Welcome Steve Osbourne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

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Barbara Gabogrecan
President

Welcome Steve Osbourne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Barbara Gabogrecan » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:32 pm

ImageOur topic in the Forum this month is titled ‘Golf and the Art of Small Business Marketing’. For over 20 years Steve Osborne has provided home and service based industries with support in strategic branding and marketing. In this time, he has noted that many of these businesses struggle with attracting a steady stream of ideal prospects which they can turn into clients and thus build a repeat customer base.

Steve will discuss methods and tactics you can use – the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. His posts will be based around the idea that marketing is like a game. It’s a lot like golf…if you love or hate golf or know nothing about the game, you will still be able to follow the tactics as Steve reveals all.

You will be given ideas on how to develop the three ‘Ps’ of business:-
Positioning – establishing credibility; clarifying value; developing a Core Marketing Message
Persuasion – getting attention; strengthening content; improving advertising
Performance – establishing needs; building relationships; getting more referrals

Enjoy the journey that Steve will take us on and read and ask questions in our Forum from Monday 16th September. In the meantime, enjoy this quote – I love it!

“Beware of growth that comes from doing more things, rather than doing the same thing more times.” Anon
Barbara Gabogrecan assists HBB's to market their business online
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org

Barbara is an artist specialising in silk painting; her video is on page one of You Tube http://youtu.be/1ZA9HObN_Go
http://www.SilkPaintingByGabogrecan.com/

Having survived a stroke and a brain tumour, Barbara wrote a book titled 'Thank God I Had a Stroke' to motivate and inspire others suffering from similar afflictions.
http://GabogrecanStrokeRecovery.com/
Barbara Gabogrecan
 
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Re: Welcome Steve Osborne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Steve Osborne » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:50 am

MARKETING GOLF – a game of equal frustration for both marketers and golfers

Marketing is a game. It's a lot like golf.

Marketing is a game played by business owners against a background of technology, words and images. The end game is to win trust from prospects so they will buy stuff.

Golf is a game played by people in loud pants against a background of swinging, swooshing and swearing. The end game is to hit a small white ball into 18 small holes in as few shots as possible.

The same principles are in use for both games. There are rules; there are penalties. There is a set of simple tenets that needs to be grasped by players of both games and developed over time. What I intend to do in this series of blog posts is plant my tongue firmly into my cheek and equate golf with marketing in a way that hopefully, sheds a little light on the practice for services businesses.

GOLF – CALL THAT A GAME? THIS IS A GAME!

A great many services and home-based businesses owners struggle with marketing. They find it difficult to consistently attract a steady stream of ideal prospects, turn them into clients and build a repeat customer base. If you're one of those for whom marketing is a complete mystery, I'm going to outline a simple system to help you understand how it works.

And if you're one of those people who view golf as a good walk ruined; find playing or even watching the game an excruciating torture; even if you know nothing about golf and never intend to – bear with me, all will be revealed. I hope the analogy will give you an insight or at least a few tips for improvement.

By way of an introduction, let's start with a couple of questions that may be familiar to fellow services and home-based business owners.

FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO ATTRACT NEW CLIENTS?

Do you suffer from 'feast-or-famine' syndrome? A common disease – it's where you win a decent-sized piece of business, work like crazy to service the account and when the project finishes, find you have little or nothing to be going on with. Typically, you search frantically for the latest, greatest, shiny new fix to help bring in the next big win.

Are you struggling with your marketing? Simply not attracting enough new clients? Here's why: you're not doing the right things.

And not only are you not doing the right things, you think you know the right things you should be doing. Like: networking, improving your website, getting into social media, amongst a multitude of others. You think you need to 'just get yourself out there.'

But those aren't the right things. At least, not in the way you're currently doing them. After all, you've tried them all, to some degree or another. So, "How's that working out for ya?" If these things were really working, you'd be doing them consistently and bringing in all the new business you could handle.

MARKETING IS A SYSTEM, NOT AN EVENT

Actually, doing the right things means you must first understand how the marketing and sales process works for services businesses. Once you grasp the basic rules, you can use the system over and over again to consistently attract new clients. So, let's start playing Marketing Golf by looking at some of the similarities between people playing these two games.

In my experience, the most common marketing problems faced by services business owners are:

• They struggle with the very idea of self-promotion

• They are fearful of doing the wrong thing and end up doing nothing

• They look at marketing as a series of isolated events, rather than a system

Often, they confuse marketing with advertising alone and get stuck on methods and tactics – the how – without realising strategy – the why – is what contributes most to business growth. Golf is not so different.

Most players I know can be loosely referred to as weekend hackers – people who enjoy the game but don't play it well. A strange love/hate relationship develops in many players. It can vary from extreme exaltation when an occasional good shot is played to fits of temper where the player imagines every variable possible – his clubs, his swing, the golf course itself – is conspiring against him.

The most common problems faced by weekend hackers are:

• They approach the game in an adversarial way

• They do no practice and expect to play like Tiger Woods

• They constantly tinker with their swing/equipment/stance

Often, they confuse a fluid swing with brute strength and get physically wound up in knots. In trying to belt the cover off the ball with every shot, they fail to realise a strategy of playing to their ability will actually garner better results.

Next post, we'll look at the fundamentals of the game – the basic requirements needed before you step onto the course. Your comments and questions about both marketing and golf are welcome, whether the worst performance or the greatest triumph in either business or sport. If you're interested in the thoughts that brought me to this golf=marketing idea, head over to http://www.smarthinking.com.au/blog/ for more of the story.

Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented. Arnold Palmer, US golfer
Smarthinking helps services businesses develop simple, effective marketing systems that deliver a steady stream of new prospects.
Visit http://www.smarthinking.com.au or contact Steve Osborne on 0411 713 003
Steve Osborne
 
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Re: Welcome Steve Osbourne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Barbara Gabogrecan » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:46 am

What a great beginning to your week of posts Steve! I gather you play golf, while I am one of those that thinks watching grass grow is more interesting! But what you have already said about marketing 'hits the spot' as far as I'm concerned.

I have been concerned ever since I founded HBBA that members seem to think of marketing as an event and seldom see it as an ongoing activity that is simply part of their business strategy. I hear so many people in the service industry make complaints about being so terribly busy trying to complete a 'job' and then having nothing to do at all. It is only then that they seem to think "I'd better get going with some marketing".

I am one of those lucky people that actually find marketing as exciting as producing my product (I am an artist) or looking after the members of HBBA (a service). In my case, I see a similarity between marketing and being creative. I seldom advertise - I am always looking for ways to promote and market myself and my product/service with activities that have little or no cost; and I am constantly developing creative (or unique) ways to do this.

There is a saying "You are your business" which is especially true of home based businesses. Yet, you hit it on the head - these operators do not seem to feel comfortable with promoting themselves. They seem to view self promotion as "pushing their own barrow" and somehow find this to be degrading. If only they would realise by promoting themselves, they are also promoting their business.

How I look forward to your future posts to see how you develop on the ideas that you have brought up in your first post! Great stuff Steve!
Cheers
Barb
Barbara Gabogrecan assists HBB's to market their business online
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org

Barbara is an artist specialising in silk painting; her video is on page one of You Tube http://youtu.be/1ZA9HObN_Go
http://www.SilkPaintingByGabogrecan.com/

Having survived a stroke and a brain tumour, Barbara wrote a book titled 'Thank God I Had a Stroke' to motivate and inspire others suffering from similar afflictions.
http://GabogrecanStrokeRecovery.com/
Barbara Gabogrecan
 
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Re: Welcome Steve Osbourne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Steve Osborne » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:55 pm

Thanks for your comments and observations, Barbara. You're absolutely right. As one of those for whom marketing is a creative and enjoyable task, you'll never run out of inspirational ideas to promote your business. However, many business owners are like deer in the headlights – rooted to the spot with fear of either doing the wrong thing, or frightened of appearing "pushy". Subsequently, they do nothing.

For many, this fear of marketing stems from a false idea that if they self-promote, they are somehow "putting something over" people. And the fallback position is to compete solely on price. Big mistake. I refer to this idea in the next post (ask me).

And yes, altho' I do play golf, I'm not a fanatic. I can appreciate watching grass grow is infinitely more attractive for some people. This whole – marketing is a game – analogy could have equally been applied to several sports. I chose golf because a. both men and women play and understand the game and b. cricket is WAAAY too complicated!
Last edited by Steve Osborne on Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Smarthinking helps services businesses develop simple, effective marketing systems that deliver a steady stream of new prospects.
Visit http://www.smarthinking.com.au or contact Steve Osborne on 0411 713 003
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Re: Welcome Steve Osborne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Steve Osborne » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:18 pm

Continuing the theme, let's look at the fundamentals of the game.

To succeed at golf you need to play four different kinds of shots, each requiring a specific club. You need to 1. play a drive off the tee;
2. an approach iron from the fairway; 3. a pitching wedge onto the green; and, 4. a putt into the hole. Pretty simple really.

FORE!

But think about this: if I take a bunch of golfers, put them on a course and have them play drives, approach shots, pitches and putts at random, they aren't necessarily playing golf. It's basically a lot of balls flying through the air but leading nowhere.

As Mark Twain would say – a good walk spoiled.

But that's how most service businesses approach their marketing. They 'get out there' and do some networking, make a few calls, try a bit of advertising etc. and not a lot happens. They certainly aren't playing the game of marketing. Because if they were, they would be attracting a lot more of the kinds of clients they wanted. In golf, you wouldn't settle for those kinds of results. Why would you settle for it in something as important as your business?

HOW TO PLAY MARKETING GOLF

Marketing Golf requires you play the same four different shots as you play in real golf. And as in real golf, you need to be able to actually hit the ball before you're allowed onto the tee. In golf, it's called mechanics – and it includes your grip, stance, alignment, posture, attitude, aim and club choice, plus a whole range of additional esoteric skills only your teaching professional can explain. I'm just going to call it: The Swing.

Your swing is actually the most important part of golf. Your swing – the way you hit a ball – dictates the level of success you'll enjoy on the course. Without a swing, you haven't got a game. Without a swing, you simply cannot play. It's that important.

POSITIONING – A NOD TO JACK TROUT, WHO WROTE THE BOOK

In marketing, the equivalent of The Swing is known as: Positioning. Before you get in front of a prospect and and a single one of her $hard-earned, you need to know (in a business sense) who you are; what you stand for and the value you provide. You've heard it a hundred times before from much wiser people than me and it bears repeating – your prospects will only be interested in "What's In It For Me." So you need to know exactly what that is.

There are 5 aspects of positioning I consider crucial to every home- or service-based business. These five principles form your marketing strategy and you need to have them all covered within your business planning before any campaign is launched. And before you hit your first shot from the tee.

THE 5 'KNOWS' OF SERVICES BUSINESS POSITIONING

1. Know your target – Assemble (group) clients into a service matrix

2. Know your competition – Group competitors into a competitive matrix

3. Know your value – Develop your value proposition and create a Core Marketing Message

4. Know your focus – Differentiate. Narrow your niche. Embrace the idea that smaller is better

5. Know your client's buying process – Understand their buying behaviours. Recognise the 4 stage hierarchy – functionality, reliability, convenience and lastly, price (ask me what this is).

Got all that? Good. Not sure what it all really means? Hmmm… (scratches head…) Actually, I'm glibly glossing over this exceptionally serious bit because I encourage you to use the forum and ask questions, even if you're familiar with the ideas expressed. When you've grasped the gist of Positioning, you're ready to play.

Next post we'll look at the first of the four different shots and how to use them.

Golf is a thinking manʹs game. You can have all the shots in the bag, but if you donʹt know what to do with them, you've got troubles.
Chi Chi Rodriguez US golfer
Last edited by Steve Osborne on Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Smarthinking helps services businesses develop simple, effective marketing systems that deliver a steady stream of new prospects.
Visit http://www.smarthinking.com.au or contact Steve Osborne on 0411 713 003
Steve Osborne
 
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Re: Welcome Steve Osbourne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Anne Morton » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:46 pm

Hi Steve
What a great analogy - golf and marketing - and it is very appropriate. I know in our business we have many marketing shots in the bag but are not so good at applying them and tend to rely on the scatter gun approach. Your quote from Chi Chi Rodriguez is so apt. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Anne Morton
Anne Morton
Lifestyle Video Productions
www.lifestylevideos.com.au
AVPA Accredited Member (Special Event)
Winner 2008 AVPA National Awards - Stage Production-School
Winner 2006 AVPA National Awards - Documentary Category 2
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Re: Welcome Steve Osborne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Steve Osborne » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:19 pm

Thanks for your comments Anne, glad you like the golfing format. Yes, I think the trick to effective marketing is knowing when and where to play your "shots." If business owners can start to see how to systemise their efforts, they can get out of the ad hoc or reactionary approach so many of us fall into as a default. By that I mean staying in control of the messages we use and the prospects we attract, rather than jumping onto the latest ship floating downstream.

When you learn to recognise the signs and can see where a prospect is in their buying cycle, you can use the most appropriate "club in your bag" to advance them through the system.

Cheers, Steve
Last edited by Steve Osborne on Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Smarthinking helps services businesses develop simple, effective marketing systems that deliver a steady stream of new prospects.
Visit http://www.smarthinking.com.au or contact Steve Osborne on 0411 713 003
Steve Osborne
 
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Re: Welcome Steve Osborne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Steve Osborne » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:49 pm

Picture this: You've been invited by a really well-connected networking pal to join his group in playing a round at your local course.
Altho' you don't know them, you recognise they would all make ideal clients, not to mention the possibilities available from their extended
group of colleagues.

As the day approaches, your excitement builds. Just imagine what could happen to your business if one of these guys were to engage your services! Uppermost in your mind is the need to make a good impression.

You arrive at the course and meet your playing partners. In their smart clothes and carrying high quality clubs, their casual expressions can't quite hide their competitive nature. Goodness, you'd best be on your game today! Introductions over, it's straight to the first tee. Your pal hits off first, playing a decent shot onto the fairway. The two smart guys play next, both hitting 290m drives with laser-like precision. "Let's see what you've got," says your pal.

THE DRIVE

You may have heard the golfing expression: "drive for show, putt for dough." It's true. The Drive is the most flamboyant shot you'll play.
Your driver (club, not chauffeur) is the one with the great big head on the long shaft. It's the most powerful, travels the longest distance
and if played well will set up your next shot perfectly. If played badly however – off line, not far enough, or into the rough – your next shot
is going to be harder.

In golfing terms, your aim must be true. The driver is unforgiving. Even if you make a good swing but are aiming incorrectly you will hit the ball in the wrong direction.

MAKE AN OFFER – ATTRACT POTENTIAL PROSPECTS

In marketing, the same is true. The mandatory thing you must do with your first shot is to accurately and single-mindedly convey your Offer.
And that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a 'two-for-one deal'. Your Offer is your Core Marketing Message modified to suit the promotional vehicle you’re using. It could take the form of advertising, and if so, it's likely to be some form of two-step ad. If you're unsure what that is, ask me to explain two-step promotions.

It's just as likely to be a downloadable report or article from your website, a YouTube video, your PPC campaign, or your 'elevator pitch', or the result of a chat you have with a networking colleague. Your Offer is whatever you do to attract attention.

The person you attract is not a buyer yet; they may not even be too enthusiastic about what you're offering but at least you have their attention. At this point, they are open (at least to some degree), to knowing more about your services. Hey, hey, we're in the game!

It's easy to make the mistake of thinking the Offer is all there is to marketing, but it's really only the starting point. What it's not, is a sale.

THE NEVER-ENDING QUEST – A HOLE-IN-ONE

Making a sale from your first encounter with a prospect is like scoring a hole-in-one on a par five. If it happens, it was only by accident.
Funnily enough, because it has been known to happen to someone, we somehow expect that it will happen to us. So we run an ad filled with all the reasons people should buy and expect the orders to roll in. And when they don't, we fold our arms across our chests and swear to never waste our money on advertising again. Two-step promotions are the only form of advertising I recommend to services business clients.

THE APPROACH SHOT
But let's not jump too far ahead. You played a reasonable drive and your ball is on the fairway, albeit in a patch of long grass. Your next shot is an Approach shot, played with one of several clubs called irons. Irons differ from each other only in the distance you can achieve. So you choose your iron depending how far away you are from the green and in what kind of terrain your ball is lying.

SUSTAIN INTEREST – PROVIDE INFORMATION

In marketing, your Approach shot is intended to turn your suspect into a prospect. How do you know when you've turned a suspect into a prospect? They show interest in you. And just like golf, it’s where the game gets really interesting. You provide the right marketing information or an experience of you and your services, using the range of tools and tactics you’ve developed as part of your overall strategy.

Interest still doesn't equate to a sale. Your prospect needs cultivating, nurturing. You can use your articles, white papers, blog posts, webinars, surveys, questionnaires, forum discussions, newsletters, social media, podcasts, slideshows, videos, etc. Even your old-fashioned printed brochures! In fact any form of what is currently called: content marketing. It simply means information provided in a non-salesy way that has value to the prospect.

The types of content or information which are best for your business will vary depending on the services offered and the consumers targeted. There is nothing stopping you employing different media for different segments; just be sure you know why. Just because the media is full of it, there's no point diverting resources to Twitter if your prospects don't use it. Conversely, just because you have zero personal interest in tweeting, shouldn't preclude you from thoroughly checking out how your GEN Y prospects are using it.

The purpose of the information you're providing is to warm up the prospect so they'll be willing to meet with you and discuss their issues.
You want to build a case for your service. You know you have the prospect’s interest when they are willing to explore working with you.
It may take several Approach shots – a LOT of information and a considerable time – before your prospect shows sufficient interest to have a discussion/agree to a meeting and allow your next shot.

Got your swing into a groove yet? Next post covers the final clubs in the bag.

It is nothing new or original to say that golf is played one stroke at a time. But it took me many years to realise it.
Bobby Jones US golfer
Last edited by Steve Osborne on Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Smarthinking helps services businesses develop simple, effective marketing systems that deliver a steady stream of new prospects.
Visit http://www.smarthinking.com.au or contact Steve Osborne on 0411 713 003
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Re: Welcome Steve Osborne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Steve Osborne » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:48 am

THE PITCH

You've played several iron shots and progressed further down the fairway, to within sight of the green. It's time to play your pitching wedge –
a lofted club producing a high, soft shot – intended to land the ball as close as possible to the hole. You will have to contend with any number of hazards blocking your way – bunkers, ponds, trees.

CREATE DESIRE – ENGAGEMENT & PRESENTATION

You've got the prospect's interest, now you want to convert that interest into a desire to work with you. How do you know a prospect wants to work with you? It usually begins with a discussion, a meeting or a personal contact of some kind.

This is where the sales process starts. Engage your prospect with your efforts and ideas, questions and answers. Try to resist presenting your solution or answer until you know exactly what her problem or issue is. You work at coming to a conceptual agreement about how you can help achieve her desired outcome. Sometimes this takes a long time and a lot of work.

Ideally, you're never trying to convince anyone to do business with you. Instead, what you're saying in effect is "now you understand the value of my services, let's talk about whether they are right for you or not." You can't do that unless you've built a degree of trust through the prior shots of the game. And you're in a position of confidence, completely different from that "icky," unclean feeling that comes when you know you're forcing yourself on an unwilling participant.

When you play your shots strictly in this order, you don't even need to call it "sales." All you're doing is helping someone who knows and trusts you to get something they've already told you they want, and are prepared to pay you the price you've asked to get it.

This part of the game will often finish with you making a presentation. Your client is almost secured.

THE PUTT

You've played your pitch onto the green and the ball is resting 3m from the hole. Your next shot is played with your putter – a club with at least one flat side. You must play your stroke, taking into account variations in the putting surface. There could be major or minor mountains and valleys between you and the hole.

There are two main factors to consider in putting – distance and accuracy. Which is more important? Distance, every time.

It's true that a putt played with absolute precision and complete accuracy will drop into the hole. But from 3m away, that's very difficult to do.
A putt played too hard will run a long way past the hole, no matter how close it came to dropping in. You could be facing another putt almost the same distance as the first. But a putt played with the right touch will always finish close to the hole, no matter how far off line it was, making your final shot much easier.

TAKE ACTION – CONFIRM & RESPOND

This is the final phase. Your prospect is now ready to take action and buy. What's the key to getting commitment? Ask for it.

This step is a matter of agreeing to terms, signing a proposal or contract and getting your first payment. Often it happens immediately after you’ve made your presentation (depending on many factors such as the size of the contract, the kind of service you offer, etc.) If your business is the type that requires a written proposal for sign-off, make sure the document is simply a confirmation agreement. It should contain nothing more than a brief description of the work to be performed and the terms and conditions.

You have already discussed and agreed on budget, deliverables, guarantees and project scope when you played your pitching wedge.
Now is NOT the time to be describing alternate schemes or different price points. It just tells your prospect you weren't listening
properly at the Engagement stage.

More often than not, a failure to secure commitment immediately after you've presented your proposal is an indication something is wrong.
You need to go back over the engagement process and re-examine the needs analysis. Reluctance to start the project points to an objection that was overlooked. It indicates a lack of trust. It says you haven't gone deep enough or asked enough of the right questions. You haven't played all your shots properly.

Next post, we'll look at the end game.

An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play, it is always possible to get worse.
Anonymous
Smarthinking helps services businesses develop simple, effective marketing systems that deliver a steady stream of new prospects.
Visit http://www.smarthinking.com.au or contact Steve Osborne on 0411 713 003
Steve Osborne
 
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Re: Welcome Steve Osbourne - Golf and the Art of Marketing

Postby Peter O'Connor » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:32 am

Steve, what a great analogy you have drawn between marketing and golf. I used to enjoy the occasional agricultural outing on the golf course. I also enjoy learning about marketing, as I think it is the most important element in building a business. Your posts have been most enlightening as well as being enjoyable to read. Thanks so much.

Peter
Peter O'Connor, is a retired accountant and is involved with teaching home based businesses how to build and manage their own websites.
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org
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