Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking Forward by Looking Back-2

Last week, we went thru an exercise to help you identify what changes you want to make in 2010, based on what you have learned in 2009.

Today, we're going to take that information and apply it to your future.

Get out the papers you wrote on last week and read thru them one more time. Are there any answers you want to change? Do it now. Then come back. I'll wait.

Now, let's dig into the marketing of your business that you are designing for 2010 and beyond.

Remember, what matters most is relationships.

Now that you have some concrete ideas on who you and your business are and who you want to be, the next step is to communicate in a consistent manner to your customers and clients your message.

Your message is your brand, your identity, it is what people think about you and if you examine and design your marketing to convey your message with the purpose of forming relationships, then you are on the right track.

There are multiple ways to convey your message, but you need to keep it consistent, even in the indirect messages your business conveys.

You also get to chose which media's you want to use, but remember that you should commit to that media for a long time.

Why? Because you are building relationships and those relationships are built on trust which comes with familiarity. If you try something for a week, or a month and give up because you haven't seen results, you are aborting your plan and wasting your time and money.

Cellphone contracts of two years in length are now the standard. Retail leases of 5 to 10 years are common. When you hire an employee, you expect them to last a few years, right ? So think of your advertising and marketing with the same time commitment.

And instead of relying on what form of media YOU listen/watch/read; determine which form of media your potential customers listen/watch/read. There is enough research out there to answer that question and if you are in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area, I can help.

Email me at Scott at ScLoHo.net

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Looking Forward by Looking Back-1

I turned 50 years old this month. For awhile, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about being 50, until last month, when my son turned 25.

Then I thought back to what my life was like when I was his age, and all that has occurred since then. And I started getting excited about the next 25 years I'll live.

Let's apply that to your business.

If you knew a year ago, what you know now, would you have done the same things you have done in the past 350+ days?

That's not a yes or no question.

Dig Deeper.

What are the best parts of 2009?
What were the worst parts?

What did you learn?
What don't you understand?

What do you not want to do anymore?
What do you want to do more of?

Let's go even deeper to make things even better, but first write down your answers. Put the paper down and pick it up again a couple times before next Tuesday, when we finish this exercise.

Oh, and a couple more rules. Don't erase anything, or black it out. If you want to change something or use a different word, just cross out with a single line and continue.

Enjoy Christmas and I'll have part 2 on December 29th.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Complete Package

I think I'll repeat this post once a year...

You may have noticed the phrase on the right side of this page, "Marketing is so much more than advertising..."

But why?

Advertising is a part of your marketing.

Advertising is a paid form of marketing that you can control.

It's the invitation for people to do business with you.

I sometimes use the invitation comparison like this:

What if you decided to have a party. It was going to be one BIG Extravaganza! You hired a band, a caterer, rented a reception hall, spent tons of money on getting everything all set for 500 people but you left out one key element: You never sent any invitations with the details.

No matter how much planning you put into your party, if you don't invite anyone, no one will show up.

Same thing with your business. That's the purpose of advertising. To get peoples attention to what you have to offer.

Marketing is the whole customer experience. It includes the way your phone is answered, the way your staff treat customers and potential customers. The professional appearance of you, your staff, the vehicles you drive, the way you handle complaints, the way you thank people for doing business with you.

There's the way your building looks, the way your website looks, and the image they project. Your business card, your follow up and follow through. The way you and your staff conduct yourselves in your off hours, that "personal time".

Each of these items build on each other. It can be a delicate balance like the stack of stones in the picture.

If any of these marketing issues are lacking, no amount of paid advertising can fix them. Sure, you can try and compensate for a bad location with excellent service, but advertising... that's another animal.

As you prepare for the new year and deal with a new economy, you have an opportunity, and a necessity to work on all of these areas that I've tossed into the marketing arena, including advertising.

Need help?

Contact me at Scott@ScLoHo.net

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

End of the Year

If you are in retail, this is one of the most stressful times of the year. Because it's make it or break it time.

Should you extend your hours to be available to any and all potential customers? Will you be burnt out by the time you finally get a day off to celebrate the holidays with family? What about staffing, bonuses, or even survival in 2010?

Hard questions I know.

If you are in an office or sales environment, it's also crunch time. The last two weeks of this month may be the least productive of the entire year, because of short weeks and Christmas/New Years.

Please don't toss in the towel and take a mental vacation when you can be using this time to prep and plan for 2010.

This may be the end of 2009, but it's also the beginning of 2010. Do when you need to do right now and you'll be thankful next month.