How To Initiate & Maintain Powerful Word-of-Mouth Campaigns

January 9, 2009 - Leave a Response

word-of-mouth2

Are your customers satisfied, or even delighted, surprised and excited enough to spread the word about their experience?

Powerful word-of-mouth can be the greatest thing to happen to your business. Here are some tips to initiate and sustain this force to be reckoned with:

  • Manage Expectations: Go far beyond what your customer expects. Don’t promise the world up front. Reel them in by enticing them with sneak peeks of what’s to come.
  • Listen & Revise: Ask for feedback and treat complaints as gold. Continually refine your products and service to better meet the customer’s needs.
  • Stand-Out: Be unique! Be memorable! It just takes a little creativity to make a great impact.
  • Offer a Sample: The news of a free trial or sample can spread like wildfire. Just make sure that you’re attracting future clients, not leeches.

  • Identify the Influencers: These people ignite word of mouth. They don’t always have to celebrities, just people who have a large circle of influence professionally or socially.
  • Impress: The first and last impressions are most important. Invest in these and make them count, but don’t lose your customer in the middle.
  • Cater Your Brand: Loyal customers and effective influencers need constant motivation. Give them anything that may help get the word out without compromising brand perception. For example, subtly branded products (i.e. apparel, accessories, housewares) that they’d love to show off as conversation-starters can be better than advertising.
  • Testify: Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from influencers or other satisfied customers. Always thank them appropriately for their time. It doesn’t hurt to send a thank you card or small gift of thanks.
  • Reward Referrals: Create a referral program. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals, and reward them adequately enough to entice them to continually bring you more clients.

Remember the adage, “An unhappy customer will tell 10 friends, but a happy customer may only tell 1.”

Capturing Word-of-Mouth may be the best investment you make.

Advertisements

Get it Right America! The Product/Service is More Important Than Its Marketing.

January 7, 2009 - Leave a Response

Great Product  + Great Marketing = *Pure Magic*

Great Product + Poor Marketing = Barely Surviving

Poor Product + Great Marketing = Quick Failure

Poor Product + Poor Marketing = Long-Term Failure

puzzle

A major variable in America’s current economic downturn is the focus on marketing as the focal point of conducting business. Any company should make its first priority creating products or services that truly cater to the needs of their target demographic.

The Wrong Combination

Poor marketing combined with a poorly researched and created product/service is disastrous over a long, financially disastrous period of time because it will be consumed and rejected slowly, then either the marketing or product will constantly be tweaked in order to find a solution, to become a long-term failure.

Great marketing cannot save a poorly researched and created product/service. It only makes consumers more quickly consume and realize they dislike it over a shorter period of time and causes that business line to fail more abruptly.

The key to creating a great product/service is to fully understand every nuance of the target demographic. This takes great marketing research, which currently in corporate America, is riddled with confounds.

Case In Point

Take for example, the automotive industry. The American automakers are too marketing-centric, carried away with “selling a lifestyle,” while Japanese automakers are product-oriented, and invest in product development more than marketing, selling more cars in the process.

In Closing

Perhaps energy and funds are best allocated on product development and quality marketing research rather than sales marketing and advertising.

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Tactics: Auto Marketing

January 6, 2009 - Leave a Response

Buy 1 car, get 1 for 99 cents!

buycar2

In the auto industry, right now, the sky is falling. US Auto sales fell 18%, GM had its worst year in nearly a half-century and Toyota had its first operating loss in 70 years.

It’s a buyer’s market and now is the perfect time to buy a new car. It’s very interesting to see what marketers come up with in these desperate times…

  • Hyundai Motor America, is trying to woo skittish buyers by promising to let them return cars for up to a year if they lose their jobs and can’t make the payments.
  • In Arizona, a Chrysler dealership is offering an incentive to buy a Ram Truck: Get either a PT Cruiser or Dodge Calliber for just 99 cents.
  • The over-priced and under-marketed (or shall I say un-marketed) Honda Accord Hybrid has just been discontinued for obvious reasons
  • Nissan, Mazda, Ford, Infiniti, and Kia are offering 0% financing for many of their new cars
  • VolksWagen is offering up to $12,000 off MSRP
  • Online auto listings are poised to change from simple listing to a complete sales vehicle. Take for example, AutoBrag.com, which enables new car shoppers to negotiate by making anonymous offers to local dealerships.
  • Ride & Drives: Potential buyers drive the featured vehicle as well as its competition. They get goodie bags of products emblazoned with company logos. It’s like a touring rock concert, and considering the financial investment, becoming rarer in this economy.

Reinvent Yourself! 20 Tips to Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 1, 2009 - Leave a Response

BelieveInYourself

One word that comes to mind at New Years is “Reinvent.” New Years is a time to reflect on previous successes and failures while anticipating an opportunity to make great progress in our financial, personal, professional and love lives. It’s an exciting and scary prospect to “Reinvent” oneself, and most people commit to it through New Years resolutions.

However, do you ever find yourself committing to the same resolutions with each New Year? Most people have problems following through and actually activating their resolutions into realized accomplishments. Remember the following in your quest for Reinvention:

SETTING RESOLUTIONS:

1.    Free Yourself from the Negative – Analyze your life and consider what causes stress and unhappiness. Rather than carrying around a ball and chain, make a commitment to rid the unnecessary negativity from your life. You’ll be amazed at how free you’ll feel.

2.    Learn From Your Mistakes – No one succeeds without failing along the way. Mistakes are valuable lessons that can provide great insight for success. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.”

3.    Challenge Yourself – Do something that scares you. Whether it be mountain climbing or public speaking, you’ll surprise yourself and feel a boost of self-confidence that fuels future success.

4.    Be True to Yourself – Are you a people pleaser? Focus on self-improvement & self-satisfaction before focusing on others. Also, align your efforts with what truly makes you happy and you’ll have enough fuel of motivation to accomplish them.

5.    Write it Down – This forces definition & clarity of your goals. Write your resolutions down in present tense, as if they are currently true. By doing so, you propel yourself to action. Writing “I will eat healthier,” for example, subconsciously allows postponement. Instead write in this tone: “I am choosing healthier food.”

6.    Be Realistic – Setting an unrealistic resolution can be the same as not setting it at all. Such daunting tasks are at risk for being put off or given up during the process. Being realistic makes a goal more appealing and possible.

7.    Be Detailed – By doing this, we give our subconscious mind a thorough set of instructions to work on. The more information provided the more clear the final outcome becomes.

8.    Don’t Contradict Resolutions – As long as your goals are consistent with each other, your life will feel harmonious and consistent. Otherwise, you’ll feel yourself pulled apart in different directions.

9.    Make a Timeline – For each step toward your goals, write down a time you want them accomplished by, and put in your calendar. This will keep you motivated and set reminders to progress forward at a constant rate.

ENJOYING THE PROCESS:

10.    Visualize – Nothing is accomplished without first visualizing it. Vividly envision yourself accomplishing your resolutions as often as possible. Envision it in detail from start to finish, focusing on how you would feel at the end of the journey.

11.    Take it Step-by-Step – Delineate each definable step toward your goals. This is an effective way to feel a sense of accomplishment as each step is achieved toward an end goal rather than feeling frustrated because the it has not yet been reached.

12.    Take the First Step Immediately – The hardest part of accomplishing a resolution is starting. The sooner you’ve taken that first step, the next will come easier and so on, developing momentum to carry you through the end.

13.    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask – You can’t do all things alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Also, for each resolution, ask for advice from someone you know who has already accomplished it.

14.    Set a Daily Reminder – Place a reminder of your resolutions in your daily morning visual environment. Whether it be your actual written list, a motivational photo, or collage, it will jumpstart your day to focus on your efforts.

15.    Schedule Breaks – Some goals require a lot of hard work, and that’s when breaks are imperative. Schedule short breaks and relaxation periods to reenergize you.

THROUGHOUT THE JOURNEY:

16.    Analyze Along the Way – Tougher, long-term resolutions may require analytically reviewing how you’ve progressed, and perhaps changing your process to more effective methods.

17.    Revise if Needed – No plan goes perfectly as predicted. There are always other variables that my create roadblocks or opportunities. Don’t be afraid to rewrite or revise your resolutions in order to optimize progress.

18.    Stay Organized – Organization is key to setting goals, keeping track of progress, motivating and reenergizing. Have a reliable, accessible, electronic or paper calendar that will be convenient to access daily. Be mentally organized as well, which writing helps accomplish.

19.    Declare Your Goals to Others – By telling colleagues, friends and loved ones your resolutions, you’re holding yourself accountable. They can help discipline you if they see you falling back from your goals and serve as cheerleaders as you progress. You will not want to let them down and greatly motivate yourself in the process.

20.    Reward Yourself – Because you deserve it! Positive reinforcement is always effective. Planning for a reward not only entices you to achieve that goal, but it makes it real and adds merit to the goal. Oh how success is sweet.

The Beauty of Aerial Photography

December 31, 2008 - Leave a Response

london1
new-picture-21

Capturing the world from an aerial perspective provides great insight towards the mark that human civilization has made on our planet. It also captures the beauty of nature as well as human achievement.

I’d like to share with you the best collection of aerial photography I’ve ever seen:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/21/75-eye-catching-examples-of-aerial-photography/