A day unplugged

It was only one day. No digital devices. Which meant no YouTube, Facebook, Skype, chat, email, Farmville, etc. Seems simple and easy enough. But the results were anything but. This experiment among college students resulted in all the tell tale signs of addiction and withdrawal.

Unplugged experiment

What does this mean for you as a marketer? It  means if you aren’t present in these places that college students are addicted to, then you are going to be in big trouble, if you aren’t already.

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Take Chances

I sat in on an online presentation, or webinar if you prefer, that was titled Be a Non-traditional Marketer -Smart Ways to Brand Build and Boost Sales. At the onset, they asked the audience the following question and gave them three answers to choose from.

How would you best describe your marketing efforts.

1. Traditional

2. Mix of traditional and non-traditional

3. Avant-garde

First off, the question is way too vague. What is traditional to me may be avant-gaurd to you. Or vice-versa. So the results to this question mean very little. But the question did get me thinking. What answer should a good marketing department give to this question? Avant-garde sounds cool. I surely want to be viewed that way. But my feeling is that #2 is the only good answer and here is why.

“Traditional” is defined as a specific practice of long standing. And its of long standing for a reason. It works to a certain degree. So in most instances, traditional marketing should be the foundation of any marketing program. Things like proper messaging, pricing, determining your target audience, defining your competitive advantage, etc are all still very important.  But if you stop there you’re as good as dead. You need to take chances when it comes to marketing. You need to go beyond traditional.

This is one of my most recent favorites of a company that took a chance and went beyond traditional marketing. Its a “Case Study” done by Heineken. Be sure to watch through to the end to see the results of this marketing effort. It was amazing.

Heineken Case Study – Champions League Match vs Classical Concert

So what chances are you taking to set your company apart?

You are not in the service business

You are not in the service business, you are in the relationship business. And when you think about it this way you act differently. Here are some examples:

  • If you are in the Service Business you might ask “How can I help you?”, if you are in the Relationship Business you might ask, “How are you doing?”
  • If you are in the Service Business you might ask “What can I do for you today?” if you are in the Relationship Business you might ask, “What are your biggest problems?”
  • If you are in the Service Business you call prospects looking for business, if you are in the Relationship Business you call prospects offering them something of value.
  • If you are in the Service Business you react to your customers immediate needs, if you are in the Relationship Business you ask about their future needs.
  • If you are in the Service Business you are concerned about your customers needs, if you are in the Relationship Business you are concerned about your customers.
  • If you are in the Service Business you want customers today, if your are in the Relationship Business you want customers tomorrow.

There is a big difference between being in the Service Business and being in the Relationship Business. It changes the way you view things. It changes the way you act and speak. In fact, you don’t act, you interact. There is a big difference. So next time you are interacting with a customer or prospect, think about what you are saying. Are you in the Service Business or are you in the Relationship Business?  If you want to succeed and grow, you need to be in the Relationship Business.

I lied

A while back I wrote a post titled “Never offer a discount.” I even wrote a second post on the subject of offering discounts which you can read here. Both posts discuss the reasons that you should never offer a discount. In a nutshell, you should provide value and keep your prices firm. Don’t cheapen your brand. Yadda, yadda, yadda…well, I’ve changed my mind…sort of.

Recently, my company offered its first discount in over 20 years. It was not something that came easily. There was plenty of internal discussion about the effects of doing such a thing. But ultimately we did. And here is why.

Everyone knows we are in difficult times.  And the staffing industry is no different. But when the subject of offering a discount came up, it was always a short discussion. Nope, we’re not doing that. Eventually, however, we decided that as a long time contributor to the success of so many companies in Silicon Valley and around the country, it was time for us to give back a little and show some support. The unusual economic times dictated it. So we did. And we wrote up a nice letter explaining why we were doing it.

So while I said “never offer a discount,” there are clearly times when it makes sense. And those times are not when you are desperate for business but when you are providing support to your community.

Its not the size of the logo that counts

The title of this post really says it all. Don’t make your logo too big. I see it over and over, almost like a company feels that it won’t get noticed if their logo is too small.

The companies that pay boatloads of money to manage their brand and logo don’t use large logos, so why would you. Take a look:

Intel
Cisco
Toyota
Disney
Apple

Marketing Key #12 of 13

Marketing Key #12 – Your customer is buying a promise.

Remember, your customers are buying a promise from you. Especially your new customers.

Your returning customers have their past experiences with you so assuming they were positive, these customers have a reasonable expectation that you will deliver your service as promised. But new customers have to rely on word-of-mouth, research, and the faith that you will deliver. There is no product that they can look at, touch, or try out. They simply are agreeing to let you perform your service and also agreeing to pay for it based on the fact that you are promising to deliver.

Do everything you can to make sure your customers view you and your company as someone that can be trusted. This might include certifications, references, testimonials, press coverage, blogging, guarantees, etc.

Your customers are buying a promise and trusting you with their money. Be cognizant of this in everything that you do.

10 things you should never have on your website

Last week while surfing the Internet I came across a surprising number of shockingly bad websites. Which got me thinking about some things that should absolutely never be on a website. Below are 10 things that immediately came to mind, some of which I actually saw. Please feel free to add to the list in comments.

1. A spinning globe

2. or anything spinning for that matter

3. Pictures of puzzle pieces (This is not a creative way to show your company “completes” a picture)

3. A picture of a handshake (Shows the very minimal thought you put into your image selection)

4. A mailbox icon for email (Can you say 1997?)

5. A giant red, spinning “e” for email (Can you say 1998?)

6. Low quality images (use a site like istockphoto for inexpensive, quality images)

7. Anything that scrolls across the screen

8. Poorly Photoshopped images (If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, don’t broadcast it to the world)

9. Google AdSense (Nothing says “I’m cheap” like AdSense on a company website)

10. Your countries flag on the homepage (national pride is great, but there shouldn’t be a flag on your home page…unless you’re selling flags)