Archive for: June, 2023

It’s A Lot Like Spinach Stuck Between Your Teeth – How Can You Tell You Need Marketing & Design Help

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Having a bad marketing strategy or business image is a lot like a piece of spinach wedged in your teeth, a bad-comb over or leaving your fly open – everyone sees it, it looks bad, but no one will tell you to your face. It’s tough to know when you look good and when you need a little help. Your business image is no different. So how can you tell when you might need marketing and design help? Just as seeing a piece of spinach in your teeth in the mirror, the answer is often found through self-analysis. Looking at your competition, your prospects and your image are a great place to start. You owe it to yourself and your success to take some time to reflect on where you are, where you want to go and how you might get there.

So do you need marketing and design help? Let’s find out…

Price War:

Does it always feel like you have to compete on price? That’s tough, isn’t it? If this is the case for you, you’re not alone, I’ve found this to be a major challenge for most companies – those companies almost always desperately need marketing and design help. Here’s what happens: when customers aren’t educated on the value and benefits that they want from a professional in your industry they have difficulty evaluating which person is the best. So they evaluate professionals on something that can measure – price. You see, marketing’s first objective is to identify the value and benefit your customers want, then it should convey that value and benefit in a way that compels customers to respond and react. If there’s no perceived difference among you and your competition, customers will just rely on price when shopping.
Do you fully understand your customers’ needs and wants?

Do you know how to convey the value they want in a way that’s compelling to them?
If you answered “no”, you’re losing out on loads of customers and you need marketing and design help.Find Out How You Stack Up:

Gather some of your competition’s collateral materials (logo, business card, advertisements, brochure, web site, etc). Ask yourself, “How does my business stack up with the rest of the field?” “Do you look like an expert compared to the rest of your competition?” Here’s what you need to understand: whether we recognize it or not, our collateral materials directly and immediately convey to prospects an image of expertise and quality. By visiting your web site, seeing an ad, or receiving a business card, your prospect is already evaluating whether or not you care about quality and whether or notnyou’re an expert in your field. If your prospects don’t perceive that you are an expert and care about quality, you’ve already got two strikes against you.
How do prospects perceive your commitment to quality and expertise compared to the rest of your industry? How is that affecting your sales? If you don’t look like an expert, and that’s something that’s important to you, you might want to look into marketing and design help.
To really find out where you stand, ask your prospects what they think about your marketing materials (make sure you recruit people that will give you a straight answer).Take a Self Confidence Evaluation:

Have you ever told someone that your business image (cards, logo, web site, etc…) was temporary and that you we’re going to get it “fixed” later? Do you feel sheepish or apprehensive when showing or directing a prospect to some of your company’s marketing material? Do you avoid networking situations because your marketing and image don’t really show how good your business really is? Could you do a better job in promoting your company if your image was unique and eye-catching? Would you feel better about your business if you had a professional image?
If you’ve answered “yes”, you’ll want to contact a marketing and design expert. Not only do you need help, you probably want help as well.Are You Insane?

Small business owners are a great bunch of people; most are positive, hopeful and optimistic. These are all terrific characteristics to have; they all want their business to grow, they hope to bring in more sales and they are optimistic about getting more customers, but few of them have a plan to achieve it.
I’ll ask prospects, “Do you plan on growing your business more this year than last?” The answer is always a resounding, “Yes!” This of course is a great answer. I then follow this question up with a slightly harder one, “What do you plan on doing this year that’s going to make that happen?” This is when I get the deer in the headlights look, “I don’t know”. Business owners are optimistic and hopeful – but they don’t have a plan, and they often see investing in their marketing and design as an expense, not an investment.
Business owners want to succeed, they hope they will succeed but they have no idea how to do it. They elect not to invest in their company, their people, processes, marketing and business identity, and yet are still hopeful that they are magically going to succeed and grow their business. That’s crazy!
If you want to succeed and grow your business, that’s terrific, just make sure you have a plan and a clear strategy to back it up. Part of that strategy might include getting your accounting books in order, implementing a clear and effective marketing strategy, gathering extensive feedback from clients, hiring a business coach, competitive analysis, permission marketing or upgrading your web site, company identity or marketing materials. These aren’t expenses, they are investments.
Doing the same thing from year to year and expecting different results is crazy – well, actually it’s defined as insanity.
Are you planning on growing your business? If so, what measures are you going to undertake to do it? What are you going to do, or invest in this year to grow your company?
Do you expect to grow your company this year, or are you just hoping? Be honest with yourself. If you hope to grow your business but you’re not doing anything significant to make that happen, you probably want to look into what effective, results-driven marketing and design can do for you.Do a Skills Assessment:

One of the most beneficial concepts I’ve learned in business is knowing what I can, and what I can’t do well. Even within the field of design there are many areas I specialize in, and some I am not as strong in. In those areas where I was not as strong, I was savvy enough to recognize I needed an expert, so I hired one. I know I can’t do it all. More than that, I know I shouldn’t do it all, and you shouldn’t either. What do you really do well, and is marketing and design one of those things? Is your business being hurt because you’re trying to do the marketing and design?
Here’s a great exercise: pretend that you had a board of directors for your business, and you were on that board rather than the current owner or manager. If you were on that board, do you think that the person(s) currently doing the marketing and design for your business are qualified to help your company succeed and grow?
Does this marketing person(s) have the time; does she/he/you have the talent?

Do any of you have any formal marketing or advertising training?

Have any of you studied marketing and advertising, and how they affect consumers?

Do you feel confident that any of you know how your customer buys, and why she buys?
You might find that you’re in a good position to do the design and marketing for your company, but if you’re like most small business owners your talents might be elsewhere. If you’re really looking to grow, succeed and achieve in business, know what you don’t do well and bring people on in those areas to advise you and guide you.How’s the Reaction?

Just as parents see their baby with rose-colored glasses, small business owners often see their company very differently than their prospects. Have you ever seen an average looking baby only to hear the parents rave over and over how she/he should be a baby model? Your business is probably your baby, and you’ll see it differently than how the rest of the world does. How your business is perceived by prospects (not you) will have a direct affect on your sales your success – how prospects view your business can be the difference between success and failure. Learning to see your business through the eyes of your prospects is essential. If you want to know why John Q. buys, you have to see the world through John Q’s eyes.
How might others see your business? Ask yourself these questions:

Do prospects often compliment your business image and marketing materials?

How do you think prospects would rate your business image and marketing materials: Outstanding / Good / Average / Below Average / Dismal.

Do you think prospect’s can see a clear and definite reason to do business with you over anyone else in the industry? Are you the clear choice?

Do you have a clear, unique marketing strategy (clear and effective process of attracting new customers)?

In your marketing and advertising, are you saying the same things as everyone else in your industry?

Do you think you stand out from the rest of the crowd (in a positive light)? If not, how do you think that affects your sales?
Be honest with yourself, do your answers suggest that your prospects see you as a clear expert, the clear choice to do business with, or just one of the crowd? Now of course you see a huge difference between you and the competition, but that’s not important – do your prospects see a difference? Based on your answers, do you think you might need marketing and design assistance, or are you in good shape?Are You Keeping Up with the Joneses?

You might be in an industry that is shielded from new entrants and stiffer competition, but for the rest of us, it gets more challenging. Challenging is okay, in fact it’s good, but you have to have to meet the challenge with new ideas, more effective marketing and perhaps a better strategy. Are you keeping up with the rest of the industry, and how might that effect your sales? If you’re finding it hard to compete, there’s a strong possibility you need to infuse fresh marketing and design into your business. Ask yourself these questions:
Is your company growing at the same rate as the industry and your competition?

Do you see others in your industry that aren’t as good and talented doing better than you?

Is there more or less competition in the industry?

Is the competition getting easier or tougher to deal with?

Are you proactively competing with others in your field, or just hoping the competition won’t raise the bar on you?
The first step in getting help is recognizing you need it. Hopefully this article has given you some answers and some insight: either you should seriously look into getting marketing and design assistance, or you feel better about how you stack up against the rest of the field. Whether its marketing and design, or processes and procedures, you should always be looking at what’s working and how you can make it work better. How can you improve your business today?

I help small businesses build more confidence and credibility into their business brand. Through marketing and design initiatives; I help you feel better about your company. Making you feel good about your business gives you more confidence and less anxiety when you are networking, promoting or selling your business. If your business needs the reliability and talent of an in-house marketing and design department but doesn’t want additional employees, salaries and benefits, give me a call at 480.391.0704 – I have a new approach for you.

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Market Research – Identifying Key Markets for Export

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Successful companies concentrate on one foreign market at a time, moving on to the next only after succeeding in the last. Demand and trend are the two key factors that determine which countries
to select first and how to set priorities.

Market research helps you identify promising markets through objective analysis of available facts and statistics. Its true, many companies start export whenever it receives unsolicited orders from abroad. Although this type of selling is valuable, the company may discover even more promising markets by conducting a systematic search.

Primary and Secondary Market Research

Market research is conducted by analysing primary or secondary data resources. In conducting primary market research, a company collects data directly from foreign marketplace through interviews, surveys, feedback and other such direct contact with potential buyers. Primary market research has the advantage of being tailored to the needs of the company and provides answers to specific questions, but it is invariably time consuming and very expensive.

Secondary market research is based on analysis of statistical data such as trade statistics. To be effective, the data should be reliable and cover significant historical period. Though it is considerably less expensive than primary research, one should be aware of its limitations. For example, the most recent statistics for some countries may be more than two years old. Moreover, the data may be too broad to be of much value to a company. Statistics may also be distorted by incomplete data-gathering techniques. Finally, statistics for services are often unavailable. Yet, even with these limitations, secondary research is a valuable and relatively easy first step for a company to take. It may be the only step needed if the company decides to export indirectly through an intermediary, since the later may have advanced research capabilities

Step 1 – Collect Data

Collect export statistics published by authentic sources. In India, there are two major sources for reliable trade statistics – Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS) and Customs.

DGCIS publishes ‘Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade of India’ Its March issue contains cumulative data for whole financial year (April to March). After publishing extremely voluminous books for years – DGCIS has started publishing this data in CD-ROM from 2004.

DGCIS statistics is extremely important for macro level data analysis. One can find out product and country wise (as also country and product wise) statistics for whole year from DGCIS publications.
You may find more information on DGCIS data including examples at Sources and Evaluation of Indian Foreign Trade Statistics

Customs department publishes port-wise “Daily List of Export and Import”. This list contains brief details of every shipment made through a seaport or airport. For more information including demo
data – check Eximstat Database

Step 2 – Identify Promising Markets

Identify five to ten large and fast-growing markets for products in your export basket. Check volume as well as trend for a historical perspective of 5 to 10 years. Ask critical questions – has market growth been consistent year to year ? Has there been a shift in product choice ? Was there a seasonal bias ?

For example – analysis of spice export data for last few years may show increasing sale of curry-type mixed powder spices and modest or decreasing sale of whole seeds.

Another example – increased rice export to Bangladesh may be traced to floods in that country rather than any long term change in demand profile. Such spurt in demand is unlikely to sustain for long and should be considered a temporary phenomenon.

In both cases – historical analysis of foreign trade statistics can help you identify seasonal bias or shift in demand.

Step 3 – Identify Emerging Markets

Identify some smaller but fast-emerging markets that may provide ground-floor opportunities. If the market is just beginning to open up, there may be fewer competitors than in established markets. Growth rates should be substantially higher in these countries to qualify as up-and-coming markets, given the lower starting point.

Step 4 – Assess Target Markets

Ascertain the sources of competition, including the extent of domestic industry production. Analyze factors affecting marketing and use of the product in each market, such as end-user sectors, channels of distribution, cultural factors and business practices. Finally, identify tariff and non-tariff barriers (if any) for the product being imported into the target country

Step 5 – Draw Final List

After analyzing the data, the company may conclude that its marketing resources would be applied more effectively to a few countries. In general, if the company is new to exporting, then efforts should be directed to fewer than ten markets. Exporting to one or two countries will allow the company to focus its resources without jeopardizing its domestic sales efforts.

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Direct Marketing Over Kill Trains Customers to Wait for Coupons

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Is it possible for a business to spend too much of its advertising dollar on direct-mail or direct marketing? Some experts believe it is and they have some pretty good rationale for why they believe this. For instance consider if you send out coupons all the time and you end up training your customers to wait for the coupon so that they can use it and then they come to expect the coupon and therefore if you ever stop sending out the coupons your customers will stop coming to the store.

That is unfortunate because the reason you send out coupons in a Money Mailer type direct-mail or direct marketing package is to get new clientele. The goal is to get in new customers and give them great service and then they want to come back and pay full price for additional services at a later date as well as spread the word-of-mouth advertising and give your company good referrals.

But what many small businesses find is that their previous customers and long-term customers start using the coupons as well and essentially you are taking regular customers who are use to paying full price and have no problem doing so and then training them to wait for the coupons and get the discount price, which you really intended for only your new customers, as a way to get them in on a loss leader. Please consider this in 2006.

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Marketing a Truck Wash Business

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Many excellent corporate marketers who are superstars in their own right will brain fart when given an unusual service to market. Let’s take marketing a truck wash business; How would you go about marketing the washing of trucks anyway? Well when we ask corporate marketers this subject they usually bomb big time and they do not seem to get it.

You see so often they will immediately consider trade journals, direct sales or brochures mailed to the corporate owners of truck fleets? Well sure that will get some customers, but if you only had one or two or even 5 truck washes, that would be a rather wasted effort. Direct sales makes sense but you might be sending sales teams around the country as all these over the road trucking companies which might pass by your truck stops or truck washes are all over the place you see?

The best way we have found is to go to driver lounges and tell the drivers to drop this off with the dispatchers and ask them to give you their truck dispatchers names and phone numbers so you can call the decision makers directly. Contacting a huge corporate giant trucking company directly will never get you to the dispatchers phone numbers. You have to work within their corporate system, but trying to go through the front door is a friggin disaster. So consider all this in 2006.

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Direct Mail Advertising and Thursday Advertising Rush

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

We have all been amazed at the inserts in the Newspaper that arrive on Thursdays from all sorts of retailers, so many pretty and colorful ads. One can only think thank God for recycling and some tree had to give its life for this bizarre American Shopping Marketing Ritual. Indeed we all throw most of this in the trashcans.

Some of us will carefully page through certain ones for perhaps coupons on future purchases. Well now lets consider direct mail advertising and the problems if the direct mailing packages that we business people are advertising in shows up on a coupon collecting Thursday or a business newspaper insert Sunday when the newspapers are also stacked with advertising?

If you are use direct marketing as part of your business marketing strategy then you should talk with your advertising representative or account executive to make sure you are satisfied that the direct mail package your brochures are in do not coincide with the newspaper insert peak days.

Otherwise information over load sets in and your information is likely to end up in the trashcan like all the rest and that is unfortunate considering you spent real marketing dollars in your company or small business to be included in that package. Please consider all this in 2006.

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A Guide To The Federal Direct Student Loan Program

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

In today’s competitive job market, a college degree is absolutely essential. The days where you could walk into a well paying job and carve out a lucrative career without qualifications are long gone. As a result more and more students recognize the importance of going to college in order to get the degrees. Even people who have been in the job market for a while recognized that if they want to climb up the career ladder they need to obtain a degree by going to college.

While a lot of people recognize that going to college and getting a degree combined with work experience can significantly increase their earning potential, they look at the costs involved and decide that it is just not practical and they can’t afford it.

The good news is that this might not necessarily be true and that funding is at hand through the means of Federal Direct Student Loans.

Quite simply federal direct student loans are loans made through the United States government Department of Education. These loans enable students to get funding for college in order to get a good education and obtain a suitable job.

They open up so many different opportunities for people from all sorts of backgrounds and economic situations. By receiving a Federal direct student loan it provides the means for going back to school or starting school.

It is worth noting that although the entire tuition, books and housing may not be fully covered during your time at college, a substantial portion will be making it a real affordable option. Another benefit is that the federal direct student loans do not require you to start paying the loan back until six months after graduation or if you fall below half time enrollment at a college or university. This gives you more than enough time to either settle into some employment after graduation or take on a part time job to supplement your earnings while you are learning.

The idea behind it is quite simple: to let the student graduate and find a job that utilizes the degree. The benefit is that the student will then have an increased salary because of their education and will then be able to easily pay off the loan. Thankfully, the loan payments are not high and if you can afford to pay more on the principle, then try to do so as you can get the entire thing paid off more quickly, allowing you to reap the full rewards of your salary each month.

Another huge advantage is that federal direct student loans can also be taken out by parents, grandparents or other direct relatives in order to help pay for the student’s education. A lot of parents and grandparents are keen to avoid their kids from obtaining debt before they have even stated work so this is a very popular option.

Your federal direct student loan isn’t handed on a plate to you though. In order to be eligible for a federal direct student loan, there is a short entrance counseling session that needs to be taken. It is nothing to worry about and shouldn’t put you off applying. It lasts approximately thirty minutes and is very valuable in showing you how to budget your college expenses so that you can make the repayments and start enjoying the full rewards of your salary as soon after your graduation as you can.

At the end of your college course when you are about to graduate or leave college, there is a similar exit counseling session that outlines your rights and responsibilities in repaying your loan to the government.

What if your situation changes during your time at college? Again, don’t worry as Federal direct student loans also manage deferments, forbearance and financial hardship issues. If you find that you are having problems with your loan, you should contact a counselor immediately for advice on how to handle it as there are several options available and they will be very sympathetic to your case.

Overall, Federal Direct Student Loans give potential students from all sorts of backgrounds the opportunity to be able to obtain a degree that might otherwise have been impossible.

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Benchmarking Your Marketing – The Regular Review For Performance

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Today Virtually Every Marketing Expense Should Be Tracked to Generate an ROI

As we approach mid-year and the summer lull, when vacations and good weather slow things down, it is a good time to step back and look at how your marketing plan is doing and make some adjustments. No matter how mature your company is it is likely you need to do this each quarter or at least twice a year.

In decades past companies spent 5% to 10% of revenue on marketing. Today in many industries this is more likely to be 20% to 30% of revenue especially when you include staff time. It used to be that advertising people could sell their wares based on “building image, awareness and brand”, some still try but even in consumer markets this is a disappearing phenomenon. Today each marketing expenditure should be tracked to actual sales as closely as possible. This does not mean that every sale can be traced to a single marketing expense. There are always some untraceable sales that are due to the cumulative effect of many things or because the customer can not remember where they heard about your business.

Here are some rules to live by when making marketing decisions today:

1. If You Can’t Track It Don’t Buy It – If you can’t measure a method then don’t spend money on it. This does not always mean precisely, as few things are 100% trackable but you must be able to see a boost in sales as a direct result. Use different landing pages, 800 numbers and other methods to insure at least relative measurement.

2. Repeat the Message to the Same People – It is almost always better to hit the same people 7 to 10 times than ten times as many people once. Generally exposures, or impressions, must get over five and ideally seven or more before people recognize and respond to your name or brand. This requires some real discipline as many people will quit too early and move on when response is slow at first. This just creates a never-ending cycle of low performance campaigns because none reach enough frequency to be effective.

3. Compare ROI Across Tactics – Look at the cost per thousand (CPM) impressions and cost per sale as comparisons across different tactics and media. Obviously some impressions (video) are worth more than others (small print ad) for many products and you are not comparing apples to apples but this at least gives you a baseline and intuitive sense of relative worth.

4. Target a Narrow Niche – Identify your best customer and be happy to narrow the target market based on the media and strategies you can use to concentrate your marketing spending against this group with a customized message.

5. Be Consistent – Make sure your message, brand and image is consistent to each target market and that whatever uniqueness (or unique selling proposition = USP) you have is a significant advantage for that group.

6. Benchmark and Measure Everything – Always have a benchmark and run this consistently, especially when you are trying new things. This will continue to generate your base level of business and help to compare the results of other trial expenditures. The overall market can have peaks and valleys. If you don’t have a benchmark for the same period you may throw out a good marketing approach just because it was put out there at the wrong time.

7. Leverage Outside Expertise – Always get outside help if you do not have someone with 10 plus years of marketing experience on your team. Even if you do just occasional reviews of your marketing plan this will generate results that exceed the cost. And by this I mean 10 years managing and designing the marketing campaigns, not writing copy or working as an assistant in the marketing department of some large firm.

8. Joint Venture – Look for joint venturing opportunities that are true win-win deals where you serve the same market and are not competitive but complimentary.

I know half of the money we spend on marketing is a total waste.
– I just don’t know which half.

What Does the Plan Look Like?

For very early-stage companies I am not big on long, formal marketing plans. Once your total marketing budget exceeds $250,000 this becomes more compelling but in most companies you can do this more informally before then. Things are too dynamic in the two or three years of a new product launch. You are better off experimenting frugally and using the learning from this to make rapid changes. You may write a paragraph on each marketing strategy and tactic just to force you to think through the ones you want to do and get input from others but don’t write a 50 page plan, as too much effort will go into adjusting in and it will clearly be obsolete quickly.

In a newer business (less than 3 years out there selling) you will likely be trying new things constantly. In fact if you are doing 10 things then most likely five are small experiments and five are your baseline marketing tactics that you know have worked in the past. All of these can work together better though if you know they all have a significant overlap with the same audience. Then each will add more to the others creating better returns. For example if there is an industry trade group that is a customer rich environment for you then you would do better to attend their tradeshow and buy an add in their newsletter or magazine and direct mail to their membership than do these three things to three different groups. The cumulative impact of all three will make your company more credible, memorable and seem like a market leader and each individual tactic will likely have better results.

I like to use a spreadsheet that shows columns for each of the following:

Media/tactic name and description

Total cost planned

Total impressions and/or repeats (placements)

Cost per thousand impressions

Sale revenue generated from this

Cost per sale, or the percentage of sales this media costs
Return on Investment (ROI)
Obviously the creative can have a huge impact on results but in print advertising the headline is 90% of the result. So change this until you get good results and don’t let creative types suck you into spending all your time and effort changing campaigns and looks. You are better to be consistent with an ugly add than constantly changing your look even if they are all “prettier”.

1. Target narrowly

2. Consistent message and look and feel

3. Repeat 5-10 times against the same audience

4. Track results closely

5. Review and repeat or try something else

Are You Shooting At A Moving Target?

In this day and age the cost and results from various marketing expenditures can change rapidly. It is no longer a given that the lifespan of a marketing tactic will be for many years. You now need to measure and look at the results monthly, or at least after each cycle or flight of marketing. This does NOT mean after each ad placement, but more likely after 5-7 repetitions of an ad. Of course direct mail and some things should produce results in the first wave.

With increasing media prices and reduced effectiveness public relations and advertorial are becoming much more important components of any marketing campaign. These too must be narrowly targeted to a niche of customers where you can offer something better than most.

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Contract & Interim Marketing Management Makes Sense

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Many companies over the last 5 years have been forced to cut their marketing staff and eliminate positions that were critical to their operations. Those positions include director, vice-president, and other marketing management positions including product management and product marketing. To counteract this trend and to overcome this shortfall, many companies are increasingly looking to outsource their marketing management functions to firms that can provide contract or fractional marketing managers at different levels of their organizations.

How can this work? Easily! This is the age of “renting” specific employee expertise, instead of “owning” it. A company that needs a vice-president of marketing who can provide strategy and direction can now contract that function for a fractional portion of a total full-time employee. Bring that person in on a weekly or monthly basis as necessary in order help plan and direct the marketing efforts without having to pay for that person a full time salary.

This strategy offers distinct advantages to a small or medium sized company trying to conserve its cash and keep its payroll under control. A top Vice-President of Marketing could cost $200,000 in today’s economy on a full-time basis. Many companies don’t need nor can they afford such a person on their team, but could greatly benefit from fractional portion of that person’s time. So if your company needs this type of talent part time (say a day per week), it could spend $40,000 a year and still have access to strategic thinking and the skill sets of a top marketing executive without having to pay for it on a full time basis.

We see this trend happening through the ranks of director-level marketing management, Internet marketing, product management and product marketing functions. Companies need to have these functions capable of servicing their organizations but don’t necessarily need them on a full-time basis. So they increasingly look to outsourcing or staffing firms that can provide a talented marketing leader on an ongoing basis, but part-time. This is a very cost effective strategy for organizations that are trying to grow and need access to human capital and marketing functions, while still being able to contain costs.

If your company is considering looking for a new vice-president of marketing but you are concerned about whether or not you can afford the salary of such a person, or if you’re looking for a Product Manager, a Product Marketing Manager or a Director Of Product Marketing to lead a team, consider the option of outsourcing this function through a marketing staffing firm who can provide you with this support, on a part time basis.

Product Management and Product Marketing fit this model perfectly. Many companies don’t need full time Product Manager in order to plan and roll out new products or provide support to their sales force, but they do need some form of product management either on a part-time basis or during peak periods of new product launches. These scenarios lend themselves perfectly to hiring a Product Marketing Manager on a part time basis from a staffing firm.

We see many companies that look for this sort of fractional or interim management support in order to get the necessary work done, while lowering their overall costs in staff functions that don’t directly relate to driving revenue. A fractional product manager or product marketing manager can perform all of the critical functions that are required in order to support new product rollouts, product development, and sales force training without having to be full-time on your staff.

Think about using a sales and marketing staffing and recruiting firm as a critical resource to bring in the people that you need in order to fill the gaps in your organization.

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Small Business Marketing Tip – Do You Know Where Your Brand Is?

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Your small business needs an identity that your customers can easily repeat to other people interested in your services. This is your Brand Banner and it is one of the most powerful weapons in your marketing arsenal. After you’ve uncovered the who of your brand, the next step is determining where your Brand Banner is planted relative to the competition. Only then can you really bring in your People and Package resources to effectively market your Brand to prospects, and reinforce your brand position to your customers and your employees.

If you don’t know where your brand is positioned in relation to your competitors, then no matter how well-written and executed your marketing and promotion plans are they are apt to steer you and your time and your money and your labor in the wrong direction.

If that’s the case, at least your competitors will be happy.

Often, marketers talk about how to “position” their product or service as if they are mind-controllers who actually determine where inside her brain a prospective customer will shelve the company’s brand. But this is one magic trick not easily pulled off; and there’s a vital point to remember for the small business owner.

Let’s imagine our marketing efforts are analogous to a person on a lake in a boat. Our brand is our boat. If we had a motorboat and were out on that lake, then we could just point our boat toward a point on shore of our choosing, thrust the throttles full ahead and–because we are under our own power–we’d head exactly in that direction.

But unfortunately we marketers don’t have a motorboat. We’re crewing a sailboat. Our small company’s brand is powered by the winds of people perception. One obvious wind is the picture of our brand held by the decision-maker(s) who have the power to actually buy our product. But often overlooked by companies, large and small, are the gusts provided by our referral sources; both customers and employees. A successful marketer must learn to tack with different winds in order to arrive at her destination–the safe shore of a sale.

Ever see a big company waste millions of dollars on advertising, trying to shove their position into a customer’s mind? Think of all the money the dot-coms spent a few years ago, trying to do just that. Well-paid executives with millions of dollars in ad budget mistakenly thought they were driving motorboats. Most sunk, because they didn’t learn that you can’t just buy your way into a person’s mind.

Of course both your People and your Package components will need to be brought into play to support your Brand’s position, but first it is absolutely critical to understand where that position is. The good news is that most of your competitors probably don’t know where their brand is in relation to you and their other competitors.

The bad news is that this state won’t last. An existing competitor will become a smarter marketer, or a new player with a deep knowledge of their brand’s place will enter the arena. Either way, it’s pressing for you to understand where your small company’s brand is at, now.

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Internet Marketing – Eight Ways To Boost Your Web Sales

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

1 Update your site regularly

This is a chore for both business owners and webmasters alike. Finding new
content can be difficult, but it essential to getting regular crawls from search engines and to attracting visitors back to your site. It is also a great reason for other sites to link to you. The best way to start this discipline is to put the task in your diary with a regular slot, say several hours a fortnight. Make sure that content will be of interest to your visitors by making it newsworthy or controversial if possible. Remember that the web is a graphical medium, and that changing photos and colours can also give your site a fresh look, if you have the skills to change them.

2 Collect email leads

People who have come to your site have been searching for products and information which is relevant to your business. Some may want to purchase products immediately and your web design should make this easy for them. However, some may be thinking about a future purchase and are looking for information. If your site looks like a good source of information, you could tempt them to give them your email in return for regular updates and even special offers. If they are doing this type of research they are likely to be willing to give you their details in return for further information. If they do give you their information, you must remember your side of the deal and you must give them interesting updates and offers and not just a heavy sales pitch or the same offers that they have seen before. A light touch always works better because of the natural fear that people have of spam.

3 Improve your search engine rankings

First, let me define two types of search engine optimisation (SEO). “White hat” techniques optimise websites using techniques that are within the guidelines laid down by the search engines. For example the Google guidelines are listed here. White hat techniques do not try to fool the search engines into giving false rankings. “Black Hat” techniques use a range of methods to improve the rankings of websites by fooling the search engine when it crawls the site. A blog on black hat techniques can be found here, although we recommend that you do not attempt to use any of them. The penalty for being caught is a lengthy ban for the listings as some high profile businesses have found.

If you are not familiar with SEO, contact your webmaster or an SEO expert.

4 Start a Blog

Blogs are one of the phenomenon’s of the recent internet history, but they are really only understood and used by a portion of the population outside of the US. In many ways, that is because most of these people see themselves as internet consumers of information, rather than people who can take part. Younger people, who have grown up with technology are less constrained.

So what is a blog? It is a series of web pages, where anyone can comment about anything that they want within reason. Why would that be remotely interesting? Well, it may be interesting to read first hand what life is like for an ordinary citizen in Bagdhad, for example. Also, most people has some form of expertise or special knowledge, and a blog gives them an opportunity to share what they know. The proof is, they say, in the eating. There is a blog created in the world every second, and quite a few of them are very highly ranked by search engines as authorities on their topics. If you can build this authority on a topic related to your site, you can link back to the site and bring both additional visitors and an improved search engine ranking. Regular blogging also gives site visitors some fresh content to keep them coming back to your site.

5 Put Your Website URL Everywhere

I am always amazed by businesses who will spend £5-10,000 on a website, but they do not use their own stationery to advertise their site. Put your URL on your headed paper, business cards, compliment slips, product packaging, invoices, and any other piece of printed material that you produce. Look for opportunities to draw visitors to your site. If you are recruiting, direct potential candidates to an “About Us” page on your site. Similarly, if you are looking for new suppliers, direct them to the site for more information. All of these activities builds awareness of your site and it makes it a part of how you do business, rather than just your brochure that you put on the internet.

6 Link promotions back to your site

If you run promotions or special offers, it is useful to direct customers to your site. As well as building awareness of your business online, it can be a very cost-effective way of giving information about the promotion or of fulfilling it directly. The internet can take the pressure off call center resources and can also help to smooth out peak demand when an offer first breaks. Your website is a good alternative to offer customers when phone lines are busy. If customers can place their orders themselves, this is the best solution for everyone.

7 Advertise on the internet

More and more people are using search engines to look for the best suppliers of goods and services. If you do not have the highest rankings in search engines for the keywords that people might use when searching for your product or service then it is worth investigating whether Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising could work for you. The way it works is simple. You create an account with a search engine of your choice. You select the keyword that you believe are relevant to your product and you tell the search engine how much you are willing to pay for each visitor to your site. You then need to put together a small ad for the search engine and, hey presto! you are advertising. The search engine will place ads in order starting with the highest bid. Ads are usually rotated during the day. The two vital things in getting PPC to work are to pick the right keywords and to write an ad that will draw the right visitors to your site. You can experiment with low cost keywords until you get it right, or you can seek the advice of an internet marketing professional.

8 Register with comparison shopping sites

If your website can take orders for products, take a look at comparison shopping sites like Kelkoo and Froogle. These sites rank well for the items that they list and they provide shoppers with information on where to get the best deals. While they are mainly price driven, they also contain information on delivery, availability, and other services that you may offer. If you have products available at a reasonable price, this is a great way to get your brand known in the market and to attract buyers to your site.

Not all of these actions will apply to every business, but if you implement 4 or more of them you will get a lead on the competition. The truth is that very few businesses are making the most of these opportunities, so if you are the first in your market, or your area, then you steal a march on the opposition.

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