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The 3 Most Important Words in Life… and They’re Not “I Love You”

The 3 Most Important Words in Life... and They're Not "I Love You"

I Love You Market IncI just read an article from a very reputable digital marketing firm this morning and they advise that direct mail marketing doesn’t work on millennial. The supporting data was tied to a preference for digital music and the apparent assumption that millennials don’t value the touch and feel of a product.  Huh?

 It’s not that I’m a big fan of direct mail, but I’m not convinced that that this organization, tasked with digital marketing, is ever going to be a big fan of direct mail.  So, I went to a website that promotes direct mail.  They propose that there’s great value in using direct mail to drive millennials to digital sources.

Neither argument was particularly persuasive.  And then I remembered #2 on the list of the “3 most important words in life”.  “Consider the source”.  Self-serving, self-preservation is a big thing.  As you’re reviewing the volumes of advice you can receive on any given day….Consider the source.

“Social media will bring you thousands of new customers.” … from a social marketing agency

“PPC advertising will boost your online traffic by 30%.” … from a digital agency

“Our new web design will increase your new clients”….from a web designer

 

Some of this information will be true for some people, some of the time.  But, before you follow any advice….Consider the source.

7 Steps to Getting Customers to Like, Love & Lust

7 Steps to Getting Customers to Like, Love & Lust

Having employees and customers who like your business is nice.  But, let’s admit it.  Being nice is like being that blind date with a nice personality.  Don’t you want to be the one with a great personality  that people fall in love with and that many lust after?  If you’re going for mediocrity, just don’t bother reading any further.

If you think you have what it takes to be that business that people like, love and lust after… then here are the rules.

 

 1. Satisfaction is thebarenaked minimum

Satisfying customer needs is mediocre.  It’s the bare minimum you need to do.  When A client calls me at 2:15 on a Tuesday afternoon and asks me to help on a (unplanned) project  that afternoon, I do it.  It’s the least I can do and it’s not deserving of life-long love.  When they call at 2:15 on a Saturday afternoon and ask me to be at their offices that afternoon to help put together a sales meeting presentation that afternoon because they just forgot about it.  That might start the ball rolling on love.

 

 2. Don’t make customers work for it

A Harvard Business Review article suggested that delighting your customers could be a waste of time since, “ what matters most to customers is the amount of effort they put in to interactions: 96% of customers who report putting in high effort in their service interactions are more disloyal, while only 9% of customers who expend low effort are more disloyal.” 

 

 3. Empower everyone to wow customers

Your customers interface with your front line.  Make sure that yours is engaged, excited and looking to make your customers life easier and solve their problems quicker.

 

 4. Pre-solve problems

Remember rule #2.  The point is to save your customers time and energy.  The objective is to remove stress from their lives.  Solve problems before they happen.  And, be sure you tell them about it!

 

 5. Make the “2 ears , 1 mouth” communication strategy a religion

You know the drill.  You have 2 ears and 1 mouth… listen twice as much as you talk.  Remember that listening is not just a matter of not talking.  Listen to what your customers say.  Listen so hard that you hear the symphony between the lines.

 

 6. Know when to hold-em… know when to fold-em

Realize that you’re not going to get every customer to think that you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I haven’t figured out the hard rules of how to do this, but sometimes you’re going to have to just let it go.

 

 7. Let everyone know how much your customers love you

Who do you want more – the one that everyone else love (or is lusting after) or the one that’s just OK?

When new customers learn how much your current customers love you, they’re going to expect more from you.  But, that’s OK because we both now that you’re prepared to deliver!

The Once & Future King

The Once & Future King

I was struck by something today.  An article from Wired came across my screen – Software Is Still King. Hardware Is Just Along for the Ride” .  I realized that we are bombarded with news that “Phil Intheblank  is the king” or “Sowan So Rules the World”.

We are constantly in search of a leader.  Do you really think that pledging allegiance to a “great one” will give you focus, clarity and direction along with a healthy dose of self-importance?  Perhaps you should looking much closer to home.

Think about all the times you hear about new royalty.  The new King. The Queen.

     “Software Is Still King. Hardware Is Just Along for the Ride” 
    “Myspace: The Once and Future King of Social Media?”
    “Content Is King – But Context Is Queen And Technology Is The Royal Household!”
    “Blogs are the King of Social Media Marketing”
    “Content marketing is king”
    “Facebook is king for social conversions”
    “Here’s the Secret to Facebook Staying King of Social Media ”
    “Why Email Marketing is King”
    “Android Remains President, but Apple is King”

Social media, blogging, content marketing, Facebook, MySpace, Apple, Android, technology or email marketing are not kings, queens or princesses.  [pause] [pause] We are.

Why are we so special?  Well, most other beings adapt slowly.  It’s a generation by generation evolution.  Sure we do that.  But, we do more.  As humans, our capability for symbolic thought, combined with our ability to cooperate in groups makes us uniquely suited to quickly adapt to a changing environment.  This is a big thing.  A very big thing.  That quick adaptation enables us the luxury of timely responsiveness.  We can be the change we want to see.  We are the seeds of our own reclamation, our redemption, our success.  Listen to this fellow humans, that glass is half-full – – and we have the ability to fill it up!  The power of the individual to make timely changes that affect our lifetime  is astounding.  The power of people working together to do this is mind-blowing.

The FearLess Revolution, founded by Alex and Ana Bogusky, explores new, more meaningful relationships between people, brands and culture.  They’re all about wanting more – “more from ourselves and more from the people who make our stuff.”  It’s crazy, radical stuff like supporting the ‘MADE in America’ movement.

Intertwined with all of the things we claim to be “kings” of the business world is the potential to be human.  Enmeshed in humans is the potential to be queens, kings and masters of the universe.  Humans are the ‘once and future king’.

5 Ways Your Brand Is Like a Virus

5 Ways Your Brand Is Like a Virus

brand virus

Your brand is like a super-virus.

  1. It exists whether you want it to or not.
  2. It evolves with every interaction you have with the world.
  3. It can spread like wildfire.
  4. You can’t change it’s status with meaningless words.
  5. Once it’s embedded, it’s tough to get rid of.

 

When I mention BP, what do you think about?  Their brand story has been narrated by their actions, not their words.  Over time, over a long time, the image will change.

bp logo spill

 

Crafting a meaningful story that reflects the truth of your organization is the best revenge.  Your brand is a reflection of  your truth.  Create a story that’s based on truth and meaningful to your customers.  Then live that story every day.

 

If you need help creating a branding strategy for your business, we can help.  Market-Inc. is a marketing consultant focused on creating strategic plans – – and we can help you execute that plan if you like. 

  • Solve Problems by Changing the Rules

    Solve Problems by Changing the Rules

    Having trouble finding a solution?  Maybe you’re trying to solve the wrong problem!  Take a step back and think…re-think…re-think again.  I know it’s not popular to stand back for a minute and think about things before you act.  Reacting is pretty popular.  Thinking before you act… not so much.

    If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.
     A Harvard Business Review article about problem solving began with this great quote from Einstein.  Unfortunately, the article goes on with a detailed list of 16 questions to be answered to define the need, context and  critical success factors for your problem definition.  That’s just over the top for me.  Probably over the top for most.

    Now, I’m a big fan of looking before you leap.  And, I do fully support Einstein’s position.  But, the rest of the advice is so involved, most humans won’t bother with it.  So, we proceed to the super-human, Captain Kirk.

    One of the smartest approaches to problem solving is from a book by Loud Sugar entitled “7 Simple Steps to Transform Your Small Business Marketing from a 98 Pound Weakling to a Bull in a China Shop”.  The book is free and you can download it from their site.

    Build Small Business

    You can beat the problem, not with new “solutions” to fit the problem, but by changing the problem to fit you.
     The first of the 7 steps is “Change the Rules”where the authors describe the Kobayashi Maru test challenge faced by Star Trek’s James Kirk.  It was a no-win  scenario that Kirk won.  Obviously, he changed the rules.  He planned in advance and turned the tables.

    What Are People Saying?

    Susan is a marketing leader who understands the creativity required to insure enduring success. She is smart, innovative and committed to getting it right.

    K. SharpeC.E.O.Sharpe Partners

    How We Can Help You.

    We are marketing consultants based on Long Island, NY. Over the past 20 years, we've built fierce market leaders in a broad range of businesses - from tiny start-ups to global Fortune 500 companies.  Our experience spans multiple industries from consumer electronics to financial services and from food services to photo.  We're looking forward to talking to you to see how we can help take your business to the next level.