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What’s Your Square Plate? How Differentiation in Marketing Can Save Your Business

On a road trip recently, my family stopped at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant. I don’t have any particularly strong affiliation to the restaurant. To me, it’s a lot like Chili’s and Applebee’s. A good place to get a hot meal, nothing more, nothing less.

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I hadn’t been in a Ruby Tuesday in a few years, but right away I noticed a difference. The plates were square. And the tables were clear of the drink special clutter. The menu was basically the same, but there was a slight air of sophistication that I took note of, highlighted by fewer items on the menu, large colorful pictures, and elegant text. And now, that is what separates Ruby Tuesday from other restaurants for me.

10 Reasons Your Small Business Marketing Sucks

If you’re not getting the business you want, and you’re constantly discussing marketing to no avail, your small business marketing strategy sucks.

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Here are some clues to look for:

1. You don’t have a marketing budget.

Budget? What’s that? If you think setting aside money for marketing is a waste of time, you’ll soon be looking for employment.

2. You don’t have a small business marketing plan.

Flying by the seat of your pants is not an option when you’re an entrepreneur. Being flexible is, however. You need to have a marketing plan that lays out what activities you will engage in each year, quarter, and month, and how much will be allocated (see point 1).

You Could Learn a Lot from a Fairy Godmother: How Disney Renewed My Faith in Loyalty and Marketing

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.

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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.

4 Signs Your Customers Hate You, and What You Could Learn From a Fairy

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.”

Can Microsoft Bring the Love Back for Consumers?

You’ve likely already seen the clever movie put out by Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions that illustrates the divorce that is currently happening between consumers and traditional advertising. People have learned to hate it. Nothing could better illustrate the disconnect that…

5 Ways to Maximize Your Business’ Personality and Image

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!

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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.

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