What’s in It for Me?: Determining Why People Buy

7 09 2012

It gives me very great pleasure to introduce today’s guest blogger – my dad and marketing wizard, Fred Tomczyk! Without further ado…

Why do people buy?As a Marketing Communications Manager, one of my jobs is to identify the messages we want to tell our customers about our company and our products. The usual goal, of course, is to move them towards purchasing one of our products.

Here’s a simple way to approach this task.

Let’s start by talking a bit about how to select a message that has the best chance of stimulating sales.

The first thing you need to recognize before settling upon a message is why people buy your products or services. I emphasize the word “people” because whether you’re selling B2B or directly to a consumer, there is always a person making the decision to buy what you have to offer.

Recognizing that you are selling to a person, you need to ask yourself why your customers would want to buy what you have to offer. This is actually more challenging than it sounds. Everyone who is considering whether or not they should buy what you are offering is standing in front of you with a question written boldly across their forehead, just waiting for you to read it and give them the answer they need.

What’s that question? It’s simply, “What’s in it for me?”

What your customer is always asking is how will what you’re offering benefit them. This is really powerful, so let me emphasize this again. They want to know how the product or service you’re offering is going to BENEFIT them.

That word “benefit” is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if your widget has a two inch diameter while the competition only has a one inch diameter (the feature). It doesn’t even matter that that two inch diameter means you are stronger (the function). All that matters is the BENEFIT he will derive from the fact that your widget has a two inch diameter and is stronger.

For example, because of this larger diameter, which makes your widget stronger, your buyer will experience increased confidence in using your widget. This may even help him protect his employees. It might help him make more money, improve his customer relations, reduce risk or save time..

Whatever the underlying benefit, your customer will decide to buy your product because they see the benefits that answer their question, “What’s in it for me?”

Here’s a simple example: Two people bought wrist watches. They both say they bought the watches so they can tell what time it is. One of them bought a $20 no brand, while the other bought a $4,000 Rolex. Both watches tell time. So why would one person buy a Rolex while the other buys a $20 disposable watch?

It’s all about the benefits they were seeking.

The $20 watch buyer may be content with telling time to be sure she gets to her appointments on time. The Rolex buyer says he’s buying the same function, but he’s also buying several other benefits. He’s buying the feeling of prestige. He’s buying something he believes makes him look and feel good. He’s buying something that he thinks tells people, “I’ve made it!”

So, if you were selling a Rolex, would you talk only about the high precision manufacturing process? The composition of the metal? The spring tension on the watch band?

Or, would you explain to your customers how their friends will admire them? How good it will look on their wrists?

Use the following list of benefits (“Reasons Why People Buy”) with your products or services. Develop your list of deliverable benefits so you can use them with all of your communications tools – face-to-face sales, web site, ads, literature/flyers, press releases, signs, packaging, etc. Remember to differentiate between Features, Functions and Benefits. Then use your lists of benefits to answer your customers’ question, “What’s in it for me?” and increase your sales

Reasons Why People Buy
To Increase:
• Profit
• Satisfaction
• Confidence
• Convenience
• Pleasure

To Protect:
• Investment
• Self
• Employees
• Property
• Money

To Make:
• Money
• Satisfied customers
• Good impressions

To Improve:
• Customer relations
• Employee relations
• Image
• Status
• Earnings

To Reduce:
• Risk
• Investment
• Expenses
• Competition
• Worry
• Trouble

To Save:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Space

Next Blog: Just two weeks away. If you can’t wait that long, contact me! I’m always happy to talk smart business.

Found today’s topic fascinating? Me, too! Here’s a bonus TEDx video, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” that makes a phenomenal compliment to what my dad wrote above. Thanks to Chris and Jenny of Body Within Personal Training for bringing this video to my attention!

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Well, Color Me Successful…

20 01 2012

This post is about COLOR – and why it warrants a second glance in your design and marketing.

If you have any favorite colors, leave them on the doorstep. Successful marketing has next to nothing to do with your preferences, and nearly everything to do with psychology.

At the level of color, we’re actually impacting our viewers at a largely subconscious level. So whether or not blue is the surveyed fave of your clientele is secondary to which color is most likely to make them feel confident/excited/safe/proud/comfortable/cool enough to buy.

Defining Color
It’s easier to understand the power of color if you understand the basic terminology first. A tint of red, for example, has a significantly different psychological impact than a shade of red. And analogous color harmonies have nothing to do with analogies about colorful instruments.

Check out this super-mini Color Glossary and this equally concise overview of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary colors… just enough to get you started, and not enough to bore you. I know you have other things to do with your time than go through a 12-week course on color theory.

The Color Wheel
Now that you have a handshake acquaintance with color lingo, it’s time to revisit our old, grade school art class friend: The Color Wheel.

The Color Wheel is crucial, if only to recognize successful color partnerships when you see them, and avoid eye-jarring combinations that induce eye trauma. Would you rather bank with a company that uses stately blues and wealthy greens, or one that markets themselves with neon yellow, clown orange and puce?

Uh-huh. I thought so.

Not everyone is gifted with an eye for coordination, and that’s okay. There are plenty of pre-designed color schemes and swatches to choose from. This interactive, online Color Scheme Designer is a phenomenal tool for just about anyone, amateur or professional, who isn’t sure where to start.

The Psychology of Color
And now we get down to it… the point of analyzing your marketing color choices.

Just like a doctor’s office will use soft blues to soothe, grocers use natural greens to suggest organic and day cares use primary colors to appeal to kids, YOU have to consider the effect colors will have on your target audience.

Below is a first-rate visual that clarifies the concept brilliantly:

The Psychology of Color
Courtesy of: The Psychology of Color by Tech King

The DMT Challenge
Starting with your logo, list the main colors incorporated in its design. Use the chart above to jot down the psychological impact of each, and see if it matches with your marketing goals.

Now review your website, and then your marketing materials. Which colors predominate? What are they saying about your company?

“People ignore design that ignores people.” – Frank Chimero

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Copyright © DMT Artistry, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Are We There Yet?!: The marketing milestone marathon

12 08 2011

Road trip boredomRoad trip! The joy of adult existence; the bane of children everywhere.

Do you remember your earliest family road vacations, when your parents packed you and your siblings into the back seat with fruit snacks, juice boxes and various luggage items that wouldn’t fit in the trunk?

The first 30 miles were a blur of car games, sing-a-longs and back seat Chinese fire drills. The second 30-mile stretch disappeared in a haze of napping.

But those next hundred miles… ugh! Time and mile markers crawled by at snail’s pace. It was only a matter of time before a plaintive “Are we there yet?!” emanated from the back seat.

As adults, we may have tempered this impatience with maturity, but as business owners – particularly new business owners – our marketing plans occasionally find us regressing back to childhood frustration. Here’s what happens…

The Too-Lofty Marketing Plan
A marketing plan consists of one or more goals, usually about increasing revenue, that act as a marketing mission statement of sorts. It gives your advertising both a direction and a purpose. However, it’s not uncommon to mistake bigger for better.

The problem with Texas-sized goals isn’t their validity or their value; it’s the fact that they take so darn long to accomplish. The adult in us valiantly clings to patience. But the child in us (i.e. the inexperienced, exuberant part of us) is wondering if we’re EVER going to get there.

The last thing you want is for your enthusiasm to wane halfway through accomplishing your goal. You need that youthful energy to drive your entrepreneurial creativity, and keep your business evolving.

So here’s what you can do: Keep your big goals, but also keep your inner child gainfully amused along the way…

1) Create micro-goals.  Give yourself and your company something to shoot for every year, every month, every week and every day. It’s empowering to work with purpose.

2) Celebrate milestones.  Congratulate yourself and your team for accomplishing the little goals that are going to make the big ones possible. Create daily opportunities to feel triumphant. Success grows exponentially, so you may wind up breezing by your big goal and accomplishing something even greater!

3) Get creative with your goal setting.  Marketing goals don’t always have to be directly related to fattening the company wallet. Believe me, just about any strategic goal will lead to increased revenue in the long (or short) run. Alternate goals can be about networking events attended, sale opportunities researched, new marketing avenues explored, partnerships formed, efficiency increased or creating a new and marketable benefit for your product or service.

DMT Challenge of the Week

Take a few minutes to write down your marketing goal for today, one for the upcoming week and one for the end of the month. Be sure that each goal is measurable, so that you can determine whether the goal was a success. Now decide on your reward for each accomplishment, making sure that the scale of the reward fits the scale of the goal.

If you plan it right, the journey to your final goal will be as enriching as its ultimate achievement. And your road trip will be as exciting as your final destination.

“When you come to a fork in the road – take it.”  – Yogi Berra

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Choking on Butterflies: The pretty v. practical compromise

4 08 2011

Choking on butterfliesI saw someone choke on a butterfly once – my husband, in fact, though we were dating at the time. It was on a mountain biking expedition that this kamikaze Lone Ranger of the insect world fluttered headlong into my husband’s unsuspecting mouth. It wasn’t pretty… for either him or the butterfly, but it sure made for a memorable date!

Businesses choke on butterflies daily. Only their butterflies aren’t winged insects. They’re the fluff and glitter and show that bedazzle their customers into a purchase. They’re the colors, and sounds and snippets of wittiness that draw attention to what you do or sell.

As humans, we’re all susceptible to the influence of beauty, whether that beauty be a gorgeously arranged display, a stunning store model, a picturesque shop location or a brilliantly designed ad. And, visual beings that we are, this facet of marketing is critical.

Where problems arise is when a business focuses too much on its “butterflies”, and not enough on its content. No matter how flashy your marketing may be or how exquisitely your store may be laid out, if there’s no substance to your offers or no real purpose behind its presentation, there’s nothing to keep your customers coming back. And at that point, you’d better be prepared with the Heimlich maneuver, because your business will be choking on butterflies.

DMT Challenge of the Week
Take a look at the layout of your store and your marketing materials and techniques. How much of it is pure show, and how much has a practical foundation for the betterment of your business? How much actually gets across your company mission?

Be ruthless. Cut the fluff. And remember, more customers isn’t necessarily better. Your time and your resources should be dedicated to the visuals and activities that bring you the RIGHT KIND of customers for repeat business.

DMT Artistry gets to the heart of your message, so that your marketing is both visually stimulating and purposeful. Call us to learn more!

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Snooping (Respectfully): A Marketer Must-Do

18 05 2011

Market research doesn't have to be nosyFor this blog, you’ll need your binoculars, tape recorder, telephoto lens, phone bug and… just kidding.

All you REALLY need for some good, old-fashioned dirt-digging is your computer, your common sense and your courtesy. Here’s the deal…

Knowing where to advertise is half the battle when you’re making your marketing decisions. And deciding where to advertise starts with an understanding of your customers’ interests. What do they read, watch and do? Where do they travel, relax and work? When do they buy, daydream and socialize?

The answers will give you important clues about where you should lay those marketing dollars.

You can pay an arm, a leg and a first-born child to have demographic and target market research managed by professional firms. And if you’re on your way to Fortune 500 status, this may well be a viable and valuable option. But, if you’re a smaller company with a budget to match, there is another way.

So, let’s start our respectful “snooping”, shall we…

Lay It All Out There
Let’s start with the most forthright fountain of information – the customers themselves. Asking well-thought-out questions with total transparency makes people feel comfortable, excites an eagerness to help and provides you with just what you need to know. Questionnaires, surveys and “how did you hear about us?” at the cash register are excellent places to start.

Do the majority of your customers read the Sunday paper? Then that’s the perfect day and place to advertise your kite repair service!

Do they spend week nights on Facebook? Post your pizza coupons!

Travel the highways on their work commute? Get those hand-brewed coffee billboards up!

Working Social Media
Savvy marketer that you are, you’ve been on Facebook (or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or…) for ages, “friend”ing your wonderful customers, and building up “likes” on your business page. You’re posting great information regularly. But are you “listening” as well as you “talk”?

Your customers’ comments, the pages they “like”, and the causes they support are valuable nuggets of marketing information. A runners’ shop might notice that their fans are all raving about a particular race. Perfect! It will receive the shop’s full support – advertising and man-power – next year. Maybe you catch your customers quoting regularly from The Wall Street Journal. An ad there could be worth it’s weight in gold.

This is non-creepy, perfectly respectful information gathering at it’s finest.

Through friendly chats and social media, you’ve learned about events, shops and restaurants that your customers totally “dig”. Now go the next step.

The ones that pop up regularly in these conversations are ones you should consider visiting. There may be marketing options there, OR you may be wise to advertise where they’re advertising OR a visit may inspire some zany and wonderful marketing ideas. Just be creative!

Understand that I in no way condone underhanded, disrespectful or illicit acquisition of information.

So, rather than private eyes and magnifying glasses, think in terms of honest curiosity. The information is there. See what you can discover!

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” – Zora Neal Hurston

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Failure? What Failure?: Putting the Monster to Rest

2 03 2011

Fear of failure is the monster under the bed - it's all in our heads!I had a fascinating conversation with my twin brother, David, the other day. We were talking about his latest class topic: Failure.

David is a professor of entrepreneurship – teaching students how to think like leaders, creators and Masters of Their Own Destinies.

So it may seem a little odd that his recent classes were devoted entirely to “Failure”.

Entrepreneurs and business owners – can you tell me why a professor of entrepreneurship would dedicate precious class hours to the in-depth study of falling flat on your face?

You know it. Because fear of failure is the under-the-bed monster that stalks every entrepreneur and, all too frequently, makes a kill. Only, instead of causing bodily harm, this mental demon devours entrepreneurial spirits.

You can hardly be Master of Your Own Destiny when fear has you dancing on a puppet string.

Interestingly enough, many entrepreneurs who quietly disappear from the business world, shamed by their lack of success, actually DIDN’T FAIL AT ALL. They just forgot to define what success would look like TO THEMSELVES. When “success” is a nebulous cloud of vaguery, barring pure dumb luck, “failure” is guaranteed.

The point, as David is teaching his class, is to start with a flashlight in your hand. Illuminate all aspects of your business… monsters, as any kid can tell you, are scared off by light. Fear of failure, in particular, melts at the first glow of purpose and preparation.

If success for you is a dollar amount, what is that dollar amount? Are you looking for just enough to pay your bills? Do you want enough to buy a house on every continent? How much product or service do you need to sell to get there?

If success for you is about opening up more personal time, how much time do you want? What level of income do you need to comfortably take that time? How many employees do you need to help you?

If success for you is about working in your slippers, or setting your own schedule, or turning your clients into friends, or writing your own paycheck, or just plain bragging rights – who is society to judge? Your definition of success is the one definition that matters; it’s the one definition that will legitimately motivate YOU.

So before you write off a business move as a total flop, go back and determine whether you started with the right definition of success. You may be more of a success than you ever knew.

Class dismissed!

“And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”  ~Dr. Seuss

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Tainted by Association – Where to NOT Market Your Business

30 12 2010

Where to NOT Market Your BusinessHow would you feel if your company’s classy online ad was parked beside a gaudy, oversize, credit score advertisement? And if your billboard was posted down an obscure service drive? And what if your half-page print ad shared a magazine page with your top competitor?

“Location, location, location” isn’t just for the real estate market. Where you market is every bit as important as what you’re selling.

When you spend the money to have a truly quality advertisement designed, protect your investment. Research where your ad will be placed and what will surround it. And when these factors are beyond your control (Facebook advertising comes to mind), learn what to expect, so that you can make an informed decision.

Avoid venues where your marketing will be swallowed by an overstuffed, under-viewed heap of advertising.

Check that the “class factor” of any surrounding advertisements is at least equal to your own. Neighboring junk ads taint your company with negative vibes. Oppositely, surrounding top-notch advertising can boost your ad’s “coolness” in readers’ eyes.

Verify that you won’t be competing for attention with similar businesses in your chosen marketing venues or that, at the very least, they’re not placed near your ad.

Ensure that your ad will be set in a location that targets your prime audience. There’s no point advertising nuts and bolts in “Tea Cozy Weekly”. And there’s no point advertising where your message won’t be seen.

It’s lovely when someone gives you the compliment of wishing to link to or advertise your business on their website, but make sure that their website represents you and your company well.

And, of course, the content and quality of your advertisement plays a critical roll in consumer response… but we’ll save that fun for a future post.

Moral of Today’s Story: Scope out advertising real estate before you entrust your company’s image and ad campaign to any particular marketing venue. It will help you turn “tainted by association” into “improved by association”. You’ll look good. They’ll look good. Everybody wins.

Found your venue, but need an ad design to fill it? We’re your company!

DMT Artistry, LLC  |  Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Why Can’t We be Friends? 5 Tips to Reduce Your Spam Complaints

2 06 2010

You’ve worked hard to collect those email addresses for your monthly or weekly e-Newsletter, and now one of your recipients – a client, in fact – has just reported you as “Spam”. What gives?!

Those abuse complaints can hurt, but if you catch a person with the wrong content on the wrong day, sometimes it . just . happens. And it has nothing to do with whether or not they like you.

HOWEVER, there are ways to improve the odds that your e-mail Newsletters will be well-received. Here are 5 of my top techniques to help my clients max out their open and click-through rates:

1) Stick With Who You Know. A list of 100 loyal clients who specifically signed up to receive your e-Newsletter will consistently outperform a purchased (which, by the way, doesn’t jive with today’s internet marketing regulations) list of 1,000 random strangers who have no reason to trust or even need your business.

DMT clients build a super-glue-strong email following the good, ol’ organic way – by getting permission!

2) Keep the Subject Line Real. Contrary to popular belief, witty email subject lines drop open rates like deadweight. If it’s not immediately obvious what your e-Newsletter is all about – “Acme Co. February Newsletter”, “Acme Co. Summer Blow Out Sale” – then it’s suspect. And we all know where “suspect emails” end up, don’t we? The graveyard of the email world a.k.a. the Spam Folder.

DMT e-Newsletter subject lines blend simplicity, honesty and stating-the-obvious to keep those open rates up!

3) Include YOU. In an earlier post, I talked about the importance of putting a face to your marketing. Add some humanness to your e-Newsletter with images of – and stories about – you and your staff.

DMT includes clients, staff and their photos in every e-Newsletter send.

4) Variety is the Spice of Life. Newsletters, by their very nature, contain a little bit of something for everyone. If one topic doesn’t interest a reader, another one will. That’s how you keep ’em coming back for more!

DMT incorporates feature stories, fun trivia, staff spotlights and more to appeal to a broad audience.

5) When You Think It’s Short Enough, Keep Going. Online attention spans range from short to shorter, so your content should follow suit. A three page dissertation on the qualities of your product is more appropriate for a pamphlet than an e-Newsletter.

DMT e-Newsletter articles feed relevant, useful and cool information in byte-sized pieces.

Don’t wait until your favorite client banishes your e-newsletter to the Spam Folder. Makeover your e-Newsletters with your readers in mind, and watch those open rates climb and spam complaints plummet!

DMT Artistry, LLC has been consistently, successfully and significantly exceeding industry average open and click-through rates for all of our e-Newsletter clients. Want to raise the bar on your own email marketing? Contact me any time:

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  (810) 923-4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Professional Farrier Services… Expect Excellence

28 05 2010

If you ever get the urge to see art and science partnered in perfect harmony, watch farrier Charles Lanning in action. He is a master of precision and symmetry. He has to be. Horses’ soundness depends upon it.

And this is not a responsibility that Charles’ takes lightly. His knowledge of trimming and shoeing hooves is remarkable, and his craftsmanship even more so. He specializes in custom corrective shoeing, and is generous with his remarkable store of experience-based wisdom.

Charles launched Professional Farrier Services with the goal of providing  excellence in “Education, Craftsmanship & Integrity”.

The Challenge: With Professional Farrier Services gaining rapidly in popularity, Charles was in need of a logo – pronto. That logo had to reflect his dedication to precision and symmetry, while maintaining an easily recognizable appearance. It also needed to be easily scalable for a wide variety of potential uses, including embroidery, letterhead and business cards.

The DMT Solution: I designed the graphical logo below to reflect the precise symmetry of Charles’ work, plus the critical component of equal weight distribution necessary for a sound horse. I kept the design “readable” with an instantly recognizable hoof and horseshoe (pointed up for “good luck”). The simplicity of the design is what makes it multi-purpose.

Professional Farrier Services logo design

Hidden Treasures Help No One

26 05 2010

Hidden treasureThere’s a definite “romance” to tracking down a “hidden treasure restaurant” or a “hidden treasure shop”. But let’s face it, the name “HIDDEN treasure” says it all.

You might produce the best baklava on the planet but, hidden as you are, we know nothing about it and will go merrily on our baklava-deficient way while your profits tank. And the worst part of it is, at the end of the day, we STILL don’t know that your baklava could have made us go weak at the knees.

Our pleasure has been forestalled. Your profits have been foreshortened. It’s the type of lose-lose scenario that no business wants to propagate.

So if you’re wanting to attach the “hidden treasure” moniker to your business, without losing your shirt in the process, plan your marketing accordingly:

1) Create a customer base that’s rabidly devoted to your product/service… to the point that they just HAVE to tell other people or they’ll implode from the sheer weight of the secret.

2) “Leak” information to the public via media and social networking. Don’t spray your advertisements across every TV channel and Big Boy’s placemat that crosses your path. Sometimes, saying just barely enough – but no more – can catalyze the kind of curiosity that will bring customers calling.

3) Build up an aura of exclusivity around your business. People love to belong, and if the group is members-only, all the better. Think country clubs, yacht clubs… heck, just about any club. This kind of “secret society” feel can pay back in spades with the quality of customer you attract.

Moral of the story?: “Hidden treasures” become “non-existent treasures” in the blink of an eye, so if your awesomeness is hidden from view, lift the veil. We can’t wait to find out about you.

Want to pull your business out of the boondocks and into broad daylight? Send me an email!  Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com