Archive for the ‘Marketing Plan Review’ Category

Baby Steps Lead to Big Gains

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

With the fear and anxiety swirling around the current economic situation, many decorators are trying to figure out just what to do to jump start their sales. Having talked to dozens of deocrators in the past two weeks, the general concensus is you’re either slammed to the wall busy, or sales are off 30% - 35%. There doesn’t seem to be any real rhyme or reason to this. Very solid companies are off as are marginal ones. It doesn’t seem to be focused on any specific segment(s) either.

With that being said, there are some things you can do right now to get going.

First off is to pull all of your past sales records for the last two years. Look at who you did business with this time last year and the previous year. Are you overlooking anyone?

Second, look at who hasn’t ordered from you in the last three months. These are the people you’ve done business with, but didn’t do business with this year. They may have  been too busy to call, or they may feel like they need to cut back to save money.

Third, list everyone you’ve done business with in the last three months. These are the customers/clients where your services are still fresh in their mind.

Action is what gets people in the door. I’m amazed at how few decorators actually get on the phone and talk to a real person. They seem to be waiting for them to walk through the door with an order. In slow times, this approach leads to only one thing, starvation! Get ready to make some calls.

Rule number one, give them a reason to talk to you. If your base is feeling like everyone else, they’re not going to be in a mood to spend any money with you. You need a compelling reason for them to place an order. There are two main approaches.

The first is some type of sales promotion/money saving offer. This is the most common approach, but not necessarily effective. When you cut your prices and discount, you’re giving up margin overall. If you are still making a profit (eg business hasn’t slowed so much you are in the red,) a special offer or discount may be attractive.

The second is to tie the use of your product to improving THEIR situation. In other words, how can the use of your product create tangible, real sales for your customer? As an example, if your customers are schools and organizations, how can they use your products to increase their fundraising efforts?

The second approach turns the tables from your work being a cost or expense to one of investment with an expected return. To accomplish this, you need to be thinking ahead. Think about what other customers of yours have done with your shirts. How do they use them? Is there anything you can borrow or build upon that will have universal appeal?

When you know who has and hasn’t purchased from you, it’s easy to quickly zero in on known and proven sales producers. Take some time to think beyond just printing or embroidering images on the garments. Think about how you will make the lives of your prospects better through the use of your work and the programs associated with them.Share/Save/Bookmark

What Should Be Included at Launch?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

We are less than a week away from the launch. I’m feverishly working to get everything together and working, but I need your help.

I’ve read lots of comments and emails over the last three weeks as everyone has visited the site. I would like to ask your help as to what should be included with the launch. Over the next couple of days I am going to begin outlining the structure of the site and how it will work.

The videos gave a VERY basic overview of the Customer/Client concept and the use of Leverage to grow quickly. I have several dozen content pieces that go much deeper in these areas, but I don’t want to just post all that background material. I’m considering puttting all of that together into an eBook/Report you could download and print. It will be pretty long. It’s over 40 pages right now and there are at least another 20 to go, maybe more. This is really important as it lays the foundation for everything into the future. The goal would be to get everyone thinking in a different direction, but I want to make sure I’m on track.

My question to all is this: What is the single most important thing I should include when the site goes live? What would do the most good toward IMMEDIATELY growing your business?
Post your answers here. All ideas are welcome.

Fast Start 7 Day Contest Coming to an End

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Here we are at the end of our Fast Start Contest. I’m a bit tempted to extend the deadline a few more days. I’ve talked with several of you and have seen some of the flyers you’ve put together. Very impressive! With all of the incredibly negative financial news of the last week, I think it underlines just how important it is for us all to take control of our own situation. It doesn’t matter how much or how little the sales are. What is important is to take SOME kind of action, and to get used to taking action.

When I did our first promotion, I knew in the pit of my stomach that it wasn’t going to work. It seemed so typical. But to my surprise it worked, and it worked really well. I chalked if off as a fluke. There had to be a reason. Then we did our second promotion, not like the first, and it did really well too. Not as well as the first one, but still incredibly well. The third promotion was pretty much a repeat of the first, but with a slightly different premise, but nevertheless, like the first. The results were almost exactly identical to the first one. It was becoming clear that it wasn’t a fluke. There was real possibility.

With each promotion we made mistakes. Some of them I thought for sure would kill the deal. They didn’t. It makes me wonder just how good the results would have been if it was perfect. We’ll never know. The BIGGEST lesson I’ve learned out this entire exercise of learning the marketing game has been that it is far better to have imperfect action than no action as we continued to get it just right. In every example of paralysis by analysis, nothing ever happened.

This is a big admission for me. I’ve always followed my dad’s rules. In this case it was: “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” That meant no short cuts, not half baked ideas, no poor planning. That might have been fine when you had all the time in the world to make a decision. But in today’s world, if you expect to get ahead, you need to act, and act NOW! He who hesitates is lost, as in lost opportunity. I’m learning the hard way that no matter how uncomfortable I am with the loose ends, we need to pull the trigger.

So that brings me back to the beginning of this post. The 7 Day contest ends at midnight Pacific on Sept 30. Those of you who are participating, need to post comments here about your experience. You need to summarize what happened. I’m particularly interested in the process, what you came up against and what you overcame. Tell us about your results. Triumphs as well as the failure. A big part of the decision to have this contest was to find out just how hard or easy this was going to be for all of you who want to grow in today’s market.

7 Day Contest Update

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Well the results are beginning to come in. In some cases some of you are getting orders in less than 24 hours. One person actually hand carried the flier into his prospects and got an order on the spot. I’m really curious how everyone is doing. Please post comments on your experience so far. How many have had orders, how fast? What has been the reaction in the market and within your own company? The more you can fill in, the more we can learn about how this actually works.

It’s NOT important how big the orders are. What is important is that you are taking ACTION to make something happen. That is EXACTLY the problem facing the country today. No one is prepared to take action when a situation presents itself.

Nowhere is this more evident than what is happening in Washington DC as we sit here. We have a major crisis on our hands and nobody has any idea about what to do, other than throw $700 B of the taxpayers money at the problem in hopes of putting out the fire.

We can only do what WE can do, and that is get more work to keep our companies in business to keep the economy going. EVERYTHING we do, no matter how small matters. Thank you all for doing your part, for you, your employees, communities, and the country.

One Week to Launch - Sooo Much to do!

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

We are one week away from launching There is so much to do. Our biggest challenge right now is getting all the related pieces together. I’m busy working on the new welcome video, the tour of the site video, and the sign-up Quick Start Video.

The response to the Fast Action 7 Day Sales Contest has been great. I think I spent about 4 hours today talking to people on the phone and answering emails. The response is about what I expected. Some of you don’t see how this will work. I felt the same way when we did it the first time. You all saw the 7 day results we got. What I didn’t say in the video (directly) was that at the end of 30 days, we just about doubled the 7 day amount. This is good news. If you are doing the promo, when your 7 day numbers are all in, you can double that for the month. As I said in the Video, we have done this twice now with very similar results, so I am pretty confident you will do well too. If not, post here so we can work on all this and make it better for everyone. is about EVERYONE getting more profitable. Remember, the old rules simply do not apply anymore. We are sailing in a different direction. Those of you with enough confidence to take a step outside the box are definitely going profit. Let everyone know how it works. I don’t want to be the ONLY ONE bearing my skin here!

If you haven’t seen the latest video or the firt three,  go to: or You can watch the contest video here shortly.

and check it out. Even if you don’t want to do the contest, do the promotion. You have less than a $100 to lose, and potentially thousands to be gained.
Mark A. Coudray