Don MacNeil is the former Marketing Director of Windsor Jewelers and long-time on-air radio professional.
Is it just me, or…
First Quarter Resolutions
Early year resolutions. Insert Bronx Cheer here. On some level we all suspect we’re going forget them by June. And yet…
Resolutions are one of those, close-your-eyes, grit-your-teeth healthy exercises. If you’re a small business guy or lady, clip this out and tuck it away. Your homework’s been done for you.
The Cyber Stuff. We’ve talked about how your position as captain of the ship can be a double-edged sword…dictating to all within your orbit the seeds of success or failure. But especially as it applies to marketing your business on the internet, your secret weapon as an owner is playing dumb.
Your cyber people assume your ignorance anyway, and the smartest thing you can do for 2022 is not disappoint ‘em. Resolution #1 then? Ask a lot of “stupid” questions, like, “Where’s our list of website key words?” “Can we improve that list?” “Are we employing the latest search engine optimization technology?” “Are we mobile compatible yet?” “How are our analytics trending?” Good for you if you understand the answers. Either way, you’ve started a series of healthy conversations.
Oh, and get that Facebook page and Twitter account up and running if you haven’t already. For your business, it’s one of those, “Don’t let the train leave the station without you” kinds of things.
Fight for consistency. Small businesses, because they typically don’t choose to take on a central (ad) agency through which to pass all marketing, are consequently forced to use the creative teams of the media outlets themselves, resulting in print that looks nothing like the TV spots, that sound nothing like the radio, that have none of the feel of the website. If you can’t access a creative clearinghouse, then single out the best work being done by one of those outlets and insist that everyone else follow their lead, both in message and in look.
Keep an eye on the competition. Promise yourself that at least 15 minutes a week will be dedicated to scrutinizing The Other Guy, typically starting with his website and moving on to his print and broadcast. Uncovered strengths will be warning blasts for you, and noticed weaknesses will provide some momentary comfort and possible opportunity.
Talk to your people. You may be stunned at what they’ve heard/learned from customers and have never thought to share with you. Plan on gently feeling them out every now and then. I had a client in the ‘90s for whom nothing seemed to work, and we wondered where the magic had gone. Almost too late we found the sales people had known all along that potential customers were walking because the price points weren’t consistent with the history of the store. Ouch.
Go big…as in, message creativity. Find an emotional hook to even the most mundane of what you do. This is where you ignore what the other guy is doing and work to set yourself apart. Let’s say you’re in plumbing hardware – you supply the general public – and for years your ads have been asking, “Time to upgrade that toilet room?” Try instead: “Fire your plunger!” That gets us all where we live.
2022. A better year starts with you.