How Sales, Marketeing, Branding & Digital Dysfunction Are Dragging You Down

Getting sales and marketing to talk to each other may feel like torture, but it has never been more critical – especially for the more than 5 million mid-market industrial and B2B companies in the U.S.The digital age and a host of technology developments have exposed four major flaws in traditional B2B marketing practices:• Lack of coordination between brand, sales/marketing and digital activities• Dedication to sales at the expense of marketing• The slowness of firms to focus their online voice• Failure to recognize that the internet has changed the sales dynamicB2B companies are struggling to leverage the internet to sell and grow. Unlike consumer product companies, they’ve been slow off the mark in the digital race due a traditional but flawed rationale that branding and digital communications can’t really help their ‘relationship’ style of selling.What’s become glaringly obvious is that three core marketing functions – brand, sales/marketing and digital communications – don’t behave as if they have anything in common. Worse, they don’t work together to build equity, share of mind, customer loyalty, or sales for B2B enterprises.The open secret always was that sales and marketing were never really very integrated. In some firms, they didn’t even like or talk to each other. Not to mention that in many B2B firms, ‘sales and marketing’ actually means ‘sales.’But because the internet has made company ‘walls’ ever more transparent, there are few secrets. Employees complain, whistle blowers whistle, bloggers gossip, e-mails get forwarded, the news media investigates, and your customers actually know all about you – your product benefits and even your prices – before you ever hit their door. So what are you actually selling?When a company’s brand, its sales force, and its digital activity aren’t in lockstep, customers notice. At best, customers scratch their heads at this lack of coordination; at worst and more commonly, firms are losing credibility, customer satisfaction and opportunity because they can’t get their act together.In 2014, Forbes Insights published, Breaking Down Marketing Silos: The Key to Consistently Achieving Customer Satisfaction and Improving Your Bottom Line.Forbes noted that the challenges with marketing silos mean:1. Each silo may have its own brand vision, creating a disjointed experience and message for the customer.2. Team incentives may motivate some team members to exploit and damage the brand in order to boost short-term sales.3. Poorly integrated teams suffer from inadequate cooperation.4. Silo interests stand in the way of programs that require scaling.5. Key growth areas such as digital are not scaled because they are dispersed across silos.6. Success in one silo is leveraged slowly into others, or not at all.And not listed, but in the mix: Inconsistent customer experience across divisions and functions.The good news is that with the right market data, the marketing function is uniquely positioned to lead the charge for integration in the name of better service to the customer. Forbes pointed out why marketing is primed for a leadership role in integration:1. Marketing brings an outside point of view.2. Marketing can articulate the unique truth of the company and what differentiates it within the marketplace.3. Marketing can communicate the product and value-why products are relevant to customers in different ways, identifying segmentation in the market.4. Marketing creates compelling stories for rallying employees and making an emotional connection with customers.5. Marketing is a strategic seat at the table; there is no other department that can see such a company panorama and bring those perspectives together.To overcome the silo issue, the report concludes by offering best practices for CMO’s:1. Replace competition and isolation among silos with communication and cooperation.2. Consolidate when necessary.3. Act as a facilitator, establishing frameworks, encouraging collaboration through teams and knowledge hubs, and upgrading marketing talent.4. Think like a consultant: create company-wide insights, train marketing talent and participate in strategy development.5. Secure access to the C-suite. Teradata found that marketers with executive responsibilities are almost twice as likely as others to believe that there are no barriers to interdepartmental integration.6. Force integration. In Teradata’s study, marketers say the best way for marketing to become more intertwined with other functions is to set up integrated processes.For some firms, these are lofty marketing ideals. But there are practical steps smaller companies can take to force different thinking and action. But there are practical steps smaller companies can take to encourage different thinking and action. One is to use research and market data strategically – know the customer better than anyone else. A second step is to stop planning functionally and start planning via a ‘communications & experience canvass.’ What does the customer need to feel, see and hear? How do we ‘behave the brand?’ Who is responsible for delivering that? What are the methods for delivery?In short, turn the silos sideways. With this framework, suddenly a lot more people see and serve their responsibility to serve the customer – including functions such as accounting, help desk, order fulfillment and e-commerce managers, and the c-suite.

Branding Your Business – 5 Top Tips on How a Brand Can Enhance Your Business

In this article we discuss five essential ways to brand your business. This will not only help to increase your profits but enhance your business profile. Branding your business is one of the most important steps you can take to promote your business’s success. We will examine niche innovative ways to develop your brand within your business premises such as personalised clocks and mirrors.Firstly, we need to define exactly what a ‘brand identity’ is. Essentially it is creating exactly the right impression and atmosphere around your business to encourage trust, desire and even a sense of community. It is a combination of consistent visual elements that affect your consumer’s emotions which influences their decision to purchase from your business. It is more than a logo, business card, letterhead, or envelope but brings with it a psychological aspect. As a result, brand associations like thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and so on can become linked to you brand.Tip 1. The first thing you need to do when considering your brand, is consider how you can lift the bar, by thinking beyond your actual products and services, and adding a greater sense of purpose behind what you do.To do this you need to challenge your consumer by getting them to venture outside their normal perimeters. By buying your brand, it should enable them to feel more fulfilled and enhance their self-expression and personal identity. By way of example Nike successfully challenges their consumers to do their best in sports and fitness. Their slogan ‘Just do it’ allowed their consumer to raise the bar and achieve what is almost the unachievable.So if you sell T-shirts, you are not only selling the T-shirts, but the ‘lifestyle’ the product brings with it. Your brand should therefore make a simply T-shirt allow your consumers to feel more confidence, more attractive and have more self-esteem.Tip 2. When deciding on how to brand your business you need to analyse the outward depiction of your brand this includes your logo, business card, letterhead, and envelope trademark, communications, and other visual appearance. This is controlled by you and reflects how you as the owner wants your consumer to perceive your brand. Your customer’s perception of your brand i.e. their mental picture of your company’s image may be somewhat different.Your role will be to seek to bridge the gap between your ‘brand image’ that which your customers see, and your brand identity. To ensure this, you need to have an effective brand name that builds a connection between the ‘brand personality’ as it is perceived by your target audience and your actual product/service. It should therefore reflect your demographic audience and be easily recognizable. This will allow it to be differentiation from your competitors. You should always check the consumer’s perception of your brand, as it should evolve to take into consideration consumer trends.Tip 3. As a marketer you must have a strong focus on what your brand will achieve for its intended consumer. It is therefore crucial to bring in line the expectations behind the brand experience with your good and services. You should therefore make a promise to your consumers that buying your brand, will provide important added value, not obtainable from your competitors. An example of this is arguably the world’s largest cosmetic company L’Oreal. L’Oreal knew that it had to add value to its products as it was more highly priced than its competitors. Hence the slogan ‘because your worth it.’ By formulating a brand promise which conveys to customers what you stand for, and reflecting this thorough your products or services, you can enhance your business brand.Tip 4. Use Social Media Sites such as Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Digg and many others, to reinforce your brand by building large list of contacts and supporters that can help to spread the word about your brand.Tip 5. Use every available way to reinforce what you have to offer your marketplace. Start with finding clever, innovative and affordable ideas to generate your brand from within your business premises. The recognition and perception of a brand is highly influenced by its visual presentation. So when customers visit any place of business, the colour scheme, decor and signage should work in harmony to create exactly the right impression and atmosphere promoting your companies ethos.One way to achieve this is by using a centrepiece such as a promotional clock or mirror depicting your company brand. This will help provide a powerful way of creatively setting the theme and reinforcing your brand messages. Personalised clocks and mirrors that use your promotional photo, logo and copy will be viewed frequently within business settings, such as reception areas. Branding in this highly effective way will help to convey the important business ideas you would like to get across to your customers, whilst promoting your company’s brand.Using functional advertising tools, such as promotional clocks or mirrors with an interactive design approach will allow you to tailor and customise your branding message, and can also allow you to up-sell your goods and services in a way which is untapped by most business owners. This method of promotional branding forms a clever and cost-effective way to add value to your business brand.

Review Rental Income Before Pricing a Commercial Property

When it comes to commercial and retail property performance today, it is essential that you understand the variables that relate to gross and net income. You will find that knowledge essential when it comes to marketing the property for sale or for lease, and in negotiating. That is certainly the case when it comes to an investment type property.When you look at any property type within your sales territory or region, you will find averages that apply to the rental yields, and the net and gross income bases. The modern properties locally will have higher and more predictable rentals; they will also have lower vacancy rates. The older properties will be in a state of decline when it comes to gross and net rentals. The older properties will have increasing vacancy rates. On that basis you should carefully consider the properties that you work on when it comes to leasing and selling. Choose the properties to list that provide the greater levels of enquiry and inspection opportunity.Putting all of these financial facts together, understand the trends that apply to gross and net income. That will be within your local area and the property type. Here are some other factors to consider in this process:

The rentals will change throughout the year based on the levels of supply and demand for vacant space. For that reason, watch the new developments coming through the approval process. A new development can shift the balance of market rentals, incentives, and supply.

In any town or city, there are likely to be seasonal factors that apply to leasing vacant space. That will be due to the local business cycles and business sentiment. As part of your prospecting process, connect with all local businesses and tenants. You can then assess the focus points and requirements of those groups when it comes to relocating, leasing, and purchasing quality investment property. Track those needs and opportunities in your database.

The gross rental for the property will reflect the total amount of rental income paid by the tenant or tenants. Whilst it is quite desirable from a landlord perspective to have a higher gross income, the outgoings for the property will have an impact on the gross number to get to a lower net income. It directly follows that you should understand the averages that apply to outgoings and rentals within various property types.

Any property with a high outgoings factor will quite likely be difficult to lease and sell. When you list a property for sale or for lease, review the outgoings as they apply to the property today. Also look at the history of those outgoings over time. Look for any discrepancies or manipulated numbers. When it comes to the final price paid for a property, and certainly in the case of an investment property, there will be a capitalisation or yield relationship between the net income and the price paid. Within your territory your region, there will be certain averages that apply to the property type with that process. Understand the averages. That will then help you price any property for sale or for lease.
Some property owners will attempt to influence and escalate the net income by providing an outgoings understatement or misrepresentation. That can get you into a serious amount of trouble when it comes to the property marketing, and the sales and leasing process.When in any doubt about rentals and net income, ask more questions and comprehensively review the leases for the property. Seek evidence relating to the property cash flow from the leases, and the outgoings reconciliations. Understand the averages that apply, and investigate the property accordingly.

Star Business Online – Learn More About It

Millions of people go online. New websites are born everyday, but only a few sites like Amazon, eBay, Twitter, and Facebook are so known, you just have to wonder how they came to be so popular. They are like “stars” in cyberspace skies. They are unbeaten, untouched – practically growing and improving everyday.Taking a star business online into account, like Twitter, they provide something new and effective for the general public. Who would have thought that posting a one hundred fourteen (114) characters could be a fun thing to do? Who would have thought that “tweeting” every minute or so, regardless if they are senseless or not, would actually mean something to the poster and its readers? It’s new, it’s hip and it’s fun to do.Oh wait, you think Twitter is not an online business? Not so. Special platforms are already available to inject text link ads among twitter posts. Whenever a reader clicks on a text link ad, the twitter account owner will get a commission from it. Many other social networks earn through advertising or pay per click methods within account profiles. Take Facebook as an example. No matter which part of Facebook you get into, there are always ads displayed at the side for Facebook users to click on.So what other things could make an online business popular?An online business has to be simple and easy to navigate into. Easy interaction is a must. The purpose of the Internet is to find things fast and easy. If a user didn’t find the information he needed on your site, he will move on to the next site he finds via search engine search.A star business online has to keep up with the latest trends in technology. Social networking, bookmarking, constant site updates is a must. Sharing information is the current trend.Good aesthetics is indeed important but not to the extent it will make the texts on a page unreadable. A certain balance between texts and images must be exercised to make all elements flow smoothly. If the skill of a designer is needed to make this happen, then go hire one.Undoubtedly, content is king. Regardless of how visually breathtaking a website is, content is the number one factor a user goes online. Quality content is needed to make a website noticeable not only to the user but also for the search engine. Once a website goes to the top ranks of search engine results, this is a big plus for the traffic that could go to the website.Good customer support is important. Nothing pisses a user more but an unanswered inquiry about a dilemma related to the site. Worse scenario is if the customer posts a negative testimonial online and goes viral.Like any offline business, a star business online needs to stick to a familiar rule, which is “The Customer is Always Right.” An online customer’s needs, comfort and satisfaction is the most important factor for an online business to work. The rewards for good customer support can be great in the long run with glowing testimonials and word of mouth.