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Posts Tagged ‘Business Consultant’

Sometimes looking at a big company and their marketing strategy can teach us a lot about marketing our small business.

Apple Co. is no doubt a big company. They are known for their innovation and ‘cool’ gadgets. Every launch of a new product involves a presentation by Steve Jobs. Their products are sold in the millions in the first few days (iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million in 3 days) because they create such an anticipation and smart marketing campaign. What do they do that makes them so successful?

Looking at their last few launches a pattern emerges. Not only does Steve Jobs do all the presentations, not only he wears the same clothes no matter what weight he’s in, there are some things we can all learn from the big boys, with their cool innovations, the advertising budget and the PR firm. We can do it too, on a smaller scale.

When Steve Jobs does his presentation he is concise, to the point and entertaining. He does not concentrate on the technical aspect of the new product. He doesn’t talk shop – how fast it is, how the components became smaller. What he does talks about is what their new product will do for you, the customer. How will it improve the way you communicate or do business. If a customer wants to know the specifications of their new gadget he can go to their web site and get that information. Steve jobs is talking to the average customer to show him how cool is the new product and how fun it is to use.

When thinking about marketing and advertising, think about your customers first – how will they benefit from it, what needs your product comes to satisfy.

  • Create a buzz. That is what Apple does best. Months before the product launch they drop a few words here and there. Obviously not every company is as highly regarded as Apple, and not every launch is a topic of conversation on the big news networks. Creating a buzz before the launch is very important. Every company that is serious about their marketing can do it through websites, social media and bookmarking sites. Don’t wait until the product is completely finished. When you create a buzz you can get feedback about what people want and think your product will be. Monitor those conversations, see what customers really want.
  • Create a product customers will be happy to show off. When you look at Apple’s products, not only the components are important the packaging is important as well. It is always slick and new (think iPhone, iPad, iPod.) Apple always innovates, jumps ahead in leaps and bounds, not only evolves from model to model. What can you do to your product to make it as sleek as possible, something others will be proud to share? How do you show it on your website?
  • Get expert advice and recommendations ahead of time. Show your product to the titans of your niche and have them write a few words about it. Put it on your website and tweet about it.
  • Take pre-orders. This is a must and a base to build on. Even if you are not sure yet about the final price, you can create a following you can e mail to and update on pricing and new features. A business woman I know created a buzz by tweeting about her product when it was still in the building stage. She got 150 preorders just in the first few days. The product is not finished yet.
  • Make a big deal out of your launch – as big as your budget allows. If not a presentation in a big ball room, you can create a launch on the web. Make sure your speech is short and entertaining. Leave the technology to the experts.

The bottom line – when you are about to launch a new product, plan the launch months before the actual date. Think what information you want to release and when, think how you can maximize your exposure and don’t hesitate to turn to experts in the field to help you plan it correctly.

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You have your products ready, and your services are in place. Your brand image is ready and your marketing collateral is all written, designed and printed out. You now need to target your preferred demographic, your target audience and the niche your small business will occupy.

Nearly every product or service is aimed at a specific demographic group that will be interested buy it. As a small business, you need to do some market research to determine your sales demographics and establish a target audience.

If your product is something that a wide range of customers will use, you will need to create various marketing campaigns to reach different segments of this broad market. Then there are products and services which have a fairly specific target audience which need to be zeroed in using a more specific manner. This is called niche marketing and if done properly, can be very beneficial and cost-effective.

How do you determine your market niche? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What should be the age of your potential customer?
  • Who would be more interested in your product, a man or a woman?
  • If your product is pricey, what income level should your potential customers belong to, preferably?
  • If your product requires it to be used in a certain way, what is the education level of your potential customers?
  • Is your product something that will be used by a family or an individual?
  • What will your customers appreciate the most about your product? Its price, easy availability, or ease of use? What do they like or dislike about the product or service in general?
  • Where does your audience research for products? Do they use the Internet, newspapers, books, or television?

Based on the results of your marketing research, you should be able to determine the focus of your advertising and marketing efforts. If you happen to find that your potential clients spend are frequent users of the internet, likely that your best marketing lever would be a Web page or an e-newsletter. Again, if you find that your potential customers are interested in listening to talk radio, you would do well to develop promotional strategies that revolve around radios.

Your audience might change too, depending on various factors. It’s always important to keep on top of who your target audience is. Do this, and you will maintain a steady flow and easy returns. Another great visibility technique.

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The world is divided into two equally powerful entities today; one is the real world that we live in, and the other is the virtual world, or the world of the internet. Getting your business known and noticed in the virtual world can boost your brand identity recognition and your sales to unforeseen heights, depending on your marketing strategies. So how to put your small business on the virtual map?

The first thing to do is to set up your professional corporate website and incorporating e-commerce to increase the value of your business. However, this alone will not result in an implicit increase in the enterprise value of your business.

What you will need to do is leverage the Internet to increase your sales and profitability, thereby increasing the value of your business. With over a 1000 million people online in the world today, and trillions of dollars transacted over the internet, you can sense the presence of a staggering opportunity.

When you put yourself on the virtual map, you are in effect completely eliminating geographic barriers. With one step, you reach a wider, more diverse audience. A properly marketed Web site can be a very effective means of reaching new and existing customers and expanding your geographic presence. Here are a few tips:

  • Get a smart, professionally designed website designed for your company.
  • Place your logo prominently on all pages.
  • Place brief but informative and useful brochure ware of your company so that your potential customers, vendors and partners get an idea of who you are.
  • Use search engine optimization tools to ensure that your Web site appears at the top of search lists when someone looks for a product or service similar to what you offer.
  • Make sure your site prompts visitors to input comments and feedback. This way, you can capture the information of existing and potential customers to support the efforts of your sales team.
  • Ensure that your website allows a safe and secure online purchasing experience. Use the best payment gateways and incorporate every possible security signatures that you can afford. When you allow customers to purchase your products or services online, you can more than quadruple your sales output.

By allowing people to shop online at your Web site, you can reduce your sales staff and other overheads. Imagine what this can do to your business’s bottom-line.  Putting up your brochure content on your site can eliminate the need to print expensive brochures and other collateral materials.

Retain your customers and build customer loyalty by offering customer contact and support online. When your customers’ requests are attended to via real time chat, or email follow up, there’s greater satisfaction and trust in your company.

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Are you a small business owner wanting to market your products or services without breaking the bank? If you are, you must read this article.

Customers are attracted to businesses that have a polished, professional image. They often make snap decisions about who to do business with based solely on their image and presentation.

So what does a smart image do to your business? Firstly, it gets you noticed; specific image aspects such as a well designed logo have excellent recall value. So a smart image gets you remembered. That’s two shots in one – a great impression and excellent recall value.

Investing in great corporate brand identity image helps you in two ways; it makes your small business look larger than it is and also sets you apart from the competition. What looks to be fairly simple such as unique logo, an attractive website or appealing business cards will help to establish your business’ brand identity and define its role and services in the marketplace.

So what does a smart image consist of? A well-designed, colorful and yet to-the-point logo that represents your company’s products, services and business ideals is a start. This should be followed by smartly designed business cards with the same logo prominently printed on them.

A smart business card:  You can design and print very professional-looking business cards for a low price in order to attract new customers and ensuring that your existing customers know how to get in touch with you.

A smart corporate logo: This is an absolute must if you want to be noticed and remembered. Remember, a picture is better than a thousand words.

A well-designed website:  You might wonder exactly why you need this. The world is becoming very web-centric, with more and more shoppers researching products and shopping online. When you have a smart website in place, you will instill confidence in potential customers. Your website must have a consistent look and feel and must contain your contact information, along with your business hours. It would be great to also have the names of the people who can be contacted for specific services. You can use your website to sell your products online; if you do this, ensure a safe secure shopping experience for your customers.

Hand out freebies: Everyone loves it when they get something free. How about gifting your customers small things such as pens, key chains, and mobile phone pouches and so on branded with your corporate logo?

If you don’t have a dedicated art department or marketing team to create your brand identity, here’s some good news. You can easily develop professional-looking logos and business cards using fairly cheap online services.

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Let’s take the case of a techie and a geek as defined in modern technology.  Let’s use the example of Best Buy and their geek squad, a retail division that has been established by Best Buy to service computer and technology failures in products sold by the retailer. This industry change has led me to explore the difference between a geek and a techie.

Technology has divided the world into three general categories, the geek, the techie and everyone else. When we discuss everyone else we are specifically looking at anybody who does not fall into the category of techie or geek.  We do this specifically because it is my belief that the technology offered by the world has created two type of IT professionals a techie and a geek.

The geek is the programming and engineering individuals that handle technical design and code. These individuals known as Geeks are strongly fluent in programming language and technical expertise in constructing and deconstructing technology.

I introduced the techie on the other hand as the individual who is capable of understanding the needs analysis of the general public and how that technology applies to that need. The techie is an individual who has remained and continues to remain on top of different technologies while never specializing in one specific type of technology.  That techie understands the different strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that technology offers to resolve the needs of everyone else.

Who is everyone else? Everyone else is the public at large, be it business professionals, educators, students, consumers, clients, physicians, lawyers etc. The general idea is that humanity has created needs and these needs have been fulfilled by technology.  In addition to the needs being fulfilled by technology, we have also started to fulfill wants. While the geeks have provided us ways to deliver technologies to resolve the needs and wants, it is unfortunate that most geeks fail to be able to see the big picture and purpose of the very technology in which they are creating.

Take the website for example.  Websites offer a unique opportunity for individuals to share knowledge, display their expertise, and develop a medium through which they can educate, support or organize outreach. For a business owner, the difference between geeks and techies, have been exemplified in the Web 2.0 era. This is what happens when countless business owners have invested time, energy and money into websites that have been built by programmers and other geeks who understand their trade, language and their code. Unfortunately, business success is not defined by the contribution of programmers and geeks. This is where the need for techies has evolved.  Techies are individuals who have enough technology experience and understanding of the technology. They excel in how delivery should be in a streamlined user-friendly manner so that business owners can reach everyone else in the world.

Techies serve the most crucial function of understanding how technology meets the needs, or fails to meet the needs of any function, business or organization.

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While it is often exciting to be an entrepreneur, we sometimes forget to be successful in any business; we must be prepared to wash the dishes. I found myself in the unique position several times of reviewing business opportunities with both young and seasoned entrepreneurs. These are people that have exciting ideas in exciting times and carry with them a great deal of energy that can translate into success.

One of the first things that I offer as advice to any entrepreneur or business owner, is to take the time to think about how it is that they would feel about being a dishwasher.

My father once explained to me that the most successful restaurant owners and successful managers of restaurants have often spent time in the kitchen, on the line themselves preparing food cooking and even washing the dishes.

In considering this advice, I offer you the following thoughts. When you think of creating a successful business, the first thing you’ll need to consider is the actual infrastructure of the business,  how will this business operate, what role and how well will that be defined. This is what often leads me to think of the dishwasher.  Take the most successful restaurant anywhere in the world and that restaurant will be traditionally be defined by the number of seats, the quality of food and level of service.   Although, if the restaurant only has 60 seats and 80 dishes on any given busy night, they would be lost without the dishwasher.

The Smart business owner or entrepreneur quickly realizes that it is important to understand his/her business and every aspect of the business. To have respect for every role and function that that business or service has. This is why I mention the dishwasher. When you think of a business, in this case a restaurant, we often overlook the importance of others or in this case the dishwasher. When a consumer walks through a restaurant door it has always been emphasized how important it is to have the first experience with the restaurant be its finest,  it is often overlooked that all of this is made possible by the “dishwasher”.   Imagine how a restaurant would function if it had no dishes.  If everyone in the business thought that they were better than being the dishwasher.  If they thought that the dishwasher was insignificant and unimportant to the success of the business. In such a case,  the business would fail. Surely the chef could not cook the steak, prepare the chicken Cordon Bleu or serve his famous French onion soup without dishes. One could even argue that he would not even be able to cook if someone did not clean and prepare the utensils.

So it is my advice to any small business owner or would-be entrepreneur that you consider the importance of the dishwasher not just in the structure of your business but in how it is that you may be called upon to serve that function to develop the success of your business. No business owner or entrepreneur, at least not the successful ones, develops a business based on great ideas and money alone. The true success of every entrepreneur and small business owner is the sweat, tears and hard work that they are willing to put into their own business. At this very moment there is an extremely successful business owner somewhere in the world scrubbing the toilet because there is no one else to scrub the toilet, and while you may believe your above scrubbing toilets, that business owner who provides for his family, sends his child to Harvard, or uses that first business and that first toilet to build the next multimillion dollar business.  Their success began with the concept that a great idea and funding will not be enough to be successful.

So a word of caution to all you would-be business owners, entrepreneurs, inventors and silver tongues. When someone talks about America being based on the hard work of its citizens, they are talking about an economy built, sustained and developed by small business owners. This is a experience, endeavor and honor that is not always white sandy beaches, luxurious vacations, or penthouse apartments. It is a rite of passage, a part of the American dream, that if you are willing to work hard, invest yourself, your time, your pride, you may be rewarded with all that you put in.  America will always need its “dishwashers”.

If you’re not ready to be the dishwasher, I urge you to reconsider starting or running a business, organization or campaign.

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What can we learn from the big boys? The big firms with millions and billions of dollars behind them, and how they approach internet visibility.

The case in point is a product called “Old Spice”. You must have heard the name. Old Spice cologne and aftershave has been around since the 1930. It was the scent of America, since it started in the United States.

Through the years, when transport and import became simpler, the market was flooded by European products. Old Spice market share went down drastically.

In 1990 the company was sold to Procter and Gamble. 20 years later, in the middle of 2010, new commercials for “Old Spice” body wash started showing on TV. Many experts were behind it; P&G, an advertising company and a digital media specialist.

  • They opened a twitter account and a Reddit account for the lead character.
  • They opened a Facebook page
  • They opened YouTube channel and started putting out the 15 second spots, one after the other.

The ads went viral on the internet. Google search went up 2000%, Facebook interactions up 800% and 1.5 billion impressions (The count of a delivered basic advertising unit from an ad distribution point, according to “Basic Advertisement Measures”) since February.

The campaign was a combination of the success of social media and viral success. And it didn’t happen overnight. It took them 6 months of adjusting and changing to get to the point that the reaction was getting to where they hope it would be.

The reaction was immediate; sales went up 107% the first month and are still going up in the rate of 55% in the past 3 months.

Lately the company recorded 183 video answers to question posed by Twitter users. They are staying in touch with their followers.

What can we learn from that success story?

–          The campaign should be all inclusive. All the possible channels.

–          It might take time to develop the correct approach. Some corrections are needed in the middle of the way.

–          If the ‘big boys’ do it, and it works for them, why not do it on a smaller scale?

To see what can be done for you and your business in this new era of advertising, you might be best serve if you approach someone that has expertise and knowledge in the area. Companies like Puglisi Consulting Group at http://puglisiconsulting.com/#, that can design a campaign to your budget. Through their internet visibility arm Visibility Acceleration http://www.visibilityacceleration.com, they can advise you how to be visible on the internet and all over the world.

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