Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: Social media

To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question

The Great Social Tweet

By Brian Swinden
To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the ‘Net to send out
The slings and arrows for outrageous fortune,
Or to make posts of cats against a sheet of bubbles
And by clawing pop them: to ‘Like’, to tweet
No more; and by a tweet, to say we brave
A heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a communication
Devoutly to be wished. To ‘Like’, to tweet,
To tweet, perchance to stream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that tweet of mirth, what trials may come,
When we have shuffled off this wi-fi band,
Should give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of paltry life:
For who would share the whips and scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a YouTube vid? Who would followers bear,
To drink and whine of thumb-typed weary posts,
But that the dread of something after login,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather share those ills we have,
And fly to others that we know not of.
Thus dissociation does make experts of us all,
And thus the native hue of communication
Is sicklied o’er, with the vivid lack of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their intentions turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Tweeter? Not in your mobile be
All my sins remembered.

 

 

Brian Swinden is the Owner of Brian Swinden Productions Winnipeg, Canada

Marketing and Advertising

Advertisements

Good Ways to Build a Brand Name Using Social Media – For a new to the market product

By Bogdan Sava

The Social media environment helps a brand interact quickly with the existing/new customers in a transparent, non-expensive, creative way, stimulating the transmission of the brand benefits to its market and generating discussions among customers about the brand advantages, usages, purchase possibilities, ways of improvement, feedback and so on.

Of course, taking into consideration the industry, the type of product/service, type of customers, the social media marketing environment must be taken into consideration in the frame of the overall strategy and marketing business plan, being used along the other environments, on-line or offline.

WHAT FOR: For a new brand, the social media environment can be used for targeting, positioning and ENGAGING the customers into discussions about

-> The new brand benefits;

-> Advantages related the other competing products;

-> Experiences from using the brand offer, shared with other existing/potential customers;

-> Ways of purchasing the new brand product/service, ways of providing customer support and feedback;

-> connecting the new brand either with other brands (of products/services) that would improve or would make easier the customer experience;

HOW:

-> Write articles of practical situations presenting experiences through which customers get the best benefit from the new brand;

-> Ask questions about the way customers use the brand in the every day activity;

-> Make contests, challenging customers to imagine themselves using the new brand product/service, ask them what they to share their best/worst experience and give pieces of advice to other potential customers;

-> Have community opinion leaders (bloggers, journalists, managers, media people, users from the industry of the new brand, etc.) use the new brand product/service and present their story about how they used it and what they liked/disliked, challenge other users to present their opinion;

-> Create creative viral campaigns about the usage of the new brand in funny/unusual situations and determine normal Social media members share the campaign to others;

WHY: -> Through the Social media marketing environment, a new brand has a potentially unlimited cheap, creative means of promoting itself to a virtually unlimited number of potential clients. The only limits are the CREATIVITY and IMAGINATION of the brand owners.

Examples:

1) A Provider of shopping groceries and delivering them directly home: can use Social Media to explain how it offers more spare time, shopping efficiently to clients interested in its service; to engage and present additional benefits, the Provider can present stories or organize contests about the best ways to storage the purchased groceries or the best recipes contest;

2) A bicycle manufacturer: can use Social media to engage people passionate about riding bicycles in outdoors, in nature, can present different challenging events about bike contests and the best ways to improve or take care of each buyer`s bike.

Bogdan Sava

ePayPoint/Gi Group

Bucharest, Romania

Information Technology and Services

Do you use social media to communicate with your staff?

Do you use social media to communicate with your staff? How do you do it?

 

New plans, announcements, organising, leading, controlling, updates, recognition, sending memos, conveying news. Communicating instantly and effectively within your organisation can make the difference between smooth sailing or chaos, between performance success or failure.

Communication is your company’s life line.  Benefits of bettering your communication:

*Better communication will play a big role in altering an individual’s attitude, because being better informed translates into a better attitude than being a less-informed individual.

*Improving communication will quicken the decision-making process as it helps identify and assess possible alternative courses of actions.

*Using today’s social media technology is also a wonderful way to inspire your workforce’s attitude about their work.  Helps you “guide” the organisational culture

*Socialising your workforce improves your organisational community and culture.

*The controlling function of the management process is improved when communication improves. Levels of hierarchy and certain principles are guidelines that your employees, your team must follow. Guidelines that can include organisational policies, job roles, work problems and grievances to superiors.

What are your thoughts and Ideas?

 

The Benefits of Socially Responsible Branding

Adding Cause to Branding

The benefits of being perceived to be socially responsible are varied and many. Understandably brands want to be perceived as socially responsible. Being associated with a good cause is a quick way for a brand to be gain the tag of being seen as ‘socially responsible’. This shows the brand to be responsible and caring and these are indeed good qualities for a brand to have. While some brands are inspired by a genuine sense of social responsibility many brands look at the image of being socially responsible as helping in building brand stature. The conscious employment of resources by a brand to aid charitable causes in order to develop image, associations and identity benefits is called cause related branding.

There are 5 main reasons why brands associate with charitable causes other than from a socially responsible perspective:

Builds brand preference: Marketing sense states and some research studies confirm, that ceteris paribus, consumers would prefer buying a brand that is associated with a good cause than from other brands.

Justifies a premium: Consumers often do not mind paying a premium for a brand that is known to be generous to a well-known charity as consumers feel that the brand deserves the premium. The knowledge that a part of the money paid to a brand is going to a good cause adds to the positive emotional component of the brand.

Reduces negative connotations associated with the brand: Liquor and tobacco brands often associate themselves with causes as a means of negating a part of the disrepute associated with their industry.

Provides the brand with desirable values: Brands that are seen to possess a very commercial and greedy image may wish to develop a softer image by showing a softer nicer side by donating to charitable organizations.

Useful for raising money: Brands that plan to approach the money market for raising money from the public often show the warm side of their personality by publicly supporting charitable causes. Investors who are not doing extensive research on the brand may invest because they believe a brand with good intentions can be trusted.

As is obvious from the advantages mentioned above, cause related branding has a lot to offer brands and therefore this route is being used by many brands. There are several successful examples cause related branding working wonders for brands it must be understood that a poorly developed cause strategy will lead to no little or no benefits for the brand. The days when a brand could merely tie up with a well-known charity and earn brownie points are over and the intricacies involved in making cause related branding work are worthy of careful consideration.

In branding, adopting a strategic perspective is critical. In cause related branding it becomes even more critical as the process of establishing an association with a cause takes significant investment of time, effort and money. Reaping the benefits of the association takes time and delinking from a cause can have strong negative repercussions for a brand and the involvement of the highest echelons of management need to be involved in decisions involving cause related branding.

There are three levels of decisions that brands need to look at and the implications of each category of decisions is to be understood before planning for any kind of cause related branding:

Deciding the category: There are a wide range of categories of causes ranging from care of deprived children to restoration of dignity of seniors. Categories are wide and can encompass a wide range of sub categories. Within the cause category of care for senior citizens there are sub categories addressing issues such as care for abandoned elders, medical treatment of senior citizens, etc. It is important to choose the right kind of category and sub category as a prelude to deciding a relevant issue to back within this category.

Deciding the specific issue: Categories of causes consist of different issues. Issues are specific such as programmes to aid restoration of dignity of senior citizens that feel deprived of dignity following their old age. Focussing on specific issues is important for brands as it helps fine tune the values that flow from the association.

Deciding the specific institutions: Unless the brand is willing to create a trust that handles the responsibilities of the cause it will have to depend on institutions to run the operational aspects involved in the execution of cause related activities. Aligning with an institution that caters to a specific cause can provide a brand with strong associations however there are times when brands need to ensure that they are not overshadowed by charities that are stronger brands than their sponsors.

These are some of the aspects that need to be studied before a brand decides to associate with a charitable cause.

What is the relevance of the cause to the brand’s consumer segment?: Association with a charitable cause does not immediately mean that consumers will immediately hold the brand in high esteem. Consumers must find the cause relevant to their value system before the brand receives any approbation. For example: Not all consumers may be equally supportive of a cause that looks at providing food and shelter to immigrants/refugees. These consumers may be more supportive of causes that benefit their countrymen.

How different is it?: Many people are inured to causes and even associations with a good cause like Cancer Care may neither draw much attention to the brand or to the cause nor would the association be very memorable. Finding a cause that is relevant and yet different would help in enhancing the memorability of the brand and cause. For example: A trust that looks after veteran entertainers suffering from terminal diseases can be seen as a worthy cause to support as it appreciates people who once entertained and gave others happiness.

Can the cause be owned?: It is normally difficult to own a cause as this would require immense investment of resources. A niche cause like the one mentioned in the above example may not require huge investments and may not see many other brands supporting this cause. The task of guarding the cause associations may not be very tough nor may the cost of running such a trust be very high.

Will it hold enduring relevance with this segment?: Some causes are contextual. These causes appear to touch a sensitive chord with consumers and then suddenly seem to lose their appeal. Often charities in India catering to cyclone victims suddenly find their support waning in the wake of a fresh new tragedy in a different part of the country. Public sympathy often veers towards the more current tragedies.

How will the relationship be positioned?: The nature of the brand’s relationship with the cause can influence consumer perceptions of the brand. A brand that extends it relationship beyond the financial support to also provide investments of time and talent would most likely stand to gain greater credibility from the relationship than would a brand that only provides money. Brands that appear to only offer financial support may be seen as ‘forced’ or ‘insincere’ and this could in some cases prove counterproductive.

Controversial issues: Brands need to be careful while handling causes associated with controversial issues. For example: A ‘euthanasia’ support foundation campaigning for change in legislation towards euthanasia may be seen by some as a worthy cause but association with this cause may lead to the brand supporting it being embroiled in controversy at some stage of its association if public opinion suffers from the occasional mood swing. While some brands court controversy through short term associations with controversial causes this could be risky as well as counter productive as the issue could turn ugly and taint the brand or it could grow far bigger than the brand.

Cause related branding works best when it is driven by the core values of the brand. Like anything else that is forced, cause related branding could prove counterproductive if it is not a ‘natural’ facet of the brand. When it is not ‘natural’ to the brand then the cause related activities are de-prioritised and lose focus often with corresponding effect on the brand.

In an increasingly cynical world, the value of genuinely sensitive acts is extremely high. There are several cries for brands to show greater responsibility and to share a small part of their wealth with the less privileged. The current economic strife created by schizophrenic brands that show dissonance between their different actions has led to lower levels of consumer belief in brands. Cause related branding performed with genuine intent can help restore consumer trust and build brand equity

Like this short article?  Please comment.  And have a look at other articles  in our sister blog http://smartamarketing.wordpress and checkout the smartamarketing posts on SlideShare. (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

George Orwell’s writing rules Good thoughts for Social Media

George Orwell suggested 5 golden rules for effective writing:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Does the phrase “Low hanging fruit” mean something to a layman? Can’t it be better written as “non-performing employee”?Now, how many people recognize the words and the sentiments behind them?

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

In the entire world, XYZ is selling like hot cakes and gathering a lot of revenues for the company”… Imagine if we write this as “XYZ is the company’s universal best-seller”. Many writers adopt the beating round the bush approach to increase word count or achieve the desired keyword density. This is a strict no-no as it insults the reader’s sensibilities.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Well, same as above (yea that’ a shorter one. No need for another example!)

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

“The man who was old was bitten by a cat”. While there’s no rocket science behind the logic, still this is an oft-disregarded adage. You can always replace the longer sentence with a shorter and effective “The cat bit the old man”

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Keep your content easily accessible to the average Joe. Readers will simply block out the content if they come across a lot of technical jargons that they can’t comprehend

 

Build Your Personal Brand

Dr. Brian Monger

Branding is not just for products. ‘Personal brand’ has become an increasingly common phrase. Just as traditional product branding helps organisations to draw market awareness, public recognition and customer loyalty to them, building your own personal brand can have a positive effect on employers’ and clients’s attitude to you as a professional. Let’s take a look at how to build your brand

Your personal brand needs to show in everything you do and are involved in.  It’s about your value (offer) to others.

Your personal brand represents what you mean to others.  How they feel about you and how they value you

Focus on who (your target market/audience) you want to connect with and impress.

You don’t need to impress everyone (you never will BTW) You want to impress and be meaningful to who matters to you.  You need to understand your audience/target market(s) in-depth, so you know what will make a positive impression.

Your brand should reflect authenticity and the value that you have.

Focus on what you can deliver; what you want to deliver.  Do not try to be what you cannot be or what will be too hard for you to deliver.

In your personal brand, highlight what value you believe is needed in the market and that is pertinent to you.

Use your brand to demonstrate to clients and employers what benefits and value (that’s what people want and buy)  you’d be adding for them (first) to their organisation (second if they choose to go with you.  Be clear in your understanding of the market and their need for people like you and for what it is you can do for them.

Differentiate your personal brand from other offerings

From a long-term (strategic) point of view, personal brand effectiveness will only work if your audience/target market(s) can differentiate you from the competition.  If they cannot differentiate you from everyone else in the same market you become just like any commodity.  You will not be noticed or appreciated.  You can compete only as a low price commodity.  So don’t use the standard terms everyone else is using about themselves.  Here again it is vital to really know and understand your market/audience.  And if you are being truly authentic as well you will of course be different.

Consider the right medium/media for conveying your brand message.

The digital world is prominent these days, but it is certainly not the only, or even necessarily the best medium for your message.  First you need to know what media your audience/target market(s), use and fight credible.  And do not forget face to face is often the best media.

Think as professionally as you can to develop your personal brand and your brand message 

Your personal brand is about presenting yourself in an effective and professional way, so act like one.

Dr. Brian Monger is a marketing specialist with over 4o years experience.  He is a recognised expert on branding and social media.  He can advise and assist in developing effective personal branding. His professional profile and recommendations can be found on Linked In (Dr. Brian).  Contact him via info @marketing.org.au.

See more articles on marketing and management – smartamarketing.wordpress.com.  Add visit our website http://www.marketing.org.au  or our groups on Linkedin – MAANZ Smartamarketing and MAANZ International

How to present an offer that can boost your response and increase your sales

There are many ways to present an offer that can boost your response and increase your sales

There are hundreds of offers and thousands, perhaps millions, of offer variations. Some offers are proven winners. Here are 60 of them to get you started

1. Free Trial. This may be the best offer ever devised. People can try your product for free and without obligation for 10 days, 15 days, 30 days, or more. The time frame should fit the product. This offer removes risk for the prospect and overcomes buying inertia.

2. Money-Back Guarantee. This is perhaps the second-best offer. A customer pays up front—but if dissatisfied can return the item for a full refund. Like the free trial, this offer removes risk but allows you to use customer inertia because only a small percentage of people will take the trouble to return something.

3. Free Gift. When you offer a freebie that your customer wants, your offer will usually outpull a discount offer of similar value. That’s because a gift is a more tangible benefit.

4. Limited-Time. An offer with a time limit gets more response than an offer without one, especially when you give a specific deadline. It forces a decision, and the faster a decision the more likely it will be in your favor.

5. Yes/No. You ask your prospect to respond positively or negatively, usually by affixing a Yes or No stamp, checking one of two boxes, returning one of two reply forms, etc. This offer creates involvement and usually pulls more response than an offer without a No option.

6. Negative Option. This option is generally used with a free trial. You allow your prospect to try your product for free and then you bill (or begin repeated automatic shipments) unless the prospect specifically refuses the order within a certain timeframe. Often the result is higher returns and a few more irate phone calls, but the negative option pulls better up front and can produce higher overall sales.

7. Credit-Card Payment. Nothing is easier than paying with plastic. These days, there’s no reason not to accept credit cards, whether by phone, mail, fax, or the Internet.

8. Sweepstakes. You can dramatically increase your order volume. Just remember that running a sweepstakes can be a pain, sweepstakes customers are seldom loyal, and many marketers find that once they start using sweepstakes it’s hard to go back to more-traditional offers.

9. Double-Your-Money-Back Guarantee. Since most people never make a return, this is a simple way to dramatize both your offer and your guarantee for low-priced items.

10. Long-Term Guarantee. This is another way to dramatize your offer and guarantee. Instead of a 30- or 60-day guarantee, you offer a one-year, multiyear, or lifetime guarantee. If you can reasonably expect your product to last, this puts inertia and forgetfulness on your side because few people will take advantage of, or even remember, your guarantee later on.

11. Guaranteed Buy-Back. This is just another way of offering a standard money-back guarantee. You offer to “buy back” the item if your customer is not satisfied. It is often used with collectibles and durable goods.

12. Guaranteed Acceptance. If people usually go through an application process to use your product, access your service, or join your club, you can provide a guarantee to accept them. You’ll often see this offer with credit-card or financial products.

13. Limited-Time Introduction. This lets prospects try something with little risk before making a greater commitment. “Try 13 weeks of The Wall Street Journal for only $34.00.” You must track responses, though, and be sure your conversions justify the lower price.

14. Yes/Maybe. This is another way of making a low-commitment or no-obligation offer. You’re happy to get the maybe response, which could be for a free trial, product information, an introductory offer, etc. And if you get some yes responses, that’s gravy.

15. Dollars Off. You offer a certificate or coupon with a dollar value that may be redeemed toward a purchase. Or you simply show the original price, cross it out, and offer a lower price. However, test carefully, because a free gift of equal value often works better.

16. Refunds and Rebates. With a refund, you may ask $3 for your catalog and send a $3 discount certificate to be used on a first order. With a rebate, you offer a delayed discount, which encourages a purchase, and then you send a check or coupon with a particular value.

17. Sales. A seasonal sale is a trusty standby to raise volume. A “reason why” sale is similar but gives some explanation for lowering the price, such as going out of business, inventory reduction, or overstock.

18. Introductory Price. This allows people to try something at a reduced cost for a short period. You can use this to get new customers, though it may annoy loyal customers who might feel they should get the best price.

19. Relationship Discount. This is the opposite of the introductory price. For example, new customers pay $30, while regular customers pay just $25. The goal is to reward current customers, not get new customers.

20. Group Discount. To target certain markets, you can offer a special discount exclusive to a type of profession, industry, club, etc. For example, an investment magazine can offer a “professional discount” for accountants.

21. Quantity Discount. The larger the order, the better the deal. For example, if your customer orders five books, you provide a 5% discount, or you offer a lower per-issue price for a two-year subscription than for a one-year subscription.

22. Step-Up Discount. This resembles the quantity discount but is based on the incremental dollar amount. For example, a 5% discount for orders over $50, a 10% discount for orders over $100, and a 15% discount for orders over $250.

23. Early-Bird Discount. This encourages more and faster orders. Make sure the discount is a real discount. Don’t just raise prices for those who order later.

24. Price-Matching. If you compete on price, you offer to match any competitor’s price. The idea is to assure prospects that you offer low prices.

25. Trade-In. You offer dollars off when a customer trades in a previous model or version and buys a new one. The trade-in can be your own brand or a competitor’s.

26. Last Chance. This is usually a reminder that you’ve previously made an offer and time is running out. If you say “Last Chance,” mean it.

27. Limited Edition. This works well for art, plates, coins, special book printings, and other collectibles. The item is special in some way, and there is only a limited number available or there’s a time limit on the item’s availability.

28. Enrollment Period. You establish a “window of opportunity” when prospects may enroll for insurance, home study, business services, etc.

29. Pre-Publication Offer. This is a popular offer used by book publishers, especially for expensive reference works. You need to plan your print run, so you offer a special deal to reserve copies. Readers are guaranteed a copy and save money, usually 10% or 15% off what others will pay. Actually, you could use this for anything that is “published,” such as software, but you’ll need a different explanation.

30. Price-Increase Announcement. Announce price increases ahead of time so people can take advantage of the old prices one last time or can stock up.

31. Charter Membership. You offer the chance to be one of the first to subscribe to a publication or join a club or an organization. A special introductory price, gift, or other incentive is usually included.

32. Payment With Order. This is not a motivating offer by itself, but it is simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. It’s often used with a money-back guarantee and sometimes with other incentives, such as a credit-card-payment option or a premium.

33. Bill Me Later. You get some of the promotional power of a free trial offer but with a stronger sense of obligation. This appeals to the modern consumer who has been trained to postpone payment until the last possible moment. It can double response over a straight cash-up-front offer.

34. Installments. This offer takes a larger price and divides it into a set number of smaller monthly payments, usually with no interest. This makes a high price less painful. It’s most effective when you highlight the installment amount and de-emphasize the total price. You can come up with your own name for it, such as “Value Pay.”

35. Positive Option. This is the reverse of a negative option: The customer must take some action for an item to be billed or shipped. Response to this offer is lower than it is to a negative option, but overall customer quality is often better.

36. Reservation Option. You offer to reserve or set aside an item that will soon be announced to the general public and which may sell out. You may also give a special price or a premium as a reward for responding by a certain date. It’s similar to the pre-publication offer but has more urgency.

37. Free Shipping. People are used to paying extra for shipping and consider it a necessary evil. But you can offer it free as an unexpected and inexpensive incentive.

38. Gift-Shipping Service. A customer sends you a gift list, and you send the gifts directly to everyone on the list for free or for a nominal charge. It’s convenient and generates a lot of orders simultaneously.

39. Rush-Shipping Service. You promise to ship an item overnight or within a shorter time period than normal shipping. As with gift shipping, you can offer this for free or for a small additional charge to cover the extra cost of FedEx, UPS, or other service.

40. Free Keeper Gift. This encourages prospects to make the decision to try your product or service. You offer a gift, and they can keep it even if they change their minds later on.

41. Free Gift With Payment. This encourages prompt payment, increases cash flow, and helps reduce instances of no payment. You can give a gift for every paid order or for orders of a minimum value. You can offer one gift or multiple gifts.

42. Choice of Free Gifts. You offer a choice between two or more gifts. Though this seems very appealing, it’s less effective than offering a single gift, since the choice may create indecision and inertia.

43. Stepped Free Gifts. You reward customers based on order size. The more they order, the more gifts they get or the higher the gift quality.

44. Two-Step Gift. The customer gets a small gift for taking a first step and a bigger gift for taking the next step. For example, you can offer a freebie for trying your product and then another freebie for buying the product.

45. Cumulative Incentives. This is a reward for customer loyalty, such as points for buying books, frequent-flier miles, or every 13th rental free. This approach works best when the customer can see the value increasing. For example, you can provide a running total of points earned on each billing statement or order form.

46. Deluxe Version. You offer a second version of the same item, but with enhanced features, for a little more money.

47. Good-Better-Best. This gives your prospect a choice of quality. It also subtly urges people to spend more than they might if you can demonstrate that the “best” choice is the best value. Ideally, you should show more features for higher-quality items.

48. Load Up. In a continuity series, you send all the items in a series after the first few are paid for, allowing your customer to continue paying month to month. Or you might offer a certain number of items for a low price with a commitment to buy a certain number at the regular price within a certain time frame.

49. Membership Fee. You ask your prospect to pay a onetime fee to become an exclusive member of your club or organization in return for reduced prices and other benefits not available to the general public. The fee can be assessed yearly, or it can be a larger, onetime, lifetime fee.

50. Ship Till Forbid. This is often used with continuity programs, business services, or perishable products. Your customer gets the convenience of regular shipments and the option of canceling those shipments at any time while you get regular orders.

51. Free Information. This is the ideal offer for identifying interested prospects for a sales staff, making two-step sales, creating a list, and initiating a first contact for a long-term relationship or sales cycle.

52. Free Samples. If you have a good product, it can sell itself if you can get a sample into a prospect’s hands. You can offer a free sample or charge a nominal fee (which may encourage the prospect to try it).

53. Free Gift for Inquiry. You offer a gift as a reward for requesting information about your product or service. As you might expect, this can boost the number of prospects who inquire but lower their quality.

54. Sales Call. Your prospect asks for a salesperson to call and set up an appointment. This produces high-quality leads, but a much lower overall response. Generally, those who want to talk to a salesperson are ready to buy.

55. Free Survey of Your Needs. You offer to analyze your prospect’s requirements with no obligation. When the prospect responds, you show how your product or service can fulfill those requirements.

56. Free Demonstration. This is especially good for new or complex equipment. You offer to bring the item to the prospect or invite the prospect to a particular location for a demonstration. You can also send a free CD demo or offer a demo version of the product.

57. Free Estimate. For businesses that get bids or analyze costs carefully, this a good first step for getting a foot in the door.

58. Free Subscription. You offer a subscription to a newsletter, journal, or other company publication to educate prospects and build your database. It should include valuable editorial material, not just promotional puffery.

59. Member-Get-a-Member. You give your customer a free gift for providing the name of someone else who may be interested in your wares. This is a good way to build your customer base.

60.  Free Happiness with every order.  Try a little humour/whimsey

(Really) Valuing Customer Feedback

Brian Monger

The biggest obstacle to knowing what customers really think about us is fear.

Many fear what their customers will say so the don’t ask and run from real feedback that appears to be critical.  This is very apparent in the way many firms think of  Social Media

We fear they’ll tell us our product stinks, and that we’re horrible people

Yet most organisations never hear that type of painful feedback. Successful organisations with strong word of mouth and customer devotion use customer feedback to drive their marketing strategies, product development and customer service expectations.

The less successful approach is to proactively gathering customer feedback or waiting for it arrive on its own. Research firm TARP has found that for every person who complains, there are 26 who do not. That means if you have 1,000 customers and 100 of them complain, another 260 may have quietly dumped you, never to call again. To know what customers are thinking, you need to ask.

Organisations that operate as feedback machines make improvements to their operations quickly and efficiently.

10 Rules:

1. Believe that customers are not fools and possess good ideas

How often does someone in your organisation respond to an innovative idea by saying, “Our customers don’t want that.” Asking customers to participate in your problem-solving and idea generation is not an act of weakness.

2. Gather customer feedback in every situation and at every opportunity

Every customer interaction is an opportunity for feedback.

3. Focus on continual improvement

As Peter Drucker once said, a business has two purposes: marketing and innovation. Enlist the aid of your highly affiliated, passionate customers to help you improve your business.

4. Actively solicit good and bad feedback

Try asking “what is the one thing you would change or improve about your experience with us or our product?”

5. You do not have to spend a lot of money doing it

Short, regular surveys deliver better response rates and allow you to react rapidly to issues raised. Solve one or two problems at a time, not everything at once. Tell your customers how their feedback directly contributed to your changes.

6. Seek real-time feedback

Call 8-10 customers every day.   (this takes some skills – I can help you get them)

7. Make it easy for customers to provide feedback 

Employ multiple input points: in person, email, Web sites, point-of-purchase cards or receipts, conferences and the telephone.

8. Leverage technology to aid your efforts

Programs like SurveyMonkey.com makes it very easy to gather feedback via a Web-based survey. It (among others) is fast, efficient, and inexpensive. It automatically tabulates data and doesn’t require a techie to launch. Your data is virtually complete within 48 hours of sending customers a link to the survey.

9. Share customer feedback throughout the organisation

Responsibility for customer feedback extends beyond the marketing department. Ensure that everyone in the organisation knows what customers are thinking by sharing customer feedback; product and service decisions will be better informed as a result.

10. Use the feedback to make changes – quickly

You may not be able to move a mountain in a day, but you can make it easier to climb by making a path.

Using the Phone More Effectively

These days everyone seems focused on the touch screen or keyboard of smartphone use – forgetting that the “cel” or “mobile” or “iThingie” is also useful for voice communication – even for social media

Indeed the telephone is still one of the most useful of communication media.  But it needs skills to use it well.  The following will give you some very useful basics.

Telephone Contact Essentials

Any telephone conversation is simply two-way communication.

Like any communication, there may be a good deal hanging on it.  Any problem will dilute the chances of success.  And the problems of ‘voice-only’ communication are considerable, and in some cases prohibitive.  Try describing to someone how to tie a necktie for example – without any gestures or demonstration.  It pays, therefore, to consider all the factors that can make vocal communication successful, and not underrate it as ,simply a telephone call.

Such factors are perhaps best reviewed in terms of how you use the telephone itself, your voice and manner, obtaining and using feedback, and planning.  The telephone distorts the voice, exaggerating the rate of speech and heightening the tone.  You must talk into the mouthpiece in a clear, normal voice (if you are a woman, it can help to pitch your voice lower.) It is surprising how many things can interfere with the simple process of talking directly into the mouthpiece: smoking; eating; trying to write; holding a file or book open at the correct page and holding the phone; sorting through the correct change in a call box; allowing others in the room to interrupt; or allowing a bad-quality line to disrupt communication (it is better to phone back).  This is all so obvious, yet so easy to get a little wrong, thus reducing the effectiveness of communication.

Voice and Manner

On the phone you have to rely on your voice and manner in making an impression.  None of the other factors of personality are perceptible.  Here are some suggestions to help you.

Speak at a slightly slower rate than usual.

Speaking too rapidly makes it easier to be misunderstood and also mistrusted, although speaking too slowly can make the listener impatient or irritated.

Smile.  Use a warm tone of voice.

Though a smile cannot be seen, it does change the tone of your voice.  Make sure you sound pleasant, efficient and perhaps most important, interested and enthusiastic about the conversation.  Enthusiasm is contagious.

Get the emphasis right.

Make sure that you emphasise the parts of the communication that are important to the listener, or for clarity.  You only have your voice to give the emphasis you want.

Ensure clarity.

Make sure you are heard, especially with names, numbers etc.  It is easy to confuse Ss and Fs for instance, or find 15 per cent taken to mean 50 per cent.

Be positive.

Have the courage of your convictions.  Do not say: ‘possible’, ‘maybe’, ‘I think’, or ‘that could be’ (watch this one, professionals are apt to be far too circumspect)

Be concise.

Ensure a continuous flow of information, but in short sentences, a logical sequence and one thing at a time.  Watch for and avoid the wordiness that creeps in when we need time to think, e.g. ‘at this moment in time’ (now), ,along the lines of’ (like).

Avoid jargon.

Whether jargon is of the organisation (e.g. abbreviated description of a department name), the specialisation (e.g. technical descriptions of tax regulations or legal procedures for instance), or general (e.g. phrases like ‘I’ll see to that immediately’ – in five minutes or five hours?  ‘Give me a moment’ -literally?).  At least check that the other person understands they may not risk losing face by admitting you are being too technical for them, and a puzzled look will not be visible.  Jargon can too easily become a prop to self-confidence.

Be descriptive.

Anything that conjures up images in the mind of the listener will stimulate additional response from someone restricted to the single stimulus of voice.

Use gestures.

Your style will come across differently depending on your position.  For example, there may even be certain kinds of call that you can make better standing up rather than sitting down, such as debt collecting or laying down the law perhaps. (Really!  Try it, it works.)

Get the right tone.

Be friendly without being flippant.  Be efficient, courteous, whatever is called for.

Be natural.

Be yourself.  Avoid adopting a separate, contrived, telephone ‘persona’.  Consider the impression you want to give: Mature?  Expert?  Authoritative?  In command of the detail?  Try and project just that.

Your intention is to prompt the other person into action.  You should speak naturally in a way that is absolutely clear.  Here are some useful additional rules.

Be courteous.  Courtesy makes good conversation easier .  “Please” and ‘Thank you’ are words that will be appreciated

Be effective.  Know what your objective is and focus on achieving it

Project the right image.  Decide on what image will be most effective with your listener.  Fun?  Formal?  There are many alternatives

Be personal. Use “you” and  ‘I’ – say what you will do.

Be appreciative of their time.

Identity is More than a Logo

Identity: Deeper Than a Symbol

Too many organisations still treat identity as something that can be whipped up by a designer.  Identity is more than a graphic gimmick.

Organisational identity is more than a new letterhead, a Band-Aid solution.  It must be applied across-the-board as it must accurately reflect that organisation’s   business, its operating philosophy, its organisational culture.  An identity cannot be forged overnight in some ad agency.

Many advertising people recognise the importance of organisational identity in the marketing mix, even if they do not always appreciate the role of the CI practitioner in helping to shape overall long-term organisational strategies.

The turf-protective attitude will quite likely change as more mega-organiation s emerge and feel the need to impart an aura of parental responsibility.

In Marketing Communication “You’re talking to people who don’t want to know every last detail of a product’s features’ They want to know what ‘it’s going to do for me’-in plain, simple language. A well know and respected logo does that very well.  So do the initials IBM.

It’s not just a matter of marketing theory, of a picture being worth a thousand words.  It’s that there’s just so much advertising that the human mind can absorb.

The average consumer is exposed to over 500 advertisements a day, of which-media researchers admit-only 76 are “noticed,” and only 12 “remembered.” We are so inured to the surfeit of commercialism that we instinctively screen out all but the most memorable messages.

 

Like this article?  Please let us know.  Also check out our other blogs/articles on http”www.smartamarketing.wordpress.com

And consider checking out our website – http://www.marketing.org.au for much more information on good marketing

Dr Brian Monger

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