Focus on Marketing

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’d like to make one new best friend everyday for the rest of my life!” ? Why not? At the very least, it’s not sustainable. How many “current” best friends would you lose trying to gain the new ones? In a lot of business models, it would seem to work the same way. Expend too much energy on bringing in (and focusing on) new customers, and you lose track (and sales to) your existing customers.

I’ve heard it suggested from soe very successful speakers that a good mix to concentrate on is this:
60 % on current and past customers
30% on prospects (i.e. likely customers)
10% on the rest of the world

Now, keep in mind that this is just an opinion, but it is one that makes sense to me. Especially as I work to run the marketing effort of our Toastmasters district here in Kansas nad Western Missouri. It does seem like we put a great deal of effort into the universe and toward prospects, when our greatest success could be found in providing more value to our current customers. 

What are the keys to success here?
1. You have to know who your customers are
 – Demographics
 – Why the bought in the first place (need)
 – What needs do they still have?
 (i.e. e-mail, tv advertising, etc.)
2.  You have to know how can you reach them
 – e-mail
 – personal contact (Talk to the Human!)
 – advertising outlets such as TV, Radio, or Newspaper (expense)
 – Internet presence
 – What else?
3.  Know how your value can benefit them
4.  Communicate!

For Toastmasters, the answers to the first two questions are normally available for us. The trick is articulating the value in terms for the individual members, and communicating this effectively. Here are some examples:

– Increased confidence – as a speaker and as a leader. Not everyone places a real value on this for themselves.
– Retainability and promotability on the job. Not everyone wants this, and not every job values these skills equally.
– Networking with other people in similar circumstances. Can be good for staying in the job market.
– Great leadership opportunities – room to learn and grow without fear of getting “fired”.

Even with as much as Toastmasters has to offer, it can be hard to get future, and even current, members to realize the full value to themselves. But by continuing to emphasize what makes our organization great, we can keep helping those who want to be involved, and see our organization stay strong. It’s all in the marketing…

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