Filed under: Business Growth, Profitable Growth, Uncategorized
For years, I have wrestled with what role social media role really plays in creating profitable growth and wrote a rowdy piece for AMEX on it here. But building relationships or “engagement marketing” is critical to creating profitable growth. And recently, when Constant Contact asked me to speak at their engagement conference on profitable growth, I presented the following 5 findings:
1. Customer Engagement
+ Your Firm’s Value
Profitable Growth in the New Economy
It is nice to chat online with communities and prospects, but it is crucial to speak in terms of your firm’s value and expertise. Whimsical topics may generate awareness and interest, but they must create live conversations where buyers can build interest and take action that leads to closed business and your profitable growth? Just like in marriage, unless engagement leads to committed customers it’s a waste of time and effort.
2. To ensure your engagement efforts generate profitable growth:
- Do your math. Determine your how many engaged prospects you must generate and how many of these you must convert into buyers to make your money.
- Focus your engaged prospects on your Best and Highest Use (BHUTM.) When you know your firm’s BHU and inject this into your conversations, your best prospects will respond to you in these terms.
- Convert customer engagement into profitable growth. Budget your engagement activities all the way through to your profitability.
3. Confirm that your engaged customers stay profitable.
• Measure exactly how much money your engaged customers are spending.
• Track your cost of engagement and never let it exceed customer profits.
4. Watch and ensure that your profitably engaged customers are paying you:
• Measurably and predictably
• Because of your social media/marketing
• Based on your firm’s value
5. Discover the specific ways how profitably engaged customers are paying you:
• They buy samples, trials, assessments and diagnoses
• Then they buy more
• And they refer your company to their peers who do the above
Customer engagement is a new word for building relationships, which is as critical as it is imperative. But social media and networking, without a connection to profitability, is a new word for monkey business. Make it your business to do it right!
Filed under: Business Growth, Marcellus, Pittsburgh, Profitable Growth, Uncategorized
“When will the Marcellus boom impact my firm?” Since timing is everything, you need to know when’s the best time for you to invest and gain a12-month return. If you are hearing all about opportunities but seeing few leads, buyers or orders from shale-related business, you’re not alone. Throughout my recent trips to West Virginia and throughout Pennsylvania, I’ve been watching the boom happen in fits and starts.
Last time, I wrote you about which industry sectors to watch first. Now, here are my thoughts on how to time your Marcellus initiative. When will the “Marcellus money” hit your business? For my insights read on:
When is the right time to invest in your Marcellus-related business? The answer will depend on how your region is advancing regarding the following factors:
1. Water regulations need to be “flushed out”
Right now, testing protocols for determining the impact of Marcellus drilling on ground water are being set and revised. This is for everyone’s benefit. And of course, there is a healthy debate. What is the definition of clean water and within what radius? And if a well, soil or drilled sample isn’t clean, then why and who’s to blame?
Which jurisdictions will prevail in setting the rules? State, local and federal agencies are jockeying for control, but lag behind industry groups like the Marcellus Coalition who are better funded and more sophisticated testers. Once protocols are set, who is liable and who will enforce the rules should follow quickly.
2. Midstream piping capacity is the current bottleneck
The gas wells that are already built are pumping all the gas they can, and that local facilities can store and, existing pipelines can transport. New pipeline capacity to move the gas downstream is in the works. Until new pipelines are approved, the midstream builders are waiting for orders and the fees that will help accelerate the Marcellus boom. These payments will not just be for the construction of the pipelines, but will also trigger the gas royalties that landowners will receive. Now, most landowner spending is based more on their lump sum windfalls from selling gas rights. When drilling starts in full stream, then royalty payments will start. This will clearly accelerate across-the-board spending.
Downstream businesses, namely those who benefit from the gas businesses are lining up behind several large opportunities. For example, a billion-dollar plastics plant producing pellets and film from gas is being contemplated in West Virginia. The business impact is obvious. And the four sectors previously described in my Lesson 2 — business services, transportation, infrastructure and construction are obvious beneficiaries and will be the first to show the boom is accelerating.
3. The price of gas must rise and stay over $4 per billion BTU’s.
As dependent as our nation and this region is on Middle Eastern oil, this oil and other gas alternatives can still be cheaper for producing heat and power for many commercial and residential applications. Although I’m not qualified to explain or refute this, the energy community thinks that the $4 benchmark is the tipping point for gas to become the prime choice. So, it’s a matter of time before higher oil prices will increase demand for natural gas, thereby increasing its price.
4. The Utica Shale opportunity could make Marcellus seem like the tip of the iceberg.
The Utica tract is the next, big opportunity adjacent to and underneath the Marcellus. It is deeper, richer and larger than the Marcellus. Apparently, it contains gas, oil and other minerals. Its simple existence reduces the risk of Marcellus alone to meet business expectations. As there’s more evidence, investors, drillers and their indirect suppliers and beneficiaries will certainly put their money where their confidence is.
Every month, other under financed, smaller drillers are being bought out by the major energy companies, as much to eliminate the risk that their corner-cutting practices pose to safe operations as for their value. Larger producers want clear regulations to comply with. In Pennsylvania, their group, the Marcellus Coalition, is also consolidating as the top-tier.
So when is the timing best for your firm to invest in the shale opportunity? My best advice is to watch your region in terms of the five factors I described above. The boom is coming. Stay tuned as I learn and share more.
Filed under: Business Growth, Profitable Growth, Uncategorized
Recently, someone in the “Occupy” movement approached me, taunting “Are you in the 1%?” “No,” I responded. Undaunted, he then demanded, “Are you happy with your state of life?” “I’m in between great things,” I humbly retorted. “Don’t you blame corporations and thank government for your status in life?” he yelled at me as I took my leave. “Actually, neither, I hold myself responsible” I mumbled as I headed down the street. Despite my share of hardship and challenges, and reflecting on this exchange during Thanksgiving week, I’ve decided we are all in the 1%. Here’s why:
I think we are all in the 1% because:
- Excepting the Depression, even people in poverty live better now than most Americans did before the 1900’s.
- Compared to the rest of the world, we live in the top 1% in this country.
- And despite it all, we still have our free will, extensive free information and a legal/governmental system that generally protects us.
- And now while most everything’s at-risk, we still do have government and social services, tax-paying companies and 90% employment.
Maybe it’s just the optimist in me, but I must live believing we are all in the 1%, because otherwise, I might really start thinking its too rough out there!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thank you for your support and for your contagious optimism and growth.