What Do Three Failed Ads Say About Small Business?

February 25th, 2014 by Rob Berman No comments »

Flickr 9059492352 What Do Three Failed Ads Say About Small Business? Small Businesses (under 100 employees) in the US account for almost 98% of all businesses according to the US Census.  They employ about 50% of all private sector employees in US according to the Small Business Administration. So, why do they keep shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to print advertising effectiveness? Because they do not know how to make advertising effective!

Consider these examples that all appeared in a Weekly newspaper:

An ad that said” Log on Constant Contact…..for sale info.”

Many of us use Constant Contact for email marketing. This is the first time I have ever saw or heard of someone being directed to” Constant Contact” for information.

What is wrong with this approach?

  • Log on to Constant Contact with what URL?
  • What is the password and user ID?

Conclusion: A big waste of money and time

An ad titled “Fall & Spring Cleanups”.

It went on to list services that cannot be performed in the snowy northeast during the Winter.

What is wrong with this approach?

  • It is Winter, not Fall or Spring.
  • 6 of the 7 services offered cannot be performed in the Winter.
  • The one relevant service, “Snow Blowing/Snow Plowing” was the third item listed. It is pretty unlikely I would ever get that far into the ad when reading irrelevant information.

Conclusion:  A big waste of money and time.

 An ad where the headline was “Save this Ad!”.

What is wrong with this approach?

  • I do not know what the ad is about, so why would I save it?
  • The lead was buried “Young man with van looking for work!!!” was the next line.

Conclusion: A big waste of money and time.

The Takeaway

Small businesses can and should project an image of professionalism and attention to detail.

Over to you. Those are my thoughts. Please comment below.

1. Would you contact, much less conduct, business with one of these firms?

2. How do you employ print media in your business development efforts?

3. What advice would you give these small businesses?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

 

CVS’ $2 Billion Marketing Gamble

February 18th, 2014 by Rob Berman No comments »

Flickr 5617310410 CVS $2 Billion Marketing Gamble I was amazed to learn about CVS’ $2 billion tobacco gamble. Is it financial gain or financial ruin?

CVS will no longer carry cigarettes and other tobacco products effective October 1, 2014. Analysts have estimated that the loss of revenue will be $1.5 Billion in tobacco products plus $500 million in impulse sales from smokers choosing other tobacco outlets.

Is the Decision Good or Bad?

Let’s take the decision in the proper light of day. $2 Billion represents about 3% of retail pharmacy sales. And retail pharmacy sales are less than 50% of CVS Caremark annual revenue. Call it 1.5% of overall revenue.

  • For all intents and purposes CVS Caremark is a healthcare company. Is selling tobacco is contrary to good health?
  • There is a definite halo effect. The free publicity must be worth tens of millions of dollars.
  • CVS can redesign how the area behind the cash registers appears, especially compared with other pharmacy chains.
  • About 18% of adults now smoke, down drastically over the last 30 years.

On balance, I applaud the CVS move. The Surgeon General has told us since the 1960′s that cigarettes cause cancer. Raising taxes has helped diminish the sale of cigarettes. Could CVS start a trend toward limited availability of cigarettes?

If I was a marketing executive at CVS I would be jumping for joy at the news.  Stay tuned to see how it ends.

The Takeaway

Bold marketing decisions can be nerve wracking. Big risks lead to big rewards.

Those are my thoughts. Over to you. Please comment below.

1. Do you think other pharmacies like Walgreens and Rite Aid will follow suit?

2. Is CVS really improving its corporate image with this change?

3. If you were a CVS executive, would you have made the same decision?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Can a Microsoft Insider Really Be An Innovative CEO?

February 7th, 2014 by Rob Berman No comments »

Flickr 5916021574 Can a Microsoft Insider Really Be An Innovative CEO? Microsoft desperately wants to be perceived as innovative again.  Microsoft has declared its innovativeness in newspaper ads.  We have always felt deeds were more important than words.

CEO Search Shows Lack of Innovation

The search for a new CEO at Microsoft has been a bit of a media circus since August of 2013 when Steve Ballmer announced he would step down.  Why?

Mr. Ballmer continued to make major strategic changes to the organization that should have been left to the new CEO.  The purchase of Nokia’s handset business and an entirely new employee evaluation system come to mind as examples.

Many talented Silicon Valley leaders, as well as those in other parts of the world, have passed on the opportunity.  They did not want to change or reverse some of these major strategic decisions when they arrived.  They also feared having the only two CEOs in company history sitting on the Board of Directors passing judgment upon their actions.  Do you think someone like Alan Mulally, the highly successful change agent and CEO at Ford would take on Microsoft? No.  That is why he publicly declined the opportunity

Why Does Microsoft Need to Be More Innovative?

  • Stagnant Share Price:  Split adjusted it is now at its March 2000 level
  • Perception and reality that they are falling behind tech giants like Google and Apple.
  • Insular culture known for big egos and heated arguments.
  • Unhealthy Windows focus that crowds out other ideas.

Good Luck to the New CEO

Satya Nadella was recently announced as the new CEO. He is the ultimate insider, having spent the last 22 years working at Microsoft. We remind him of a comment he made in October 2013, “Relevance comes with innovation and marketplace success.  The marketplace will speak so loudly and so clearly that it will not be ambiguous.”

We also would like to suggest he contact fellow Seattle area CEO Howard Schultz at Starbucks. Schultz reorganized senior management to permit him to step away from some of the day-to-day management.  A Starbucks press release explained the change “Schultz will expand his focus on innovation in coffee, tea and the Starbucks Experience as well as next generation retailing and payments initiatives in the areas of digital, mobile, card, loyalty and e-commerce to position Starbucks for its next wave of global growth.”

The Takeaway

Top management must live and breathe innovation, not just give it lip service.

 Over to you.   What do you think? Please comment below.

  1. Do you feel that an insider can create a new culture and climate of innovation at Microsoft?
  2. What advice would you give the new CEO of Microsoft?
  3. Should Microsoft continue its move into hardware as a way to innovate?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Does Your Business Utilize Hyper-Local Social Media Marketing?

November 19th, 2013 by Rob Berman No comments »

Flickr 3113466204 Does Your Business Utilize Hyper Local Social Media Marketing? Traditional tools like print advertising and direct mail are great tools for a small business owner. However, they can cost significant amounts of money and be hit or miss with your target audience.

Many businesses have a local trading area where most of their customers come from or where you would like most of your customers to come from.

Are you using these techniques?

Twitter Search

You may have dipped your toe into the Twitter river. The flow may be amazing and hard to tackle. Change that paradigm by using Twitter Search. Use the “Advanced” search button. You can drill down to your local area and find Tweeters tweeting about topics relevant to your business. Then, you can engage them in real-time.

Improve Visibility

If you have a physical location, then traffic will pass you each business day. Are you alerting them to specials, new services, etc? You can draw them in with sandwich boards at the street. A banner hung on the building, a mascot or employee waving to passersby, search lights and cold-air balloons on your roof. Promote your social media links. ‘

Email List Only Specials

Invite those on your email list to receive a special discount, extra goods or services or a sample to drive them into your operation. Make sure you shape your social media links to prompt clicks.

Be A Good Corporate Citizen

If you serve food like pizza or ice cream, then you can donate a percentage of sales on specific days and times to go to a local charity or PTO. Those organizations all publicize the event and drive visitors to your location. The same technique works with a toy store where a share of sales is shared with the non-profit.

Create A List Of Influential Bloggers Or Tweeters In Your Area

Twitter search as described above, and a search on a major search engine will find help identity these folks. Ask them for a one-on-one meeting on the phone or in person. They might use your company as an example in a post or feature some of your practices as positive practices in tweets.

Location Based Services

Geo-location services and applications like Foursquare make going local easy. However, the customers of potential clients may need to be educated that these services exist and how to use them. The key is to focus the social media activity to be where the customers are, especially if you have multiple locations.

Filling out complete profiles is paramount. There can be specials only for those who check in using the LBS networks. Extra rewards are offered to those who check in the most, they are known as “Mayors”.

Location Specific Social Media Communities

Location-specific LinkedIn Groups or regional Facebook pages allow you to target customers within your desired geographic area.  Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to place a targeted advertisement

Meetup

Meetup’s purpose is group together people with shared interests within a geographic area.  You can start your own meet-up on a specific topic for less than $100 per year. Members who have interest in your topic will be notified of events and your group. Hosting meetings will show your company’s expertise. Members will gain insight into how your firm helps clients.

Look for Meetup groups in adjacent geographic and product spaces. Hold events jointly to expose the members to a larger audience.

Alternatively, instead of starting a Meetup, target groups that would be of interest to your prospects. The member profiles will have Facebook, Twitter and blog information. Contact them to engage, not pitch them. Look for spots where you can contribute to the Meetup such as sponsoring activities, providing door prizes, guest speaking or providing a meeting venue.

The Takeaway

Local marketing has endless possibilities. Don’t limit yourself to the old standards. Engage with social media to spread your message.

These are the ideas. Over to you. Please comment below.

  1. What other local social media marketing techniques do you employ?
  2. What has been your most successful social media strategy?
  3. Has Social Media allowed you to expand your area where you draw customers?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Convert Your Blog Posts Into White Papers And E-Books

November 12th, 2013 by Rob Berman No comments »

Flickr 3460157435 Convert Your Blog Posts Into White Papers And E BooksCreate content once and utilize it many times. That is the advice I provide to clients.  The appetite for content seems to be insatiable. Many of us do not have the time to create new content at will. And, you do not need to do so. Here are ideas for you to repurpose and repackage content.

Convert A Multi-Part Blog Post Into A White Paper

A psychologist writing about how to be a better parent may spread the ideas over 3 or 4 posts. Consolidate them together.

  • Post the white paper on your website to download.
  • Include the white paper as part of a media package.
  • Hand out the white paper to prospective or current clients.

Convert A White Paper Into An E-Book

  • Post the e-book on your website to download.
  • Include a link to the e-book in a press release.
  • List the e-book on iTunes. It can be free or you might even make a few dollars selling it.

Convert Multiple Posts On A Similar Topic Into A White Paper

A lawyer with 5 or 7 posts all on wills can create a larger document. Such as  a white paper or e-book.

The Takeaway

There are many more ways to repurpose and repackage your content. Start with your blog and see how it progresses.

Over to you.  What are your thoughts?  Please comment below.

  1. How have your re-used your blog posts?
  2. How successful were your efforts to reuse the blog posts?
  3. What other repackaging ideas do you utilize?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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