Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What’s Your “Nike Swoosh” (aka, Competitive Advantage)?

You very easily recognize Nike’s swoosh with its message and tagline, “Just do it.” That statement embodies the company’s mission and lifestyle – to name just a few sports: golf, basketball, jogging – above all, an active lifestyle. During Nike’s existence, it has embraced its competition and surpassed each and every one of them in terms of brand recognition and revenues. Who even remembers Nike’s competitors: Fila, Keds, LA Gear, Puma, and Vans? What about your business: do you have a competitive advantage, and is it articulated to all employees?

Answers to these questions will assist you as you build your business from concept stage into a mature company. A competitive advantage that is clearly articulated by top management allows all employees to understand the product or service. They will be able to answer questions, they will be able to improve customer interactions, and they will become an extension of your brand.

Consider Disney theme park employees, or in Disney-speak, cast members. Based on their actions, demeanors, or uniforms (or in Disney-speak, costumes), they understand their mission: to provide a quality guest experience. The cast member employees embody the Disney brand, and that is their most important competitive advantage.

So, what is your competitive advantage? If you cannot express it easily, perhaps, you should go back to the drawing board.

The Nike logo is a registered trademark of Nike. Use of the logo here does not imply endorsement of the organization by this site.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Post-Transaction Marketing: Does Your Company Do It?

You may not recognize it by its name, but you definitely experience it. Once you purchase something from either an online or bricks and mortar store (for example, Amazon or Sears or Staples), and you have provided an email address, you will receive emails with “recommended” items to purchase that may correspond to your initial purchase. For example, if you purchased a book by John Grisham on Amazon, you would receive emails listing other books by John Grisham or other legal thrillers.

This is post-transaction marketing – and it leads to increased revenues if the customer does, indeed, purchase the recommended products. According to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, the most successful companies in post-transaction marketing during the last ten years are:
• Expedia/
• Fandango
• Hotwire
• Orbitz
• Priceline
• Shutterfly
• Travelocity
• US Airways

The repeat items comprising the list are flowers, movie tickets, and travel. Therefore, people are repeat buyers of these items. The emails that they receive from these websites and/or companies recommend products or services that are appealing, have a reasonable cost, have acceptable delivery time frames, and most importantly, have demonstrated a familiarity and level of service that the customers appreciate.

So, what about your company? Is post-transaction marketing part of your annual marketing strategy? Can it lead to increased revenues with limited upfront time and automated emails over the long term? Many businesses discuss ways to reach their customers, but post-transaction marketing offers an inexpensive option – especially since everyone welcomes recommendations. So, try it.