Showing posts with label market. Show all posts
Showing posts with label market. Show all posts

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Embracing The Local Market's Inner Customer

On any given day, embracing a specific market's customer is supremely more important than considering the customer-at-large. The local customer, with their personal preferences grounded in the every day world they live in, can be the most meaningful key performance indicator in determining the overall success of a business.

Even a mom and pop shop on Small Business Saturday can learn something from their larger corporate brothers and sisters. An REI in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the focus of living outdoors is literally achieved right outside the front doors, is entirely different than the REI in Plano, Texas, where, unless you're doing some urban backpacking, you have to travel just a little further out. Each store's appearance may seem the same, but the customer experience and general atmosphere is entirely different.

How a business interacts with their most immediate community is also a huge indicator of success. Are they active in local community events and government affairs? Yes, Corporate Social Responsibility is huge factor here, but it goes beyond that. The local community requires something different from any local business, no matter how large or small or corporately driven and regardless of the business-to-business considerations.

A business' involvement in the local community is, and should always be, inspired by something completely different and relative to the part of the world that that business serves. The takeaway isn't the revenue generation itself, but how a business' investment in the community is perceived and ultimately shared, locally and globally.

What are your thoughts on the customer experience where specific markets are concerned?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Encouraging Employees to be Your Brand Stewards

Marketing a business can be a daunting task. This is especially true when you are a small business and don't have a dedicated marketing person or team to lead the charge. However, the strongest brand steward a business has for marketing and getting the branded product or service message out is it's team - the whole team.

If you look at your business like a megaphone, with your voice at the mouthpiece, you can really let the public hear your passion through your words and actions. Now, take that megaphone, enlarge it, fill it with the voices of all of your staff shouting the same brand message, and really get the message out.

The following are a few good considerations. Some may seem obvious and some may just be reminders, but as a whole, it's better to prepared:

Passion
If you don't share your passion with your staff, it certainly won't be conveyed well to your customers, potential customers, and industry partners.

Drive
Finding the drive to support your passion is key to marketing success and will be noticed - even when you feel it's not.

Motivation
Ideally, staff members don't just depend on an employer for a paycheck, so if you're motivating your staff constantly & consistently, they'll appreciate you all that much more.

No matter how you spin it, employees should never be forced to blare a message they feel is not their own. A business' employees are brand stewards, not soldiers. This is even true when you are working with contracted or outsourced partners.

Each person on a business' staff brings as much marketing potential as a dedicated marketing team member. When you encourage employees to be your brand steward, your marketing voice will be exponentially amplified no matter what your market or industry may be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Needing a Marketer Is Like Needing an Accoutant

For a business to grow and be successful, you have to hire specific people to do specific tasks.  This means hiring full or
part-time staff to manage key areas of your business operations.  But, sometimes outside assistance is needed.  Tax accounting is a great example of this thought.

When it comes to accounting, you can manage your accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll internally.  However, when it comes to tax accounting and financial reporting, we hire or contract with a professional.  Marketing isn't that different.  

Marketing is how we tell our story to our customers.  Sales are dependent upon it.  Your base operations would not exist without it.  And, just like tax accounting, marketing is often performed best by a professional.  

There are two primary reasons you should consider hiring or contracting with a marketer:

You can't do it.  You don't know how.  You don't have the time.  Name your reason, give your excuse, but the bottom line is we hire certain team players because we don't know how to do it.

You don't want to do it.  Could you do it?  Sure.  You could stay abreast of all of tomorrow's marketing trends and the paths to get you there.  You could add yet one more business operations task to your daily activities calendar to keep you up at night.  You could study to be a CPA too.  But, do you really want to?  Yeah, me neither.

You need a Marketer like you need an Accountant.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Marketing Reminds Each of Us to Start Anew


How do you start your day?  An exercise routine?  A cup of coffee?  Although I might practice these rituals as well, at some point every morning - before I begin the hustle and bustle of my day - I give myself some time of quiet meditation.  I stretch, I listen, I feel the world around me, and I project myself out into the infinite universe - come to think of it, it's a lot like being Superman without the daily worries of saving the world.

The takeaway is that I start each day putting my best foot forward, if not just in my mind.  

Of course, reality checks back in; checking emails, making follow up phone calls, replying to messages, finishing projects.  My meditation, however, has given me a fresh perspective.  A fresh perspective in the workplace allows for new ideas to be considered, if not implemented.  A fresh perspective offers us insight into a world that could be, rather than focusing on the daily grind.  It drives how we market ourselves and our business pursuits.  And, ultimately, marketing reminds us to start anew.


Unlike other business management considerations, marketing reminds us of why we’re in business to begin with - the entrepreneurial spirit.  It reminds us to grow and to be creative in all of our endeavors.  It tells us what direction we should pursue.  Marketing whispers those thoughts that shape the world around us without fear of what others might think.

We all do it.  We all market ourselves even if we don't consider ourselves marketers by profession.  So, start today.  Market the better you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Using the Scientific Method to Better your Business


Through the scientific method:  ideas are created, observed, and postulated resulting in a theory or set of theories to test potential results.  These results are then refined, adjusted, or revised to show advancement in thought.  Unlike the scientific method though, I have encountered a lot of projects in business that were stymied by the end result being recognized as the end of the project.  This limits the possibilities for any business to better serve their customers.

Rather than looking at a project as an end goal, look at it as a task to continuously work on.  For example, if you are a restaurant owner, this might mean not only taking into consideration just how clean a restroom is but also to make sure that the hand soap doesn’t smell chemically or that paper towels don’t leave a bad odor on your hands.  Over time, you might also consider a forced air hand dryer to be environmentally conscientious or perhaps adding hand lotion.

Any business can can fortify healthy business strategies by taking lead from the scientific method.  This doesn't necessarily mean hiring a research and development team, but it does mean pursuing continuous improvement as a best management practice.  Here are some big picture considerations that you may be already be practicing and just need to revise and revamp:
  • One and five year Business Plan updating cycles - with technology taken into consideration alone, updates are inevitable. Business Plans in your head are just good ideas waiting to be forgotten
  • Twice yearly staff reviews - you may already have a system in place for staff reviews, if not just through impromptu conversation, but when was the last time you reviewed your own actions?
  • Weekly or Monthly Staff Meetings - by staff, I mean that all staff (from ownership and management through reception and part-timers) should be part of this meeting Everyone should feel that their thoughts and opinions matter.
  • Customer surveyswhether it's a casual conversation or an emailed survey, consistent surveys throughout the year to evaluate your customers' wants and needs will help to secure success

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Determining The Value of Seminars & Presentations

When it comes to presentations and seminars in your market or industry, some are free and some cost the same as a great used car.  Some last all week and others can be given as a one hour lunch and learn. The worst are those that have great marketing to get you there, but offer absolutely nothing of value once you sit down. With so many options, how does anyone determine the value of seminars & presentations?

I've heard this question asked multiple times from individuals, businesses, & organizations, big and small, and there doesn't appear to be one answer.  There are so many types of seminars & presentations and these are further distorted by market and industry.  Through my career presentation experiences (giving and receiving), I have found there are two common denominators in determining the value of presentations & seminars - an enlightening presenter & a willing audience.

An Enlightening Presenter

I have heard many people say that a charismatic speaker can carry an audience no matter what the topic, atmosphere, or setting.  There are many things that make a speaker great, including charisma.  But when it comes to seminars & presentations, I want to be enlightened not charmed.

An enlightening presenter demonstrates as much, if not more, innovative thought as knowledge.  Don't spin and dance around what I already know or can read by myself.  Inspire me.  Most importantly, by the time the seminar or presentation is finished I should want to inspire others.

A Willing Audience

The value of an education is dependent on the work we put into it. I think a lot of adults forget this and look at education as a means to an end.  This is a huge mistake when it concerns the value of a presentation or seminar. The audience has just as much responsibility to enlighten themselves before and after they participate, if not just on a surface level.

Let's take marketing, for example.  If you plan on attending a Marketing seminar that is going to focus on how to integrate Google+ as a social media marketing tool for your business, show up having already registered for and experimented with the platform.  If you don't, this will only cause frustration for you.

Information and knowledge are not synonymous. A great seminar or presentation is lost on an audience unwilling to educate themselves before the event and then use that knowledge to further their education after.
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Learning always comes with a price if not just in the form of your time.  The value of a presentation or seminar depends just as much on your eagerness to be inspired as it for the presenter to be inspiring.  If this type of inspiration is present, then the cost becomes inconsequential - well, almost.

What are some examples of seminars or presentations that have inspired you?