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As a frequenter of online forums, I am concerned to see so many newbie entrepreneurs so dangerously invested in their Google rankings. While no one likes to watch their rankings drop like a stone from a cozy top ten position, facing negative profits and the sleepless nights that follow thereafter is entirely unnecessary. Fact is, no marketer in his right mind should ever take a search engine ranking to the bank.
Yet the “search engine sweat” is really just a metaphor for the more massive problem of small business owners putting too much stock in one or two marketing tactics, failing to recognize that smart marketing is about strategy, not tactical ping pong. It is about finding that sweet spot where risk and reward align with the ideal profit margin according to your long term goals as an entrepreneur.
I conduct all of my business on the ‘net-there is not a local client in site. However, the successful marketing of my practice on the web is not predicated on a top spot in Google. Nor does my marketing ROI wholly depend on a jazzy website with all lots of cool Flash doo-dads.
My point is that no single marketing tactic should make or break your Internet business. That is poor planning, whether you do business on-line or off. Top ten rankings, newsletters, networking, pay-per-click ads, link campaigns, e-courses … the index is a mile long. The of permutations and combinations of such marketing tactics available to you is even longer.
The trick is to know with absolute certainty where you desire your business to be-tomorrow, next month, next year, when you retire and yes, at your funeral. Then, once you’ve internalized your business goals to where they are nothing short of gospel, you can strategize the optimal combination and implementation of marketing tactics, tactics that will work in sync to send a clear, memorable message about the solutions you sell.
Then monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of each tactic along with its ability to give momentum to each of your other tactics. As soon as you discover that a marketing tool isn’t working for you, fix it or ditch it. Simple as that. , we had all have a more cash in our jeans.
There are no gimmes in this game despite Internet mythology abound. Even the gurus of “passive income” work diligently at maintaining their message and its online reach. Google is not the only way to stay in front of your target market. So stop lusting over rankings and begin thinking strategically, even if you have to pretend you just built your own brick and mortar widget shop.
Let’s reduce costs by going offshore with some development or service functions! The board and management agree to set up offshore activities in a place like India, China, Russia, Slovenia, or Bulgaria. Time passes. Everyone is happy. Right? Well, maybe.
Many companies are finding that their goals are not being met in a consistent way. Issues creep into the picture. These issues are really symptoms of deeper problems. Issues that frequently arise are:
- Product schedules begin to slip. Your staff starts complaining that low productivity in the offshore operation is eliminating the cost benefits that you justified the movement to offshore in the first place. The offshore operation requests substantial added resources in the budget cycle.
- Customer satisfaction relative to functions provided by the offshore group starts to decline. Customers feel the product is moving away from their needs or the call center doesn’t seem to “understand our needs”.
- Politics develop between the marketing, product management and/or development functions in the US and the offshore operation. There is finger pointing and the US based groups complain about the offshore group doing their own thing and the offshore operation complains about lack of solid product requirements and communication problems with the US groups. Teamwork, a strong point of the company, seems to break down on any subject dealing with the offshore operation.
- Frequent changes occur in vendor personnel at the offshore location. Members of your US team, who provided training and support to the initial offshore activities, have been reassigned to other duties and now the changes in the vendor personnel need support from your staff once again.
Almost every company with offshore operations encounters these and other issues along the way. To determine if you need to take steps to assure your offshore operations are achieving the goals that you have set, please take a moment to complete the following score card on your offshore operation. Assign a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest for each factor and total them up to see where you stand. For example take factor no 1; do you have a clear written statement specifying the company goals for going offshore? Do you have at least a 3 year plan for offshoring with expected financials? Does everyone associated with offshoring clearly understand the long term goals of offshoring? You assign a 10 if you answer yes to each of these questions. When you add up the scores for each of the following questions, if you score less than 80% (80), you need to consider undertaking assessment of your offshore initiative.
• Do you have clearly established goals for your offshore initiative?
• Is your offshore organization meeting original expectations?
• Is there consistent expectation between head quarters and offshore organization at all levels?
• Do you have a clear understanding of productivity of your offshore organization compared with its U.S. counterpart?
• Do you have a clear understanding of total cost of offshoring – not just salaries?
• Do you have a clear understanding of the real contribution of your offshore organization?
• Besides engineering processes, have you integrated management processes, culture and goals?
• Is it meeting current and future needs of the company?
• Do you have regular program reviews? How useful are they to manage your initiative?
• Have you established clear guidelines for project selection?