Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Getting Back to Marketing Basics, They Worked Before the Internet and They Currently Work Online

Over 18 years of working with a number of different clients on their online marketing,some don't know where their brand or company is positioned in the Internet marketplace.  In turn, if your team doesn't have clarity around your position in the market, your consumers won't either.

It's important, as part of your planning and online strategy process, to have a positioning statement written.  It helps you and your team members stay true to your vision of the product while providing a clear identity.  (It also helps as an elevator speech when someone asks what your product does?)

The mechanics of writing a online positioning statement are easy (the challenge of creating meaningful content falls on your shoulders).  What I do is create a spreadsheet with seven columns (for the below seven items).  This formula is defined by Geoffrey Moore in his respected book Crossing the Chasm.  (Copyright 1991, Harper Collins Publishers)  These elements will make an effective positioning statement.

1.  For:  Enter who the target customer is
2.  Who:  Enter a statement of the need for the product or opportunity
3.  The:  Enter your product name
4.  Is a: Enter the product category
5.  That:  Enter the key benefits or compelling reasons to buy
6.  Unlike: Enter the competitive alternative
7.  Our product:  Enter a statement of what differentiates your product from the competition    

Now combine the above elements into a paragraph and you have an excellent online positioning statement for your product or brand.

Now go sell something!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Best Buy, What's the Problem?

Best Buy is making news recently, and it's not in a good way.  Executives resigning, stores closing and entire websites devoted to why Best Buy "sucks."  There many theories why Best Buy is following the Circuit City path to extinction, but could it be as simple as customer experience?

Many retailers are worried about competition from online marketing companies who use low internet prices to close the deal with shoppers who have browsed their sales floors.  It's a valid concern, but remember when the consumers are in your store it's a huge opportunity the online merchant doesn't have.  You can WOW the consumer and yes, SELL to them!  In my opinion customer experience plays a huge role in Best Buy's current troubles (Google Best Buy sucks).  Check out the recent blog at ClickBear, Best Buy, What's the Real Problem.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Looking for the perfect site dashboard?

Ever struggled trying to find the perfect format to share your company website performance with Senior Management or clients?  This might be the answer (or not), check it out at interactive ad agency ClickBear.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's Really Wrong With Facebook Stock and Their IPO?

by Rick McNeely
     First of all, I love Facebook! Like many people, I've been able to reconnect with some old friends while seeing what other friends are up to. I visit Facebook everyday, but does that make Facebook a good investment?

Time will tell if investors were able to share in the social media phenomenon and I'm the last person you'd want to take investment advice from (my investment history could best be described as undisciplined). As a younger man I thought if one was investing wouldn't it be smart to learn from the best? Considering his 13 year career with Fidelity Magellan and an average annual return of 29.2%, I'd say Peter Lynch would arguably be one of the best. Two rules I remember from Lynch's books were:
Invest in what you know - The thought here being, if you are an educated customer of the company you may have insights that keep you ahead of Wall Street.
Be able to explain the stock you're buying -  Before you purchase a stock be able to state aloud how the firm generates revenue.  See rule number one, you should know what you're investing your money in.

So what do we know about Facebook?

You get to: See other people's vacation and holiday photos - I remember being a kid and the pain of having to politely watch other families or relatives vacation slide shows. Now you can look at complete strangers vacations and family photos.  
You get to:  Hear about what friends are eating, illnesses, bad luck and thankfully joys.
You get to:  Become familiar with people you know (and their friend's) political views.  What could possibly go wrong?
You get to:  Display your support of various worthy causes by passing on images and statements about said worthy causes.  Please pass on a link to my blog if you support bald-headed, aging men.
You get to:  Say "Happy Birthday" by exerting the absolute minimum energy.  I like this as I think I freak out people whom I haven't seen since 3rd grade by wishing them a Happy Birthday at 12:01am.  (I'm watching you Mary)

Best yet, you get to comment or "like" each of the above posted on Facebook.

How does Facebook make money?

I think this is the most challenging question to the general public (that would be most people flocking to the IPO when it was over $39 per share). In summary, most people don't have a clue what makes the cash register ring at Facebook. When you tell them online advertising generates most of the revenue, they'll have a better idea. The ads are on the right hand side of the page, “you know the part of the page you never look at or click on.”

All in all, sounds like a good investment to me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Helping Your Business on the Web for FREE! Marketing Tip #1

by Rick McNeely
Marketing Heretic Marketing Tips
Here's a marketing secret, do not let your Google Places Page be a flop! 

Ever search for a business on Google? Sure you have! In fact, according to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Just like the majority of consumers in your town, when they search for a product or service they do it on Google. It is there, in the local search page results that a hidden jewel lies. It's obviously hidden because many businesses are not taking advantage of this free bit of valuable marketing.

Try it yourself and search for a flower shop (or any local business)on Google. Across the top and right- hand side of the page you will see sponsored ads (national and local businesses are paying for these ads), and just below you'll see local results. Click on “Google review” or “Places Page” to see what customers are saying and how some businesses are making the most out of these listings. Your Places Page shows your business name, address and phone number along with consumer reviews. Best yet, these listings are free! So why are many businesses not using them while others are providing consumers with images, videos and sale offers? That's a good question!

These are easy to set up and very valuable. To find out more about setting your page up as well as a list of FAQs, click here!  Or, if you'd like us to set your page up for you drop the Marketing Heretic an email.We can help you gather reviews from from your customer as well as keep your page updated with images, video and other content.  Google Places and local search advertising on Google is a valuable component of your marketing strategy and it's free!

Stand by for our next Marketing Tip to see how you can use your Places Page to launch an affordable turnkey pay per click advertising program using Adwords Express from Google.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

JC Penney's Rebranding Efforts- Hit or Miss?

by Rick McNeely
So what do you think of the new JC Penney's, or should I say JCP? There are many opinions creating buzz for the company. From the choice of signing comedian Ellen DeGeneres as a brand partner (I love it), a new logo to "everyday low prices" (well sort of), JC Penney is now JCP.

First of all, it's easy to criticize the efforts and there are a lot of skeptics saying that the move was a mistake, but let's look at the positive.  JC Penney has put together a great integrated campaign combining television, a heavy dose of direct mail and a nice looking online monthly brochure.  New Penney's CEO Ron Johnson (from Apple) has brought in a host of new partner ad agencies and a new pricing position geared at positioning the new JC Penney apart from its competition.  It was a much needed task to  breath life back into the dusty brand.

As I said, it was a needed change, but can the brand be saved?  It's great to change the mark, message and pricing, but is the brand delivering anything new or unique to the consumer on the Penney's sales floor?  After watching JC Penney through the Mother's Day season, it doesn't look like they are offering any new punch in the stores.  In other words, the consumer finds the same merchandise at Kohls, only priced in a more confusing manner.  I like the idea of "Everyday Low Pricing," and it's worked in the grocery industry, but can this pricing model be brought successfully to JC Penney's?

JC Penney's new "fair and square" pricing strategy is built around the premise that the consumer knows the fair price and if JCP prices its goods everyday at the fair price, she will buy.  Again, assuming the Penney's consumer only wants a fair price without the hassle of promotion (see the television ad below).  This is where I think the new positioning falls apart.  For example, JC Penney's offers similar or the same merchandise as many items at Kohls.  Kohl's runs an incredible number of promotions, coupons and gimmicks.  So here's Penney's bet, the consumer will run from Kohl's to Penney's for fair pricing and no shouting promotions.  However, the reality could very well be she doesn't want a fair price (and she is well aware Kohl's everyday prices are inflated), she wants a smoking hot, crazy deal.  She knows the fair price, but doesn't want to pay it.  She want's a deal.  (See blogger Lily's comments from 3/28/2012, below)

"Everybody knows regular prices are inflated; we didn't need JCP to tell us that!  This is why we don't buy anything unless it is on sale.  The problem with JCP's new pricing plan is that intelligent consumers realize the new "fair and square" prices are STILL inflated!  I can go to Kohls and buy a similar item on sale with a coupon for less than I can buy it a JC Penny."   Lily, blogger

Time will tell if the new strategy works or if JC Penney's seriously missed their shoppers true motivations.  


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