Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Christmas Holiday is Definitely Different

I don't know, but it seems to me that everyone I know is saying that this Christmas is different for them.  Is it only the people I am acquainted with or are you hearing it too?

Every sports game I go to (my children are playing basketball at this time of year), concert or party, the discussion always turns to how behind everyone is on getting decorations up and buying presents.  It's almost a universal frustration.  Why is that?  Bear with me as I share my thoughts.

When many of us were younger our parents put a tree up and presents under it.  Maybe a few lights outside to cheer up the neighborhood too.  Now, we are expected to put up multiple trees and make the outside of our house look like something from HGTV.  Well, I gave up on that.  I was very pleased with myself when I actually put up my artificial tree (it looks great even if it isn't real and for those environmentalists out there-it lasts a long time.)  My daughter decorated it until she got bored.  So it is a little sparse, but hey, it has decorations.  No lights outside and this year I didn't even pretend I was going to put them out.  The last 3 years I got them down from the attic and sat them by the door.  Never made it outside though.

Those of us who have children are busy.  All the time.  You would think that during the holidays it would slow up some.  You would be wrong.  During the two weeks around Thanksgiving my 14 year old son was in no less than 5 basketball tournaments.  Christmas break has at least one scheduled starting the day after Christmas.  What about all the college teams that play during the holidays?  The logic of sports on TV isn't lost on me, but does anyone get a break?

All of this tires me out just to think about it.  Maybe we are all in a state of shock and are frozen with inaction.  We can't get it all done, so we get none, or very little of it done.  Easier to complain about it than do it.

What does all of this have to do with marketing, which is my normal topic (at least in some way?)  Nothing really.  But it gets it off my chest.  Gotta go.  Presents need to be bought and wrapped.  Still much to do before 12/25.

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

Cindy Neky
Marketing Pathways

Friday, December 4, 2009

Are My Prospects Like Me?

It is interesting that most people in business think their prospects and clients think the exact same way they do.  For some reason, many business people are convinced that if they like or don't like an ad campaign, direct mail piece or brochure, then their clients feel that way too.  It doesn't matter that their clients might be a different age, sex or with a different income range.  If I don't like commercials like that, my customers won't either.
It is easy to project the way we feel about a product, service or way to disseminate information on other people.  How often is that right?  Much less than we would like to believe.  Unless your target market is the same age, sex, and in the same geographical area and with the same background, you shouldn't fall into the trap that they will like the same type of marketing that you do.
For instance, don't assume that because you do all of your research on the internet that your clients do the same.  If your clients are over the age of 60, a smaller percentage of them will be finding that next contractor on the internet.  On the other hand, if your clients are under 30, chances are that most of their daily information comes from that source.  So unless you are your own target market, let research do the judging for you.
It is safer to make a few phone calls, have a focus group or send out surveys than to assume your clients like the same vehicle for receiving information on products that you or anyone in your company does.  Many businesses are surprised to find that the ad campaign that sounded terrific during the last marketing meeting falls flat when out in the market place.  Good ideas only work if the people they are directed at like them too.
The next time you need to advertise in any way, make sure that you know your target market and that they will like it.  After all, they make the purchase.

Cindy Neky
Marketing Pathways