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.





Emotions in Business: Advice from a crabby entrepreneur

8 02 2013

Crabby girlToday… I am crabby.

So today is a perfect day to blog about why that does not matter.

There are many things you give up when you choose the path of entrepreneurship – time, financial security, excuses, and definitely, DEFINITELY the right to be on anything other than your A-game. Some of these things (the positive ones) do come back to you over time – as you earn them – and you value them more as a result.

Until then, “smile, even when it hurts.”

You see, a client operates in a different world than yours. They don’t know that you didn’t sleep well the other night; they couldn’t possibly know that you just spent an hour disputing false charges on your credit card; they have no idea how hard it was for you to give up a family night because an employee called in sick. Your distress is valid, and it’s important. A client, however, is not the correct outlet for your verbal therapy.

Because, if you are serious about what you do, you are an oasis of stability in your clients’ own potentially chaotic world. You are reliable, when everyone else is making excuses. You are available – baggage-free – to make their life easier.

And that is why, when you call as a client, you will always get my best.

Who else will make that pledge with me?

…there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.  ~Albus Dumbledore

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

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





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





Ode to Self-Employment

17 06 2011

Self-employment is remarkably revealingOperating your own business is about as revealing as traipsing through the mall in your skivvies.

People learn – YOU learn – an uncannily large amount about who you are by the way you handle self-employment. You can clothe your business in any perception you care to create, but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of how you offer and follow through with your service, the truth will out!

Because the reality of it is that, for every 2 hour lunch break, mid-week vacation or impulse purchase, self-employment demands double overtime to make up for missed time and opportunity. How you do – or don’t – embrace that responsibility, speaks volumes about your devotion to self-employed success.

The “high-schooler-on-spring-break-in-Cancun” style of self-management results from a critical failure to recognize this, and that’s why being self-employed purely for the sake of being self-employed is a recipe for disaster!

But when managed correctly, there’s so much to love about being “master of your own destiny”. It creates accountability. And accountability fuels motivation. Motivation drives creativity. And creativity is the bread-and-butter-and-meat-and-potatoes-and-ice-cream-sundae-with-a-cherry-on-top that a true entrepreneur lives for.

It’s what I live for.

I love knowing that a glowing testimonial is the direct result of my time and effort.

I value the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from them and evolve into something better, without biting my nails over managerial disapproval.

I thrive under my own values and standards, because I am behind them 200%.

I enjoy the flexibility of working as inspiration strikes – whether that be 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning – rather than when the time clock demands.

I empower myself to make decisions and act on them.

I even appreciate the days when my heels are dragging because, in the process of questioning my sanity, I always wind up reaffirming my enthusiasm for what I’m doing… and dive right back in!

There is, of course, a reason I’m able to enjoy all of this… that reason is my clients. My clients will ALWAYS receive the highest standard of service from me and my business. Consistently exceptional work is what ensures and insures the future of DMT Artistry and the career and lifestyle I’ve chosen.

So banish the image of a couch potato selling “the next big thing” between Price Is Right episodes and hours-long gossipfests. That’s a hobbyist.

The true self-employed will be the ones who get visibly excited “talking shop”, who amass a die-hard following, whose businesses evolves daily, who keep popping up on your radar, who are just… driven.

“The meek shall inherit the earth”, my foot. If I were you, I’d put my money on the entrepreneurs.

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

 





Website 101: So you need a new website…

6 04 2011

Starting your website design adventureLaunching a website – new or renovated – is truly an adventure. And like most adventures, the happiest endings start with the most informed plans. So, in honor of the spring surge of DMT website design projects, I give you three of our top pre-design considerations:

What is the purpose of your site?
Is it to act as an online billboard? Be a resource? Generate hype? Sell?

Be aware, many businesses wax enthusiastic about a plethora of purposes and, like anyone with a 3-mile long to-do list, they overwhelm themselves into inaction. This is where it’s vital to prioritize. Determine your primary, secondary and, if necessary, tertiary purposes and use those as your guiding design stars.

If you’re having trouble pegging down just what you want your site to accomplish, try starting with this question: What ACTION do you want your online visitors to take? If you want them to buy your widget then and there, then your web design should encourage quick-click sales. If you want them to contact you for a quote, then your web design should act as an online business card, with phone number and email address always at the fore.

Who will be visiting your site?
The next step is to determine your target market.

This major component is the determining factor for the overall appearance and “functionality” of the site. A techno-savvy teenage crowd devours the hype and hoopla of a splashy, intricate, quick-byte site, but Baby Boomers? Forget about it!

Fitness fans, businesswomen, antique collectors, missionaries… your website design needs to mirror the demographic it’s targeting. Why? So that it will be inviting to your key crowd. And “inviting” sites generate more traffic. And more traffic is a beautifully manicured road to more business!

How do you want your company to be represented?
It’s equally important to integrate your company’s core culture into your website design. When your business’ personality is well-represented, it gives people a flavor of what to expect from you. Will it be a rip-roaring buying experience or a comfortingly professional one?

After all, you don’t want just any buyer. Both your business and your clients deserve better than that. You want to attract buyers who will enjoy working with you, as much as you enjoy working with them. Your site should give them enough of an insight to help them make that determination.

How would you answer the above questions for your business? Does your current website reflect those answers? What changes could be made to create a better match?

DMT Artistry LLC has also taken these questions to heart, and our own website will be re-launching within a month! Please check back soon, and let us know what you think!

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





Casual Conversation: A Weapon of Mass Destruction

30 03 2011

Loose lips can wreck your chances for successWe’re business owners. We’re proud of what we do. We stand behind our products and services.

How is it, then, that our own casual conversations can cause the utter annihilation of everything we’ve worked so hard to build?

The next time you’re having a light tête-à-tête, listen to what you’re saying (or not saying). Anything we say (or don’t say) can and will be used against us in the court of marketing. The most common conversational culprits are:

Griping – Outside of work, it’s occasionally therapeutic to gripe. There’s the employee whose performance is giving us heartburn, the contractor who has apparently fallen off the face of the planet, and the client who wants us to leap about like a trained monkey. This is okay to share with a family who loves us, but use extreme caution when sharing woes with others. You never know who is connected to whom and, if our conversation is all they have to go by, well then, our business must – pardon my English – suck.

Bad Mouthing – It’s a very small world. We are a very important representation of our business. Therefore, the class factor of our business is directly linked to our ability to take the high road. The temptation may be strong to bad mouth a wily competitor or difficult vendor. (Refer to “Negativity” above.) Don’t do it. We are better than that.

Too Much Information – If our elevator speech is more like an elevator lecture without intermissions, rein it back in. It’s awesome to see passion. It’s not awesome to be swallowed alive by a tidal wave of exuberance.

Too Little Information – Modesty may be a virtue but, in marketing, it’s also a total downer. If someone asks us what we do, let fly! Enthusiasm, intelligently moderated, translates to “Wow! They must have one heck of a product or service!”

Business is Bad – Our business is either a success, or it isn’t. In consumers’ minds, it’s that simple. We don’t want to be the one to tell them it’s not. Since the success of a business is directly linked to the perception of it’s success, avoid any “business is bad”, “economy is down” sort of talk. We’re still in business, aren’t we? That’s something to be proud of!

If you’ve chosen the life of an entrepreneur, way to go! You’re “living the dream”! Just be prepared to live like an entrepreneur any time you’re in public.

If a comment should be prefaced with a “please don’t take this as a representation of my business or my capability as a business person… ” then what on earth are you saying it for?

What are YOUR top recommendations for avoiding a “loose-lips-sink-ships” scenario?

“I wonder why we think faster than we speak. Probably so we can think twice.”  ~Bill Watterson, “Calvin & Hobbes”

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





Handling “NO” Like a Salsa Dancer: The Selling Samba

9 03 2011

"NO" can become "YES". It's all in the sales dance!“Momma, can I have candy?”

“NO.”

“Teacher, may I go to the bathroom?”

“NO.”

“Mr. Executive, may I interest you in my widget?”

“NO.”

“NO” is not a fun word to hear, particularly when it’s issuing forth from the mouth of a potential client.

But “NO” doesn’t always mean “the end of the line.” In fact, “NO” is sometimes followed by the distant creak of a window of opportunity being thrown open. It’s all in how you handle it. Let me explain what I mean… using dance, of all things, as a metaphor.

Ages ago, I signed on for swing dance lessons. It was fast and furious, packed with high-speed twirls and plenty of swinging. Some salespeople are like that. When they get a “no,” they lead their listener a merry jig in an effort to sway their choice. “But what about… ?” “And how about… ?” “Have you considered… ?” Rapid fire questions and topic changes, rather than confounding consumers into an opposite decision, will just confound them, period. And a confused potential client is not likely to become the next devoted purchaser of your product or service.

A few years later, I picked up the line dance bug. Stomping and kicking was uncommonly satisfying. But for the purposes of this article, it’s also reminiscent of the tantrum version of handling “NO”. You know the sort of salesperson I mean – the one who handles rejection with the maturity of an angry two-year-old. Kiss your future business goodbye.

At the occasional wedding, you’ll see me flailing away to rock-n-roll rhythms. It isn’t usually a pretty sight, but that’s the beauty of free form; you don’t have to be good. This puts me in mind of the out-of-control sales technique that not only dislikes “NO”, but completely disregards it. Heavy metal sales folk steamroll over objections as though they never existed. They are the most likely candidates for security escort out of the building.

And then there’s ballet. I never had any interest in becoming a ballerina. Short legs, and all that. Still, it’s remarkable to watch. They float around like feathers – graceful, gentle. I actually used to be this salesperson, handling “NO”s softly and lightly. But like a feather brushed off a piece of clothing, balletic salespeople are too easily forgotten. Their company becomes white noise as a result, and won’t even be on the radar for future business.

But salsa… now there’s a sales dance you can sink your teeth into! It’s highly interactive – a little give and a little take. It engages both parties, and taps into two of the strongest selling tools out there: emotion and imagination. A salsa salesperson accepts “NO” with grace and style, but then tantalizes with just the right amount of intrigue (“hmmm… maybe that widget really COULD come in handy”) to leave the door open for future business. Memorable as they are, this will be the company that wins future business from their listener and will be highly recommended to friends and associates.

Which steps have you been dancing on the sales floor? Has it worked for you? If not, it could be time to learn some Salsa-style selling!

If you enjoy my articles, please let me know! A quick comment or feedback is always welcome, and I encourage you to share this article with someone you think might also enjoy it. Thank you for your readership!

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