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3 Ways to Ruin Your Marketing Campaign

6 Sep

1) You Spend Too Much Time Promoting Your Company: 

Listen, you have a little less than 2 seconds to capture the attention of consumers. Stop wasting those two seconds by advertising exactly like your competition. Get to the point of why your product or service will BENEFIT your intended target. Do this through a headline or a promise….and do it at the beginning of your ad, to buy a few more seconds of the consumers attention.

2) Advertising Where They Ain’t:

If your target market is between the ages of 15 and 45, do you really think advertising in the yellow pages or the local newspaper is a good idea? Of course you should test whether your target market will react to ads in the local paper, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to determine where your target market likes to hang out? In a recent survey conducted by Nielsen, over 80% of consumers were either on a smartphone or tablet while watching TV over the past 30 days. Stop dumping your advertising and marketing budget in print media, and start investing in digital marketing (SEO, SEM, social media, etc..). If you’re a small business owner, operating in a niche market, you could possibly have a first-mover advantage if you embrace digital marketing.

3) Not Updating Your Social Media Sites:

I know it’s a challenge to stay up-to-date with all the newest social media channels. That’s why I recommend starting with one social media site. For example: Create a business page on Facebook and try to add relevant content to the site at least twice a week. Add blogs and pictures that are useful to your target audience. After you get in the habit of adding content to your Facebook site, then decide to add another profile to a social media site. Eventually, you will want to create a content calendar, so you can continually update all your social media sites. I promise you this: If you continually add fresh content to your site and social networks, you will quickly establish yourself as the expert in your chosen field.

Good Luck!



Don’t Outsmart Common Sense: How I Failed My Client

16 May

How I Failed My Client

I failed….well, maybe I’m too hard on myself, but I was recently reminded of an important lesson when starting or running a successful business.  That lesson: If you focus on creating (and executing) the best product or service, your odds of creating a successful business will skyrocket.

The mistake I made with my client was trying to do too much for his business.  He recently opened a restaurant, and wanted me to help him drive traffic to the new place.  I told him he would need nightly specials to entice new customers; he would need an extensive menu to please the diverse crowd he wanted to attract; and he would need to create social marketing campaigns to generate buzz about the new restaurant.

His response to me was simple: “I’m going to make the best hamburger in town and price it between McDonald’s and Five Guys.  Customers will understand the value of a superior burger and word of mouth will drive traffic.”  The restaurant opened two weeks ago– every table is packed for lunch and dinner.  While he’s going through the growing pains of hiring and training staff to keep up, he has a wildly-successful restaurant on his hands.

I was reminded that focusing, first and foremost, on creating a superior product is the first step to a successful business.  If you have a superior product, or you can create a service that is superior to your competition, people WILL find you.  Sometimes I get caught up in the buzz about the new marketing channels, and I forget success ultimately depends on creating a product or service that people love. 

What can you do to create a memorable product or service?  Is your company known for being the best at something?

Good luck!

Don’t Make This Fatal Marketing Mistake!

9 May

As marketing techniques continue to change on a daily basis, it’s important to remember one of the fundamentals of creating a successful marketing campaign: NICHE MARKETING!

Niche marketing requires you to clearly identify specific customers you are targeting. You don’t have the advertising and marketing budget of a Fortune 500 company, so stop marketing like a Fortune 500 company. If your marketing campaign and message fail to specifically communicate directly to a certain segment of customers, you might as well flush your marketing investment down the drain.

Here’s an ad from Coke (the goal of this ad is to raise brand awareness. Coke can spend advertising dollars on brand awareness because it has a billion dollar advertising budget….you DO NOT! Who is the target market in this ad? The world?).

Brand Awareness Ad

Here’s a great example of a niche ad from the famous “Dummies” series. It’s extremely easy to identify the target (new bowlers and people who want to improve their bowling! This is how your marketing campaign and message should look…SPEAK DIRECTLY to your target market!!):

Great Niche Marketing Ad

What tweaks can you make to your advertising and marketing strategy to communicate directly with your core audience? Start with identifying your target marketing and then create a marketing plan that speaks directly to them.

Good luck!

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Want to Increase Sales and Reduce Marketing Expenses? Observe Your Surroundings!

23 Apr


I recently completed a marketing consulting project for a new restaurant.  The owner wanted ideas on how to best utilize marketing dollars to drive traffic to the restaurant.  Instead of automatically investing money in print advertising, I decided to observe the area around the restaurant.

Sitting in the coffee shop located across the street from the restaurant, I observed a very important piece of information:

Herds of kids wearing soccer jerseys being dragged around the shopping center by their parents

After taking additional notes about the type of people walking around the shopping center, I determined the most useful way to invest marketing dollars would be to promote 10% off a meal if a child shows up wearing his or her soccer jersey.  Also, if a child scored a goal, the restaurant would put his or her name on the chalkboard that’s visible to the patrons of this small town.

Instead of wasting large sums of marketing dollars on a print ad that MIGHT run one or two times in the local paper, this restaurant takes advantage of its surroundings and generates word-of-mouth advertising for one segment of its customers. It also promotes community involvement and is a fun place for families to visit after sporting events.

How can your business take advantage of its surroundings and create low cost, high return on investment marketing campaigns?

Happy Marketing!

Don’t Lose Focus of Your Core Prospects and Customers

23 Mar

Get clear about the customers you're targeting

While working with small business owners, I often find a recurring problem: most small business owners don’t have a clear target customer. When I ask business owners to describe, in great detail, the type of customers they hope to attract, I’m amazed when the business owner doesn’t have a solid answer. If you don’t know the type of customers you want to attract, how in the world do you expect to operate a sustainable business? By not having a target, not only will your marketing efforts fall woefully short, but also your products and services will likely fall flat.

In order to maximize your marketing efforts by identifying your target customer, you need to spend time thinking about the type of customer you want to attract. Gender? Age range? Education? Income Level? Buying habits? Price sensitive? How do they make purchases? Married? Single? Divorced? You need to study your target customer like you’re a trained international spy. Watch them walk; observe what they wear; where else do they shop? Why do they buy? This is the first step in creating an effective marketing campaign. KNOW THE CHARACTERISTICS AND HABITS OF YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER. Describe this target in great detail, so that you can easily describe your target to others, and they will know exactly the type of person you’re talking about.

Think of it this way: imagine you were trying to catch a mouse, and I had no idea what a mouse looks like. You would probably describe it as: small, furry, grey, four legs, whiskers, 4 to 6 inches long, 2 inches tall, fast, likes to live in walls and basements (this is how you should describe your target customer). Now tell me how to attract it: likes cheese and peanut butter.  To increase your customer base and create wildly-successful marketing campaigns, do the following:

1) Describe, in great detail, your target customer

2) Determine what attracts that specific set of customers to your products/services

3) Create an advertising and marketing campaign directed squarely at your targets preferences

4) Capture your target customer and convert them to a happy paying customer.

Happy Marketing!

Are You Focusing on the Decision Makers?

21 Feb

Women drive 80% of consumer spending in the United States

I recently read Why She Buys by Bridget Brennan. You might ask: Why in the world are you reading a book about women? Well, according to Mrs. Brennan, women are the engine of the global economy, driving 80 percent of consumer spending in the United States.

Women do the majority of the shopping for the household, from grocery shopping to shopping  for clothes for her kids and her husband. She also has the final say on any big ticket item the man wants to buy!  How many times have you heard a man say, “Let me think about it.” That’s code for, “I have to ask my wife.”

Remember, the target customer and decision maker are not always the same person!

Here are a few interesting insights from the book:

  • They love to tell others where they bought something. For example: Woman 1 says, “I love your outfit!” Woman 2 responds, “Thanks! I got it at Ann Taylor Loft.” 
  • She starts sizing up the product/service/salesperson from the second she comes across your business. She notices every detail, from the post-it note on your desk  to the color coordination of your outfit. 
  • Women like to know what others are buying (possibly tag your product/service with “Best Seller” or “Best Deal”). 
 If you’re serious about selling your products and services in the future, I strongly suggest you find ways to make your products and services attractive to the final decision makers……women! What can you do to appeal to the women driving 80% of consumer spending in the United States?

Should You Compete on Price or Customer Experience?

16 Feb

Create the Ultimate Customer Experience

Let me keep this simple: If you compete on price, your business will die a slow, painful death.  Price is the easiest marketing strategy for competitors to imitate. We see companies everywhere competing solely on price–just look at the airline and pizza industry.  Competing on price has several negative effects on your business, including:

1) Attracts price shoppers who have absolutely ZERO loyalty to you and your business.  The only way you to get them to buy again is to slash your prices.

2) Squeezes your profit margins. You have to compete by selling more volume to make up for the loss in margin–bad idea, unless you’re Wal-Mart.

A low price strategy is often the death of small businesses. As a small business owner, you have a unique opportunity to provide an unmatched customer experience.  Although it’s natural to assume every consumer buys strictly on price, studies indicate only between 5 percent and 10 percent of customers shop based on price.

Your strategy should focus on creating an unmatched customer experience for prospects and customers that interact with your company. How can you create a systematic experience that leaves people raving about your company? If you create that WOW experience, you will have loyal, raving, repeat customers who are willing to pay a premium for your products and services. More profits for your business equals more resources for you to expand and squash your competition.

Good Luck!

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