When a company announces that they’ve lost a billion dollars in first three months of year, as General Motors did two months ago, it is a good indication that they are way, way off course. While Ford and Daimler/Chrysler weren't in hole for a billion dollars, their profits were down by 50% or more for quarter. Their cars just aren't selling.
Why are these companies having such a hard time selling their products and what does it have to do with your marketing?
According to Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie, these companies, "don’t tend to be good learning organizations which is something Toyota and Honda are superb at." And in New York Times, "General Motors and Ford have swerved off course for a far more basic reason: not enough people like their cars."
All three companies have lost sight of most important aspect of their business and their marketing; what their prospective customers want and need. Focused on shareholder profits, they've lost their vision of what their prospects are looking for.
There are two ways of thinking about making more money. You can ask yourself,
A. How can I maximize my profits?
Or you can ask yourself, B. How can I give my customers what they want and need and maximize my profits?
Are you putting profits before prospects?
Whether you're running a one-person firm or a hundred-person company, your compass should point to what prospects want and need. This is direction to long-term success; your customers have information you need to develop your products and services and map out your marketing strategy.
Help your clients get what they want and need, and they'll buy your products or services again and again and tell all their friends to do same.
Do you know what your prospects want and need?
Here's how to keep your business and your marketing pointed to profits:
1. Constantly Collect Information You don't need to hire a marketing research firm and spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn what your prospects want. Yes, third party research can provide one more way of listening to what people want, but you can use many low- and no-cost ways of collecting information.
Use every prospect and client contact to find out more about what they want and need. Every time a prospect or client talks to you on phone or visits your web site, use opportunity to prompt them to tell you more about their needs. Get people to respond to your postcard, letter or your web site copy by offering them a free report in return for their input.