Monday

"Y" In The World

Apparently "Generation Y" is the target of the year for advertisers and marketing gurus. Problem is, it's an elusive target. In an article I just skimmed in one of my industry mags, Generation Y seems to harness extreme brand loyalty while being wildy fickle at the same time. I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.

I think the problem is the 15-year span of babies being dubbed "Gen Y".

What I get from all the analysis of Gen Y is that they want fun, they want new, they want tech, they want what works and they want it now. Hey, isn't that what Gen X wanted?

Here's the thing. What with the internet and the ability to touch your audience right this second (note, I am composing a newsletter article at 7:30 am Monday morning January 30 and it will be available to read online by about 7:40), it appears that knowing your audience's interests would be of prime importance.

So is Gen Y, as a whole, "your audience"? Of course not.

Your audience is your buyer. Or your client. If you make aluminum cast products for manufacturing machines, your audience is the designer/engineer/procurement chain in manufacturing. Point is, you know your product, and your direction. If you know that, you know your audience, at least to a degree. That's a good start.

Now, apparently, the message in my industry mag is that MY audience is Gen Y. I guess that's true. You want fun, new, tech, what works, now (just like Gen X did).

OK, I can work with that.

Read Full Article HERE

Thursday

The Art of the Awesome Business Gift

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We're not talking 20-cent leave-behinds.
You don't put this in a bowl at a street fair, and you don't drop it through the business mail slot and move on.

You're not, in fact, giving this to anyone who does not already know you.

This is a GIFT. It is a Thank You. It is a Business Valentine.
It might be a Reward for a Referral, or just for a great business relationship.
It's special.

That's why you spend $40. Or $60. Or $260. Not that the dollar amount is truly important, but the thoughfulness you display by consciously choosing, purchasing, packaging and/or personalizing, and then delivering, a gift of obvious character sets your entire relationship apart from those people involved in the daily ins and outs of your client's day.

Every quarter you should be identifying your top clients or colleagues. It shouldn't be hard, they're the people you see probably all the time, or work with on a daily basis. If not face-to-face, it's a relationship that is central to your business success. You know who they are.

A fine and thoughtful business gift or a thank you gesture serves a couple of purposes.

It first of all shows the client that you truly value them. I have two very successful colleagues who, not coincidentally, both exude the same attitude to their clients. They LOVE them. They let them know, regularly, with nothing required in return, that they appreciate the relationship they've forged.

This is far more important than you may realize. These people have relationships with their co-workers that are facilitated in-house, through daily contact, retreats and social events, even carpooling and lunching. Your relationship with these people, too, is just that, a relationship. They trust you, professionally, and part of that is their familiarity with you and your ability to work with them personally.

None of this is a substitute for being competent, and professional, and serving your clients' actual needs, providing solutions. This, point of fact, reinforces your recognition of the value of the client and appreciation for their trust in you.

The second effect of a gesture of this stature is to create a talking point outside of the business minutia. Put simply it's a chance to talk about other stuff. The photo above is a Swiss Army brand USB Flash memory stick. The USB stick is removable, and it actually replaces the knife blade. You can take it on the plane; note also the pen included. You are guaranteed that at various times after the client has taken possession of this thing, that he or she will relate some random story about using it or showing it off somewhere, the way any two day-to-day co-workers might relate on a given day when not talking business.

Build those relationships, but just as importantly, acknowledge your appreciation of them.

Read Full Article HERE

TRADE SHOW TRAFFIC Part 2:
"Swimming Against the Surge"

(If you missed Part 1, go here

OK, maybe you DO want more trade show traffic. Let's go against my premise in Part 1 for a second. Yes, there are times when you want 50,000 people flowing through your trade show venue like a flood through a plain.

Let's try to simplify this. Name Brands displaying at a Consumer oriented show, don't have to try hard. Their very name has fueled it's own fire. Everyone wants to see the new I-pod at the Apple booth. Linux fans are looking for anything Linux. This is the Hollywood appeal of a consumer show.

But, let's say you make a specialized refrigeration unit and you're showing at a builder's convention or a designer show. So, you're not Nike.

They're tired, they're hungry, and very few of the hundreds drifting past your booth want to get stuck chatting with you for too long. Not more than seven seconds or so. Here's where 50,000 attendees could be a problem.

Your job at this point is NOT sexy.

Is there a way to TAG everyone? Get everyone a little something to compel them to look you up later? Let them know quickly what you do AND that they should want to see you again? Like, when you both have more time?

Yes. But you're not going to do it with a pen. Or gum. Or a foam hat.

Seriously. Think, here. Here's a little aside about my business: Many people in my profession are thrilled if you simply want to buy thousands of candies and pens and coloring books and squeezie hearts and whatever else, for no discernible reason. Shame on them.

Since this post is not about engaging people in your booth, but rather, dealing with having "too much traffic", let's just address what you really want to do in this situation.

Don't just wear a big goofy hat and suggest that they go to your site, or call for a catalog, or leave you their card. MAKE them WANT to do all that. Spread the lottery mentality. Give them an opportunity to receive a very big payoff for very little effort and time.

One way to do this would be to give out a web lottery card or a secret code or one half of a valuable gift, anything that will truly compel them to do the simple thing: Log onto the site, and see if they've won. Or log on to claim the other half of their piece. This is viewed by them as ONLY FAIR.

For instance, in order to see if they've won a widescreen plasma T.V., if they merely have to log into your site, where they'll see your product, and then register their email address and the position they hold at their establishment... well, they will. Wouldn't you? How much more likely would it be for you to go to this vendor's web site, than if for instance you had an ad slick in your bag and a plastic pen with their web site address on it?

Exactly.

The beauty of this kind of strategy is that with the same money you might spend on thousands of mini baseball bats or neon refrigerator magnets, with dubious results and limited tracking potential, you can execute a complete prize liquidation program, spend mere seconds per touch at the show, and have a very accurate tracking and follow-up mechanism to fine tune your efforts with each new show.

Read Full Article HERE

Monday

Trade Them Up !

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When it comes to supplying a useful gift, utility is not the be-all and end-all of the equation. The item MUST replace what the recipient is already using, right?

If you are going to give a logo brand gift that your client or prospect is supposed to keep and use, and therefor give your message the most bang for your buck, KNOW that the gift is going to have to be nice enough or different enough to actually push aside an item they're already using.

Example: MUG. Everyone has a mug. Maybe two. Or eleven. The mug you're asking them to accept and use, and be happy about pouring their coffee into, needs to be attractive. Simple as that.

Look, people love gifts. If you give me the cheap $0.88 mug, I'll use it. Just, not at my desk where I might see it all day every day. It'll hold paperclips in the garage at home. Sorry, you've really sort of wasted $0.88 each. Not including the slightest cost of packaging or delivery.

The above mug is $2.50 to $3.50 depending on the quantity you buy. The extra couple dollars for 144 or 512 or 1024 pieces used in the campaign, would make all the difference in the world in terms of usefulness to your recipient, which will translate into a return on equity for your project.

This holds true with any of the standard fare - mugs, mousepads, writing intruments, key-tags. Don't consign your valuable message to the junk-drawer or the garage. It's doing you no good there.

Read Full Article HERE