The coupon phenomenon – from coupon to loyal customer

How often have you used a coupon to get a deal from a business, and then continue to go back, without a coupon?

It’s ironic, but clearly if I stumble across a restaurant or retailer, and go in and make a purchase without a coupon, I’m often much more willing to go back, as long as I had a good experience. If however, the first time I interacted with that business was because of the offer on a coupon I redeemed, I’m less likely to go back without a coupon.

I don’t think there is any official research on this, but I’m open to responses on this post. This line of thinking gets to my next point, how do you convert a bargain shopper into a loyal customer?

First and foremost, coupon or not, if you don’t provide a great experience for the customer, there’s not much of a chance that any marketing program, no matter how good is going to get that customer back in.  Let’s just say this first time, coupon customer did have a great experience, how do you overcome the coupon mindset to keep them coming back. Giving them a coupon each time just isn’t realistic, or is it?

I’m a strong believer in rewarding the loyal customers and integrating a loyalty program. Locally, Duffy’s Restaurants promote their MVP cards and reward loyal diners with a $10 credit, for every $100 spent. That customer that may have been lured in to try Duffy’s with a coupon, and had a great experience will be very receptive to ongoing discounts as part of a loyalty program.

Other than collecting an email address, loyalty programs are the golden chalice of customer retention. The only downfall of these programs are poor execution, or poor communication and understanding the value of being part of the program. If you have a CVS card you can probably relate. I mean, what do you really get with that card? Who knows…all I know is even if I don’t have the card, the clerk scans a code and I get a discount or something.

The other issue is how many loyalty cards is one person realistically going to carry with them? There are some new options but none have really caught on. An app in development by www.newtopalmbeach.com has shown some exciting promise. The app will organize all of the local loyalty programs into one app, so you just have to download it once, and you will get rewarded each time you frequent these establishments.

No matter how you choose to execute your loyalty program, it remains a key component to move your small margin coupon shoppers into an ongoing steady source of revenue and referrals for your business.

As a business owner or top-level executive, how much is your time worth?

Business owners are faced with many different tasks throughout the day. At small to mid-sized companies that becomes even more prevalent. This often drains their time away from focusing on the ‘Important / Non-Urgent’ activities that no one else but the owner can do, and that are critical to the growth of the company, and more time in the ‘Important – Urgent’ quadrant.

These tasks are highlighted in the Stephen Covey Quadrants graphic below:

This is the question you need to ask yourself…how much is my time worth? When you see that your time is being spent primarily in other quadrants, there may be a good case for considering a ‘work smarter, not harder’ approach. We like to use the motto ‘do what you do best, and let us do what we do best’.

The chart below highlights some of the major time drains (click on the image to enlarge), that need to get done, but are not necessarily where a business owner should be spending most of their time. As we review this list with owners and top executives, we find that some of these tasks are not being done or even on the task list, due to the lack of time available to allocate to each.

 

 

Working with our agency, we can take on as many of these services as you need to address, when we engage with you and place media buys on your behalf. Not only will these tasks be performed more effectively, but also efficiently, as our experience and agency buying power will benefit you with better rates across the board.  Think about it, for the same budget you will receive increased media exposure, so even with the same results, you will increase your ROI. One of our clients was able to double his media exposure, with the same budget resulting in double digit gains.

If you reach the end of your day, and keep feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything, working with a professional advertising and marketing agency can get you back on track, and back to where your focus will best help the growth of your company.

Everything old is new again…really new!

Some of you may remember a face to face marketing company that would basically drive up to the homes of new residents, in their station wagon, and deliver a basket of house-warming gifts from paid advertisers….Brilliant!

Logistically, we can see how this business model would have a tough time surviving today, but the marketing strategy of being the first business to welcome a new resident remains highly coveted, yet poorly executed.

Enter ‘New To Palm Beach’ (.com of course!). This is the first time in a long time that a tradigital marketing program offers advertisers this ability to specifically target new residents to Palm Beach County. Using direct mail, New To Palm Beach (N2PB) will send an average of 10,000 new residents each month, a coupon book filled with exclusive offers from a limited number of advertisers.

These coupons will arrive in a custom envelope and includes a free fridge magnet inside. As consumers flip through the book and redeem the offers that most appeal to their needs, they will be asked to visit the website to register for more offers. Redemption rates from these coupons are estimated in the 20% range based on the presentation and appeal to the target market (as well as statistics from similar programs), where a typical stand-alone ‘direct mail’ piece averages only 1% to 3%.

At www.newtopalmbeach.com consumers will have the ability to print additional coupons, access the blog with features of local businesses (written by Aaron Wormus – ‘A Guy On Clematis’), as well as to sign up to receive updates from the community events calendar. This website, along with its social media network including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will keep loyal customers engaged and returning to redeem additional offers and to get the scoop on the latest in Palm Beach County.

The beauty of the website will be in its ability to collect ‘hyper-local’ information, and offer email marketing down to the zip-code level. This type of information will allow even a one location ‘cleaners’ on the corner of Jog and Hypoluxo to target an email offer, with very little waste and a high probability of conversion.
So while N2PB uses the mail and an ‘electronic wagon’ to welcome new residents, the focus remains on being the first to reach this lucrative market, which has yet to establish their buying patterns.

If you are a business owner and would like additional information on how to get involved, please visit N2PB.com. And to keep things interesting, all residents who register online will have a chance to enter and win a new iPad mini!

What the Miami Heat’s Championship can teach you about marketing and advertising.

The NBA regular season is 82 games long, and I mean loooong! If you make it to the finals, that’s another 16 to 35 games, wow! I love basketball, but I think it’s fair to say, no other sport has the constant, physical and mental demand that basketball puts on you. In an instant you’re switching from offense to defense, with different assignments, players and situations to contend with…at full speed!

So how does a team endure that kind of journey, and win it all? While the Heat are now known for their ‘Big 3’ – lead by superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they will quickly acknowledge that it took a team effort, and key plays by role players to get the job done. In marketing terms, it takes a ‘campaign’ to be successful.

In advertising, many companies go from one thing to another, hoping that they stumble across the right medium to bring them that coveted success. Although ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’ is something most people agree is not a good strategy, it is often the approach seen in advertising decisions.

The ‘Big 3’ in media for many companies could look like ‘TV, Radio and Print’. These 3 mediums still command the largest piece of the advertising pie, and can reach a large audience with a targeted message. But who are your role players? Internet, Direct Mail, Billboards, Email, etc.

The point is to plan a strategy around the right mix of media that best reaches your target market, so that each medium can build on the other. We often recommend a TV schedule that drives people online to ‘convert’ and add a direct mail piece to reaffirm the offer / message. Combing traditional and digital, (we call it tradigital) results in compounding effects for maximum return.

Putting one ad, here or there, and then abandoning it for another ad, here or there has never proven to result in any real progress or generate consistent sales. Work with your ad agency, to find what media mix best compliments your products and services in order to reach your target market and you will benefit from the results of a well-rounded campaign. Here’s to your championship season!

John Garcia – Baldrica is b digital.

The five questions to answer when deciding to hire an ad agency.

Nothing can quite compare to the excitement of a ‘small business’ that’s finding its legs and starting to show a real growth pattern. With it however, come a multitude of new opportunities and decisions for those at the helm.  One of those key decisions is when to hire an advertising and marketing agency. These questions and considerations can help you make that decision with confidence.

1. Are you overwhelmed with other projects? Let’s face it, every business owner wears many different hats, but when they monopolize your time to the point where you are not able to properly plan and manage your marketing plan, its time!

2. Are you getting a ton of calls from media reps? Have you noticed the only time media reps call is when you don’t need them? Media reps only put you on their radar when they know a company has the wherewithal to advertise. If you can’t keep up with the calls, and decide who to work with, its time!

3. Are you stuck in a creative rut? Even in good times, innovation and creativity need to remain in the forefront. Nothing can shoot down momentum faster than an ad or campaign that has boring or ineffective copy, or worse ties to be something it isn’t. If you’re not sure of your creative direction, its time!

4. Are you wondering what media is best for your business? TV, Radio, Billboards, Magazine, newspapers, and dare I say it, Yellow Pages; not to mention all of the digital options, where is the best place to invest your advertising budget. This is what we do best, and if you need expert advice and non-biased information, its time!

5. Are you wondering what advertising is working for you and what isn’t?  It’s been said ‘half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half’.  Well, imagine if you did!  We offer a ‘Free Media Audit’ which will clearly spell out where your ROI is positive and where you can reallocate some of your ad budget. If you don’t know where your ROI is coming from, its time!

Other points you may consider when deciding if it’s time to hire an ad agency include:

• A new perspective – a sounding board if you will.
• Expertise in marketing and advertising – you are too close to the forest to see the trees.
• Reduce costly mistakes – we’ve been there before, and will steer you away from it.
• A brand refresh – maybe all you need is to shake things up a bit.
• The creative eye – everyone can be creative, we get paid to do it.

If you find yourself somewhere in the middle of these points, it doesn’t cost you anything to pick up the phone and call us, or send an email to discuss your particular situation. Whether it’s just a free consultation, or our free media audit, let us help you gain a perspective of where you are, so you can help us gain a perspective of where you want to go, and we can show you how to get there!
John Garcia – Baldrica Advertising and Marketing Group (BAM) b digital agency, inc. 561-683-0404 jgarcia@bdigitalagency.com

If it ain’t broke…find a way to break it!

The old adage, ‘If it ain’t broke’ don’t fix it’ is just too old fashioned to work anymore. Believe me, I’m old fashioned and I believe in tried and true methods, but the problem is that technology continues to evolve at faster and faster speeds. The result is many strategies or tactics become dated much faster, and if you’re not ahead of that wave, it will crush you!

I’ve seen it over and over, working in the music business when we would actually sell records (remember those!). Or when I worked at Circuit City which had over 560 stores nationwide, and disappeared in a matter of minutes!

It’s not good enough to monitor the competition and try to out-do their best efforts. You have to poke holes in everything you do, and be your own competition in order to fully stay ahead of the game. If your business is in the technology sector, this blog may be a moot point (at least I hope it is), but if you’re not in technology you still have to think the same way, because your customer IS in technology. No matter what you service or sell, your customer is searching online, using smart phones, apps and if you don’t measure up, you will lose market share.

This goes so far beyond having a website (and making sure it’s mobile), but even beyond that, are you truly focused on giving your customers the best experience possible at every touch point? I know it seems overwhelming, but the people at the top of your organization should be challenging each other in this way, every day! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve met with potential advertisers who weren’t really sure who their target market or heavy user is!

What if…is a great way to start the day, or a weekly meeting that digs deep into the ebb and flow of your operation. The scariest thing for a company to experience is success. As we strive and fight to get there, we look at every angle, inspect every transaction and rethink every outcome. Success can often cause complacency, and by the time you look in your rear view mirror, that little one-man shop that opened up last year, is now doing a better job than you, and taking most of your customers.

I recall working in the classified department of the Palm Beach Post, and a wise old manager said, ‘we have a problem…half of our income is coming from classifieds, and a little guy named ‘Craigslist’ is devastating the industry one paper at a time. We need to diversify…’

Well, anyone familiar with the newspaper industry and print in general knows that they did not break that mold quick enough and continue to struggle to replace that income.

I say, break something in your organization every day. Your partner or boss my not appreciate it right now, but in the long run, they will thank you!

Is it time for a Brand Refresh or a Complete Marketing Makeover?

I learned something a long time ago in this quirky business of marketing and advertising. The common denominator if you will, between a successful campaign and one that performs poorly, and that is this: ‘The message only resonates with the audience, if the audience resonates with the message.’ HUH?

Exactly my point! No matter how well thought out your marketing message is, and no matter how strong the offer, it only ‘works’, if the audience wants it, needs it, and is ready to receive that message. No matter how great you think your product, service or solution is, it might not be right for the large majority of the audience you’re targeting it to.

We’ve seen it over and over, a company who just ‘can’t understand why their marketing/advertising efforts are ‘not working’. To complicate matters instead of gathering more consumer information (asking their customers and prospects what they really want), they continue to lock themselves in board rooms and come up with the next great idea.

So, to answer the question whether you need a brand refresh, or a complete marketing makeover would depend on how well you’re engaged with your customers, and how well you understand the needs and wants they want you to service.

If you are not gathering any feedback, no email marketing, no social media, very little in terms of customer service surveys or focus groups, it may be time to start over.   Scary thought I know, but what if I could show you the future, and you’re only a few steps from going over the cliff? Although starting over will be tough, at least you will set a foundation for a much brighter future.

If you can answer these questions, you’re in pretty good shape, if not read on!
1. Do you have a simple, emotional brand story that can cut through the clutter?
2. Is it still relevant today?
3. Is it the same story customers tell?
4. Can your employees tell it?
5. Does your experience stand out?
6. Do you know what aspects of the experience drive your brand?
7. Does your experience have a unique branded personality?
8. Are you managing the full customer experience across organizational boundaries?

If you are getting feedback, and understand where you’re missing the mark, a simple brand refresh may be in order. Just a few tweaks to get you back in good standing with your core or ‘heavy users’. If not, and you’re just going from pushing one message to pushing another in hopes one will ‘stick’ – it may be time to ‘pivot’ to persevere, and that is a much better approach then moving forward blindly.

The key is to constantly be measuring these results and tying it all back in to the feedback you receive. One of the biggest benefits of social media is the instant response you can gather and act upon, the latter being the key here.

Whether you need a complete makeover or a refresh, we will help you navigate those waters and guide you through the process based on the strategies and tactics we’ve developed over the last 30 years in business. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone! That may be the very reason you’re in this situation now, and repeating the same actions, will deliver the same results.

Please call or email us to schedule a free consultation. We will ask the tough questions, and work with you to develop a campaign that will get your brand back to the forefront where it needs to be.

Build your own audience!

The conversation hasn’t changed, but where it takes place, has!

If you can bring social media down to it’s lowest common denominator it would all come down to ‘word of mouth’. Till this day, ask any business owner what generates the most leads or business, and you’ll still hear those three words.

When you place an ad on TV, radio, newspaper, etc, what you’re really doing is renting their engaged audience. They have the ‘reach’, you have to pay for that, and the more you pay the more frequency your ad will achieve. The problem is, each time you want to reach that audience, you have to start the process all over again.

Social Media is an opportunity for you to build your own audience. That’s the most simple way that I can explain it. Never before have you really had an opportunity to build your own loyal, engaged audience to interact with, build trust and loyalty and have conversations on a one to one basis. That’s the power of social media, and when your own ‘friend’ talks about a positive experience, that’s as good as any referral you can ask for.

As your own audience continues to grow, you will build your own base of loyal customers, family and friends and see a higher return all of your traditional marketing and advertising efforts.

Talk to us to see how we can help you build your own audience, and the effect it will have on your bottom line!

John Garcia
Digital Director
bdigitalagency.com

How ‘social’ is the Auto Industry?

Have you purchased a car recently or know somebody who has? Did a pic of the new vehicle make it to the Facebook wall?

Increasingly sharing these lifestyle events on social media are becoming more popular. Let’s face it, purchasing a new vehicle (even if its not new) is a big deal and one that many people would like to share with their friends and family. In fact, I’d like to share some recent statistics from the dealer.com website.

No other medium lets you enter into the conversations your customers and prospects are having quite like social media does. These slide prove that this segment continues to grow, and the sooner you understand it, the better you will be able to leverage it, and compete.

Are your business practices in line with your consumers buying habits?

We recently launched a new product to help companies in the Air Conditioning business generate more leads. The program is simply called BestACQuote.com and it’s based on the same premise that has made Lending Tree and other similar sites so successful.

 

For the most part, if you give consumers the opportunity to gather all of their information in one place, and that place delivers quality and trusted options, that will often be the preferable choice. For example when you look for the price on a plane ticket for an upcoming trip – do you visit each individual airline site, or do you go to Expedia or Kayak or a similar site?

This business model on the internet continues to grow in popularity as the sites become better at delivering valuable results in less time than it would take you to do the research. These results are very often competing on price, as it allows the consumer to ‘shop’ more easily.

I understand that most businesses don’t want to compete on price. Everyone would prefer to deal with consumers who are interested in the best ‘value’ for their money and bottom line pricing is not the ultimate deciding factor. However, reality in the marketplace weighs heavily in favor of the consumer shopping first for the best price, then looking at the value.

It was somewhat surprising to me at a recent air conditioning trade show, how many AC companies did not want to compete on ‘price’. They often stated that their not looking for that ‘type’ of customer, and that they were not the ‘cheapest’ guys out there. Really?

Value is all about comparing the price of something to what you’re getting in return. If I pay for one AC system that last me 5 years and pay $2000 or buy 1 AC that last me 10 years but pay $3,000, which one is the cheapest?

All that aside (basic best-selling practices), the bottom line is that the consumer does prefer to make decisions based on price, and if you’re not able to enter into that arena, how are you going to be able to enter into the value conversation?

I was in the music industry many years ago, when we would actually sell records. Records are these vinyl discs that would spin in a turntable or record-player and music would come out the speakers! I say this sarcastically because when things went digital (MP3 if you will) in the music biz, everybody pushed back, and everybody wanted to sue everybody.

Well, now iTunes is just a way of life…I mean, when was the last time you visited a record store? The point is when you don’t embrace technology, and learn how to leverage it and make it work for you, it will run you over and run you right out of business.

Get comfortable with www.bestacquote.com and www.lendingtree.com and www.expedia.com and any other site that comes along and delivers the needs of the consumer in the fastest and most reliable manner, because that is how business will be conducted online for many years to come.