Coffee, Flowers and Moxie

Friday is a good day to meet someone for coffee. And by spending a few dollars at a Blacksburg, Virginia, coffee shop, I did a small bit to help the struggling economy.

The person I met — Jim Flowers — is also doing his part to help companies and the wider economy.

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Sneaky Big Marketing

The choices in marketing communications are overwhelming. What audiences do you need to reach? With what messages? And with what media?

An opinion piece I read by Seiter & Miller Advertising CEO Livingston Miller made a lot of sense. Miller wrote “find a place you can dominate and a space you can control. The results will make you look bigger. Call it ‘sneaky big.’”

Miller explained that sneaky big requires sacrifice. “Decide what not to say, who not to talk to and where not to advertise.”

Instead, simplify your messages and “give up the market you aspire to for the market you can achieve.” It’s a smart, nimble strategy for non-titans who nonetheless are looking for big results.

(Source: BtoB)

A Sense of Online Urgency

I read this in today’s BtoB Daily News Alert.

A new survey found that nearly half of B2B marketing budgets are spent on online tactics such as website development, online advertising, search marketing, webcasts and social media.

The survey was conducted by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Group.

“The sense of urgency to move to online marketing has been felt by leading marketing organizations for some time now, but the extent to which budgets have been redefined is dramatic,” Joel Goldstein, president of Goldstein Group, was quoted as saying.

It’s a bit like the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. More and more are staking their claim in the vast online world.

A Marketing Lesson from a Hot Dog Man

A man who lived by the roadside and sold hot dogs had trouble hearing, so he didn’t have a radio. His eyesight was poor, so he didn’t read newspapers.

But he sold hot dogs in bunches along the highway. He put up signs to advertise and solicited passersby with cries of “Buy a hot dog? Buy a hot dog?”

And people bought the man’s hot dogs. So many, in fact, that he increased his orders for hot dogs and buns. Then he got his son to return home from another city to help out.

“Haven’t you been listening to the news?” the son asked his father. “Haven’t you read the newspapers?”

There’s a world recession, the son told his father. There’s a war. People are losing their jobs.

So the father decreased his orders. He took down his signs. Sales immediately dropped.

“You’re right, son. We’re in a recession,” said the hot dog man.

(A version of this story was posted by Tony Gattari of Achievers Group on LinkedIn.)

Marketing in a Desolate Prairie

What would get people to stop their speeding automobiles in the middle of a hot dusty prairie? Free ice water, determined Dorothy Hustead in 1936.

“Well, now what is it that those travelers really want after driving across that hot prairie? They’re thirsty. They want water. Ice cold water!” Dorothy told her husband.

“Now we’ve got plenty of ice and water. Why don’t we put up signs on the highway telling people to come here for free ice water?”

Thus began the rise of Wall Drug in a South Dakota cow town of 300 people. By the summer of 1951, 20,000 visitors a day were stopping for free ice water at Wall Drug. And to buy carloads of souvenirs and merchandise.

The marketing landscape can look like a desolate prairie, especially in an economic downturn. So, what might you give freely to your prospects and customers to get them to stop and notice you? What are they “thirsty” for?

Quench their “thirst” and they’ll take notice of all you have to offer.

The Pink Spoon

I was surprised to learn that Baskin-Robbins has been in business for more than 60 years. The ice-cream chain was a novelty when I was growing up. They offered 31 flavors (one for every day of the month) back when most others only served chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

Baskin-Robbins also had the pink spoon, a simple plastic implement that was a brilliant marketing concept. You could sample those 31 flavors. In fact, they encouraged it.

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What You’re Really Selling

I remember once looking at Jay Conrad Levinson’s 100 marketing weapons on his Guerilla Marketing Web site. All 100 can stimulate your thinking on marketing tactics, whether you’re a solo practitioner or mega corporation.

I had been considering writing about benefits when I saw it on Jay’s list, No. 44.

Do you have a comprehensive list of benefits for your product(s) and service(s)? Have you updated it recently?

No matter what business you’re in, you’re not selling products and services. Well, maybe you are, but clients and customers are buying tangible or perceived benefits.

When you truly understand what those benefits are and present them in a compelling way, leads and sales will grow.