How Learning And Leading Gets You Ahead Of Your Competitors

ACCELerate™ is a 5 step methodology I developed to help business people achieve return on investment with their marketing.  It is based on my bestselling* book, ACCELerate™ Your Social Media.

A Snapshot:

Authentic profile – Getting the foundation of your presence right is all-important.
Core network – Never overlook those who will support you 100%.
Credible proof – A crucial ACCELerator™, at the heart of tactical engagement
Effective impact – What you say, and how you say it, helps stifle marketing noise.
Learn & lead – Applied correctly, it can potentially turbocharge your business growth.

Having written about my 4 prior ACCELerators™ for BIZCATALYST 360°, which may be found here; this blog – the final of this mini-series – briefly outlines how learning and leading helps keep you ahead of your competitors.

Most of us will be aware of that once overused expression, “Knowledge is king.” Unless someone out there has the perfect brain, I believe it’s a safe bet to say no-one knows everything. We all learn every day, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Knowledge is powerful but it’s not as powerful unless you use it effectively.

That’s where leading comes in which I cover later in this article.

In a marketing context, I’m going to challenge you not to think of return on investment (ROI) simply in monetary terms. Sure, of course growing one’s business is about achieving incremental revenues and profits however there’s more to it.

Learning how to succeed in business, in the most efficient way you can, is crucial. #ACCELerate™

From my experience as a marketer, when many say they are not achieving return on investment in their marketing, I often find they actually haven’t determined properly what ROI means to them.

Is it money?

Is it investing in staff development so the ones you value don’t leave promptly and end up working for your competitors?

Is it about achieving your aspirations in your personal life?

It could be so many things.

And when ROI has not been scoped out, how on earth does anyone measure it effectively anyway?

“I don’t get return on investment with my social media marketing!” is a common complaint. Easy isn’t it? – To claim that.

Usually those who moan about that don’t even know what return on investment they are achieving by using their telephony.

Mobiles and landlines cost. Staff use them and it takes up their time so what makes social media so exclusive that it appears to be the marketing channel which often gets targeted with this question? Perhaps because no-one really understands it yet? (Y-Gens who know how to use Instagram are unlikely to be able to map out a well thought out marketing strategy let alone measure it. Sure, you can learn about it at college or even university, however it takes years of business experience to do so effectively.)

There is hope.

Invest in learning and development so your team are working at their optimum.

Don’t see it as a cost.

You may already be achieving ROI on your social media anyway without even realising it.

It could be as simple as you or a team member having noticed there was a business growth event on Twitter. You attended, learned and – as a result of implementing the various strategies you were taught – your business grew incrementally by, say, 5% 6 months later. That’s social media ROI. Why? Because if it wasn’t for Twitter, you wouldn’t have attended that particular event. It sparked a chain of positive events.

So what about the leading aspect of Learn and Lead?

If you’re not already a thought leader, it’s high time you are.

No running off to the hills now! ;)

If you don’t seize the opportunity of becoming a thought leader someone else in your sector will. That someone may not even be the first to have done so. What are you and your team going to do? Wait and see what happens? Of course not.

Your customers are constantly on the move. By this I mean the following:

Don’t listen to the almost incessant hype about “everyone being on-line” or similar claims. It’s highly likely such nonsense is coming from on-line experts who simply want your money.

Unless you’re selling commodity items like products, tickets, etc, (looking for the transaction to actually take place on-line), your mindset and approach to marketing needs to be different.

In this context, (where you’re looking to sell services for example), you’re looking for the decision maker – usually the head of department, division or even business – to make the decision to buy your services.

Most are decision makers are not on-line looking out for your updates on social media. They are too busy off-line meeting people and striking deals.

Managers are more inclined to be on-line however are usually influencers – They don’t tend to make the final decision nor should you assume they sign contracts.

As for interns and other social media experts, well, unless there’s a truly integrated and transparent in-house communications strategy, (from social media interactions right up to the board reviewing on-line engagement), nothing or very little is going to happen.

Social media experts generally read updates from other social media experts. (They will not like me telling you this. This article is not for them. It’s for you.)

Unless this is happening in a solopreneur sphere, they usually aren’t decision makers and also are unlikely to be influencers in the decision making process.

With the above in mind, never overlook the power of the off-line world. This is how you outsmart your competitors.

Imagine your business leading at events:

You and your team hosting a workshop, seminar or even chosen to speak at an event covering your sector.

You and your team sharing industry insights you’ve learned and are leading by speaking. By becoming thought leaders in your field.

I cannot begin to tell you how this has helped me in business. I was blessed to have a father who taught me the art of public speaking at an early age. When most of my competitors shudder at the thought of engaging with an audience, I know it’s crucial that I continue to put myself out there to ACCELerate™ my own business. I even coach my customers to do so. Being a ‘good’ speaker isn’t good enough. You need to be outstanding. How many presentations and talks have you attended that have quite frankly been dull? You certainly don’t want to be in that ‘club.’

Of course it’s about getting out of your comfort zone. ‘Comfortable’ doesn’t cut it in business if you want to achieve high growth.

Please think about this opportunity for one moment:

You and your staff engaging with your prospects in person whilst your competitors listen to the hype, spending a huge chunk of their marketing budget on on-line ‘experts’ thinking “everything happens on-line!”

There’s also another aspect to leading.

Leading by example. You’ll be amazed just how powerful that can really be.

*Amazon bestselling book Sales and Marketing – International category.

John Coupland
John Couplandhttp://www.accelerateyourbusiness.co.uk/
JOHN is an independent marketing consultant and is the bestselling author of ACCELerate™ Your Social Media. With extensive experience in e-business and ICT, he helps ambitious entrepreneurs, business owners and corporates with their business growth using his unique and proven ACCELerate™ methodology. John speaks at leading business events, has written a number of articles for major publications worldwide and is a member of The Brain Trust®, Small Business Advocate Show®, America. Amongst a number of awards, John played an instrumental role helping a major UK department store chain achieve the Queens Awards for Enterprise - Innovation.
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