transition marketing

Help Us Raise Funds For The BC Children’s Hospital

Spartan Race For The Children’s Hospital.

RAISING MONEY FOR KIDS.

We’ll be brief. Ben Erickson, a marketing consultant and graphic designer with TMS, has enrolled to run the Spartan Beast Race in an attempt to raise fund for the BC Children’s Hospital.

At first we attempted to talk him out of it, but when he explained WHY, we knew we had to back him. Here is what Ben had this to say:

“Let’s face it. There is no one more helpless than a child. Especially a sick one. 3 years ago my wife and I were blessed with a healthy son, but not everyone we know has been so fortunate. The first time our wee little boy got sick, we began to understand just a bit of what some parents deal with daily.

Parents know that there is nothing worse than a sick child. So small and helpless, sad, not understanding and just wanting their parents comfort. 

Imagine dealing with that daily.

Worse, imagine knowing your child’s days are numbered and will be but brief.

That is why I – a 32-year-old who has spent the last 10 years behind a desk – am training to take on the 21km, 26 obstacle Spartan Beast Race. 

Because I believe no one is too small, too old, too incapable to improve the world for others. Because I want to DO SOMETHING.

Transition Marketing is backing our would-be athlete with everything we have. Check it out:

BC Children's HospitalWho Is BC Children’s Hospital?

BC Children’s Hospital is the top medical facility for children in BC. The BCCH provides care for children from throughout the province, intervening and providing necessary procedures for countless families each year.

They work all day, every day to save OUR children’s lives. 

  • 67% of patients at BCCH every year are from areas outside of Greater Vancouver.
  • 52% of the open heart surgeries performed at BCCH last year were performed on children under 1-year-old.
  • Last year BCCH provided 8200 surgeries for life threatening issues.
  • BC Children’s Hospital received over 196,000 children’s visits last year.

More Here

You Make The Difference – #DoSomething.

Like Ben, we believe that ANYONE can #DoSomething to make things better. Whether it is running a race or donating $5 to a worthy cause, no one is too small to improve the world we live in.

Even the smallest donation will make a big difference. 100% of the funds raised will go straight to the BC Children’s Hospital. Whether it is $5 or $500 it all adds up and it all goes to improving the lives of sick and inured children.

Don’t be afraid to donate! Just imagine, every dime raised here will go towards saving lives and providing comfort to those who deserve it most – our children.

Worried about legitimacy? TMS has a track record of working with non-profits – here are a few:

The Spartan Race.

The Spartan Race is the nations largest obstacle race. Ben is registered in the Sept 27, Spartan “Beast” race at Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops, BC.
The race is a total of 21 kilometers with 26 obstacles which include:
  • Jumping over fires.
  • Climbing 20′ ropes.
  • Running through tires.
  • Wall climbs.
  • Crawling through mud.
  • Large angry men with padded jousting rods.

Keep in mind Ben is 32 years old. He was active in High School and for a while after, but has maintained a desk job for the last 12 years. He admits himself that he is not sure how he will finish, but insists HE WILL FINISH.

Ben, his wife Lauren and their son Miles.

Yup, we think he is crazy also, but he’s stubborn enough to do it. He has begun training already and has been running 7.25Km offroad three times a week.
In the spirit of charity, not only are we donating to the campaign, but we’re offering various marketing perks and packages to those who donate specific amounts – so now you can donate to the kids AND get some marketing out of the deal!

Other Ways You Can Help

We’ll have a page up at Transitionmarketing.ca but TMS is adding the hashtag #DoSomething to the campaign. Follow it on Social Media to keep up to date with Ben’s training and of course the outcome of the race.

Please donate and share the word. Check out the hashtag on Social Media and pass the word along. Remember – it’s all for the kids!

Transition Marketing Services

 

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Selling A Book By Its Cover

A Book By Any Other Cover…

They say you cannot tell a book by its cover but do not ever doubt that you can sell a book by its cover.

You cannot judge a book by its cover. Evidently you can sell pile of them though.

You cannot judge a book by its cover. Evidently you can sell a pile of them though.

This screen shot depicts the overall sales of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice based on five different cover designs and spanning 20 years. This provides a clear look at the power behind design, marketing and understanding the current market.

Sales for this literary classic hit a small peak of sorts in 1995, but overall remained fairly low until 2009 when it surged in popularity netting more than double the sales in a single year.

Why? What happened in 2009?

The Great Pride & Prejudice Surge Of 2009

The Pride & Prejudice film was released in 2005. Which means that this probably did not factor largely in to the 2009 releases success. If anything one would have expected a surge in sales to occur within the next year.

Instead we see that four years later, in 2009, demand for this novel more than doubled within twelve months. What was it about 2009?

Every market surge has a history. There may be many contributing factors to a sudden sales onslaught but one can always trace the reasons. This can often be a complicated process and one may wind up with many dead ends before coming to a reliable conclusion as to the cause, but there is always a cause.

In the case this surge in 2009 it is not so complicated. Have a look at the cover that sold so well.  The cover couldn’t be the sole reason could it? Design doesn’t make that much of a difference right?

Wrong. It is all in the design. The 2009 release happened to coincide with another novel series which just happened to be gaining steam at the time. Perhaps you have heard of it. It involved an angst ridden teenage girl and her love affair with a vampire and a werewolf.

The Twilight Saga had recently become a huge hit. It had been hitting the theaters and was discussed everywhere.  Low and behold if we look at the cover design of the re-release of the Twilight series what do we see?

Okanagan-Marketing

Well now look at that. Something familiar about those colours and the overall feel isn’t there? What an odd coincidence…

Make no mistake. This was 100% intentional and from a marketing and sales standpoint, it was brilliant. The brains behind the 2009 publication of Pride & Prejudice knew their market. They knew the consumer zeitgeist. They knew what people were reading and they moved on it.

Does Pride & Prejudice share any similarities with Twilight? Well the lead character is a girl and Mr. Darcy is a bit of a wolf… but otherwise to lump these two into the same category would likely cause Mrs Austen to roll in her grave. Yet the design of the book managed to subtly do just that. The four books published in the Twilight series used three key colours and several basic design elements. This is obvious when comparing the four of them side by side as we do in the image above.

The demographic that Twilight was marketed to had, had their eyes trained – trained to look for this specific colour combination and style, thus any other book with similar traits would automatically grab their eye. What is more, the design team behind the 2009 version of Pride and Prejudice increased its book size to match the size which Twilight was published in. The result was a book that looked, for all intents and purposes, like it belonged to the Twilight series – one that could sit beside them and not look out-of-place.

Customers would be looking through the shelves of books and their eyes would automatically flicker what they knew and recognized. Perhaps some of them even thought this was a fifth edition to the series.

This is the essence and foundation behind branding and that is exactly what went on. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series was branded with a very obvious aesthetic look. 2009’s Pride and Prejudice printing simply hopped on that band wagon and rode its coattails to success.

Design & Sales.

All too often there appears to be an underlying disrespect for solid design work. Few people – especially in the small business market place – realize the increase in sales that good design will get them. Instead the see the price tag that comes along with it and they balk at it. They cut corners, call in favours, hire rookies or try to do it themselves with all the “free online tools”. The result is shoddy and unprofessional design.

Graphic and Web design needs to be rooted in technical and artistic ability as well and an understanding of what is working in the industry today.

As we see in the example above, knowing the market and understanding design trends play a huge role in design success.

It is simple and it is truth. Good graphic design increases sales. Good design is worth the price. 

Transition-Marketing-Services

Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.

Communications Within The Workplace

Communication is a small yet enormously important aspect of running any business. The ability to communicate and understand tasks, goals and concerns within the business environment is crucial. Failure in communication is one of the root causes behind employee anxiety, work place conflicts, leadership failure and brand damage.

Communicating expectations to staff is step one to brand success

Communicating expectations to staff is step one to brand success

Employee Expectations.

Your staff need to clearly understand what is expected of them.

Two different corporate bodies that I worked for failed to provide proper verbal or written job descriptions either upon time of hiring or upon later request. One of the responses I received to my request was that “they didn’t trust an employee to go above expectation if they needed to know what their job entailed”. Another was far more succinct: “It is whatever the F*** I tell you to do”. Keep in mind that both of these responses occurred within professional corporate office environments. One was while working with one of the largest independently owned corporations in the world.

While job descriptions can be a double-edged swords to a few employers, they can be an excellent source of communication for most others. Whether you are hiring a Barista, a Graphic designer or Vice President, thoroughly outlining your expectations is step one to success.

There will always be an existing level of expectation from new hires. Nothing about that should change. As an employer, however, you should ensure that new hires will be clear on what is required long-term, to walk the road to success with your company.

This equips them to move forward and it equips you as an employer to terminate them if they are clearly not meeting the described expectations.

But My Business Is Evolving Constantly, Job Requirements Change.

Changes to jobs occur. That is a fact of life that we over at TMS are all too familiar with. Companies grow and shrink, new needs develop and old ones disappear. Having a job description in place does not mean that it cannot change. It simply means that you as an employer need to be accountable for those changes. Many businesses find it advantageous to set up an annual review of staff positions to determine whether they still meet a necessary criteria, or if they need to evolve. This is a highly effective practice and it benefits your business as a whole. It ensures that you are annually reviewing exactly what your business does, what it used to do and what it should be doing.

If an employees job has changed in nature, or needs to adjust, then set up a meeting with the employee to discuss the changes. This won’t necessarily be easy, especially if more will be required of the employee. However it creates a transparent and accountable work place and that is the type of workplace that the best employees flock to and grow.

Employees need honesty. Creating a transparent workplace, creates healthy employees.

Employees need honesty. Creating a transparent workplace, creates healthy employees.

I May Lose Employees If I Ask Too Much.

This is true. You may lose employees, or you may have trouble finding them if the job entails too much. It is a balance and it should help you as an employer to grow. You need to realize if you are asking too much. This should be readily apparent during prolonged staffing issues and should prompt change on your part. However do not be too hasty to reduce your expectations.

Several years ago I worked with one corporation that had massive staffing issues. However in this case it wasn’t that the job positions required too much, it was because of an ongoing building boom that had drained the available workforce. This particular business wound up having to temporarily add perks and reduce some of their requirements just to get the bodies to get them through the season. Just one year later, when the boom bubble burst, we had a flood of resumes and were considered one of the top job options in the area.

It is give and take depending on your business, your social and economic climate, and your desperation. At times you may find yourself forced to lower expectations temporarily due to situations beyond your control. However learn to recognize temporary hiring shortages and long-term ones. Staffing can be a tumultuous thing – as an employer you need to be fair to your employees, but also to yourself.

Outlining clear job expectations acts as an immediate sieve for potential employees. Some will decide of their own accord that what you need is not what they want to give. Gauge their response and make the educated decision. Having expectations is necessary to ensuring you hire the right candidate for the job.

Specifics About Tasks & Goals.

Healthy expectations are required and even desired by employees

Healthy expectations are required and even desired by employees

Specifics are imperative. How many employers expect their staff to stay busy during slow periods throughout the day? All of them. But what does “staying busy” entail? Sweeping the floor? Organizing the shelves? Cold calling?

Ensure that staff have a clear understanding of their job goals, what they are meant to achieve daily, weekly, monthly etc – and how best to do so.

When I worked as a free-lance Graphic Designer, I often worked with clients who didn’t know what they wanted, but were VERY CLEAR on what they didn’t want. It was in this business that I quickly learned the importance of “specifics”.

Early into my career I worked with one client who ran an organic pet food business. They wanted something that conveyed their love of nature, purity and pets. I designed what I thought was a lovely mock-up with a minimalist styled Beagle embedded into a single leaf. I ran it past a few friends and they immediately connected it to organic and animals. It was classy, in trend and frankly just awesome.

The client hated it. They wanted a specific type of dog (but not a Beagle) something larger like a Doberman, or maybe a cat. They didn’t like the green colour but thought that maybe an orange or a terracotta red would be nice. Also they wanted the font to look more “fun”. The mock-up was too cold and professional.

The point here is not whether they were wrong in hating it, after all they were the client. The point is that they had no specifics, no details, nothing to start off with. I spent hours working on something that they immediately dismissed. The time spent on the mock-up was wasted. This waste could have been avoided had they provided specifics at the outset (or had I known the need to ask for them). There was resulting frustration, more work and they wound up with a higher bill than they anticipated.

The same goes for any employee and any job. Ensure they have specifics so that they can do their jobs well. Communicate with them. As an employer you are the leader and this is your job.

  • Explain WHO needs to do what. Make it clear whose job it is and use specifics. Passive aggressive behavior and work place conflicts often arise as a result of employees thinking that a specific job or responsibility should belong to someone else.
  • Explain WHAT they need to do to accomplish the task. Don’t assume they know what the task entails.  Explain exactly what is required for this task to be completed. If you come in tomorrow what do you as the employer expect to see?
  • Explain HOW to do what they need to do. A common mistake is leaving employees to fend for themselves. Not every task is obvious to every worker. If you ask me to change a tire – sure I can do that! If you ask me to change the spark plugs… I may need some directions. Whatever task it may be, may seem simple to you – but don’t assume! Be redundant if you want it done right. 
  • Explain WHEN. Make it clear to them what the deadline is. Sure certain workers will have good time management skills, others however will not. Explain exactly when a project needs to be done and make it clear that there are no excuses. If you do not explain the required due date thoroughly, then you have less foundation to question their delays.
  • Explain WHY. Not enough emphasis is put on this. Good employees are invested in your business. If you take the time to explain why a task is important for the company and to them individually, you will see far greater effort on their part. It creates a sense of ownership and it brings them on as a part of a “team”. The more interest an employee shows in the “why”, the more engaged they are with the business.
Scott Adams presents a sarcastic (but frighteningly accurate) picture of many modern workplaces.

Scott Adams presents a sarcastic (but frighteningly accurate) picture of many modern workplaces.

Your Concerns.

As an employer your concerns are many. Some need to be addressed immediately, others can wait. Knowing how to designate and deal with concerns is key to successful leadership and management.

Specific concerns with staff should be prioritized properly according to severity, but all should be dealt with promptly. Delaying simply creates more difficulties down the line. If an employee is not performing properly or is doing something incorrectly, the longer you delay correcting it, the more damage is done and the harder it will be to correct later.

Communicate your concerns in a work-place proper manner. Be polite, be positive and be specific. Start off with what they are doing correct and then address the things they need to do differently. Every employee will respond differently to correction but the fundamental rules are:

  • Treat them respectfully.
  • Be clear on what is wrong.
  • Explain why.
  • Explain how to change it.

Every employee is going to react differently. Remember that, as an employer, you are entitled to have certain expectations for how a job is done, however you are also responsible for ensuring your staff understand and are equipped to do it. Take responsibility for your own short comings in equipping staff and learn how to do it better.

Don’t be a bully and do not nit-pick. Be respectful and choose your battles. But in all things COMMUNICATE. Be clear. Be thorough. Be a leader.

Transition-Marketing-Services

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.

Awesome Print Advertising By MIO

This is fabulous print advertising my MIO.

It looks like a regular minimalist print ad. But it prompts the audience to be do something and interact with it for a fairly cool little response. Get the page wet and you get a secret message.

Unique? Yes
Memorable? Yes
Engaging? Yes
Effective? Yes

Important to note is that we came across this little gem online and posted by another user. What that means is that people out there did indeed interact with the ad.

The “secret” message also goes one step forward by prompting the viewer to engage the brand via Social Media.

Nicely done.

5 Steps For Marketing Your Small Business

Image from Hillbillly Haven in Armstrong BC. A nice, clean shop front will assure consumers that they are not wasting their time.

Image from “Hillbillly Haven” in Armstrong BC. A nice, clean shop front will assure consumers that they are not wasting their time.

1. Keep Your Shop Clean, Professional.

This is absolutely crucial to success. Good, clean presentation is a must. Few consumers will enter a business that looks like a dive. Why would they?

A clean, professional shop front influences people. It provides customers with the promise that they will not be wasting their time by entering your shop. It builds trust that you and your business take pride in what you offer. What is more, it can motivate your employees to hold their heads up high and take pride in their jobs.

A messy store front will do just the opposite. It will strike fear and it will create discomfort in customers and employees alike. How could a customer trust you to provide them with value for their hard-earned money, if you cannot even maintain what is your own? and why would employees take any initiative, if you yourself refuse to?

No matter how chaotic things may be behind the scenes of your business, always, always, ALWAYS ensure your business image is immaculate.

Image taken at "Kanga & Roo's Children's Boutique" in Vernon BC

Image taken at “Kanga & Roo’s Children’s Boutique” in Vernon BC. Keeping displays new and fresh draws new customers in.

2. Rotate Your Displays & Get Creative.

When we walk past a shop, we are more prone to enter if the front displays are fun. The small business owner should take their pride in their business one step further by continually revising and re-creating the displays of their goods and services. This does not mean moving where items are kept (as that can confuse your regulars). Rather it means, changing how they are displayed.

Many businesses will do a special display for Christmas or other big seasonal events, but it does not need to stop there. Keep your displays fresh and fun, change them regularly and you will see an increase in store traffic. You don’t need an event to keep things colourful.

It is a labour intensive job to stay on top of, but it will generate sales.

If you are not the “create-pretty-displays” type of person, then consider asking one of your staff. You may be surprised at the talent they possess. By handing off a job like this to an employee you are accomplishing three things:

  1. You have filled their day a little more. Now when it is quiet and the floors are swept, they will have something to do.
  2. You have shown them respect and that you trust them.
  3. You are giving them a chance to use a talent to build your business.
Target Marketing is all about zeroing in an a specific consumer demographic

Target Marketing is all about zeroing in an a specific consumer demographic.

3. TARGET Your Marketing & Advertising

Small Business cannot afford to carpet bomb their advertising. It is too expensive to advertise to everyone, everywhere via every method and it is ineffective to just place a few ad’s here and there. Consumers are overwhelmed with the amount of advertising and marketing that is already in their faces everyday. The truth is that they hardly take notice of anything but the most directly engaging types of ads.

The average consumer is hit with hundreds of marketing messages daily. Advertising is everywhere you look. If you want attention you need to make it stand out, you need to customize your marketing to directly speak to your primary consumer base.

Get to know your consumer, learn what appeals to them and make a point of marketing to that. Ensure your message is clear, concise and creative. Bland ad’s don’t work. They must appeal to the people you are selling to on an emotional level and on a rational one as well.

Find out what stirs their emotions, use that to engage and cultivate interest. Then seal the deal by providing a logical reason to make the purchase.

4. Have A Pricing Strategy In Place.

A pricing strategy is much more than simply "Cost + Margin". Your prices will communicate your brand image to consumers. Pricing must be anchored within the rest of your marketing strategy.

A pricing strategy is much more than simply “Cost + Margin”. Your prices will communicate your brand image to consumers. Pricing must be anchored within the rest of your marketing strategy.

Pricing is a powerful tool. It must be used correctly if you wish to achieve your goals. Do not content yourself with setting a price based solely on production costs plus a margin. As a small business owner, you must decide:

  1. What are you trying to achieve with your pricing?
  2. What is the message you are giving people by pricing like you do?

Low pricing is a great way to break into new markets, or dominate existing ones at the risk of a lower profitability over the short-term. Whereas high prices, although you will sell less, can give the impression of a high-end product.

Your pricing is a direct line of communication to your customers and it speaks levels about your business. Your pricing strategy should reflect your marketing strategy. Whether you are targeting high-end consumers or the everyday public, ensure your pricing is in line with your overall brand image and marketing strategy.

5. Develop A Marketing Plan.

Sit down and devise a full strategy for your goals. Create a written marketing plan. This is the best way to ensure that you and all others involved in your business have a clear understanding of company direction. A standard marketing plan must be comprehensive, thoroughly researched and it must encompass every step required to bring your products or services to the customer.

Here are a few valuable questions to ask while developing this plan:

  1. Who are we now?
  2. Who do we want to be?
  3. What do we need to do to be that?
  4. Where are we now?
  5. Where do we want to be?
  6. What do we need to do to get there?
  7. Where do our most profitable present opportunities exist?
  8. What is the best path to these opportunities?
  9. Who will do what?
  10. What is required for each member to accomplish their task?
  11. How do we equip them?
  12. How will we know when we have achieved each goal?

Okanagan-Marketing

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.

 

Having Fun & Engaging Customers

Small-Business-Marketing

So impressive!

Incredible chalk art that plays off of the well-known Legend of Zelda games.

“Content is King” and that is exactly what this chalk sign exemplifies.

Such care and thought was put into this board that it will certainly grab attention.

What is more, they have used a hip, pop culture reference that their target consumer base can easily relate to.

The most interesting part about this, however, is that an outside talent was NOT sought to do it. This was the pure artistic talent of one of the regular employees.

Businesses must learn to embrace and nurture the talents of their employees. Find out where their passions are, where their hidden skills are and then permit them to use those to bolster your efforts.

It will build loyalty with your employees and your business will profit from it.

What’s In A Name? Choosing Your Small Business Name

Hairdressers always seem to have the best business names!

When starting a new business, put care and effort into choosing a name. Changing it later can take time, effort and wind up confusing your existing customer base.

Choose a name that will be easy to market, that has meaning and that engages consumers.

Do some research and see if the name is already used elsewhere. Will you have I compete with them for use of the name? Will you have to work around them for registering for a website etc?

20130712-100725.jpg

A creative name can add impetus to your small business venture