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Marketing

Should Your Company Have A Retail App?

Retailer mobile app use by consumers actually doubled last year, according to RetailDive.com. These apps are quickly increasing in popularity for good reason – actually two good reasons. They appeal to consumers for their convenience as well as their speed.

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Should You Market Your Company Via A Podcast?

You can, yes, absolutely. But the reality is it’s a little more complicated to get from can to should.

While many B2B firms use more traditional marketing vehicles to buy digital media, some are investing in newer ways to get attention, especially younger, more affluent, educated, business-oriented listeners. That’s a group of people many companies would love to target.READ MORE

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How Do Folks Respond To Your Marketing Efforts?

According to business guru Seth Godin, marketing efforts can be separated into two very different categories (https://seths.blog/2018/08/two-kinds-of-marketing/).

 

He divides marketing and advertising into those that inspire, delight and provide something we want – versus the kind that potential clients positively hate, such as interruptive popups, spam, high-pressure overtures, and overpriced hype.

 

Here at Focal Point, we couldn’t agree more. We frequently scratch our heads over pricey marketing campaigns we see that miss their mark because they over-promise, hit too hard, look like everyone else, or fail to leave a lasting positive impression.

 

There are all kinds of ways to attract new eyes to products and services. So why be offensive and in-your-face to gain attention when you can generate interest, enthusiasm and good will with marketing that is noticeably different.

 

As Godin says, “The selfish marketer is marketing at us, trading money for attention to sell average (or below average) products to disinterested people. The successful marketer is marketing with us and for us.”

 

If the end goal is strictly improving sales numbers, then getting your name out in front of people – no matter how its done – might well justify the means. But if you are interested in creating goodwill around your business and products, your goal is more long-term. You want repeat business and perhaps even (depending on your business) creating customers for life.

 

This means giving your audience something they can trust. Marketing that is believable and respectful, delivered in a way that is effective, responsible and memorable.

 

This type of marketing is tricky to get just right. But when it is, you know it and your customers know it. It hits the mark and leaves a smile or a good impression.

 

So how do folks respond to your present marketing efforts? If you don’t know for sure, or feel you might be heading in the wrong direction, we have some delightful examples we’d enjoy sharing with you.

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Dare To Defy Convention

Who comes to mind when you think about marketing strategies that defied convention?

 

  • Steven Jobs with Apple
  • Certainly the Volkswagen print ads of the 60s
  • Old Spice “The man your man could smell like” TV commercials
  • Proctor & Gamble’s “Thank you, moms” Olympics video
  • Dos Equis “The world most interesting man” campaign
  • Dove’s print series for “Real beauty”

 

You probably can picture each of these. They were memorable for breaking the rules. They gained recognition because they defied conventional marketing in some way. They looked at things differently. Or said or did the unexpected.

 

Taking the unbeaten path rather than the quick route is liberating. But that’s because you take a risk in saying, doing or picturing something in a very different way.

 

Turning the usual on its head, so to speak, is energizing. It’s also risky. After all, you could get it wrong.

 

For all the campaigns listed above, chances are very good that there were multiple tries for each strategy that didn’t work. That missed the mark. Those that worked found the sweet spot of heartfelt sincerity, as in P&G’s “Thank you” video. Or said something quirky and completely over the top, as in Old Spice and Dos Equis. Or questioned our values very visually, as Dove did. And of course Apple famously turned everything on its head, from innovation to marketing.

 

How can you get off of the safe and reliable path and onto producing marketing materials that are memorable and get talked about?

 

The easy answer is “take the unexpected route” with something that is funny, off beat, brilliant, or charming. Of course, how to get there is a whole different story.

 

The good news is that it is less expensive than ever to use social media to explore what works and what doesn’t. Shooting and editing video is more direct and faster than ever before. You can tweet a new tag line out and get immediate feedback before launching an expensive campaign.

 

Technology has made defying convention a breeze. You just need to be able to stop taking the safe route, take a deep breath, and open up to the possibility of different.

 

Marshall McLuhan said, “Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful daily reflections any society ever made of its whole range of activities.”

 

Question why you are presenting your services and goods in the way you are. Talk about the strangely curious aspects of your widgets. Invite different folks to your marketing table and gain new insight.

Then apply this new thinking to everything you do, from sales strategies to HR, product innovation to marketing new categories.

 

So — yes, project and reflect your organization’s values in unexpected, irreverent, exuberant, thoughtful, wild, and colorful ways. Why not? Taking an unexpected route just may open up a whole new path for you, your customers and your organization.

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Projecting Competence AND Warmth In Your Marketing

When anyone, company or individual, makes a purchase decision, that choice is based on a perception of product or service competence (credibility) as well as image (likeability).

 

We all readily accept that first premise. (We’re making decisions based on facts, right?) It’s the second one we sometimes have a hard time believing. After all, who needs warmth from a Samsung refrigerator? Don’t we just look at all the product’s features, then compare the Samsung to all the other brands, weigh in cost, and make the most rational cost-to-benefit determination?

 

Nope, not according to market psychoanalysts.

 

“In deciding whether to trust a company or brand, we weigh both competence and warmth,” say coauthors Maurice Schweitzer and Adam Galinsky in their book Friend and Foe, When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both.

 

“That means, according to Schweitzer and Galinsky, “people choosing a new product, service or brand are asking:

  • Does this (refrigerator) have the ability to get the job done?
  • Does (Samsung) have my best interests at heart?”

 

It makes sense when you think about it. When you take in any kind of advertising or marketing, you are “meeting” a company and their product. You are rating them in terms of competence for sure. But you are also swayed by your emotions.

 

Schweitzer and Galinsky say there are two elements at work here:

 

  • Credibility – the content of your marketing material shows you’re the subject matter expert (SME) they’ve been seeking, and
  • Reliability – you’ve helped clients and customers “just like them” many times before and you’re familiar with their needs and concerns.

 

So, even if you’ve worked hard to come across as the most brilliant and knowledgeable of providers in your niche, you still need to pass the “warmth” test.

 

Seeking that obvious warmth quotient is why so many ads employ likeable jingles, or warm and fuzzy family scenarios, or dogs in their commercials. But its also reflected less overtly, such as when your social media presents your organization and your employees as “real people”, with a passion for serving in your field (such as in blogs, Tweets, and other forms of social connection.)

 

Interestingly, sometimes that warmth can come through when you show your audience your own human failures as well as your successes, according to Friend and Foe. Humor does the same thing. Both methods can be a good point of connection – which is a big part of warmth.

 

So, ask yourself this question:

As business owners/marketers in today’s high-speed, click-on-it, research online, ADHD world, are you sure your marketing content demonstrates to online searchers that you are not only terrific at what you do, but you are also considerably warmer than your competition?

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Romancing Social Media

Business relationships are actually quite similar to romantic ones. Both thrive on attention. The more positive, the better. The more consistent, the better… with an occasional unexpected perk.

 

Like, what?

Flowers for no reason would be the romantic metaphor. One printing company we enjoy working with would, for no discernable reason, occasionally give us a printing job for free. “Thanks for being one of our favorite customers,” was the stated reason.

 

Wow, we thought, how cool is that? Interestingly, that printing company only had to offer that perk once in a blue moon. Because it made a lasting impression. Obviously, we enjoyed the sentiment. And the perk. Of course, we wanted to keep being that favorite customer. So we gave them more of our business.

 

In social media, you can do something very similar.

And for lots less.

 

All it takes is time and intention. It all boils down the organization’s commitment to sustaining excellent relationships with clients and prospects. And the key to that?

Romancing the client:

  • Frequent reminders about how important they are to you
  • The occasional perk
  • Use client examples of great work on social media
  • Send those posts to your client – with feedback when appropriate

 

While FocalPoint knows it’s important to keep up traditional communication and PR, we also believe our clients should also be romancing their relationships through online forums

  • Website updates
  • Frequent blogs and vlogs
  • Use the NOTES application in Facebook to create a special, limited-time “friends and family” promotion, tag friends and clients and ask them to pass along your exclusive deal.
  • Tweet out contests, shout out to loyal customers and promote events. (And don’t forget to retweet loyal customer tweets.)
  • Name drop on LinkedIN shares

 

Interesting conversations are happening all the time, so why not participate in a very visible way that says to your clients, “I really like you and you are the heart of our business.”

 

LinkedIN romance

Join as many groups on LinkedIN as you can that are related to what you sell and post a question or a tip on a regular basis. Client name drop (it’s free and it works wonders!)

 

  • Mention a client If you have a blog or e-newsletter
  • Post a client announcement to your Linked-In groups with a link whenever you release a new issue or blog posting.
  • You’ll look great to lots of business people
  • …and so will your client.

 

Romance isn’t dead. It’s on line and doing fine!

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The Persuasive Art Of Email

Email is old school.

Or is it?

Worldwide, there are roughly 2.6 billion daily email users. And more than 4.3 billion email accounts. With 1.7 email accounts per user, email is definitely still relevant. More so, when you want to communicate to those in business.

Here’s how to use email persuasively and effectively:

Begin with a killer subject line

  • Your subject line is crucial. That’s what draws your reader in.
  • Lead with something strong, such as “What your competitor doesn’t know” or “Pay off your student loan in half the time” – called a Gain
  • Pain headlines work well, too, i.e., “Say this, but never this,” or “The one word that kills a sale,” to absolutely draw readers.
  • It’s human nature to want to know pain and gain secrets and inside information. Pique your readers’ curiosity.
  • Keep it short and sweet (or search engines will truncate it for you.)
  • Make your subject line handheld display-friendly. Smaller devices show between 6 – 10 words, so the ideal subject line is between 4 and 7 words (50 characters max).

Then satisfy that curiosity. Almost.

Keep your information short and crisp. Show your knowledge but don’t tip your hand. It’s a delicate balance.

Dangle bits of information and use key words and phrases consistent with your targeted market segment.

Promise more information by motivating them toward next steps. “Click here to find out 5 more ways to drive your best customer away,” is a good tactic.

Communicating scarcity or quick action still works to compel readers to click (or act). However, if you overuse this tactic, your readers will quickly become immune to it.

Show your email recipient you know something about them

People want to feel special. The more personalized your email is, the better. This means you need to segment out your email list. But that time and energy generally pays off.

If you are targeting Boomers, make sure you are speaking their language. Ditto for Millennials, restaurant managers, small business owners, or recent college grads with huge student loans. The more personal, the better.

Humor works

So does using the unexpected in a new way. “How to break all the rules and still beat your savviest competitor,” is a great example of that. Be irreverent and have fun. You’ll come across as a company that will be fun to work with. And who wouldn’t want that?

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