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WHY CULTURE AND VALUES MATTER MOST IN LEADERSHIP

WHY CULTURE AND VALUES MATTER MOST IN LEADERSHIP

What does leadership have to do with culture and values? Culture and Values in the workplace matter more to U.S. workers than all other categories including pay and compensation. The same is true for France, the UK, Canada, and Germany.

What enables culture and values? Consider the second most important factor – Senior Leadership. If you are not investing in training for your leadership team, culture and values will be lower in ranking and turnover will be higher in percentage. I have learned this lesson from all perspectives, from being the newest member of the team to owning a multimillion-dollar business.

Culture and values are enabled from the top down and owned from the bottom up. Said another way, the most effective leaders enable high culture and model high values, but each teammate must genuinely feel ownership and make positive contributions to the culture.

 

COMPONENTS OF CULTURE AND VALUES

Components of a thriving culture include:

  • Everyone having a voice.
  • A sense of meaningful contribution to the company’s mission.
  • Recognition as a subject matter expert.
  • A genuine concern for the well-being and success of all teammates.

There are many more components of a thriving culture depending on the mission of the organization…

 

ENABLING YOUR TEAM

Culture can ebb and flow which is fine, as long as we are talking about varying degrees of good culture. Enabling your team to develop and contribute to a positive culture is a key component. The more ownership teammates represent in the culture of an organization, the better the culture will be.

One approach I use, within my organization of 35 teammates, is to ask each of them what a positive culture looks like and what we can do to enable it. Within my annual strategic vision mission, vision, and values document is a section dedicated to culture. This section is largely written by anyone on my team that wants to have input.

The cultural items that are written by my team include:

  • Build community through mentorship, leadership, and motivation.
  • Promote and enable a mindset of physical fitness.
  • Develop confidence and respect.
  • Intentionally incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Create and recognize opportunities for professional and personal growth.
  • Encourage creative thinking to advance individual and company objectives.
  • Deliberately bring people together.

These components of a positive culture are revisited each year. Then throughout the year, we discuss culture at our group meetings and make adjustments as necessary. If my leadership team does not monitor culture, it can very quickly move in the wrong direction, especially with a team of younger and lesser experienced people. I personally revisit the items mentioned above at team gatherings.

 

EXPERIENCE IS EVERYTHING

Throughout my 26-year military career (and now after 11 years in the private sector), I have been on all sides of positive and negative cultures. I will admit that as much as I have tried to contribute to a positive culture, I know that there were times where I negatively impacted the culture. This is because I was not conscious of the impact my words and actions had at the time.

We all should be in it for the long haul. By focusing on culture and values, the long haul will be longer, ROI will be notably higher, and teammate engagement will be personally and professionally more rewarding.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR LEADERSHIP OFFERINGS AT OUR WEBSITE

 

Search our hashtags: #elevateyourleadership #robertpizzini

Leadership

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Case Studies Leadership Management

Why Training Plays a Critical Role in Hiring and Retention

Keeping employees from quitting their jobs after only a year or two is becoming a big challenge for many businesses across the country. Is it a problem for you?

“The New Reality of Employee Loyalty,” an article that Peter K. Murdock wrote for Forbes, suggests that to keep new employees, companies should discuss their career futures with them and have three-year development plans in place. “If you can’t see where your employee will be in three years within your organization, assume they will be working for someone else,” Murdock writes. And he is probably right.

And here is a secret for building employee loyalty . . .

Offer top-notch, comprehensive training for new employees

Why is training a secret for both hiring and keeping new hires? Here are some of the reasons we have seen.

  • Great training convinces new hires that you care about keeping them with you in the years ahead. If you demonstrate your willingness to invest in training employees, they realize that you believe in them and want them to be with you for the long term.
  • Great training sets your company apart from others. When job-hunters are given the choice of working for a company with a comprehensive training program and one that does not, they consistently decide to work for the company that does. It only makes sense.
  • A comprehensive onboarding program that brings in a wide variety of your new hires demonstrates that you are not a company that discriminates on the basis of background, religion, ethnicity, lifestyle or other factors. Your training program can be a vibrant and engaging experience that tells everyone, “This is a company where you belong.”
  • Training that teaches your company history and values increases the perceived worth of working for you. It shows that you are not only training people to perform specific tasks, but to join a company that stands for something. Note that videos that tell the history of your organization and that profile your leaders and customers are a low-cost way to create a compelling, value-added training experience that lays the foundation for employee satisfaction and long-term employment.

Another Way to Use Training to Encourage Retention . . .

As Peter K. Murdoch notes in his Forbes article, it is important to take the extra step of using training as a time to create long-term development plans for every new hire you bring on board. If you offer management training programs for employees, for example, talk about them. If you can identify certain hires for specific promotional tracks, talk about those opportunities during onboarding training. New retail salespeople can enter training programs to become future store managers, for example, and IT technicians can take additional training to join your team of digital marketers.

If you want your new employees to envision a bright future working for you, remember that training is the place to start.

About Evan Hackel

As author, speaker and entrepreneur, Evan Hackel has been instrumental in launching more than 20 businesses and has managed a portfolio of brands with systemwide sales of more than $5 billion. He is the creator of Ingaged Leadership, is author of the book Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation and is a thought leader in the fields of leadership and success.

Evan is the CEO of Ingage Consulting, Delta Payment Systems, and an advisor to Tortal Training. Reach Evan at ehackel@ingage.net, 781-820 7609 or visit www.evanhackelspeaks.com

 

 

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Advice Case Studies Marketing

Gen Z: How to Market to This Financial Powerhouse

Many aren’t yet old enough to vote, but Gen Z wields a mighty economic sword. Savvy brands are onto the reality that this new generation is becoming the developed world’s largest-ever generation of consumers. Market researchers have announced astonishingly high buying-power numbers for Gen Z — as in $143 billion in direct spending, with another few hundred or so billion in influencer spending.

In other words, Gen Z has enormous influence over how their parents and peers spend money — I’d venture to say, more so than any previous generation. Gen Z is also demanding different attributes from the brands they are willing to support, so it is essential to know how to market to them.

Who is Gen Z?

Most market researchers identify Gen Z as the group born roughly between 1997 and 2012. According to a 2020 Pew Research Center study, they are also the most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever, with roughly 25% Hispanic, 14% Black, 6% Asian, 5% other races and 52% white. In addition, one study (registration required) by Barkley found this generation is more interested in global trends and issues, connecting with others around the world via social media and apps.

Characteristics of Gen Z: The duality generation

Ironically, in some ways, Gen Zers have more in common with baby boomers and Generation X than millennials. Like these two older generations, the Barkley study found that Gen Zers tend to demonstrate more conservative views regarding personal responsibility, dependability, work ethic, finances and independence. However, according to the same Pew Research Center study above, they are more liberal and open-minded than any previous generation regarding social issues such as racial, gender and LGBTQ equality.

So, while these young consumers hold “old-school” values regarding financial independence, education and personal responsibility, they also hold progressive, non-conformist beliefs — and they aren’t afraid to speak out against brands that fail to authentically support issues important to them.

Top things to know about marketing to Gen Z

Gen Z grew up with the internet and they’ve become masters at instantly sorting through the deluge of information they receive, meaning they can tune out traditional advertising. Marketing to them requires a different approach than previous generations, so understanding the following attributes will help you connect with them.

Gen Z lives online. They have short attention spans, so your messages must be brief and catchy — short-form videos with music, visual effects and overlays are king. The Barkley study also found that these young consumers operate in FOMO (fear of missing out) mode, so using time-sensitive posts, such as the Stories feature on Instagram, often engage them. Keep in mind, Gen Z uses each social media app differently, so your online messaging approach needs to fit each platform. Regardless of which platform you use, be respectful of their privacy and ask permission before you share their content or data.

Gen Z needs opportunities for engagement and personalization. Interactive features such as quick polls, questions or contests in your social media advertising are a great way to get Gen Z’s attention. Provide opportunities for feedback and respond quickly, whether the feedback is positive or negative. It’s also essential to allow them to contribute ideas for product design and co-creation. Best of all, provide opportunities for them to experience your brand in an experiential marketing campaign such as product sampling and pop-up events. Make your experience spontaneous and delightful so participants will naturally want to snap and share hashtagged selfies of their interactions with your brand.

Gen Z values authenticity and uniqueness. Gen Z is more accepting of non-traditional beauty ideals and prefers to see realistic portrayals from advertisers and celebrities, according to the Barkley study. To connect with them, avoid hiring paid actors or “perfect-looking” celebrities and instead work with micro-influencers on social media (someone with 1,000 to 100,000 followers). Another excellent strategy is to work with in-person influencers on college campuses, concerts and extreme sports events.

Gen Z cares about social responsibility and positive change. As previously mentioned, Gen Z cares deeply about racial, gender and LGBTQ equality. They will not hesitate to call out a brand on social media that embraces a cause inauthentically or refuses to take a stand against inequalities. Their global connectivity and instant access to information have made them more aware of global, national and local inequalities compared to previous generations. As consumers, Gen Z leverage that information when making decisions about which brands to support. If you haven’t already engaged in cause marketing (e.g., partnering with a nonprofit), it’s time to do so.

Gen Z engages with brands they find ethical. Again, due to their ability to access information, these young consumers can often find out where, with what and how things are made. If a company claims to be “green” or support diversity but can’t transparently demonstrate its stated principles, Gen Z may turn its back. Gen Z sees a brand as a whole and doesn’t distinguish between owners, partners, distributors and suppliers. The takeaway here is that even if your brand behaves ethically, you could still lose Gen Z support if any link in your network appears not to do so.

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Advice Case Studies Marketing

4 Ways Fractional CMOs Can Help Develop Your Brand

Building a strong market presence is essential for companies to thrive. Effective brand development plays a pivotal role in establishing a distinct identity, creating customer loyalty, and driving business growth. To achieve these goals, an increasing number of businesses are turning to fractional Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) for their expertise in brand development. In this article, we will explore how fractional CMOs contribute to building a strong market presence and why they have become invaluable resources for companies seeking to elevate their brands.

Understanding Fractional CMOs

Fractional CMOs are experienced marketing professionals who provide strategic guidance and executional support on a part-time or project basis. Fractional CMOs bring knowledge and skills, collaborating with companies on brand development strategies. They understand market dynamics, consumer behavior, and industry trends, enabling impactful branding initiatives.

Developing a Solid Brand Strategy

One of the primary roles of a fractional CMO is to help businesses develop a solid brand strategy. They work closely with company leadership to define the brand’s core values, positioning, and unique selling proposition. By conducting thorough market research and competitor analysis, fractional CMOs identify opportunities to differentiate the brand and create a compelling value proposition. They collaborate with internal teams and external stakeholders to develop a cohesive brand strategy that resonates with the target audience and aligns with the company’s goals.

Crafting Consistent Brand Messaging

Consistency is key when it comes to building a strong market presence. Fractional CMOs play a vital role in ensuring that the brand’s messaging is consistent across all touchpoints. They help define the brand voice, tone, and visual identity, ensuring that it remains consistent in marketing collateral, advertising campaigns, social media channels, and customer communications. By maintaining a unified and cohesive brand message, businesses can establish trust, recognition, and loyalty among their target audience.

Implementing Effective Branding Initiatives

Fractional CMOs bring their expertise in implementing effective branding initiatives. They oversee the execution of marketing campaigns, ensuring that they are aligned with the brand strategy and objectives. Fractional CMOs leverage their marketing expertise to identify effective platforms for reaching the target audience. They guide businesses in selecting the right initiatives for brand visibility and engagement, including digital marketing, content creation, public relations, and event marketing.

Measuring Brand Performance and Iterating

Building a strong market presence requires continuous evaluation and refinement. Fractional CMOs utilize data-driven insights and metrics to measure the performance of branding initiatives. They analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) such as brand awareness, customer perception, and market share to assess the effectiveness of the brand strategy. Based on these insights, fractional CMOs collaborate with businesses to make data-backed decisions, iterate on branding efforts, and optimize strategies for better results.

Final Thoughts

Building a strong market presence is crucial for companies aiming to stand out in a competitive landscape. Fractional CMOs play a pivotal role in developing and implementing effective brand development strategies. Fractional CMOs use brand strategy, messaging, initiatives, and data evaluation to help businesses build a strong market presence. With their specialized skills and guidance, companies can elevate brands, gain a competitive edge, and achieve long-term success.

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Branding Case Studies Marketing

How Experiential Marketing Builds Brand Loyalty

More than any event or situation, the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of customers to throw brand and customer loyalty out the window. As the pandemic swept across the world, global supply chain disruptions, business closures and panic buying changed buying behavior. Unsurprisingly, Americans changed their shopping habits, switching to online, curbside pickup, meal delivery and other contactless methods — trends that are continuing even as the economy slowly reopens and recovers.

The more difficult challenge for marketers is the 30% to 40% of Americans who continue to switch brands, particularly younger generations, according to a recent McKinsey survey. Some abandoned their brands because of product availability issues or confusing ordering processes with apps and websites, but others switched to brands that better matched their values. So while it may be tempting to chase customer loyalty, you may generate higher returns on investment by securing brand loyalty. In my experience, one of the most effective ways to build brand loyalty is through experiential marketing.

Brand loyalty versus customer loyalty — there is a difference

Customer loyalty and brand loyalty are essential to customer retention. However, they differ in significant ways.

Customer loyalty: Customer loyalty relates to customers who transact with a business regularly and frequently. Pricing is the primary motivating factor in customer loyalty — customers buy from you because they feel satisfied that your products or services fit their needs and budgets. While they tend to buy more products or services, the profit margins are typically lower. Additionally, retention rates tend to be low because customers will quickly shift to a competitor who offers a better deal.

Brand loyalty: Brand loyalty is not driven by price. Brand loyalty describes devoted consumers who repeatedly buy because they perceive that your brand offers a higher quality experience, product or service than all other brands in the market. As a result, they are often willing to pay more, generating higher profit margins despite sometimes buying fewer products. These valuable customers are also more likely to try your brand’s other products.

Purpose-driven brand loyalty: Consumers are also pitching their loyalty behind brands that support social, environmental and health causes that matter to them. These consumers are also willing to pay more, knowing their purchase is supporting a cause.

Regardless of the motivation, brand loyal customers remain loyal because they trust your brand’s reputation, leading to high retention rates. Lastly, brand loyalty is much easier to maintain once achieved than customer loyalty.

How experiential marketing builds brand loyalty

Experiential marketing, sometimes called engagement marketing, aims to create surprisingly delightful opportunities for your target audience to engage with your brand and make emotional connections. Examples include unique events, pop-ups, tours, product sampling, public relations stunts, brand activations/sponsorships, hospitality lounges and product showcases. Experiential marketing campaigns allow consumers to interact directly with your brand in an authentic, two-way conversation versus the traditional one-way deluge of marketing noise — noise that consumers can tune out more easily than ever before.

When your target audience can touch, see, smell, hear, taste or experience your product or service in a meaningful, positive way, they will remember it. The primary goal is to create experiences consumers will remember and share with others in photos, tweets and conversations. These loyal consumers become unofficial brand ambassadors or advocates, which is the holy grail of any marketing campaign. Today’s consumers are far more influenced by their peers and social media influencers than by traditional advertising.

Experiential marketing isn’t only for product-based businesses

When we think of experiential marketing, we think of people milling around a tent or booth, touching, hearing, tasting and participating in a sensory experience with a brand’s product. However, experiential marketing campaigns can be very effective for service-based and media businesses as well.

Hollywood movie studios and streaming services are masters at creating experiential events to promote the launch of a new movie or series. A few notable examples include Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale campaign at the 2017 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, where a group of actors dressed in the main character’s iconic red and white clothing silently strolled around. This simple, relatively low-cost effort created significant buzz and plenty of free publicity.

In another example, North Carolina-based Ally Bank hosted a “You’re in Charge” campaign to celebrate National Online Bank Day that involved a brand-themed drone delivering free phone chargers to shoppers in a busy mall. Another effective way a service-oriented brand can engage with consumers is by hosting VIP hospitality lounges at bustling events where attendees can take a break, enjoy refreshments, get chair massages or have fun virtual reality experiences.

The takeaway – cost and time factors to consider

Brands are continually challenged to cut through the noise and differentiate themselves from competitors — and experiential marketing creates those opportunities by attracting new customers and converting them to loyal ones. Experiential marketing focuses more on providing a personalized, positive experience than on selling products or services. In addition, campaigns don’t have to be wide-scale, expensive efforts, so even smaller brands can reap the benefits. And lastly, the returns on investments can take longer to materialize but are often much higher than with other marketing strategies.

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Advice Best Practices Case Studies Entrepreneurship Growth Human Resources Leadership Management Operations Strategy

Break Free From Founder Dependence: Strategies for Business Success?

How to Overcome Founder Dependence as a Start-up?

Commencing a business is an exhilarating voyage. As an entrepreneur, you invest your passion and dedication into transforming your start-up from an idea into a tangible reality. However, as your business expands, there is a risk of excessive reliance on you, the founder. Founder dependence can impede scalability, hinder decision-making processes, and limit overall growth potential.

This article delves into the challenges posed by founder dependence and explores effective strategies to overcome this obstacle.

 

Three Dangers of Founder Dependence

When a start-up heavily relies on the founder’s expertise, connections, and decision-making, it becomes vulnerable to various risks. Let’s closely examine some of the perils associated with founder dependence.

  1. Limited Scalability

Founder dependence can hinder the scalability of a start-up. When all critical decisions and operations flow solely through the founder, it creates a bottleneck that restricts growth. As the workload increases, the founder may struggle to delegate effectively, leading to burnout and inefficiency.

Scaling the business becomes challenging without a well-structured and empowered team.

  1. Challenges in Decision-Making

When a start-up excessively depends on the founder for decision-making, it can slow down the entire process. The founder may become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of decisions they need to make, resulting in delays and missed opportunities.

Additionally, decision-making becomes subjective, heavily influenced by the founder’s biases and perspectives.

 

  1. Single Point of Failure

Founder dependence creates a single point of failure within the organization. If the founder is unable to work due to illness, personal circumstances, or other reasons, the entire business can suffer.

This vulnerability puts the start-up at significant risk, jeopardizing its continuity and survival.

 

5 Strategies to Overcome Founder Dependence

Now that we comprehend the challenges posed by founder dependence, let’s explore effective strategies to mitigate this risk and foster a sustainable and scalable business.

  1. Cultivate a Strong Leadership Team

Building a robust leadership team is crucial to reduce founder dependence. Identify individuals who complement your skills and share your passion for the business. Delegate responsibilities to them, empowering them to make decisions and take ownership of their respective areas.

Cultivate a culture of trust and collaboration within the team, encouraging open communication and idea-sharing.

  1. Document Processes and Systems

To minimize reliance on the founder’s expertise, document key processes and systems within the organization. Create clear guidelines, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and knowledge repositories that outline how tasks are performed.

This documentation facilitates knowledge transfer, enables new hires to quickly get up to speed, and ensures consistency in operations even when the founder is not directly involved.

  1. Implement Effective Training Programs

Invest in comprehensive training programs for your employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. By equipping your team with the necessary tools and expertise, you empower them to handle complex tasks and make informed decisions independently.

Encourage continuous learning and professional development, fostering a growth mindset within the organization.

  1. Foster a Culture of Innovation and Collaboration

To overcome founder dependence, nurture a culture of innovation and collaboration. Encourage your team members to think creatively, share ideas, and take ownership of projects. Emphasize the importance of cross-functional collaboration and create platforms for brainstorming and knowledge-sharing.

By involving the entire team in the decision-making process, you can harness diverse perspectives and drive the business forward.

  1. Continuously Evaluate and Improve

Regularly evaluate your processes, systems, and team dynamics to identify areas for improvement. Solicit feedback from your team members and stakeholders, encouraging open dialogue.

Adapt and refine your strategies based on these insights, ensuring that your business remains agile and responsive to market changes.

 

Embracing Growth and Sustainability

Overcoming founder dependence is vital for the long-term success and sustainability of a start-up. By developing a strong leadership team, documenting processes, implementing training programs, fostering innovation and collaboration, and continuously evaluating and improving, you can reduce reliance on the founder and unlock the full potential of your business.

Remember, building a business is a collective effort. Embrace the growth opportunities that come with empowering your team and trust in their abilities.

With the right strategies in place, you can navigate the challenges of founder dependence and steer your start-up towards a prosperous future.

 

 

 

 

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Branding Case Studies Marketing

How to Identify Your Target Audience

How do you know you’re delivering the right message to the right people at the right time? You can create a fabulous message, but if you’re delivering it to consumers who are NOT likely to engage with your brand, you’re wasting valuable time and resources. Knowing how to identify your target audience is crucial to the success of your business. You may have more than one target audience, so it’s also essential to create messages that resonate with each of them. Let’s delve into how to identify your target audience.

What is a Target Audience?

Your target audience is a group of consumers who are most likely to want your product or service. Specific demographics and behaviors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, location, cultural preferences, profession, interests, and more are all factors that make up your target audience.

Your target audience may have segments or niches as well. For example, a real estate agency might want to attract first-time buyers with smaller budgets as well as wealthier clients seeking a luxury vacation home. Likewise, a skincare company that makes products for men and women would want to market to them differently — and target niches within each gender, such as teens fighting acne or older women worried about wrinkles.

Roles Within Your Target Market

Your target audience also has characteristics beyond demographics and interests. For the most part, your target audience falls into one of two categories:

The Decision Maker: This consumer makes the purchase, even if they are not the person using the product or service. Using our skincare company example, men may use an aftershave lotion, but their wives or girlfriends are the ones choosing which product to buy.

The Influencer: These people may lack the ability to buy, but they wield a heavy influence over the buying decision. Gen Z, consumers born roughly between 1997 and 2012, have immense influence over how their parents and peers spend money, even if they’re not old enough to buy. Spouses/significant others, colleagues, friends, and family members typically play influencer roles.

The takeaway here is that you’ll want to craft messages that speak to both consumers.

Determine Your Ideal Customer

You’ll want to identify who your ideal customer is and their top concerns and desires. It can be helpful to create an avatar or a “perfect customer” for each target audience — their age, gender, marital/relationship status, location, income, and interests.

In our real estate example above, the first-time homebuyer might look something like this:

  • Age: late 20s to early 30s
  • Relationship status: recently engaged or married
  • Desired location: suburb not too far from their workplace
  • Income: stable and sufficient to afford a 10 to 15% down payment, monthly mortgage payments, and related expenses
  • Interests: wants to start a family within a few years, so needs a home in a neighborhood suitable for children (parks, schools, recreation)
  • Plans for the home: only residence / live in it for several years

Alternatively, the second vacation homebuyer might have these characteristics:

  • Age: 50s to early 60s, retired or retiring soon
  • Relationship status: married with adult children, possibly grandchildren
  • Desired location: Upscale oceanfront resort community
  • Income: Very high and stable, can easily afford a sizeable down payment and monthly mortgage payments
  • Interests: golf, boating, tennis, country club membership
  • Plans for the home: use it several times throughout the year for vacations and family gatherings / an investment opportunity so likely to sell when the time is right

The ideal messaging for attracting budget-constrained, first-time buyers would demonstrate how the agency can help them find an affordable home in a family-friendly neighborhood. In contrast, the best messaging to attract vacation homebuyers would showcase the agency’s expertise in finding luxury homes in desirable upscale communities.

The key takeaway here is that once you know specific details about who you want to attract to your brand, you’ll be better able to craft messages that appeal to them.

Determine Your Target Audience’s Pain Points

Another vital component to identifying your ideal customer is understanding their concerns and the problems they are trying to solve, known as pain points. Pain points can also be benefits or solutions that improve their lives in some way — make them feel healthier, wealthier or more attractive; save them time or money; reduce frustration or stress, etc.

Using our real estate agency example, pain points for the first-time buyer might be:

  • I’m worried I’ll pick the wrong neighborhood.
  • What if I can’t find any affordable homes I like?
  • What if I find expensive problems in the house after the sale is final?
  • Can I trust this agency to be fair and have my best interests in mind?

The vacation homebuyer’s pain points might be very different:

  • I’m worried the home will lose value instead of appreciating.
  • What about vandalism or theft while I’m not there — does the community provide adequate security?
  • How likely is the home to be damaged or destroyed in a hurricane?
  • Does this agency have expertise in identifying homes with a high likelihood of generating an appealing return on investment?

The key takeaway is that once you understand how your products or services can solve your target consumers’ pain points, you’ll have a much better chance of engaging with them.

Need help determining who your target audience is? We can help! Contact us today.

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Case Studies Entrepreneurship Marketing

Can We Change Buyer Behavior? Hint: Yes, With ExperientialMarketing

Have you ever walked past a table at an event, store, or busy street corner and stopped to sample a new food or beverage? Or maybe you received a free 10-minute chair massage from a new day spa, jumped into a virtual reality game at a festival, or took photos and shared them of you with a brand mascot? If you said yes, you’ve participated in an experiential marketing activity. These are just a few simple examples of experiential marketing. Let’s take a deeper look at what experiential marketing is and how it works.

How Experiential Marketing Works

Instead of bombarding potential customers with ads on social media, television, online, billboards, print media, and bus stop benches, experiential marketing is a strategy that directly engages your target customers. This strategy doesn’t mean you simply set up a booth at a tradeshow, event, festival, etc. and hand out free swag that most people won’t keep or even remember receiving.

Experiential marketing provides opportunities to interact with customers directly — but that’s only part of it.

• Your potential customers need to feel a memorable, positive emotional reaction when they interact with your brand.
• Consumers need to feel excited enough to share their experiences with their friends and on social media.
• Consumers need to be able to taste, touch, hear, feel, and/or smell your brand — and enjoy the experience.

We already mentioned the free samples and virtual reality experiences, but experiential marketing is far more than that. And some of the most successful experiential marketing campaigns don’t even try to sell products or services — they accomplish their goals by making consumers feel a personal connection to the brand that leaves a lasting impression and changes buying behavior. The bond can occur when the consumer felt the experience was fun, “cool,” relevant, or inspiring (such as the brand doing something to benefit society or a nonprofit like this Folds of Honor DreamShip campaign).

You might be thinking, “OK, that sounds great for brands that produce tangible products, but mine doesn’t.” Experiential marketing works just as well for companies that provide services or other non-tangible offerings. For example, Hollywood studios know this and create opportunities for fans to get excited about new movie releases. Common strategies include using popup virtual reality activities, temporarily transforming stores or cafes into ones featured in the films, and sending actors out into crowds dressed as well-known film characters.

The bottom line is that consumers need to feel benefitted in some way — their association with your brand must make them feel more hip, attractive, understood, healthier, wealthier, excited, informed, empathetic, inspired, enriched, empowered, or philanthropic.

How Experiential Marketing Changes Buying Behavior

So now we know the first step is to engage (or re-engage) your consumers and establish a personal connection. Once they’ve established that connection with your brand, they become loyal customers. That’s great, but that’s just the beginning.

The crucial next step is for those customers to become unofficial brand ambassadors. When consumers come away from an engaging and unforgettable interaction with your brand, they are likely to share their experience with others — this is the holy grail marketers want. Research has shown that consumers’ friends and family have far more influence over buying behaviors than ads. In other words, consumers trust their friends and family more than advertisements. Your brand ambassadors are naturally creating new customers for your brand, and like a ripple effect, the circle of brand ambassadors continues to grow. You’ve changed buying behavior.

Ironically, this concept isn’t new. For example, in the early ‘80s, shampoo maker Fabergé aired an incredibly memorable TV commercial featuring blond actress Heather Locklear talking about using its shampoo. Locklear explains she liked it so much that she “told two friends,” and the screen splits into two versions of Locklear talking. It continues with “they told two friends and so on and so on,” and the screen continues to divide into 16 versions of Locklear talking.

Experiential Marketing Isn’t Risk-Free

Successful experiential marketing campaigns work because they create brand loyalty and organic brand ambassadors. However, experiential marketing takes careful planning to avoid wasting opportunities, time, and money.

You can create the most incredible brand interaction experience, but it can fail if you do it in the wrong place. You can choose the right place but at the wrong time. For example, your message is spot on, and your target audience is there, but they’re distracted or too busy to pay attention. Another pitfall is not fully understanding your target audience’s needs and creating a message or experience that is unengaging at best and irrelevant or insulting at worst. Carefully consider your audience, product or service, objective, and how it can translate into a meaningful, authentic customer experience.

Need some help with launching an experiential marketing program? Leverage our 20+ years of experience and expertise in creating impactful, successful programs.

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Branding Case Studies Marketing

Planning Your Mobile Marketing Tour

While you’re settling back into the office after the holidays, it is the perfect time to plan a mobile marketing tour!

mobile marketing tour is an excellent opportunity to meet your target audience in their lifestyle intersection.

Why Mobile Marketing?

  • Impact—Going on the road you’re able to reach a wider audience, expanding your campaign’s impact on consumers.
  • Pace—Not only will you be able to reach more people, but you will do so in a shorter amount of time. The mobile tour allows you to connect with more people in a faster manner.
  • Specialization—Probably the most exciting benefit of the mobile marketing tour is the ability to really individualize each stop to best cater to the area and people of each location. The marketing purpose is the same, but you can tailor each experience to a specific place.

Tips for Successful Mobile Marketing Tours

1. Research Beforehand

Choosing the best location is crucial, it must make sense for your brand and be convenient for your audience.

Finding a locale that fits your audiences’ lifestyle while complementing your brand will only be possible with in-person visits

Planning site visits, mapping out efficient driving routes, and installing a plan B will ensure a smooth and successful event.

And now, it’s important to know the area’s regulations and restrictions for groups of people. A little research will go a long way.

2. Personalize Each Event

As I’ve mentioned, being able to travel to different places gives you a wider audience, and while your product will remain the same, your users and their preferences will vary.

Do your research and make tweaks accordingly to appeal to specific locations. Your supporters will notice the details that cater to them, and they’ll be appreciative.

3. Prepare Your Staff

Considering your staff and brand ambassadors will be the face of your business on-site, taking the time to train them properly will be worth it.

Preparing them to engage (safely) with consumers, reviewing event logistics, brand policy and procedure, and the company’s mission will be essential to have a solid staff who will adequately represent your brand in all interactions.

4. Reach Your Audience

Are you hoping to catch random pedestrians, or do you have a specific target audience in mind?

If you know your audience, it’s crucial to reach out beforehand, build up the hype, and get the important information out online.

Let your followers know when and where ahead of time, this can be done easily via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

5. Keep Interest

Once you head out to your next location, it’s important that your supporters still feel connected. Don’t be shy online!

Continuously post photos, updates, etc. on social media to show previous customers how you value them, and potential new customers can see what fun is in store for them.

A mobile marketing tour is an exciting opportunity to bring your products to life, but if done without adequate planning, it can fall flat.

 

We Can Help

Want to learn more about how we help brands and agencies find the right marketing solutions? Contact our expert team at MOGXP here. We’ll work together to identify the best opportunities to make your experiential marketing campaign a success.

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Case Studies

When You Think About Quitting, Think About Why You Started

Being in any business is hard. There are a lot of obstacles you need to go through. Despite that, you are more than what you think you are.

It can be difficult to keep up with the competition, find and retain employees and clients while generating profits. It is possible for you to succeed.

So, if you’re feeling like giving up, take a step back and remind yourself of why you started in the first place. Think about your goals and what you want to achieve. Are you passionate about your product or service? Do you believe in what you’re doing? If so, then don’t give up now.

You can overcome any obstacle if you have the right mindset and refuse to give up. So, if you’re feeling like quitting, remember why you started and keep going.

Remember that success takes time. It won’t happen overnight, so you need to be patient and persistent. Keep learning and growing, and eventually, you will reach your goals. So don’t give up – keep fighting for your dreams, and you will achieve them.

With this book, you’ll learn some of the techniques and values that have helped get me through the roughest yet most rewarding times I’ve had in my business career. You can use these techniques, live these values in your day-to-day life, and work your way toward success whatever that is for you.