Yes, We Do That

The Allied Group is New England's leading provider of Printing, Kitting, Mailing and Fulfillment services. Our blog authors have backgrounds in Sales, Marketing, IT, Production and Operations and post useful tips, trends, news and opinions in our industry and beyond. We know you'll find something you enjoy. Most of all, be sure to jump into the conversation!

Optimism is Not Optional

Optimism is Not Optional
Dictionary.com has this to say about optimism.[op-tuh-miz-uh m]noun a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome. Whether by nature or nurture, some folks have a greater propensity to be optimistic. But it is also a learned trait, a discipline of both the will and th...
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Success is.....

Success is.....
Dictionary.com gives us this definition of success:[suh k-ses] the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one's goals. That's way too sterile for me. There is no injection of emotion, enthusiasm or inspiration. Certainly goal achievement plays a part. But as I pondered it, and experienced my own circum...
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Sports and/or Business

Sports and/or Business

Fresh off the weekend and the Superbowl being set, I found myself wondering many times about how the sport itself translates into a business. Of course there is strategy on the field and in the game plan, but is there strategic marketing going on as it relates to the overall goal of the team? I'm not talking simply about promotions. I'm wondering...are all teams trying to win? Does winning on the field = business success?

As a true New England sports fan, that has been/was always the knock on the Red Sox and Bruins. After Dan Duquette proudly proclaimed that "we spent more time in first place than any other team" it became clear that the ultimate goal may be to simply build a competitive team. They may not win it all, but they put butts in the seats and they "make it interesting" every year. And really, do we want to make the investment (financially, physically & mentally) to be a true contender?

You could say the same thing about business. We're brought in for our marketing consultancy services and to implement tactics like one to one communication and to redesign websites, but are we fundamentally willing to make the tough decisions? Are we willing and able to make the investment needed to field the best team possible?

"Strategy" is a word that's getting tossed around left and right in the boardroom and in the locker room. And I'm beginning to wonder if we've forgotten what it actually means. To be an elite 3 PL Provider or marketing communications company, we've got to actually put our money where our mouth is and make the move from pretender, to contender!

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How to "Escape the Black Hole"

Are you talking Science Fiction or Sales and Marketing? Robert Schmonsees book cover looks like it was designed for Carl Sagan: "Escaping The Black Hole - Minimizing the Damage from the Marketing-Sales Disconnect."  
 
While the cover evokes images of Star Trek and the metaphors seem scientific - the content gets to the heart of the matter. In the traditional business model Marketing and Sales support are not interwoven and aligned. Sales doesn't use the content and tools developed by Marketing;  Marketing generates leads that are not followed up on by sales; and neither side values the others contributions or opinions.
 
"The Black Hole" is the unknown place where well intentioned projects go that died before their time. Marketing designs collateral, develops websites, branding - all based on expensive market research.  Sales receives brochures, training, and, hopefully, leads. So what's missing? VALUE. Do we know if anyone this solves a client's problem - or adds value for the client. The result - time, resources, budget and lots of recycled paper that ends up in "The Black Hole."
 
But Why? Both Marketing and Sales have skills, they worked hard, and they focused on their Core Competencies. But, did they work together to develop a "Complete Value Proposition" - and did they understand that, as Schmonsees calls it, CMM (Customer Message Management) is the key to success. Take the best of an integrated marketing communications campaign and a well trained Sales Team, develop solid value propositions, provide sales-ready tools, all geared toward a "one to one communication" that is a truly relevant  conversation with the prospect. CMM requires partnership and a "synchronization: of the Sales and Marketing "ecosystem."
 
Some companies are looking for business process outsourcing solutions or marketing consultancy services partner (like The Allied Group) for answers. Others choose turnover. Did know that the average CMO's tenure is less than 3 years and over 50% of sales people don't reach their annual quota? As competition increases and budgets decrease - how does a successful Sales and Marketing team prevent getting lost - together?
 
A good start might be to give all your leadership Robert Schmonsees' book. It may be the map to keep your campaigns out of the Black Hole.   
 
ps.  My boss gave me the book !
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Corporate Marketing Services vs. Strategic Sales

Are Sales and Marketing like the Offense and Defense for the Patriots?  Players with two different sets of skills supporting each other with a common goal.

Or, are they like Liz Taylor and Richard Burton...   On again - Off again....  From newlyweds to jilted lovers and back again.

Responses to a recent LinkedIn survey overwhelmingly agreed that most organizations have some degree of friction between Sales and Marketing - and all agreed that bridging that gap is critical for success. 

What they didn't agree on is who is owns:

 

  • Lead Generation Methods
  • Marketplace Research and Data Appending
  • How we improve Customer Service
  • Do we need Direct Mail Marketing
  • Do we need Promotional Products
  • How do we maximize our CRM


This blog will try to bring together these diverse opinions and find some common ground from which we can all benefit. 

Have any thoughts???  Email me!

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Paper is not bad

Are you environmentally friendly? Are you practicing sustainable living? We all hear these questions all the time, even in email signatures, but how bad is print?

The printing industry is not always viewed as environmentally friendly - we understand that. But what we want everyone to know is that printing and paper have their place and are still effective ways to communicate.

At Allied, paper is an important part of our fulfillment outsourcing and marketing and sales support solutions as well as recycling and being responsible. Furthermore, we want to make sure that people have all the facts about print and our industry.

Please, click here to read an article regarding the print industry and how paper has gotten a bad rap these days.

Visit our site to learn more about an integrated marketing communications program or full service fulfillment program that is right for you.

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Spring is Here and It's Time to Plan that Perfect Golf Outing!!

If you know me at all then you know I love sports and I can be very competitive. One sport I’ve never gotten good at or been very competitive in is golf. In fact, when I golf with friends they spend as much time laughing at me as they do trying to count my strokes! For those of you more serious about your golf game and who would like to plan your own golf tournament I will be providing tips on how to run a successful golf tournament throughout March and April.

 

 I suggest using a checklist: 

 

1) Send out formal invitations. The personal letter makes the recipient feel special. Send the invitation at least a month in advance to ensure a good turnout. Be sure to follow-up and ask whether the person is attending. Allied can help you with Post Card Mailing Services!

More tips to follow...

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Playing catch with the Lead Grenades !

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Let's be honest. We've all been there. Launching grenades across the wall - not at our competition - but at our internal partners!  Recently in a meeting with a Life Science Marketing professional, I was fascinated to hear exactly how little on which the Marketing and the Sales group agreed. Neither side felt the other was very effective at Lead Generation Methods, research, or how best to leverage Personalized Direct Marketing tools.

Two of my favorite Award Winning movies exemplify the struggle.. ...

"Patton" - the General Patton is berating a representative of the Air Force about the lack of air support ( Marketing ) the ground troops ( Sales ) are receiving and the problems that is causing. As the Air Force representative assures the group of the Allied Force Air dominance - the room is hit with enemy strafing fire and everyone hits the deck.... Patton races outside and chases the enemy planes with hand gun fire. 

"Glengarry Glen Ross" - Marketing regularly develops leads - which they feel should be easy to close. The key moment in the movie arrives with the news that Corporate Marketing has spent a lot of money for the "quality leads." A group of seasoned ( or more accurately jaded ) salesmen begin to fight for their share of the Glengarry Leads - Corporate isn't sure if any of them can handle them. A profanity laced argument ensues - tossing verbal hand grenades across the desk.

Successful Marketing Communications Strategies are best provided as an Integrated Marketing Campaign. Marketing should be using the intelligence gathered by the ground troops and providing coordinated air support - and sales should be taking full advantage of the tools and programs developed by Marketing. 

Nearly every B2B or B2C client surveyed by The Allied Group agreed that developing Personalized Marketing Campaigns or One to One Communications programs are key to successful Business Development. Using research to truly make your content and solutions relevant to your prospect - great companies find a way to bring Marketing and Sales to the table early - and often. Everyone benefits....especially your prospect and future client !

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Lead Generation

Who owns Lead Generation in your organization? Do you have sales people sitting at their desks waiting for Marketing to generate leads? Do you have Marketing people spending their time working on ideas that look great but won't catch the clients eye? Or do you have a team that bounces ideas and feedback back and forth: Strategize - Execute - Measure - Adjust...

In the old model - Marketing spent their energy creating and developing content - they made a movie...  Marketing wrote the script, designed the costumes, decorated the sets, ran the ad campaign, product launch and media blitz. The I's were dotted and the T's crossed - and then it was handed off to sales. 

Sales people handed out flyers, gave out candy, popcorn and  soda. They showed prospects where to sit, made them feel good while the watched the movie: F&B ( The Features and Benefits of _______ ) - and when it was over they tried to sell tickets, DVD's, t-shirts and memorabilia.

In the new model - Sophisticated prospects are not interested in going to a stadium to watch YOUR F&B filmThis is the age of Personalization. That means that every salesperson has to develop and maintain their brand - and every marketing person has to put the clients needs ahead of the corporate goals. 

Think about your own world.  Do you ask for something special your burger, do you prefer Coke or Pepsi, do you like the generic Microsoft desktop? Or, do like to customize your desktop with Red Sox stats, local weather alerts, and a personalized Yahoo home page.

Successful Strategic Marketing and Sales Teams now work together. Together they develop flexible tools that provide a framework for everyone in the organization to use to communicate something of value to the prospect/client. They develop Integrated Marketing Communications Programs that include Social Media ( Blogs, Tweets, Facebook , LinkedIn ) and traditional Marcomm Programs ( Research, Lit Fulfillment, Promotional Products ). 

MOST IMPORTANTLY - they develop content that brings value to the client and solves the clients needs.  Working together - Sales and Marketing leaders can be a powerful combination that equals success. Success for the client and for the Company....

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If it doesn't speak to us, we ignore it!

If it doesn't speak to us, we ignore it!

Can you fill in the missing words: “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz...? If you can, you’ve proven you’re not only over 35 years old, you’re also living, breathing proof of the effectiveness of great creative messaging. That vintage Alka Seltzer ad campaign ran back in the 60’s and 70’s, yet most people can still belt out the jingle as if they’d just heard it on their way in to work today. Why? Because Alka Seltzer’s message was concise, memorable, benefit-oriented, frequent and distinctly unique. In fact ‘distinctly unique’ may be the most important factor that contributed to its lasting success.

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