Who Feeds Your Children? Who Can Feed Your Children?

Posted by John Park on Sep 25th, 2011
2011
Sep 25

I have business executives asking me all the time about time management and priorities.  As a business executive myself, believe me when I tell you that this is something I am working on as well.

Having said that, here is how I try to prioritize my to do list on a daily basis.

FIRST:  Take care of everyone that feeds you and your children.  (existing clients and customers)
SECOND:  Take care of everyone that can potentially feed you and your children.  (sales and prospects)
THIRD:  Everything else.

Don’t have children?  Substitute with anything or anyone that is of great value to you.

Can’t get to everything else?  Delegate or pay someone to do everything else for you.

Before You Start…Walk The Track First.

Posted by John Park on Sep 24th, 2011
2011
Sep 24

A NASCAR driver might walk the track before he gets behind the wheel on race day. An Olympic sprinter might walk the track before he lunges out of the block as the starting pistol goes off.

WHY DO THIS?

1) They are getting familiar with the task from start to finish.
2) They are making note of any potential pitfalls.
3) They are making note of any potential advantage points.
4) They are minimizing risk and surprise.

In business, this important step is called assessing the task or project.

Take the necessary time to fully assess a task or a project before you start. By doing this, you will save yourself a tremendous amount of heartache and minimize the potential for failure or costly delays.

A “Failure to Commit” To Business Strategies

Posted by John Park on Dec 13th, 2009
2009
Dec 13

 
 
After working with both large corporations and small businesses, there are a number of distinct differences I have noted when it comes to executing marketing strategies.
 
One glaring example is what I call the “Failure to Commit.”  Smaller companies have a very difficult time coming up with a marketing plan and sticking to it.  And as a result, each plan which sounded brilliant in the conference room when conceived, never gets an opportunity to come to fruition.  When a plan doesn’t deliver almost immediate sales results, it is put to death and a new plan is put in place at the next marketing meeting.  It’s the ultimate in stopping short of the goal in a business environment.
 
Why does this happen in small business?
 
It’s the owner.  Because finances at a smaller company are tied closely to the owner’s personal finances, it makes him or her react emotionally rather than logically.  To put it simply, when they see money going out the door and they don’t see short term sales returns, they get scared.  And when they are scared, they start questioning themselves as well as everything or everyone around them.  When this perfect storm occurs, they also place very little value on mid-to-long term goals and the step-by-step building which is required for marketing value is brought to a screeching halt.
 
Over time, marketing strategies tend to look like a zigzag of failed attempts instead of any tangible or measurable business trends.  The irony in all of this is that small businesses will probably spend more money over time because every new attempt requires an infusion of cash.
 
In a corporate environment, this emotional factor is absent because the decision makers in marketing are focusing on the plan only and have no personal finances attached to their decisions.  And as a result, they are able to objectively see a strategy through and commit to the value it has promised to deliver.  This of course doesn’t mean that each plan is wildly successful.  It just means that they stick to it long enough to get an answer–one way or the other.
 
As you plan your marketing strategies and budgets for 2010, think about your level of commitment.  Do you have a problem with commitment?  You might have a “Failure to Commit” issue.
 
I hear often “I’ve built this company over 20 years and we’re successful as a small business.  We just need your help getting to the “Next Level.”
 
Commitment to your plans and avoiding the zigzag is at the CORE of getting to that NEXT LEVEL.



Until Next Time…



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Why Evil Corporate Deeds Will Not Go Unpunished

Posted by John Park on Oct 19th, 2009
2009
Oct 19

 
IT NEVER FAILS.
 
Bad economic conditions always lead to poor customer service.
 
Don’t ask me why this happens but it always does.  Whenever companies (mostly large ones) are faced with tighter budgets, the group that inevitably pays the price are their customers.  It can be an onerous return policy, a hike in fees or maybe headcount sacrifices in customer service departments.  Instead of a phone tree, you are faced with a “phone forest”.
 
 
CAUTION:
 
This… I’ll screw them over now and deal with it later approach is not what it used to be.  It’s true that in the past consumers did forget eventually once the economy got humming again but it might be harder in this technological age to rely on this business practice.
 
Due to the prevalence of social media interaction on the web, it will be much harder for corporations to erase their evil deeds during this recession.  Blog posts, facebook groups, peer online reviews, tweets and archived online news articles are in essence… FOREVER.
 
The bottom line is that it always costs more to acquire new customers when compared to keeping and growing the customers you already have.  The next time you find yourself in a conference room discussing budget cuts and going through the line items, don’t reduce your customer service and don’t look to your existing customers for more fees.  After all, we are still living in a free economy where Capitalism prevails.  Your customers always have the option to leave you in an “Internet Minute”.


Until Next Time…



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What goes in the box? Why it matters in e-commerce.

Posted by John Park on May 23rd, 2009
2009
May 23

ecommerce shipping box

 
I’ve been working with a number of e-commerce clients lately and this question seems to come up often.  If you’re selling tangible products online, it’s not enough these days just to ship an order in a timely manner.  An online store owner should view the box as another opportunity to market their products.  Just by including the right items in the fulfillment box, you can exponentially increase the chances for a return visit and a follow-up sale.
 
Here are some proven marketing ideas.
 
 
1)  Return Visit Coupon:  Include a coupon code for their next visit.  You can offer a certain percentage off, a dollar amount or something like free shipping.  Be sure to note an expiration date so that you can get the return visit and sale within a few weeks.  And because you’re running an e-commerce store, you’ll be able to easily track usage of these coupon codes.
 
2)  Product Specific Promotion:  Include a brochure or a flyer promoting a specific product.  The promotion should be presented as an exclusive offer with a corresponding coupon code.  This type of promotion should also have an expiration date to generate a quick return visit.  Again, you should be able to track the usage of the coupons easily.
 
3)  Return & Interact for Reward:  Whether it’s for an online survey or to enter a contest, invite them back to a specific URL destination to interact and participate.  When they do this, you will reward them with some random offer or gift.  This method keeps it fun and it allows the visitor to play a game of chance at your web site.  If this method is used properly, you can also collect some valuable marketing research information from their return visit.
 
4)  VIP Access:  Give them exclusive access to a VIP area of your web site.  This would be a web page that could not be found unless you knew the specific URL.  In this area, you can offer special deals or clearance items.  Make the deals outrageous and they will return time after time to check out what deals have been posted to the area.  Don’t be so concerned about only selling these clearance items.  During most return visits, they will also check out the rest of your web site.  Navigation paths should be strategically located throughout this VIP area to encourage navigation to the rest of your web site.
 
5)  Promotional Item:  This is the easy one.  Add some low cost giveaway item.  The hard part will be to include an item that has some relevance to your core products.  There are three questions to ask when determining what to give away.  First, is your product branded with your logo and web address?  Second, how often will it be shown or displayed before your key target demographic?  And finally, how short will the distance be between this giveaway item and your next sale?  For example, let’s say your giveaway item is a mousepad.  The distance between your giveaway item and the next sale which will occur on their computer screen is pretty short isn’t it?
 
6)  Piggy Back:  This is the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” marketing.  Identify e-commerce partners who sell products that have synergy with your products.  Once you’ve identified these partners, you will include an offer from them in your fulfillment boxes.  And in return, they will do the same for you in their fulfillment boxes.  This is a real win-win situation and it allows all participating stores to be introduced to new potential customers.  From a customer point-of-view, it will be accepted as a benefit because you are introducing multiple offers to them from companies that have close synergy to your products, which they have just purchased.
 
7)  Free Samples:  Depending on what you sell, you might want to consider including free samples along with every order.  The free sample must be accompanied by a specific promotion coupon code for the customer to go to your site and buy more.  Give them a try and then show them how to buy more at a discount.  Just think about Costco’s free food samples.  You’ll be using the same method except it’s in an e-commerce environment.
 
 
Some of you may hesitate to implement any of the above because of your profit and margin concerns.  When analyzing this concern, keep in mind the following.  Whatever the cost may be, I guarantee it will be much cheaper than acquiring a new customer.  This strategy is about maximizing the return from customers you already have.
 
Learn to think in…RESIDUALS.
 
 
Until Next Time…
 



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