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Marketing

Hit ‘em right between the eyes

fotolia_97721829That headline is a show-stopper. An attention-grabber.

It’s meant to be. Because, frankly, as someone in the attention-grabbing business, I know that if you DON’T smack someone right between the eyes with a WOW message, you’ve lost your 3 second chance at their attention.

We’re all connected and it’s pretty darned noisy out there. You gotta fight to win every viewer’s increasingly short attention span.

Anything FocalPoint or any entity puts out there, from a Tweet to a business proposal – gets triaged by its intended audience. It either grabs attention and gets acted upon, or it gets thrown into the middle of the easily forgotten inventory of messages swimming in our brain (and email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)

We can’t possibly remember all of it. The best we can do is remember the top 5% (or less) of the messages aimed at us.

Bottom line? You have provided a very interesting proposal or a really good payoff to get across the triage hurdles, the biggest being:

“Is this info worth my customer’s time?”

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.

Entrepreneurial Marketing, Selling the Sizzle

What's-Your-StorySteve Jobs was famous for entrepreneurial marketing. He created gadgets we didn’t even know we needed, and then marketed them so effectively, we knew we craved whatever he blessed – asap.

At FocalPoint, we’re quick to give Jobs his due, but we also appreciate that he’s not the only one to market entrepreneurially. There are many great examples of reading the marketplace correctly and capturing consumers’ attention, from hot movie franchises to new cars, popular political slogans to toy manufacturers.

According to Adrian Slywotzky, author of Demand: Creating What People Love Before they Know they Want it, “Demand creators figure out how to solve the big and little hassles we all face.” They tell a story about how their product will make our days more convenient, more productive and more fun. Then, they market that hassle-relief instead of the product itself.

It’s a great strategy, but not a new one. That theory used to be called “selling the sizzle, not the steak.” And it’s still a very effective way to market new products and new ideas because it relies on human emotion.

But it’s not always the first entrepreneur that succeeds in a big way. It’s the first to market to the emotional business or marketplace. Effective entrepreneurs and marketers have the uncanny ability to turn “fence-sitters” into customers by correctly pinpointing and marketing to buying triggers.

How can we help you use this marketing philosophy to help you with your business?

Marketing Effectively in 2016

It doesn’t matter how new you and your product are, you have to find ways to command attention to break through the noise and get noticed.

The holiday season is a great time to see this in action. Businesses of every sort are finding it increasingly difficult to rise above the noise and seize the attention (and buying power) of new customers. Some just succeed in making a lot of noise. Others break through the noise in brilliant ways.

Ask the Right QuestionsSo how can you build the kind of focused attention that allows you to market effectively? Some ideas:

  • Focus on inquiry. People like being asked for their opinion. They like to feel like they are connecting the dots to the right (buying) solution.

Like most guys shopping is not my thing and shopping for clothes proofs to be even more of a burden but the Trunk Club has the solution.  The Trunk Club grabbed my attention from a marketing perspective first and then from a consumer perspective.  This company is a perfect example of using marketing to inquire and engage their customer — leading them right down the path to a buying decision.

  • Shake things up. Challenge and surprise prospective customers with your marketing. Stimulate their imaginations.
  • Be authentic. Be genuinely and powerfully engaged in your business. Customers love to know that you love what you do – and that you do your best for your customers. Let your customers know they can depend on your word.

It’s not enough to get your message ‘out there.’ To get noticed and win business in today’s incredibly crowded marketing landscape, you have to command attention in unexpected, memorable and moving ways.

That happens to be our sweet spot at FocalPoint. We can help get you where you want to be.

How to maintain more effective business relationships

How important is building and maintaining solid connections with your customers and the people you work with?

MillennialsBoth are invaluable, according to Michael Ray Hopkin, popular blogger and author of Lead on Purpose.

Hopkin believes that to be a truly effective manager or company president and attract and keep clients, you need to continuously improve your business relationships with your employees and your clients.

 

Here are three ways to do this:

Listen.

Let others talk more than you do. Pay attention to what they’re saying.

Understand.

Appreciate what your clients and your employees do. Take the time to understand where they are truly coming from.

Acknowledge.

Be quick to give credit to others for their successes. Celebrate achievements of your employees and delight in the accomplishments of your customers.

 

At FocalPoint, we agree, and put this goal into daily practice. We have seen that if you do this every day and make it a priority, you’ll learn about what inspires and motivates your employees. That will make you a better manager (and will keep employee morale strong).

Additionally, listening, understanding and acknowledging what your customers are saying, how they are reacting to your company, and what is really important to them – will put you in position to provide the services they really need in a way they will appreciate. And that translates into increased sales and customer dedication.

FocalPoint asks: What are you doing to build effective, solid relationships inside and out of your workplace? Got a great example? We’d love to hear about it.

 

Sometimes “I don’t know” is the right marketing answer

Art-of-Listening Some years ago, I met with a potential marketing client over lunch. It was the president of the company. I had heard from him that he was not pleased with his existing marketing program, so this meeting was an opportunity to listen and learn about his business and talk to him about FocalPoint’s work. I was thrilled to get the appointment and wasn’t sure what to expect.

After talking about his present marketing strategy and how it didn’t seem to result in the sales volume he had hoped for, he asked me a pointed question he knew would put me on the spot.

“What can your company do that will get us where we want to be?”

At first it appeared to be a golden opportunity to plunge in and talk up our firm. But frankly, I didn’t want to give a sales pitch based on platitudes, in fact, I never give sales pitches.

“I honestly don’t know,” I said. There was a stunned moment of silence. I was pretty sure I’d lost the opportunity, but I also knew I didn’t have the background on his business that I needed to provide a qualified answer.

“I don’t want to be presumptive and offer you something that sounds good, but is based on nothing. You know much better than I do about what is going on in your industry and your business. I need to know much more before I could even begin to come up with marketing strategies that might make sense for you.”

I was being brutally honest. I wasn’t ready to talk about specific strategies to market his business. But I wasn’t sure how my answer would be received.

Listen-&-LearnInterestingly, everything about that meeting changed in that moment. Instead of having a typical business meeting, we began to have a real conversation. We both dropped our pretenses and did a lot more listening than posturing or selling.

Although that happened a while ago, it fascinates me how life lessons present themselves in unexpected ways. This one has stayed with me at FocalPoint, and it’s one I share with those I work with. Being frank and open and asking a ton of questions is a big part of the way we handle new business.

So, what can you tell us about your business so that we can begin to work together as a part of your trusted marketing team?

Here’s my card. What can I do to help you? Or feel free to send me an email brien@focalpoint.co

FP_BusinessCard_Brien

Never. Stop. Networking. Ever

Networking or word of mouth is still among the most powerful things you can do to expand your sphere of influence, increase your base of potential clients, and grow your business.

This is why at FocalPoint, we encourage networking. Our best tip? Ask the most influential friends and powerful business associates you know to introduce you to the people they think you should get to know to expand your business. Be sure you ask for a warm introduction – a shared business card followed up with an email to both you and the new contact.

I know what you’re thinking. People often agree to network with one another and don’t follow up. It happens to me as well. So make sure you agree to do network for them first. Then do it. Chances are good you will receive the same treatment in return.

Then what? Reach out. Get to know them those contacts. Emails are great for that first introduction. But a 30 minute coffee first thing in the morning is even better. Especially if you buy. Talk about your company and what makes it tick. Tell them what your perfect client looks like. And your next product launch. The best thing you can do is ask for their advice. People love to offer advice. They feel good offering it and you build a bond. You’ll now have a new contact who is going to look out for you and send new business your way. And maybe provide you with a new business idea or two you hadn’t considered.

Someone ultimately knows someone that can help you out and even better, will want to.

Networking. The incredibly powerful, original marketing tool that still works wonders. It’s personal. It’s effective. And the best part? Other than your time, it’s free.

Here’s my card. What can I do to help you?

Brien Richmond Business Card

 

Er, what should I say about my business on social media?

Here at Focal Point, we frequently talk to business owners and managers tasked with using social media as a part of their overall marketing plan. Often these folks can pull up their latest Twitter feed, link to YouTube, post on their Facebook page, and download their LinkedIN updates, but just aren’t very sure what to say when it comes to business use.

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