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MARKETING CONSULTANTS

Archive for the Strategy Category

Year End Marketing Checklist

Year End Marketing Checklist

The end of the year is fast-approaching. That should be a trigger to evaluate last year’s performance and begin (or finish) work on next year’s business and marketing plan. Getting to the heart of what worked and what didn’t is critical. Don’t leave it to a gut reaction of ‘last year was a good year’. Get to the details.

Heidi Cohen’s (www.HeidiCohen.com) marketing checklist for small business should help you do just that. Review the performance and trends in 7 criteria should give you a great summary of 2013 and provide a good foundation for 2014 planning.

  1. Revenues 
  2. Profit Margins
  3. Promotions
  4. Products
  5. Customer Base
  6. Expenses
  7. CompetitionStrategy

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?

 

logo design

Your logo is often the first impression you make on potential customers.  Goldman Sachs logo just doesn’t work in the lavender chalkboard font so popular today.  And, the Disney in neo-modern, neon green lacks the playful, approachable persona of the true Disney logo.

Make sure your logo represents the true essence of your organization.  Here are a few guidelines.

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business? 

Business Rule # 23. Check to See If the Spaghetti Stuck to the Wall.

Business Rule # 23.  Check to See If the Spaghetti Stuck to the Wall.

Spaghetti CarbonaraWhen I was in college and the only thing we could afford on most nights was spaghetti.  We tossed it at the sickening green wallpapered walls to see if it’d stick.  If it stuck, dinner was ready to go.  Turns out that this astounding culinary ‘rule’ doesn’t even work.  But, I have to admit that it made kitchen duty kind of fun.

 Tossing the proverbial spaghetti at the wall now seems to be part of the recipe for business decision making.  And, it’s sometimes a good idea.  In fact, sometimes it’s a great idea.  Now, a company with a $100,000 promotion budget would be foolish to spend $80k tossing spaghetti.  But spending $10k to try something new could not only bring surprising results, it may also up the ante on innovation, enthusiasm and excitement in the office.

However, tossing spaghetti at the wall without ever checking to see what sticks is a bad idea… it’s always a bad idea.  You have to check to see if the spaghetti stuck to wall.  Making spur-of-the-moment decisions is OK.  Doing it without any objectives is not.  Doing it without checking performance is as wasteful as air conditioning an empty warehouse.

Here are the 2 essential rules for ‘spaghetti toss’ decisions:

  1. Have an objective.
  2. Measure results.

Notice I said measure results.  Don’t figure out your feelings about the results.  Don’t just say it did (or didn’t work) without some type of rational, logical, valid reliable measurement.  It’s not too different from the carpentry rule ‘measure twice, cut once’.  Without measuring, you’ll never learn what works and what doesn’t.  You’ll just end up with a wall full of dried-up spaghetti and no dinner.

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.

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.

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What Are People Saying?

Working with Susan was an absolute pleasure. She is an astute marketer who had an unerring sense of her brand’s DNA and worked with us to ensure that the programs we created and executed together delivered against our common goals and objectives. As a brand steward and marketing partner she was about the best I have worked with.

-B. GinsbergRainmaker/ Director/ Growth CatalystEmanate

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.