Are Reality TV “Professionals” Really Professionals?

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Last Sunday, one of my kids was sick, so we ended up watching a lot of TV that day. With not much on on a Sunday afternoon, we ended up watching that “reality” show about real estate agents in New York City.

I have to wonder, is this the way any professional would want to be portrayed? This show makes them out to be unethical, untrustworthy and, for the most part, pretty unlikable people.

As far as I can tell, this is pretty par for the course for most of these reality-type shows.

I don’t know about you, but, no matter how successful they appear to be, these are not people I would want to do business with. They’ve publicly branded themselves as people who are full of themselves and willing to do whatever they need to do to get the job done – whether it’s within the bounds of professional ethics or not. Not to mention the fact that they go on TV and publicly speak poorly of their clients and associates.

I know plenty of professionals who get the job done just as well as these Bozo’s do and they do it in a way that is a testament to their business ethics. People to whom I would never hesitate to refer my clients, contacts, friends and family.

What about you? Would you give your business to these people behaving badly, or would you rather do business with someone you can trust and, maybe even, like?

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!

Image-Changing Mugs: A Great Way to Promote A Change in Your Business

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Does your business have a change coming up that you’d like to publicize? Promotional products that have a changing image component to them are the perfect item to get people excited about the coming changes!

What kind of changes? A move to a new location… Redesign of a product… New logo… New name… and  more.

To see one example of an image-changing product, go to http://youtu.be/fzjnu2nBg3k

Is Any Publicity Good?

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There are those who are of the belief that any publicity is good publicity – even if it’s bad. I don’t agree.

I believe that a company can turn a bad publicity situation around to its advantage and become a trend-setter, or the expert in the field, or even the preferred provider of a particular product or service.

As with most difficult or bad situations in life, it’s what you do with it that matters most. For instance, back in the ’80’s, when someone was going around putting poison in bottles of Tylenol in drugstores, it could have been the end of that brand name. Instead, Tylenol took the initiative: They recalled their product off store shelves. They invented a tamper-proof security system for their bottles which we now take for granted (and maybe even hate when we can’t get out precious medicine out of a new bottle when a throbbing headache is rendering us useless) and which has been implemented across the board for medications and food items. Tylenol is still alive and thriving today. In fact, they’ve outlived their competitor from that time period, Datril.

Bad publicity is bad. It tells the world about an oversight, a bad decision, or an out-and-out failure on the part of your company. It’s how you respond to that publicity that could be the make or break for your company’s survival.

And don’t forget that social media outlets are as integral part of the overall publicity picture as the traditional news media. Got a bad review on Yelp or Facebook? It’s how people see you respond that can determine if they will give you a first chance or a second chance or just walk away into your competitor’s arms.

Viral Marketing at Work

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “viral marketing.” If you’re unsure what it means, it is word of mouth taken to the nth degree by having people spread the word quickly and effectively about a particular subject.

It’s what got The Blair Witch Project film known. It’s what those flash mob events were all about.

It’s taking the power of people spreading the word via Twitter, Facebook, e-mails, in person, or by any other means to publicize an event or an item.

To see an example of a successful viral marketing campaign that one of my suppliers did at the last two trade shows I attended, go to http://www.feyppg.com/eu/.

Business Planning – More Critical than Ever

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As I write this, the stock market is up…. sorry it’s
down… oops, I mean up…. no, it’s down….. Yup, we are once again on that
wacky roller coaster ride called, “The Economy.”

While many businesses see this rock ‘n’ roll economy as a
reason to cut back or eliminate marketing, I contend that is a knee-jerk
response which will probably cause more problems than add to the bottom line.

With businesses (large and small) failing, cutting back on
marketing means less exposure to your customers and prospects. If you are less
visible, that gives the impression that: a) you are not doing well and may soon
be out of business or b) you’ve already gone out of business. Either way,
people will start to look for other options to meet the needs that you have
provided in the past as a safety net. If they are looking elsewhere, they may
start buying elsewhere. If they start buying elsewhere, your revenues go down.

Statistics show that approximately 80% of companies that cut
back or eliminated their marketing budget during the Great Depression were out
of business within three years of the economy turning around. Those same
statistics show that the approximately 80% of the companies that maintained or
increased their marketing efforts not only picked up market share, but were
still in business five years after the depression ended.

One great example of this is Grape Nuts. The first
ready-to-eat cold cereal in the marketplace, Grape Nuts owned the cold cereal
category from its invention in 1897 up through the Great Depression. When Post,
the parent company of Grape Nuts found itself
strapped for cash,  they cut their
advertising budget, assuming that their hold on the market would stay tight. In
1933, the Kellogg company started actively advertising its various brands of
breakfast cereal, doubling its spending on advertising. Grape Nuts sales went
down and the Kellogg family of cereals sales went up dramatically. While Post
is still in business, and Grape Nuts can still be found on supermarket shelves,
which cereal companies has better recognition to this day?

With an example like that to spur you on, what are you
actively doing today to market and grow your business?

Getting Your Name out There

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Getting your name out there can be a challenge, especially for the smaller business which may have the challenge of a big-name competitor whose name everyone recognizes.

One way to combat this is to take advantage of publicity.

Getting your name in the editorial section of any type of media (print, TV, radio, or online) is preferrable to paid advertising. It gives you added credibility because you haven’t paid for the spot. If  the wording is just right, it may even give the overt (or covert) impression of an endorsement by the writer of the article.

The trick is to make sure that you actually have something newsworthy to distribute to the media community; but what qualifies as newsworthy?

  • Can you tie what you do into something that’s already being talked about in your community or in the news? (Are you an expert on emergency preparedness in this time of tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis?)
  • Has your company made some sort of impact on the business or consumer community in your area? (Are you known for hiring the mentally or physically challenged?)
  • Are you setting records for positive growth in a down economy? (The McDonald’s hiring blitz.)
  • Are you involved in or sponsoring some sort of charitable event? (How about a matching donation campaign to your local children’s hospital.)

The list goes on and on.

Once you have the newsworthy event, the press release must be written and distributed. This can be done for free (usually somewhat effective) or you can hire a professional who has the experience to write an interest-catching article and the connections to get it published.

If you have the talent to write one, there are several templates available through Word or online that can help you. There are also many PR websites that will publish your release at no cost or at a nominal cost to you.

Of course, if you can afford it, hiring a PR firm, either on a one-off basis or on a retainer, is the preferrable way to go. They can help you define newsworthy events, craft the release and distribute it to their list of contacts to get you the best possible exposure.

Now go publicize!