Friday, July 24, 2009

Need an uptick in marketplace visibility?

Try two easy ways to touch your key audiences.

Keeping your brand visible in the marketplace takes time and focus, but it’s important to stay in front of your target audiences. If you don’t, your business suffers. Here are two ways to generate positive brand awareness for your company.

1. Send CEO Updates: Extend your brand presence positively and exponentially by sending a short, personal letter to your database of clients, prospects, friends, selected reporters and associates three or four times a year. Let them know about new products and/or services, significant new hires, promotions, honors and awards, community involvement, business changes, etc. Let them know you wish the best for them also. A one-page letter, with your personal signature, mailed vs. emailed, has an excellent chance of being read, especially by people familiar with you and your company. You may not hear direct comments immediately, but know that you are casting pebbles into the pond of extended brand presence.

Respect the value of your database. Update and maintain your company’s database of friends, associates, reporters and particularly prospects. When you receive someone’s business card at lunch, add his or her name to the list. When someone you have met changes jobs, enter the change when it happens. This may be a tiresome chore, but your database will be updated, accurate and ready to use at any time.

2. Secure High-Profile Speaking Engagements: Move from sales and marketing to leadership positioning in front of your target audiences by securing speaking engagements at pertinent trade shows. Select a timely, appealing speaking platform related to your industry or business in general. Your speech content improves your chances of being accepted if you have new research, trends or ‘insider’ information to share. Then locate the organizations’ speaker packages for criteria, applications, etc. A warning though – most associations request speaker applications one year in advance of the next conference. Be sure to meet deadlines and periodically check on your status. When you have been accepted as a speaker, publicize the event before and/or after the conference in your local business and news media.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Getting eaten up by the competition?

Don’t let them make a meal of it.

It doesn’t take a wizard to see that companies of all sizes and in all industries are falling along the wayside in the current economic climate. Whether they’re selling directly to consumers or to business customers, companies are on the spot to focus and perform. If they falter, competitors will eat them up in a heartbeat. Here are a few recommendations from a marketing perspective that can help a company stay in the game.

Take a Competitive Market Position: Determine a competitive positioning that differentiates you from your competitors and resonates with your target audiences. If you have something innovative or leading edge to market, all the better. Once determined, use that position frequently, consistently and across the board. Don’t change it from week to week or on a whim or you lose your marketplace identity.

Have a Strategy: Use strategy to your advantage. Have a marketing strategy for your business overall and sub-strategies focused specifically on your buyers and other target audiences. Strategies can be as macro or as micro as you want them to be. They can include changes in pricing; products or services; communication and promotion to prospects, customers and other stakeholders; and/or distribution channels. Just have a strategy for marketing and follow it. Monitor it, evaluate results and revisit it if goals aren’t being met.

Adjust Expectations: It is a tough economy and the sales cycle is a lot longer for most products. Closing takes longer so factor that timing into your projections.

Look for more tips in the next blog.