Tag Archives: small business marketing
By Leslie R. Wolff, A Marketing & Creative Tactician
Caught your attention didn’t I? That’s the premise in putting a P.I.M.P. (Proprietary Integrated Marketing Platform (or Program) to work for the benefit of your business.
If one is willing to make the effort they can create an approach to their marketing effort that doesn’t focus only on imitating, duplicating or replicating what others do. Surprisingly it’s not that difficult.
“You’ve gotta be original, because if you’re like someone else, what do they need you for.” – Bernadette Peters
So why is it so rare? One aspect is attitude, if one is afraid of leading the way, due to a totally risk averse outlook as it relates to their job function, it will never occur, perhaps until their replacement is hired Continue reading
This Dumb Marketing Move goes to Comcast.
Email marketing is a big deal. When a customer gives a company their email, it is quite the step for the customer. It’s a line into their personal life. With that said, I ran across an article about Comcast’s email marketing that seemed….sneaky. It was a new product, never introduced to this customer and they thought it was spam.
Here is the email they received:
Dear Comcast Customer,
Your immediate attention is required. Constant Guard™ identified that one or more of your computers may be infected with a “Bot”. We strongly recommend that you visit the Comcast Constant Guard Center at https://constantguard.comcast.net for important information on how to remove malicious software from your computer(s).
A “Bot” is malicious software or malware that is used to gain control of your computer, typically without your knowledge. Online criminals can use Bots to collect your personal and private data, such as Social Security numbers, bank account information, and credit card numbers by monitoring your keystrokes. This can lead to identity theft and fraud.
We appreciate your prompt attention to this important online security notice.
Comcast Customer Security Assurance
Lesson Learned: As a company, small or large, you must respect each and every email. If you don’t, you can easily lose a customer’s trust, they will want off of your email list, which means you lose most of your contact with this customer. Yes, there is social media but more than likely once you cross the line of making a customer feel uncomfortable in their inbox, they’re done. So remember, when introducing a new product, do it with integrity; your customers will see right through it otherwise.
This week’s Smart Marketing Move goes to Ghost Tour of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has many tours for tourists, and locals, to enjoy. There are multiple ghost tours too, but we decided to take this one.
We got our tickets and moved to the Signers Garden, where we had to wait for the tour guide. Our tour guide was right on time, but he made a grand entrance. Dressed in a black cloak and carrying a candle-lit lantern, he went into the middle of the garden and didn’t say a word. This really set the scene for a walking ghost tour. I’ve seen other ghost tours walking around and the guides just wear glow in the dark sticks. That doesn’t scream “good tour” to me.
At the very beginning of the tour, we were told by the luminous tour guide, ”The stories I will be telling you are from many interviews, extensive research and various books. We pride ourselves on being storytellers, not paranormal investigators. And, that’s just what I’ll be doing here tonight, telling you stories…ghost stories.” Unlike the Dumb Marketing Move from the Mural Arts Tour (click here to read) this tour guide knew the facts and stories by heart, the real ghost stories. He didn’t ask if there were any questions, but personally, I don’t think it was necessary.
Our tour guide was entertaining and kept everyone’s attention. The stories he told were enough to make skeptics enjoy the tour. At the end of the tour, I said thank you to the tour guide and learned that he was an actor and that all of the tour guides with Ghost Tour of Philadelphia go through a training process. Smart!
Lesson Learned: A key element of marketing is customer service, it is also one of the easiest things to improve at the least cost. Employees need to be trained to think customer service all the time, when they do they will shine through and your company will more than likely receive a bad review either online or through word of mouth. Remember, your employees are an integral part of your marketing; proper training can make or break you. How can your employees improve? Who needs training? A smart company has a two way conduit for its employees to share ideas that will improve the customer experience. In doing so, you will dramatically enhance one of the most powerful marketing tools in existence today, Word of Mouth Approval and Recommendation and once you tap into that, your company can maintain a steady income as well as happy returning customers.
Their branding efforts have spread like wild fire and they should get some credit. What do you think of when you hear breast cancer awareness? PINK. They have done a fantastic job at making a color theirs. This is what branding is all about.
Their biggest step was the pink ribbon campaign. Here’s the background:
Ribbons have been used to express solidarity on the part of the wearer with the identified cause since the early to late 20th Century. Pink Ribbons (and the color pink) are used to express support for women (and men) who are diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors.
The next year, Alexandra Penney, who was the editor-in-chief of Self, a woman health magazine, was working on the second annual National Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. Evelyn Lauder, who was the senior corporate vice president at Estée Lauder, was invited to be the guest editor of the NBCAM issue edition in 1992. Penney and Lauder came up with the idea to create a ribbon and to enlist the cosmetics giant to distribute it in stores in New York City. Evelyn Lauder then promised to spread the ribbons throughout the entire country, but a color for the ribbon was not yet decided upon.
Charlotte Hayley, who battled breast cancer, produced peach color ribbons. She sold them with a card saying, “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is 1.8 billion US Dollars, and only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon”. Her message spread fast. This made Penny and Evelyn Lauder interested in Hayley’s concept. They offered to adapt Hayley’s idea by working with her. But Hayley rejected the offer, saying that they were too commercial.
After discussing opportunities with Lauder, Hayley and their lawyers, they came up with a “new” color. The new color of the ribbon was pink and became an international symbol for breast cancer awareness.
Lesson Learned: Even though this example is on a large scale, branding is an important step you must not miss in your business. This includes your logo, business cards, website, letterhead, t-shirts, etc etc etc. Remember, a strong brand influences the buying decision and shapes the ownership experience.
I was in a Borders bookstore yesterday looking for a children’s series which I specifically needed books #30 and above. However, they were missing numbers 30,31, and 32. I called my daughter-in-law and found the books needed to be read in order…
I asked a store staff (Asst. Manager) to tell me if there was any inventory on #30. She told me if “I” didn’t have the name…”she” couldn’t look it up. I told her that she should try searching under the author. Of course ALL the numbers books came up.. I was holding six books in my hand numbers 33-38 at $ 7.99 each…
She told me they were out of stock on the three books I couldn’t find and I asked her if she could order them for me.
I have seen signs in the store saying they would order books not in inventory.
Promptly after asking her if she could order them she told me she was very busy and that I could go to the corporate website and order them myself (at home).
I laughed and actually asked if she realized that she had just asked me to leave the store. She didn’t understand, so I handed her all the books I had in my hand….. and left. I’m sure she’ll be telling someone about that idiot who was being unreasonable, but I’m sure it was the first thing I did right in the whole interaction.
CEO Lesson Learned : Don’t hire cheap inexperienced help by giving them inappropriate titles. Yes, payroll drops, and yes, they are stupid enough to work without benefits that a real employee would want/need. Truth be known. Your sales goes down in direct relationship to the quality of the sales and sales service staff…….
Garbage in— Garbage out!
Pete Ticali, Director
MLA Training Center
Customer service is a big part of marketing because employees are building relationships with customers, as opposed to a customer viewing advertisement on television or a large billboard. A company can potentially lose a customer due to the fact that one individual will more than likely tell ten or more people about their bad experience. Management neglecting to properly train and analysis employee interaction with customers can be a costly decision.
Who thought that the Postal Service was good at marketing?
I’m sure most haven’t even thought of it but I’m sure we all know someone, or heard of someone collecting stamps! The first stamp was from England with a young Queen Victoria. It wasn’t until the 30’s, in the US, when older stamps that were shaped as a triangle became rare and people thought that they were to become valuable since very few were not used and/or torn.
The smart marketing move wasn’t just the value that these little stamps promised, it was the limited editions! Although this might have been on purpose, the Postal Service created collectible limited edition prints, almost as artists do today. This made the stamps worthy of holding onto and not using. Brilliant!
While still making ordinary stamps, they continued to make stamps with all sorts of designs, like the Simpsons stamps that are out right now. Basically, someone is paying for a service and not using it. Although, as a business you want people to use your services they buy, this was a great idea on making something ordinary collectible.
Lesson Learned: Ask yourself; is there something we offer already that will offer more value to my customers? Or ask can I make something we offer collectible? There is always an opportunity that is not being taken advantage of in every business.
This week’s Dumb Marketing Award goes to GoToWebinar
Just when I think I have to find another example of a dumb marketing move, there it is happening to me. This week we are searching for a webinar software for a new webinar series, “Smart Marketing for Small Business”™. In our search, we decided to go with GoToWebinar (GoToMeeting’s sister company).
I call and give my information to the person who answered, that’s a good move, a person answering the phone. Then she told me that she is going to transfer me to a sales person who can answer my questions about features. She transfers me and I get voicemail. Odd, but I thought, maybe this isn’t too bad. They called me back within 30 minutes.
I have a good talk with the rep, he answers all of my questions and he says that he’ll email his contact info and the set up instructions. Perfect! An hour later, there’s no email so I call back and the phone just rings and rings. Eventually, I get a recording to leave a message, so I did.
I waited another hour and half and still no email or no call back from our first call. So I called back and someone answered! I explained the situation, told them the reps name so he would get the sale, and I was put on hold for 15 minutes. The receptionist didn’t tell me why I was on hold for so long, or that the rep was on the other line with a customer. Nothing. So I just hung up.
So, we call back again since we were still waiting on the sign up email or a phone call back, and this time we left a very disappointed voicemail regarding their service, since no one answered again. We explained that their lack of attention to our phone calls and our interest in PURCHASING made us question their product.
All of this happened over two days ago, we never received a phone call or the promised email, so we don’t think this is just human error. We think it is lack of organization and management. This all boils down to that they lost a sale.
So now, we’re searching for another company.
Lesson Learned: Even though you have good rapport with a customer and they said they want to buy your product, follow through and attention to details is a very important quality. Just look at GoToWebinar. They lost a customer and now we’re telling others about it. “Take care of your customers or your competition will.” – Anonymous