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Posts Tagged ‘Cutting Edge of Marketing’

How to Sell More Manufactured Homes

March 12th, 2014 No comments

The Cutting Edge of Marketing and Sales blog is not about industry politics, as interesting or important as some find that issue. Rather, as the name implies, it is about selling more homes. That happens when you get and stay focused on Marketing and Sales, without ignoring the political or other matters that impact your business.

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Mid-to-Large Organization Structures

In a number of mid-to-large organizations, you'll find under various titles, marketing and sales management roles.

A common problem in manufactured housing industry retail and community operations is that there is so much reporting and paperwork, that the core functions that produce more sales are often overlooked.

Don't get me wrong, it isn't that paper work, budgeting, pipeline reports etc. aren't needed. They are. But if much of the reporting can't be delegated to an assistant to assemble and collate, then is it a surprise when sales potentials are not being met?

Outside contract experts and consultants can often fill a core needs that compliments that of the salaried staff.

Outside consultants also have the benefit of 'new eyes.' It is common for staff people to simply accept what is, while an outside consultant can come in, ask questions, and reveal missed opportunities, lower costs and also drive more business.

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What many find surprising, is that the consultant may be less costly than hiring an additional salaried staffer and return a solid ROI that can:

  • reduce interest costs on inventory that otherwise ages
  • improve marketing results
  • increase sales
  • improve customer satisfaction
  • advance staff training

and much more.

Even when a consultant is called in for a 'look us over, and give us your thoughts,' that too clearly has value. It can be helpful to get an independent viewpoint on procedures, inventory, CRM and much more.

Separation of Responsibilities

In a large enough organization, in the volume automotive model, you separate duties into specialized areas. At a volume auto retailer, the sales professional is not expected to put the financing together on the deal. That's the F&I person's job. Sometimes even 'closing' the initial deal – before it is written up and goes to F&I – is a tag-team between the sales manager and the sales professional.

While I don't want to push the analogy too much (because there are so many things our manufactured housing industry must do differently than auto dealers do), other aspects of the car dealer model also needs to be considered for these reason.

The:

  • auto-detailing,
  • make-ready,
  • advertising
  • and other aspects of running a volume car center is not the responsibility of the sales pro.

A volume auto dealer may also:

  • have used and new car specialists – and in some auto sales structures – if a client is with a use sales person and ought to be with a new car guy (or vice-versa), you hand that customer off to another specialist, you don't cross those lines yourself.
  • Outside sales trainers are routinely brought in to shake things up, and it routinely yields more sales and thus more income.

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The outside trainer is no 'threat' to the sales manager. If both are true pros, they collaborate!

From time to time, I like to refer to a comment shared by Jay Hamilton, currently the Executive Director of the GMHA, but previously a manager with Fleetwood Homes. Please see his commentary, Investing in the Future of Manufactured Housing.

There are those who say investing in sales training is a waste of time, due to turn over. But some studies indicate that the more trained a person is, they last longer, produce more and tend to be more loyal to the company who trained them.

Let me finish with a question that Tim Connor likes to ask. What do your lost sales opportunities cost you? If you are an MHC operation, what do your vacancies cost you?

When you do the math, good marketing and sales doesn't cost, its an investment that pays.

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L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
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Slavery!

April 20th, 2013 No comments

There is an old maxim that goes like this: “First you form your habits, then your habits form you.” Ladies and gents, this is true and over time leads to chains that are as challenging to break as they took time to forge. Habits lead to slavery. The question becomes if we are the masters of that habit – masters of that slavery – or if that slavery masters us.

To rephrase, are we making or breaking ourselves through our habits?

Let me give an example of slavery and an 'aha' moment.

At the recent Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Congress and Expo (C&E), I was listening to a group of community owners talking about 21st Mortgage's CASH program. One was commenting to the others words to this effect. “I had all these vacant lots, and knew about this program that Lance Hull at 21st Mortgage had talked to me about. But instead of thinking, 'hey, this is a solution for my vacancy problem,' I was looking at it backwards. I was thinking that if I did that then I was leaving money on the table. I had to change my thinking before I was able to see the program for what it is.”

That happens to be true of EVERYTHING we do in business, not just the example that the gent above was referencing. There happens to be a number of programs available today that could be useful to community owners – or street retailers, for that matter! – but because of slavery to 'past habits' and old ways of thinking, they are not being used to the benefit of a business or location. FYI, yes, you can email and ask me about them.

I was listening to Crystal Washington during the 2013 National Community Council's Forum at C&E. Frankly, most of what she was saying simply made me smile. Of course, we agree! We preach it daily through Featured Articles here on MHProNews, or here on the Cutting Edge of Marketing and Sales blog. Even the video that she played was a version of one that we have featured before on our website.

That video reminds us that like it or not, change is happening, and that the pace of change is rapid.

 

Slavery to old habits keeps you locked up in the past. The only way to end that slavery is ironically to forge new habits! You can't stop doing one thing without starting doing some new thing instead.

That's not to say that all that one did in the past is 'bad' or 'wrong.' But you have to dispassionately evaluate – or have a third party professional evaluate for you – what to keep and what to replace with something modern that will move your location, career or business ahead.

One of the presenters – who did a very fine job – nevertheless made a statement I took issue with. The statement was that 74% of housing shopping was starting online. Sorry, but the National Association of Realors puts that number at a whopping 94% of home shopping is online!

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This is an example of one of many modern website styles that causes visitors to
dig deeper into your product or service.

That's doesn't mean you must dump all forms of print or other media. What it does mean is that if you have a web presence, you better make sure it is a good one. Because studies show that millions of online shoppers will decide in less than 5-10 seconds if they will stay on your website to learn more.

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If your

then it is time to stop the slavery to the past and forge the powerful new chains of gold that will build your business' future. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

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+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Problem Solving, MH Marketing and Selling

July 13th, 2012 No comments

I was recently reminded of this saying by Albert Einstein:

Albert Einstein

See more free inspirational posts and posters at this link here.
 

I was also reminded that some us of over the age of 40 or so may not be completely sold on the idea that the Internet is here to stay. Let me share some statistics below on Internet usage, but first let me make a simple observation.

There was a time when radio and TV where young and new. Not everyone bought a radio or TV right away. In fact, there are still millions in the world without either one. But if you would suddenly lose all of your TVs or radios, life would be quiet different, right? Do you think the fact that some don't have TV or radio keeps advertisers from using them? Of course not, you market to reach as many of those as profitably as you can!

For those "mom and pop" business owners who have no website or internet presence, and who don't use email, guess what? Odds are good that over 3/4 of your employees, customers and suppliers do. So even those who are not web savvy have customers or residents posting about you online. Odds are good that even if someone is literally blind, someone has talked to them about something they saw or read online.

Every business has an image, just as industries have an image. The smart business owner or executive wants to at least help shape the image of his/her own business.

I promised you some statistics, the first bakers dozen are courtesy of hub spot bloggers…here you go, enjoy:

1) In 2012, the audience of internet users in the U.S. will expand by 3.1% to 239 million, representing 75.6% of the total population. (Note, keep in mind that infants and some toddlers don't surf…yet).

In other words…

2) More than 3/4 of the total U.S. population will be online in 2012.

Mobile in 2012

3) Mobile internet users will reach 113.9 million in 2012, up 17.1% from 97.3 million in 2011.

4) Smartphone users will reach 106.7 million in 2012, up 18.4% from 2011.

5) In 2012, 94% of smartphones users will be mobile internet users.

6) All mobile phone users will reach 242.6 million in 2012, up 2.3% from 2011.

7) Mobile shoppers will reach 72.8 million in 2012.

8) Mobile buyers will reach 37.5 million in 2012.

9) Smartphone shoppers will reach 68.6 million in 2012.

10) Smartphone buyers will reach 36.4 million in 2012.

11) Tablet users will reach 54.8 million in 2012, up 62.8% from 33.7 million in 2011.

12) iPad users will reach 41.9 million in 2012.

13) In 2012, 76.4% of tablet users will be iPad users.

Now, looks can be deceiving. Even if someone doesn't (yet) own a computer or smart phone, some go to the library or a neighbor's home, or use one at their workplace.

A 2011 study by the National Association or Realtors said this:

Information sources used in home search:

  • Internet: 88%
  • Real estate agent: 87%
  • Yard sign: 55%
  • Open house: 45%
  • Newspaper ad: 30%
  • Home book or magazine: 19%

Actions taken as result of Internet home search:

  • Walked through a home viewed online: 63%
  • Found agent used to search/buy home: 10%
  • Drove by/viewed a home: 63%

NAR says that most people shop for a home for an average of 12 weeks and see inside an average of a dozen homes before buying.

Rainmaker says that many shoppers start 6 to 12 months in advance of their purchase.

I've seen another report that suggests that this 2011 number hunting their home online may be low, that it is now actually 94%.

What do such facts mean to you?

Well, it depends of course on what part of the Industry you are in. But let's say you are Business to Business (B2B). It would be hard to find a business person these days who isn't online every day at their work, emailing, surfing the web doing research, etc.

For those who are doing Business to Consumer (B2C) out reaches, you better have a good website. Perhaps you should be more than one place online, for reasons we can cover in another column. It also means that if you are marketing or advertising to home shoppers (or should be) the person who is buying from your competitor who has great web presence shopped them online an average of 3 months ago, before they purchased their home today.

Many websites have 'myth busters' or FAQs as part of their manufactured home website. There is only so much you can do in a print ad, radio or TV spot, but you can provide tons of information on your website. When someone comes to our site here, they view many pages before leaving. When your website appeals to your audience, your visitors will do the same thing too.

If you aren't using a blog, don't have a social networking strategy, have never even considered why successful realtors will have dozens of websites and hundreds – or thousands – of pages online, chances are, you are missing more business than you can possibly imagine.

The popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things the same way and expect a different result. Or to rephrase what Einstein said, You can't solve a problem by thinking and doing the same things the same way as before.

We've seen proper marketing and sales results climb dramatically for companies that have used the smart, cutting edge approaches we teach. that every smart business guy would say, if I could invest a dollar to make a buck fifty, they would find the dollar. Well, what if you discovered a way to make 2 or 3 dollars or more for every dollar you invested?

Why not call me for a private conversation about your marketing and sales problems, interests and needs? ##

Posted for

Tim Connor
Marketing & Sales,Website,AdvertisingMHSpeakerTrainer-Manager
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Is Content Marketing in Business 2 Business Marketing the New King?

October 29th, 2011 1 comment

Entrepreneur recently cited a study by HiveFire, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based internet marketing software company. The topic was fascinating and I believe there was some good takeaways from HiveFire's report. That said, in reviewing the study, it brought to mind the following fabled quote:


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”  –

Mark Twain

Like many great writers, Mark Twain had the ability to turn a phrase with style and wit.

Let me emphasize that I think there are some good takeaways from the HiveFire research, which we will review and use to springboard to what we hope are GENUINE lessons to be learned that may benefit your marketing. But YOU DECIDE if the you think the analysis summarized below is a cleaver use of statistics.

According to HiveFire, content marketing is the new king.

They arrived at this conclusion having surveyed “nearly 400 marketing professionals about the state of the business-to-business, or B2B, market, and discovered that marketers are retreating from traditional marketing tactics such as search marketing and have made content marketing the most-used tactic in their brand-enhancing tool box.”

According to HiveFire's B2B Marketing Trends Survey Report  twice as many B2B marketers now employ content marketing as they do print, TV and radio advertising.

The firm defines content marketing and it's use in this fashion: “Content Marketing is the creation and publication of original content, such as blog posts, photos, videos, website resource pages, case studies or white papers to enhance a brand’s visibility.”

"Caveat emptor" =  Let the Buyer Beware!

10.28.2011_HiveFire_Marketing_survey_results posted on MHMSM.com


Let me say straight out that we believe in content marketing, advocate it for many Manufactured Housing Industry clients or prospects and practice it routinely ourselves.

Part of what concerns me in the graphic above is there is no mention of social network marketing. One has to live offline and never speak to those who have smart phones or internet connections to think that Facebook, Linkedin, Twitters and rising Google Plus are among the social media tools being used by businesses to do B2B and Business to Consumer (B2C) marketing.

Blogging is inserted by some as a 'social networking tool,' though it crosses from that space into others, and could arguably deserve its own category.

Another missing item in the above chart is the lack of mention for email marketing.

Do you get emails from businesses trying to market their product or service to your operation? If you are online, of course you do. Let us not presume that this and social network marketing are in the only 13% (the 'other') category. I'm not saying they are 'lying,' but who were these nearly 400 companies being surveyed? And isn't the purpose of their white paper to promote the purchase of a software/service that helps some do their brand content marketing? Moreover, isn't content marketing tied closely to SEO Marketing?

Participating at trade show events such as the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show and the Great Southwest Home Show, I'd concur with HiveWire that event marketing has genuine value in our industry and others too.

HiveFire_Marketing_Survey_credit,_Most_important_marketing_objective


Marketing_Challenges_credit_HiveFire_

The same questions apply to the above. If HiveWire surveyed firms who happen to like content marketing, their numbers may indeed be spot on! But the issue is which firms were surveyed, what are the tendencies of those firms, and did they skew the results they would have had if they had used a broader based cross section of the B2B marketing universe?

Hive_Fire_Marketing_credit_trends_survey_Main_objectives


Marketing_budget_dedication_to_Content_Marketing_-_credit_HiveFire

These charts, similar disclaimer/questions above. I know some firms that spend zero dollars on their definition of “content marketing.” I agree that they should be investing in it! More on that below.


Another fact they report of these marketers surveyed is that 79% of the content they share is being shared online. That makes sense. The Internet is the generally the lowest cost way of sharing content.

4 Kings of MarKeting MHMSM.comThe Four Kings of MarKeting

Now, let me share a different perspective, what we will call the 4 Kings of Online MarKeting.

  1. First, Content Marketing is closely tied to SEO marketing. Anyone who is writing intelligently, is trying to use their content to capture a 'regular audience' they hopefully have or create, as well as to attract attention from search engines. Some content may not help your SEO much – as in the example of boldly cut and pasted content that is 'scraped' from other sites word for word without credit – even if it is 'good information.' The quality of the information, the originality of the content makes you look good AND it also has the advantage of improving your SEO over time. While there are SEO tactics like Google Ad words that can be purchased – and at times, is a good idea – and others that can enhance SEO, the bottom line is that good content and good SEO methods should go hand in hand. So Content is a King that ties in with good SEO. Such content is delivered online via traditional websites, CMS websites (Content Management Systems such as Joomla, Drupal, etc.), blogs, etc.

  2. Email Marketing. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that “email marketing was expected to generate an ROI of $42.08 for every dollar spent on it in 2010. As such, it outperforms all the other direct marketing channels examined, such as print catalogs.” (EmailingMarketing). We recommend email marketing in both B2B and B2C marketing efforts. (FYI, the DMA statistics, and a MerchantCircle survey of over 8,000 local business owners in the US found email marketing cited by 35.8% as a Top 3 most effective marketing or advertising method. These facts are among other reasons I question the HiveFire numbers.)

  3. Social Networking and Blogging: As of January, 2011, Econsultancy reported that

700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook and 60 million Facebook users engage with it across these external sites each month. 70% of bloggers are organically talking about brands on their blog. When you engage the public via blogging and social networking, you can potentially reach tens of thousands to millions of readers in way that impacts them over 5 times more than traditional advertising. When blogging and Social Networking are combined with traditional ads, on or off line, you gain a power that is hard to match.

  1. All other forms of marketing. We do believe there is a place to use event marketing, print, mail, other traditional ads, video (especially online video) and radio.

> What makes the best sense for you and your firm? The right answer requires facts.

> Are you markeing B2B, B2C or both?

> Within those groups, who is your target market and why?

> What are your budgets?

> What are your goals and desired outcomes?

> What is your time line to reach them?

> Do you have time to keep content generation strong, or would you rather outsource your content and online marketing?

You can call my cell at 832-689-1729 or email tony@mhmsm.com with our answers to those 7 questions above to learn more. There is no charge for an initial review, as we only want to serve those companies we believe that can benefit and profit from our services. If we can't serve your needs, we will make recommendations to those who might for your consideration.


Before closing, let me say we will do a periodic series elements from the topics from the 4 Kings of MarKeting in more depth.


I'd also say, one take away from the HiveFire report is this. When looking at ANYONE's claims – including ours – ask questions! Use common sense!


Does the information provide you have a back up source?


Are there similar studies that provide similar results?


Is it purely an agenda driven study or self serving?

In the case of this HiveFire report, while I find it brings up some useful ideas, such as the importance of Content Marketing, it leaves plenty of questions on marketing unanswered. # #


post written by

L. A. 'Tony' Kovach
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com  or www.MHMSM.com or www.MHProNews.com 
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach