Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fridays At Five

December 12th at Azul Wine Bar (next to Koho Bistro) - on Bailey Hill. See you there. Check back for the dish!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Contemporary Marketing

Meatball Sundae
I'm reading a brilliant book by a brilliant guy, Seth Godin's Meatball Sundae. It is for sure changing (and validating) the way I view traditional marketing. Traditional marketing is like a car alarm- In the 80's if a car alarm went off we all looked out the window to see if it was our vehicle...today an alarm sounds and nobody notices. Not only is the alarm ignored, it's not even heard. Invisible. Well, isn't that what is happening today with traditional marketing? TV, radio, Newspaper even billboards? We are so inundated with messages and they are coming at us so fast and furious in so many ways that we just stop seeing them. I know I do. Godin defines New Marketing as sort of caveman marketing, the sort of marketing that existed before money and corporations took over. New Marketing doesn't understand top-down command-and-control thinking. It's consumer telling consumer what to buy. It's about creating stories that spread because people want to spread them.
Permission Marketing
The term "Permission Marketing" was coined by the afore-mentioned Marketing Guru, Seth Godin. Permission Marketing allows marketers to gain consent from customers or prospects before sending them a marketing message. This type of marketing is a win-win. The advantage to the consumer is that they are in control of what messages they receive and when so the messages are anticipated, personalized and relevant. They can also opt out at any time. The advantage to the Marketer is that cost is low, feedback is instantaneous and they are speaking to a loyal, captive audience who will likely pass the message on. What is more credible that consumers promoting your product?
Does it work?
According to a study done by University of Texas at Dallas Professor B.P.S. Murthi, this marketing method has proven to be two to three times more effective than conventional direct email and ten times more effective than banner ads. According to a survey by Flownetworks, inc
an incredible "94% of consumers opt-in for permission based email".
Is it Easy?
I don't think so. I think you have to be diligent and work just as hard. More to come on this as I explore the world of contemporary marketing and how I can help my small business clients navigate this new world.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fridays At Five

We are at Lucky Noodle this week and I am really looking forward to it. Nothing like blowing off a little steam at the end of the week with fabulous, hard working, dedicated business folk. I especially love that we are coming together to help each other - it's the most positive experience in my week. I really hope this group thrives and we can starting sharing our successes! Large or Small!
On a side note, I am encouraging everyone to pop over to 5th street at some point before going home on Friday - They are lighting the trees and our dear friends and amazing super women at NextStep Recycling are launching The Kith n' Kin Project with their very own decorated tree! We must support them. Kith n' Kin is all about recycling and refurbishing your old unwanted technology and redistributing to children in our community (AKA "Kith") who would otherwise not have access to this critical medium. Research has shown that kids who have access to technology are WAY more successful than those who don't. Our kids are our future (I know, I know - so cliche - but ain't it true?!).....
See you Friday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lorraine Kerwood

There are so many times where I am moved to tears....sometimes it's a bit embarrassing - for instance, I have been known to cry at Safeway openings (new jobs and fresh produce has that affect). The truth is, I'm an emotionally connected woman - emotionally connected to my work, my love, my family, my clients, my friends and occasionally a reality show or two. I can't help it...It's just who I am. However there are also truly fabulous moments that not only move me to tears but stick with me forever. I believe I experienced one of those today when Lorraine Kerwood was awarded the Woman Business Leader of the Year Award. The nominees and finalists were amazing - truly women I look up to. But Lorraine is one of those individuals who is so focused on others and on her mission that during her acceptance speech she actually used that platform to recruit from a room of 158 business owners - She asked us to create a mentoring program. You had to be there. Fabulous.
Congratulations, Lorraine. Well deserved. Well done.
Please go to Youtube and search nextStep recycling and watch Lorraine's story as documented by the Vovlo Hero award.

Fridays At Five

This weeks event is at The Loft - the absolute coolest new Piano Bar in Eugene. Owned by Kate Boney (yes, the very same restaurateur extraordinaire who owns Turtles, home of the best house salad in America!).
Don't miss out on the most fun, laid back and effective networking group in the Eugene/Springfield Area. We are businesses supporting each other...every week we ask how we can help our host as well as the lucky businesses whose cards gets drawn in the drawing. We can' t help you if your card isn't in the bucket!
Check back here every Monday for a full report on who was there, what they said and what happened.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Warren Buffet's 3 I's

As fallout from the current economic crisis continues to mount, thoughtful people are beginning to ask what we can learn from this experience. In a post at Harvard Business Online, Bill Taylor highlights a Warren Buffett interview on Charlie Rose in which the billionaire investor responds to the question "Should wise people have known better?" in the affirmative, with the note that there's a natural progression when things go wrong:

  • Innovation
  • Imitation
  • Idiocy

An innovator spots an untapped opportunity; the imitator attempts to capitalize on its merit; finally, explains Taylor, the idiot goes and apes the imitator, and with avarice "undoes the very innovations [he is] trying to use to get rich."

According to Taylor, avoiding this cycle means developing the ability to distinguish between "genuine innovation" and "mindless imitation." In other words, he asks, "Are you prepared to walk away from ideas that promise to make money [when] they make no sense?" Taylor, like Buffett, concedes this is easier said than done when you see competition heading in a particular direction and fear you'll never catch up if you don't join the charge. It takes discipline, notes Taylor, to remain conscious of the difference—taking advantage of innovation without getting caught up in the idiocy.

The Po!nt: "[D]on't use the financial crisis as an excuse to stop taking chances or downsize your ambitions," says Taylor. "But do use the crisis as an opportunity to take stock of what really matters—and to stop looking over your shoulder."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Virtual Marketing Manager

Smart organizations face uncertain times with optimism. It is during chaotic times that fortunes will be made. Out of chaos comes order… and market leadership.

Research indicates that companies who continue to spend on marketing and sales survive a recession better, plus come out of the recession stronger than their competitors.

Research also indicates that companies who reduce other staff before reducing marketing staff have a better chance of surviving than companies who cut marketing first.

If you represent one of those companies with a limited or non-existent marketing staff, how can your company or products come out of this mess as a market leader? The answer is simple… outsourcing.

Outsourcing tasks to an independent consultant is like hiring a Virtual Marketing Manager. You can activate the Virtual Marketing Manager only when you need it, and not have to pay for the gaps in between like a full-time employee. Plus, you get all the experience of a seasoned marketing veteran, unlike hiring a low cost entry-level person.

How Do You Know If You Need a Virtual Marketing Department?
~ Do you have a great marketing goals and no one to implement them?
~ Are you tired of having to select and manage costly web developers, graphic designers and writers to get
your marketing initiatives done?
~ Have you considered hiring a full-time marketing staff person, but can find the right candidate with the
skills you need at a price you can afford?
~ Are you focused on your business operations and have little time to set the strategy and implement
effective marketing programs?
~ Are you read to accelerate your company’s growth?

I really believe that in this stressful (economically speaking) time our small businesses should strongly consider virtual employees or contractors. What is the downside? I don't see one. Save on payroll taxes - Use this person when and if you need them....Objectivity...it makes sense to me...How about you?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Socially responsible Marketing

Kim T Gordon published a very compelling article about cause marketing....I want to reproduce it here, on my first blog, because I really believe that right now, more than ever, people are looking for a variety of ways to feel good.

In this new era of social responsibility, what you don't do can cost you. "Cause marketing" is now the norm, and customers who visit your website and see your advertising want to know that you share their desire to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause.

If your business or brand doesn't stand for a cause, consumers may turn to your competitors. The number of consumers who say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause has climbed to 87 percent, a dramatic increase in recent years, according to a Cone Cause Evolution Survey.

Even niche markets, such as the nation's college students, now show a striking preference for brands they believe to be socially responsible. According to a newly released College Explorer study from Alloy Media, nearly 95 percent of students say they are less likely to ignore an ad that promotes a brand's partnership with a cause.

There's a strong connection between entrepreneurship and giving. The challenge is to make your socially responsible efforts a winning proposition for the nonprofit group you support, the community and your business. You can master this marketing challenge by following these five important steps:

Step 1. Give from the heart.
Cause marketing works best when you and your employees feel great about the help you're providing to a nonprofit group. So work with an organization you and your team believe in, whether that means supporting the fight on behalf of a national health issue or rescuing homeless pets. What matters most to you, your team and your customers? You'll work hard to make a difference when you give from the heart.

Step 2. Choose a related cause.
A solid cause-marketing campaign often starts with the right affiliation. So as you go through the nonprofit selection process, look for a cause that relates to your company or its products. For example, when Procter & Gamble's Olay brand skin-care line partnered with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, its campaign goal was to inspire women to protect their skin from the sun.. PR support yielded widespread broadcast, print and online coverage, helping the program attract more than 9,000 individuals for free skin-cancer screenings.

Step 3. Contribute more than dollars.
For many types of businesses, cause marketing involves donating products or services and not simply writing a check. This can help form even stronger consumer associations between what you offer and the good work you do. My own firm, for instance, works hard to support two local groups--a shelter for homeless women and children, and an organization that helps cancer patients pay their rent and other bills while undergoing treatment. As a marketing expert, I contribute services that include producing an annual Woman's Hope benefit concert and direct-mail and public relations campaigns that in the past eight months have netted approximately $250,000 for these nonprofits.

Step 4. Formalize your affiliation.
To make your affiliation a win-win for everyone, work with the nonprofit you choose to define how it will help your business increase its visibility, brand or company awareness. If the organization has a newsletter or other communications with its constituents, negotiate for opportunities to do joint promotions. Discuss how you will use the organization's logo and name in your marketing campaigns, and how it, in turn, will use your company logo and name in its press releases, on the organization's website and in other materials.

Step 5. Mount a marketing campaign.
Success in cause marketing often means motivating an audience to take action, such as making a donation or participating in an event.. Using a dedicated marketing campaign, you can reach and persuade the target group while also raising awareness for your business and its commitment to social responsibility. For example, to enhance its relationship with the black community, State Farm created the 50 Million Pound Challenge to educate blacks about the risks associated with being overweight. A special Challenge website was created to provide ongoing advice and support, and has helped hundreds of thousands of people lose weight.

Kim T. Gordon is the "Marketing" coach at Entrepreneur.com and a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Over the past 26 years, she's helped millions of small-business owners increase their success through her company, National Marketing Federation Inc. Her latest book, Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars, is now available.


Remember, too (and this has less to do with being philanthropic and everything to do with marketing through this recession) that the cosmetic companies got rich during the depression! Why? Same philosophy, sort of ....People need to feel good in bad times - so offering "affordable luxury" is a great way to accomplish that. So why not combine the "affordable luxury" method with the marketing for a cause method? For instance, a spa could offer a 30 minute chair massage for $10 per 10 minutes with $1 per 5 minutes going to breast cancer research...Makes a woman feel good about pampering herself for a great price and a great cause.