Marketing Genius: Brazilian Lawn Mower Launch

big79937181prm002bTramontina, a Brazilian-based lawn mower manufacturer, recently launched a new model: the Trotter ride-on lawn mower in Sao Paolo.  What makes the launch so extremely clever, in my opinion, is how they went about it.

Interested buyers could test drive a Trotter lawn mower at one of Sao Paolo’s many city parks – yes, you could actually drive it around and beautify Sao Paolo at the same time!

This genius product launch did a number of things, including:

  • Gave interested buyers a real-life experience of what it would be like to use one of these lawn mowers on real terrain, risk free;
  • In preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games, I’m sure that the Sao Paolo city parks department was enormously grateful for any help it could get in beautifying the city;
  • The product launch demonstrated the company’s values of being environmentally accountable and responsible, socially aware, and concern for the welfare and quality of life in the surrounding communities.

This is true brand synergy and just plain clever marketing.  Do you have a product with which you could do something similar?

Posted in Marketing, Marketing Your Business Without Spending A Cent©, Strategies for Success | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay on Target

Dart Hitting Bulls EyeOne of the biggest challenges that I have when working with clients is to keep disciplining them (and myself) to keep things simple.  We are always so tempted to impress, tripping over ourselves to ensure that our potential clients perceive us to be authoritative, credible and subject matter experts – to our own detriment, as we end up hiding the simple, explicit message of our true expertise under verbosity and unnecessary cleverness.  We lose sight of our target and our goals.

We’ve recently been treated to the Australian TV series “Rake” about a well-meaning, but hopelessly ill-fated criminal lawyer.  One of the episodes is about a retired English school teacher who laments the abuse and loss of meaning in the English language in modern times.  Defending the teacher on serious charges, Cleaver Greene (our ill-fated criminal lawyer), refers to recent (real-life) incidents where meaning has been sacrificed for novelty:

  • In a report on interrogation activities at Abu Ghraib, the CIA referred to a “diminished verbal response capability”.  When asked for clarification on what this term meant, the answer was: a whimper!
  • The Pentagon described a plane crash as an “unintentional flight into the ground”! Duh!

We may laugh, but these are sad and extreme examples of how we use language to spin what is actually a very simple, clear concept.  Why would we want to blow smoke up our clients’ sit-upons? Actually, on this matter (the blowing of smoke), you may start to think that I watch an ENORMOUS amount of TV, but I happened to catch an episode of QI in passing and they were talking about a medically-accepted Victorian cure for drowning: literally, blowing smoke up the bottom of a person who had drowned!  Apparently, there was sufficient empirical evidence to prove that this cured drowning!

But back to the subject at hand: when crafting our marketing message, when identifying our niche, it is essential that we keep the language and message clear and simple.  As Winston Churchill said:

“Tell them what you want to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you have told them.”

Posted in Marketing, Niche | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Marketing Opportunities

It’s been ages since I last posted – mea culpa.  I do stand by my opinion that one should only contribute something to the wealth of information on the internet when one has something of value to say.  This is a long one, but bear with me – there is a “teachable moment” at the end!

As a South African, we have just been to the polls, voting for our candidates and parties at national and provincial levels.  We had a relatively short wait to cast our vote, only tick the boxeshaving to queue for about an hour and it was during this time that I noted a number of missed marketing opportunities, and some fundamental mistakes that we could all learn from.

My first is a bit of a personal gripe: as a woman, I really like to have access to toilet paper and soap when I go to that place which we will not name!  Our voting station was out of these two little essentials and I thought it would have been such a great opportunity for the political parties to collectively have branded sachets of liquid soap and branded serviettes available in the facilities – no discrimination, all parties given the opportunity to supply branded items in equal amounts so that voters could choose to wipe and wash with the colours of their choice.  Who know, I might have sprinkled my vote around a little more (couldn’t resist that!).

While we were waiting, it would have been fabulous to have been able to sit in chairs that were branded with party logo’s.  When I look at some of the aerial photographs of lines of voters at some of the rural voting stations, stretching for hundreds of metres with no shade, I am sure that these voters would have appreciated the chance to rest their feet – regardless of who provided the means to do so.

During our wait, I thought it would have been an awesome opportunity for a local up-and-coming band to launch themselves to a bored and captive audience.  Better still, what about creating edu-tainment opportunities to make going to the polls a more compelling exercise.  Our country is starved for education, and I – for one – would be delighted to hold my workshop (Market Your Business Without Spending A Cent) for all those entrepreneurs who might have stood in the queues.  What a wasted opportunity for free education – and wouldn’t it make the incumbent government look good?!?

Finally, when we neared the entrance to the station, there were two queues.  We knew that there was a special queue to fast-track the elderly, pregnant women, people with physical infirmities and so on.  However, there were also a number of young and perfectly able-bodied people standing in this queue, which created a lot of muttering among those of us who’d been standing for a long time.  A couple of people walked over to the officials, clearly annoyed by this situation, only to be told rather rudely that the young, able-bodied voters were merely casting a national vote as they were out of their constituency.  Don’t you think a simply set of signs would have solved a lot of unnecessary confusion, muttering and ill-temper?  One sign to say: pensioners, people with special needs and people casting only national votes, and the other sign saying: National and Provincial voters queue here.

However, the lack of signage and the problems that it caused didn’t end there.  Once we got inside, there were various stations.  First, our ID documents had to be checked against the national voter’s roll.  There were two people doing this.  They had split the voter’s roll between them – one with A – M and the other with N – Z.  Now, my surname begins with H.  I was hailed by the chap who had the N – Z’s.  It took him AGES to figure out that H didn’t fit between the letters N and Z and I had to go back to the end of the queue that had formed in front of the girl with the A – M section.  It would have been so simple to put up a sign so that voters could go straight to the correct section.

So that was “Station 1”.  The next station was to have our fingers inked with an indelible ink.  There were no clear directions or signs that could have said: “Station 2: Inking”.  The same applied for the next step, which was to have our ID books stamped and so on.

I know that this is a long post, but the point that I want to drive home is that we miss SO many opportunities to brand and market ourselves and our businesses effectively.  I’m certainly going to work on my signage immediately.  I’ve also just been approved as a lecturer at the University of Pretoria on their Neuroscience of Coaching programme and I am going to make sure that I use every opportunity possible to convey my branding.  Let’s remain aware to what’s going on around us and make sure that we grab any and every opportunity to brand, brand, brand and market, market, market!

Posted in Marketing, Marketing Your Business Without Spending A Cent© | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Darwin Awards: Drug-dealers Send Drugs to Wrong Address!

I’ve just been highly amused by a report on Talk Radio 702 of a stash of cocaine being mistakenly sent to a German supermarket!  The drug-dealers will surely be awarded first prize in the annual Darwin Awards (for sheer stupidity!)

However, there is a lesson even in this ridiculous story: make sure that you send your info, product, content to the CORRECT people.  Particularly, if you are trying to market successfully, ensure that the people to whom you send marketing collateral (emails, leaflets and so on) would want to receive it.

There is nothing worse than having your email inbox inundated with unwanted and unsolicited mail.  Just this morning, I unsubscribed to a number of unsolicited emails and I was sorely tempted to report the senders as spammers.  One of the things that REALLY annoys me is receiving an unsolicited marketing SMS!  In order to opt out, it costs ME the cost of an SMS!  Don’t people think of the irritation factor and negative impact of these pesky marketing efforts?!?

And while I am on a rant, what about checking spelling (best I quickly run a spelling and grammar check!). I personally think that there is no excuse for poor spelling, given all of the tools that we have at our disposal.  Failure to double-check your work gives a bad impression and erodes the hard work that you do in building your personal and business brand.

Posted in Marketing, Target Market | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What you focus on is where you will see results

I work with a few clients who have a wide range of interests.  Because of their training and qualifications in different fields, they either try and squeeze unrelated fields of expertise into one business, or they run a number of separate businesses.

I find this immensely frustrating when clients try to be all things to all people.  My business is built on – first – helping clients identify their niche in a rather commoditised industry (coaching), and then on putting a plan together to market their business without spending a cent.  I feel very strongly about defining a niche because my personal experience has shown that my business really took off and became successful once I’d defined my niche and was able to be explicit about the work that I do.

With a clear, well-defined niche, you are able to clearly explain what you do, how you can help or serve people and what results you deliver.  All of your study and learning becomes focussed on building your expertise in your defined niche and you don’t waste time or effort on things that don’t add value to what you do.

It’s amazing, though, how people cling to EVERYTHING that they know and are familiar with.  Sometimes, we need to let go of something in order to make space in our life for success.

Posted in Marketing, Marketing Your Business Without Spending A Cent©, Niche | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Be Aware of the Message that You are Sending Out

My sister passed her learner driver’s licence about 3 weeks ago.  She has a car ready andIMG_3289 copy  waiting for her to practice driving so that she can go for her driver’s licence.  A few years ago, and the first time that she got her learner’s licence, we paid for her to have 10 driving lessons with a professional driving school.  We were extremely disappointed when she came to her 10th lesson and the driving school still did not feel that she was competent enough to get out on the roads.  When we queried the situation, the driving school said that it was due to lack of practice.

So here we are in the same situation a few years later.  She is now 30 years old.  We have made a decision not to push her into practicing and to leave the situation entirely in her hands.  She told me that – the day after she passed her learner’s licence – she was going to check out a driving school after work.  I was delighted with her initiative so imagine my intense surprise when I got an SMS from her to say that she was going to have her hair done after work instead.  I must admit that I was somewhat dumb-struck that hair could take precendence over learning to drive – I simply couldn’t wait to be a qualified driver and to have my independence!

It got me thinking about the messages that we send out to other people without perhaps being aware of it.  There is an incredible saying that goes along the lines of: “We judge ourselves by our INTENTIONS, and other people by their ACTIONS.”  This is so true and I am definitely drawing conclusions about my sister from her actions or behaviour.

How often do our clients see inconsistencies between what we say we stand for and what we actually do?  How consistent and congruent are we?  A chap was interviewed on the radio the other day about branding, and he said something to the effect of: A brand is underpinned by a promise, the promise is underpinned by trust, and trust is underpinned by consistent delivery on the promise.

We are all brands – whether personal brands trying to differentiate ourselves in a corporate environment, or whether we are our company’s brand identity.  It is vital that we only make promises that we can keep consistently to gain and retain the trust of our potential and existing clients.

Posted in Marketing, Personal Brand, Target Market | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Use Spellcheck!

Alphabet BlocksThis is officially a rant! I have just received an email newsletter from a company that I hold in fairly high regard due to the value of the information contained in their communication.  Poor spelling is one of my pet hates, so imagine my surprise on opening the mail to find a typo in the headline!!!!

Fellow writers/entrepreneurs/marketers!  We have absolutely NO excuse for this.  My WordPress Blog has an auto spellcheck as I type, and I can also do a spell check on anything I write before publishing it.  Word, Outlook and all other Microsoft programmes have built in spelling check.  I am quite sure that Apple software is similar.

Remember that marketing is all about the impression we create in our potential or existing clients’ minds.  Sloppy spelling and syntactical errors quickly erode hours of effort marketing our businesses, and can even send the wrong message completely.  Let me give you an example: many years ago, I was on my way to the airport and was caught at a traffic light.  On the same island on which the traffic light stood was a public toilet.  Spray-painted across the outside of this building were the words “OUT OF ODER”.  I had to laugh as, depending on whether you pronounced the word phonetically or substituted a missing letter, it could have been read one of two ways: “Out of Odour” or “Out of Order”!

Just for your amusement, here are a few others that I found:

no smoking

get a brain

 

liquor depot

Posted in Marketing, Marketing Your Business Without Spending A Cent© | Tagged , | Leave a comment