LEAD GENERATION is Dead

END-STAGE MARKETING HAS ARRIVED

This blog is NOT for members. They already know what Concierge Marketing is all about. For outsiders (non-members) gather ’round and read my take on what this “new generation” of marketing means.  It’s totally unlike anything you ever seen.  But, if you’re not an Independent Professional (lawyer, CPA, or other service provider), you won’t get the opportunity to find out.


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Open Enrollment Starts

MAY 15th -through- JUNE 30th

NO INVITATION -or- RECOMMENDATION REQUIRED

Twice a year (mid-May to end-Jun; mid-Nov to end-Dec) PMcommunity.org‘s intake staff get to relax. All screening, qualifying & vetting of member-candidates fall to third-party resources like Lexis-Nexis, Trudiligence, etc.

All other times, our intake staff must do the heavy lifting themselves. Only candidates that are not licensed (because they’re not required) may be farmed out for examination. The purpose is to ensure no bad apples are allowed in! (more…)

DOL: Client-First Mandate

Financial Advisors Must Be Fiduciaries

Long-debated and finally rendered, the DOL Fiduciary Standard is official. According to a Bill Bachrach article in this month’s FA Mag, (Disruption #7 ) “Our government believes consumer are being taken advantage of by our [FA] industry…They believe the solution is absolute transparency, full disclosure and the elimination of conflicts of interest.”

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Marketing Rights of Refusal

Major Point of Differentiation

99+% of marketing firms, agencies ,and organizations work for their paying clients. They don’t offer “RIGHTS.” as in. entitlements. Instead they are engaged to perform acts that assist with promotion of their paying clients’ businesses.

PMcommunity.org has no clients. It doesn’t not sell their clients’ products or services in the traditional sense. If it did, it might automatically position one ‘client’ against another. In other words, every ‘client’ may be competing against another. The winner would surely be the highest bidder/payer. Seems about right, doesn’t it? Yes, in the conventional marketing setting.

PMcommunity is anything but conventional. As mentioned, it has no clients—only members. Up until last year, it had only two CLASSES of members, chocolate & vanilla or medium & high. I.E. Associate & Preferred by any other name. The former got the exact same entitlements as the latter…except with regard to timing. Associate Members received the opportunity of engaging a new client on a SECONDARY basis—after Preferred Members. Preferreds typically pay about twice as much as Associates; not for a higher or better type of offering, but to receive the opportunity on a primary basis. This is the FIRST Right of Refusal (or Right of First Refusal for purists).

Note that last October, members voted to allow a THIRD class of “members” called STANDBY. In point of fact, this class has no entitlements because it is not actually membership. It is for member-candidates who are not ready to commit or formally pay to join the Community. They are allowed to view certain activities & events, but cannot actively participate in Concierge Marketing that brings exclusive opportunities directly to them.



RIGHTS BRING ENTITLEMENTS

Non-paying Standby Members get exactly what they DON’T pay for (nada). Similarly, paying members get exactly what they for, first or second/next rights of refusal (of new incoming referrals). Observers should, by now, have figured out that our membership is not one giant pool of professionals. It is not one gigantic group of homogeneous single-niche (profession) pros either. It is a small, eclectic heterogeneous group of LOCAL professionals–grouped to service & share a large audience of Small & Midsize Businesses in the same geographic locale.

These local marketplaces are called “Clusters” and they do not have borders or boundaries.

Members, regardless of profession or trade, are positioned together so that each Cluster has at least two (and possibly a few more) of the same discipline. In others words, at least two CPAs, attorneys, insurance pros, project managers, M&A intermediaries, management consultants, ETC. are contained within each cluster. They are not “locked” into a single cluster. In fact, depending on composition & market need, one member may be positioned into 2-3-4 contiguous clusters.

Members have no idea what cluster(s) they may belong to at any given time. This is a logistics problem for the Office of VP Membership…who must operate under the Community’s Fairness Doctrine. Essentially, this means that ALL members in EACH class must be treated equitably and no one member can be favored or excluded within any given cluster she/he is placed with regards to access to newly matched referrals. (In the vernacular, every one gets a fair shot within their class & discipline.)

Fortunately, all this is done in the proverbial vacuum, behind closed doors. The Community is aware that human nature cannot be taken out of the equation. To preclude the possibility of arguments or dissent, joining members pledge to support our neutral operations posture and “fairness policies” from the onset, that is, at time of enrollment.

Summing up, Cluster formations work exceptionally well when like-minded professionals agree that their #1 priority is to help existing clients within their cluster. It is an unwritten quid pro quo that multiple referrals are made between & among members—with and without Community support.  (Once known to each other, members go directly to one another. There is simply no need to involve the Community.)



Marketing Rights of Refusal. #5857. This blog is written by members and monitored by our Executive Committee. It is intended exclusively for members or candidates-for-membership. Contents of all blogs and FAQ sessions are subject to change & correction and do not constitute community policy. At all times, the executed Community Marketing Agreement (CMA) alone determines prevailing policy & practices, as amended.  |  (C) Copyright 2004-2016 PMcommunity.org; all rights reserved. Depicted graphics are the exclusive property of PM Community and all others belong to their respective owners or record. 


 

Is PMcommunity.org worth It?

Why Pay $49/month or $99/month?

BECAUSE IT’S WELL WORTH IT!

The argument about price is always a concern. But, when it’s about value (received) it’s never a problem.

PMcommunity.org started back in 2004 and was clueless about what to charge potential clients. Trial-and-error soon gave way to “no charge” for the early adopters. Of course they bought in–and got the benefit of what they weren’t charged for. But, when we tried to go back to a pricing model that seemed reasonable, we fell flat on our face! That market (rebounding from the dot.com catastrophe) felt our marketing services were terrific—but only when paid in arrears!

Our business model had real people performing real services THAT NEEDED TO BE PAID along the way. The Community was not contingency or commission based!  HELLO!  Deliver your very attractive new service, secure new clients ready to engage me, and THEN I’ll pay you. (Never gonna happen.)

We admit it. We screwed up. We were so worried about making good on our Value Proposition that our pricing & collection model failed miserably. We also learned that trying to please all people was a disaster. We even offered FREE leads and $50/month for new-client-REFERRALS would be delivered ready-to-engage. Result: yes to the free leads (that’s what internet businesses did) and no to the Referrals except on commission! Yes, it was a tough audience!

We thought we had our act together when we closed our doors! “Sorry, we don’t want your business UNLESS you can qualify.” Voila! Attention came with this new take-away service. Our Value Proposition changed from we’ll do marketing for you, to we’ll bring fully sales-enabled new clients exclusively to your door. Hooray! People got it … but our delivery “system” was, um, problematic. It cost us more than what we took in! Oops! The members-only platform was quite secure, i.e. PMcommunity.org. But, our program was sloppy and tough to “expedite” when internal folks were scrambling all about. Happily, Local Channel Marketing™ arrived and once again there was order in the universe. But membership was slow.

Our founders were never looking to make a fortune the the Community and its marketing program. The goal was to overcome inertia, slow/steady growth via grassroots, and gradually expand.  Profits would be nominal after paying for overhead and sustaining desired growth. We were not a non-profit, just a restrictive cost-plus model designed to quietly grow at its own pace.



AMAZINGLY, 2016 PRICING SAME AS 2007 

When Concierge Marketing was introduced in 2013, membership was chugging along. Candidly, it was decent in some (few) areas but highly fragmented in others. No one was terribly concerned since bills were being paid and services delivered reasonably well (read: no complaints). The Community learned that our growth was predicated upon the quality of local members, naturally–since recommendations were the keep. Local County Coordinators were still “volunteers” who didn’t do much but were “ready” when called upon.

Associate Members–for 2nd Right of Refusal pay $49 (almost always discounted to $30/month) and Preferred Members--for 1st Right of Refusal seldom pay $99 (just $59/month). Interestingly, members keep voting that these prices to remain constant year after year.  FYI—every October, the Annual Members Survey is taken and members decide/vote on important matter impacting themselves!)  It’s not a coincidence that all this discounting goes on (read: is allowed).

Candidates must either be invited or referred…and there’s always a code that chops prices down!

To clarify for the uninitiated, ASSOCIATE Members get the exact same service as PREFERRED Members. Only the timing of delivery is different. I.E., if/when there is no SME available, Associates get the 2nd call (Right of Refusal) for the referral opportunity at hand. Depending on the cluster/area/demand, this may happen from as low as 29% on up to 77% … but it’s always highly unpredictable. [Members are always free to move up (when not busy enough) or down (when too busy) at any time, status would change on the following month after request.]

So, it boils down to VALUE received. What’s a new-client opportunity personally delivered to your door actual worth to you? If only $30/month for this exclusive opportunity, that’s the price! If $59/month (with 2 months free), that’s your price! Here’s the kicker: services are guaranteed to yield! The first 60-days are always FREE via opt-out and 100% refund of investment. Thereafter, members are free to opt-out at any time and receive a full rebate of any unused, prepaid marketing fees. READ: we must add value, or else!

So, despite what you may have read or been told, this blog is your proof that the OLD PRICES remain in effect–for those qualifying to join. 

The Bottom Line: “We didn’t invent Professional Marketing; we simply perfected for our members.”  |  BV



Is PMcommunity.org worth it? #5848. This blog is written by members and monitored by our Executive Committee. It is intended exclusively for members or candidates-for-membership. Contents of all blogs and FAQ sessions are subject to change & correction and do not constitute community policy. The executed Community Marketing Agreement (CMA) determines prevailing policy & practices, as amended.  |  (C) Copyright 2004-2016 PMcommunity.org; all rights reserved. Depicted graphics are the exclusive property of PM Community and all others belong to their respective owners or record. 



Demand Marketer offers Rights

Member Determines Class & Rights Entitlements

MARKETING BASED ON CLASS SELECTION & DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS

PMcommunity.org announces what their Demand-Based, Members-Only, End-Stage, Personal-Marketing program called Concierge Marketing entails.

Outsiders, that is non-members, have wondered what Local Channel Marketing™ followed by Concierge Marketing was really all about. Because the Community is not open to the public and prides itself in confidentiality, details seem sketchy at best and impossible to understand without extensive research. Surprisingly, this is their modus operandi.

Let’s start with the fact that this unusual marketing venue is virtually run by members. They have qualified to join–as independent professionals in good standing within their discipline & local community.  They get to “make the rules” and even determine their marketing fees annually.  This closed-community doesn’t advertise.  Membership is by invitation from Admin or recommendation by Member. In other words, they are very selective, but, for very good reason!


Firstly, there are 3 Pre-Enrollment criteria.

  1. MUST BE a sole practitioner (or small team) working in US or Canada; allowing background checking.
  2. MUST BE a serve Small or Midsize Businesses (SMB) for a minimum of five (preferably 10+) years.
  3. MUST AGREE to the Community Marketing Agreement (CMA) setting forth member rights & entitlements.

Sure, this may seem like a mountain, but it’s actually a just molehill to the top talent wanting to join.


To gain admittance, there are 3 absolute criteria [called Member Standards] that all members must possess:

  1. MUST BE competent (have solid track record of reliability and be in “good standing” at all times)
  2. MUST BE trustworthy (act like a trusted advisor in a fiducial manner to other members referring needy clients if not already a fiduciary by law or profession.
  3. MUST BE collegial (protect referral source and watch her/his proverbial back, an unwritten quid pro quo)


Because membership & its benefits fall into the High Value/Low Cost category, members consider joining a privilege accorded only to those willing to comply with the CMA. At issue is satisfying existing members who the Community serves exclusively. With applied discounts, marketing fees start at $0 and go up $59.

Concierge Marketing service is consistent and never increases or diminishes. In other words it is constant throughout our two paying classes. The only difference is the Distribution Rights selected by members. Preferred Members have the First Right of Refusal (as matched, insiders refer to this as “first call”) and Associate Members the next Right of Refusal (when no Preferred Members is available to immediately accept the assignment–which is fairly often.


UNLIKE ANY OTHER MARKETING VENUE

A private demand-based marketing with NO clients also means that we do not represent or work on behalf of ANYONE. Members have rights (listed above) that cost the same throughout their class—only the order of distribution varies according to our analysts’ expertise when matching NEEDS-to-SOLUTIONS.

Per our internal Fairness Doctrine, all solution-providing members (Subject Matter Experts selling their services) are matched to each/every POSTED requirement. In order of priority, these including [1] location, [2] discipline/profession, [3] referring member’s direction, [4] availability, and [5] Community policy.

Every referring member stays in control of her/his client’s destiny during the marketing cycle. She/he gets to literally call the shots. When?  Whenever she/he elects to initiate the marketing project by submitting the needy client’s proposed requirements, and then again, whenever she/he elects to contact the Community’s matched service providing member. The two members alone discuss the possibility of collaboration. The two members alone agree to agree or disagree.

The Community stops being involved (marketing cycle completed) when the provider’s identity is disclosed to the referrer.

Nota Bene: There is never any follow-on or follow-up by the Community. It is policy that every needy client’s identity shall not be elicited (known) by the Community. This is designed to preclude a breach of confidentiality. And, this is always the exclusive purview of the respective members participating in Concierge Marketing.  |  TW



Demand Marketer offers Rights: #5805.  Please note that all PMcommunity’s Blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes. They are intended for independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. PMcommunity.org has no clients (only members) and no corporate sponsors. It is not affiliated with Project Management Institute (PMI) although we wholeheartedly endorse their principles & practices. | © Copyright 2004-2016 PMcommunity.org


 

Marketing as it Should Be

Proactive -vs- Passive

CLIENTS ARE UNAWARE THAT ANYTHING IS HAPPENING

In recent years, professional service providers of the solo variety have had the benefit of being able to replace older, ineffective marketing techniques & tactics with something that works…well!

Everyone knows that sellers’ Push Marketing was the paradigm prior to the advent of the internet. All of a sudden, liberated buyers were finally given the chance to DEMAND what they wanted, whenever they wanted. The mighty pendulum had swung signaling that Pull Marketing arrived.

To be sure it will swing back when newer, better and cheaper strategies are discovered. But, while it lasts—hopefully for a very long time—sophisticated sellers can take advantage of the situation. The key here is to be aware that although all the tried-and-true marketing methods have become obsolete (yellow pages, print media, mass mailings, etc.) adaptive alternates continue to arrive for sellers, that is, service providers in search of new clients.

Ironically, being proactive means exerting purposeful energy–like sellers used to be able to do.  Now, if they act this way sellers run the risk of being annoying to buyers. Unrequested emails, however cleverly disguised, are usually considered spam. The great annoyance of every busy businessperson whose mailboxes are literally full of it. Worse perhaps, is just being passive; or is it?

How about becoming  passively active or actively passive?  Semantics, you say?  

Service providers today can actually be both, strategically active while being tactfully passive. This is embodied in the Concierge Marketing concept. Understood correctly, this is a peer-to-peer marketing form where providers actively deal with each other and let their marketing be handled by an invisible third-party whose primary function is to convert leads into qualified referrals.


EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT & INEXPENSIVE

The beauty of Concierge Marketing is that (members’) clients never know that marketing or anything is going on—unless the provider decides to tell them. All “work” is performed behind-the-scenes by Community analysts.

Another excellent benefit is that this is project-based marketing. As such, it is a peer-to-peer, end-to-end, marketing solution.

Our Community marketing is transformative in nature, never transactional. Accordingly, the Community never interfaces with members’ clients. It STARTS when one member confidentially notifies the Community re: her/his client probably needing outside assistance. It could be a one-provider solution; or the start of a complex problem where several providers may ultimately be required.

Once the Community elicits and verifies requirements, the marketing process would commence—virtually on-demand. It would end once another member is matched by insider analysts and the initiating/referring member notified. The marketing function ceases in its entirety. Members are then completely “on their own” to accept or reject doing business with each other.

As a marketing org, the Community does not follow-on or follow-up. Our marketing is self-completing. Each and every project that’s initiated by one member (with the needy client) is completed by another (with the precise solution). It’s really one of the purest forms of marketing. Why? It starts ON-DEMAND and it finishes as EXPEDITIOUSLY as possible. Absolutely no wasted time, energy or money!

Bottom Line: the reason why most professionals don’t like marketing is because it is thought to be highly inefficient, grossly ineffective and far too costly. True enough. But, Concierge Marketing always starts where conventional marketing would be lucky to end. It simultaneously solves all three objections, i.e. no other form of marketing is more efficient, effective and inexpensive.



Marketing as it Should Be; #5609. Please note that all PMcommunity’s Blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes. They are intended for qualifying independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. PMcommunity.org has no clients (only members) and no corporate sponsors. It is not affiliated with Project Management Institute (PMI) although we wholeheartedly endorse their principles & practices. | © Copyright 2004-2016 PMcommunity.org; other trademarks are the exclusive property of their respective owners, as applicable.


Marketing Trends

Hello 2016, Goodbye Past!

2015_end!PROFESSIONAL ADVISORS STARTING TO UNITE

Slowing but surely in some markets, the word is getting out about a new & different form of marketing. Perhaps surprisingly, since it’s sponsored by a Hidden Resource it’s still virtually unknown in many areas.

Who’s ever heard of PM_Community (PMcommunity.org online) anyway?

Membership to the public advisory community is “guarded.” Eligibility is no longer proactive, meaning that no one can join via their own initiative. The only way to get into PM Community is by invitation or by recommendation of an existing member. (Think: deliberate slow growth.)

This past year has seen one of best-kept secrets about passive marketing get out in many local areas. Leading this marketing trend is an entirely new methodology called “Concierge Marketing.” This is literally a “done-for-you” kind of referral marketing. While it’s by no means a marketing panacea, for the majority of mature service professionals,  it could be a great time-saver and a way to trim prospecting—if not eliminate it completely!

If you haven’t heard about Concierge Marketing yet, visit the Community website. Read a few blogs to find out how different your business might be utilizing this form of marketing. This is a particularly terrific time to investigate matters affecting your marketing plan and client development practices. Community members know that at least once a year they need to examine respective Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) to make obligatory changes for the coming new year/period.

Each time you hear “Out-the-Old and In-with-the New,” think marketing. If you don’t, why would you expect improvements to your business/practice next year? This is not a rhetorical question!

Next year you could add new referral pipelines in the form of your local cross-discipline peers & colleagues. This is the essence of Concierge Marketing. While you stay busy SERVING your clients someone (PM Community) could be doing your marketing for you … delivering exclusive, qualified referrals to you!


NEW CHANGES TO BE ENACTED SHORTLY

We Assume ALL RiskOctober’s Annual Members Survey tabulation will be completed before Christmas. As predicted, marketing fees have been frozen to members enrolling in 2015. New candidates accepted in 2016 will experience a slight bump but otherwise will enjoy all the benefits since Concierge Marketing is constant in service.  (Only the rates are different according to member class selection.) Actual survey results are not promulgated. They are shared with registered paying members, i.e. Associate & Preferred classes exclusively. Standby or Freemium Members do not get access until/unless they formally join and select a paying class.

Premium and Lifetime Memberships are now subject to two-three year anniversary attainment. New local County Coordinator (CC) assignments also will go to 2nd-3rd memberships when cluster formation permits.

“Connection Follow-On” is available with initial Major (complex) project designation.

Outsiders (non-members) won’t understand the above statement. In short, it means that when any new project/assignment/case starts Concierge Marketing, if the referring member announces that more than one Subject Matter Expert will likely be needed in/during marketing fulfillment, our analysts could (upon request) track matters AFTER connection of need-to-supply | peer-to-peer | referral-to-receiving member. Internal policy presently restricts any contact with participating members–once they connect. Why? Because our marketing function is exhausted/totally completed.

This is the second-to-last blog of 2015 so we will not wish  just yet. But we will encourage members to contact their local CC to volunteer for cluster ‘enhancements’ & assignments. We would request that all CCs submit their Feedback Reports prior to year’s end. Also note that Regional Promotion Proposals through June 2016, especially with hotel assignments, are due NLT Feb 1st.  /  JM


 

Marketing Trends; #5508. Please note that all PMcommunity’s Blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes. They are intended for independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. PMcommunity.org has no clients (only members) and no corporate sponsors. It is not affiliated with Project Management Institute (PMI) although we whole-heartedly endorse their principles & practices. | © Copyright 2004-2015 PMcommunity.org. Other trademarks are the exclusive property of their respective owners, as applicable.