Archive for July, 2011

Discover Your Marketing Mindset

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Do you believe that there exists a right way and a wrong way to market your business? Is there a set of rules floating around somewhere that we must live by when we step into the role of marketing director for our company?

While some marketing guru’s have discovered that there are steps that are more, or less, effective than others, I believe it’s important to evaluate your own belief system and be certain that your marketing represents YOU. But if your current marketing mindset is fearful and limiting, it’s time to step into a new mindset and bring success to your door. There is a wealth of outstanding information out there for all of us, and you can combine this information with your own perspective to create an effective marketing model that resonates with you and represents your brand authentically.

Last week I exchanged a series of emails with Beth, who wanted to create an incentive program to offer her massage therapy clients a discount when they purchased six massages as a package. We went back and forth with examples of language and math equations that Beth could potentially use to create her program, but nothing was working for her. Finally, she confessed that the whole idea felt uncomfortable to her; too sales-like – and that’s not what her service is about. Beth was stuck in a mindset that didn’t serve her, her clients or her business.

Rather than dropping the whole idea because it made her uncomfortable, we reframed the concept so that Beth felt she was helping her clients to better afford taking good care of themselves through nurturing massage. I asked her questions like, “Why do you sincerely want to create this offer?” and “What will your offer do for your clients?” When Beth began looking at her marketing project from her clients’ perspective, the proverbial light bulb shined bright in her head. “I’m helping my clients. I’m doing something good for them!” she discovered. Yes Beth, you are.

Marketing is a dirty little word for many solopreneurs – especially individuals who are in the helping field and in the arts. For those who feel that they were put here on earth to enhance the lives of others through their gifts and abilities, it somehow doesn’t feel right to charge money for that gift. But how many people can you assist if you are struggling financially? Will stress eventually inhibit your gifts and talents? And how can you expect others to see the value of your services and products if you don’t place a value on them yourself? Come to terms with your value and worth, and you will see that your customers will do the same. They will resonate with your marketing materials and happily pay the price!

I suggested to Beth that she use language in her marketing offer that feels good to her; to see her offer, and hear her offer, through the eyes and ears of her ideal prospect and customer. Today her little cards are off to the printer!

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to understand the value of what you offer, and to find the words to share your wonderful offerings with a larger audience.

* What is unique about my product or service?
* What is unique about ME and how does that enhance my product or service?
* How does it help others?
* How does it enhance the lives of my clients/customers?
* What are some of the things my clients have said about their experience with me or my company?
* Would my clients feel good about telling others about their experience?
* Is there something I can do to help those happy clients to easily spread the word of this experience?
* What can I do for my clients/customers to thank them for their business?
* Is there anything I can do to make my product of service more affordable for them on occasion?
* What are the most common words I hear others use to describe their experience of my product or service?
* How can I use those words to describe it to my future clients?
* If I don’t tell more people about my offerings what am I depriving them of?

If your marketing mindset is stopping you from growing your company, if you shudder when you hear the word, consider embracing a new mindset. Instead of marketing, use words and phrases like; sharing, spreading the word and helping others.

Enjoy growing your business; let us know how you’ve shaped a new perspective!

Facebook Adds Video Chat With Skype, Deepens Microsoft Ties

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Soon 700 Million Global Users Will Be Able to Chat Face to Face

As of today, your mother can video chat you on Facebook. The social-media giant launched its long-anticipated video chat in partnership with Skype, allowing for one-click chatting for Facebook’s 700 million users. The feature will be available to 1% of global users today and 10% by next week.

“Video calling is the first example of what we think of as a great social app,” said Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The Skype/Facebook integration differs from traditional Skype usage, which requires users to download software for the internet-phone and video-conferencing service. On Facebook, if a friend you are calling hasn’t downloaded Skype’s software, a box appears onscreen asking if he or she would like to accept the call. By clicking yes, both people are able to video chat.

“Think of this simply as a mini-Skype client, powered through peer-to-peer technology,” said Skype CEO Tony Bates, who was on hand at Facebook’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters. He and Mr. Zuckerbeg said they have been working on a partnership for a while — before Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in May — and Mr. Zuckerberg added that because Skype is now owned by a company he trusts, it makes for an even better working relationship with a more stable partner.

The service is not yet available on mobile. Mr. Zuckerberg said the partnership is indicative of Facebook’s strategy of not having to build out every feature, but rather letting companies that specialize in aspects of certain technologies build on top of the social network’s existing and far-reaching platform.

Mr. Bates said that half of Skype’s business is video chatting. He said said Skype is serving more than 300 million minutes a month of video chats, which accounts for half of Skype’s calls. Skype’s ad products are not a part of this integration. At the end of 2010, Skype rolled out a unit called “Click and Call” across North America and Europe. It allows its users to direct-dial a local advertiser when users search for businesses on listing-type pages. Skype’s display advertising unit rolled out in April, with big-brand inaugural clients including Coca-Cola, Groupon, Visa and Volkswagen, Skype reps said.

There are no economic terms in this new partnership, but the ongoing and intimate relationship between Microsoft and Facebook should allow Microsoft a way to recoup some of the $8.5 billion the tech giant spent on its purchase of Skype in May. In 2007, Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook; this new feature continues the integration between the two companies, including Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which indexes Facebook’s social data. With Facebook’s entry into the video-chat market, they’ll be competing with Apple’s FaceTime, Google Talk and the new Google+ Hangouts.

Dan Khabie, CEO of agency Digitaria, said the movie is great for Miscrosoft’s repositioning in the tech industry. “Microsoft is changing it’s business rapidly into becoming a platform and this is a really good step in that direction,” Mr. Khabie said. “Microsoft’s next role is as enabler rather than a dominator.”

Mr. Khabie, whose agency work with clients including the NFL, Energizer and Intel, said that for brands, the expansion of video chat into group video chat would be a great step. “From a brand perspective and an agency perspective, we could launch a page for a brand and rather than just liking the page, the fans can actually have dialogue with each other about the brand. From a marketer perspective there’s a lot more viability with groups.”

Indeed, Ford has already created an account on Google’s new social network, known as Google+, an indication of potential video chats between Ford consumers and Ford executives.

Since it’s limited launch last week, Google+ has been getting rave reviews from the tech community, mostly for the group text chat function. Facebook also launched a redesign of its group chats, allowing for the creation of ad hoc groups. This feature’s release is no accident, considering that the friend “circles” on Google+ are a popular feature on the nascent network.

Writing to Win

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Most people write proposals to not fail. It would be nice to win, but they really just want it over. But they don’t want to look bad. So they follow the instructions. They follow the procedures to start putting black ink on paper, saying enough of what they think they’re supposed to in order to call it complete.

If you want to win, that’s not how to do it.

A lot of people start their RFP-based proposals by creating a compliance matrix and an outline. Then they start addressing the requirements one by one, filling the proposal up with words until all the requirements have been covered.

This is a good way to not fail. It’s not a good way to win. It relies on addressing the requirements in a way that’s good enough to outscore competitors who are doing the same thing.

Why not doing things a little differently? Why not start the proposal off by figuring out how you’re going to win the darn thing?

It basically comes down to being better or cheaper (and sometimes both at the same time).

But what does “better” mean?

Try superlative adjectives: Quicker, deeper, broader, stronger, cooler, faster, more convenient, flexible, innovative, efficient, cooler, etc.

Try superlative results: Better mission, goal, and requirement fulfillment. Better follow-through or delivery.

Try superlative alternatives: Doing it differently than expected because it produces a better result.

Try superlative options: If you do it our way, you’ll also have ways to get more…

Try superlative timing: Better short term or a better future. Synchronicity.

Try superlative ways of being superlative: There’s millions of them!

And then there’s “cheaper.” Most people are afraid of being cheaper. What if someone else is cheaper still? What if you lose money? And yet, most people strive to be “as cheap as possible,” or in other words, “cheaper.” If you are going to be cheaper, then embrace it. Loudly proclaim that you are cheaper (if you’re not, you were going to lose anyway). Be proud of it. Be good at it. Be Walmart.

If you can’t embrace being cheaper, then don’t compete with it. Be competitive, but be something else.

You shouldn’t start writing until you’ve decided how you’re going to win. If you can’t articulate how you are better, then you can’t write the winning proposal. So keep at it until you can.

People find it difficult to write about “benefits” and “what the customer wants” in isolation. Recently we wrote about how being descriptive in your proposal writing is a terrible habit that causes people to lose. When you write a proposal, you need to write about what matters to the customer and not just describe yourself. So how do you do that? Once you’ve figured out how you’re going to win, that will point you to the things that matter to the customer.

If you’re going to win because you’re better (or cheaper), then that matters and is what you should write about. Only you need to write it from the customer’s point of view. Instead of writing about how much better you are, try writing about the better results the customer will get by selecting you. Everything you do is for a reason, and that reason is both why the customer is interested in you and why you are better.

Hispanic Market the Hot Topic at Nielsen Conference

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Hispanic Market the Hot Topic at Nielsen Conference – It Looks Like Marketers Are Finally Taking Notice

Two weeks ago, I attended the annual Nielsen Conference, considered the Holy Grail for researchers, media companies and marketers obsessed with better understanding the American consumer and their behavior vis-a-vis media consumption. Although this event has been in existence for years, it, like so many other venerated conferences, has never focused much on multicultural audiences, which are often relegated to “niche” conferences like the Hispanic Retail Conference or the Multicultural ANA.

So, needless to say, I was intrigued when I read Nielsen was going to have a panel on understanding the multicultural consumer and that my colleague Roberto Ruiz was going to be on it.

Last year I bemoaned in Ad Age the lack of focus on multicultural marketing issues at other conferences (Move Multicultural Marketing from the Ghetto to the Golf Course). I doubt the article persuaded Nielsen to include such a topic in its conference this year, but maybe it did help it consider the idea. I headed to Orlando, ready to be disappointed, once again, by the marginal treatment we who toil in Hispanic marketing always get at these things.

To my great surprise, however, the very first speaker, Coca Cola CMO Bea Perez, focused on the importance of multicultural marketing during her presentation when she said that 86% of the growth through 2020 for Coca-Cola’s youth-target market will come from multicultural consumers, especially Hispanic, and that focusing on this segment was critical to the company’s future growth. “Wow,” I thought, “this is great. Here is Coke validating what I’ve been saying for years.” Then I thought, it must be a fluke, right? But then, it made sense. Coke is a leading global brand, so the execs there get it.

A presentation by Debra Lee, the CEO of BET, followed Coke. Lee talked about a new segmentation study she had conducted with her African-American audience that guided new programming strategy to build scripted dramas. Two hours of speeches dedicated to multicultural marketing at Nielsen! Again, I thought, “That’s just a quirky coincidence. Like a perfect storm, you know.”

But the skeptic in me would soon be proved wrong. Throughout the two-day conference the importance of the Hispanic consumer kept on coming up in presentation after presentation on the main stage, as well as in the breakout sessions. It didn’t matter what industry sector we were talking about — beverages or CPG or retail pharmacy chains: Over and over, everyone acknowledged the need to better understand and address the needs of the Hispanic consumer. In his closing remarks, David Calhoun, CEO of Nielsen, told the 1,400 attendees that he would encourage them all to spend 65% of their time “figuring out their Hispanic opportunity” because it was no doubt the single biggest source of growth for all companies in the U.S. in the short and long term.

Clearly, the “New American Reality” is having an impact. Companies like McDonald’s have experienced 31 quarters of growth thanks to its marketing mantra: leading with multicultural insights. McDonald’s applies a “30-40-50 rule” to every effort. It reminds its teams that 30% of their customers are multicultural who, in turn, account for 40% of their sales and they always remember that 50% of the multicultural population is under the age of 18.

Those are powerful numbers, and that’s why every company that is focused on growth must start focusing on the Hispanic consumer. The Latino baby boom is the biggest thing that has happened to American demographics since the baby boom 50 years ago. Like the boomers, we will redefine every life stage as we enter it, leaving marketers with one of two choices: either figure out how to ride this giant wave into the future — or get left behind with the Hula Hoop.