Geese, golden eggs and marketing strategy

Like many of you, I am often asked what we do for our clients, usually by business owners who are trying to understand what we might do for them. I’ve tried a number of ways to explain, but the one that seems to get the message across best is a story, or analogy. If you are sitting comfortably, it goes something like this (with apologies to geese farmers for a gross and probably inaccurate simplification of their industry):
When we start work with a business and business owner to help them improve their marketing, the situation we typically encounter is a bit like a farmer with a field full of geese. He has a large flock, built up steadily over a number of years, but without any real plan. Every day he goes out into the field and throws out a whole sack-full of high quality goose food. It costs him quite a bit, but it was recommended to him by the salesman and the geese are used to it so he is a bit nervous about making any changes.
While the geese are eating he walks around the field collecting up the eggs they have laid. He sells the eggs at the local market for a reasonable price – he doesn’t make a fortune, but just about enough to pay the cost of the food and the vet’s bills and maybe a bit left over in a good week. Sometimes, in amongst all the eggs he finds a golden egg and he can sell this for more money than all the other eggs put together.
He knows that if he could find the goose (or geese) that lay these golden eggs and breed them or feed them better he could grow his turnover and the value of his farm to the point where he and his family could get closer to the life they dream of, but he doesn’t really know where to start. He doesn’t want to cut back anywhere in case it affects the geese laying the golden eggs, and it feels like the only option he has is to add something new – a fancy food supplement, more geese etc. but this just adds to the costs and never seems to bring any marked improvement in the number of golden eggs.
Our job is to work with the business owner (farmer) to identify the marketing activities (geese) that really deliver a high return on investment, e.g. quality sales leads and enquiries (golden eggs). We add to them (more geese, or more golden eggs per goose, or both) and reduce investment (food) on the other, less productive activities (ordinary geese).
How do we do that? Well that’s another story – let me know if you would like to hear it.
Happy farming,