Saturday, 30 May 2009

Should I have a Twitter account?

In Should entrepreneurs twitter? uh yes Joel Comm argues that entrepreneurs should use Twitter... by attacking Steve Strauss's column/blog "Should Entrepreneur's Twitter?"

Strauss answered the question with a definitive "No" and gave several reasons...

1) "You are in business"

2) "It offers just too much information"

3) "It requires too much time"

4) "What can you say in 140 characters?"

Comm goes on "As a true expert on the subject, I wish to set the record straight and dissuade entrepreneurs from acting on Mr. Strauss' uninformed and faulty conclusions".

Comm provides "the correct answer... Should entrepreneurs use Twitter? Not only should they use it, but they should dive headfirst into social media in order to build relationship with their customers and prospects, enhance their brand by customizing a profile picture and background, and watch sales increase as proper use of this revolutionary tool that gets back to basics will draw people to their products and services like never before."

I have to admit that Twitter doesn't over-excite me.

"According to a recent O2 survey, an estimated 700,000 small businesses are using ... Twitter, with 6,000 more joining every day. Small and medium-sized businesses are looking to Twitter as a way to cut marketing costs and directly communicate with clients and potential clients.
The poll of 500 small firms found that 17% are already using Twitter, with 25% of these SMEs signing up to the social networking site in the last month. Nearly a third of those surveyed said they had saved up to £1,000 since signing up and 16% claimed that they had been able to save up to £5,000. "
For the full story go to: Fresh Business Thinking

I have to admit that Twitter doesn't over-excite me.

Convince me...

and I repeat the quote...
"watch sales increase as proper use of this revolutionary tool that gets back to basics will draw people to their products and services like never before"


Should Entrepreneur's Twitter? - the original blog entry
Should entrepreneurs twitter? uh yes - the reply
Fresh Business Thinking - the press release
Twitter trips on its rapid growth - Wall St Journal

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The News For Pandas

“And here is the news for Pandas. No pandas were involved in an accident this morning…”

The point - this news item is aimed at pandas... only pandas would be interested that no pandas were involved...
AND.. what about your website/blog/marketing activity - if you only talk about the specific interests of pandas/HR consultancy purchasers/web purchasers? In other words, do you only talk to people within the narrow definition of your product
eg HR consultancy buyers only want to know about HR issues... web service buyers only want to know about web services...?

Maybe you are missing a trick... By being so focused on customer needs/wants/hurts we sometimes miss other ways of relating to them. As often quoted, "Why should people buy from you if you are the same as the competition?". Put some personality, some passion, into your communication.

Juice Digital - panda blog

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Smell Of The Customer

Tom Peters has come up with a "smell of the customer" inventory (great title) - to measure your organisation's relationship with customers and customer service. Worth a look.

Also, read Mind The Indifference Gap to get my take on the subject. Even better read the Customer Is King book.

- Tom Peters' smell of the customer
- Mind The Indifference Gap article
- Customer Is King book

Monday, 18 May 2009

Four Tips For Writing Better Emails

David Silverman is succinct and to the point in his blog about writing good emails, Four Tips For Writing Better Emails

1 Call to action

2 Say it upfront

3 Assume nothing

4 Do the thinking

Four Tips For Writing Better Emails

PS Thursday 21st May @ 9:00 am (UK time) - Listen/watch the live - free - webinar: "Seven Reasons Why We Get Stuck in a Recession". Contact Lesley to sign up and get access codes etc...

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Less or More?

Something still doesn't sound right about selling on the LESS ticket.

Look at Does Consumer Happiness = Time or Money Spent?

Consumers do respond favourably to marketing that focuses on time, not money. Jennifer Aaker, Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“Ultimately, time is a more scarce resource — once it’s gone, it’s gone — and therefore more meaningful to us,” says Cassie Mogilner, who co-authored the study. “How we spend our time says so much more about who we are than does how we spend our money.”

The study found that mentioning time is effective because consumers are trying to make the most of it.

“When you refer to time, there’s a big social component that integrates the products you use with the people in your life, which makes the product experience more meaningful and richer,” says Mogilner.

The argument goes that... to shift your own advertising efforts away from money and better connect with customers’ time values, your marketing and branding efforts should:

1. Emphasise how the product frees up consumers’ valuable time

2. Build your brand as one that makes leisure or work time more enjoyable

3. Accentuate your product’s potential for relationship building (ie time spent with others)

Though countless successful marketing campaigns have been built around spending less, Aaker and Mogilner contend that referencing money will always have a slightly negative connotation.

Even when a purchase is a relative bargain, many buyers resent having to spend their money at all. Spending time, on the other hand, is something no one can avoid. So companies can improve sales by showing how they help consumers spend it well.

I am not entirely convinced by the argument. More often than not, advertising is no longer the best way to connect/attract/communicate with potential customers. The researchers' argument only refers to consumer products...

I think they are just saying what has been said here before which is that people buy your product for the 'afters'/benefits - what's left after the product has been bought/consumed. People don't buy your product for 'what it it does' - they buy it 'for what it does' does for them...!

- Does Consumer Happiness = Time or Money Spent? - the research
- Jennifer Aaker, Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Cassie Mogilner co-author
- Want to Increase Sales? Sell Time Not Cost - BNET

Seven Reasons Why We Get Stuck in a Recession - free, live webinar

Thursday 21st May @ 9:00 am (UK time) - Listen/watch the live - free - webinar:
"Seven Reasons Why We Get Stuck in a Recession... and what to do about it".
Lesley to sign up and get access codes etc...

All you need is a phone line (calls charged at local UK rates) and computer attached to the broadband to watch some PowerPoint slides to go along with my talk. This one is one-way - ie I talk, you listen!!

Starts promptly at 09:00 and all done and dusted by 09:30 and it is free!

Monday, 11 May 2009

"Less Is More"

We (I mean 'I') have always been taught to sell on upside... give people more. Maybe this doesn't work in a recession. Maybe you need to sell on the LESS side in a recession because MORE isn't always possible!

MORE...? The 'positives' to promote when selling include the upside:
more profit, more sales, more time, more leisure, more pleasure...

LESS...? The 'negatives' to promote when selling include the improved 'other side':
less cost, less overhead, less worry, less stress...

Maybe... no-one believes that you can get them more of the mores? (or maybe you are trying to sell the wrong mores [profit/sales/cash in the B2B environment... time/pleasure/happiness in the B2C environment]?)
Maybe... less is a more believable offering?

Maybe you just can't make sweeping generalisations!!!

As long as your cost/fee/price is
- less than the overall positive/gain/profit, or
- less than the cost of the overall saving
then who cares!?

So, getting back to basics...
Explicitly what is the benefit of your product/service?
Have you got the proof?
Can you demonstrate (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that your product/service will deliver?

Friday, 8 May 2009

Are Your Prices High Enough?

Are your prices high enough? asks Stephen Oliver after attending a workshop (possibly mine?) where the 'higher price vs lost profit' argument is made.

He goes on to quote the great "Do Mercedes Salespeople Stay Up Nights Worrying About Low Kia Prices?" question and we know what the answer is.

"Your costs aren't going to fall just because you choose to charge less for the same service. The result of dropping your prices by 10% is to reduce your profitability by around 33%. To stay in the same place and earn the same gross profit, you are going to have to do a whopping 50% more business to cover your discount costs!" (see the table in 'Bright Marketing' or Beating the credit Crunch' if you need to make sense of this.)

- Are your prices high enough?
- "Do Mercedes Salespeople Stay Up Nights Worrying About Low Kia Prices?"

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Not to do list - with revised link

Jeffrey Yamaguchi has a huge Not To Do List at 52 Projects for another list


Sound Advice On What to Not Do from Lucy Loves Business and
The Not To Do List (see p4 and 5) from Whitehall Accountants quote my original blog entry at
Business Zone and the individual entries on this blog

Not To Do List - blog entry

Advertising Break

Just a quickie promo piece:

1) "10 things to do in the next 10 days to beat the recession." I am doing a free 20-minute live webinar on Friday at 09:00hrs (UK time). Email for sign up details. Using materials from the 'Beating the Credit Crunch' book to focus on quick 'n' dirty profit and cash boosting tips.

2) Business Masterclass in London - 19 May - a truly challenging experience:
"If you want to 'plod along' don't come on this course."
"... a stimulating way to help me refocus and re-energise..."



Saturday, 2 May 2009

Why Do You Buy?

"A study by psychology researchers at Warwick has found a 50/50 split in how people decide ‘what makes two things seem similar’. This could mean that advertisers and marketers are failing to reach up to half of their potential audience...

The research, which was published in the journal Cognition and led by Dr Zachary Estes, found that people differ radically in their perceptions of similarity...

Some people base their similarity judgements on physical features; others based their judgements on more theme-based relations. For instance, some people thought a bee is more similar to a butterfly, whereas others thought a bee is more similar to honey.

We can use this as a springboard for thinking about our busineses.

How do people really see your business? Is your business "another local business" OR a "leader in its field"? "An online retailer" OR "a radically unique offering"?

Who do you compare your business with when you are communicating with clients (consciously or unconsciously)? And who do they compare your business with?

Mini Case Study

The Directors' Centre had a client (Company X) who thought he was Number Five in his industry (only 87 players in the UK). As such he thought of himself as one of the big boys. However the the Top Four represented probably 90% of all activity. When we talked to the key customers (only 10 in the UK) and the Top Four 'competitors', no-one mentioned Company X in the same sentence or paragraph as the Top Four... or as a serious 'Big Boy' - X was considered to be a nothing, a nobody.

Conclusion: X was presenting itself in a way which did not reflect anyone else's view of the world.

Outcome: Company X's real position in the market was reflected in a new approach to the marketplace... a campaign that saw sales increase exponentially.

study by psychology researchers at Warwick the article

Cognition the full article!