IBYE 2018 is Launched by Minister for Enterprise & Innovation

Press Release :

Local Enterprise Office Roscommon confirms €50,000 county investment fund available

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. and Minister of State for Business, Pat Breen T.D., have launched the national search to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs (IBYE 2018) through the Local Enterprise Offices.

IBYE is a programme run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), including LEO Roscommon, with the support of the Department of Enterprise & Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The competition is open to people between the ages of 18 and 35 with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business.  Now in its 4th year, IBYE has an investment fund of up to €2 million. The closing date to enter this year’s competition is Friday, 29th September 2017,  and there is a €50,000 county investment fund on offer to local winners and runners-up in Co Roscommon.

Visit http://www.ibye.ie/

IBYE 2018 promo pic

Speaking at the national launch, the Tánaiste said: “Building on the success of previous IBYE competitions, this Government wants to support more young entrepreneurs right across the country through the LEOs. Ireland has a well-earned reputation as a country that supports and fosters enterprise. Our young entrepreneurs are talented, innovative and dynamic. Last year, 180 young entrepreneurs won investment funding for their businesses through IBYE, helping them reach their export and job growth potential. I would encourage all young entrepreneurs, between the ages of 18 and 35, to talk to their LEO about the IBYE 2018 programme and the valuable supports available throughout the various stages of the competition.”

Minister of State for Business, Pat Breen T.D., said: “IBYE offers a very significant stepping stone into the world of running your own business for young people aged 18 to 35. It’s not just the scale of the investment fund on offer that makes IBYE so important, IBYE 2018 entrants can go on to receive intensive enterprise boot camp training from their LEO under the programme, to help them establish and develop their entrepreneurship careers. Now in its 4th year, IBYE has proven to be a great success in all the regions with more than 1,800 applying across the country last year. I would encourage young people with a business idea or currently running a business to apply for IBYE before the deadline of 29thSeptember, 2017.”

Louise Ward, Head of Enterprise at Roscommon LEO, said: “The substantial investments available under IBYE are a very important part of the programme and will help more young entrepreneurs here locally to grow their businesses and create more jobs. Other business supports, such as management training, networking and one-to-one mentoring are also at the heart of IBYE. Last year, 450 young entrepreneurs all over the country benefitted from these business supports and 180 of them won investment funding to help start and grow their own businesses, so the rewards are there for participants, as well as for the winners. Taking part in IBYE will help Ireland’s young entrepreneurs move their businesses to the next level with the support of their Local Enterprise Office, whatever stage their business is at.”

IBYE 2018 is run locally by Local Enterprise Office Roscommon across three categories:  Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business.

With an IBYE investment fund of €50,000, LEO Roscommon will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up at county level. The local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories at county level will receive investments of up to €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive up to €5,000.

The Best Business Idea winner at county level will receive an investment of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000 of investment. These winners at county level will progress to Regional Finals early next year and the National IBYE Finals will be held in March 2018.

Previous Co Roscommon winners and runners-up of IBYE have included :

2014:

Mark Bannon, Vizor Technology Ltd., Bealnamullia, Athlone (Best Business Idea and Overall County Winner)

Niamh Cunningham, Irrelevant Fish, Lisacul, Ballaghaderreen (Best Start-Up)

Mark Molloy, Honest Bread & Cakes Ltd., Roscommon town (Best Established Business)

2015:

Oz Ibrahmi, Hex CNC, Knockvicar, Boyle (Best Established Business and Overall County Winner)

Mark Bannon, Vizor Technology Ltd., Bealnamulla, Athlone (Best Start-Up)

Enda Mahon, Progrip, Cloonee, Ballymoe (Best Business Idea)

2016:

Desmond Dolan, MistCalls, Cortober  (Best Business Idea and Overall County Winner)

Kyle Flynn, Heather Fed Fowl, Ballyfarnon, Boyle  (Runner-Up : Business Idea Category)

Kyle McLoughlin, Boyle Posude T/A SubTeacher.ie, Boyle (Best Business Start-Up)

Neil Patrick Collins, Cryptic Clique, Castlerea (Runner-Up:  Start-Up Category)

Eoghan Kenny, Project 5 Creations T/A BeltLock.ie Rathpeak, Ballinasloe (Best Established Business)

Brian Larkin, Centrepoint Autos, Hodson Bay, Athlone   (Runner-Up : Established Business Category)

IBYE 2018 – Categories :

  1. Best Business Idea (pre-trading) – up to €10,000 investment fund through every LEO (€7,000 for category winner and €3,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  2. Best Start-Up Business (up to 18 months) – with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  3. Best Established Business (over 18 months) – with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)

IBYE 2018 – How to Enter :

Local entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 should visit the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie, to submit their applications online.

The closing date for entries is Friday, 29th September, 2017 and there are no entry fees.

Further information for Roscommon entrants is available from https://www.localenterprise.ie/Roscommon or by calling me on 086-8318748.

The Creatives Dilemma

The Creatives Dilemma – A Curious Matter.

Way back in 2009, I was asked to carry out a study of the professional lives of almost 100 creatives – crafters, artists and designers – living in the West of Ireland.

The overt aim of the project was to research what workshops, training and other support inputs the designers would like to avail of. However, it also revealed worryingly low levels of income among the group. Over the almost 10 years since, I’ve worked with a large number of creatives and repeatedly come across what I term “the creatives dilemma”.

For those of us looking in, a creative might seem somebody who would be comfortable in the realm of marketing, no?

After all, they’re creative, right? And we all know that large marketing and advertising houses are constantly seeking ‘creative’ minds for their client projects, to spin their latest advertising slogan or develop their rejigged branding look.

But artists, crafters and designers are another breed of creative entirely.

creatives dilemma
Creatives like to create. They like to paint, sculpt, weave, dance. They don’t like to market, sell, meet, or put themselves out there in any way.

I’m generalising, of course *.

This creatives dilemma results in the low levels of income encountered and the sense of isolation many (particularly rural) creatives experience. Resulting low sales are a barrier to realising their true potential, unless a buyer or influencer just happens upon a creation they just happen to like.

When I mention pro-active marketing to many creatives, or how they might get themselves ‘noticed’, their eyes glaze over. I can sense their internal voice saying something along the lines of “oh, just let me get back into my studio”.

Indeed, once back in the studio, another dilemma is encountered. This one, Scott Barry Kaufman describes thus :

” I am often torn between two extremes– inspiration and self-doubt. There are moments I feel I have stumbled upon a great truth, a new discovery. This enlivens my spirit and motivates me to further explore and share. Explore and share. The deep drives of the artist. Yet, what happens when we explore and discover that so many others have trod the same path, have been inspired by the very same questions and have already reached satisfying conclusions? This inevitability can bring out the defenses, the self-doubt. What do I possibly have to contribute to this world? What can I say that hasn’t already been said? “

A Solution to the Creative Dilemma?

But getting back to my own take on the creative dilemma.

In my opinion, there is clearly a need for some kind of third-party marketing person, perhaps initially joint-funded by local authorities, the DCCOI and/or other micro-enterprise support agencies. Such a person could take charge of the sales and marketing of a group of creatives from, say, a limited geographic area and for, say, a defined time period. The aim would be to generate awareness of them and make some sales. But, and this is the point, such a scheme would require legacy. There would need to be transfer of knowledge to the creatives in the ultra-practical areas of selling, marketing and “getting-out-there”. The marketing person would inevitably depart, but the creatives must have learned both about strategy and practical marketing skills.

* Note : There absolutely are exceptions to this generalisation and some creatives are excellent at promotion, marketing and “putting themselves out there”.

Following Up is a Key Function of Selling

Congratulations! You’ve presented your product or service, negotiated an agreement that’s a win-win for both parties and closed the sale. Now remember that following up is a key function of selling not to be ignored.

The thrill of the sale is hard to beat when you run your own business – whatever its size. I remember very well the day the first person told me that they’d employ my services. Thankfully, they’re still doing so. I’ve even got a copy in my office of the first cheque I ever received from a client.

But it’s important not to lose track of the next bit of business you need to win, rather than focusing solely on the job at hand (or, worse, reminiscing about past glories). One key element in achieving this is to ensure you’re following up on projects or deliveries completed.

Following up builds relationships with enterprises or individuals who may hire your service or purchase your product again in the future. It also encourages them to tell others about you and that’s got to be good, right?

following up is a key function of selling

Small Business Trends states that, according to Harvard Business Review, the biggest complaint that customers have when dealing with any business is poor follow up. When it comes to problems encountered by customers, 56% complain that they need to re-explain their issue when calling back, because the provider didn’t follow up. 62% report having to repeatedly contact the company to get their issues resolved, again because the provider didn’t revert. As a result, 65% are likely to speak poorly about the company and 48% of customers go on to tell 10 or more people about their bad experience.

Incorporate Following Up into your Systems

But that’s just the scenario when something goes wrong. Hopefully not much goes wrong, so why then would you still need to follow up? Because selling should not be about “them and us” or “buying and selling”. No, you’re building a relationship. You’re building trust.

Drop your client an email or, better still, pick up the phone, or even better again, go meet up with them. Following up with your customers shows them that :

  • you’re interested
  • you’re confident in your product / service
  • you want their feedback on customer experience

Following up is a key function of selling because, through demonstrating your interest in and commitment to the client, you are, in fact, generating goodwill and new orders. You’re also learning though listening, discovering market trends and, hopefully, spotting new opportunities.

6 Ways to Close that Sale

Often, when trying to improve our sales performance, our attention is concentrated on how to present and how to negotiate. As vital as these tasks are, we should not lose focus on the true job in hand : closing that sale. See if you can apply any of these 6 ways to close that sale.

After all, closing is ultimately what selling is all about.

So remember : do not be afraid to ask for the order, be clear and assertive, but do not interrupt your target or be too early asking.

It’s important to realise that, while you may lose a sale by not asking for it, you cannot make a sale simply by asking for it. Prospecting and information gathering remain vital elements of The Sales Process, leading you towards (hopefully) a sale.

6 ways to close that sale

Here are 6 ways to close that sale :

1. Just ask!

Sometimes we can forget to do this.

2. The concession close

“If you give me an order today, I can give you 2% off.”

3. The alternative close

“I can deliver the blue one today or the red one next Thursday. Which do you want?”

4. The objection close

“We can call two of my clients now, if you’d like to ask them about the service.”

5. The forcing close

“You do want to avail of this special offer, don’t you?”

6. The requirement close

“Well, tell me what I need to do to get an order right now?”

So, keep working on getting to know when it’s the right time to ask for a sale. Listen out for buying signals as you are having a discussion with your target. Nowadays, people like to have a human relationship with their supplier. It’s no longer a case of just turning up and trying to wrangle an order out of somebody, before quickly moving on to the next visit or phone call. Listening is more important than ever in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Build a relationship and learn to understand the target’s needs. After all, good marketing and selling is about satisfying your customer’s needs.

There’s 6 Ways to Close that Sale. Fine, but what about when they say “no”?

Often, when a target says “no” to your advances, it may not always actually mean “no”. They may just be appealing for help with something. They may, indeed, be looking for your help to assist them make a decision.

“No, we don’t want to integrate your software now, because it might mess with the systems we already have.” Is that a true “no”, or an appeal for reassurance?

Keep talking, but also keep listening, to close your sale.

Why I Hate Cynical Ads

Hate Cynical Ads? I Know I Do.

OK, before moving on to why I hate cynical ads, let’s start by saying that I generally enjoy listening to ads on the radio (I watch relatively little telly).

I particularly like really great radio ads, like the campaign out these last few months from Appliances Delivered. I mean, they’re so well written and brilliantly delivered (excuse the pun) by the “voiceover guy”. How they managed to create humour from humdrum extractor fans was genius, but the best line of all is the one where the reader declares that he doesn’t know how Appliances Delivered make any money “what with my voiceover fees”. Brilliant! And no, I’m not on a commission.

hate cynical ads
Image © Nick Youngson at http://www.creative-commons-images.com/

But I really hate cynical ads. There’s one out at the moment from Love Irish Food pontificating about how its members must be producing in Ireland using Irish ingredients in order to earn the label. Yet, this is patently not always the case. There are Love Irish Food products on the market containing ingredients which are no more form Ireland than the man in the moon. Visit their website, dig a little bit and you’ll discover that, in fact, “the brand uses ingredients from Ireland where these are available”. Mmm, not quite the same thing as the radio ad declares.

But that’s nothing when compared to Bord na Móna’s “Naturally Driven” campaign.

Bringing cynical advertising to an all-time high (low?), one of the biggest environmental criminals in the history of the State now wants people to believe its spin that it is in some way ‘naturally driven’. Here is a company which has destroyed many thousands of hectares of our once beautiful boglands. Here is a company that currently imports palm tree kernels from the other side of the world to burn in one of its power stations claiming to be ‘naturally driven’. Give us a break.

A number of years ago, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority commissioned a report into UK citizens’ attitudes to advertising. While mostly positive, the report referred to a trend towards what the writer called ‘untruthful truthful advertising’, defined as being “assumed to be legally true, but economical with the truth”. I’m not aware of any similar research having been carried out in Ireland.

Why I hate cynical ads

Cynical ads that try to deceive consumers, or at least be sparing with the truth, give marketing a very bad reputation among the general public.

When I ask attendees at training courses I run what they think about marketing, quite often one response forthcoming is that “marketing equals false or misleading advertising”. Unfortunate, but true. I hate cynical ads because they lower the quality of an industry which, ultimately, is supposed to be trying to match goods and services with what the market wants. Mis- or disinformation is hardly achieving that.

Not to mention disrespecting the listener.

Advertising Authority for Ireland (ASAI)

Farcically, the ASAI is a “self-regulatory body set up by the advertising industry”. I mean, seriously …

How to Develop your Sales Funnel – Keep those Targets Moving Along

How to Develop your Sales Funnel – Lifeblood of your Small Business.

Listen, whatever marketing and promotional work you undertake, whether that be pressing the flesh, putting photos up on Instagram, email marketing or whatever, your focus needs to remain on moving people in your target market along and how to develop your sales funnel.

Remember : Nothing happens until something gets sold.

Traditionally, the sales funnel has been portrayed in images as a type of water funnel, with its big open end at the top and the narrow tube at the bottom. This representation seeks to convey the idea that, while large numbers of ‘cold’ prospects may be thrown in at the top, relatively few will come out the bottom and become actual paying customers.

But there’s a degree of laziness to this.

At the core of this image is the notion that prospects simply fall into your sales funnel, like rain into your gutter, and that the only work involved is moving them down along. Indeed, this even suggests that gravity will push some out the other end, irrespective of your input. It’s lazy.

I put it to you that a much better image to form in your head would be of an upturned funnel. Now, suddenly, you’ve got to lift your funnel up for the ‘cold’ prospect to get in there in the first place. There’s already work to be done. Moreover, now gravity cannot help you get them out the top. You’ve got to keep those targets moving onwards and upwards. More work involved. In fact, your poor old prospect has to want to get to the top. He ain’t passive no more. Huge difference.

how to develop your sales funnel

How to Develop your Sales Funnel

The first thing to understand and accept in wanting to develop your sales funnel is the need to develop your sales funnel.

Huh?

By that I mean to draw your attention to the probability that you will lose 20 – 25% of your existing customers / clients over the next 12 months. That’s just life. Some retire, some close down, some begin to buy from their sister or best friend. Some just don’t need your product or service any longer. Maybe you haven’t progressed or innovated and you can no longer meet their ever-changing needs.

OK, so once we get into the frame of mind that we need new customers, what then?

Step one is research. In fact, it’s research, research, research. Get out and meet people, network, check out new businesses, get on the internet, get along to trade shows and conferences, etc. Find new prospects. They’ll be cold at first, but c’est la vie.

From there, it’s a question of developing a relationship, making enquiries about their needs, matching your product or service to those needs, getting into presentation mode, then negotiating and so on.

Now, I always advise people to put a system in place for seeking out new ‘cold’ prospects. Give yourself a manageable target every period of time. For you, that might be to meet 10 new people per week in their office or at networking events, or it might be to go visit 4 new trade shows per annum, where you’ll walk up to stands and see where you can offer a benefit to the exhibitor.

However you choose to do it, be sure to keep working on how to develop your sales funnel. After all, it’s the lifeblood of your business.

Profiteering UK Retailers in Ireland exposed by Exchange Rates

Profiteering UK retailers in Ireland have been a problem for years.

In recent months, however, this has been particularly clearly demonstrated by the post-Brexit exchange rate between the Euro and Sterling.

I was down in Galway recently and rambled into Debenhams, where I picked up a coat and took a notion to pull off the Euro price tag to reveal the Sterling beneath. I was interested to see if, and to what extent, the retailer was “doing” its Irish customers.

Even though I fully expected to see something unfair and unjustified, in fact I was shocked by the extent of the blatant profiteering. With an average exchange rate of below 1.20 over the last 5 months or so, I might have expected the Stg£ 125 price to equate to somewhere around € 150 – 155 maximum. In fact, the price was € 190, a total unadulterated rip-off.

profiteering uk retailers ireland
Coat in Debenhams Galway

Recently, my ‘other half’ purchased a pair of jeans for me (bless her) in Next. Upon receipt, I did the same thing and removed the Euro price tag to reveal the Sterling “equivalent”. In this case, the Stg£ 35 item should have been priced at around € 42 –  44. As you can see, it was € 48.

profiteering uk retailers ireland
Denim at Next Castlebar

Perhaps the most telling aspect of profiteering by UK retailers in Ireland is the appearance over recent years of a new type of price label they have created for Irish stores. More difficult to remove and with a type of extra black skin underneath,  it has become difficult to reveal the Sterling price. This new departure is a clear and blatant attempt to cynically hide the outrageous exchange rate often applied to pricing in Irish stores.

Directly related to this issue of pricing in Irish bricks-and-mortar shops is the phenomenon known as “geo-blocking“, an online practice that prevents shoppers in some countries from being able to buy products and services for cheaper prices in other countries. Incredibly, this is not yet illegal within the EU.

Come across profiteering UK retailers in Ireland? Go elsewhere

Ultimately, of course, we have to question why Irish-based retailers do not take greater advantage of this appalling behaviour by UK brands. There is the argument of marketing power, on the one hand, whereby “Barry Murphy Menswear” cannot possibly compete with the advertising budget of the larger chains. On the other, there is the fact that most Irish clothing retailers source their stock in the UK anyway and lack the purchasing power to drive a hard bargain on that front. Thirdly, Irish brands simply don’t have the market clout, don’t sell the same huge volumes and couldn’t get away with it anyway. I’d like to think they wouldn’t try.

But why do we let profiteering UK retailers in Ireland get away with it? Go shop elsewhere, I say.

Irish Craft Beer Symbols Launched

Irish Craft Beer Symbols.

This year has seen the launching of two separate Irish craft beer symbols, in an apparent attempt to stave off ‘pretenders’ from the world of Irish craft beer production.

There has been a phenomenal growth in production of Irish craft beer over the last few years, to such an extent that the well-known community website, Beoir, now lists an incredible 86 micro-breweries in Ireland.

Faced with the challenge of dodgy market entrants, either from the large multinational breweries or independent pretend-breweries, we have recently been treated to the introduction of two types of quality-of-origin labels. As the Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland (ICBI) puts it on their won website, “Unfortunately, some other companies are jumping in on this [market growth] and releasing products into the market which they are misrepresenting as craft beer and being vague about origin to suggest a provenance of craft beer from an independent Irish brewery.”

First off the mark was Beer Ireland. According to Beoir, the criteria for carrying the Beer Ireland symbol are as follows :

  • The beers have been produced in a brewery on the island of Ireland.
  • The brewery is legally and economically independent of any other brewery.
  • The brewery meets the legal definition of micro brewery.
  • The brewery owners are professional members of Beer Ireland.

irish craft beer symbols

Meanwhile, the ICBI symbol requires that :

  • The brewery the beer came from is independently owned, small scale and a registered microbrewery as recognised by Revenue.
  • The brewer has complete ownership of the brand.

irish craft beer symbols

Although Irish craft beer symbols such as these are desirable, one concern would be for the capacity of these umbrella organisations to police their usage and validity in every case. Shelves are already awash with so-called craft beers that are questionable in the origin of their production.

But there’s another marketing issue here. Does the consumer really care that much about the origin of the beer s/he is drinking? While those of us who love great-tasting craft beer might not touch them, the reality is that the ‘imposters’ couldn’t be eating into the market if consumers didn’t welcome them. Might it be that there is a large section of the beer-drinking market that simply wants ‘new’, as opposed to ‘craft’? Is that why we now have our Hop House 13, Cute Hoor, Smithwick’s Pale Ale and so on?

West of Ireland Craft Breweries

Whatever about Irish craft beer symbols, if it’s West of Ireland craft beers you’re looking for, go try out these guys :

West Mayo Brewery

Reel Deel Brewery

Black Donkey Brewery

Mescan Brewery

Sláinte!

Email Marketing for Customer Retention

Email Marketing for Customer Retention

Gathering email addresses (with permission), with the aim of incorporating email marketing for customer retention into your overall marketing strategy, is a great way to go and worthy of special attention.

You can do this with online list building services like Sumo, or paper versions of the same thing stuck on your counter top beside your till. Try Facebook contests (get entrants to send email by message, not in public comments) or have people put their email address in a goldfish bowl to enter an in-store competition. Don’t ignore the opportunities at trade and consumer shows. Same for networking events and as part and parcel of your ongoing interaction and communication with your existing customers. Stick an invite to join your mailing list in your auto-signature.

Note that, even in its free version, Sumo offers very nice pop-up and slider email capture forms, including the type that appears only as your website visitor is about to leave.

When a person gives you their email address in the full knowledge that you will market to them, there is a clear indication that they are happy for this to happen. There is a commitment; a sign that they think you are ok. They’re offering you the chance to develop them into loyal ‘fans’.

Now, don’t forget that, like all other elements of your varied pro-active communication with your audiences, whatever you write about in your email marketing must be of interest to your customers and prospects. It’s up to you to provide them with opportunities to gain value.

There’s little point in constructing a lovely email about stuff they simply aren’t interested in. Vary the content of your emails and keep track of their success. Learn to know what works and what not so much. Come up with different articles for your different audiences.

email marketing for customer retention

Is Email Marketing Worthwhile?

Sure, it can be contended that the success rate of email marketing might be low, in terms of click-throughs to your website and purchases (where relevant).

But it can equally be argued that the investment is pretty low too. Especially if you’re disciplined enough to be noting down what it is you want to say in your next email as you go about your daily tasks. Where this form of marketing can indeed be slow and time-consuming is if you find yourself sitting down to write your next email without having put any thought into it previously. That’s a sure-fire way of ending up wasting time staring at a computer screen or looking up videos of cuddly cats on YouTube.

DO NOT click on that link!

Jot down your ideas as you go. Have a focal point for each email. That might be the pure selling of one particular product or other this month, or simply providing useful non-salesy information for your customers next time. Think about what your customers want and remember that this is, at a minimum, brand reinforcement you are engaging in.

Email Marketing for Customer Retention – Tools

There are several well-known email marketing platforms that dominate this market. I use Mailchimp, which is free for those who have fewer than 2,000 email addresses on their list. Indeed, automation services (for example, where you want to automatically send an email to a person who has read a certain blogpost on your website) no longer incur a cost.

Mailchimp (and other services) also offer landing page options, so you can have a stand-alone URL that comprises of nothing other than a sign-up form. Wonderful for requesting sign-ups at outdoor events, trade shows and the like.

Sample Landing Page Email Signup Form

People as part of the Services Marketing Mix

People as part of the Services Marketing Mix

When we think of the Marketing Mix, we’ve all heard about the famous “Four Ps”, made up of product, price, place (distribution) and promotion. However, the importance of people as part of the services marketing mix might just pass us by.

You see, potential customers will make purchasing decisions based not only on your marketing communications, service quality and reasonableness of your pricing, but on your full services marketing mix – and that includes most especially your people.

Here in the West of Ireland, there’s this great seafood restaurant along the coastline, serving up fabulous local oysters, mussels, fish and more. The view from the dining room is to die for, with ocean, islands and spectacular cliffs outside its big windows. Pricing is perfectly reasonable. It’s great. But the staff leaves a lot to be desired – especially the owner/manager. I’m not sure if they realise it or not, but their manner is very poor, leading to a big ‘fail’ in this critically important P – people as part of the services marketing mix.

Meanwhile, inland, there’s this run of the mill (in terms of location, decor and seating) café diner that opens up for lunch each day.  Now, don’t get me wrong, they do really very nice food indeed, especially their great and varied home-made soups. But the thing here is that the owner/manager is fantastic, always wears a smile and is truly friendly. I return regularly.

I recently read a motivational sign inviting us to smile, because it might confuse people. Unfortunately, this is very often the case. But if you can invest in really great people and add them in to your marketing mix, you’re onto a winner.

people as part of the services marketing mix

Anyway, the ‘people’ in your marketing mix involves two key functions : procedures and personality. Procedures is about doing the necessary in an organised and efficient manner. Personality is about delivering that functionality with a nice and friendly manner.

I remember reading Feargal Quinn’s legendary book about quality customer care entitled “Crowning the Customer” and a passage inside where he mentioned that, at the time when he was still involved in recruitment for his business, that if a candidate didn’t smile during the interview he didn’t get the job. You can buy that book from the publisher here.

Just remember that there’s no point in having the finest automobile, bought at an excellent price and running on the straightest road, if the person behind the wheel doesn’t know how to drive! In service businesses, be sure your people are the right people.