Many years ago, I attended a course on how to improve personal productivity and plan better. It was offered by the company selling the FranklinPlanner. For those who have never seen or used it, it looks like this:
Here is Wikipedia on the FranklinPlanner: “The Franklin Planner is a paper-based time management system created by Hyrum W. Smith first sold in 1984 by Franklin International Institute, Inc. The planner itself is the paper component of the time management system developed by Smith. The planner pages are drilled, loose-leaf style pages in different sizes and formats. Formats have been updated through the years, but most planners contain areas for an appointment schedule, prioritized daily tasks, and notes. A key section at the rear of the planner contains addresses. Other inserts include ledger sheets for tracking finances or vehicle mileage, exercise logs, and other individualized reference materials. Smith named his planning system after Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) who kept a small private book.”
The day-long course was about creating a personal productivity and time management system: how to prioritise tasks and make sure things get done daily. The course did not mandate the use of the planner, but the pitch was obvious: Productivity and Planning = FranklinPlanner. I bought into the philosophy and adopted the FranklinPlanner. (I used it for many years, before moving to the simplicity and infinite space offered by my spiral notebooks.)
I mention the story about the FranklinPlanner because the ProfitXL challenge is similar: I need to get marketers to buy into the philosophy (existing customers matter more than new customers) first. Only then can I pitch the ProfitXL system. To buy into the philosophy, I have to persuade them about the problem: the low/no profit of the business is because of overspending on new customer acquisition, much of which is wasted.
The key takeaway: I have to sell the idea before I sell the product. I have to persuade marketers that they have to shift their mindset from trying to optimise their adtech (new customer acquisition) spending and instead focus on martech (retention and development of existing customers). By focusing on selling the solutions, the competition is with every other company offering some variation of customer engagement, retention and personalisation. But if the frame of reference can be changed to solving the problem of low or no profits, there is an opportunity to stand apart from the competitors. In other words, to achieve the goals for Netcore’s products, I need to sell a system that offers a completely new way of solving the problem. The FranklinPlanner course did just that – it first put into focus the problem of low productivity and wasted time, and then offered a solution. I would thus need to position ProfitXL as a system for marketing (and business) success, a path to building an enduring, great brand – none of which can be done without sustainable profitability.