Mar 062013
 

marketing mistakes, value proposition, ideal customer

1. No Concept of the Ideal Customer

Many marketers have a completely product/service-centric view of the world. They know their product/service up, down and sideways, but have only a vague idea of who might actually want or need it, or how they’d actually use it. Worst case, the marketers don’t think that’s important because their product/service is so “state-of-the-art” that it’s obvious why it’s a good thing to buy.

2. No Time Spent Listening to That Type of Customer

Even when marketers DO have a concept of the ideal customer, they often spend little time actually listening to those customers. They do “market research” and run demographic numbers, but when it comes to just Continue reading »

 March 6, 2013  Posted by at 5:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 302012
 

Reading this book made will help you realize how much you enjoy growing your service business. This book did a great job at reminding me of some of the core elements to marketing a service business along with great insight on how to continue to build and grow a service business.

My 3 take aways for reading this book.

1. Yes, build the quality into your service, but make it less risky too.

The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period of a test project. People typically are not looking for the service that they want the most, instead they are looking for the one they fear the least. People do not choose a good experience, they tend to choose  to minimize the risk of a bad experience.  We see this all around us. The success of franchise’s are proof of people making choices to minimize the risk of a bad experience.

2. The warranty of a Brand. What is a brand?

A brand is more than a symbol. In the public’s eye, a brand is a warranty. It is a promise that the service carrying that brand will live up to its name, and perform. A service is a promise, and building a brand builds your promise. Building a brand makes selling faster, easier, and cheaper. The amount of  time people have in America today is shrinking. Companies have down-sized their staffs and upsized the workloads of all the survivors. These people need short cuts every waking minute. They turn to service and product brands.

3. Today’s good idea will almost always beat tomorrow’s better one.

Do it now. The business obituary pages are filled with planners who waited. Moving organizations tend to keep moving. Dormant ones tend to run out of air and die. Not-moving creates more not-moving. By the time the delayed consequences of all this not-moving occur-one of which is that action-oriented people in the company flee the company, making the company even more waiting-orientated- it often is too late to correct them. Act like a shark. Keep moving.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 

 July 30, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , , ,  3 Responses »
Jun 182012
 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning, Advertising, Marketing, Identifying, unique selling point, turn weakness into strength

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we learned in Part 1.

Part 1. Here’s a vital secret that turns conventional marketing psychology on its head.

Are you struggling to create a memorable positioning statement for your marketing? Do you want to stand out from your competition, but the uniqueness of your business seems to elude you?

Here’s a sneaky, vital secret that turns conventional marketing psychology on its head. By changing your positioning statement, find out how to transform your weakest link into your strongest marketing tool ever.

3 examples of using your weakness

  1. Avis is Only Number 2…So, Why Go With Them… Years ago, in the rental car market, Hertz was chugging along merrily, with Avis a distant second. With one Problem-Based USP(unique selling point), Avis closed the gap. Its catch phrase, “We’re No.2, We Try Harder,” ignited the minds of the target audience like a rampaging bush fire. They turned a liability into an asset.
  2. Southwest Airlines took to the skies with a similar message. We’re Smaller Than Everyone Else, it told us, while gently explaining why its service was dramatically better, as a direct consequence of their size. They also turned a liability into an asset.
  3. In 2001, Harley Davidson proudly boasted how their CEO was 38th on the waiting list for the company’s then, new V-Rod motorcycle. And they took pains to describe how each Harley was lovingly rolled off the plant. The waiting period, which normally would be perceived to be a negative, was turned into a publicity coup that burned a stamp of quality and uniqueness into the brains of every prospective Harley owner.

All of these companies took a cold, hard-nosed look at reality. The superlatives in their business had been taken. Instead they unearthed their USP, in what most people would consider a disadvantage of sorts.

 


 

Part 2.  How to Create a Knockout USP for Your Business…

Let’s assume you’re in the wine selling business. To own real estate in a customer’s brain, you’d have to do battle with about a zillion other wines. Yet decades ago, Paul Masson cut through the clutter with a simple statement. We sell no wines before their time. With charming simplicity, they turned a negative waiting period into an exploitable advantage.

You too can turn your liabilities into assets. Stop screaming about how magnificent you are, and look for the apparent glitches in your business. Let’s just consider a few scenarios. Are you perceived to be too expensive, extremely slow, or maybe just too busy?

 

The Primary Reason You Should Search for the Hiccups in Your Business…

Knockout your competition like a Mohamed Ali right hook.  Finding what makes you beneficially different is a notoriously difficult task. However, just about any client or potential buyer will very quickly identify your weaknesses and liabilities. If it’s a technical problem, you can fix it. If it’s a conceptual problem such as speed or price, it’s much harder to fix.

This, however, is the key to your success. The more you try to keep your weaknesses and liabilities under wraps, the more customers will uncover them. On the other hand, take a liability and turn it into an asset. Expose a problem to the harsh glare of the spotlight and transform your frog into a prince. This brave act will gain the instant admiration and support of your clients, while giving you a USP that others simply won’t have the guts to match.

Can You Make the Leap?

Creating a negative USP is a tricky, dangerous tactic, and one not to be taken lightly. “We’re slow and proud of it!” is hardly a selling point, yet fulfills the requirements laid out in this article. However, if you’ve been struggling with your USP, as many companies do, this is a tactic that may work well for you—as it has with some of the companies above.

It’s time you tickled your customer’s brain with some sharply focused psychological marketing jujitsu. Find the weaknesses and liabilities in your business, carve them into a dynamic USP, and the attention your business has been craving for, will be yours forever more.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 June 18, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jun 012012
 

 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning, Advertising, Marketing, Identifying

 

 

 

 

Are you struggling to create a memorable positioning statement for your marketing? Do you want to stand out from your competition, but the uniqueness of your business seems to elude you?

Here’s a sneaky, vital secret that turns conventional marketing psychology on its head. By changing your positioning statement, find out how to transform your weakest link into your strongest marketing tool ever.

3 examples of using your weakness

  1. Avis is Only Number 2…So, Why Go With Them… Years ago, in the rental car market, Hertz was chugging along merrily, with Avis a distant second. With one Problem-Based USP(unique selling point), Avis closed the gap. Its catch phrase, “We’re No.2, We Try Harder,” ignited the minds of the target audience like a rampaging bush fire. They turned a liability into an asset.
  2. Southwest Airlines took to the skies with a similar message. We’re Smaller Than Everyone Else, it told us, while gently explaining why its service was dramatically better, as a direct consequence of their size. They also turned a liability into an asset.
  3. In 2001, Harley Davidson proudly boasted how their CEO was 38th on the waiting list for the company’s then, new V-Rod motorcycle. And they took pains to describe how each Harley was lovingly rolled off the plant. The waiting period, which normally would be perceived to be a negative, was turned into a publicity coup that burned a stamp of quality and uniqueness into the brains of every prospective Harley owner.

All of these companies took a cold, hard-nosed look at reality. The superlatives in their business had been taken. Instead they unearthed their USP, in what most people would consider a disadvantage of sorts.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 

 

 June 1, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with:  1 Response »
Feb 232012
 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning

 

Sometimes we let our personalities shine through just a little too much. Maintaining a professional image is the key to making sure our Personal Branding strategy doesn’t turn out to be a train wreck like “Donald’s”.

3 things to remember when developing a Personal Branding Strategy.

1. Your values, your personality, and the things you care about are the factors that drive your decision on what your personal brand is.

2.  What drives your decision on what your personal brand is, is how you need people to perceive you in order to reach your income and growth goals.

3. Your Personal Brand should explain who you are and what you do in a clear and professional manner. Referring back to the picture above. Clear yes. Professional, not so much.

Do you want to learn more about Personal Branding? Take a look at this great book.

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be very grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 

 

 February 23, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: ,  3 Responses »
Jan 242012
 

 

Business planning, Business coaching, Branding, small business strategies, clear expections

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study: Build a great Service Business like Mike Parker. This is not a testimonial just a great story about a business owner that we can all related to.

The Story: You can’t miss the trucks with “Mike Parker Landscape” emblazoned on their sides. They wind their way through some of southern California’s most idyllic, expensive neighborhoods like Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and the New Port Coast. Follow them through the hills and you’re likely to wind up parked in front of a home that’s straight out of Architectural Digest, with a knockout lawn, terrace, or xeriscape. That’s the work that’s made Mike Parker the leading name in landscape in this status-obsessed corner of the Southland.

Since 1976, Parker has presided over an empire built on landscape design, construction, and maintenance. With his company now based in central Orange County, the entrepreneur has corralled award-winning architects and landscape designers under the umbrella of Mike Parker Landscape and maintained a powerful brand through consistency and quality. Now he has a staff around 90 and gross revenues of more than $7 million per year.

How it Started: In 1976, Mike Parker Landscape was just one truck, one man, and a dream of making art and making a little money. Sound familiar? The company began as a more or less a landscape-maintenance business, one of hundreds in suburban southern California. But Parker brought a touch of artistry to his work, and that artistry become a leading attribute of his Personal Brand.

“I’d always been interested and involved in various artistic endeavors: ceramics, drawing, and painting” he says. ” My clients recognized that I was doing more than just gardening, and began having me renovate their garden spaces. This allowed me an artistic outlet, and a way to pay the bills.” Parker used his artistic ability to change the perception of his target audience and position himself not as a glorified gardener, but as a Picasso of the hedgerow and paving stone. Today, he specializes exclusively in high-end homes for affluent buyers in OC’s most prestigious areas. “Rich people always have money, ” he says.

X-Factor: Mike Parker Landscape is a very visible company. It has designed some of the most picturesque residential landscapes in the region, landscapes that have been featured in newspaper and magazine articles. He’s stayed on the cutting edge by recruiting the best in the business-scouting for landscape designers and architects who have built their reputations around a particular talent or style. ” This helps keep our product fresh, and has resulted in the networking of talents and projects, ” Parker says.

This is my first of many future case studies. I think that these stories are inspiring to any entrepreneur who is looking to build a better business. Just writing this case study gets me motivated to take my business to the next level.

What can we learn from Mike’s story?

What are you going to do in your business this year so that you to can have a great Service Business like Mike Parker?

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 January 24, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Case Study Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jan 192012
 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning, Advertising, Marketing, Identifying

Having a great brand is one thing. Backing it up is another.

The best way to describe the branding process is to think about it in terms of how your customers come in contact with you or your company. We can simplify this process by thinking about it in 3 main steps.

  • Step1 Initial contact. This is when your customer first comes in contact with your Personal or company brand. This might be at a networking event, or a they might see one of your vehicles somewhere. This initial contact is typically what most people think about when building a brand. This is the step where you are setting the initial expectations to your prospective client. Branding is all about making a name for you and your business. Customers then associate your personal name with your company name, logo, and colors.
  • Step2 Delivery of Service. This is exactly what it sounds like. This step is the part where you or your company delivers the service that you have promised. A key factor to helping your name spread like wild-fire is to make sure the quality of your service exceeded the customer’s expectation. Your customers will be more likely to spread the word, and give out referrals if you master the delivery of your goods and services. The mastery of delivery comes when we build a customer data base with raving fans, we do this by consistently exceeding our customer’s expectations during the delivery process.
  • Step3 Back Up branding. After the services are completed, what are your follow-up procedures? Do you have your logo and letter head on the invoice that you send them? Do you make follow-up phone calls, send follow emails, or thank you cards? Do you invite new customers to be a part of your Facebook fan page, LinkedIn page or any other social media? Do you use customer feedback cards or survey cards to get important feedback to keep your services at the highest level? Back end Branding is often overlooked as a key component to the growth of your company.

What do I mean by backing up your brand?

It means that there is no sense in putting forth all the energy and effort in step 1 if you are not going to follow through by being committed to performing steps 2 and 3. Delivering your product or service with consistent excellence through all 3 steps is what I mean by backing up your branding strategy.

Do you want to know more about building your Personal Brand? Click here.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 January 19, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jan 172012
 

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding will help you do the following: 1. Turn your name and persona into a distinctive “product” that has desirable qualities associated with it. 2. Attract a more elite, more profitable type of clientele. 3. Help you retain more of those top-quality clients even when business is slow for everybody else.

Why Brand Yourself?

Because you can’t win by talking about how much better you are than your competition, and you can’t expect people to simply walk in your door and hand you their money. Your only advantage is yourself. What you do may not be unique, but you are. So instead of focusing on services or price, you’re going to focus on yourself, to reach out to your target market and shape how they think about you and how they see you, to connect with them personally. That’s what a Personal Brand does for you.

How Personal Branding Works.

Do you use networking as lead generation source? Do you use social media as a lead generation source? Do you do on-site estimates or face to face appointments with prospective clients? In my opinion this book does a great job at making it clear that a Personal Branding strategy should be a part of your company’s overall branding strategy. How much of your Personal Brand that you want to bring forward is completely up to you. Understanding that people buy from other people, not from XYZ company. The two branding strategy extremes are: 1. Putting your Personal Brand in the spot light and eliminating your company name. 2. Putting your company name in the spot light and hiding your Personal Brand behind it. I feel that your overall branding strategy should do a good job of finding a common ground between these two extremes.

Whatever your branding strategy is you will receive a great deal of value from this book. Grab yours today.

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 January 17, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: ,  2 Responses »
Dec 292011
 

 

So you want to build a better brand for your company. How clearly is your company’s image currently BRANDED? In order to do this we first must understand the  difference between Marketing, Advertising, and Identification.

In part 1 we looked at the 3 Branding tools that make up your company’s brand. In Part 2 we will discuss specific tips  on how to use these tools to help build your company’s brand.

3 Branding tools

1. Marketing
The American Marketing Association defines Marketing as: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Wow that’s a mouthful.

I believe marketing is the Umbrella over PR, Sales, and Advertising. In this 2 part article I would like to focus on the third area of marketing, Advertising.

2. Advertising is the art of buying customers.  Advertising is just an opportunity for you to buy customers. Step 1 is to have a marketing strategy/plan. Step 2 is to keep track of your advertising and ask customers how they heard of your company. Step 3 is to calculate the acquisition costs of each customer. We do this by dividing the total advertising dollars spent, by the number of customers you acquired for each advertising campaign. Test, measure, and tweak your advertising to continually improve this number.

I believe small businesses need to be focusing on converting prospects into customers. The only people who care about the name of my business is me and maybe my mother. Everyone else along with your prospects are asking themselves…How does this benefit me? What’s in it for me? Make sure all your advertising campaigns reflect this understanding.

So, how do we use Advertising in our small businesses? Answer: Very carefully. Advertising is most expensive lead generation strategy available. It’s unfortunate that new business owners think that this is the strategy that they need to take in order to grow their business. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, in fact I have had many advertising campaigns that went very well for me. I am just issuing a word of caution that advertising should be looked at as a strategy, just not the one and only lead generation strategy. It should be thought of as an investment and an opportunity to buy customers. Whether its direct mail, TV, Radio, or internet advertising make sure to test and measure your investment  every step of the way.

3. Identification

Yes, that’s great if you get a few prospects to call because they saw your logo or business name somewhere. Using your logo or business name for identification is a completely different purpose than for advertising purposes. What do you want your audience to feel when they see your logo or business name? Achieving this is 80% of your Brands job.  If they feel appropriate about your brand, they’ll reach out and contact you with the other 20%.

So, How do we use Identification in our small businesses? Below are some low-cost examples, and in my opinion a great place to start when it comes to building your brand.

-Business cards, brochures, fridge magnets, promotional gifts.

-Vehicle signage, building signage, window display, sidewalk signage

-Email signature

-Nice logo & uniforms

-Put logo on Equipment & Tools that the customer will come in contact with.

 December 29, 2011  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Dec 222011
 

 

So you want to build a better brand for your company. How clearly is your company’s image currently BRANDED? In order to do this we first must understand the  difference between Marketing, Advertising, and Identification.

In part 1 I want to  look at the 3 Branding tools that make up your company’s brand. In Part 2 we will discuss specific tips  on how to use these tools to help build your company’s brand.

3 Branding tools

1. Marketing
The American Marketing Association defines Marketing as: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Wow that’s a mouthful.

I believe marketing is the Umbrella over PR, Sales, and Advertising. In this 2 part article I would like to focus on the third area of marketing, Advertising.

2. Advertising is the art of buying customers.  Advertising is just an opportunity for you to buy customers. Step 1 is to have a marketing strategy/plan. Step 2 is to keep track of your advertising and ask customers how they heard of your company. Step 3 is to calculate the acquisition costs of each customer. We do this by dividing the total advertising dollars spent, by the number of customers you acquired for each advertising campaign. Test, measure, and tweak your advertising to continually improve this number.

I believe small businesses need to be focusing on converting prospects into customers. The only people who care about the name of my business is me and maybe my mother. Everyone else along with your prospects are asking themselves…How does this benefit me? What’s in it for me? Make sure all your advertising campaigns reflect this understanding.

3. Identification

Yes, that’s great if you get a few prospects to call because they saw your logo or business name somewhere. Using your logo or business name for identification is a completely different purpose than for advertising purposes. What do you want your audience to feel when they see your logo or business name? Achieving this is 80% of your Brands job.  If they feel appropriate about your brand, they’ll reach out and contact you with the other 20%.

 

 

 December 22, 2011  Posted by at 7:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , ,  1 Response »