Six Small Steps

Today's turbulent economy has clearly created unprecedented challenges for marketers. With rapidly shrinking budgets and staff, they are under even greater pressure to maximize each dollar and ensure they reach the right consumers, in the right way and at the right times. As a result, marketers are feeling overwhelmed and unsure what direction to go in -- so much so, in fact, that they often feel paralyzed. But the key to moving forward now is not to look for solutions as large as the problems we face. In 2009, big has gone bust, and it's time to get small.

The real secret to success in these uncertain times is to focus on the tiny pixels instead of the big picture. As we share in our new book, The Power of Small, the little things really do make all the difference -- whether you're trying to retain clients, keep your teams motivated or solve a major problem.

"Sweating the small stuff" has been a tried-and-true approach for us in the advertising world, and we've seen firsthand how it can change your life and business for the better. We've also witnessed how failing to do so can undermine your most important client relationships, cause you to miss the little clues that will solve your biggest problems, or sabotage a multimillion-dollar project. Small can truly be one of best weapons in your professional arsenal.



Here are six small steps to success you can take today to "get going" again and improve your business:

  • Make small talk: Have impromptu, casual conversations with your customers about what they would like to see change about your product. What minor improvements would make them even more predisposed to buy your brand? Don't wait for the focus group. Walk into a store and strike up a conversation.
  • Go the extra inch: Discover the little, extra things you can offer your customers to show how much you truly appreciate them. You'd be surprised how far a free latte, bending the rules on a return, or even directing a customer to your competitor to find an out-of-stock item can go in winning long-term, passionate loyalty.
  • Watch your cues and clues: Notice how your customers communicate nonverbally, like how they use a product, or if the music playing in the store makes them smile. Such small cues speak volumes and can lead to strategic shifts in your marketing plans.
  • A little apology goes a long way: Did a customer receive the wrong order in the mail? Was your company's site down for an extended period of time? When something goes wrong, be sure to explain why to your customers and apologize. If possible, give them a small incentive to stay with your brand, like a discount towards their next purchase. Apologies help build strong relationships between companies and their customers.
  • Take baby steps: Instead of making a list of big, difficult-to-achieve goals for you and your team, create an action list and re-envision those goals into "mini-tasks" that can actually be accomplished on a day-to-day basis. "Mini-tasks" -- successfully completed -- can accrue to significant success.
  • Make it big by thinking small: Make molehills out of mountains. If your business is faced with a huge problem that seems too big to solve, chances are you're trying to solve the wrong problem. Instead, tackle a smaller problem first, and slowly the huge, knotty dilemma will begin to unravel, one thread at a time.

No matter how large your company is, "small" is the perfect approach in these challenging times.

Editor's note: If you'd like to contribute to this newsletter, see our editorial guidelines first and then contact Nina Lentini.

1 comment about "Six Small Steps ".
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  1. Elaine Yakos-LeBron from Gray Kirk VanSant, April 24, 2009 at 9:27 a.m.

    I especially like the advice to "tackle a smaller problem first, and slowly the huge, knotty dilemma will begin to unravel, one thread at a time." Good to remember in any situation.

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