Title Image

Marketing

4 QUESTIONS EVERY BUSINESS SHOULD BE ASKING THIS TIME OF YEAR

Well, Fall is officially upon us and Winter is fast approaching. You know what this means – the holidays are quickly approaching as is the end of the year.  Yep, I said it; 2016 is coming to a close and 2017 will be here before we know it.  It seems like October is that magical month when businesses take a long hard look at what they’ve accomplished throughout the year, what they can wrap up in the last few months and begin planning for the new year.  So today I wanted to follow that up by sharing with you some of the questions that every business should be considering this year as it relates to a marketing strategy.

 

 

What Are Our Big Wins So Far This Year?

Think about the first 9 months.  What are the 3-4 big wins that stand out to you?  Maybe it’s a big deal that you closed or a social media marketing campaign that was very well received.  What did you accomplish that helped you or your business move closer to where you want to be?  Whatever it was, take a moment to think about why it was successful.  All too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day stuff and forget to take a step back to evaluate things.  And I’ve got news for you, if you don’t get this done in October there’s no way it’s happening in November or December.  We all know how crazy that time of the year can get, so take the time to search for those golden nuggets NOW and learn from them.

Where Did We Come Up Short?

No doubt, there will be some areas over your overall marketing plan or business strategy where you’ve fallen a bit short.  It’s much easier and more beneficial to identify those things now rather than at the end of the year.  Let me cover that again, think about and begin dealing with your shortcomings NOW rather than at the end of the year.  Sometimes we get too caught up in moving forward forward forward, that we forget to look back at things we might be able to easily fix now.  Maybe earlier in the year you were working on a website redesign and rushed things a bit when it came to the content development convincing yourself you’d come back to it later in the year.  Well, now’s that time.  Or perhaps you were thinking about getting some commercial photography work done for your new product line to update your online catalog, but just didn’t get around to it.   It’s important to identify these things now, and I will tell you why on my next point.

How Will You Make the Most of the Next 3 Months?

After taking a step back to look at your big wins and places where you fell short, think about how these things fit in with what’s left of your 2016 marketing plan.  What can you learn from these successes and setbacks so far to make the most of where you’re going next?  Your answers to these questions my change the plan moving forward.  Perhaps your original marketing budget didn’t have enough built in for social media marketing or hadn’t taken into consideration the benefits you might get from producing an online video to follow up with the one you rolled out in quarter 2 that was so successful.  While it’s always important to stay on budget, where you allocate that budget needs to always be open for review and discussion especially this late into the year.  And I’ll tell you one thing – doing things the same way you have always done them in the past is a recipe for getting left in the dust of your competition.  In other words, just because you spent X on a TV commercial or radio ad last year around the holidays and included that same budget this year doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest.

What’s The Plan for 2017?

Now that you’ve taken some time to look at the first 3/4 of the year and make sure you’re on the right track for the last quarter, it’s time to turn your attention to next year.  The good news is that by answering the first 3 questions, it will make building out your 2017 marketing strategy much easier.  Start by visualizing where you want your business to be at the beginning of the new year.  Let’s say the New Year starts off with a bang and everything is going great – what does that picture look like for your company?  Now, ask yourself that same thing about the end of the year next year.  Next it’s time to work backwards – what do you need to do to connect the dots from the most successful year beginning to the most successful year end?  Identify the mini-goals that need to be achieved along the way so you have nice, bite-sized chunks to tackle one at a time.  If you’re in the right business, answering these questions is sure to get you excited for new year.  After all, there’s no reason why it can’t be your best yet.

Answer These Questions NOW

I am going to wrap things up by echoing what I said earlier.  NOW is the time to answer these questions. I say this for 3 simple reasons:

1. It’s not too late to get back on track even if 2016 isn’t finishing the way you had hoped.

2. It’s never too early to start planning for the new year.

3. End of year/holiday craziness will soon ensue.

Need help with your strategic marketing plan?  Here’s how we can help.

0

Is networking marketing?

At FocalPoint, we think it’s fair to say networking is on the marketing spectrum. After all, it is a way to get your brand or name out there using communication.

 

The biggest difference is that unlike paid advertising, networking is impossible to control. You don’t know what is being said about you or your company – or where your business card or a friend’s text may end up. Could be deleted or thrown out. Could be put to good use. Who knows?

 

Of course, there is always a chance that it could lead to a key contribution to your work, or can impact someone else in your network, or become a customer by virtue of their sphere of influence, network, or present job. And yes, they could also screw things up for whomever you connect them to, reflecting badly on you.

 

Most importantly, networking outside your usual planes has the potential to broaden your knowledge, gain new perspectives in life and business, and maybe help open doors for someone simply needing help to build a new opportunity. We’d say that’s well worth the effort.

0

How Hot Will Your Brand Be Tomorrow?

The hottest newest brand or brands attract a lot of consumer and media attention. When they’re hot. But whatever is hot today is rarely still hot next quarter.

 

Updates, fads and trends are coming faster and more frequently.

 

That’s why former hot brands like Dell soon get crushed by Microsoft. And Microsoft gets toppled by Apple. And Blackberry moves out of favor as iPod comes on the scene, and so on.

 

At FocalPoint, we think there is a lesson in all of this for the rest of us. As soon as a hot brand becomes exceptional, it’s hard to grow, move ahead and make changes. Why? Because the ‘wow’ is working too well for you at that moment, and it’s hard not to drink your brand Kool-Aid.

 

We think brand evolution and flexibility are the best responses to the ever-changing, fast-paced competitive marketplace. So we work with our clients to continually improve our client’s brand. Even when it’s hot. This is particularly true in today market.  I just came from a speaking event where the subject was in part how the product lifecycle has changes and you really do need to be reinventing your product or service while it is still a hot commodity.

 

We want to be sure our clients’ positioning re-earns attention and re-connects in new ways so it stays in line with what’s important to their customers.

 

We make it a point not to drink any brand’s Kool-Aid here.

0
shake-things-up

Shaking it up

Do you want your marketing to fit in with everyone else’s? You want to stand out. Get noticed.

We thought so.

At FocalPoint, we know it takes real work to become a stand out. It takes questioning basic assumptions and trying a few crazy new ideas to create something different. Something of value.

If you have a vision that’s different from the norm and a passion that pushes you to move forward with it, here at FocalPoint, we consider that a gift.

We like to work with the movers and the shakers in the business and tech world. We enjoy working with folks that aren’t looking for different just to be different. Like us, they are looking for different to be better.

If that sounds like you, let’s shake a few things up together.

0

Getting it right

Attention to detail is big for us at FocalPoint.

We believe in getting things right. The first time.

And – what we seek to get right that first time matters more than just about anything else. Like what’s really important.

Really important like…

  • Creating a product or a service you are truly proud of
  • Addressing a workable business plan that meets a real need
  • Hiring a team that cares about the dream and the details
  • Building shrewd creative marketing around your business model that will speak to your mission and your audience

About that last bullet point…

FocalPoint creates marketing strategy with an end point in mind. The tag line won’t simply be ‘catchy.’ It will support that business plan you lost sleep over.

We understand that there will be endless details to get right before you launch your web site and your social media plan. That’s the ground point where we work best together. Before you have something that you’re truly proud of. That’s an ideal place for us to be. So together we can create, double check, test, and launch with more than just a hunch.

We want to get things launched right— right alongside you and your team. Greeting success together after hard work ironing out what’s most important.

Short. is. in.

Less is most definitely more these days.

Short attention spans are in evidence everywhere.

To stay connected to your audience, you’ve got to be brief. Your points crisp and concise.

This applies to meetings, presentations, advertising, emails, Tweets, web sites, and memos.

Short is not only the new black, it’s the only way to be heard over instant communication.

0

What makes a brand memorable?

How many Super Bowl commercials can you remember, a couple of weeks or so out from the game? And of those you do remember, how many do you also remember the brand?

Chances are good, not many.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with folks over the years about an ad they “loved,” but couldn’t remember the name of the product.

And then, there are the generic brands. They don’t advertise because they aren’t going for brand recognition. Generic products like black and white cans labeled “Cat food,” or “Dish soap,” don’t want brand recognition. They are just filling a product need with direct, brutally obvious, hyper clear messaging.

And that labeling is certainly marketing, too. And it works for stuff where we don’t care about quality; we are just filling a need as cheaply as possible.

But for the majority of brands, making a connection with potential users of the product is what is at stake. We want that connection to last. Like the Doritos Super Bowl commercials, for example. You not only remember that the chips are Doritos’ brand, but you also remember the commercial’s payoff – humor. In fact, Doritos brand was the one most often mentioned when folks were asked which commercials they remembered a week after the Super Bowl.

What other brands do you recall immediately when you think of a product? Hoover, Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Beatles, Apple computers… all of these products have name recognition because of marketing tying brand to product.

But how to get there — especially when you don’t have the corporate budget of Apple computers? The best idea is not to do it in house. A group of untrained folks searching for a word or phrase tends to push toward obvious or generic way of thinking about a product. And generic advertising doesn’t stick. Instead, you need a hook, something memorable to link your product and brand to your customer’s need.

That’s where we come in. Folks experienced in marketing, who will see your product from a different perspective, and explore how to set your brand apart. Maybe with humor, maybe with elegance. Perhaps with music or a tag line that sticks.

So if you’re exploring new ways to get your brand to stick like a Doritos ad, we would be delighted to share some of our interesting branding work. Give us a call. We’ll provide the chips.

0

Perfection is boring

Fear sells. We have to look.

Radical sells. Different sells. Uniformity gets ignored.

Sex (still) sells. Being PC doesn’t.

Beauty sells. Unless it’s so plastically beautiful that it becomes boring.

We’re human. We get tired of tried and true. This is why the world of television programing is getting weirder and weirder. And why talk shows push the envelope. And teenagers listen to radical music.

soup-of-the-dayDifferent is interesting. What we once thought was perfection, soon becomes boring. So what actually gets noticed and remembered? A reliable product? A better value? Something that is safer?

At FocalPoint, we don’t think so. What’s hot today is fleeting. We get that. Today’s consumer is seeking  “Spicey hot,” “Bold and unpredictable!” and “The quirkiest gizmo ever,” and “We’ve never made a (car) quite like this.”

We see consumers that are compelled by what they don’t see often. Now that we all can get what we want at the touch of a screen, we crave new experiences, new ways to make a connection, and new sensations.

The people at the edges, the thought leaders, the young, the people who care, those are the folks we are getting in front of. The folks that are seeking idiosyncrasy and things that makes them think.

At FocalPoint, we like that too. That is what piques our interest.