Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One at a Time

Business Success is built one person at a time. So is Business Failure.

The key to success vs. failure is to please more people than you annoy.

So, my challenge to you is what are you doing to make sure you do that?

Take a look at how your phone calls are handled, how walk-in customers are treated, how follow up is taken care of and how problems are resolved.

I'm sure you can find some way to make some improvements. Those improvements will make a difference, one at a time.

Do you need more encouragement? Click here and watch this short video.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Look at Capitalism

A few random thoughts:

I saw my first Michael Moore film finally. Capitalism: A Love Story is a movie I would recommend, simply to get the discussion going about what our futures should be.

Currently our country is in the midst of a recession recovery. And while the politicians battle private vs. public ownership, I thought it would be a good time to look at why we have paid advertising media.

Over the weekend, I was channel flipping and at one time, I found more advertising than programs as I was skimming.

Here's an insiders look at all of this that I wrote nearly two years ago:

Recently, there has been several signs that the printed newspaper could disappear. Declining circulation numbers over the past 10 years have led many papers to shut down. Cities that offered both a morning paper and afternoon paper, have become scarce. In Fort Wayne, our two papers operate under a Joint Operating Agreement, otherwise we would have been a one paper town years ago.

Television viewership has been declining recently too. Why? Perhaps it is because we have more channels available, so each channel has a smaller number of viewers. Maybe it is also because of the alternatives made possible where we can time shift our viewing to suit ourselves with Tivo and DVR's... it is also possible to watch some shows online via the internet.

Radio, the profession I started working in when I was 16 is also continuing to be challenged for listeners with the growth of alternatives such as more radio stations, Ipods, the internet, etc.

These three mediums (Radio, TV, & Newspapers) are not what they appear to be. You might think that the News that you read or watch is about journalism. That the Music that you hear is about artistic expression. I used to think this too when I was on the air as a radio personality. It's not what you think it is.

So what is it?

Newspapers, Radio Stations, Television Channels, Magazines, and their associated websites are all about the money. And this is not bad, no, it actually is good and honest.

Each of these mediums provide a marketing platform that is designed to attract a certain group of people. The advertising that is contained on these mediums with commercials and ads pay for these mediums to exist. And you and I as consumers are influenced by these advertising messages to spend our money with the advertisers.

Here's how you can help keep your favorite TV show on the air, or radio station on the air, or newspaper or magazine around. Pay attention to the advertisers. Buy from them. Tell them where you heard about them. Write a letter to the president of the company or store thanking them for advertising with your favorite radio station or TV program.

This is the way it works in this country of ours, and for that I'm thankful.

And now you know the truth.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marketing vs. Advertising

From my own archives 3 1/2 years ago... still true today:

Marketing vs. Advertising. What works and why?

1. Marketing is the BIG Picture. Marketing includes many different elements that add up to how you and your company are perceived by the public.

2. EVERYTIME a person thinks about you/your company, an impression is being made, either positive, negative, or somewhere in between.

3. These impressions add up to create the overall image of you/your company.

4. What causes a person to think about you/your company?
• A conversation specific to you/your company.
• A conversation about a competitor of you/your company.
• An overheard remark about you/your company, or your competitor.
• Advertising for you/your company, or your competitor.
• A hands-on experience with you/your company, or your competitor.
• Other sensory experiences that trigger a thought about you/your company, or your competitor. (The aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the sound of an ambulance, the touch of a little child’s sticky hands)

5. Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. There are internal and external elements to your marketing. Let’s start with the internal:
• First customer contact. Telephone? How is the phone answered? What is the mood and tone of voice of the person answering? Is it inviting and welcoming or does the person answering sound rushed, bothered, or unfriendly. Same concepts for your walk in traffic. What are the impressions you and your staff project to your clients and potential clients? What improvements need to be made?
• Follow up and service. Is there anything lacking? (Nearly everyone and every business have at least on area that could use improvement. Find out what could be improved with you/your company.
• Ask, and work to improve, instead of making excuses. There is a bit of truth in every complaint. Also find out what people are not complaining about.

6. External marketing. This is often what we call advertising. Questions to ask:
• Is it consistent? Do you present a uniform picture to the public of what you are about and why they should do business with you? (The opposite is a scattered, all things to all people, confusing, and blurry image for you/your company)
• Are you using the most effective mediums to leverage your time and resources? Until recently drug companies did not advertise directly to consumers for prescription medicines. For dozens of years, they spent their time and money going directly to the doctors to convince them to prescribe their medicines. Who are your most likely customers? Are you inviting them to use you? How are you doing it? There are strengths and weaknesses of Radio, TV, Billboards, Internet, Newspapers, Direct Mail, Magazines, and each one of these are effective for the right business, when matched up properly with realistic goals and objectives.
• Networking is one way to get the word out about you/your company, if you understand what it can and cannot do. Give the people you network with the information so they will a)want to recommend you to others (EMOTIONS) and b) understand why to recommend you to others (FACTS)

7. You/your company, does not operate in a vacuum. Consumers need to know why they should buy from you/your company instead of your competition. EVERYONE HAS COMPETITION. I want to know why I should give YOU my money instead of spending it on something else or somewhere else. Too many businesses fail because they fail to recognize this principle.

8. Understand that your marketing and advertising needs to be designed to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS with current and future customers. Building relationships take time and exposure. People want to feel good when they spend their money and it is a combination of facts and emotion that produces that good feeling. The more personal a message is, the easier it is to build that relationship. That’s why I prefer radio for many of my clients, because it is a very personal medium that involves talking, imagery, emotion, and facts. It can also be cost effective depending on what needs to be accomplished to produce a nice return on investment. And it can be used in combination with other mediums to enhance an advertising and marketing program.

For more information, contact Scott Howard at Scott@ScLoHo.net

Friday, October 9, 2009

Join the Conversation, An Introduction to Social Media & Marketing

Friday morning, I gave the following presentation to a group of business professionals who were curious about Social Media and Social Marketing... You may need to download the powerpoint presentation from here to watch the two videos that are included.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Best Ideas

are not formed in a vacuum.

Often the best ideas are from a variety of sources and then revised, updated, and made relevant for who you want to reach.

Friday morning, I am presenting a seminar on social media and marketing and I'll be using material that others have produced. I will include videos, powerpoint slides and a few handouts. Most of the material is borrowed from other sources. And I will give the other sources credit for their work.

What about your business? Do you recycle ideas that worked in the past? Do you watch others and see what they have done that you can adapt to your marketing?

By the way, here are the details for Friday:

Join the Conversation! Social Media & Marketing

Friday, October 9, 2009 - 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM

Find out what the Social Media Craze is all about, where it came from, what’s going on, and where it’s going!

So, you’ve heard about words like
Social Media, Social Marketing, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and you’re wondering,
“ What’s this all about?” “Is this just a fad?” “It’s just for kids?” or perhaps, “It all sounds pretty stupid and a waste of time!”

No matter what you are thinking, people are talking about you, your business, your competitors, and you need to join the conversation.

Find out what the Social Media Craze is all about, where it came from, what’s going on, and where it’s going.

You’ll discover the power of communication that can keep you in touch with your current, former, and prospective customers.

About Our Speaker

Scott Howard is the founder of ScLoHo Marketing Solutions based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since 1986, he has created advertising and marketing campaigns using radio, print, direct mail, and a multitude of internet based media and marketing options.

Since 2003, he has been with Summit City Radio as a Senior Sales Executive, Station Manager, Teacher, Trainer and Mentor.

Scott writes, edits and publishes 5 blogs including 2 on Marketing, Advertising and Sales:

ScLoHo’s Collective Wisdom (http://sclohonet.blogspot.com/) is updated 25 to 30 times each week with sales training tips, marketing and advertising news and social media information.

The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo (http://sclohonet-thebook.blogspot.com/) is updated weekly. If Scott were to take the time to write a book on marketing, these would be the chapters!

Scott was recently asked to write a piece on Marketing and Advertising for the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce Emphasis newsletter, which was published and distributed in the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly August 21, 2009.

Services provided by ScLoHo Marketing Solutions include:
-Internet and Social Media Services
-Marketing Plan Consulting and Implementation
-Radio and Specialized Print Advertising Options
-Personalized Sales Training and Coaching

Scott serves on the Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne as the Vice President of Membership.


Who Should Attend: Anyone wondering what Social Media is... if it can help your business ... and why you might want to participate in it!
Where: TQM Network Learning Center - Leadership & Learning Center
Directions: The TQM Network Learning Center is located 825 Barr Street. Parking is available at meters surrounding the building or the parking garage on the corner of Wayne & Barr. Some limited free parking is available on the side of the building.

The event will be held in the Lower Level Conference Room.
Speaker/Instructor Scott Howard, ScLoHo
Cost: $100 for non-members.
No cost for members.
Registration: You may register online at www.tqmnet.com. Click on the 'Register Now!' button. You may also send an email to register@tqmnet.com, or call Jamie at 260-557-7665.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Plan

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day to day, week to week process of running our businesses and our life overall, we neglect to put together a plan.

Yeah, I'm going to toss out the big words for a moment and simply call this your Plan.

The most successful and the least successful people you know have the same amount of time each day. Time is the great equalizer.

However it really doesn't matter how much you get done each week, if it isn't a part of your plan.

My challenge to you, (and me!), is to create a direction you want to go and include why you want to go in that direction with your company and your life.

Then once you know where you are wanting to go, you can start to put together your plan.

Over the past 20 plus years, I have seen organizations that put together plans, without knowing what direction they wanted to go, and this is backwards.

I've also seen organizations without a plan and without a direction, spend money and time on marketing and advertising efforts that they should not have done; and if they had a plan, they wouldn't have.

Finally, I've seen organizations that are going to stick rigidly to a plan and ignore the changes in the marketplace and as a result, die a slow miserable death.

Let's wrap this up with 3 tips:

  1. Decide what direction to go.
  2. Put together a Plan to take you there
  3. Measure all the marketing and advertising opportunities against #'s 1 & 2. If they fit, consider them. If they don't fit, double check your direction and plan to see if they are still relevant for you and if they are, then say no (for now) to those opportunities.