3 Marketing Lessons from the Minor Leagues
(It really isn’t bush league, and there is a lot of bacon!)

Tag: Marketing Lessons

3 Marketing Lessons from the Minor Leagues
(It really isn’t bush league, and there is a lot of bacon!)

Like many entrepreneurs, even when I do take time away from the business, I am still thinking about my business. I recently went to a baseball game at a local Minor League ballpark that sparked some ideas on marketing that I want to share, hopefully it can inspire you with some ideas for making your business bloom.

Lesson #1: Connect with your target audience (don’t swing and miss)

When marketing or advertising your business you want to find a way to have prospects relate and really connect to your message or product.

The game I went to recently featured a rehab appearance of a starting pitcher for the Phillies who was getting tuned up to rejoin the major league team. Cleverly, the team (Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs) had worked in an advertisement when announcing the starting pitchers for the game for a local Physical Therapy company. This is a great way to tie together the sponsor and the event, since often rehab appearances of a major league player can spark higher attendance, even if they don’t get your ad shown at every game at least it gives them good value and a solid connection. People like to relate to athletes and celebrities so when they need some physical therapy they are likely to make this connection and at least contact that local company.

A little later I was at the concession stand (getting more bacon to clog my arteries…more on that later) and heard … ‘this foul ball brought to you by’ and I was thinking they are just desperate to sell any advertising spot possible. I didn’t feel this was something that would really connect with people, but the sponsor was getting their name mentioned at least and combined with an ad they had on the outfield wall it could build their branding and they might reach some people looking for their services, especially if they were currently in the market for them. It was not memorable except for the fact that it seemed over the top, quite a stretch, however you want to put it.

Lesson #2: Make it Memorable (I mean so they remember your product or company name!)

While watching the game there was an exciting play where the home team threw out a player trying to steal second base. Then comes a promotion…”this caught stealing brought to you by”…in my mind I was thinking this team is just selling ads to everyone and throwing them in at the most inappropriate times; until I heard the sponsor was a Bail Bond company. That combination of the logical connection in a surprising way created a memorable promotion. By the way that is the ad that specifically inspired this article, the use of humor and surprise can really create a memorable ad or promotion especially when it all connects together.

Making your ad or promotion memorable is critically important to success. However there is a balance and an art to marketing or advertising your business to make it memorable and also keeping it connected to your business. You probably remember a lot of funny or clever commercials where you can’t recall what company or product it was promoting.

Sometimes the connection is not there immediately but you can find a way to make it memorable. Wawa sponsors the Wawa RBI Guy , keeping the naming short and using rhyming helps to make taglines or promotions more memorable, in addition this is shown during every game for a player who comes up to bat multiple time so repetition is involved. (Marketing and Branding studies show that a typical consumer needs to hear about your business at least 5-10 times before they consider doing business with you.)

Lesson #3: Involve Your Target Audience (Promote Community and Sharing)

As we mentioned above Wawa has the Wawa RBI Guy promotion which offers a discount if the selected payer of the game had at least 1 RBI (run batted in). What really gets people involved is the use of music and the big screen to encourage crowd involvement. Instead of the normal ballpark chants (like “Charge” or “Let’s Go” it flashes “Wa” “Wa” along with music that matches the timing on the screen.) Yes this an obvious plug for a company but once it is playing in a critical part of the game and the crowd starts shouting…”Wa” “Wa” “Wa” “Wa” the branding is locked into the minds of thousands of spectators. (FYI, Wawa is similar to a 7-11 but is famous in the Philly area for having great coffee and hoagies i.e. subs/sandwiches, especially for a convenience mart.)

Another great example of involvement and overall solid marketing concept is with the Minor League team itself. The team name is the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and to capitalize on that their concession stands offer a wide variety of pork products with bacon, bacon wrapped hot dogs, bacon toppings, bacon flavored cotton candy, pulled pork sandwiches, etc. Even if you don’t care that much for baseball, bacon lovers are drawn in for a night of pork debauchery. Don’t forget the gift shop for a bacon hat or shirt, advertising your love of bacon (and promoting the Iron Pigs).

In the same vein they also promote the hashtag #baconUSA throughout the game and show selected posts of fans that use that hashtag during the game on the big screen. This is a great way to use social media to get people to share to their networks, appeal to their ego to encourage them to promote your business. I am there are many on social media that were looking for bacon and now they know about a minor league park where they can eat bacon until their hearts are content, or until their arteries are clogged, whichever comes first.

Funny Final Tip

One final tip to go out to the team…I would reach out to a nearby Philadelphia Pharmaceutical company that makes cholesterol medicine. The ballpark has so many delicious bacon food choices that it is hard for those of use with borderline or high cholesterol to resist (I am still thinking about that deep fried bacon and wanting to go back to try the funnel cake with bacon as a topping, mmmmmmm!) Sorry getting a little distracted here…it just seems like a natural connection to promote cholesterol medication (maybe a coupon for 10 day supply of cholesterol medication when you buy 3 bacon items.)

Small Business Local Marketing

If you do live in a community with a minor league team (in any sport) and you want to connect to your community, explore the marketing or advertising option to find the right fit for you, don’t just let them through you in as one of the “foul ball” sponsors (unless you are selling chicken products and want to be a ‘fowl ball’ sponsor. Work with them to get the right promotion for your business that can connect, be memorable and involve the target audience you want to reach!

Tag: Marketing Lessons

Poker, Angry Orchard and Dreams of … #Movember? Why Small Business Should Be More Social.

I had a dream and in this dream…no not like Martin Luther King. At least I didn’t think it was a dream of a better world but in a weird way it kind of was. When I say weird, I mean it. I was dreaming of social media hashtags…one in particular that was mentioned casually at a friend’s house during Poker night and apparently got stuck in my head.

FYI: This post is not really about a weird dream but about trending topics for small business and the influence of social media in our culture and how entrepreneurs can capitalize on it for success. (So please stay with me here.)

I had seen vague references to the hashtag #Movember over the last couple weeks but had been too busy, with web designs and keywords for a new law firm client, updates for other various websites, and numerous other day-to-day tasks of running my small business, to look into it.

TrendingTopicTuesday750Why was it in my head now then, two weeks into November?

That is where the Poker and Angry Orchard came in.

During the banter of that friendly poker game in the basement of a friend, one of the players made another vague reference and specifically said “hashtag Movember” … I was about to ask what that was all about but then the topic quickly moved onto things like Monday Night Football and Sci-Fi Movies.

Then at around 2:30am I woke up from a weird dream that would not leave my head…a dream revolving around hashtags, specifically #Movember. I don’t know why I was dreaming about this one stray comment, I can only guess that maybe it was my choice of adult beverages, Angry Orchard instead of the usual Stout or Lager.

Still wondering why I am writing about a topic I don’t know much about? Good Question, it gets to an important idea I am familiar with, the influence of social media and how small business can benefit from it in a variety of ways.

Social Media is not like marketing materials like the Yellow Pages, a brochure or a Flyer, it is about the connection to the community. Social Media for business is now a mix of both sales and marketing, it is more of an online business card exchange or an interactive seminar with Q&A.

Social Media can give small business owners a window into the lives and interests of their prospects and what the current trends are that can be leveraged for increased sales and to strengthen business relationships.

BransonLifeEducation650I have been on Social Media for quite a while and this is a lesson I am still learning. When you see vague references to something like ‘Movember’, unlike what I did, take just a couple minutes and do a quick online search to see what it is about and if it might be relevant to your customers or your business. There could be some great opportunities to become more active in your community which could build stronger long term relationship and win you some lifelong clients.

Some topics on Social Media can indicate the interests and needs of your customers which can help you adjust your products and services or your sales process. I will admit there can be a lot to sort through on social media to find the things that are relevant to your customers and your business. However, if you can find the pulse of your consumer, isn’t that really priceless?

About 10 years ago you needed a website to make sure you were found by your prospects, then as more competitors got websites you needed SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get noticed by prospects. Your business website had limited interaction and you usually paired it up with an email marketing list to convert your prospects into clients. Now the trend is interaction with your prospect on Social Media.

Do you still need a good website with SEO? Absolutely! However, your competitors are also on Social Media and if you are not talking to your prospects on Social Media then your competition will.

SocialMediaNews500The key is to find the social media platforms where your prospects go; so you can be part of the conversation, or at least see what the discussion is about. For example, if you are B2B it could be LinkedIn, if you are targeting younger consumers you might want to use Snapchat or Facebook Live.

I could go on all day on this topic, but my point here is to pay attention to your community of prospects. They are most likely on social media somewhere looking for information related to their business and maybe even sharing their priorities. You can then let them know about all the great benefits you provide with your products or services that help them solve their challenges or that focus on their priorities.

Today, start asking your clients if they are on any social media and how they use it. As they say ‘birds of a feather flock together’ so learning about how your clients use social media and joining the conversation can help you both strengthen those relationships and find prospects that are similar to your current clients.

In case you came here to read about Movember or were still were wondering what it is all about. I finally took my own advice and did a little research…here is the story of #Movember (www.Movember.com):

mobromovember300“The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round. We have one goal: to stop men dying too young.
From humble beginnings in Australia in 2003, the Movember movement has grown to be a truly global one, inspiring support from over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world.
Movember’s success can largely be attributed to the strength of the global community. Regardless of the city in which we live, we’re part of something bigger, united by a commitment to help change the face of men’s health.”

Basically, it looks like good cause to help improve Men’s Health around the world, where men grow Moustaches (‘Grow a Mo for a Bro’) to start a discussion and therefore raise awareness for physical and mental health issues; including suicide prevention – something that has affected my personal and business life…losing some loved ones and even valued clients to suicide.

I hope you found this article informative and somewhat entertaining. The moral of the story here is to pay attention to the trends in society there are a lot of things we can learn from each other in life and in business.

Please join our conversation with any feedback or how you applied any of the tips above meant to help you Make Your Business Bloom!

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

Tag: Marketing Lessons

The Marketing Force Awakens – Trending Topics to Market Your Small Business

Have you seen the new #StarWars trailer for #TheForceAwakens, honestly it is more like #TheMarketingForceAwakens don’t get me wrong I am really looking forward to both the movie and maybe even learning some marketing techniques. In fact it is already starting, this is the first time I remember that the trailer says ‘Tickets On Sale’ now so far in advance of the actual release of the movie. Maybe I just didn’t pay attention to that before but it sure beats putting people in line at the Theaters for days before the first run of the #StarWars movie.

They knew there would be demand and they want to encourage that, which is very smart marketing. I am curious as to how many weeks it may be sold out and how many people buy multiple tickets (to either try to resell or to see the movie dozens of times in the theaters in 3D).

Unless there is a drastic change in marketing strategy I know there will be an upcoming deluge of cross promotion for quite a few months. All the fast food places and big box stores will be promoting their connection to the movie. Your soda cup for the next 4-6 months will have a character from #TheForceAwakens, the checkout lines will be filled with #StarWars souvenirs.

Unfortunately most small businesses will be limited in being able to capitalize on the new Star Wars movie as the licensing fees associated limit the cross promotion to the big multi-national corporations. There will be some merchandising available without as much profit to the small businesses buying from the big wholesalers who have the license.

TrendingTopicTuesday750However there are always creative ways to capitalize on the latest trends, especially now with social media outlets. Your small business can make a short video without any official Star Wars footage or images that brings you attention with some creativity so it links the theme of the movie to your products or services. Maybe even go the opposite direction…if your prospects may be likely to get tired of all the hype start with a connection to them that your products and services will never have a Star Wars character on them, you are safe to use our services without hearing about the Star Wars hype, etc.

The key in marketing is to find your niche and to connect to your community of clients and future clients, whether that means keeping up on the latest trending topics like Star Wars or staying away from them get to know what your target audience wants…and give it to them in a memorable way.

Please share this (simply copy and paste into your social media):
The Marketing Force Awakens, small business marketing using trends like #starwars #TheForceAwakens to #MakeBusinessBloom…http://bit.ly/trendingtues

Tweet your thoughts and additional topics to: @eRoseWeb

We invite your feedback on how you can use the latest trends and apply them to your small business marketing to learn from each other so we can all Make Business Bloom.

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

Tag: Marketing Lessons

Is Mass Marketing Dead? Does One to One Marketing Rule?

MassMarketing350As far back as 1993 some marketing pioneers, namely @DonPeppers and @Martha_Rogers, predicted the rise of “The One to One Future” due mainly to rapidly advancing technology. I don’t know if even they saw the full extent of what one to one marketing was going to become in the decades that followed. (They do continue to provide numerous books and resources on this theme for small business entrepreneurs like us to keep improving our marketing.)

Despite the rise of social media, mass marketing is still very much in the conversation…if you need proof just try to get an advertising spot during the Super Bowl. However, even the mass marketing of big budget advertisements will typically integrate with social media to draw consumers into the one to one buyer-driven marketing that dominates today with the widespread acceptance and use of social media and smartphones.

OneToOneMarketing350With one to one marketing you don’t sell the same features and benefits of your products and services to everyone the same way, you get to conduct many different conversations and build relationships to meet the variety of needs of your customers.

The key to marketing today is using the tools that are available to make your business available to your clients where they are. For example many television viewers are able to find ways to skip the advertisements; many consumers are looking to friends or trusted sources for recommendations or to conduct their own research before contacting a company for their services or products.

The first step in effective marketing is to determine who your target audience is, then determine what interests they may have and where they may look to get recommendations. Once you know their specific interests and what types of social media they frequent you can focus your efforts on providing the resources they need to research your product or services.

DigitalMarketing300If possible find out who are the trusted sources of information for their particular interests, whether they are in the mainstream media, bloggers, social media, etc and begin to reach out to those people. Start by sharing out their info, ask them for more resources on that topic, try to add value to the conversations they begin (don’t just jump in and ask them to promote your product or service). Consumers and these experts typically do not react well to the hard sell.

In mass marketing the goal is increased market share, but for one to one marketing the goal should be for the share of the individual customer. In other words your goal is to ensure each customer who buys your product or service buys more from you, buys only from you, for all the products and services you provide!

Identify your best customers – don’t forget the Pareto Principle, 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. Pay the most attention to the needs of these 20% of your customers especially on a one to one basis with special offers and loyalty rewards.

If you have teams, make sure that the teams are structured around your clients and not around your different products and services, marketing is buyer driven these days. Each team should be responsible for customers with similar interests and cross selling your various products to those consumers. Build relationships between your customers and a specific team. Don’t make them deal with different teams of people based on different products they want. Relationship and brand come first to keep loyalty of your clients long-term.

In summary while mass marketing is still everywhere you look, especially used by the large multi-national companies, one to one relationship marketing has allowed smart entrepreneurs and small business owners like yourself to compete for relevance even with small marketing budgets. Today the consumer demands attention and those who provide them with what they want, whether that be information or a product or service to solve their challenges will benefit from the new age of marketing. If you don’t know your client, get to know them and what they want, they might give you great ideas on expanding your line of products and services to add more value to your customers and improve your bottom-line.

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!
rose

Tag: Marketing Lessons

Has your Small Business Marketing Gone to The Dogs? Solutions to Make Your Business Bloom!

For those of you who are not yet on our eMail Newsletter list, one of our regular newsletter articles is centered on our mascot, Shayna, who is an Australian Shepherd Mix. We have found that there are many fellow dog-lovers who are also Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners, so we wanted to use this theme in a video to explain a little about our business and how we can help improve your Marketing in order to Make Your Business Bloom.

We have a 30-second version of this you may have seen on our social media, but have included this original 90-second version here for more detailed info. We hope you find this video can be the start of a conversation on how to improve your bottom line return on investment for your business marketing. We pride ourselves on providing excellent value for your marketing dollar.

After watching the video, please give us your feedback as well as any ways we can help you to grow your business with web or marketing services.

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!
rose

Tag: Marketing Lessons

Marketing Lessons from: #TheDress

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The original image is in the middle. At left, white-balanced as if the dress is white-gold.At right, white-balanced to blue-black. swiked  3 versions of the dress photo wired

 

Social Media Marketing lessons from #TheDress Debate of 2015 (Tumblr Dress Color)

If you were paying attention to Social Media recently (or even watching the news) you’ve heard about the attention explosion and great debate on ‘The Dress’ posted originally on Tumblr. Is it white and gold or is it Blue & Black? The answer to that is not what I want to discuss, there are plenty of blogs and posts dedicated to that answer. Instead I want to pose the marketing questions related to ‘The Dress’.

One thing that this demonstrates is the unpredictability of social media. I’ll be honest, I would have never in a million years guessed that posting a photo of a dress and asking what color it is would cause such a sensation and hotly contested debate. This demonstrates to me that as in all forms of marketing you need to try different avenues and ideas and see what resonates with people (hopefully with people that will become your future clients.)

The Great Dress Debate of 2015 also shows why web designers like us need to test on all sorts of devices and browsers. Unlike printed marketing materials like brochures and business cards, websites can and often do look very different depending on numerous factors. Just like the dress looked significantly different depending on what screen you were viewing it on, the same holds true for other images on the internet.

Websites rely a great deal on each individual users settings…some people prefer to have bright settings and others dark or muted, some people want magnification or larger text size and the various browsers give them the ability to change these settings. While there are some things a website designer can to do keep things close to standard there are limits and do you really want to override the preferences of the person you want to sell to so they see it the way you prefer instead of the way they prefer? (Some people want to see the dress as White and Gold and some people want to see it as Blue and Black.)

This is admittedly a drastic exaggeration of what happens and of course you want your products and company to be represented as accurately as possible which is why it is important to make sure your website has been designed with either a responsive or adaptive design and tested thoroughly to make sure that no matter what device or browser your website appears on it still looks professional and represents you well. (It will never look exactly the same to every potential future client but the key is getting it looking good on all the major options.)

There are many marketing lessons to be learned from this and similar viral social media events, what other lessons will you take from this and apply to your small business?

 

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

Tag: Marketing Lessons

Ad-vocados Picked for Effective Marketing on Super Bowl 49

I always look forward to the Super Bowl for a couple of reasons, the high level of play by at least one of the teams, and the unveiling of the new Super Bowl Ads. My passion is helping Entrepreneurs to market their business to help them Make Business Bloom, so I enjoy seeing the strategies and creativity of the Super Bowl Ads.

Some years are better than others for both the Football and the Super Bowl Ads. This year, Super Bowl 49, the Football was actually pretty good with the glaring exception in the final minute of the game. Can someone explain why you would not give the ball to the player ‘Beast mode’ to pound in the winning score? Similarly can someone explain the series of depressing commercials during a party atmosphere?

Looking on social media discussions after the game there are a lot of people complaining about the lack of good commercials this year and the overall negative depressing tone. I couldn’t agree more. I know there are different strategies in getting the word out and how to be remembered with your Marketing and Advertising, but I disagree with the placement of these types of advertisements in a celebratory type of event.

The party I was at was breaking up by the beginning of the 3rd Quarter, I can’t say that the depressing ads had a direct influence on when people left but it was a close game and yet the place cleared out.

Personally I like funny ads, especially during the Super Bowl. The Esurance, T-Mobile and Mountain Dew Commercials at least gave a little levity to the evening. There seems to be an ever increasing number of car commercials, but at least some of the car ads were better this year than they have been in the past. My favorite was the ad for Avocado’s on the ‘First Draft Ever’ it was very creative and tied in the Football and party theme as well as humor for all those watching to enjoy.

While your small business, like mine, doesn’t have a million dollar advertising budget to get an ad on the Super Bowl, at least not yet, the moral of the marketing story in my mind is to know your audience and get your message out in a creative way. As you probably know just because you have a better product or service, that doesn’t mean you will always succeed in business. Always try new campaigns and outlets to reach your future clients with the right message. Make sure to grab their attention with the benefits they will receive from using your product or service!

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