Archive for January, 2012

Who is championing your business?

Who are the biggest fans of your business? Do you know who they are? Are you giving them any special attention? Are you showing them your appreciation? Do you have a relationship with them? Every business wants customers who rave about the business and drive word of mouth. Many times, though, a business owner is not aware of such fans. Identifying them can be done through a simple customer loyalty/reward program, or through social media or customer surveys. Vision Marketing has built entire marketing campaigns around such fans, who are unpaid spokespeople…and the most credible spokespeople for any business. Unpaid, though not unrewarded. Identify your business’ biggest fans, get close to them, reward them, and include them in your marketing outreach.  —  Darren Ballegeer

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Coupon desperation: Don’t discount your profits and brand

I know many business owners and managers have great difficulty in finding the right marketing approach, but giving away their product is never a good strategy. Online or offline, coupons and discounts are ineffective substitutes for real marketing programs. There are two main ways in which coupons are often poison to business. Firstly, a large discount or 2 for 1 offer is basically saying to the consumer that, “our product is not very valuable so we can afford to discount it”. This runs counter to the desired strategy of maximizing perceived value of your product and brand. Secondly, discounts attract the type of consumers who care more about price than value, quality, service, etc. We advise every business we speak with to focus more on value consumers. The coupon consumer will always be there. Businesses need to communicate more to the value consumers…before they join the coupon-led group.   — Darren Ballegeer

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Relationship selling a long-term investment

January 12, 2012 2 comments

Having commitment issues can make sales a bigger challenge. If you haven’t yet made the strategic shift to relationship marketing/selling, the longer you wait, the more costly the transition will be for your business. In a slow economy, many business owners feel more desperate and are more focused on the short-term or ‘right now’ sales to maintain cash flow. The only way, however, to real sales success is investing the time and content to nurturing relationships with current and prospective customers. The approach is not unlike a romantic relationship, which requires time, patience, and a sensitivity to the other person’s needs, desires, and fears. Too much pressure will push people away. Too little understanding will have them looking elsewhere for attention. Ask questions, be a good listener and respond to their needs and desires. Don’t shy away from discussing sensitive issues they may have about your product, company or industry. The role of content marketing and social media in marketing today is proof of people’s preference to engage with companies rather than just being targeted. Think long-term relationships.  — Darren Ballegeer

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Costly Marketing Error #1 – Lack of research

All effective communication starts with research, even if it’s basic. Researching the needs, wants, and concerns of customers (or members, donors, etc.) is the obvious place to start. And don’t shy away from the negative or ‘sticky’ issues – in fact, your research is a natural way to proactively raise issues that are often the cause of customer defection. If you are not motivated to use a system for research (even a basic one like email surveys), then do your research the old-fashioned way – talk to your customers.   — Darren Ballegeer

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The #1 Ethnic Marketing Truth

When I’m asked by business owners how they can get a bigger share of the Hispanic market or any ethnic market, I first answer with a question. When I’m asked about online marketing or social media, I respond with the same question: “Do you feel that your current communications are optimized?” I see too many advertising campaigns and other marketing efforts go to waste because the business owner has not yet gotten the basics right for their  general-market communications. So my recommendation is to optimize the basics of your marketing before you pursue other market segments. Clarify your unique market position and optimize your product offer and messages before spending additional money on marketing tools or spending any hours on social media. So my #1 ethnic marketing truth is really my #1 recommendation for any business or organization that is asking how can they attract more customers, donors, members, etc. Once they have the basics, then we can start talking about culturally relevant strategies and messages.  — Elena Miramar

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Business owners’ marketing fatigue

I love seeing the relief in a business owner or manager’s face when I explain why all or some of their marketing efforts are not generating the needed response. Unfortunately, many marketing services and products are sold to small and medium size businesses much like any other services or products. It can be bewildering for the decision makers at the business, who usually want a real solution. Nobody likes to get sold, but pressure and promises often rule the game. I urge all businesses to really question the people offering services – you need to know if they are a real marketing consultant or a just a salesperson who lacks understanding of your business, industry, and of marketing. Ask them about results they have delivered for other businesses. Ask them tough questions like ‘How can I know which of my marketing efforts are working?´Ask about measurement tools and programs. And certainly make sure to ask them how you can better stand out from your competitors. — Darren Ballegeer

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