Branding

Nokia Jumped into a Well – Are You Following?

Nokia Jumped into a Well

Nokia jumped into a well. But you can avoid the mistake. photo by Kashif Mardani

A couple of weeks ago Nokia announced they’ll cut 10 000 jobs.

Nokia used to be the market leader. It used to be the innovation leader. It used to be the quality leader.

Now their marketing strategy is a prime example of poor marketing and leadership.

Your company most likely won’t fire 10 000 employees. Or lose $1 billion annually.

But you can make the mistake that got Nokia into trouble. You’re even likely to make the same mistake, and think it’s the best decision for your company.

Here’s what they did wrong and what they should do now to rise again…

How Marketing Works – Video Interview with Danny Iny

Danny Iny Firepole Marketing

Danny Iny definitely knows the answer to “How marketing works?”

This is a part of the Secrets of The Marketing Experts interview series.

How would you describe marketing?

Do you know all the steps of effective marketing?

How do you create a relationships with potential customers?

What turns engaged listeners into buyers?

How to get referrals and when to upsell?

…and much more.

Get the answers in this half-hour video interview with Danny Iny, which gives a good bird’s-eye view of effective marketing.

Review: Fascinate – Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Fascinate by Sally HogsheadFascinate by Sally HogsheadFascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

Rating: 5/5

Ever wondered how to capture people’s attention completely? Or why you sometimes lose track of time?

The answer to both is fascination.

What is it? Fascination is powerful attraction that captures your attention and focus.

Why should you care?

Fascination is the best tool you have to get your message heard.

If you want to be good at copywriting, you need to understand how to fascinate people.

If you want to write captivating headlines, you need to make them fascinating.

If you want to be fascinating in your personal life or at work, you need to understand the seven triggers.

But the one question remains: What is fascinating and how do you write/become more fascinating?

5 Most Important Design Aspects of a Business Website

The New Blog Theme and the New Website are Finished

My new blog theme and the new website are finally online.

The new blog theme and a website I built from scratch are finally here. It took me about 11 weeks and 100 liters of tea (yes tea, not coffee).

I’m not a developer so I won’t attempt to say much about the coding. I’m a business owner and the goal of my blog is to support my business; that was the starting point for the design.

But why on earth did I decide to do it myself instead of hiring someone to do it for me? Uhmm… Because I wanted to be in full control of every element and I had no idea how much work it would be ;) The depressing part is that I’m nowhere near finished; there’s a lot I’m going to change. But for now, the basics are done.

I did learn a lot and these things apply to every web site, not just blogs, meant to drive business.

So, here’s the five most important design aspects of a website from a business stand point.

Choosing Business Gifts

Many businesses give business gifts to their partners and customers. Business gifts vary from post cards and pens to expensive wines and luxury holidays.

If you run a small business you won’t even consider the more extravagant gifts. But you should remember your partners and customers somehow.

How do you then decide what to give as business gifts?

I can’t give you a straightforward answer since it’s different for every business. Fortunately figuring out what to give isn’t all that complex.

Branding with Images that Stick in Customers’ Memories

This guest post is written by Jenny Sampson.

There are a percentage of business-owners who seem to overlook the power of a great logo. We’ve all seen it, a sign on the road where a pyramid ripped off of clip-art is the best they manage when it comes to their company’s visual representation. With some of the best companies, however, symbols and pictures anchor themselves into our minds.

The US Dept of Labor tells us:

“Studies by educational researchers suggest that approximately 83% of human learning occurs visually, and the remaining 17% through the other senses – 11% through hearing, 3.5% through smell, 1% through taste, and 1.5% through touch.”

Further research has demonstrated that pictures are more easily remembered than words. Thus, a brand logo or icon is an important choice to make.  This leads us to a couple of questions: 1, How should you choose one? and 2, How do you avoid choosing a weak one?

10 Places Where You Can Tell Your Story

The foundation for marketing is always a story. You don’t market a product, service, or a subscription. If you’re not perfectly clear about what your story is, check out the free Guide to Premeditated Marketing.

Once you know your story, you need to tell it. But even if you create a perfect marketing campaign, you won’t reach all of your potential customers. When you put your story wherever possible, you increase your chances of reaching your audience. The more your prospects come across your story, the more they’ll relate to it. Here’s some ideas about where you can tell that story, or at least the “elevator pitch” version of it.

10 places for your marketing story

1. Back of your business card. The back of a business card is free marketing space. If you don’t use it, you lose a possibility to influence your prospects.

2. Your email signature. Email signatures are a good place for your story. When your email gets forwarded, your story can reach new people.

3. Your website’s footer. People are used to finding information about you and your company from the footer area. The first piece of information they find should be your story.

4. Invoices. When you send an invoice, you can reinforce your story in it.

5. Receipts. Why not print your story in the receipts your customers get? When they check the receipt later, they’ll be reminded of what you’re about.

6. Product manuals. If you create product manuals for your customers, add your story next to your logo.

7. In videos. If you create video content, you should add your story in it somehow.

8. Inside your web content. Your story will create the best results when you embed it in content, because it’s then seen as content instead of marketing.

9. In your by-line. If you write content to websites (or magazines) other than your own, you’ll add a by-line of you in the end. That by-line should tell your story.

10. What’s the last place? Share your idea in the comments below. And if you liked this post, share it with your friends.

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Joint Marketing – 3 Forms of Joint Marketing

What’s joint marketing?

Joint marketing has a few different meanings. Here I’m writing about the idea that two or more companies join their marketing efforts. This is the least used and least discussed form of joint marketing. But it may be the best thing you can do for your business.

The advantages of joint marketing are compelling. The costs are smaller, when they’re divided. And if done well, it will create greater rewards for both businesses.

There are many ways to join marketing efforts, from TV advertising to content marketing. Which marketing method to use depends of the situation.

There are a three different situations where joint marketing can be used naturally and effectively.

1. The products complete each other

This form of joint marketing is used the most. It has the most obvious benefits and almost any company can use it.

Example 1: A car company and an insurance company could easily use joint marketing. When you buy a car, you’ll need the insurance as well.

Example 2: A knitting yarn producer could team with a needle company. Until you have a nice stock of needles, you need to buy new ones for each knitting project. And many knitters are eager to try every new needle available to find “the perfect” needles.

2. The products are related

This form of joint marketing is close to the first one. The difference is that in the first form the products need each other, but in this form they only complement each other.

Example 1: A real estate agent and a furniture store. When you buy a new home, you probably want some new furniture.

Example 2: A gym and a training shoe producer. You’re unlikely to buy a new pair of shoes every time you go to the gym, but the products are still closely related. Joint marketing could easily benefit both.

3. The products share a buyer persona

This form of joint marketing is taking its baby steps. You might’ve seen some advertisements where the principle idea is used.

Example 1: A clothing line and a band can share the same buyer persona. Though clothing companies have sponsored artists for a long time, I haven’t seen this form of joint marketing used effectively, more than occasinally.

Example 2: An organic food store and a book store often share a buyer persona. That buyer persona is the ethically aware university student who’d rather eat organically, and who reads for pleasure and because of the studying.

Your imagination is the only limit when you think of ways to use joint marketing to your advantage. The only principle: The marketed products need to add to the value of the other, in the marketing effort. So, they don’t actually have to be related, but the advertisement should be somehow more valuable to the prospect, because of the joint marketing.

If you have examples or ideas to share, I’d love to hear them. Write a short comment…

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Buyer Personas – 9 Steps to Profiling Buyer Personas

What are buyer personas?

Buyer personas are the individual and identifiable groups of people who buy your products. For example a stereo store has at least three important and very distinct buyer personas.

Stereo store example:

1. Those looking for a better stereo system. They’re usually men and they generally don’t mind the appearances of the stereo system. Instead they want the ability to listen to LP’s, radio, and CD’s, and just relax with music. They’re not satisfied with their current stereos, so they’ve decided to pay a little more than what they paid for the previous set. But they do have an understanding about the price range they’re looking into. They’re not the most  patient customers, but they probably don’t need the products immediately. They like the feeling they get when they buy a new gadget.

2. Hi-fi enthusiasts. A group of almost solely men, who will spend a lot of time pondering the purchase. They’ll test every possible product at their home. They’re interested in technical specifics. They enjoy the process of testing more than the purchase. They like to talk about their preferences and hear the sales people’s ideas, but they don’t believe anyone but themselves. Price is very important; the higher the better, they’ll often buy the most expensive option they can afford … and then some.

3. Women (apologies for the generalization, this is just one buyer persona) looking for something that will satisfy their men’s desire for new gizmos, and their own sense of esthetics. They’re very price concerned. Only technical specifics are less important than the actual sound quality.

These buyer personas aren’t extremely specific, but they give you the idea of what a buyer persona means. Different buyer personas are looking for different things, so you should treat them differently. And not only in the sales situation, but in your marketing too.

How to profile buyer personas

Firstly, all the people who visit your store or your website aren’t buyers. Base your assessment of your buyer personas on buying customers, not browsers, yourself, thieves, or friends visiting you. But what should a buyer persona define? And remember: you’re like to have more than one buyer persona for your business; specify as many as you can think of.

1. Gender. I realize this may feel awkward for some people, but you should know the gender of a specific buyer persona. But only if it’s possible. Some buyer personas are not gender specific.

2. Age. The age of a buyer persona is the simplest part of the profile. The age of a person tells you a lot abut them. How you view the world and what you prioritize, depend largely on your age.

3. Profession. In B-to-B business you know the profession of the buyer. But in B-to-C business this may not be so obvious. But if you can find a common profession or a status of a buyer, you can make your buyer persona profile much more accurate. It’s also very important to know how well they understand your product, are they professional users of laymen.

4. Financial situation. This is one of the most important aspects of the profile, so make sure you get it right. Don’t concentrate on your customers’ bank accounts, but make note how much they’re willing to pay. And how easily they make the decision to buy; it tells you how important your products are for them.

5. Purpose. Why do they buy your products? Some products have more applications (like fabrics) than others (nail clippers). The purpose of your product is the core of your marketing. If you don’t know what your customers use your product for, you can’t market or sell it effectively.

6. Education. How well-educated is the buyer persona? The educational background makes the profile deeper. It can help you figure out how they process information. Do they understand graphs, statistics, and study results, or are they more concerned with customer testimonials and simplified features.

7. Free time. How do they spend their time? Common hobbies, interests, TV shows, even eating habits can get you closer to them. You cannot know your buyer persona too well, so even these small details can prove to be valuable.

8. Buying decision. Which factors they take into account when they make the decision to buy? Price, features, ease of use, customer service, and resell value, can all play a part in the decision. If you don’t understand this part of your customers, your marketing can only work if you get lucky.

9. Shopping habits. What else do they buy? This is important when you start creating your business network. What else can you offer to them, and what else are they looking for.

What to do with a buyer persona?

When you have detailed buyer personas, you can, and you must, use them in your marketing. Here’s a few ways to use buyer personas in marketing.

1. Address specific people. When you know your buyer, you can talk to him/her directly. You don’t have to say, “you” when you can say, “25-year old man, living in the suburbs”.

2. Address specific problems. Talking about a specific problem is more engaging than a general problem. But it only works if you address a problem your buyers have, so you need to know your buyer personas first.

3. Address specific beliefs. You can create a feeling of being talked directly at with beliefs. For example, “This product is healthy.” is less engaging than, “Your children need more vitamins, that the school system doesn’t provide.”

4. Pinpoint accurate placement. Placement is a key to effective marketing. When you understand your buyer personas, you know where they are, and how to reach them at the right time.

5. Showcasing the right price range. If you market a product a buyer cannot afford, they won’t buy it. And they’ll be left with a belief that you’re over priced for them.

There’s one more thing…

Understanding your buyer personas isn’t enough to create effective marketing. First you need to understand your story. Then you need to understand your customers (more than just the buyer personas). And only by framing your story correctly, you can create an effective marketing message.

If you don’t know sure you understand all the steps, I’ve created a free guide to Premeditated Marketing, that describes in more detail these aspects. And a couple more aspects, equally essential for effective marketing.

I can also recommend David Meerman Scott’s book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” if you’re interested.

I’d like to hear what your buyer personas include. Do you think of something that wasn’t discussed here? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Danny Iny Is a Liar – Just Like Me

Who’s Danny Iny and what’s the lie he tells?

Danny Iny is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing and the author of “Engagement from Scratch“. I respect his expertise, and he seems to be a very nice guy. But he does lie.

The lie he tells is that you will make more money with your business if you read Firepole Marketing blog, subscribe to their marketing course, and read his book. Is that a lie? Yes, of course it’s a lie. Studying marketing makes no difference to your business, no matter how much you read.

Unless you actually use the ideas you get from reading a blog or a marketing course, you’re stuck. The idea that reading his posts would do anything more than explain an idea, is a lie.

Does Danny Iny actually say it would do more than that? No, he doesn’t. But that’s the implication and the idea he sells. So, is he a liar? Yes, but not more than any other smart marketer.

Who am I and how do I lie?

My name is Peter Sandeen. I’m the founder and writer of Affect Selling and the author of “Premeditated Marketing“. I am also a liar.

Here’s the lie I tell. “Your company culture, which is the core source of business success, will improve by reading this blog. You’ll also get lots of referrals, enough to grow your business, with the ideas I share.”

There’s a true story behind my lie (as is behind Danny Iny’s lie). I share effective ways to improve company culture, motivation, and creativity at work. And you will learn how to craft focused marketing that will create sales and referrals for your business.

But again, if you don’t act on the ideas I share, your business will stay the same.

Is lying okay?

As Seth Godin explains in his book “All Marketers are Liars“, marketing is telling a story, that transforms into a lie the customers tell themselves.

It’s totally okay for a marketer to tell a story they believe. I believe your company culture will improve with my ideas. And I’m sure Danny Iny believes you will become a better marketer with his ideas. So, these “lies” are okay.

But you can’t market a product with a story you don’t believe yourself. That excludes factual errors and false promises. A straightforward lie isn’t okay, but a story that leads you to a conclusion, is the essence of marketing. And that conclusion is rarely the same as the facts, making it a lie that you tell yourself.

So, Danny Iny is a liar, but there’s no way he could realistically avoid it. He could say, “I write about my marketing ideas.” That would be factually most accurate, but that’s not a story worth telling.

How do you lie?

Lets say you sell cereals. Your product will compete with all other cereals, unless you tell a different story. You could use an exotic ingredient (soy, seaweed, etc.) to produce the cereals, and then tell a story about health, exotic flavors, individuality, and so on. As the customer you’d transform that story into a lie, “When I eat these cereals I will be healthy.” That’s a lie, the cereals won’t make you healthy. They’re just slightly less bad for your health than normal cereals.

Understanding the story you sell and how it transforms into a lie, is the most important key to effective marketing. The guide to Premeditated Marketing is based on that idea. If you don’t know exactly what your story is, how your prospects will interpret it, or how to frame it to be effective, check out the guide.

What’s your story? And what’s the lie your customers tell themselves? Please, share your story in the comments below.

PS. Danny Iny has a business partner, Peter Vogopoulos. They’ve founded Firepole Marketing together and they both write there. I only wrote about Danny Iny here because I’ve had more contact with him, and it would be awkward to always write “Danny Iny and Peter Vogopoulos”.

PPS. My first guest post at Firepole Marketing was published today.

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