Saturday, August 27, 2011
I've seen some pretty good email marketing campaigns and I've seen even more crappy campaigns.
MarketingProfs.com shares some tips keep you out of the crapper:
Five Tips for Creating Effective Transactional Emails
"Most online retailers have little insight into the performance of their transactional emails, from basic deliverability characteristics to more sophisticated behavioral data once the emails have been sent," writes Emily Keye at the Bronto blog.
That is a surprising fact when you consider transactional emails enjoy astounding open rates—up to 75% in some cases, according to Keye. So before you confirm an online order or send shipping details, consider advice like this:
First and foremost, make sure your email reaches a customer's inbox. Keye suggests sending transactional email from a unique IP address. "If an ISP, receiver or blacklist blocks your promotional messages," she notes, "your transactional messages will not be affected."
Use subject lines that accurately describe the email's purpose. Recipients might scan only the first few words, while mobile devices might cut off the last few. So don't bury critical terms like "Order Confirmation" or "Shipping Confirmation" at the end of a subject line: Put them right up front.
Provide a detailed overview of the transaction. It's not enough to thank a customer for an order and promise it'll ship soon. Put basic information—including order numbers, product descriptions, prices paid and customer service contacts—in a prominent location.
Don't overwhelm customers with additional offers. It's perfectly okay to suggest complementary products, but place these relevant offers at the bottom of the email, or off to the side. "No more than 20% of your messages should be devoted to promotional content," says Keye.
Deliver transactional email with lightning speed. Consumers are accustomed to nearly instant confirmation; if yours takes longer than usual, they might be irritated or concerned.
The Po!nt: Confirm with clarity. Impress your customers with transactional messages that tell them what they want to know, when they want to know it.
Source: Bronto.Sphere: Related Content
Ever climb a flight of stair and miss a step? It throws you off balance and sometimes you can get hurt!
The same can happen in the sales process. This was in an email to radio sales executives:
Daily Sales Tip: Process vs. Results
The harder we push to create results...in other words, close the sale...the less time we have to develop and execute the sales process. Hard times cause what I call the "Skipping and Tripping" syndrome. Skip a step of the process, like conducting a good Client Needs Analysis before making a recommendation of an idea, and you'll trip yourself and lose the sale.
Remember to execute all of RAB's Seven Steps To Selling Success:
1. Prospecting, including finding and qualifying the account as a good match between your typical listener and the prospect's typical customer.
2. Getting the appointment by using the phone and asking for an appointment to determine if you can be of benefit to the prospect -- not to present a pitch.
3. Researching the prospect's industry and the prospect's marketing situation to prepare specific questions for use during the next step.
4. Conducting a Client Needs Analysis meeting to ask your questions and learn about the prospect's objectives, competitive situation, products and services, and current advertising.
5. Writing the proposal, with custom information focusing on the needs of the advertiser and your solution to those needs.
6. Presenting the proposal, emphasizing client benefits rather than station features.
7. Closing, including addressing objections by restating how your recommendation helps the prospect achieve desired advertising objectives.
Source: John Potter, Radio Advertising Bureau VP/Training
Friday, August 26, 2011
Click & Read:
Sphere: Related Content
And not just because of price.
Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:30 AM PDT
You ever pay attention to the toothpaste aisle at your local grocery or drug store? You have toothpaste that whitens teeth. Toothpaste that is for sensitive teeth and gums. Toothpaste that’s organic and ‘green’. Toothpaste for kids. Toothpaste for…well, you get the point.
Ever wonder why? Because it’s important to differentiate your product so that the customer can buy what’s best for their own unique needs.
So, what makes your company different? How are your products and services uniquely valuable to the customer?
And how do you clearly, consistently, concisely deliver that information to potential and current customers so that they could tell me, right now, why they should buy from you?
If your answer includes price – you’re screwed. There are too many idiots out there in the world that will race you to bankruptcy by slashing the prices with the belief that if it takes $10 to make and they sell it for $1, then can make up the loss on volume.
There is the plumber that offers 24/7 service with a guaranteed response time for ‘Premiere’ customers. Becoming a ‘Premiere’ customer, you have to spend a certain amount of money or you can pay a special fee.
And there is the clothing store that serves women executives and provides them with a personal shopper that makes recommendations on new apparel and brings the clothing to the client’s office instead of making the client come into the store. (They will also open after hours, by appointment, in order to accommodate the client.)
For me, I guarantee satisfaction. And
How do you decide how to differentiate your business, products and services?
First, talk to your customers, if you have any. If you don’t, talk to potential customers. Ask them about their needs, their wants, their current solution providers… because at the end of the conversation, you need to have a pretty good idea of what is in demand and, ideally, unmet.
Second, the look at the competition and see who offers what and how it is offered. You do this because, sometimes, customers are not aware of what’s out there in the market and differentiating your business is so important, you don’t want to miss anything.
Third, know your strengths and weaknesses – and build off your strengths. Remember, if your audience wants 24/7 service, you have to be able to deliver. If you can’t, find another way to differentiate your business/products or find another audience or acquire the resources necessary to turn that weakness into a strength.
Finally, make sure your clearly, concisely, continuously communicate your point of differentiation to the market – you want to own that space. Yes, that may mean that some business will go elsewhere but you made this decision based on the market demand so don’t focus on the few, focus on the many.
Sphere: Related Content
Here it is:
I may not answer if I am meeting with someone else at the moment, but I do return important calls, so leave me a message so I can help you. (By the way, I chose that number because the last 4 digits spell HELP, as in 260-255-HELP.
Then there is email.
SHoward@CirrusABS.com for work or Scott@ScLoHo.net for everything.
If you are on Twitter, send me a tweet @ScLoHo.
Why do I tell you all of this "private" info?
No success without access
By Harvey Mackay
Over the years I've asked a lot of people what makes a great salesperson, and the answers are fairly predictable: passion; persistence; personality/likeability; planning; trustworthiness; strong work ethic; drive/initiative; quick learner; goal-oriented; good communications skills; sense of humor; humility; good timing; strong at building relationships; and follow-up (or as I say, the sale begins when the customer says yes).
My own answer is always the same: hungry fighter. In many ways, that is the embodiment of all of the above traits.
Further, I would argue that the second most important factor is accessibility. I seldom do business with people who are not accessible. If I can't reach you immediately, I want to know that you'll get back to me within minutes or hours, not days. If you're slow to answer the call, your phone will stop ringing.
Notice I say accessible instead of available, because accessibility includes availability, plus ease of use, user friendly, convenience and more. When you have questions, you want to talk to someone who has answers. If your sales person doesn't, they must be able to find someone who can.
Sales people as well as those in customer service need to understand the importance of accessibility. Woody Allen said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." That may be true in some businesses, but it falls far short in sales and service. Would you be satisfied if a sales person was available for only four out of five customers?
Personal story: I fly tens of thousands of uneventful miles every year, but I recently had a frustrating experience with a major airline that sent my blood pressure skyrocketing. Bad weather where my connecting flight was originating caused my flight to be delayed five times before it was cancelled. Instead of putting me on the next available flight, the airline just assigned me on the same flight -- 24 hours later! But no official announcements came. A fellow traveler got an email on his iPhone and shared the news.
We were told an agent would be at the gate to help us, but after 30 minutes no one had shown up. The phone lines at the rebooking center were jammed. The computer screens were down. I tried the toll-free number, and was told I'd be on hold for 30 minutes. After just a few minutes, the hold message turned into a busy signal. I couldn't reach a human being.
In desperation I called my travel agent, who found a flight on another carrier leaving within an hour. He also found several other available flights that evening that could have accommodated most of the delayed travelers, but the airline didn't offer any of those options. Note to self: Never fly that airline again. Ever.
We want to be able to count on people in an emergency. That airline doesn't realize that the more accessible you are, the more accessible your entire organization becomes.
I think what makes people the most frustrated is when they can't reach anyone. As necessary and popular as they are, I have never been a fan of voice mail or automated systems. That's why we still have a receptionist -- a live person -- answering calls from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at MackayMitchell Envelope Company. Our sales people share after-hours emergency contact information as well. We will never get rid of the personal touch.
Can you be accessible 24/7? Technically, yes. But should you be accessible all the time? Of course not.
But you have to get back to people promptly, even if just to tell them you got their message and you are working on their request. If you want to depend on your customers' business, you must remember that your customers depend on you.
Perhaps you've seen a variation of the parable of the ignored customer. Its message should resonate to every kind of business that needs customers.
"I'm the person who goes into a restaurant, sits down patiently and waits while the servers do everything but take my order. I'm the person who goes into a store and stands quietly while the sales people finish their little chitchat. I'm the person who goes into a reception room on time for business appointment, and stands by the desk while the receptionist finishes her personal phone call.
"You might say I'm a patient person. But do you know who else I am? I'm the person who never comes back!"
Mackay's Moral: You can't reach the top if your customers can't reach you. Sphere: Related Content
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Click & Read:
Sphere: Related Content
Dogs. Zombies. Heineken's "Occasionally Perfect" billboard. Let's launch!
A marriage proposal went off without a hitch for one man in a spot for ESPN. From his girlfriend's perspective, it was more of a hot mess. "Decent Proposal" begins with a young girl dreaming of the day her prince will come. As she ages, her ideal proposal includes butterflies, a gondola and a romantic vacation destination. In reality, her boyfriend proposes at Comerica Park, on the JumboTron, during a Detroit Tigers game. She accepts, right about the time the overweight man sitting next to her realizes he can be seen on the JumboTron and spills beer on her. Watch it here. Wieden+Kennedy New York created the ad, directed by Jim Jenkins.
Purina launched "Heist," an adorable TV and cinema ad running in the U.K., to promote Bakers Meaty Meals, a soft, chewy dog food. A delivery van is stolen by a pack of adorable dogs that drive off with a load of Meaty Meals. All goes well until a sharp turn on a mountainside road sends the van spinning out of control, teetering between the road and a deadly plunge. The tiniest pooch saves the cargo and his friends, and they celebrate with lunch on the mountainside. See the ad here, created by DDB UK.
A dog, protective of his belongings, takes the term "Cat Burglar" seriously in an ad for Travelers Insurance. There's no way our dog will let a raccoon steal his beloved toy truck, boat and bone. If that means guarding his doghouse in a torrential rainstorm and forgoing fun walks with his owner, then so be it. The spot ends with the dog regaining his life and taking out a Travelers Insureance policy, just in case. See the ad here, created by Fallon, directed by Daniel Kleinman and edited by Eve Ashwell of Cut and Run
"It's getting harder and harder to tell what's real," says a voiceover in an ad for Nutro dog food. A woman takes her dog to the beach for a fun game of fetch. She throws a stick, only to have it get stuck mid-air, confusing both the woman and her dog. That part definitely reminded me of the movie "The Truman Show" -- how about you? The spot ends with a voiceover encouraging dog owners to be conscious of the types of food they're feeding their animals: is it real or a hodgepodge of ingredients? Watch the ad here, created by BBDO San Francisco.
Heineken Light created an "Occasionally Perfect" billboard and placed it on the corner of Great Jones and Lafayette Street in New York City. By day, and most nights, it really is just a plain billboard, except for the night of Aug. 17. The billboard was transformed into a stage where the Brooklyn-based group "TV on the Radio" played a surprise performance for thousands of New Yorkers. See it here. The billboard will remain in New York for one more week. Which means there has to be at least one more surprise in the works. Check out the Heineken Light Facebook page and look for the hashtag #OccasionallyPerfect for hints. Wieden+Kennedy New York created the campaign.
Zombies, and lots of them, can be found inside the Call of Duty Zombie Labs, where scientists perform a variety of experiments to determine the best way to kill zombies in various elements. Who knew there were zombies on the moon? This elaborate video promotes the final chapter in "Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection." Questions the lab hopes to answer include: "How do zombies explode when there is no air -- and how does the vacuum of space affect the zombie's appetite?" The latter question is posed while viewers watch a zombie walk a treadmill with a human brain dangled in front of it. TBWA/Chiat/Day created the video, directed by Rocky Morton.
Toshiba launched another amusing TV spot where the company's CEO thinks of worse-case scenarios if products are shipped without extra features. Remember their zombie ad from last month? This time around, the CEO is told that tablets are ready to ship sans ports. He mulls this over and pictures movie time in a prison. The VCR breaks and a guard's tablet is the only viable option to watch the movie. Since there's no HDMI port, though, a prison riot breaks out, all the prisoners escape, and they take over the White House. Another no-brainer: the ports need to be included in the tablet. Watch the ad here, created by goodness Mfg. and directed by Ulf Johansson.
Random iPhone and iPad App of the week: Apalon released an updated version of its Pimp Your Screen app that now includes a Lock Screen Maker feature, allowing users to customize their lock screen with different colors, textures and backgrounds. The update offers clock and slider skins options, along with personal photos, and even a calendar on the lock screen. The app costs 99 cents in the App Store.
Sphere: Related Content
Daily Sales Tip: Cushion Your Schedule
Phone calls, drop-in visitors, commuting time between appointments, and emergency calls from customers with problems will continue to be problems no matter how carefully you plan.
As a general rule, add about 20 percent to the estimated time you think an activity will take. This should give you enough leeway to react to serious unanticipated problems while focusing most of your attention on scheduled priorities.
Source: Adapted from The New Science of Selling and Persuasion by William T. Brooks, CEO of The Brooks Group (2009)
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Click & Read:
Sphere: Related Content
The words of Laura Ries:
In a down economy with consumers pinching every penny, you would think that sales at a retailer synonymous with "cheap" would be up, not down. Yet sales at Walmart have been down for two years in a row. Actually, that's nine straight quarters of decline.
The only good news at Walmart is profits rose this quarter 5.7%, but that was mostly due to cost cutting and international growth.
The really bad news is that Walmart's core U.S. business, which accounts for 62% of sales, is in a seemingly irreversible slump with fewer consumers coming into stores. How can this be? And what can Walmart possibly do to reverse it?
The answer has nothing to do with better-looking clothes, smaller stores or launching a Facebook page. The answer is all about reinforcing and defending the Walmart brand in the mind.
So how does the world's largest retailer defend its position in the mind?
Advertising. Massive advertising that reminds consumers in a memorable way what the Walmart brand stands for. But here is where Walmart is making three classic mistakes.
1. Walmart isn't spending enough money on advertising.
Unless you spend enough to get above the noise level, money spent on advertising can be extremely wasteful. That's why mass-media advertising for a brand that isn't well known or doesn't have enough money to spend is ill advised. A brand like this is better off doing PR, social media and anything else it can think of.
For big brands, there is little PR potential, unless it is bad news or an earnings statement. Nobody covers burgers at McDonald's or how real Coca-Cola tastes or how exciting cellphone plans are. For big brands, most other tactics like social media, when taken by themselves, are too small in comparison to the size of the company and number of consumers.
The most effective way to protect a well-known brand with mass appeal is with mass advertising. If you can afford it, nothing is more powerful than mass advertising to protect and defend your position in the marketplace and in the mind. That's how leaders manage to stay leaders for long periods of time. By spending only a few percentage points of sales, they can dominate the media and outspend their competition. AT&T spends $2.9 billion on advertising. American Express, $2.2 billion. Walt Disney, $1.9 billion. Comcast, $1.8 billion. Toyota, $1.7 billion. Anheuser-Busch, $1.3 billion. McDonald's, $1.2 billion.
The leader has the ability to way outspend the competition. Look at McDonald's vs. Burger King. Most consumers think Burger King's burgers taste better, but it doesn't matter. McDonald's dominates the category by spending $1.29 billion on advertising. Burger King spends almost $400 million, which buys a lot of advertising. But since McDonald's outspends them three-fold, Burger King's message gets lost and the brand suffers.
Walmart spends $2.1 billion a year on advertising. But compared to other retailers, Walmart is underspending in relation to its sales. Walmart spends 0.8% compared to Target at 2.2% and Sears at 4.7%.
Walmart should be way outspending Target. If Walmart spent 2.2% of sales on advertising, that would be a $5.72 billion budget, which would be almost four times that of Target's and make Walmart the biggest U.S. advertiser.
That's what leaders do. And that's what keeps leaders more dominant, more profitable and faster-growing than their competition.
2. Walmart doesn't spend its advertising money in the right medium.
Out of a $2.1 billion budget, Walmart spends only $524 million on TV advertising. While Walmart is a top 10 overall advertiser, it doesn't make the list of the top 10 TV advertisers. AT&T spends $1.5 billion on TV alone.
Instead of TV, more than half of Walmart's budget is spent on unmeasured media, presumably newspaper inserts and shopper marketing.
Can you name the last time you saw a Walmart commercial? I watch a lot of TV and I can't. But I do remember lots of Target ads. And a ton of AT&T ads.
For most brands, TV is the place to avoid. But not for Walmart. The world's largest retailer needs to have a dominant presence on the world's largest advertising medium: TV.
3. Walmart doesn't use the right message.
What is a Walmart?
Most consumers would answer "low prices." Many people say cheap, but Walmart didn't build its brand on cheap stuff, it built it on selling brand names for the cheapest prices. Which is why the "Always low prices. Always" tagline did such a good job of reinforcing the brand position.
Why change a good thing? Marketing isn't about tinkering. It is about finding what works and sticking to that. Sure, some minor tweaks are needed over the decades but major change should be avoided.
So what did Walmart do? It scraped its logo for a wimpier-looking font and sunburst trademark. Then it changed its tagline to the unmemorable, undistinguished "Save money. Live better."
What makes Walmart a powerful brand is the guarantee inherent in the name that it has the lowest prices. Always.
So what is Walmart doing now? Advertising a "guarantee to match competitor's prices." Wait a minute, I thought the low-price guarantee was met by just walking in the door? Advertising that you will match prices is the same as admitting you might not always have the lowest price. Not a good direction for a brand like Walmart.
Sam Walton might be proud of the meager 0.8% of sales that his Walmart is spending on advertising. But today Walmart isn't a handful of stores in a couple of small towns. Walmart is the world's largest retailer and it need to start acting like one.
Sphere: Related Content
Time for a mid-week Seth Godin Sales Tip:
Not just the first one.
And not all three.
But you really need at least one.
1. Results. If you can offer a return on investment, an engineering solution, more sales, no tax audits, a cute haircut, the fastest rollercoaster, a pristine beach, reliable insurance payouts at the best price, peace of mind, productive consulting or any other measurable result, this is a great place to start.
2. Thrills. More difficult to quantify but often as important, partners and customers respond to heroism. We are amazed and drawn to over the top effort, incredible risk taking on our behalf, the blood, sweat and tears that (rarely) comes from a great partner. A smart person working harder on your behalf than you'd be willing to work--that's pretty compelling.
3. Ego. Is it nice to feel important? You bet. When you greet us at the door with a glass of white wine, put our name in the lobby of the hotel, actually treat us better than anyone else does (not just promise it, but do it)... This can get old really fast if you industrialize and systemize it, though.
This explains why the local branch of the big insurance company has trouble growing. It's hard for them to outdeliver the other guys when it comes to the cost effectiveness of their policy (#1). They are unsuited from a personality and organizational point of view to do #2. And they just can't scale the third.
Put just about any business with partners into this matrix and you see how it works. Book publishing, for sure. Hairdressers. Spas. Even real estate.
The Ritz Carlton is all about #3, ego, right? And on a good day, there's a perception that the guys at Apple are hellbent on amazing us yet again, delivering on #2, taking huge career and corporate risks on our behalf. As soon as they stop doing that, the tribe will get bored.
(There's a variation of ego, #3, that comes from being in good company. This is what gets people to sign up for Davos, or to choose ICM as their agent. Your ego is stroked by knowing that only people as cool as you are part of this gig. Sort of the anti-Groucho opportunity. Nice position, if you can get it, because it scales.).
It's tempting, particularly for a small business, to obsess about the first—results—to spend all its time trying to prove that the ROI is higher, the brownies are tastier and the coaching is more effective. You'd be amazed at how far you can go with the other two, if you commit to doing it, not merely talking about it.
Sphere: Related Content
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Click & Read:
Sphere: Related Content
With a headline like that, you might think I'm selling some mystery cure, but no this is validation to something I noticed a few years ago.
I was the V-P of communications for our local Advertising Federation.
This included keeping our website fresh and sending out the invites to our monthly events.
We did direct mail and also email.
A good email with a call to action beats direct mail hands down for both cost and response.
This is one of the services we offer at Cirrus ABS. Contact me at SHoward@CirrusABS.com for details.
In the meantime, check out this report:
Online Coupons Boast High Redemption Rate
The recession has encouraged a host of deal-seeking behavior among consumers, including searching out online and mobile coupons as well as taking advantage of daily deal offers, which have risen in popularity dramatically. And thanks to television shows like "Extreme Couponing" where shoppers save hundreds of dollars during strategically planned supermarket visits, old-fashioned coupon-clipping is back in the spotlight, too.
Though shoppers still scour the Sunday paper for coupons, those free-standing inserts have the lowest redemption rate of all formats, according to NCH Marketing Services. Instantly redeemable grocery coupons featured on the outside of a package were the most likely to be claimed, followed by coupons downloaded from the internet, at nearly 17%. Health and beauty products had a 13.6% redemption rate for the same digital format.
The high redemption rate for online coupons could be attributed to both a growing familiarity with the process as well as the increased availability of online offers. NCH also found a 15% increase in promotions distributed digitally in the first half of 2011 versus the first half of the previous year. eMarketer estimates that overall, 88.2 million US internet users will redeem an online coupon for either online or offline shopping this year, up from 83.6 million in 2010.
In addition, opt-in email lists and other targeted offers, along with the fact that many online coupons are found by searchers directly seeking out deals, mean digital offers are more likely to reach consumers who want to redeem them. Free-standing inserts, by contrast, are distributed more widely, likely depressing the redemption rate.
Home-printed coupons not only stand a better chance of being redeemed, they also attract more new buyers than traditional coupons. According to Knowledge Networks, nearly half of consumer packaged goods (CPG) coupon redeemers from 2008 to 2010 had not previously bought the promoted item compared to 34% that had used free-standing inserts.
Overall, 35% of consumers surveyed by SymphonyIRI downloaded coupons from manufacturer or retailer websites, while 31% did so from dedicated coupon sites. Coupons were popular across all incomes, though preferred sources varied. Those making less than $35k over-indexed most heavily for manufacturer sites, whose offerings in many ways resemble the same types of packaged goods deals found through free-standing inserts.
Only daily deal sites gained in popularity as incomes rose, reflecting a tendency of wealthier shoppers to embrace new digital sources first. According to a Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) study, coupons were the preferred discount among all internet users (80%), while daily deals landed closer to the bottom (16%).
Coupons show no sign of falling out of favor with shoppers, no matter the format. However, retailers should be aware of the differences between delivery channels and formats. Digital's ability to attract new buyers and provide solid redemption rates makes online coupons stand apart
The answer is below:
Daily Sales Tip: Why People Buy
A fundamental question in selling is not why people sell, but why people buy.
It is well known that people buy for their own reasons -- not for the seller's. In fact, their motivation to buy may have very little to do with the reasons why the seller thinks they should buy. When it comes down to it, people buy something to meet their needs, or resolve the problems they are facing.
According to Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, people decide to buy when, "the pain of the problem and desire for a solution have been built to the point where they are greater than the cost of the solution."
A good sales professional can help clients come to that realization. But it doesn't happen as easily as you might think. Most people learn the basics of conducting needs analysis, customizing solutions and linking benefits to pain in their Sales 101 class. However, once they are out in the real world, they forget to bring these classroom lessons to life, and somehow their competence, composure, and confidence suddenly evaporate. Faced with self-induced, pressure-filled selling situations, they confuse telling with selling.
As dairy farmers are apt to say, "Cows don't give milk. You have to take it from them." The same is true with selling. Nobody just gives you a sale. You have to take it. But how you "take it" is very counterintuitive. A natural tendency of most sellers is to rush in. And as the Newtonian principle outlines, the equal and opposite reaction on the part of the buyers is to shut them out.
Like milking a cow, selling can be a delicate operation. While a client probably won't threaten you with a hoof, you're still faced with the fact that the harder you push, the more pushback you get. Why? As Harry Truman once said, "The best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it."
Nobody likes to be told what to do -- not even children. Imagine going to a doctor who gives you the same prescription she gave the previous patient because it worked. By not listening, by not being inquisitive, by not clarifying assumptions, sellers come across as not caring -- or caring more about themselves -- and perpetuate the stereotype of the arrogant, pushy "salesman" we all love to hate.
Source: Abhay Padgaonkar, President of Innovative Solutions Consulting, LLC (www.innovativesolutions.org)
Monday, August 22, 2011
Click & read:
Sphere: Related Content
Somewhere a lot of businesses lost the friendly approach.
Starbucks made their mark when they came to my town a few years ago by engaging with customers, instead of staring at you, waiting for you to speak first.
When they lost their way, that was one of the ways they recaptured their niche.
Mediapost wrote about friendly recently:
Retailers have the chance to make changes now to grab Gen Y dollars and follow the example set by leading youth brands like Apple, Chipotle, Scion, and H&M.
1. Train People Well Apple is one of the brands universally popular with Gen Y. Male or female, college educated or GED, Gen Y loves its iPods, iPhones and iMacs. Other retailers get green with envy at the sight of ever-packed Apple Stores.
And you don't have to be a Gen Y member to figure out why.
Apple hires and trains its people extremely well. Apple Store employees know Apple's relatively simple line of products inside and out and, if you have a problem, you can always visit the Genius Bar.
Gen Y consumers are notorious for researching their purchases online before venturing out to a store and Apple's employees are able to actually make an alternate recommendation or provide further details to secure the sale of that consumer.
Train your people on product information to compete with well-researched Gen Y consumers.
2. Focus on the Product Put away the flashy signs and throw out any plans to discount your product.
Look at Chipotle, another top Gen Y brand. It has only a handful of core products, with a bunch of customization options and the menu is devoid of a dollar menu. Chipotle doesn't run sales, and it offers only a limited amount of discount promotions with most done at the individual store levels.
Scion, which was recently named the top car brand among Gen Y consumers, sells just four models of cars. Compare that to Ford, which offers 18 on its website (not including commercial vehicles). Consumers can customize their base model in several different ways, but Scion keeps its product selection small, making it easier for its sales staff and allowing more options -- like a Chipotle or Apple -- once you select a base model.
Even if you don't have a simple product, find simple entry points to lure in the Gen Y shopper and then look at the details.
3. Browsability The ability to easily browse your store and interact with the product is huge for Gen Y consumers.
Look at Gen Y favorites Swatch and H&M. Swatch retail stores are in the same futuristic and clean vein as Apple's, but with the watches hanging from the store walls -- not locked behind glass cases on the counter -- giving people a chance to touch and try on the brightly colored wrist accessories.
When visiting an H&M, you're never out of sight of a mirror. You can instantly pick up a shirt or a jacket and take it for a quick look in the mirror before deciding if you want to try it on in the fitting room. Old Navy has taken it one step further, recently introducing middle-of-the-section "Quick Change" booths, allowing people to quickly try on a shirt.
|Patrick Evans is a Gen Y member marketing to Gen Y consumers as marketing and communications manager at STA Travel, the youth travel expert enabling students and young adults to explore the world by creating experiences filled with adventure, discovery and personal growth. Chat with him on Twitter at @statravelUS or @thatpatrick.|
Sphere: Related Content
Pat Mcgraw starts our week:
Posted: 16 Aug 2011 10:38 AM PDT
I came across this question on LinkedIn this week, and thought it would be interesting to some of you…
There are some really good responses but my favorite, of course, is mine. What is your answer to the question? How has ‘strategy’ helped (or hurt) your business?
Strategy is one piece of the puzzle for building a successful business – the four pieces include goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.
First, you start with goals. Goals are high-level planning targets that your business will achieve. Usually somewhat abstract and unmeasurable. For example, “…to be the world leader in manufacturing widgets” or “…to be the best white tablecloth restaurant in Chicago.”
Next, goals drive objectives. Objectives are the measurable results that combine to achieve a goal. These are concrete and trackable and have a timeline associate with it. For example, “…to manufacture more than 10 million widgets in FY 2012″ or “…to win the critic’s choice award from the Chicago Sun in FY 2012.”
From these measurable objectives come strategy – the broad plan to achieve your objectives. Like goals, these are more abstract so examples might include “…expanding sales beyond the US into international markets” or “…hire a world class chief that will rework the menu.”
Finally, your strategies drive the tactics – the actionable tasks to support the strategy. Tactics are concrete things you can “do.” Examples might include “…sign a partner deal with Company X to sell and distribute our widgets in China” or “…hire Bobby Flay as head chief.”
Hopefully this answers your question regarding the importance of strategy – it drives your organization’s actions. Everything that the people do within your organization (tactics) need to support the strategies in order to achieve the objectives and realize the goals.
Sphere: Related Content