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.


Ask the Right Questions, I Do

15 06 2012

Question markTo find the right answer, first you must ask the right questions.

Sounds like something from the Matrix, doesn’t it… or maybe Yoda. And while, on my rougher rise-and-shines, I may look like Yoda, this wisdom is straight-up designer’s mantra. Asking questions is how every great design is born.

When I discuss a new project with a client, we always have a pre-design interview. During this interview, I ask them important questions that help lead me to create not only what they like, but what will be most effective.

In the case of my logo re-design, I am the client. That would make it my turn to answer the questions! A few of those are below. Use them to ask yourself the same, and see if your marketing is matching your needs:

Who is your target audience for this design?
This is an important one! Many business owners forget that the goal is to attract and retain the clients that bring/will bring them the most value. It doesn’t make any difference whether your teenage kids, office staff, or best friends think your designs are “da bomb”, if it turns your best customers away! And let me tell you right now, if you’re trying to please everyone, your marketing is already doomed to mediocrity or just straight-up failure.

As a rough overview, DMT Artistry’s target clientele is small to mid-sized business owners and leaders, male and female, across the United States. These are entrepreneurial-minded presidents and top management that have a vested interest in the growth and success of their companies. They are enthusiastic. They operate on integrity and drive. They are not looking for down-and-dirty, but rather intelligent design. They come primarily from referrals, and secondarily via online search.

What message are you trying to convey with your design?
Part of the answer to this will come from answers to the previous question. But who your business is as a culture will help fill in the blanks.

For DMT Artistry, the message includes: energy, artistry, creativity, professionalism, uniqueness and warmth. It will be my goal to turn these general descriptors into a message that’s uniquely DMT, and then that message into a visual representation – my logo.

Sounds intense? It is! But that’s half the fun!

When is your goal launch date for this design?
What’s the point in tackling this process, if you need a logo tomorrow? A realistic timeline is crucial.

Right now, because the fate of my office decor and future marketing materials rests heavily on my logo re-design, I’d love to complete it in a month’s time. However, I did say “realistic”, and as my own re-branding must tuck into the cracks of my existing project schedule, 2 months is a more reasonable estimate.

Your turn…
Have you been asking yourself these questions about your own design projects as you read? Try it, and let me know what you discover!

Note: My next blog will post two weeks from now. ‘Til then, hope business keeps you hopping!

“Do or do not… there is no try.”  ~Yoda

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.

Dear Valued Customer: Blah blah blah blah blah

21 12 2011

Personalize it!Let’s get personal…

The holidays are a time when we connect most deeply with our own unique traditions and very precious and personal family moments.

It’s also a time when the outside world most adamantly sticks its nose into our beeswax. And in reality, it has to because, for many companies, this time of year is when their products and services are needed most. They have to blast their message out to out-market their competitors… their long-term survival depends on it!

We expect marketing bombardment from the big guys, and we expect it to be about as personal as a visit to the Secretary of State (i.e. not at all). But as a local business, this actually gives us the edge. We CAN be personal because we KNOW our customers!

The Dreaded Form Letter
We’ve all been subjected to holiday form letters from twice removed cousins and acquaintances-of-lifetimes-past… they usually start with “Dear Friends & Family… Well, it’s been quite a year for us…”

The irony of form letters is that those we cherish most are almost always “in the loop,” especially today with social networking. They already know the important things going on in our lives. And if they don’t, an impersonal form letter is hardly the way to make them feel valued.

Well, businesses are just as guilty of this societal faux pas. At a time of year defined by its intensely personal vibe, “Dear Valued Customer” has about as much impact as ‘nog’-less eggnog. A warm, personalized, handwritten (if possible) holiday wish will always mean more, impress more, inspire more and show true respect for those people who are keeping you in business.

Quickie photo cards are becoming all the rage these days – drop a few family photos into a seasonal template, print, stamp and send. These might find a temporary home on the fridge of close family, but it requires no consideration for the recipient. Where’s the personalized touch that lets you know that you’re more than just a line item on a holiday mailing list?

Is your business guilty of sending similarly “production line” postcards? A staff photo, or pictures of staff in action/using your product is a definite improvement over smiling stock photo models. And when a personal note just isn’t feasible, try including something you know will benefit your customers or make their lives easier during the holidays (coupons, free in-store chair massages, 1-day turn-around on home deliveries). Let your customers know that they’re more than just a wallet.

The DMT Challenge
This is a sacred time of year. It’s okay to mass market but, if you want to be part of the inner circle, leave the fakery to the box stores. Just be genuine! So here’s my challenge to you:

Brainstorm 5 ways you can personalize your holiday message to your customers. Over the coming year, flesh out your ideas, and test them during annual holidays, like Easter, your business’ anniversary and Halloween. By the time the winter holidays roll around next year, you’ll have a terrific system in place for making your customers feel like family!

As I type, the post office has just delivered a box of homemade cookies, hand-sewn holiday potholders and a handwritten card from one very splendid pair of friends. Thanks for the perfectly timed example, you two!

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

Phony Baloney: Who are you, really?

4 11 2011

No Phony Baloney Here!Right now, any given person can find a million juicy tidbits about friends and family… just on Facebook alone! We’re packing social sites, apps, blogs and more with information about who we are and what we’re about.

With transparency fast becoming the “norm”, businesses have also had to “ante up” and show their hands. “We the People” want to know our companies from the janitor up.

But the front-runners of the business world are on top of the trend, and you can be, too!

  • Be, hire and serve only the type of people you are proud to associate with your business.
  • Build, provide and stock only products and services you are 200% behind.
  • Be your own spokesperson.
  • Use testimonials! Real-world feedback means far more than glitzed-up media hype.
  • Bring “real life” into your marketing.

For transparency in action, take a look at what Domino’s Pizza has done:

Talk about a game-changer! They even devoted a site to their company turn-around: www.pizzaturnaround.com

DMT Challenge of the Week
Brainstorm THREE ideas on how you can use transparency to positively inform people about who your company is and what it stands for. Put ONE of those into action today!

“If transparency… is not ethics, then I don’t know what is.”  ~ Frank Gibson

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

All content on this site is Copyright © DMT Artistry, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Hardest Easiest Thing You Must Do to Succeed

28 10 2011

Be yourself.Before you ask whether I’ve recently sustained a closed head injury or just completely spaced out on grammar, let me point out that my post titles – unusual as a rule – always make sense by post end. This one will be no exception… you have my word.

So let’s dive right in: What IS the hardest easiest thing you must do to succeed where so many other businesses fail?

Difficultly simple: Be yourself.

That means, understand who YOU are as an individual and a business owner, as well as your personal motivations, and cling to those babies like coral on a reef.

You’re nothing without knowing yourself. Your business can only survive so long on the recommendations, expectations and demands of others before it implodes like a black-hole-forming supernova. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your business decisions satisfy the world’s population, your community or your mother (no offense)… if you have to become something you’re not to make it happen, your heart can’t and won’t be in it.

But, being yourself should be easy, right? I mean, all you really need to do is… well.. exist.

Alas, as any high school student can tell you, existence IS crushing pressure to be someone else.

Peers, mentors, customers, loved ones and even yourself are constantly heaping expectations, on top of advice, on top of demands in an effort to mold you into who they think you should be. It’s rarely malicious, just part of the whole human gig.

This is where setting personal goals, designing plans, making internal check-ins and building a core identity come in handy. They help define the founding ethics, values and purpose that make you YOU – regardless of the other changes you and others make in your life – and help you ‘remember’ who YOU are in the midst of all the inter-relational chaos.

When you’re solid on who you are, your business has a rock-hard foundation to build on, and success suddenly becomes a very viable option.

“I yam what I yam.”  ~ Popeye

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

All content on this site is Copyright © DMT Artistry, LLC. All rights reserved.

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

Giving Up Your First Born to the Unappreciative: A Business Truth

11 05 2011

Letting go of your "baby"As a parent, there is no one prouder of your children than yourself. And as a business owner, there is no one prouder of your product or service than yourself.

This is as it should be. Properly placed pride makes the business world go ’round. We’ve all experienced a staff that takes no pride in what they do or sell. It’s a first rate disaster.

However, being proud of what we offer puts us in the uncomfortable position of taking every “no thanks”, “not interested” and “meh, it’s ok” to heart. Our work is a labor of love – or a labor of determination, anyway. It is, in essence, our “child”. We’ve put so much of our time, energy and selves into our businesses that a negative response is bound to feel like a personal affront.

Artist types are best known for “this-work-is-my-baby!” syndrome, but don’t be deceived. A car salesman is just as likely to take rejection personally as a composer; a heart surgeon as a graphic designer; a plumber as a culinary genius.

Stop and ask yourself if YOU have ever been taken aback by a dismissal of something you are particularly proud of. If you haven’t, check your body for a door to a microchip processor.

Heaps of horrendous feedback probably means something’s amiss, but the occasional lackluster response is something else entirely.

Since we, as business owners, can’t afford to be derailed every time negativity mows down our tracks, here’s how to keep yourself operating strong under less-than-optimal feedback:

When possible, before you even put your product on display or show your client your handiwork, get some honest feedback from a person whose opinion you respect and trust. If there’s something negative to be said, better to hear it from them first, and have the opportunity to make a change!

And if it’s really stellar work – and your client is simply not the appreciative type – you’ll have already received your accolades, which will make letting go that much easier.

Past Successes
It’s a brilliant idea to regularly review your past successes and favorite client testimonials. This helps you remember why you and your business are a success, and puts the occasional poker-faced client in proper perspective.

This isn’t vanity. It’s affirmations. You have succeeded before. You are succeeding now. You will succeed again, with or without that particular client’s rave review.

Exercise first
A little exercise goes a long way toward mellowing your internal and external response to negativity. If you can’t throw a couple stair climbs in before giving up your work to an unappreciative audience, go immediately after.

Be a Success
The more sales you make, the less wrenching it is to lose one to a half-hearted buyer.

Bear in mind, there will always be a little tug on the heartstrings every time you let a “child” go to an unappreciative home but, of course, business is business. Realize that they are showing their appreciation simply by choosing YOU.

The parent of more brainchildren than the old woman who lived in the shoe:

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

The Most Powerful Tool in Your Marketing Arsenal

5 01 2011

Your Most Important Customer Service ToolToday, let’s talk about the mortar that holds all of your marketing together; this is the foundation that can crack your campaigns into pieces or place them atop a mighty pillar of success. We’re talking about “THE BIG C.S.

Customer. Service.

If you’re wondering what customer service has to do with marketing, allow me to clarify: it doesn’t have anything to do with marketing. It IS marketing.

Every time you smile and greet a customer warmly, you are a living, breathing billboard of good will and great company representation. And every time you handle a client complaint with speed and consideration, you are acting out a commercial of solid company principles.

So let’s look at four crucial points to keep in mind when you’re working your customer service marketing magic:

1)  When people do business with you, they are effectually doing business with a person – you or an employee – not your company as a whole. That’s why a lazy employee or a rude technician can spell the death of repeat business. At the point of sale or service, they ARE the company.

To put it bluntly, if the interpersonal experience is bad, you can kiss the return on investment from the rest of your marketing dollars goodbye.

2)  The “cheesy car salesman” stereotype isn’t limited to used car sales. It’s a stereotype that’s unfortunately applied to just about anyone with a product or service to sell… and that means, as business owners and employees, we’re often “shysters” until proven otherwise. Time, patience and a continual upholding of remarkable customer service standards are your best marketing tools to change this preconceived notion.

3)  Stellar customer service will keep ’em coming back for more. (Read my previous post, How to Build Rabidly Devoted Customers, for ideas on how to make that happen!)

4)  In ticklish situations with a dissatisfied customer, give yourself and the client a moment to reflect whenever possible. In the heat of the moment, I GUARANTEE that both of you will respond very differently upon immediate action (under duress) versus in a calmer moment (after reflection).

Remember, too, your customer is expecting you to say “no”. They’ve already pre-lined their argument with tanks and other heavy artillery. If you disarm them with an unexpected gesture of fairness and empathy, you’ve not only turned your customer service into a marketing boon, but converted that customer into the coolest kind of marketing… a walking testimonial.

Repeat business and referrals will tell you if you’re doing your customer service marketing right. It’s the most important and often-overlooked tool in your marketing arsenal. Set your business apart by using it!

We’re proud of our reputation for first-rate customer service here at…

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