Almost every organization faces the excitement of getting their new product, service or business off the ground and reaping the rewards of their hard work. But then something strange happens. All that momentum slows down, you've hit a point where no one wants what you're selling. You've hit "the saddle."
That forecast that once showed strong hockey-stick growth is replaced by an abyss that leaves you awake at night as your mind races to find a way out to reach the growth forecasts once projected.
This dip or stalled growth, which I'm calling "the saddle," can completely destroy an organization. I've seen companies conquer it with great resolve and other organizations die in the saddle. If you've found yourself in the saddle, you need to shift gears and become an attention-addicted company. Here's how:
First, don't forget the lessons in last month's article, "Why your content strategy isn't working." Less is more in this extremely loud marketplace, so focus on a select number of top prospects that you want to obsess over. Next, develop a strong marketing foundation online. The best way to do this is to develop one monster piece of content at least once a week. That monster piece of content could be a report, a video, an interview, something that will fuel the rest of your marketing over the next week. Once you publish your monster piece of content, you'll then break that content down into smaller bite-size pieces which can be turned into blog posts, videos, memes or social media updates.
For example, my monster piece of content is Cut the Crap Podcast. I develop one podcast a week and then from that podcast I create five videos, five articles and a number of social media posts.
Secondly, start thinking about how you can get the attention of your buyers. Completely obsess on that thought and constantly come up with new creative ways to educate or entertain them. Find their personal Facebook page and scour it to find out what they like or dislike. Do your research – you'd be surprised at how much you can find out by just asking. For example, a couple years ago when I was vying for an account, I called this company's administrative assistant and found out the CEO was a huge Montreal Canadiens fan who lived in Ottawa. She told me his all-time favourite Habs player was past captain, Saku Koivu.
So I went online bought a hard hat for $30 and a Saku Koivu hockey card for $3, and sent it by mail – with tracking on it – along with a handwritten card that said, "A little birdy told me you're a huge Habs fan! But you live in Ottawa!? Must be tough to sit there at games and take a lashing from those Sens fans! In any case, I want to make sure I get a chance to talk to you at some point so here's a little something from me to keep you safe in the stands while the Habs are kicking some Sens butt next game! Let me know when you have 20 minutes for a phone call. I think I have something that could help you grow your sales pipeline. Not sure if it's a fit, but a quick call could clear that up."
That's the kinds of highly personalized, attention-grabbing marketing that you need to be thinking about.
By the way, in case you're wondering, he called me the day the package landed. Four months later he was a client of mine and today he and I are great friends.
If you want to get out of the saddle, you have to know exactly who you're marketing to, you need to be extremely easy to find online, and you have to be creative as hell to get your targeted decision maker's attention for a chance to talk to them.
Ryan Caligiuri is a growth strategist and host of Cut the Crap Podcast on iTunes – a show that condenses sales, marketing, innovation, strategy and management books to a handful of core ideas every week.