Pain Points: Where Does Your Customer’s Customer/Client Hurt?

A classic in marketing is to identify your customer’s pain points and then recommend solutions.  You ask them what is keeping them up at night.

For example, you supply antique dolls to your customer’s upscale gift store.  During the last two quarters, doll sales have been down about 35%.  Ouch, that hurts, both the customer and you.  One solution is for the customer to begin an ecommerce doll business.  You provide all the vendor information needed to make that happen.  Within two more quarters, sales could surge, thanks to the online sales.

But you can also take that classic approach one step further.  You can help your customers identify the pain points for their own customers/clients.  That can even be done if the customer’s business is doing well.  The insight could increase sales futher, generate new lines of business, and deepen their relationship with customers/clients.

For example, you help your gift-shop customer shift from simply selling to developing a digital community with customers/clients. Incentives such as discounts, contests, background information, and entertainment can encourage them to join in.  From their conversations with the owner as well as among themselves pain points could become obvious.   Another means of diagnosis would be hosting a special event such as a doll show or a lecture by a doll expert.  Those attending would be rewarded for revealing their wish list, disappointments with getting and giving gifts, and what price points go beyond their budgets.

Often your customers are so preoccupied with the painful matter of declines in their own revenues or the current surge in business that they don’t focus on how their own customers/clients may be hurting.  When you help them do that you can significantly help your own business.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for marketing, public relations, partnerships, special events, and social media, 203-404-4868.

Crisis Means Opportunity for Public Service, Advises Image Marketing Consultants

A crisis such as Sandy provides the unique opportunity to serve others.  For example, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL has made its digital edition WSJ.COM free for the day.  That allows those who do not have or cannot afford a subscription to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL to have access to the information and perspective they need to take the next steps in operating their organizations post-Sandy.

Public service or outreach to the community is expected when our fellow human beings are suffering.  That we were able to help and how we did that become embedded in the collective community consciousness.  But more importantly we feel a sense of belonging among the men, women, and children with who we do business.

As the conventional wisdom goes, it’s an ill wind which blows no good.  Human beings come together in crisis.

Here at Image Marketing Consultants, our thoughts are with all those whose lives have been disrupted by Sandy.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on marketing, partnerships, public relations, special events, and social media, 203-404-4868.

The Nanny: When an Issue Impacts Your Organization

The horrific news of a nanny who allegedly murdered two children has gripped the nation.  Organizations associated with parenting now have a new issue parked on their doorstep.  That issue is this:  Should parents entrust the rearing of their children to The Nanny?   Parent bulletin boards are buzzing about this controversy.

The good news for you is that, unlike the media, you do not have to come up with an instant response – or any at all.  When clients or customers approach you about the matter, you have a number of options.  You can turn the question back to them and ask what they think.  In many cases people want just that: An invitation to air their views.  You can also indicate that you need more time to consider the issue.

After you have reflected, you could create and publish an opinion-editorial in the local newspaper and post your point of view on your blog, Facebook, and twitter account.  You would invite the community to join in the conversation.

In addition, you can leverage this as an opportunity for a special event and sponsor a panel to discuss it. That could be a public service. The media are likely to cover it.  You could also conduct a survey of public opinion.  For that you might establish a partnership with a School of Social Work or a Sociology Department at a University.

Controversy, especially one such as this which involves children, can seem scary.  However, it does present the forum to participate in an issue which counts a great deal to your customers and clients.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on Marketing, Partnerships, Public Relations, Special Events, and Social Media, 203-404-4868.


Measuring Success: Look beyond internal metrics, hammers Image Marketing Consultants

In a disruptive era we have to be measuring how our organizations are doing in a lot of different ways.  The traditional “vital signs” about sales and profits are no longer enough.  We have to develop fresh metrics derived from what the other players are up to, right now.

Even established companies like Kraft, which Blooomberg Business Week reports, had a 4% boost in sales, has to look beyond itself.  Today after its North America Grocery split off from its snack division it is listed as a separate company.  In that space it has to anticipate the myriad moves which the competition will make.  The fundamental of game theory is not to make decisions in isolation but only in reference to what other players are doing or might do.  The resilient chief executive officer of News Corp Rupert Murdoch studied game theory when he was at Oxford.

Here are 3 tips from Image Marketing Consultants on how to review your performance:

Listen.  The marketplace will  let you know in detail what’s okay and not okay.  Use your special events, social networking sites, and surveys to be your ear-extenders.

Form partnerships.  Together you have  more insight on what metrics count and which have become irrelevant.

Hire employees and consultants who aren’t a hand-and-glove fit with your organizational culture.  Then ask them daily how they rate your strategies and tactics.

In his management classic “How The Mighty Fall,” Jim Collins cites smugness born of success as the reason why an enterprise begins to decline.  Prevent that by developing multiple perspectives for tracking success.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for marketing, partnerships, public relations, special events, and social media, 203-404-4868.

Your Mission Statement: The 3 Ps, from Image Marketing Consultants

 Mission statements for your organization are important.  You may be running a business or operating a non-profit.

What’s in the mission statement captures why you exist, your goal and objectives, how you plan to achieve them, and why all this matters.  Through your mission statement you attract customers or clients, good workers, investment capital, media attention, and strategic alliances or partnerships.

That’s a lot riding on the mission statement.  However, it must be short.  That was always the situation.  It’s more so now in this era of Twitter or short form.  The average attention span keeps shrinking.

Here are the 3Ps, from Image Marketing Consultants:

Passion.  You reach into your heart.  You search for why you and many others should put their trust, time, and money into your organization.

Pragmatism.  Lofty ideals aren’t enough.  You must provide evidence that you can get from an abstraction to something which works.

Public Interest.  In what ways are you contributing to your little piece of the universe?  Are you making it easier for the disabled to navigate their residences?  Are you generating jobs?  Are you creating wealth for shareholders?

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for Mission Statements, Marketing, Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, Special Events, and Social media, 203-404-4868.

Presidential Election Year: Piggybacking on Momentum, 4 Tips from Image Marketing Consultants

Every 4 years, we Americans get to decide what direction we want our country to embrace.   That means there is a lot of attention focused on values.   We participate in this debate at rallies for candidates, sending our comments to media articles, stating our point of view on our blogs, Facebook pages, and tweets, and chewing the fat with friends and family.  But it might not occur to us to leverage this momentum for our own businesses.  Please don’t waste that opportunity.

Here are 4 tips from Image Marketing Consultants:

* This period of flux provides just the right timing to ask customers and prospects what they want, what’s on their minds, and how your business can fit better with all that.  Contests are popular.  You might offer dining for 4 at your restaurant as the prize for the person who makes the most useful suggestion on how you can make the restaurant their favorite place.

* Bundle messages on values into all your promotional materials.  For example, on your Facebook fan page, you can post daily inspirational profiles of American leaders who built a political movement, nonprofit organization, or enterprise on certain values.

* Be creative in naming or renaming certain products or services according to election themes.  For example, the promotional special at your gym could be “Getting America in Shape 4 the next 4 years.”

* Enhance your network by volunteering in the campaigns for local and state candidates.  In addition to getting to know the movers and shakers, you will learn fresh skills in marketing, public relations, and partnerships.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for Marketing, Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, Special Events, and Social Media, 203-404-4868.