What are you really selling?

Steak, sizzle or that full feeling?steak sizzle

One of the principle of selling talks about finding the need behind the need. Not necessarily what the customer says he wants but what does he really need. The key point is if we don’t ask the question, how do we know? We need to engage the prospect in a conversation before we tell them what they need. What is it that my customers want? How do they want to feel after they use my product?

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No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

newspaper-headlineWe seem to have reached a point in the human condition where the old adage, “No such thing as bad publicity,” rings true more than ever before.

Some consumers might actually be spurred to action where they otherwise wouldn’t, because they want to establish their own consumer experience and either refute or confirm negative reviews they’ve seen online.

This restaurant has the most unique story that I’ve heard to date, and the most interesting part of the story is that this approach appears to be bringing success. It’s an intriguing concept and resembles reverse psychology in its dichotomy.  Perhaps we can coin the phrase ‘counterintuitive marketing’ right now and add it to our arsenal of marketing and advertising jargon.

hikingThe idea that National Parks aren’t exempt from negative reviews gave me a chuckle. I mentally started planning my next vacation to include one of these parks. The worse that could happen would be that I have a similarly disappointing experience, but is a bad day at a National Park really ever that bad? I mean, barring any landslides or getting lost and having to remove a limb, of course – but I didn’t see any reviews from Aron Ralston, so the ratings should still be leaning towards the positive by comparison.

As a marketer, the lesson that I took from this new and seemingly popular approach to online reviews is to not be afraid to make your online company presence as robust and integrated as necessary, without fear of negativity being the overriding factor.

The fact is, consumers want to deal with companies that are real, and part of this is taking the good with the bad. Being able to embrace both satisfied and dissatisfied customers equally points to humility and a company that strives for improvement – and there’s nothing negative about that.

If you would like to discuss innovative marketing strategies and tactics in greater detail, we would love to learn about your business!

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Duplicitous Marketing Breaks the Brand

How many times have you purposefully gone out of your way to buy a brand based on a promise made by the organization? If you’ve done this, you’re a conscientious consumer and most likely did so for a reason that fit with your morals, standards or ethics.

AdvertisingNow, imagine you found out the brand message was just a marketing message and a complete divergence from reality. Our lives are filled with stories of separation of the brand promise to the customer experience.

For example, many consumers believed the advertisements showing they could shape up with Skechers Shape Ups. With Kim Kardashian’s abs showing how you could look just by walking, how could customers not buy into the concept of the easy fix? For this duplicitous divergence, Skechers, USA, Inc. is now on the hook for a $45 million dollar nationwide settlement and must stop their “deceptive marketing” of their footwear products. I had wondered what happened to all the advertisements for these newfangled fitness shoes, I wasn’t aware they had died a quiet death.

Global connections have made it easier for consumers to bring light to their concerns and have them heard. Sites showcasing reviews such as Travelocity, Amazon and Angie’s List make it impossible to hide from customer feedback.

One company that is handling it with finesse and brand confidence is McDonalds with the launch of their new “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign. They are facing the concerns of the public head on, answering questions honestly online in real time. They’ve recognized the change in their target market’s buying habits and are braving the world of real-time, transparent communication. Many corporations want to hide from possible negative feedback, however addressing the concerns is actually a great marketing opportunity as it shows you believe in your brand.

In today’s day of consumer awareness and social media, brand integrity is essential to create customer confidence. No longer are companies able to have convenience over quality. Let your product or service stand for itself without falsifying the message, and be sure to talk to your customers.

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How to Generate Qualified Leads

The movie Field of Dreams was a good movie in my opinion, as it entertained me with a good story for a couple of hours, but the fact is it was fiction. The concept of “build it and they will come” doesn’t apply to your website.

Build it and they will come

Build it and they will come

Creating a new website can be a good start, but that doesn’t mean search engines like Google will rank it well and that people searching for your type of business will find it or buy from you.

Let’s look at it this way, if we build a baseball diamond on a farm somewhere outside of Winnipeg and expect people to know about, just because we built it, do you really think people will just show up?. I doubt the Winnipeg Goldeyes would show up, never mind the Chicago Black Sox.

It’s important Continue reading

“How Did You Hear About Us?”

The question that serves as the title for this blog entry is one that we’re all familiar with, but is it one that we’re all using in our customer/prospect response? If not, it should be part of your standard language.

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Peer to peer

It used to be that if you tell 10 people and they tell 10 people, and so on, soon 100 people would have been told. It tookpeer to peer a while, certainly not measured in seconds, but eventually it got out. Today, with the onset of social media and the pervasive use of online and mobile technology, the same principle still applies but it happens at light speed and is only limited by the number of contacts a user has; most are a lot more than 10.   Continue reading

Nostalgia Marketing – Reaching Back to Move Forward

Do you recall the last time you took a walk down memory lane? What feelings were invoked?

Vintage-photoThat warm feeling of comfort and familiarity is something that marketing and ad agencies the world over have been trying to capture and communicate for decades.

Nostalgia marketing tends to ebb and flow depending upon worldwide trends. Apparently, fond memories are trending right now, with VW being the latest company trying to capitalize on days of yore, hoping to guide your walk down memory lane directly into their showrooms.

The appeal of nostalgia is always there from a marketing standpoint, particularly as society moves further into “baby boomer-land”.

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Knowledge=Power, Google=Knowledge, Does Google=Power?

When your brand is used as a transitive verb, adjective and participle, I believe it can be unequivocally said that you have reached the highest status of brand recognition.

Obscure Childhood SongsThe absolute monopoly Google has over what we know and the access to information came to light the week before last when Google suffered a service outage. I needed to look something up, went to Google it and became completely lost. Google was down. The path to the knowledge highway was inaccessible. This short outage resulted in a 40% global dip in traffic. In my long Internet career, this was only the second time that Google had failed me. The first being when I tried to find a version of a childhood memory of “A Quarter Has a Caribou on it”, and now this. Continue reading

I’m not a plumber!

So I had a leaky toilet at home and thought, no problem, I can fix this myself with a rubber washer, a wrench and 5 minutes.

PlumberHa ha, that could have solved the issue but I turned the nut in the wrong direction and the porcelain bowl cracked. After the swearing stopped, it was clear that I had to buy a new toilet and install, after all a family of five needs two washrooms, trust me.

No problem, I went out and bought a new toilet and wax ring, watched a video on YouTube and installed it myself. I thought I had it, but sure enough it leaked and then the swearing started again. Continue reading

We Came, We Dug & We Planted!

Telpay-30

Contrary to popular belief, I do leave my desk once in a while – but only for the best of causes!

On Thursday September 18th, Cory and I had a fantastic time at the first annual Telpay for Trees Event in support of Tree Canada’s Partners in Planting Program.

In working with Telpay, I got to see first-hand their commitment to environmentally responsible and sustainable practices.  Last year, they even launched their ‘Save a Tree – Plant a Tree” Program to encourage their customers across Canada to adopt similar practices in their own workplaces.  The program also recognizes customers who have chosen to use electronic means for their payments instead of cheques, envelopes, stamps and couriers – thereby reducing their carbon footprint.  For every 100 electronic bill payments made, Telpay will plant a tree in their honour. How great is that!

At the event, we all worked hard (trust me, I know I did!) planting over 150 trees at FortWhyte Alive.  Thanks to Tree Canada, we were all well-equipped and well-educated on how to plant properly. At the Post Plant Reception, we were serenaded by Telpay’s own house band Telpay and the Direct Deposits, and combined with the stunning views at Fort Whyte – the evening could not have been better!

Here are a few photos from the event:

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