Exploit Your Underutilized Assets

in Asset

It will become a compulsory business-growth strategy in the economic slowdown for companies to identify and leverage a lot of under-utilized assets.

Companies everywhere are under-recognizing and under-utilizing hundreds of assets and opportunities - ones they already have. Yet these assets and opportunities could turn those companies around and they are where the fastest gains will be made in business-to-business in 2009. But there seems to be three recurring obstacles to leveraging these assets...

  1. recognizing and valuing them
  2. developing a strategy for them and
  3. turning that strategy into concerted action.
Recognize the assets: Identifying and valuing these assets in the first place is half the challenge. If we list just some of them, you'll see that many are not what most companies would classify as an asset or opportunities... client cases, suppliers, websites, advertisements, sales staff, stock, pre-committed marketing spends, contacts and networks, intellectual property and processes.  

The problem is they're assumed to be performing, or they're not valued as assets and opportunities, or they're not seen as able to be leveraged and improved any further. So the attention of most companies remains on conventional marketing, operational improvements and cost-cutting. Most of these assets can be leveraged and below are some examples of how. But first, and more importantly, these assets and opportunities need to be identified. Let's look at a cheats model you can adopt for identifying the assets and opportunities that companies have.

You can create a kind of marketing asset register. An asset is something that can be used to find another prospect or educate one. To fill out that asset register, first browse financial reports and stock reports for expense items and for what's literally lying unused. Look at customer lists and prospect lists. Log the activities undertaken to solicit or retain customers. And lastly look at potentially unique processes, corporate knowledge and intellectual property. You then have a large pile of information which can be used to find another prospect or educate one, then it's an asset for leveraging. In other words, marketing assets ready to be leveraged!

Develop strategies for them: To create strategies to leverage those assets, first take a look at the long term marketing and branding objectives of the company. Making sure you don't jeopardize long term objectives for short term gains. After all, even a company in trouble can't afford to send messages that run counter to good long term branding, or damage is done.   For instance, a high-end brand can't adopt a cut-price message if it trashes the brand's reputation and its perceived value. But they can adopt a better selling message that educates their market and presents a value message that still preserves their long term brand.  To come up with the strategies for those items in the marketing asset register, it is easy to apply four idea-generating questions to every item...

  1. How can it gain more customers?
  2. How can it gain more revenue per customer?
  3. How can it gain more transactions per customer?
  4. How can it educate more customers?
For instance, let's look at 3 examples from above... client success stories, sales staff and advertising. Client success stories: Companies should use client case studies online and offline, as educational tools and as lead-generating assets like ads to acquire more customers. Case studies can also be printed and used in targeted solicitations via direct mail. By illustrating a satisfied client from start to finish, client success stories can help up-sell or extend the lifetime value, even before the first contact.

Sales staff: Sales people are often either loosely managed or they're asked to achieve outcomes without adequate support. There are four principles we've seen boost results from sales people...

  1. No time in the day should be unaccounted for
  2. No contact with a prospect should occur without an agenda
  3. No such contact without follow-up, and
  4. Sales meeting should be weekly or at least fortnightly for better problem-solving and support.
Direct marketing can be used to prepare the sales next month of contacts and do some serious lead generation even before the sales people make contact. Sales staff can also be utilised to reclaim lost clients, fill gaps in what current clients are buying from you and disseminate information.    

Advertising: Advertising is often a pre-committed expense, and is one of several assets that should be made to work harder. In 2005, a  review of 1,300 industrial-sector ads showed less than 1% passed 11 proven advertising principles, 93% failed more than half, and less than 2% adhered to the most critical principal - using a powerful headline. The same sized ad, with no change in scheduling, generated 6 times the response rate after an advertising makeover was undertaken.    

Turn Strategies into action: The last hurdle is coordinating a mass of asset-leveraging activity across several managerial jurisdictions... often sales, marketing, operations and finance. The key is to appoint one champion and endorse that person from the top, set meetings on a monthly basis to allocate and review the activities, and to recruit junior staff to execute the tasks so that no one person is encumbered with the lot.   The result should be that the company's different functions become attuned to viewing assets in a different way and core long-term activities aren't stunted by short-term leveraging activities.  Now, get everything you can out of all that you've got.

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Stephen R Johnson has 1 articles online

Stephen R Johnson

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Exploit Your Underutilized Assets

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This article was published on 2010/04/04