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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

One of the nicest things about working at Holy Cow Branding is the flexible schedule.  If I want to leave at 4:30 to get a haircut, that is when I leave.  If I wake up early, and am ready to work, I come to the office.

That was the plan anyway.

I was so engrossed in setting up Facebook Insights for Chile Bomba that I completely lost track of time and didn’t leave until 5:30.  If I had realized it was that late, I wouldn’t have even tried to get the haircut.    When I finally made it to Sport Clips, there were a few guys ahead of me, and I was told it would be about 30 minutes.  At the check in, Sabrina, told me that if I wanted to go get a coffee at Starbucks, I would have enough time.  She even offered to call me on my cell when it was close to my turn.

With time to kill, I headed to the Harris Teeter, to get some food stuffs.  On the way thru Kameron’s check-out line I used my KeyRing App to get my reward prices.  After the usual 30 seconds of blindly staring at the receipt with the only purpose being to look like I am doing something smart, I actually do find an error.  This is an amazing feat due to the complexity that is the grocery store receipt.  Good reporting tip, it doesn’t matter how hard it is to decipher the data as long as there is one number at the bottom that says you are winning.

I went back to the cashier and he apologized and told me to take it to his manager at the customer service desk.  When I first looked in that direction I saw no one, it was a ghost town, and before I was 10 feet from the counter there she was.  The manager person, Alva, appeared from thin air, maybe not thin air, she was helping another customer.  It only took her one look at the receipt to see the error and make the correction.

Ordinarily I would not have wasted the time to make the correction, but I had time to kill and I was rewarded for it.  I got $1.87 back in cash!  (Who knew pears were so expensive) And I had that weird feeling that while the world seems like a dismal place, my neighborhood was doing all right.

After stashing the produce in the trunk of my car I made my way back to Sport Clips and as soon as I walked in am told I had great timing and that I was next.  She even remembered my name! What great customer service!

Now, fueled with a sense of community, I pull out my note pad and start writing about this whole experience.  Of course, before I get much done I am being called up.  We have the usual idle chit chat and she asked what I was working on.  I told her it was a blog article about customer service.  I am not sure if that had anything to do with it, but it was an exceptional haircut.

Post Script

Cara, the hair cutter, actually knows enough about sports to foster that feeling of the barber shop and we had a lively conversation about the National League Central division.  She is a Milwaukee Brewer’s Fan, and I am a Chicago Cubs Fan.  The next day the Brewers beat the Cubs in 13 innings.  At least I got a good haircut, and there is always next year.

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Market your business through graphic social networking

Imagine saving and sharing the things on the internet you like, want to remember or want to go back to, without tracking it all on paper. The art and design industry were the first to use Pinterest as a way to share talent, crafts, photography, and passions. Soon clients, then clients of their clients, begin to share on Pinterest, too. Business’ are catching on and using it as a form of inbound marketing.

 Simply Marketing. While marketing your business is complicated, using Pinterest is simple. A virtual pin board, users share the unique things they find on web, and could become Mark Zuckerburg’s successor.

How it works: Pinterest is open to the public. Gaining access requires an invitation from a current user. Fill out the invite, submit and wait for your approval to start pinning. The fun is not only saving or “pinning” sites and images you find online, but also “following” others who pin things you also have interest in. You can save or “repin” your “likes” after scrolling through various images that catch your attention. This allows you to share your interests with others.

Curate Your Brand’s Content…Virtually! Recently marketing has been taking place through Pinterest’s use of graphics, quotes and categories. Pinterest doesn’t presently have a section dedicated to business; however, organizations that have a Pinterest account have been assigning various branding and marketing categories to their own pin boards.

What to Pin:  It’s important to understand what your audience and clients are interested in before pinning to the pin board. If it doesn’t appeal to the eye, your image will not get repinned; therefore, you will not attract new clientele or followers and your current clients may veer away from the site. Pin board suggestions may include but are not limited to:

–          Links to your webpage

–          Link to your blog and published documents

–          Current Projects

–          Company News

–          Articles or Columns of interest to your employees or clientele

–          Images or projects

–          Photos of the Office and Employees at work

Get ready, Get set, PIN!

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Marketing Based Lead Generation is selling through the back door.

Very simply, this is a way to get your name to the public without making even one cold call.  

Generate free exposure by writing what you know. Authoring articles in your knowledge wheel house is a great way to get your name out as an expert in your field. You can write for trade magazines, which is good for B2B sales, but to reach the general public,  a publication with broader appeal or a blog is the way to go.

Don’t be intimidated by the task of writing, you’re putting yourself out as an expert on your subject, not on writing.

If writing isn’t your thing how about talking? Interviews, YouTube Videos  and Podcasts are all ways you can talk your way into lead generation. Again, it’s flexing your expertise muscle in public.

In writing and talking, less is always more. Edit yourself. I try to use as few words as possible.

Has enough been said about social media?  It seems the social media emphasis is overdone but people really are reading , responding and ‘liking’ information put out on social media. You can’t drum up a following overnight;  it does require a strategy, but the effort really is worth it. Who knew 144 characters could be so powerful?  There are entire ad campaigns built around the constraints of twitter.

All this lead generation is completely free. Your own YouTube account, Facebook Fan Page or Blog are  all free and require little expertise to set up. They do need to be maintained, though. If your message is compelling, people will come back often to hear what else you have to say, so keep talking. The next thing you know, you’ll have a captive audience, and the phone will start to ring.

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The advantage of a dashboard is that it’s easy to use, provides timely data and, most importantly, gives an idea as to how to go about implementing potential improvements and solutions. It helps explain your marketing metrics visually, making it a lot easier for people to understand the information… without geeking out on them.

Marketing DashboardFor example, you can use a dashboard to compare marketing expenditures to revenue earned. Unlike reading bar graphs and spreadsheets, a dashboard makes it easy for you to quickly see where the marketing money is going, and, more specifically, which activities are leading to sales. Many people love this because it allows you to measure marketing ROI. Even better than that, is it allows you to make changes to your tactics and rapidly notice the impact.

Now that you realize how great it would be to have a dashboard, let’s talk about a few best practices for creating one.

1. Use Clear Labels
Depending on who’ll be looking at your reports, be sure they’ll know what each graph means. Consider, Jersey, Jamaica Red, Caucasin and Florida.  These words all come from the same category, but if you didn’t know I was listing breeds of cattle you might think I was having a problem with Geography.

2. Avoid Acronyms
While an acronym might be convenient and easy to read, it could lead to confusion, especially if your data is shared with people outside of your field. In a recent meeting I was in, people were throwing around the term, “QSR.” This could mean Quick Service Restaurants, Quasi-Stellar Radio or Quality System Regulation. I thought they meant Quality Satisfaction Rate. Imagine my confusion until I realized they were meaning Quick Service Restaurants. (Click here to see what else QSR means).

3. Use Legends or Keys
Don’t just make sure your reports show your information well, but that they define and describe it well, too. A legend will allow you to use colors and abbreviations to your advantage, while making sure your audience knows what they’re looking at.

4. Use Color Wisely
I’m colorblind, so the use of colors on graphs sometimes is a problem for me. When making graphs with colors use the options that have a marker with the display.  It also helps when you print the graph with a black and white printer.

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Butter ChurnThe cows are anxious! Its ‘Churning’ Day at the dairy farm. No, not the day they make butter but the day they calculate the churn rate for their customers.

Churn is the essential customer loyalty metric. In a nutshell, it’s the number of customers that don’t want to do business with you anymore. It’s calculated by taking the number of customers you have at the beginning of the year and using that number to divide into the number of those customers you have at the end of the year.

Formula for calculating churn rate

Churn Rate Formula

If you have heard the expression, “It is easier to keep a customer, than to get a new one,” you’ve already had your first lesson in churn. So, let’s continue with the example from above. If you began with 65 customers at the beginning of the year, and only retained 15 by the end of the year, your churn rate would be 23%. This means that 77% of your customers no longer use your products or services. Ouch.

If your current client base provides $1,000,000 in revenue annually, you’ll lose $230,000 from churn this year. By keeping one customer, your churn rate will go to 22%, and you’ll only lose $220,000. Which really means the new customer you just added will add to the $1 million – not just reduce the $230,000. Keeping customers means making more money for your business. And we all want that, don’t we?

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The other day, I went to this little café. I certainly wasn’t expecting anything fancy… that wasn’t the kind of place it was. I was hoping to get some grub to go, and in a hurry.

They were doing a marketing promotion giving away free food. Well, on the surface, this probably seemed like a great idea. Give something away for free, have the customers pay for the drinks, sides and extras: the proprietor is thrilled because new people are coming to the business, the customers are happy because they get free lunch.

I assure you, this wasn’t the case!

There was a little bit of a line, which should be expected when you’re dealing with free stuff at lunch. We weren’t too far back, so we expected it to go quickly. Sadly, they had run out of sweet potato fries, we were told we couldn’t order our root beer floats at the main window (That was our reward for waiting for an hour. Outside. In July. Did I mention that the heat index was higher than 105 degrees?) and our order would be ready in “a few minutes.” About an hour after arriving, we received our lunch and proceeded to inhale it in the car on our way to our next appointment.

Where did the proprietor go wrong?

  • Not enough product to support the number of customers during the promo
  • Totally overwhelmed staff (they were so stressed out)
  • Poor operational processes

It’s über important to make sure these things are well thought out before rolling out a major advertising promotion. The most important of which would have been to have prepped the staff better. A big smile and cheerful welcome goes a long way.

I’m sure you’re wondering if I’ll go back. I think I’ll give it a second chance. The root beer float was darn good. But, I’ll be watching to see if they learned from this potentially dangerous customer satisfaction situation!

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Baby chick and eggHow many chickens are hiding inside those eggs? Without tracking performance data, we’d have no way of knowing. Getting good information is about knowing what data to track. If you don’t have the right data, you won’t get the right information. Without that, are you well-equipped to make sound business decisions?

As with anything what you get out of something is only as good as what you put into it.  Data is the number one ingredient for information.  It’s the building blocks of good reporting.  For instance, if you only track weekly data, you won’t be able to have a daily report.  If you only track category-level data, you won’t get item-level reporting.

Before collecting your data, it’s critical that you ask yourself two questions:
1. What information do I really need?
(This is so you look at the right data)
2. What do I plan on doing with the info once I get it?
(This helps you take action, rather than collect information for no real purpose)

These and other considerations go into data management to provide reporting intelligence. To run your business most effectively, you should regularly review sales, departmental revenue, costs, operational efficiencies and more. You’d be amazed at how closely this information ties to sales and marketing.

For one of our food & beverage clients, Holy Cow did an analysis of their labor and cost of goods sold. They were able to make decisions about which high-margin items made the most sense to promote in their specials, as well as when to ramp up their staff. Fully trained staff at the onset of the busy season meant that customers were happier, ensuring repeat business, and operations went smoothly. But that’s not the big winner. The client increased their profitability by tens of thousands of dollars. Now that’s smart business!

Written By Reuben Gradsky, Data Specialist

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