Posts Categorized / Open Mic
Originally written November 2010: Yep, you heard it…WE WON! OK, so we didn’t win for the best chili, but Visionary Marketing’s Chili in Paradise booth took 1st place in the Best Decorated Booth category. For a marketing agency, I feel like we won gold in the Olympics!
Each year, the Allen Rotary Club hosts the Allen Chili Cook-off in October or November. All proceeds go through the Rotary Club to some great local charities. I’ve had the privilege of being a Rotarian for a few years, and I started in this amazing club. Come to think of it…I got this event up and running for its first year in 2009. I’ve moved to a Plano club, but couldn’t be prouder of this one for the amazing job they do with such a great event for the community.
Kale and I are huge Jimmy Buffet fans, so how could we not go with this theme for our booth. Last year, we only took 2nd place, but we decided to spruce it up a little to take home the Gold! Yes, the margarita bottle was new this year. No way, was I coming in second twice! If it takes a large margarita bottle to win, then I’m game. If it takes a full service bar in my booth next year, I’m game with that too! Cheers to the VMD team for putting this together, and cheers to everyone else who participates in their local community!
I was just thinking about how to explain reputation management to a client, and how it was more encompassing than public relations. Watching the Today Show yesterday on NBC, I got to watch an absolutely perfect example that a lot of us can relate to. OK, so I’m not sure about you, but I have a secret addiction to Food Network and the Cooking Channel. It’s an addiction that I can control, as I have to work during the day during the best showtimes. However, whenever I’m on bedrest for anything, you can guarantee that I’m brushing up on my cooking skills! And, everyone that knows me really well knows that cooking is my absolute favorite thing to do in the world!
We all know that Paula Deen’s favorite ingredient is butter! It’s one of the well known facts in the cooking world. When I’m not dieting, I feel like Paula is right there with me cooking! Rumors had started about Paula Deen having type 2 diabetes. What’s your first reaction? With eating that much butter, how could she NOT have type 2 diabetes? However, it was all a rumor at first.
Paula could have continued PR efforts just broadcasting about her new endeavors, however, her publicist demanded that they do a reputation management campaign. Yesterday, on the Today Show, Paula Deen did confirm that she has diabetes, and answered many of the questions people are speculating about. Why, oh why, would a person with diabetes use so much butter in cooking some of the unhealthiest foods possible? Paula was prepared with responses to defend her reputation. Her answer was simply about how the public doesn’t see how she eats the rest of the time. And, if you eat in small portions, unhealthy food isn’t bad for you. She claimed that she’s known about this, and wouldn’t change her specialties. She is proud to cook the way she does, but as with anything, you need to have control.
I can tell you that I LOVE butter, but I know I need to diet and butter is typically not in my recipes. However, every once in a while, I’ll have it, and in small portions…it’s so yummy!!
If you know that some unfavorable news can come out about your brand or your company, don’t be afraid of the press. Prepare for it! Manage your reputation! With a carefully crafted response and proactive approach to releasing news, you’re one step ahead of the critics. Don’t let them get to you before you get to them!
Originally written March 2011: Right now, I’m starting my training to compete in triathlons. When I’m tired, I want to quit soooo badly! However, that’s probably not going to get me to run, bike and swim for miles. So, I give myself a goal, and I must accomplish this goal before quitting. Marketing follows the same rules. In uncertain times, marketing is more important than ever! Set a budget, and keep on track. Staying on track shows confidence, and it will allow you to leapfrog your competitors who are reactive and driven by fear.
As with anything, when you get off track, it is extremely hard to get back on track. A McGraw Hill study on the 1981-1982 recession shows the positive performance results of companies who maintained or increased their marketing budgets during the recession achieved significantly higher sales growth during and following the recession. While it may not be practical for all companies to increase or maintain their budgets during a recession period, it is important to determine a budget, focus on profitable targets, and utilize creativity and persistence to reach your customers. Don’t fall behind your competition by disappearing during the tough times.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your message in front of your customers and prospects. Use your imagination (or ours) to find the right way to market effectively to your customers and prospects. There are many ideas out there, so go ahead and be creative, but DON’T LET YOURSELF SLOW DOWN!
When I was a little kid, I wasn’t very fashionable. Heck, who am I kidding…I’m STILL not fashionable. However, let’s not go to that topic for now! I’d look at the other girls who were fashion trend setters and didn’t like them, as I thought they acted better than everyone else. As a kid, making fun of others was all I could do, as I didn’t know how to be fashionable and stand out like them. So, while I felt better as a kid making fun of others, this doesn’t work in the business world. This is a very common problem of many businesses. They don’t know how to STAND OUT! A business is started because somebody decided they were good at something, or they found a need in the marketplace. That’s great! Now, as many others were also good at the same service, or found the same need in the marketplace, you need to make sure your company succeeds by standing out above them!
Now, I know you think you are chosen as a vendor because you are much more charming than your competition. Yes, I’m sure that closes some deals for you, however, most deals are going to close because of your uniqueness and how you present yourself. The last thing you want is for a prospect to say…”Well, I’ve met with 3 companies, and they are all the same.” What makes you stand out amongst the others? Do you have a value proposition statement that you can say in less than 30 seconds that answers why you over the competition? It’s not…”Because I’m professional” or “Because we are highly qualified at what we do.” Everyone else has the same answer! You shouldn’t only have one unique value proposition. Make one up for each different type of prospect you encounter. I can tell you I have several, and I’d be more than happy to share them with you. Feel free to call or e-mail me for more info on value propositions! I love the chance to get to STAND OUT amongst my competition!
How many of you know of a friend or colleague that has had problems choosing which web development team to go with? As website development is a large part of our company, we visit competitor websites frequently to make sure we are at the top of our game. I’m amazed at what I see!
The best way to familiarize yourself with a web designer is to spend time at their own business website. As you review the work of a web design company, ask yourself:
- Do their links work throughout their own site?
- Are the graphical images and photos they’re using in focus and in color?
- Is the idea behind their web design original or does it look like a template?
- Can you view the web designer’s portfolio?
- Do they come up in Google if you enter a search: ex – Plano Website Design – are they TOP TEN in Google? Or, at least on the first two pages of Google? If they cannot be found with a basic search relative to their content, then your website will never be found either!
- Marketing skills…you certainly want to make sure your web designer has those skills!
I’ve seen many web developers at networking meetings, and throughout other community events. Don’t get me wrong…they are really nice people. However, if you have broken links on every page, then maybe a different occupation is in order! Don’t be afraid of the process of working with a website company. There are some great ones out there. Just make sure their own site functions properly, and looks like they know a bit or two about branding!