Archive for March, 2011

Volvo and Legoland: Product Placement Success Story

There are very few times in life when you write about something and then you experience what you write about within a couple of days of writing it.  This weekend that happened to me.

Those of you following my blog know that I blogged last week about the importance of product placement (Product Placement…the easily forgotten differentiator) as a marketing delivery method.  And in that blog, I gave you lots of suggestions on how you can use the physical placement of your product to help market your company/product. 

My Facebook friends know that I took my son and his friend to Legoland this weekend.   And low and behold…a prime and effective example of product placement presented itself to me (and I thought I would share it with you)!

Check out the picturesI attached my blog.  It’s a Volvo made out of Legos!  What a great product placement idea!  Why?

  1. Volvo’s target market is there–Legoland is expensive…so if you can afford to take the kids and their friends to Legoland, you can probably afford a more expensive car…like the family friendly Volvo.
  2. They are getting past the advertising clutter–
  3. It has staying power–heck I took a picture of it and I also took note of the preferred parking available to anyone driving a Volvo to the park that day…and I bet others now have a picture of a Volvo (Lego-style)in their vacation photo album!
  4. It’s remarkable–I am sure that I am not the only one telling friends and family about the Lego Volvo.

So can you get alot of mileage out of your product placement?  Absolutely!  Just ask Volvo!

Happy Marketing!

Product Placement…the easily forgotten differentiator!

There are many forms of delivery for your marketing program…have you considered product placement lately?  Ok, placement is one of the four P’s of marketing….but how can you use product placement to your marketing advantage?    (Oh and by the way…I am not talking about shelving here…though this is a way to get your product noticed.)

Here’s how three easy steps:

  • Determine where your target market spends their physical time—you have heard the adage “fish where the fish are” right?  Why not put your fancy net where the fish like to swim…if only briefly?  For example…where do people who want to get married spend some of their time?  Why, waiting in line at city hall of course!  If you are providing goods and services supporting marriage…why not get your brochure there?
  • Let them use it—when it comes to placement, one size does not fix all.  You don’t always have to focus on putting your brochureware where people can see it.  How about letting your target market actually test out your product in a place they were going anyway?  For example, Haws Corporation has a solution to bottled water called the Hydration Station.  And, to get people used to their product concept and see if their target audience would resonate with their product, they had Hydration Stations set up at The Sundance Film Festival.  What a great way to build a buzz for your product! 
  • Determine your potential local distribution partners—as a business owner, you should always be thinking about what partners could provide your information to your target market for little or no cost to your company.  For instance, a great distribution partner for companies whose target markets are new businesses and people new to an area is a local chamber of commerce or a visitor’s center.  They regularly market to this company’s target market and it should be able to get the company’s name out relatively inexpensively.

Have some additional placement ideas?  Let me know in the comments section below!

Happy Marketing!

Four Quick and Easy Tips to Name Generation…

While most of us would agree that great care should be given when selecting a name for a new company or a new product, many people don’t have a true process they go through when selecting a name.

Since the name of your company or product/service is going to be with you for hopefully a very, very long time, it is important that you get this part of building your new business/product/service right.

Here are four quick and easy tips to naming a new business, product or service.

  1. Keep it Simple— less is (most often) more when selecting a name.  Think about your target audience when you are naming your company.  Since you are building your product and service around their wants/needs…why wouldn’t you build your company name around these wants/needs as well?   For some, simple could mean naming it after the family like SC Johnson (who makes things like Windex).
  2. Make it Memorable—while “being memorable” means different things to different people, to me it means selecting a name that is easy for your target market to remember.  So nothing complicated or hard to remember.  Or worse yet…one that is so close in name to a competitor that you often get mistaken for them (which could be a good or bad thing depending upon the competitor).  For example:  JiffyPop.  How could you forget that name?  Popped corn in a jiffy!
  3. Make it Relevant—is important for you to select a name that is easily relatable (by your target market) to what you do.  For example:  Toys”R”us.  When seeing this name for the very first time, would you have any doubt or misunderstanding as to what this company does?   Another great example is ProPixFix…a new online photo restoration service.  The name clearly tells you what they do.
  4. Make it Familiar—my final and favorite naming tip is make it familiar…meaning make it sound like you have heard of that company before.  When you start a business, you will have almost no brand recognition or equity.  By having a familiar sounding name, you might get people comfortable in giving you a shot, even though you are new.   For example: Fast Forward Strategies.  This marketing strategy company started in 2002 with no brand awareness/equity.  The company benefitted from the name sounding like a strategy company their target market had heard of before.

Ok, so what do you do if you have a “bad” name and you are stuck with it?  Help fix the bad name with a tagline.  Look for a future blog post on the topic of taglines coming soon to my blog.

Have more quick and easy tips on selecting a name for your new company, product or service?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy Marketing!

5 things to think about before starting a direct marketing campaign..

With all the focus on digital and social media marketing, little is being said about how you can in fact be successful in the world of direct marketing.  Just for the record, direct marketing is not just direct mail marketing, though it has a lot to do with it.

In my video blog above, I give you several things you need to think about before you embark on a direct marketing campaign. 

Here are the highlights:

  1. Determine what your goals are for the direct marketing campaign
  2. Determine the message
  3. Determine the format
  4. Determine the response methods
  5. Determine how are you going to measure your success

Have other things you should consider before embarking on a direct marketing campaign?  Let me know in the comments section!

Happy Marketing!

Social Media Can Be Your Friend Too!

Let’s face it social media isn’t going away.  You can choose to ignore it…but at your peril.  

First some stats:

  • Over 600 million Facebook users
  • Over 200 million Twitter users
  • Over 95 million LinkedIn users

In my post 7 Quick Tips to Maximizing Your LinkedIn Strategies , I talked about how you can use LinkedIn to your marketing advantage. In my video blog, I talk about a company who got it right in terms of effectively using LinkedIn.  Just in case you missed it, here is the synopsis:

  • It’s a story about two online insurance leads marketing companies:  One gets it as it relates to social media and one doesn’t.
  • The company that doesn’t get it, got raked over the coals in this particular LinkedIn group and has now been effectively banished by the group members–who will likely talk disparagingly about this company to both their online and offline associates.
  • The company that gets it, built trust in one of its key prospect LinkedIn groups by providing valuable content and informing rather than just “meforming.”
  • The company that gets it has already started doing business with the members of the LinkedIn group.

So what’s the moral of this LinkedIn and social media story?  You can get business through LinkedIn and social media if you do it right.  That means be genuine, build trust, provide value and be there on a consistent basis.  No one but your cat/dog and mother wants to hear your elevator pitch on social media.

So what are you doing to build relationships on LinkedIn/social media?

Happy Marketing!

Small businesses are getting it even more…

Those of you who follow my blog know that I love seeing firmographics and demographics and how they change over time.  So much to my joy, I found some stats on how social media is growing among small businesses. 

According to a study called “Local Commerce Monitor-Wave 14” from BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, twice as many small businesses are using twitter now (in Q4’10) than in Q3’09:  19% up from 9% in Q3’09.

  • That said, Twitter (19%) usage is still woefully behind Facebook usage (48%) among small businesses.
  • Interestingly, more than a third of small businesses had increased their use of links and ads on social media sites over the past year, and 46% planned further increases in the next 12 months.
  • And, coming as no surprise…younger businesses are most active in social media—and least active in traditional media.

Thanks to eMarketer for providing these wonderful stats!’

So, now that small businesses are “getting it”, what is your strategy to attract and capture these socially aware small businesses?

Happy Marketing!

7 Quick Tips to Maximizing Your LinkedIn Strategies…

In business today, LinkedIn truly is your friend.  But, LinkedIn is a fickle friend in that you have to be the one to keep the relationship going.   The over 700 people I am linked to know that I use LinkedIn almost to the max.  But, there are limits to what even I do. 

So how can you have an immediate and positive impact on your personal brand and your company through LinkedIn?  Here are some strategies that I use:

  1. Set up a LinkedIn page for your company—it doesn’t take too long and people look for it to get an estimate of your company size.  But, please do yourself a favor and make sure your company information really conveys your brand promise.  Don’t just regurgitate your company history…you need that too but maximize your effort here.
  2. Get your employees involved—to make your business LinkedIn page as useful and searchable as possible, you need to have as many of your employees join LinkedIn and add your company as their place of employment as possible.  And,  to the extent possible, have  senior management sign up for LinkedIn and start linking to people they know.
  3. Join groups— identify the 50 groups to which your company could and should add value to and/or from which they could obtain value—i.e., identify groups to which your company’s prospects may belong.  I k now what you are thinking… this suggestion is just for personal branding, but you are wrong…it’s for company branding as well.  While you can only join the group as an individual, as you provide info into your group, people will see your company name attached to your submissions. 
  4. Create groups—another great thing about LinkedIn is that you can create and manage a group (or two or three…) for free.  Why not create a special interest community for which you can manage the message?
  5. Follow companies—another great “stalking” type feature within LinkedIn is the “Follow” feature.  This feature allows you to see at a glance the daily/weekly staffing changes at the companies you follow.    This may present you and your company with new prospect opportunities as well as give you a jump on an opportunity created by someone leaving a key company.
  6. Generate content—to be noticed on LinkedIn, you need to add content.  This goes to why I told you to join 50 groups.  You are going to strategically place valuable content into each of those groups.   To increase your personal or company brand’s visibility, I recommend placing at least one article a week into the top 10 high profile groups to which you belong.
  7. Answer questions—another way to build the expert status for you and your company is to look for applicable  questions posted on LinkedIn and provide an answer to those questions.  Now, make sure you really know the answer before you start jumping in and providing your knowledge.    You don’t want to provide the wrong information and look stupid/foolish…remember the information on the internet is forever.

I hope these few tips on how to get the most out of  your LinkedIn experience were helpful!  Got more?  Please share them in the comments section!

Happy Marketing!

Do you hear what I hear…?

Social media happens to you whether you looking and caring or not.  What do I mean?  Well, it is your choice whether or not to actively participate in social media.  For me, I would rather be the master of my personal and professional brand rather than someone else controlling my brand for me.  To do that, I have to actively participate in social media. 

As a marketer, I make it my business to know what is going on both online and offline in the marketing/market research world as well as in the insurance world.   So how do I keep up with what is going on in social media/online? 

Here are my two favorite methods:

LinkedIn Groups—I use almost all 50 of my LinkedIn Group joining opportunities.  I keep 3 free so that I can add one at a moment’s notice, without leaving a group that I might actually need.   And, I actually quickly scan/review all the emails that get from my groups each day.  I know what you are thinking…get a life…but truly this is how I am building my professional life.  And, more importantly, you find out what people are mad about in your industry, in your state, and most importantly about your company. 

  • Case in Point:  One of the key competitors in the insurance leads space is being absolutely destroyed in one of the insurance agents LinkedIn Groups to which I belong.  And, that company is not even part of the group.  If I didn’t know anything about that company I would totally write them off.  No way, based on the comments that are still being posted (weeks later) in that group that I would buy any insurance leads from them.  So, the moral of the story?   They chose not to actively participate in LinkedIn and they are paying the price with their potential market.

Hootsuite—If you are doing anything in the social media space then Hoosuite should be your best friend.  It is a free twitter aggregation site.  Hootsuite allows you to better organize how you see twitter and it allows you to better research and follow topics, not just people.  Another great thing about Hootsuite is that it allows you to schedule your tweets.  Imagine that!  You can appear to never sleep!  You can have your tweets appear to your target market 24X7.  Even the best PR and Marketing Agency  (or Hollywood publicist) can do that for you!

What are your favorite methods to keep up with your industry online?

Happy Marketing!

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