Archive for the 'Marketing' Category
Following our discussion earlier this week about the cost of owning your brand, I thought it best to look at best practices to build that brand personally. In order to understand what is important to your business its imparative for you to understand who and what you are as an entrepreneur. Pulled from the Globe and Mail’s article, ”Ten ways to build up your peronal brand“, the key points to retain are the following:
1. We are faced with an influence economy. Social capital is the new goodwill. Tools for measuring social capital are rapidly evolving, based on metrics such as quantity and quality of friends and followers and the ability to influence actions among them. Tweets and retweets, shares and likes, being circled and adding +1s are the currency of the new influence economy.
2. Pay attention to influence metrics, but don’t obsess. While there are tools, like Klout and Hootsuite that are trying to quantify your brand in terms of engagement, influence, expertise and trust. These scoring schemes are getting smarter. That being said, do not to ignore nor obsess about them. Build your personal brand on quality content and personal engagement and you will be well-served in the long run.
3. Filter quality content to express your unique brand. By investing the time to find and share what you consider the best information in your area of expertise, you provide a valuable service to your social network and cast your brand in a positive light.
4. Be a giver and a helper. Social media is predominantly based on the collective sense of helping others. Adding value to online discussions and helping people to discover new ways of understanding evokes a reciprocity in them. Blatant self-promotion or selling is easily filtered out. If education is the new marketing, then helping could be seen as the new selling.
5. Your personality is your greatest asset, feel free to share it. Personality is the distinguishing factor in many human interactions. But be careful: you still need to filter and decide what is appropriate to share and what isn’t. Sharing personality is different that sharing private information. Understand the difference.
6. You can outsource lots of things, but not your voice. Your brand is the product of your interactions, contributions and engagements within your social networks. That is not to say that you can’t enhance your personal brand with external advice, strategy and services. But don’t think you can hire someone to create your voice for you – any more than you can hire someone to go to the gym and workout for you.
7. Be knowable, likable and trustworthy. Conduct yourself with civility and generosity toward others and, generally speaking, try to be a liker not a hater. Be credible, reliable and personable, while keeping your selfish instincts in check.
8. Invest in thought leadership. Sharing your proprietary intellectual capital is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise and leadership. But, how do you build a business on something you’ve given away for free? If sharing your knowledge grows the market for your services and your leadership within that market, then there’s more to gain than lose.
9. Personal brands compete with corporate brands. Social media has empowered individuals to build a direct audience through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email direct marketing, etc. And there’s increasing evidence coming from online influence measurement to suggest that personal brands actually exert more pull than established corporate brands in the social media space.
10. Like it or not, you are a personal brand. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, whether you’re in sales or marketing or you’re a business professional, if you are engaged in an occupation in which you rely on your reputation you probably should be thinking seriously about your personal brand. Everyone else is.
There is no argument that in today’s economy it is important to differentiate and value a company’s brand. But have you considered how much your brand is worth to your company? The Globe and Mail’s Bryan Borzykowski tells the story of an Ontario based company looking to protect its corporate image at a very high price.
Sean Brophy, the owner of Spaces Self Storage Centres Inc., in Kingston, Ont., has plans to take his company across Canada. This goal has cost him at least $25,000 to protect his brand name and is more complicated, expensive and challenging than he’d ever considered. Now Sean finds himself in a bind, trying to determine if there are alternatives to trademarking the brand that could save his business thousands of dollars.
Some experts in trademarking weigh in - their advice and the full article can be found here.
I recently read a great article from Flying Solo that proclaims some of the most successful entrepreneurs became so later in life. This is such an enlightening change of thought as we live in a culture where we try to accomplish everything right now. Colonel Sanders began KFC while he was in his sixties, and Ray Kroc launched the first McDonald’s franchise when he was firfty-nine. Most results we are looking for in business come when we least expect them, so just enjoy the ride! Remember, you don’t need to accomplish everything right at this very moment, you have lots of time ahead of yourself to create successful businesses. You can read the whole article here: In Praise of Blooming Late.
Are you the type that gets attracted by new shiny objects? The latest gadgets, marketing tools, ideas and opportunities that come your way that take you (or your mind) off course? It’s tempting to switch course when you think what you’re doing isn’t working, because you’ve tried it once or twice or a few times and you’re not seeing results.
Don’t switch course, just yet. Marketing takes time and requires commitment to a strategy for a period of time before seeing results. Just take a look at the excerpt below from Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing on responding to advertisement:
- The first time a man looks at an ad, he doesn’t see it.
- The second time, he doesn’t notice it.
- The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
- The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it.
- The fifth time, he reads the ad.
- The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
- The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh, brother!”
- The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
- The ninth time, he wonders whether it amounts to anything.
- The tenth time, he will ask his neighbor if he has tried it.
- The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
- The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
- The thirteenth time, he thinks it might be worth something.
- The fourteenth time, he remembers that he wanted such a thing for a long time.
- The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
- The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it someday.
- The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum of it.
- The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
- The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
- The twentieth time he sees the ad, the buys the article or instructs his wife to do so.
These steps were written by Thomas Smith in London in 1885, but I’m amazed at how accurately it describes our buying thought-process today. There are no short cuts when it comes to your marketing plan. Once you have come up with a sound plan, commit to it for at least three to six month as a minimum. It takes at least that long to build awareness and conversion!
One of my all time favourite books is Buzzmarketing by Mark Hughes. He describes the power of selling products by word of month rather than traditional advertising. The main function of buzzmarketing is to create a message relating to your product that is so entertaining, newsworthy, and fascinating that viewers will tell more people, and therefore do the marketing for you.
My favorite type of buzzmarketing is to be outrageous; connect your product with an outrageous story or example that will stick in buyers’ minds and allow them to pass the story on to friends. After reading this book, I find myself analyzing commercials or ads completely differently, I always think to myself “am I going to remember that commercial, is it even worth remembering, would I ever tell anyone about that ad?”
I recently overheard a comment coming from a baby boomer, she said: “Young people just don’t want to work as hard as we do, I can’t even bribe them with money.” As a generation Y myself, this conversation got me thinking about what my generation will look like in 15 years at the height of our careers when the majority of Boomers are retired.
As the average Yer’s work-week drops from 40 to 35 hours to include more leisure time, activities done outside of work will become an experience rather than a rushed chore. A trip to the grocery store will be transformed into a learning experience as buyers continue to educate themselves about nutrition in the food they are buying. Purchasing decisions will be based on notions of “healthy choices”, “eco-friendliness” and “carbon footprints”.
How is this growing trend going to influence businesses? While those who package products will need to improve labeling, will businesses see this as an opportunity to offer more participation-oriented experiences? For example, a trip to the grocery store can turn into an afternoon event if there is a speaker discussing healthy eating habits.
How are you, as a business owner and employer, going to catch the ‘eyes’ of Generation Y?
There are so many ways to make yourself known to the public and get connected with different people. With technology at its finest, it is easy to join a group of Facebook and meet like-minded business contacts, or dig through LinkedIn for potential clients, meet contacts at a Meetup Group, or even post articles you’ve written to GoArticles.com or ArticleDashboard.com. Another great venue for getting noticed and networking is Biznik, you can post articles that you’ve written and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs.
Although some of these ways of connection may take a little time, I am reminded by an article in Entrepreneur Magazine, that we never know when or how someone could connect us with a potential client or partner. This article shares some stories of how you may meet an important contact through the most unlikely person. Whether you are joining an internet group or just having coffee with an acquaintance, never underestimate the connections sitting right in front of you.
Just finished a very interesting book: The Truth About Trust in Business by Vanessa Hall that talks about how to build trust in business. She has a great chapter on building trust in marketing and branding where she outlines the 3 reasons why people come to trust a brand from a marketing perspective:
1. Your brand makes an emotional connection with your customers.
2. Your brand remains relevant and encourages customer interaction. (i.e. you don’t just ignore the emails people send you about why they’re not happy with their customer experience with you.)
3. There is clarity on what your brand stands for and who your target market is. You know who you are marketing to and what messages they want to hear.
I recently read a great article by Robert Allen that talks about a common mistake made by many beginning marketers . Although he specifically writes about internet marketing, his key points apply to any marketing program. There are three key questions you must answer in any marketing campaign:
1. Who is your target audience?
2. What do they want?
3. How can you motivate this target audience to act now?
As this article points out, many business owners spend 90% of their time creating the perfect product and only 10% of their time finding the perfect audience. I see this all the time – painstaking hours put into product development and minimal time put into marketing. This needs to be reversed to maximize your success – spend 90% of your time finding your market. Do research to answer the 3 questions above. People don’t just buy because you have a great idea – you need to market to a niche. Once you identify a hungry market – a market that is interested in what you offer – then use your marketing campaign to motivate them to buy. You have a targeted marketing effort which always gives better results.
How are you marketing to women – the family member who either buys or influences the purchase of most consumer items? A recent article on Startup Nation, titled Women Roar! notes that women either buy or influence a purchase 83 percent of the time; more specifically, women account for 92 percent of all vacation choices and 94 percent of all home furnishing purchases. Not only are women making or influencing the majority of purchases, but women also own many of the businesses. In the United States alone, there are 10.1 million women-owned businesses, employing 27.5 million Americans. Although women make up such a huge part of the purchasing group, many companies today either fail to market to women or believe they are only another niche. To market effectively to women, a brand needs to speak to their heads and hearts. As women are more naturally inclined to boast about products and services they like, what are you doing to capture this market? Check out the whole article here!