Sales & Marketing

30 spaces remaining – Apply for Elevate before the end of September 2012!

Posted by admin on September 06, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

Are you a micro business, well-established in the home market with an 18 month trading history and now looking to increase your cross-border sales? Why not apply for one of the few remaining spaces on our Elevate Programme.

Since its launch in 2011, Elevate has helped 70 such companies from across the island to identify new cross-border sales and markets.

Elevate will provide financial assistance to help you identify cross-border markets/customers across the island and win new business by giving you access to advise from a trade and marketing expert who will develop and implement a sales plan for your business. 

Its 100% funded by InterTradeIreland and the application process is very simple.

How do I apply?

All you have to do is complete a short application form and if approved, you will then get to choose one of our approved industry experts who will work with you to develop a winning cross-border sales plan for your business, kick start your sales and get on the fast-track to cross-border trading!

You’ll benefit from free one to one advice and support from your very own expert within your industry or sector to develop your own sales development plan.

Interested?

To find out more about the programme and to download an application form visit www.intertradeireland.com/elevate or contact one of the Elevate team on 028 30834143/110 (048 from Ireland). Applications are encouraged before the end of September 2012.

Marketing Is Dead

Posted by admin on August 21, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.

First, buyers are no longer paying much attention. Several studies have confirmed that in the “buyer’s decision journey,” traditional marketing communications just aren’t relevant. Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews.

Second, CEOs have lost all patience. In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.

Third, in today’s increasingly social media-infused environment, traditional marketing and sales not only doesn’t work so well, it doesn’t make sense. Think about it: an organization hires people — employees, agencies, consultants, partners — who don’t come from the buyer’s world and whose interests aren’t necessarily aligned with his, and expects them to persuade the buyer to spend his hard-earned money on something. Huh? When you try to extend traditional marketing logic into the world of social media, it simply doesn’t work. Just ask Facebook, which finds itself mired in an ongoing debate about whether marketing on Facebook is effective.

In fact, this last is a bit of a red herring, because traditional marketing isn’t really working anywhere.

There’s a lot of speculation about what will replace this broken model — a sense that we’re only getting a few glimpses of the future of marketing on the margins. Actually, we already know in great detail what the new model of marketing will look like. It’s already in place in a number of organizations. Here are its critical pieces:

Restore community marketing. Used properly, social media is accelerating a trend in which buyers can increasingly approximate the experience of buying in their local, physical communities. For instance, when you contemplate a major purchase, such as a new roof, a flat screen TV, or a good surgeon, you’re not likely to go looking for a salesperson to talk to, or to read through a bunch of corporate website content. Instead, you’ll probably ask neighbors or friends — your peer network — what or whom they’re using.

Companies should position their social media efforts to replicate as much as possible this community-oriented buying experience. In turn, social media firms, such as Facebook, should become expert at enabling this. They can do this by expanding the buyer’s network of peers who can provide trustworthy information and advice based on their own experience with the product or service.

For example, a new firm, Zuberance, makes it easy and enjoyable for a firm’s loyal customers to advocate for the firm on their social media platform of choice. At the moment one of these customers identifies himself as a “promoter” on a survey, they immediately see a form inviting them to write a review or recommendation on any of several social media sites. Once they do, the Zuberance platform populates it to the designated sites, and the promoter’s network instantly knows about his experience with the firm.

Find your customer influencers. Many firms spend lots of resources pursuing outside influencers who’ve gained following on the Web and through social media. A better approach is to find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about. This requires a new concept of customer value that goes way beyond customer lifetime value (CLV), which is based only on purchases. There are many other measures of a customer’s potential value, beyond the money they pay you. For example, how large and strategic to your firm is the customer’s network? How respected is she?

One of Microsoft’s “MVP” (Most Valuable Professional) customers is known as Mr. Excel to his followers. On some days, his website gets more visits than Microsoft’s Excel page — representing an audience of obvious importance to Microsoft, which supports Mr. Excel’s efforts with “insider knowledge” and previews of new releases. In return, Mr. Excel and other MVPs like him are helping Microsoft penetrate new markets affordably.

Help them build social capital. Practitioners of this new, community-oriented marketing are also rethinking their customer value proposition for such MVP (or “Customer Champion” or “Rockstar”) customer advocates and influencers. Traditional marketing often tries to encourage customer advocacy with cash rewards, discounts or other untoward inducements. The new marketing helps its advocates and influencers create social capital: it helps them build their affiliation networks, increase their reputation and gives them access to new knowledge — all of which your customer influencers crave.

National Instruments used an especially creative approach with its customer influencers, who were mid-level IT managers at the companies they did business with. NI engaged with them by providing powerful research and financial proof points they could take to senior management, showing that NI solutions were creating strategic benefits. That got NI into the C-suite. It also increased the reputation of the mid-level advocates, who were seen as strategic thinkers bringing new ideas to senior management.

Get your customer advocates involved in the solution you provide. Perhaps the most spectacular example of this comes from the non-profit world. Some years ago, with the number of teen smokers nation-wide rising to alarming levels, the State of Florida thought anew about its decades-long effort to reduce the problem. What could be more difficult than convincing teen smokers to quit — a problem that Malcolm Gladwell had said couldn’t be solved. Using the techniques for building a community of peer influence, Florida solved it. They sought influential teen “customers” such as student leaders, athletes, and “cool kids,” who weren’t smoking or who wanted to quit — and instead of pushing a message at them, they asked for the students’ help and input.

Approached in this new way, some 600 teens attended a summit on teen smoking, where they told officials why anti-smoking efforts in the past hadn’t worked — dire warnings about the health consequences of smoking, or describing the habit as “being gross,” left them unimpressed. On the spot, the teens brainstormed a new approach: they were outraged by documents showing that tobacco company executives were specifically targeting teens to replace older customers who’d died (often from lung cancer). And so the teens formed a group called SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) who organized train tours and workshops, sold T-shirts and other appealing activities to take their message into local communities. The result: despite a vicious counterattack by Big Tobacco lobbying firms, teen smoking in Florida dropped by nearly half between 1998 and 2007 — by far the biggest success in anti-teen-smoking in history.

Put another way, Florida won half of the “non-buyers” of its anti-teen-smoking “product” away from its much bigger, much better funded competitor. They did so by tapping the best source of buyer motivation: peer influence.

So can you. Traditional marketing may be dead, but the new possibilities of peer influence-based, community-oriented marketing, hold much greater promise for creating sustained growth through authentic customer relationships.

Bill Lee

Bill Lee

Bill Lee is president of the Lee Consulting Group, Executive Director of the Summit on Customer Engagement, and author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset (HBR Press, June 2012).

Why succession planning is essential for Farm Family Businesses

Posted by admin on August 20, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

The role of leading a family farming business through succession carries with it a very unique set of challenges. Farm businesses have many things going for them – they tend to be flexible, reliable, and proud, they can think long-term, have a strong culture and their people are committed. But they can also carry a daunting set of disadvantages – they can be rigid, inward-looking, unresponsive to change and sometimes swamped by emotional issues. It’s a complex mixture of advantages and disadvantages, costs and benefits, strengths and weaknesses. It is within this challenging context that effective succession planning must function as a catalyst for change and smooth transition between one generation and the next within family farms in Northern Ireland

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ONeill highlights the importance of Succession Planning

Posted by admin on July 01, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has highlighted to farmers that the lack of a Will can lead to the issue of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) being frozen.

Single Farm Payment is claimed by approximately 38,000 farm business across the north. The death, or mental incapacity of the head of holding where no Will has been made can cause significant delays in receiving payment of entitlements such as the SFP and also increase anxiety in an already difficult situation.

The Farm Family Options Mentoring Programme, which is delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme by Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership, provides free, one to one, independent and confidential support including information on succession planning to farm families. This support is available to all farm families and mentors will visit families in their own homes at a time which suits them.

For further information on the Farm Family Options Mentoring Programme, contact Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership on 0845 026 7539 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            0845 026 7539      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email: mentoring@countrysiderural.co.uk

 ARC North Wes…

Posted by admin on July 01, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

 

ARC North West opening for applications under measures 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 early June

 

Subject to approval, ARC North West will open for applications at the beginning of June 2012 under the above measures of Axis 3 of the NI Rural Development Programme.

If you are from the Council areas of Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council, Omagh District Council and Strabane District Council and wish to find out more about funding available visit www.arcnorthwest.com or contact your local office by telephone:

Omagh

 

028 8225 0202

 

Derry

 

028 7136 5151

 

Limavady

 

028 7776 0306

 

Strabane

 

028 7138 2204

 

 ARC North Wes…

Posted by admin on July 01, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

 

ARC North West opening for applications under measures 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 early June

 

Subject to approval, ARC North West will open for applications at the beginning of June 2012 under the above measures of Axis 3 of the NI Rural Development Programme.

If you are from the Council areas of Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council, Omagh District Council and Strabane District Council and wish to find out more about funding available visit www.arcnorthwest.com or contact your local office by telephone:

Omagh

 

028 8225 0202

 

Derry

 

028 7136 5151

 

Limavady

 

028 7776 0306

 

Strabane

 

028 7138 2204

 

Facilitation Services Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership

Posted by admin on April 04, 2012  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

JCR Network Services are pleased to announce the appointment of their Director James Coyle as a service provider for Group Facilitation services for the Supply Chain Development strategy programme under the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership( CARP).The SCD measure seeks to improve the marketing of agriculture produce through developing a culture of collaboration between producers, processors and stakeholders.This measure is primarily aimed at early stage enterprises/projects (producers – farmers and food producers) which have not yet developed relationships with their supply chain partners.It supports farmers working together, and with others, to improve the rewards from their supply chain. This is achieved by providing expert guidance and financial assistance for the formation and development of new and existing Supply Chain groups with a focus on marketing.

Merry Christmas

Posted by admin on December 23, 2011  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

James and all the team at JCR Network Services wish all our clients a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2012.

JCR Network Services re-opens for business 4th January 2012

sales and marketing insights

Posted by admin on November 04, 2011  /   Posted in Sales & Marketing

This post is part of the HBR Insight Center Growing the Top Line.

Self-awareness is not always pretty. We go to some lengths to avoid it, tucking our stomachs in as we pass a mirror, weighing ourselves at the most favorable times, and favoring people who compliment us. No real harm done. However, when management teams do the same in their businesses, great harm can occur, for self-awareness is the first building block of successful growth strategies.

Hubris, false confidence, and the tendency to downplay contrary data are at the root of many of the great growth blunders and missed opportunities in the history of business. Yet, our research at Bain reveals, it is the rare management team that passes our three tests of true self-awareness. Here they are, in the form of simple questions that we find altogether too few management teams can answer.

1. What is our core? This may be the most important question in business. It’s essentially the same as asking, “What is our competitive advantage?” Analysis of company performance shows that over 80% of profitable growth comes not from general market characteristics but from performing better than the other companies in your industry. That’s the cold truth even in hot markets.

The three biggest determinants of that advantage are

•Achieving “leadership economics” — leadership in the strongest part of your business (the core of the core), not just in market share but also in market influence and in the ability (and incentive) to outinvest competitors;
•Having customers more loyal to your company than to your competitors; and
•Having a clear, simple, and repeatable model at the center of your strategy.
The companies that have all three are not always the most glamorous, but they are usually the ones that adapt and endure. These are companies like IKEA, Tetra Pak, Singapore Airlines, Tesco, Apple, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Nike, and Vanguard.

Yet, how much effort do most executives spend in deep reflection on the true underlying drivers of competitive advantage? How much more is spent looking for the next hot market?

In my 15+ years as co-head of the Bain strategy practice, I have led countless workshops with executive teams in which we have asked each team member privately to identify the most important factors differentiating their company from its competitors and how those factors relate to their company’s strongest capabilities. It is the rare management team that agrees on the answers, and many have not even discussed these issues in any systematic way for a long time. They are like the couple that has not talked about their relationship for years, taking their core for granted, only to discover that they are worlds apart.

2. Do our management team, frontline employees, and core customers agree on how we are most differentiated in the marketplace? This sounds like an easy one, but surveys show that fewer than half of employees in even the average company believe they understand the strategy of their business and what it’s built on. Moreover, we have found that while 80% of managers believe they are highly differentiated in their core market, only 8% of customers, when asked, agree. Closing the gap in perception between the CEO and the front line is the first step toward self-awareness — and the first step toward unlocking a flow of powerful insights needed to adapt and grow.

3. What is the historic success rate of our growth investments and what do the successful ones have in common? I once worked with a company that, having examined its past 10 years of growth investments, was shocked when it compared how much was spent (over $10 billion) with its success rate (below 18%). What’s more, the firm was surprised to find that the most successful ones all followed a similar pattern. Companies can learn a great deal by doing painful post mortems of this kind. The average success rate is only 20 to 25%, we found in a study we did of growth initiatives in nearly 200 companies, whereas the success rate at the best companies, which create a successful repeatable model, is fully two to three times higher. You can interpret many of the outcomes of competitive battles — such as Nike versus Reebok in the period between 1990 and 2005 — as the triumph of one company that had deliberately applied a repeatable model over a competitor that had not.

If you want to pursue profitable growth, you must first do the hard work of self-reflection before turning to the sexy part of gazing out at the heavens

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