Roy's Blog: Marketing

January 5, 2012

6 Mistakes Business Start-ups Make

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Guest Blog - Frankly Speaking / The Power in Saying Hello.
3 Ways To Be An Un-Perfectionist
The Herd’s Brain Has 5 Parts

Got an idea you think can make you lots of money? Good. Chalk one up to you for coming up an innovative thought.

But the REAL challenge you have is to figure out HOW to monetize it. If you can’t turn your “Brave Idea” into a “Crude Deed” by getting people to buy it, your idea is wasted.

So…here are 6 mistakes entrepreneurs absolutely MUST avoid:
1. Not determining how your idea is DiFFERENT than your competition. Ultimate success will be determined by staking a unique claim in the market. If your idea is the same as, or similar to something already out there, it will be invisible. It won’t attract attention and no none will buy it.

2. Not clearly identifying who the POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS for your idea are. Winning is all about targeting your idea to very specific groups of people and giving them a reason to buy from you. It’s NOT about flogging your idea to the masses and hoping it will stick to some of them. If you can’t define your potential customers, STOP.

3. Not involving people who have a strong MARKETING and customer SERVICE background. Ultimately, the success of your idea will depend on “go-to-market” effectiveness. Better have people on board who have experience in serving customers and providing value-based solutions to people. Technology and finance expertise are needed as well, but in a supportive role. People responsible for customers must be your anchor.

4. Not TESTING your idea with potential customers. It’s not about how excited you and your friends are about your idea,  it’s about what your potential customers think. Get them in a room and present your idea. Ask them to evaluate it. Do they think it satisfies a real need they have? Do they think it’s different than other stuff out there? Would they buy it? How much would they be prepared to pay for it? Would they likely tell their fiends about it? Does your idea excite them?

5. Not defining the unique VALUE you are creating with your idea. Business success comes from supplying value to people. Figure out how you are satisfying a want or desire that your potential customers have. This will form the basis of your marketing efforts and your pitch to potential investors.

6. Thinking that technology will sell itself. It’s not about a product or service. It’s about VALUE. People don’t buy technology, they buy what the technology creates for them. Happiness. Joy. Pleasure. Solution to a problem. Make it easy. This kind if stuff.

Then there is the potential investor. What will it take to convince her to part with some of her money and help you launch your idea? If you fall into the above traps, your audience with her will likely be short and unrewarding.

Cheers,
Roy
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December 29, 2011

The Herd’s Brain Has 5 Parts

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Are You Flawed?
3 Colossal Time Wasters
7 Things Putterers Do to be Great Leaders

Five things The Herd believes in and does that you need to avoid if you want to be Unique, Distinctive and Remarkable in today’s fast paced competitive world.

1. Copy. The Herd is into Benchmarking. Trying to match Best of Breed. You can’t BE DiFFERENT if you fit in. You must stand-out.

2. Feature Creep. The Herd adds product features, believing this will give them an advantage. Doubt it. Easy to copy and not sustainable.

3. Price. The Herd specializes in discount promotions. Advertising low prices. Price is the LAST place you want to go and compete. Expect margins to BE squeezed and customers to go elsewhere when your prices are no longer the lowest. A “race-to-the-bottom” strategy is doomed.

4. Mass Advertising. The Herd believes that if you push your message out to millions of people you will capture buyers. Whereas this approach will definitely result in sales, it won’t create a loyal stable of advocates for you and what you stand for. Want to earn loyalty? Focus on long term relationship-building. One-on-one conversations. Engage. Target your communication and make it personal. Listen. Don’t flog.

5. Products. The Herd pushes products and services. They see themselves in the supply game. They have something they think is good for you and they flog it. They stress features and a narrow set of benefits. Product-centric marketing is pass?. Its myopic. Get into the VALUE CREATION mode if you want to leave your customers breathless. Think about their wants and desires and create a Package of VALUE to satisfy them. Treat them holistically. Look for opportunities to make their lives easier. Happier. More enjoyable.

Use the Herd to plot your journey to BE DiFFERENT. Understand how they think. Make Stand-Out choices.

Cheers,
Roy

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December 15, 2011

Business Sales: 4 Clues to Intimacy

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If I’m Cross, Everyone’s Cross
180 Degree Thinking
3 Steps to BE EaSY
You know that building deep trusted relationships with your business clients is critical to the long term success of your organization and you, personally. You have been working hard on it every day. It’s been a top priority.

The question is “How do you know if you are making any progress?”
Here are 4 clues to tell you:

1. You are always invited to your customers’s strategic planning meetings. They value your opinions. They know that you know their business. They trust your intentions. They honor your strategic skills and experience.
They view you as a friendly “Expert from afar”. You are a valuable member of their direction-setting team.

2. You have an “office” on their premises. A physical presence among them.They want you accessible. Close at hand. To bounce ideas off. Test some ideas. The ultimate expression of Trust and Value is real estate owned by the customer; given to you.

3. Your customer NEVER goes to an RFP. Why bother? They have so much trust and faith in you that going out to get others to submit a bid on what they want is seen as a waste of time. When your customer needs something, you are already on it. There is no need to involve other “suppliers”. You take action. You deal with it seamlessly.

4. Language. You are NEVER referred to as a salesperson from Acme (or whatever). Your currency in their organization places you among their Leadership Team. Labels are meaningless. You are their trusted colleague. Their partner. Their friend.

So, how did you do? Out of the 4 Clues, how many apply to you? 4/4 suggests you are in Sales Nirvana. 1/4 says you have some work to do.

The important thing is knowing where you are so you can take action to move on from there.

Cheers,
Roy

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December 12, 2011

If I’m Cross, Everyone’s Cross

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180 Degree Thinking
Slim Down Your Middle
3 Steps to BE EaSY
A happy, friendly and engaging restaurant server in Paris in my experience is a fairly rare occurrence. I’m not saying that great service CAN’T be found here, but I will say that service here has fallen short of my expectations more often than they have been met.

In a recent trip there, however, I discovered a GEM who was DiFFERENT from the Restaurant Serving Herd.

His name is Sam. He is a Parisian. He works in Le Coliseum restaurant on Rue Tripoli, across from Le Louvre.

In a rain downpour my wife and I dashed into Le Coliseum to first, escape the rain and second, to have a light lunch. Sam was unique. I watched him dashing about his tables engaging in warm conversation with all of his customers. He had an amazing energy level and was extremely outgoing and delighted in having fun with his local and out-of-town patrons.

One woman who wasn’t even dining there, but was walking by looking for the subway station, asked Sam for directions. Without missing a beat He quipped “Follow me.” and, with serving tray over his head to protect
himself from the rain, he led her out of the restaurant around the corner to where she had to go. Stunning Care for her needs. Not even a customer!

Finally I had to ask him the question that was on my mind: “Why are you so happy?” His answer was brilliant in it’s honesty, vision and simplicity: “If I’m cross, everyone’s cross.”

He recognized that HIS attitude had an amazing influence on the feelings and attitudes of his customers, and that if he were in a bad mood then everyone would be as well. His disposition made being in Le Coliseum an absolute delight.

His “up” attitude made the torrential downpour we were experiencing a veritable sunny one. What a great lesson for all businesses trying to deliver superlative service.

Recruit Sam. Lots of them. Look for smiles. Look for humor. Look for energy.

Cheers,
Roy

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