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Dealing with Buyer’s Remorse

The very recent vote by Great Britain to leave the European Union – dubbed by media as the Brexit — has sent shock waves through financial markets, political institutions, and businesses worldwide. Despite polls prior to the election indicating that the vote to leave would prevail, the world was taken seemingly by surprise when it came to pass. The pound sterling tumbled to a 31-year low. British political parties were thrown into upheaval. Stock markets around the globe took dives. And the fall out is far from over. But, apparently, many who voted to leave the E.U. are now saying that they wish they could take back their vote. Kelvin Mackenzie, a columnist for the British Sun newspaper which backed the leave, said he was suffering from “buyer’s remorse,” regretting his vote. He was not alone. Emily Tierney, a columnist for the Independent newspaper, wrote “If I could take my vote back now, I would. I’m ashamed of myself.” They are not alone. A Survation poll carried out for the Mail on Sunday after the Brexit vote found that of the 17.4 million who voted to leave, 1.1 million say that they wish they had voted Remain. Given that the leave vote prevailed by only 4% of the votes cast – or 1.2 million votes — that is a monumental case of Buyer’s Remorse.
The truth is that any transaction that involves the ‘purchase’ of a product, service or idea must contend with the possibility and consequences of “buyer’s remorse.” For retailers, “buyer’s remorse” is part of what fuels returns. So what is Buyer’s Remorse anyway? Why does it happen? Is there a way to curb or eliminate Buyer’s Remorse completely? Continue reading

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Meeting Infinite Sales Demands with Finite Marketing Resources

There is a silent (or sometimes not-so-silent) battle waged between what the sales department wants and what the marketing department can and should deliver. Business leaders may only be vaguely aware of this tug-of-war but it exists in most organizations. There are two reasons for this. First, salespeople are always under great pressure (internal and external) to make sales. Not only does the company want them to sell more, but they themselves want to earn more. But selling requires a lot of time and effort. To ease the burden, they look to marketing for help. Second, salespeople are bombarded by other companies’ impressive marketing efforts. Newsletters. Email drip campaigns. Remarketing Campaigns. Seminars. Blogs. Billboards. Ads. Videos. Tradeshow exhibits. Competitor marketing is particularly irksome. Logically, salespeople believe that if they do the same marketing, they too will succeed. This is the business equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

In most companies, this ‘sales-marketing tug-of-war’ plays out with sales making infinite demands for marketing support with little understanding of the budget or resources required for implementing those ideas, or if those strategies fit in with or duplicate existing efforts. Sales teams claim that they either cannot meet their sales goals or they can be exponentially more successful if their specific marketing ideas are implemented. Unlimited sales demands are thus made on marketing departments that have limited resources. What is the company’s leadership to do? To handle infinite sales demands with finite marketing resources, leaders should implement this three-step process. Continue reading

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Be a Better Writer in 2016 – Part 2

For most people, writing is not easy. Converting one’s thoughts to writing is hard, in part, because we don’t speak the way we are supposed to write and we’re not always entirely clear about what we want to say or the best way to say it. That is true in any language.
Writing the English language has even more challenges. For every rule there are always exceptions. Words often have multiple meanings, spellings and sounds. Nevertheless, writing is a skill used daily by most people in their personal and professional lives. While no one expects the average person to be a master writer, it’s important to at least be a proficient one.
Thankfully, technology can help, to some extent. Correct spelling is the easiest part to get right. Spell check on most computers and devices automatically eliminates the most common spelling errors, but it doesn’t catch mistakes that involve homophones, homonyms, homographs or heteronyms. Those are words in the English language have the same sounds, spelling or meanings. These are the cause of many of the mistakes people make in writing. To make it a bit easier, here’s a little “cheat sheet” to keep at your desk for future reference. This can help avoid some of the most common mistakes. Continue reading

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Retargeting: Digital Ads that Hit the Bulls-Eye

Have you ever done a search for a product or service and then seen ads for companies that deliver that product or service later on websites that have nothing to do with that product or service? For example, you might have done a search for lenders that handle commercial property loans and mezzanine financing. You clicked on the websites of a few of those lenders. Then later — hours, days or even weeks later — you did a totally unrelated search for hotels in Dallas for an upcoming conference and you saw an ad for a lender you perused earlier offering mezzanine financing on the hotel aggregator’s website. At first, you thought “coincidence.” Then you saw a similar ad for another lender when you searched for an upscale restaurant to dine at with your spouse and clicked on the site to make a reservation. You thought, “Strange.” Then you saw yet another ad for a commercial real estate lender when you checked for the weather forecast for your golf outing on Sunday. At that point, you felt like “Big Brother was watching.” How could such diverse and unrelated websites know you were looking for a commercial real estate lender? How could those lenders know to advertise on sites that you frequent? The answer is retargeting.

Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, remarketing or retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising in which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions, in situations where these actions did not result in a sale or conversion. This type of online advertising has been around for a few years and is highly effective and yet not widely used. That makes it a great tool for businesses that want to stand out in the crowd. Continue reading

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The Art, Skill and Gift of Speaking

The ability to communicate verbally is an essential skill for most any occupation. And yet there are a lot of idioms and expressions about wasting time talking, saying the wrong things and talking too much. Chewing the fat. Talking up a storm. Talking out of both sides of one’s mouth. Shooting the breeze. Speaking the same language. Running of at the mouth. Spilling the beans. Big talk. Talking a blue streak. Talking one’s ear off. There are even knick names for people who talk too much or speak when they shouldn’t. Chatty Cathy. Chatterbox. Windbag. Blabbermouth. Perhaps it makes sense that society has so many ways to criticize talk because of the increased amount of babbling that bombards us from all directions including radio, cell phones, television, robocalls, YouTube videos, etc.? Perhaps.

Nevertheless, the ability to speak is one of the greatest skills — and one of the most complex — that a human being performs. Although many animals do make sounds that allow them to communicate with one another, only human beings can manage the complex process of complex talk. After all, fluent speech is based on the interaction of various processing components. We must retrieve appropriate words, generate syntactic structure, compute the phonological shape of syllables, words, phrases and whole utterances, and create and execute articulated thoughts. And, as in any complex skill, there is a self-monitoring mechanism that checks the output. For any professional or business person, being able to speak clearly — choosing the right words and articulating thoughts meaningfully – is a key to success. Are you a good talker? Continue reading

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How Business Sense and Scents Add Up to Dollars and Cents

Almost no one would argue that vision and hearing play a big role in one’s career and professional success. Any person without the ability to either see or hear surely has a harder time dealing with phone calls, reading and responding to emails, interacting with clients, driving to meetings, visiting job sites, reviewing product quality, etc. Vision and hearing are fundamental sense for most jobs.

What about the sense of smell? Most people don’t put much importance on their ability to smell or think they use it much at work. While it is vitally important for a chef, fragrance chemist, sommelier, or florist to be able to smell with discernment, the sense of smell is not considered as important to the majority of business people in most industries. Yet, aromas are powerful influencers of human behavior and people can distinguish between smells with greater specificity than they realize. So just how important is the ability to smell to career success and how much does scent impact business?
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The Changing Face of Search

Most people use search engines with little or no understanding of how they actually work – such as why one listing ranks higher than another or what cookies do or even how search engines are monetized. This is partly the fault of the search engines, who keep a lot of what they do a secret. But it is also partly because most people don’t really care how it works. As long as it provides a wealth of information easily, accurately and quickly, the functionality hasn’t really mattered much. However, business owners, managers and professionals should care, if they want their products or services to be ‘findable’ on the World Wide Web. Without understanding how search engines work, it is impossible to ensure that a company’s desired messaging will be found by potential clients or customers.

What is interesting is that, while search engines may seem static and unchanging to users, the reality is that search engines and the world of search is constantly changing. Search engines adjust their algorithms (the step-by-step functions to be performed to find and deliver information) regularly to stay a step ahead of those who manipulate online information for their own needs or wants. Updates are rolled out periodically that alter how information is ranked. Moreover, the search engine market is constantly evolving to meet the needs and concerns of those using search engines. And the search engine market is growing exponentially. But how will all this affect business? Continue reading

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Converged Media: A Mix of Owned, Earned and Paid

It used to be so much simpler to market a company 25 years ago. That was before a computer programmer in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web in 1991. In the days before the Internet, search engines and smart phones, marketing consisted primarily of campaigns to targeted audiences using a controlled number of channels and a controlled message. Practically all marketing efforts were paid for and directed by the company. That’s not to say that getting the message across or selling a customer on a product or service was easier. It wasn’t. But for companies trying to communicate a message to a customer, the approach was simpler and more direct. There was less messaging ‘noise’ to distract and confuse audiences.

Today, we are overwhelmed by sales and marketing messages coming at us from every direction. To be heard, companies must use a variety of approaches and a multitude of channels. This includes Paid Media, Owned Media and Earned Media efforts. Today’s marketing efforts must converge these to create a mixed approach. Each is a different way for potential clients or customers to learn about a business’ message. Each functions differently. And each has its pros and cons. In order to reach a target audience, a company has to understand and determine the right mix of its owned, earned and paid media efforts. Let’s look at how they work. Continue reading

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Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 2

Last week, we explored some of the latest terms trending in sales and marketing in 2015. Some may have felt lost in lingo limbo, but most probably learned a thing or two about the emerging myriad of strategies and products available for businesses today to reach customers. Knowledge is power. But that doesn’t mean that a company should adopt every strategy, product and approach. Quite the contrary. When it comes to sales and marketing, it is different strokes for different folks. What works for one company may not have any value for another business. The goal is to be discerning. While early adopters embrace every trend, haphazardly trying each new thing, and late bloomers wait until a marketing strategy is thoroughly vetted and ubiquitous before even dipping a toe in the water, both extremes can be dangerous. The key is to be knowledgeable of all the approaches exist and determine what might work best for a particular business in a particular industry.

With that in mind, here are a few more 2015 trending terms to add to the sales and marketing vocab. Responsive web design. Adaptive web design. QR Codes. Click fraud. H2H. Nueromorphics. Media agnostic. Advertainment (not related to Advertorial, a much older but still useful marketing term referring to an article (instead of an ad) that is written to inform but with a slant/bias). Twinternship. mCommerce. Here’s what they mean. Continue reading

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Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 1

Ever heard the term storyscaping? How about snackable content? Conversation marketing. Brand storytelling. Snaps. Promoted chats. Owned media. Content studio. Omnichannel. Native advertising. Programmatic Marketing. Culture of Content. Data-Driven Publishing. Growth hacking. Newsjacking. Big data. Millennials. Local. Responsive web design. Adaptive web design. QR Codes. Beacons. Click fraud. Customer-centric. Engagement. H2H. Deep Linking. Nueromorphics. Media agnostic. Immersive design. Advertainment (not related to Advertorial, a much older but still useful marketing term referring to an article (instead of an ad) that is written to inform but with a slant/bias). Phablet. Twinternship. Remarketing. Freemium. mCommerce. If it feels like you’re reading Chinese — in English – you’re not alone.

These are just some (not all) of the latest sales and marketing terms making the rounds this year. The typical business owner, manager or professional is probably not familiar with most (if any) of these terms. Even some marketers might not be familiar with all of the strategies and ideas behind this terminology. But anyone running a business must stay current because, in today’s business world, the fast eat the slow. These terms reflect the ever-evolving face of sales and marketing today, and he who understands the opportunities best is best able to maintain an edge over the competition. So here’s a quick ‘cheat sheet’ to bring you up-to-date fast. Continue reading

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