How the Closing of Retail stores Affects You

Each year companies project earnings and loss. Many make difficult decisions based on those numbers. When retail stores announce closings, how does that impact you, your family and your business?

Convenience. We are creatures of habit and convenience. When we can easily locate the product or service we need in a familiar location near our home or office, it makes our lives better. When a retail store we frequent closes, we have to find an alternative, which could require a different path.

Choice. Discretionary income, and life in general is fueled by our choice. In retail, there are a number of options for similar goods and services, and our choice predicates survival. Two ways to unpack this thought. One, where and how we decide to shop, and two, who we shop with. (See convenience).

Creativity. The close of a retail store does not indicate a decline in shopping. There are other statistics that indicate economic trends. A store closing signals more on the operation of that business, which has a number of factors. However there is a lining of opportunity that exists for small businesses that operate in the retail space, or provide a service shopping for others. Small retail businesses have the creative flexibility to reach consumers in fun ways to encourage purchases. Personal shoppers and concierge services can support the convenience and choice of consumers not willing to travel or are in need of assistance seeking the alternative shop.

The Business Insider recently compiled a list of the retail stores with locations closing in the coming year. http://www.businessinsider.com/stores-closing-in-2018-2017-12

What opportunity does this present for you?

Where Can You Find Potential Customers for Last Minute Holiday Sales?

The end of the year is fast approaching and it is the holiday season. You, your clients and consumers as a whole are bombarded with sales, discounts, and offers for last minute holiday shopping. It can be tough to break through the holiday sales promotions and gain the visibility you need to boost your business.

In another post, we will delve into the building blocks of creating an annual marketing strategy. Here, our focus is uncovering where you can find potential customers. We will start with reviewing the stats. Staying abreast of trends in your industry and the marketplace are key to the success and longevity of your business.

171212-infographic-holiday-purchasing (2)This article from MarketingProfs reveals a telling analysis of consumer behavior and holiday shopping trends. Outside of being surprised that most people buy the same type of gifts year after year, the article features an infographic of the study findings that is easy to follow. Essentially, the study reveals people are making simple purchases that accentuate the person or satisfy their electronic craving, and making less major purchases with retail apparel purchases declining and purchasing books as gifts at the bottom at the list.

What does this mean for your business marketing strategy or advertising plan?

Holiday Promotion Blog Post

This means you can follow overall consumer behavior patterns and think through a brief promotional strategy that can help you find those last minute shoppers and make them your new customers.

If you have a marketing strategy intact, sprinkling in a short term promotion should be relatively easy. Here are a few ideas to consider for product based business advertising during the holiday season:

  • Use the power of suggestion through placing digital ads on social media. Holiday gift giving can be a chore for some and fun for many. Help your potential customer make the decision to purchase your product.
  • Highlight the benefits you offer.  Whether it is a gift certificate (are those still a thing?), rewards program, or discount, hype up the benefits of shopping with your business.
  • Think outside the box. If your primary product is a leather glove and you want to reach that purchaser of a beautiful bracelet, perhaps y
    our strategy is to partner with a jewelry maker and promote a campaign that shows the beauty of the bracelet inside and outside of your glove.

 

Hopefully these ideas will spark some thought on how you can effectively position your business to be found by potential customers and generate a few new sales this holiday season. Hurry while you still have time!

Kids and Online Social Networking?

Why didn’t someone create the “dislike” button?  This would be one of the opportunities where I would apply it.  A new social networking site geared toward children and their parents.  The basic premise of the site seems to be: parents sign their kids up via their personal Facebook accounts and select the children of their friends to become friends on this new site.  Then the parents, children and friends can play games, chat, or participate in other interactive activities on the site.  You can read more in the article – Togetherville: A Digital Training Ground for Young Geeks | GeekDad | Wired.com.

Call me old school, but what happened to good ol’ face to face communication?  I like sitting at the dinner table talking about our day, or what we look forward to over the upcoming weekend.  Furthermore, I am not ready for my oldest to have a Facebook account, let alone a mom sponsored/censored social networking site.  We can stick to socially networking with kids and their parents at birthday parties, sports games, and other outdoor activities.

Sound harsh?  I don’t think so. We have a plethora of electronic games and television shows to entertain our children.  They know when and where they can play games online.  Many have email accounts.  At what point do we really stop to think about the value of personal interaction and encourage our kids to thrive as personable human beings?  Of course I don’t think something like this will “take over the world”, I just err on the side of caution for those who think it is cute for kids to spend countless hours flipping between tv shows, computer games, online social networking, video games….and forget to pick up a bike, or skates, or participate in some type of outdoor activity (think Michelle Obama – Let’s Move).

Even more, this opens the door for a massive advertising opportunity.  Marketers love this stuff.  A captive audience of families….mothers, children – those with the largest purchasing capacity and potential – we would have a field day!! (remember I am a mom in marketing)

Can’t you see advertisers lining up to post ads and run contests for products and services that appeal to kids, and moms who have kids?  New snacks, games, hair wraps and silly bandz..oh my!

I take my work hat off in this instance, and reveal the badge of my heart; my family; and I want them to rest assured that I have their best interest in mind.  They may not appreciate it now, but I can wait for later.

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A mom and a blog

I am a mother who has ideas and likes to write, sometimes.  I have to move when the spirit hits me, and honestly sometimes that isn’t quite as often as I would have hoped.  I also wish I could dance…but that’s another story.  So, because I like to write, and because I started this blog, then you could say I am a mother who blogs.  I don’t believe however that I am a mommy blogger.

Why?  Well, because I don’t talk about mommy things, or my kids very often in this space.  I love them dearly, and enjoy watching them grow up and take on personalities and pick up traits from me and daddy, but I don’t blog about them, or mommyness, or cutesy gadgets.  And in no way do I want to disrespect  mommy bloggers. I simply write about another topic that expresses my interest. One day I hope to write about my interest in marketing with as much zeal as a mommy blogger…but, until then, I guess I will just be a mom who blogs~ about ideas and marketing. 🙂

The Evolution of Advertising & Consumer Data

The ideal television of the future. The realis...
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More specifically, the evolution of your customer. Incorporating social media into your overall mix definitely has it’s benefits.  We tend to shy away from social media in business because we feel it’s unmeasurable (i.e., no real ROI).

When the television set and advertising was introduced in the late 40’s, early 50’s – there was a bit of caution and concern about this new method to reach viewing audiences with animated advertisements and messaging. After a few tries, the concept took off, and as the television gained more popularity and more people gained access, then real costs, returns, and monitoring took off and there was comfort in using this method as a way to drive/inform consumers to products & services.

Just as the television revolutionized a new era, the internet has done the same. This time evolving in a number of forms. From one-dimensional promotion to multi-dimensional communication. The opportunities with this media are limitless today, however at some point there may be some marginalizing before the next revolution is introduced.

In the meantime, to be successful at using social media for business, you have to look beyond the ‘cutesy’ interaction and (overheard) ‘time-sucking’ nature of the proverbial beast, and take value in the powerful lessons and consumer information you can learn from participation.

Engaging in social media is not about controlling the message, it is about learning more about the people who use your product or service and interacting with them in such a way that they value and promote you.  Social media is like word-of-mouth amplifyed.  You want to be a part of the conversation being had about your brand.  And you want the opportunity to have a voice.

From that positive interaction comes a new set of data to track, and you can begin to measure the value of your online interactions with the impact to your bottom line. This means commitment. Committing to the engagement, and committing to the follow through. You can have a deliberate approach to social media along with measurable results.

Don’t believe me?  Check out the following article titled “From Home to Social: The Evolution of Your Customer Data” by Jill Dyche

http://smartdatacollective.com/Home/25736.

Then ask yourself, am I committed to the value of my customer?

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Know Your Worth

When it comes to ‘wooing’ new followers, fans, and customers…I am always leery of the undersell. Having a large number of people jumping on to your cause (or product) because you offered some type of incentive can certainly accomplish an objective, if that objective is to simply gain new people.

Remember the saying “quality over quantity'”?

I recently read this article MediaPost Publications Fans Grow On Farms 03/09/2010 which basically describes a scenario where a large corporation offered cash incentives to new fans & followers for a specific promotion.  Within a very short period of time, they were able to gain a large number of followers (all looking to redeem or cash in on a prize). But how many of those new fans & followers will stick around?

Now we are not aware of the true intention of this promotion and if in fact the goal was to amass a large group of new followers.  Perhaps they have a number of cash promotions lined up to keep the fans & followers engaged; or they could hope that the new people will stay around to learn more about everything the company has to offer (without a cash incentive).

I err on the side of caution when reading this article and believing this approach is most appropriate for your business.

As with any sound marketing strategy, you should begin with a plan before diving into a promotion.  Identify your goals and ensure a follow up plan for the new people that ‘friend’ you.  The sooner they come, the quicker they may leave once the promotion incentive is redeemed.  If that was the goal or intent of the promotional program, then congrats on your success.  However if you are looking to gain a group of friends & followers who are truly interested in your cause or your product, then you should really consider the incentive…and your plan of approach.

Know your worth.  Communicate your value. Then you will be in the position to attract and retain loyal friends & followers.

Your long term marketing strategy is to gain the ‘customer for life’…right?

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If You Don’t Add Flour, Your Cake with Fall

Chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting a...
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Yes, I’m a baker! Love the smell of yummy goodness in the oven! But when you set out to make that wonderful chocolate cake, and miss adding flour, you might get something similar to fudge.  If fudge is what you wanted, then you are on the right track… if you were preparing to make a cake, then you got it all wrong.  And please don’t tell me about the awesome flourless cake you’ve had. That’s not relevant in this case, and besides… in this post I “ain’t” talking about cake!

I just read a blog post by Shannon Paul about the missing ingredient in many social media strategies, and I couldn’t agree more!  Feel free to read it for yourself, or just follow along here.

The Missing Ingredient in Most Social Media Strategies « Shannon Paul’s Very Official Blog.

There are several steps involved in preparing to bake a cake:

  1. Preparation
  2. Ingredients
  3. An Oven
  4. and Willing Consumers (you can’t have a cake and no-one eats it!)

The same applies to engaging in social media for your business!

  • Preparation = Developing a Strategy
  • Ingredients = The Messages you hope to Deliver + The Messages your intended audience want to hear
  • Oven = Mechanism for Delivery or  The Social Media Sites you plan to employ (where your audience is)
  • Willing Consumers = Your Audience, Your Followers, the People who want to consume to product or program you are offering

Everything begins with a plan (or recipe), but beyond the plan there is execution (baking), then testing (tasting), and listening (feedback).  And once you’ve measured the feedback, you can determine whether you should revisit the recipe, tweak a couple of ingredients and try again.

The most important thing to remember though, if you miss an ingredient, or even a step in the process, IT won’t turn out right.

Plan + Prepare + Execute + Review = 4 Steps for Success

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