The Importance Of Having A Strategy, Especially Marketing

Sure, guessing games can be fun, but they rarely lead to long-term, sustainable success. Which is why having a strategy in the business world, especially a marketing strategy for your business is crucial to its success. Companies that have formalized strategies are more focused and driven. They experience more productivity and more achievement. Why?

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Shared from Rich Brooks on Flickr

Having a marketing strategy provides reasoning behind your tactical choices. Instead of executing an email marketing campaign just because, you can execute it because you know that emailing is the most effective and efficient way to reach an audience. A strategy also gives companies focus and keeps them on the right path throughout the week, month or year.

Part of having a marketing strategy is tracking and analyzing it, which means recognizing and recording results. Employees that create impressive marketing results for clients can more easily be found and acknowledged. People are more likely to do the right thing when they are being watched, in the marketing world, employees are more driven to produce results when they are being captured and evaluated.

The marketing strategy also keeps members of the marketing team on task, as they know what they are responsible for and when each task or project is due. A clearly outlined plan keeps everyone organized and on track. It has specific objectives that marketing employees must work hard to implement so they don’t hinder the rest of the strategy. In fact, the more effectively that they accomplish the objectives of the strategy, the better the strategy as a whole will work.

Teams that are organized achieve more. They hit goals and reach objectives as a whole and individuals work together better. Having a strategy also makes it easier to prove that success. It’s hard facts and numbers that when reached can be provided for the organization to show how your marketing strategy improved communication, produced leads and even brought profit to the bottom line.

When was the last time you reviewed your strategy?  If it’s been too long, now is the time to review it, change what isn’t working or look at new possibilities. If you need help, let us know!

It’s About Time

Several years ago, a business owner and sales manager uttered these words that have resonated with me throughout my life: ” I can give you all of the training and tools you need to succeed, but I cannot give you more time.”

Image used under Creative Common License

When you stop and think about it, that may be one of the truest statements ever spoken because we can never give ourselves more time. I chuckle when I read or hear advertisements that claim, “we can save you time.”  Really?  How do you actually save time?  Do you have a special box that you put time in so that I can use it later?  Of course not, we can’t save time; we can only make better use of the time we are given.

[Read more…]

What Are Your Intentions?

Do you ever wonder what people’s intentions are, based on their actions? What about businesses and their intentions?
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Photo used under a Creative Commons license.

 

Intentions of Businesses
I have been thinking about how businesses approach their audience or potential audience.  How they communicate with their clients, prospective clients, referral partners or vendors. Do they approach these activities with the intention of selling something? Do they approach the interactions with the intention of building a network or as my friend Sarah Robinson would say, building a “Fiercely Loyal Community?” [Read more…]

Ford’s Interview Style Commercials

I must admit, I have been a fan of Ford motor company for years. Over the years I have owned two Ford’s and my family has been loyal to the Ford brand for many years.  It didn’t hurt that my uncle, Bob Ripley worked for a local Ford Dealership for several decades.  Anyone familar with southern West Virginia will recognize the name Dodson-Hager Ford.

Thinking of the cars Ford has produced over the years brings back great memories.  Come on, the Ford Mustang?  How great was and is that car?  Well, with the exception of the Mustang II during the 1970’s, but we can overlook that period in time. 

The current line up of Ford products seem to further the quality of the brand. I do not own a Ford currently, but their trucks, SUV’s and some of their cars are worth the look in my opinion.

The current line up Ford commercials, at leeast the interveiew style commercials, stink in my opinion!

If you haven’t seen them; here is one:

Recently these commercials have underwent a makevover of sorts, shifting the interview to outside, on the steps of a building in impromptu press conference styel format.  Complete with someone, portraying a photographer, running up to snap pictures of the interviewee. So, what is my problem with the commercials?  They are old school and expect the viewers to believe that these Ford owners are surprised to be interviewed.  They show “reporters” writing down answers and sticking microphones in the faces of the owners.  And, they have NO reference to social media whatsover! Even at the end of the commercial, no website link, Twitter image, Facebook logo or YouTube brand page link.  I guess what makes me shake my head is that Ford has a strong online and social presence, so why hide it?  Click over to Facebook; they have MULTIPLE pages; one for each model!  It’s like these commercials are produced by a complete different marketing department; and they seem so fake! They are not attempting to connect or build a community at all with these commercials. 

Do shoppers turn to social to research cars prior to purchasing?  Yes, check out this post from Splash Media:  Social Media Marketing CAN Fuel Auto Sales – If Done Right.  Cars.com has done it for years, so can all other brands. 

Those are my thoughts, and a bit of a rant I suppose. But what do you think? Do you like the commercials? Are they effective? 

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Roll With The Changes

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At the outset, I apologize to the readers of my blog; my updates and posts have been very sporadic lately and I committed to blogging more frequently.While life sometimes throws us curve balls that we don’t see coming,  most likely these pitches allow us the the opportunity to knock one out o the park! That’s a good description of what has been happening in my life and in my business.  Changes that I will explain more completely soon, but opportunities for partnerships and strategic alliances have arisen that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to embrace; trust me, it’s all good!So, while we may not always expect the changes; we should roll with them and embrace what is going to happen next!  We should Roll With the Changes.Saddle up friends, it is going to be a fun ride!Oh, and if you love classic rock, you know why I used the REO Speedwagon album cover; if not, click on the  link in the picture to listen to the song.As my Twitter brother @VincentHunt would say, et’s GO!

What is a QR code?

Guest Blogger – Phil Tucker, Internet Marketing Strategist & with Tucker Hosting

Welcome Phil Tucker, an Internet Marketing Strategist, to JohnLusher.com. I have known Phil for several years and have the pleasure to speak with him often at local events.  Phil knows the Internet and has been helping businesses harness it’s marketing power for years.  Long before we all hung out on Facebook and Twitter together!If you are curious as to what QR codes are and how they can be beneficial, check out his post below.

Thanks Phil!

 

What is a QR code?

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QR Codes are 2 dimensional barcodes that are easily scanned using any modern mobile phone. This code will then be converted (called “dequrified”) into a piece of (interactive) text and/or link. For instance, you walk around in the city and notice a poster for an event that seems interesting. You take out your mobile phone, scan the QR Code and will instantly get more information and a link to a website where you can book your tickets. You don’t have to type or remember anything and because QR Codes can be very small, this saves a lot of space on the product as well. The QR Code was patented by the Japanese company . Rather than strictly enforcing the patent, they chose to create an international standard with the QR Code and allow anyone to use or generate them without requiring a license or fee. QR Codes can be used to store all sorts of information including website URLs, map locations, contact information, text notes, and product identification. I first starting seeing practical uses of the QR Codes when Google Maps create a promotion in 2009 for business owners by sending them display stickers that say “We’re a favorite place on Google” and offer a QR Code for cell phone users to scan and easily add the business Page Place to their phone. You can see the sticker Google sent to business owners on the front door of one of the Google Places I set up for. What to do with QR Codes? By creating your own QR Codes (called “qurifying”) you can make whatever you want more interactive. Put one on your business card, on flyers for a party or poster to promote your products or services. Or use them to help sorting your books or CD’s, put them on your keys or tools so you know what they are for. Just qurify any text or website url, put the QR Code on a product and make everything you have more interactive!

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So, are you ready to start generating your own QR Code yet? The is a Google Code project that creates QR Codes for maps, URLs, calendar events, and more. But I found BeQRious, which is a company is based in New York City & Europe that has a very slick and robust online QR Code Generator: generator BeQRious.com is focused on supplying news, information, technical solutions of QR codes. They seem pretty passionate in what we do and evangelize the World in possibilities of use QR Codes. So what will you use QR Codes for?

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Phil Tucker is an Internet Marketing Strategist with Tucker Hosting, specializing in local search optimization. Phil Tucker has helped hundreds of companies and individuals “make the web work for them”. Phil Tucker continuously educates himself and his clients on new techniques and trends, much of which he shares on the Small Business Marketing BlogTwitter: @philtucker

Never Underestimate

I posted on Facbook this morning that you never know where a connection can lead.  My dear friend, referral partner and all around incredible soul, Suni Heflin, re-posted and added to my comments.  As you can see from the comment flow below, many people believe in connecting, building relationships with integrity and the power of networking; especially in a smaller community.This got me to thinking; how many times do we underestimate the potential power of a connection.

  • Do we overlook someone due to the way they dress or look?
  • Do we miss a potential connection because we are too wrapped up in our own world?  Or our smart phone?
  • Do we avoid connecting with someone because we didn’t agree with a Tweet or a Post or a Blog Article?
  • Do we realize the potential power of others network?

Every person we meet could be a potential connection, an opportunity to assist or help or a business opportunity.If I hadn’t connected with Suni, I would have missed an incredible friendship and the opportunity to watch her write the next chapter of her life and career!  Stay tuned for more on that!Put yourself out there; in person, and online.  Make a connection; never underestimate where it can lead.Those are my thoughts.  What about you?  How have you seen the power of connections enrich your life?

                       

Building Your Online Network

Guest Blogger – Julia Rosien, Social Media Strategist & Chief Idea Officer

Friends, please welcome Julia Rosien, social media strategist, to JohnLusher.com. I have been fortunate enough to know Julia for the past couple of years through social media, and my life is richer because of it. Her energy, enthusiasm and lust for life is inspiring.Maybe you are new to social media and social networking, or possibly you consider yourself a veteran; either way, Julia has great advice in Building Your Online Network.

The Screen is yours Julia!!

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come

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I’m a self-proclaimed social media evangelist – I spend too much time there and have more fun before 6 am than some people do all day. But even though I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, doesn’t mean I believe it’s for everyone. Twitter is like visiting Saudi Arabia if you’ve never stepped foot out of North Carolina – the culture shock can be a bit of a hurdle.Social networking is no longer an option for most of us today. It’s where we need to be to grow our businesses, continue learning and connect with people who can help us do both.If you’re considering using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (or one of the 27 other networks cropping up) understand that everyone uses social media differently. My mom is on Facebook because she wants to share in her kids’ and grandkids’ lives. My former boss used LinkedIn for a different reason…I’m on Twitter to learn from others and share my work as well.Before you sign up for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, ask yourself some serious questions – because starting in social media and abandoning it is more damaging than not starting at all.

  • What do you want get out of social media – sales, brand awareness or maybe community building? (And yes, even if you’re not a business you can build your personal brand on social media.)
  • How much time you have to devote to it? Can you spare ½ hour a day? Do you have more time on weekends but nothing to spare Monday to Friday?
  • Where are your peeps hanging out? If your industry thinks Twitter is a tween thing, LinkedIn might be a better bet.

Now start looking at which network best suits your needs, time availability and social skills.

Twitter ~ Social media soirée

From the moment Twitter launched in 2006, it was a cocktail party. It’s evolved into many things since those early days but it’s still a social space where sharing is top priority. Regardless of how big your network is, the average tweet has a shelf life of 1 hour. But it can be a powerful way to connect with a wide variety of people across many networks. If you’re a connector and like sharing, Twitter might be for you.And remember, it’s not just for geeks. One of my favorite people to follow is a local farmer who tweets from the tractor, the chicken coup, whenever he can grab 5 minutes. He’s got a wicked sense of humor and knows that relationships with his local community start with making friends.

Facebook ~ The full meal deal

For many folks, Facebook is the easiest network to understand and contribute to. It allows you to post pictures, chat with friends and co-workers (at a slower pace than Twitter) and share information about your industry or concerns. Facebook can be a great place to test the waters of social media because of its speed.Couple things to remember:

  • Take time to get to know people – networking is about sharing, not self-promotion
  • Share yourself – people want to get to know the real you. If you’re using Facebook for business and personal, think of it as the company picnic. Have fun but behave.
  • Remember John’s pay-it-forward philosophy and talk to your friends about what matters to them. It will come back to you.

LinkedIn – Your best foot forward

I’m always a little amazed when people tell me that LinkedIn is only for job seekers. That would be like saying you only nurture relationships when you need something. A relationship, like communication, is a two-way process that takes care and nurturing.Recently on LinkedIn, a job opportunity came my way that wasn’t right for me. I passed it along to my contacts and connected the employer with someone looking for that particular specialty. Although the players were in different countries, they found a way to make it work. Further proof that John’s pay-it-forward philosophy is the best way to navigate through social networks.If you’re testing the waters of social media, it’s time to jump in with gusto. Pick a network and start building your profile. What are you afraid of? Success?Got social media questions?  Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn – I’m always on.

Social Media Misconceptions

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If you are a business owner, I strongly suggest you stop resisting social media as a platform to build relationships,  your brand and to connect with clients!  Just as businesses resisted building and promoting a website, a portion of them are now resisting social media.Why?  Is it because you don’t understand it or you think it’s a fad?  It isn’t a fad. Is it fear of the unknown?  You have more resources available at your fingertips to learn about social media and how it can help your business starting today!  Guess what?  Your competition is already involved with social media and if you can’t be found online today, you are not found period.Before you jump into social media, let’s clear up some misconceptions.Social media is inexpensive, or even FREE! We need to put this misconception to rest once and for all.  Yes, many of the tools and the sites that are involved with social media are free to sign up and use.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendfeed and others do not charge you to sign up and create an account, but you will discover, that is where the free part ends.It takes time to properly create these profiles and to maintain them.  It takes time to develop and produce content; to refine what is working and what is not. Social media is and should be part of your marketing campaign.  As a business owner you need to make this plan part of your overall business plan.  Some companies spend as little as a few thousand dollars on a social media campaign. Others spend upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 or more.  This is a form of advertising and marketing your company; tools for building your brand.  Treat it as such, budget for it and plan for it.  You didn’t go into business without a business plan (did you) so do not start a social media campaign without a plan.Anyone can build your campaign for you. Well, if you spend any time on Twitter, you will realize that thousands of “experts” on social media are promoting themselves.  You will discover social media “experts” that barely have two-thousand followers; so remember this, there are no experts.  We are all students of social media and it changes so quickly that no one can become an expert.I recall a conversation with a retail store owner about his website.  In an effort to save money, the store owner was having a local high school kid design and launch his site.  I visited his store six months later and the site had just launched;  three months behind schedule.  Approximately one year later, a Google search, with specific parameters included that relate to his business and that should have been keywords for his business, resulted in his site being found….on page three. Was the cost savings worth the amount of lost business to his shop because consumers couldn’t find his site or his store?  Do you go past page one on a Google search?  Hint: consumers typically do not.I use the previous story to highlight the importance of hiring a true professional to build and launch your successful social media campaign. A campaign that is integrated with your marketing efforts as well as your website. You should also interview the person or firm that you decide to choose as a partner! Have they created successful campaigns in the past? Do they integrate video into their campaigns? What does their portfolio look like? Ask for references and specifics of those clients they have worked with successfully.You can make a big splash in short amount of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and typically your social media campaign will not make a big splash or build a strong or loyal following in a short amount of time.  It can, but those are exceptions to the rule, not the norm. If you are already a star or have a big name in business, then you can make a big splash; if not, it takes slow and steady work. Twitter is great for building a following and driving traffic to your site, your blog, your website.  Use video to acquaint your followers with your company, products, services and staff; but remember it takes time!You can handle a social media campaign internally. Maybe. Most companies rarely employ personnel that are well versed and experienced in social media campaigns.  Even if they have the experience, do they have the time?  What do you pay them to do and how much?  Run the numbers and then hire an experienced person or firm.  Another advantage to using an outside person or firm?  Their contacts and their network. Chances are, it’s larger than yours.  Do you do your own business taxes?  Do you represent your own company in legal matters?  Why would you try to run a social media campaign internally without the right people, with the right experience?People will automatically find you. That misconception reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, Doing a good job around here is like peeing in a dark suit, It makes you feel warm but nobody notices” Jason Bolt. People will not automatically find you, but word of mouth, or spread by the click (mouse) can help!  Using tools like Twitter, StumbleUpon or Digg helps, but your network, combined with traffic driven by the professional you partner with for your campaign, will help the world find you!You can’t measure social media results. Sure you can. Just as you can measure traffic to your website and responses to advertisements in traditional media, you can measure social media results.  Using Google Trends along with other analytics can provide you specific statistics on who is finding you, who is clicking on your links and sites and how well your campaign is working. With the recent changes, you can find out the number of views, clicks, demographic breakdowns and more on your Facebook Fan Pages.Approach a social media campaign just as you would any other aspect of your business; carefully, with planning and the right professionals involved.Those are my thoughts. What say you?

Social Networking – Thanks Kim Randall

This is a guest blog post that I was honored to post on Kim Randall’s (_kimrandall) site; Kim Randall.  This post is under the blog section of her site, located here.  I had the opportunity to meet Kim this summer; you should get to know her and engage with her; she walks the talk in social media and can be a valuable resource.  Thanks Kim for the guest blogging opportunity!Since Adam and Eve, we have been networking. Networking may not be the word that was used then, but we have always taken an interest in others, learned about what they do, how we can connect with them and help them.Consider this definition of networking: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.Think about it; haven’t we have always networked with others?A generation ago, during our parents or grandparent’s lives: they knew whom to call on for whatever the requirement. In smaller communities and towns, they knew he people needed for their day-to-day existence; in larger areas, people listened to the advice of others to recommend professionals they knew and trusted.It’s no different today than it was then; we are still networking. So, what has changed? Social networking. Social networking has introduced a new way to meet people. Social networking, in this post, refers to the use of social media platforms to start networking with others.We still network face-to-face, or in real life (IRL); but what has changed most dramatically is how a considerable number of our relationships begin online! The ever-growing virtual environment we live in means relationships, both personal and professional are started as well as nourished online before they

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move to the IRL environment.A multitude of tool exist to help you build your network online, among the most popular are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. With each of these tools, it’s good to remember that although these relationships begin through a computer, the same rules should apply as if you were sitting with that person across a table:1. Don’t sell to the people you are meeting online. This is an instant turn-off and will damage you and your network instead of building it.2. The best way to be a better networker is to give something to others. Look to help others; this will be returned to you ten fold. Believe it, it happens!3. Be memorable, but not for the wrong reasons. Be helpful by making introductions for others and by promoting others.4. Be patient. Social networking or face-to-face networking takes time. Take the time to build your network slowly.5. Remember these are real people behind the photos on the screen. Treat them the same you would if you were meeting face-to-face.Social networking has changed how we network, at least to a certain extent, but it doesn’t change how we should act when we network. We are dealing with human beings; we should always look to give before we expect to receive.Those are my thoughts; what say you?