Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘communications

What do you want?

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megaphoneThere is an unfortunate saying in our business: “Just because we work in communications doesn’t mean there is communications.”

Imagine that. In the very field that we work in, we are less than expert in executing the practice ourselves. Given that, how can we expect our clients to provide us with clarity in their communications. We often get frustrated by the perceived lack of clarity in message from the client.

We are the experts here. It is up to us to spend time with the client to derive from them what exactly is the message and position they want to convey to their (potential) client base. That is something our company pledges to do for our customers first and foremost for every client on every project.

However, that doesn’t preclude you, the small business owner, from having to do some homework yourself. Good marketing firms will do anything they can to help you to fine tune your message. But you need to know what it is you hope to accomplish first. Are you looking to establish points of differentiation from your competition? Are you looking to build market share? Are you launching either your company or a new product/service offering? Most marketing firms will work diligently with you to help you to figure out what your goals can be as well as what the right message and medium would be. However, if you’re reading this blog, then I’m thinking that you are possible not in a financial position to simply turn over your entire marketing efforts over to another firm. Therefore, much of this homework falls on your, the owner, to figure out.

It is difficult to have a good objective view of your company when you are internal. This is why large companies often rely on focus groups to help them gain perspective. Given that you don’t have the budget to perform any kind of formal focus group, reach out to people that know your company the best: your customers. Ask them what they think of when they think of your company. What images come to mind. The important thing here is to allow them to respond in a way that supports openness and honesty. Give them an avenue to remain anonymous.

There is a danger here. By asking only your current (and/or past) customer base, you are restricting yourself to views from people that already know your company. Seek opportunities to ask beyond that universe. The effort to gain this additional information is greater, but so are the rewards.

To blog or not to blog – my answer

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Hello everyone.

The road to that sentence hasn’t been as easy or as smooth as the simplicity of those two words might suggest.  You see, I’ve been resisting blogs.  For the longest time, I’ve been of the opinion that there are so many blogs out there, why add another?

Now I have that answer.  It’s because I have something to say.  I had something to say before.  I just had to believe in blogs as an interesting and viable means to delivering messages.  I’ve seen the light and I’ve come to the church.  I hope people will read.  More importantly, I hope people will write.  I believe strongly in the communications model which includes the concept of “feedback.”  Please let me know what you think of my ideas and concepts.

I’m in marketing.  More precisely, my background is in using mass mediums to get messages out.  I’ve produced pieces that have aired on local television up to national broadcast and cable networks.  The logistics of getting spots to air may differ, but the basic premise is the same; there are typically 30 seconds (900 frames) to use to bombard the sight and sound senses…make sure none go to waste.  Be effective.  Be memorable.  Be good.

Now enter the Internet.  Now the number of seconds and/or frames are almost exclusively up to the storyteller.  So is sorting through the possible methods of delivery.  You can’t just say you make Internet video.  That can mean anything from beautiful sellable HD podcasts to shaky home footage of someone’s daughter dancing on stage uploaded on YouTube.  You have to pick your effective channel(s), pair it with a business model that makes sense, and get the message out.  That last part has been one incredible challenge.  I’m struggling with that last concept.  But I rather suspect the answer lies in our past:

Be good.

Written by Jeff York

March 9, 2008 at 5:47 am