Category Archives: Jill Johnson

Target Marketing: Enhancing Your Sales and Marketing Effectiveness

By Jill J. Johnson

Jill Johnson - target marketingYour customers can be grouped according to a variety of different identifiable characteristics that reflect their specific needs and interests. These needs and interests impact their attitudes toward purchasing decisions. Each of these groups is called a target market. Target marketing is the response to identified market needs. These needs will differ for groups within the total population and they can change over time. Target marketing can turn challenges created by changes in our economic environment into opportunities to better achieve your organizational goals.

While it may seem very limiting to narrow your market, the truth is you cannot be all things to all people. It is difficult and costly to develop effective promotional messages or reach your most likely purchasers if your target is too broad.

There are three major components to developing effective target marketing for sales results. First you have to clarify your market segments. Then you have to engage in data mining to verify the market opportunity really exists. Finally, link your target market to your operating, sales and promotional strategies.

1. Clarify Your Market Segments

A solid framework for evaluating your target market incorporates many different variables to develop your customer profile. The key is to begin to identify the distinctive patterns of attitudes, desires, concerns, and decision-making criteria for them. By understanding these elements, you can focus your marketing approaches to more effectively reach your target audience and to influence their purchasing decisions. Customers are more likely to identify with messages specifically tailored to their individual needs.

Target marketing typically incorporates an assessment of the demographics of your customer base. There are many demographic variables that can be easily identified and measured. A few examples for a consumer market include such aspects as age, gender, income or marital status. Business customers can consider aspects such as employees, revenue, or years in operation. Knowing where your customers live or work is another method for evaluating your target market. Geography is typically combined with demographics to measure market size.

The psychological profile is an exceptionally important variable in target marketing. Understanding your customer’s personality, buying motivations and interests provide powerful opportunities to develop communication messages designed to trigger a buying response in your customer.

Other variables may influence your customers’ purchasing decisions. These can include generational differences or customer brand loyalty. They may be highly influenced by other people being involved in their purchasing decisions. Do you need to position your marketing messages to influence decision influencers too?  Clearly assessing these target market segments provides a gateway for creating better marketing messages to ensure your customers and their decision influencers are compatible with your options.

 2. Data Mining

The second critical step to developing your target markets is to quantify your market size. You do this by data mining. Data mining involves analytically reviewing your internal customer and comparing it to external market information. Look for patterns and relationships to help understand your customer’s buying patterns and opportunities to influence them at each stage of their buying decision cycle.

Start by reviewing your Internal Customer Data. Prepare historical summaries reflecting several years of data. Most people only look at one year of data—this is not sufficient to help you determine if your market has achieved its maximum potential or is on a decline. Look for trends and patterns. What types of profiles can you create of those who buy from you? When do they buy? Who is most profitable to you? Start evaluating how effectively your marketing approaches reaches them and matches their purchasing decision approach.

Then, conduct a detailed review of the available External Data. Assess how your current customer profile matches up with the real market opportunity. Do the demographics show a potential for long-term growth? Does the data show anything else that might impact your sales success?

3. Tie Your Target Market to Your Promotional Activities

Promotion must be customer oriented and matched to how, why and when they buy. Where do they look for information to solve their problem or meet their need? It is not about what you want to sell them. You will need different marketing messages for those who are at the awareness stage gathering information than those who are ready to make a final purchase.

Match each of your promotional efforts to your target market. Clarify in detail how it benefits or provides value to them. What needs of theirs does it meet? How does it meet their needs in ways your competitors cannot?

Make your prospective customers understand how you will help them solve their problems or meet their needs by using your target market insight to customize your promotional messages! Tie your promotions to their decision-making cycle and move them through their purchasing decision-making stages in a deliberate and effective manner. Heal their pain points!

There are numerous promotional options beyond sales activities that can help you communicate with your target market. These include advertising, public relations, social media, collateral materials, direct mail, email campaigns, website, tours, presentations, networking, participating in community events, open houses, trade fairs, using giveaways and generating referrals from satisfied customers.

The effectiveness of how you communicate your value to your customers and key referral sources will determine your ultimate sales success. Communicate with them in the ways they expect. Develop a matrix to clearly define each target market you want and need to influence. Then identify how you will use each promotional opportunity to communicate with and influence each market segment.

Final Thoughts

Using target marketing provides you with a disciplined approach to crafting highly effective marketing messages that have the potential to drastically influence your sales. The process of target marketing is on-going and dynamic. You have to work hard to keep up with your market and discern when it is changing. Changes can be subtle. You will need to adjust your strategies to change with them or you may have to find new customers to remain a viable business.

Jill J. Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the bestselling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than 4 billion dollars worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill J. Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.

Strategic Triage

The Keys to Surviving a Significant Strategic Disruption

By Jill J. Johnson

Jill Jhonson-strategicDespite the best of intentions and a solid strategic plan, leaders can sometimes find their organizations in the throes of an unexpected major crisis that threatens their enterprise survival. Whether it is the culmination of changing market forces, a self-inflicted incident or the result of a catastrophe brought about by an unexpected event, enhancing opportunities for enterprise survival are paramount. The most effective crisis management strategies focus on addressing the critical elements that will enhance the survival potential of your enterprise during a significant strategic disruption.

In a medical disaster, health care professionals use a triage process to assign degrees of urgency to patients to establish priorities for treating them in order to maximize the number of survivors. The same principle of using triage in your enterprise can be a powerful approach for effectively dealing with a crisis situation in any business setting. The goals of Strategic Triage are the same: to determine the priority of your actions to make a significant difference in your outcome.

There are three critical elements of focus to weather an extinction level event. You need clarity to make rapid decisions. Your leadership activity must identify the most significant priorities necessary to stabilize your immediate situation so you can act on them. Your conversations need to engage candid dialog with your team.Determine the priority of your actions to make a significant difference in your outcome. Click To Tweet

1. Clarify the Key Decisions to Be Made

 Once you recognize you are in a strategic crisis, focus your critical thinking on the key decisions that will matter the most to resolving it. This includes gaining clarity to understand the underlying dynamics that led to the crisis. To do this, you need to rapidly obtain candid information about your true situation. How serious is this? Do you have the proper data to understand the magnitude of the crisis, and the options you have for addressing it?

Planning in a turbulent period requires a deep assessment of your business environment. This may be the time to bring in trusted advisors to provide you with insight about options to consider. Just make sure they have the depth of expertise to truly offer you options to resolve your crisis. You do not want to be part of their learning curve when the stakes are high.

Identify the critical strategic information you need to make decisions. Be clear about the outcome you desire. Do you want to save lives, save jobs or save money? This clarity will serve as your guide when you evaluate your options and choices. Assess your assumptions and understand the market forces at play that will determine your ability to resolve the crisis. Concentrate your critical thinking to focus on the things that matter most to resolving the short-term issue without blowing up your entire enterprise. Focus on the very heart of the key decisions you will need to make. Everything else is extraneous and a potential distraction when you are in the throes of a real strategic crisis.

2. Establish Clear Priorities

The success of any Strategic Triage effort is to clarify the most significant short-term priorities. Developing clarity among all participants will help them stay focused on the activities which will work to immediately stabilize the situation. All too often, without a clear focus, if left to their own devices, team members will use their own judgment to focus on activities they deem important. Unfortunately, if they lack good critical thinking skills, they are likely to focus on efforts with minimal impact.

Establishing clear priorities for your leadership team and employees provides each of them with a clear focus for engaging in efforts that improve the potential for your enterprise survival. These priorities establish a framework for decision- making and minimize any focus on irrelevant issues or activities that will not resolve the problem.

Ensure all your team members and corporate assets are in proper alignment. Everything that is essential to addressing the issue should be deployed toward resolving the crisis. Use everything.

3. Engage in Candid Dialog

Engage your key leaders in a candid dialog to identify what they immediately need from their key employees to stabilize the situation or resolve the crisis. Ask your team members to identify your potential options to work-around the gaps caused by the crisis. Use your clarified priorities to give them guidance. By taking control of your communications you will also be better able to manage your message and focus your talking points during the emergency.

In times of strategic crisis, candor is paramount. This is not the time for pretending and wish-crafting your troubles away. Identify what you need from each of your stakeholders to resolve the crisis or to stabilize the immediate situation. Identify the most crucial leadership skills you need to deal with the most pressing issues. Do you have the talent in-house or do you need outside resources?

Evaluate your team’s willingness and capability to step-up to fill the leadership void. Assess your team’s resolve and commitment to turning the situation around. Are they willing to do what it will take to solve the crisis? You need to know who you can rely on when the stakes are high.

Be sure to engage with your key stakeholders both inside and outside your organization. By having a candid dialog with your critical stakeholders, you optimize your potential to gain their support and influence to work with you in addressing the crisis. They may have additional ideas and insight too for how to best address the situation or minimize disruptions.

Final Thoughts:

Whether it is the loss of your primary customer, the death of a key employee or surviving the zombie apocalypse, maximizing your options and prioritizing your efforts are essential. Managing your own panic and terror will help you focus your critical thinking on the key decisions you need to address and finding the right advisors to assist you in weathering the storm. By doing so, you will maximize your options for weathering the storm and then recalibrating your strategies to optimize your future outcomes.

 

Jill J. Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the bestselling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than 4 dollars billion worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill J. Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.

Preparation Breeds Confidence: Four Strategies to Prepare for Success

By Jill J. Johnson, MBA

Most people want to take shortcuts; however, the more thorough your preparation, the greater the likelihood is that you will have success. Preparation is essential to having confidence in yourself no matter what setting you are in—this will build your confidence when you are in high pressure situations such as interviewing for a job or dealing with higher-level bosses.

It takes time to build your skills to a deep level of mastery. It does not happen overnight. With practice, you will build deeper awareness of yourself. You will develop greater confidence. You will demonstrate your emerging growth in mastering your new skill. This preparation will prepare you to maximize your opportunities for success.

1) Daily Efforts are Essential for Success

If you aspire to leadership in any area of your career, you need to invest time in each of the many components required to be effective. By engaging in your practice on a daily basis, you create a more manageable method to prepare yourself for success.

Breaking your skill development down into smaller components so you can practice your progressions in more manageable chunks is essential. This is especially true with all the demands we have on our time and attention.

Each day you must determine at a micro level what you need to do to be prepared for your advancement to your next level of success. How you then practice those required skills is your preparation.

As you elevate, your opportunities will get tighter. Fewer people move on to reach the highest-level leadership roles. Those who decide they will progress to higher rungs of success figure out a path to get there, and beyond. They’re confident in what they know because they are prepared.

2) Build Your Skills Before You Need Them

You know the saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” It is so true. If you’re not prepared, you won’t have any confidence in yourself when the opportunity to move forward toward your dreams presents itself.

You must always be preparing so you have developed your skills before you need them. To be prepared to progress to a level beyond where you are now, you need to look ahead. Pay attention to what others at that level are doing. Ask yourself, “What else is going to be needed from me as I move up to my next level of success?”

You can practice your skill development anywhere—at home, at school, in your job, in a church group. You can even practice while you are interacting with your children, shopping at the grocery store or coaching soccer. Anywhere.

Finding opportunities to practice new skills are all around you. You should plan to practice your new skills both inside and outside of work.

3) Volunteering Accelerates Your Preparation For Success

You probably think you are too busy to volunteer for a leadership role in an association, community group or non-profit organization. Work and family responsibilities likely leave very little room in your schedule for taking on any kind of outside leadership role. Yet this view limits your opportunities to accelerate your potential for success. The truth is, engaging in volunteer leadership experience can have an exceptional impact on your entire career.

By agreeing to serve in any leadership role, you will have an opportunity to practice skills you need to work on and helps you gain exposure to new skills you will need for long-term career success. Confidence comes to you faster when you practice in a lower risk environment when you volunteer.

Whatever you need to practice, you can do this when you volunteer. You can practice some element of a skill you will need to prepare for your next promotion. You can use a volunteer role to practice speaking up with confidence.

Your confidence will compound because you will have multiple opportunities to develop your expertise. Volunteering allows you a venue to learn to work more effectively with different generations. You will expand your network of contacts, as well.Make the effort to find people who can provide you with new insights about other possibilities you may not have considered. Click To Tweet

4) Working Through Learning Curves

As you build your skills, you will have learning curves. There will be times when you’re going to fumble and bumble. Mistakes happen to everyone. You must always be willing to learn from the experience. No matter what the skill, you will need to practice.

Sometimes you’ll blow it. It’s okay. Chalk it up to a learning curve. Resolve to do better next time. Don’t make a habit out of the failure. Don’t let a mistake or lack of expertise shatter you. Move forward and learn from it.

You cannot take big leaps toward success unless you first take small leaps to build your confidence. The success you learn in those leaps compounds over time. By repeatedly testing yourself, and by preparing yourself for your next opportunity to win, you’ll be ready because you’re practicing and you are progressing in your skill development. These two confidence keys are now intertwined.

Final Thoughts

Always have an ongoing focus as you practice. This will deeply embed your skills so you can call on them with growing ease every time you need them. Then you can work on mastering them to develop your skills to a highly refined degree of finesse.

Consider how you will prepare for your next level of success. To consistently move forward, you need to intentionally develop new skills and probe for deeper insights of understanding as the issues you address become more complex. The search to understand what it will take to propel you toward your next leadership challenge never stops. Each one is a progression for you.

Make the effort to find people who can provide you with new insights about other possibilities you may not have considered. As you see the greater possibilities for your life, you will begin searching for opportunities to make them real. As you practice and prepare for your future, you will build more confidence, and the sky can be your limit.

Jill J. Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the bestselling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than $4 billion worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill J. Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.

Moments Matter

A Three-Part Strategy to Effectively Leverage Your Time

By Jill J. Johnson, MBA

Most people manage their time by treating each of their priorities as if they have an equal weight. They do not. When you are developing your time management strategy, you need to break your time down into three different categories. These types of time include routine activities, project-oriented activities and crisis situations. Each of these types of time has a different impact on your productivity and your daily focus.

Developing a clearer understanding of what type of time you are dealing with allows you more options for developing a strategic approach to how you focus your daily priorities. Initially, break down your key areas of focus by evaluating the urgency and significance of your primary activities. This is followed by an evaluation of each of your major responsibilities to assess which type of time it involves. Then consider the amount of time that will be necessary to effectively complete each of them. This strategic focus will help you develop a more proactive approach to managing your overlapping, and sometimes conflicting, responsibilities.

Neglecting Routines Creates Chaos

Routine activities involve responsibilities you can anticipate. Activities falling under this type of time include those with an automatic or regularly occurring deadline. This may be preparing quarterly reports, tax filings or actions you need to process on the first day of each month.

Unfortunately, most people procrastinate on assignments that have a routine deadline. They wait until the last minute to begin working on them. Then they rush to pull together the needed information. Waiting until the very last minute to focus on routine activities ends up compressing the completion time horizon. The frantic rush to meet the known deadline often results in missing critical elements, errors, or a lack of quality work. This adds pressure and unnecessary stress.

Routine activities are not surprises. Don’t treat them as such. Carve out the time you need in your schedule and make sure it adequately reflects the time necessary to completing these assignments. If these activities require research or advance preparation time, your schedule must allow ample time to work on them in advance. Shorten or eliminate all non-essential meetings as you get closer to a deadline. Set up alerts with a reminder of your impending deadline. Then send alert notices to others who have critical information or essential insight you will need.

Taking a strategic mindset to approaching routine assignments encourages you to complete your preparation work as far in advance of your deadline as possible. The key is to dedicate the time you need into both your planning process and your schedule. If it is a new responsibility for you, budget time into your calendar to accommodate your learning curve.

If the routine activity is something you only engage in periodically, create cheat-sheets with screenshots and notes to yourself on issues you ran into and how you solved them. These notes can be a huge time-saver the next time you complete this activity.

Managing Projects Requires a Precise Plan

The second type of time is project time. Projects are often complex activities with a defined expectation for deliverables or a date of completion such as a major event. With projects, there many moving parts and multiple deadlines. Projects may also include the involvement of a variety of other team members or vendors.

The challenge with most projects is they often have long time-frames which allow those involved to push off key responsibilities because the completion date is perceived to be far off into the future. Participants focus on day-to-day fires and do not worry about the project until there is an urgent rush to meet a deadline.

Effectively managing project-oriented time requires developing and following a clearly established plan. There are a variety of formal project management methodologies you can follow. The key to each of them is to determine who are the other people who need to be involved and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each. Internal deadlines need to be clearly determined for all of those involved and direct responsibilities must be clearly delineated. Break your project activities into smaller components and more manageable parts. Engaging in interim checkpoints on a periodic basis allows you to stay up to date on the progress being made on a project. These checkpoints provide the opportunity to determine if you have adequate resources deployed to the right areas so you can meet the deadline.

Another strategy you can implement to manage project time is to engage in front-end loading. This means completing or beginning work on a significant number of components of your project when you are first assigned to it. By front-end loading your work, you will begin to identify challenges in obtaining a resource or needed information. This intensive work at the beginning of your project provides you with more time to resolve any glitches before they put your project completion at risk.Dedicate the time you need into both your planning process and your schedule. Click To Tweet

Expect the Unexpected

A crisis is an unexpected situation requiring you stop everything you are currently focused on to address the situation. When a crisis occurs, your entire focus shifts your priority to resolving the problem or the aftermath of an unexpected event. This could be a fire, data breach or the death of a key employee. You shift from any other activities to solely focus on the issues associated with the emergency.

The biggest challenge when dealing with a crisis is you often do not have advance warning that something significant will happen. Few organizations adequately prepare for a disaster. Then when something significant hits, everyone scrambles trying to figure out what to do. It is difficult to think clearly to establish essential priorities when your adrenaline had kicked in and everyone is in a highly emotional or pressurized state of mind. Just make sure you are not treating routine activities or missed project deadlines as a crisis.

Prepare a disaster plan for the types of crisis your enterprise is most likely to experience. When you have the luxury to prepare in advance, you and your team are more likely to have a clearer frame of mind to identify what the focus of your priorities must be to develop a clear framework for rapid action in an emergency.

Final Thoughts

When you begin to consider demands on your time as being different kinds of time, you can shift your focus toward optimizing your priorities and activities. This more process-oriented focus of your thinking on productivity will help you better prioritize your actions. Then you can more effectively avoid time-wasting activities and ensure you are focused on getting the desired results for the energy you spend.

Jill Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the forthcoming book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted nearly $4 billion worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.

Strategic Thinking: Making Yourself More Valuable to Management

By Jill J. Johnson

The management of your company is facing a wide range of pressures due to the uncertainty and complexity of today’s volatile business climate. Given this complexity, you have many opportunities to make yourself more value to them by the work you do, the ideas you generate, and the insight you can provide them. If you begin to start approaching your work with a strategic mindset, you will not only elevate your own strategic thinking in these areas, but you will also become significantly more valuable to them.

Identify the Strategic Information Management Needs from You: Management is typically evaluated on business growth and profitability. Identify what they base their decisions on in their role. Think about the strategic information they need to confidently make those decisions. Consider the decisions those they report to need to make as well. Then determine what you can do to more effectively link your daily work with their decision-making processes, needs, and concerns.

Do some homework to make sure you understand the important management issues in their leadership roles and their key responsibilities. This will help you to identify where your role intersects or connects with their issues, concerns, and responsibilities. By understanding what these are, you will be better able to maximize what you do and provide information to meet their needs. Your efforts will enable them to become more valuable to the people they report to as well. Make yourself more valuable by the work you do, the ideas you generate, and the insight you can provide. Click To Tweet

Align your thinking with their goals. How can you help them address their concerns? What do they need from you? How can you add value? Can you offer suggestions for improving productivity or profitability? Can you identify new opportunities to expand sales opportunities?

There are many ways for you to make sure you understand the key strategies of your organization. Read articles quoting the top executives from your company. Look at your company’s annual report or review your entire company website to gain more perspective. Read articles in your industry-focused publications. As you better understand the business issues, you will gain clearer insight on how to link those strategic issues directly to your role and responsibilities.

Incorporate this strategic thinking into how you engage in your job responsibilities each day. Be alert to identifying emerging opportunities to improve problem solving, expanding networks, increasing earnings, enhancing job satisfaction or increasing productivity. Look for revenue implications, customer retention or areas of community impact. The opportunities for you to strategically impact are all around you.

Use Your Knowledge to Provide Strategic Insight: In your role, you likely have access to valuable information that you either currently provide to management or that you could share with them. You might be directly interacting with your customers or are you work in a key area of delivering your company’s services or manufacturing their products. Often those closest to these areas have the best ideas to improve productivity or increase profitability. Taking a more proactive approach to incorporating strategic thinking into your job will help you transform your role into a valuable business resource to them.

Provide management with insight not just information. Information is not enough anymore. You need to incorporate your value-add of interpretation and recommendations to what you provide them. Insight can be a game changer to build your relationship with management. You can provide management with significant value if you focus on how you can help them achieve corporate goals or address challenging business issues. This will position you as a “value” center, not just a “cost” center for your wage or salary.

Identify opportunities for your company to optimize the available assets they have already invested in. These investments could include people, buildings or equipment. Consider how you can optimize the work you do and the assets you are directly responsible for managing or using. Pay close attention to the touch points your role impacts on the key metrics for your company. Where do you impact sales, profit margin, return on investment, return on assets, etc.? If you don’t understand these terms, learn more about them.

To make yourself more valuable to management, you need to know what makes money for your company and how your role fits into making money for the enterprise. This insight will help you tie yourself to the company’s business priorities. Focus on how your role aligns with achieving overall corporate objectives and creates a positive impact on revenue growth or overall bottom-line profit. The better you understand these concepts, the easier it will be for you to position yourself as a strategic resource.

Communicate Your Strategic Value in Their Language: Always position your ideas and recommendations to them in the language they use. If they frequently use the words “return on investment (ROI)” or “profitability” be sure your ideas always include a reference to how it will impact ROI or company profits. If they talk about “target markets” or “employee engagement” then you should do the same.

Communication with your managers should be short, simple and to the point. They will ask you for more details if they are interested or confused. It is critical to have done exceptional preparation on the insight you prepare for them.

Make sure your data and information is accurate. This allows you to be perceived as credible and trustworthy. This is essential if you provide them with ideas requiring the investment of time, money or other resources to complete the implementation. They must be confident they can trust what you provide them withonce burned, you will not have another chance to re-establish their trust.

Final Thoughts:Thinking strategically is a skillset that you need to actively work at trying to improve. Find resources to help you learn and practice your critical thinking skills. By spending time on thinking strategically, it will become naturally ingrained into how you conduct your work. This will make you exceptionally more valuable to management. Then you will be on the path to becoming a manager or executive yourself!

Jill Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the forthcoming Bold Questions series. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted nearly 4 billion dollars worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.