Lots of people make resolutions for the New Year, only to watch them melt away faster than a Popsicle on a 100-degree day. So forget the Popsicle resolutions – let’s focus on making plans that drive revenue and profits. Here are 10 steps we should all stick to:
1.Avoid the HIPPO
Make data-driven business decisions. Too many companies make decisions based upon the HIPPO – Highest Influencing Person’s Personal Opinion. I first heard the HIPPO term used by analytics guru Avinash Kaushik to describe the decision-making processes used by most businesses (large and small) in the U.S. today. Your business has available to it free, easy-to-use tools that will tell you about customer intentions, behaviors, marketing effectiveness and more. Use these tools to guide decision-making. The information provided by actual data will result in more profit with less waste than opinions expressed by others, no matter how qualified the opinion may be. Number 3 made decisions about his car based on race and test data, not the opinion of a crew chief or engineer. That’s why he won more than most.
2.Cut traditional media
Have you noticed that even traditional media (TV, Magazines, Newspapers) promote themselves online? They’re not wasting valuable promotional dollars on advertising channels that are losing audience. The costs are astronomical, the returns are poor and online offers you more in return. Start focusing on social media marketing, mobile marketing and other automotive industry marketing services.
3.Talk less about you and more about customer needs and wants
Customers don’t give a crap about your company history and the awards that you’ve won. They want you to provide them with solutions to their problems. Stop talking about yourself and start helping your customers. You can do this by meeting their wants and needs. Focus on your customers and less on yourself in the New Year and you’ll see a big difference.
4.Stay focused on marketing
It’s very easy for marketing to slip through the cracks because of the day-to-day stress of running a business. To be successful in the New Year, you need to pay attention to your marketing. It doesn’t require a lot of time. Set aside 15 to 20 minutes every single day to work on your marketing. Don’t let other things interfere with your marketing efforts. Stay focused and you’ll start seeing results.
5.Pay attention to ROI
Just like any other investment that you make, you need to hold marketing accountable. Pay attention to your marketing analytics so you can properly calculate your marketing ROI. Don’t give your marketing get a free pass. If your ROI is flat, look for ways to boost results.
6.Analyze everything about customers
If you want to increase sales in the New Year, you need to learn more about your customers. Take some time to do some high level research on them. Don’t go on gut instinct. Analyze the needs, wants and desires of your customers. Really figure out what makes them spend money. Use the intelligence that you gather to target them with the right marketing messages through the channels that they actually use.
7.Sharpen your axe
The marketing skills that you learned 10 years ago aren’t going to cut it. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to stay on top of all the latest marketing trends. Set aside time to improve your company’s marketing skills. Attend online marketing webinars for automotive industry companies. Read articles and case studies. Every single day, you should be learning about new ways and technologies that will enhance the way you influence the purchasing intent of your customers.
8.Interact with existing customers
Too many automotive industry companies ignore their existing customers. Make it your New Year’s resolution to have programs in place for ongoing engagement and interactions with existing customers. It’s the fastest and easiest way to generate more revenue. It’s not as sexy and exciting as getting new customers, but it’s a lot more effective way to add to your bottom line. We’re not saying you should avoid creating ways to find new customers. You just shouldn’t forget about targeting the people that are already loyal fans of your business.
9.Increase your pricing
Don’t be afraid to raise your prices by 1 to 2 percent. If your marketing and selling is strong, it’s not going to hurt your sales. If you don’t believe us, take a look at this calculation. If you increase sales by 1 percent … cut costs by 1 percent … and increase prices by 1 percent … profits will increase by 23.4 percent! If you believe in your products, service and sales team, this shouldn’t be a big problem.
10.Have a plan
The best teams have a great game plan. When it comes to marketing, your business should have one too. How are you going to get where you want without a plan? Create a marketing plan that will keep you on track to reach your goals. Like any plan, be patient. Don’t throw it out if it’s not working right away. Give it some time.