Strategic Intelligence Gathering: Always Stay a Step Ahead

SESSION RECAP: How can we spend our time more effectively while also scaling up our businesses? That was the topic of this Private Advisory Board session, Strategic Intelligence Gathering: Always Stay a Step Ahead.


How can I find better sources of leads, and how can that be turned into campaigns that generate good responses — i.e., 30 to 35 percent open rate, 2-4% click-thru rate?

Why It’s Important

This is a marketing/ad firm that embraces regional clients. The company has had success with past campaigns, and has a good reputation, but after the downturn, a lot of clients cut their marketing spend. The models that used to work — referrals — simply don’t work anymore.

Listserv and Jigsaw are being used, with disappointing results.

Clarifying Questions

  • How do you generate revenue?
  • Is your team on-site or contractors?
  • What kinds of lists do you reach out to at the moment? And how often?
  • To what extent are you utilizing social media?
  • How often do you update your website? And how much does it reflect your ideal marketing message?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Try marketing to your existing clients rather than spending all your energy and resources trying to reach out to new ones.
  • Consider sending out materials that are intriguing and genuinely creative — viral campaigns that showcase your creativity.
  • Consider co-marketing with complementary businesses.
  • Embrace the difficult clients and overcome the barrier to entry that your competitors can’t face.
  • Don’t shy away from texting or social media — today, that can be an effective way to reach decision-makers.

Action Plan

This executive has committed to pushing the company forward on more cutting-edge networking techniques like blog commenting and social media, and also working more with “warm” outreach than “cold” outreach.


How can I maintain positive, forward-moving relationships with my existing clients while also building relationships with new clients?

Why It’s Important

As head of a small healthcare services provider, this leader is finding that traditional methods that were once highly successful — such as referrals — aren’t as effective today. New methods are needed to expand business as the relationship of patients with their healthcare insurers, networks, and providers transitions to new models.

Clarifying Questions

  • How are you currently reaching new customers? Can that be built upon?
  • Can your translate your success with referrals into online networking?
  • Are you analyzing customer data? How are you tracking that data?
  • How does geography hep or restrict your business presence?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Cultivate good reviews on Yelp or Angies List.
  • Consider local merchandising and branding — putting your company’s name on pens, toys, etc. and then give that away to patients and their families.
  • Put your name out in the community — buy ad space at the local grocery store, sponsor a local little league team. etc.
  • Distribute flyers and business cards through local businesses.

Action Plan

This leader has committed to exploring the possibilities of Yelp and local advertising and merchandising opportunities.


So really, how do you go about organizing all of that data and information? Best practices will vary based on individuality, specialty, and personal preference, but some highly useful recommendations were gathered:

    • Google Alerts will track the online actions of your competitors or potential clients.
    • NetVibes will consolidate your online communications — a social media analytic and alerts dashboard that monitors and manages online data and communications.
    • Evernote will help you organize and manage your goals across your personal devices and outlets.
    • Dropbox is an effective way to store, share, and organize information online.
    • Tweet Deck will scan online info — okay, tweets — and deliver to you the relevant info you want from industry leaders and observers.
    • Flipboard is an iPad app that flips through online information in a convenient, engaging way. 

Session date: Jul 17, 2012
Originally published: Jul 24, 2012

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