Social Media Positive Impact

Marketing by DM TV Interview on Social Networking

Social Media ~ It's All Good!!

Marketing by DM recent TV Interview  ~ I was recently asked to share my experiences with Social Media and how it impacted my business.  This TV interview is in 3 segments of approximately 7 minutes each.     

The breakdown is as follows:    

Segment 1 ~ My initial introduction to Social Media, in particular Twitter.  Click Here     Segment 2 ~ Marketing by DM beginning to engage on Twitter.  This segment  Click Here    make references to  Jamie Crager , Anne Deeter Gallaher, Deeter Gallaher Group  , Ford , Howell Marketing , and others.    

Segment 3 ~ Some of Social Media’s most recent impact on a small business such as Marketing by DM and the effects of truly being engaged.  Click Here .  Recommendations made to listeners regarding SMMmagazine   and Harrisburg Social Media Club.     

I was delighted to tell my story and in the end perhaps help others to view Social Media in a positive light.  It is worth the time investment….everything else will come.    

Love to hear your story.    

Fleece Embraces Social Media

Numerous pockets to carry Social Media devices

What would #Ford do?   Or…..as most of you know I should probably say,

What would Scott Monty do?

Can you blame me?  Here I am a Branding | Promotions Director who really, really…I mean really gets Social Media, so why wouldn’t Scott Monty come to mind when I come across a tech savvy wearable!!

Thinking like one of the best Marketers in the business is a little presumptuous on my part but I am sure going to try because if I stumble it just means that I am moving forward.

Now mind you, for a Social Media enthusiast like myself, these new fleece jackets that the vendors are putting out there are innovative and current.  Let me tell you what they have taken into consideration:

Numerous Pockets

Different Size Pockets

Different Weight of Fleece Dependent Upon Use

Can you imazine even a year ago consideration being given to iPod, Blackberry and YES…even the iPad by the Apparel Industry.

My guess is if this were a new Ford Fusion  Scott Monty would mention how neatly tucked into the inside as well as the outside of the jacket these useful compartments are to carry varied sized Social Media devices without taking away from the beauty of the design.  Also, that the lighter weight of some of these jackets get far more mileage than past years because of the freedom of movement not enjoyed previously.  He would also proudly state that all these updates have been made without sacrificing warmth and comfort. Ladies versions have even trimmer lines.

Sorry, but I am hooked and Social Media comes into play now with everything I do.  BUT….I really wanted to share this because I am so delighted that there is a lot of vendors out there who are now understanding their customer is deciding the product they want.  The buyer is driving the market not the seller convincing us that we need a certain product.

Let me know your comments.  Love to hear from you.

You did it! No…you did it! No…you did it!

Looking like monkies

This Is What The Blame Game Looks Like

During this terrible oil crisis in the Gulf, we have certainly heard, seen and spoken about the most overt exhibition of the “blame game” that we have ever experienced.  While there are many opportunities for a blog post just on that subject alone, it brings to mind how in our everyday business dealings we must resist the temptation to look outside ourselves for reasons why something didn’t go well. 

Really…why would we want to look like these three monkies?!!

Best practices guide us to do certain problem solving first when a client does not receive what they expected, when a vendor ships the wrong product, if an expected service is incorrectly applied.  Our clients are extremely intelligent and know that something went wrong but they don’t necessarily care who’s fault it was…at least initially.  Wasting a client’s time is not only costly to them but will definitely impact your relationship with them in the future leaving you potentially a difficult time ahead solidifying your brand all over again.

When we talk about exceeding the expectations of our customers, we are including how you handle issues.  Anyone can handle business going smoothly…at least I would hope so…but the true test is, what do you hear, do and say when an issue arises.  You want your clients to have confidence that they are not concerned about the error because they know you are going to resolve it…PERIOD.  End of story. 

Before I decided to enter the Promotional Product business, I was in various Marketing positions and ordered advertising specialties for years.  Can’t tell you how many stories I got as to why it happened…the vendor did it, the secretary did it, I didn’t clearly state what I needed, there was a turnover in staff, someone was on vacation, etc.  Truly didn’t solve a thing.  After the problem was solved, I would be happy to listen to any explanation as to why we can take steps so that it wouldn’t happen again.  However, it serves no purpose whatsoever, to drone on and on blaming someone/anyone without solving the problem first.

A much better practice is to immediately take the client’s side meaning that their side is simply they did not receive what they expected.  Remember…we are talking about what they expected.  It may be exactly what they ordered but not what they expected!!  It doesn’t matter, at least YET, that they made the mistake.  What matters most is that you are going to immediately come up with some solution or solutions.  Extremely important to not put them on the defense.  We want them to continue to listen to us and hear what we are saying.  Just tell them you will check out what the next step will be for them to get what they actually need, timing, etc. and you will get back to them immediately.  Believe me…you are creating the “WOW” factor in their mind.

If it is your mistake…own up immediately.  However, do not dwell on it.  Again, you must advise them you will take whatever steps are necessary including cost to get this corrected.  Likewise, if it is a vendor error.  You and the vendor can work it out later.  Don’t waste time with calls back and forth to the vendor over the error.  Your client doesn’t care.

Retention is the name of the game in the continued success of your business.  The Blame Game is not compatable at all with retention.

Think Investment Dollars When Considering Branding Initiatives




Branding Initiative like Promotional Product is an Investment

Branding Initiatives Deserve Investment Dollars


When working with clients on Branding intiatives, whether it is promotional products, events, wearables, connecting with clients and potential clients, missions and/or goals, it is so important to impress upon them the importance of viewing the dollars spent as Investment dollars as opposed to spending, buying or purchasing…or “it’s in the budget”!!


We wouldn’t just take money that was in the budget and invest in any stock because you were ready to purchase.  You would consult an expert, develop some scenarios, consider either short term or long term gain, understand the value as best you can, and make an educated decision.  Well, let’s take that thought process and apply it to Branding intiatives.


Who is your expert…really?


Again, your hard earned dollars would not be put in the hands of just any Investment Advisor, you would get a referral, ask many questions, see if they have earned your trust.  The same holds true when selecting a professional that you are consulting for promotional product.  Are they selling or advising?  Do they only have your interest in mind? They should! What makes them the expert?  This is so important because initially your are investing your time to even meet with them.


Is there a thoughtful discussion regarding what you expect as a return?


Getting to the heart of your needs takes a professional with marketing, PR, and/or branding experience to, what we call, “drill” down (not a popular term nowadays) to your true expectations.  Some rewards may not all be immediate.  Especially when it comes to events.  You should always have an expert that is considering the years ahead that will consistently propel you to the next level.


You are driving the decision…at all times?


Don’t let anyone else Brand you.  Let’s take the example of wearables.  The most popular fabric out there may be recycled polyester, but organic cotton supports your top client’s efforts or yours.  Your expert should be listening to your Branding message and not using their sales skills to get in the driver’s seat and swaying you to use an item that may be from their favorite vendor.  That is only an advantage to you, price-wise, IF you will get the expected return.  That return for the moment may be your top client’s respect and appreciation but we all know with that comes loyalty as a customer.  Besides, we are not at price yet!!  Experts invest a lot of energy in caring about your needs, they pride themselves in giving the best advice first. 


OK…the infamous ROI?


Certainly when we invest in stock we do expect a monetary increase in our original investment.  Upon examination of what you wish to accomplish when it comes to branding initiatives, if you are having a thoughtful discussion, you will conclude that at times the return you expect is greater name awareness, consistency of brand, future loyalty (especially when it comes to events), respect through choices, outreach to potential clients, convey Company positives, personal trust…notice we haven’t even mentioned monetary return but it is there.  The old “hard sales” way of doing things is over….certainly at least for now as I see it.


Bottom line…


So many business professionals are budgeting marketing/promotional/branding dollars and certainly delighted to hear that.  Please be sure your are working with someone that is interested in how your Investment will impact the success of your business.  Just because something is the hottest item, more expensive pen, cool tech item doesn’t mean you can expect a return.  Thoughtful decision-making must be part of initial discussion.

Go Green Can Be Confusing When It Comes To Cotton

This poor gentleman is so confused. 

All he wanted to do was get some #Green polos for a Golf Tournament!

Organic Cotton Polo ~ Go Green

Go Green with Organic Cotton Polo

Did he want Certified Organic Cotton, Recycled Cotton, or the very Eco-Friendly Natural Bamboo.

We are going to give you some simple definitions here to help when you are in the decision-making process. 

Certified Organic Cotton  This is 100% cotton wovens which are grown without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.  They contain no chemical bleaches and/or dyes which in turn reduces the amount of pollutants in the environment.

Recycled Cotton  Made from clippings.  Textile waste or clippings are collected from pre-consumer venues: new cotton-knit cuttings, upholstery and trim fabric, yarn waste and industrial fibers.  Cippings re sorted by color and chopped into fine linty material called “Shoddy”.  Shoddy is then spun into a yarn that is used to produce product.  This information provided by AnvilRecycled Tees.

Eco-Friend Natural Bamboo  Without the use of pesticides, bamboo grows faster than any other plant on earth making it one of the earth’s most renewable resources.  Fabrics made from bamboo offer a luxurious feel (I can attest to that….so very soft and cool on your skin).  It has inherent performance characteristics like UV protection and moisture wicking properties.

This summary information is shared with you from information provided by www.vantageapparel.com, one of the best apparel vendors in the industry along with their amazing award-winning decoration choices.

A Twitter friend of mine inspired this blog when he went to buy a suit and was showed a suit made of Bamboo. 

Next week we will review moisture wicking, breathability, moisture management, and climate control.  All terms that need some clarity.

“Handcuffs” and Good Customer Service Do Not Go Hand-in-Hand

Don't do this to yourself!

The third of five lessons I am going to share with you this week that I learned over the 5 years I have been in business is:

#3.  Stay true to yourself insofar as how you believe your customer/client relationship is retained, nurtured and valued.

If you are an Independent Consultant, as I am in the Promotional Products business, make sure you remain INDEPENDENT.  Set your own ethical standards, objectives and goals.  Make sure they are communicated to whomsever you may be representing so that before you start working for them there is a clear undertanding of how you will work with clients.  If you don’t do this, you will find yourself adjusting uncomfortably to the “handcuffs” that will be placed on you.  AND….if you continue over a long period of time, the key will be tossed (that’s your brand) and very difficult to get back. Their handcuffs will be their standards, expectations, service, decisions, etc.

If you are employed by another company, large or small, you should always clearly understand their business philosophy.  How does it match up with yours?  What can you do to adapt without sacrificing your brand? Are they openminded enough to listen to some of your suggestions?

No matter what, you should never be in a position to compromise your character…even a non-compete agreement should not curtail any efforts to protect your good name.  It can take a lot of courage and especially so in this economy.  No one wants to be without a job.  BUT…take a look at those handcuffs again…..imagine yourself in them everyday and trying to do your job at the same time…..key is getting further and further away…..the ending isn’t pretty!!

How have you dealt with similar situations?  Anyone have a bad non-compete experience?

Flash Drives Are Not All The Same

 

Just when you think something is an easy decision and can quickly be processed….most of the time it is not!!  

Flash Drives as a promotional give-away, website driver, tool for clients, special promotion, etc. are of great value but only if you ask some questions first:

1.  Are they Tier 1?

2.  Are they Grade A?

3.  Do they have a Lifetime Warranty?

4.  How long is pricing good?

5.  Are they NEW….never been used?

6.  Does the vendor Upload for FREE?

7.  What capacity do you REALLY need?  64MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 4GB …… (well you get the idea)

Now you can purchase Flash Drives!!  Enjoy.

Any questions?

5th Anniversary (Part 2) ~ Today Competition/Tomorrow Client

Celebrating 5 years in business is quite a milestone…..especially when you start to reflect on how you got here.  While business objectives vary whether B2B or B2C , certain standards are constant and can propel you to many years of success or, if not properly defined, a short-lived jaunt on the road to success only to find a cliff at the end.

Last week I shared with you the Number 1 of 5 lessons I have learned over these five years; i.e. “Never be about price because you will be replaced by your competiton immediately.”

Number 2:  I’ve talked about competiton in other blogs but it is a very integral part to continued success.  Whether you are a small business or part of a large corporation, spending negative time and energy on your competition is unwise and a waste of time.  First and foremost they may end up being your client someday or even working for you. 

The best business plans incorporate an accepted basis for dealing with competition.  All parties associated with your brand should be aware of what you consider acceptable.  Previous competitors from other positions I have had are now my clients.  They have no problem working with me because I already had their respect.

R E S P E C T   =>  R E T E N T I O N  =>  R E F E R R A L S

Have you set forth standards regardng competition in your Business Plan?  Do you find yourself talking about your competitor to your client or potential client?  Has your competitor Branded you?

Name Awareness Is Serious Business


I’m so shiny and Red….pick me, pick me!!

Choose me please…don’t ask why!

Have you said this… “I/We need a pen” or “I/We need a mug” or how about “I/We need a notepad…maybe sticky notes”?   Now, you may very well like to have these for various reasons but there are so many questions to be answered before you invest in these promotional products….and how many!!

There are over 85,000 promotional products and all too often business executives are not working with a marketing consultant or promotions director when they are in the decision-making process.  No matter what your budget is, there are products that will represent your business more specifically, will have “hang around” time, and will successfully meet your branding goals…..and not just because it is the color of your logo.

Even if it is a tradeshow and you want to spend $.30/piece, a pen is NOT the only answer.   It could be if you are an accountant and you found a nice, smooth writing fine point or a real estate agent and it is a pen with several imprint areas or a corporate law attorney where many documents are signed.  Well you get the picture.  Questions to ask yourself:

  • Where are you giving these out
  • To  whom are you giving them
  • What value do you expect in return
  • Did you look at this promotion from a marketing perspective

In this economy, it is tempting to eliminate name awareness opportunities.  The dictionary says “…..tempt ~ draw into a foolish or wrong course of action“.   Well no one I know is foolish and positive that with the correct guidance would not make a wrong decision.  Consult with a marketing professional with promotions expertise so that you get the direction you need.  A recommendation would be cut-back but don’t cut-out either marketing, PR or promotions…..have to add Social Media as well.   By the way, I have a pen and a mug for retention and leave behind gifts…..very different than give-aways no matter what the event.

Competition sharpens our skills

Why hate me....I'm just being me!!

Competition is a good thing…right?

Motivates us to be the best we can be, helps to keep us up-to-date with what’s happening in our industry, teaches us to be more responsive to change, sharpens our skills, tests our values.

With all of these positive responses set forth above, why do many view the competitor as the “enemy”.  It takes far more energy to study and complain about what someone else is doing or not doing, rather than developing our own strengths, deepest values, passions, and commitments so that what we are competent at is NOT JUST A JOB.

Keep in mind…somewhere down the line, that competitor may be a potential client and no door should ever be closed.  Respect for the way a person does business should be across the board.  Author Dr. Henry Cloud, “Integrity”, encourages us to be aware of the “wake” we leave behind us as we go through life and interact both with our personal and business relationships.  Smooth or very little waves are good!!

Focusing in on your own worth and value to your client is a whole lot more beneficial to them than comments about what your competitor is or is not doing.  Approach all with respect and it will come back to you ten-fold.

“I have been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” ~ Walt Disney