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Why marketing is like dating (#2)

Desperation is never attractive. On a first date or in any interaction with a potential love, even a hint of desperation can defeat your otherwise good efforts to sell yourself (or be yourself). Most sales promotions, discounts and other offers that businesses rely on are desperate by definition – “We can’t think of any good reasons for you to become our customer, so here is our desperate sales offer of the week”, is what many offers are essentially saying to the target. If your marketing messages sound desperate and are not communicating any of your (product’s) virtues, you (or your business) are more likely to be lonely. If your communications and offers are more focused on closing the sale than they are on connecting, then you will need luck to get lucky. Define what makes your product or business great and lead with messages that connect and attract instead of offers that communicate nothing about the heart of your business. Desperate tactics are usually the domain of retail businesses, though B2B businesses are also guilty – a topic for a future post.  — Darren Ballegeer

Categories: Uncategorized

Does your website answer these questions?

The true measure of any marketing communications tool is how well it communicates, not how it dazzles visually or how much information it contains. In my client work, this truth is probably the one I share the most often with business owners and managers. The effectiveness of your business’ website (or any tool) depends on how well it answers:

1. What exactly does your business sell and to whom?

2. What is your value proposition?

3. Why should someone do business with you vs. a competitor?

4. What action (next step) should a prospect take, and why?

Of course, the answers to these should already be part of your offline communications – if not, then that´s a good place to start. When redesigning your website to clearly answer these questions, please have your content and design reviewed by a marketing communications expert – web designers are not communicators any more than communicators are web designers!  — Darren Ballegeer

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Slow sales? Review your communications.

“We can’t increase our sales and we can’t afford to compete on price anymore,” a business owner recently told me…as many business owners have. Helping them understand how to boost sales and compete more strongly usually starts with a quick review of their marketing tools and content, which often: 1. Fail to differentiate the product or communicate competitive advantages, clear product benefits, or a clear target market. 2. Lack a low-risk call-to-action for the prospect. 3. Are not designed to convert a prospect to a customer. 4. Lack a compelling incentive for the prospect to take action. Attention to these common issues can transform your marketing tools and your sales results. With a brief audit done, even a little research and messaging work will create something far more effective. Contact me for a no-cost audit of any one of your marketing tools – darren@ballegeer.net – Darren Ballegeer

Categories: Uncategorized

How to maximize response to your ad, social post, any content.

Optimize your content by giving attention to the fundamentals of communication: 1. Who – who exactly are you speaking to and what are their top desires, problems, questions? 2. What – what exactly do you want them to understand and what specific action do you want them to take? 3. Why – why should they take action and why should they do business with you instead of your competitors? To optimize any communication, you need to start with the fundamentals or you will likely waste a great deal of time and resources – it happens to many smart managers and business owners.  — Darren Ballegeer

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“A marketing agency is 85 % confusion and 15 percent commission.”

That was the comment to a recent post on the Vision Marketing blog – we instantly recognize it as an example of the widespread (but rarely discussed) dissatisfaction with marketing agencies. We agree that many marketing agencies and consultants are better at selling and billing than bringing sales results to clients. Many of them are confused themselves about how marketing can drive sales while others simply exploit the grey area of strategy and results in order to avoid accountability. We at Vision Marketing call it ‘Marketing’s profitable dysfunction’, which will be the subject of a future post. On the flip side, some responsibility for the confusion belongs to business owners and managers who make many assumptions about marketing and who often don´t commit the same due diligence as they do when vetting a lawyer, accountant, etc. How to vet a marketing agency will also be covered in a future post here. — Darren Ballegeer

Categories: Uncategorized

Stop! Questions to ask before you spend more in marketing

Before you change your website, post on Facebook, pay for advertising, sponsor an event – before you spend any more money and effort on your marketing communications, ask yourself…Who exactly are you trying to target? What do they care about? What are their issues? What are their issues related to your type of product or service? How will they benefit from doing business with you? What is unique about your business and why should people choose your business over your competitors? Finally, are the answers to these questions reflected in your marketing messaging/content? These questions are the nitty gritty of real marketing strategy – don’t avoid them, and don’t let your marketing partners and providers ignore them. — Darren Ballegeer

Categories: Uncategorized

Clarifying your business identity

Your marketing can be very costly if you are not communicating a clear and accurate identity for your business. A recent client of mine owned a small chain of upscale massage clinics and his past marketing was conveying a near–luxury type of spa experience…though after visiting the business and doing a briefing with him, it was clear that the business was more about therapy and healing. His desire to present a certain image led him to communicate an inaccurate (and ineffective) market position for his business. How you are presenting your business through all communications channels needs to fit your value proposition. It needs to represent the unique value your business provides. If the position is not accurate, your communications will not reach your true target market.  — Darren Ballegeer

Categories: Uncategorized

If you build it, will they come?

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

No matter how unique and amazing your new business is, there is no guarantee that you will attract enough customers. If you have created something unique and have true confidence in your vision, you will attract customers if you have clearly defined who they are. You understand your business and its unique value, but you need to clearly define who your business is for. Define who and where they are. Define their values, desires, needs and philosophy. The more precisely you can define them, the easier it will be to find and attract them. And you should define your target market before you launch your business. Define it, base your marketing plan on it, build and open your business, then communicate.
— Darren Ballegeer

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Things lost (and gained) in Spanish translation

February 6, 2012 2 comments

Businesses and non-profits are motivated to reach out to all segments of the Hispanic community, but what are they losing when they do a rush job of their Hispanic marketing and communications? Targeting a segment other than general-market should always require some thinking and planning so that the communications are not simply a translation of your standard info or sales pitch. Read the full article by Elena Miramar on our newspaper site here.

 

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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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