Scarcity versus abundance

July 12, 2017

abundanceWhen I started in the agency business 25+ years ago, there was this odd paranoia that ran through agencies big and small.  There was a belief that agency personnel couldn’t be friends with people who worked at other agencies because secrets might leak out. And if you dared to be friends or even associate through a professional network – you’d better not bring the other agency’s employees into your office for fear that they’d walk by something and glean secret details about your accounts. All of this is what I call a total lack of abundance thinking.

I know it sounds crazy – but it was very pervasive through the industry back then. Today, I’m happy to report that with few noted and paranoid exceptions, agencies seem to recognize that it’s actually healthy for agency professionals to mingle together for both the shared learning and camaraderie.

That paranoia was a symptom of scarcity thinking.  I don’t think the ad industry is the only one who did/does suffer from having that point of view. I think it’s easy for any of us to get stuck in that rut.

We’ve all seen scarcity marketing and sales in action.  It’s the overly attentive sales clerk following you around the store, the car dealer who won’t let you take a test drive without being in the car with you, or the salesperson that knocks the competition at every opportunity.

There’s a scent of desperation in scarcity marketing and sales that puts the buyer firmly in the driver’s seat. It converts the transaction from a potential partnership to an uneasy game of tug o’ war that ultimately puts you at a disadvantage because you want the deal more than your potential buyer does.

It creates the sense that there’s some sales quota that’s not going to be met or some other looming deadline that has everyone scrambling to cut a deal.  That rarely works out to the seller’s advantage.

I’m not talking about the idea of creating scarcity around your product or service. Letting someone know there are only four plane tickets left at this price or that you won’t be offering the workshop again until spring can be very effective because it actually is a position of abundance.  You’re basically saying, “Hey, just to let you know, I only have five of these left. Let me know if you want one before I sell out.”

That’s the secret of an abundance mentality. It’s very laid back and it gives the impression that while you’re happy to sell your wares, you’re equally okay if the prospect isn’t interested because someone else will be. That confidence in your product or service is contagious.

What does abundance marketing and sales look like?

You share your knowledge freely:  You teach and give away your expertise through white papers, ebooks, blog posts, free webinars and other tools.

You are quick to tell someone when what you sell isn’t right for them: You know that an unhappy customer costs you more than what you could possibly make off of them, so you encourage them to find a better fit.

You don’t haggle on your pricing:  You know that what you offer is an incredible value at the price you’ve quoted, so there’s no reason to play the game. You set an honest, reasonable price for what you offer and then you stick to it. If the prospect doesn’t want to pay that – it’s okay because someone else will.

You don’t chase potential buyers: You know that you can’t make someone buy before they’re ready so there’s no up side to being a pest. You keep offering value and your expertise and they’ll come around when it’s time.

Review your marketing tools and procedures. Do they suggest you’re desperate to make a sale or do they convey a sense of abundance?


Reducing the stress factor

June 28, 2017

StressWhether you’re successfully part of an internal marketing team, at an agency or even a business owner – you’ve got a skill that you probably take for granted. You’re a master juggler. You can’t execute successful marketing today without that ability. You’re used to having lots of balls in the air and even if you can’t always see each one, you’ve been doing it long enough that you’re confident that you’ll be able to catch them all. No stress for you.  It’s all just part of the day-to-day.

But here’s the part that we often forget. What we take for granted freaks our internal or external clients out.  That’s why they’re micromanaging you, asking you for updates all the time and making it harder for you to do your work.

Guess what – that’s on you. Their reaction and concern is natural and fair. It’s our job to keep them in the loop by over communicating so they can take a deep breath and be comfortable. It’s also good for you because when you reduce their stress, they’ll give you a little more breathing room.

Here are some tools you can use to keep everyone in the loop throughout the life of your work.

Project timeline: Marketing often looks simpler than it truly is. It’s a little like the duck swimming on the placid lake.  At first glance, the duck looks like he’s serenely floating on the water. But as we all know, under the surface, he’s paddling like crazy.

That’s why an initial project timeline can be a lifesaver.  But setting and correcting initial expectations right up front, you save yourself a significant amount of trouble down the road. It’s much easier before a project ever starts to help a client understand that the website will take ten weeks rather than three weeks in, they suddenly share that they need it next week for a trade show.

Real-time budget: On larger projects that are going to stretch out over months, it’s a good idea to establish a preliminary budget with the caveat that it’s based on what we know today. Then, keep that budget updated real-time. It’s a bit of overkill to do it every day, but once a week should help everyone feel very connected to the project and reassured that it’s going according to plan.

The other advantage of this is that it forces you to identify trouble when it’s still small enough to deal with. So it’s a bit of a CYA move as well.

Weekly status reports: This is a simple Excel spreadsheet that lists all of the projects you’re working on (if you serve more than one department or client, have a separate document for each audience) and tracks progress.

To make this manageable, keep it simple.  Include the project name, the ultimate due date, the stage of progress it’s in right now, next steps and who is responsible for that next step.  If you share it with everyone (marketing team, other players in the mix, client, etc.) on Thursday mid afternoon, it gives everyone a chance to wrap some things up on the next day so you start the following week on time and on target.

The bonus feature of this report is that it serves as a gentle nudge. Let’s face it – it’s often the client (internal or external) that is holding something up. But they’re also the client so you can’t get on them like you do your internal team. So this is a bit more client friendly but still gives them a good poke.

None of this is rocket science but I often discover that because we take our ability for granted, we forget that our clients don’t.  Implementing these tools will reduce their stress and it helps keep you on track as well which ultimately allows you to do better marketing.


Recognize yourself in this video?

May 19, 2011

If so, shame on you!  Whether you’re the client or the agency guy — you know better.

While this is obviously over the top, I think we all know that it hits a little close to home.  The work and the audience deserves better.  (Email subscribers – click here to view video.)