Marketing Mix Confusion

No One is-or-has a Marketing Panacea

“ALL MARKETERS ARE LIARS”

Seth Godin wrote a book with the above titled headline. Of course, it was a best seller because he already had the reputation as being an online guru. And, like Scott Adams’ and his Dilbert fame, it struck a nerve with all serious marketing people. (more…)

Real Marketing Results

Marketers Usually Just Talk-the-Talk …

How can you tell if a Marketer is lying? Yes, his lips are moving. Old joke…but very poignant in this profession! Wouldn’t it be refreshing to find one that Walks-the-Walk and delivers the goods (real new business) and not just talk about how great he’s going to be? News flash: check out Concierge Marketing.


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Professional Marketing Debate

What the Heck is End-Stage Marketing

Purists are having trouble understanding PM Community (pmCommunity.org) and its claim to deliver “end-stage marketing.”  This seems to fall into the category of “NIH” (Not Invented Here). Continuing with the acronyms, ESM is nothing more than the final point where the Marketing function ceases and Sales immediately begins. (more…)

Ultimate Guarantee Marketing

SMB Sole Practitioners in USA & Canada

2015 is all but here. Certain things changed in marketing last year that surprising few know about. Like Local Channel Marketing™ being pulled off the market and replaced by a streamlined update called Concierge Marketing. (more…)

More on Marketing Costs

Are Community Fees Too Low?!?

Sometimes it feels like we’re beating a dead horse when we’re called upon to explain our cost structure. By now, almost everyone in the SMB advisory world knows that we provide the highest value for the lowest prices in cyberspace & the real world. We “rationalize” this by reiterating the fact that even though we are a “for-profit” organization, our founders insist that the Community will be true to the Small Business Advocate principles upon upon which it was started over a decade ago.


ROI MarketingSTARTING OUT IN A DOWN-MARKET

First off, PM Community (pmCommunity.orgis a privately-owned company designed & built by senior executives & seasoned project managers for a single purpose. The concept was to apply latest technology to a hugely successful business model/vehicle of the 1980s. (In short, retrofit digital solutions to analog systems.) As accomplished, the mission would ‘GIVE BACK’ (to the SMB advisory community) -by- ‘PAYING IT FORWARD.’ Utilizing a one-of-kind “netweaving” program, this new entity would provide a high value-low-cost marketing platform.

This Professional Marketing Organization would not another Association. And, it would not have clients—only members. All of which would be INDEPENDENT licensed service providers who faithfully served SMBs throughout North America. [This hasn’t changed.] What has changed…OFTEN, and ha been corrected & re-corrected, revised & re-revised, is the Marketing Program with delivery systems needed to facilitate outcomes as economically as possible

Frankly, the world did not need another Marketing venue.

Despite being labor intensive (in the form of internal staffs for processing leads & converting them into genuine referrals), from the onset the objective was to DO MORE with less. After all, the Community was coming to market during a deep recession. We had to build a better mousetrap that eliminated marketing waste caused by great inefficiencies & uncertainties. Yes, very easy to say, but brutally difficult to pull off! So, it really did take the better part of a decade to get it right! Along the way, the lessons learned were invaluable. The benefits today are exceptional!


LESSON LEARNED: QUANTIFIABLE REALITY!

REMEMBER WHEN:  Community pricing circa 2012

REMEMBERING WHEN: Community pricing circa 2012

PRICE is a derivative of cost. Without belaboring the point, if a company can make & deliver a product/service better, cheaper & faster than competition, it’s a winner…assuming profitability of course. Community pricing was originally pegged to CRM solutions but this was faulty logic…apples to oranges. But there were no other marketing venues like us?! Since the Advocate label wasn’t just marketing hype, pricing was eventually scaled to cost-plus basis. As long as the costs were contained & controlled, profit margins could be predicted and scaled accordingly.

Cost, Income, Market are the three comparative triggers used for competitive analysis. If the Community had stockholders the greatest weight would fall to Income & Market. As a private entity and avowed advocate, cost+ was selected….which obviously brought the greatest returns to our members. We charge a small, flat marketing fee without any kickers, commissions or success fees. (FYI—Especially in the M&A space, lots of SMB transfers can throw off five-six figures on a single transaction.) 

How does $30-$59/mo relate to any High Net Worth net client revenue stream? 

Do the math and it’s easy to understand why we’ve become an essential marketing venue for so many members. And, this is the reason why we were forced to change our processing & intake methods to accommodate heavy traffic. (FYI—pmRegisty.com debuted earlier in 2014.)  Perhaps it might be wise to re-tell a portion of an earlier blog as a frame of reference to our pricing schemes.


COST OF [QUALIFIED] LEADS in 2014

According to the powerhouse mag, Advertising Age, when it comes to business matters Linkedin is de facto king of B2B social venues garnering over 60% of the usage vote, followed by Twitter at a strong 50% and Facebook came scuffling after at 30%. (We feel the latter may be higher and belongs closer to Google+ which could only 21%.) But check out their single lead metric price:

Average cost per qualified lead is now up to: $272 

As we stated, how does our money-back guarantee marketing fees stack up against this “average”cost? Granted this is an all-inclusive number (and not solely for SMBs), but please consider the fact that this source is unimpeachable!  Ready? 12% paid over $1,000 per qualified lead.  7% paid over $500 up to $1,000.  And most paid between $101 and $500 (ave. $272) … and this is for a single qualified lead which, to be fair, we’ll consider close enough to reach our real referral status. These stats are straight from AA mag.

Perhaps even more interesting is their pronouncement that “on average, marketers report a 31% return on investment from their lead-gen programs.” What’s that equivalent to? For every $1,000 paid, customers can expect $1,310. Well, our participating members might do a little bit better, don’t you think?


NO ARTIFICIAL MANDATE, JUST LOGIC

Last October Preferred Members voted to “stabilize” rates for 2014 and hold the line on increases until next year (2015). What new comers may not realize is that the Community’s 2012 rates were $99/mo for Preferreds and $49/mo for Associate MembersYes, there was a rollback because we had a lot of talent “gaps” in certain states, especially the deep south and far northwest.

Exec Comm agreed to the lower fee structure as an incentive for County Coordinators to be able to recruit more local pros. To answer the question, “how’d that work out?,” we’ll simply say it’s time to wrap up this blog!

Those of you joining prior to 1-1-15, the rate lock will stand throughout the year. Those joining after the ball falls should expect to pay the “old” prices, i.e. monthly at $99 and $49.  What will come into play will be the opportunity to get credit throughout the year for spreading the good news. What this means is that Preferreds will be voting on the ONE-for-ONE Program (one month marketing credit for one new member accepted) that may start in January, depending on the upcoming vote. 

In any event, the idea behind such a program (proposed last year) is to stimulate local cluster membership with new talent entry. As members know, some clusters still NEED of more non-lawyer, non-CPA, recruits. So, please don’t hold off introducing PM Community (pmCommunity.org) to your peers & colleagues who should qualify. (After all, the ‘recruitment incentive program’ may not be enacted.) Besides, it’s almost a certainty that our rates will never be this low again!



Kindly note that all PM Community blogs & FAQ sessions are strictly for informational purposes and are intended for a specific niche audience, namely, independent service professionals serving Small & Midsize Business (SMB) clients throughout North America. Our material is not designed for public consumption nor for any specific trade group or professional services industry. | © Copyright 2014 pmCommunity.org. Other trademarks are the exclusive property of their respective owners.



 

 

Someone Needs a Beating!

Director, Assume the Position

Regular visitors knows that this has been a tumultuous journey this fall…web-wise.  Services (read: operations) couldn’t be delivered any smoother or faster, but, and it’s a big butt, our long-awaited new web presence is woeful. Okay, pathetic!

Without getting into the gory detailsMemb Mkting Org (standing)3

Suffice it to say, change can be messy … especially to an ailing perfectionist.

Ironically, all of our members directly or indirectly are Agents of Positive Change. Regrettably, this doesn’t apply to our leadership that has been undergoing major changes this entire year … including hiring the wrong web dev (twice) and shamefully allowing Murphy’s Law to assume the chief project officer position. But, that said, happily it’s still been “business as usual” for existing members.

Part of the problem/solution

For those just finding us, we will be splitting up the ORG; better stated, dividing it in two. ORG will continue to be our members-only, OFFLINE, done-for-you community marketing venue, while COM will be dedicated to those members AND non-members looking to make money ONLINE via performance-based, affiliate marketing. The latter has grown so exponentially during the past 2-3 years we simply can no longer ignore the tremendous opportunities now available TO US … and that means you!

Baby ApplicationCreating a passive income stream isn’t rocket science but it can be a tricky process for the uninitiated. Wait until you see our ne Affiliate Marketing program and the thought-leaders behind the concept who are well ahead of the pack!

More about the split later

In the meantime, we continue cleaning up/out the membership rolls to prepare for the new year. This sounds like we’re dropping folks, but that isn’t the intention per se. Let’s put it like this: the days of “freebies” are virtually over. If professional service providers can’t afford $30/mo ($300/year) as an Associate Member, or $59/mo ($590/year) as a Preferred Member, good luck to them! The Community will no longer subsidize them. FYI: these stated prices will remain in effect to July 1st…and will be grandfathered for the duration of 2014. | Because of the new (bigger/better/brighter) packages coming for the 3rd quarter, we’re forecasting modest increases.

Instead of hiding our pricing (Value Proposition)

Our intention is to boast about it…since no one comes close to our delivered ROMI. As members know, Return on MARKETING Investment is the metric with the greatest credence. When all is said-and-done, what was one’s full measure of her/his marketing spend? Go ahead, do the math. We welcome [challenge] members to show us a greater percentage via another marketing resource. If they can, congratulations, they’ll get the next year’s marketing on us—and we’ll happily promulgate it on this blog!

We suspect some might be scratching their heads at the size of the investment. Remember, we are not a software solution but a supplemental marketing venue for demanding local pros. Think: another arrow in your marketing quiver—albeit one that has a golden tip and always hits the mark.

So, let’s return to the severe beating that’s in order

The crux of the problem has been a lame duck administrator who seems as unpopular as the commander-in-chief whose having similar problems getting his health care initiative web presence to work as promised. The difference is that the proverbial nationwide search for a new Community Commander is still underway. Suggestions are most welcomed and will be voted upon by the Exec Comm at our next quarterly meeting in March. 

Final thought, let’s cite Neil Whitton, “If it’s to be, let it begin with me.” What a super sentiment to work by as a genuine client-centric trusted advisor.




Acquisition Cost to Join

Zero Net Cost of Membership

As of September first, PM Community.org officially dropped its Members Marketing costs down to a sub-market pricepoint. Rationale: to allow as many County Clusters to “fill in” during the calendar year 2013.  

The idea behind this daring move was to stimulate greater interest in selected counties (especially South & North West) that SHOULD become members IF ONLY they were aware of the extremely high-value potential received.  

Regrettably, the Community does no advertising, not does it use testimonials (any more) to promote themselves. This self-limiting practice shows how they live up to their motto that Confidentiality is our HallmarkNo one knows what goes on behind close doors … except through this Blog … and monthly newsletters sent directly to members.

Returning to potential ROI, the Community which sells NOTHING (no books, whitepapers, analyses, courses, webinars, etc.) has only two sources of revenue and only one is a profit-center.  The first revenue account is MEMBERSHIP. Every candidate must be screened, qualified and vetted as needed, then formally registered and put into a primary channel based on profession and [1] logical project flow and [3] intended client profile. With external background checking, the total price of entry is $399—often reduced by credits down to $250—close to Community’s break-even.  This is not a profit-center for the Community since every cent, regardless of amount expended, is credited or refunded to its Members over time.

MARKETING fees are the next measure and represent the Community only source of profits after overhead and operational costs. Up until Spetemeber, the “regular” pricing was $199/mo for Preferred Members and $99/mo for Associate Members. These were slashed by 75% during the calendar year 2013 per vote of Charter Members with approval of the Executive Committee. What they will lose in margin (substantially) is believed to be made up for with greater membership enrollment (incrementally). The adjustment to fee-rates in 2014 is unknown but projected to remain low, either the same as 2013 or adjusted slightly within the six geographic regions.

Preferred Members now pay only $50/mo or $500/annually saving the last 2 full months. Associate Members pay just $25/mo or $250/annually also saving two full months. Using the more popular annual elections of $500 and $250 as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) since there is a zero net cost of Membership, the calculation is an easy one for each member.

Computation would be as follows: $500 or $250 divided by the total new net revenue received through Local Channel Marketing.™  Assumption-1:  1 new client brings in $2,500; assumption-2:  2 new clients bring in $7,500 and $2,500 respectively; and finally, assumption-3:  only 1 new-client opportunity happened during the year and this did not convert into a sale. The latter turns out a negative TCO and is written off as a tax-deductible expense. The other two assumptions (also tax-deductible) are simple math that produce exceptionally high ROMI (Return on [PMC’s] Marketing Investment). Is it necessary to say that “Results will Vary?”

Of course, some members may choose to use revenues collected for an M&A event or for an HNW-client’s project. These returns demonstrate why PMC’s Membership may return the highest overall ROI available to independent professionals today.  

Each is encourage to do their own math and decide for themselves.  (Sorry, at these lower rates, we can no longer afford to offer our Guaranteed Acquisition Warranty.  Look for it to possibly return next year.)