Focused Client Acquisition: The 3 “i”s

When we talk about geographic markets representing high growth opportunities (“China represents the biggest opportunity of yours and my lifetime”, Andrew Cosslett, past CEO of global hotel chain IHG), I sense all too often  we confuse the listener and obscure the actual opportunities. In reality, the growth environment (macro: government policy, taxation and micro: education, wealth, mobile phone usage, productivity)  and the abundance of opportunities is very specific to certain regions or cities. The same happens when we talk about the products or markets we serve, the customers we intend to focus on and the industries we assume represent the most attract opportunities.

For example, Italy might be considered by many international investors and corporate executives, a country immersed in excessive public and private debt, political ineptitude and largely an ageing, unproductive workforce. Yet scratch below the surface and take a look in Northern Italy, particularly in or around Milan, and you find some great businesses (mechanical, food, fashion and so on) with tremendous growth potential. As the  President of a successful local bank, Banca Di Piacenza, reminded me today that potential may increasingly be in international markets and appeal more to foreign companies or private equity investors but they are far from the “basket cases” that many in the international media might present.

I think we need to think about, talk about and act on growth market opportunities with more of a “laser focus” (3″i”s):

Ideal Client: in a corporate organisation, who are they by name, title, position of influence, control of budget? In a retail business, what level of education, wealth, technological prowess, aspiration, affiliation and buying habits sets them apart from others?

Ideal Influence: where do they hang out, who do they listen to, who do they take advice from, what do they read, who do they aspire to be, who do they see as peers and so on

Ideal Timing: where are they most comfortable, where are they least distracted, when do they have most “free” time, what changes present the best opportunities, when can we predict they are looking for help, when are we best positioned to address the need

I confidently predict that if you take any current marketing plan or list of high potential buyers and apply the laser focus, you will surprise yourself by the dramatic impact on your top line revenue growth, the reduction in client acquisition overhead (time and money) and the bottom line (the flow throw from your marketing spend into cash in the bank). You will thank me many times over.

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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