Archive | January, 2011

Investing in the Future of Your Company

28 Jan

Friday, January 28, 2011

Now that it’s the new year, we begin with a fresh start. Learning from mistakes and capitalizing on the successes from the last year, you’ve (hopefully) put together your goals for 2011 and began your plan of action for fulfilling them. Are marketing and publicity at the top of your list? Well, quite frankly, they should always be a top priority. I know that in the immediate future, marketing seems like a huge expense. It means many hours of analyzing data and performance, researching your target market and planning new strategies for success. Not to mention implementing your new plan and monitoring your return on investment (ROI). Ok, so I don’t really blame you for thinking that it’s a lot of time and effort. However, it’s time to change your thinking because marketing ultimately strengthens your bottom line.

Don’t think of marketing as an immediate expense, but rather a significant investment into the future of your company.

First, consider the core functions of marketing and implement them into your business model:

  • establishing your product and its innate uniqueness in the marketplace;
  • defining your ideal customer;
  • setting a competitive price for larger volumes of sales;
  • implementing exciting and relevant promotions for your company and product;
  • designating the proper channels of dissemination to attract target audiences.

All of these add up to work to your advantage by contributing to your bottom line and helping you create an exciting company image while powering “fangelism” for your product or service. Marketing takes a great amount of research and strategy but it’s more than worth it in the long run. It may not be evident over night (with the exception of  viral social media campaigns that starts immediate buzz), but long-term you can expect to see a return on your investment.

Next, you need to measure the profitability of your campaign, your return on investment (ROI). Knowing your ROI for each project will help you increase marketing effectiveness in the future. Discontinue the campaigns that aren’t producing and capitalize on the ones that are. I saw a great chart at MarketingMO.com that is useful to illustrate this point.

As a general rule, you can use the following equation to calculate a simple ROI. The outcome is expressed in a percentage; the higher the percentage the better the investment.

(Profit – Investment Cost) = %
Investment Cost

Maybe marketing is not something you’ve considered… or it is, but you don’t have the staff or resources to begin. Give me a call or e-mail me and we can talk about your unique situation. Also, hit the “Subscribe” button below to receive tips and advice that could help you in your efforts.

Million Dollar Question: How are you investing in the future of your company?

~Laura~

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Why Are You So Special?

19 Jan

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here’s a thought-provoking exercise for some mid-week motivation: If someone asked you what marketing is, what would you tell them? Would you say that it’s your promotional pieces? Your social network activities? Your amazing product that speaks for itself? Or would you say that it’s the way you do business, you customer service and your outreach efforts? Well, if you said any or all of these, you’re not entirely inaccurate. Here’s a quote that I think will illustrate my point:

“Marketing is the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors.” –Laura Lake, about.com contributor

So, if you said that marketing is a combination of promotional pieces, your social media strategies and customer service, you have the right idea. But the concept as a whole is that you are ultimately promising a better experience to customers through these practices. What makes you more special than your competitor? Try this: Take a pen and paper or – because who does that anymore? – open a new Pages/Word document and physically answer that question. The answers will help refocus your future activities and make them more accurate and efficient. You will have a better picture of who your customer is and why the client should choose you.

Hint: Consider the 4 Ps of Marketing also known as the Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Promotion and Place. How are you unique in these key areas?


Million Dollar Question: What would you tell a potential client if they asked you why you’re so special? For more thought-provoking ideas, subscribe to the Marketing Musings blog and the newsletter. Happy Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by.

~Laura~

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“Fangelism”

10 Jan

Monday, January 10, 2011

What is the one thing that all non-profits have in common? They all need money to fund mission-enhancement projects. And how do they acquire this lifeblood? There are thousands of non-profit organizations across the country that do all kinds of amazing work. They’re also vying for people to help. So where do you go for volunteer recruitment? How can you reach new donors?

Expand your search through “FANGELISM” of course.

The principle of “fangelism” is very simple really. But it’s implementation must be well-thought and seamless. The idea is: Existing volunteers and constituents – who already have a passion for the cause – engage people, initiate conversation and, ultimately, ignite excitement and promote action.

“They turn strangers into friends. They turn friends into volunteers.
They then do the most important job – Turn your volunteers into advocates for your mission.”*

This could take many forms. It used to be by way of traditional word-of-mouth promotion – friends telling friends telling friends…well, you get the idea. Word-of-mouth has evolved into the use of social media networks making it super viral and immediately accessible. I call it “E-fangelism“.

How do you create a successful e-fangelist?

Well, not all of this is totally in your hands. You might already have e-fangelists in the social-network sphere that you don’t know about. But what you can do is offer ways to coach and encourage your fan base. You want to make them feel that they have freedom in disseminating the message, but ensure that they do it with tact.

1. Confirm the core group of efangelists. Gather your development team and discuss which volunteers you would like to approach. These should be trusted volunteers who have a history of helping toward mission delivery and development goals. Create a list of best practices and guidelines for success. (Note: These will vary from organization to organization because expectations and goals are distinct.) Familiarize yourself with the platforms available to you: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, Foursquare, etc. You don’t have to be an expert in the various functions, but you ultimately want to know how each network can work for you.
2. Approach the volunteers and inquire about their interest in helping. Make sure they are aware of the full commitment.
3. Host a training session emphasizing key terms and concepts. Make sure they know the mission explicitly. Be prepared to do a tutorial for each social networking platform for new users.
4. Maintain regular communication with your team in order to circulate important messages and updates, offer encouragement and send reminders. (Tip: You will want to “monitor” new followers so you can follow up with them and, ideally, turn them into e-fangelists also. The key is to stay involved! Or if that’s not a feasible option because of time constraints, consider appointing a volunteer to serve as coordinator to organize the activities.)
5. Track your progress using features such as TweetReach.com and Facebook’s built-in insights attributes.
6. Tip: Always thank your advocates!! It goes a long way to hear that your work is appreciated. They will reciprocate by working harder.


What are the benefits?

1. The internet is more wide-reaching than traditional direct mail pieces. Most people in America participate in social media in some capacity. In fact, Facebook has more visits per week than Google in the United States.** You can reach more people in a shorter amount of time.
2. Volunteers can help do some of the work you’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t had time to commit to. You likely have many projects going on at once. They have one mission, one project to which they can devote their time and energy. A wider network of people doing one job should result in greater outcomes.
3. It’s legitimate “advertising”. E-fanglism is volunteers vouching for your successful programs. People value the opinions of friends and peers over the persuading of advertising from the source.
4. The message you communicate is immediate. And, therefore, you’ll be able to measure your return on investment (ROI) instantly.

You already have the most amazing, fervent sales team. Now, with a little coaching and encouragement, you can expand that network and continue to grow. If you’d like to know more about implementing e-fangelism into your development plan and for more tips, please contact me at 610.393.4430 or LRDConsulting@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

~Laura~

*adapted from Seth Godin’s concept
**Hitwise blog

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