blog - market

Simply The Best

July 25, 2011

Filed under: General

"The one and only rule to remember when you are seeking to stand out from the crowd," says David Tyreman, "is [this]: Don't become part of the crowd in the first place."

Tyreman’s book World Famous: How to Give Your Business a Kick-Ass Brand Identity  is packed with suggestions to help your business gain a powerful presence in the market. The opening page of the book features a quote from Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead: “Success isn't about being perceived as the best at what you do, it's about being perceived as the only one who does what you do."

How do you set your business apart from your competition? Tyreman talks about the need to offer your market a distinct benefit or value. If you pin your hopes on "just buy from me" with no real value proposition, then you will suffer the consequences.

Marcia Lindquist says, “You need to focus on how you do business, determine if you are the best solution for your customers’ problems, and then go out of your way to meet their needs.” She has developed a 5 step process on how you can hone your customer focus for better results.

1. Focus on your customers’ needs and wants.
2. Assess your own strengths and resources.
3. Differentiate with the customers’ best interests at heart
4. Make a map of their needs and wants and record it
5. Focus! Focus! Focus! only on that map and don’t get off-track

There are a lot of businesses out there offering the same products, services and even benefits. Understanding what makes you unique from these companies can help you better position yourself in the marketplace. This is where you convince your clients and prospects to actually buy from you.

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Tags: communication, marketing, market

10 Commandments For Effective Online Social Networking

December 3, 2009

Filed under: Social Media

A 10-step game plan or practical guidelines that will make you a better member of the social-networking communities in which you participate. Full details of this excerpt can be found in author Paul Chaney’s "The Social Media Handyman" ( ).

1. Pull, Don't Push
One of the first lessons you will learn very quickly when engaging in social media is that old-school marketing tactics don't work. Don't come out of the gate pushing your products or services. New tools require new rules.

For example, don't respond to new Twitter followers with a "Thanks for following. Visit my website for a free... [insert promotional message]."

Such a response is a dead giveaway that you are new to social media and do not yet understand that it's a "pull" medium, not a "push" medium. If I want to review your credentials, I'll read your bio. (You did complete your bio, right?)

2. Win the Right to Be Heard
Social-media engagement is a conversation, and participation in the community is required. In fact, you might say that participation is the fifth P of marketing. (The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion.)

Your value as a participant is judged by the value you provide to the community as a whole. Be a "glory hog," and you'll garner little attention. Share freely, and you will become a respected member.

3. Content Is Still King, but Conversation Is Queen (and Conversion Is the Prince)
Nothing beats well-written, informative, entertaining content in all its forms: blog posts, tweets, videos, podcasts, images, webinars, or whitepapers. Place yourself in a position of being a knowledgeable expert (assuming you are, of course). Community is the context.

Moreover, keep content and commerce separate. Never the twain shall meet is a good rule of thumb. Editorial and advertorial content should be distant kin, if related at all.

4. Authenticity and Transparency Are Social-Networking Cornerstones
The words "authenticity" and "transparency" may seem trite, but I believe they remain the cornerstones of this new media-marketing paradigm. Be real. Be open. Be honest. Admit mistakes when you make them.

5. You Don't Have to Be on Every Social Network

It's impossible to maintain an active presence on every social network, and you don't have to. You do have to be where your customers are, however. They expect you to be there.

6. Give, and You Shall Receive
Having an attitude of helpfulness goes a long way toward establishing a credible name for yourself in social-media circles. "Seek first to understand, then to be understood," said St. Francis of Assisi. "People don't care that you know, until they know that you care" is how I put it.

"Lose control of your marketing," is how author David Meerman Scott puts it. Give ideas and information away freely, with no strings attached. Be willing to give up control of the marketing message (as if you could hold it close to the vest in the first place, given the current Web 2.0 landscape).

7. Don't Throw the Marketing Baby out With the Bath Water
The rules of marketing still apply to social media—well, most of the rules, anyway. Social media is another channel to build your brand and market your message. It's not a panacea, and it's not a replacement for other forms of advertising and marketing.

I have learned that marketing has room for integration. Email and search remain the areas where most marketers spend their top dollars, and for good reason: Email and search both perform very well. All forms of marketing are interrelated, and social media is finding its place in the spectrum.

8. Social Media Is a Mindset, Not Just a Toolset
You have to incorporate the essence of social media into your thinking. Don't just change your toolset (tactics); change your mindset (strategy).

9. Be Yourself, Whoever That May Be
A good friend of mine has a mantra that she follows in every respect: "Be yourself." (It's even her personalized license plate.) No better advice can be given, whether or not you engage in social media. One thing is certain: You can't be who you are not. (See Step 4.)

Use your photo as your avatar and your name as your handle. That's not to say you shouldn't have an identity tied to your brand. It's just that in social media people would rather relate to and build trust with other people than with brands. It's a trust economy, after all.

10. Social Media Is Not a Religion
Although it does come with a set of largely unwritten rules (sorry, I don't know of any stone tablets that have been brought down from Mt. Sinai), social media is not a religion, no matter how hard guys like me try to make it one. There is room for experimentation. In fact, experimentation is the only way the medium will grow.

Tags: social media, marketing, market, brands, customers, video

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