Posts tagged: Customers

Are you a successful business?

By , March 22, 2014 9:15 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:
 
1.       Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2.       Showing they know how to grow their business

3.       Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.
 
Point number 3 – Demonstrating profitability and ROI. A lot of startups get lost here.  They don’t realize that you have to invest/spend money in order to make money – Lie #4 – I have to show a profit before I can market.  Investors (and actually the company owners should feel this way too) are looking to see if you’re profitable or when you are predicting profitability (break even and beyond).  And tossing some money out willy-nilly at marketing efforts will never bring ROI into your company…you have to be strategic in how you market.

Here’s some definitions and formulas for calculating ROI and profitability:
http://www.dbmarketing.com/articles/Art129.htm


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Are you a successful business?

By , March 15, 2014 8:33 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:

1. Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2. Showing they know how to grow their business

3. Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.

Point number 2 – showing you know how to grow your business is key to not only getting funding but to keeping your business healthy. This is something that many startups and small businesses don’t focus on. They say cash is king and “they” are right. Sometimes companies become very successful very quickly and can’t handle it. Prepared for growth. By managing your cash flow you can set goals to grow your business, manage cash on a monthly basis and get a clear picture of what’s going on in your business. Make sure you understand all the financing options available to you – traditional as well as alternative and invoice factoring.

Don’t put your entire business at risk because of something that’s easy to plan for and track.

Here’s some interesting related points:

http://www.alleywatch.com/2014/02/5-red-flags-of-startups/?utm_source=AlleyWatch+Daily+Pulse&utm_campaign=c1ae92d926-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e01c347085-c1ae92d926-62886025


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Are you a successful business?

By , March 8, 2014 9:26 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:

1.       Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2.       Showing they know how to grow their business

3.       Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.

Point number 1 – gaining customers is something that many startups and small businesses don’t focus on. They fall into my Lie #1 – If I build it, they will come.  Investors (and actually the company owners should feel this way too) are looking to see where your market is – are you marketing?  And startups, even marketing startups, often get lost in this space.  Ask yourself:  Would I invest in a company that can’t show me their market?  The customers lined up to buy the product as soon as it’s available?  A list of beta-testers?  ANY INTEREST AT ALL?

More and more I’m seeing startups and small businesses flounder in this area.  Forget for the moment Michael Moore’s crossing the chasm…these businesses aren’t even getting the early adopters.  Take heed and show the market interest.

Here’s some interesting related points:

http://www.alleywatch.com/2014/02/5-red-flags-of-startups/?utm_source=AlleyWatch+Daily+Pulse&utm_campaign=c1ae92d926-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e01c347085-c1ae92d926-62886025


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

GOOD THINGS TO DO FOR BETTER CONTENT

By , February 6, 2014 10:39 am

Brandpsych logo

Sometimes we need a checklist to remind us of what is important. In the new world of all things “Content,” let’s review:

➢ Emphasize what your products and services do to satisfy your customers’ wants and needs

➢ Don’t market based on YOUR own preferences and behaviors. Think / Be Consumer Centric! Develop and use the number one communications skill of –“I’m Listening,” which indicates that you care if you act on what you are hearing.

➢ Explore customer behaviors and lifestyles and shopper personas. How do customers self-define their personas?

➢ Have customer data that is not influenced by your mindset. This is the customer era – bottom up not top down.

➢ Rely on onsite research to deliver insights into content useful to customers. What will initiate their discovery that you/your brand can help them solve their wants and needs problems?

➢ Good marketing content begins in imitation and develops innovation. The innovation doesn’t have to benefit those who are not your target market. Create specific strategies to focus mainly on loyal customers.

➢ Create your ideas for interactions by engaged-with potential customers

➢ Plan to answer customer questions in Real-Time (or Close-time). Remember – “I’m Listening – hearing – and acting upon your requests.”

➢ Develop intriguing, fascinating, compelling content that draws consumers into your brand’s world. The sense of discovery will bring attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA still applies).

➢ Trust and transparency in content and actions are critical to maintaining a sustainable relationship with today’s customers

brand content Drawing by Art Winters

Drawing by Art Winters

What do we understand and what can we put to use from this review of some of the key elements of Content Marketing Communications?

Let us know what you think…

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Thanksgiving to Personal Shopping

By , December 9, 2013 3:20 pm

By Jove: The Biz Buzz

Aha weekly tidbits for the HT Insider

Ok, so what are they saying?  The Friday after Thanksgiving is no longer black, its charcoal grey? Or is it barely black and now starts at 8 pm on the day before. Wasn’t grey the new black this year, anyway?

According to the WSJ, Tuesday 11/26 black Friday is a retail illusion.  I guess the market expression, “Mark it up to mark it down.” finally traveled from 7th Ave. to Wall St. Article- http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304281004579222370781619390

In case you missed the NYT, Sunday 11/21 article “It Takes a Lot of Money to Look This Good” both Emma Sosa and Joan Volpe (FIT Center for Professional Studies) were quoted. The article validates personal shopping as a service and career opportunity.  Kind of reminds me of the old cliché “Does Macy’s tell Gimbel’s?” since the WSJ ran “Really Personal Shopping” on 12/4 underscoring the same theme.   Of course we knew the value of the personal shopper  already since Image Consulting is the longest running Professional Development certificate program. But it is so nice to see top media thinking like us. Article- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/fashion/Personal-Shoppers-Still-Busy.html?smid=pl-share

At the Retail Marketing Society luncheon on Tuesday 12/4 (absolutely one of the best networking and learning experiences in the market, www.retailmarketingsociety.org) the always profound Robin Lewis told it like it is in retail today “The Retail Future: Landscape or Landmines”. According to Robin the faster retailers embrace an Omni-Channel strategy the better their chances of survival. Pure players will not grow and Amazon is already opening stores.  Robin says the market desperately needs talent who understand Omni-Channel and can adapt decisions and merchandising to multi-formats.  Head’s up all of you taking courses in the Omni-Channel certificate.

Have you noticed? Students in the Color certificate program develop a trend forecast in SXC 260 and try to predict the hottest color for the coming season which is then used for the next Hot Topics catalog.

Guess what color Spring 2014 HT will be???

“Love it or Hate it, a new Pink is coming” the WSJ, Thursday, 12/5 as well as Gawker and several other media sources.  Just remember we’ve known about that color for weeks – it’s a Hot Topic! Article- http://gawker.com/the-2014-color-of-the-year-assaults-eyeballs-everywhere-1477259786

Warby Parker talk

By , September 23, 2013 7:58 am

Warby Parker

SHOPPERSONA … CUSTOMER BEHAVIORAL CONDITIONING through DIGITAL MARKETING CONTENT

By , August 29, 2013 9:33 am

Brandpsych logo

Knowing your key customers’ lifestyles and work behaviors can help create content to align your brand shoppersona with your target customer’s shoppersona. In this digital era, to communicate real value, it is necessary to provide meaningful experiences through content that is based on your carefully researched key customer persona. With exploding competition for the customer’s time and attention, brands must become the “go to,” “top-of-mind” brand name for acquiring that special “persona” humans seek. To ring that bell, as Ivan Pavlov’s studies in behavioral conditioning explored, brands must create web content experiences based on knowledge of what will activate the customer‘s want/need to shop and buy. Brands have always sought to learn how they shop and why they buy; now they must go deeper.

Ivan Pavlov by Art Winters

Ivan Pavlov by Art Winters

So what do digital marketers need in order to create their behavioral conditioning strategies? Starting with lifestyle and life work, learning your customers’ online habits: Do they spend a lot of time online? When: While at work? Only when at home? Any time on the go? For What: Are there categories of products they are more or less likely to shop for online? Where do they get relevant brand information; which blogs do they value; how much do they rely on friends and associates for referrals; what media and devices are they using …?

To gain and keep customers, a brand must align its “positioning conditioning,” to establish why the customer should consider changing their brand preference behaviors. Again we ask: How is your brand different and better in terms of what it offers the customer in their managements of life? How do you lead the customer to your touch points and get them to engage with your brand?

If you haven’t been thinking about how digital marketing is changing the behavioral conditioning in customer behavior, it may be time to update your knowledge. Specifically why and how potential customers are now shopping and buying. These insights can be used to create content for the new Native Advertising (see our July 2013 blog) that takes a new approach to how media and brands are communicating what products and services a brand can promise and deliver. Digital marketing strategies should concentrate on interactions rather than transactions. The primary goal is to develop new ways to approach your key customers with content that contains sincere concerns for helping them and developing experiences to build a relationship that is based on knowledge of their new behavioral shoppersona.

For more on Online Shopping Habits of Technology Consumers, go to these very interesting and current survey results: http://www.logicbuy.com/features/survey-online-shopping-habits-of-technology-consumers-infographic

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

The Three C’s

By , August 10, 2013 8:56 am

Be mindful of the triple C’s at all times:
Your Company, Your Customer and Your Competition.

It’s important to have a 360 view of your business universe so that you are prepared to never be caught by surprise and never miss an opportunity.  At the point where the three overlap, you’re in the zone.

Your Customer:
·         You’re focused on their needs and wants
·         At the same time, you’re keeping up with the trends, not just current, but anticipating and maybe even creating future ones
·         You’re always staying in touch with them

Your Competition:
·         Where are they weak
·         Where are they vulnerable
·         What aren’t they doing that you can do
·         What are they doing that you can do better

Your Company:
·         What skills do you have in house – are you maximizing them
·         What are your assets (especially intellectual property and capital – this means your employees)
·         What kind of culture have you created that everyone lives in – internally and externally

For more on the subject, check out some strategic insight offered by the Harvard Review
http://hbr.org/2007/11/strategic-insight-in-three-circles/ar/


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

From MADMEN to MADMOBILE The Next Era of Advertising and Promotion

By , June 27, 2013 9:58 am

Brandpsych logo

Advertising and Promotion (AdPromo) is now developing a new I.D. for marketing communications, which we could call MADMOBILE. This is recognition of the blending of Social Media, Global Technologies, and 2-way mobile communications. Much has been discussed about what advertising and promotion will get to be. Mobile advertiser/customer engagement and exchange in social media is the big think in AdPromo’s quickly changing present and exciting future.

The thinking behind some new innovations is to provide “glocal–(Global Localities) –with—mobile” opportunities for local AdPromo. Those on the forefront for developing these new services are employing their knowledge of changes in consumer behavior, which is being caused by, and satisfied by, the ever-expanding presence of Smartphones and social media.

These give the advertiser and promoter the opportunity for the delivery of local marketing communications. In the past, and still in the present, big business with its big money has used AdPromo to knock out small business. Many small-businesses can now make the most of the opportunity to advertise and promote to specific local targets through mobile “MadPhones” with a smaller, more effective and efficient budget.

In addition, there are recent connectivity innovations that enable customers to learn of a promotion without being in or even near a store, along with advances in Near Field Communications (NFC), receiving contact when they are passing near the brick and mortar store. More and more, retailers are encouraging word-of-mouth referrals by loyal customers, which is helping to build their loyalty through interesting engagements and an active relationship.

For now, customers are able to find advertising and promotions on their phones and tablets. Most importantly, a store can launch its advertising for a promotion in a few minutes, designing the message for today’s deals and targeting a specifically valued customer. The opportunity for retailers to present promotions in real time is a salient feature of the New World of MADMOBILE.

MadMobile drawing by Art Winters

drawing by Art Winters

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

When Knowing Too Much is A Bad Thing

By , March 30, 2013 9:40 am
Every entrepreneur should, and usually does, know every detail about their business. This is necessary to run a good business. However, when it comes time to communicate that information to your existing customers, potential customers, investors, etc. all this information becomes a problem.  It’s the ultimate example of TMI.
 
So the first thing you need to do is get out of your head and into the head of the customer or audience you are going to be communicating with.  What do THEY want to know?  The next thing is to keep the customer’s point of view and look back into your head and sift through the mental inventory you see there  and pull out only what you need.  If this sounds difficult, that’s because it is.  That’s one reason why marketers exist.  Not only can they go through your head and pull out what’s important, they make the final product look really good, and thus, make you look good. Aruna Inalsingh discusses this in her blog
http://www.animarketingservice.com/e-news/2013/03/22/the-importance-of-clear-executive-summaries/ . She uses executive summaries as an example. Executive summaries are a key piece of communications for any business, but the truth is you need clarity in every single piece of communications that goes out from your company. Aruna sums it up in a few key points.
 
Taking this clarity idea a radical step forward, Carmine Gallo talks about ditching the elevator pitch altogether with some great alternatives. I particularly like the one-word pitch. http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2013/03/26/six-simple-and-irresistible-alternatives-to-the-elevator-pitch/
But I don’t think it works in all situations (there was a period in my career where I wrote 2 word headlines on all my ads for about two years. I always won awards, but that’s a very hard thing to do).  
 
Evaluate your situation, your audience, and your own ability to communicate before you try these out. And it always helps to try out new ideas on a colleague or someone who doesn’t know the assignment. If they get it, great, if not, it will be reflected all over their face.  This is  great feedback.
 
If you can’t create these communications items on your own, then seek outside help. 

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

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