Creative Ways To Get Your Business Noticed

Creative Ways To Get Your Business NoticedIn today’s digitally charged world, people are exposed to thousands of ads- potentially 10,000. In the early days of Facebook and Twitter, it was unique and exciting to interact with brands on social media. Now it’s expected. The same goes for traditional media/advertising, just having a presence isn’t enough. In order to compete for a consumer’s valuable time – you have to be memorable. Think about some of your favorite commercials. What attracts you to them probably isn’t how much money they spent or how far-reaching their campaign was – it was something special that stood out from all the other commercials you saw that today. You don’t have to spend money to be creative. Here are some examples: 1) Use your surroundings Are there a lot of sidewalks in your neighborhood? Try some chalk art, maybe talking about a special deal or telling viewers where you’re located. Depending on the area, a wall mural could be a beautiful and unique way to get the eye of passersby. Obviously, do your research and get permission before attempting any of these- but it could be a great way to connect with people on a local level. 2) Partner with Local Businesses If you want to get a foothold in a community, it’s great to partner with those who are already there. There’s a lot of opportunity to get creative here. You could have presence at a local holiday event, setting up a stand and offering some kind of giveaway. Or you could work on a special promotion with a business that might help you reach the right demographic – in form of unique coupons, deals, etc. 3) Scholarships Scholarships are a great way to give back as well as get visibility. To create a strong sense of branding, you can have the entry requirements be relevant to your business. For example, if you sell jewelry have them draw a design, or if you are a bakery have them bake a cake and then submit their entries. At this point you can either have the entries judged internally or use it as an excuse to include social media and have people vote. 4) Make it Personal You have probably seen the personalized Coke bottles with names on them. It doesn’t matter if you sell a retail product or an in office service. Find a way to make your experience personal. Let’s say you work in a legal office. You could offer them a personalized pen to sign the final documents. At a doctor’s office, special stickers based on the location and time of year. Tie this together with a promotional campaign (a specific hashtag, etc), and you’re creating a story for your consumer to play a unique part in. 5) Host Fun Giveaways A giveaway does need to be as bland as “put in your email and phone number to win”. While those may be effective based on the prize, are they memorable? A more unique take would be to have a “local treasure hunt” and hide clues within partnered business establishments. This is a great way to create buzz, as pedestrians may enquire what people are doing and get involved. The barriers to entry for marketing are lower than ever before because of social media. This is great for small businesses to enter the market – but also means it’s harder to be memorable. Instead of focusing on checking off all the traditional “boxes” for a full marketing plan, really take a look at your demographic and unlock your inner creative. You’re going to like the results a lot more.

Using 'Super Bowl' or any Trademarked Name in Marketing? You've Been Warned.

using football trademarks in marketingIf you are thinking about tying a business promotion to the Super Bowl this Sunday, read on before you do. The NFL has trademarked the words “Super Bowl,” which limits the use of that phrase by anyone other than the NFL. Generally speaking, you can use “Super Bowl” to make reference to the actual game (“The Super Bowl is this Sunday.”), but not in connection with any commercial activity (“Come to Joe’s for free soup or salad on Super Bowl Sunday.”).

Content Marketing Infographic: By Demand Metric

A Guide to Marketing Genius:  Content Marketing 

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Innovation Is Everything

Innovation is a powerful concept, and so needed today in every aspect of our lives. Innovation is the fuel of aspirations, passion and change, if we can create the space to engage with our curiosity and imagination. Recently Sojourn Partners hosted the New Hampshire Leadership Advantage Innovation Workshop where three amazing thought leaders shared their secrets. Errik Anderson of Adimab, Matt Albuquerque from NextStep Bionics and Prosthetics and Jamie Coughlin of abi Innovation Hub all spoke candidly to 60 up-and-coming business leaders about how to create an innovation mind space. What follows are the key points that the attendees reported were most meaningful to them:

Collaboration

First on the list is the ability for the organization’s culture to collaborate. Not just talk, but rather action oriented conversation that creates excitement and arm waving. If you know Errik, Matt and Jamie, this is how they communicate, with enthusiasm!

Competition

Equally important is healthy competition. Not the “you against me” kind of energy, but the “we are in this together to win” kind of energy. The need to reach a goal is a critical ingredient of human motivation, and when we have partners in that, we become powerful.

Mindfulness

Third on the list is mindfulness.  That’s being able to notice what is going on around you and within you, which includes your peers, customers and greater environment.  The cultivation of mindfulness carries you to more deeply experience your opportunities and challenges.  As a higher order of being, it allows you to stand outside your self as an observer and manager of your world. This is when breakthroughs occur.

Passion

Connecting to your passion and remembering it allows you to run the triathlon after the innovation begins to solidify. Innovation does not end, it evolves with you over time, and if you can stay in touch with the original excitement you held when you first created an idea, you will not be distracted. The important point here is that passion has to be real, and it is real when you feel it.

Willingness to Fail

Finally, and perhaps most important, is that you have to be willing and able to fail. Necessity is the mother of invention, and failure is the father of innovation. Failure not only eliminates one wrong option, it informs you about what to do next. If safety and security around failure is missing, you will just do what you have always done. What is most important about these points is that they were developed by 60 people in 2 hours. Pure innovation.     Russ Ouellette, Sojourn Partners     Dr. Russ Ouellette, managing partner of Sojourn Partners, a Bedford, NH-based executive leadership strategy and coaching firm, can be reached at 603-472-8103 or russ@sojournpartners.com.    

Marketing Technology: Sometimes You Have to Curb Your Enthusiasm

In marketing technology, it often pays to curb your enthusiasm a little and give your customers a chance to catch up.

Sharon Bailly
Sharon Bailly
Under the pressure and excitement of bringing a new technology product or service to the marketplace, it’s easy to forget that: (a)    Your customer understands the field but has no knowledge about this particular product or service. Marketing materials that jump right in with new acronyms and concepts leave even the best-educated and most experienced customer baffled. (b)   Your customer has heard it before (“user friendly, affordable, state-of-the-art”). To differentiate your product or service from the competition’s, provide those details that show user friendliness, affordability and innovation. Instead of vague adjectives and adverbs, give specific answers to the questions customers ask most often: How much training is involved? What savings does the technology achieve? What benchmarks does it meet? (c)    Your customer’s goals differ from yours. You are celebrating an advance in technology (“our new robotic packaging system includes a PC-based control system, barcode printer, grippers, fixtures…”). Customers want to know what your technology will do for them (“maintain zero tolerance for error and keep up with stringent government regulations”). Focus on your customer’s goals first. (d)   Even high-tech customers appreciate a good story. Make your point through a success story, testimonial or photograph and you’ll keep the customer’s attention longer. (e)   Your customer has to fit your technology into an existing context, including limitations in space, resources and time. Acknowledge that context (“a closet-like room is not the ideal data center but for some companies that’s the best available”). Provide information that helps the customer see your product in the customer’s world. (f)     Customers suffer information overload. Be careful before you spend limited marketing space on an aspect of the technology that is invisible to your customer—even if that aspect is amazing—and avoid dividing one marketing message between a dozen products and services the customer might (or might not) be interested in. Too much information will overwhelm your customer and delay a decision. When you are marketing a new technology, it might help to think of yourself as a teacher. A great teacher builds slowly on what students already know, gives them information they cannot find elsewhere, shows them how a new concept works, keeps them engaged, gives them hands-on experience and paces lessons carefully. Enthusiasm is wonderful in a teacher, but not if it leaves the students struggling alone with material they haven’t yet mastered. Sharon Bailly, founder of TWP Marketing & Technical Communications (www.twriteplus.com), has helped high-tech companies communicate with customers in the software, computer, oil & gas, medical products, pharmaceutical, healthcare and construction industries. For more technical writing information, visit her blog at www.nhbusinessblog.com