Have you found that special place that I like to call your profit zone?
If you have a financial background, you might assume I’m talking about the space between revenue and expense. That’s not hard to hard to locate, on paper at least. It’s a simple equation: increase revenue, reduce expenses, and profit grows.
In practice, finding the profit zone is a little more tricky. To really be “in the zone” you need the ideal combination of myriad factors. Products and services, market presence, brand awareness, customer experience, cost of customer acquisition, marketing ROI, and corporate culture a just a few.
Nailing the profit zone is a bit like playing golf: if the greens are too wet, if you have the wrong club, if the sun is in your eyes, what could be a beautiful drive down the fairway lands in a sand trap. And like perfecting your golf game, creating the optimal combination to expand your profit zone can take years.
Fortunately, there are a few key triggers you can use to rapidly hone in on your profit zone, assuming you have the discipline to apply them. The art is in finding the balance between your brand promise – the company you aspire to create – and your customers’ reality, more commonly know as customer experience.
The reason these two macro factors are so critical is precisely because they drive expenses lower while accelerating revenue growth. Here’s how:
Companies that deliver on their brand promises are able to first pinpoint what customers want and then provide it in the right time and place. These firms are not playing with pie-in-the-sky promises that sound wonderful but are completely unrealistic.
Instead, they build their entire brand around their customers, continuously asking questions like: What products are right? What’s the best price? How can we deliver seamlessly and make it easy to buy?
In return, their buyers are loyal, they’re advocates and they spread the word. Even in transactional business where a purchase may happen once every few years, word-of-mouth holds incredible value.
Buyers value the input and opinions of their peers. Strong resonance between what you promise and what you provide is vital if you expect to earn a solid reputation that lasts over time.
Likewise, customer experience goes hand-in-hand with your brand. Customers are smart, and they can stiff out disingenuous efforts to connect in record time. Telling buyers “we value your business” and then treating them as if you don’t will put your company on the shortcut to oblivion.
Unfortunately, many companies fail to connect the dots between their lofty ambitions for their brand and the reality that customers experience. Those that do have a distinct competitive advantage. They’ve able to maximize customer value and build brand equity, expanding their bottom line.
If your company spends a lot of time on marketing strategy or debating the merits of one lead generation campaign over another without taking the time to get your customers’ point of view, you could be in trouble. Your profit zone, where brand and experience overlap, might be a tiny dot.
Make it bigger (and boost your bottom line) with a more balanced focus on how you want to be known and what you’re doing ensure your business lives up to its aspirations. Make time to talk to customers, observe them as they shop for your services, work with your products, and access service or support.
Is your brand promise being fulfilled? Are there gaps that need closing? Identify any issues and fix them quickly to increase alignment between your brand and your customers. As you do, your profit zone will expand, attracting new business and reducing the expense of acquiring and retaining top customers.