Target Markets: A Counterpoint

15 03 2013

two men wrestling with armsWell, this is interesting…

Recently, my twin brother, a professor of entrepreneurship, guest blogged about the critical importance and use of target markets in marketing your business.

This is neither a new nor radical point of view, as a quick search on the ‘Net will show. And it is a factor that we take into serious consideration on all DMT Artistry design projects.

However, I’ve just digested a very different view on the subject – VERY different – on the blog of a designer I admire greatly. It aptly addresses the personal side of what we do at DMT Artistry and, more particularly, why our tagline reads: “Designing You.”

I believe it’s important that you, also, have the opportunity to read this alternate viewpoint:

Click here to read the Before & After blog, “Who is your logo for?”

John McWade’s blog has inspired me to reassess how and who I prioritize in the design process.

My conclusion? Depends on the project! Both are essential, though to varying degrees on each and every project. Whether the client’s or the target audience’s preferences take precedence depends very much on the goals of that design, the desires of the client, and the needs of the business.

What are your thoughts on the subject? When push comes to shove, whose input should “reign supreme?”

Please share your thoughts in the comment section! (click “Comment” below)

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

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





What Design Is… and Isn’t

11 01 2013

Dawn Tomczyk-Bhajan giving a web design presentationMy husband’s a great guy. And because he’s a great guy, he insisted on supporting me at a recent speaking engagement at Eastern Michigan University, through a seminar-based company called Web Adventure Workshops.

I was asked to give an overview of Website Design.

While my mind was awhir with psychologically strategic content placement, target audience impact, and structural integrity across browsers, my husband was, very understandably, not-so-eagerly awaiting a 45 minute schpiel on how to make a website look “pretty.”

Happily, my podium time gave me the opportunity to dispel this popular myth for more than just my better half.

While I’m on a roll, let me clear up this point here, too…

Design is NOT the art of “making things pretty.” Design is the psychology of making messages effective, of initiating action via sensory stimulation.

In simplest terms: it’s getting people to do things… not in a creepy or mind-controlling way, but in showing them how your product or service provides a solution to their problem, whatever that may be.

More than that, design does not always have to be “pretty” to be effective. Looks play a role, but it’s not the end-all-be-all goal of a successful designer.

Here’s the thing… the purpose of a website is to elicit some sort of action from a targeted group of people, preferably within a desired time frame. That could be a call to contact the company, read its blog, follow its tweets, visit its store, leave a donation, pass on information, watch a video… the list goes on. And it can be several of those things at once.

A web designer – or any designer, really – needs to think about the psychology, the science, and the math of making that happen. The “pretty” part is icing on the cake.

Corporate culture, existing branding, structure, competitors, and mission all influence how the message is presented. That’s design.

Audience age, gender, income, interests, location, and culture all influence how a message is perceived. That’s design, too.

Colors, layout, navigation, style, imagery, and content all influence whether a message is acted upon. And that’s definitely design.

So, when you contact DMT Artistry LLC with your next design project, anticipate a fascinating, in-depth conversation that will not only help ME create effective marketing for you, but will give YOU useful insight into your own company and clientele.

And you can rest assured that we will make it look pretty, too. The artist in me is always happy to oblige.

“An object imbued with intent — it has power, it’s treasure, we’re drawn to it. An object devoid of intent — it’s random, it’s imitative, it repels us. It’s like a piece of junk mail to be thrown away.”  ~ John Hockenberry

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

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





If Wishes Were Horses:

5 10 2012

Having a conversation with yourselfWait. Hope. Wish. Dream.

What do all of these words have in common?

Answer: They have no place in an entrepreneur’s vocabulary. These words are passive. They are a luxury. They neither get things done, nor generate productivity.

They’re all talk, and no action.

Why do I bring this up?

Because I’ve caught myself red-handed – more recently than I’d like to admit – waiting for projects to fall in my lap, hoping office renovations move forward quickly, wishing there were more hours in the day, and dreaming about DMT ‘going viral’ across the nation.

Doing this costs me. It costs me time; it costs me brainpower; it costs me energy. And the return is peonic – a moment of mental gratification. Hardly something to write home about.

So, why do we do it?

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to accomplish things when someone or something – your boss, your spouse, the law, even your body – tells you to do something? Seriously. You have to do it – make the deadline, fix the car, pay your taxes, fill a cavity – so you just make it happen.

Take the same task, and put yourself in the role of giving orders. YOU know that you’re feeling a little tired today, that you have an ill family member, that your “to do” list is a mile long, that you’d rather be fishing, that…

It’s very easy to be sympathetic with a person who’s life you know intimately, and you will always be number one on that list. For that reason, it can be one of the most challenging feats of entrepreneurship to simply INSPIRE YOURSELF TO ACTION.

How do we make that happen?

Plan. Set goals. Initiate. Do.

There are always people to inspire, motivate, support, and cheerlead, but when the chips are down, YOU are the only person who can drive yourself to act. I can write “rah-rah” pep talks until the cows come home, but I cannot flip the switch in your brain that decides whether you wish or whether you do.

So if you came here today looking for motivation, I’d recommend pulling out the mirror. This is a conversation that you need to have – can ONLY have – with you, and you alone.

The world will know the results of this conversation by the progression of your business. Remember, failure is as legitimate a result as success. Stagnation and atrophy are not.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just inspired myself to action.

“Action conquers fear.”  ~Peter Nivio Zarlenga

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

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





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.





Purple Revelations: The Joy of Impermanence

24 08 2012

DMT Artistry LLC officeMy husband, who reliably radiates the patience of a saint, requires Netflix and a sleeping bag any time we select paint colors. Yes, I am one of THOSE people.

Put me in a paint department with my artistic soul and perfectionist tendencies, and Mother Theresa could be forgiven for bolting for the door.

So, when it came time to choose colors for my in-progress office, I did everyone a favor, and went it alone. Interestingly enough, it took less then 15 minutes for me to leave with my liquid treasure.

Which got me thinking…

The way I see it, my office colors are the epitome of impermanence… the exact OPPOSITE of how I view DMT Artistry’s re-branding. My office colors can be changed in a few hours with a gallon of paint and elbow grease. But I’ve given myself the expectation that my new DMT brand must remain consistent across materials, locations, and time.

That’s a Mt. Everest order. Every brand evolves – even for the big guys, like Pepsi and Xerox. It has to. Stagnation means death.

It seems to me, then, that the “get-it-right-the-first-time” mindset is one of the primary sources of entrepreneurial quicksand. In an effort to make it right the first time, make it work perfectly the first time, make it a raging success the first time, we set ourselves up to be the deer in the headlights.

Impermanence is not only less intimidating; it’s more realistic. It reduces waffling over decisions. (It should NOT, however, be used as an excuse to be, think, or act in a mediocre fashion. We already talked about mediocrity in last week’s blog.)

Tell me, what decision have you been postponing for ages because the fear of “getting it wrong” is looming, piano-like, over your head? I challenge you to recognize that an incorrect decision is workable – you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m quite serious, you can always always correct your course to wind up on unexpected, opportunity-packed avenues – but going nowhere is not.

Come on, fellow entrepreneurs – let’s take this business world by storm!

Next Blog: … will be written by a guest blogger marketing guru, who’s been a DMT go-to guy for inspiration, motivation and valuable support – my dad!

“Nothing endures but change.”  ~Heraclitus

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

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

 





Flat Out Scary: Mixing Business With Superstition

10 08 2012

Mixing business with superstitionA few days ago, I heard something that chilled me. To. The. Bone.

A new acquaintance complimented me on my 4-wheeled transport. Do you have goosebumps yet? No? Good, because that’s not the scary part.

I am fiercely proud of my car – not because it’s beautiful (it is), but because I worked so hard to make that purchase possible. Where one person sees a hunk of steel on wheels, I see restructuring MY life to give my BUSINESS life – long hours of mind-cramping design sessions, intense dedication to exceeding expectations, balancing precariously on the diplomatic highwire, sweating bullets over deadlines, epic mental battles with self-doubt, and more all-nighters than you can shake a stick at.

I shared an abbreviated version of this with the complimenting party, and she responded with:

“Oh, boy… you’re in trouble. It’s when you care about something that bad things happen. I couldn’t care less about my car – see? [gesturing grandly at a rusted out minivan] – and nothing’s happened to it.”

If the hair isn’t crawling on the back of your neck, check yourself for a pulse.

This kind of superstitious negativity is the antichrist of entrepreneurship (and, in my opinion, humanity). This is the reason – read: excuse – to hunker below sub-mediocrity. But if you don’t care about your business, who will?

As an entrepreneur, YOU DON’T DO mediocrity.

Contrary to hoodoo-voodoo beliefs, rational pride (emphasis on “rational”) in your achievements is NOT the beginning of the end. It’s a crucial element of business growth.  If you quake with each new customer, cringe at each dollar earned, and flatline every time you make a business conquest, your company – and you – will be lucky to survive a week.

I challenge you to place rational value in the things you’ve earned – whether it be money, success, fame, or the positive perks that result from them. You worked hard for these. They are motivators, and motivators are what give us drive to achieve, and continue achieving, greatness.

What are your thoughts regarding mixing business with superstition?

Next Blog: DMT Artistry’s business rebranding took a turn for the exciting, as I’ve just moved to my new office. For now, it’s a playground of cardboard boxes and construction materials, but it’s given me new incentive to put my logo on the renovation fast-track. I’ll be back in another 2 weeks with the next installment of The DMT Idea Board. Thanks for reading!

“I had only one superstition. I made sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.”  ~Babe Ruth

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

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






Let’s Call It What It Is: Stalling for Time

8 06 2012

Cookie thiefThere’s nothing like a little family perceptiveness to make you face up and fess up, and my family’s caught me with my hand in the cookie jar – so to speak – stalling for time.

When I first launched the “re-branding of DMT Artistry learn-along blog” concept, I had an office build in the works, branding ideas galore and a schedule that allowed for directing reserve creative energies toward my own projects. Since that time, I have an office that seems to enjoy being permanently under construction and the brainstorms are fairly pouring out of my ears. But it’s that last part that’s really thrown a trip-wire across the trail.

Business is booming. It’s been all kinds of phenomenal. And it’s tempting to just ride the wave and enjoy the rush. It certainly demands a great deal of my time. But waves have a habit of either drowning you or beaching you places you’d rather not be stranded. Riding waves puts circumstances in control of your life, instead of the other way around.

Now is the time when it’s MOST critical for me to not only shore up my boat, but generate my own waves with a marketing campaign that will keep my company growing and powering forward.

My goal was never to be an overnight success (well, okay, maybe in my daydreams). Overnight success, to me, is strapping a saddle on a tsunami and gambling my career and life on whether or when to bail. Simply owning and operating a business is enough of a rodeo for this cowgirl, thank you very much. I’ve been taking the “quick and steady” (“slow and steady” doesn’t sit well with my Type A personality) approach.

Mismatched water and rodeo analogies aside, remember how I told you, back at the start, that I wanted you to learn from my mistakes? Well, right now I’m “‘fessing up” to one doozy of a blunder. It’s called complacency.

Complacency comes in all forms. It can be an unwillingness to change. It can be self-imposed ignorance. Or it can be one seemingly legitimate excuse after another, thrown up like orange traffic barrels and police tape, to hold you back from your best.

I expect that YOU expect me to conclude with declarations of taking control, stepping up to the plate, making Herculean efforts. I will do all of these critically corny things but, more importantly, I had a support network that called me out in the first place. Let me do the same for you.

Whatever it is that you’ve been postponing indefinitely, I’m calling your bluff. It’s not that you haven’t found the right people, don’t have the time, or just plain can’t do it – it really isn’t. These are all manageable hurdles, and we both know it. Dig a little deeper and figure out realistically, honestly why you’re holding yourself and/or your company back.

Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of effort or anything in between, if your passion is still there and you have faith that you’re doing the right thing, you’ll get through it.

We’ll both get through it.

(Incidentally, yes, I am aware of the irony of stalling for time with a post about stalling for time.)

“We’re all in this together.”  ~Red (from the “Red Green Show“)

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

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





Logo Inspiration

1 06 2012

Designing a logoI’m in the midst of one of the most thrilling, frustrating, illuminating, time-consuming, tear-jerking, soul-searching, INTENSE experiences of branding (or re-branding) a company – conceptualization (read: brainstorming) of the logo design.

I cringe when I hear that a logo was born fast-food style at the clumsy hands of cousin Earl, career couch potato with a laptop. That’s like saying, “oh, yeah, I’m having my handyman wire up some braces for my kid’s teeth – he’s already got wire, glue and pliers.”

If you, like me, think of your business as your child, don’t let a non-professional within a mile radius of your logo design! This foundational branding mark is the representation of your company, your products and services, your future success, your image, your corporate culture, your staff and, yes, YOU. Treat it all like the gold mine that it is, and get it done right the first time.

Soapbox stashed safely back in the closet, I just wanted to provide you with one of my favorite sources of logo inspiration – a website entitled “Logo of the Day“. This site is updated – what else? – daily with fresh new designs and long-standing icons. The comments below each logo often provide useful insight as to why a logo design does or does not work.

So, back to the drawing board for me, but strap your camera around your neck, your fanny pack around your waist, your tourist hat on your head, and take a stroll around Logo of the Day for ideas and motivation!

Good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended.”  ~Raymond Loewy

Next Week: Topic to be determined

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

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