BoyDog Design
Design and more…

2011 is over – history. You know without a doubt exactly what you accomplished and where your business came up short. Now is the time to examine every aspect of your 2011 marketing plan and see how you can revise it for a more profitable 2012. Please tell me you do indeed have a marketing plan. Without a plan you are relegated to shooting from the hip as your year progresses. Always reacting to circumstances instead of acting to create a response. The winning business is the one that has a plan.

Look back at 2011. What products or services offered were a hit? Which were not received well? Did you reach your target market? What media did you employ to reach your market? Were you able to measure your success? Did your particular field encounter a major change during 2011? Is the field of competitors filled with the same players or are there some new ones on the field? Were you able to achieve your goals working within your budget? Does it look like your business is stagnant? Once you’ve answered these questions you can move forward with a 2012 marketing plan.

I will agree that the process of putting together a marketing plan may seem daunting. It does take a lot of work. It forces you to be honest with yourself about your past success. It makes you face and confront areas that need improvement, a complete overhaul, or require new ideas using new media options. That’s why it can be beneficial to utilize the talents of a professional. Work with someone who knows the process and can guide you through each and every consideration as you formulate your plan. Some of you may only require a few meetings of consultation to refresh your approach and let you know what’s trending in business communication outlets. Think social media. Think mobile advertising. Others may need more in-depth assistance as you formulate target markets, demographics, media usage, budget constraints, and your particular timeline. Some of you already have marketing departments that keep your business focused toward a specific goal. That’s a wonderful advantage. Even in this circumstance it may be necessary to consult with a design professional to be sure you understand the best way to use new media and to create that media. A partnership between marketing and design should produce the most effective advertising placed in the best venue for your product or service.

Welcoming 2012 is fresh in our minds. Now is the time to work toward a profitable new year. If you’re a veteran to this marketing task then let this serve as a reminder that there’s work to be done. If you’re new to this or feel that you could use some expert advice, now is the time to pick up the phone or send out that email to a professional. The time and expense you put into this task now should prove profitable as your year progresses. Establish goals now and work to realize success. BoyDog Design can assist you with your marketing plan and the media you need produced to reach your goals.

I wish everyone a year filled with opportunity and success!

I’m not ashamed to admit there was a time when I found it a bit daunting keeping pace with social media. How to do it. What to expect. The metrics of it all. Apparently I’m not alone. While we all know we need to have a presence in social media we are equally confused and stumped about how to measure our success.

According to this article by Kathy Crosett, “More Marketers to Seek Social CRM Systems,” http://bit.ly/eHttfg, we can expect new CRM services to be coming available this year. I look forward to this. Adding a reliable service to manage and analyse your data stream should result in a more profitable use of social media.

Update: Just received this pertinent email, “22 Hot New Social Media Tools Worth Exploring,” http://bit.ly/g4JW4T. Helpful tools.

http://bit.ly/e1xHMR

This article is based on Altimeter Group’s recent research. Worth reading…

Good news for those of you who have struggled with the decision to add social media to your marketing mix. According to the Small Business Success Index small business adopted the use of social media at twice the rate of 2008 in 2009. These businesses are finding that social media offers them access to their market – enabling them to build their brand, engage their current customers, and attract new customers as well.

Here’s a link to useful information summarizing these finding: http://www.bit.ly/ceSbFP

It’s never too late to add social media to your marketing plan. BoyDog Design can assist you in sorting through the various social media sites, blogging options, directories, and more. Is it time to hone the social media persona of your business?

What Adobe’s Omniture Acquisition Means for Advertising

http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=139041

Whether you’re a small business owner or responsible for the marketing program in a large corporation you will undoubtedly be confronted with the need to track the attitudes of your customer base. Depending on your particular product or service, the way you collect this data and the effectiveness of the information you receive will vary in detail and degree of relevance. Marketing metrics are used to help improve your return on investment and offer insights into new avenues of profitability.

Awareness and Knowledge:

We presume that customers progress through stages of knowledge about a product or service. The progression starts at being totally unaware to an initial introduction, then on to a purchase, and finally total awareness and loyalty to the brand.

You can measure a potential customer’s level of awareness by asking questions such as, “Have you heard of Dell?” or “When you think of computers, which come to mind?” The first question would be considered an aided question as you are planting the brand within the question. The second question is considered unprompted because it is totally generic and doesn’t offer any brand as a jumpstart to answering.

Once you’ve established that a consumer is aware of your brand you can delve deeper into their feelings. You might ask them if that particular brand is for them? Have them rate the brand on a scale of 1 – 5. Ask them to verbalize any strengths or weaknesses they attach to the brand?

If you’ve established that a person has actually purchased your brand you can then inquire about their purchasing habits. How many times have you purchased this brand? What was the last brand of this product type that you purchased? The answers you receive should help you discover the level or awareness of your brand, where your brand ranks when your customer thinks of that category of product, and what specific knowledge and beliefs they may have about your brand.

Attitudes:

Based on their experience with your product or service your customer will develop their perception of your brand. In order to collect and decipher these attitudes you will have to explore their degree of liking your brand and the image your brand has made for them.

Questions to consider:

  • Is this a brand for people like you?
  • Is this a brand for people younger than you?
  • Is this a brand for people older than you?

The responses should be measured on a scale of 1 – 5. One being the lowest and five the highest rating. The data received will show how relevant your brand is to that consumer.

  • Is this brand a good value for the price?
  • Would you be more likely to purchase this brand for a reduced price?
  • Would you stop purchasing this brand if the price were to increase?

Measure the responses on a scale of 1 – 5. The data received will reflect the consumer’s perceived value of you product for the money.

  • List other products in your brand’s category and have the consumer rate them on a scale of 1 – 5.

This rating will allow you to see how your brand is perceived against your competition. Your ranking demonstrates the quality/esteem associated with your brand.

  • Would you switch to another brand if this brand were not available at the time you intended to make a purchase?

Rate their response from 1 – 5. The results should give you an indication of their intentions.

  • Is it very likely that you will purchase this product?

A 1 – 5 rating for this type of question will measure their intentions to actually purchase your brand.

Usage:

Measuring usage is to quantify the frequency and number of units purchased. The information gathered will let you know:

  • what was purchased
  • when and where it was purchased
  • how many have rejected the product
  • how many have added the product as their preferred brand

The answers you receive are self-reported behavior of your customer. An array of questioning will give you insight into their overall view of your product or service.

Questions to consider:

  • What brand in your category did they purchase before your brand?
  • How many times in the past year have they purchased your brand?
  • How many items of your brand do they currently own?

All of the above questions are usually part of an ongoing survey of potential and current customers. This request for information can take the form of warranty cards and registrations, offering prizes in return for information, random drawings that encourage participation in a survey, or regularly administered surveys conducted by phone, e-mail, mail, web, social media, etc.

There are many ways to approach the collection of this type of data. Any attempt to do so will be influenced by your particular product or service. What works for one category may not be efficient or provide usable information for another. Tracking customer trends for brand awareness will require a focused approach to the information you want to gather and then developing the right set of questions and conditions to administer your survey. Once your data is collected you will need to review it keeping in mind the set up for each question (aided or unaided) and the goal of the response you seek. The results should give you better insight into the personal relationship your customer has with your brand.