Category Archives: Announcements

13Apr/09

Marketing Mondays | Tomorrow Can’t Wait

If you aren’t reading Seth’s blog, you should be.  A keen observer will notice that most of the Marketing Mondays posts were authored by Seth.  That’s because there are few others out there using such plain language to remind us of the basic concepts of business.  Take, for instance, the idea of being proactive.  We all know we need to be proactive business-people and entrepreneurs, yet it’s so easy to get caught in the fire-fighting cycle.  Here’s Seth’s point:

Tom points us to a provocative idea for home builders. If you want to sell a new house, why not offer prospective buyers help in selling their old houses? Send your idle crews to their house to paint it or do other important cosmetic fixes. Fill the old house with the furniture you use in your models, etc.

Take it a step further. If your home building service is totally slack, why not get to work upgrading and selling older homes or even foreclosed ones?

Consider what a solo entrepreneur could do using eBay: instead of waiting for people to hold garage sales, why not distribute flyers offering to run a virtual garage sale for anyone who will open their home to you? Go in with a digital camera, catalog and photograph the top 20 most valuable items in the house and sell them on eBay… and split the money. Your proactive effort overcomes the seller’s inertia and you both profit.

There are huge opportunities for this in the business to business space as well. Most companies would welcome a post-tax-day accountant who offered (on spec) to review bills or expenses in exchange for half the money saved. If they had time, they’d do it themselves, but of course they don’t.

In my experience, much of marketing is a game of waiting for the other guy to go first. Well, if nothing is happening, you go first.

And if you’re getting tired of Seth showing up here so often, please feel free to forward other interesting marketing blogs; I’d love to shake things up!

06Apr/09

Marketing Mondays | Tiny Pictures, Big Ideas

I’ve been working with Chamber members to set up social media accounts (twitter, facebook, et al.) over the last few months.  These tools, while still evolving, are already proving to be indispensible tools for businesses small and large.  Seth Godin offers some excellent advice about social media’s first impressions:

If it’s important enough for you to spend your time finding and connecting with new people online, it’s important enough to get the first impression right.

If you use any online social network tool, the single most important first impression you make is with the 3600 to 5000 pixels you get for your tiny picture.

In the social group I run, part of my job is to pick the featured members. As a result, I spend a lot of time looking at little pictures. Here’s one person’s take on the things you can do to avoid wrecking that first impression:

  1. Have a professional or a dedicated amateur take your picture.
  2. Use a white background, or at least a neutral one. No trees! No snowstorms!
  3. The idea of having your significant other in the picture is a good one, at least in terms of maintaining peace in the presence of a jealous or nervous spouse. But the thing is, I’m not friending your girlfriend, I’m friending you. I’d vote for the picture to be solo.
  4. If you are wearing a hat, you better have both a good reason and a good hat.
  5. I totally understand that you are shy, modest and self-effacing. But sabotaging your photo is not a good way to communicate that. We just assume you’re a dork.
  6. Conceptual photos (your foot, a monkey wearing glasses) may give us insight into the real you, but perhaps you could save that insight for the second impression.
  7. How beautiful you are is a distant second to how happy you are. In my experience, photos that communicate openness and enthusiasm are far more appealing than photos that make you look like a supermodel.
  8. Cropping is so important. I should have put this one first. A well cropped photo sends a huge, subliminal message to other people. If you don’t know how to do this, browse through the work of professionals and see how they do it. It matters.
  9. Some people have started adding words or signs to their images. If your goal is to communicate that you are the website or you are the company, then this is very smart. If not, then remember the cocktail party rule: if you wouldn’t wear it there, don’t wear it here.
  10. If, after reading this list, you don’t like your picture, go change it. No reason not to.
02Apr/09

A thought for today…

I absolutely love reading other people’s simple observations on life. One of my favorite blogs was written this morning about customer service. It’s from a group of consultants in north Florida who focus on brand consistency and management techniques.

This morning, I found something in my email inbox that I just had to share. Think about this today:

“Ever wonder why customers seem to be saying thank you more often than the folks who take our money?”

It’s a simple experiment… challenge yourself, your employees to count how many times your customers say “thank you” versus how many time you say it.  Customer service has the power to set your company apart from the competition- even the more convenient competition!

Best of luck… and have a prosperous day!

30Mar/09

Marketing Mondays | Wallet Share

Yet another fine point from Seth Godin:

The first mistake marketers make is that they want more. More customers, more noise, more ads, more shelf space, more customers, more customers, more customers…

Almost all of their actions are driven by the search for more customers.

The reason this is a mistake is simple: it’s expensive. Attracting a new customer costs far more than keeping an old one happy. Not only that, but an old customer is far more likely to bring you new people via word of mouth than someone who isn’t even a customer yet.

Which is why share of wallet makes so much more sense than share of market. How much does each of your existing customers buy from you? Do they count on you for all the things they buy in this market, or just some? Does Toyota sell me every car my family drives? Does Chubb get to insure every single thing I own? Usually not. Because marketers are so focused on more that they forget to take great care of what they’ve got.

Hugh Macleod, gifted cartoonist and profane marketing blogger is now making his living selling limited edition art work based on his cartoons. He’s a brilliant marketer, of course, so he’s not focused on more. He’s focused on share of wallet. On selling his dedicated fans a remarkable souvenir that they can keep and display.

So, what’s the problem? Share of wall. Unlike records or shoes, it’s hard to buy a lot of art. Pretty soon, you’ve got no place left to put it, do you? Share of wallet turns into share of wall and you can’t grow any more.

That’s why you need to be realistic about how much share of wallet you can honestly expect, and why job one is delighting existing customers so much that they can’t help but tell their friends. Preferably friends with very big houses.

Seth constantly teaches that every interaction customers have with your brand (from advertising to customer service to using the restroom) is a form of  marketing.  Great advertising followed up by lousy customer service can leave customers with a bad taste in their mouth.  What one step can you take this week to increase wallet share?