What Color Is Your Brand?

Spectral eye“What color is your brand?” asked Vicki.

All three of us at the table looked at her blankly.

Come on,” she said, “is there a color that is associated
with your company name or your product or just you

I volunteered, “Red, I guess.”

Vicki smiled, pointed to my card and said, “This from a man
who has a photo on his card wearing black on a black background where the only
red is a pin line above gold lettering that says Networking Ninja.”

I took the card from her hand, turned it over and simply
pointed at the red Z-axis logo.

She said, “Ask a customer.

Gail and Bill just sat there nodding.

So I asked her, “What brought that up?”

Vicki said, “I’ve been working on a project and the client
wants to be easily identifiable in every way they possibly can, so I’ve been
thinking about all the ways and color is one that most companies are not
singular about but those that are have high recognition.

For instance, if I say dark blue IBM may be your first

Pink gets two pictures to pop into your mind—Pepto-Bismol
and possibly Owens- Corning Fiberglass insulation. Did you know they actually trademarked
the color?

Then there is Caterpillar tractor’s bright yellow or John
Deere green.”

Bill volunteered, “UPS brown.”

Gail piped up, “But the logo is brown and gold.”

“But their advertising talks about Brown and uses it through
out,” Bill pointed out.

So I said, “Google.”

Vicki claimed, “That’s a foul. The Google logo is multiple
colors—red and yellow and blue and green. What’s more they keep subbing things
for the letters and turning the logo into seasonal messages and just making it
fun to see what they’ve come up with this time. But they usually stick to the
same colors in the same order for the letters as much as they can.

Anyway, what color is your brand? is just one more question to ask yourself and
your clients when it comes to identifying you, your company and your products.”

The marketing conversation continues at www.JerryFletcher.com

Or, to hear him speak visit www.NetworkingNinja.com


What Is Your Value Proposition?

Value Proposition“Whether you
market to consumers or businesses you gotta have one,” said Jean, our copy guru
over lunch.

“How’s that
different from a position or a tagline?” said Bill.

“Usually it’s
longer than either but may include elements of both. It is a promise. It tells
the potential customer what expectations will be fulfilled when they buy from
you. It is a clear statement, usually a paragraph in length.

It has to clearly
answer these questions

  1. What product or service is
    your company selling?
  2. What benefit do I (or my
    company) get out of using it?
  3. Am I the target
    customer/user it is intended for?
  4. Is it for specific need, use
    or occasion?
  5. How is yours unique from the

Right about
there I jumped in saying, “But what is the answer to Bill’s question?”

Jean looked
over her glasses at me and said, “Let me give you the way I test a value
. I print it out and show it to someone that might have use for it
and have them read it and wait for their reaction. If they want to know more I
ask why. If they don’t understand it I go back to the keyboard. If they ask the
price I know I’m on the right track.

Before I go
that far though I make sure that:

            It is easily understood

            It tells me in concrete terms
what I’m going to get when I buy and use it.

            I know how it is different from
competitor offerings

            There’s no hype, no superlatives and
no insider jargon

            It takes only a few seconds to read.

Ron who had
been watching and stuffing his face with a burger asked, “So where do I use
this wonderful thing?”

All of us looked at Jean. She sniffed and
said, “It should be on the home page or landing page of your web site and,
incidentally should be tested before put it up there. It should, in some form,
be on most pages of your website not to mention in just about every form of
communications you use. The trick is to vary it just enough to make it fresh
and interesting in all those places.

Marketing for the “Little Guy” www.JerryFletcher.com

Professional Speaking Site: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Is Your Contact Marketing in Sync?

Contact Marketing Touch

Jack e-mailed that he was about to sign up for one of the best known names in Contact Marketing systems because he was “out of sync.”

I suggested that he look at another one (this one to be

Then my phone rang.

Jack said, “Okay, you got my attention. But I’m sill not
sure about the sync thing.”

“Tell me more,” I said.

Jack, who does webinars and in-person trainings, told me he
wanted to operate with one database for his regular e-mail and his marketing
e-mails because he was having difficulty keeping everything in sync and, “Oh by
the way, can it deal with my Outlook files?”

Those are great questions. The answer is: “Regardless of
what system you select all your e-mail —all contact touches— should be filed
and sync’d in one database

That is the minimum requirement. In addition
you should use a system that:

Includes records of any interaction
with a contact
—such as a webinar or sending them some files, etc.

Has the ability to sort by company
and individual and any other criteria you want to use.

Provides sign ups for blogs or
newsletters or whitepapers or whatever and if that could be automated you would
have the equivalent of enterprise level capability for the little
(this one does even though it isn’t mentioned in the product

Gives you landing pages with easy
to change forms
so that you can quickly determine which value proposition gets
the best results if you are offering multiple products.

John and I will be having coffee in the next few weeks to
talk about how to put the system to work for him.

Is your contact marketing system in sync?

Learn more about marketing at: www.JerryFletcher.com

Need a speaker? www.NetworkingNinja.com

Integrated CRM and Start Up Budgets

Don fired me yesterday.

Integrated CRM

I’d seen it coming. As hard-nosed as I can be I hadn’t
convinced him not to try a marketing strategy that I pretty much knew wouldn’t
meet his expectations.

But, so far as Contact Management was concerned, he had seen the light. 

“Is there a free or low cost digital solution I can use until
we get some more contracts? I need something that will help me keep track of
all the contact data and follow up tasks. What do you recommend?” he asked.

My favorite system for the little guy. (A video Demo)

I told him, “I’m going to make you a poster child for the
rest of the franchisees with my favorite integrated system when you’re ready in
a month or two.

He had reviewed several options after I suggested that
system early on. He had looked at multiple free systems as well as some that
were for outbound e-mail only.

We agreed that in his current pinch the lowest price for
Contact management was what we should strive for. Later that evening, as
promised, I sent him an option that will meet his needs for the interim.

What should you use? My advice:

  1. Thereis no single system that is perfect for everyone
  2. Anintegrated system will work better for you for a longer time.
  3. Asingle database that allows you to send regular individual e-mail, e-mail
    marketing campaigns with auto responders plus do all your scheduling of
    tasks and keeps it all in sync is essential.
  4. Cloud-based. The more mobile your computing needs and desires the more this makes sense.
  5. Ability to import data from forms on your web landing pages directly into your
    data base. ( Not generally available in low-cost systems)

Dollar for Dollar, your best marketing investment.

Used properly, a simple Contact management system can double
your business whether you are in start up, growth or established. An integrated
can generate leads and maintain connections to double it again. If
you know how to put It to work.

Contact Relationship Magic! tells you what to look for and how to use it. (It’s coming as soon as my store is finalized. Interested? Let me know in a comment please.)

Simple enough for granny.I could go on but the primary things are noted above. The
final essential is simplicity. It has to be so simple a grandma can do it. Too
often in the past people tried to build something with every bell and whistle
you can imagine. Unfortunately those of us that have to use these systems are
not programmers.

There are products available today that do all you need to
do easily and at reasonable cost.

Need help figuring out
what is right for your small business? Leave a note in the comments section
with contact info and we’ll talk.

Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com  Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com

How To Muck Up A CRM implementation.

“Kate, where is the elegant tan? Didn’t you just return from
the Tropics?” I asked.

CRM ConfusionBefore she could say a word, her colleague Corrie said, “I’ve
traveled with Kate. She only goes out at night because of her delicate skin.”

Before the argument got into the second inning I suggested, “Tell
me how things are going in the office. We haven’t had time to chat in months.”

Kate came right to the point, She asked, “Do you still
consult on Contact Management systems?”

“Yes. For CRM I work with primarily solopreneurs, ensembles and  mid-level
When you get to enterprise size operations there is a level of customization
necessary that I don’t want to contend with. Why do you ask?”

That opened the flood gates. Both of them began a rant. Let
me try to sum it up in this list:

How to completely muck up a CRM implementation

  1. Don’t
    allow people from all parts of the organization that will have to use it
    try it first.
  2. Don’t
    buy enough seats so that all people that deal directly with clients will
    have access.
  3. Don’t stop
    individuals or departments from restricting data from others.
  4. Get so
    invested in the solution that you can’t admit it is not working.
  5. Refuse
    to consider other options that are easier to use, lower cost and provide
    marketing solutions you can’t afford because of the current choice.

Both of these ladies are heavy hitter consultants. Each of
them have more alphabet stew after their names than I will ever have. Each is someone
that clients turn to for specialized business advice.

But they were stymied. Their company had done all the things
noted above. Someone had made the “you can’t get fired for picking (company)
decision” and now it was making lives miserable throughout this 200+ staff firm.

Contact Management is essential in today’s business. There
is a solution that is right for every type and size of business whether it is a
start up or an enterprise. There are many options to choose from.

Before you sign up for one, learn how to evaluate the
offerings out there and get an idea of how it will work out in your
I’ll give you an hour of my time to cover the basics. Note your
interest in a comment along with contact information and I will get in touch.

Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com  Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com

Why People Buy: Perception Versus Reality

Why People Buy“Guys,” I said, “I got referred into this prospect because
he needed strategic marketing help with a complex situation that could grow his
operation by 500% in 3 to 5 years.  But
when I spent an hour with him discussing his business and the market he wanted
to pursue he wanted to know why I wasn’t asking the kinds of questions about
marketing he was expecting.”

Charlie asked, “How did you respond?”

“I told him that I had to understand where they were now in
order to begin to find a way to get to where they want to go.”

Gail hushed me and said, “Did you ask him what he meant?”

“Yes. His ideas about marketing were similar to what I’ve
found over the last 20 years asking business owners and managers about how they
think people find them and buy from them.

I asked him to list where or how he believed marketing would
have the greatest ROI for his Enterprise
level computer consulting him. Here is his list:

  • Direct sales
  • Trade Shows
  • Online (Website, SEO)
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Responding to RFPs (Requests for Proposal)   

“I know you’ve actually gone out and asked your client’s
customers how they came to buy, said Gail, “how does that compare?”

“Well, that varies by the phase the company or product or
service is in at the moment. There are three phases:

  1. Start up
  2. Growth
  3. Established

It doesn’t matter whether it is a one man band or a
corporate megalith the answers buyers give tend to be the same
and are only limited by the
budget available. What works according to the buyers fall into six categories:

  • Referrals/Word of mouth
  • Prior Experience
  • Distribution/Direct Sales
  • Direct Marketing
  • Networking
  • Everything Else.

You’ll notice that only one of these was on his list so he’s
missing over 80% of why clients would seek him out.

I know I need to educate him and others about what works versus the
hype and what has changed over time and how to take advantage of the changes.

be working on the white paper on this subject over the weekend.”
(If you would like a copy let me know with a comment.)

Branding is a Bell Cow

Branding is one of the sacred cows of marketing.

 Branding is the term bandied about by small business
start-up owners and enterprise level tycoons. They talk about it as if it were
in their control. They spend hard-earned time and money trying to create it and
manage it.

The secret is that you can’t.

 Your brand is the sum total of all the perceptions about your
company or product or service
in the mind of the prospect or customer.
Everything that you do and all that is said about you add up to your brand.

Branding is more than a logo or a tagline because actions
speak louder than words.

Think you can control what is believed about your brand by
buying positive comments on social networking?

Think again.

Feel that you caught a bad break when the URL that folks
assume will match your name comes up with a Better Business Bureau warning?

You did. And your brand just took a hit.

Believe that you can advertise your way out of a customer
service snafu?

Change your religion.

Branding is about behavior, your behavior in all aspects of your
 The face you turn to your
employees impacts it. The face you bring to negotiations with suppliers can
change it. The face you present to customers when there is a problem can alter it.

Branding is something you need to do whether you make
decisions over a kitchen table or in a paneled board room.

Your brand is the bell cow. As it goes, so goes the value of
your company, product or service. 

Learn more. visit www.JerryFletcher.com

Need a speaker? www.NetworkingNinja.com

Marketing is not a bolt on!

Fred runs a computer business systems support firm. He is an engineer that came up through the ranks.

Marketing is not a bolt onHe said he was looking for strategic marketing help. But he couldn’t understand why I was asking about how the company operated.

It took me a while to figure out that he considered Marketing a “bolt on”.

It isn’t.

Marketing is an integrated part of your company whether you like it or not.

Here are the top five reasons Business to Business customers buy based on my 25+ years of direct experience:

  • 50% Referral/Word of Mouth 
  • 15%Prior Experience
  • 13% Inbound marketing Web searches blogs email marketing*    
  • 12% Direct Contacts    
  • 10% Networking                                                                                                     

* Significant increases in the last three years.

Strategic marketing demands this approach:

Start by being honest with yourself. What is the vision for this company? What makes it tick? Why does it exist? Do you really have a product or service that somebody wants?

What matters most is not what you know or who you know or even who you trust. What really matters is who trusts you.

Understand the prospect viewpoint. Way too often folks try to start a business or make changes to one that is successful or struggling without ever talking to a real live prospect. (A prospect is someone that has a problem you can solve, the money to pay you and is willing to talk to you.)

Find a profitable Niche. Are there enough of those kind of people to make it profitable for you to start or change your business? Can you keep your costs reasonable in communicating with them? How about the cost to deliver your product or service? Can you afford to keep improving your product or service until you ha
ve “figured out where the money is” and you can “sell what they want to buy”?

Establish a unique position. A company that wants to “take it up a notch” needs market, product or service leverage plus the time and resources to make the shift.

Success depends on determining what makes them unique for a particular kind of prospect.

Success depends on understanding the telling need your product or service solves.

Success depends on knowing how that client or customer uses the product or service.

Each company must understand what triggers the use of their offering. What occasion or event or happening is behind a purchaser mindset to “buy now”.

In many cases you will find that the reasons you developed your product/service have no connection with how it is seen and used by your customers.

Develop a unique trust-based persona. Everything you do has an impact on the people that become your clients or customers. Don’t overlook the basics as you go to market.

Your Persona is a Core of Trust wrapped round by Product, Price and Passage (or distribution) encased in your Name.

Initially, the Core of Trust is you. If you operate solo it will always be. With a partner or an ensemble of partners you all have to ascribe to the same central beliefs about your business. In a corporation everyone needs to feel the same way and be driven by the same values.

Because you can’t fool customers for long. 

Customers see your company from the outside in. They rely on how your decisions impact them to make judgments about you. 

Every company needs a soul.

It is the core value, the binding force that is your reason for being. It is what drives the organization.

You need to remain true to that vision that got you started.

The heart of any concern is the operational strategies. 

Your product may change.

Your pricing can differ over time.

How you get your product or service to the customer may shift. 

Even your name may change.

The heart of how you operate must fit with the central belief, the soul of your business.

There is no way to be successful without that congruity.

Can you handle all those marketing decisions alone? Don’t even try. Get professional help. The earlier you get help the less it will cost you.

Spin up Promotion after you have made those marketing decisions.

 No, that doesn’t mean advertise.

It means start building trust, trust in you, trust in your product or service and trust in the way your firm does business.

You need to build enough trust that people refer prospects to you without reservations. That means you have to deliver what you promised…or better.

You can’t get to Trust without a relationship. Wade into meetings of all kinds. Teach a class. Write an article. Speak to any trade group where your customers might gather. Network. Show off your expertise and establish short and long term credibility.

Use the Internet to help you build trust in you and your operation. A blog can help increase your credibility by displaying your expertise for the world to see. Your web site can help you close new customers if it is optimized to do so

Keep it as up close and personal as you can for as long as possible.

Learn more about Jerry: www.JerryFletcher.com

Have him speak to your group: www.NetworkingNinja.com


Online Marketing Success requires Deja-vu Testing

“It’s not a new idea” Jean said, “So don’t try to take

Deja-vu Data

Rick groaned, took another sip of wine and nodded. Then he
rose to the bait saying, “I know I didn’t invent the idea but at least give me
credit for figuring out how to apply it to the e-marketing world we live in.”

“So what brilliance did you come up with?” I asked.

“Daily déjà-vu of simultaneous synchronized multi-variant
testing of multiple elements is my claim to fame,” he said.

Gail guffawed looked him in the eye and said, “What a
mouthful! Rick, my boy you are brilliant at times but this is not one of them.
You know as well as I do that direct marketing copy controls have been tested
every which way you can imagine over the years and that something as simple as
an A-B split test is so easy online that anyone that can afford the software or
the service can get it done. So what are you claiming?”

Jean piled on noting, “And don’t try to pull that tale of
having to dumb down your ideas of how to test that the programmers couldn’t
figure out 10 or 15 years ago because Fletch was sitting beside you in that
meeting you’ve told me and as I recall he’s the one that had to explain what an
A-B split test was.”

Rick swished his wine in the glass, carefully set it down
and replied, “You all would agree that we need to find out the relative
importance of the offer, the list of people you are addressing and the
approach.  That principle is true of
direct marketing, e-mail marketing, e-commerce stores/catalogs on-line or even
a web site developed to begin a relationship for a professional service.

My approach takes the ability of the internet to produce
quantifiable data quickly and the need to look a multiple components of the
message to new levels.

What are you doing to make your web-based marketing
activities more successful? Why not try tests of formatting, subject lines,
subheads, arrangement of paragraphs, captions, descriptions, addition or
deletion of photos and a host of other variables. There is hard data that shows
that at least half of these have increased response levels.

The time to test what works for your business is right now.
And tomorrow. And the day after.

Testing ought to be Deja-vu, over and over again.”

We agreed he had a point.

What are you doing to test your online approaches? How much could your ROI be improved with a little Deja-vu testing

 Learn more about Jerry Fletcher: www.Jerry Fletcher.com

Need a speaker that knows Networking, Marketing and CRM? Visit: www.NetworkingNinja.com