Archives for 2007

A Marketing Resolution

Let’s face it. We already know that you are not going to get everything done, in terms of marketing that you should or you want to. I know…hardly a jolly way to approach the start of a new year. But that’s our reality. We’ll never get to it all. So rather than lament about what we aren’t going to get to…let’s focus on what absolutely needs to be done.

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What’s Your Game Plan?

It’s funny how clearly you see in an emergency. Monday morning, after about four weeks of ear infections, our one year old son was vomiting and had a nasty bout of diarrhea. All of you parents know this can spell trouble for a little kid. We were worried enough to take him to the doctor, who promptly told us that either the antibiotics or a stomach bug had caused him to become dehydrated and that he was sending us to the hospital straight away.

Any time you check into a hospital they run a barrage of tests, they put in an IV (which let me tell you, it is a nightmare holding your infant son down so a nurse can stick him in both arms, both hands and finally a foot to get a vein), and in general people are just running around doing a lot of stuff.

My wife hates it when I do this, but I always ask, “So, what’s the game plan for our kid? What are you looking for and what does he need to do in order to go home.” I just want to know what’s going on. Unfortunately, it’s frightening how many times I was told, “The doctor knows what to do.” That’s great; I fully expect that he/she does, but can someone kindly tell me?!?!

Then for whatever reason I connected the dots between a few unrelated client and prospective clients’ conversations. For most small businesses, marketing is no different than dealing with these medical professionals. Most of the time there is no marketing game plan in a small business. If you have a written marketing plan, chances are it’s collecting dust on the shelf. Not to mention that if there is a plan, most of the time the people responsible for executing and tracking the activities don’t understand how to build individual campaigns or programs that support the grand plan or strategy. But the reality is that most small to medium sized businesses do not even have a marketing plan. [Read more…]

10 Challenges to the Santa Brand!

Santa Brand

1) Lead found in the toys manufactured in far east plant. This has been quite a challenging year for his Chinese elves. How they correct this issue will speak volumes to brand values.

2) Are they Santa’s elves or Santa’s little people? For a time, contact with political correctness almost side-lined our industrious little friends. But the cache associated with their centuries of tireless service to children won out over the PC zealots.

3) Remember the annoying complainers worrying about the safety of the reindeers having to land on slippery snowy rooftops in the wee hours of the morning? If only they had remembered that they are magic, so if they can fly, they can navigate icy shingles.

4) Have you heard that Santa’s weight is setting a bad example for North America’s obese children? Can you imagine a buff Santa? I think if Santa has been around for hundreds of years, this speaks well of his staying power. Besides, part of the Santa brand is his own personal brand, and part of that is the icon that is his stature. [Read more…]

The Full Potential of Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail may be a familiar option for most small business professionals. Only a fraction of them, however, leverage this medium to its full potential. The flexibility of its usage, as well the ability to measure results, make direct mail an attractive marketing tool.

Perhaps you are trying to raise awareness about your products or services, or you are looking to generate new customer leads, or maybe you are simply reinforcing your message to existing customers. Direct mail campaigns can serve a myriad of strategic objectives.

Here are a few suggestions to consider before your next direct marketing campaign:

Begin with the end. First and foremost, determine your desired goals and the anticipated end result. How wide do you want to cast the net? Is it a local, regional, national or global campaign? Who needs to be reached? Who shouldn’t be reached? Is it better to target or blanket the market? Which demographics represent your core constituency?

Having these answers will help you craft the best strategy at the inception of your campaign, and you will consequently save yourself both time and money. [Read more…]

Who Needs You?

When you’re a solo entrepreneur or a small-business marketer, you can’t afford to blanket the airwaves with advertising, casting a huge net with the hopes of landing some fish.

Your outreach to potential customers has to be count. It has to be focused, well-targeted, and efficient.

Therefore, when determining your target audience, you should ask yourself a sequence of simple questions:

1. Who needs my product/service?

2. Who knows they need my product/service?

3. Who knows their need and can afford to purchase it?

4. Who, in that last group, can I actually reach?

That is your target audience. Everyone else may eventually become a prospect, but for now, only the last group is your source of business. Market to them, and you can succeed. Market to everyone, and you’ll likely fall by the wayside.

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Vive la Différence!

Do you find yourself wondering, ” What else can I do to get more business?” You know all to well how frustrating it is to pump good money into marketing programs only to realize lack luster results. Chances are good that your marketing mix is sound but your message isn’t resonating with your targeted audience. What you need is what is called a positioning strategy. Your positioning strategy refers in part to what differentiates your company from the competitors. Not only what differentiates you, but how you are going to exploit that difference to make you more money.

You have to look deep into the soul of your company to find your uniqueness. You should develop positioning strategies based on differentiation. I would guess that most companies you come into contact with in an average business day, absolutely believe that their slogan will capture the imagination of their target audience and deliver them business. If that slogan makes sense under the logo of their competitor then they are fooling themselves. [Read more…]

“Punching IN”- A Reality In Print

One reviewer’s opinion of “Punching In” a book by Alex Frankel.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work at UPS, The Gap, Starbucks or Whole Foods? Well Alex Frankel takes us on an inside journey in his new book: “Punching In”.

In 200 pages, Frankel gives you some very good honest insight into the cultures that makes these companies stand-out brands. In many ways the experiences remind me of the rash of reality shows we see on television. Corporate voyeurism at the front-line level. I found it an amusing read, quite unlike many books I’ve read discussing the reason for the successes of these businesses. ‘Punching In’ was from a different perspective. It reveals the real people behind the building of customer relationships and the depth of their sincerity in spreading that culture of brand.

You might also read this book to discover the nitty-griity details that make up a brand experience we all have experienced with some of these businesses. It was a pleasure to review this book, and I would recommend it because of its honesty. Alex Franken could have easily taken a lower road in the writing of this book but instead just told it as he saw it – no dirt – just good clean fun.

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