I find those companies often are run by smarter, more ambitious business owners who want to help clients fill a variety of needs.
The Down Side
The down side to this “multiplicity of offerings” is that business owners discover it’s exponentially harder to promote their various services to their markets. Also, it’s harder to define their brand so it works across all services.
Simple people (or services) = simple marketing. Complex services = more sophisticated marketing.
My own business fits this complex category because we offer “Total” marketing services. That’s why I’m sharing some experience and tips, along with my own failures, to help your business succeed and thrive.
Example of a Complex Business
I have a friend who is a mortgage broker as well as a nautical interior designer creating beautiful upholstery for boats, as well as compassionately helping families acquire their dream home. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll just call him Bill. Most people think of Bill as either a mortgage broker or an ingenious boat interior fabricator, but rarely remember he offers both services with equal competency.
Multiplicity works for many businesses. I have many cross-talented friends handling jobs or services in multiple areas: My hairdresser is equally competent as a chiropractor. My dentist is a fabulous scenic designer. My friend is a caterer and an events producer. These people can have two sources of income if they deliver top quality service in each area of expertise.
Why do these business owners with multiple capabilities and vast potential get boxed into one category? There’s an actual marketing reason.
First, identify the issue: Do you find it frustrating that people tell you to just pick one offering and stick with it? Perhaps they don’t understand how one person can be competent at multiple jobs, like boat interiors and home mortgage loans?
In companies similar to mine, people don’t realize there are many specialists who work on their project while I’m only directing the work. Can you relate to this “multiplicity” in your company, too?
If so, congratulations! You’re probably one of the super bright, capable and ambitious business owners with a wealth of talent to offer!
Watch out for this trap! If you offer “multiplicity” because you started to sell one service unsuccessfully and then launched another to compensate, you may be falling into a trap. Get some experienced advice to ensure you’re not just handling sales or marketing incorrectly before launching secondary services or products.
Why is this multiplicity so hard for people (your potential market) to understand?
Cracking the Code
It confuses people. Some don’t understand or believe that people can do more than one thing very well! They can’t comprehend that your business can offer multiple quality services.
Mostly, the reason it’s tricky to offer multiplicity is because we’re busy with our complex lives, so we tend to oversimplify information. We put people in just one box in our memory banks (or one field in our database). It’s easier to remember that way.
What if you could crack the code, instead?
Instead of limiting your capabilities, how about expanding the minds of your readers, your market, or your audience? Here are a few tips I’ve used to crack this code. There are many more tactics, so if you need help, contact us for answers.
My Top 3 Proven Techniques
1) Be specific. Almost all of us (me too!) make the mistake of generalizing all we do in our website, introductions or promotional materials. Communicating too broadly in our descriptions doesn’t allow people to get a tangible understanding of specifically how we help them. [our specifics are in featured clients section below]
If I helped Bill explain in his marketing communications that he works on huge yachts custom building and installing curtains, upholstery for couches & beds, even fabricating padded wall coverings to maximize safety with comfort, you’d get a better idea of his service, right? If he included all those descriptions in one article with before/after photos, his readers would be able to visualize his capabilities. Then they’d know how to refer him or what he could do for their own yacht.
Imagine that Bill created a second series of articles describing his mortgage broker services explaining the traps home buyers fall into signing loans on first time homes without understanding the unanticipated costs of home repairs. Bill might write some tips explaining how to prepare for pre-qualification these days when new banking regulations make the loan qualification process incredibly difficult (for both brokers and buyers). You’d really understand his qualifications as a mortgage broker if you read those answers and a few testimonials, right?
Breaking down your various services or products into specific and tangible descriptions helps your market gain clarity.
It takes longer to educate your markets allowing time for them to absorb the information, but they’ll better grasp your various services that way. No, it doesn’t have to be delivered in a series of articles. There are many ways to communicate marketing messages. (That’s what we do. Just ask for help if you need it!)
2) Educate in small doses. People remember what they’re familiar with or what they need most right now. Stay in touch regularly and frequently so you’re in the right place at the right time to jog their memory of how you can help. Social media is a great tool for this, if you’re using it correctly.
3) Focus on the Value. Often people just cannot see in their mind’s eye what you offer because they don’t understand it, have no exposure to it, nor grasp the value of it for their needs.
What can be done? Our branding & strategic teams have helped clients find the overlap in the seemingly disparate services they offer – like Bill’s nautical and financial services company. It’s very tricky to do for oneself! Get help from a marketing expert on this exact topic if you’re not solving the dilemma on your own. Usually it saves companies months of time and thousands of dollars in lost income to get qualified help on this topic.
The Pain of Exposing My Own Mistakes
My own company is the perfect example of this “multiplicity” dilemma.
While my passion is now helping companies in the first 20 years of development (it’s more of a challenge, more interesting!), my mistake was taking years to realize that most small businesses don’t grasp what a full-service marketing agency (company) really does. They had no interaction with ad agencies except watching the alcohol-induced antics of “Mad Men”.
These small business owners spent oodles of time going to individual vendors for each project they needed. They had no idea all the services they needed was far more time- and cost-effective and better managed under one roof.
It took years to educate our market that besides the strategic business/marketing planning I provide as a consultant, we have dozens of specialists in business development, writing, design, publicity, web design/programming, and the support teams and tools that businesses need to flourish and become profitable. Clients just don’t see these people on our teams because we manage them virtually.
My own mistake cost me lost income the first few years because I’d only previously worked with larger, successful businesses who already understood this business model. Ah, the expense of assumptions! Can you relate to this? If so, share your ideas in comments below. Or contact us if you need help.
Here are a few examples of those we help . . .
Featured Clients This Month
For your holiday enjoyment, take a look at this video on a retreat in Bali that you’ll attend for one week as part of the “Innerfluence” program.
We helped the business partners develop the website content, publicity, promotion and a piece of the event design for some fun engagement, too. In complex promotion like this it helps to have a team to hone ideas so they are received the way you intend, engage people to take action, and support you when timing is crucial.
Please join us Dec. 4th for this event launch: http://www.innerfluence.com/
Did you know that college costs have risen 4 times the rate only 10 years ago? Yikes!
You just won’t find this necessary info all compiled in one place anywhere else!
We built their blog where they post details on scholarships, campus tours, funding college costs, and answers to questions parents have on this topic.
Time & cost savings! We also instructed the bright staff on how to manage their own blog so they’d be empowered to post critical information in a timely manner without paying a programmer each time they wanted to add updates. We taught them how to use social media to ramp up outreach and branding after we built their initial Facebook page – and they’re already getting good results.
Their Facebook page is a blast, so please “like” it to show your support!
As you chill over Thanksgiving, pick up a copy of the Resonance Jazz Ensemble’s CD “Introductions” to expose your family and friends to some of the best jazz you’ll ever enjoy.
Reviewers say this jazz by Resonance is:
“Where chamber meets large band and cool runs into swing . . . sophisticated without being stiff.”
I call it #JazzForAll because even my friends who claim they don’t like jazz enjoy this band!
Our company acts as their Outsourced Marketing Department putting the elves on our teams to work building their audiences with marketing strategy, website concept and content, videos, promotional and publicity campaigns, social media management, logo, signage and print design, plus management of their entire marketing by our Marketing Director.
Best of all, our teams are all fans of this music so we get to justify listening to their CD while working. Before you come to their next sold out show at Yoshi’s, listen to their music and support the arts by purchasing their CD’s for those you really care about.
Please “like” their facebook page to get details on upcoming concerts.
AUTHOR READS TO YOU
Valerie Haynes Perry, author of and workshop leader for “Listening Our Loud: A Friend to the Serious Writer,” has launched Read2U, a weekly show on Blog Talk Radio.
Audiences have told Valerie that this program recalls the soothing experience of being read to as children. Others are gratified to “hear the characters’ voices more clearly” after listening to the author bring them to life. This experience adds further value to reading on one’s own.
Valerie took one of our “WalksWithBliss.com” to spur ideas that inspired her to create this program, which taps into the oral tradition of storytelling.
If this practice intrigues you as an author, check out her book, “Listening Out Loud: A Friend to the Serious Writer” or contact Valerie to be notified of her next workshop.
NEED HELP FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Let us know what you have planned and what you need help to achieve. Here are a few of our services to support your business.