Implementing Traceable Marketing Strategies For Long – Term Business Success

Many entrepreneurs view advertising and marketing as the “unknown” side of their business operations, the part that can be neither tracked nor measured. Oftentimes this attitude leads to tremendous financial waste, as business owners frequently pour marketing dollars into advertising activities that may or may not translate into increased sales.Small businesses like car care providers often believe that they can generate high visibility through expensive marketing campaigns that include television, radio, and newspaper advertising. Believing that “if more people know about my business, more people will visit my business,” car care business owners bombard potential customers with advertisements and special discount offers–and then sit back and wait for more customers to start rolling in. Unfortunately, those customers almost never materialize.John Wanamaker, considered by many to be the father of modern advertising, once said: “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is that I don’t know which half.” Much like many car care business owners, Wanamaker believed advertising to be an esoteric entity that could not be focused nor measured. Well, Johnnie, times have changed.We live in a world that is saturated by media coverage. Hundreds of channels offer us the widest selection of programming–and advertisements–ever available, and marketers pay well to compete for the attention of consumers. The average cost of placing a television advertisement is on the rise, and once you have added in the cost of producing, editing, and pitching the advertisement, the total cost can be overwhelming. Couple the initial costs of television advertising with the fact that its marketing results are often not traceable and traditional advertising begins to seem less like a smart business decision and more like a quick route to bankruptcy.So what’s a small business owner to do? Focus on providing quality service and hope word-of-mouth does the rest? While positive word-of-mouth is an inexpensive–and important–way to drive customers to your business, word-of-mouth alone will not ensure your business’s success. Luckily, tried-and-tested direct response marketing strategies are as effective in the 21st century as they have been in the past, and will help you to put your business on the fast track to success.Measurable Marketing for Measurable Results Measurable marketing strategies can help boost your business’s sales and create repeat customers that will function as dependable revenue streams for years to come. The key is to invest in marketing activities that you can, 1. Track, 2. Measure, and that, 3. Deliver results. What type of marketing campaigns are simultaneously track-able, measurable, and results-oriented? Simple; the type of marketing campaigns that clearly target specific customer segments.In previous articles (American Car Care Business, January, 2006), I have written about the importance of directing traceable marketing activities towards to a particular audience–new movers. New movers are individuals that are just joining your community, or that have relocated from a different neighborhood or section of town. What makes new movers special from a marketer’s perspective is that new movers are generally more receptive to product and service offers, and are more likely to be willing to establish new routines and visit new locations. This unique mindset offers the perfect target for smart, traceable marketing strategies, and will help you to generate new customer interest in your business and its services.Cathy Goodwin, a recognized career and relocation transition expert, confirmed the tendency of new movers to be psychologically more open to trying new products and services in independent market research conducted for her 1999 book, Making the Big Move. Goodwin’s research studies the psychology of movers before, during, and after they have relocated, dividing the moving process into five distinct psychological phases, each with their individual rates of customer erosion and willingness to try new merchant services. This research outlines the importance of approaching new residents during the first few months following a move. During the “Early” and “Late Integration” periods, new residents are statistically more likely to try new services than they will be once they have assimilated into their new communities.Invest Now for Your Business’s FutureThe strategies I recommend to car care business owners seek to capture the attention of new movers shortly following their relocation, while they are still in what Goodwin calls the “hyperspend” phase (during the “Early” and “Late Integration” periods). In my January, 2006 piece, I suggested that car care business owners invite new residents to their businesses with an offer for free services, and specifically encouraged entrepreneurs to provide new movers with a gift certificate covering the cost of one of their business’s premium services.Oftentimes business owners balk at the idea of giving away free premium services to new customers. “But our premium car wash retails for $17.99,” they say. “Why should I give it away for free when the customer may never even come back?” Good question. Why offer your premium services for free when you could just as easily offer one of your less expensive services–or better yet, a simple discount coupon that grants customers 10 or 15% off the price of a normal car wash?Answer: Because you are creating a new customer relationship, and the first step to creating lasting relationships with members of your community is to impress them with an “irresistible offer” for free services. Not many customers will be impressed by an offer of 15% off a normal car wash–but most will be surprised at a special invitation that offers a service valued at $17.99. The aim is to “wow” potential customers with a valuable and unique offer that will draw them to your business–the first step in forging a new customer relationship.What, at first, may seem like an inordinate amount to spend in order to create a single new customer relationship is really very little when you consider the lifetime value and profit contribution of each individual customer. Understanding how much each customer is actually worth can offer a fresh perspective on the amount you should invest in generating new business.Obviously many, if not most, business owners will not have exact numbers with which to calculate the lifetime value of a customer. However, the overall theme is clear: each new customer relationship has the potential to add a tremendous amount to the lifetime profitability of your business. Even when small business owners use conservative estimates to calculate a customer’s total lifetime value they are often quite surprised at the results. Suddenly a $17.99 deluxe carwash does not look like that significant of a sacrifice.While free offers are important “bait” with which to hook new customers, it is crucially important that entrepreneurs not undermine the value of their services by indiscriminately handing out free service offers. Free service should never be something that customers expect from your business; service gift certificates such as those that I recommend sending to new residents should be used only as a mechanism to generate new customer interest. Loyal rewards programs (, which reward repeat business and encourage customer loyalty, help business owners to keep the customers they already have.In short, 21st century marketing requires more than simply throwing money at a problem and crossing your fingers. Successful business owners must institute marketing programs that are can be tracked and measured, and that deliver quantifiable results. As is abundantly clear after calculating the lifetime value of each individual customer, generating new customer relationships through smart marketing strategies is not simply a secondary business activity; it’s a core operating concern, and an investment in the future of your business.

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Get Involved With Digital Photography!

The continuing advances in digital photography make it possible for everyone to capture moments of their lives with more detail and accuracy than ever. Improvements in photo resolution and shutter speed make it easy for both professional photographers and beginners to take great pictures. And even if a photo is not perfect when it is taken, sophisticated editing software can transform it into a work of art.Experienced photographers say that timing is the most important factor for getting a good picture. There is only a small, limited opportunity to capture a great shot. Whether you are trying to get the perfect sunset photo or get a picture of the winners as they cross the finish line, you must have a good sense of timing and the intuition that lets you know exactly when to press that shutter button. It is this factor that makes photography an art form.Most people never quite realize the dream of getting a perfect shot. Maybe your picture is framed well, but the lighting is not quite right. Maybe you’ve got the lighting just right, but you forget to use the flash or red-eye reduction option. In cases like these, digital photography offers an excellent way to get just the look you want in a photo.Any picture you take with a digital camera can be edited to reach its full potential. Digital photos can be automatically enhanced to improve their color; they can be zoomed or cropped to their optimal size. And, of course, the red-eye reduction capability can improve any portrait. These editing options can all be completed within minutes, giving you the chance to have the most wonderful photos you’ve ever taken.With a good digital camera and photo editing software, you can accomplish great things. The capabilities built into your camera represent only the beginning of the editing potential. Software programs really help you make the most of the photos you have. You can use editing software to change the images in any way you desire.Local or online retailers can provide you with the equipment, software, and information you need to take great digital photos. When selecting a digital camera, you should be sure you buy one that has the features you need and want. You should look for a model that gives great pictures and that also has simple docking methods for downloading the photos from the camera to the printer or computer. Good photo editing software that will let you alter your digital pictures includes products like Kodak Picture, and Corel Photo Album.

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The Highest Form of Art to Some

An art fair is a great place to find up and coming artists. At many, the artists are vetted by gallery owners. Here the quality of the work may still vary wildly, but the artist has found at least one person to vouch for them. Other art fairs may be open to anyone willing to pay for a spot. With the advent of digital photography and desk top printing nearly anyone can become a vendor of their work.Regardless of the quality of the photograph, there are other issues of quality that should be reviewed or the purchased photograph may fade away in a year or so. Here, the patron is responsible for vetting the work him or herself. Here are a few tips when looking at photographs.First and foremost; do you like it? Don’t spend too much time analyzing why something is appealing. Maybe the rock looks like Aunt Annie’s backside; knowing that might ruin the warm fuzzy feeling. Art is personal. If it is a major investment, a second visit might be merited to make sure it wasn’t just the enchilada and margarita doing its magic.Once moved by the artwork, there are several questions that should be asked. Finding out the medium is important. Was the photograph taken with a digital or film camera? Here’s the key- if it’s not film, then it’s digital. If it’s digital then there are many different types of printers and many different types of paper that can be used. Up until several years ago most papers had a major issue with image fade. The quality of printers and papers has improved and now images can last from 15 to over 100 years in average use conditions. Is the photographer knowledgeable about paper and printers?This leads to several important questions. Is it a pigment based print or a dye based print? Pigment holds up better in light and is more durable. Dye-based prints don’t run or bleed as much if it gets wet. (There are some pigment based products that claim to be as resistant to running or bleeding as dye-based products.)What type of paper is the picture printed on. Often the ink or pigment is designed to work best with a specific paper and printer. These are issues the photographer should be well versed in. If he can’t coherently discuss the longevity issue, then think twice before buying.

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