Irony is rampant in my world these days. Of course, my mind tends to go to marketing strategies gone wrong when I see such things stream before my eyes.
I’m from Missouri
No, I’m not, but for those who don’t get this one (I didn’t the first time I heard it), Missouri is ‘the show me state.’
During a walk to my bank, I spotted a Rolls-Royce sandwiched between a bunch of Baptist church vans (apparently the parishioner cheap seats on long-serving utility vehicles – the painted signage spotlighting the leaders of the congregation was pristine, though).
We don’t see many Rolls around here (my co-worker first assumed I was talking the cinnamon type – he’s diabetic so sugar is always on his mind). It’s even rarer in the city location where I was strolling.
While the car caught my attention initially, it was the license plate that raised my eyebrows (or eyebrow if you’re familiar with the Spock gesture).
Perhaps my experience is different than yours, but most Baptist leaders I’ve encountered are very aggressive about collections. It’s all about raising the poor man from his plight. No sacrifice is too small – or too grand. Somehow, I couldn’t help but wonder how this chaplain was practicing what he preached – and convincing his fellowship to sacrifice extravagance for the greater good.
While some may be able to sway a gullible crowd (perhaps having earned respect already), if you’re a small business owner seeking to build credibility and revenue with prospects you don’t know, it’s usually smart to do what you say.
Don’t hire me
Linked In is one of the few social media sites I spend time on. This includes co-managing a rather large group. This resource was designed for business, so most employers hanging here have some basic screening standards.
A recent request to join came from a former student looking for work. At the top of her profile she indicated she graduated from “Wayne Community Collage.”
Wayne, if this is intended to be cute (I get that’s the rage with branding these days), you’re not helping your graduates.
If that’s not the case (and yes, I recognize the Millennium mandate on the no wrong answer thing – expression and creativity needs to be nurtured and encouraged, yada yada yada), perhaps you should consider putting an editor (strike that – proofreader) on staff to review all graduate communications. Do you really want your alumni bragging unfettered? Maybe you’re not from Missouri.
You’re right, but you’re wrong
On the same day as the Rolls-Royce sighting, I encountered an extremely aggressive beggar a block away. Perhaps I should have suggested she look up the chaplain for help?
Anyway, she was morbidly obese – well over 300 pounds. I’m overweight too (although not that much). I feel for people who struggle with the battle of the bulge. Her message, though, wasn’t working.
She was screaming at the top of her lungs “I’m so hungry. Give me some money.” Now, I’m not disputing, nor minimizing her hunger pains. It just seems to me she might have gotten more sympathy with a different message. In fact, she got into a loud argument with a passerby as I approached the Rolls. I’m guessing the pedestrian made a cutting comment noting the incongruity between her stated needs and appearance.
Your personal primary truth doesn’t always provide the best answer for good marketing strategies. First, consider what might resonate best with your audience. If you understand what they care about (or how they interpret what they’re looking at) and craft an appealing message, you’re more likely to get what you want.
Careful what you wish for
Apparently, the New York Police Department has decided it’s high time to get more social. They sent out a tweet this week soliciting photos of people posing with police officers. The plan was Facebook Page prominence. I don’t know why I found this so hilarious (sick, I am), but respond they did – with photos capturing beatings and arrests.
If you put yourself out there inviting customers to share publicly, you might want to first consider if you’ve served them well. Of course, there will always be trolls. There will also be people no one can ever please. But before you leap, it makes sense to think about how you might be asking for it.
Smart small business marketing strategies
This whole premise that relationship marketing is a new idea and ideal is ridiculous. Effective communications and associated sales has always been about understanding what others need and offering something that feels good to them.
Before you set out to say, do or show what you’re all about, consider how those you’re trying to appeal to with your message – and that goes well beyond the written or verbal word – think. Even the biggest altruist does what he does to satisfy his needs. If you don’t understand how to align your message with your actions, appearance and audience, you’re going to have a tougher time converting prospects to clients.
As you develop future small business marketing strategies, consider first, how the people you’re trying to convince to buy think. Big hint – it’s not about you.