Your Logo Is Not Your Brand

All too often, a CEO will say something like, “We need a new brand. Get marketing to work on it. I want to see five new designs by next Tuesday.” Sure, the company may need to update the look of its logo, but for that logo to really have an impact, the designers will really need to study the company brand.

You can have fast and cheap.McDonald's logo

Let me explain. When you see those golden arches on a red background, what do you think of? Big Mac and fries, of course. You know you can walk up, place your order, and it will take you, on a good day, about five minutes. You’re encouraged, by the hard seats, bright colors and harsh lights, to eat and go. You also know that it will be greasy, salty, and all in all, of fairly poor quality. You know it will be cheap. Lunch will cost you about five bucks.

You can have fast and pretty good.Panera logo

Now think about the warmer earthtones of the Panera logo. What do you think of? Coffee or tea, a moderate selection of soups and sandwiches that are filling, with a greater emphasis on healthier choices. Though this is hardly a crunchy-granola kind of place, nothing here is fried. The restaurant seating is more comfortable, the lights a little softer, the noise level a little lower. Some Paneras have started bringing your order to the table some of the time. It’s still pretty fast, but it’s more expensive – about $10-$12 for lunch.

Or you can have great and expensive.Morton Steakhouse logo

Finally, there’s Morton’s Steakhouse. Black background on logo and website. Subdued lighting. Tablecloth and cloth napkins. Alcohol. Great service. Amazing food. Classy place. As one review said, “expense account prices”. Lunch can easily set you back $25.

So, let’s call logos a brand representation. Brand is what you experience or what you expect to experience when you interact with a business. The logo (golden arches = cheap and fast) is merely a visual representation of that experience.

 

Get a Better Buyout Offer With Diversity

A Diverse Customer Base Equals Survival and Growth – And a Better Buyout Offer

Magical thinking cartoon

The economy has been improving, albeit too slowly for many for the past eight years. If you’ve been growing your business too, give yourself a pat on the back. Don’t however, just keep doing what you’ve been doing.

Wha..? What happened to “don’t mess with success”? What about “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Here’s what happened: they are based on the false assumption that nothing will change if you don’t change. You know that just isn’t true. Making changes, adding products and services, getting rid of processes (or products or services) that don’t work, in other words, evolving and diversifying will be the keys to survival the next time the economy heads south. Which it will, sooner or later, because it always does.

Make Your Business More Attractive – Diversify Your Customer Base

If you have only one or two big clients, what happens when – not if – one of them makes a change? Your good buddy, the owner of one of your big accounts, retires or sells the business. Now what? Another big account goes with a new supplier. What are you going to do?

Selling your business when you have only a few big accounts is going to severely limit the number and quality of offers, according to business broker Mike Metzger, of Murphy Business & Financial Corp. It makes buying your company pretty risky, especially if those client relationships are built on personal relationships.

Diversify and Grow

Diversity can, should, happen on two fronts: gaining new clients and expanding sales to current clients. Gaining clients means making sure your sales team are armed with up-to-date resources that really reflect what what your company is about. It means your website is up to date and mobile friendly. (Did you know that 60-90 percent of Google searches happen on mobile?) It means taking the appropriate actions, in operations, service and marketing, that will attract the customers you want.

The second way to diversify is to make sure your clients know about everything you sell, and that you’re selling everything in your industry they want to buy. You’ve heard of land and expand. Just because you landed ages ago doesn’t mean you can’t expand now.

Marketing for Growth

Marketing is the key to attracting a diverse clientele, educating them about who you are, what you sell and, most importantly, why they should buy from you. Growing the number of orders from new and existing customers is the key to putting more money in your pocket – now and when you sell the company.

Contact us if you’d like to make your bottom look better by diversifying at 804.382.0594 or info@fastforwardmktg.com.

Successful Inbound Marketing

5 Components of
Successful Inbound Marketing

How IT Service Providers can learn to use inbound marketing, love social selling and grow their business.

There are many options and many questions to be asked when considering successful Inbound Marketing, Online Marketing, or Social Selling for your IT  and Telecomm Service Provider company.

Inbound Marketing Strategy

Adding inbound marketing to your business development mix can lead to substantial increases in web traffic and qualified leads. There are a lot of moving pieces – how do you get started?

Learn how to harness the power of inbound marketing to grow your company

Use inbound marketing and social selling to gain more qualified leads:

  • What are the 5 most important elements of inbound marketing
  • How to use each social platform
  • Putting your website to work – the importance of crafting the just-right copy
  • How often to post on each platform
  • What email can do for you

Get started today! Simply complete and submit the form, or call us today at 804.382.0594.

Share This!

Download Your Free Guide!

Tune Up Marketing Before You Try To Sell Your Business

If you’re like most of us, you started a business because you were good at something and you loved it. You were solving a problem in a way no one else could, in a way that was better than anyone else’s solution. Over the years, you gained customers, added employees, contributed to the community in ways large and small. But somewhere along the way, the thrill of going to work in your own successful business started to wane.

There are many reasons: the market changed and, for whatever reason, you didn’t keep up, or your customers changed, with older, loyal customers replaced by a new generation who demanded changes. Or maybe you realized your kids have no interest in joining the family business.  Whatever the reason, you’ve lost your passion and you are starting to think of selling your business. Wait!

The worst thing you can do before you put your business on the block is to take your foot of the gas, says Mike Metzger, business broker at Murphy Business and Financial In fact, it’s a great time to tune your business engine to get the best possible deal.

Marketing for a sale

Your bottom line on a successful sale is getting the price you want. It rarely happens, Mike says, because declining revenues, drooping sales, neglected infrastructure and an image of being past your peak will severely impact any offers you may receive. So what can you do? There’s no quick fix, but there are things you can do, all of which reflect your brand – and may affect your sale price.

Beyond advertising

Marketing goes way beyond advertising. In fact, you may never advertise and still run a very successful marketing effort that can increase revenues, gain new customers and get more business from existing customers.

If you’re ready to find your next adventure (with the most money possible from the sale of your business), you must shake off your discouragement and get to work.

Remind your customers why they love you

Start by reintroducing yourself to your customers. Visit them in their place of business, just like you did when you started and were hungry. Introduce them to your entire line of product and services, beyond those they’re in the habit of buying from you. There’s a good chance they have no idea or have completely forgotten all that you do. Maybe you need to create special deals or even special products for long-term customers. Make them feel special.

Social media is king – even if your customers never tweet

Social media improves your search engine optimization. To over-simplify, social media links back to your website. The more links in, and the more page visits you have, the more the search bots like you and the higher you’ll appear in the search results. There are many ways to decide which social media platform to use, but Facebook, which is sometimes discounted for B to B companies, is one of the most visited websites in the world. Are you sure you want to ignore it?

Share your knowledge

Share what you know about your industry with a combination of social media, email marketing and SEO. It is very effective in persuading customers and prospects that you are an expert and a trusted resource. Combine it with paid advertising and you have a dynamic campaign to gain new customers and encourage more business from existing customers.

Polish your customer service

Great customer service will win you more customers than any any marketing (though you can use marketing to tell customer success stories). It goes beyond saying thank you at the time of a purchase, though that is always important.

Hire a mystery shopper to call your office and talk to various employees who interact with customers, including service, billing, and sales. Ask the shopper to visit your location(s) for a true customer experience. You may know that Gladys has a heart of gold, but to a new customer she may just sound rude. Make sure your service department is never condescending, and sales staff is honest and clear on what a new customer can expect.

Hire an expert

You may have a general understanding of internal combustion engines, but you still take your car to a mechanic for a service and repairs. So with marketing. You know your business better than anyone and may have an understanding of marketing, but an outside marketer brings the right tools and expertise, and an outsider’s perspective. They’ll do a better job than you might, in less time and with better results.

Call us if you’d like a free initial consultation on marketing as you prepare to sell your company. 804.382.0594 or Bart.Levy@FastForwardMktg.com.

Rev up your LinkedIn Profile

Prospects will check out you, the company representative, before they buy from you. Be sure to make yourself look as professional as possible. The infographic is geared toward job seekers, but isn’t selling every new prospect like applying for a job? Click on the image to zoom in.

LinkedIn infographic

Special thanks to Morton Consulting for sharing this infographic.

Marketing and Sales – Working Better, Together

Collaboration illustration

David Johnston has a problem. He’s the owner of a 40-employee MSP. He started the business 15 years ago because he thought that, since he was so good at sales that he regularly bumped up against his employer’s commission cap, he would go into business for himself. He weathered the recession, and he’s kept up with the changes in technology, but the business has stubbornly refused to grow beyond where it is now. He’s stuck.

Sure, he’s a great salesman, but there’s no real strategy behind it. He frequently sees his customers buying services and equipment from others because they “didn’t know he did that”. His ads aren’t instantly recognizable because the brand is here, there and everywhere. His outreach to prospects is scattershot. He’s always running in response to the next thing, the next lead, the next customer problem.

“Marketing makes sales
easier and more profitable.”

In his mind, marketing is the same thing as sales, so he has no strategy. They aren’t the same, of course, though good marketing and sales teams work closely together. Marketing is supplying ammunition for the sales team and the sales team reports back on how well the ammunition performed.

“Marketing makes sales easier and more profitable,” says sales training guru Laura Posey, president of Simple Success Plans. Marketing unlocks the door, introducing your company and products. Then you, the sales person, can spend your time solving your prospects’ problems – and closing the deal.

It’s a process

Marketing and sales frequently take on different aspects of a particular task. Each is most effective when they have a continuous conversation, polishing, reiterating and adjusting for the marketplace. The process is one of constant, open communication and constant improvement.

So, what is it that sales does and what does marketing do? Below is a list of what each side does. There’s a great deal of overlap, and there should be constant for best results.

Marketing and Sales comparison chart

It isn’t a pair of silos, working in isolation. At the best companies, it’s collaboration, with constant back and forth, open communication and a strong measure of trust that, together, create strong companies.

So what can you do for your company?

Start with getting sales, marketing and management in the same room. Articulate company goals and how each team can support the effort to attain those goals. Collaborate on defining a lead-generation strategy.

Let each team articulate its challenges and where it needs input and support from the other. Keep it positive – if it degenerates into name calling and finger pointing, your efforts will stall.

Set regular meetings with all three groups to be sure everyone is on track, steps toward goals are being made, to provide feedback from all parties, and to work out any issues that have arisen. Take advantage of automation, such as SalesForce, Marketo or Hubspot, which can help you make decisions based on real data.

Neither sales nor marketing are rocket science, but by working together, you just might shoot the moon.

If you’d like help with boosting your sales with marketing that supports your team, contact me at 804.382.0594 or by email at info@fastforwardmktg.com and let’s talk.