Everything You Create Is A Marketing Piece

“We don’t have to worry about the language in this,” the client opined. “It’s a proposal, not a marketing piece.” That’s a deadly comment I’ve heard far too many times.

There’s a common misconception among business owners and managers that only certain things fall under the marketing umbrella. This proposal was a great example. “We don’t need to waste our time making the language flowery or sales-y,” she added. “This is just so we can get all the details together so they can be reviewed. We’ll have other materials where we can do the marketing stuff.”

The simple fact is that anything that represents you before a prospect or customer is a marketing piece. You may not intend for it to serve that purpose, and you may not expect that someone who sees it will react to it as though it’s an attempt to market your business, but in reality, that’s exactly what happens.

Once something leaves your hands, you lose control of where it goes. You have no idea of who in your prospect’s organization may actually review it. Yes, you may have developed your proposal for the buyer or specifying engineer with whom you’ve been working, but he may have passed it along to his boss. And she may have given it to her boss, or another department head. Do all of those people already know you or your company? If not, that proposal will create the all-important first impression.

So if it’s a poorly organized, poorly written document, your company is going to appear to be disorganized and ignorant. If the language is highly technical, the impression will be that you’re unable to communicate with mere mortals. And if it’s nothing more than a dry recitation of the facts, your dynamic organization will be seen as dull and uninspired.

“It wasn’t meant for people who were expecting to see something else!” you protest. “It was for their engineering team!” Or their accounting staff. Or a medical practitioner. Someone who speaks your language and sees the world the way you do. But that doesn’t matter, because it was also seen by someone else who is going to weigh in on the decision.

Besides, it’s a myth that engineers will react only to copy filled with complexities, or that accountants find the Internal Revenue Code entertaining and light reading, or that doctors want everything presented to them using as many syllables as possible. No matter what any of them do during the workday, they’re people. And they react to things just like you and I do. They’re motivated by many of the same emotions and fears, even if they have larger vocabularies or actually grasped whatever it was that Analytic Geometry teacher was talking about.

Companies don’t buy from companies. People at those companies buy from people at other companies. And if you want people to have confidence in your company, you need to connect with them at a human level.

That’s where the kind of language that some people deride as “marketingese” or “flowery” or “hype” can help you. Well-crafted documents and copy are designed to communicate at a one-to-one level. They’re written to draw readers — all readers — in and guide them to the information they need. They contain all the facts and details, but they present them in a conversational, understandable manner.

Just as important, they’re created to mirror the public image your company has worked so hard to earn in our noisy, highly competitive marketplace. Every contact a customer or prospect has with your organization — whether it’s looking at an ad, reviewing your proposal, or reading the instructions for your product — should carry the same voice and attitude.

Great companies achieve that consistency. Next time you visit Starbucks for your double skinny soy mocha latte, pay close attention to all the written material around you, from posters to packaging. The voice and the vibe are the same, and they scream Starbucks. Next time you fly Southwest, pay attention to how everything from the in-flight magazine to the posters in the jetway to the flight attendants’ announcements reminds you which airline is taking you to your destination. You’ll know for certain that you’re not on Delta or American.

Those companies recognize that every contact is really a chance to strengthen their brands, so they take full advantage of every marketing opportunity. Doing the same may not make your company a household name, but it can help you grow your business more effectively.

5 Ways to Recharge and Renew

I’m so tired. I can’t possibly take a break. I am hearing this all over the place these days. These are comments from entrepreneurs who are looking up and looking around feeling as though they are unable to take a break in the summer.

I hear the words and know that this is a mindset issue. I also know and recognize this to be part of the comparison game – a game played by many entrepreneurs on a regular basis. “I’m not as rich as… ” “I’m not as successful as… ” “There’s just no time to get away… ” These statements are a true reflection of your belief system about what is possible for your business.

When I relocated a few years ago and re-launched my business, there was NO way I was taking a ‘real vacation’. One thing I did know for sure is that I needed a break – any kind of a break – so that I could renew and recharge my batteries. In the words of the famous Stephen Covey, ‘you’ve got to sharpen your axe’.

So I got creative. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to get creative and innovative to succeed.

There are plenty of ways to get a break without spending a lot of money – here are just a few recommendations from my first (poor) year:

#1 – TAKE MINI-DAY TRIPS IN YOUR AREA.

In my geographical location, there is a paper called ‘Day Trippin’ – it became my summer bible. I read through that paper and learned a lot about activities in and around the area – all within a few hours’ drive. These events did not cost a lot of money – they got me out of the office and out of the house – and into a new, fun environment for a day. It was great. I did feel rejuvenated!

#2 -SCHEDULE THE TIME OFF.

I made a commitment to myself, in the beginning, to take each Friday afternoon off in the summer months of June, July and August. That gave me a long weekend – and it felt like a real break. I marked that time off in my calendar and I honored my word. That was critically important.

#3 -KEEP IT SIMPLE.

I mapped out my activities for the whole of the summer – one Friday afternoon involved a walk on the beach; another Friday was booked off for a long bike ride in a neighboring city; another Friday afternoon involved a trip to the market in another community. None of these ‘trips’ involved a lot of money – but they sure brought a lot of joy.

#4 -KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL.

This might seem weird or out of place when you consider things to do to renew and recharge – but it’s vitally important to document what you are doing. As the days and weeks go by, you will forget the joy that these simple, inexpensive activities brought you. I know you will. We get busy. Make a commitment to keep a gratitude journal and document these experiences – every time you read it, you will re-visit the experience. That alone will bring you additional joy.

#5 -INVITE A FRIEND.

So often, throughout the year, we have great intentions of connecting with our friends – and then time passes by. On your calendar, mark down the activity you want to experience, the place you want to visit – and then the name of a friend you would like to have join you. This is such a great time to get together and get out and play. Take pictures – and then send a card, a few months later, to say thank you along with an invitation to get together again on a specific date. Live your life intentionally – and keep your friends close!

So what does any of this have to do with running a business? Listen – a happy, healthy entrepreneur runs a happy, healthy business! If not now (this summer), then when?

WHAT WILL YOU DO TO TAKE CARE OF YOU?

W.I.T. – Whatever It Takes Marketing Strategy

On a cool, crisp evening in mid-December, the front door swung opened and the answer machine light was flashing. “Who could it be?” “Kathy”, the alto voice said loudly. “I have a position for you if you are interested”, but I would like for you to know, it involves taking a young lady to the restroom”. “Since I’m calling quite late Kathy”, leave a message, if you are available to interview at 10:00 a.m.

The next morning, the interview begins, and the first question came instantly,” Do you mine taking the young lady to the restroom”, said the interviewer.

“Not at all, it’s important to do for others, the same way, we do for our own children”, Kathy replied.

The rest is history.

Regardless of the outcome, the ultimate goal is to implement the W.I.T. (Whatever it Takes) Marketing Strategy. This strategy allows flexibility to do whatever it takes to create a marketing plan that works for you. It is not a one-size-fits-all. This strategy consists of three fundamentals:

1. Staying Ready: Some may refer to this strategy as preparation, which is fine. The key element is to create your own definition of staying ready. It must be explicit in nature. (i.e. quality wardrobe, keeping an open mind, whatever it takes), For instance, Kathy’s interviewer did not reveal there was another opportunity available. Yet, in still, Kathy clearly understood the importance of dressing for success, speaking from the heart, which resulted in Kathy receiving a higher position than expected. The master teacher reminds us, Matthew 25:13, Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

2. Upgrading Your Associations: This strategy is non-negotiable. For example, it may require joining an association, which supports your niche. On the other hand, it can be rewarding to seek out individuals in your workplace, who may introduce you to others. (i.e. six degrees of separation, meetup groups, spiritual venues)

3. Research: The internet is one the best ways to find information pertaining to marketing, and it allows the ability to analyze the competition. (i.e. target audience, supply and demand, preview your competitors, branding ideas) Most importantly, it provides flexibility on how to channel your resources.

Ultimately, all three strategies can work when applied. It does not require any prerequisites, yet in still, one must do whatever it takes to ensure optimal results. Neil Armstrong’s quote reminds us, ‘Research is creating new knowledge”.

Appreciating The Importance Of the Marketing Process in the Growth Of a Business

Understanding the essential and key steps of the marketing process is vital for anyone trying to develop, manage, or strengthen a successful brand or advertising campaign. The marketing process can therefore be defined as the process in which an organization attempts to create and develop a relatively profitable relationship with their consumers whilst ensuring that their goods or services are also sold at a profit. It therefore makes a lot of sense for businesses to strive to automate or use technology in their marketing process. It is also worth noting that apart from generating new clients, the marketing process must also focus greatly on retaining clients.

The very first step of the marketing process is to analyze and fully understand the current market space. Using technology to help the marketing team to understand what clients need and want is critical, the team must then move ahead to conduct credible and thorough market research about similar products and competitor activity. Once this has been done, the marketing team must then develop an overall plan which is then used to launch the service or product; taking into consideration the franchising, sales methods and partnerships which can be utilized or forged during the product launch.

After identifying a niche that is profitable, a unique strategy must then be developed to market the product to the intended market segment. A well structured market segment analysis must be undertaken so as to break down the population into smaller groups where the target market is located; the main aim of the strategy is normally to find a way of satisfying a customer need in a manner that’s profitable and beneficial for both the company and the client. There are several automated business tools which can be used in this process.

Getting a way to create or develop a product or service that creates consumer value is the next step in the marketing process. A happy consumer is one who feels or knows that he or she is getting value for his money. This usually involves the 4 Ps, the Product must be filling a void and so should be a product that people want, the Price must be right and consumers must be willing or ready to pay that stated price, this usually calls for some serious market surveys, the Place is the next P’ and basically means availing the product where customers are promptly and affordably, the Promotion methods adopted must also truly reflect or represent that particular service or item.

Another key step in the marketing process involves coming up with ways and means of maintaining and improving the levels of customer satisfaction. It is important for the marketing team to be constantly on the lookout so as find, acquire and convince clients to make a purchase. It is also important for to ensure that the reputation of the company is properly maintained.

Finally, the main reason why a good marketing process is key is essential for your business growth is because the bottom line of the entire process should be an increase in profitability of the company either through enhancing market share by introducing new products and services or by expanding the already existing market. If the product or service is well marketed, sold profitably and high client retention rate is maintained the company is bound to grow in leaps and bounds.

Trust, Team and Time

“There’s no way I can take time away from my business!” I have been getting notes and messages from entrepreneurs commenting on my recent 2-week vacation and asking how in the world I could make this happen.

I am going to keep this really simple for you. As I was on the airplane, returning home, I was able to sum it all up in 3 simple points and that’s what I want to share with you today.

#1 – SCHEDULE THE TIME

My 2-week vacation didn’t ‘just happen’. Last October, when I bought my annual wall calendar for my office, I started off by scheduling my vacations for 2015. I knew back then that I would be going away for 2 weeks in July and marked it (in ink!) on the calendar right then and there.

That’s when the planning and preparation began. I knew that some client group monthly calls would need to be rescheduled. I knew that I would need a certain amount of money for the trip. I knew that I wanted to generate a certain amount of revenue leading up to that time. I knew that I needed to communicate this plan to my team – because they like to take summer vacation too and it’s important to coordinate this kind of absence so the wheels stay on the bus while I am away.

So be sure to plan your time off – and do that well ahead of time. Map out your vacations for the whole year – mini vacations, long vacations, a day off here and there just for you. And stay committed to it!

#2 – TEAM.

I have a fantastic team – and what I mean by that is we communicate regularly, openly and honestly. They know the plan for my business for the year, they know my plans for time off, they have a pretty good idea on the revenue goals that are set for certain major events, etc. etc. etc. They are a key component in the success of my business. We discuss what needs to happen while I am away, who will handle what, how emergencies (if any… and which is rare) will be handled, who will be the main point of contact, and so much more. My manager, Denise, knows exactly how to contact me if/when she needs to. Otherwise, my team is very respectful of the time I need away from the business and pretty much run the show without me. And that leads to my last point.

#3 – TRUST.

I know, for a fact, that many entrepreneurs will not take time off because they don’t trust their team to handle things. One of the reasons for this is that communication has been very poor, if it exists at all. So there’s no way the team can step up to the plate and run the show. Lack of planning and communication puts everyone in a very precarious situation.

Trust is built over time. Team members are human – and so are you. Will there be mistakes while you are gone. Of course there will. Is my work of a ‘life or death’ nature? Absolutely NOT. Can some things wait if any team member is uncertain? For sure. But I trust my team – each and every one of them – to know and do what is right for the business, for the client and for me in my absence.

You’ve got to put your trust in your people. If this doesn’t exist, it should start now. It’s part of my secret sauce!

One of the other reasons I find all of this so vitally important is that, as a business coach, I want to model success strategies to my clients! Don’t you?

Pat Mussieux is an author, television personality, internationally acclaimed speaker and business coach.

Her newest book, Stop Compromising and Make All the Money You Want (A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Starting Up and Starting Over) is ideal for audience members at Be the Change! She has also co-written ‘Leadership Gurus Speak Out!” contributing her wisdom and expertise in the fields of Human Resources, Sales, Marketing and Training.

Claim Your Message – 5 Exercises to Create Your Compelling, Powerful Message

Your message – your brand, if you will – is crucial to your business. This message encapsulates who you are, what you do, and who you do it for… along with housing your uniqueness. Everything follows from that core statement. This message is woven through your elevator speech, your website copy, the topics you speak on, your social media updates.

Here’s the thing: if you can’t speak concisely, powerfully, and clearly about who you are and what you do, people won’t know what you do!

Case in point: as I’ve been talking to more and more people about my evolving direction as a business coach and strategist, people who have known me for years go, “Oh, really? I thought you helped people write fiction books.” OR “Don’t you teach grammar and writing?”

Well, not really. (I did teach writing classes, but that was years ago. And I did have one coaching client whom I helped write her fantasy novel, but that was just one.)

I realized that people didn’t have a clear idea of what I do – because my message and brand weren’t clear.

We’re all evolving and growing all the time, and entrepreneurs especially seem to reinvent themselves or go in a slightly different direction frequently. They go through transitions, but they don’t update their message. And so other people have a stale image of what they do.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years, take yourself through this process and see if your message and brand need a little freshening up.

One warning before you get started: claim your uniqueness, your quirkiness, the particular way YOU do things… CLAIM it. FEEL it. KNOW it’s powerful. Now you can go off and do the exercises!

Exercise 1: Ask yourself, “What do you want to be known for?” Keep going deeper and find the soulful core of what you really want to be known for. Keep asking yourself, “Why is that important?”

Exercise 2: Describe what you do… what you REALLY do. What are the benefits that people get from working with you? What are your natural talents and gifts? (These are the things that seem to be easy and natural to you… but if you pay attention, you’ll hear statements like, “I have no idea how you can do that! I could never do that!”) What is the experience people get from working with you?

Exercise 3: What successes have you had over the past twelve months? Write down as many things in the past year you’re proud of… these could be business related or life related. This is about you and you show up with your amazingness in business and in life, so it’s all important.

Exercise 4: Fill out your areas of expertise. Now that you’ve had some time to reflect upon your successes, see if you can categorize those successes into 3-5 areas of expertise. For example, high level of organization, leadership, ability to intuitively convey an idea into words, etc.

Exercise 5: Put it all together into your Purposeful Work Statement:

I _________________________________ (solve, do, manage, handle, create, etc.)

for ____________________________________________ (who you do it for)

so that they ______________________________________ (what they will be able to do as a result of working with you)

Bonus Success Strategy Tip: Now, talk to people (meaning in person or on the phone, NOT email) and try out your new Purposeful Work Statement (this is your message in elevator speech form). How does it land? Does it resonate? Do people get excited when they hear about what you do? Keep tweaking until you get enthusiastic responses like, “Oh, I need you!” or “I have clients who could use you!”

Claim your message. Put into a concise, powerful form, and get it out there!