Why marketing?

I have been a bit m.i.a. I do apologise – life happened, well my daytime job-life happened. I have been waiting patiently for things to quiet down a bit because I have this special “project” that I just cannot wait to get started on. And now that I have some time to focus on this “project”, Murphy’s Law has decided to throw me a “brain block”. However, on the other hand, it gave me the inspiration for this post.

Why marketing? What is the importance of marketing? We all know that marketing covers a variety of activities associated with selling a business’ products and services, from advertising to consumer research to promotions and sales. Marketing is also happens to be the core of any business. You see without some sort of marketing, people won’t know that your business exists or that your open for business; which means no sales, no business. Marketing is the process in which you introduce and promote your product or service to potential customers.

Great marketing makes good food taste better. It makes cars run better. It changes the perception of everything.” – George Lois

So, again, why marketing? Marketing is important for the survival and success of your business, because:

Marketing gets the word out

You have to get word out that you have a business and this is what you have to offer so that you will have potential buyers. Marketing is good way to create awareness of your product or service.

Marketing boosts your sales

Once you have been advertising your business and got it on the radar, you will improve your chances of making a sale. Through your marketing efforts you will create the reality that there is chance that a new customer will be spreading the word. As the word of your business spread, you will start to notice an increase in your sales.

Marketing gives your business a reputation

Having a good marketing strategy in place can definitely help with building a brand name for your business. Your reputation will tell customers what kind of a business you are. You have to set high expectations for your business in the public eye. This can be done by actively participating in a community program and by offering high quality products or services that support your marketing efforts. Never over promise and under deliver – marketing is all about the true value that you can offer your potential customer (without decreasing the quality). As your reputation grows, so will your sales increase even further.

Doing business without marketing is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.” – Stuart H Britt

Marketing initiatives can get very expensive, depending on your result driven goals and budget. I would say that it is more important for your business to promote itself efficiently while staying within your limited budget. Good marketing doesn’t always mean you have to spend a lot of money. You can get creative and still get the end results you were hoping for. Start with writing down a list of what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts. Then, do a bit of research, like where your potential buyer find their information. Use that as a foundation for your marketing communication efforts.

It doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to know your potential customer good enough to speak their language on the platforms they most engage on. As easy as one, two, three…again, know your marketing goals and know your potential customer.

The best marketing you can have it a loyal customer spreading the word about how incredible your business is.” – Shep Hyken

 

 

 

 

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Know Your Customer.

What a week it has been. I have been clocking long days, just going home to eat, shower and sleep. It sounds exhausting, and trust me it is… You see we are currently working on a major event to celebrate our brand history – aka our birthday.  This will be an event for the history books. We have never done something as big as what we are preparing for and trust me, it involves a lot – and I mean a lot – of preparation…

When you work on such a big event, it is important to keep in mind the type of customer you are catering for. Your efforts should match your customer interest. There is no point in putting together an event that will not provide your brand with some sort of call-to-action.

“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.”

-Dan Zarrella-

It is vital to remember that not everyone on your database will be the right customer for your new product. This means that you need to analyse the benefits of this new product and match it up with the right target group. Sorry, but it does require a bit of homework on your part. Different customers have different needs and wants. It is your job to identify those customers whose needs and wants match up with your product benefits. Identifying the correct target group for your new product will allow you to better know your customer base in order to align your marketing strategy efforts in such a way that it will lead to the successful implementation of your new product into the market.

Here are a couple of tips on how to identify your correct target group:

  • Be as exact as possible when defining your ideal customer for your new product. Don’t define your target group too broadly; list the needs and wants you want to fulfil. You don’t want to create an opening for a competitor.
  • Once you have a clear description of who your customer is, analyse their behavioural patterns. For example, which social media platforms do they engage on, what kind of articles to they read…
  • Now put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. Develop a marketing strategy for your new product. Test this strategy by using a focus group (who has the same characteristics as your target group) to determine how they will react and whether you are on the right track.
  • And then, your execute and monitor. Emphasis on monitor – it is important to continuously track your marketing efforts to ensure that you attract the correct target group.

Before you start spending money on marketing your new product, you need to really know your customer. You can end up waisting a lot of money and gamble away the success of your brand if you approach launching your product blindly. Understanding the customer you want to sell your product to plays a vital role in the success of your marketing strategy. You don’t need to be an expert to understand your target group; but you do need to stay open minded and if you find that you are doing something wrong, admit it and try to improve on it. You just need to figure out the message that your prospective target group is ready to receive.

The more you know about your customers, the more you can provide to them information that is increasingly useful, relevant and persuasive.”

-Jay Baer-

 

 

 

The Silent Ambassador of a Brand

It is so easy to come up with business ideas; what products to sell or which services to provide. But do you ever stop and think HOW your business idea will impact the consumer? Is your business idea actually NEEDED in your community?

A business idea is just that – an idea, until you can link a genuine purpose to it. We live in a world where there are a lot of problems. Designing your business idea or your brand  for that matter, should not revolve around the profits. Sure making a profit is vital for a brand to survive. However, your target customer should be your first priority. Ask yourself “What are the current problems in your community?” and “How will your brand improve your community?” If you can develop your brand based on the foundation of addressing a genuine problem within your community, you won’t really have a problem finding customers.

You see, designing a brand is like making a PROMISE to your customer. You tell them what they can expect from you, the benefits that they will enjoy when they support your brand. An easy way to design your brand is to sit and think about who you are, who you want to be and who your customer will perceive you to be. Again, you need to focus on the problem you want to solve – how you can improve people’s standard of living. 

Successful brands of the future care about people, not branding.

DESIGN is the silent ambassador of your brand. You need to clearly define who you are and what your purpose is. This refers to how you design and executive the following aspects that will form part of your brand:

  • Your logo should clearly reflect your brand story; who you are
  • Your brand message should communicate to your customer the story behind its design, why you started this brand and the benefits they will enjoy when becoming a part of your brand family
  • Your tagline should be memorable, meaningful and concise to capture the core essence of your brand story
  • The look and feel of your marketing materials should be designed to portray your brand story; consider aspects such your colour scheme, logo placement and marketing channels that should fall in line with your brand story
  • You should always be true to your brand and the story it tells; if you don’t deliver on your brand promise, your customer won’t return and surely won’t refer anyone else

 

I used brand story a lot in the above bullet points… Designing your brand is the most important part of starting up your business. You have to be consistent in the message that you put out there when you promote your brand. Running a successful business depends a lot on the trust that develops between your brand and your customer. Nowadays customers don’t care about your business but they do care about their problems. It is in your hands to be the solution that they are looking for.

Brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product over another”

-Seth Godin-

 

 

The “Logo Power”

There are always more than one way to tell a story… Whether you are developing a launch platform, an advertisement, an awareness campaign or any other marketing initiative… But, for me, the most powerful storytelling technique that you will ever use to build your business foundation, is your logo.

“Everything begins with an idea”

-Earl Nightingale-

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For example, Nike has a swoosh for a logo. It is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the company name, Nike. Did you know that the Nike Swoosh started as a shoe stripe in order to tell the difference between Adidas’ shoes which has three stripes. Eventually, the single Nike stripe became the company logo.

UnknownLet’s look at Google where the name itself is the logo. Did you know that the name of this very popular search engine was in fact as result of a mistake. Google’s initial name was Backrub. The company decided to change it to Googol which refers to the number represented by a 1 followed by one-hundred zeros. However, it was misspelt as Google and that’s how it got its name.

It doesn’t matter whether you knew or did not know the origin of these logos. What does matter is that you recognise what type of business they represent. With Nike, I see good quality sportswear. Google would be my go-to search engine to find anything & everything online.

So what makes a successful logo? Well, your logo design needs to encourage brand recognition. Your logo needs to represent what you are offering and it should be linked to your brand story. It needs to help customers understand what you can do for them immediately.

Logo_Blog_V2My blog logo is an owl. Why? What could possibly be the connection? Let’s see, my blog is called Those Who Tell Stories. The owl has always been portrayed as  a bird of prophecy and wisdom in many literatures. It is always the one giving advice, telling the stories and teaching the life lessons… I created my blog because I want to inspire others, give advice & share from my own personal experiences.

Telling your brand story starts with your logo. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of resources on finding the perfect logo, but you have to take enough time to decide what you want customers to immediately know when they look at your business logo. It will set the benchmark for how your customers will associated your logo with your brand and its offerings.

“Creating a logo is about taking someone on a journey with you. You have to get specific.”

For any questions or brainstorming assistance on creating your very own logo – don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me via email thosewhotellstories@gmail.com.

 

That “stuck” feeling

Untitled designSo I am at the end of my lovely three week leave from work… And you know what? It has been a very self-reflecting leave of absence.

For starters,  until I went on leave, I didn’t realize how stuck I felt in both my personal life and in my job. I am the kind of person that enjoys life – going on adventures, challenging myself, improving my skills, self-educating… Somehow, I have lost my motivation to live life to the fullest; to follow my goals and my dreams. That young, ambitious woman that wanted to start her own book cafe business with the best coffee and atmosphere in town, would be very disappointed in the person that I am today. Don’t get me wrong – I am grateful to have a good job and for the experience I have gained, but it is so far from what I have always wanted to achieve.

Billy Cox said that life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.

And boy was Billy Cox right. Life doesn’t make it easy to follow your goals and dreams. We have bills to pay, families to provide for, responsibilities. Most of us, when we find a job that pays well, making it easier to adhere to our responsibilities, work for the pay check every month because it is comfortable. We forget about what we wanted to do one day when we are big and we fall into our comfort zones where our lives have some sense of security.

It shouldn’t be so easy to settle for comfort and security… I suppose of it makes you happy, then by all means there is nothing wrong with living in your comfort zone. But to me it is a slow and miserable death. Why? Because, I honestly belief that my part to play is much bigger than a nice pay check, a nice car or a nice house.

One day when I am big, I want to be able to truly say that I have changed lives, that I motivated and influenced my community. I want to wake up every morning with a smile on my face because I know that what I will be doing today will take me a step closer to where I want to eventually find myself. And that is me running my own little business promoting exceptional coffee, providing access to great literature, and educating my customers in poetry, fine art, creative writing and whatever else goes with coffee and books! It might sound like such bit silly dream, but sometimes you have to risk everything for a dream no one can see but you.

We all have our own idea of how we should live our life. Some are brave enough to drop everything and run after that vision, and some choose comfort. We tend to forget that where we are now, is not necessarily where we have to get stuck. After all, we are the creators of our own destiny… Just ask yourself “what do you want to be one day when you are big?”

Never stop. Never stop fighting. Never stop dreaming” – Tom Hiddleston

Why so negative?

Life just isn’t fair, right? There is this constant competition between people and brands with negative messages everywhere you look – the radio, TV, web, print, outdoor and social media. It is driving me mad…

I get it though…that negative marketing works. Focusing on negative feelings resonate with people – it makes them feel like they are finally understood…

  • Brand A is always breaking and never reliable, so try Brand B for the quality you deserve
  • Your projects are always failing because you still use paper and pen to manage them, rather try our ABC software and watch your productivity soar
  • Stuck in a dead-end job? Come to our career fair and open the door to new opportunities

Really? Selling by putting down your competitor and exploiting people’s fears and struggles… I can think of a better way to sell: it is called give your customers a positive experience

“Customers shouldn’t just think of your business as a place to buy a product; it should be a fun place to be.” – Richard Branson

With negative marketing you have to take away something from someone for it to be effective. So basically it works on an emotional level. We are all bombarded every day with negative experiences, thoughts, interactions and news. Why would you as a business add to that? Why not rather be the kind of business that adds value, puts a positive message out there, give people hope? When you keep on throwing negative messages at people, they will eventually develop negative feelings towards your brand. You will just provoke negative feelings and frankly, you won’t get a lot of good results from it. Messages that are negative shout desperation. Not a good way to creating long, lasting customer relationships.

At the end of the day, if your product is great, you wouldn’t need to spend time criticizing your competitors. In a negative world like this, we need to be different and start spreading positive vibes…

When you are making a decision about how best to serve your customers, your own experience is often a better guide than a more sophisticated analysis of the market.” – Richard Branson

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Keep calm & dream big!

A lot has cDreamshanged for me lately. In a way it has forced me to take a step back and relook my life. Being successful, being brilliant at what I do, it is a big part of my life – I want to one day look back and be proud of what I accomplished, the differences I was able to make in the lives of others… To some this might sound silly, small-minded and perhaps even self-centred. To me, it means that my time spent on earth meant something and I was able to leave behind my own legacy.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it is what inspired me to write a new post today.

I suppose in a way there are a lot of you that might share my outlook on being successful. But can I tell you something? Becoming successful and even maintaining success is not a 9 to 5 job Monday to Friday. Success requires a lot of sacrifice – working longer hours, giving up your weekends and public holidays, even cutting down on family time… It doesn’t really sound like much fun… Yet again it actually depends on your situation. Are you working yourself up the ladder, proving your worth to the company and building a strong reputable reputation for yourself? Then good for you – that could really pay off in the future! However, along the way you might feel challenged, you might even become demotivated, feeling stressed, and even depressed. When you start feeling down like this all the time, you have to ask yourself the question “Why?”.

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”

My point… working hard and proving yourself is good and all, but your why must be 100% clearly defined. To become successful you must truly love what you do – it has to make you feel good; you go home happy and proud because today you gave 110% doing what you love. Going home feeling tired, drained, stressed out and depressed…you are clearly not following your dreams.

No matter how hard it is, you should never ever settle for a job or a career because it pays the bills or it makes you look good when you around your friends. No, you have to keep your drDreams3eams alive – to go after what makes you feel happy and proud. How else are you going to achieve your goals? Practice a healthy work-life balance. You can work towards becoming successful and still have a life along the way. And if you are currently not enjoying your job and its dragging you down, well then quit. Don’t ever be afraid to start over and create the life that you have always wanted. Remember that it is never too late to improve the quality and standard of your life. Life is just too short…

“Whatever it is that stirs your soul,listen to that. Everything else is just noise.” – Nicole Lyons

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