As the holiday season comes to a close and the new year quickly settles in, there are few better moments to refocus and prioritize what you need to do to get your business off to a great start in 2017. If October, November and December (OND) were the busiest months of the year for your business, you may be ready for a vacation, or at least some time to breath and regain your energy. But, as you know, there is always work to be done!
So what can you do to get 2017 started off with a bang?
Reflect on your business, personal life
Before you begin to feverishly compile all of your “resolutions” for the new year that will quickly turn into dust in the wind, take time to reflect on the year you just had. Having hindsight will allow you to analyze all of your successes and failures and provides baselines for the areas you need to focus on for your business and for yourself. We know, it is much more fun to look to the future with the excitement of change and moving forward, but you need to do the grunt work first.
Ask yourself, “what did I do well, what did I not do so well?” Begin building a list of wins and losses from which to generate goals and come to a realistic “grade” of the year in review. This likely won’t be an easy task–assessing past failures is tough for us humans–but it must be done. You will quickly recognize areas that you need to direct more focus heading into 2017 and creating well-informed, realistic resolutions/goals for your business and yourself.
Don’t forget about those successes though! Part of surviving and thriving in business (and life really) for the long haul is maintaining a positive attitude, which is easily fueled by taking the time to enjoy the victories along the way. Life is too short to only focus on the end result, find fulfillment in getting there.
Work on processes
Far too often small businesses and startups ignore tasks that could make their lives much more efficient and simplified, and it could be the difference in how quickly you take your business to the next level. This is the perfect time to comb through processes such as onboarding new clients, project/task management, social media & other digital content, meeting structures etc… More of the fun stuff!
We can sense your mood shifting as you now realize that you probably won’t be in Cancun any time soon, so here are some of our favorite quotes to help you fight the good fight:
“If you want to have what others don’t, you must do what others won’t”
—Some really smart person
“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”
—Another really smart person
While you work through these processes it is important to not drown in them either. Treat your entire business as one big process–this will also help you focus on what’s most important. Always keep in mind the three pillars of business process management (BPM): people, technology & process.
Make sure you have the right people working for you and that you have created an environment that breeds success. Part of that environment is the technology that you provide your employees with that can increase their individual efficiency, which will in turn lead to a more efficient business as a whole. The chances that somebody has already created a device or software that can help your business are quite good, take the time to research these products.
Pile on some wins early
We aren’t talking about Charlie Sheen’s version of “winning” by the way, we are talking about something more quantifiable. Set some short-term goals for your business in 2017 that are what John Lee Dumas of EOFire calls “SMART” goals, meaning: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-bound. Achieving goals, big or small, to start the year off is a great morale booster not only for yourself, but your business and team as well. Doing so will set the tone for the remainder of the year.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in business when used correctly and setting achievable goals provides the groundwork for giving you and your employees some measurable accomplishments. You’ve probably been told by a supervisor in the past that, “you’re doing so well, you’re such an asset to this company and we thank you for your hard work and dedication!” Your first thought was probably, “why am I working on Christmas then, and why aren’t you paying me more?” We’ve all been there and we know how that type of motivation worked (or didn’t) on us, so avoid using it in your own business. Use short-term goal setting to show real progress and exactly how it is achieved.
Lastly, make it a point to enjoy the year ahead more than any other. Enjoy the process and the journey of getting to where you are going. Bask in the small victories and with each failure remind yourself what you are in this for. Don’t look too far ahead, live in the moment. Smile at others at they walk by, have a conversation with a stranger that isn’t about the weather, and call a friend you haven’t heard from in a long time.
Happy New Year!
In light of the recent US presidential election, it feels as good of a time as any to discuss a concept in marketing and advertising that took the nation by storm over the past year and a half: Guerrilla Marketing. Love him or hate him, the president elect, Donald J. Trump (in case you haven’t heard yet), used this type of marketing to tap into a following and grow a grassroots campaign that was effective enough to eventually make him the leader of the free world. We by no means are endorsing his actions throughout his campaign, but it did provide us with a timely example of some of the techniques at the core of guerrilla marketing and how they are used to sway consumers.
What is Guerrilla Marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is defined as innovative, unconventional, and low-cost marketing techniques aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product. Guerrilla marketing is about surprising, shocking, making enduring impressions and creating ample amounts of social buzz amongst consumers–sound familiar? These types of marketing campaigns are aimed to connect with consumers at a more personal and memorable level.
Guerrilla Marketing is by no means a new concept in the advertising and marketing industries, especially for small businesses, but compared to traditional advertising it has had a much shorter lifespan. It was conceived, in part, due to widespread disdain for traditional advertising and consumers exhaustion from being marketed to.
In 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson coined the term with his book ‘Guerrilla Advertising’. Levinson says that the essence of guerrilla marketing is “achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”
Connecting with consumers
Two of our biggest takeaways from guerrilla marketing are focusing on personal connection and inserting energy more so than money into advertising and marketing campaigns. We believe that creating a community between businesses and consumers is the key to driving sales and building long-term, reliable consumer bases. There are studies that reportedly show this, but it is also our experience that much of the time consumers don’t always buy the best product in a given market, instead they buy the story, or the message behind what a business portrays through their product. In short, they invest in the people, not the product.
When we work with our clients, we understand that people are the most important aspect of any sales campaign. We want to work with clients that share our values and energy towards promotional events so that we can run the most effective and successful campaigns possible. Often, simply referring to a possible buyer by name and having a personal conversation with them will have a longer lasting effect than creating flashy labels (spending tons of money) for your products.
Examples of Guerrilla Marketing
There are endless ways to effectively use guerrilla marketing to your advantage, and this is due to the fact that it relies on originality and creativity. At Modern Talent, we focus on finding fun and engaging new ways to catch consumers attention at Trade Shows, Bar & Restaurant Demos, Live Events, etc… as well as positioning Brand Ambassadors strategically to represent your company in a professional and energetic fashion. Investing in a promotional staffing agency is already a step in the right direction if you are looking to break away from expensive, traditional marketing tactics, but we take pride in continuously searching for new ways to engage with consumers.
To paint a better picture, here’s some other really fun and innovative examples of how companies have used guerrilla marketing in the past:
- Graffiti: a better term might be “controlled” or “regulated” graffiti, being that as a company you would be wise to get permission to spray your logo in alleys or on the side of buildings, but companies such as Hummer, McDonald’s and Coca Cola have hired professional graffiti artists to plaster their ads on buildings.
- Viral Videos: easier said than done, but creating a strange, funny or shocking video for the web is a great way to get your consumers to work for you. Once your video gains traction, online users will begin sharing it with their friends and many other like-minded people (target audiences!) who will organically run your marketing campaign for you.
- Stealth Marketing: also known as “undercover marketing,” is performed by hiring actors to use your product out in the public eye and interact with strangers who may be interested in the product as well. Example: in 2002, Sony hired actors to wander around cities and ask strangers to take photos of them. During the interaction the actors would rave about their awesome new phones and all of its capabilities.
When should you use Guerrilla Marketing?
As budgets constrict and alternative methods for advertising and marketing grow, guerrilla marketing will continue to grow as a strategy as well. In this day and age, it has become almost a necessity to invest in guerrilla tactics. But, as we mentioned earlier, this doesn’t mean investing money, it means investing time and energy. We understand that businesses, especially small businesses don’t have a lot of spare time or energy to spend on such campaigns, so hiring a promotional staffing agency is a great way to cost effectively accomplish such a need.
Traditional advertising costs continue to grow as print and television space continues to shrink due to consumer habits and consumption trends. AdBlock exists for a reason: consumers see hundreds of ads every day and they are growing tired of it. Guerrilla marketing offers an alternative to both overspending on ads and exhausting your hopeful buyers, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start refocusing your marketing strategy.