Category Archives for "Reach"

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Marketing – The New 5 Ps For Marketing

5 Ps for Marketing_3-01You likely already know the 5 original “Ps” to marketing – product, placement, packaging, promotion and price.  However, in today’s business environment there are 5 new marketing “Ps” to consider to transform your business.

Personality – People want to see the personality behind the brand and they want that personality to be honest and congruent with the way the person is “off stage” too.  For example, Sir Richard Branson shows his fun-loving, adventuresome side of his personal life while the Virgin brands are also fun-loving and adventuresome.   Even if the personality behind the brand are  the employees they need to be congruent with the personality of the brand.  No grumpy people working at Disneyland; only tender dental hygienists working at the “tender dentist” etc.

What is your brand’s personality and are you including it in your marketing?

Purpose – Every business has a purpose — to make money.  There are other purposes to consider though.  Purposes larger than the business or product itself.  For example, the purpose of our business is to reinvent lives globally and the best way to do this is to help business leaders to transform their business to become S.T.A.R.S.™ – Sagacious | Transformational | Attractive | Resourceful | Sustainable.

What is the purpose for your business and/or brands?  Are you sharing your purpose with your customers, employees, prospects and supporters?

Passion – People want to connect with people who share their passion – whether it’s reinventing lives, transforming businesses and communities, living off the grid, living a healthy and happy life, driving race cars, travelling the world, leaving a legacy, paying it forward or denouncing ways we are being manipulated by big business.

Do you show where your passion lies in your marketing?

Platform  – Your platform is what you are known for.  My platform is reinvention.  My friend Sohail Khan’s platform is joint ventures.  My friend Karen’s platform is the mind/body connection.

Ideally you want your name / brand to become synonymous with your platform – think of shoes and you think of Zappos.  Think about books and you think of Amazon.  Think about a magical vacation with small children and you likely think of Disney.

By becoming clear and focussed you will be able to hang out your “platform shingle” which helps you expand your reach through strategic partnerships and your marketing.

What is your platform?  What do you stand for?  What are you known for?

People –  Your people make or break your business.  People * Power * Profit so how do you ensure you are marketing to the right people so they become your employees, your customers, your vendors, and your strategic partners etc?  You do it by being very clear what your mission, vision, purpose, passion and ideal customers are.  You take a stand.  You invite those who you want in your circle, your tribe and your community to join you.  You ensure that those who you do not want to associate with don’t are kept on the other side of the “red velvet rope”.

Are you attracting the right people to your business?

How Will You Incorporate These 5Ps in your Marketing to differentiation your business?

F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ for Business Transformation – Reach

F.O.R.C.E. Formula ™ for Business Transformation – Reach

The F.O.R.C.E. Formula™  is a comprehensive review and action plan for transforming 5 primary areas of business that are ripe for transformation.  Regardless of whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned entrepreneur, a small business owner, a professional services provider or a leader in the corporate world, the F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ transforms the way you do business.

Within each of the 5 primary areas for business transformation there are 5 key elements and within those 5 key elements there are 5 actions, activities or questions to be answered.

In this video Carol explains the R in the Formula — Reach

How are you expanding your reach in a way that is both profitable and engaging?  How are you leveraging your expertise and the expertise in your business?  Are you using social media platforms to engage with customers and prospects?  Do you have a mobile marketing strategy and plan — everything from a website that looks good on a mobile phone, to using text messaging, a mobile app and even Near Field Communication?  Who are your ideal strategic partners to expand your reach?  Who can you partner with to enter new markets?  How can you get your non-competing but complementary products and services into the hands of another business’ customers?  Do you have products or services that can be licensed?   Are you leveraging new media platforms such as podcasts, Hangouts on Air, Kindle etc.

In this module – which is a big one – you will learn multiple ways to increase your reach with little more than commitment on your part and a small budget for tools or specialized services.

What lessons do you take away from this post?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Super Simple Marketing Plan

In this post, the last of the Super Simple Plans to reinvent your business or to launch your business quickly we are creating our super simple marketing plan.

If you missed the Super Simple Business Plan post, click here.

If you missed the Super Simple Marketing Plan Preparation post, click here.

What you’ve done so far is get very clear on your vision, mission, strategy, ideal customer and what you are going to sell in a way that differentiates yourself from others.  Now it’s time to create your Super Simple Marketing Plan – based on Guerrilla Marketing concepts — so you can get going.

7 Sentence Marketing Plan

marketing scrabbleAll the prep work you’ve just done now translates into your 7 sentence marketing plan.  If you have more than one product for more than one audience you can and should create one marketing plan for each but let’s just create one for now

The Specific Purpose of My Marketing is to:  (start with a verb/action word. For example get people to sign up for a free consultation)
The Competitive Advantage I Want to Stress is:
Our Target Audience is:
Our Ideal Customers (for This Product/Service) Are: (complete for each product/service)
The Marketing Tools to gain exposure and to lower Our Customer Acquisition Cost are:
 Our Niche in the Market is: :
Our Marketing Budget Will Be ______ % of Our Projected Gross Sales in Year One.

Now that you know what you are selling and how you are going to market, it’s time for you to get going!  In future posts I’ll explain why your customer experience is so critical to your success.  Until then…

What do you think of this Super Simple Marketing Plan?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ – Create More Profit and Time Off in Your Business

FO.R.C.E.-DVD-300x300

The F.O.R.C.E. Formula is all about creating more profit from your current success.

It covers 5 areas of your business

F = Foundation
O = Operations
R = Reach
C = Customer Experience
E = Employee Experience

 

Foundation – Are You and Your Business Aligned?

In my 18 years of hands-on experience as an entrepreneur who specializes in performance improvement and engagement, the success of a business comes from an important place – the “Inner You”. 

You can achieve a level of success without paying attention to the “inner you”.  However, if you are not in alignment with your business at the core of who you are – what your core values are, what your ideal lifestyle looks like and your passions and purpose,  at some point you WILL get stuck.  Some people get stuck getting out of the gate, others get stuck when outside factors test them beyond their “unconscious competence”.     Everyone gets stuck at some point in their journey though and the cause of many of the “sticking-points” are from within.

The Inner You is the place where all of our decisions come from.  When they are working in our favour we don’t tend to think too much about them – we credit our intellect, experience, risk-tolerance, timing, intuition and/or planning.  What we often fail to see is that it’s our beliefs that contribute to our success – our belief in ourselves AND it is also our beliefs that trip us up.

If you want to take your business to a new level – a level you have been unable to achieve so far – you need to take a look inside and see what is going on before making your plans.

Foundation also takes a look at where you are at with your numbers.  Your revenue, gross profit, net profit, number of customers, customer lifetime value, number of prospects, size of your list and other variables that will be used as your benchmark.

Your Operations

Are you operating in a way that is attracting the right people that aligns with your vision?  This is why we start with your foundation – including identifying what you really want and what you are tolerating.  Have you created a business with policies and procedures which annoy your customers and make it difficult for your employees to achieve your vision?  Remember, the decisions you make come from the “inner you” – why did you make the decisions in the first place?  Were you coming from a powerful place when you made those decisions or were there other things in play?

Your Reach

Are you creating an attractive business?  Are you attracting your ideal customers?  Are you growing your tribe of supporters – which includes customers, prospects, referral partners, joint venture partners, employees and prospective employees, vendors, investors and admirers? 

How successful are your current marketing activities?  Have you changed your marketing activities to keep up with the changes in the marketplace or are you still doing the same old things you’ve always done?  Are you trying new ways to reach your ideal customer?  Are you leveraging your expertise and positioning yourself as an expert in the eyes of those you wish to attract?

Your Customer Experience

Your customers’ experiences are the culmination of every decision  you have ever made – from the people you hire, your policies and procedures, your budget allocation decisions, the consistency of service, the quality of your product, through to the various marketing messages you create and all sorts of decisions in between.

If there is one sure-fire way to know that things are out of alignment it’s to take a look at what your customers are saying (or not saying) and doing (or not doing!)

The key to winning the customer loyalty battle is to consistently offer exactly what your marketing messages promise.   Have you cut back on staff to save on payroll costs – and as a result your customers are abandoning their shopping carts – perhaps permanently?  Do you promise speed and efficiency but some days it’s not very speedy or efficient – it depends on who is working?   The discrepancy between your promise and reality is what causes people to complain bitterly so it’s really quite simply – you either change your message to match your experience or you change your experience to match your message.  A heart-centered high achiever will likely choose the latter.

Your Employee Experience

What’s it like to have you as a boss?  Have  you stopped to find out?   S.T.A.R. Businesses have very specific requirements for those they hire  because they understand that the customer experience is controlled by the employees. If you don’t currently have employees, think about the people you delegate tasks to.

Have you shared your vision with your employees?  Do they know exactly what they HAVE to do and what latitude they have in delivering your vision?  Do they truly understand just how important they are to achieving your vision?

Your role in a S.T.A.R. Business is to hire slowly and well; train using your systems; coach; mentor and back-away so your employees can shine.  The result?  You don’t work as much – in fact you actually have time to have fun while also working on WAYS TO LEVERAGE everything you’ve built so far – while your employees deliver your brand promise with each and every touch point they have with your customers.

For some entrepreneurs, this may seem like a dream come true.  I’m here to tell you, there is no feeling like it!  I’ve done it myself – in my own business – after practicing and successfully implementing the systems aspect I teach while I was part of the management team at Whistler Mountain ski resort.

Imagine taking 4 vacations a year – one of them a month long – with your family, knowing that you simply need to check-in to answer questions, provide direction and appreciate your team while your business continues to generate revenue every day!

What lessons do you take from this lesson?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

My Top 3 Tips For Managing Your Online Reputation

A Reputation That Took Decades to Build Can be Threatened by a Single Event

Reputation

You may find yourself in the unfortunate position as the victim of a coordinated attack on your business using social media, which is a horrific situation for anyone who has lived through it.

Negative reviews are bad for business and no-one disputes this reality.  However, when you understand how to leverage online reputation, and in particular, your online reviews, they can be very powerful and very profitable.

#1 Evaluate your brand promise versus reality.  What are you saying in each and every marketing message?  What do people expect when they shop with you?  Is there a disconnect between the customer experience and your promise?
If yes either change your brand promise or fix the disconnect.  This could mean training, replacing people, investing in upgraded equipment, renovating and so on.

Remember… each and every touch point someone has with your business is marketing.  Be sure it is consistent with their experience otherwise your reputation — both online reputation and offline reputation — will suffer.

#2 Claim your accounts.   If you have not claimed your Foursquare, Yelp, Urban Spoon, Google Places, Facebook, Trip Advisor and other accounts where people are reviewing you, do it immediately and start responding to the reviews.

When you read a great review, thank the person for taking the time to comment, be humble but reinforce your brand promise and ask them if they would like to call out any employees who made their experience so you can properly recognize them.
By doing this it shows you are listening, you care, you appreciate, you are dedicated to a positive experience and you are a good employer that values the great employees you have.

Also respond to negative reviews.  If it is a legitimate complaint, recognize the person, thank them for giving you the opportunity to improve the experience your customers deserve and ask them to connect with you directly offline.

Note:  Always remember that just because you are offline, your conversation or correspondence can end up back-online.

#3 Be relentless in your quest for testimonials and reviews.  Remember, people look at reviews as social proof and many people will choose one business over another because of the reviews, so you want as many reviews as possible.

Many happy customers will say they will write but they don’t because they are busy or because it’s a pain to get an account so they can leave their review.

Tip: Knowing what is being said about you is the first line of defense and there are social media monitoring services, such as Trackur, Social Mention, Netvibes or Topsy. They will track mentions of your business online so  you can see what is being written.

You should also set up a Google Alert (https://google.com/alerts) for your business name but I would not recommend relying solely on that service as it is not as thorough as a social monitoring service.

What lessons do you take from this post?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Living Your Brand Promise

“How can I optimize my marketing budget?” and “How can I get more sales?”

… these are two questions that I’m regularly asked and they are not only valid questions but they are indicative of reality… we need to spend less on marketing (and other expenses) while we increase our sales (and profit).

My answer is usually the same…

  • Where do you currently spend your marketing budget?
  • What marketing activities can be proven to increase brand recognition and sales?
  • What do you spend your money on that you shouldn’t because it does not work?
  • What do you spend money on without knowing if it is producing results?

Then, I ask tougher questions, still related to sales and marketing…

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What is your brand promise?
  • What is your customer acquisition cost?

… and once we know these things… I ask the one-two-punch questions.

  • Are you living your brand promise?
  • Consistently?

If you are not living your brand promise — consistently — and your customer experience is not consistently equal to or greater than your brand promise, you are simply wasting money.

Marketing isn’t just advertising, it’s every exposure to your brand.  From the cleanliness of your premise, to your service, quality and your customer experience, you must be relentless in delivering according to your brand promise.

Put your energy and money into hiring, training, equipment, infrastructure and whatever else it takes so that you know that day-in-day-out you will deliver what you say do.

Then… work on creating and nurturing relationships with your customers (you know, the ones that love you because you do what you say you’ll do… each and every time).  Use those relationships to increase referrals, increase joint ventures, increase sales and lower your customer acquisition cost.

A significant portion of a business’ value is based on intangible factors such as goodwill, partnerships, alliances and key employees, so it makes sense to spend time, money and energy to maximize that value.

A quick example of what to do and what not to do:

We have just returned from a cruise out of the Port of Miami.  This cruise line’s branding is all about “fun” yet, on the ship we saw one lone crew member having fun (excluding the activities people).  She was a waitress that had obviously bonded with a couple of passengers.  She was laughing and interacting with them.  Mind you, she totally ignored us but that’s a different story.

The rest of the crew, except for our cabin steward, who was friendly, hospitable and called out to us by name as he saw us; the dining room hostess who was the only person to ask for feedback and provide “hospitality”; and the waitress who served bar drinks on the “Serenity Deck”, the rest of the “team” appeared to be demoralized, unappreciated and they were certainly not having “fun”.

Eager to get back to our expectation of hospitality, I arranged to visit a couple of hotels while in Cozumel.

Hotel in Cozumel

We went to the Intercontinental Presidente and we were thoroughly impressed by the property and the staff.

I loved their attention to comfort.  They were hospitable, genuine, smiling and caring.  We were invited to stay for lunch and it was delicious.

We then went to visit the Cozumel Palace.  We’ve stayed at another Palace Resort twice in the past year and we’ve visited a couple of other properties.  We know what to expect in terms of quality and service.  This property was small – wedged between the road and the sea – and I was a bit concerned because of the noise on the road side and the lack of beach on the sea-side.  However, we would stay there because of two things:  Palace’s dedication to both quality and service.

So what has all of this got to do with “Living Your Brand Promise?”

Everything actually… you see, because the Intercontinental Presidente and the Cozumel Palace both deliver what they promise, they can lower their marketing costs and increase their sales because they engage their customers.

Engaging with customers means communicating with them..

Customer Engagement is different though … it means you’ve earned their “heart”.

Engaged customers are more likely to refer people to your business, they are more accepting when things don’t go right and they are more likely to continue to do business with you.

Compare this to a company that does not live the brand promise.  They constantly have to hire new employees (after all, employees won’t stick around either if the brand promise is inconsistent with reality), they constantly have to deal with rookie learning curves, they constantly have to spend tons of money on marketing and they do not enjoy the repeat, high-profit advantage of engaged customers.

So, the best way to increase your profit, increase your sales and optimize all your expenses, including your marketing budget is to go back to your roots and be sure that you are living your brand promise each and every day.

Is Groupon good for Your business?

At first I was completely opposed to Groupon… after all the economics don’t make sense for the merchant and, if done wrong, the impact on cash flow can be devastating.

I have heard of two stories (interestingly both were related to dental care) that used Groupon successfully.   One created an “at-home” whitening kit which they sold via Groupon.  If people wanted extra kits they were at regular prices.  They could also sell this nationally, instead of locally, yet if the buyer was local, they could also come into the office for professional treatment.  I like this example because the main cost was in creating and distributing the kits, so it was highly scalable.   The other was for a dentist that offered teeth whitening in the office and then upsold during the visit.  They would upsell to another appointment or a product.  This dentist knew that a small percent would repeat but it made sense to her to use Groupon to increase her patient count.   Teeth whitening is, apparently, a high margin product, so I can see how this would work.

I’m still not a huge fan but I can see how it could work for many business types if … and only if… the plan is well thought out, understanding that some regular customers will buy the Groupon and many Groupon customers have no intention of returning when they buy.  In this instance, using Groupon can be a very expensive branding exercise, particularly if there isn’t a plan in place to give them an offer to return. So, if I were running a Groupon, I would want to know which customers are coming to my business with a Groupon in hand as they entered my business.   Then I’d train my staff to make them feel welcome and to ask if they have spent money with us before (in different words of course!).  I would track how many are new customers versus existing customers.  In both cases, I would train the staff to explain the competitive advantages of shopping with us (how many businesses ever do that!?!) and to show them around.

At the point of sale, I’d have an offer for them to join our “Club” whatever it is called.  Capture an email or a cell phone while giving them a reason to come back.  This personalized service will blow the bargain shopper away.  Furthermore, those that liked the experience enough to consider returning will be more likely to give their email / mobile # for more value-added services, special promotions etc.   The value is always in your list and as long as you are building a list and wowing the customer, Groupon may work for you.

So how could you deal with a customer that was not a Groupon customer?  Make an offer to them too… here’s a scratch and win card, or a free appetizer card or a free alteration etc. to redeem today.  Then, also invite them to join our “Club” at the point of sale.

That said… the financial metrics are critical.  I created a daily deal calculator, which was intended for personal use.  However, if you’d like a copy of it, please insert your name and email.   Once you have done that, and confirmed your subscription, you’ll get the calculator and an explanation of how it works.

So, my long answer to the question and the bottom line is that it really depends.  It depends on the deal itself (the calculator helps to decide which one is better) and how many people you can convert to repeat customers… and to me, that is the most critical component.

Have you used Groupon for your business?  Let us know how it worked by commenting below.