Monthly Archives: June 2009

The next hot thing in marketing

listeningIn the latest issue of Fortune magazine, prominent people talked about the best advice they ever received. Lauren Zalaznick, President, Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, NBC Universal, stated the best advice she ever received was to listen.

Great advice – probably the best for anyone in marketing. And with today’s social media tools, it is now easier than ever.

Twitter:  Peter Shankman (twitter.com/skydiver) tweeted about the great service, but poor wi-fi, at a hotel he was staying at.  Someone at that hotel was monitoring Twitter and immediately had the problem resolved.

Facebook: Totino’s Pizza has 47 fan groups on Facebook where people talk about their favorite pizza, best toppings to add to a pizza and products they don’t like.  Think about how much the Totino’s product team could learn about their evangelists without paying a dime for formal research.

Rating Sites like Yelp, Kudzu, City Search: Ratings sites allow people to post what they like and don’t like about your company.  If you aren’t getting five-star ratings, do you know why?  Looking at your customer reviews will let you know what you are doing well and where you need improvement.

Blogs & YouTube: People are passionate.  And now they have the tools to express their passion through words and video.  What are bloggers writing about your company?  Have people posted videos about your service?  Remember the YouTube video where a Comcast service tech fell asleep on the couch while waiting on the phone for Comcast technical support?

Every day I am asked how to use social media for marketing.  My response? Listen to your audience.

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Rethinking iPhone Apps As A Branding Tool

iphoneWhat if every time someone picked up their iPhone (or other mobile device) they saw your logo?

It’s possible through mobile phone applications  or apps.

Apps range from the helpful like The Weather Channel, to the ridiculous like Pee Monkey (and no, I did not make that up).

They have transformed how we judge and use mobile devices.

Apps are also becoming big business.  In fact, Apple apps are fast approaching 1 billion downloads.

So how does the average business benefit from apps and justify development costs?

The answer: top of mind awareness.

Let’s just say a pest control company creates an app that lets you identify common household pests. The downloadable app is handy when those little black bugs are swarming in your kitchen, and a reminder of a company’s brand when the user sees your logo on his phone 20x per day. More importantly, when you have a pest control problem, what company would be top of mind?

This can work for so many industries: electricians, attorneys, plumbers, fitness centers, etc. And chances are, creating an app is more affordable than a sustained advertising campaign. (One company I recommend for iPhone app development is A Clever Twist.)

An app can be a valuable – and unique – tool for building your brand, so consider it as one aspect of your overall branding efforts to keep your name out in front of potential customers.

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Filed under Marketing Tactics

Announcement

New Logo

While I have tried to avoid overt self-promotion in the content of my blog posts, today I want to let everyone know about my new website MarketSmarter.biz, my new logo and an easier-to-remember email – aabend@MarketSmarter.biz.

I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think.

Again, my apologies for the self-promotion.

I promise to get back on task for next week’s entry.

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Reduce Customer Credit Card Usage. Increase Loyalty.

Reduce Credit Card UsageCredit card usage is a key component in creating customer loyalty, from earning frequent flyer miles to rewards points.  In today’s economy can you increase loyalty by encouraging your customers to use their cards less?

A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of keeping pricing consistent and instead adding value.  This is important because cutting your pricing may impact your ability to recoup a higher margin for an extended period of time.

But in today’s economy, the pressure facing companies to provide discounts on their products and services is strong.

So what can you do to encourage consumers to purchase your product, remain loyal to your brand and keep your price consistent?

Change your model – by giving your customers the incentive to pay another way.

The average company pays between 1.5% and 5% in credit card service charges. If you have $5,000,000 in revenue and are paying 3.5% in service charges, up to $175,000 of your bottom line could be going to the credit card companies.

While you may consider this a cost of doing business, what if you encouraged your customers to pay by cash, check or bill pay by putting 2.5% of their bill (based on the 3.5% noted above) into a loyalty account for them to use towards future purchases?  You would still come out ahead by $50,000.

Such a program provides many consumer benefits:

  • Reduces their cost on future services
  • Does not increase credit card debt (according to IndexCreditCard.com the average consumer household is carrying a $10,640 balance on their credit cards)
  • Saves money by not having to pay interest on credit card purchases
  • Provides value for products and services they already use

Your company benefits as well:

  • Reduces transaction costs (thus benefitting the bottom line)
  • Increases customer loyalty
  • Provides unique point of difference

A recession is great time to change how you do business without changing your business.

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Filed under Customer Marketing, Marketing ROI, recession marketing

How To Ruin A Good Idea

Broken IdeaYesterday I heard a radio spot promoting a child safety event by a company selling child location devices.

The spot invited parents and children to a dinner for the children to get fingerprinted and to hear tips on child safety.

As a father of two young boys, this sounded like a great event to attend; anything to help ensure the safety of our children.

So imagine my surprise when I heard that registration for the event started at 6 pm, with dinner and presentation beginning at 7, likely ending past my kids’ bedtimes. Noble cause, but not enough to miss the coveted bedtime window.

Great idea, lousy execution.

It is critical to think about your target audience at every stage of an idea.

Something as simple as the time you start your event could make a difference.

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