Archive for the ‘Branding’ category

What Do Three Failed Ads Say About Small Business?

February 25th, 2014

'theguardian small business network qr code' photo (c) 2013, fsse8info - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ 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

'Cigarette Packets - Chesterfield, Peter Stuyvesant Extra Mile, Dunhill Superior Mild, Lambert & Butler Special Mild, Dunhill,  Royal Standard, Embassy Number 1 King Size' photo (c) 2011, Sludge G - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ 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.

Convert Your Blog Posts Into White Papers And E-Books

November 12th, 2013

'epub ebooks img' photo (c) 2009, Cristian Eslava - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Create 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.

Expanding the Geographic Scope of Your Business

October 15th, 2013

'Metro Route 48 Strip Map' photo (c) 2008, Oran Viriyincy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Most businesses operate in a fairly small concentric circle around their business address. In that trading area they try to maximize their opportunities. How do they do that? By taking prospects through the sales funnel.

Often, the traditional sales funnel can be shortened by making it easy and obvious to do business with you. Even if it is easy, the prospects must find you first.

Make sure you are listed in appropriate directories.

Google Local http://www.google.com/local/add

Yahoo! Local http://www.listings.local.yahoo.com

Bing Local https://www.bingplaces.com

InfoUSA http://dbupdate.infousa.com/dbupdate/index.html

Yellow Pages http://listings.yellowpages.com/Services/ServiceClaimSearch.aspx

Yelp https://biz.yelp.com/signup

In addition, the old standbys like direct mail, coupon packs, ads in local papers and flyers in mailboxes still work when properly executed.

Let me share two examples that were not well done.

  • Century Buffet: The coupon insert says, “Chinese, American & Japanese Restaurant”. Then on the side they start talking about Mongolian Grill BBQ.  So, what kind of food are they specializing in?  Do I have to wait for the “cook” to prepare my food or can I pick it up at the buffet table?  Even funnier is how they cannot tell time. I remember working with my kids when they were first graders about telling time with the big and little hands. The ad says lunch is served “11 AM till 3:15 PM”. Then, dinner starts at 3:20pm. Where did the 5 minutes go—to the twilight zone?
  • Snow removal et aI: I received a ½ sheet of paper in my mailbox. The firm seemed to have typed up a short ad. However, with all the snow we receive in New England, they expanded the ad. They poorly handwrote some other services. Mixed in were runs to the dump and cleanouts.

The additional info was taped onto the original ad and photocopied.  How do I know? I can see the lines where it was copied.  Why would I do business with what looks like a fly-by-night company? What if they fell off of my roof while raking snow off of it?

The Takeaway

Many of us would like to support our local businesses. Make it easy to be found and look and act professional when we find you

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

  1. How do you make sure you are found by potential customers?
  2. Would you eat at the restaurant or use the services of the roof raking company?
  3. How do you like to find local companies?

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.

Failing Customer Expectations

September 17th, 2013

'Spoon Me - Green Tea Frozen Yogurt with Coconut and Chocolate chips' photo (c) 2011, Calgary Reviews - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Folks in business like to talk about exceeding customer expectations.  Enter the search  term, “exceeding customer expectations”  into Bing or Google and you will receive thousands of hits.

So why would businesses want to set customer expectations  and then fail them?  Let’s look at an example.

Kiwiburst Frozen Yogurt

I stopped into this Yogurt Shop before a client meeting.  I never had heard of them before.  The particular location was only open a couple of weeks.  The name sounded enticing to me.  Coincidentally, I had just finished listening to a book that featured a kiwi character –a New Zealander.  So, I went in.

What did I expect to find?

  • Signs with “G’Day mate” on them.
  • New Zealand flags or at least the colors of the flag.
  • A cute story about the origins of the name.

What did I actually find?

  • No New Zealand anything
  • No “Kiwi” flavor yogurt
  • A rather sad looking bin of cut up kiwi fruit in a back corner of the toppings section.

Vive La Difference!

The yogurt was no different than anywhere else.  I was disappointed in the interior.  With so many yogurt and ice cream stores around, why would I patronize the chain or this location in particular?

The Takeaway

If your company is setting customer expectations, then you must meet and hopefully, exceed them.

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

  1. How often do you exceed customer expectations?
  2. How do you measure customer satisfaction?
  3. Does your company mission statement address meeting or exceeding customer expectations?

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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