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Strategic Planning Tag

What’s on your back burner?

When managing a company is your responsibility, a lot of important detail work gets put on the back burner.

So what’s simmering on your back burner?

  • Updating your web site with fresh page content?
  • Better utilizing social media?
  • Updating the navigation of your site?
  • Making sure your web site if properly protected?
  • Preparing trade show materials for your soon-to-be-released product?

Or maybe it’s larger than that. Perhaps what you don’t have the time or energy left to do is revamp your marketing strategy to bring in new business.

Interestingly, what’s relegated to your back burner can have a huge impact on the very thing that’s stressing you out right now. Such as your last quarter ROI.

That’s because when your marketing is taken care of strategically with a practiced eye towards your industry, your job gets a little less intense as your ideal customers begin to take notice of what your company can actually provide to them.

What you do

Carve out a 90 minutes to meet with us when the time is right for you. Tell us what you don’t have the time or the people to do, and what results you’d like to see. Give us your parameters, financial and otherwise.

What we do

When you say go, we do the work, providing you with feedback, details and a few fine-tuning decisions along the way. We don’t make assumptions. We research your niche and come up with several positioning approaches that tell your story to the right people — in a compelling and memorable way. We also adjust to your budget and your timeframe.

What we do is eye-opening. Don’t be surprised if we uncover a few fascinating things about your own rapidly shifting marketplace that raise your eyebrows. Or help you determine how your company can make the most of its sweet spot through well-placed ads in carefully researched places you may not even be aware of.

It all starts with a 90 minute meeting.

Say when.

 

 

 

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“Can you help us pull together a website?”

At FocalPoint, the answer is, “Sure, we’d love to be your go-to company on your website project. But let’s talk about this before we get started.”

If this is our first work with a new client, we initiate a lot of conversations before we touch the cursor. We like to think of this as “Website Design and Development 101.” It really is a prerequisite before we begin work.

Why? Because the best place to begin is to really consider why you want a website in the first place.

  • Is this to replace or update an existing site? Why replace it? What was right and what wasn’t about the existing site?
  • What is your single most important message and why?
  • What does the site need to do?
  • Answer questions about what you do or be a resource to provide info or tools to existing customers?

We want to be sure that your website is more than a place to talk about who you are and what you do. If that’s all your website does, it won’t drive traffic. It will probably just sit there as a line on your business card.

For a website to do what it’s supposed to do, it has to:

  • Is your website responsive?
  • Draw you in
  • Provide you with needed information right off the bat. In three minutes, a potential customer should know who you are, what you do, and why your company matters
  • Be strategically engineered to drive readership
  • Built around intuitive navigation (i.e., making your key points easily understood and getting eyes further into the site to provide more information)
  • Set a strategically considered tone with color, visuals and copy.

Once we begin communication with new clients around the strategic design of their website, we often uncover previously undiscussed topics, for instance:

  • What really sets you apart from your competition?
  • How does what you do matter?
  • Does your logo accurately reflect a sense of what you are/what you do?
  • Does your tag line provide memorable new information about your company, or just sit there because you’ve used it for ten years and never thought much about it?

Even after the site work is begun, we’re really just getting started. Because once that website is up, you’ll need to manage it to keep if working for your business, adding fresh content from time to time.

So yes, we can help you build and design that new website. But with us, the site will be much more than new.

It will provide the right information to your audience at the right time. It will drive the right kind of traffic to your business.

It will also provide your potential client with a reason to contact you to learn more.

This is how we think at FocalPoint.

We position our clients strategically to succeed.

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Big picture. Small steps

Spearheading a new product launch or marketing initiative? Although all of us understand change is ubiquitous and needed, it does seem to be in our very nature to resist it. And that we all do, in big ways and small.

If the marketing launch you are undertaking is massive, here at FocalPoint, we recommend taking small steps from the gate. Here’s what we mean:

For instance, separating communication about the initiative from action. Start by outlining what’s changing and provide a clear “why.” Customers, staff, senior advisers and folks on down the line – even the voice in your head – all need that.

Follow that first step by parsing out a series of additional ‘bite-sized’ steps, and attach a dateline to each. This way, you can provide those in your organization with a chance to taste success one step at a time, and build confidence along the way.

Every couple of weeks, provide a status update and remind your team (and your customers, as appropriate) of the big picture.

Breaking any big marketing change down into smaller elements while keeping the big picture in mind can help everyone in your organization appreciate the ultimate goal, gain positive momentum and contribute to its ultimate success.

See the Fork First

More than a few famous poets, authors and songwriters have waxed poetic about the point along the road where one has to decide which direction to take.

At FocalPoint, we think the key to making the best decision about the road less travelled, the road not taken, or the fork in the road is NOT the crucial part of your journey. We think that first you have to SEE the fork, and recognize it for what it is.

That’s a huge thing in marketing and communications strategy. Many, many organizations misstep by failing to see that there is a critical decision to be made at a particular juncture — and do not understand the importance of the fork in the road.

How does one develop the insight to take the right path? At FocalPoint we set out these reminders for ourselves:

  • Stay focused on shifting currents
  • Be open to change and stay nimble
  • Be accessible and approachable
  • Consult with others and listen
  • Understand the way it always was is not the way it is

Recognizing the significant, life-altering twists in your company’s path is difficult. It helps having a company by your side to help you anticipate change.

Together, we can decide which new direction to take to forge ahead.

 

 

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3 Simple, But Overlooked Ingredients for Marketing Campaign Success

Marketing-IngredientsThere’s less than 2 months left in the year and all of us want to close out 2014 strong.  It’s times like these when marketers and business owners tend to just go, go, go.   But, when it comes to marketing strategies these busy times can cause us to lose focus and over complicate things as a result.  With so many websites, so many ways to communicate, and so many things you want to do, now is the time to think about how to simplify your marketing success.  Let me tell you how.

I believe all successful marketing campaigns have 3 simple ingredients.  While these ingredients are very simple, they are often overlooked.  I see it happen time and time again.  Missing one of these ingredients is like trying to make a loaf of bread without flour.  It just doesn’t turn out well.

Let’s think about it for a minute – every time a customer or prospect takes the action you want it’s because 3 things happened.  3 very simple ingredients came together just right.

Ingredient #1 – Right Message.  You sent your customer or prospect exactly the right message to capture their attention.

Ingredient #2 – Right Time.  They received your message at the perfect time.

Ingredient #3 – Right Device/Medium.  You reached them using the right method of communication.

Take a look at this short video to see these 3 ingredients come together perfectly…

Example #1: Meat Pack Shoe Store – Hijack

Watch this video from the Meat Pack shoe store in Guatemala to see these 3 things come together perfectly…

Think about this video for just a minute.  Why was this “Hijack” campaign effective?  The answer is easy.  The potential customer was offered a significant discount (right message) while they were in a competitor’s store, likely close to a purchase decision (right time) on their smartphone (right device).  At that point, converting on this campaign for anyone who was targeted was super easy (and even fun) to do.

Example #2: WestJet – Christmas Miracle

Another example of an incredible marketing campaign coming together is shown in this WestJet Christmas Miracle video, take a look…

Sure, this WestJet example involved plenty of planning, but when you think about it the concept was simple.  We’re going to give awesome personalized gifts/go above and beyond (right message) while people are traveling for the holidays (right time) and do so in person (right device).

What Do These 2 Examples Have In Common?

Not only do Meat Pack and WestJet nail all of the 3 must-have marketing ingredients, but they create a truly unforgettable customer experience.  The type of experience that captures attention and the type of experience that customers WILL tell others about.

So, now it’s your turn…

Before you move on with any type of strategic planning on your next online marketing campaign, be sure you’ve got the 3 must-have ingredients right.

1. Right Message – What is the message you want to send to your customers or potential customers?  Maybe it’s an educational message to help them better understand how a product or service works.  Maybe it’s a special discount on Black Friday to help drive some immediate sales.  Whatever your message ends up being, make sure it’s incredibly clear.  Too often we get caught up in all of the other things that come along with an online marketing campaign and lose sight of what our actual message should be.  Don’t be the person sitting there asking yourself again, “what was it we actually wanted our visitors to do?”

2. Right Time – Timing is everything when it comes to planning an effective marketing strategy  Does it make sense to send your message immediately before or after some type of business transaction?  After that, how long is too long?  Getting your timing right can be the difference between a 5% response rate and a 15% response rate.  Look at data, ask your audience ahead of time and test it until you get it right.

3. Right Device – In the marketing industry, especially in today’s world we say “device,” but really it’s any method of communication.  In one instance, sending a text to someone’s smartphone immediately after a purchase offering $10 off the next purchase in exchange for feedback about their experience might be just the right device.  In another instance, sending a hand written follow-up note at the end of the year to your customer along with some holiday goodies might be exactly the right “device.”  I guess what I am saying is that just because we have all of these technological advances and new “devices’ available, doesn’t mean we should lose sight of some of the “old school” ways to communicate.  A hand written note or even a face-to-face transaction can be just the right “device.”

Need Help?

At Focal Point, we make sure our customers get the 3 ingredients to marketing success right, every time.  If you’d like some help with your next online marketing campaign or need some assistance when it comes to strategic planning, please get in touch with us today.  We can help you create that customer experience you’ve been wanting to deliver.

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4 Questions Every Business Should Be Asking This Time of Year

Well, October is here and Fall is officially upon us.  You know what this means – the holidays are quickly approaching as is the end of the year.  Yep, I said it; 2014 is coming to a close and 2015 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.  I recently wrote a post about the 2 Must-Haves for Every Online Marketing Plan in 2015 and I’ve received quite a bit of feedback on that post.  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.

Strategic Marketing Plan

 

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 2014 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 2015?

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 2015 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 2014 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

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