A Different Take on Generational Marketing

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I truly don’t see that much difference between all these “generations.” I believe that people are basically people and they’re not that different from one generation to the next in their basic behaviors. It’s the tools they have to manifest their behaviors that make things seem different.

OK, so here are some examples I use (Keep in mind that I am the mother of a millennial and I see her and her friends in action. I also have clients who are millennials and I know how I interact with them.)

Example 1: I keep reading about how millennials want to set their own hours, be more self-driven at work and not feel like a job is their life. OK, how many of you pretty much felt that way when you were in your 20’s. How many of you felt that way about work when you were that age? Generally, no mortgage, no family to support, maybe not even a car payment thanks to that college graduation gift of a car and you’re more likely to be more lackadaisical in your approach to a work ethic. When you add a few years, maybe a spouse and/or kids, a mortgage and a car payment and things begin to change – yes, even for those millennials according to an infographic I once saw about attitudes within the millennial generation. How much more important did keeping your job, keeping your boss happy and getting a regular paycheck become once you had adult responsibilities? I know it changed my mindset even back 25 years ago!

Example 2: OK, so technology has changed the way these folks do their research. Heck, it’s changed the way all but the most tech-resistant do their research. I contend that it’s the tools that have changed, not the attitudes. Most people like to remain anonymous when considering our options. We don’t want to feel like we’re obligated to buy or commit to anything until we feel comfortable with our decision. So, the internet works very well for that – we can go online and research out options and no one needs to know it was us. (Yes, there are tools that will tell the site owner details about visitors, but really, how many salespeople will follow up with someone who just visited a website, but didn’t initiate contact?) Anyone here ever go to a store where a CSR asked if you need help? Ever say, “No, thanks. I’m just looking.” That’s the in-person equivalent of going to a website to do research. We don’t want to be helped and feel committed to buying something we don’t really want/need/like just because someone helped us. Heck, my dad isn’t an internet kind of guy, but he gets at least as much information from researching stuff at the library! (And a lot of times, his information is more accurate!)

Example 3: See example 2 and then realize that people still want/need/crave human contact. Once they feel comfortable, they tend to make a commitment to you; kinda like dating. I have clients that are in their 60’s and older and clients in their early 20’s – they work with me because they know I have their backs and they don’t want to go anywhere else. Of course, if I mess up big time and don’t make it right, they’ll probably leave me. Again, there are price shoppers and relationship buyers out there – no matter what the age, price shoppers will never be loyal and relationship buyers won’t jump ship if the relationship is solid.

Lumping any generation’s worth of people together and expecting them to react the same is, in my never-to-be-humble opinion is ridiculous. I mean, seriously, to make generalizations about millennials who are about 80 million people strong across many religions, ethnicities, family backgrounds and economic levels is ridiculous. Heck, I can’t even make generalizations about my parents and my in-laws who are all the pre-Baby Boom generation. People are people –  some are lazy, some are hard-working; some are self-centered; some are selfless; some are sport fanatics, some don’t know a football from a basketball; some are wise (no matter how smart they are), some are just plain dumb (no matter how smart they are).

I truly believe that it’s not about generational marketing, because any given generation’s beliefs, affiliations, and attitudes will change as they age and their life priorities change. My priorities and attitudes from when I was young and single have certainly changed to today when I’m a wife, mother of 2 and getting worried about retirement (at least 15 years away).

I think we just need to learn to market ourselves appropriately in a wide variety of ways to appeal to a broad spectrum of personality types. (Hey, did you know that millennials don’t like to be marketed to online, but love “giveaways.” Saw that in an article a few months ago. I wish I could remember where.) Human beings really don’t change that much from one generation to the next – it’s the reason we have the saying “history repeats itself.”

For an interesting blog on this subject, check out http://www.lindseypollak.com/what-is-a-millennial-everything-youve-always-wanted-to-know-but-were-afraid-to-ask/

OK. I’ve jumped off my soap box and am off to cause trouble elsewhere!

 

What Is Marketing?

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I was having a conversation with someone the other day about the definition of marketing. She believes that advertising is not a part of marketing. In my opinion, that is incorrect.

The way I see it, marketing is the umbrella that covers any and all actions that involve bringing customers in the door, whether that door is virtual or actual.

What are the spokes of that umbrella? Well, they are many and varied, but, to name a few:

  • promotional products (one of my favorites, of course)
  • paid advertising – billboards, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, etc…
  • website
  • social media
  • customer service (Which, if you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know is the #1 marketing tool, in my opinion.)
  • press releases
  • sponsorships
  • trade shows
  • events
  • networking
  • signage

Basically, whatever you’re doing to spread the word about your products and/or services is marketing. The trick to marketing is doing it effectively!

Track Your Business for Marketing Success

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Determining what is a successful marketing technique for any business can be very difficult. Most don’t have good tracking methods in place to measure ROI/ROO and, those that do, tend not to use them.

How then do you determine where your prospects and new customers are coming from?

The best way is to ask them and then make note of the answer. Whether you have a piece of paper on a clipboard where you make tally marks next to the marketing source or you have an Excel program or have developed some other way to keep track of how your prospects and new customers heard about you, it won’t work if you don’t actually use it.

That means that your staff needs to be trained to ask the question, “How did you hear about us?” Then, they have to know how and where to keep track of those answers.

The simplest way is really a grid showing all your different marketing avenues with a space for a tally mark next to each category. If you have paid advertisements in multiple papers, TV stations, websites, radio stations, etc…, then each one should have it’s own line so you know which are successful and which are not. You can ask for specifics or you can put a different code into each ad asking people to mention it when calling.

You can tally by category only, or you can drill down to specific dates, days of the week and/or time of day.

Don’t forget that signage is a marketing tool – for some businesses, the signage on their building is their most successful marketing tool!

Once you know which of your marketing strategies are working, you can up the ante on those and/or tweak/eliminate those that are not producing what you think they should. That will allow you to put your marketing resources into those areas that are the most productive for you and maybe even try out something you haven’t before.

And don’t stop tracking. Things change and will cause your marketing results to change along with them.

Marketing Creatively Can Set You Apart

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Every month, I update the Lev Promotions website and send out an e-mail with a list of commemorative dates, holidays, and events that can be used as wonderful marketing tools.

The last e-mail newsletter I sent out detailed the events in August – I encourage my clients to work at least 3 months out whenever possible.

To see that newsletter and get just a small sampling of what amazing marketing opportunities await you, go to: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Creative-Reasons-to-Market-Your-Business—A-Look-at-August-2013.html?soid=1102140918947&aid=Hy27zIvGFbM

Now it’s just a question of figuring out which of these events you can create a tie-in for to come up with a memorable marketing event that will leave your audience asking for more!

How Do You Define Marketing Success?

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Setting defined goals for your marketing strategies is a given… at least it should be. After all, how do you know if a strategy has been successful if you don’t have a way to measure it or something to compare it to? Of course, to know if you’ve achieved true success, not only do you have to have something to measure, but that measurement has to be meaningful in terms of the growth of your business and the achievement of your goals.

With the explosion of social media marketing, the claims are everywhere about how “successful” businesses have been with their online campaigns. My experience is that this “success” is generally measured in terms of how many followers, friends and connections have been amassed. If your goal was to achieve x number of followers, friends and connections, then congratulations, you have indeed achieved success. Now, my question for you is: “Did your business grow as a result of this success?” If not, then did meeting your goal allow you to: get a business loan, win a contest, get a grant; or, did you just get bragging rights as to reaching your magic number of people who can press a button on their keyboard?

Social media is not the only culprit here. Does your phone ring off the hook because of a yellow pages ad you’ve placed? How many of those phone calls convert to business – enough to at least pay for the ad; or, are you just bragging about the fact that you had to hire someone to answer all those phone calls without paying attention to the money that’s being earned or spent?

Do you even know where your business is coming from? Are you tracking your various marketing outlets (newspaper ads, online ads, yellow pages, radio, TV, online, networking, e-mail, signage, etc…) to see what is and what is not getting people to contact you? If not, how do you know what is and is not working. Maybe it’s time to drop or tweak one outlet and put more of your resources into the ones that are producing results for you. Don’t forget to measure each individual marketing outlet. For instance, if you’ve taken out ads on multiple websites, you need to track each one individually so you know which ones are productive and which ones are not.

If you need more information on tracking your marketing hits, we have a tracking sheet template we can send you. Just e-mail your request to info@levpromotions.com.

The Stress Card Repurposed

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We’ve all seen that stress card, often used as a business card, which shows your stress level when you put your finger on the test button. It turns a color which you match up with the color on the stress level meter and, voila, you know just how stressed you are.

RJEGI-HMFAD Stress Card

Well, now there’s a new way to use this card that can better relate to your specific marketing needs. For example:

  •  a personal trainer uses this card by substituting the various stress levels with an exercise of the day. Whatever color the button turns is the exercise or muscle group to be worked on that day.
  • a spa uses it to give a discount on their service or package special that day. Each color is a different discount amount or a different service that is discounted.
  • a small restaurant chain puts its different locations on it as a decision maker. As anyone with children knows, it’s almost impossible to get everyone to agree on where to go for a dinner out; this takes the arguments away.
  • a business uses this as a trade show traffic builder – each color on the scale is a different prize you can win when visiting the booth.

There is virtually no end to the possible marketing applications for this stress card. It’s a fun way to take the stress out of your promotional marketing needs!

How would you use it?

If you’d like us to send you a sample, please let us know. Our contact information is available at www.levpromotions.com or you can find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/levpromotions) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/levpromotions).

What Is a SWOT Analysis?

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‘Tis the season for developing marketing plans. Well, really that season was about four months ago, at the latest. That fact notwithstanding, I am still working with some of my procrastinating clients to put together their marketing plans for 2012. Because of this, I’ve been looking at a lot of SWOT analyses for the last few months.

For those of you who never took a Marketing 101 class, a SWOT analysis is a simple chart which explores four different areas of a business: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

 

Put simply, the top row reflects statements about your company; the bottom row reflects statements about the outside world and the competition. The left column reflects the positives; the right column reflects the challenges.

By taking into account those things that you do best (strengths), you will better be able to capitalize on them. Knowing your weaknesses will allow you to either work on strengthening them or eliminating them.

Understanding what the impact of the outside world (competitors, economic situation, status of your neighborhood/city/region/state/country/world) is on your business will also help you put together a strategic marketing plan that makes sense given these pluses and minuses.

Keep  in mind that some statements might show up in more than one column – usually kitty-corner to each other. For instance, your best strength might also be listed as a threat if your competition is working on something similar.

Once you’ve identified items in all four categories, you will be prepared to develop a marketing plan that maximizes the positives (strengths and opportunities) while minimizing the impact of the negatives (weaknesses and threats). You will also be able to work on improving some of the items you’ve recognized as weaknesses that should at least be neutralized, if not turned into strengths for next year.

All-in-all, you can develop a marketing plan, but it may not be as successful as it should be without a good basis of understanding of your SWOT’s.