Make an Impact

Marketing Insight to Grow your Business

What’s Your Story? January 28, 2009

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Every company has a story. A pregnant, working mom is frustrated with the lack of professional maternity wear available. She takes a chance and launches a clothing line. An immigrant family’s love for traditional Russian food inspires them to open a restaurant. A struggling college student launches a tech support company in his dorm room. Over the years, he transforms it from a one-man operation to a division of Best Buy called Geek Squad.

People don’t identify with products or services. People identify with people. And, there is a story behind every person. The first step to building a relationship with  your market is to open up and share your story. Where did you come from? How did you get here?  And, how does your story shape the way that you do business? Put the story on your website and, if it’s really interesting, pitch it to local media. They love a good human interest story!

While tactics like coupons and discounts cost money and only serve to cheapen your brand, sharing a true story about your path to success costs little and will work to strengthen both brand perception and market share.

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When Everything Goes Wrong April 22, 2008

So, here I am after a 2 month hiatus from blogging. What can I say? Being struck by lightning while camping and dealing with the near 3 week hospitalization of my father set me back a bit. In the realm of excuses, you could say I’ve got some pretty solid ones. But, at some time during our lives and careers we all do. For days, weeks and months it may seem like nothing is going right. You feel like you’re in an uphill race wearing greased soles…nowhere to go but down.

These are the turning points that can make or break a person (and a company). It’s how we handle the punches that life throws at us that makes us who we are. Right now, companies around the nation are flailing as the economy dives. The pressure of layoffs is eminent. Morale is sinking. And, just as I witnessed personally, it’s when the chips are down that weaknesses rear their ugly heads. But, something else happens during these times- the true strengths of your company shine through. When put to the test you’ll gain a newfound clarity of what works and what needs work. And, your outlook will be uplifted when you realize you’ve been granted the opportunity to become a survivor.

 

Position Yourself as an Expert; Part 1: Be Everything to Someone, or You’ll Be Nothing to Everyone January 3, 2008

Since I started freelancing I have noticed something time and time again. Companies all over the nation seem to be suffering from an identity crisis similar to what a teenager goes through in those first painful years of highschool (sans the acne). They silently wonder;

  • Who am I?
  • What makes me special?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What if I fail because people don’t like what I have to offer? 

These are valid questions for both a teen and a business, but it seems that many companies are failing to answer them. I’ve seen web design companies that sell self-help books and IT consulting companies that offer-gasp-landscaping services. It’s like walking into a diner and the hostess asking if you would like your car washed and your teeth cleaned while you wait for your patty melt. It seems businesses are afraid to focus on their strengths and provide specialized services because they think it will limit their market. But, who said a limited market is bad? The sooner you realize that you can’t be everything to everyone- the better off your company will be.

Let’s take that hormonal and confused teen into consideration again- we’ll call her Suzie. On top of school, Mom wants Suzie to play soccer, Dad wants her to be on the debate team, her friends want her to sing in their rock band and she wants to take art classes. Worried Suzie may disappoint her friends and family, she decides to do all of the above. With too much on her plate, it’s not long before she is missing soccer practice, failing Algebra, forgetting the words to her songs and struggling to keep her eyes open through art class. Suzie spread herself too thin by trying to please everyone and, in doing so, she inhibited herself from excelling at anything.

If you want to avoid going down the same path that poor, misguided Suzie did, now is the time to take a long, hard look at what your company has to offer and who you want your market to be. Focus on offering the services and products that your company delivers best and position yourself as the expert in that particular segment. Answer the questions that Suzie did not and you have a MUCH greater chance at surviving in this giant high-school that is the business world. Plus, you’ll have someone to sit with at lunch.