Tag Archives: marketing

Fresh Perspectives

head-scratcherStop and think about this for a minute:  How has the market for your industry changed in the last five years?

Did your target demographic age out of being able to use your products or services?  Has the target audience gotten younger without you realizing it because you’ve been mired in “the way we’ve always done things”?

Every six months, and maybe more often depending on your business, you should take a step back from your business and get a fresh perspective on it.  Take a good, hard, long look at it.  Consider how well your marketing efforts have been doing.  Your sales should be driving production and keeping inventory low or at a level you can fill orders for 15 or 30 days, depending on demand.  Advertising should be introducing you to new customers and, at least, hitting the break-even mark on the return for your investment.

Remember to take a look at your products and services.  Have they remained relevant to your customers and appealing to your prospects?  Crunch the numbers for which of those products and services generate the highest profit margins for your bottom line.  Think about whether one of your products has reached the end of its life cycle.

The idea here is to avoid change merely for the sake of change, but if the offering has served its purpose and the profit margin continues to shrink, it may be time to shift your corporate emphasis to other products to meet emerging markets.

Ah, emerging markets!  This is probably the most prolific reason to take the time to get a fresh perspective and think things through.  A recent meeting with a professional in the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) business drove this point home.  The market for HVAC services amongst the 55 and older demographic had become stagnant.  The audience had, in essence, become arthritic and uninterested in change when they’ve had the same HVAC company for their entire home-owning life.

This professional sought a new perspective and did some market research.  Lo and behold, it was discovered there was an emerging market being woefully underserved.  You may be able to guess the demographic, but out of deference to my friend’s research and marketing efforts, I will abstain from divulging secrets that would aid the competition.

The more I see business owners searching for answers to keeping their company alive or expanding their culture and growing the business, the more obvious it becomes that a fresh perspective is essential.  When you engage a consulting firm such as Brand Irons, you get a different, customer-oriented viewpoint backed by research that can be critical to your long-term survival.

Instant Gratification – Pros and Cons

If you’re “in to” instant gratification, you’ll need to scan down to get the pros and cons.  If you’re a bit more patient, read the whole piece.

Business owners, especially those with significant advertising budgets, are scratching their heads in frustration over the generations that seem so intent on instant gratification.  How do you reach someone who wants information, answers, and product “NOW”?

We’ll get to the answer, but let’s look at the pros and cons of this instant gratification mindset.  It’s certainly a concept spawned by technology, so any answer has to incorporate a technological aspect.  We live in an age where a person with a smart phone can look up a business online, get a phone number, and call that number right from their phone in a matter of seconds.

During the Christmas holidays, we were away from home and wanted to have dinner at a chain restaurant.  I looked up the chain online, entered the city, and up popped the restaurant’s phone number.  I tapped on it, called it, and learned they were not accepting reservations, which was fine.  I had relatively quickly ascertained what we wanted to know.  Instant gratification.  I had an answer in less time than it would have taken to look up the restaurant in a phone directory.

Two points here:  One is that phone directories have a limited life span due to these advances in technology, and the other is that if you have a service business such as a restaurant, it is critical that your business be smart-phone enabled, especially if you are on your own and operating independently.

Instant gratification pros:

  1. Quicker decisions can be made;
  2. Choices are focused on using the right key words;
  3. Speed is easily rationalized by fast results;
  4. Demonstrated skill in using electronics and technology; and,
  5. Masses of information digested rapidly.

Instant gratification cons:

  1. Quick decisions can often be rash choices;
  2. Wrong use of key words can cause longer delays in searches;
  3. Deliberation of potential consequences is given short shrift;
  4. Loss of important, personal human communication skills; and,
  5. Too much information can trivialize all of it.

Now let’s look at instant gratification from the perspective of business.

While there are still companies that make calculators, they must realize their future is finite.  Smart phones have calculator applications and so do laptops and other computers.  The stand-alone calculator has become a nuisance because it takes up space somewhere and you have to find it to use it when there’s one on your phone.

In order to reach the consumer market dominated by the need and desire for instant gratification, business advertising must have a technological base including a web site that has relevant content.  It should also be smart phone enabled and embrace any new, emerging techology within a reasonable time frame.

Using social media effectively should also be given serious consideration.  Users may search for your social media sites before deciding to use your services.  Keep in mind that Facebook is less about selling your products than it is about showing your business has a social conscience.  LinkedIn is more business oriented but still has social aspects that involve reciprocity.  If a user endorses you, consider returning the endorsement.  With Google’s other search engine, YouTube, being #2 behind Google, put some videos on a YouTube channel, including testimonials and endorsements.  You also need to use Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines optimally.  Klout, Hulu, and a myriad of other social outlets come online regularly, so you need to be aware of social options and determine their viability for your business.

Understand that one of the most relevant methods to reach those infatuated with instant gratification remains to be word-of-mouth marketing.  Flash mobs are a good example of how a message can go viral quickly.  Word-of-mouth can help you reach a global market for your business, provided you’re ready to handle the potential rapid growth.

It comes back to having strategies for reaching your target audience effectively, so if you need help thinking this through and developing strategies, Brand Irons has people and resources to help.