Marketing Strategies: Flapping Beyond the Struggle to Fly

Marketing strategies that move you out of the water into the sky, and keep you happily flapping your wings in formation to your destination of success?

When you consider the goose as he takes off into flight, flapping and slapping the water, running along on webbed feet in an attempt to lift off into the wild blue yonder, you might see yourself as a business startup. I know, I did. I struggled for the longest time to figure out how to flap my wings with marketing and bring in enough buying clients to move my business off center. Then it happened. Like magic, the clients began to arrive at my door.

If you’re not a bird watcher, you may have missed snow geese flying south each winter in V formation. But having grown up in the cross hairs of goose hunters, I learned to watch for the signs of their arrival. What a magnificent time for a drive to the lakes… During the day, when goose hunters were likely resting up for their early morning hunts, we would take off for the lakes and watch the geese. Snow Geese are predominantly white, with magnificent wide wings that catch the air in flight. They fly with a mix of systematic flapping and lunging forward to push the current.

After thirty plus years of watching them, it isn’t hard to connect the dots between the persistence of the snow goose and workable marketing strategies. I’ll share my insights.

1 – Geese know a good market when they see one.

Every year, as they head south for the winter, Snow Geese find their way back to the lakes and fields of southeastern Colorado where they know they’ll find good water and plenty of food for their trip. They lounge around on early ice pads, dip into the water for bugs and minnows a plenty, and fly to nearby fields to graze until their bellies are full. Then, they rest for the trip.

Finding a good market means knowing what you need. Your business needs buyers that are hungry for what you offer. Once you know your product or service is viable, valuable, and desired, the only thing left to do is offer it up to the right market of buyers. Taking your products to the right buyers and fulfilling those needs is key to making bank. Marketing strategies include a good buyer market.

2 – Geese return to the same market year after year.

Geese come back year after year. Some brilliant scientists and observers tagged some of the geese with little wristlets on their legs and started following their migration. Once they arrive in an area, they return to that area year after year for the same resource.

Residual markets are important to your professional and business success. Once you find the right market, it’s important that you keep going back year after year, to be sure that market remains yours. Find ways to check back with your customers, because they may not remember your name. Call them. Return and offer any new products or services. Make sure they know you’re still available to serve them. Marketing strategies include repeat buyers.

3 – Geese never leave stragglers behind.

When you watch geese lift off, you’ll notice some of the younger, stronger geese always stay behind to make sure the whole flock is in flight, before they take off. And they circle. Their V formation begins as they lift off, and they circle the area until all geese are in flight. Then they take off in the direction of their chosen path.

In business, you reach out and connect. You network to bring in all of your market share. Invite referrals. Talk to people and share what you have. Invite them to visit your website. Ask them to try your products. Offer your services to everyone in your market, because if you’re not serving them, they miss out on the opportunity. Be sure you don’t leave stragglers behind. The best marketing strategies keep track of buyer markets.

4 – Geese take turns leading the flock.

The V formation of flying allows geese to naturally rotate out the lead birds. Flying is hard work, and remember I said their flight is a combination of systematic flapping and lunging? That lead bird is breaking the way for the flock, and when he tires, someone else steps up and takes the lead.

When you’re watching a larger flock of geese, sometimes you’ll see three or four V formations within the same flock. That’s because there are leaders at different levels. The larger the flock, the more V-Leaders you’ll see.

As a professional marketer, you’ll need to rely on others occasionally to get the job done, or to learn new processes. Like geese, we can’t always be leaders, sometimes we need to step back and follow. Don’t be afraid to fall into line behind another strong leader occasionally. You’ll be ready to take the lead again when it’s your turn. Marketing strategies have room for both leading and following.

5 – Geese are strong and capable, resilient even.

That lead goose has to be able to withstand wind and air turbulents, and strong enough to keep moving forward, even through storms. He has to know the direction they’re traveling and be able to maintain good speed. Last I knew, geese don’t have GPS, but they do have great memories, because like I said before – they always return to the same locations. They’re strong and capable of battling winds and nature to get where they need to go.

Mother nature isn’t always kind, she occasionally sends them on their way, and greets them with a storm before they arrive. Geese weather the storms well.

Being a business owner requires you to be strong and capable. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep up your strength and abilities to get things done. Don’t hesitate to ask for help – mentors are plenty – and everyone needs sustenance to keep going. Marketing strategies must be resilient.

6 – Geese encourage each other always.

All that honking you hear when a flock of geese fly over, is encouragement. They’re encouraging each other to keep flying. Now, those of us who know geese, understand that it’s generally a noise geese make when they lunge forward, because they’re exerting a tremendous amount of effort. But the honking encourages other geese to keep lunging too. The longer they’re in flight, the more they honk.

However, here’s a point you need to know. When the leader is at the point of the V, he doesn’t honk. When he takes the lead, he isn’t honking, he’s flying. The other geese keep honking to encourage and motivate him to keep flying.

Encouragement can take you where you need to be. Seriously. More often than not, when I feel like I can’t get through the day, all it takes is a little encouragement to go on. As a leader, it’s your job to listen and know where you’re taking your team. You don’t have to talk all the time, sometimes you need to listen.

In my hometown, there’s a group called Honkers. They’re part of the local Chamber of Commerce and they recognize new business owners and show up to HONK them. They promote new business owners and invite them to join the Chamber. It’s a great way to acknowledge, support, and encourage business owners.

Marketing strategies that work best encourage others.

7 – Geese mate for life.

Geese pick a mate and mate for life. They travel with their mate, raise geese with their mate, and their flocks are made up of matched pairs. Except when they aren’t.

I’m sure there’s an animal lover somewhere who will be offended by this, but geese are food. Hunters hunt food. And the key here is that sometimes geese lose their mates. Whether it’s to a hunter or a storm, the result is the same, and one goose goes on alone with the flock.

They take flight and fly away.

All this to point out that in business, we often have struggles. We lose our business partner, or a business, and we must carry on. We have to step up and over, and take flight. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, but I will tell you that it’s easier if you’ve built a tribe of support to surround you, and you can lean on your leaders and those around you to motivate you and keep you using your marketing strategies and building your business.

Marketing strategies can help you overcome the worst business disaster, and are considerate of your personal life events. They don’t end when things get rough, the best ones are designed with support systems to help you through.

Don’t let a life struggle or a business disaster take you down.

  • Know a good market when you find it.
  • Think residual. Market to the same folks again.
  • Never leave a client behind.
  • Take turns in leadership. Sometimes, follow well.
  • Be strong and confident.
  • Encourage and be encouraged always.
  • Life isn’t easy, do it anyway.

Your clients are counting on you to find a marketing strategy that works, because they need what you offer. Don’t let them down.

Influencer Marketing: Deep Understanding and Its Basics

We know that in the Celebrity Industry, everything is a buzz, every move a celebrity makes is a huge gossip. Well, in Business and Marketing there’s also what we call “hot issue”, there are lots of effective methods spreading online and “Influencer Marketing” is the one who raised up and outstands among them.

Today, we are living in a world full of marketing and business. When you think of doing an advertisement? What comes to your mind? Magazine headlines? TV Commercials? I’ll tell you the truth, they may not be as effective like before. Time changes, an effective advertising changes too. Now, Influencers simply speak up some magic sentences on their 1-3 minute video and then Voila! Sales do come true! These influencers with their extensive and large number of followers can make you outstand from that chaotic and old-fashioned advertising methods out there, on the other hand, it will also bring ultimately massive value to your brand.

So what is Influencer Marketing? This article will answer almost all of your questions about influencer marketing.

Before we dig deep to its understanding and insights. We first define the two words:

  • Influence is the ability to have an effect on the behavior, development, character, and decisions of someone or something, and even the effect itself.
  • Marketing is an activity of a business promoting or selling products and services.

So when the two words combine, Influencer Marketing is a type of marketing which utilize “influencers” who have the capacity to influence others to buy what are they promoting or selling.

There are two forms of influencer marketing:

  • Social Media Marketing: Refers to the series of action of gaining traffic and attention through social media sites.
  • Content Marketing: Refers to a type of marketing which involves creating, publishing and sharing of online material such as videos, blogs and social media posts. It doesn’t absolutely promote a brand to generate interest in its products and services.

Both have different definitions, but they seemed to be connected.

Influencer marketing might be a hot issue right now, but it is not new at all, in fact, influencer marketing has been alive since the time we discovered social media sites. Celebrities, Sports Enthusiasts, and Leaders were our first influencers in their particular fields and brands would partner with them to promote their products and services. Here are some good characteristics Influencer Marketing is armed of:

Influencer Marketing is Unique

Social media communication has already given everyone the opportunity to voice out their own perception. Anyone who has the ability to speak, and has the internet connection are welcome to share their content. Anyone who owns a smartphone could produce high-quality photography and share it with the world with their personal social media accounts. And who among them has the great and most intriguing engagement will rise and might become an influencer.

Influencer Marketing is Authentic

Yes, you read it right. Have you seen an advertisement online regarding the easiest way to lose those sloppy fats on your belly? Have you ever felt a single cell in your body that believes those advertisements? Or, have you seen an advertisement on TV regarding a soap which could immediately whiten your skin after just one wash? How possible is that? No offense but this is why and what makes Influencer Marketing authentic and more effective than those traditional advertising you see through online, TV commercials, etc.

Influencer campaigns are more organic and genuine than those traditional advertisements you encounter, why? Firstly, Influencers are visible and had experienced or used the product or service that has been offered. They are seen as scrutinized role models and leaders. Investing your time, effort and money on fertilizing their audience and connecting with their following is much worthy as these influencers are more trusted and had become the most trusted sources for the consumers. Meaning, people listen and believes in them.

Influencers help you with your Brand image

Social media has the ability to drive traffic to your website. It can create a much stronger bond between you and your customers, boosts your SEO and could generate media coverage. Influencers are absolutely your “Superman” when you needed a hand to boost up your brand’s name and create a big buzz on various social media sites. They will help you target the right demographic, grow your social media network, shares ideas regarding on creating your content and boosts your SEO.

Influencer Marketing is Cost Effective

If you are tired already from posting some flyers anywhere in your area but did not get any sales at the end of the day. Influencer Marketing is the best method for you. Although there is no fixed price when it comes to Influencer Marketing, either you offer them free item, pay them by performance-based, or others suggests a “flat rate” pricing. But I tell you, influencer marketing has the best ROI. A lot of research had already proved that it is bound to be more affordable and effective than the traditional advertising.

Commercial Marketing – The Greatest Fishing Sport There Is

According to scientists, humans have been fishing for over 40,000 years – and they do not appear to be letting up anytime soon. When speaking of the lure (pun intended) of fishing, whether it takes the form of commercial, sporting, or recreational – fishing enthusiasts the world over describe the thrill of the “hunt,” and the euphoria of the “catch.”

Interestingly, I have heard nearly the same terminology used in the business world to describe the ever constant cycle of finding and acquiring new customers. If truth be told, I calculate that there is more “fishing” occurring in global business than in all other forms of fishing combined. Moreover, if we can compare business to the sport of fishing, then commercial marketing is the discipline of fishing, and marketing collateral becomes the gear.

While not intended to be an exhaustive treatise on the subject, this article will focus on six of the fundamental questions a company should ask before creating new pieces of collateral or creating a new marketing campaign. It will also look at some of the common marketing mistakes companies make as they attempt to land the “big” one.

Choosing the Right Gear

1. Who is Your Audience?

The most important thing to know when buying your fishing gear is what type of fish you want to catch. Are you going after salt water, lake, or river fish? The equipment you will need is dependent upon the answer to that question.

One of the largest mistakes I see companies make in their marketing collateral is that they often seem confused as to who their audience is. Your message should be clear and compelling. That is hard to do when you don’t know to whom you are marketing. Are they an end user, a business, a reseller, or perhaps a specifier? The type of collateral and the message it contains should always be a clear reflection of that answer.

Some may state that it doesn’t really matter all that much – the product or service remains the same, right? Well, some may also say that a fishing pole is a fishing pole and it doesn’t really matter which type you use. Any professional fisher will tell you that this just isn’t the case. The actual story (your product or service) may remain the same, but how you tell that story and what form that story takes should depend completely on whom you are telling.

I spent years working with and making presentations to both architects and engineers. While my central message remained the same, I had to tailor that message to my listener because both groups were interested in different things. The architects were interested in the aesthetics and more of the big picture features. The engineers were much more interested in the details and the mechanics of the product.

While some types of collateral may cross over multiple groups, such as a brochure or video, you should try and create multiple versions of the same collateral piece to target the particular type of recipient to whom you are reaching out. If this is too expensive, then you should always tailor the message to your largest, most valuable audience.

Learning How to Use Your Gear

2. What is your Call-to-Action?

There are a lot of different pieces of equipment used in fishing. Before going out to the stream or lake, you should have a clear understanding that every component has a different purpose and not mistake the use of one device for that of another. Individuals often make this type of error. For example, job hunters often mistake the purpose of a resume as a tool to get a job. This is a complete fallacy. The purpose of a resume is to get an interview.

Companies often make the same sort of blunders with their collateral. Just as a lure has a different use and objective than a hook, you should develop different kinds of collateral for all the various stages of the sale. Every brochure, ad, or campaign should have a clear and distinct purpose. Is the piece designed to get someone’s attention, build company credibility, provide product or service information, or perhaps a sales call Leave Behind? Sales personnel should also be trained on the various distinctions between the material and know when and where to use what.

After you know what the objective of your marketing piece is, it becomes much easier to decide what your Call-to-Action should be. Once you have an individual’s attention, what do you want them to do after they have read, heard, or viewed your material? Do you ask for an appointment? Do you ask for an order? Don’t make them guess – tell them. Don’t get them all excited and then walk away. Every campaign or article should leave them with clear instructions on what they should do next. Perhaps you can’t compel a horse to drink once you’ve led it to water, but you would be remiss if you didn’t at least ask it to drink.

Casting Your Line

3. How Are You Delivering Your Message?

Some novice fishers may wonder how far out they should cast their line; will the larger fish be further out or hidden in a hole closer to shore? In business, it is important to know how and where to deliver your message. The answer to this question largely depends on what your product or service is, and how large your business is.

If your product or service is widely used, you may choose to cast your line way out there using global or national press releases, email blasts, and expansive social media campaigns. If your product or service is more of a niche market or industry vertical, you may have more success using a combination of internet, radio, television, email, or direct mailer campaigns that target a particular fishing hole such as specific geographical locations, companies, or individuals. For a standalone retailer, the hole may be as small as a particular town or even distinct neighborhoods. Market research goes a long way to identifying the holes that you should be fishing in.

The size of your business is also important when considering how far you should cast your line. It is important to ensure that you can support your product or service in every location you market. You also need to be confident that your company can handle the amount of business you may generate. While it may seem like the whole point of the game is to bring in as much business as possible, you may not have the inside structural support and manufacturing to handle all of the sales. More than one company has collapsed in on itself because they did not have the infrastructure to handle their incoming sales volume. Your business, marketing, and sales should all grow together at a planned, even rate.

Using the Right Lure

4. What Sort of Impression Do You Want to Make?

Different types of lures attract different types of fish. Using the wrong type of lure can make for a very long, fruitless fishing trip. Whether you like it or not, your marketing collateral can wordlessly make an impression that will either attract buyers or send them scurrying into the water’s depths.

What sort of impression do you want to make on potential customers? First impressions are important and you need to know beforehand whether you want your product or service to be seen as dependable, fun, exciting, expensive, inexpensive, or whatever. Keep in mind that the images, colors, layout, music, and quality of materials you use will all tell a story – you just need to ensure that it is telling the right story.

Besides the typical, “Hey, look at me over here” type of lures, another powerful lure your sales people should carry is the “credibility” lure. This sort of collateral can come in the form of case studies, images of past jobs, testimonials, etc. The use of these devices helps ensure the buyer that you can be trusted to deliver on what you are promising.

One last thing to keep in mind, when it comes to marketing, the truth is not always as important to a buyer as their perceived truth. In other words, if it is true in their mind, there isn’t much you can do to change that. The more your marketing materials reflect the truth as they see it, the more success you’ll have. Now, I am not advocating false advertising or unethical practices. I am merely stating that you should use situations and terminology where with they are most familiar. For example, a widget may be called an “ABC Device” in the engineering world, but if your targeted clientele all think of this particular widget as an “XYZ Component,” then you should probably market it as an “XYZ Component” – regardless of what the engineers say. Yes, it may be semantics, but this can make a big difference as to whether someone will be attracted to your product or not.

Using the Right Bait

5. What Problem Do You Solve?

Depending upon the type of fishing you’re doing, you may use cheese, worms, elaborate flies, or even smaller fish as bait. In marketing, it is important to make sure your intended clientele know which of their problems your product or service is going to solve.

Too often in marketing, companies are scrupulous about listing all of their product’s incredible features, but then they rely on the potential customer to build the bridge in their own mind as to which of their problems that feature is going to solve. Your marketing materials should build that bridge for them. In other words, Product, Feature, Benefit; “Our product is ‘A,’ therefore you should enjoy ‘B.'”

Along these same lines, it may not be enough to share with someone how your product has solved a similar problem in a different market – they want to know how your product is going to solve their problem in their market. This situation is where vertical specific marketing material is hugely beneficial.

Hooking Your Fish

6. Does It Evoke the Desired Emotion?

We have all heard the saying that “People buy emotionally and defend their decisions logically”. Well, it’s true, and if your marketing doesn’t stir any emotion, most of those large fish are going to get away.

If we are honest, we must admit that a portion of that excitement is generated by a sales person, but not every company is fishing with live bait; some rely almost entirely on their marketing materials. Even if you do employ sales people, why should they have to do all the work? They should have professional tools at their disposal to assist them in their efforts.

One of the pitfalls I see many companies fall into (especially those with technical products) is their marketing materials only show the product. There is a place for this in some pieces such as specification sheets, but people have to understand that most individuals are not moved to emotion by an image of an inanimate object. Your marketing materials should include people either a) Needing your product or service, or b) Enjoying the benefits of your product or service.

What if a potential buyer is unable to make a decision at the time of the sales presentation, or perhaps they are not the only decision maker? Your sales professional’s presentation may have generated all the needed emotion for the potential buyer to want to say “yes,” but if they are unable to move forward immediately, you cannot expect that emotion to remain indefinitely. They will settle back down and start thinking about all the reasons why they shouldn’t buy. Alternatively, they will talk to the other decision maker, and because they are not as skilled a presenter or as knowledgeable about the product as your sales person, they will not be able to generate the same level of emotion in their counterpart as they initially experienced themselves and they will decide to pass. This reaction is the reason it is so important to have a good Leave Behind, a video or brochure that can remind the potential buyer of all of the important highlights of the sales presentation. This material will allow them to get excited all over again while remembering all of the relevant facts when sharing the information with others.

To conclude this section, just remember – If they feel nothing, they buy nothing.

Packing Up and Heading Home With Your Catch

Conclusion and Summary

Once again, this article was not meant to be an in-depth discussion on all the salient points of commercial marketing and marketing collateral. Instead, it was designed to focus on some of the fundamental questions a company should ask before creating a new piece of collateral or creating a new marketing campaign. Those questions are:

1. Who is Your Audience?

2. What is your Call-to-Action?

3. How Are You Delivering Your Message?

4. What Sort of Impression Do You Want to Make?

5. What Problem Do You Solve?

6. Does It Evoke the Desired Emotion?

Like fishing, commercial marketing can be very challenging. It can also be an exhilarating and rewarding sport. I wish all those who read this article – Sunny Days, and Good Fishing!