I recently interviewed marketing guru Kim T. Gordon. Gordon is the author of what I consider the best book on shoestring marketing that I have read (Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars). She is also the president of National Marketing Federation, Inc., and provides marketing consultation for businesses.
I recently was fortunate enough to sit in on a Disney Institute session on loyalty. Not knowing what to expect, I was shocked and delighted when a fairy godmother descended on the room (or rather burst through the doors) and began spouting off interesting information about Disney.
Of all the meetings I have ever attended, I have to say, this is the one that I will always remember.
But aside from all the wing and bling she spread around the room, I learned a lot about how Disney does marketing. My respect for the company has grown tenfold since the meeting.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself when it comes to your relationship with your customers:
1. Are your most profitable customers those who have the most reason to be dissatisfied with you?
2. Do you have rules that you want customers to break because doing so generates profits?
3. Do you make it difficult for customers to understand or abide by your rules, and do you actually help customers break them?
4. DO you depend on contracts to prevent customers from defecting?
If you answered “yes” to any of the four questions, your company may be engaged in what an article, “Companies And The Customers Who Hate Them” in the Harvard Business Review calls “adversarial value-extracting strategies.”
Now that you’ve chosen a name for your company, you need a business logo that matches the character that your company name portrays. It’s important to have a logo that fits your image. If you have a law firm, you certainly don’t want a cartoon logo!
“Content is king.” You’ve heard this a dozen times over the last few years. But what does it mean to you as an entrepreneur, and for your marketing strategy?
People hate advertising.
People love free information.
Today, there is virtually unlimited information on any given topic. But do you realize how much of it comes from businesses trying to get exposure for their company? A lot. Information is becoming the new foot in the door for small businesses who don’t have a big marketing budget.
What’s in a name? Everything!
The first encounter people have with a company is its name. Just like anything, a business name evokes certain ideas and images, as well as your business personality. Make sure the image you’re portraying is one that you want!
Here’s the story of my company name. I was starting a marketing and public relations firm and wanted to have a fun name that showed we were creative, yet dedicated to the projects we received.
Here’s a fact: as an entrepreneur, one day, you are going to encounter an unhappy customer. You may or may not do something to upset the customer, but the customer will be dissatisfied nonetheless. For me, this has been hard, as I tend to find myself always in the right. But you will learn that sometimes taking a serving of crow or humble pie is the only way to ensure your business thrives.
If you’re not getting the results you want with the typical marketing and advertising channels, here’s another idea that can generate a lot of business for you: networking.
Networking involves regularly attending meetings or events with other business people, with the intent to connect with a group of like-minded individuals. You may find that you need services or products that these people can provide, but your ultimate goal is to find potential customers.
Dive Into Networking
First, do your research. There are likely numerous groups that meet in your area and each may have a slightly different focus. Some meet weekly, but most meet monthly. Some networking groups cater to either men or women, while others include both sexes. Find one you’re interested in, and attend a meeting. Be sure to bring business cards, samples of product or services if you’re able, and a notepad to take notes.
Try Meetup.com. There, you’ll find groups that meet that cater to every interest, industry, and demographic under the sun.
Get the business card of everyone you talk to, whether they seem like a future client or not. Sometimes networking relationships take a while to cultivate, and while someone you meet may not need your services that day, they very well may call you down the road.
If you’re like me, you’ve just about exhausted the usual channels for networking. While networking groups are good for making contacts, those contacts don’t always translate into sales. Attending too many meetings with different groups can sometimes do nothing more than drain your pocketbook. So how can you meet people in your community that will be interested in your product, and bring you steady sales?
Volunteering as a Marketing Strategy
Think about it. You’re working with a diverse group of go-getters for a cause. While you will all be like-minded in the sense that you want to help a particular organization or non-profit, you all work in different parts of the city and do different things. Without having a specific agenda to sell, you will build relationships with these people, who will then think of you when a need arises that you can fill.
How Will Volunteering Help My Marketing Efforts?
Think about the people you have met at church, at your children’s school, in the community. You probably know where they work, and if anyone mentions needing services or products, you immediately think of the people you know can provide them.