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resolutions Archives - d.trio marketing group

2010 resolution follow-up #5 – What do customers think?

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What do your customers really think? If your company has changed in the last year (and most have), it’s a good time to look at your relationship with your customers. Learn what they really think about your company and the products and services that you offer.

Obviously what your clients think of your company is critical to your success. This isn’t a situation where what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But it’s tricky, because clients sometimes will not tell the whole truth – it’s hard to tell someone they work with every day that something is not working. And they are probably nice people who don’t want to hurt your feelings. In Minnesota, there’s a culture of being nice to a fault, where we might not be able to tell by talking to clients day to day that there’s something wrong.

But it’s our (the company, vendor, agency, consultant, internal vendor, etc.) responsibility to know what is going on. So ask. And, you might want to hire someone to help you get the full story. We did, and we learned a lot:

  • Customers know mostly just what you do for them day in and out
  • Although you may do a good job at one thing, they will not necessarily make the leap that you can do something related
  • Perceptions about what you do best may be different from customer to customer
  • History is history, what happens most recently is what people remember (what have you done for me lately?)

If you’re like us, we thought that as we changed our clients automatically understood the changes we had made (and benefit). Things move so fast that in a daily business that a “what’s new” discussion may not always happen.

So make a point of pulling your customers aside periodically and updating them on what you do. Pretend they only know about the services or products that they use or buy on a regular basis. Just because they are familiar, doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a well thought out recommendation or customized presentation. Especially if they have the opportunity to learn something in the process.

And connect with your customers in other ways – Facebook, Twitter, your Website – there are many ways to connect and find out what they want. The more you know, the more you can react to, fix and be proactive the next time.

We’d love to hear what your experience has been in getting feedback from your clients or customers here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio – tell us what you think.

2010 Resolution follow up #2 – Try something new

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Does your marketing plan looking like it did 2 years ago, or have you added some new strategies? Is the year 2010 the year you embrace change? There are so many exciting, new things happening with new media. If you don’t understand what is out there (and why), then first you need to educate yourself. Fortunately, there are many great sources of information available.

Blogs and white papers are full of information and instruction. Social media sites are a great way to keep in touch with friends, trends and attitudes – hear directly what people are saying, thinking and feeling. It takes some time, so set aside a half hour every day and soon you’ll be feeling more connected, engaged and gain an understanding of the what’s happening.

Get on Twitter and try following a few people.  You can start with me (I’ll follow you back): @megand3 and dtrio is @dtrio. This link also has a lot of good, topical information: http://twitter.com/mashable

This one has an ad agency bent but it offers a lot of links and ideas on new business generation: http://twitter.com/michaelgass

If you want to keep up with breaking news try: http://twitter.com/nytimes

Don’t throw out a medium or new idea because you think it doesn’t work for you or you personally don’t see the value. As they say, you are an “audience of one” and if you are not exactly like the consumer or business you are after then your personal beliefs are irrelevant. You can get in the way of your own great marketing opportunities.

As before, here are some Web site resources to help you: For new marketing media – http://www.marketingsherpa.com/ and for a mix of traditional and new media – http://www.the-dma.org/index.php

Try something new this week. We love this stuff so let us know what you’ve learned.  And join our Facebook page for more food for thought: http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

2010 Resolution follow up #1 – Stop Hiding

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You’re really going to have to make things happen for your company, and for job security this year. The depression may be over but the recession is slow to move. So things are not back to normal (whatever that is or will be) – it’s not as scary as it sounds, but you do have to act.

Visibility rocks
Have you made your marketing plan for 2010 yet? We’re more than a month in and your plans should be shaping up. I hope everyone has stopped hiding because that’s the first step. Don’t try to be invisible this year, plan to stand out.  And that means you will have to take some risks. Nothing’s accomplished – besides mediocrity – without taking risks. And, mediocrity does not sell products and/or serve your customers well. Plan to take smaller steps on a regular basis; it makes big challenges seem smaller.

So look at your company and see what differentiates it and start talking. Whether you choose new media (social media, blogging, email, etc.) or traditional media (TV, Radio, Direct Marketing, print, etc.) as your vehicle, you have to get out there and make some noise. If you haven’t changed your marketing creative in 2 years, it’s time to create a challenger. If you don’t have a budget, it’s time be an advocate for one.

Do you have a niche product or service? Those are perfect for the direct contact media such as email and direct marketing (not to mention social).

  • Build your opt-in email list on your Web site so you can communicate with people who are interested in your company.
  • Create a helpful white paper or
  • Develop offers for popular products and services to drive traffic to your Web site or store location.
  • Buy a specialty list and send some postcards or mini-catalogs out that showcase your unique products or services to people who are interested.

Here are some resources to help you: For new media – http://www.marketingsherpa.com/ and for a mix of old media and new – http://www.the-dma.org/index.php

2010 holds opportunities for all of us. We just have to go after them! And, please share with us what you’ve decided to do.

Top 10 Resolutions for 2010

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Have you made your resolutions for 2010 yet?

Maybe you’re not the type that makes resolutions, or maybe you’re afraid to do anything that looks like a plan coming out of a year where everything changed and plans were scrapped in the Q1, 2009. Whatever your feelings about the year behind and the one ahead, there are things you should do to market your business and move forward. Here is my top 10 list of things to do to move forward in 2010:

1. Stop hiding. I know it’s scary out there but trying to hide from a bad economy is like lopping off a limb in hopes of losing weight. It makes things worse. Every month you are not out there promoting your company is another month you fall into obscurity.

2. Avoid the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mindset. This new economy has changed everything. If you don’t change you will be left behind.

3. Try something new. A logical step after #2! Even if you don’t have much of a marketing budget, you need to do something. Start a blog, get out on social media, or create an email newsletter to engage your customers.

4. Give new marketing time to work. It’s important to have a plan going into any new process. This goes back to the best practices of direct marketing that apply to most marketing – set something up to succeed: develop, test, learn, change, and repeat.

5. Get out of the one or two marketing media rut: I read recently that the winners of The Effie Awards (http://www.effie.org/ideas_that_work) this year used an average of 7 media in their advertising and marketing mix. They all work together. Email, direct mail and advertising push out to drive business to Web sites, social media and mobile. And with the advent of QR barcodes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuVSpG-ZdkU) and other new developments the lines have blurred between old and new media – between print and electronic interaction.

6. Create continuity with your brand across media. If you are doing less marketing it is more important than ever to be an advocate for your company brand and make sure that everything you do is true to your brand look, tone and personality no matter what marketing or advertising media you choose.

7. Start fresh – update your brand. Does your logo look older or reflect a previous era? Or maybe you need to update your collateral with the new products or services you’re offering? Then it’s time for an update. If you’re rebranding, refreshing or refurbishing, just choose your palette carefully and don’t use the year’s trendiest color. There are a lot of great colors in the world, so please, please don’t choose turquoise as the agent of change in your logo this year. Not unless you want to hear (in a year or two) wow, that logo color is so 2010 (or 1990’s).

8. Conduct a customer survey. Sure, every company has weaknesses, so why not find out what they are so you can do something about it? Find out what your customers really think. Not just what you think (or worse, hope) they think.

9. Commit to being great in your job, continue to learn. Whether you are in a lower-level job or CEO, commit to being the best you can in your job. There is so much out there to learn and multiple media to incorporate into your marketing plan. Jim Collins, in his book “Good to Great” starts the book with one of the best lines I’ve heard: “Good is the enemy of great.” This is a year to learn, grow and take your marketing to the next level.

10. Go forth and make yourself proud. 2010 will be another year of change. Embrace it, get out of the “prevent defense” and go on the offensive. Learn, grow and kick some butt. You’ll look back and be glad you did, I just know it.