by DW Green — December 8, 2011I don’t know about you, but I like direct mail. We receive a fair amount of direct mail offers at our home during the year. My wife, son and myself take advantage of the offers regularly. I’m a bit embarrassed to report that just last week I received a direct mail offer from a men’s clothing store for $300 off a minimum $800 purchase. I redeemed the coupon and ended up spending more than $800! A professional shopper I’m not!Direct Mail is a simple and powerful way to get your message directly to your target audience. A smart and effective direct mail piece can increase store sales by grabbing the attention of potential customers. The design of the piece and the offer are the two main ingredients for successful redemption.One of our clients uses a 11.5”x6” post card promoting four “free” items. Each free item is valid for one week, covering a four-week period. The four-week time frame spreads the distribution cost over a four-week period. They have experienced 7 to 12% sales lift. January and February are excellent months for this type of promotion.Here are some of the benefits of a direct mail campaign.
• According to the United States Postal Service, 98% of consumers bring in their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77% sort through it immediately. This means there are people who could be seeing your direct mail marketing campaign immediately who could potentially come looking for your business.
• Direct mail campaigns allow you to target on a spec
by DW Green — November 1, 2011“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
-Yogi BerraIs your 2012 promotional plan completed? We co-create annual promotional plans with many of our clients. The purpose of the planning is to incorporate all elements of your marketing media into a single, easy-to-follow, 52 week document. This holistic approach ensures that all marketing components are addressed and form a strong, cohesive and interconnected plan.Here’s a recent content example of a promotional plan document:• Ad date
• Page count
• Front Page theme
• Promotional page theme
• Special event
• Blog topic
• E-Mail Blast theme
• Social Media Plan (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
• What’s new?
• Brand Stories
• Website; Home page feature, content features and sub features
• Digital signage
• Radio/TV/Direct Mail/Magazines/Outdoor (Out of home)We spend about 16 hours preparing a working document, including holiday dates, researching event ideas and promotional themes, assembling wholesaler promotional plan and note the four slowest weeks of the prior year. The client meeting itself takes six to eight hours. The better the preparation the better the meeting. We then compile the information and finalize the 52 week plan. And as soon as the plan is client approved we begin work on detailing individual elements.A well thought out and all encompassing promotional plan is extremely important. As Yogi Berra once
by DW Green — August 25, 2011I recently read Finding Inner Courage by Mark Nepo. It is an excellent book and I highly recommend reading it. In the introduction Nepo writes; “What does courage mean? How we hold this question is important. It’s interesting that the question, what does it mean? in Spanish, que quire deicer?, literally translates as, what does it want to say? The difference inherent in the Spanish view is that whatever holds meaning is alive and has its own vital authority and, therefore, demands us to be in relationship to it in order to learn its meaning. English view readies us to apprehend meaning, while Spanish view readies us to experience meaning.”Okay, interesting quote you might say, but what does it have to do with business? In a word…everything. What does your business mean? What does it mean to you? What does it mean to your stakeholders? Human beings are meaning making machines. When our relationships and our experiences are meaningful, we are confident and comfortable with our decisions, our choices and this meaningful connection enhances our overall sense of happiness and well-being.A company’s “reasons to believe” are deeply rooted in its purpose and meaning. It’s critical that a company’s purpose and meaning are fully expressed in designed experiences, culture, value offerings and communications; ultimately creating faith and trust in the brand by all its stakeholders. This comprehensive and holistic approach
by DW Green — September 14, 2010We believe that “customer experience” is critical, and “getting it right” is obviously key. Like first impressions, you only get one chance to get experience right. Research has shown that experience motivates consumers to action, action that either leads to repurchase or retreat – to another brand, store, etc.Consumers will continue to choose among a wide array of channels that provide the most compelling experiences relevant for a given occasion. Experiences need not be limited only to highly differentiated specialty retailers (e.g., Whole Foods Market, Central Market, Wegman’s). For many consumers Trader Joe’s and Costco deliver very compelling experiences relevant to pantry stocking and entertaining occasions.Five dimensions of compelling customer experience are:
1. Authenticity – Authentic experiences need not be sophisticated or elaborate, but they must be believable. Authentic retail experiences encourage unscripted employee/consumer interaction and frank exchange of opinions, beliefs and ideas.2. Community – Consumers want to feel as if they are part of an experience which extends beyond the level of basic economic transaction. Ideally, consumers desire that their retailers are a reflection of their local way of life in their communities. Consumers want to believe that they are as vested in this experience as the employees themselves – part of a larger community of like-minded individuals.3. Relevance – Retai
by DW Green — September 3, 2010Most retail businesses in America believe that they offer good customer service, but in reality, the opposite is probably more accurate. Why? With the daily demands of performing repetitive tasks in a highly productive environment, employees are often oblivious to customers and their needs. Customer service is typically given lip service by managers, who view training and developing employees to provide an exceptional customer experience as a low priority in a cost-controlling, low-margin industry. Ironically, it is just such an investment in employee training and development that can increase sales exponentially. While operational efficiencies are essential to superior corporate performance, they should not hinder the company’s ability to gain a customer service advantage.For independent retailers to gain a customer service advantage over their competitors, a serious investment of resources to train employees is critical. It is also imperative to have in place vehicles that foster communication between the customer and store, including regular interaction between top management and customers. Why is this important? Because customer service is one thing and exceptional customer service is another thing entirely. It’s not enough for every customer to be acknowledged by every employee they meet, on every shopping visit to the store. It’s not enough that every customer is sincerely greeted and thanked for their business when the transaction is complete. It’s about
by DW Green — August 11, 2010Employee focus groups are one of the best ways to foster a sense of ownership and generate marketing ideas, as well as to reduce employee theft and turnover.Focus groups give employees at all levels an opportunity to provide input about how their jobs are structured. Surprisingly, a properly guided group will more than likely generate policies and procedures nearly identical to those of management. The difference? Employee ideas will meet with less resistance and be more effective because they are their ideas.The same is true for marketing ideas, with an additional advantage. Employee ideas for marketing and promotion will come with fewer of the that’s too different to try labels attached. The ideas may need to be tempered by the realities of budget, and perhaps law, but employee promotional ideas will almost always be the most fun.Focus groups are also effective team-building tools. Employees learn that they are both capable of and expected to solve problems together. Complaints are not allowed to fester unsolved. Rather, employee complaints lead to employee solutions, which increases job satisfaction. Additionally, focus groups reduce employee theft by creating such a strong sense of ownership that employees don’t want to jeopardize “their operation” by stealing from it.
by DW Green — July 21, 2010“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark TwainHow management refers to personnel and store activities can bolster a store’s commitment to its employees and to exceptional customer service. For instance, calling part-time employees prime-timers conveys the excellent performance expected of them, the respect due them, and their full membership on the team. Often times the sanitation or janitorial staff is taken for granted, even though their skill set and talent is critical to the stores overall success. Consider a fresh name for those very important employees like the Clean Team or Cleanness Pro’s. Try coupling the word sales with various job functions, like visual sales instead of stock and display and register sales instead of cashier or checker. Deliberately use the word selling interchangeably with customer service to reinforce that they are essentially the same thing.Have some fun with this activity!
by DW Green — June 22, 2010In the end it is employees who make the difference. No amount of merchandising or advertising can be successful over the long run without a dedicated, knowledgeable staff. If employees don’t support your market position or advertising claims, your efforts will be undermined.To build a company that is profitable, enduring, and able to hold its own against major competitors, managers need to foster a sense of community among employees. Above all, employees must share common values. This means recruits should be judged as much on the basis of their fit with the company’s values and principles as they are on the basis of their ability to fulfill the technical requirements of the job.People should be hired into your company with the understanding that they are there to develop their potential. You must ensure that processes are in place to assess individual potential, ensure adequate training and development, evaluate performance, and provide graceful exits from the company. If employees don’t pull their weight or share the company’s values, they must move on. At a certain point, managers must be prepared to pass the baton, as well, so the company can continue to renew itself.Employee training and development is critical if your company is to remain a leading contender in the market. After all, competitors can copy prices and programs, but they cannot clone people. The costs of recruiting, training and developing the right people are high. But the co
by DW Green — June 9, 2010Last October I attended the Heart of Leadership workshop in Seattle. One of the exercises was stand taking. What do I stand for? What is the commitment I am? (for myself, my organization, my company, my co-workers, my customers, my family, or any area of concern in my life) The power of stand taking happens when you announce out loud to others, what you stand for. I suspect blogging about one’s stands can be as powerful. Here are a few of my stands:• I stand for love and personal growth in my shared spaces.• I stand for creating a powerful, empowering, collaborative workplace based on love, mutual respect and accountability where team members are encouraged to be themselves and make a difference in their world.• I stand for creating innovative products and services that genuinely differentiate our clients in their market space…products and services that benefit their financial bottom line.• I stand for business relationships that are based on trust, mutual respect, collaboration and meaningful dialogue.Stand taking is an ongoing process. Stand taking helps bring our inner and outer lives together. I stand for writing interesting blogs.
by DW Green — May 26, 2010I was humbled to participate in a tribute to one of our clients last week. Among others, I was interviewed, on video no less, on their behalf. I was presented with a list of questions to address by the interviewer ahead of time. As I was preparing my responses, I realized, from my perspective, what the essence of my clients company truly is.To me, our client is a humanistic company. It is a company with a soul. And from the depths of their soul, the will to give uncommon service to all stakeholders flows. This company is imbued with the joy of service, to the community, to society, to the environment, to customers, and to associates.Their leadership believes in purpose and in meaning and the well being of its stakeholders—employees, customers, suppliers, business partners, and society. They facilitate, encourage, reward, recognize, and celebrate their employees for being of service to each other, to customers and to the communities in which they serve because it’s the right thing to do.In an extremely difficult low price focused, low margin industry, with fierce competition, our client is the ultimate value creator: they create emotional value, experiential value, social value, and of course financial value.This client is an inspiration to me. My intention is to become a company of purpose, and of meaning. And like our client, a company with a soul.