A New Look for Your Google Results

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Google's New Look

Just a quick word on an updated look for Google's Mobile Search Results. They will soon be adding a logo for your brand next to your name on the page. This is the image that appears in the browser tab - also known as a favicon.

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If you need help adding or updating the favicon/logo for your website, I can help.

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Read the full details from Google

Let me know if you need help updating your favicon.

Seeing the Light Bulb Go On - An Educator's Delight

Cartoons have used the image of a light bulb appearing over a character's head when they get an idea. A lot of teachers, myself included, will tell you we get a real rush when we see the proverbial light bulb go on over someone's head.
 
I was always good at retail sales. I think part of the reason was that I got more excited about helping my customers learn about the product than I did in selling it to them. Sure I liked to make a sale too, but only if I felt like it was a good fit and that the customer would know how to use what I was selling.
 
In my consulting career, I have the habit of teaching my clients how to fish instead of reeling in the catch for them. I like empowering them to be successful at marketing, not just gain a few customers while I am in charge of their campaigns.
 
This has met with mixed results. A lot of clients want me to do the work and they don't know or care how I do it. Others are grateful that I am willing to share my secrets and help them be successful long term.
 
So if you are thinking of hiring me as a marketing consultant, be warned that I will try to get you to learn what I am doing so that you can be successful in the long term. 
 
Don't get me wrong, the best leaders delegate to multiply their efforts. I'm not suggesting you have to do all the daily tasks yourself. I do recommend that you have enough understanding to oversee your marketing campaigns well, including managing your marketing team and/or vendors.
 
Marketingenious, my company name, is made up of two words:
Marketing
Ingenious
 
The reason is not because I am a marketing genius, but because I will help you bring out the ingenuity inside of you.
 
Why? Because I'd love to see that light bulb go on over your head.

Spoke is Giving Away Marketing Help this Summer

http://www.spokenwhirred.com/wp-content/themes/spoke/images/spoke-logo.jpgSpoke Marketing is sponsoring it's second annual Sprockets campaign this Summer. If you are non-profit or entrepreneurial start up you can take advantage of free marketing help from the agency.

They are offering help with:
Websites, annual reports, marketing plans, capital campaigns...whatever you need? (This does NOT include printing, production, photography, illustration or any normal agency ‘out-of-pocket’ expense.)

Take a look at the results they achieved last year.

Interested? You can apply online today.

Now is the time that we dance.

HOW TO: Win a Price War

Any economics student can tell you that price is a matter of supply and demand. The market will bear a certain price point and settle into equilibrium. This is not very helpful when trying to determine the price for a new product. Price is a very confusing area of marketing for many people. The reason is probably because price is one of the most misused and abused marketing tools. Traditionally, there are three ways to set the price for a product:

  • Competitive Parity- Charging the same price or average price of the competition
  • Standard Markup- Always adding the same percentage markup to the cost of products (i.e., cost plus 50%)
  • Zero-Based Pricing- Receiving a small margin per item with a high volume of sales

The problem with all three of these methods is they do not take into account the customer's perceived value of the product. Let's assume you are going to sell hats. The hats cost you $10 to make so you decide to sell them for $15. What if the people buying your hats only think they are worth $5? You are in big trouble. You cannot afford to sell hats for less than they cost you to make, but if that is the perceived value to your customers you will not sell any at $15. On the other hand, what if customers love your hats and would actually be willing to pay $20 per hat? You are cheating yourself out of $5 per hat. So how do you know what people will pay? Do the research before going to market. Either hire a market research firm, or do it yourself if you are on a budget. If people are willing to pay less than your cost to produce the hats, you will be avoiding disaster by knowing this information ahead of time. If people are willing to pay more than your perception of a fair price, you can be even more successful than you imagined.

Price Wars

Your price must be based on the perceived value to the customer. Price is a double-edged sword, and many companies find themselves falling into the trap of competing on price. Price is NOT a competitive advantage by definition because it can be copied easily and immediately by the competition. Price wars with the competition hurt everyone. Customers will be happy at first because they will get better deals, but be disappointed in the long term when prices go back up or their favorite company goes out of business. Price wars destroy the perceived value of the product in the marketplace. Even if your company wins the price war by undercutting the competition, customers will feel cheated when prices return to normal levels.

I went to McDonald's to get my 39-cent hamburger the other day, and to my dismay what had been 39 cents the previous six months is now all of a sudden 79 cents. I felt cheated, but if they had not been 39 cents the week before when I bought them, I would not have felt that paying 79 cents was a big deal. Like millions and millions of other people, I have been going to McDonald's since I was a child. A few years ago they panicked and jumped into the price wars with their competition. This was a mistake. By creating their own "value menu," they started looking like everyone else. There is now nothing special about going there because they are just like their copycat competition. I just heard on the radio that McDonald's is closing almost 200 locations. It does not sound like the low price strategy is working.

Low price is not a valid competitive advantage, yet companies spend millions of dollars saying they are the low price leaders. Low price has no distinguishing characteristic about it, particularly when everyone is saying the same thing. Companies are also telling their customers to shop based on price. Therefore, if their competition has a lower price, they should go to them. Let me repeat, companies are paying for advertising that tells their customers not to be loyal, but to shop based on low price! Besides encouraging a price war and creating disloyalty, this violates Marketing Key 5: Building Relationships. By telling people that the lowest price is the best criterion for choosing a product, companies are discouraging customer loyalty based on reputation or quality of service. This practice is so prevalent that it is no wonder many people are confused about the proper place of price in a marketing plan. The good news is that after reading this, you now know better than your competition.


How to Win a Price War

The answer to how to win a price war is to not get into one in the first place. If you find yourself in this situation, find a competitive advantage aside from price to promote then differentiate yourself and focus your marketing promotions on the advantage instead of price.



Personalize Your FireFox Browser with Your Own Brand

Do you use the FireFox browser? If so, good news, you can now get the Philanthr persona for your browser. The thumbnail looks black, but roll over the image with your mouse and you will see a light Philanthr logo show up in the back of your browser toolbar area.

Don't like the Philanthr design? Make your own. It's free and the instructions are pretty easy to follow.