Showing posts with label marketing strategies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing strategies. Show all posts

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Don't Get Caught Marketing With Your Pants Down

Being transparent in marketing and business is critical. This is especially true considering the public perception of your Marketing is (or at least, should be) found throughout the business model. However, it's equally important to never get caught with your pants down in Marketing.

People today are plugged in everywhere they go. Their digital quick capture cameras and social media smartphone apps are ready and waiting to have a reason to post your dirty laundry. So, unless you have a PR department or consultant on staff ready to play spin doctor, it's important to protect your transparent self and your business as much as you can. Here are a couple of tips:
  • Be prepared with a Marketing Plan and marketing strategies that are meaningful and purposeful to you, your staff, your market, & your industry. Marketing strategies should easily be assessed, evaluated, and streamlined every year when the Marketing Plan is revamped.
  • Don't get left behind technology-wise. Spending too much time trying to catch up with the latest technological trends long after they've had their hay day, hurts staff productivity and, ultimately, eats away at the bottom line of revenue.
  • Always strive to be on the cutting edge of innovation. This doesn't meant that a business needs to have a Research & Development team. It just implies that your business is perceived as the one of the first in your market or industry to incorporate innovative business tactics.
  • If you say you're going to do something, then do it. Empty promises & white lies always have the potential to tarnish the public perception of you and your business. This is applicable at all levels, for all personnel, and at all stages of the business model. This will help solidify you as a thought leader.
What marketing strategy tips or suggestions do you have that help a business from getting caught with their pants down?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Business Development: The Bridge Between Marketing & Sales

How do you define Business Development?

Whenever I talk or write about Business Development with small (or even medium sized) business owners and representatives, they frequently ask: what is business development? It's amazing to me how many business folks, from owners to managers to sales & marketing representatives, have varying opinions on what it is and what it means.

The term has been explored by the always insightful marketing guru, Seth Godin, and even Forbes over the last few years, but even they refer to it as business puzzle yet to be fully realized. Perhaps it's because Business Development is a relatively newer term. Or maybe it's that there are few books or college courses that even address what it can mean to any business in any given market or industry. What is certain is that Business Development has moved beyond just being the latest buzz term. It has planted itself firmly in Marketing efforts, Sales Cycles and, ultimately, Business Plans regardless of the unsolved mystery of what it really means.

In it it's simplest form, Business Development is the bridge between Marketing & Sales. Most of this transition has been made easier with our online communications and especially CRM (Customer Relationship Management) resources. With CRMs - even the free options - Sales representatives can record their activities as leads migrate from traceable Marketing & Advertising efforts.

It's not enough just to record your Marketing & Sales efforts. Businesses, large and small, have to monitor their Business Development activities, analyze the data, and provide reports with meaningful information for Continuous Improvement (another fashionable buzz term.) Continuous Improvement is the underlying link between creating improved customer relations, employee satisfaction and work habits, and Business & Marketing Plan development. Or in simpler terms, Business Development on the front end and continuous improvement on the back end.

Implementing Business Development strategies is a key to maintaining an effective revenue. It is the gateway transitional element carried forward from your initial Marketing & Advertising efforts to give purpose, meaning, and structure to the Sales Cycle. It is because of Business Development that successful businesses are able to move and think beyond the Business Plan for purposeful Continuous Improvement.

What Business Development strategies have worked best for you?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Marketing Habits I Learned from Writers

It seems everyone threatens to write a book at one point or another, and self-publishing a book seems to be the talk of the town lately.  From newcomers with a story they're itching to get off of their chests, to more suggestive non-fiction pieces like Guy Kawasaki's, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book, the writing world is changing. To quote Mark Coker, Founder of Smashwords: "We're in the early stages of a full scale publishing renaissance."

My wife, Dannie M Olguin, has been writing her whole life and within the last year, started publishing short story ebooks under a pen name. Dannie is also almost done with one of her life-long ambitions of writing at least one novel and having it published.  She's still trying to decide whether to pursue traditional publishing or follow the route of self-publishing.

This whole experience with Dannie has taught me a lot about self-publishing. Even more importantly, as a marketer, the experience has taught me about the writing process. There are many lessons I picked up from the writing process, but two that stand out in comparing and contrasting Writing & Marketing are:

Building a Plan
The best marketing lesson I gleaned was from the outlining process. Outlining a story and outlining a Marketing Plan hold similar concepts.  Both help get the ideas flowing and the balls rolling. And, eventually, the story's outline & the Marketing Plan outline develop a life of their own.

All About the Numbers
One of the more interesting writing habits revolved around accounting. I'm not referring to the revenue generation, although, let's face it, even writers love to get checks. I'm referring to the daily word counting and total word count that writers use to gauge productivity. It is uncanny how this compares to budget planning versus profits from actual revenue.

In two industries where content is king, it is amazing just how similar a path marketing and writing follow. Both morph through a process of continuous improvement, and the result of the final product must be masterfully creative enough to engage an audience.

What marketing strategies have you improved by comparing your business to other industries?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Little Things That Grow Business & Change the World

What Social Good programs does your business and staff practice daily? Recycling efforts, community volunteering, and other social good programming are all noble and necessary, but completely negated if you don't have your whole team on board.  From C-level executives to part-timers, every team member should constantly be involved to maintain social good best management practices. 

This isn't an original thought. It is, however and unfortunately, one that we need to keep reminding each other of on a daily basis.  In business, it's easy to get caught up in maintaining budgets in an effort to be fiscally responsible, and then, in turn, to forget our fiduciary responsibilities to ourselves, our staff, our customers, and the world of tomorrow by not living healthier lifestyles, especially in the office.

We have to go beyond just setting out blue trash bins for cans and bottles.  Instead, remind the entire staff in your regular meetings about the importance of cutting back on their use.  You can't make your staff eat or live better, but you can keep reminding them with positive, encouraging processes.  

  • Establish fiscal line item budgets to maintain social good efforts or increase the one you might have already.  This is a big pill to swallow, especially when you're off the financial mark and in the red. When you and the staff are practicing social good programming more often, then everyone starts to feel better and, ultimately, happier.  
  • Keep yourself updated with up-to-date news and healthy / sustainable living trends.  Staying informed is not only vital to personal and business growth, but it also shows your staff & your customers that you care about an ever evolving world.  
  • Get creative!  Try something new.  Try something different.  But, don't stick to one path. There is no one answer but there is always a better answer.

Your staff, customers, prospects, and business partners will notice these social good changes and will feel better about working with you.  These little things add to your business and marketing strategies and allow your business to grow.  The ROI is hard to see, but that doesn't mean that it's not there.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finding the Value in Marketing for Small Businesses

The end of the year is a great time to assess your marketing efforts for the past year and map out your plans for the new year. For small businesses this can be a struggle, especially if you don't have a Marketing Plan already in place to get you there. Since having a Marketing Plan is critical component of developing a successful Business Plan, what are some steps to put one in place?


Know Thyself

An initial consideration in developing marketing strategies is to appreciate that there are no quick fixes. Cheap and fast is the mantra of the online marketing world, but it will not satisfy your long term marketing needs.  Finding the time and money to develop an effective Marketing Plan can be an obstacle easily overcome by understanding your business' value proposition.  

A value proposition is a unique selling point that doesn't compromise quality for price. Your value proposition is the inherent, not necessarily the monetary, worth of the product or service you offer. Once you know your business' Value Proposition, your ROI (return on investment) from your marketing efforts will be all the more meaningful.

What is your business' value proposition?

Help Wanted

Assuming you don't possess the marketing know-how to do your own marketing, another important consideration is who you contract with or hire to help with your marketing.  

It may seem like a cheap solution to hire college kids or young adults to help with your marketing because they presumably possess social media "skills”, but this will only hurt the customer and ultimately your business. The young person you hire will likely lack the business acumen that will make your marketing successful.  

Unless you hire a person with experience in marketing, sales, or business development, hiring a consulting firm to develop and manage your marketing is a must.

The better marketing consultant or firm is the one that focuses on marketing and nothing else. 

Plan Ahead

A small business will benefit from having a simplified Marketing Plan. As your business grows, you can add on more marketing efforts. Initially, you will have more success in mapping out your marketing strategies by:
  • Building a Marketing Plan: even if it's just an outline, put a model into action; you can't possibly know where you're going if you don't map out the route
  • Having all of your staff contribute to marketing efforts: each of your staff members brings a different perspective to the table; if you are your only employee then this should be easy
  • Regular monitoring and analyzing: monitoring your marketing efforts can be a daily activity, but you should be reviewing and revamping your Marketing Plan as often as your Business Plan - no less than once yearly
Can you function without a formalized Marketing Plan? Yes. Will you have more success with one? Unquestionably.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Connecting Across the Social Media Universe

A majority of the people I work with are small business owners. One of the most common concerns I hear about revolves around how to manage all of their social media marketing efforts in the most time efficient manner.  

My response typically involves explaining the difference between Social Media Marketing and Social Media networking. Both involve relationship building, and both are crucial to business success. However, Social Media Marketing is about helping the business as a whole grow, whereas Social Media networking is more about helping the individual grow.  

Focusing on Social Media networking is a great place for small business owners to start. It sets the stage for personal growth, but it can also lead to establishing the individual as a thought leader. So how does an individual make the most of Social Media networking? 

Be Accessible

Recently, I communicated with a friend of a friend through facebook messaging. She is applying for a position that requires knowledge of social media marketing, and she wanted to know if I had suggestions in how to show the employer that she possesses solid Marketing acumen. I looked for her Linkedin profile and couldn't find her. I then asked if she could forward me the link for her Linkedin profile; she never responded. Additionally, I sent a facebook connect request. She told me that she didn't like to connect with people she didn't know online.

The first step of effective Social Media networking is being accessible. Employers, customers, professional acquaintances - anyone and everyone should be able to see your personal and professional profiles across social media platforms. As a small business owner, you are your business' first and best marketing resource. Chris Brogan & Julien Smith refer to this concept in their collaborative book and now coined phrase, "Trust Agents". Other terms exist as well including "thought leader" and "expert", but what is most important is that this is how others perceive you and not how you should refer to yourself.

Participate

Years ago, when I first became actively involved in construction, I started noticing CSI and other initials behind various people's names. As it turned out, being a CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) member was held in high regard by construction industry professionals. Moreover, other certifications one could get through CSI were held in even higher regard because they demonstrated a person's knowledge of the construction industry and a thorough understanding of the construction documents.

I also started seeing that people (including an ex-employer) were paying dues to be able to use the initials but then never participating. Yeah, sure, they might show up at an event or two throughout the year, but they would never volunteer to be on committees or boards.

Social Media, like industry specific groups, isn't just about connections; it's about how you engage with other social media participants. With social media, the old adage, "if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem" holds true. If you only have social media profiles because everyone does, then you're only creating online clutter. Why would anyone want to connect with someone who only wants to friend, circle, or follow other people to build up their contact list but then not engage on any level?

There are various ways to actively participate online: posting questions and articles that you think others might glean knowledge from, joining groups and giving insightful perspectives, writing white papers / technical papers for your industry and sharing them, and blogging are all great ways to stay engaged and involved. 

Building Relationships

Whenever I connect or am asked to connect with a person on one social media platform, I always cross reference their name across other platforms. There are several reasons to cross reference, not the least of which is determining if they are spammers or a real person or business entity. I also do it to see how innovative they are. Lately, my measurement tool has been Google+, the largest, newest social media platform. If a person is on facebook but not Google+ and they claim to be a progressive thinker, I have to wonder if they're being truthful.

Not all social media platforms function the same way or serve the participants in the same ways, but all of them can be used to build meaningful relationships. Additionally, there's no reason you can't have business messages on facebook and playful banter on Linkedin. And now, with smartphones and tablets, there's definitely no reason that concise communications can't be achieved through instant messaging on social media platforms as opposed to, say, emails.

Connecting across the social media universe is a rewarding and life-enriching experience.  It has become just as important as networking face-to-face; not more important, just another great step to successful relationships. Whether you're a student looking to learn from a business professional in your field of study, a product representative looking to connect with an architect across the country, or a follower of a blog from someone on the other side of the world, online connections set new bearings for relationships.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Marketing Class Meet & Greet in Albuquerque!


Marketing Class Meet & Greet in Albuquerque!

Market Integrations & Tech Love are partnering to offer Marketing Development Classes in Albuquerque!

Marketing Class Meet & Greet 

with Stirling Morris, Owner of Market Integrations, Marketing Instructor
and Tom Carlson, Owner of Tech Love & NM PCMD

Have you ever wondered, "What's the difference between a Google+ page and a Google+ profile?"  Or "What the heck is Google+ and how can it possibly benefit my business?"

Come meet Stirling Morris of Market Integrations on Tuesday, October 23rd at 5:30 p.m. at Tech Love, 3901 Central Ave NE, find out what he has planned for the upcoming Marketing Classes, and discover ways to improve your business' Marketing Strategies.  This Meet & Greet event is free!
Stirling Morris, Marketing Executive

Market Integrations | Marketing Development & Communication Management

Marketing for Beginners

No matter how proficient you may feel in marketing, marketing resources change as often as the computers, smartphones, and tablets that carry them. Learning how to integrate an actionable Marketing Plan with effective Marketing Strategies will help youand your business evolve through a process of continuous improvement.

More advanced classes coming soon!

Although the focus of this Meet & Greet will be to discuss the current class objectives and to learn about the instructor and the venue, information about more advanced classes is coming soon.  Private orcustomized marketing tutoring is available now!

General learning objectives will revolve around:

Classes are planned to begin on or around October 30th with pricing and exact dates and times to be announced at the event.  There will be options for lunch-and-learns as well as evening classes.  You do not have to attend the Meet & Greet event to participate in the classes.

Interested in this Meet & Greet?  Please register on facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/events/442475045794498/?context=create

Light refreshments will be provided by Tom CarlsonTech Loveand NM PC MD, servicing Mac and PC systems in New Mexico since 1987!

You won't feel a thing! NM PC, MD, You won't feel a thing!
Marketing Class Meet & Greet in Albuquerque! - Market Integrations

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marketing Strategies Are Only Part of the Marketing Plan

In my marketing experiences, I find it scary how often businesses don't have a formalized written Business Plan, much less a formalized Marketing Plan. I talk to a lot of business owners, particularly small, that say they have it all up in their head. But how can a business be effective without a standard to measure themselves by?

As part of a formalized, written Business Plan, the Marketing Plan (a supplemental, formalized written document supporting your Business Plan) sets the precedence for the year's marketing goals.  At a bare minimal, a solid Marketing Plan will include objectives and strategies to measure the results.    Assessing and evaluating the results for financial and inter-departmental alignment is also important to revamping a Marketing Plan, but these considerations are completely dependent on a business' planned aims and Marketing Strategies.


Like other small and independent business owners, I make lots of mental notes in addition to more carefully, thought out marketing strategizing. In today's evolving marketing world, however, this is not enough.  It is necessary for businesses to review and manage their marketing strategies, objectives, and action items daily or even multiple times a day.  

A basic outline of meaningful Marketing Strategies should at least include:
  • having a predetermined tracking & measurement system in place
  • analytical resources to measure audience engagements & marketing trends
  • a system of interpreting these trends and engagement measures for re-alignment and continuous improvement
With these and any other effective Marketing Strategy considered, revamping the overall Marketing Plan can be part of revamping the Business Plan which at least needs to be annually.  If a business has the personnel to make Marketing Plan adjustment more often, there are ideal times. These vary by market and industry, but might include:
  • Nationally recognized holiday, election, & vacation seasons
  • Changes in principal personnel and key decision makers
  • Significant market and industry changes that might have major financial or legal ramifications
Changes to the Marketing Plan in these situations need to be assessed and revamped both before and after these adjustment periods.  More importantly, these changes assume that a business, business owner, or key decision makers are in touch with their market and industry enough to see the need for change ahead of time and act accordingly.

Managing Marketing Strategies is just as critical as developing a Marketing Plan.  However, it is important to understand the difference between having effective Marketing Strategies and having those strategies support the Marketing Plan.  Understanding this distinction will help a business make timely & effective determinations that impact the overall Business Plan.

Marketing Strategies Are Only Part of the Marketing Plan - Market Integrations