Marketing In a Weak Economy

This article was originally published on the BusinessLink’s website.

Small Business Week (Oct 16-22) is an exciting time for entrepreneurs with great events across Canada offering small business owners multiple opportunities to learn and connect. One of the many events that I attended was organized by Business Link named “Ignite Small Business Week YEG: Marketing in this Economy!?”

The highlight of the event was to hear Randy Brososky from the Group of Rogues speak about how companies should market themselves during a period of weaker economic growth. I have heard Randy speak before and I knew that he would bring great knowledge to business owners to help them grow their business.

SOLVE A PROBLEM

When you are looking to market your company and its offering, remember: “To a fish, the universe is water.” In terms of your company, you truthfully have to look at yourself from the viewpoint of your customer. What problem(s) are you solving? Are you making the purchasing process logical or emotional? Are you tying these items together to make it easier for your customer to choose you?

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SELLING?

Rolls-Royce is well known for selling cars but they also make jet engines. They understand from the view point of their end customer- the more time that a jet can be in the air, the more money airlines make. With that in mind, Rolls-Royce does not ‘sell’ a jet engine; they sell time in the air. They repair their engines for free. The only time that Rolls-Royce charge for their engines is when that engine is flying in the air.

FIVE TIPS FOR MARKETING IN A SLOW ECONOMY

Here’s what marketing guru Randy Brososky shared at the event:

1. CUSTOMER CONNECTION: Stay in touch with your customer but don’t sell to them. By keeping that connection open, when the economy starts to swing upwards, your customer will remember you and go to you first.

2. SHIFT HAPPENS: People shift their spending habits as times change, but are you shifting along with them? 10 years ago, Tim Horton’s coffee could only be bought within their locations. With the shift to home brewing and Keurig cups, Tim Horton’s coffee can now be purchased in grocery stores (or in their locations) in grounded bean format or within Keurig cups.

3. SMART DISCOUNTS: Offer 2 for 1 deals but the deal is only activated after you have involved your customer. For your customer to get a 2 for 1 deal, have them bring a friend. You can also have your customers become brand ambassadors. Offer them discounts when they speak to their community about you.

4. BEAT THE FEAR: Ask your customer what is holding them back from purchasing from you. Hyundai accepted vehicle returns if their customers lost their job during the recession of 2008. They gained market share and saw positive sales growth while other car manufacturers were going bankrupt.

5 NEW VALUE OFFERING: Look at how you can make your customer feel like the centre of the universe. Can you offer a lower cost item to your customer but still solve their problem and fulfill the same emotional desire? Can you sell what you are offering in a different fashion?

Even with a slower economy, companies still do want to increase their top line. At the very least, you can set yourself up for success during the upcoming growth phase by staying in touch with your customer, talking about the value you create, and tapping into your customers’ emotion.

Have an awesome and productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for the South Edmonton Business Association, the Fringe Festival, and Goodwill Industries of Alberta and donates blood at the Canadian Blood Services.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

 

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Is Social Media Un-Social?

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During a recent workation to Vancouver, British Columbia, I noticed something happened which seemed to be very odd. For our group, we would get together at least once per day for a meal. When we got together, we would re-live our adventures of yesterday and plan out the current or next day. There was always a time when all 4 of us would be on our phones, finding out what was happening on social media.

From the growth of social media, are we actually losing the ability to be social? During our period of ‘social networking’ we would all be silent when there was someone we know in front of us who would be accepting of being social IRL (In Real Life).

Social media is not going away, but how can we deal with events like these? I believe we could help each other by:

Having a Checker: In this circumstance, this person would be responsible for checking the social media sites to items pertaining to the discussion so everyone doesn’t have to be on their phones looking.

Putting It Away: We have voicemail, email, and text on our phones. If it is not answered right away, it is okay. Those tools are there for a simple reason, to help us communicate.

Downloading an app: There are apps on the market right now that can send message to people when you are driving, in a meeting, or having lunch with someone. The person trying to reach you will understand if you can’t get back to them right away.

Having Self-Control: I have gotten into the habit of placing my phone in Bedside Mode where it doesn’t vibrate or send out any signal. I keep my phone in my pocket and focus on building that real relationship with the person in front of me.

Paying attention to the person in front of you can go a long way. Social media is great for developing relationships, but the face-to-face meetings help to solidify the relationship between the two of you. There are certain things that can’t be communicated by phone, but only in person.

What are your feelings about people texting and tweeting while meeting with you? How do you deal with it?

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is the CEO of L6S Business Consulting Inc. L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin holds his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups, his condo board and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinics on a bi-weekly basis.

Feel free to contact Kevin at @L6SBC or www.putechnologies.tk

A Fairy Tale

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Often you hear that a great marketing campaign or brand tells a story, but how do you do that exactly? How do you lay things out? How do you create that sense of emotion that makes people interested in why you do it, not what you do?

Last week, we went over the three parts (trust, engagement, and inspire action) needed for an effective communication plan. That same presentation from Liisa Sheldrick detailed how to tell your story using the Pixar model.

Every Pixar film is and has been developed based off this model.

Simply fill in the below blanks:

Once upon a time there was: _____________

Everyday:_______________

One Day:________________

Because of that: ___________

Because of that: ____________

Until Finally: _______________

A story could sound like this:

Once upon a time there was a new young employee.

Everyday, he would go to work noticing that some things were being done in a way not consistent with the company’s values.

One day, he decided to ask his direct supervisor why they were doing it differently.

Because of that, people got trained.

Because of that, people changed.

Until Finally, everyone went home safe.

Try it yourself! How do you see your story playing out? Do you have a storytelling model that you would like to share?

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

You can visit Liisa Sheldrick’s website here or follow here on Twitter @liisamarjatta. You can also find a copy of the presentation at: http://www.slideshare.net/Liisamarjatta/communicating-for-safety