Posts filed under ‘customer focus’

Should you base prices on cost or value?

I just read a great post on Entrepreneur.com by Mark Stiving. “I continually find business owners price their products or services based on what they cost, versus what their customers are willing to pay. Even worse, I find businesses that base prices simply on what their competitors are able to get away with.” His advice:

  1. Listen to your customers.
  2. Know your competition.
  3. Be honest and fair in your self-evaluation.
  4. Recognize that customers are different from others.
Read more here.

November 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

Before you build the product, write the ad.

On Sept. 1, Inc. Magazine published a list of seventeen “words of wisdom” from serial entrepreneurs whose companies are on this year’s Inc. 500. The second item on the list caught my eye. It is the headline of this blog post and was attributed to David Friend, CEO of Carbonite.

The company earned it’s spot as America’s fastest-growing IT service company by selling unlimited online backup space for personal computers. Carbonite grew 11,208 percent in three years, earning $19.1 million in revenue.

What can we learn from David Friend’s admonition to write the ad before we build the product? It’s simple. Building a product is painstaking, detailed work. It takes a lot of time, energy and investment to get things right. Once it’s ready, the sales and marketing folks have to sell it. It is the product after all.

But writing the ad first makes us focus on the customer before we’re committed to a feature set. If we can communicate a real solution to our customers’ needs in just a few words, we’ll do a better job of designing the product. If we lose sight of the customer, we’ll have a much harder sell.

September 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

Word of mouth matters.

from The Daily Stat | Harvard Business Review

Word of mouth is no longer just an intimate act: Consumers post product reviews online and disseminate opinions through social networks. McKinsey research indicates that in developed markets, word of mouth has its biggest impact when consumers decide which products to consider and when they’re actively evaluating products — at those moments, 18% and 19%, respectively, see it as the single most important factor influencing them. In developing markets, WOM is most significant at the moment of purchase (46%). In both kinds of markets, word of mouth is the only factor that ranks among the top three at every stage.

Source: A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing | McKinsey

July 19, 2010 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

Elegant marketing by a landscaping guy.

This afternoon, I got up from my desk and headed outside and up my driveway to fetch the mail. On the way, I noticed a small bit of shiny plastic at the edge of the drive and decided to pick it up for proper disposal on my way back to the house, er… office. We had a big wind storm two nights ago. The power was out for hours and trash cans had been tipped over. Stuff happens… no big deal.

When I picked up the plastic bag, I took a look and cracked a smile. There it was, on the edge of my driveway, the most elegant bit of marketing communication I had seen in quite a while.

It was a small plastic bag with a stone and a landscaper’s business card inside. “I work for people in this neighborhood and I’d like to work for you.”
Perfect package, focused targeting, elegant message. BOOM… a trifecta!

If I had been away, the plastic bag would have protected the message from the elements for quite awhile. It was tossed on the side of my driveway, so I wasn’t likely to destroy it with my tires. Business cards are cheap, and no postage was required. The stone can be recycled into my existing landscaping. The I’m just sayin’… this thing is elegant.

As it turns out, I already have a landscaper. BUT, I’m keeping this card just in case.

What’s the most elegant marketing message you received today? How can you learn from it to improve your own?

January 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

Gratitude makes great marketing!

My wife likes gardening and she likes to bring her garden into the kitchen. Fresh herbs, root vegetables, fruits and berries. I am grateful for these things, but they are not the point of my story.

A few days ago, she received a greeting card in the mail. I recognized the logo on the card, so I assumed it was a “special offer” for a “special customer.” It was something far more powerful… a thank you card from Gardener’s Supply Company.

The copy thanked my wife for her recent order and welcomed her into Gardener’s Supply community. No special offers. No hype. Just gratitude. It made an immediate, positive impression.

Think about it. When you check out at the grocery store or your favorite retail shop, the clerk thanks you. Restaurant servers do the same. Online retailers often include a thank you message on their packing list or invoice, but it doesn’t make much of an impression. Does it?

Gardener’s Supply — a company willing to make an extra effort to deliver extraordinary customer service. Now that’s powerful marketing.

November 28, 2008 at 11:39 am 1 comment

Customer input from the social web.

Several months ago, I looked at some corporate initiatives to use social networking tools to interact with customers and learn what they have to say about a company’s products and services. I thought they were a bit pricy for midsize companies and predicted we would see lower cost options in the near future. The future is here.

SuggestionBox.com is currently in beta. It offers a simple, easy to use, online tool that makes it easy for customers to communicate their opinions, wants and needs and empowers companies to take action.

The pricing is right for midsize companies at $50/month or $495/year with a 30 day free trial and money back guarantee. The feature set is pretty basic on the “suggester” side. Anyone can make a suggestion or rate suggestions made by others. The company can respond to suggesters with a thank you or request for clarification. And each suggestion can be marked as implemented, coming soon, under review or filed away.

in a comment to my earlier post, an IdeaStorm manager suggested the power of their solution was on the back end. This may be so, but at $5 per user, this power requires a significantly larger investment.

Vivek Bhaskaran, CEO of Survey Analytics, developers of QuestionPro and IdeaScale commented on one of my earlier posts. He said, “I think the model of charging per user (or per idea) is NOT how we plan on marching down. We’ll have flat fee of anywhere between Free (yes), $15/Month and $199/Month.”

Here are some examples of who/how IdeaScale is being used:

www.askthespeaker.org (Politics)
www.choicehotels.ideascale.com (Large Biz)
www.buglabs.ideascale.com (Small Biz)

August 18, 2008 at 7:56 am 2 comments

10 business problems you can solve on the internet.

Most of my clients own or manage midsize companies. Some are tech-savvy, others not so much. None are able to spend a great deal of time worrying about the details of their marketing programs, especially the design and operation of their company websites.

A few years ago, I developed a presentation that looks at web strategy from the 30 thousand foot level. It asks a simple question: What is the most important business problem you can solve on the internet? This slide show walks you through the process I use in strategic planning sessions or workshops for CEOs and marketing teams.

In an hour, the execs have a strategy they can communicate to techies and creatives.

May 30, 2008 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

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