Free Marketing Advice - 2017

SkyLimit Marketing Logo

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook Twitter 

Think back to your childhood.

Now think of fond memories that are easily remembered in detail.

Is there a common thread at work? Your first pet? Best friend? Family gatherings? One of mine is a first job, delivering the Brooklyn Eagle at age 11, in my birthplace, Brooklyn, NY. In retrospect it was an amazing first experience. I became an entrepreneur at an early age, and learned important lessons like Customer Service, Money Management, Sales Techniques, and New Business Development. Many decades later I still apply these skills in my professional life.

I also find that recollections based on my lifelong love of the game of baseball trigger very detailed memories. Many emotions rise to the surface time and time again when the thought process kicks into something based on passion.

A lifelong student of the game reflects on relationships to marketing. Inspiration – the time of year when the Fall Classic takes center stage.

1. Target Audience – the fans. You have to attract them to the ballpark. So you better have a team that interests them. That means understanding what they are looking for and providing a group of players that get them involved and motivated.

2. Goals and Objectives – What do you want to accomplish? What kind of a team do you need to assemble to beat the competition? Speed? Power? Superior pitching? Your goal of course is to be the best.

75% of the calendar year is in the books. It’s time to put your “heading for the end of the year” cap on and focus on how you can make next year even better. Repeat after me – “I will be more customer- focused in 2018”.

Essentially this should be a rite of passage every October as you critique past and present performance and focus on planning ahead. Here are some “process tips” to help you get your brain in gear.

1. Learn from your competitors – We’re all competing with someone to increase market share. Is there something the other guy did that made you think “Gee I wish I’d done that”. So how can you improve on their thinking for next year and put your own customer-focused spin on it?

My wife Pat and I downsized in August. Lots of stuff went on – from home inspections, Radon tests, finding a mortgage after appraisals, preparing to close, regular communication with the realtor, finding a mover, plan packing…etc. etc. etc. It was a complex project that has to be managed if you want to wake up on an assigned day in your new home with a smile.

Dealing with this inspires the topic for the September Morsel – In the marketing arena how do you approach the task of managing a project.

It could be anything from getting a new commercial on the air to building a presentation of a client’s annual marketing plan.

There are some basic approaches involved. They must be followed with a sense of urgency from beginning to end.

  1. Identify what has to be accomplished and attach a date to it.

It’s eye-opening. You can sail along for a long time and suddenly it happens. You realize you have a talent that is seriously underutilized.

Then wow! Why have I been ignoring this?

A recent example – a friend and former Client worked in a corporate environment with a responsible job he did very well. Then came an early retirement and an epiphany…he has a talent for art and loves to paint!

Since retirement, in a very brief amount of time, he has become a successful artist. He paints mostly scenes with much visual appeal, and sells almost every painting he creates.

The answer to that question may be the most important of all. It starts a process that defines your mission and articulates your core values.

It assumes you have something to offer that represents a value to your customer. Now comes the hard part. Find the right words, which are actually answers to key questions:

Who are your key customers? Match them up with your core competencies.

What kind of reputation do you want to convey? Be known for something, ideally something that no one else does better. Who are your key competitors and how do you differ from them? Communicate the differences clearly.

Selfishly, the May Marketing Morsel will help me get mentally prepared to teach Sales and Sales Management for Elizabethtown College in a few weeks.

Let’s assume you have identified a prospect for your business. The next step is perhaps the most critical of all – the “discovery phase”. Don’t take this important meeting unless you are fully armed to take the essential steps toward closing the deal.

Take the time to fully understand what the prospect is looking for; then figure out how your product or service is the perfect solution to meet his or her needs. Sell BENEFITS not FEATURES.

Just trying out an idea suggested by Ad Pros Steve Lance and Jeff Woll in their best-selling book “The Little Blue Book of Advertising” (Tip 38: Put a benefit in the headline).

I’m also a believer in certain mental “triggers” to get the mind in gear when you take on a new consumer-centric assignment. Here are a few brief examples:

1. Believe in the 80/20 rule – Find your core customer, the 20% who delivers 80% of your sales, and pay strict attention to understanding his or her needs. Your messaging must resonate with this special group of users. They can also become unpaid ambassadors for your business if you listen to them and communicate their benefits clearly.

Do you want to stay relevant with your business? Here is essential advice –

Stay informed about leading innovations that affect our lives. The editors of Fast Company magazine have helped us all this month with their annual “World’s 50 Most innovations Companies” issue. It’s full of good learning stuff. Read it yourself. But here are some fascinating takeaways from me:

In today’s digital age, how do you explain the continuing success of Moleskin’s classic notebooks? They use a digital Timepage app, which allows you to take a snapshot your daily to-do list and transfer it to a digital format. Quality products and innovative design don’t hurt either.

Target continues to develop smaller locations with consumer-centric inspired product lines in major city locations.

Positive brand and brand identity are essential to business success. But the real payoff happens when you nail it on the loyalty scale. You can waste tons of money trying to buy loyalty. But the reality is you have to earn it.

I pursued some self-education on this topic and uncovered five pieces of good advice from a recent edition of Advertising Age, supplemented by my own thoughts:

1. Be a good conversation partner – Listen to what is being said, learn how to act, and be prepared to refine and adjust your communication based on what your customer expects from you.

2. Allow customers to drive the brand conversation – Your brand is actually their gut feeling about who you are and what you do. Listen, take action and stay relevant.

An author in my stable of “regulars” is John C. Maxwell. He has the topic of Leadership figured out, and scores again with his new book “How Successful People Think”.

Wouldn’t it be great in 2017 to improve income generation, problem solving, and opportunity creation? Maxwell found commonalities in the way successful people think, and provides some tips to set us in the right direction. I’ve added some comments:

1. Changed thinking is not automatic – Looking for a new idea? Search for it. Resources exist. Use them. Expose yourself to good thinkers.

2. Changed thinking is difficult – In the words of Albert Einstein “Thinking is hard work. That’s why so few do it”. Commit to the work.

SkyLimit Marketing

SkyLimit Marketing
19 Springhouse Drive
Myerstown, PA 17067

Tel:  (717) 269-0288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Facebook Twitter