Saturday, January 02, 2010

Define your Brand?

From Seth Godin:


The great brands of our time are not about what they are. They are about what they represent.

Apple, Sarah Palin, Harley Davidson, Tom's Shoes... In each case, the reality of the product means far less than what the brand represents.

The facts of iPod battery life, knowledge of world affairs, gas mileage and foot comfort are almost irrelevant. What matters is the Jungian rush these brands connote, their ability to allow us to identify ourselves and fellow tribe members, the sense of belonging and labeling and the journey we're on (or not, our choice).

Great brands represent something bigger than themselves. You can create this accidentally if you're lucky, but you can create it on purpose if you try.

Sphere: Related Content

How to Solve your Customer Service Problems

And if you don't think you don't have any problems in this area.... then that is the problem.

Read and learn from Harvey:

Every great business is built on customer service

When I wrote a column on taking care of customers recently, I correctly figured I would receive positive feedback from it. But one negative email stood out to me—because it illustrates an important point so well. That is why companies need to continue to stress customer service and demand nothing less from their employees, even with the most difficult customers.

The individual wrote: "It's the customer's attitude that is the cause of how he/she will be treated by the employee. I'm a sales floor associate at a large discount chain and have experiences where customers approach me with a bad attitude, and ask simple questions in an unkind manner. Customers disrespect employees as if they think they are royalty, and expect employees to bow down to their every need. Does everybody want to get their hand held at every store they visit, and guided through the entire store when there are signs hanging from the ceiling? Also, customers come unprepared and expect employees to know what their issue is when they have no clue what their problem is! Give respect. Get respect."

I understand that some customers can be unbearable. It's tempting to think of what you'd like to say to a difficult customer—the challenge is not saying it. The bottom line is that you have to buck up and do your job. And if you can't, then management needs to find people that can. And by the way, management needs to give employees the authority to help people before things get ugly, or be prepared to step in and handle the matter themselves.

This leads me to another person who wrote me about my earlier column. She had some good advice for people with problems. She explained that her husband retired from General Motors some years ago, as a district manager. When customers had complaints and their problems weren't resolved satisfactorily, people would naturally write to headquarters and those complaints would be sent to her husband.

"99.9% of the time the dealer had no idea there was a complaint and when he found out, the problem was resolved almost on the spot," she wrote. "Those were the good old days! His advice to family and friends is, to this day, if you have a complaint and it isn't resolved, move up the ladder because the boss does not always know what his employees are doing or saying."

She went on to explain that she recently had an issue with a TV at a large electronics chain store. She talked to seven people before the store's general manager resolved the problem. "He knew nothing about my frustration," she wrote. "My husband asked for a bonus for all the problems and he was given a DVD with the TV. My husband said his dealers always gave something (oil change, car wash, etc.) when resolving a complaint, which went a long way in retaining the customer."

Good point. It's a lot easier and less expensive to keep a customer than to find new ones.

The lesson in both of these points is to hire good people and train them properly. Keeping employees motivated to consistently provide high-quality customer service is critical to the survival of any company.

Here are a few tips:

  • Hire the right people. The rule is you either hire smart or manage tough. Hiring smart is better, but it requires you to know what you're looking for and to recognize the skills and attitude you want. Look at experience, and listen to your gut.
  • Keep score. If you don't measure performance, your team will be in perpetual warm-up mode. Let employees know that you are judging their performance and why it's relevant to them, their customers and the organization's bottom line.
  • Reward. Make sure you reward the desired outcome. For instance, if you want your salespeople to create relationships and long-term accounts, reward them with back-end commissions or a recognition program.
  • Practice what you preach. If you want a motivated customer-service rep, you need to be motivated yourself first. Are you genuinely excited about the work your group produces? You need to love your customers, because if you're not sincerely motivated yourself, you'll never motivate other people to provide service par excellence.

Mackay's Moral: No customer service will lead to no customers.

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.

More information and learning tools can be found online at

Sphere: Related Content

Back to Basics

From Steve Clark:

"What Business Are You In?"
by Steve Clark

Most sales people and for that matter everyone else in business answers this question wrongly. They say things like they are in the computer business or the insurance business or the ___??____ business. All wrong answers of course. And because of this they allocate time and do behaviors that don’t contribute to their financial success.

The real and only answer to this question is that you are in the business of getting and keeping customers. Period! End of sentence. If you think you are in any other business you are misguided and will spend your time doing non-income producing behavior. Your income will suffer, your lifestyle will suffer and you will live out your retirement years broke or dependent on the generosity of others or the government for your subsistence.

This may sound harsh to some of you, but hey, the world is a harsh place and quite frankly, the world could care less about you or your existence.

The other day on a coaching call, a sales management client told me of discovering four hot leads, provided as referrals by a good customer that had laid around with no follow up and without acknowledgment to the customer providing the referrals for two weeks. When challenged, the salesperson to whom these leads had been given said she just hadn’t “gotten around to” handling them. My client asked me what he should do about this. I said he needed “to get around to” firing the sales person sometime soon. Like yesterday. He then defended this person. So I suggested he fire himself too. And hung up. There were 3 minutes left in his 20-minute sales management coaching call, but I didn’t care.

In my sales training and sales management coaching business, I find a need to give this lecture to business owners and managers all of the time. I call it ‘What Business Are We In?' and 'What Are Our Priorities?'.

Here’s how it goes:

1. Take care of any customer complaint or issue the day it comes in. No excuses!

2. Get money
. Any money that can be gotten, from anybody, by any means, dropping anything else you are doing. Respond to opportunities to get money immediately if not sooner.

3. Get money
. Any money that can be gotten, from anybody, by any means, dropping anything else you are doing. Respond to opportunities to get money immediately if not sooner.

4. Keep the customers you’ve got

5. Get money. Any money that can be gotten, from anybody, by any means, dropping anything else you are doing. Respond to opportunities to get money immediately if not sooner. Did I mention? – get money. It’s easy to forget you are in the money-getting business, and think that’s just one of many tasks and activities and responsibilities you have. Obviously, money-getting means different things in different businesses. You need clarity about it in yours. Then nothing gets priority.

You can make excuses or you can make money but you can’t do both. And anybody good at doing the first isn’t good at the second. But there can be no accepted excuse for drifting away from money-getting as job-one. How toughminded you are about this, with self and others, will determine your prosperity or lack thereof far, far, far, far, far more than any clever advertising or marketing campaign or whether or not you tweet.

We would love to hear from you.
Please share your thoughts and comments on this article by clicking here.

"Entrepreneur and Executive Sales Coach, Steve Clark publishes the highly acclaimed "Tips for Profitable Persuasion" weekly ezine. If you're ready to explode your sales and skyrocket your income while working less get your FREE copy at"

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, January 01, 2010

Grocery Store Predictions

For the new year:

What Will Sell in 2010?

The coming year will bring a raft of new consumer packaged goods that Chicago-based global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence Mintel forecasts will expand on tried-and-true formulas.

"Post-recession, we don't expect manufacturers to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we predict 2010's new products will give shoppers something familiar paired with something new to better satisfy their needs," said Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel's leading new products expert. "On retail store shelves, we expect today's familiar mega-trends -- health and wellness, convenience, sustainability -- to get a fresh, new makeover for 2010."

Mintel's "CPG Predictions 2010" report, prepared by Dornblaser and David Jago, presents 21 trends that will likely affect worldwide new product development as CPG companies maintain a delicate balance between the innovative and the expected. These trends are:

Better Nutritional Info: Almost half of U.S. adults surveyed said that having caloric information on the front of packages would help them lower their intake, but shoppers find the range of nutrition symbols used by CPG companies confusing and misleading. In response, more manufacturers will roll out clean, clear front-of-pack statements.

Slimmer Products: A shift toward simplicity will lead to lighter, slimmer, easier-to-use products featuring cleaner labels, less packaging and uncomplicated presentation and ingredients.

Detox for Health: More products will feature science-based health claims, with a new emphasis in foods and beverages on "detox" as a way to discuss weight management. By contrast, detox claims will decline in the beauty and personal care categories.

Less Sodium: The desirability of lowering dietary sodium is poised to be the next big health directive. However, since this movement is being driven by food companies and health organizations rather than by consumers, lower-salt products may be slow to catch on with shoppers.

Color-Coded Convenience: To help consumers make faster choices, more companies will color-code their products this coming year. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say they want color-coded packaging. Such a system also enables brands to stand out on the shelf.

More for Less: Noting that recession-battered consumers increasingly want better value for their money, CPG companies will offer more multipurpose products such as cleaners and foods, which also have the advantages of appealing to a broader range of shoppers and being applicable to more occasions.

"Fresh" Ingredients: Beyond just perishable products, this term has now come to encompass better-for-you, local, additive-free, less processed, more natural, traditional and authentic items.

Pretty Simple: Streamlined, boutique-inspired containers and premium positioning will make even such quotidian purchases as soap and juice more fun.

The Clean Generation: Accounting for one-fifth of the global population, Gen Y will increasingly demand cleaning products highlighting ease of use and quick results.

Grooming for Men: 2010 will see more grooming products for the "metrosexual" male, both under such basic brands as Nivea and an increasing number of niche brands, including L'Oreal Men Expert.

New Options for Kids: Products aimed at children are going beyond licensed characters and items with "play" value to focus on nutritional benefits.

Redefining "Local": Despite the difficulties in getting locally produced foods all of the time, shoppers want products with known origins and that haven't been shipped too far. In 2010, the definition of "local" will expand, becoming more practical for major companies to use and for mainstream shoppers to buy.

More PLA Packaging: Polylactic acid as a packaging material could break through to the mainstream, thanks to its biodegradability.

Little Green Moves: In tandem with consumers, CPG companies are taking smaller but still significant actions to help the environment, with such subtle changes more likely to win acceptance from shoppers. Examples of this are sustainable products that also offer value pricing, to lure consumers on both traditional (product cost) and innovative (ecological) grounds.

Private Brands Come Into Their Own: Prodded by the recession, retailers boosted the visibility of their private label lines, and many shoppers now consider them on a par with national brands. Look for low-cost, high-quality private brands to take off in 2010.

The Incredible Shrinking Market: Mintel noted a pattern that repeats itself during times of recession: explosive new product activity followed by a sharp decline and contraction in the marketplace. This pattern often leads to the emergence of new conglomerates and a consolidation of brands and product offerings.

Rise of the App: With more tech-savvy consumers than ever, especially among younger shoppers, manufacturers are stepping up mobile computing and electronic interactivity with the purchasers of their products.

The New Old Way: Instead of investing in launches of brand-new products, many companies prefer to tweak their current offerings with new packaging, formulations or varieties, but, occasionally, tinkering with a familiar favorite can backfire: think New Coke or, more recently, Tropicana's hastily pulled redesigned cartons.

Flavors of the Month: Ethnic appeal, functional benefits and nostalgia are among the taste influences that are bound to linger in 2010. Cardamom, sweet potato, mango, hibiscus, the superfruit cupuaƧu, rose water, bacon and Latin-influenced flavors will be especially big in the United States.

Ingredient Shortlist: Spices, increasingly recognized for their functional benefits, as is the case with turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, will be a popular product ingredient, as well as such "natural" sweeteners as cane sugar, agave syrup and stevia, to appeal to consumers increasingly resistant to artificial sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup.

What's That Smell?: Simple, clean scents, often arising from a single component; mood-influencing fragrances to produce a sense of calm; and a new take on scratch-and-sniff aromas, including scent-impregnating packaging, will be wafting through more homes in the coming year.

(Source: Progressive Grocer, 12/07/09)

Sphere: Related Content

Combining Social & Traditional Media

I was nominated last month for an award as the Indiana's Most Influential in Social Media. Wednesday, I went to the awards luncheon and met with about 60 others who are involved in what is known as Social Media.

Yes, Social Media is the next "Big Thing". But instead of taking an "us versus them" approach, Social Media should be another tool in the toolbox for marketers and advertisers who are wanting to reach out to their current and future customers.

On Tuesday 1/5/10, I'll write more about this here
. But in the meantime, take a look at this commentary from Mediapost:

Will Traditional, Social Media Blend?
Len Stein, Dec 31, 2009 08:35 AM
As a veteran PR counselor specializing in the creative marketing services space, I avidly track the evolution of media channels, especially the growing challenge that "social media" poses to "traditional media" for marketplace dominance.

When working to develop leadership positions for emerging companies, an understanding of which media will most profoundly impact one's reputation and positively influence prospective clients is key. So a radical shift in the media landscape poses new challenges to practitioners as they develop media relations campaigns designed to elevate clients to industry spokes-company status.

The Big PR Question

The big PR question of the day is how to design and target programs in such a challenging communications environment. Should one focus on social media first, or exclusively stick with traditional media and its recognized "credibility" factor, or strive to balance the two? In almost all cases, I would recommend a blend.

According to new research by Ad-ology Research, small business owners say the benefits of social networking are lead generation, keeping up with the industry, and monitoring the online conversation about their business. "Social media optimization" -- how to maximize the impact of social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube -- in that rank order) is obviously a key communications/marketing concern.

Ad-ology's study continues, reporting that SBOs get the social media message and hope to engage customers in new ways in 2010. Twenty-eight percent say they plan to spend more on online video in 2010, up 75% over last year; 25% say they will increase their social networking spend; 21% plan to commit more resources to mobile advertising. However, e-mail marketing continues to be the most popular online tool for small businesses -- and why not, since it reaches the targeted individual directly.

But before you commit the bulk of your marketing spend and investment of executive time to social media, consider a few facts. The impact of social media is still largely unmeasured, and the ecology is potentially dangerous to reputation or budget -- witness the fall from grace of MySpace and Friendster. Since social media is the uncensored "people's media," agencies that make a living off their creative intellectual capital must carefully navigate these turbulent waters without throwing up mud storms of criticism from critics and competitors.

Blending Media Approaches

The most productive PR path, in my humble opinion, is still a blended approach to social and traditional media. In fact, traditional media coverage in atoms and ink publications, or digital hybrids like MarketingDaily, provides the material to drive social media campaigns -- i.e., one needs something to Tweet about, to post on Facebook and LinkedIn and to email. We have found that a synergistic use of social and traditional media is highly productive. In fact, the most effective reputation-building campaigns begin with coverage in traditional media, move into social media channels and go viral across the blogosphere and Tweetmemes.

Here's a quick overview of a typical scenario.

Reach out to traditional media on- and off-line, including blogs, with story ideas and columns. When an article, feature story, review or bylined column is published, maximize its exposure by quickly Tweeting the link and posting it across your social networks. Enlist your inner circle to comment on the article, rate it and link it to the Diggs, Stumbled and Delicios of the online world.

Move on the email marketing. First, be sure that your marketing database is updated and in an easily manageable application. Then design an email template, with company logo and all links and contact points included. On publication day, which is rarely a surprise, write some snappy, insightful (and short) copy highlighting the key points and embed the link to the article.

Internal distribution Share the column with your staff. Print some hard copies to hang in the john and leave in the reception area. Ask the staff to spread the word.

The company Web site Post an abstract to the article in the Company News section, with the embedded link. Post it to the Company Blog. Answer any comments that are posted.

Email Signatures Distribute the news to your daily contact network through the valuable and underutilized signature white space. Simply embed a version of your Tweet copy with a hyperlink after your name.

Business Cards To come full circle, it may be time to reprint your business cards with the addition of your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media URLs.

Surely there are many more ways to spread reputation-building news throughout the social media space and into the search engines and directories. What's most important is the recognition that both "old" and "new" media can play productive roles in elevating a company's standing and generating business leads in 2010.

Sphere: Related Content


From Drew's Marketing Minute last year:

A nickname does not make you more cool

Picture 2

I remember a Disney (made for TV) film that my daughter used to enjoy. It was about this nerdy kid named Charlie. He lamented his lack of coolness, so he decided to re-invent himself. Cooler clothes, a new, cool haircut but the lynch pin to his plan was the nickname. Chaz.

All of a sudden, Charlie (as Chaz) exuded cool.

Of course, you can guess how it ended. Chaz became the darling of the school but when he was exposed as a fraud, he learned two valuable lessons. You can't fake cool and in the are who and what you are.

I wish I had a DVD of this movie. You know who I'd send it to? The CMOs of Radio Shack and Walgreens.

Radio Shack, a very uncool brand, has decided to slap on some cool by asking us to call them "The Shack." So many problems with this, it's staggering.

  • When you hear "The Shack" who or what do you think of? (either the basketball player or the book)
  • Even if you bought into nickname, the stores are still the same -- packed to the gills with wires, switches, and gizmos. The Apple Store is cool. Radio Shack...not so much.
  • Radio Shack already has a very entrenched brand...and it isn't about being cool!


In the same vein, Walgreens has recently re-branded their private label products. You used to be able to buy Walgreens shampoo but's W shampoo. Yes...that does make me forget that it's generic.

Again...nothing they do is going to make Walgreens cool. We don't really need or want Walgreens to be cool.

We want them to be open 24 hours/day.

We want them to stock most prescriptions so we can call and then pick it up an hour later.

We even want them to keep a good supply of Haagen Dazs ice cream so we can rush up there at 11 pm and pay an exorbitant price...because we need it now!

We don't need Radio Shack or Walgreen's to be cool. And in fact, we won't let them be cool. No matter how cool their nickname might be.

The lesson here for us marketing types? A brand is not something you manufacture. It doesn't come from your name or your logo. It comes from within. It is born out of who you actually are. No matter how cool your nickname might be.

Sphere: Related Content

New or Old

Are you going to do things in 2010 the way you did last year?


8 questions and a why

Who are you trying to please?

What are you promising?

How much money are you trying to make?

How much freedom are you willing to trade for opportunity?

What are you trying to change?

What do you want people to say about you?

Which people?

Do we care about you?

(and after each answer, ask 'why?')

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

by Karlene Lukovitz
Looking to further leverage its official NFL pizza sponsorship and establish an annual marketing platform, the chain also has created a dedicated site, being promoted as "your home for all things football." Papa John's will promote the special site and its month-long activities via TV commercials during January. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
One segment features the construction worker unloading reams of cable from his truck. He says: "I own my wireless company. Not the other way around." The ad campaign encourages viewers to take a self-directed approach to ownership by buying stock in companies they want to own. The spot closes with the tagline: "It's Your Future. Get Your Share." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
"While there are plenty of opportunities to trade down in many other categories -- for example, people who like to buy fine wine in restaurants can now drink slightly less fine wine at home -- the only cure for a chocolate craving is chocolate," Mintel analyst Marcia Mogelonsky tells Marketing Daily. "There's no room for maneuvering." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
Celebrities garnered the top two spots, thanks to stories about Kirstie Alley and Serena Williams. New media usage -- in the form of a canceled series being picked up for the Internet -- holds court at number three. And a promotion for a smartphone, a device most think will only gain in popularity as the decade turns, rounds out our list. ... Read the whole story > >
Azek Debuts New TV Spot

Sphere: Related Content

20 Marketing Ideas

Sometimes you just need an idea or two. Here's 20 from

20 Creative Marketing Ideas for Small Business

By Theresa Sheridan
Let's face it, sometimes ideas are just hard to come by. We are so overloaded with things to remember and things to do, that coming up with some newer ways to help promote our business can be challenging. Over the past few weeks, I've jotted down some ideas that appealed to me. Some I thought of myself, some I discovered through all of my surfing ventures of late.

1) Create a calendar
to give away. If it applies, and the photos can relate to your business all the better. Of course, this calendar will have your business name and contact information on it!

2) Conduct a free clinic
or seminar about a product or service that you offer. These can be webinars as well. They don't have to be complicated, but they do need to be relevant.

3) Put together a marketing video
. Google loves video. When it's complete, upload it to YouTube and then embed it on your website, and whereever else you can think of.

Write an article about what you know and post it on your website, blog, other websites, everywhere! We all know more about something than someone else does, so promote yourself as an expert in that!

5) Write a press release
and submit it to your local newspaper. There are also numerous websites that you can submit your press release to, and some of them are free.

6) Create an annual award
for something and publicize it.

7) Join your Chamber of Commerce
, mostly for the incredible networking opportunities that it will offer you, but also to show your sense of community.

8) Volunteer to give a speech
, or for career day at a local high school.

9) Create a customer loyalty program.

10) Create a monthly newsletter
and start an email marketing campaign.

11) Team up
with a non-competing business to offer a promotional package.

12) If possible, loan your facility
out for meetings and other events. This is a great way to spread the word locally about your business and what you can offer.

13) Spotlight a customer
as Customer of the Month. Be sure to advertise this in numerous places.

14) Start a blog.

15) Scan the Public Notices
section of your local newspaper for Fictitious Business Name Statement announcements and send them a brochure, a business card and whatever your latest promotion is.

16) Have a treasure hunt
on your website.

17) Write a book
, or write an e-book that you can give away for free on your website. People love free stuff.

18) Help a reporter out.
Make your expertise available to reporters all over the country who are looking for people to interview on literally every subject you could think of. Not exactly marketing, but could help in the overall exposure of your venture.

19) Affiliate marketing:
Not a new concept by any means, but worth the effort. Check out

20) Join a leads club.
If you can't find one, start one! I've implemented a few of these myself and have plans to work on a few more. I hope you find these useful, and if you have any ideas of your own that you'd like to pass along, please feel free to comment! I love hearing new ideas.

About the Author:
Theresa Sheridan Theresa Sheridan Enterprises Website Design - Graphic Design - Virtual Assistance Article Source:

Sphere: Related Content

Using Social Media to Grow you Local Business

From John Jantsch:

5 Ways to Grow Your Local Business with Social Media

5 Ways to Grow Your Local Business with Social Media

Dec 21, 2009 -

Let’s face it; most small businesses do the bulk of their business locally. So, the thought of gaining access to Facebook’s 300 trillion users (may be more by now) isn’t that relevant or useful.

However, if those local businesses could use the some of the new powerful online tools and platforms to gain access to the 200-300 social media users in their town, now that might just make some sense.

There are many ways to filter, sort, aggregate and otherwise take advantage of social media tools that can specifically benefit even the smallest neighborhood oriented business.

Below are five things any local business can do to get more business using social media tools

1) Start a Local Group Online

Most social network platforms offer some form of group creation. Any member has the ability to start a group around a niche or pretty much any topic – including a local topic. Sites such as Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn and Slideshare all allow members to create and manage groups.

For example here’s a local independent merchant group in Austin, TX using a Flickr Group to promote it’s “Keep Austin Weird” slogan.

This Boston Networking Group on LinkedIn was founded by Jeff Popin, owner of With over 3,000 members, there’s a pretty good bet this group serves as a conduit for Popin’s main business locally.

2) Find and Network with Local Bloggers

Using tools such as Placeblogger,, Bloglines you can locate bloggers in your community that might have an interest in writing about your business or industry or actively linking to your blog.

Networking with relevant bloggers locally, commenting on their blog posts, and maybe even contributing a post is a great way to create additional local exposure. Don’t forget to seek out and add blogs from traditional media publications locally as well. Most radio, TV and news journalists have been asked to write a blog as part of their job, these can be great local social media contacts if you take the time to build relationships though their blogs.

3) Hold Meetups and Tweetups

Using a social media tool like MeetUp, you create and promote local events and tap the user base of MeetUp to create additional awareness about your seminars, product demonstrations, open houses, and grand openings.

Here a home remodeler in Encinitas, CA is offering a workshop on green remodeling through MeetUP.

TweetUps, a gathering of people in a community using Twitter, have become very popular ways to meet others locally that believe in the power of social media. That alone can be enough common ground to network on. Search locally for the term TweetUp and don’t be surprised to find one schedule in your community.

The online social media network Biznik allows members to join its online platform, but belong to a local community and promote in-person local events on the site.

4) Find local leads

Finding local prospects or potential strategic partners on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is pretty simple through the use of the powerful search interfaces built into all. Simply searching by City is a great way to find other people using social media in your community. A service such as Twellowhood or LocalTweeps may aid in your search to find other businesses in your community using Twitter.

Many smart marketers are also employing some of the advanced features of Twitter Search to find people locally and filter their tweets to turn up leads. An auto body shop might set-up searches for people talking about being in an accident and reach out to them with advice for what to do to get the best quote. A computer network service provider can use advanced search to find people locally complaining about their network being down.

Naked Pizza in New Orleans uses Twitter to publish exclusive offers to followers and attributes a significant rise in business using to this tactic.

Cupcakes on Wheels, a Los Angeles mobile cupcake business, tweets its location throughout the day so followers can find its signature brown vans.

Facebook’s Ad Targeting is also another great way to reach only local prospects on the Facebook platform. One of the targeting criteria is geography, so you can create ads that promote your web site or Facebook Fan page that are only shown to people in the geographic region you choose

5) Enhance Local Search Results

No matter how you put social media to use to create engagement locally, simply creating profiles on dozens of social media sites and linking those sites with local keyword content back to your main web site will help your site do better when people search locally. Creating very brand and local optimized profiles on sites like YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare will help with overall links to your site. Creating and enhancing local profiles on Google Maps, Yahoo and Bing Local will help you show up higher in the local results.

Finally, don’t forget to get active with the social review sites like Yelp! and Insider Pages. Ask, and even teach, your local customers hot to write reviews about your business. Currently Google Maps and Bing Local add these reviews to their local profile database too.

Using the technology and ability to access large groups of social media users locally has become a proven small business marketing tactic and is a great way to further enhance the face-to-face relationship building you already do.

Image credit: gloom

John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author of Duct Tape Marketing.

Sphere: Related Content

Inside Guide to Reaching Higher (Part 2)

From Jill Konrath's Blog:

Part II: Selling to the C-Suite

S2CS Book Cover JPGToday's post is Part II of my recent interview with Steve Bistritz, author of the newly-released book, Selling to the C-Suite.

Q. So what should sellers do to gain access to these corporate bigwigs?

There are typically four ways to gain access to senior client executives.
  • The Overt approach is a direct phone call or a phone call preceded by either a letter or an email.
  • Using a Credible Sponsor in the client organization to help you secure access.
  • Using a Referral (someone outside the organization, such as a consultant or business associate) to help you secure access.
  • Treating the Gatekeeper as a Resource to help you get access.

MaleExecutiveIn our research, executives told us that (from their perspective) the best way to gain access to them was by using a credible sponsor within their organization. 84% of the time, executives said that by using that approach salespeople would obtain a meeting with them!

Q. How can salespeople quickly establish trust and credibility with senior-level decision makers?

When we asked senior client executives "How does a salesperson establish credibility and trust with you?", they gave the following answers (listed in their order of importance):
  • Ability to marshal resources
  • Understands my business goals and objectives
  • Responsive to my requests
  • Willingness to be held accountable

MatureWoman-phoneWhat they mean by "Ability to marshal resources" was that when there was a problem during an installation, for example, they wanted a single point of contact within the sales organization who has the responsibility and accountability for the solution.

Even if the installation involved multiple business partners, they wanted to be able to go to one person who could "marshal the resources" to solve the problem.

Notice that factors like understanding their business goals and objectives, being responsive to their requests and willingness to be held accountable also show up as key factors.

Credibility is the intersection of capability - the ability to get things done - and integrity - the trust factor - and those two factors are the most important ones when dealing with senior client executives.

Q. If you could give sellers only one piece of advice for selling to the C-suite, what one it be?

My advice would to be persistent - but focus on developing relationships with credible players in the client organization who could help you obtain access to the executive you are attempting to reach. When that person helps you gain access to the senior executive, make certain that you do your homework before that critical first meeting.

Don't expect the executive to educate you - be prepared with questions that ask for the executives insight (something you typically can't get from the Internet). Then, make certain that you are consistently responsive to the client and demonstrate a willingness to be held accountable.

In the book, we talk about the need to get access to the relevant executive for the sales opportunity. This executive is often overlooked – even by the most experienced salespeople. We make the point in the book that you may not always need to get to the CEO of the client organization to sell your solutions.

In fact, in many cases, salespeople are better served by not getting to that level to try to close deals involving their solutions.You need to find the executive with the highest rank and greatest influence for the specific sales opportunity.

We identify that executive as the relevant executive – and we also point out that the relevant executive could be defined as the executive who stands to gain the most or lose the most as a result of the application or project associated with the sales opportunity.

If you can align with that executive you will find that s/he will be able to exert an element of informal power as it relates to the buying decision.


Steve Bistritz colorSteve Bistritz, founder of SellXL, a sales training and consulting company that helps sales teams gain access, describe their value, and ultimately, become perceived as trusted advisers, to senior executives in client organizations.

He spent more than 27 years at IBM where he managed and led the instructional design, development and implementation of numerous national sales training programs. In 1994, he left IBM and led the development of nationally recognized sales training programs and processes such as Target Account Selling and Selling to Senior Executives for Target Marketing System. He started SellXL in 2002.

Click here to download an excerpt from his new book, Selling to the C-Suite.

Sphere: Related Content