Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Reinventing Oneself after Losing your Corporate Job

When I lost my marketing manager post due to the recession and started my own marketing consulting business, I never realized that change was meant to be this good.

During this past year, trying times and all, I had the opportunity to assist business owners with their marketing and much sought after Social Marketing and SEO needs, job that is quite challenging for small engineering and automation firms. Engineers are indeed brilliant, but when it comes to presenting their amazing new technologies and products they are absolutely at a loss.

If you are still curious, engineers assume that what they do, does not require explanation, so they fail to answer simple questions such about their developments such as: what its, what it does, how it does it, what is the innovation or new technology used, how do you use it (applications), future applications, why their product or technology is better than others, and so forth.

On the other hand, time on my own has allowed me to expand my horizons in ways I never imagined. I did a road trip across Canada, became an accomplished swimmer, might even be competing in 2013, and like Conrad Black, I also started to learn to play piano a few years back, but having free time allowed me to go deep into my music studies. As an adult learner, I never found the time to practice and establish a routine.

Now I am going for my grade 3 piano exam and have a few recitals under my belt.

What does this all mean? Simply put, that I am more creative and more productive today than ever before. The needs of my clients are pressing, the budgets small, the right time was yesterday.

Today,  having to do a presentation to a Board of Directors seems something that is just too easy, after having to endure the shame of learning piano with little child prodigies and performing at recitals where, as the one and only adult student you are introduced as "a rarity".  At every recital I did feel a bit like Susan Boyle;s first gig, but it has paid off. These past few months of practice served me well and now I will be performing among adults.

As much as I miss working full time, I have to admit that this hiatus has made me a more creative, intuitive and dynamic marketing. Sometimes is really good to stop to smell the roses, and/or live to your full potential.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What's in a domain name?

In today's on-line environment. It is vital for small and medium start ups to search for a domain name that is representative of what they do, who they are, and why they should be the first choice for a potential customer. If the domain name can't be the same as the brand, i.e. www.coca-cola.com, the domain name shall include the generic keywords entered in a search to find for your line of products and services.A good example is Rockwell Automation, the global leader in the development of intelligent control systems for industrial applications, its website address includes both, the brand name and the product line: www.rockwellautomation.com.

Your website is the heart of your promotional operation, is your company's business card, your digital store front, and -ideally- the starting point of  future business. Therefore, a domain name should be memorable -must relate to your product line and be easy to remember. For those who already have an active domain, you might have to rethink and decide if you need a new domain name, if any or both of  these circumstances apply to you:
  • Your acronym makes sense only to those close to you and your employees 
  • You and your employees spend additional time over the phone clarifying the website address  (is that a t or a  d? n or m? p or b?)
So what's in a domain name you might ask?
That which is simply and easy to remember, that which immediately will bring your company, your brand and your product line to the attention of prospective customers.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Meaningful Marketing

Reviewing old post about the topic, I found the concept of "meaningful marketing" mostly tied up to responsible marketing, as in responsible and truthful advertising, but this concept was used a few years back. I believe that with the advent of new technology, marketing tools and tactics are becoming obsolete by the minute. Case point, a few days back, I launched the new Meaningful Marketing website, I asked my son to review it. Silly me, I though he will use a device with a screen measuring more than three inches wide, but no, he used his BlackBerry.....hmmmmmm....which left me thinking that in the very near future -as in, people, it is already happening!!!- as phones take over more and more functions from computers and laptops, website pages might be reduced only to a few small paragraphs, or maybe to a few words, how about no words and just a voice message a video? From now on, anything is possible.

Hence, it has become crucial for any business, big or small, product or service oriented, to really understand its product, its market, its sales potentials and its true marketing needs, because now more than ever, one size does not fit all. In this context, meaningful marketing seeks to really understand and work with the client and its customers, and use the tools applicable to their particular situation. Sometimes printed materials will be required, sometimes training material will be required, sometimes the entire sales and marketing campaign might take place online, or using any combination thereafter.

Meaningful Marketing is a concept I am developing and I will be posting more examples and ideas in this blog and I hope to see your comments and ideas very soon.

My first rule of marketing is: Think before you act!

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Importance of being Aligned

Today's economic conditions across the globe dictate prudence in all matters concerning budgets and expenses, and this holds true particularly for expenses related to sales support and marketing. Soon marketing initiatives are replaced by sales calls, lunch'n'learn sessions, and more sales calls. Marketing departments are reduced to a minimum, with reduced budgets, no advertising,  no collaterals production allowances, while sales force is usually increased half way through the fiscal year to push for more sales.

As a result of this "band aid" strategy -that aims desperately at increasing sales by shear (sales) force, while at the same time reducing marketing costs, sales representatives are expected to sale, promote, penetrate, expand, conquer, basically empty handed. Having to tell the prospective customer that the company is in the process of reorganizing its literature, or its trade show calendar, or that he or she will send something from the office. In the end, regardless of the company, or if it was the during the IT bubble burst, or the subprime bust, the result is always the same. A band aid strategy does not help when the problem goes deeper. 

The problem with these companies was a failure to align the company goals and strategy, with the marketing strategy and the salesmen performance. Only when the three are truly aligned, the company can produce the right sales and marketing tools that will allow the company to pursue its strategy and establish itself as a dominant player in the market, while allowing its sales team to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. 

Rolls for Breakfast

Well, here I am. at last a blogger. I will try to touch upon topics related to budget marketing and translation issues I faced in my years of experience and hope to bring some light to those of you who might be facing similar situations today.

Rolls for Breakfast
I was working for a company manufacturing die cutting machines that had metallic tubes,  where wall paper rolls, stickers and other paper rolls were placed for cutting. For one particular sales meeting, the sales managers were preparing a breakfast presentation for Spanish speaking prospective buyers and they asked me to translate "Rolls for Breakfast". It made sense in English, well at least to some extent, since breakfast rolls were served and the machines had metal rolls and paper rolls were used for demos, but the thing is, that no bread that I knew of was called "roll". In the end, the presentation had to be renamed for these customers, but I always remember it, because it never changes, people from different cultures and different languages still believe that translation is only a matter of translating words -but if that were true we could translate this little blogger piece using any automated online translator and see what comes up at the other end.