Here's why you shouldn't be, from Drew:
Posted: 21 Jul 2011 05:37 AM PDT
…Windows version of the Genius Bar
…then how will I know it’s you?
Sphere: Related Content
Unlike other cultures that revere the wisdom of their elders, American society is quick to devalue its adults as they age. While we're putting loved ones into nursing homes, other cultures are taking their parents into their households. While we're dismissing their opinions and advice, other cultures are leaning on them for the wisdom and insight that comes from a life well-lived. And while we're trying to reverse the aging process in its tracks, others are mastering the art of aging gracefully.
These attitudes may start at home, but they trickle down and are perpetuated by our marketing and advertising messages. While Boomers are far from elderly, the messages that many marketers use to reach them often tell a different story -- one marred by preconceived notions of retirement and aspirations that come with age.
Working side by side with a national organization dedicated to retired people on its upcoming house party, we've learned a lot about speaking to the commonalities of their vast and diverse target demographic. While there are several buyer personas that comprise the group "Boomers," they all tend to take one concept seriously: respect. The respect they have for their peers and the respect they expect from those they talk and listen to. When speaking to this demographic, there are seven golden rules marketers should uphold in order to respect their audience.
Respect their differences. Before I spend the rest of this article speaking in generalities about a group comprised by millions of people, with so many different attributes and desires, I want to preface it by saying that Boomers are more diverse than they are similar. They choose to spend their money in a plethora of different ways, from the decisions they make on luxury items and vacations to healthcare plans and investment opportunities.
As with any group, the first step is to understand the specific segment you're speaking to. Are they empty-nesters? Are they two-income families? Are they in a position to buy a second home? What do they value? Are they on the older or younger side of the generation? Because boomers tends to be treated as one unified mass of people just waiting to spend the rest of their lives, well, spending, gaining this type of insight will allow you to differentiate your messaging from that of those who are speaking to all of the above. All at once.
Respect the fact that they've been around the block. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can shock them. Or even worse, that they're strangers to the ways of the world. Remember, after all, that this is a socially conscious group, one that became sexually aware in the 50s/60s/70s and laid the groundwork for equal rights, women's liberation, and a whole host of other causes that mean something to them. Instead of relying on aged fear tactics, take a stand, be transparent, and show them some appreciation for what they've done.
Respect their wisdom. Some might say that one's BS detector becomes more fine-tuned with age. While there are always people who are easier to fool than others, don't tailor your message to the lowest common denominator when it comes to boomers. And assume that they'll be onto you if you do.
Respect their real lifestyle. Boomers lead active lifestyles. When determining how to speak in their language, imagine your audience as embarking on new challenges, not settling into the tired roles associated with the "retired" archetype.
Respect their work ethic. Unlike younger generations that value their leisure time, members of this generation tend to work hard and even work far past the government-defined retirement age ... because they want to.
Respect their digital savvy and communication skills. While Boomers haven't been quick to adopt texting, they've been quick to adopt other digital platforms like email and mobile. One thing we can say for certain of many boomers is that they're comfortable communicating in long form -- which these days, can mean any message that's longer than 140 characters. Start a conversation with them online by piquing their interests or giving them information that will bring value to their lives.
Follow up with them by email, and offer them tools they can access on their mobile phones. Keep the conversation going, in other words. Not just because they're comfortable with, and even crave, it, but because they're more apt to spread the words to their friends in real-life conversations and become reliable "recommendation engines" for you in the process. Or, alternatively, they're more likely to tell everyone about their horrible experience with your brand. Paging basic customer service ...
Respect their desire to make a difference. The final lesson we've gleaned as we work with our client is that Boomer-centric marketing efforts should tap into their desire to be a part of their local communities and make a difference. They want to be involved in volunteer work, see the tangible results/effects of giving back, and get down and dirty in support of grassroots initiatives. Is your brand helping them connect to their values and helping improve lives and communities? If so, they're more likely to try your products.
|Michael Perry is CEO of House Party, responsible for overall company vision, business diversification and development, and management.|
from my email:
Daily Sales Tip: Ask For Something In Return
Sometimes concessions are necessary in order to get a deal done. Granting a concession may even go a long way toward earning a prospect's trust.
But even in a case where granting the concession is the best way to create a win-win outcome, it's often best to:
-- Tell the prospect you need to consider the request first, and
-- Ask for something in return (e.g., a higher volume purchase or a long-term contract).
Granting a concession immediately (especially a price concession) sends a message that salespeople don't stand by the inherent value of their offer.
It also makes buyers wonder if they might be entitled to additional concessions.
As a safeguard, some salespeople may even ask (before granting a concession), "If I can get my company to agree to the terms we've outlined, do you see any other reason you wouldn't move forward with the sale?"
It ensures the prospect won't ask for additional concessions and it moves you one step closer to finalizing the deal.
Source: Based in part on 7 Strategies to Build Negotiating Power, by Geoffrey James
Click, read & enjoy your weekend:
Great advice recently from Drew:
Posted: 16 Jul 2011 09:47 AM PDT
We give lip service to wanting to serve our customers better, but I see so many examples where people clearly didn’t bother to even consider their customer, that I wonder.
I’m betting we could walk into any business today and point to things that make life better or more enjoyable for the employees but make the customer feel less important or considered.
Here’s what it might look like if you genuinely walked a mile in your customer’s shoes if you owned/worked at…
A take out food establishment: I’d put all the cold food in one bag and all the hot items in another.
A oil change shop: I’d have more than just car magazines in the lobby.
A CPA/business banker: I’d take the forms I make you fill out every year and put them into excel so you could easily update them rather than re-writing pages and pages of numbers.
A pest control company: I’d show up at your house in an unmarked van so all your neighbors wouldn’t know you had a bug problem.
A movie theatre: I’d have a “in your seat 5 minutes before the show” rule like they do in live theatres.
A lawyer: I’d provide you with a cheat sheet of all the important legal documents you need, have and where they’re stored.
Your financial planner: I’d give you a template that captured all of your financial data (investments, bank accounts, credit cards etc.) to put with your will in case something happened to you.
A clothing store: I’d have a room you could enter and have a store employee take a picture of you (with your phone) so you could get other opinions on the potential new outfit.
Did you notice that none of these changes are a big or expensive deal?
If I can do this with 8 types of businesses — I’m pretty sure we could do it with yours too. Your turn — tell us your organization’s core business and what you’d do differently if you truly walked a mile in your customer’s shoes.Sphere: Related Content
There's a good chance your typical B2B customer works in a state of constant overload: too many emails, too many meetings and too much buzzing in her ears. It doesn't matter if your product or service would instantly improve her business and lower her costs—she doesn't have the time or energy to consider replacing solutions that are doing an adequate job.
"Even if the seller makes a brilliant logical case for an offering," writes Michael Harris at MarketingProfs, "the buyer's counterarguments to protect the status quo will always win—because the final judge is in the buyer's head."
So how do you reach these potential buyers? Harris recommends mini-stories that illustrate how your solutions have worked for other customers. "When buyers can picture issues in a real-world scenario, they see how the results might apply also to them," he writes. "The issues start to make sense, and buyers gain insight."
In other words, when you talk about solving a problem the buyer doesn't particularly care to solve, she might become defensive of her status quo and critical of your proposed solution. If, however, you tell the story of a problem experienced by someone else—a narrative in which she doesn't have a personal stake—she can decide for herself that a similar solution might be just what she needs.
"The challenge is that to be insightful the stories need to be relevant to the buyer," notes Harris. "Creating relevant messaging is the heart of moving the buyer off of the status quo."
The Po!nt: A buyer who wants to protect the status quo will reject the most logical argument you can make—so disarm her ready objections with a mini-story to which she can relate.
Source: MarketingProfs.Sphere: Related Content
Click & Read:
Sphere: Related Content
To be honest, I was struggling to come up with a headline for this story.
But it seems like many consumers have figured out a way to break free of the struggle of feeding the family in our current economy.
This is from RAB.com:
Study: People Outsmarting Higher Food Prices
There's not much consumers can do to avoid the distinctly higher prices they're faced with at supermarkets, but a new study from Deloitte shows they're not paying more without a fight.
"I was surprised to see that consumers are treating grocery shopping as a sport now," Pat Conroy, Deloitte's vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader, told Marketing Daily in an email. "They are no longer feeling like victims and instead have a mindset that (says) 'I can beat you at your own game when it comes to shopping in spite of you raising prices and decreasing package size'."
He says it's very apparent that "2011 is different than 2008. Consumers are more savvy, more conscientious, and have more tools at their disposal to squeeze the most out of their spend."
The study finds that consumers are extremely aware of the shift in prices, with 88% of respondents saying that costs in food stores are escalating, and 74% say the size of some packaged goods is smaller.
This -- combined with higher gas prices -- has them shopping less as spending strategy, with 73% making fewer trips to the grocery store, and 41% purchasing fewer items overall.
They're also shunning pricier national brands, with 75% tossing lower-priced products into their basket, and 40% buying more private-label products. And 34% are using smartphones to research food prices or product information while in a store, and an impressive 28% of the sample saying they've interacted with a food retailer via their mobile application or Web site. (And 53% say they are using technology more to find out about food products.)
"The use of shopping-related mobile applications by Smartphone owners in the grocery shopping process is higher than we expected," adds Conroy, "particularly around managing a shopping list and researching food prices or product information. By using Smartphone shopping related applications in the grocery store, consumers have more control over sticking to their budget and researching food prices and product information before coming into the store or while in the store."
(Source: Marketing Daily, 07/22/11)
Daily Sales Tip: Selling Yourself
Just as you are selling to people, you must also remember that you are not only selling and representing a product or service, but you are in effect selling yourself. When beginning a sales relationship, it is important to remember a few key aspects to representing yourself well.
First, be interesting. If potential customers are bored by you, they have less of a chance of being enthralled by any product or service you are representing.
Develop intellect. Of course you are an intelligent person, but can you converse in an intelligent manner? Can you discuss related subjects with thoughtfulness and hold your clients' interest? You are in their territory now, can you speak their language?
Never be arrogant -- never talk up or down to your potential clients. It's rude and will serve only to alienate them. Respect the buyer, and they will respect you.
Along the same lines, develop your empathy levels. If you can relate to your customers' situations authentically, it helps to build rapport.
Rapport is the most important process in influencing others. It is vital if you want to maintain relationships. Without it, you are unlikely to achieve willing agreement to what you want. People who have excellent rapport with others create harmonious relationships based on trust and understanding of mutual needs.
Finally, the greatest compliment a customer can pay you is to describe you as "professional."
Being professional is not one thing, it is three -- It is what you do, what you say and how you present yourself.
Source: Business coach/consultant Jonathan Farrington
Food and other stuff for your reading pleasure:
I've had my new laptop for a month and right there in front is a sticker with a QR Code and the instructions to "Scan for product features, videos, and reviews"
I have yet to scan it.
But I'm not a busy Mom.
QR (Quick Response) codes have been around awhile in Japan and China, but have just recently begun to pick up steam in the U.S. and the West. If you are not familiar with them, they are the next generation of barcodes, can be printed on just about anything and deliver a wide variety of information to consumers.
The beauty of the QR codes is that they can help marketers transition smoothly into a robust mobile strategy. As over 60% of moms now have smartphones, developing a credible mobile strategy is a must for most consumer brands. Sixty percent is a big number and while most moms are just getting used to using their smartphones to check email, many more have mastered emailing photos and video and posting mobile updates to their Facebook pages. Moms, in fact, are leading the way in smartphone adoption!
As brands scramble to capitalize on this ability to be constantly connected to their target consumer -- no mean feat -- a wide variety of ways to do that seems to be popping up. I hear talk of building apps, advertising and creating mobile websites. All of these are great, but they take time to study and implement. QR codes, on the other hand, are a no-brainer. They fit into your already existing programs, cost very little and are extremely flexible at delivering information about your brand.
QR codes can be and probably should be printed on all of your current promotional materials, from billboards to POP. They can deliver something as simple as a link to your website. On a billboard, where space is at a premium, commuters can snap your QR code on their smartphone cameras (preferably not while driving) and save the link to your website to visit while on the go or save for later. What a great way to cut through the clutter and instantly have your consumer remember your message!
QR codes can deliver e-coupons right in the store when printed on your POP materials or drive consumers to the store when printed in magazines and other advertising materials. More creatively they can get consumers to "like" your Facebook page instantly, deliver digital prizes and enter sweepstakes. Their use is limited only by imagination and what you can put on a website.
While building apps is long and involved, but sexy, unless you have a really useful benefit to provide to your target consumer on a regular basis, your app is going to languish on your consumer's phone and eventually be deleted. QR codes, on the other hand, are quick to make and easy to understand -- by both consumers and management.
|Maryanne Conlin is a brand marketer and award-winning social media expert. Follow her on Twitter at @mcmilker|
Labels: qr codes
Daily Sales Tip: Overcoming Call Reluctance
Hesitation to make contact with prospective new clients causes more failures for salespeople than any other single factor. Why? Because if you don't approach enough people, it makes little difference how thorough your expertise is. Without a steady flow of prospects, your magnetic personality, credentials, product knowledge, and perfect presentations won't make much impact. Inactivity on the prospecting front nullifies your ability to engage these other strengths.
Successful selling usually involves five steps:
1. Identifying prospective clients (includes identifying referral sources).
2. Initiating contact with prospective clients and referral sources.
3. Introducing yourself, your products and your services.
4. Informing prospective clients of how you can help (giving your sales presentation).
5. Influencing the prospect's decision to buy from you.
Many salespeople are uncomfortable with steps 2 and 3, initiating and introducing -- but without them, informing and influencing can't happen! Ultra-professional presentation skills, dazzling rapport-building, detailed product knowledge and clever closes cannot and will not return a penny of profit if you don't have enough prospects.
The math is simple: Successful salespeople consistently initiate contact with more prospects than their less-than-successful counterparts.
Source: Sales coach/trainer Connie Kadansky
Click & Read:
Back when I was the Communications V-P of my local Advertising Federation, I got some hands on experience with creating effective email campaigns.
Here's a few tips from Marketing Profs:
Effective email campaigns rely on engaged subscribers—but most of the people on a typical list have gone three or six months without opening messages or clicking through. "It is truly a sad state of affairs when marketers are immune to the fact that at least 60% of email recipients ignore communications," writes Ryan Deutsch in an article at MarketingProfs.
To help you get your engagement rates up, Deutsch offers a handy checklist with questions like these:
Do you have a welcome series? These multi-email campaigns give new subscribers a crash-course in your program, telling them about the content you provide and how often it will arrive. "The more they understand and believe in the value of your program," Deutsch says, "the better their engagement with it will be."
Do you use automated triggers? Stay relevant by sending messages triggered by behavior or personal information. "Purchases, browser behavior, life events, and alerts/reminders are all examples of ways marketers can trigger email communications," he explains.
Do you have re-engagement campaigns? When subscriber interaction wanes, you can encourage re-engagement with special offers, subscription confirmations or an invitation to update preferences.
Do you use cause marketing? A growing trend in subscriber engagement, this enables subscribers to shop and support worthy charities. "The Gap recently launched a program called Give & Get, which offered consumers a 30% discount on purchases and the opportunity to donate 5% of their purchase price to a charity of their choice," Deutsch notes.
The Po!nt: Keep the magic alive. You have to be the one to occasionally engage your subscribers if they're going to stay engaged for a healthy amount of time.
Source: MarketingProfs.Sphere: Related Content
Daily Sales Tip: Timing is Everything
When preparing your sales presentation, a guideline I subscribe to is to limit yourself from talking for more than 20 seconds at a time without asking a question. The question you ask should be one directed at the comments you just made. By doing so, you're checking with the customer to see if they understood what you just shared with them.
This is something many salespeople overlook. They get caught up in sharing with the customer their expertise and the features of their product or service and forget all about what the customer is thinking. Even if your product or service requires a complex presentation, you should still follow this rule.
Your goal on any sales call is to talk only 20% of the time. To help ensure that this takes place, you have to plan ahead. Before you start developing your sales presentation, create your list of questions. This is contrary to the pattern of most salespeople who often spend a substantial portion of their time developing their presentation and, at the last minute, develop their list of questions.
Consider that if you're expecting to have a 20-minute presentation, you should have 40 questions (2 questions per minute). Even though you may not use all 40, you'll definitely be more prepared. In addition, you'll be able to pick and choose which ones you want to ask. If you're following the rule of asking short questions, you'll ensure that the customer is doing most of the talking. You'll learn valuable information that will help you better understand the customer's needs.
If you want to move your questioning process to the next level, make half of the questions you ask be ones that help the customer see and feel the pain they have. By doing so, they will be much more open to receiving your solution.
Source: Sales and marketing consultant Mark Hunter
Click & Read:
from the Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo:
Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:00 AM PDT
Daily Sales Tip: Empowering the Gatekeeper
Do not bypass gatekeepers. Build alliances. Do not come down to their level. Come up to their level. You never know with whom you are talking. For all you know, the "secretary" is the owner.
Gatekeepers' jobs are to push you away, but in the same respect it is their job to determine what might be a benefit for the company. Humanize with them. Make a joke. Have fun. Be respectful. Treat them like they are the owner.
And here's an interesting idea -- never ask for the person in charge. Assume they are the people in charge. Say you want to meet with them "and whoever else also makes the purchasing decisions." There are two reasons here:
1) Who you think is in charge and who really is could be different people. By letting them say if they are or not, you will get the real answer;
2) At the same time, by respecting them and their importance, you are separating yourself from every other sales rep who tramples upon them with disrespect as they try to reach the decision-maker.
Source: Sales consultant/author Todd Natenberg
It has now been a full month since I walked away from 8+ years working for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne Indiana.
All together I have spent 25+ years in the radio business with a couple of breaks. I started as a teenage disc-jockey and moved into the advertising and marketing world which I found fascinating.
Radio uses push marketing methods. In order to get the free music, they will push advertising messages out too.
Television broadcasting works this way too. Newspapers also use push marketing methods... you want to read the news, then you have to page thru the ads too.
Yellow Pages is not push marketing. I don't know of anyone who has casually paged thru the phone book as a source of entertainment.
The selling point for yellow pages sales reps was, the book was the place people go to find a business to spend money with to solve problems. Once you pick up the book, you are ready to spend.
Technology however has made the phone book and the yellow pages outdated. When we want an answer, we Google it. The web and search engines are replacing the yellow pages as the source for finding information and answers.
The other reason I switched careers, I believe in the methods used by my team at Cirrus ABS which combines sound technology, solid strategic planning and analytics to measure the results.
Our Sunday Seth talks more about this:
Most of us are happily obsessed with the economy of money. We earn it and we spend it and we generally pay attention to what things cost.
Certainly, salespeople and marketers are truly focused on the price of things, on commissions and shelving allowances and net margin and the cost of goods sold.
With all of these easily measured activity, it's easy to overlook the fast-growing and ever more important economy based around attention.
"If I alert my entire customer base, how much will this cost me in permission?"
"How much time do we save our customers with a better written manual?"
"When we fail to ask for (and reward) the privilege of following up, are we wasting permission?"
"Does launching this product to an audience of stangers waste the attention we're going to have to buy?"
Attention is a bit like real estate, in that they're not making any more of it. Unlike real estate, though, it keeps going up in value.