Dear Small Businesses, Stop With The Small Marketing & Think BIG

Lindsey LaManna

casual team meetingWhile large enterprises have marketing departments with hundreds of experienced marketers who invest billions of dollars on campaigns, many entrepreneurs and small businesses struggle to get it right.

Why is this?  Maybe it’s because they just don’t know much about marketing or don’t understand it.  Or maybe it’s because they don’t want to spend the time or money on it or they don’t see the value in marketing.

In the article Small Business + Small Marketing = Really Big Losses, entrepreneur and marketing guru Danny Iny, co-Founder and CEO of Firepole Marketing, claims that the problem is that marketing “is too simple.”


He goes on to explain that there’s a difference between simple and easy.  Marketing at its core is simple – you create a great product or service, identify who would want to buy it and then tell them about it.

Simple enough, but not actually easy.

Some marketing may look easy, he says, like creating a Facebook page or Twitter handle, but any boob can do that.  The difficult part, the part that small businesses struggle with, is the strategy that ties all marketing tools together and integrates a plan across multiple platforms.

There is a tendency for small businesses to focus so much on marketing tactics discussed in books, articles and webinars as the keys to success, that they start call the tactics a strategy.

To quote Danny Iny, “You can use every brilliant tactic in the book, and still get nowhere if you aren’t using them correctly. Because those tactics, in isolation, are small marketing.”

What Is Small Marketing?

Here is the thought process for business owners practicing small marketing: “I want to get the word out about my business to attract more customers. Let’s make some really neat brochures and flyers, get a company to make us a website, start sending out emails blasts, get on social media, and buy some pay-per-click ads.  Oh yeah, and let’s start doing more of that thing I keep hearing about. What’s it called? Oh yeah, SEO.”

Ok, so maybe I exaggerated that a little, but marketing is much bigger than all this.  It’s not an add-on;  marketing should be at the center of a company’s overall business strategy.

This is what Danny calls “big marketing.” Big marketing is about identifying that one key group of customers that will value and adore your offering, figuring out their wants, needs and business problems and getting their attention to show them how your company can help.  It becomes a “cycle of commitment and reward” that will build customer loyalty.  Big marketing means developing a marketing strategy to achieve business goals.

What does an effective marketing strategy look like? Danny Iny points to three key elements: Alignment, Attraction and Engagement.


The first step is aligning the target audience that you are trying to reach and the offer that you are making – simple, but not easy.  It begins with identifying “the perfect customer,” the person (or group of people) who has an issue that your product or service can solve.  These are the people who are most likely to and happy to purchase your offer.

Once you have pinpointed these high-potential customers, you must create an in-depth customer profile, detailing who they are and their values, wants and needs.  After you’ve thoroughly defined your ideal customer group, tailor your messaging and offer to speak directly to them – not a broad, disinterested audience.  Stay away from vague product messaging and focus on creating messages directed toward a specific reader (your target audience).  Remember, messages that try to speak to everyone end up reaching no one.


Now that you know who you’re dealing with, the next step is determining how best to attract and engage them.  Where are you most likely to interact with your target audience – online, on social media, in newspapers or magazines, on the radio or TV or through direct mail?

By placing your tailored offer in the preferred place of communication, you will be able to better attract your key customers.  Not only with this step dictate advertising, but it will influence your customer service, presence online and offline and your distribution and payment model.


Here Danny Iny identifies what he sees as “the secret weapon of most successful marketers,” which works for businesses of all sizes – the cycle of commitment and reward.  Once you’ve grabbed your target audience’s attention, what do you do next?  Do you take the plunge and ask them buy?

Absolutely not, you must earn that right.  The correct answer is to ask for a small commitment, like following you on Twitter or subscribing to your emails.  Then comes the reward.  Provide them with a small token of gratitude for taking that first step to becoming a lifelong customer.   For example, this could be a free amazing whitepaper, e-book or webinar.  Find something that you could reward your customers with that they would enjoy and feel that the commitment they made was worthwhile.

Next, ask for a bigger commitment, like a free sample or trial, and reward them with the terrific customer experience that they will receive if they purchase.  And finally, once you have established trust and earned the right to ask for the big commitment, ask them to buy your product or service.  This cycle of commitment and reward should continues throughout your entire relationship with the customer.  It doesn’t end after the first purchase.

This is when business strategy and marketing move from two separate entities to one.  The goal of the business from here on should be to perfect this cycle and make it more efficient and effective for you and your customers.

So there you have it – small business need to stop doing small marketing and start thinking big – by tying marketing into your overall business strategy. To conclude, I will end with this great quote from Danny Iny “At the end of the day, you have to rely on yourself and your customers to be successful, and the best way to do that is to understand them, understand yourself, and understand the marketing process (big marketing!) as it relates to your business as a whole.”

To read the full article, click here.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.

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13 Scary Statistics On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jacob Shriar

There is a serious problem with the way we work.

Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.

The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.

The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.

Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.

1.  Encourage side projects

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.

2.  Encourage workers to engage with customers

At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.

3.  Encourage workers to work cross-functionally

Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.

4.  Encourage networking in their industry

This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.

13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement [Infographic]

What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.


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Supply Chain Fraud: The Threat from Within

Lindsey LaManna

Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:

  • Falsified labor
  • Inflated bills or expense accounts
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
  • Bid rigging
  • Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
  • Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
  • Unauthorized disbursements

LSAP_Smart Supply Chains_graphics_briefook inside

Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.

Build a culture to fight fraud

The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
  • Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
  • Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
  • Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
  • Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
  • Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.


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Amazing Digital Marketing Trends And Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015

Sunny Popali

Amazing Digital Marketing Trends & Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015The fast-paced world of digital marketing is changing too quickly for most companies to adapt. But staying up to date with the latest industry trends is imperative for anyone involved with expanding a business.

Here are five trends that have shaped the industry this year and that will become more important as we move forward:

  1. Email marketing will need to become smarter

Whether you like it or not, email is the most ubiquitous tool online. Everyone has it, and utilizing it properly can push your marketing ahead of your rivals. Because business use of email is still very widespread, you need to get smarter about email marketing in order to fully realize your business’s marketing strategy. Luckily, there are a number of tools that can help you market more effectively, such as Mailchimp.

  1. Content marketing will become integrated and more valuable

Content is king, and it seems to be getting more important every day. Google and other search engines are focusing more on the content you create as the potential of the online world as marketing tool becomes apparent. Now there seems to be a push for current, relevant content that you can use for your services and promote your business.

Staying fresh with the content you provide is almost as important as ensuring high-quality content. Customers will pay more attention if your content is relevant and timely.

  1. Mobile assets and paid social media are more important than ever

It’s no secret that mobile is key to your marketing efforts. More mobile devices are sold and more people are reading content on mobile screens than ever before, so it is crucial to your overall strategy to have mobile marketing expertise on your team. London-based Abacus Marketing agrees that mobile marketing could overtake desktop website marketing in just a few years.

  1. Big Data for personalization plays a key role

Marketers are increasingly using Big Data to get their brand message out to the public in a more personalized format. One obvious example is Google Trend analysis, a highly useful tool that marketing experts use to obtain the latest on what is trending around the world. You can — and should — use it in your business marketing efforts. Big Data will also let you offer specific content to buyers who are more likely to look for certain items, for example, and offer personalized deals to specific groups of within your customer base. Other tools, which until recently were the stuff of science fiction, are also available that let you do things like use predictive analysis to score leads.

  1. Visual media matters

A picture really is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and nobody can deny the effectiveness of a well-designed infographic. In fact, some studies suggest that Millennials are particularly attracted to content with great visuals. Animated gifs and colorful bar graphs have even found their way into heavy-duty financial reports, so why not give them a try in your business marketing efforts?

A few more tips:

  • Always keep your content relevant and current to attract the attention of your target audience.
  • Always keep all your social media and public accounts fresh. Don’t use old content or outdated pictures in any public forum.
  • Your reviews are a proxy for your online reputation, so pay careful attention to them.
  • Much online content is being consumed on mobile now, so focus specifically on the design and usability of your mobile apps.
  • Online marketing is essentially geared towards getting more traffic onto your site. The more people visit, the better your chances of increasing sales.

Want more insight on how digital marketing is evolving? See Shutterstock Report: The Face Of Marketing Is Changing — And It Doesn’t Include Vince Vaughn.


About Sunny Popali

Sunny Popali is SEO Director at Tempo Creative is a Phoenix inbound marketing company that has served over 700 clients since 2001. Tempos team specializes in digital and internet marketing services including web design, SEO, social media and strategy.

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The Importance Of Leadership On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Charmian Solter

Here at Switch & Shift we strive to illuminate effective leadership practices. We pride ourselves on creating cutting-edge solutions for employee engagement, communication, and creating company culture, to name a few.

Why are these topics so important? Well, according to The Importance of Employee Engagement infographic by NBRI, courtesy of Brandon Gaille, if leadership doesn’t step up and affect change and build trust and engagement, their employees will be busy doing anything but work while on the job! This infographic says it all.


For more on developing more engaged, loyal, and productive workers, see How Empowering Employees Creates a More Engaged Workforce.


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