Month: January 2010

“Marketing made Stupid”…I mean simple.

It never ceases to amaze me on how the new age of advertising ( via the web ) has everyone believing that all one has to do is get a placement on Google’s search engine and …..wala!   Sit back and wait for the money to roll in. I have a better idea…Keep thinking like that, and just sit back and stay waiting. Sure you might have hundreds, maybe thousand of hits, but so what.

In today’s world of data mining and everything done with data, what never changes is how much money it puts in the bank. You can manipulate data and its cause and effects more ways than you can count votes for an upcoming election cycle. But, No Voters… No win! The same goes for money. Manipulate all you want, but  No money in… No money out! What I’m stating to some will seem as heresy. So be it, and here’s why.

Unless your product or service is of the type where you get paid when you can sell so-called “hits” to an advertiser, or for vanity’s sake you want the perceived relevance of a high hit count, does the proverbial “Hit” really matter? A more relevant thought or question would be… Does it really help establish your brand, or help enforce your marketing position? Think about it before you allow a knee jerk reaction. Does it matter if your site gets  hundreds or even thousands of hits, but none translate into a sale? Or is it better to have 1 hit, and that 1 hit generates a sale?  If you’re truly a business person the answer is obvious. If  not, you’re a process person.

Thousands of hits might sound great, but that wont pay the bills will it. This is where most forget it’s about having your brand  establish a  significance so it will create sales that generate net profits, Period! Anything that doesn’t reinforce your brand to generate tangible sales results is not only useless, it may be harmful.

Think I’m a little off base? Here’s a test you can do on your own. Just type into a search engine like Google this phrase……..

Get Rich Quick Schemes

You’ll see at the top the greatest marketing banner ever sold to people who just don’t get marketing. How would you like to not only be the TOP in that group, but also have to pay if someone making that search clicks on your ad? How is that good for your brand, and do you think it would generate a sale? And if it did, is that good business, and marketing?

Don’t ask me……You be the judge.

Mark

A case for “How Not to Increase Sales!”

Today’s marketplace has many challenges. That being said, I am a big proponent of showing there are great opportunities if one knows where to look, and more to the point….how to look!

If you have built your business around rewarding your best customers ( It amazes me I even would have to mention that!) with exclusive discounts because of their loyalty, and you charge those same customers for that exclusivity, it can be lucrative for both you and your customer. However, here’s a great way to make sure you’ll not only defeat the purpose on the exclusivity pitch, but will also tick off the same customers you need desperately to buy your wares consistently.

The market place is rampant with the calls of one business model dying and a new one thriving. Books and book stores are the latest. With devices like the Kindle and others, it’s ringing with the same overtones music stores sent when the iPod gained popularity. Recently I read an article that was announcing the death of the book store. I thought it was a bold call being made very early in the new electronic medium cycle, but none the less I would keep an open mind to the possibility because all mediums today can turn on a dime. Low and behold I saw what I believe is a very, very foolish and short-sighted ploy for sales.

I went online to my retailers site to order a book. Here’s what happened:

1. I found a book and chose the option “Reserve at your local store.”

2. It shown it was in stock.

3. Just before leaving I checked my email one last time: A message from the retailer stating “Not in stock at your local store order on-line.”

4.In checkout process online it states: “Everyone receives member discounts for a limited time” ( I pay a yearly membership for that so-called privileged discount.)

5. Decided not to buy the book, and will look for something else at another store in my area that I frequent that sells the same books for less than 1/2 the price when they buy the unsold inventories from that better known retailer.

6. Now I’m contemplating if I should ever renew my membership.

If you find the need to discount do it, but do it in a way that doesn’t violate the value of membership to your better customers. Offer an extra discount for them. It doesn’t need to be much, even a token in some cases will do, but Something! When you don’t, subliminally what you’re saying is ..It was all just a gimmick and you fell for it…Sucker. I don’t know a better or faster way to kill a business, especially in today’s marketplace.

Maybe if I can wait a little longer and I can get it at a 95% off  “Going Out Of Business Sale” I’m sure will happen…That would really be a sales promotion, and I wouldn’t need to pay extra for the that privilege!

Mark

They’re Baaaaaaaack!

They’re back and they just want to let it be known to one and all…”They’re from the Government and they’re here to help you!”

Whew!…or maybe that should be….Oh Ohhhh!

Yes those nice people who came in to fix the financial crisis. The ones that said…..Here, take the money, pay it back, no strings attached, we need you solvent. Well it seems they’ve decided to add a little more to the vig. ( That’s old school for interest.)

This is exactly one of the problems that I had mentioned last year in why I felt a recovery will be so hard to sustain in the coming year. Regardless of your political leanings, or if you feel it’s fair, and they deserve it. That doesn’t matter. I’m speaking purely from a business or enterprise side of the coin. If you’re an entry-level employee, or you’re the CEO of one of the worlds largest institutions you should be analysing the happenings that are taking place now, once again in real-time.

No one can run a business, or make decisions if the rules of the game change in midstream or at any time. You can’t run your own household budget that way so how could anyone expect that a business could. Oh..Sorry about that, The Government does, and that’s exactly why the opposite of anything they are trying to stimulate will not only stagnate, but just might wither and die.

The administration just announced today that it is planning on imposing a…Wait for it………$120 BILLION DOLLAR surtax on the banks, regardless if they paid back their TARP with interest or not. Once again this is not about right, left,middle. It’s about business. If you think they weren’t lending before i.e: the Banks, wait till you get a load of how little they’ll lend with that over their heads. Stock prices?…For Get About it!…Probably sooner than later any institutional plan that has invested in the financial sector thinking their might be some gains left to help repair all those 401K’s or other pension plans.        (That would be You if your still invested in one…Remember if you’re invested the term Greedy Wall St. applies to you also, just doesn’t have the same ring as Fat Cat…I personally like that one!) These crazy people will try to, well I don’t want to sound silly or make you laugh but, they might just sell to protect your investment causing the shares of these so-called “Fat Cat Bankers” stock to go down, drawing everything else with it.

Oh yes, and just for kicks, let’s throw on top of it any other company who thought they were immune from such happenstance, looks like your matching Taxes for your employees might be going up, and might be retroactive, for when you think the coast is clearer later during the year. Oh yes, hire as many people as you can, but don’t worry about the cost, they’ll let you know…Trust Me!.. (pun intended.)

I know, all this sounds a little crazy or full of hyperbole, but I guess you could say they have the knowledge and the instinct to get business moving, and focus on the economy. It’s not like they would try to ban salt to keep your blood pressure down, and make up for the intrusion by spending a few million on pamphlets on how to properly take illegal drugs like heroin? No that would be nuts, I’m crazy right?

Mark

The Decade of the “Disclaimer”

Listening to the radio this morning I was nearly knocked out of my seat when I heard 2 commercials followed by what now has become the norm….The Disclaimer!

The first commercial was for a car..( I wont say which one… but let’s say..They needed a little help to stay in business..wink..wink) The commercial was what we’ve all come to expect. It had the prerequisite ” The new ______, We’re better than ______, Customers pick us over _______, and so on. Then came the ” Winner of the prestigious ____________ Award for __________. Then came………The disclaimer.

The disclaimer seemed  longer in length than the real commercial. It seemed to cover reasons that if the sun rose 5 inches higher in the sky tomorrow than it did a week ago last Thursday, then the award would not be representative of the award that was awarded when the award was awarded. See Black’s Law dictionaries for further clarifications, subject to revisions of the 1832 witness protection act, see coupon for details.Void where prohibited by law, or any other planet that might find this statement vague. I  understand you’re reading, and re-reading saying..”What did he say?” and that’s how I felt listening to the radio.

At first I was laughing at the absurdity, then I became appalled. I don’t know which is worse. A company feeling the need it has to add such a thing, or the idea if  it doesn’t is equal to creating  a lottery ticket. But wait there’s more!

Then came a commercial for a 16 ounce coffee. Alright you say, was it the generic disclaimer..Caution , Contents are Hot?   Not quite….The commercial ended with… “16oz refers to the average fill content of a 16oz coffee”……Huh? Have we really come to the point of leaving room for cream if the server had not asked be reason for a class action lawsuit?

It’s one thing to protect yourself both personally, and in business. But if you’re marketing consists of a reading of a chapter from one of Blacks Law books, I’m here to tell you  “Save your money, and Save your breath..No one is taking you serious.” If you truly want to get ahead of the competition both in business and in life I suggest the following:

1. If you advertise…Drop the disclaimer speech. A quick statement that rules and regulations can be viewed on a website or such will suffice.

2. In your life and your business do what you say, and deliver what you promised. Forget the farce of 110%…That creates unrealistic expectations, 100% is the best anyone could do, If you do that alone you’ll be ahead of anyone else.

3. Get it into your gut and into your business, you’re not truly judged when you do what you promised. That’s what one expects, or that’s what someone paid for. It’s how you handle a problem when it happens. Problems happen no matter who you are. If it happens Fix it! Fix it correctly, fix it to the BEST of your ability.Replace, renew, whatever, but do it, and do it honestly!

4. Remember…Not all customers or people can be pleased no matter what you do. Understand that’s life and move on.

The Golden Rule is the standard because of its truth. Follow it and you’ll find yourself not needing a disclaimer for life or your business. That being said I would like to finish with……….

Disclaimer: The above text is an opinion and should only be taken seriously if you’ve arrived on the planet Earth between the years of 1927 and 2001. If during space travel you donned a tinfoil cap at anytime during or preceding the flight will cause nullification of the above statements. Future performance is not indicative of future results. Void where prohibited. See participating space doctrine for clarification. If you experience an…….OK that’s enough.

Mark