Archives for July 2014

Top Marketing Tips for the Small Business Owner

As an entrepreneur it’s no doubt that you are constantly searching for effective but economical marketing tools to find new customers and generate sales. Below are a number of excellent, cost-effective tips that should help you to do just that. Enjoy.

  1. Include an offer in your advertising. The more attractive you can make it the better, and give your customers an easy way to take action and acquire that offer.
  2. Have a more economically priced version available. If you sell one or two products that are relatively high-priced, you should have a “stripped down” version of them available for customers who may want them but not want to pay full price.
  3. Have a premium version of your product. Just as you will have customers looking to get something “cheaper”, occasionally you will also have customers who wish to get “the best”. Offering a premium product, possibly a combination of products or services that you offer, can boost your average sale and revenues.
  4. Consider using unusual or unconventional methods for marketing. This differs with the type of business that you have, the area that you serve and the type of offers that you are able to make. Thinking “outside the box”, while it might sound cliché, can sometimes generate a lot more sales because people aren’t used to seeing your advertising in a different way.
  5. Reduce the size of your ads. Most business owners believe that they need to increase the size of their ads in order to generate more sales but, in some cases, the opposite may just be true. Sometimes a shorter version of your advertisement will get a better response.
  6. Partner with some other small businesses on your advertising. If you can find businesses that don’t compete with yours and advertise your products together, you’ll get your advertising at less cost and possibly get a lot more sales too. Cross promotion like this, if done well, can oftentimes deliver an excellent ROI.
  7. Offer a really special deal to your already existing customers. You already should know that selling to an existing customer is easier, and cheaper, then selling to a new customer. Why not take advantage of this fact by offering your existing customers an amazing deal on a service or product that they have already purchased and might need again? You can do the same with new products or services that you might be offering, giving them the opportunity to get them “first” before you offer them to the general public.

And there you go! Seven excellent marketing tips that, hopefully, will help you to increase the amount of new customers contacting you, and the amount of new sales your company generates.

Just remember that even if one tactic doesn’t work particularly well, or doesn’t work well the first time, you shouldn’t give up on it completely.  Sometimes it takes a few views in order for a new customer to actually “see” your advertising and respond to it.

Why Marketers Love Big Data and Where to Start

Google just launched what it is calling The Consumer Barometer used for providing insight about customer behavior online and offline. The data provided in this tool comes from the Consumer Barometer study and the Enumeration study. It was designed to provide businesses with big data results about how often customer’s research and purchase certain products and services online in addition to consumer behavior trends. Guess what? Marketers are going to love this tool!

Website Magazine recently cited that more data has been created in the last 30 years than the last 5000. We’re living in a world where the amount of data available is exploding exponentially, and it’s not slowing down. If you’re in marketing, you and your staff need to be able to easily and effectively analyze large sets of data in ways that allow for insight. These insights need to provide enhancement to the personal user experience on your website while boosting the profitability and success of your company. Welcome to “Big Data.”


Big data is not only difficult to acquire, but it’s difficult to use correctly. When the stars align though, it can boost a company’s ROI by as much as 20% according to this business insider article sourced from McKinsey & Company. Big data means different things to different people and different industries. A pretty comprehensive look at the topic of big data can be found here, where the term is not defined by the size of a dataset explicitly, but rather the plain fact that traditional database architecture and software is inadequate to store and analyze the volume of data. If you’ve got more data than your traditional system can handle, you’ve got big data. As the meaning of the term morphs with its more widespread adoption, big data has come to refer to the task of taking an enormous dataset and applying it to solve a business problem. Here we will focus on what big data means to marketing professionals and 4 reasons they love it!

Big Reason #1: Big data allows marketing teams to gain deep insight into the backgrounds of prospects or customers by providing comprehensive datasets about consumers and mining them for patterns in the information. This is different than taking a random sample and extrapolating; it’s looking at ALL of the data and finding real patterns.


Big Reason #2: Big data lets your brand speak to the omni-channel consumer and cater to them. By segmenting consumers and creating user profiles then feeding user profile data back into big datasets, your brand can create personalized experiences across multiple brand touch points and channels. Essentially you can achieve marketing agility and personalized marketing experiences per user. An extremely detailed webinar about how to turn big data into personalized marketing experiences can be found here.

Big Reason #3: Big data lends perspective on your entire operation. If you have standardized measurements across multiple consumer channels, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of these channels and how your consumers interact with them, how many customers you have, how the data changes over time, purchasing trends and more.

Big Reason #4: Improvement! If you know what your customers want combined with an overall vision of your brand’s marketing channels, you can identify and improve performance in areas that need it.

Stepping up to Bat with Big Data

Consumers should be able to expect the same from your brand no matter where they interact with it; at the same time personalized 1:1 brand experiences are the only way to increase conversions. The goal is to create uniform branded experiences, personalized to a particular user, across all brand touch points. Big data allows you to do this. The more you understand about big data the more you are going to be able to use it to your advantage.

Marketers, let’s get started.  Identify brand touch points and divide them into buckets such as onsite real estate (website, mobile website, mobile app), offsite real estate (social media, search engines, banner ads, emails, in-app ads, native ads) and offline (any point of sale that is not included in the digisphere).


Decide on what you want to measure and approach companies who leverage big data in these areas already and gain access to their wealth of consumer resources and gain insight into your own customer base. There are a lot of companies that have successfully created new revenue streams by selling their large sets of data to major industry players. If you don’t have any data beyond your Google Analytics, looking at the standardized datapoints of big data companies will provide you with clues on where to start. Additional reading about big data and customer experience analytics is highly recommended before getting started.

Once you have identified and categorized all your brand’s measurable touch points and you have standardized the parameters you wish to measure, you’re in a pretty good place to set up a data layer and create the architecture to house and manipulate it. Your data layer will be an intelligent collection of data from all your touch points, combined with a relevant dataset, organized by standardized categories. Think aggregate, manipulate and innovate. The actual way in which you funnel and fuse all these different types of data into a centralized database and then make use of it is the tricky part, despite having a clear idea of what you want to measure and where. If you’re at this stage, contact a company that specializes in enterprise-level data engineering such as Ensighten or Fractal Analytics. The point of collecting data points from all these sources is to be able to use them. Marketers are used to doing this by hand, but as a recent Forbes article points out, we are going to have to start collaborating with machines to decode terrabytes of data and build competitive brand messages.

Let the Data Speak for Itself

Chromogram of 1.2 billion pieces of Wikipedia editing data

Chromogram of 1.2 billion pieces of Wikipedia editing data

For many marketing professionals the unfamiliarity of this area will mean that they are largely experimenting with big datasets: their creation, visualization and manipulation. Once you have a large dataset up and running, who knows what the data will say and what your experiments will uncover about your consumers? Sophisticated sets of data should help you to innovate and create new business models, products or services. Overall your experiments should discover customer insights that allow you to improve brand performance.

Want to be a More Productive Entrepreneur?

There’s no doubt that entrepreneurs are some of the busiest people around but, with so much to do, it’s easy for them to become distracted with tasks that aren’t exactly important. If that happens to you, what you might need are a number of daily routines or habits that will keep you focused on the more important tasks at hand. The 5 Tips below are sure to help. Enjoy.

  • It’s extremely important that you establish a daily routine. Without it, even the best entrepreneur will have trouble getting anything accomplished. Frankly, even the “average” person has a hard time juggling their personal and professional lives and, without a routine to help, your typical entrepreneur is going to have much more difficult time getting anything done.
  • Without going into detail, suffice to say that exercise and meditation are proven to be vital to any entrepreneurs success. Any type of activity that can help you to leave your stress behind and “clear your mind” is good and should be done regularly. If you don’t believe us, believe this; the CEOs of Pepsi, Xerox, Apple, Starwood Hotels and many other major corporations all start their days with exercise.
  • Take time during your day to check on the progress of any important tasks or goals that you have. Frankly, it’s easy to become so focused on a specific task that you neglect others that need to be finalized. Taking a few minutes to stop and check on your other goals are tasks will help you to not only prioritize your time but also make sure that you don’t neglect something important. This also goes for making phone calls to people important to your business, including peers and clients, as well as quickly checking your email.
  • According to a study by the Harvard Business School, the most successful people make spending time with their family and friends a priority. Not only has this been shown to help a person stay grounded, it can also remind you exactly why you’re putting in all that effort and stress to begin with.
  • Finally there’s one of the best; planning your next day at night. Just like your mom used to put out your clothes and make your lunch the night before school, you should prepare yourself for the next day the night before it comes. Studies have shown that if you arrange a number of tasks before you go to bed, the chance of accomplishing those tasks is much higher.

We hope that these 5 Tips have been helpful and possibly opened your eyes to something that you can do to be a more productive entrepreneur yourself.

Turning the Worm Poop into Big Bucks

It’s the age-old tale of an entrepreneur taking something that everyone else has completely overlooked and turning it into a multimillion dollar business. In this case the entrepreneur is Tom Szacky and the business is TerraCycle.

The idea, and it’s a grand one, that Szacky had was to eliminate all of the world’s waste and, considering that he’s grown that idea into a multimillion dollar global enterprise, it doesn’t seem as idealistic and far flung as it used to be.

“When you look at the global garbage problem, it’s important to realize every object we buy will one day become waste,” says entrepreneur Szacky. “That’s where we end up with this monumental issue: 5 billion tons of waste a year.”

What his company does is collect materials that people throw in the garbage daily and turn them into consumer products like shopping bags, office supplies, packing materials, toys and plastic bins.

Szacky likes to say that “If you can use garbage as a raw material then that’s not really garbage at all.”

A Hungarian who emigrated to the US with his family when he was still a child, Szacky came up with a super effective garden fertilizer using earthworms or, more specifically, earthworm poop.

The boys decided to drop out of Princeton and focus on their idea full-time but, because money for packaging was tight, they began to use old soda bottles that they had collected from recycling bins to bottle their product.

“We realized that the No. 1 seller of fertilizer in this country was Walmart (WMT). So we just started aggressively calling Walmart,” Szacky says.

Still, without a factory or a bottling system at hand, the boys decided to turn to the local school system in order to get all the used soda bottles they needed. Their plan worked and, with over 100,000 containers that were hand bottled and labeled by Szacky at his friends, they not only created an excellent plant food but also the world’s first product made from, and packaged entirely with, waste products.

Although they did get a little bit of help from some smaller investors and a number of business contests that they won, most of the funding that they were offered Szacky turned down so that he could do things “his way”. That paid off when Home Depot came calling and, now more than 10 years later, Terracycle is earning over $20 million in annual revenues.

The company’s “Bottle Brigade” program, allowing schools and communities in over 26 countries around the world to send in their recyclables for cash, has been a particularly big hit.

It also proves that the best entrepreneurs can turn (worm)  poop into gold.