Articles Tagged ‘Small business marketing’

What Fabulous Las Vegas Has Taught me about Business Marketing

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Since I was of legal gambling age, I have always enjoyed taking short trips to Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it, even if you aren’t into gambling. So much to see and do, from outdoor adventures, relaxing by the pool and shopping to shows and of course the decadent food.

How have the Las Vegas casino/hotels managed to get me to return there so many different occasions? With clever marketing practices, of course. And just because your business doesn’t have slot machines or an all-you-can-eat buffet to lure in customers, doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two from the Las Vegas marketing masters. Here are a few things that I noticed about how Las Vegas (and the casino/hotels in general) practice effective marketing:

Get a great Brand and Memorable Tagline: Even if you’ve never been to Las Vegas, my guess is that you know their tagline: “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” which many have copied for their own campaigns. Check out some of their ad campaigns on the Las VegasYouTube channel. They’ve even taken it a step further, and added a page to their website which talks about an oath you must take when you travel there. Hilarous, yet it is so memorable. This great brand helps to build up the mystique and the excitement that is only Vegas. Does your brand convey something memorable or exciting, or give customers a good feeling? If not, it’s time to change it.

Market to Loyal Customers (and Reward them): The casino/hotel where we stay always sends us a postcard within months of our previous stay, with a special offer, asking us to return. Many times, this comes in the form of a giveaway, such as a free night or two of hotel stay, slot play, spa discount or dining credit. Because Vegas knows that once you experience a stay there, you’ll want to return soon. And of course the more you spend, the better the offer. Are you marketing to existing customers to get them to come back for more?

Know your Customers Well: If you have been to Vegas and used one of the hotel’s loyalty cards (which tracks your gambling play, dining activities, and more), or charged any activities to your room, you’ll most likely be invited for a return trip. That’s because the hotel/casinos use this information to learn more about their customers, in order to cater to their likes and dislikes when they return. How well do you know your customers? If not very well, how can you find out more about them by implementing a loyalty program or tracking their purchases?

Market to and Support New Customers: Vegas doesn’t forget that every year, millions of people turn 21. Or that millions of others have never been to Las Vegas – whether they are intimidated or don’t think that it’s for them. They have a section on their page devoted to newcomers, so that their first trip doesn’t seem overwhelming, and that they can take advantage of all that the city has to offer. This serves as a great customer service tool as well, to help people navigate around, and ensures that their customers will have a great experience while there.
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Gerber is GREAT at Drip Marketing

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

When you introduce a new baby into the family, you are immediately flooded by a handful of companies wanting to get you to ‘try’ and to continue using their products.

When Cecelia was born, we got hammered with coupons, samples of pedialyte and similac, as well as baby nutrition books from a number of other companies. Gerber is the only company that has continued marketing to us, and therefore, they are the winner! Well, they also win because their marketing pieces have ROCKED!

I got a great piece of direct mail a while back (PS – I thought direct mail was dead, but not when it’s part of an integrated online/offline drip campaign), that included coupons, ‘tear-away’ information cards, and connections to Gerber’s website, mobile app, Facebook page, and call center.

The most impressive part of receiving this ad was that not only was it timed perfectly to Cecelia’s age, its content answered a lot of the nagging questions I had in my head about how to feed my baby.

If you would like to design a direct mail piece that is as impactful as Gerber’s, use the following conventions:

1. Set up a drip campaign that follows your customers natural progress through the buying cycle or path-to-closure

2. Include a direct response “ask” so you can track the effectiveness of the campaign and compute your ROI (ex. coupons)

3. Make sure that your piece is content rich, and answers the primary questions that your clients have at each stage of the buying cycle.

4. Use a portion of the ad to move your clients up your permission marketing stream by including reasons for them to opt-in to your social network, blog, or e-newsletter.

5. Don’t overwhelm them. Time your marketing pieces so that they become an eagerly anticipated part of your prospects trip to the mailbox.

Please share some ways that you have implemented a similar strategy for your business.

Jamar Cobb-Dennard
jamar@jamarspeaks.com

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Ten Great Benefits of Cause Marketing

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Tony Note: reprinted from chapter 7 of Mind Capture: How You Can Stand Out in The Age of Advertising Deficit Disorder (2008 Morgan James).

I’m often asked by non-profits and cash strapped startup businesses to assist them in their marketing and promotion efforts. I’m fully aware that will usually entail me listening to a long litany of reasons from the business owner or Executive Director that low cost marketing techniques are challenging to find such as,

“We have such a limited budget, where do we begin?”

“We have no money for marketing.”

“We can’t seem to get any media attention or publicity for our compamy, cause, event or announcements.”

“XYZ Foundation gets all the money and recognition.”

I’m a huge proponent of giving back to worthy causes. I call this enlightened capitalism and you’ll see it get more and more press because it has a lot of incredible benefits for everyone involved.

The comments I listed above that I often hear from startups and from far too many people in the non-profit world test my patience and overall mental health greatly for three major reasons:
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Three BIG Marketing Lessons From College Football

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again for football fans: college bowl season. From car companies to credit cards, corporate America and colleges from across the land unite and become allies to promote their names, brands, prestige, hype, and oh…I almost forgot, play a game called football.

College football is always a hot topic of conversation, especially with proud alumni from competing schools, but as a marketing professional and student of persuasion, I’m always intrigued as to why people get so fired up and create debate when there are so many other competing options for time, attention, and priorities.

With that in mind, here are three BIG marketing lessons from college football as we enter the season of highly hyped and promoted Bowl games.

#1. Cash is king. Companies of all shapes and sizes spend major money sponsoring everything from naming rights, half-time shows, to other game related promotions in the constant battle to build their brands and force their way into the mind of fans and competitors.

Universities who typically pride themselves as being institutions of “higher learning” and separate from business reverse course during football season and seem to quickly forget why they exist and partner with current and newly created Bowl Games for one central reason: money.

Yes, school pride (Go WMU Broncos – BBA, 1994!) is a major reason cited and spoken by University brass for being a part of a Bowl game, but don’t be fooled by this blanket response as being the main one. At the end of the day it’s not only about pride, but the cash. Football is a huge business in the U.S. and major money maker for many colleges. With a range of revenue streams from merchandise, ticket sales to TV related Bowl payouts; the colleges use the gridiron as much more than a football game with rivalries and school pride, but as a source of revenue.

Now, I’m not saying or implying that this is good or bad, but the fact is universities will often look the other way when publicity and large amounts of money, even from companies they’d sometimes never consider endorsing, are placed before them.

#2. Conversations engage and pull people in. Colleges also love Bowl football games for the conversations they build amongst alumni, current students, and prospective new students and possible ‘blue-chip’ football prospects weighing their university against others salivating to recruit them.

I have to laugh out loud each season how the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) committee denies fans a playoff system and rely on hype, polls, and biased coaches votes to generate massive amounts of publicity, press, passion, and heated conversations. Do you really think the BCS cares or are willing to listen to fan concerns? Are they secretly laughing behind closed doors?
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