Tag Archives: marketing


What does Your brand stand for - marketing-dish (1)
You’ve probably heard the term in marketing that people do business with those they know, like and trust. I’d like to take that idea further and say people also do business with brands because they know what they stand for. What does your business stand for?

I will do business with companies like Whole Foods because they support my lifestyle. I know they sell organic food and are committed to the mission of healthier food. I buy Apple products because they are easy to use and they have great customer service. I buy training from online marketers that deliver what they promise like James Wedmore and Business By Design. I know he stands for integrity and authenticity.

What Does Your Brand Stand For?

Are people clear on what you stand for?Do you share what you stand for with customers? We can share what we stand for in our story, in our marketing and how our employees represent us.

We’re all different, it’s how we communicate that matters. Just think, there are probably 4-5 different coffee shops where you live from the big brands like Starbucks to Joe’s Main Street Coffee down the street in the strip mall. What make’s Joe’s different than Starbucks? What makes you want to patronize Joe’s?

Let’s use Joe’s Main Street Coffee as our case study and outline some ways in which we know what Joe’s stands for:

• Joe names his coffee drinks after organizations& people in the community
• Joe gives a percentage of his whole bean sales to causes he supports in the community
• Joe knows his customers value a more community feel and he trains his staff to treat everyone like they are family
• The décor is homey and welcoming
• He rewards loyalty with fun ways to win free coffee
• He engages you in real time on social media (Staff is empowered to be social media ambassadors)
• Joe know people appreciate the home baked goods he sells from the local bakery
• Joe has a large community room where local business can rent to hold meetings
• Joe will deliver a catered order to your place of business within 10 miles of the store
• Joe cares what you think and asks customers randomly if they would join him for a free cup of coffee and a chat where he gets invaluable marketing knowledge from his clients

Building a Brand People Love

Building a brand people love, patronize and refer others to is not easy. It does take a focused strategy and the tactics and time to implement. What prevents people from building a brand like Joe’s?
• Never enough time (# 1 excuse)
• Understaffed
• To busy working in my business VS working on my business
• Not willing to invest in help

Six Steps to Building a Business/Brand That People Love

1. Be the CEO of your company. The one with the vision and expertise to drive your vision.

2. Hire others to implement your vision – this means investing money and time to hiring and training. You will be profitable faster in the long-run once you have the process to implement in place.

3. Always, I mean always be looking for ways to add value to your customers. Get your customers what they want and you will automatically get what you want.

4. Be sure you are clearly delivering your brand message in everything you do both offline and online.

5. Invest in technology if it keeps you relevant and drives leads and sales.

6. Invest in resources that will move you closer to your financial and your freedom goals faster. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to make more money and work less hours, but often we struggle without support to get there.

What Are Your Customers Saying About You?

Whether you are in a brick and mortar business or an online business, people often meet us online before meeting us offline. That means in today’s society we are checking review before making a buying decision. We look at reviews on Yelp and Google when we are looking for a place for dinner. When we shop online we read customer review before we make the purchase. From a professional perspective when we are hiring someone or considering a business relationship we check people’s LinkedIn profile as well as their recommendations.

Encourage your customers to leave a review and then engage with those reviewers. Thank them for leaving the comment, ask them to share a good experience with a friend.

We learn from what customers are saying both letting us know what they value and what they want more of.
Are you listening?

Knowing what your business/brand stands for and being able to articulate that brand message is critical to your success. Just like Joe discovered at the Main Street Coffee shop, with some effort, listening and acknowledging what customers want you gain brand loyalty and referrals.

Did this article offer you more clarity for your brand? Share your comments below.

3 Steps to Being More Productive with Marketing

If you own a business then you know in order to survive and thrive you need to market it.  Marketing often is that activity  most creative types simply hate.  Those people have a great idea, want to share their passion and yet have no plan of how to do that.

Marketing in simply the process of getting people to know, like and trust you enough to buy and ultimately refer others to you.  Believe it or not small business owners can learn quite a lot about marketing from big brands.  You may not have their budget but you can adopt their ideas and strategies.  When you see a McDonald’s commercial on TV they are building brand awareness, they may talk about a special meal to encourage you to come in and try it, then when you do they want to wow you enough to come back and tell a friend.  Pay attention to TV commercials, magazine ads and social media posts from companies you like look from a more strategic eye.

Here are three steps to help you focus on effectively marketing your business

1.  Create a marketing strategy

Recently I was interviewed on School For Start Up’s Radio Show, I was asked “What is a marketing strategy and why do we need it?”

An effective marketing strategy is really a concise explanation of your marketing plan of how to reach your objectives.  You need a map to plan where you are going – right? That’s why you need a strategy so you know how to get from point A to point B.  A strategy is a plan that includes the set of tactics to get there.  Start with 4 or 5 ideas to form your strategy and then what you need to do to make that strategy work.

2.  Be sure to define your target market

For any strategy to work they must appeal to someone and that someone is the person who is most likely to buy your product or service.  One if the easiest ways to start to get a picture of who or what makes an ideal client is to take a closer look at the customers your business has worked with to date.  I like to suggest you review the past 3 years of sales and see what all those customers have in common and really understand who that person is that typically does business with you.

3.  Know how you are different

You can just be different for the sake of being different, but what sets you apart from your competitors?   For most people this is a challenging task because they often don’t know.  Again I recommend talking to customers who have worked or bought something from you, ask them WHY they did business with you and what makes you different.
Often what you will learn is not what you expect to hear.  For example, what do you do that is over and above what might be expected?

When you are able to communicate why you and your business are different then people can make a more informed decision about buying from you.  If you cannot then people will often defer to price and that is never a place you want to compete.

–>>Next post is 3 Steps For Being More Productive With Social Media Marketing



Marketing Recipe For Success

As you know by now from reading this blog I love food analogies and I love to relate stories about food to marketing.  Last week was the finale of  the Great Food Truck Race featured on the Food Network and hosted by the amazing chef,  Tyler Florence.  For those of you who didn’t watch the show features 8 teams of people competing for a chance to win a 50K state of the art food truck. During the course of 7 weeks each team was taken through a series of challenges designed to ultimately see who could run a food truck with the best results.

Whether you are opening a food truck any other type of business where you are selling products or services the recipe for success is the same.

Tyler asked the contestants why they were there and again at the end of the season with the two final contestants.   I think it’s critical you know your why, because that’s part of your story and what creates your brand.  Our “why” shines through everything we do when we clearly know why and what motivates us.  On a side note, I recommend the book “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek if you want to really go deeper and gain clarity.

BRANDING – Can you clearly define your brand?  Is your brand memorable and shareable?  What does your band stand for?  These are all questions that you need to answer from the get go.  In the example of the Great Food Truck Race, the contestants were given the challenge to cook five dishes that represented their brand.  In the case of  the food trucks, you knew exactly what type of food to expect from each truck.  Do people know what to expect from you?  Are you true to your brand?

MARKETING – Are the steps we take along the way to get people to know, like and trust us enough to buy from us?  The truck contestants were challenged in each city they stopped to market to a new audience.  It included sourcing and cooking  local ingredients that were specific to the region. As with all businesses who have to know our audience, and are you the one they will buy from?  There are many ways to market and advertise, as an example one of the trucks stops included the creation of a 30 second commercial that was broadcast on the radio.

PARTNERING – Learning to partner with others in your niche can be an effective strategy for gaining exposure.  I often will partner with my colleague Kristen Brown owner of Happy Hour Effect. We teach workshops together collaborating our expertise and tapping into each others connections.  As in the Great Food Truck race, teams were challenged at times to work together rather than just be competitors.  Who could you partner with to create more exposure?

TIME MANAGEMENT – Seems we are all challenged with time management, being rushed to get things accomplished in less time.  But time management is about efficiency and getting your product and service to market quickly.  Often it is those who implement at a faster speed will make more money, they simply make improvements as they go.  In the case of the food trucks those who could shop, prep and start selling would win.  How fast can you get to market?  Can you implement now and perfect later?

BUMPS ALONG THE WAY – As with any business we will encounter bumps that force us to change gears and adapt. Having the ability to act quickly will often determine our success or failure.  The food truck contestants were thrown curve balls all along their journey such as having to cook food that was not their specialty but in order to survive and move on they learned to adapt and rise to the occasion.

QUALITY – At the end of the day, the  quality of our products and service will tell the story of our success. Just like a plate of food – if we serve it cold, lacking of flavor and appeal we will not get a repeat customer or referral.   Quality and service must be part of our marketing plan.  Think in terms of how you followup with people after the sale and are you memorable?

From Food Network TV
From Food Network TV

So from my perspective The Great Food Truck Race was all about building a business from the ground up.  Lessons taught by Tyler Florence were all about taking your skills and talents and learning what it takes to build a brand, market that brand and develop a  business model that is repeatable and profitable. 

Marketing – Getting it done without falling into the rabbit hole

It’s interesting to me as I talk with small business owners, more than I expect push marketing to the back burner of activities.   Smaller companies that don’t have actual marketing staff have a bigger tendency because of the myriad of tasks they take on everyday. 

Marketing is what drives a business, so how can you get people who have a need you serve to know, like and trust you?   If you are struggling to get more leads it would be a good idea to review your marketing objectives.

How do you prioritize your time

We all have so many demands on our time but making time for marketing your business should rank highest on your “to do” list of activities.
I think once you understand that marketing actually drives sales you may give it more priority.  We all have that same 24 hours a day as everyone else right?  I think we need to stop the excuses about why we aren’t focusing on our marketing and place a priority on focused activities.

How and where do we focus?

First review your marketing strategy.  Write down each of your goals over the next month, quarter and year.  Next to the goal make a column of the strategy and action steps you will take to meet each goal on your list.

Once you are clear on the action steps that are necessary to execute your plan than focus your time only on those activities.

So many rabbit holes

Our days are filled with distractions, those things that take us down the rabbit holes we tend to spend too much time in.  Social media is a huge distraction, I hear this all the time from clients. it is important when it comes to social media to allot a specific amount of time throughout the day to pay attention to your social media activities and be sure they correlate back to your marketing objectives.  We all want to respond to people via social when we are addressed, but I find that only takes minutes and I don’t let myself get sucked into reading other posts.

Steps to successful marketing efforts

  1. Develop your strategy
  2. Create a customer experience – how will your ideal customer get to know, like and trust you
  3. Develop a marketing calendar with a monthly theme & create content that educates your target audience around that theme
  4. Create monthly projects, weekly action steps and daily activities

 –>>  [Download your free copy] of The Smart Business Owners Guide to Creating and Executing a Marketing Strategy.







5 Lessons Next Food TV Network Star Teaches Us About Marketing

Okay I admit, my guilty TV pleasure this summer has been the series “Next Food TV Network Star.”  I watch for two reasons, one that I love to cook and two because I am a marketing consultant and I love the process that the contestants go through to market themselves on their journey to winning this competition.  There are so many lessons all business owners can learn from this TV series, so let me share some interesting marketing parallels that I learned.

1. Define a unique point of view.  The contestants are all experienced cooks and are required to define their culinary point of view and why they are unique and different.

All businesses also need to define their core marketing message and their unique point of differentiation from  their competitors.  You must be able to communicate that point of differentiation in all your marketing communications.  People make a decision to learn more about you when you give them a clear reason to do so.  If you cannot communicate this, people then defer to price because they don’t have another way of making a decision.   Most of the contestants on this show fail because they cannot communicate their personal point of view effectively.    Oh sure, the quality of the food matters, but as in business you can have the best widget in town but if you can’t explain to people why your widget is the best they won’t buy it.  As one of the judges so appropriately said  “I think and maybe’s won’t work– if you don’t know your point of view, than fans won’t know either.”

2. You must be an authority – own what you know!  The goal of any Food TV Network star is the ability to teach home cooks how to prepare great food.  They must be an authority on their personal culinary point of view and be able to teach that to others. For example the winner Lenny McNab owned not only his unique point of view as the gourmet cowboy chef, farm to table food  but he was able to teach us how to cook it!  There was no question that Lenny was unique and he certainly owned his expertise as a seasoned chef!

3. Speak to your audience in terms they will understand and can learn from you.  The final three contestants were at the top because they had the ability to speak and teach the audience how to cook.  What you can learn from them is simple – if you have the ability to teach your target audience something that ultimately solves a problem for them and you communicate in a way they understand then you win.  Nicole Gaffney the personal chef with the coastal cuisine point of view did a great job of this, she had the ability to teach us all how to cook great seafood!

4. Have confidence in your skills.  The Food TV Network contestants had a bigger challenge than most of us, not only did they have to cook but they had to perform their skills all on camera and under pressure.  Most of us don’t have those challenges.  Lesson here is to own your skills.  Stop comparing yourself to others, there will always be people who know more than we do – let it go!  If your skills are meeting the needs of your target audience than you know enough!  

5. Brush up on your communication skills. It was obvious when watching this series that most of the contestants struggled to communicate clearly.  I’m sure a lot of that was nerves having to perform on a national TV show, listen I would be tongue tied and forget my lines at the most inappropriate times too.  For us average folks we can practice our communication skills. For example if you are not good at networking in person, you clam up not sure how to engage a stranger, you can practice.  If you want to be a better communicator, join a local Toastmasters Club and practice speaking. Take time to memorize your mission statement, and core marketing message and you too will be a star!

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