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"I don't have a marketing budget", Huh?
Unfathomable, because when your business plan was written a yearly marketing budget should have been included as part of business growth and development. Most business plans include 3-5-year income projections for the business. No doubt when you formulated your income projections it was based upon business growth. What methods or strategies did you envision implementing to grow your business? The answer is very simple and one that top businesses and corporations have been doing for years…. marketing.
A marketing plan is a plan of methods you develop to get your products or services before the customers you serve. Marketing is also about messaging. So, it’s the message you want to get before your customers and potentials customers about why you are the company of choice for their business. The most effective marketing is ongoing. You are not the only company in your industry and competitors are always looking for ways to lure your prize possessions away. Yes, they are, because your customers do not belong to you, they belong to the company with the loudest message.
Advertising campaigns and promotions are the most common types of methods used to raise customer awareness and generate interest. Advertisement takes place in the form of commercials, billboards, radio announcements, newspapers, magazines, social media, and online campaigns. When a business advertises it is for a specific amount of time. The goal of advertising is to capture the attention of as many customers as possible and then make them believe they need your product or service right now. An example of this could be a special pricing you are running on a product. The goal is to get the customer to not only buy the special when they visit your business but also perhaps make additional purchases. If they visit the store to purchase the special, you scored a point. Points are needed to stay in any game however, you want the home run. Additional points are received when staff kicks in the wow factors by offering great customer service, product knowledge, clean store or restaurant, friendly staff, and extends a return invite. The home run is when the customer returns, returns, and returns. Marketing is different from advertising because marketing is ongoing it does not stop. Advertisements are intermittent, seasonal, quarterly, or yearly depending upon the budget and business.
I love marketing because it’s about messaging. Nike is a great example of a company that knows the power of messaging. Nike’s slogan is “Just Do It”, and they market the heck out of this message. The message to consumers is “Just Do It”. You want to win a marathon race “Just Do It”. You want to become the best athlete in the world “Just Do It”. Whenever you wear Nike shoes or apparel you feel like you are part of a movement. The message makes you believe your wins in life are associated with a group of extraordinary individuals who are fearless enough to “Just Do It”. Nike keeps their messaging before their consumers and are very intentional about each marketing campaign. Their most recent messaging featuring Colin Kaepernick gained much attention with the slogan to “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything”, #justdoit. Kaepernick sacrificed his love of playing football by taking a knee during a game to make a stand against racial discrimination. As a result, he was no longer able to play football. Nike used their slogan “Just Do It”, to create marketing on a higher playing field by using controversy to create more controversy and deliver a powerful message. Nike hands down beats the competition with messaging. People around the world know Nike's slogan “Just Do It”, because their marketing is ongoing. You can’t even think about another sneaker you prefer on your feet. Some of you may be thinking Nike has a huge marketing budget and as a result are able to invest in ongoing marketing campaigns. While this may be true it was not always the case. The point I would like for you to take away is that ongoing messaging is needed to grow your business and marketing accomplishes this goal. Therefore, you need a marketing budget.
The benefits of marketing are as follow:
1. It raises awareness of your brand, products, or services.
2. You provide your customers and clients a reason to keep coming back.
3. If you are consistently marketing people believe you are the best at what you do.
4. You develop a following.
5. It’s one of the best ways to send a message to your customers.
We started off by talking about how businesses do not have a marketing budget and thus fail to see the importance of marketing. A marketing plan should be a feature in your business plan because it outlines your investment for the growth of your business. If you are reading this blog and do not have a marketing budget for 2019 my assignment for you is to go back and look at your business plan and create a marketing budget for the next 3 years. We are here to help. Please use the contact us page so we can start creating wins for you today.
P.I.E. Marketing Blogs
Blogs are written to help you market and grow your business. If you have questions, comments, or would like to request information on a specific topic please submit your request on our contact page.
"Thank You Ladder"
November 21, 2018
Fall is the time of year I love because the leaves change into beautiful colors and the weather is cooler. For a person who loves the outdoors like me, I am never going inside. Some people have an appreciation for Fall because it gets them thinking about outdoor activities, football, or the holidays. People are thinking about family and friends they are going to invite to their homes to celebrate traditions and values that makes this time of year special. If you are a corporate executive or business owner, you are no doubt thinking about showing appreciation to your staff during the end of this year. While it is customary to host end of the year appreciation parties my question to you is “should this time of year be the only time staff is appreciated”?
Acts of appreciation should be a practice that is ongoing in business for all levels of staff. Top executives or administrative staff are the ones that receive bonuses quarterly or yearly for the milestones a business has made during the year. However, what about support staff that is doing the work. Administrative staff and executives ensure the business is running smoothly daily however, support staff are primarily responsible for the interactions with customers. They provide services, support, and handle customer complaints. Support staff ensure customers have great experiences and establish personal relationships with them, so they feel valued and keep coming back. Take a minute and picture in your mind what a business would look like if you had to do everything without staff. Some of you might say “I’ve been there, I did that”. I don’t doubt this isn’t true but wasn’t it easier when you were able to hire staff. With staff your long days may have still been long, but your focus was on business growth. The small business you started may now be a corporation. Or the corporation you lead may dominate your industry. Regardless, of the size of your business the point of this article is that all employees should receive appreciation and not just at the end of the year.
Appreciation and saying, “Thank You”, does start at the top of the ladder with the executive level. However, the lower levels on the ladder deserve equal appreciation and words of thanks. Let’s examine some of the parts of a ladder for a moment to make this point. The top part of the ladder is called Top Cap. The Top Cap is the part of the ladder in which no climbing or standing is recommended. You the business owner or executive director are the Top Cap of the business nothing goes beyond your level. Therefore, it is very important that all levels below you remain strong to maintain your position. The next level below the Top Cap is the Top Step. This level also comes with a recommendation of no climbing or standing. In business the Top Step would be your administrative team. The Top Step helps keep the Top Cap in place. In this regard, we can say the administrative team helps the executive director maintain their position. However, the lower levels of the ladder help support and make sturdy the Top Cap and Top Step. Another part of a ladder is the Spreaders. The Spreaders have a unique position on the ladder because they support the middle part of a ladder. The Spreaders know when to bring everything together and when to separate because it has opening and closing mechanisms. The Spreaders could be compared to the roles of your HR Department, managers, supervisors, or team leaders. Spreaders extinguish company fires among employees, develop talent, and support the Top Cap and Top Step by reporting the on-goings of the lower levels. The Spreaders also ensure all areas have the tools and resources they need to work effectively and optimize customer experiences. The Spreaders know that while their number may be small they carry a crucial role in unifying management and staff. The Rails on a ladder impacts every part of the ladder because it determines the length. The Rails of a business can be compared to employees that have such a strong belief in the mission and values of the organization they are selling it to everyone including you. Rails believe their company is the best in their industry. Rails are an organizations most loyal employee. Remember, that. Rails will welcome new employees and tell them everything they need to know about the organization. Rails realize company success and supporting all parts of the ladder are import not their personal agendas. Rails are individuals that will never leave your company. The more Rails you have the larger your business will grow. The next level on a ladder is steps. You need steps on a ladder because the rails need something to hold together. The lower steps hold much of the weight placed on a ladder. Think about it, for the most part customers never climb to the top of the ladder they navigate up a few steps and go back down. The lower steps are always going to get stepped on regardless of how far a person climbs the ladder. Lower steps are support staff they carry the weight of customer’s experience. When customers are rude or want to blame someone for not meeting their needs lower steps are burdened with this responsibility. Sometimes, they must work with limited tools or resources and still get their job done satisfactorily. By now, I am sure you agree all parts of a ladder are needed and appreciated.
As a business executive appreciation of your ladder should be monthly. Just ask the maintenance guys what happens when a ladder malfunction. Appreciation should not just be limited to the administrative team. Your customers are not patronizing the business to see the management staff or marketing representative. Customers develop relationships with employees at the lower levels of the ladder and look forward seeing them each time they visit.
Divide and share the wealth. Remember, all parts of a ladder are needed to keep it stabilized.
P.I.E. Marketing Blogs
Our blogs are written to help you market and grow your business. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to request information on a specific topic please submit your request on our contact page.
The Culture of Business
October 6, 2018
One of the ways to determine if a business is great place to work is by exploring its culture. The culture of a business is how leaders and staff communicate with one another and interacts with their customers. Language, interiors, fashion, and attitude is also indicators of business Culture. Business owners and leaders often disregard the role Culture plays in their business or the influence it demands.
Culture in business is powerful because people want to work for companies that fit their beliefs and treat employees as valued assets. Customers want to patronize businesses that have good employee relationships, community centered, and listens to their concerns even if they can’t be fixed. Businesses want to attract the most talented workers however, if the culture sucks the talent you attract sucks. Yes, this is a strong statement but again it is true.
Culture of a business starts with leadership. If leaders are disengaged from their employees, inconsiderate of their concerns, set unattainable goals, value employees based on their position, show favoritism, hire all their friends, they are creating a Culture of disaster. Employees begin to believe they do not matter. Their voice does not matter. Their work performance does not matter. The customers do not matter. The company does not matter. The result of this type of negative Culture is employee call-outs become rampant, gossip takes over, behaviors and attitudes are less than desired, talented employees seek employment elsewhere, and customers stay away. Employees are even found within the community telling people why their work place is horrible. Businesses close each and everyday not necessarily because they don’t have a great product or service but because of the Culture. Business owners and leaders have much to learn about the investment in their business Culture.
Forbes Magazine listed 100 companies that are the best place to work in 2018. Publix Super Markets have graced this list for 19 years in a row. Publix boast 1,150 stores in 7 states. Why is Publix so successful well, notice what employees have to say about their Culture: 91% of staff say they have Great Bosses, 93% say Great Communication, 92% say Great Atmosphere, and 94% say Great Pride. Publix wants to ensure their Culture is one that values its employees and as a result regardless of your position you are considered an owner of the company. It has been said that some staff have retired as millionaires. Publix demonstrates that when leaders take the necessary steps to create a Culture of value the behavior of employees become one in which they value one another and their customers. The result of this Culture is customers can’t stay away.
The Culture of a business can be improved by:
1. Start with leadership. Leaders should demonstrate the values and behaviors they would like to see in their staff. If you are a grumpy leader your staff will be grumpy employees and your customers will receive grumpy service. If you are a leader who gossips your staff will gossip and your customers will gossip about you within the community and take their business to your competition.
2. Revisit your mission and values statement. Do your employees know the mission and values statement? If so, what does it mean to them? If your employees are unaware of your mission and values statement, make it your focus as you work to improve the Culture.
3. Communication is essential to a thriving and growing work Culture. Develop systems to keep leaders engaged with staff and staff engaged with their leaders. Have you ever visited a business an everyone was clueless when you asked them a question? Employees that are clueless give customers the impression they are a bother and unwanted. Communicate to your employees daily no less than weekly so they can stay informed about the business. Yes, they need to know the business.
4. Education is power. How powerful are your employees? On-going education and training should be mandatory in any work Culture. The world around us is constantly changing and improving with technological advancements, trends, and discoveries. Creating a Culture of knowledge is creating a Culture of wins.
5. Celebrate your employees. Creating a Culture in which you demonstrate appreciation for your staff is a part of Culture often missed. A Culture of appreciation demonstrates value, support, and simply one that says, “Thank You”, We need You”, We appreciate You”.
The Culture of a business adds to its growth, prosperity, and creates an environment in which employees love their company and leaders. Many business owners and business leaders believe they must adopt a Culture in which they are harsh and authoritative. This type of Culture exasperates employees and diminishes their loyalty. Leaders are the driving force to a Culture of wins. Examine your Culture today and take the necessary steps to winning.
P.I.E. Marketing Blogs
Our blogs are written to help you market and grow your business. P.I.E. Blogs are written twice monthly. If you have any comments, questions, or would like to request information on a certain topic please submit your request on our contact page.
Attitude Matters in Business
August 30, 2018, by Michelle Thompson, MBA
I think the elephant in the room when it comes to the failure of some businesses is Attitude matters. What is Attitude? According to one dictionary Attitude is a way of thinking or feeling about something or someone. Attitude is reflected in a person’s behavior. In business the Attitude of employees matter because it can enhance or negatively impact customer’s experience. Have you ever visited a business and employees were uninviting or gave you the impression you were an interruption to their day? More than likely, you did as most people do and gave the business multiple opportunities to demonstrate your business matters. In your mind you rationalized this particular employee was having a bad day. The question then becomes, how many bad days are employees allowed to have until you decide your money is best spent elsewhere. If I was a betting person it would be safe to assume not too many.
Business owners spend countless hours perfecting their products, services, and crafts for their customers. Poorly trained employees or employees with negative attitudes about a job they have been entrusted could result in the failure of that business. The unfortunate thing about this scenario is this type of employee is apathetic when it comes to the survival or failure of the business. In other words they can care less and move on to their next victim. Such individuals did fill out an application and interviewed for the job stating they were “A Team Player”. True to their words they played the team right out of business.
Attitude in business can also be very costly. An example of this could be if the company is rolling out new services or implementing God forbids the “C” word change. The Attitude of employees could prevent the success of the roll-out. Management staff finds themselves working harder to change Attitudes about change rather than rolling out the changes the business needs to grow or improve. Time is money so the more time spent to gain buy-in or correct negative Attitudes towards change could be costly.
Chick-Fil-A is the model example of what can happen to a business when employees demonstrate the right Attitude. Chick-Fil-A’s business model promotes prosperity and growth based on employee and customer satisfaction. Everyone is happy at Chick-Fil-A including the cows. Yes, the cows are happy also because they are making money. Everyone at Chick-Fil-A is making money. Chick-Fil-A has earned the American Customer Satisfaction Index annual survey award maintaining the number one spot for the past three years. Don’t believe me. Just visit a Chick-Fil-A and the long lines will validate my claim Attitude in business matters.
Why does Attitude in business matter to you the business owner? You spend countless days, sleepless night, and making sacrifices to add value and provide an experience to your customer’s life. You missed your child’s baseball game because a client needed you at the same time. Your business made someone’s life just a little bit easier. Therefore, the Attitude of your employees matter because you are looking for a return on your investment and sacrifice. Your employees may view their position as just a job. However, as a fellow business owner I’m sure you agree your business is your passion and calling. Here are a few things you can do to help develop your employees Attitude:
1. Praise your employees when they do a great job.
2. Share with them positive feedback from customers.
3. When customers have bad experiences discuss with employees what went wrong and what went right (role playing is good when having this discussion).
4. Be mindful of the amount of overtime employee’s work. Overworked employees tend to be short tempered when stressed.
5. Employees who works 5 hrs. or more should have an opportunity to step away from their responsibilities and take an uninterrupted break.
The above mentioned are just a few of the things business owners can do to help their employee’s maintain a positive Attitude while working.
This blog would be incomplete if I did not mention you the business owner, manager, supervisor, administrator, or corporate executive. What is your role in Attitudes in business? You play the most crucial role because you set the example for everyone to follow. This is a true story I share with you. I was one of the Directors at a company and all Directors answered to the Executive Director. Our Executive Director would sit in the conference room after morning meetings and during lunch breaks with other Directors and management staff conversing about team members inclusive of managers and ancillary staff. Their conversations were not based upon developing people or growing the business but tearing them down using harsh derogatory words. You can only imagine the culture this created. The Executive Directors Attitude about team members caused a division among management and ancillary staff. The business began to suffer along with the Attitudes of personnel. Customers were affected as complaints increased and dissatisfaction crossed all boards. The Executive Director attempted to turn things around however it was too late. The gangrene had spread and the work environment became undesirable resulting in an employee turnover rate greater than 50%. As business owners and leaders we work hard and make many sacrifices for our positions would you not agree that our Attitude matters?