Last week I had the opportunity to hear marketing guru Chris Cavanaugh of Magellan Strategy Group in Asheville, North Carolina speak to our Northeast Tennessee Chapter of the AAF (Ad Club). Chris is a highly experienced marketer and the former Vice President of Marketing for the Biltmore Company who now finds himself in the role of helping clients with agency reviews.
Chris began his presentation with his definition of marketing and his trademark phrase: “Create a dissatisfaction with the status quo.” I love this! As a professional communicator I have always considered myself a change agent. In addition to sharing some amusing stories about agencies that simply overwhelmed the client with Too Much Information. (“We stayed up all night drinking Red Bull to prepare for this presentation.” Really? You look like it!) Chris provided these tips to help you as a professional communicator stand out among equals when competing for work:
- Proofreading is fundamental. (Once a presentation for a major pitch contains typos you are sunk!)
- Do not pretend to be what/who you are not.
- If you need it back, don’t send it.
- If the client can’t read your presentation while sitting on the sofa, don’t send it.
- Awards are nice when sales are up. What are you going to do for the client?
- Anticipate objections. (He gave an example of an agency that met potential objections head-on and won the business.)
- Ask about how much of a factor price is.
- Know your audience. More and more you are targeting the “Purchasing/finance guy,” not the “cool” marketing guys. (Thanks Chris for the idea to use the skateboarder image!)
- Eight is too many to take to a presentation. You’ll overwhelm your potential client. Chris has even seen a team leader interrupt his presenters. (Cringe.)
- Be relevant. (His example: a firm that understood the importance of mobile marketing four years ago.)
- Demonstrate trust.
- Give people a reason to see you are different. (Reminds me of my previous post about Youngme Moon’s book, Different.)
- Use photos and stories of your people.
- Present case studies: State the problem, how you solved it and what the results were.
- Have insight into the target audience.
- Don’t burn bridges. If you don’t win the business remember, don’t take it personally.
- And finally, my favorite: It’s always a people business!