He Discounted Himself To Death

He Discounted Himself To Death

I like getting a good deal.

You like getting a good deal too.

But tell me, Mr/Ms Business Owner do you want to be known as the lowest price provider for what ever it is you sell?

Or do you value your business and believe that there are other reasons people should spend their money with you besides, “your stuff is cheap”?

Most business owners want to be known for stuff like quality, value, trust. But cheap? That’s usually not on their list.

Using discounts and special deals often isn’t required.

And if it’s not required, what is really going on?

As a business, you are losing money that you don’t have to lose.

You are also training your customers to always shop price.

And guess what?

There is always someone who can sell at a lower price.

You can not use coupons to build a loyal customer base.

I’ll say it again.

You can not use coupons to build a loyal customer base.

Instead you will attract customers that are loyal to coupons.

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See the difference?

When I used to work with car dealers that wanted my radio station to do a remote and give away free food, guess who we would attract?

Think for a second.

That’s right.  We would attract radio listeners who wanted free food, not radio listeners who wanted to buy a car.

Often the two are not the same.

Now before you think I’m against all coupons and discounts, I’m not.  But there has to be a good reason for using them.

Are you brand new and need to introduce your business to new customers?  Sure go ahead and make them an offer.

Are you introducing something new to existing customers and want them to try it? Go ahead and give them an incentive.

But remember once you have these new customers you better do something spectacular to earn their continued business besides cheap prices.    And if it’s a new product or service you are offering, that product or service better by awesome.

 

A Peak Behind the Curtain at WOWO and Federated Media

A Peak Behind the Curtain at WOWO and Federated Media

I work in show business.  Local radio personalities are the celebrities. Early in my radio career, I was one of those voices behind the microphone in the studio and up on stage at events.  That is the public side of radio.  There is also a business side that supports what you hear, the advertising side.  When I was in Detroit, I made the switch to the advertising side. and transitioned between both the programming and advertising side in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Jump ahead to 2003.

I have worked for 3 radio station companies in Fort Wayne in the past dozen years.

I spent 8 years working for a group of stations that had some niche music formats but were never leaders when compared to other stations in town for listenership.

Next I worked for a couple of stations that were a bit better as far as number of listeners, but a lot worse in how they treated their advertisers.  I left them pretty quickly.

Finally I joined the staff of the most listened to radio station in Fort Wayne, WOWO.

While it has the largest adult audience, not everyone listens.  According to the rating information we get, about 1/3 of Fort Wayne radio listeners listen to WOWO every week.  Not bad when you have 20 other stations in town.

But while being the most listened to radio station is valuable, especially when you sell advertising programs on that station, there is something else that is important and adds even more value.

The way I do business. And the support staff that I have working with me.  The people that you never see and rarely talk to who work with me at Federated Media are exceptional.  I’ve worked with some exceptional folks in my past, but there was always someone who didn’t understand the concept that we are a team serving our advertising partners who in turn do their best to serve our listeners that we send them from the ads we air on the radio.

My business manager, Sharon has been with the company for 30+ years and despite having 25 to 30 radio sales people to deal with and stacks of papers in her office that represent work to be done or filed away… Sharon is calm, cool and collected.  Earlier this week she stepped in to take care of something for me with her usual pleasant attitude.

Kelley is my sales resource coordinator. Not just mine but for the other 25 to 30 radio sales people in our Fort Wayne office.  She is my usual go to person and can take care of many of the details that need to be handled and keeps us current with reminders so we don’t have to worry about certain events that need our attention each month.  She became my teacher when I joined WOWO last year on how to use some of the systems that were new to me.

Cliff is our production manager and has created a system of efficiency that is continually being tweaked to make everything easier for him and us. Cliff is responsible for getting the commercials into the right programs and scripts to the right people so all of our radio ads air properly on all of our stations.  Unfortunately there are style some software systems that don’t talk directly with each other so Cliff has to manually copy and paste a bunch of stuff too.  Every radio station group has a “Cliff” and it is rare to find someone who can do all he does without screaming at one of us for not doing what we as salespeople should do.  When Cliff is in the house, all is good.

Then there is my boss. Ben.  Ben worked with me until he was hired away by WOWO over 5 years ago.  When Ben joined the stations he and I worked for previously, I was told to mentor him by our boss Vori.  Ben was a star student.  When I moved into management and I had new sales people, one of the assignments I gave them was to pick Ben’s brain, because Ben was one of the few that rose to the top.  He learned how to overcome obstacles and stand apart from the rest of the pack.  Fast forward a few years and Ben and I talk on occasion but it wasn’t until this time a year ago that we talked about my joining his sales team at WOWO. While Ben and I have had a working relationship in the past, this time the tables are turned and he is my coach and manager and it’s a very good fit.

You’ve noticed that I’ve mentioned there are 25 to 30 radio sales people in our Fort Wayne office.  Each station has a handful and we work both independent and interdependent with each other.  While I represent WOWO and I can also include our ESPN sports stations, if a client wants to include one of our music stations, I will partner with a salesperson from the appropriate station.

I have learned to appreciate some of those 25 to 30 radio sales people because I have seen how they work.  Others are too new or I have not worked with them yet for me to have an opinion.  However the ones that come to mind as top notch representatives for their stations are usually the ones that have a few years experience and enjoy their work.

And that’s our peek behind the curtain at Federated Media and the people I work with at WOWO radio in Fort Wayne.

 

How Many Customers Are You Losing Because of your Website?

How Many Customers Are You Losing Because of your Website?

I come across lots of businesses with crummy websites.

They are:

  • old and dated
  • not completed
  • hard to navigate
  • not mobile friendly

Pick any one of the above and you are losing business because:

  • customers can’t reach you
  • your old site casts a negative image on your company
  • customers will find a site that works for their needs and wants

Last week I read an article from Mediapost regarding the mobile shopping experience.

Mobile, in case you don’t know is the term used to describe accessing the web on a device besides a desktop or laptop computer.  It could be a smart phone, a tablet, or any devise that a customer can use while walking.

I’m here to help you stop losing those customers.

I work for Federated Media in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Specifically for WOWO Radio, the most listened to station in this city.  But I also have under my belt, another division called Federated Digital Solutions.  This team has been growing and growing and growing over the years by scooping up the most talented folks from other firms along with the brightest graduates and recruiting a few of us who have experience in both traditional media and new media.

Federated Digital Solutions began as a supplemental service offered exclusively to our radio clients but we have expanded and now also offer our services to anyone, anywhere in the U.S.A.

Contact me and we’ll see how to help you… but hang on a second.

The solution to those old clunky websites that are not mobile friendly?

We have that too and it’s pretty simple and has legs.  Ask me about it.

Still not convinced you need to update your online presence?  Read the Mediapost article that caught my eye:

Mobile Shoppers Need Better Customer Care Or They’re Out

 

According to new research from Contact Solutions, 30% of shoppers chose physical stores for less than half of their everyday shopping, while 52% do more than half their online shopping with online retailers, and 30% shop on mobile at least as much as they do on a computer.

Consumers are shifting a significant portion of their purchases from retail stores to the web at an ever- increasing pace. According to Forrester Research, U.S. online sales will top $400 billion in 2018, and nearly $1 trillion worldwide, says the report.

Consumers have high expectations for retail care when shopping via a mobile device, says the report, and if those expectations aren’t met, 71% say they’ll abandon the experience entirely. But 75% of shoppers say the ability to get “customer care” impacts their shopping experience, says the report.

However, 55% of respondents struggle at least 20% of the time when using a mobile app to shop. Separately, 43% say they have come to expect no customer service at all from mobile apps.

Mobile Owner Response to In-App Shopping Difficulties (Share of Respondents)
Response

% of Respondents

Close app and abandon cart

51.3%

Go to web using desktop or laptop

36.9

Go to store and shop

11.5

Call customer service

8.2

Source: Contact Solutions, October 2014

In fact, 77% will be more likely to return to the app, and 95% say “great customer experience” will make them more likely to do business again. The study found that 92% of shoppers say it would be helpful to have customer care automatically provided within an app to help complete a task.

Consumers have less time, are more price conscious, and have access to more information than ever before, and that’s changing buying behavior, says the report. As a result, consumers are shifting a healthy portion of their online purchases from the web to smartphones and tablets. Mobile shopping has arrived.

Some key findings from the study include:

  • 3 out of 4 shoppers shop online, and 30% of shoppers shop on a mobile device at least as much as they shop on a computer
  • 1 out of 10 shoppers already prefer mobile apps exclusively for their online shopping
  • 16% consumers say they struggle with mobile shopping apps at least half the time, and 38% of respondents said they are disappointed with the inability to get help within a mobile app
  • 51% abandon the cart and close the app (lost purchase) when they struggle in a retail app, and 20% stop using the app entirely
  • 55% of consumers say they struggle at least once every five visits

John Hibel, Director of Marketing, Contact Solutions,says “… customers using apps more frequently for shopping… when they encounter problems… cannot get the help they need… results are disastrous for retailers…

For more information from Contact Solutions, please visit here.

Do You Love Your Work or Just the Money?

Do You Love Your Work or Just the Money?

A friend of mine, Andie is her name, recently started her own company after bouncing around at a few different positions the last few years.  When we first met, we both had been with our employers for a number of years and then ventured out to try new things.

Andie and I spoke briefly this month and reflecting on that conversation, I’ve seen lots of people do what Andie has done.  I’ve done it too.

Maybe you have gone through this, let’s check.

You worked somewhere for awhile and then for some reason decided to leave.  For me it was a group of radio stations where I did nearly everything that I wanted to do and was getting bored and didn’t like the direction they were heading.  For Andie, her background was in the paper industry selling to ad agencies and print houses.

Over the eight years I was with those stations, I had people regularly approach me with offers to join them. Sometimes it was as a new business partner, sometimes it was in addition to my work for the radio station.  I did some of that, formed my own company, ScLoHo Marketing Solutions and earned a bit of side income.

Then one day I decided to jump ship.  It surprised my radio co-workers as I was the one who had been at that company longer than anyone except for a couple of the air staff.

Here’s the critical point:

The new job I took was not going to be a stepping stone, It was going to be my profession for the next 8+ years, like my last employer was.  But a few months into it, the position changed and I learned things about the company that I didn’t like.  But I was stubborn and stayed with them 6 months longer than I should have.  Years later, when talking to the radio stations I left, I learned that they would have welcomed me back.  But even though I didn’t burn any bridges, I had shut the door on that chapter of my career.

Anyway, what was supposed to be a life changing career move into the digital media world was at the best, a big learning experience and I returned to radio with a different company.  That was also a career mistake and the warning came sooner than before.  The very day I was signing my contract they asked me to make compromises. Their style of doing business eventually drove me away.  When I left I had 6 offers and decided to take another break from radio.

Again I was taking a position that I could do for the rest of my life.  It was organizing and running the social media outreach for 6 brands for a locally based national internet retailer.  I say local, but it was an hours drive from home and required me to be at the office daily.  I would leave home at 6:30 and return 12 hours later most days.  I also worked weekends from home and monitored our social media.  Why did I leave after 10 months?  The company changed.  Specifically my boss left and was replaced by a temporary boss who was clueless about what I did, but wanted me to make changes that for the most part were not good.

Each of these career changes were originally going to be permanent. However each simply became a learning experience.

As you decide what to do for money, be open to making changes.  But also use each experience as part of your ongoing education.

One final thought,  if you are working somewhere that you truly hate, first examine your attitude and if you decide you are not a good fit, do everyone including yourself a favor and look for someplace else to work, or start your own business like my friend Andie did.

By the way, looking back on the past 4 years, I see how each of those positions I took have added to my experience and abilities as I serve my clients today, along with helping me to sharpen my focus for what is important in my work and personal life.

It’s the Experience We Want

It’s the Experience We Want

#TBT From my 2008 ScLoHo archives:

Some of the smartest marketing minds don’t seem to get IT.

Some of the smartest marketing minds DO GET IT.

What’s IT?

IT is the real reason people like you and me and your neighbor, and your spouse, and nearly every human being decide:

  1. What to Buy
  2. Who to Buy from
  3. When to Buy

The pessimistic economists and some in the news media say that we are slaves to prices. That we are driven by the mighty dollar and what it will buy.

It’s this line of thinking prompts retailers to always have a sale, to the point that you feel stupid if you pay full price.

We have become numb to the price games.

We want more.

We want to feel important.

We want to feel valued.

We want someone to care about the things we care about.

We want to know that we are getting what we pay for, not just something cheap.

It’s the experience we are after and here’s two examples from my own life that illustrate this point:

In 2002, I bought a house that had no central air conditioning, and no duct work since the house had hot water heat.

I got two bids from two companies that I was familiar with that my parents had used years ago, or that I remembered from their decades of advertising. One bid was for $8,000. The other bid was for $8,500.

I spent the extra $500 from the company that impressed me with the way they treated me as a potential customer, and I was not disappointed. After the A/C was installed, they had to come back and make some adjustments, but they told me in advance that this was going to be necessary, and I continue to recommend them and use them.

The other story involves dry cleaning. I once was tempted to visit a different dry cleaner than my usual dry cleaner because of a special they were running.

Problem was, they told me it was going to be 5 days instead of the 24 hours I was used to at my usual dry cleaners to get my clothes back. I continue to be loyal to the one that provides the best service for my needs.

Now granted, there are certain stores that do both, provide good service and good prices.

But you can never lower your prices low enough to make up for bad service.

A Drip Campaign can be a Good Thing

A Drip Campaign can be a Good Thing

Okay, when I say drip, how many of you thought of something negative?

It’s time to change your thinking, at least marketing wise.

I was talking to the owner of an ad agency the other day and he had not heard the term “Drip Campaign” before.

Here’s what it is and why a drip campaign can be a good thing for your business.

Think about a faucet that drips.  Not a lot of water all at once, but just a consistent drip….drip….drip….drip…you get the picture.

You can overflow a glass that you leave in the sink overnight if the faucet drips in it all night long.

While it’s not what I would recommend when you are really thirsty right now, you agree that it’s one way of filling up your glass, right?

When you have a business that needs to advertise, you can do it in short powerful spurts by turning the water on full blast, or you can just let it drip in, slow and steady.

Unless you are one of those short term businesses that are only open a short time each year, you probably would do better with a regular stream of customers every week.  That’s the thinking behind a drip campaign.

You create a steady flow of business that you can handle.

Let’s say you can handle 20 customers a week. That’s 140 per year.  What would happen if you got 140 customers showing up at your business in just two weeks.  Could you handle that much business all at once?

Nope. Not if you are only equipped to handle 40 in two weeks.  What would happen to those other 100?  You’d lose them.  You’d annoy them, they would be talking smack about you.

Your advertising schedule should reflect the pace of the flow of business you want too.

Steady, maybe a little less than you would do if you were running a special promotion, but consistent too.

It works.  I’ve done this time and time again for business people who want to grow their business at a pace they can handle.

By the way, you are already doing this type of drip campaign marketing if you have a sign on your business that people see as they drive down the road.

Let’s talk about how to make this work for you.

Contact me: Scott@WOWO.com or 260-255-4357.

 

Teach and be Teachable

Teach and be Teachable

How open are you to learning?

When I turned 26, I moved my family to Detroit.  I had been out of school for 8 years and was venturing into a new, but related career.

I made the switch from being on the radio in the programming side, to working on the advertising side of radio.  WMUZ-FM was one of 6 stations belonging to Crawford Broadcasting and I was hired to write and produce commercials and ad campaigns.  We received a weekly sales training letter from Don Crawford and it was the start of being teachable again.

Actually I also became a self taught student too.  I read several books that I sought out on marketing and human relationships including Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout; Harvey Mackay’s books Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.

I have had the opportunity to interview hundreds of business people in the course of my work and each person has a nugget of wisdom that I add to my collection of knowledge.

Over the years I found myself teaching others too.  And continuing to learn. A week ago I was in an all day training session that involved online personal marketing and a few other items.

Here I am, the one that others come to for advice on online personal marketing and I was learning too.

We are never too old or too full of knowledge to not learn more and more.

And then as we learn, pass along the knowledge.  That’s one of the purposes of this website.

But being teachable also means that you have to retain a degree of humbleness.

In 2006, the group of radio stations I worked for hired a young man named Ben Saurer.  I was asked to mentor Ben.  After awhile as I was training new salespeople, I asked them to pick Ben’s brain because he had survived his first year and was one of the rising young stars on our sales team.  Fast forward a few years and Ben has been hired away to lead a sales team at WOWO Radio.  He and I stay in touch once a year or so until last year when the opportunity to work for Ben arose, I took it.

Every once in awhile, Ben will quote me, back to me… not something I just said, but something I said a few years ago.  And we both are continuing to learn as the circle continues.

Opportunity To Serve in #FortWayne

Opportunity To Serve in #FortWayne

Save the date: Saturday October 25th

I, along with the help of several others are organizing a Leaf Raking Project that morning for a few hours in a Fort Wayne neighborhood in the 46805 zip code.

We will gather at Klug Park and spread out in teams in the Frances Slocum Neighborhood to rake and blow leaves starting at 8:45 AM until noon and gather again at Klug Park for a hot dog lunch.

Everything is free.

We are volunteering our time, our energy, our enthusiasm, and the food is free too.

Who, Where & Why?

The Who is the Frances Slocum Neighborhood Outreach Team from Holy Cross Lutheran.  That’s the core group that is organizing and many will be actively participating.

But this event is open to everyone, yes you too.  You don’t have to live in the neighborhood, you don’t have to be connected to Holy Cross.  If you don’t have a rake or leaf blower, we’ll bring extras.  Bring your kids, bring your parents.  Only have a little bit of time?  Join us anyway.

Where?  If you want to GPS an address, 2226 Lawndale, Fort Wayne, IN 46805 is the home of a friend who lives across the street from the park.  The Frances Slocum Neighborhood is named after a former elementary school that used to serve the 1000 or so families in the neighborhood.  If you know Fort Wayne, the Frances Slocum Neighborhood official borders are East State on the south, Vance on the north, Hobson on the east and the west border  is a couple blocks from North Anthony.

Why?  This is one of four events that the Frances Slocum Neighborhood Outreach Team from Holy Cross Lutheran does each year.  In 2013, we started this team as a way to make a positive impact in a portion of the 46805 zip code.  As Christians, we want to demonstrate friendliness, and neighborliness in a manner that is action oriented an impactful.  The other four events include Winter Christmas Caroling in December, the Great American Clean Up in May, and a Summer Carnival, all free.

I lead this group, so reach out to me if you have any questions, or if you know of an address in the Frances Slocum Neighborhood that needs raked due to homeowners being elderly or handicapped.

Ever since 2003 I have been involved in various volunteer activities.  I served for 7 years on the Advertising Federation Board of Directors, I have been on a number of marketing advisory teams for non-profits and these days, this outreach program has been my major volunteer activity.  Join me, won’t you?

2014 Leaf Raking