Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Easiest Market Research You Can Do

During a conversation with a client yesterday, I discovered that the client was struggling with uneven marketing of product demonstrations and yet had no data to identify problem causes.  This example can illustrate some of the easiest market research a business can do.

Larger businesses install POS (point of sale) data recorders for their sales.  Many larger businesses collect all manner of data on their sales transactions, customers, and product reviews, among others.  They are able to perform a wide range of business analytics as a result and can immediately spot areas of concern, weak products or services, and less successful sales agents, for example.\

Small business can do some of the same simply by recording -- in a spreadsheet or ledger or even a notebook -- information on every transaction.   Such details as who is the buyer, when was the transaction?  were there additional prospects? how many?  In my client's case the subject was sales demonstrations which also called for collecting data on location, number of guests, demographics of guests, specific orders placed, number of invitations, and time of day.

With data in hand, patterns can be discerned that spotlight problem causes.  Was there a particularly good or bad day and time for demonstrations?  Did some invitation drives and prospect lists yield better results?  Were there noticeable demographic differences at the more successful demonstrations?  And more.

Bottom Line:  Collect data while it is fresh and periodically review those data to fine tune your marketing.  Weed out the less efficient channels, prospects and messages, and more clearly see the route to success!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Stay Focused

One of the marketing behaviors that strikes me as counter-productive is what I call "double messaging".  It is common among business owners who are trying to market multiple products or services, but it also shows up among entrepreneurs who pitch different businesses at the same time.  I have heard a 30 second "commercial" that included material on three separate businesses!

Why is this counter-productive?  Listeners---potential customers---are only going to give us so much time to gain their attention.  A single message must be highly focused to have a chance of gaining this acceptance.  If we muddle the message with too many threads of thought we run a huge risk of the potential customer switching off.

It will be necessary to prioritize.  Pick a message and focus strictly on that one business, product or service.  Be crystal clear what are its benefits to the prospect.  Be crystal clear on how the prospect can obtain the product or service.

The result is a laser focused message that can be readily absorbed by a potential customer in that narrow time window they allow us.

Bottom Line: Be careful to tidy up your advertising and promotional messages to prospects.  Are they trying to do too much at one time?  Is there a potential for confusion?  Stay focused!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Social Media Overload

Not long ago I spoke with a business owner who was a little discouraged.  This individual had a desire to entirely redo the marketing plan after a contract period with a marketing agency which yielded little gains.

What I found quite surprising was that the marketing agency had recommended, essentially, was a 100% pure social media diet, and that that diet was high on misfits.  A business that was ideal for older women was having to fiddle around with a social media property that was weak on older consumers, and was nowhere near the one that was closest to the target.  And so on.

It is times like these when I wonder if businesses need to "detox" from social media!

Social media is fun.  It can be valuable for business---in fact, nothing is better at achieving deep engagement with customers.  It can in some cases be a vital component of marketing.  But it cannot be the only tool.  It cannot be used like Aladdin's Magic Lamp.

Traditional techniques have their place, too.  Advertising where it works.  Face to face engagement.  Expos.  "Door to door" and its equivalents.  A marketing plan must include the widest spectrum of meaningful choices; that is, channels appropriate to the target audience.

Someday social media may be the one and only answer.  The world of "Star Trek" or "The Jetsons", one supposes.  But I doubt it.  We've used a surprisingly narrow band of tools for several centuries now and there is a reason.

Bottom Line: Don't "toxify" with social media.  Get your message in the right place and spread it around wherever it is most likely to be noticed.  Let Social Media be a fun complement, not the whole package.