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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.

Budget-stretching creative marketing techniques for small businesses

How can I expand my business in a slow-growing economy, you ask?

We get that question a lot here at FocalPoint. Because despite news that employment numbers are up and the economy is percolating, we’re not feeling any kind of surge here in the Midwest.

So, what can you do to increase your marketing share?

The short answer is: get creative! But of course, any marketing solution we recommend begins with us doing a lot of listening to what you do, how you do it differently, and what you are trying to achieve.

That said, here are some interesting ideas we may consider for small and medium sized businesses on a budget:

  • Believe it or not, on-line advertising may be your best bet. Depending on your business niche, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin may be good places to invest for little money.  We can help you figure out which type of on-line advertising creates the best pop for you by doing test ads. Test ads are run for a short time (for very little money) to see how well an ad will play out before we make a bigger buy. (Yes, we really can do that!)
  • You most assuredly cannot match larger competitors dollar-for-dollar but, you absolutely can use unusual or unexpected media approaches to woo business your way.
  • If your budget is tight, chances are you need to be more targeted with your advertising. Rather than a broad brush approach, we hunker down and do some real due diligence and discover how your potential customers actually make buying decisions. Only then do we select a medium that targets your customers in a way they want to be approached.

Here’s a glass half full way to think about marketing on a budget: Because your business is smaller, you have the ability to react quickly to current conditions and (together with us) create ads and promotions that use trends, changing circumstances, opportunities, and headlines to your advantage.

Let the creative sparks fly!

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.

 

The Best Business Tweets

When it comes to using social media with maximum efficacy, you’ve got to know your clients.

Let’s take Twitter for example.  So how do you do that with one-way communication like Twitter? At FocalPoint we say, “Listen. Tweet. Listen. Then listen again.”

READ MORE

Update: There’s Still Quite The Buzz About Drones

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote a post entitled, What’s All The Buzz About Drone Videos?  In this post, I took a closer look at what drones really are (and aren’t), how they are being used and what benefit they might have to your business.  A large reason for me writing the post was that drones were a hot topic at the time in the video production world and I was getting asked several questions about my viewpoint on drones.  Fast forward to over one year later and drones are still a very hot topic.

A lot of the discussion around drones still stems from the whole “newness” factor.  As I mentioned in my previous post, a flying helicopter with a camera isn’t really new, but an unmanned flying helicopter with a remote control is a different ballgame.  Business and the general public have misconceptions about what a drone actually is and, often times, only hear the “bad” things.  That being said, there have been some important updates since my last article that I want to share.

FAA Confirms Drones Must Be Registered

The FAA confirmed during a recent press conference current drone owners – and not just new purchases – will have to be registered.  Officials hope to have the rules in place by Christmas, when as many as 700,000 drones are expected to be sold.

Currently, only commercial drone users are required to register with the FAA. Other drone users are required to fly devices below 400 feet and obtain FAA permission before operating within five miles of an airport. Operators are also supposed to avoid passenger planes.

The FAA will establish a committee of government and industry officials, as well as drone users, to work out the details of the registration system. It’s unclear if all drones will have to be registered, though the AP reports that toy and other small devices will likely be exempt.

Nobody knows exactly how many of the robotic aircraft are already flying around, but most estimates top 1 million.  This means plenty of people will need to get familiar with these new regulations.  As with many things drone related, when it comes to laws there is a lot of gray area.  This means it’s likely there will be reports of mishaps with unregistered drones showing up in the news.

Drones & Safety

The crazy thing about drones in the news is that the discussion rarely is about video.  With the exception of this drone fireworks video below that now has over 12 million views, the #1 reason drones make headlines is regarding safety.  While it’s completely understandable because there have been some safety issues, it’s a shame because these devices can capture some magnificent HD quality video.

As a marketing professional and owner of a company that provides HD video production services, my hope is that the conversation surrounding drones will make a shift toward one with positive sentiment.  I’d like to see the necessary laws get put in place and misunderstandings be resolved so we can all focus on using these devices in the way in which they were intended – to capture high quality video from a unique perspective.

What’s Next with Drones?

As with all new technology, it takes time for people to understand it.  The same is true with drones.  Once the dust settles on the law updates and adoption of these devices continues to accelerate, business usage will grow.  This is what is exciting about using drones to shoot video, take photos, etc.  The sky is the limit (literally) to what can be done using drones in industries such as real estate, agriculture, sports, etc.

Want to talk more about using drones for video production?  Here’s my card so you can get in touch!

 

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

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