and build a customer data base so mail becomes a cost effective option.

Yeesss. What about that term cost effective. Well, to put it in really basic terms, and going back to X and Y. As long as the profit from the resulting revenue Y, exceeds the cost of doing X, then it is cost effective. That is the simple, effective way of dealing with all direct response marketing as you build your marketing process.

There are a wide range of direct response marketing initiatives that can be applied to almost any business. Although the same initiatives may not apply to all businesses. You will need to experiment to determine which belong in your system. Just be assured that if you look and test you will develop an effective mix.

This is not intended to be a detailed and comprehensive dissertation on direct response marketing. It is intended to illustrate the need to be able to measure, and the fact that measuring mandates the use of direct response. If you can't measure the results, don't use it as part of your marketing process.

Review the works of the leading direct response marketing coaches, trainers, and consultants. They all approach it a bit differently, but the underlying theme is the same. Decide on one that you like, and buy his book, CD set, or join his group. Whatever it takes to start incorporating some of these ideas into your marketing process. All in an effort to free you from needing your crystal ball.

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