Retention… Benefit of Attention

Standout from the Rest

Standout From The Rest

We all know, don’t we, that our clients crave our attention and it is our full intention of giving them the attention they deserve.  However, intentions don’t always result in attention which in turn affects retention.

Every client is different and requires a certain amount of nourishing to keep your relationship flourishing.  In order for us to prosper and succeed, we have to value all the experts out there that guide us regarding the importance of retention of clients/customers and what we absolutely must do to achieve this all important goal.

There are some very simple basic guidelines that are worth reviewing:

  1. Truly listen to your clients’ needs
  2. Follow up with them in a timely manner (make sure you understand what their expectations are)
  3. Remember you work for them
  4. Understand their decision-making process
  5. Vary your contact with them; i.e. email, phone, in-person

I would like to address telephone calls separately because I have read some articles that advocate that you could save time and not answer the telephone.  This is so you can call people back on YOUR OWN time.  I view that is very selfish.  My clients time is just as valuable as mine and if we all did that, we would not connect at all.  The problem with that as well is people pick up on that very quickly and you have now jeopardized retention.  You may just stand out if you are accessible and respectful thereby giving your client the attention they deserve.

Businesses built around the philosophy that the customer is worthy of “whatever it takes” also builds an in-house respect for quality service and these companies, even in times of economic downturn, continue to grow.  There is a business culture established that we are in this together.  I’ve seen it!!

Re-examine your marketing strategy to see if you are implementing at least the basics for retention of your clients.  It is so much more costly to seek new clients and build relationships instead of nourishing those that you have at hand.

What are some of the key elements of retention you would like to share?

Branding Your Logo ~ Coated or Uncoated

Standard PMS Colors

PMS colors ~ Coated or Uncoated Makes a Big Difference

When it comes to your Logo, you are most likely very aware of what your PMS colors are….if not, please check with your graphic artist and then also consult a PMS chart.

There are several tips I would like to share with you regarding your logo colors:

1. Understand exactly what you are getting when you are told by a Printer or Distributor that they will do a closest match for your color. 

This is usually at no cost to you, however, depending on vendor, “closest match” could be very different than what you expect to see.  Another factor is that you continue to see your incorrect logo color and then lose sight of your Branding.

2. Is your PMS color “coated” or “uncoated”….i.e. PMS240 C or PMS240 U

Although the same number, they can be very different colors and depending on paper or product it is to go on, it could have a totally different affect.  To solve this problem, you must ask if vendor is using Coated or Uncoated.   If it is opposite of what you have, review the PMS Chart to see if there is another PMS number that more closely matches.

3. Be Consistent ~ Closest match is OK as long as you take steps to get your PMS color truly as close as possible. 

Do not alter your logo colors to match a particular piece you are using for promotion.  What you may do without affecting your Branding is use Black, White, Silver or Gold ~or~ you may use tone-on-tone, which is used a lot on wearables; i.e. tan windbreaker w/tan logo embroidered.

While Logo PMS color is not the definition of Branding, it is a factor that impacts your company’s image and triggers a connection to your customer and potential customer.

Social Media Platforms Are SBNBF

Social Media Small Business New Best Friend

Social Media Platforms ~ Small Business New Best Friend

Lately we have been hearing from the media, business analysts, Wall Street experts and the like that the corporate sector is still hesitant to hire so therefore the economy continues to be very slow to recover.  So that being the case, why do Small Business owners, who are engaged in Social Media, hear of growth, success, and establishing business relationships we would not have ordinarily if we were not engaged in SM platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn. 

Could it be that Small Business has truly embraced their New Best Friend, whereas big business for the most part is still out of touch with the 21st Century?  It is not that most of these corporations have realized a loss this last quarter so why should we still not see job creation.  Still scared?  Afraid of change? Same old, same old?  Likely. 

Small business, Sole Proprietorships, Start-up businesses do not have the luxury of sitting back and accepting scared, afraid and same old business as usual.  In fact, we are the ones hiring.  Unfortunately, we are only in a position to hire a few people.  Point is…..is the economy slow to recover or is big business not willing to accept they must listen, learn, understand, engage, connect, and give various Social Media Platforms a place in their Marketing Strategy. 

Social Media has given small business the “thinking outside the box” capability by utilization of numerous customizable applications…most of which are FREE.  Just to mention one….Foursquare….at the very least is a tremendous value to any retail establishment.  Connecting on the various platforms opens up communication lines that has many “fingers” that can give you the warmest handshake you have ever experienced.  

Difficult decisions come from strong leadership.  If, in fact, implementing Social Media into your Marketeing Plan is a difficult decision, why not take the opportunity to exhibit your leadership skills and move your company forward. 

Let me know your thoughts.  Is Small Business the leader in utilitzation of Social Media?

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.

Afternoon “T”ea With Twitter

        

Twitter Presentation

www.twitter.com/MarketingbyDM

The goal for this upcoming session will be to “elevate Social Media, in particular Twitter, from a ‘neat’ toy to a serious business tool.”  (Quote via/ @CEB_MLC)

 

This presentation is geared toward the Twitter 101 individual.

  • Hear from a business professional who is successfully engaged on Twitter
  • Learn from a Small Business Leader who has benefited from Social Media
  • Leave with practical applications & step-by-step guidelines on how to apply Twitter

YOU ARE INVITED TO “T”EA with TWITTER

Presented by   DIANE MEYER   (@MarketingbyDM)

Date:  Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Time:  3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Place:  Perfect Settings  (@Perfect Settings)

Address:  200 Locust St., Columbia, PA  17512

Parking:  Private Parking Lot just steps away

Refreshments:  Tea  and Tastykakes (@TastyBakingCo)

FOCUS:  TWITTER

Cost:  $40.00

Preferred Attendance:  Maximum 40   (Register Early)

Registration Deadline:  Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 by email Diane@marketingbyDM.com

  • Follow-up session (optional) will be offered Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, same time/same place for a cost of $30.00 so that questions can be answered and next steps discussed.  
  • All attendees will receive materials at the presentation that will assist them with refreshing subject matter discussed, guide to applications, terms to know and general information to be  helpful in the learning process.

 

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.

Twitter is the Cashew

    

Cashew and entire fruit

Twitter is the Cashew and Social Media is the Entire Fruit

This is the last of my 5th Anniversary posts.  I will discuss here my 4th and 5th lessons I have learned throughout my five years in business.

4th Lesson:  Always be open to change.  Your Business Plan must be in the NOW. 

5th Lesson:  Position yourself around positive, energetic, enthusiastic business leaders that are going to give you motivational feedback. 

Both these lessons lead me to Social Media and Twitter which is my “cashew”.  Don’t get me wrong.  The entire plant is ALL GOOD but you have to decide which of the Social Media platforms are best for your business.  However, do not discard any of them because just like the Cashew plant here…..whoever may like the nut, would be making a huge mistake not to try the remainder of the delicious plant.

Last year, if I would have listened to most in the Promotional Product industry, who saw no value at all in Twitter, I would have denied myself the pleasure of  connecting with some of the most professional, knowledgeable, sharing, caring, intelligent, authentic business leaders in the Nation.  We must get past the hard sell, what is the immediate ROI in dollars, what’s in it for me in dollar compensation. 

Relationships create an energy that can’t be obtained more effectively than from each other.  Information sharing on Twitter cannot be matched by any other medium out there.  As an example, just recently @SocialNetDaily shared the following on blogging… http://ow.ly/1CB15.  This is packed with valuable information.   Just by this example should we understand what an impact Social Media can have on our business.

I am glad I didn’t get stuck in the 90’s and fortunate that I surrounded myself with leaders who understood the importance of adapting to the fast changing technology world.  Let’s help some of our clients, business colleagues, and entreprenneurs who are still hesitant about getting a taste of Social Media or at least taking a bite of the Cashew.

Have you had some resistance by executives?  What are some of their issues?