Monthly Archives: February 2019

One trick ponies and comfort zones

Our fixation with not being a ‘one trick pony’ in business, is apparent in the examples below:

  1. Famous last words: Some of you may remember Stuart Baggs, ‘The Brand’, who famously told Lord Sugar during the Apprentice show in 2015: ‘I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a 10-tricks pony. I’ve got a whole field of ponies, waiting to literally run towards this job…’ This approach kept him going for quite a few episodes until Lord Sugar decided to fire him.
  2. Synonymous with failure: According to an article I read in The Story Telling Blog, in the 1800s small travelling circuses without big headline acts or a menagerie of exotic animals were known as dog and pony shows. The very average acts on the programme were derided as ‘one trick ponies’

No one, it seems, wants to be a one trick pony, with only one talent, one skill and one way of standing out.  I would go further and say that in our fast-developing world, it is very hard to keep growing your company based on a very limited offer. This is why so many companies look to acquire additional talent through acquisition and joint projects. Appealing to new markets and developing new products all depend greatly on demonstrating relevant skills and knowledge. In the world of business, ‘a field of ponies’ is therefore definitely better than a ‘one trick pony’.

Why not apply this to your marketing strategy, then?

In my experience two main factors affect your marketing strategy:

  1. Looking for the magic bullet: so many people I come across look to over-simplify their marketing approach by believing that they must choose one discipline to promote their organisations.
  2. Staying within your comfort zone: Knowing what you are good at and how you wish to come across, is very important. Still it’s easy to confuse this with only choosing marketing strategies we relate to and understand.

It might surprise you to consider that the important choices to make in your marketing strategy relate to your target markets and the priority in which you want to approach them. The tools and platforms you wish to use can vary and are driven by where your target markets choose to consume information, and not the other way around.

When considering how to approach your target market, it is therefore very important to keep an open mind and not try to limit yourself to your own comfort zone. Having realised this ourselves, we have joined forces with Make Digital Work to create a cross platform product aimed at starting sales conversations. You can find out more about this here.

3 tips for making a quick start on new business development

If you want some good advice, listen to the American tennis player Arthur Ashe, who said, ‘Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can’.  When it comes to developing new business, this is sound advice, particularly when so many people are looking for a magic bullet that will get them off to a flying start. Often, the answer is actually much closer than you imagine and comes from utilising what you already know.

Doing what I do, I often stand at the starting line with a new client, looking down the track we have defined to be his new target market.  People laugh when I tell them that despite putting together a sound strategy, in reality we don’t really know how it will go until we start. This can be a little daunting for companies wanting return on their investment. The process of developing new business is slow by definition, as you are venturing into markets you where you are not known, and that is not an easy concept for the board to come to terms with.

So, what can you do to try and speed things up?

The answer to that is threefold.  Using the words of Arthur Ashe:

  1. Start where you are: This applies to the strategy stage when it is really important to use your current market knowledge to propel you on to the next market. If you are already successful with hospitality, you may want to look at a related market such as facility management rather then going for insurance. This means that your current success will be easier to demonstrate and your market understanding will be much more relevant.
  2. Use what you have: The key to an accelerated sales process, is using known contacts who can introduce you into the new market you are developing. It might sound obvious, but I don’t actually meet many people who do this. It’s much easier to buy a database and call everyone but results will be much slower. Get everyone in your company considering old contacts they may have and referral partners who can help; you will amazed by the value of what you can gather using your own resources.
  3. Do what you can: So many people I meet give up too soon. Getting into a new market is not easy and you may feel that you are better off staying where you are, which is fine. But if you are going for a new market, make sure you are prepared to chase people and keep following up until you get a sensible answer.

I hope this is helpful and will make some difference to your plans for achieving world domination this year. If you need some help with additional resources, a good plan or lead nurturing, check out our website or get in touch