Rick Phelps

Synchronous Solutions

If you and your business are good at continuous improvement, a time will come where what limits your ability to grow is NOT in your fabricating facility, it is out there in the marketplace.

Your sales force, accustomed to taking orders, is now going to have to go out and really sell, and the business will need or want to do marketing to attract new business.

Your core competency is in fabricating countertops, so you outsource your marketing to someone who is a professional and knows what they are doing. This is a very good idea!

Well, it’s a good idea IF you know how to identify marketing firms that “know what they are doing.” Of course, they understand and are experts in Facebook, Instagram, and lots of other marketing environments. What they don’t know is your business, and this can lead to problems if you don’t know enough about marketing yourself to ensure they are doing a good job on your behalf.

To bring this point home let’s create my fake company – Rick’s Steakhouse – Finest Aged Beef. I am a connoisseur of beef, buying nothing but the finest organic grass-fed beef for the steaks I sell in my restaurant. I buy the beef by the slab and age it in my own freezer, butchering it when it is at its prime, to grill up and serve to my discerning patrons.

This ad does not speak to the wants, needs and desires of the customer.We have some space in my restaurant many nights, so I hire a local marketing company to run some ads for my business in Facebook, where my target audience is known to hang out. The marketing company comes by my establishment to interview me and take some pictures for use in the ads. Facebook is a very visual medium, after all! I proudly show them a fine slab of beef hanging in my freezer, pointing out all the virtues of that particular slab…

The ad runs and I couldn’t be prouder – the picture really captures the quality of the beef we use!

Pretty ridiculous right? Absolutely no one is going to look at that ad and think, “Man, I really need to get down to Rick’s Steakhouse tonight for a bite of that.” I mean NO ONE!

This ad does not speak to the wants, needs and desires of the customer. It speaks to me and my needs and desires to talk about my expertise in choosing the finest beef. The ad is really all about me!

I didn’t get inspired today to write this article in a vacuum. It was inspired by ads and websites I see in this industry, where the slab hanging isn’t beef, its granite or quartz. 

Can you imagine a homeowner looking at a slab of granite in your ad and then closing their eyes to visualize that very slab, installed in their kitchen as an island and countertops?Can you imagine a homeowner looking at a slab of granite in your ad and then closing their eyes to visualize that very slab, installed in their kitchen as an island and countertops? No?

Exactly! That’s about as likely to happen as you looked at that slab of beef and thought, I can picture that as a perfectly prepared steak on my plate tonight! It won’t happen!

If, as the business owner, you do not understand enough about marketing to ask the right questions, you are going to have very expensive marketing, and marketing isn’t supposed to be an expense, it’s supposed to be an investment that has a significant return.

If you spend a few thousand a month on marketing and you periodically meet to discuss it, you probably hear stuff like ‘You had 52,497 impressions, 1,413 views, 17 shares and 3 comments.’ Wow, over 50,000 – that’s a big number! If this is the discussion you are having, get yourself educated. This marketing had zero impact on your business. Actually, that’s not true, it likely cost you thousands…

All marketing should be aimed at the needs and desires of your target audience and follow AIDA.

A is for ATTENTION. The pictures in your Facebook ad are there to attract the attention of your very targeted audience.

is for INTEREST. The ad must capture the interest of your audience in a second or two.

is for DESIRE. Next, the ad must create an emotional reaction in the viewer, like “I can see myself enjoying that.”

is for ACTION. It must lead the client to take a specific action, like ‘click here’ to get your free sink, estimate, or whatever you can offer to get them to give you their information.

The Rick’s Steakhouse ad picture might draw some people’s attention, just not people who are thinking, “It’s the weekend– where can I go for a fine meal?” Same with Interest. It did, however, likely inspire both Desire and Action – the desire to keep scrolling and that very action!

As the owner of a business, you will have to either wear multiple hats, or manage multiple people wearing different hats. In either case, to effectively manage the diversity of activities in your business, you need to know enough about those activities to ask intelligent questions. This is true if that activity is Marketing, Sales, Accounting, Production, Procurement, Inventory Control, or anything else. If you cannot ask good questions to guide their work, the chances are you are not managing, you are abdicating.

Abdicating is when you ‘throw something over the wall’ and hope and pray it gets handled correctly. While ‘hopes and prayers’ may be good for the soul, they are rarely good for the business.

Synchronous Solutions helps business owners and their team focus on what is limiting their ability to grow and thrive, whether that limitation is in the fabricating shop or in the marketplace. We then equip you with the knowledge, skills, and insights need to bust that constraint and move forward.

If you think having a skilled facilitator to walk your leadership team through this process will make it go a lot more smoothly and efficiently, contact Synchronous Solutions  though our website

Rick Phelps has been applying the concepts of Synchronous Flow to difficult industrial problems at dozens of businesses and organizations around the world, since the early 1980s.

In 2009, as Cleveland Cliffs’ Director of Continuous Improvement, Rick took on a failing Lean Six Sigma organization, refocused their improvement work using Synchronous Flow, and created a shop floor, engagement driven, continuous improvement process that Cliffs credits with creating a sustained $100M per year reduction in production costs.