Celebrating 27 years of Insight Marketing Services
I remember the first day I started my business, in May 1992, feeling scared and excited in equal measure. I have always been passionate about marketing, and still am, whether for business or not for profit organizations.
Here are some of the things I have learned along the way.
1. The first lesson was both painful and useful in strengthening my resolve. Not everybody who says they will give you business when you’re about to start, actually does.
2. Some clients are not worth keeping -they use more time than they are paying for. However, others are a joy, and value the results you achieve, from careful planning and implementation.
3. Be alert! You never know what opportunities are going to come along. A casual remark here, a presentation there, or the right question at the right time, can all make a difference.
4. Listen to your customers! They have a business need and they want you to supply the solution [even if it’s not what you thought you were there for].
5. If people are saying nice things, are pleased with the work and the outcomes, be sure to write them down and get them approved by the client – a testimonial is like gold dust, hard to get but extremely valuable.
6. Don’t neglect your data base – it is like a houseplant, needs attention and management to remain healthy and profitable. It’s not the glamorous part of marketing, but one of the important foundation stones of any business.
7. Keep learning, from your experiences, from your mistakes, from your clients and suppliers, as well as structured relevant learning along the way. The brain is a muscle, so use it or lose it!
8. Planning helps you get there, realistic objectives keep you focused, and flexibility enables you to capture unexpected opportunities. Review your plans regularly and avoid getting distracted.
9. Don’t be shy! You do need to ask for the order, or you might not get it.
10. Relationships built with long-term customers require a lot more work, but provide better returns. It costs a lot more to keep finding new one-off clients.
Finally, as the old Chinese saying goes, “if you love what you do, it ceases to be work”. I am still loving it, learning about it, and building strong business relationships after 27 years. Here’s to the future!