Sampling a Shower Curtain?

April 12, 2007

I bought a shower curtain today at Target. The bag has a sticker on it that says “feel the bag. feel the product.” Based on how the bag felt, I decided to purchase this shower liner over many others.

I also bought some Crest Pro-Health toothpaste. Inside, they gave me a FREE trial size pro-health rinse and paste.

If you have a product or service, consider using sampling to give your customers a taste of what they will eventually get. In many cases, even if your product/service isn’t the best of the best, you will be chosen merely because the other choice is an unknown.


Connecting Users

April 11, 2007

The other day I was walking down the street and heard two young girls say “betch” and “these shoes rule.” Doesn’t ring a bell? Check it out. Here’s what would be considered a ‘brand’ all developed off of YouTube videos. When I heard the girls, I instantly stopped them and joked about the video.

I do the same thing for Black Dog T-shirts, MV (Martha’s Vineyard) bumper stickers, Boston neighborhood parking decals outside of Boston, and any other thing that indicates I might have a similarity with someone else(I swear I only lived in Boston for 4 years.)

People like to connect. People want to connect. Help people connect around your product and you will build a community of repeat customers.

Is your product/service so uniquely personal that customers/users want to talk with each other when they discover each other? No?

Ok, how about baby steps….

– make users of your product/service easily recognizable to one another

– be known for at least one ‘excellent’ thing

Infectious Oddities

April 11, 2007

There are products that fit a need. And there are…products. Why is it that some oddities have become so infectious? Watch Me!

How many salad fingers t-shirts do you think sells? Probably many more than you imagine.

Even if no one who sees your shirt knows who Salad Fingers is, you still want the shirt.  Actually, that’s exactly why you want the shirt.  You get to tell a crazy story and you get to be ‘that person’ who forwards a link that actually is worth commenting on.

Is your product worthy of comment? Does your crazy/weird/awesome/customer centered story beg to be told?

No? Maybe you should concentrate on being a little odd, instead of conforming to meet the needs of everyone.

Decisions, Decisions

April 11, 2007

Everyday as a service/product provider, you have decisions to make. One of those decisions, a choice, is easier than the rest. Do you spend money on awareness or do you spend money connecting with customers/making a better product.

A newspaper advertiser wants me to spend $250 on an ad for my retail store. I could get large exposure, start a story with my logo and gripping copyright and the masses who can’t help but flock to me then put down the paper and the story ends.

But hey, I got exposure, I got the word out, I got…AWARENESS. And it was only $250. Not much…..until I realize that it equates to potentially 500 products I could sample out to customers. 500 face to face conversations. 500 times I can begin the story so that even if they don’t enjoy my samples I can find out if they would like something else, or maybe their father would….either way the story has only just begun.

What’s even more compelling. I don’t need 500 customers to significantly impact my sales. I just need 10 or so. Well really, I just need 1. Treat that 1 right, and it soon becomes 500.

Seth Godin recently commented, “You can market by telling or you can market by showing. There’s no doubt that interactive marketing, marketing where you actually deliver something of value, is far far more powerful than telling. Telling is just bragging. Telling is ignored. Showing, on the other hand, is about me. Me, me, me! It’s about providing an interactive experience that touches me. “

Follow the Dabbawalla’s Secret – get to know your customer, provide a good product, and rather than telling, let your customers do the showing for you by letting your product do the showing for them.

Once again – your customers want to spread the word – so make it easy on them.

Trumpet Your Customer’s Success

April 11, 2007

Want to sell more?

Step 1. Satisfy your current customers

Step 2. Get your current customers from step 1 to bring you a friend or new customer.

Step 3. Repeat

Eventually, the compounding effect of the above 3 steps is so powerful that you will have too much business to handle.

The hard part is of course Step 2 (if not, stop reading this post until you fix Step 1.)

Want to make Step 2 easy? Good – so do your customers. If you want more referrals, you need to make it easy on your customers to spread the word especially since we all want to talk about great deals and great service. So include a pass along link in your newsletters, provide referral cards when you finish a project, include a referral link on your website, and actually use every other referral idea you can think of.

Here’s one idea that a Realtor used: Just Bought signs when their buyer closes on a house. But of course, they should take it one step further. The Realtor should create postcards for the buyer to notify all their friends and family. The buyer would definitely appreciate the gesture since it makes it easier on them and of course who do you think will be listed as responsible for the sale?

Results get noticed. Success begets Success. Trumpet the success you bring to your customers and their friends will notice.

Marketing Matador

April 10, 2007

Marketing lately has become filled with flash and the buzz of “brand.”

The truly great marketers, the marketing matadors, are too busy dancing with the customer and creating a story that will be passed on long after the show to worry about whether the bull likes #FF0000 red or #FF3300 red. After all if you aren’t dancing, your sitting, and in the bull ring you know what you’re sitting in.

A Cheap Ferrari

April 10, 2007

Seth Godin (let me warn you, that many posts will start with that) recently spoke of creating markets based on feedback from non-customers in his post on Stinky Durian.

“This is what most marketers do. They listen to complaints from non-customers (“why don’t you buy from us?”) address them and wait for the market to grow…….Except this almost never works………The feedback you get from non-consumers is rarely useful, because the objection they give is the reason they don’t buy from you, not the thing that will cause them to affirmatively choose you.”

Not only does this not work, it has a negative effect. On the surface you gain no new customers and you alienate your current customers. Look a little deeper and you’ll see the story has been ruined, the product is now……a commodity.

Some people might actually like your product for what it is, but many also like your product for the story it lets them tell themselves and more importantly others. And then of course you have the fact that once you build your product to fit those non-consumer needs, they probably won’t buy it

I’d like Ferrari to make an inexpensive car. If they did, I wouldn’t buy it – a cheap Ferrari is no longer a Ferrari, its just another car.

An Introduction

April 10, 2007

As this is the first post of many, the topic is somewhat meandering. The intention of the blog is to spread ideas on topics including marketing, creative ideas, small business, investing, entrepreneurship, and so forth.

Hopefully, I can remain on track and highly engrossing by minimizing my actual posts and maximizing my links and quotes from other writers 😉 Off to a poor stop using emoticons.