Category Archives: Business Investment Tips

The Purpose of Marketing and Advertising Part 2

Thinking what is the purpose of marketing and advertisingThe Purpose of Marketing and Advertising Part 2

 

I made a promise to deliver some thoughts on Advertising and Marketing that can challenge the way you think about your business.  Hopefully, I did not bite off more than I can chew….

In part one, I stated that advertising and marketing is the life blood of business because it brings the new energy a business needs to grow and thrive.  I also stated that if you help others achieve their goals with your products and services and deliver more value than they pay, you can turn these new customers into steady streams of new energy through repeat sales and referrals.  It is what I believe and I coach my clients to pursue this course as it is one that generates good will and steady profits.  This is my twist but if you read the quotes it gets back to ancient spiritual wisdom (this case the Bible) as most of our positive personal and business development ideas do.  This is a solid foundation upon which you can build a sustainable approach to growing your business.  Now for part two of the series – an even higher purpose for advertising and marketing.

“Our truest life… is when we are in our dreams, awake.”
   David Thoreau

I am going to start with a challenge…. If you are not in a business that you love and that gives you joy – get out of it and find one that does.  It is only time going by.  We are all on a one-way ride called life.  If you choose to spend your energy on things that do not give you joy and you do not love so be it.  Doing things that you love gives you more energy and work becomes more fun, more joyous and your customers feel this which makes them feel more comfortable … which makes sales easier providing that you deliver value.  On the other hand, doing things that are drudgery to you and things you do not like drain your energy and this also come through to your customers….  I’m not saying that your dream business will always be easy because it will be difficult at times – that is why it is called work. But, work does not have to be a drag on your energy or state of mind.    When you are working towards your dreams, you are rewarding yourself with every accomplishment that brings you closer to manifesting them.   For some people running the best auto repair shop in town might be their dream; for others it might be leaving the corporate “rat race” and opening their own franchise.  It can be running your own beauty salon to becoming president of a Fortune 500.  It could be running your own accounting firm or it could be developing a spiritual/personal coaching business.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that it is your dream not mine or anyone else’s…

“I think… therefore I am”
   Rene Descartes

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Jesus

“When the legends die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness.”
   Tecumseh

“It always seems impossible until it’s done. “
  Nelson Mandela

So what does advertising and marketing have to do with finding your place in the universe? 
And what does that have to do with running a successful business?

Let’s start with some dreamers who did not give up:

Fred Smith the founder of Fed Ex

While at Yale, Smith wrote a paper on the need for reliable overnight delivery in a computerized information age. His professor found the premise improbable, and to the best of Smith’s recollection, he only received a grade of C for this effort.  I found this information in a biography on Fred Smith… I guess that shows that even Yale Professors are not always on the money!

Thomas Edison

On the light bulb:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. “

Later this was written about Edison marketing his phonograph:

“Edison and his copywriters courted the urban middle class with advertising that made prospective customers feel as entitled to enjoy the pleasures of recorded music as anyone.”

Randall Stross “Edison The Inventor, Edison the Showman” – NY Times 3-11-07

Colonel Sanders

“Colonel” Harland Sanders persevered… “and after a little over 1,000 visits (to sell a franchise for his Kentucky Fried Chicken), he finally persuaded Pete Harman in South Salt Lake, Utah to partner with him. They launched the first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” site in 1952.”
Colonel Sanders Bio – Kentucky Fried Chicken Story, Bio.com

Sylvester Stallone

It has been said that Sylvester Stallone tried to sell the script of Rocky over one thousand times.  He turned down an offer over $300,000 when he had a couple hundred dollars in the bank because the studio did not want him to play Rocky.  He persevered and the rest is history….

It Starts With a Dream…

All of these people started with an idea, a dream you might say.  They next met with push back and obstacles that would have made 99.9% of all people give up.  But they pursued their dreams and, upon achieving them, they marketed them.  Fed Ex is now a leader in overnight delivery and advertising has played a key role in their growth.   Edison was one of our greatest inventors who focused on fulfilling human needs (that makes marketing easier).  He changed our world turning night into day with the light bulb and the phonograph which at first was scoffed at, helped to create the music industry.  His advertising made people feel entitled to listen to music… and the rest was history….   Kentucky Fried Chicken, now know as KFC, is the leader in fast food chicken.  They constantly advertise and market their brand of chicken.  The Rocky series was watched by billions of people.  If you close your eyes I bet most of you can see the picture of Rocky on top of the stairs with his fists above his head.  Yes- that was used in the advertising….   All of these started with a dream that was not given up on.  And all of these products and services employed the power of marketing and advertising to reach levels of success that few ever do.

In conclusion, by finding the business you love it is easy to have the extra energy to go the extra mile and make people enjoy doing business with you.  It is also easier to persevere through the challenges that will lie in your path.  If you employ the right kind of marketing and advertising and measure the result you can, over time, develop a profitable mix that helps you to succeed in achieving your dreams.  If you are interested in discovering and effectively marketing to your most valuable markets, we can help.

Accelerated Advertising is a marketing and advertising firm located in Rockland County NY.  We service small and mid-sized firms in  Rockland County, Westchester County, New York City and surrounding areas including  Bergen County  NJ and Fairfield County  CT and throughout the Hudson Valley.  We also serve clients around the country primarily via on-line meetings.

Click here to request FREE INFORMATION on discovering and selling to you your Sweet Spot (the part of the market that values and wants what you deliver)

Click here to go to our website and learn more….

Where is the best place to put your marketing dollars? Part 1

golf ball on green one inch from giant wholeWhere is the best place to put your marketing dollars?

New media, traditional media, inbound marketing, out bound marketing, e-mail marketing, affiliate marketing, fusion marketing, white hat and black hat marketing… there are so many new terms in the marketing world it can make your head spin.  What is a small business person to do?   Things are changing so quickly in the marketing world it is almost impossible for a small business person to keep up, much less know where to best place their money to grow their business.  In this blog I am going to explain a few of these terms and then offer what I believe you will find is a common sense approach to investing in you business’s future growth.

 

Terms:

New media – messages delivered electronically via e-mail, social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and the internet.

Traditional media – media delivered via print, television, radio, billboards, and mail.

Inbound marketing – a strategy of enticing prospects to come to you.  The first of these was directories and the yellow pages. Today website optimization (SEO) and pay-per click (PPC), blogging, social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube) and permission based e-mails are all good inbound marketing tools.

Outbound marketing – Out bound marketing is often confused with traditional marketing because most traditional marketing, except directories, is outbound.  The strategy here is to catch the prospect’s attention long enough to deliver the message of how the product can help him.  Placing ads on the internet is also outbound marketing, as is telemarketing.

E-mail marketing – most people generally understand what e-mail marketing is – delivering a message via e-mail.  However, a very small percentage of small businesses understand how vital gaining the audience’s permission is and how not obtaining it will hurt you today and tomorrow.

 

A few weeks ago I was at a meeting and someone held up some traditional advertising and announced – “old media” is dead.  We strictly promote ourselves with “new media.”  Continuing, they said we are only going to use the internet and social media.  If utilized properly, these should get results — but I was not convinced they had the skills or were going to dedicate the time and effort to make that work.  Without the proper know-how and constant vigilance, these media will not produce the level of results that they can.

I often hear people say they have a website and have tried social media but they don’t work.  Unfortunately, the reality often is that the small business person does not know how to make these perform optimally and they do not have the time to dedicate each day to maximize their effectiveness.  As a marketing coach and marketing consultant, I am asked to help firms transition from strictly traditional marketing and advertising to a blend of traditional and new marketing that is most profitable for them.  The key is to understand the media in both worlds and then develop a plan that tracks the profit generated from the activities.  I follow a radical philosophy in marketing – Most in my business will tell you to brand at all costs.   I will tell small business to focus on profits, profits and profits.  When it comes to transitioning to new media and developing a blended strategy, I let the profits be my compass.  Whatever media delivers the most affordable leads from my client’s most profitable niches is going to stay in my client’s plans.  If they do not produce, they are gone….

Part two of this series will come tomorrow.  However, if you would like to learn more about new media, traditional media and how to develop profitable on and off-line marketing,  check out our website:

www.acceleratedadvertising.com

Click here if you would like to receive free marketing tips that can help you
Out Think, Out Market and Out Sell your competition

I wish you success in utilizing new media – but don’t throw out profitable advertising vehicles just because they are traditional….

A Guerilla Marketers Ideas on Business Investments – Part 2

In my last blog I took a look at the dismal situation with regards to short term investments.  Unfortunately I have to give you some hard cruel facts before I give you some good news….

Now for the cruel hard facts:

The market has shrunk for almost every business.  For most niches in the marketplace, sales and revenue generated today cannot support the same number of businesses that could be supported a few short years ago.  The cruel reality is that not every business is going to make it through this recession.  So the question becomes who is going to fail – you or your competition?  The companies that make the right moves will survive and, as the economy turns back upward, will thrive.  Many of the companies that make the wrong moves will fold.  I wish it were different but these are the hard cruel facts.

So what are the right moves?  Again these are common sense ideas.  And I am going to ask that you suggest what is working for you too.

 

  1. Cut the fat.  But do not let the “bean counter” cut the quality of your products and services to the point where you do not deliver more value than your competition.
  2. Invest in technology that will make your company more competitive.  Are there ways to automate?  Can you outsource some things?  Are there suppliers you can use that utilize high tech processes that deliver products more cost effectively or have a benefit that gives you a unique advantage?
  3.  Invest in increasing cost effective marketing and advertising to expand your market share.  Often in a recession it costs more to acquire new clients.  The pie has shrunk.  Don’t “save” yourself into bankruptcy.  Make sure that if a business has to close it’s your competition and not you.   Expand your market share and you will reap large dividends when the market expands.
  4. Invest in your relationship with your current customers.  Did you know it is 3-4 times easier to sell an existing customer over developing a new one?  Communicate with your customers, understand them and give them helpful information.  Do you have a newsletter?  Do you send them personalized cards?  Do you have an e-mail system to communicate with them?  Did you know that there are ways to automate your e-mail communications?  Do you offer special workshop or events for clients?  Do you offer a special unadvertised sale just for existing customers?  Oh by the way, when your focus is developing and enhancing, your relationships do not subscribe to the ABC’s of selling (Always Be Closing).  If you sell hard, here people will stop reading (never forget that a prospect’s attention is the most valuable thing in marketing today. You’ve got your customer base – now be smart enough to keep it).  A good rule of thumb is making sure the information you deliver is helpful and wanted. Make sure the information enhances your relationship and does not detract or hurt it.  Then when you do sell them, treat them like gold – because they are!  When you have exceeded their expectation and “wowed” them ask them for referrals – over time you will get them.
  5. Analyze your product to see which ones are most salable in a recession.  Which ones are people happy to give you their hard earned money for?  IE:  In this market selling recreational vehicles is much tougher that it was 5 years ago.  The market crashed and gas prices are up….  some people are still buying RV’s, just not nearly as many…. On the other hand smart phones sales are up.  People can conduct business from anywhere and access the internet.  Psychologically, they really may want to have the latest toys but they can rationalize that it makes them more productive (which it can) and sales are skyrocketing….   The moral of the story – focus on the products people will buy in this market.
  6. Do you have a product or service with little or no competition?  If you do, and it is salable, this is a great place to focus some resources.  Years ago I had a DJ business on the side.  Mobile DJ’s were new (yes we did use dinosaur teeth as a stylusJ)…  The yellow pages had just created the heading of Disc Jockeys – you previously had to look under Entertainers.  I chose the new heading – I wanted people who knew that they wanted a DJ and not a band.  Only one other person did this.  I almost doubled my business with a very small ad….
  7. Is there a competitor or another business that you can partner with and have them send you leads for products or services that they do not provide but that can help their clients?  Offer them and finder’s fee or commission (if it is legal in your profession) – it is often much less expensive than the cost of finding these prospects on your own.
  8. Understand and be able to communicate your unique value proposition.  Many marketers talk about your unique sale proposition or USP.  I have always believed it is all about value.  When the customer understands how and why you deliver more value to them (and they want or need what you offer) the sale becomes very easy.  Who doesn’t want more value?
  9. Learn how to employ effective marketing and advertising techniques in the new economy and with new media.  Optimize your website, utilize cost effective “pay per click” campaigns, cost-effectively employ social media and create videos for your website and social media.  However – let the market tell you which traditional media and which new media gives you the best return on your investment (ROI).  A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting of local business people.  A person held up a magazine type of media and said that traditional media are dead and that everyone uses the internet and social media.  New media may be growing but the person was holding a publication with hundreds of advertisers in it….  Would all of them go in it time and time again without getting a return on their investment?  My rule of thumb for all small businesses is follow the profits.  I don’t care if you are on Facebook, the Internet, the Yellow Pages, the Pennysaver, a magazine, a Super Bowl ad or on the back of a used napkin.  If the media cost-effectively delivers prospects from your Sweet Spot (most profitable customers), then use it!  Don’t be married to any one media.  Don’t jump on a media because it is sexy and has a lot of status.  Don’t avoid media that people say are “old fashioned” and boring.  Be married to results measured by ROI.  Track and analyze which media deliver your best niches most cost-effectively with the highest ROI and follow the profits!
  10. When reviewing media, check out how many of your competitors use it and for how long they have.  Then, if you can, check out if they are buying more or less of it.  If the media had a lot of advertisers and their spend keeps trending up – it is a media that most likely works for your type of business.
  11. Get interns.  College students know that having job experience will put them in a better light upon graduation than applicants with no experience.  If you offer an internship, even if it is unpaid, they will get much need job experience and you can get more done without a large investment.

What are your ideas on the best investments a business can make in these tough times?  I could add more but I want to open it up and hear what is working for you.

If you have an investment that is helping your business grow – please share it.  I bet we can get this list to be a growing and living document that helps all to grow and thrive in these difficult times.

You might want to check out my website for some information on Guerrilla Marketing and other cost effective advertising and marketing ideas…

www.acceleratedadvertising.com

 

Here’s to a profitable future!

A Guerilla Marketers Ideas on Business Investments Part 1

The million dollar question of the day is where to invest your money to maximize your return this year?  Let’s look at a few places that may or may not make sense.  Traditionally, people invest in a few tried and true places such as: the stock market, treasury notes, real estate, the money market, savings accounts, Certificates of Deposit and gold (precious metals).  I am not an economist, nor am I a financial planner, but common sense says that each one of these offers has an inherent problem.  If you are a business owner, I am going to offer you some ideas that I believe can help you survive the current recession and then thrive as the economy rebounds.  Let’s take a look at each of the traditional places people invest their money and then my ideas for business.

Before I start, I’m sure there are a few stock brokers asking what gives a marketing and advertising guy the right to talk about investments?   I promise you that any talented investment counselor can talk circles around me when it comes to sophisticated investment tools.  I will also say that I am going to put forth a few ideas with the intention of opening up a conversation, with others adding great ideas that they have found to be working…   However, I believe the common sense approach I am taking may just stimulate some business people to action and to grow their business.  The bottom line – there are no small businesses too large to let fail.  Large banks and large businesses got bail outs – we entrepreneurs and small business people are on our own….  Small business can be an engine for the recovery.  However, I will state some hard to hear facts and then some ideas I have that can help some businesses thrive while their competition starves. I hope I can inspire small business people to act on their own behalf and invest in growth….   But let’s look at the traditional place people put their money first.

The stock market is going through one of the most volatile time in its history.  I don’t need to tell anyone that it is not a place for the faint of heart right now…  I have monies in retirement accounts and I am sure that the markets will come through this challenge just like we have in the past… stronger, more and more competitive.   In the long term, I believe we will see growth that will provide a nice return.  However, most will agree that the short term is no bed of roses.

Treasury notes offer very little up-side in the short run.  The Fed just announced that interest rates are going to stay low until 2113.  Ten year treasury notes are paying 2.5%….  so T-notes most likely are not even going to keep up with inflation.  How about real estate?  Yes you can buy cheap.  Does the real estate market still have a bit more to drop?  I don’t know.  Should it do just fine in the long term?  I believe it will.  However, is it the place to invest short tern money?  I don’t think so.  How about the bank or a certificate of deposit?  Both of these are offing interest rates that are less than 1% so they are losing ground against inflation too.

This leaves gold and precious metals.  I bought a few ounces of gold and some investment silver coins about 20 years ago when gold was around $250 an ounce.  In hindsight I wish I bought ten times as much….  As I write this gold is over $1800 per ounce!  It is at an all-time high.  If you asked me if you should have bought at $1000 per ounce I would have said no (I sold some – shows what I know)….  Will it go higher – most likely it may still go higher.  If you buy at these rates you risk getting caught when the bubble bursts….  The old adage is buy low and sell high…. not buy high and hope that is goes even higher…  Gold has certainly out-performed most investment counselor’s expectations but there is a huge downside in buying high. If you want to play this game, I hope you win but don’t cry if you lose big time.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 in my next blog, where I will layout 10-12 ideas that can help now and will open the discussion so that everyone can have input.  The goal will be to let people share what is working and we can all help one another….