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The Best Companies Get This Right First

The Best Companies Get This Right First | marketing tips | Scoop.it
If your business lacks a solid foundation, even things like smart employees and great ideas can't save you from trouble down the road.

 

Note from Pat: Here's a basic thing to focus on - greeting potential customers.

 

I walked into the office of my new dentist the other day, and the receptionist was sharing her shitty day with everyone that walked in the door.  Gosh, wouldn't it have been better to have been greeted with a smile, a warm "Hello, how may I help you?" and more?

 

Have you ever called a company to ask a question and maybe place an order, only to get an earful of stupid?  Employees with bad attitudes combined with the inability to answer simple questions - so they launch the call over to someone else so you get to repeat everything for the 4th time? 

 

Focus on the basics.  Make sure everyone understands that they are responsible for delivering "WOW!" - and make sure they understand they have the authority to do so.

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37signals Earns Millions Each Year. Its CEO’s Model? His Cleaning Lady

Jason Fried is a founder and CEO of 37signals, a software company based in Chicago.

 

"What matters is: Are you profitable? Are you building something great? Are you taking care of your people? Are you treating your customers well? In the coverage of our industry as a whole, you’ll rarely see stories about treating customers well, about people building a sustainable business. TechCrunch to me is the great place to look to see the sickness in our industry right now."

 

Note from Pat: That quote applies to all industries.

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The Social Butterfly - LeadMD

By now the initial buzz of social media is beginning to die down. We’ve all placed clever little logos on every page of our websites and used integrated tools like ‘adthis’ to socialize page and downloadable content. That’s all well and good but now that social media has become an initiative for many companies and an actual department for many others the question of results is creeping more and more to the forefront. How can companies utilize social mediums to yield real results?

 

Note from Pat: A nice short, focused post that you really need to read and think about...especially before you start telling your team to "do something to get more 'Likes'"

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5 types of social media strategies: Church of the Customer Blog

5 types of social media strategies: Church of the Customer Blog | marketing tips | Scoop.it

Note from Pat: Tom Fishburne is dead on with his latest cartoon.  There are 4 types of social media strategy that are most prevelant in the market - and they have nothing to do with conversations, building relationships or focusing on how you can help others.

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Monday Morning Minute 08-27-2012 | Claris Consulting

Today is August 27, 2012 and today I want to talk to you about making more effective decisions.

 

Note from Pat: A great process for decision making - because too many of us get in a grove on one thing, and then get hit with something that needs our input and we try to make a quick decision so we can stay in the grove.  The end result is a half-assed decision that comes back and bites us on the ass later on (sometimes) or doesn't take full advantage of the opportunity.

 

Step back.  Clear your mind.  Focus.  Then ask about nice to haves and risks.

 

Oh, and it helps to make your team aware of this process so they can come to you with the information and recommendations so you can run through their logic and support their decisions!!!

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Easy Trick to Avoid a Price War

Easy Trick to Avoid a Price War | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Don't get stuck slashing prices. Instead, use this consumer-behavior secret to reframe the competition.

 

Note from Pat: A great read with important ideas - next time you consider a "BOGO", pull this article up and consider the profitable options.

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In Customer Relationships, Context Is King

In Customer Relationships, Context Is King | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Hmaun binegs are craetrues of cnotxet. In fcat, cntxoet is the olny way we are albe to raed. As lnog as the fsrit and lsat lrettes of wrdos are in thier prpoer pleacs, not much else rllaey mttares.

 

Note from Pat: Sure, the article makes perfect sense.  But the challenge is how to bring it to life.  For many businesses, the answer is "Can't do it - we need to do it our way so we can be fast, efficient, profitable and can scale."

 

The key, IMHO, is to offer a base level of experience to all customers and then, when a customer becomes 'extremely valuable', you begin to offer more personalized service and support.

 

That way, you win new customers based on the unique value you offer - and then you retain them (motivating them to increase average order size, order frequency, annual purchases) by providing them with the more personalzied support.

 

Think airlines.  (Well, thin airline frequent flier programs.)

 

Oh, and remember to ASK the customer what they value so you can deliver it.  (And to listen when they tell you!)

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5 Most Common Marketing Mistakes

5 Most Common Marketing Mistakes | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Effective marketing means stepping back, doing your homework, and (usually) starting over from scratch.

 

Note from Pat: I would also suggest 'consistency' - or, in other words, promote your business consistently over time (no disappear-reappear) AND if the same ol' design/message/offer is working (generating leads and sales), don't change it.  Even if you are bored with the look...if your audience responds, leave it alone.

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In Mario Batali’s Kitchen, Please Refrain From Shouting

In Mario Batali’s Kitchen, Please Refrain From Shouting | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Mr. Batali, the chef, cookbook author and television personality, says he wants order in his restaurants.

 

Note from Pat: A nice look at leadership, the importance of planning...I especially like the comment about yelling comes from the leaders failure to properly  prepare.

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Lessons from the Failure of J.C. Penney’s New Pricing Strategy

Lessons from the Failure of J.C. Penney’s New Pricing Strategy | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Lessons from the initial failure of J.C. Penney's new pricing strategy. You must understand your customer's price conditioning and experiment.

 

Note from Pat: All too often, we ignore the impact of pricing - beyond the all too familair "Let's take 20% off".  This article offers some valuable tidbits for further consideration...and the bottom line is that pricing can have a huge impact on your ability to attract and retain profitable customers so use it to your advantage.

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Web pranksters hijack restaurant's Mountain Dew naming contest

Web pranksters hijack restaurant's Mountain Dew naming contest | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Internet pranksters hijacked a pizza restaurant's contest to name a new Mountain Dew drink...

 

Note from Pat: The Internet can be a dangerous place...so a risk analysis should be part of your strategic planning.

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Two Questions Haunting J.C. Penney

Two Questions Haunting J.C. Penney | marketing tips | Scoop.it
If the retailer is not able to retain most of its customers and attract new ones, it's destined for oblivion...

 

Note from Pat: In the following excerpt from the article, change "J.C. Penney" and insert the name of your business.

 

"To succeed in creating value for its shareholders, J.C. Penney must create value for its customers. This means its strategy should be able to answer two fundamental questions:  Why should J.C. Penney ’s current customers continue to shop at J.C. Penney ? and Why should any of competitors’ customers switch to J.C. Penney ?"

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Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die!

Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die! | marketing tips | Scoop.it
I bet you hate to make cold calls. Thankfully, over the last ten years or more, you didn’t need to cold call, market, or sell much to win your share of contracts or profitable work. The phone just ...

 

Note from Pat: Not sure what industry has been able to sit back and answer the phone for the past 10+ years but the main message here is key - you need to have a formal, on-going lead generation campaign if you want to [a] maintain revenue levels and [b] grow your business.

 

Most companies are going to see some attrition as a normal course of business - your clients will go out of business, change vendors and/or reduce spending - so you need to replace that revenue.  That might come from your retention/loyalty efforts because some clients will increase their spend with you - but it's rare to see fewer customers generate higher revenue.

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Enough With the 'Innovation' Already!

Enough With the 'Innovation' Already! | marketing tips | Scoop.it
The backlash against business's faddish obsession with innovation has begun, according to one pundit.

 

Note from Pat: Want to be truly innovative?  Stop focusing on "new" and "cool" and start focusing on consistently delivering a unique, valuable experience for your customers.  We leave more money on the table because of inconsistent customer experiences than we do because we failed to launch a new product.  Having a reputation for an inconsistent experience with your audience has a negative impact on new product launches....so nail the basics then focus on new stuff.

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Failure Is The Only Option, If Success Is The End Goal

Failure Is The Only Option, If Success Is The End Goal | marketing tips | Scoop.it
There are two sides to every story: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times; you take the bitter with the sweet; every rose has its thorn. However, in leadership, we often miss out on half the story.

 

Note from Pat: The importance of testing is that you can learn from mistakes, improve over time and push the bar further.  We all should strive for perfection with the understanding that it is unattainable - because perfection moves further ahead as we make progress.

 

We learn.  We improve.  We grow.  We never attain perfection,

 

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Horrified 'Undercover Boss' shuts down restaurant

On CBS's reality show "Undercover Boss," one boss was pushed so far by the horrible behavior of a restaurant manager that he came out from undercover, revealed his identity, and shut the whole restaurant down.

 

Note from Pat: God bless Rick SIlva, CEO of Checker's and Rally's for taking swift, immediate and appropriate action.  Hopefully he goes back to Corporate and jumps all over the folks that hire and train store managers because they need to monitor performance and develop an on-going training/development program so this kind of behavior can't be brought in or develop over time.

 

Imagine what the customers must have thought as they listened to this 'manager' berate employees?!

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How Not to Market Your Business

How Not to Market Your Business | marketing tips | Scoop.it

Note from Pat: We all get emails like this one - and beyond annoyance of SPAM, we all need to remember it was created by someone in marketing that SHOULD NOT BE IN MARKETING.

 

If you have concerns about the effectiveness of your company's sales and marketing efforts, remember that I offer a free evaluation. If you don't want to talk to me - talk to someone! (Maybe a few prospects and customers?!)  You already get their indirect feedback through response rates - now get some direct feedback through conversations.

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Making Your Marketing Accountable – Marketing Mondays

Making Your Marketing Accountable – Marketing Mondays | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Sometimes your marketing and sales efforts, while good intentioned, fall short not because lack of good ideas, but because of lack of implementation. The self-employed professional is a master at procrastination when they want to be.

 

Note from Pat: Consultants benefit from mentors - and so do business owners.  Think about it.  How would your own performance benefit in the short and long-term with the right mentor OR even an advisory board that includes people with expertise in key areas like legal, finance, operations, sales/marketing etc.?

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How to Sell Against a Competitor

How to Sell Against a Competitor | marketing tips | Scoop.it
You never want to badmouth your rivals. But there are other ways to highlight your strengths.

 

Note from Pat: I'll add one more point - when you ask the right questions, listen to the answers and be prepared to step back and say "Maybe you should go with the other company."

 

That said, this is where competitive intelligence is critical because your sales team can ask leading questions that focus on your strengths/their weaknesses so the client can discover on their own.

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2 Little Words to Close More Sales

2 Little Words to Close More Sales | marketing tips | Scoop.it
Are your prospects ready to buy? Eliminate the surprise factor and find out well before the close. Here's how.

 

Note from Pat: Too many speak without thinking - this is a great post that shows us the importance of thinking before speaking. Sales tie-downs are an incredibly effective tool/technique that is too often overlooked - wouldn't you agree?

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5 Questions to Ask Before You Act on That Great Idea

5 Questions to Ask Before You Act on That Great Idea | marketing tips | Scoop.it
What you think is a stroke of genius may not be practical if you don't have the resources or the customer demand to make it a reality.

 

Note from Pat: Love this article for many reasons - but the big one is that we need to realize that sometimes "No" is the right answer.  Entrepreneurs love to be flexiblle and chase opportunities - and it kills a lot of them because you can only do so much.

 

I would add one more point - and that's Have an Exit Strategy.  There's nothing worse than starting something you can't get out of...so plan for the possibility that you will need to get out.

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Hewlett-Packard Sales Slump Tests CEO Whitman

Hewlett-Packard Sales Slump Tests CEO Whitman | marketing tips | Scoop.it

Hewlett-Packard Co. posted its biggest quarterly loss in at least two decades as demand for personal computers and services aimed at businesses slumped, underscoring the turnaround challenge facing Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman.

 

Note from Pat: A couple of interesting comments....first is "....the amount of time it takes to close deals is lengthening" and the other is "It's (servers aimed at helping consumer Internet companies handle the rising tide of data) where all the growth in the market is."

 

Hopefully she's looking at where the market is going so she can be first to arrive...rather than at where the market is today so she can be last to arrive as everyone else moves on.

 

And why is the time to close deals lengthening?  From most research out there, B2B sales are starting later in the cycle because of all the content available on the web for the buyer to suck up before having to go to a sales person.

 

Hmmm....

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brandflakesforbreakfast: vending machine must be heard

An interactive vending machine "...barking ridiculous orders at passerbys in exchange for a free coffee."

 

This is one to file under "...just because you can doesn't mean you should..."

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Concept of Strategy for Competitive Edge

Concept of Strategy for Competitive Edge | marketing tips | Scoop.it
The word strategy (derived from the Greek word for general ship) was initially applied only to warfare.

 

Note from Pat: A very nice Strategy 101 post that serves as a good reminder as to the importance of having a strategic plan.

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