Reinventing Your Business

December 31, 2014

It is believed that Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent species who will survive, but those who can best manage change,” and this rings true in several areas, including managing your business. Companies must adapt to an ever-changing economy and consumer base in order to succeed long-term; thus, reinventing your business is crucial.

Reinventing Your Business

When things start to dwindle, it’s important to recognize it and do something proactive before it’s too late. Stall Points, written by Matthew Olson, suggests companies who stall in growth and development have less than a 10 percent chance to ever fully recover. Two-thirds of stalled companies will be acquired, taken private or forced into bankruptcy. The upside is if you recognize the signs early (like complacency or little to no growth) and make strategic efforts to better the organization, you could come out on top. When reinventing your business, consider the following tactics:

  • Tweak your business model.
  • Throw it all out and create a new business model.
  • Take a calculated risk.
  • Change industries entirely.

An example: IBM began as the 1984 computer king, specializing in a streamlined production process for ready-made computers. By 1993, IBM had exhausted its time on Wall Street, as competitor prices drove them out – ultimately leading to an $8 billion loss. Fast forward to 2010; IBM had acquired over 200 companies in the IT services sector, and by 2013, IBM was back. This time, though, as the number one company in enterprise server solutions. The company changed its whole business model after recognizing the trend their company was headed to. So how can you look forward and adjust different areas of your organization to stay relevant?

Analyze where your company currently stands. Identify your group’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth and threats to the organization. Use these realizations to define changes you’d like to make in order to improve your company’s overall operation and reputation. All things need sprucing up from time to time, and reinventing your business is one way to stay savvy and ahead of the curve in whatever industry you work in.

Are you interested in evaluating and improving your business strategy? Please contact the team at Van West Media for a discussion and quote.

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.

April 22, 2013

No, this isn’t a post in tribute to Dashboard Confessional. This is a post to emphasize the purpose and necessity of a strong mission statement and tagline to market you and your company. It’s important to understand the impact these two things can do for you.

Define Your Mission. Treat your mission statement like your mantra. It should be the reason you get up in the morning, the reason why you do what you do at your job and most importantly, why your company even exists. According to Guy Kawasaki’s “The Art of the Start“, it doesn’t have to be difficult, but rather appropriate and heartfelt. This statement is for you. It may not be readily marketed or recognizable but it’s there to motivate your company and keep them aware of the why you are doing what you do. Kawasaki states, “Make meaning, not money.” This is of utmost importance as the greatest companies are built around these three meanings: increasing the quality of life, righting a wrong or preventing the end of something good.

Here are some popular examples:

    • Wendy’s – “Healthy fast food”
    • FedEx – “Peace of mind”
    • Nike – “Authentic athletic performance”

Know Your Audience. Your tagline, on the other hand, should be a familiar marketing phrase that emphasizes your mission statement to the masses. These specific group of words placed together should emphasize of what you are all about. When people see this combination of the english vocabulary, they should immediately think “Oh, that’s so-and-so” and directly relate it to you. When you saw the title of this post, did you think “Dashboard Confessional’s 2006 hit album featuring ‘Hands Down’?” If so, you get exactly what I mean. If not, maybe you’re just not correlated to the soft-core punk music genre of unenthusiastic melodramatic 17-year-olds in the 90s. It’s understandable that not everyone will get it as long as the group of people you are marketing to do.

Define Your Story. The story behind your company is much more important than the mere grouping of words that people relate to you. It is what gives meaning to those words and your company; what differentiates you from the rest. What are your aspirations and how can you encourage your audience to strive for them as well? A great tagline captures the entire story of what you’re all about in a phrase.

Finalize Your Message. Have a brainstorming session of key words and mixtures of them to see what clicks. It’s important to understand that a clear message is better than a clever one. Simplicity is key. By having puns, slang or a vague message, you are hindering your capability of conveying what you are about to the masses. Check to see if people with little to no knowledge of your company can translate your tagline successfully.

As a Silicon Valley author, speaker, advisor to Motorola and one of the Apple employees responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984, Guy Kawasaki presents “The Art of the Start.” This book and presentation is of mass construction at an entrepreneurial standpoint. Take a look at the video to get an insight of this entrepreneur evangelist.

Click to watch “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki Video

Humanitarian Branding: Capturing the Hearts of Your Audience

April 8, 2013

westinIn advertising, audiences are used to the constant sales pitches convincing them to give in and purchase a product or service. However, when the intentions of a brand or company make a turn and present themselves as people “just like you”, audiences are reminded why they love the company and start to see compassion in the brand rather than a large advertising corporation. Westin Hotels is now offering two free nights to over 200 New York nurses who cared for those in need from Hurricane Sandy to promote its new weekend services.

“Our research shows consumers are craving more leisure time but taking less vacation, so we are trying to offer weekend breaks that are seamless and stress free,” said Brian Povinelli, Westin’s global brand leader.

Through this campaign, Westin is encouraging business travelers to book rooms on weekends to recharge with later checkout times and extended breakfast hours as part of the “Make Monday Better” program. As this program keeps in mind the needs of the people, both physically and mentally,  Westin is able to win over dedicated workers including nurses, teachers and volunteer firefighters.

“These dedicated working people are seen as inspirational and deserving figures by the executives and professionals who are loyal to our brand,” said Bob Jacobs, Westin’s VP of brand management.”A free weekend stay reinforces our campaign message that everyone deserves a chance to relax and rejuvenate.”

It’s important for large corporations to present their new ideas based on the emotional and sentimental needs of their audience. When the hearts of an audience is captured, it is easier for consumers to connect to the brand. Through this tactic, both parties are mutually intrigued and willing to participate with each other.

E-mail Segmentation

February 18, 2013

Customers like feeling special, like they are getting something different and better than everyone else in the world. It’s because of this that companies have steered towards personalized email, using customer names within their newsletters. E-mail segmentation appeals to clients as well as the industry itself as it sends certain information to the direct market it’s made for. By using segmentation, the customer retention rates grow as the sender understands the interests and needs of the consumer. These are some examples of e-mail segmentation companies can use to their advantage.

Source segmentation is the most straight-forward track as it tracks where and how you met your customer. By analyzing location, interests and analytics, you can check what information to send them through e-mail. If the client went to a page about web design on your site, you can send him offers you have or articles about web-design that your company comes across. This method brings consumers and marketeers closer as they show a shared interest, which makes customers feel closer to the business.

Geographic segmentation relates to the sales and trends of an area. If you are advertising heavy coats, you can weed out an audience in a hot area such as California or Las Vegas as they won’t have a need for your product. Send them e-mails about bathing suits or shorts instead and the customer retention will significantly grow. When people receive e-mails that do not pertain to them at all, they feel like another number in the world that you are trying to advertise to. Don’t make people feel that way and only send things that matter to them.

Role-based segmentation is great for B2B marketing. By sending e-mails to customers of a specific role such as sending new Photoshop information to the designer of a company will be more successful than sending it to the technician. This method is effective because more views and downloads will occur if what you have to offer will affect them, especially in regards to their jobs.

Content-interest segmentation separates existing customers from new ones. Existing recipients have more knowledge and information about your product and offers beforehand wouldn’t need a “starter guide” and would enjoy having “exclusive member access” to parts of your website. By differentiating these types of consumers, that “special” appeal is preserved and “click-through rates” will increase and lead to more conversions.

By building up several e-mail lists, each customer will receive e-mails that are relevant to their lives. Though there is no “correct” way to segment your e-mail list, each of these ways have an advantage in their own way. Just like all marketing techniques, e-mail segmentation requires testing. By experimenting through these different segmentations, your business will find the most ideal way to reach out to your audience.


Top Marketing Strategies in 2013

January 2, 2013 strategies change constantly to adhere to audiences, depending on what they are demanding. Ways to advertise a company are endless but after careful consideration of consumers and their responses within the past few months, the trend forecast shows the following are the top marketing strategies for 2013:

1. Don’t just be another brand. Logos and names may bring your company towards audiences but it’s the image brought upon the consumers that makes a difference. What does it mean for the person that is involved with your product? Is it eco-friendly, healthy or classy? Is it considered new or “cool”? Knowing your demographic and the impact your product or services have on them is important to capture your audience. By associating the company to something already trending, sales are more likely to thrive and make it in the industry.

2. Combine forces for cross-marketing. In relation to correlating your company to an image or an already-established brand, one can spend half the cost and reach a larger audience. Brands that compliment each other can collaborate to increase sales for both parties. These opportunities shouldn’t be looked over as success has more of a chance with less risk, bringing the best of both worlds to this strategy.

3. Redeveloping the company image. What’s in this year may not be what’s in the following year. It’s important to rebrand your company image to pertain to the trends of the time being. The image needs to be visually relevant for audiences to spend their money on the product or service. It doesn’t have to be a complete rebranding, just a new perspective of the company. By shedding a new light, audiences will look at the product or service in a new manner, giving new opportunities for the company.

Replatforming: Time and Budget

December 28, 2012

Replatforming may seem like a lot of work but it’s important to keep your business up with your competition to satisfy your customers’ needs. However, finishing on time and on budget is what’s difficult to achieve.

Research is necessary in this process as it takes preparation to achieve success. Choosing a great e-commerce platform gives your company the look you want and the management tools needed to run your site but which one is the best for your company? Choosing the correct one for your company is important as you’d be stuck with the decision as a long-term commitment. From long-term goals to price, you should choose the most flexible and hands-on for your transition with your customers’ best interests in mind.

Time is of the essence and turnarounds aren’t ready so quickly. The average replatform is delayed up to four months. Instead of rushing to finish everything on a three-month deadline, you need to be more realistic when it comes to your needs. You need to count on a couple of weeks for any unexpected troubleshooting or non-platform issues. It’s also important to choose a date that provides enough legroom so that it doesn’t overlap with a crucial time such as the Holidays. Six months before the season begins is the typical time for a company to start replatforming.

Planning in advance is critical to this process as delay is the most common roadblock in successful replatforming. Allocating the necessary resources and right adjustments for the new system need to be maintained before starting the process. By providing all the details and data, the replatform will be much easier to build and develop.

It is critical to know all the main features of replatforming and the necessary steps to go through the process. Expressing your business through e-commerce can make the difference in the success of your company compared to others. Once you have made the steps to go through the process, it should be easy to replatform successfully.