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TMS 2012 ROCK THE SMALL BIZ PROMOTION!

okanagan-transition-marketing-small-business-promotion

We love small business…truly…madly…deeply.

We Love Small Business!

Some say it, we show it. Actions speak louder than words after all. Small Business is full of challenges, and not a lot of us have much in the budget (or a budget at all!). We get it! It is a challenge, one that is more easily overcome when we work together. Therefore we are giving one very lucky small business, something extra special, check it!

Rock The Small Biz Promotion:

Are you a Small Business owner or representative? Do you live in the Okanagan Valley in sunny British Columbia? Do you like wicked-awesome-free-stuff? Transition Marketing Services is offering the chance for one Okanagan, BC Small Business to win a free CUSTOMIZED website courtesy of our design team. The free website comes with free registration and one year’s free hosting courtesy of Raptor Integration. Get that? So that is a free CUSTOMIZED website at your disposal for a year. Interested? Here are the details:

Contest Rules:

Eligibility:

Any small business owner (or representative acting on behalf of the business within an ocial capacity), whose business is located in Salmon Arm, Enderby, Armstrong, Vernon or any surrounding community within 100 km radius.

Entry:

Entries will be accepted beginning July 12, 2012 and will run until August 30, 2012.

  1. “Like” Transition Marketing on Facebook (www.facebook.com/transitionmarketing)
  2. Message our admin with the following info: Contact name. Business name. Telephone number. Email address. Business address.
  3. Your business will then be entered. Contest ends Monday, August 30. A name will be drawn August 31. Winner will be notified directly by Transition Marketing.

Prize Details:

Prize worth is estimated at $1200.00 CDN. A custom website, consisting of a maximum of ve pages, will be built by Transition Marketing. Note that any specific logo, artwork, or images (such as product photos) must be provided to Transition Marketing upon request for website completion. Domain registration and one years hosting will be provided by RAPTOR INTEGRATION (annual renewal aftera one year period will be the responsibility of the winner).

Legal Disclaimers:

Transition Marketing Legal Disclaimer: Any and all information provided to Transition Marketing for the purpose of this contest is condential. No information passed directly to the Transition Marketing Page admin, will be disclosed, sold, or provided to any parties whatsoever. Entrants must demonstrate ownership (or representation) of actual business to be considered. Transition Marketing holds the right to refuse contest entry, communications, prizes and associated materials, at their judgement to any business involved (or perceived to be involved) in any illegal or questionable activities. Website will be built to the best of the customers specications. Website will be considered completed upon customer approval or upon completion of 16 billable hours of design time.

Facebook Legal Disclaimer:

By entering this contest, via direct message to the Transition Marketing Services Page admin, the entrant releases Facebook, from any and all legal implications. Entrant acknowledges that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Entrant understands that any and all information being provided is specically to Transition Marketing for contest puposes. It is not and not will not be disclosed to or by Facebook. Entrant absolves Facebook of any legal repercussions whatsoever.

Visit Us Directly Right Here To Enter.

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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

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Things Brands Can Learn From Apple

Branding Is Driven By Service

Apple tore down and rebuilt their business model to resounding success.

Our past weeks posts have all focused on Branding. Understanding it, what it achieves, and finally how service drives Brand recognition and association.

The best points and lessons are always illustrated with examples. We will close of our examination of branding, with lessons learned from Apple (with a little help from Henry Ford).

Apples to Apples, not all fruit are equal.

Apple has broken records and set precedents for business success. On average Apple stores are generating over $6000 per square foot and they were recently estimated to have a worth of around $600 billion.

So how have they done it? By breaking with many traditional forms and placing customer experience where it belongs – at the head of the pack, as their primary goal.

“We are at our best when we deliver enriching experiences” – Apple Credo

This is not a new concept, in fact we can trace a similar thought to the head of one of histories other great business success stories – Henry Ford:

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A young Steve Jobs looking a bit like Freddy Mercury.

A business absolutely devoted to service, will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large” – Henry Ford

Ten years ago Steve Jobs and Ron Johnson (former head of Apple retail) determined that something had to change, the current business model was lacking. They were not content to simply adjust, they tore everything down and rebuilt from the ground up. Here are but a few concepts that Apple implemented in their business model.

Things Brands Can Learn From Apple.

Taken From the book The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty by Carmine Gallo.

*Quotes by Henry Ford and “TMS” (Transition Marketing Services) have been added in separate, and are not a part of The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty*

1 .Stop selling stuff.

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business” – Henry Ford

When Steve Jobs first started the Apple Store, he did not ask the question, “How will we grow our market share from 5 to 10 percent?” Instead he asked, “How do we enrich people’s lives?” Think about your vision. If you were to examine the business model for most brands and retailers, and develop a vision around it, the vision would be to “sell more stuff.” A vision based on selling stuff is not very inspiring and leads to a very different experience than what the Apple Retail Store created.

“Many consumers flock to Apple, because they are disenchanted with being sold stuff by cheesy sales pitches and non-authentic marketing campaigns” – TMS

Steve Wosniak or The “Woz” as Sheldon Cooper calls him. Co-founder of Apple, Steve was caught recently waiting in line to purchase the new iPad, further proving that the mentality at Apple does not fit with stereotypical big business.

2. Enrich lives.

“An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous” – Henry Ford

The vision behind the Apple Store is to “enrich lives”. These are the first two words on a wallet-sized credo card employees are encouraged to carry. When you enrich lives, magical things start to happen. For example, the basis of “enriching lives”, convinced Apple to have a non-commissioned sales floor, where employees feel comfortable spending as much time with a customer as the customer desires. Enriching lives led Apple to build play areas (the “family room”), where kids could see, touch and play on computers. Enriching lives led to the creation of a “Genius Bar”, where trained experts are focused on “rebuilding relationships” as much as fixing problems.

“The best Branding is all about Humanizing your business, make yourself accessible and REAL if you want to build effective brand to consumer relationships” – TMS

3. Hire for smiles.

“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas” – Henry Ford

The soul of the Apple Store is in its people. They are hired, trained, motivated and taught to create magical and memorable moments for their customers. The Apple Store values a magnetic personality as much, if not more so, than technical proficiency. The Apple Store cares less about what you know and more about how much you love people.

“Good service begins with training. Unless you are willing to settle for mundane efforts, train your employees – take an active role in their improvement” – TMS

4. Celebrate diversity.

Apple does not turn their nose up at the non-traditional. They have built their brand by breaking the mold and their retail employees testify to that.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” – Henry Ford

Mohawks, tattoos, piercings are all acceptable among Apple Store employees. Apple hires people who reflect the diversity of their customers. Since they are more interested in how passionate you are, your hairstyle doesn’t matter. Early in the Apple Store history, they also learned that former teachers make the best salespeople – because they ask a lot of questions. It’s not uncommon to find former teachers, engineers, and artists at an Apple Store. Apple doesn’t look for someone who fits a mold.

“The world is quickly filling up with brilliant minds that do not conform to the suit mentality – the day for that image is waning. It is not uncommon now to see Bank Tellers, Doctors, Lawyers and more, sporting tattoos and such. I know a dentist with massive ear piercings. Do not make the mistake of turning your back on the mind behind the next big thing, simply because they wear skinny jeans” – TMS

5. Unleash inner genius.

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done” -Henry Ford

Teach your customers something they never knew they could do before, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty. For example, the Apple Store offers a unique program to help people understand and enjoy their computers: One to One. The $99 one-year membership program is available with the purchase of a Mac. Apple Store instructors called “creatives” offer personalized instruction inside the Apple Store. Customers can learn just about anything: basics about the Mac operating system; how to design a website; enjoying, sharing, and editing photos or movies; creating a presentation; and much more. The One to One program was created to help build customers for life. It was designed on the premise that the more you understand a product, the more you enjoy it, and the more likely you are to build a long-term relationship with the company. Instructors are trained to provide guidance and instruction, but also to inspire customers, giving them the tools to make them more creative than they ever imagined.

“When you engage your customers and improve their experience, you have just done more for your brand than thousands of dollars in advertising could ever do” – TMS

6. Empower employees.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” – Henry Ford

I spent one hour talking to an Apple Store specialist about kids, golf, and my business. We spent about ten minutes talking about the product (a MacBook Air). I asked the employee whether he would be reprimanded for spending so much time with one customer. “Not at all,” he replied. “If you have a great experience, that’s all that matters”. Apple has a non-commissioned sales floor for a reason—employees are not pressured to “make a sale.” Instead they are empowered to do what they believe is the right thing to do.

“It has been our experience, personally and from discussing with consumers, that few things impact a brand image more negatively then sales commissioned staff” – TMS

7. Sell the benefit.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own” – Henry Ford

Apple Store specialists are taught to sell the benefit behind products and to customize those benefits for the customer. For example, I walked to the iPad table with my two young daughters and told the specialist I was considering my first iPad. In a brilliant move, the specialist focused on my two daughters, the ‘secondary’ customer who can influence a purchase. He let the girls play on separate devices. On one device he played the movie, Tangled, and on the other device he brought up a Disney Princess coloring app. My girls were thrilled and, in one memorable moment, my 6-year-old turned me to and said, “I love this store!” It’s easy to see why. Instead of touting “speeds and feeds,” the specialist taught us how the device could improve our lives.

“Engage your customers on the levels that matter, have fun with them, develop a banter and a relationship by investing yourself in them” – TMS

Follow the steps of service.

“Time and money spent in helping men to do more for themselves is far better than mere giving” – Henry Ford

The Apple Store teaches its employees to follow five steps in each and every interaction. These are called the Apple five steps of service. They are outlined by the acronym A-P-P-L-E. They are:

  • Approach with a customized, warm greeting.
  • Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs.
  • Present a solution the customer can take home today.
  • Listen for and address unresolved questions.
  • End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

9. Create multisensory experiences.

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one” – Henry Ford

The brain loves multi-sensory experiences. In other words, people enjoy being able to see, touch, and play with products. Walk into an Apple Store upon opening and you’ll see all the notebook computer screens perfectly positioned slightly beyond 90-degree angles. The position of the computer lets you see the screen (which is on and loaded with content) but forces you to touch the computer in order to adjust it. Every device in the store is working and connected to the Internet. Spend as much time as you’d like playing with the products—nobody will kick you out. Creatives who give One-to-One workshops do not touch the computer without asking for permission. They want you to do it. The sense of touch helps create an emotional connection with a product.

“Do not make your customer interaction about the sale. Make it about the customer. Don’t chase the sale, please the customer and let the sale come to you” – TMS

10. Appeal to the buying brain.

Apple lays their buildings out in a way that creates a comfortable environment for consumers.

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success” – Henry Ford

Clutter forces the brain to consume energy. Create uncluttered environments instead. The Apple Store is spacious, clean, well-lit, and uncluttered. Cables are hidden from view and no posters are placed on the iconic glass entrances. Computer screens are cleaned constantly. Keep the environment clean, open, and uncluttered.

“Take pride in your quarters, in your business. Treat everything about your business as intrinsic to improving the customers experience, and thereby creating the environment for the sale” – TMS

This way of thinking is not new, it was just misplaced. Apple has clearly demonstrated the success behind these principles. How long before businesses truly understand the foundation for ultimate Branding power lay in Customer Service and Experience?

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing ServicesContact us for a free consultation.

20 Tips For Pinterest

Pin Your Way To Success.

Pinterest. More than a flash in the pan.

Pinterest is a glorious platform. Beautiful, user friendly, and loaded with potential.

It is also a very big deal right now.

Despite the sudden explosion of excitement however, Pinterest contains enough “Oomph” to be more than just a flash in the pan. I have taken a close hard look at it from several angles and no matter what industry you represent, Pinterest holds marketing value.

It is full of clean and beautiful, new and relevant content. It is essentially what I imagine people envisioned for the internet 3 decades ago. Content that is easy to find and not lost in the junkie “bathroom-wall-clutter” of the world wide web.

The image-sharing-foundation behind Pinterest only compounds on it’s beauty and usefulness. In an image driven society, centering your sharing around key images is brilliant.

Recently I put through a conceptual proposal for Pinterest as a tool for a local Chamber of Commerce, to great response. If a small town Chamber can use it, can you? Let’s have a look shall we?

Pinter-what?

Pinterest provides an easy to navigate platform for content sharing.

Pinterest, a wonderful combination of the words “pin” and “interest” (if that was not clear). It is exactly what the name suggests. A place to pin your interests. Remember pasting your bedroom walls with posters, album covers and magazine cut-outs? That is Pinterest, only easier and online.

Think “social bookmarking” but at the next level and gorgeous (IE Stumbleupon, Delicious on steroids).

How Does It Work?

Once you have a profile setup it enables you to create “Boards” based on the topics you intend to share. Fashion, Animals, LOL, Marketing Blogs, whatever topics you can imagine.

Once you have a few boards setup you can begin adding your “Pins”. Pins are images that Pinterest searches directly off of the site you are sharing. In other words, when you share a link, Pinterest automatically searches that link for images that match it’s requirements. You are then presented with the available images, and may choose which one to pin, as relevant to the link you are sharing.

Lowes is one of the forerunners on Pinterest – for more on their great example visit here.

If you still don’t get it, visit our last blog on “how to” or just head on over to the Pinterest site and play with it yourself!

20 Tips For Maximized Pinterest Pleasure!

  1. Exposure, exposure, exposure! Make sure you brand your profile! Have your name and logo displayed prominently for all to see.
  2. Tell us about yourself. Fill in the “about” section. This is displayed beneath your profile photo and name. It reinforces your branding and offers insight.
  3. Bridge you accounts. Connect Pinterest with other available profiles, such as Twitter or Facebook. Doing so means followers on one can now find you and your brand elsewhere as well.
  4. INCLUDE YOUR WEBSITE URL! Social Media is all about engaging people and bringing them closer to you. Giving easy access to your website does just that.
  5. Add the Pinterest Icon to your website and other content. Let people know you are there!
  6. Share your pins across other profiles. Pinterest has built in Twitter use, so tweet your content!
  7. One of the top tips for blogging, is to view and comment other user’s profiles and posts. Pinterest is the same – get out there and engage, communicate and comment.
  8. Share the love! Don’t be afraid to compliment good content with a “Like” it works the same as comments and spreads engagement.
  9. Get out there and Pin, Pin, PIN! The more content you share, the newer, the fresher it is, the more traffic you will see.
  10. Re-Pin. Like Re-Tweeting – spread community, builds engagement and creates great traffic.
  11. You can tag other Pinterest users the same way you do with Twitter. Place @JonDough in the description to direct your pins at users.
  12. Have fun with your board names. Be creative, make them catchy and keep them relevant. The names are what users will be checking out, so make them count.
  13. VARIETY is the spice of life. Post and share content from all over, do not just share the same site over and over.
  14. Pin your own content, but don’t be self-centered. Just as talking about oneself incessantly is both rude and annoying, pinning only yourself is a party faux pas.
  15. You can Pin videos! Pinterest has a special section just for videos, and it accommodates YouTube content easily.
  16. Adapt and Improvise. Holiday coming up? Create a festive board to capitalize on traffic.
  17. When pinning, put thought into your description.The description will stay with the pin as it circulates around the world. Make sure, when possible, to include your brand or company info in the pin.
  18. Embed your pins into your blog and other related content, keep in mind you may want to include a description of what it is, until Pinterest becomes a little more mainstream.
  19. Get the app and pin directly from you iPhone.
  20. Keep Pinterest in mind as your create content. Make sure images are in your content to allow for easy sharing.

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing Services Contact us for a free consultation.

How A Small Local Wine Shop Thrives – Oenology At Its Best

 

20120520-114843.jpg In our neck of the woods tourism is a big deal. If you have never been to the sunny Okanagan, we highly recommend it! Gorgeous scenery, lakes, mountains, and plenty of things to see and do. Whether you take a steam train from Spirit Square in Armstrong, carve the powder at Silverstar in Vernon, do the Wine Tours in Kelowna, take a Houseboat in Salmon Arm, or tube the amazing Shuswap river in Enderby – there is plenty to keep you busy. There are a number of well known and established brands with manufacturing facilities here. Kohler, Maax, Harbourcraft, Bigfoot, Sunripe & Okanagan Springs to name a few. The larger guys not withstanding, the Okanagan has a thriving small business community.The local small business owners characterize everything it takes to succeed. Their passion, love for what they do, creativity and hard hard work makes them stand out from among their peers.

20120520-114534.jpgRecently I was chatting with a local business woman about her venture. She owns and operates a small shop in Enderby that allows customers to develop their own wine. Not a new idea by any stretch, and in what is known as BC wine country, it makes for a curious choice – but it is her passion. And she is succeeding. Enderby, if you did not know, has a population of about 3200 people, and while the city (yes it is a city) knows how to have a good time, they are not the reason for the success. Enderby is snuggled in between the large communities of Salmon Arm and Vernon, BC, with a combined population of around 60,000 to 70,000. Yet both of these communities have their own set of Wine shops. The success of this little out of the way shop is found in their savvy knowledge of their Target. The know to whom they need to Market. Enderby is a hub through which many tourists, specifically those from the Province of Alberta, pass. There is a massive number of Albertan tourists coming through Enderby on their way to Mable Lake. Many of these tourists have summer homes or are visiting with friends who do. They are staying for several days at a time and they are here to relax, a little boating, some sun bathing…a nice bottle of wine… These tourists are the key. The lions share of this wonderful little shops business, comes from our friends to the east. They pass right by the shop, and are willing to make the short commute back into town to stock up. Knowing who your business is relevant to, and maximizing that by developing the right campaign, can make the difference between success and failure. So how about it, have you effectively determined your market targets yet? Maybe sit down and do a little homework and enjoy a nice bottle of wine, I know a great little shop…

Ben Erickson is a Design & Social Media Specialist with Transition Marketing Services Contact us for a free consultation.

Determining The Right Goals For Your Marketing & Branding Campaign

When determining your market goals you need to weigh your strengths & weaknesses against what matters most to your customer (their interests). Using a series of Measurements and Delineations, business of all sizes can systematically filter down to the root areas of Strength, Weakness & Customer Interest.

DISCLAIMER: The concept put forward in this infographic can be a complex One. We have not touched on all aspects of this model in detail, but have attempted to paint the concept with a rather broad brush. This particular example shows a delineation of “Brand Strengths” however when using this system you would want to include areas of “Brand Weakness” as well as “Customer Interests” (areas that matter most to the customer).The concept behind it is not new, we have simply adjusted and applied some colour to it. If you have questions or comments please touch base with us!

Once More Into The Fray:

In Marketing, as in Manufacturing, success is marked by results. Results are determined by measurement, and to measure one needs a target. When developing a Marketing campaign/strategy one must know which results matter and set their target appropriately. By doing so one ensures a direction, and measurable results.

Each business sets different goals based on products or services offered, brand strengths, target markets and resources. To achieve the greatest success a company must do the research, discern the priorities and set their targets appropriately.

One business may see value in Niche Marketing to specialized customers via Customer Service Strengths, while another may see more value in Mass Marketing via Product Integrity. The key to effective Marketing Strategies is to know what goal is right for your company.

That is where the use of the “Delineate & Measure” model is so key. It uses very bare bones concepts taken from Six Sigma, Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing and applies them to Marketing & Branding to accurately discern Brand Strengths, Weaknesses and Key Areas of Gain for Marketing Campaigns. These “High Gain” areas are considered “Low Hanging Fruit”.

Low Hanging Fruit? A practical name taken straight from Six Sigma. It refers to the areas of quickest, most immediate gain.

The concept here is to take all of your research, customer feedback, polls, demographics etc. and measure against them in order to delineate or “filter” downwards to discern three things:

  1. Your root strengths and competencies (Your Branding should be based on these).
  2. Your weaknesses and areas for improvement.
  3. The areas that matter most to your customers.

By isolating highly specific areas of strength, weakness and customer interest, one can determine the areas that make the most sense to “exploit” (dirty word) for quickest, largest immediate gains.

In other words once you have these three areas isolated, compare your existing Strengths with Existing Customer Needs to determine which areas you can succeed in most immediately. BAM! Low Hanging Fruit (or areas of most immediate gain).

Your Customers Needs should play the primary role when developing your goals. It is the only way to ensure the best bang for your buck. To further illustrate here is an example of proper prioritizing that I read while doing some introductory Six Sigma Studies:

A local pizza franchise was experiencing terrible sales in their first quarter. As a part of their Marketing Campaign they began to offer a variety of new ingredients: exotic meats, Asian vegetables and gourmet cheeses. They advertised as necessary but sales were still dismal. As it turned out they lost money attempting to keep and circulate all of their new inventory – the result of the new ingredients.

Shortly thereafter, and entirely by chance, they begin discussing their issues with a Six Sigma Brown Belt. He asked them how they had determined their strategy of diversifying their menu, to which they answered that they were keeping with the trends of several of their national competitors. He then asked them what their customer research had indicated, they replied that they had only done some preliminary polls, but had spent most of the budget on the advertising for the new ingredients.

It was recommended that they poll their customer base and then determine how the resulting feedback played into their own root areas of strength and weakness. The feedback indicated that two primary frustrations for customers were late deliveries and burnt bottoms on their crusts.

The took a look at root causes for these concerns and determined that two of their weaknesses as a business, were employee phone training and dated ovens. They implemented training for the staff answering phones, to ensure accurate and detailed directions for their delivery drivers, then – at a fraction of the cost of the previous advertising campaign – they installed new ovens to reduce burnt crusts.

The results were outstanding in the fourth quarter, as word of mouth circulated and happy customers provided repeat business the struggling chain turned themselves around and we soon leading the local market. They established Brand Integrity with far less resources and far more result then their previous Marketing campaigns.

The concept is simple. Use the Delineate & Measure System to find your strengths, find your weaknesses and find what matters to the people purchasing your products and services, then use these areas to determine the “Low Hanging Fruit”.

Targeting the “Low Hanging Fruit” provides the gains that will fuel your climb upwards to the next “High Gain” area. They will also provide the growth required to improve areas of weakness, thereby increasing the number of “High Gain” areas available.

This is one method we use when sitting down with customers to discuss what direction to take their campaign. What is great about it, is it’s flexibility. It can be applied to Marketing Goals regardless of the business or industry. It can also be applied to determine Brand Strengths when developing Company Branding Strategy.

We developed the above infographic as a highly undressed depiction of how to utilize the system. The fields in the infographic were populated with filler info based on different strengths or areas that various companies may possess. Effective use of the system requires far more depth, description and research than is depicted in the infographic. This particular example only shows a delineation of Brand Strengths, when using this system it would include areas of Brand Weakness as well as Customer Needs.