Renee Prejean-Motanky

Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

The ROI of Social Media

In Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, Social Media, The Internet, Tips You Can Use on July 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

ROI

 

The most-asked questions  are “Where’s the ROI in social media marketing?” and “How much should I be spending on social media marketing?”  My answer is always, remove the term social media from those questions and ask them again:  “Where’s the ROI in marketing?” and “How much should I be spending on marketing?”

Social media isn’t a tool box of silver bullets given to us by aliens.  It’s simply a new set of technologies and concepts that we need to add and integrate into our existing marketing strategy.

And, there is always an ROI to marketing.

Getting The Most Out of LinkedIn

In Business Strategies, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on May 11, 2011 at 8:26 am
Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

 I’ve heard a bezillion questions about LinkedIn, the most common of which is….”I signed up on LinkedIn, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. Does it really have value?”

Think of it this way:  

  • Linked In has more than 20 million users with an average age of 41-years old and an average income of $110,000.00.  
  • Every Fortune 500 company is represented on Linked In.
  • 500,000 small and mid-sized businesses use Linked In.
  • More than 150 industries are represented.

So the answer to “does it have value” is a resounding, YES!  But it requires more than just “signing up” to have value.

You have to put the effort in up front when you set up your page  and then you have to remain active in a strategic way (that you’ve, of course, given some thought to on the front end.)  Once you’re comfortably established there are many valuable ways to use linked:

  • Prospecting. You can locate and introduce yourself to contacts in the accounts you are targeting. Communicating through Linked In significantly increases the liklihood to get a response over a direct email or phone call. You can learn a lot about your prospect by reading their profile (what they’re currently working on, their employment history, who they recommend and who recommends them, where they went to school, their personal interests, etc.)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having a COMPLETE profile on Linked In will drastically improve your SEO results. You can include up to three URLs in your profile that are indexed by Google and other search engines, as well as create your own Linked In URL that is searchable. 
  •  Job Search/Recruiting and Reference Checks. If you are searching for a job or looking to hire someone, Linked In can help. Not only can you search for positions and candidates on Linked In, if you’re a recruiter you can verify job experience and contact other contacts within Linked In who were at a company during the same time for references. Or, as the job seeker, you can  pre-screen prospective bosses and co-workers.
  • Thought Leadership. LinkedIn has a Q&A section where members can ask and answer questions about pertinent topics. This is a great place to get some of your most pressing questions answered. OR, if you are trying to establish yourself or your company as a thought leader in a given field, this is the place for you to post brilliant answers to those who’ve posted questions. When doing so, you can include URLs and links to support your answer, or to drive traffic to your Website which will improve its SEO.

Linked In is a powerful business networking tool–one that no sales or marketing person should be without.

The site offers several membership levels, ranging from FREE  to $500 per/year.  It’s best to evaluate what makes the most sense for you and then Just Do It!

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Writing is a Critical Marketing Skill

In Business Development, Integrated Marketing Strategy, Social Media, The Internet on April 29, 2011 at 1:01 am

Denny Hatch (an expert copywriter) wrote an article discussing why professional copywriting is critical for marketing. He shared a story in that article that has remained with me:

“What do you do?” a guy at a cocktail party was asked. “I’m a brain surgeon,” was the reply. “What do you do?” “I’m a write,” the guy replied. “Ah,” said the brain surgeon. “I’ve often thought that when I retire I’d like to try some writing.” “And when I retire,” said the writer, “I plan try a little brain surgery.”

I loved that story! It resonated with me for several reasons, but most markedly because I have continually run into businessmen and other individuals who believe that writing only requires stringing words together on paper. Good writing requires both talent and skill. And if your goal is to market a product, idea or service, create content that interests someone other than yourself or simply to share information with others, developing the skill and having a strategy for your content is essential.

Over recent years marketing strategy has changed in one very important way. To be successful, it’s necessary to become an active participant. Instead of coordinating external sources for short-term campaign execution such as in advertising, marketers need to take real-time action That means writing of all kinds…which can mean creating a Blog and making regular posts, contributing relevant comments to discussions taking place on the Web, adding value by sharing tools and ideas on various social media, writing articles for e-zines and even the simple act of communicating directly with customers and prospects via e-mail.

While it’s still preferable to hire professionals for major writing projects, some types of writing require an authenticity that can only come from “the horse’s mouth.” The purpose of content development is not to spout the virtues of your own products or services, but to inform target customers and prospects about key industry issues, sometimes involving your products.

Let’s say, for example, that you have a client or prospect that you’ve been communicating with online and they have a need for immediate information. They request it from you –> If your response is; “Sure, I can have that for you in a couple of days,” you’ve just missed an opportunity or possibly lost a client!

The motivation behind content marketing is the belief that educating the customer results in the brand’s recognition as a thought leader and industry expert.

If you can’t step up to the plate and write engaging content that can be published now you’re not likely to survive in today’s highly competitive business environment. This is ever-so-clearly illustrated in David Meerman Scott’s book, Real-Time Marketing. Content Rules by Handley and Chapman also convincingly make the case for content marketing.

There are certain networks that require direct participation (without the help of a professional writer.) Linked In offers an example. Although it isn’t a formal network, the way you write is an important reflection on you and your business.

Remember:

• Everything you write doesn’t have to be a masterpiece of formatting and graphic design.
• Short article formats work well if the content provides meaty, useful insights. An 800 word, tightly-focused article is more than ample for engagement and asks for less time than a bigger piece.
• Know your customers/clients well enough to write for them — being unsure how to flip focus from your company and products/services to address their needs is a huge obstacle.
• If you aren’t sure where to start, it’s the direct result of a lack of content strategy.
• Being crazy-busy is not an excuse to avoid developing content.

Writing is no longer optional. Marketing today is driven by content. Tools like the social media and other Internet publishing technology only demand more fuel (content) to feed the beast!

So, tune up your keyboard and allow the writer in you to escape!

Once Again, Seth Godin Says It Perfectly!

In Communications, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on December 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm

THE INEVITABLE DECLINE DUE TO CLUTTER

by: Seth Godin

Digital media expands. It’s not like paper, it can get bigger.

As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it’s free.

One more link, one more banner, one more side deal on the Groupon page.

Economics tells us that the right thing to do is run the factory until the last item produced is being sold at marginal cost. In other words, keep adding until it doesn’t work any more.

In fact, human behavior tells us that this is a more permanent effect than we realize. Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

And it’s hard to go backward.

More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.

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How to Get Others to Market For You

In Business Development, Business Strategies, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on August 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm

It’s a well-known fact that word-of-mouth referrals are a powerful form of marketing. When people speak positively about your products and services, they often influence others to work with you.These days, with so many people communicating via social media networks, there are many more communications channels open to entrepreneurs…many ways to help build new relationships.

Word Gets Around

Here are some suggestions for getting others to spread the word about your business:

1.      Twitter.  Twitter is a world filled with sound bites.  It’s a great way to create a following, direct Web traffic, build brand recognition, and get feedback from all over the place. Not only can you, your employees and customers Tweet about your business, so can other businesses.  It’s important to remember that the conversations must be authentic or Twitterers will know.  It’s also important that you or someone in your company monitors what’s being said in order to respond or jump into the conversation when necessary.  Just as positive messages can be Tweeted, so can negative.  The ability for an idea or thought or message to generate a huge following is fascinating on Twitter. Since the emphasis on Twitter is brevity (A post can’t be longer than 140 characters) it’s important to learn the lingo—lots of abbreviations to become familiar with.

2.      LinkedIn.   LinkedIn is a great place to go to network for business. It’s also a great way to see who knows who within a business network so that you can leverage existing business relationships. A couple of good ways to use LinkedIn as a tool are:
                   1.   Answer Questions. The more substantive your answer is the more likely folks will want to connect with  you, refer you and/or work with you.
                  2.   Ask Questions.  By asking questions that generate a lot of responses, you can identify “qualified  prospects” in many arenas.  It takes thought and creativity on the part of the asker.

3.      Offer customer incentives. Some of the most valuable references can come from current customers since they are speaking from experience and their words will be more readily accepted than the words in an advertisement or marketing pitch. You might even share the wealth you receive as a result of customer referrals by offering discounts on future purchases or by offering cash back if a customer referral leads to a piece of new business for you. Not can this encourage customers to be vocal about your products and services but, by giving back, you’ll be strengthening your relationship with them.

4.      Pay for links. Your business’ website is only a click away on the Internet. Take advantage of that by offering incentives to other website owners who refer business by linking to your site. You should, of course, reciprocate and always say thank you.  You can also offer a percentage — such as 5 percent — to the site for any referral that results in new business for your company. There are companies that will automate much of the process for you and act as an intermediary between your company and those with websites who are interested in doing this type of promotion.

5.      Make cross promotion work.  Every business need to do some kind of marketing. Look for other businesses whose products and/or services complement yours and strike up a strategic alliance where you’ll market for each other. You can promote each others’ businesses with your respective clients. The agreement can be as simple as linking to each other’s Web sites, or you can each share the other’s collateral materials with customers.

6.      Facebook.  Facebook is an extremely useful to keep in touch with and reconnect with people. Creating an online profile to inform your personal network of what it is that you’re doing and/or creating “Groups” that you solicit your network to participate in can be a useful means of driving traffic and it can be a great publicity tool. Facebook traffic has been increasing steadily, currently taking the position as the ninth most popular domain in the U.S., accounting for 1% of all Internet visits

Executing plans like these can be a highly effective way of building brand awareness which, in turn, motivates new people to try your products or services when they are in need of them.

If you want to utilize social media successfully as a marketing tool to grow your business, remember that you have to use social media sites and tools in the same ways that your customers do, and for the same reasons. You also have to accept each community’s rules, you can’t make your own. Social media isn’t a one-way promotional channel; it’s a many-way interaction/communication channel. The key is Audience. You’ve got to know who you’re talking to.

Anyone else have any tried and true methods to share?

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WHAT A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN CAN TEACH US ABOUT MARKETING

In Business Strategies, marketing, marketing campaign, Marketing Plan, political campaign on July 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

First it’s important to understand that a political campaign is a marketing campaign.

A campaign is defined and remembered by its message. How that message is crafted and delivered — is called positioning. Positioning is, perhaps, the most important element of a campaign.  While all of the components of any marketing campaign contribute to a success or failure, it is the message that differentiates and it is how it is determined, how it is shaped, how it is used and conveyed in a political campaign that we, as marketers, can best learn from.  

Positioning is a process that begins with understanding and defining consumer expectations (best determined by research) if it is to be effective. 

And while it’s true that in an election campaign the winner is usually the candidate with the best organization to raise funds, rally voters, and get them to the polls, it is the message that generates the excitement and trust that ultimately wins the campaign. It is the message that builds trust, and builds the foundation for a working relationship.

The first Clinton for President Campaign, with James Carville’s core message of; “It’s the economy, stupid,” makes the point very clearly that campaigning is marketing. It was a classic case of positioning. It was only a prelude to the campaign that elected Barack Obama which was brilliantly positioned. The campaign’s message; “Yes we can!” based on a carefully devised position, was supported by a number of highly focused voter concerns.

While there are obvious differences between a presidential election and a campaign to sell a product or service, there are sufficient parallels between the two to allow for a profitable comparison. At the same time, the success of both the political and marketing campaign relies not merely on the mechanics of marketing, but on the strategy.

No campaign is successful if its mechanics aren’t deployed strategically.

There are seven key components in successful political and marketing campaigns:  

            Political Campaign

  1. The candidate, who has qualifications and some appeal that warrants the candidacy, demands trust in many more areas than a business does. The political candidate must persuade a constituency of a great many capabilities and characteristics.
  2. The electorate, which, while generally diverse, has some reason for considering one candidate over another based on issues and concerns as well as the perception that one candidate, is better able to address those issues and concerns.
  3. The message, which addresses the candidate’s solution to those concerns.
  4. The (political) organization, which disseminates the message, raises funds, and gets out the vote.
  5. The research, opinion polling, which helps determine the concerns of the electorate, and monitors the efficacy of the strategy throughout the campaign.
  6. 6.     The strategy, the structured plan to inform, persuade, and, generally speaking, get the candidate’s message out.
  7. The execution, carrying out of the plan from its beginning through the Election Day.

Markting Campaign

  1. The business (service or product) to be sold.  A business seeking to convert prospects must project understanding of their industry and business, and the particular nature of their needs as well as its ability to fulfill them. 
  2. The prospect, which, like the electorate, is faced with specific needs, desires, wishes, and opportunities.
  3. The message, which is the information about the firm and its services, specifically addresses the needs of the target audience, and should convince them that it can address these needs effectively and efficiently (at a competitive price.)
  4. The organization, which is the marketing structure that brings the message to the audience and executes the marketing plan.
  5. The research, which supplies the information needed to appropriately shape the selling message so that it speaks to the needs and wants of prospects.
  6. The strategy, which is the plan.  It defines the market, its needs, wants and strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, and determines the tools that best convey the ability to offer solutions to those needs.
  7. The execution, which is the carrying out of the structured plan. It brings together all of these elements to produce a client.

A political campaign is more complex in the design and execution of these factors because it has a broader target audience than a marketing campaign will have. A political campaign persuades people to vote for a candidate based on identification with his/her personality, credibility and charisma while a marketing campaign addresses solutions for the very specific needs of an individual or corporation. Most often the solution offered requires very specific expertise and credentials. That’s why positioning is key… it is what differentiates you from your competitors. 

Beware!  Positioning is, too often, misconstrued as a determination of how a business wants to be perceived.  But that isn’t positioning, it’s wishful thinking! 

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DEALING WITH CLIENTS WHO THINK THEY KNOW MARKETING BUT DON’T

In Business Strategies, Consulting, marketing, Random Thoughts on July 21, 2010 at 12:04 am

Here’s What They Should Know

The-5th-P-of-Marketing

 There’s a great cartoon where a guy in a business suit is looking over the shoulder of an artist at work. The artist is saying; “I used to dabble a bit in accounting, too.”

Then there’s the guy who said to me, “If you’re smart enough to be a lawyer, then you’re smart enough to do your own advertising.” To which I replied, “Yes that’s true. You may also be smart enough to be a scientist, but it doesn’t make you one.”

Then there’s the guy who read a book about sky diving. He knew everything about sky diving — except how to do it.

My point is that while marketing may not be rocket science, it does have its craft, its artistry, its techniques, its experiences, and its history. And if you’re not experienced within the realm of those things, you don’t know much about marketing. Having only read a book about something doesn’t make for expertise and falling prey to the belief, “I can do it because I, after all, have a graduate degree,” is egocentric nonsense.  Oddly enough, a lot of people in business seem to feel this way.

 Every marketing professional can tell you a story about a client or an employer who retained the marketer for his/her expertise, and then proceeded to drown them by micro-managing and second-guessing. A former employer of mine, an engineer, always started conversations we had with the words; “I started out as a marketing coordinator” (translation; “I know all about marketing…”)   He also fancied himself to be a good writer, but he wasn’t!  He wasn’t he worse writer I’ve ever run across, but he was far from good.  Needless to say, that relationship was doomed from the beginning. 

Beyond that, an even greater problem was not the presumption of knowledge where none really existed, it was in the drive to an expectation that skipped right over a pervasive mound of reality. I should have known better when he said to me, “We’ve been a small firm for seven years, and now it’s time for us to be a big firm…”  The salary offer and benefit package that followed, made it hard for me to say no even though I pride myself on being “wise.”

Too bad, because what happened was to be expected: not only acute second-guessing, but entrenched ideas steeped in marketing mythology. Take it from me; when the marketer in you says, from the depths of experience, “This is what we have to do,” to which the reply is, “But we’ve never done it that way. Let’s do it the way we always have.” Or they simply ignore your advice and do whatever they want to.  The tenure of the marketer in that situation is usually brief, at which point the client goes out to either find another marketer or appoint someone they already know, and the cycle is either repeated or the new person does whatever is asked with a big smile until they’ve acquired enough experience to move on to a greener pasture.

This type of client, if the truth be told, may think/say he or she wants to be big – but isn’t willing to go through the rigors of getting there.

What, then, should clients or employers know about what they don’t know – in order to really benefit from the knowledgeable, experienced, and thoughtful marketer? A lot, but let’s start with…

  • Marketing has specific skills that improve with experience. How to understand the client’s market. How to write a program that achieves a marketing objective. How to use the tools of marketing, and how to manage those tools.
  • Marketers understand what works and what doesn’t. Many years ago I developed an ad campaign for a client who had some ideas of his own that he wanted to try out. OK, I said, let’s run your ad, which seemed to be a good one, against my ad, which he didn’t like as much as his ad. My ad out-pulled his by 50%. Why? Because he didn’t understand the psychology of advertising, which is learned only after long experience.
  • There is no greater artistry in marketing than in direct mail. Knowing how to capture the reader in the first line of the letter. Knowing how to time a mailing. Knowing how to get the reader to think that the bright idea to buy was the reader’s, not the writer’s. And that’s just a sample of what the professional marketer knows. “Why are we paying this guy so much for direct mail?” an accounting firm partner once asked. “I’ve been writing letters all my life. I can do it.”
  • Marketers understand that trying to tell people how to think about the firm doesn’t work. That’s why you can’t say things like, “We put clients first,” or “We do high quality work.” It may be what you want the reader to think about you, but they’re not going to just because you ask them to. More brochures are expensive and useless garbage because they attempt to get readers to believe things that just aren’t credible by simply expounding them. Professional marketers know better.
  • Good marketers understand the difference between firm objectives and marketing objectives. They’re not the same, although you can’t have one without the other, as the song goes.
  • Ultimately, marketing is an art form that uses skills, techniques and experience to achieve its ends. As we’ve said, if you want a good marketing program, don’t hire a mechanic, hire an artist.

As a professional, you should have some inkling about how expensive it is to hire marketers whose work you don’t understand or appreciate, only to have a frustrating parting of the ways. It’s even worse when you have a strong feeling that marketing is something you have to do in this competitive environment, but aren’t quite sure about how to hire, much less understand and live with, that peculiar breed of professional services marketers.

And now a word to clients and partners who think they know marketing. Unless you’re that rare bird with some kind of inborn talent for marketing – and there are some of you like that – you don’t know beans.

You should know, first, that the mechanics of marketing – this includes media relations, writing, direct mail, sales and such – are not marketing. They are tools.  Marketing, in the final analysis, is an art form. The mechanics and tools are not the art. And, when you’re hiring a marketer, don’t look for a mechanic – look for an artist. The artist is the individual who’ll pull it all together for you in a way that makes you stand out from the rest.

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CREATING A MARKETING FUNNEL

In Business Development, Business Strategies, marketing on August 20, 2009 at 1:54 am
Giant Funnel Cap
Image by polandeze via Flickr

The funnel is a basic marketing concept that can have a huge impact on profitability and the success of your service business.

The theory behind the marketing funnel (sometimes referred to as a pipeline) is that you should offer something free or very cheap at the top of the funnel, then a mid-priced option and, finally, your highest priced services and products at the bottom of the funnel.

Many service professionals struggle with converting prospects into paying clients because we make the mistake of trying to sell expensive services without offering any lower priced options.  It’s important to provide an opportunity for prospects to experience your services and expertise at different price points.

Here are Three basic ideas for developing and implementing your funnel strategy:

First, draw a funnel shape on a sheet of paper — List the products and services that you currently offer.  If you see gaps in your offerings from free to high-priced, determine how to plug the holes by adding more product/service offerings and a range of pricing options.

Second, get lots of prospects into the funnel — Visualize the funnel with the large end at the top and the narrow end at the bottom.  You want lots of prospects at the top of the funnel.  Cast a wide net first by spreading your targeted message to as many folks in your audience as possible (this would include, prospects, current clients and former clients.)  The idea is to end up with your most ideal prospects at the top of the funnel.  A great way to do this is by offering something for free or at extremely low cost that will introduce you to them and demonstrate your expertise (an e-zine, special report, e-course, audio download, white paper, etc.) to entice them to allow you to add them to your database so that you can contact them again.

Third, guide them through the funnel —  Once prospects have experienced your expertise and get to know, like and trust you, they are more likely to spend more money on your services or products.  Each level of your funnel represents a step in the relationship-building process.  As you guide prospects through, increased familiarity represents the potential for increased profits.  You offer your higher-priced options only after they’ve experienced the lower priced ones.  As you provide several opportunities for prospects to sample your skills and knowledge at lower price points, the middle of your funnel starts to fill, enabling you to make money while earning the trust of clients and prospects as you give them the opportunity to try low to medium-priced options.

Make it easy for prospects to make the decision to buy from you.

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Marketing When the Economy Sucks

In Business Strategies, marketing on August 2, 2009 at 2:15 am
american_economy
Image by digital_monkeyvia Flickr

According to John A. Quelch and Katherine E. Jocz, no two recessions are exactly alike!  And for this reason, marketers find themsellves in poorly charted waters every time a recession rolls around.

Fear not!  They also say; “Guidance is available.”  The two have studied marketingsuccesses by Smucker, Proctor & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch… to name a few and they’ve studied failures throughout past recessions.  In fact, they’ve identified patterns in consumer and company behavior that strongly affect performance. 

Understanding consumers’ changing psychology and habits, they argue, will enable firms to hone their strategies so they can both survive the  downturn and prosper afterwards.

Consumers in a recession can be divided into four groups:

  1. The slam-on-the brakes segment, which feels the hardest hit, reduces all types of spending.
  2. Pained-but-patient consumers, who constitute the largest segment, also economize in every area, though less aggressively.
  3. Comfortablywell-off individuals consume at near pre-recession levels, but they become a little more selective and less conspicuous with their purchases.
  4. The final group, Live-for-today consumers, pretty much, carry on as usual, responding to the recession mainly by extending their timetables for making major purchases.

People may switch segments if their economic situations change for the worse.  All groups prioritize consumption by sorting products and services into the following categories:

  • Essentials (central to survival or well-being)
  • Treats (justifiable)
  • Postponables (can be put off)
  • Expendables (unnecessary or unjustifiable.)

As firms manage their marketing investments, they must simultaneously assess their brands’ opportunities, allocate resources for the long-term and balance their budgets.  Many make the mistake of cutting costs indiscriminately, which can jeopardize long-term performance.  Instead firms should streamline their production portfolios, improve the affordability of their offerings and bolster customer trust.

 

Source:  Harvard Business Review, April 1, 2009

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Twelve Things We Think We Know About Marketing…but don’t

In marketing, Public Relations on June 15, 2009 at 3:25 am
Ultimate Marketing System from Duct Tape Marketing
Image by ducttapemarketingvia Flickr

Marketing is one of those practices that looks easy from the outside… kind of like tightrope walking.   To anyone who hasn’t done it successfully, it is viewed through a lens of myths rather than by the reality.  And these are the myths that impede effective marketing.

1.  We know what business we’re in

Maybe in the past, but not today!  Today we’re in the marketing business (practicing whatever it is we do to for our customers.

2.  Marketing is Marketing.  What works for marketing products, works for marketing services.

Though there may be a hundred folks behind the manufacture of a widget, the only connection between that widget and the consumer is the widget.  If your product is a professional service then your connection to the consumer is the individual who provides the service.  There’s a big difference in marketing services and products.

3.  The marketing director can do it.

The marketing director, depending on his/her training, might be able to create a great marketing campaign for a product that could motivate people to try it, but consultants are never hired because of marketing programs.  The marketing director can lend support by doing the things that afford a professional the context and opportunity to sell a prospective client.

4.  Marketing is selling.

Too many make this mistake.  Marketing is the PROCESS  that utilizes a broad spectrum of tools to position, educate and sell a product or service to prospective customers.  Sales is the result of the marketing process.

5.  We need a brochure and a newsletter.

A brochure is good only if you don’t expect it to do your selling for you and only if it truly makes you stand out from all the others out there.  It’s a small (and can be very expensive) tool in a total marketing program.  The same is true for a newsletter–but add to that; you only need it if you have something valuable to say to its readers. 

6.  PR is free advertising

It is not! You do pay for advertising while you don’t pay for PR… but there is a difference between the two.  As an advertiser you can pretty much say what you want (as long as it’s the truth) and it’s possible to use”edgy”, eye-dazzlingly techniques to grab attention because you’re paying for the space, but PR must comply with numerous standards that you don’t get to determine because you’re not paying for it.  PR requires subtlety. It’s purpose is to educate your consumer.  Then someone else tells your story in their words! 

7.  Our budget for marketing should be a percentage of sales

That formula only works for products… for more reasons that I can list here.  It doesn’t work for professional servicesfor almost as many reasons.  But one important reason is that the nature of professional service firm marketing is such that return on investment occurs over a much longer time frame.  What does work is to budget by the project.

8.  Be nice to the media

You don’t have to be nice to anyone you feel is dishonest, has questionable integrity or ability.  Fortunately most media aren’t like that, but don’t be naive.  Understand that life and the press are not always fair!  So watch what you say and know that nothing is ever “off the record.”

9.  Quality is a good marketing tool

One of the key definitions of professionalism is quality performance and service.  Not to supply quality service is a tool for self destruction.  Quality is never a good marketing tool — you get no credit for it.  If you’re a professional, it should be a given.  Assume quality as a basic concept and it will pay off in client relationships and repeat business.

10.  Reputation sells

While a good reputation is a plus, no one buys a service or profession based on reputation alone.  Remember also that reputation is fragile… like a bicyle, as long as yo keep peddling it keeps moving, but the minute you stop… kablam!  Down you go.  You have to keep peddling.

11.  Image matters

Image may be the original marketing myth!  Only reality matters.  If you want to change the perception of your firm, change your firm — the perception will follow.

12.  Marketing is a science

While the rules of marketing are predicated on a large body of experience ( like science), that same experience tells us that marketing is ultmately an art form and that the rules can be thoughtfully broken.  Marketing is taking basic tools and techniques and exercising them artfully. 

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