By now… I am assuming that you get the point that Social Networking and Internet Marketing are not going away. As a matter of fact, it just keeps getting more sophisticated. There may be a few leaders like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but I learn about new integration, measurement, and post management tools coming out every day. All of this can be quite overwhelming and confusing… but just like the fundamentals in sports, you have to build upon foundations and methodologies that have a proven track record.
Marketing 101 starts with your customers. One of my favorite quotes is “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” – Peter Drucker. He realizes that a product or service without a customer is just inventory. If you treat Social Media as something different (like a new toy) and not a part of a traditional marketing plan… then you are just dabbling & babbling. Also, people (especially more seasoned clients) are resistant to change. If it worked before it will again… REALLY? Drucker also said “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”. That is my biggest challenge.
Last year I gave a presentation at the A.P.A.W.S. Annual Convention. It was an awesome group of very committed and sharp business people. You may have the impression of people who pick up dog poop for a living are unsophisticated… but you would be surprised at how they know their cost of doing business, asset depreciation risks, and target marketing vs ROI ratios. One of this scoopers at the convention was Grady from Scooperdude.com. Before the presentation he said “See this? This is a phone! I dial it and someone answers. I don't think I need to get all this internet marketing and social networking stuff.”. Two weeks later he called me up and now he has a new website, a blog, and a Facebook Landing Page!
Fast forward to last week. Grady calls me up and wanted to create a QR Code and a landing page on his website with a “Poopon”. He is now embracing all this new technology and has attend numerous of my Facebook Webinars.
Grady also sends me an email after that. Seems a marketing company was trying to win an award and was going to re-design his logo. They said his logo was unprofessional and proceeded to make him a new one for free. Something smelled like a bit like a by-product of his service… and he was right. The logo was clean and professional, but did not match his brand. It dulled him down to look like franchise and not a personality. Grady tells me that people hang out of cars at 65 miles an hour to get a picture of his truck and his logo.
Most scoopers have a cartoon or something fun… picking up crap is not fun (even for clients) but in most circles… just the concept can make you smile!!! It's part of this brand to lighten up the issue (even thought is very serious business). Then most importantly, this company was not trying to enhance a well established brand! It was trying to sell him a new logo because they knew if he bit on their sales pitch… they could sell him new business cards, letter head, envelopes, website, truck graphics, and more. They were hoping to make a crapload of money off this free logo!
This is known in business as the Gillette theory of marketing… Give away the razor, and the client will happily pay for the blades (at a premium).
So a brand is much more than just a logo (but a good one can enhance your brand). A brand is the essence of your product or service and what it means to your customers. Your brand is attitude, perception, and how people differentiate you from your competition. Here are some tips on better defining your brand…
- Every brand has a story that makes it different from it's competition. In the case of a pooper scooper it's all the same crap… being professional is a must. I have had scoopers that showed up erratically and made me doubt their ability to serve our needs. The one with the most personality and fun attitude ultimately won our business!
- Depending on your business… Your personal and business brand are the same thing… but that does not mean that you market both the same or equally! In my case, my business brand is marketing, and social media. My personal brand is activism, music, and creative. Although they work hand in glove… it's not always a Michael Jackson moment. Social Media marketing says… “If you are political or religious in nature with your posts… You are better than 50% certain to piss someone off!”. Keep your opinions to yourself and your business focused on ALL of your customers needs!
- Don't let your competition dictate your brand. In the case of the pooper scoopers…. Just because they are facing national competition from franchises, that does not mean that they know your audience or clients better than you do! What matters is you, your integrity, and your ability to match expectations… to what you can ACTUALLY DELIVER!
It's not about you… It's about your customer… and can they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST you!
Grady learned that you… “You can teach an old dog new tricks…. but you can't trick an old dog!”.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject…
Bonus Video of the Week!
To all of my scooper friends… I know you have seen, socks, crayons, balloons, and various light sundry and personally hygiene products! But being able to confront the culprit right after the offense… is priceless… Enjoy!