Marketing and watching your gross revenues increase is an exciting process! More important than that is watching a team of smart, effective, happy and motivated employees pushing to help you to increase your net profits. The culture is electric, everyone prospers and the momentum is unstoppable. This is what I love about “the business!”
In 2010, after spending 16 years in a comfortable General Manager Position, I decided to leave the company and my Team of 120 people; (many of whom I loved and mentored for all of those years), to accept a new and exciting challenge. I went to work for a competitor who brought me in to run operations, help re-brand the company and effectively market their business. Leaving my former position was the toughest decision I have ever made to date in my career; yet one that has taught me the most invaluable variety of life lessons to date. Below is a story of just one of these lessons that I hope will have you taking a closer look at how and when you decide to spend your business marketing dollars.
From the outside looking in, the new company that I was going to work for appeared to have enough substance, challenge and opportunity to put my heart into – to warrant such a dramatic change in my life. They had beautiful professional office suites, solid infrastructure, great store locations and were poised and ready to build additional new sites and continue growing in the market. As the new Director of Operations, I had significant plans coming in; rebuild the brand, create company culture and develop an effective, amazing marketing strategy that would add major value to this already great company. Wow! Sounds challenging and fun! The creative juices were flowing and I was so excited!
It was less than a week into the new position when the excitement ended, and I realized that this company had some very important issues that had to be fixed before any marketing campaigns should even be considered. I won’t get into the gory details, but imagine this: There’s a big yellow bus full of unhappy people that are pushing, complaining and yelling. The bus is almost out of gas, on autopilot and these people have no idea where it’s headed! Marketing a business that is knee deep in an unhealthy situation would be a waste of money and, in my opinion, irresponsible to the customer.
Fortunately, the company did already have a substantial marketing budget allocated. And they were attempting to make efforts to grow the business. However, I was shocked when I heard about some of the marketing advice that had been solicited to them by the current advertising company. Their existing ad firm clearly had no problem charging them an outrageous amount of money to sell them everything from radio ads for Slurpee’s in January to “new” but extremely out dated web site technologies, complete with obnoxious sounds and less than stellar graphics. Within my first week I had cancelled the current marketing budget and dismissed the company they had been using, until we had a solid plan in place. I needed to have confidence that the business was truly ready to grow in at the level I had planned for.
Even though my initial run was off to a rough start I was still confident in my branding and marketing vision for this company, and I knew with the help of Jami Teer-Murphy and her team at Trademark Creative Ltd. we would indeed take this company to the next level. I jumped in the driver’s seat and over the next few years redirected, put new people on the bus, threw some old ones off (maybe ran a few over) and headed for the promise land!
During the period of rebuilding the infrastructure and getting the business on track, we were working around the clock with Jami and her team to redesign the company logo, create a branded food program, develop a branded slot program, redesign all interior and exterior signage and completely re brand every store interior from floor to ceiling, and a few hundred or so other projects I will spare the details of. The new branding elements and marketing materials were outstanding! Everyone at the company was thrilled with the results, not to mention realizing the significant increase in net margins because of…
By the end of 2013 we had built and celebrated the opening of a new store location rolling out every new branding component – filling the store with colorful, well articulated marketing items. A few years in, it was finally the right time to launch a comprehensive marketing campaign to include a new website and Facebook Business Page packed with weekly promotions and 24hr monitoring. The sales increased, the culture was infectious and we even won several prestigious Industry awards. All the hard work everyone put in was finally paying off and the momentum was moving.
This is the perfect story of evolution. We fixed the infrastructure first. We reached a point where we could invest in a comprehensive marketing campaign with confidence and just let the marketing momentum continue to propel us forward.
This is just one the many blog entries I will be posting in the upcoming months. This condensed entry is intended to offer you with bigger insight to understanding the breadth of experience we have stored in the vault here at TMC. And, to provide a little history on how I came to join the team. Delivering cutting edge websites will deliver customers to your doors. Designing effective signage will increase spending during the checkout process. And reinventing your store environmental atmosphere can encourage longer customer sessions. My role is to ask tough questions that need clear answers. Because clear answers will allow us to build a better mouse trap. In order to market smart you have to understand how the mice are coming in, what the existing mice are doing (and why they are all just standing there looking at the cheese with question from time to time). Last but not least, what type of mouse traps is your competition using and why?
If you’re ready to build a brand and market your business, let’s sit down and talk. We always give honest opinions. Have confidence in knowing that you will never be “sold” on a service you’re not poised and ready for. Heck we’ll even help you to discover and formulate some ideas that might just get your bus running smoother and on a better, more efficient track!