Marketing Strategy That Best Defends Your Company Against Competition



What do I mean by the phrase, “A marketing strategy that best defends your company”?

Protecting your assets with the right marketing strategy results in the shielding and enhancing of your brand, as well as protecting your customer base.

Also, my sense is there are two other marketing facets that warrant a great defense: Your industry and your position in it. Another way of putting it is to say that you should want to be No. 1 in a vibrant industry.

ID-100259380 Stuart MilesNot to criticize other marketing tools, the best single strategy to accomplish both – promoting your and industry while getting top-of-mind awareness – is with editorial coverage.

Bill Gates made famous this quote: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” Certainly, there’s ample confirmation of his approach.

Even if you go to the competing Google News instead of Bing, you’ll typically find 50-million results for the key word, Microsoft. (For an explanation of editorial coverage, see: PR Is Nearly 90% More Valuable Than Content Marketing — Study.)

“But what about social media or search-engine optimization techniques?” you ask.

Yes, I know all about the two tools and the eyeballs that they can generate. Those social media and SEO can be very helpful for the short term.

That’s not to say advertising on radio or TV isn’t important because it is, especially for certain sectors such as auto and truck sales. Admittedly, ongoing PR is labor-intensive and difficult to achieve on a daily basis.

You should also be concerned about the long-term sustainability of your business. So again, editorial coverage is important to lay a foundation for long-term brand value.

Gerri Knilans, the principal of Trade Press Services (www.tradepressservices.com), is an expert in this arena.

She’s such a guru she confidently provides a unique guarantee: “Trade Press Services will get you coverage in the publication outlets you target, or we’ll refund your investment.”

Benefits of editorial coverage

She points out the 12 benefits of editorial coverage:

  1. Increases visibility, credibility and name recognition in the marketplace.
  2. Gives you tangible materials to post online, tweet, and share through your social media networks.
  3. Generates new sales.
  4. Builds your prospect base.
  5. Tests new market sector opportunities.
  6. Introduces new products or services.
  7. Creates a competitive advantage.
  8. Creates or alters marketplace perceptions.
  9. Positions the company as a market leader and your key people as industry experts.
  10. Maximizes the ROI from marketing dollars invested.
  11. Brings renewed pride, enthusiasm and boosts buy-in of employees, sales agents and other business associates.
  12. Provides you with a source of new and effective marketing tools to support your sales efforts.

In her blog on LinkedIn, “The Real Truth about Advertising and Articles,” she reminds us about the downsides of advertising:

“Pick up any magazine, and browse through the ads. What do you see? Catchy slogans, free-trial or limited-time offers and wild claims. In other words, companies make use of that medium to actively promote their products or services and try to persuade readers to buy them. But sometimes this backfires. At best, readers might overlook the glossy ads, and worst case, they view them with skepticism.”In her blog on LinkedIn, “The Real Truth about Advertising and Articles,” she reminds us about the downsides of advertising:

Ms. Knilans points out magazine readers want “valuable information, solutions to their problems and other educational content.”

She adds you get “instant credibility” by authoring an article: “This leads to a positive image – one that creates trust. In fact, a Nielsen study found that 67 percent of consumers trust editorial content.”

What about a long shelf-life?

“Rather than the fleeting image that comes from an advertisement, a feature article, case study, or opinion column has a long shelf-life and can be used in many ways throughout the year,” she writes. “It’s also a more cost-effective way to reach thousands of prospects or customers.”

Naturally, don’t forget magazines have Web sites. Links from those sites to your site represent gold for your online brand.

Effective ways to leverage editorial content

To capitalize on your editorial content, Ms. Knilans offers these suggestions:

  • Create professional PDF reprints of the articles for salespeople and other representatives to use in their live and electronic sales and marketing presentations.
  • Post article reprints and links to online publications on your website to demonstrate tangible recognition of your expertise.
  • Use social media to share PDFs and links to online articles with your followers.
  • Include reprints in your online and hard copy media kit to promote speaking engagements.
  • Distribute PDFs or hard copy article reprints by electronic or traditional mail with personalized messages to prospects and consumers.

So, in your budget allow for editorial coverage.

It’s worth noting I’ve known Ms. Knilans for than a decade thanks to my peers in an outstanding organization of experts, Consultants West.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

5 Vital Elements to Help You Aim at Your PR Targets — Even in this advanced age of the digital economy, a sound public relations program remains one of your most-powerful marketing investments. PR can give you power with an implied endorsement from the media. Even if journalists aren’t motivated to give you publicity, a strong PR campaign will help you to circumvent them.

Need PR, But No Budget? Here’s How to Leverage News Media — Social media is OK for promotion. But if you need blockbuster publicity, use best practices in marketing. Play a trump card — leverage the news media for public relations. Yes, it’s true that increasing numbers of adults – especially the Millennials – are using social media for their news and information, and for making buying decisions.

Public Relations Expert Provides Crisis Management Tips — Appearances count. But universities, presidential candidates and businesses have all demonstrated a lack of awareness about good public relations. A public relations expert explains what they should have done.

11 Tips to Enhance Your Career as an Effective Writer — As a career — whether you’re writing as an author or to generate content to market your business — effective writing requires two attributes. They are dedication and passion.

SEO Tips to Rank No.1 on Bing and Google — Study — There are striking similarities with Bing and Google — Web sites for top brands rank the highest and No. 1 sites are dominant because they have quality content, as well as strong social media signals and backlinks.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”

-Wayne Gretzky


__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net

How to Create Luck So You Can Fly High with Profits



Despite higher costs and a weak economy, some businesses are lucky in increasing profits. Often, it’s a result of success from competing in a zero sum marketplace. Companies survive and gain market share when their competitors fail. But that’s often because successful firms know how to create luck.

Fear is a factor when companies underperform. But fear is also an acronym: FEAR, frantic effort to avoid responsibility. Fear is often the reason why people fail to perform.

free stock photo Blonde, Anger, Surprise, ComputersConsider these typical situations:

– Do you let fear lead to paralysis from too much analysis?

– Do you give away your power when you encounter rude customers?

– Do you allow rejection in sales presentations to get you down?

-Do you idly sit as public officials create policies that harm your economic and political freedoms?

To create profits with strategic planning in a competitive marketplace and business adversity, here’s how to eliminate fear and create luck:

Create balance with an analysis and strategic plan. Don’t go overboard in planning, but look at your role in capitalizing on your strengths and weaknesses and identify opportunities and threats. Your best plans can go awry but you can minimize any challenges with the right amount of reflection for the performance of both you and your business, and execute with courage.

So, my question is how’s your strategic planning for the next 12 months?

Invest in your education. Learn from others how they deal with uncertainty in business. I’ve had literally thousands of telephone conversations with great mentors. That’s right, just a few personal meetings and countless telephone calls.

I love the business philosophy of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki. Perhaps he’s been justly criticized for some of his investment approaches, but his anecdotal lessons are inspirational. For example, his ideas on networking are insightful and he’s got an unusual take on the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

Focus on marketing and sales simultaneously. Marketing is vital in creating a brand image. That might include public relations, a Web site, online prominence in social media and trade shows. Sales includes prospect and customer contact. Here are more tips to get strong results from your marketing plan.

If time and budget issues are taxing and you don’t have the right staff, consider alternatives:

To make a productive sales call, good marketing materials are an asset. And marketing results are stronger if your salespeople are effective. But sales and marketing usually requires two different skill sets. So consider a part-time independent contractor for marketing and commission pay for results-oriented salespeople.

Remember sales require an “inside job.” If you’re selling value, and speaking and acting with conviction, you’re destined to attract the right customers.

Create opportunities with partnerships and centers of influence. Develop relationships with influential people or groups and ask them for referrals. Look for ways to reciprocate. Rotary Clubs and chambers of commerce are good places to look for people who can be instrumental. They’ll help when you need it the most. I got my first two consulting gigs after being laid-off as a newscaster, and started meeting businesspeople over coffee. Using football as examples, here are nine steps for strategic alliance success.

Create great PR. My favorite PR example is my second client, the Utah State Fair, which was part of state government. After leaving the airwaves as a newscaster, I was hired in a 1988 Utah recession to get a $2 million state appropriation for repairing deteriorated historic buildings. At the time, asking for $2 million would be like asking for $65 million today adjusted for inflation. Legislators had been ignoring the fair and even rescinded funds they appropriated the prior year.

Effective marketing is both public and private. Following the lead of every dignitary who visits Salt Lake City, I advised my client to make a call on Mormon Church officials. Officially, the church didn’t influence public policy, but as a relative newcomer to Utah, I realized the head of the church was Ezra Taft Benson, who had been Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower. Soon, a Mormon-owned newspaper published the headline: “Our Crumbling Fairgrounds.”

We scheduled events nearly each day:

For example, we took horse-drawn carriages to the state capitol “to take lawmakers for a ride.” Every newspaper published pictures with the caption, “Utah State Fair takes lawmakers for a ride.” (Actually, the veteran lawmakers ignored our invitations but the rookie lawmakers eagerly climbed into the carriages. But after the old-timers saw extensive pictures of the rookies, they eagerly cooperated on other PR efforts.) We hand-delivered bouquets of flowers donated by a grower to the morning DJs at the top 10 radio stations on Valentine’s Day to entice them to “Love a Fair.” During lunch that day, we delivered bouquets and messages to every state legislator and capitol employee.

The result: $2 million. (The following year lawmakers appropriated another $1 million without even being asked.)

We promptly issued a press release detailing how the appropriation was efficiently being invested so lawmakers wouldn’t change their minds again. If you need PR, but don’t have a budget? Here’s how to leverage the news media.

Cost-effective Internet options. Advantages in online marketing include: 1. Low overhead. 2. An opportunity to list a mega selection. 3. The Web is a great equalizer in competition. 4. International trade keeps getting bigger – remember you have the ability to sell outside the U.S.

A good barometer for advertising trends is national politics and how political candidates influence voters.Broadcast yourself.Check out YouTube. You’ll see an endless potpourri of video sales pitches.

Blog, publish or use online E-newsletters as options. Create effective press releases for your local media and don’t forget to insert them on the Internet.

There are numerous local e-marketing opportunities from local search-engine listings to Craigslist. But if you want to reach prospects who are good citizens with positive cash flow, my preference is a good local media Web site. Here’s more on how small businesses can capitalize on cyber strategies for profit.

Face adversity with courage and detachment. Many great strategies will trigger vindictive opposition. The competition in Utah for legislative funding was intense. We were victims of dirty tricks by other special interest groups. But we had fun and ran the race without ever looking over our shoulders.

Stay focused like Ichiro. Practicing good habits makes for good performance.Respect your opponents. Be defensive — like Ichiro. He does two things a lot of baseball players fail to do — he stretches all the time and he keeps his bats in a special carrying case to protect them against humidity. He doesn’t take his body or bats for granted.

Likewise with your prospects and customers, do not take them for granted. When businesses lose customers, my research shows 70 percent of the time it’s because their customers feel taken for granted.

Good luck with your strategies for creating luck to fly high with profits!

From the Coach’s Corner, don’t ignore your employees as opportunities for growth.

Pay your employees well. Be as generous as possible. Recognize them publicly. Employees are often more productive when they have a life – or job flexibility.

Treat your productive workers like you would a good customer, such as baseball or football tickets, nice dinners or their birthday off with pay.

Enhance organizational moral by making certain employees are best-suited for their responsibilities.

Look for opportunities to create a culture of personal growth. You’ll inspire loyalty and minimize turnover, which is a profit-destroyer.

So don’t forget your profit drivers – here’s how and why to partner with your employees.

Recruit employees on the four A’s of Hiring:

  1. Attitude — look for positive attitude. Will they go the extra mile and create opportunities to blog about your company on the Internet?
  2. Appearance — make certain they inspire confidence with a professional appearance.
  3. Ability — make sure they have talent.
  4. Angle — research their empathy skills – will they work well with peers and understand your customers’ angle or point-of-view? Do they know how to say thank you  – instead of the boring phrase, “have a nice day.” Do they how to prevent buyer’s remorse with customers?

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

-Seneca

__________

Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.