I have been a bit frustrated with my yard this summer. We built a great new deck in the back yard, but the lawn is not green, the sprinkler system cuts on at inopportune times, and the lawn service came to do mowing one evening while we were hosting a party in our back yard.
When building was to be started on the deck, we realized that a couple of the sprinkler heads needed to be moved and a fire-drill of sorts ensued. All of my discussions with my lawn guy have been reactive calls, trying to fix something that wasn't right.
We live in a neighborhood in the city with a very small lawn and we use a relatively low value lawn service, so I really have no one to blame but myself. With that said, it got me thinking what a higher value lawn service might look like. This is what I came around to:
- A meeting in the beginning of spring with my lawn guy to discuss:
- Our high-level plans for the summer (building of the deck, a vacation, a few weekends with friends in town for annual pilgrimages to Red Rocks).
- His recommendation for what needs to be done to the yard this year
- A plan to ensure that all services would be performed on the lawn taking into account the plans we have for summer
- He reports back to me anything I need to know (landscaping concerns), and
- I provide him with an update in my upcoming plans (unexpected hosting, camping getaways, etc).
- We decide on any changes to the plan.
If it had gone down like this, my deck would have been started and finished on time, I would have been able to enjoy time in the yard without getting wet, the party wouldn't have been interrupted, and the lawn would look a lot better.
But wouldn't this model take a bunch more time for the lawn guy? Not really. He spent that time with me this summer in triage mode -- a reactive strategy -- instead of getting ahead of the situation. His providing of a higher-value service that aligned with my life would be better for everyone involved.
In reality I don't get worked up about my lawn, but you shouldn't settle for less when it comes to services that affect the profitability of your business.
We have a proactive strategy to align our marketing efforts with our client's business to help them achieve their desired results. That is the whole idea of providing a service, right?
UNDERSTANDING YOUR EVOLVING BUSINESS
The fact is that your business progresses, and a service provider should be helping you through those changes. What sort of changes?
- Monthly or quarterly initiatives, or "Rocks" as we call them in our company
- Yearly goals, most times associated with growth
- Sometimes a company's vision may even change in reaction to their industry-wide changes. For example, lot of our clients are transitioning to sell higher-value services of their own.
Aligning Business Goals with Marketing Strategy
The more we are aligned with our client's changes, the more likely they are to succeed in navigating them. Our quarterly marketing strategy meetings are the vehicle for us to calibrate with our client's business to help them achieve the results they are looking for. Here is a framework for discussion during these meetings:
- Client updates us with any changes in their goals, initiatives, events, or product launches.
- Report back to the client on any metrics that we track for them (website performance, social engagement, blog posts, SEO rankings).
- Calibrate the plan for the coming quarter based on the client's changing business and performance of their web marketing strategy.
Understanding Your Investment
We have found that the clients that have been open to connecting quarterly are our most delighted clients. Not only do they get to feel involved in marketing their business, but they also gain a greater understanding of how their marketing campaign can truly serve their business. Their investment is aligned with their business, and they are able to spend more time serving their clients' needs.
Failing to plan is planning to fail! A proactive approach is much better, whether you are talking about enjoying a great summer in your yard, or creating a web marketing strategy that generates new business, supports your clients, and attracts the right talent to your dealership.
How do your service providers help you pursue your goals?