Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Improved Marketing ROI Starts With Your Tribe; Identify your customer


While I was in Mexico recently, we visited the Mayan ruins (get to Chichen Itza if you can) and we learned some of the Mayan history, the culture of the Mayan people, and saw their craft still being practiced. Back at work the following week, a client and I were working on defining their customer base and determine how to improving marketing ROI (return on investment).  Not to minimize the significance of Mayan or other tribes, I was reminded that small businesses share some attributes of tribes; a business is a group of people who share values and beliefs and has a tribal leader, the business owner.

Over the years, I have helped many business owners clearly define their customers, their tribe. The more precise you can be, the easier it is to market to these ideal customers and increase your marketing ROI.  Just yesterday a client said she was able to recognize a “perfect” client in a store by her dressing style; when the woman picked up a magazine, her tribal membership status was confirmed. Continuing the analogy, my client then had the responsibility to care for this tribal member by letting her know where she could find products she would enjoy, my client’s retail store.

Marketing is expensive and often frustrating for small business owners. By more precisely defining your ideal customer, you not only save money but also recognize a higher marketing ROI (return on investment).  Another client identified his tribe as teachers and union members; by focusing his advertising dollars on publications and on sites that those tribes read he spends less than half of his former budget and reaches more of his ideal clients.

If you would like to see a better marketing ROI, think of two or three customers you consider “ideal” and make a list of their attributes, right down to the magazines they most likely read. What do they do in their spare time? How old are they? What kind of home do they live in? Clear customer definition not only saves you money, but makes your tribal leadership a whole lot easier.

 – Helen Dutton, Business Coach

What Will the Future Be Like Without Steve Jobs?

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It’s sad to see the passing of one of the great innovators of our time, Steve Jobs. For a man whose devices and leadership have shaped so much of our present, it’s hard to imagine what the future is going to be like without him.

If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you read his book “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs“. I know I’ve recommended it before, but there are so many great stories about his style, his presentation, his “mojo”, and what made him such a special business person. I’m going to be browing through this book again in the coming days to remember his genius.



– Helen Dutton, Business Coach

What Are You Sending Down the Line? Use The Phone As A Branding Tool

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Phone as a Branding ToolIn Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, author Tony Hsieh’s presents Zappos’ call center as a branding tool. He goes on to say, “You have the customer’s undivided attention for five to ten minutes, and if you get the interaction right, what we’ve found is that the customer remembers the experience for a very long time and tells his or her friends about it.”

Wow. A branding tool…. In my corporate and auditing days, I can’t remember a company that considered its call center as anything but a cost center. Calls are often timed and employees rewarded for getting through as many calls as possible during the day. Drive through windows typically time each transaction, incenting employees to push customers through. The faster these businesses push customers through, the faster they are pushing customers away from their door.

Think of a business you have called of which you remember the interaction: what stands out for you? Chances are, they used your name; they may have made suggestions. If it was especially memorable, they were probably completely honest with you about what they could and could not provide; the employee probably genuinely sounded like they wanted to help you and that they love their work. In short, they engaged with you – person to person.

When your phone rings, you have an opportunity to share what your company is about and it begins with how the caller is greeted. Try some greetings out, ask others what the greetings convey, and make sure it’s in line with your vision. Let your company personality, or culture, shine through. Turn away from your other work that could distract you from the caller. As Tony says, the customer will remember the experience for a very long time; make sure it’s an experience you want remembered and shared.

– Helen Dutton, Business Coach

I’m Lovin’ It: What McDonald’s Teaches Us About Leveraging Target Markets

Whether you love ‘em or not, most agree that McDonald’s is a powerful marketing machine. Last week, McDonald’s stock hit an all-time high; market share is increasing; revenues are up. When consumers are spending less, how is this possible?

McDonald’s has made its share of mistakes but they know who buys their products – Moms. Moms driving min-vans at lunchtime; moms on their way to soccer practice. What is more easy for a mini-van-driving-soccer/music-lesson mom than drive thru to pick up a quick bite? There’s no getting car seats in and out, no being late for practice.

By focusing on one of their core demographics, McDonald’s was able to seek out new products to market. The mega restaurant has expanded the opportunities for a mom with new smoothies and frappes, giving moms that little “self-indulgent treat” they so crave mid-morning or early afternoon.

Geoffrey A. Moore, a consultant and author, wrote Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado about marketing high-tech products and increasing market share. Let me loosely apply one of his theories to the McDonald’s scenario and how they develop new markets and products based on what they know best. It looks like this:






Think about your target market:

  • How can you best leverage what you already sell to new target markets?
  • How can you further leverage new products to your current key demographic markets?

Let’s say that your core demographic is office managers of dental offices. What other products or services can you offer within dental offices? Find a way to leverage what you know about office managers; what other industries can you easily target? Look to expand your offerings to current markets; find new markets by looking for similar attributes.

Apply these principles to your marketing strategy, and soon, you’ll be lovin’ it. – Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.