Entrepreneurs and effective marketing

We worked on increasing the effectiveness of their marketing through understanding the Broken Windows Theory for marketing and how it can increase the effectiveness of marketing for their business. 

Last night I had the pleasure to work with 25 entrepreneurs/small business owners as part of an Idea Village workshop in New Orleans. We focused on increasing the effectiveness of the marketing of their businesses through understanding the Broken Windows Theory.

Thank you to everyone who came to the workshop. I look forward to continuing dialogue with you all (y’all)!

Further reading about Broken Windows Theory for marketing:

Effective marketing using the Broken Windows Theory

Addressing the question: Why is branding so important

Your employees can make or break your marketing

The small touches in your business ensure success

Broken Window: TOO nice of a vehicle

Broken Window: Bad drivers in company vehicles

Addressing the Question: Why branding is important

A couple posts ago, I gave my thoughts on how to respond when asked about advertising return on investment (ROI). Today, I’d like to offer my favorite analogy to explain why branding is important. Although the need for consistent communication seems so fundamental to those of us in marketing, advertising, and communications, it isn’t to everyone. So, I created the “Meet Joe” analogy below to explain branding in a way that most, if not all people understand. If you like it, please feel free to use it for non-commercial, non-proprietary reasons. All I ask is that you give me credit for it.

Meet Joe Branding Analogy

Envision yourself as a hiring manager and…

Meet Joe

Man in a suit
Photo from Flickr: David Boyle

Joe is interviewing for a position in your company. Because of how you do your interviews, you end up interviewing Joe three times. At each interview, Joe appears to be different. He gives a different resume each time with basically the same information, but with some variations. One time he’s dressed in a full suit, then the next he’s in khaki’s and a polo shirt. Then the next time he’s dressed in slacks and a sport coat. One time he comes in and acts very formal and professional and then the next time he is very laid back and acts like you two are best friends. Then the next time he comes in, he acts very distant.

  • Based on that info, would hire Joe?
  • Why not?
  • Do you trust him?
  • Is the communication about your business like your interview with Joe?
  • Is it consistent?
  • Are you confusing your customers about who you are and/or causing them not to trust you?
  • Inconsistent branding including different logos, different looks to your different marketing pieces, etc. can confuse the customer. This is why branding is important.
  • It’s ok to emphasize different elements of your business, but if you’re doing it so much that your customers are confused about who you are, it’s a problem.

So there’s the analogy. I use it a lot during my talks on Broken Windows Theory and marketing. Do you like it? Would you make any changes to it? How do you explain why branding is important?

NFL tries to appease female fans after purse ban: “Fanicures,” pop-up stores and things that go wrong

A photo of a hand with manicured nails. The nails are blue, red and white in varying simple designs to match the colors of the Houston Texans
Thanks to CoverGirl for my “fanicure” at the Houston Texans game.

Before heading to the Houston Texans game today, I read CultureMap’s article titled,  NFL tries to court back female fans: Does a pop-up lounge with “fanicures” make up for purse ban?. As a marketer, things like this fascinate me, so one of my friends and I ventured into the pop-up store.

The merchandise was exactly what they said, very female-oriented and very trendy. the free “fanicures” were great (thanks CoverGirl!) and the photo booth was fun. Overall, do I think they won back some female fans with it? Maybe. I, for one, at least appreciated the gesture.  And I learned a lot about products now available that I didn’t know about before.

But not everything went well for this special promotion event. There were three broken windows that they might want to address before their next event:

  • There was an hour wait for a “fanicure,” But, they took my cell number and told me they’d text me when it was my turn. Two hours of holding my cell at the game and still no text. So, I went back. Their text feature wasn’t working, but the woman organizing the fanicures told me she’d fit me in next and she held true to that.
  • The CultureMap article said they wouldn’t be selling purses. Ironically, they were.  Just don’t try to bring the purse you buy there into the stadium. They don’t meet the NFL Bag Policy guidelines.
  • The photo booth was a lot of fun and we had a good time partaking in that.  But, when we got our printout, we had no where to put it to keep it safe. The printed photo strip was longer than our allowable bag size, so it wouldn’t fit anywhere.

Overall, I think this was a great event in the long process of winning-back female fans and the broken windows were pretty minor considering. Best of luck to the NFL and GO TEXANS!

Top 5 reasons to join Rotary

Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking to a group of college students about professional networking. As part of that presentation, I highly recommended joining Rotary or Rotaract (for students).

Here are my top five reasons to join Rotary:

  1. Increased knowledge of the community and current issues. The majority of Rotary clubs have a guest speaker each week. The topics vary widely, so you get a wide variety of information. We all have busy lives and there are topics I either don’t have the time or wouldn’t even think to research, but Rotary gives me a chance to hear from experts on those topics.
  2. Professional networking.  Rotary allows you to develop meaningful relationships will fellow community leaders. The weekly lunches give you the opportunity to really find out who your fellow Rotarians are. I once had a President I worked for who commented on the strength of my community connections and inquired how I’d gotten them.  “They are all in Rotary with me,” I responded.
  3. Make the world a better place. Whether it is holding a roadside cleanup, building a playground, or donating together to fund a much-needed well in an impoverished country, Rotary offers a structured and safe way to make a difference.  You know your money and time is going to a great cause and it’s so rewarding to see the results. I’ve worked on community service projects, interviewed students for scholarships, and reviewed and voted-on grants submissions. Each has been rewarding in its own way.
  4. International programs. There are a wide variety of opportunities to learn more about different parts of the world. You can travel and do community service work, be a host family for an exchange student, or be a short-term (usually one week) host for a young professional in the Group Study Exchange program. I’ve done the latter and it was an incredible experience. I met some amazing young professionals from Rome that I am now grateful to call my friends. And, I had the chance to visit them in Rome, Italy.
  5. Share your passions. I don’t just working in marketing, I live and breathe it. I’m also a teacher at heart, so I truly enjoy sharing my marketing knowledge with others. Rotary has given me a way to present to my fellow Rotarians in my own club and other clubs.  In 2011, I gave a presentation to my local Rotary club titled, “Effective marketing using the broken windows theory.” Approximately 70 people showed that day at lunch and a fellow Rotarian taped my presentation for me and I posted it on YouTube. From the people in the room referring me and the YouTube link, I’ve been able to give that same presentation to more Rotary clubs, at a national marketing conference, at an Air National Guard leadership conference, to many individual businesses and organizations, and to two chambers of commerce as their keynote speaker. I would have never had the opportunity to do any of those talks had it not been for Rotary.

So, now that I’ve convinced you that Rotary is definitely something you need to be a part of, research a local club and get involved! Technically, you have to be invited, but I guarantee you, if you show up, someone will step forward and “invite” you on the spot. For those of you in Rotary, what things would you add to this list? How has Rotary enriched your life and your community?

Effective marketing talks went well, thank you to all my supporters

Last week, I presented an Effective Marketing talk, which includes references to the Broken Windows Theory, to the Tomball Rotary Club and the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce. Both talks went very well and, because of those, I’ve received several requests to come and do additional speaking on marketing.

I would like to thank everyone who came to these talks (approximately 320 of you!), promoted them ahead of time by publishing them in their newspapers and websites, promoted them via social media, sent good vibes and prayers, came up before to wish me luck, came up after to tell me how much they enjoyed it, sent cards and emails of congratulations, and helped in some other way (took photos, set-up technology for me,  put-out my materials, etc.).

I’ve also received several emails from business owners and marketing managers telling me how they’ve incorporated the things I spoke about into their organizations and the results they’ve seen from doing so. These emails inspire me and I’m grateful for those who send them.

Thank you again!

– Nicole

Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.

The small touches in your business ensure success

I’ve written a lot about how small things, “broken windows,” can ruin your business reputation very quickly. Today, I’d like to focus on the opposite. Sometimes, it’s the small touches that add novelty to your product or make your customers feel special that set you apart in your customer’s mind. It might be a bud vase in the VW Beetle, the Enterprise Candyman shuttle driver handing out chocolate, or beautifully shaped soap for your hotel rooms. The small touches do a lot to ensure your business’ success.

To that end, I’d like to congratulate Carl Wunsche Sr. High School and career academy for going the extra mile and making their dental patients feel more comfortable. I was touring their facility as part of the Leadership North Houston program and noticed on the tour of the dental area that they put massage pads on the chairs for the dental patients. Earth-shattering? No. But a very nice small touch for their patients. I don’t know about you, but I’d feel a LOT better about going to the dentist if I could get a massage at the same time.

Dental chair with a massage pad on it
Sometimes it’s the little things, like this massage pad on a dental chair, that set your business apart.

Broken Window: TOO nice of a vehicle

A few weeks ago, I talked about how bad drivers in company vehicles can be a huge broken window for a business. Continuing with a vehicle theme, another broken window can be having TOO nice of a vehicle.

Think of this scenario: You are the small business owner of a local jewelry shop. You are doing OK for yourself, but by no means would you be considered wealthy. You are skeptical of salespeople as it is, but particularly advertising salespeople because you aren’t sure if your advertising is working. Your sales representative from a local television station pulls up to your store  in a brand-new, top-of-the-line Mercedes.

A line-up of 6 brand-new Mercedes Benz cards in various colors
From Flickr: Axion23 Mercedes Benz Line-Up.

How do you feel right now? Do you feel like you are paying too much for your advertising? Do you think your sales representative is making too much money off of you?

A too pricey car, especially when in sales, can significantly impact your trust and your sales when working with businesses. However, on the other hand, so can a poorly maintained older car. It might signal then that you aren’t very successful.

How do you know what range of car is acceptable? The answer isn’t easy. It depends on your field, where you live, what type of image you need to portray to your customers, etc. But it is something you should think about. I recommend picking a vehicle that is nice, but in alignment in price or slightly above the people you are selling to. You want them to think you are successful, but not so successful that they think you are ripping them off or acting pretentious.