Your Customers Have It Their Way?

During the past several days I've shared a couple of stories on our daily business Woman Shoe Choice broadcast about how McDonald's is attempting to revive sagging sales by shortening their menu, offering customers the opportunity to "build their own burger" and looking at regional menu choices rather than duplicating the same menu nationally.  

And this:

Over the years it's never made sense to me that cable companies sell us 100, 200 or 300 channels when studies tell us that American's watch, at the maximum, 17 channels.  So, if we're only watching 17 channels why do we have to buy 250?  The cable companies are starting to "get it" too and we'll be seeing some experiment with ala cart service.  You only pay for what you want and watch.

These two stories are linked in the reality that consumers are no longer wanting to eat what business is feeding them.  Consumers want more and more choice and if they don't get it...they move on to the business or service that delivers.  If the shoe fits...

This reality is cutting across many verticals.  So, the question you need to answer is this, "What is it that my customers want vs. what I want them to want?"  If you know, great! If you don't know...you better find out...quickly.

Thanks for reading!

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and is the fuel for Insight on Businsss the News Hour heard Monday - Friday from 5PM to 6PM on 1350-KRNT with Podcasts here.

 


"Our bad!"

Recently I was at an annual meeting for a professional group and the CEO, during a Man Cut Expensesreview of the past year's efforts, said, "Several years ago we made the decision, in a cost cutting move, to reduce and finally eliminate our marketing budget. The result has been a loss of recognition among consumers. Our bad!"

I get it.  Times were tough.  The recession hit us all and often the first, but the wrong, budget item to cut was...marketing.

Had this group been our client we would have told them what we told our clients during this time, "Whatever you do, please, do not reduce the amount of  money you are spending on R&D or on marketing.  Why? Because you will, and I promise, you will grow business and steal market share from others."

And, I was right.  The clients who listened had eight to ten percent growth each of those rough three years.

For the companies who cut R&D and Marketing they now face an uphill battle.  Their budget does not reflect a line item for marketing and now, just to "catch up" they are going to have to spend...plenty.

Sometimes "stay the course" isn't in the best interest of business. But, history has shown us, time after time, that during rough economic times those companies that continue to be agressive in their marketing...grow and yes, steal market share.

Just a reminder....

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What's Your Value?

Not long ago I was visiting with another business owner and he asked me what Business Value"value" I brought to the business relationship.  It's a good question and something that goes beyond, "What is it that you do?"

Without a doubt the value we bring to business, any business, is the ability know what consumers want; often long before our clients.

How can that be?  It's our business to hyper-listen to consumers because those are the folks who are buying what our clients have to sell.  It doesn't mater if it is a product or a service.  What does matter is are you selling what the consumer wants?  Are you bringing true value to the consumer?

Even a commodity has value.  It might be price or delivery or something else...but there is value here.

However, if you are selling something really special are you taking that thing that is special to the consumer and explaining its...value?

Here's a test:  Did you know NAPA, you know the car repair centers, have a 24 month guarantee on the parts they install in your vehicle? Let's say you get your car fixed by a NAPA Center in Dubuque and you drive to Denver and the part fails. Did you know that NAPA will replace that part and even pick up the cost of labor?

I didn't. 

I see loads of TV ads...but can't remember this being mentioned.  Maybe I missed it...but that, my friends, is value.  But...how is it being explained?  I dunno.  You? 

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The "Book" and its "Cover"

He was a little stand-offish this guy in the dark suit with the bright red Dave Sanderson August 2014 tie and matching pocket square.

During a recent Midwest Speakers Bureau Showcase, something where professional speakers are given (in this case) twelve minutes to impact a room full of professional meeting planners...he didn't interact much with the other speakers in the room.

Dave Sanderson was getting ready to speak.  He was focused on his craft. He didn't want to be distracted. However, my first thought was that he, perhaps, thought better of himself than his fellow speakers  I was wrong.

Following his speech we sat down together and I opened up the conversation by saying, "Are those (shoes) Allen Edmonds?"  Dave looked at me smiled and said, "Yes, the best huh?"  We had a nice conversation about being well dressed, the value in buying high quality products and staying focused.

You know that old saying, "You can't judge a book by it's cover."? I truly enjoyed the time we spent together. I learned another lesson along with staying...focused.  Oh, his story?  Ever hear about "The Miracle on the Hudson"?  Dave was part of that adventure.  Go ahead...have a look.

(Photo Credit: Dave holding a photo of Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger holding the child Dave helped save - Diane Crone - West Des Moines. You can click to enlarge.)

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and host of the daily business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.


Old School?

It's 7AM on Sunday and I'm in the office writting "GREAT to Meet YOU!" Thank You Notesnotes to roughly one-hundred people I met last Friday during the 16th Annual Midwest Speakers Bureau Speakers Showcase and Iowa Meetings Expo.

Yep, I could have sent an email but that's not my brand besides, I'd rather not be deleted with a push of a button.

Sure, it's pretty old school but there is something about sitting down and writing words on a piece of paper that links us...better than LinkedIn:

  • Time - It's valuable and taking time to write to your customers/clients and new friends is an investment in branding;
  • Personal - Sure you can personalize your email but why not take the extra step and communicate something special;
  • Memorable - So few people write words on paper anymore that it's highly likely this "note" will at least get noticed and, perhaps, sit on a desk for a day or so.

Shameless self promotion?  No, taking the time to write also allows us a chance to reflect on exactly what we are doing...adding value to a brief meeting that, when action is taken, benefits the writer and the reader.

So, what do you think?

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and host of the daily business news broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour.


This is Killing New Business...Dead.

Honestly, I want to help so here is something that will help your business grow while improving your brand.  (And, it's free!) FREE (2)

You know that automated answering system you have on your telephone? The one that asks me to "Enter the extension of the person you are trying to reach" or "Using the key-pad, type in the first few letters of the first name of the person you are trying to reach".

You know...That System?

It's killing your brand and your business, especially new business.

What if I don't know who the sales manager or salesperson is? Or worse yet the first name is Cathy and not Kathy?  Your answer: "Oh, just punch zero!"

Really?

And then what?  Get a voice mail like, "You've reached our general voice mail system, please leave your message at the tone."

You care that much about business...new business...to direct me to your "General Voice Mail System"?  Nice touch.

Why is your time more important than the customer who has a question or wants to buy something?

Have a good answer?

I didn't think so. 

Two things:

  • Hire Your Brand Expert - Get a real person to answer the phones and direct traffic. Then train them in your brand effort. This is an investment in your brand and your business.
  • Your Voice Mail - Change it...daily. Let people KNOW that you actually check the voice mail and that if they leave you a message you'll call them back.

Two simple, free pieces of advice that will have a major impact on your brand and your business.  Hey, it's what we do.

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Michael Libbie is the principal of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications and the host of Insight on Business the News Hour.

 

 


We've Got Work To Do...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of addressing 40 leaders from the world of Woman work to do
tourism in Central Iowa. The program was 5 in Twenty-Four "Five things any business can do in 24 hours to maximize its brand."  These are all low cost to no cost proven methods of marketing.  And, yes, they work.

When I got to the part regarding social media and asked how many in the audience had incorporated a blog into their marketing strategy seven hands went up. Seven out of forty.

There is work to be done and here are four solid reasons why blogging should be one of your marketing tools:

  • Blogging Gives You "Voice": Sure you have a website but what is your "back-story"?  What nuggets can you share with visitors poking around on the Internet that will drive traffic back to you?  We think...plenty.
  • Blogging Offers Another "Touch Point": Again, you should want to maximixe the ways in which you reach out to consumers. A well crafted blog does just that.
  • Blogging - A Quick Alternative: We get it. Changing your website two or three times a week is a pain.  However, creating a blog that tells the story only you can tell is quick, easy and interactive.
  • Blogging Improves Your Skills: You have a story to tell and by sitting down and sharing those stories you will improve your story-telling skills.  And, remember, people react to...stories.

Thank you, Central Iowa Tourism Region for your warm reception!

If your business, for profit or non-profit, isn't incorporating a blog into your marketing efforts you could be missing out on...opportunity.  What do you think?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!

 

 


Teeny Tiny?

It's a design thing.  Child Magnifying Glass

Over time we've collected thousands of business cards. Thousands. Recently we've noticed a trend that may impact how people make a connection with you or your business.

Teeny Tiny Fonts and Other Issues

While the name of the company is prominent, good luck being able to read the email address, phone number...etc.

Connection...that is the point of a business card.  Right?

Some simple things to remember:

  • Not Everybody has 20/20 Vision:  When your potential client/customer must use a magnifying glass to see your contact information. Not good;
  • Artwork: We get it because we too are into creating stunning designs. However just because it's cool looking let's not over-shadow the contact information;
  • Clarity: I'm looking at a business card, right now, that has three (3) Twitter addresses. Three...really?
  • Stock: We get it, you are trying to save money. However your business card is such an important touch point. Try to have them printed at a printer, on heavy card-stock and try to refrain from printing them in your office.  Trust us, it's an investment;
  • Does It Work:  If you have a QR Code on your business card, make sure it works and points to something useful, descriptive and informative.

Hey, we're just trying to help.

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!


Adding Value

The other day I got a call from a group asking if I might be able to speak 5in24 Image to them about advertising and marketing and specifically my presentation on "Five in Twenty-Four - Five Things a Business Can Do in Twenty-Four Hours to Boost its Brand".

"Be happy to do that!" And we settled on a fee arrangement.

I then asked if they would like my one-page handout, in advance. That's pretty standard in the speaking industry.  But then I put the icing on the cake:  "How do you market the event and this session?" They told me they send out a newsletter and emails.  I then offered something of added value: "Would it be helpful if I produced a video invitation focusing on the reason why people should attend?"

They were surprised.  "You would do that?"

Of course...it is adding value to the already secured business relationship.

Which begs the question:  Once you've secured the business transaction what added value can you bring to the relationship that will move it above your customers expectation?

We think it's a wise business decision.  What added value can you take to your customer?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour. On twitter we're @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.


What's Your Value?

We've always believed that if you live by the price, and are a commodity, Man Value you'll die by the price.  However, if you build value into your business people will continue to ask you for...business.

There is always somebody out there that can match your price or, just for kicks, beat it.  However, if you build value into your product/service nobody can take away your customer.

Of course there will always be people who buy on price alone and couldn't give a rip about value.  And, those consumers are usually less loyal and can cause most of the trouble for your brand.

So, how do you add value to your product or service?  Exceed the expectations of your customer.  How do you do that?  By thinking of them...first.  If your focus is always on the bottom line if you are scrambling to make ends meet you're in a commodity business.  If you think, really think, of how you can bring extra value to your customer you'll have a transforming business.

High Value trumps Low Price

That's what we think.  How about you?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is a full service advertising agency and is also the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour.

Thanks for coming by!