The convergence of marketing skills and IT skills

Marketing Has Become The New IT

Gee Ranasinha small business

Have you noticed how many of the new marketing tools for businesses have more in common with IT than Marketing? If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time (thank you, if you have) then you’ll know how I’m always banging on about how there are a raft of new tools, technologies and processes that help you get your business value message out there – better. The issue is, unless you’re reasonably adept in IT, many of the tools look about as inviting and user-friendly as North Korea. Let me give you some examples. By and large, static HTML based websites don’t help grow your online presence easily. Unless you’re a web guru (or have one to hand) updating static HTML sites is a pain – which is probably why so few companies bother. A site based on a Content Management System (CMS), on the other hand, gives you control, flexibility, easier SEO optimization (for non-SEO geeks) and the ability for anyone with permission to create and publish content to it (from wherever they are). OK, that’s all well and great. But while the developers of popular CMS platforms such WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have made great efforts …

shredded paper is gibberish

Customer Communication: Stop Talking Gibberish

Gee Ranasinha Business

Customers today are more demanding than ever before. They’re smarter than ever before. Because they have more knowledge – and therefore more POWER, than they have ever had. So why should they buy from you, as opposed to the company down the street, or the next town – or half way across the world?

audience based marketing 21st Century

21st Century Sales and Marketing

Gee Ranasinha Business

The turkey leftovers been consigned to the cat, or the bin. The Christmas tree has dropped more needles than you’ll find at a Kurt Cobain tribute concert. Now it’s time to dig your company’s marketing out of the dark ages and into the 21st Century. Your customers expect it. Albert Einstein is quoted as once saying the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet that’s exactly what a gazillion small businesses are doing right now with regards to how they approach branding, marketing, sales, lead generation, and communications. If you didn’t make your sales / marketing goals last year, what makes you think that you’re going to make them this year if your plans are to do the same things? A 21st century marketing plan isn’t a “copy-paste” of what you did last year. Dear business leader, please wake up and smell the arabica. You cannot continue to sell your company’s products or services in ways that Don Draper would applaud. Today’s consumer (and whether you’re B2B or B2C, your customer is always a consumer) is smarter, more knowledgeable, more demanding and more attractive than ever before (OK, maybe I …

Less Shouting, More Communicating: Advertising Grows Up

Gee Ranasinha Business

There are many who’ll say that today’s TV advertising is crass, blatant and bereft of creativity. Then an ad such as this comes along (click here if you can’t see the ad below): I’ve only just been made aware of the piece, which was launched back in October 2011. Instead of doing the usual thing of boring the viewer with hyped rhetoric about how great / affordable / whatever their holiday packages are, Thomson Holidays turn the message around to it being about you, the viewer, with a simple voiceover from a young boy: “It’s time you stopped, put down your phone, and hold your loved one’s hand. Nice, isn’t it? Those close to you: share with them a week or two, and they’ll cherish it forever.” They could have shouted about how great / interesting / value for money / whatever their holidays are, as pretty much every holiday company does in their advertising. They could have packed the spot with bright colors, loud music and flashing images and shoved their message down the viewer’s throat. Instead, we have calm, relaxing visuals, with a soundtrack featuring a orchestral reworking of The Pixies’ 1988 track “Where Is My Mind?” (the piano solo was apparently recorded …

Using Flickr to help with backlinks

Using Flickr To Help Generate Backlinks

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

Pretty much every company is looking to increase their website’s search engine ranking on Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest, right? One way to help website ranking is through backlinks. A ‘backlink’ is a link on another website that points to a page on your website. Search engines use backlinks (as well as a bunch of other criteria) in their determination of where your website is going to appear in results pages. Search engines see a bunch of links from various sources pointing to your site and deduce that your content has value. Broadly speaking, the more backlinks you have the more the search engines will love you – as long as you don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes. (How? Well, there are a number of charlatans and snake-oil salesmen out there that – for a price – will put backlinks onto a bunch of websites for you. When Google et al find out what you’ve been doing (and they ALWAYS find out eventually) you can find your site ranking in a whole help of trouble. In extreme cases your site can even get banned.) Recently, when using Google Analytics to check my website’s traffic, I’ve been …

exit, not an entrance

Business Value Can Be Stating The Obvious

Gee Ranasinha Business

It’s easy for small business owners to assume their audience knows more about what’s on offer than they actually do. Because you’re living and breathing your business every day, it’s easy to overlook that fact that everyone else doesn’t necessarily see all the nuts and bolts of your value offering in the same way. Let me give you an example. In your industry, would it be common practice for suppliers to provide: A complimentary 30 day trial, without customers needing to give a credit card number? Discounts for nurses / teachers / students? Free delivery and training? A 5% discount on invoices if they’re paid within 30 days? Perhaps you offer something that’s part of the deal because “that’s the way everyone does it” in your industry. And because it’s commonplace, you don’t think it’s worth mentioning. Just because you know, doesn’t mean that your customers know. It’s not their job to guess, speculate, or presume. It may be obvious to you that prices don’t include sales tax, or that installation and training is free. But perhaps your customers are unaware of such things. Moreover by not explicitly mentioning it, your customers may think that you don’t offer it. Communicating …

The Greatest Customer Service Strategy

The Greatest Customer Service Strategy

Gee Ranasinha Business

It been an absolute age since I published a guest post here, so I’m going to remedy that straight away. This week’s post is from Jon Gordon, speaker and author of a number of books including The No Complaining Rule. Over to you, Jon… Smiling is important. Eye contact matters. Patience is essential. Being warm and friendly is a must. And providing a positive emotional experience for your customers is a priority. But these are not the greatest of customer service strategies. Ironically the greatest of all strategies has nothing to do with customers and everything to do with employees. The Greatest Strategy is this: Great customer service beings with being employee focused first and customer focused second. If you treat your employees well, they will treat their customers well. Too often businesses, hospitals, restaurants and organizations focus all their energy on the customer while ignoring the very employees that serve their customers. This may work in the short run but eventually employees become tired, burned out, negative and resentful. Just the other day I was speaking at a hospital and was told that they were doing patient satisfaction surveys as a way to improve nurse performance. “What about nurse …

next generation email marketing

Email Marketing: It’s a Question Of Value

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Marketing

In the old days of marketing, the very fact that a company had a prospect’s email address equated to having their attention. Not any more. If your email inbox is anything like mine, barely a day goes by when you don’t receive some kind of marketing circular. We’re constantly bombarded with so-called “special” offers, company or product news updates, or sales pitches – all continually fighting for our attention. As a result we’re increasingly desensitized to most of the marketing messages that companies send out. More often than not we look at the name of the email sender, perhaps read the subject headline – only to bin the email. Marketers look at the problem as being one of numbers. Increase the number of people receiving the communication to increase the number of take-ups of the offer. They talk about “open rates” – the number of people who view (or “open”) the email as a percentage of the number of emails that are sent out. Since we’re all getting increasingly fed up receiving with such mails, you won’t be surprised to hear that email open rates are in a state of continual decline. Today, depending on the industry, it’s getting increasingly …