Vantage Blog

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28
Sep
2014

Vantage September 2014 Newsletter Out Now

To paraphrase a former prime minister it quite often seems that every parrot in the pet shop is squawking about value propositions! But what is a Value Proposition, and how do you best deliver real value to your customers? In this month’s post we make clear what a value proposition really is, how you can define and refine it, and also provide some simple tools and examples to do just that. 

You can also watch our recent webinar on value propositions by clicking here.


Also in this edition:
We hope you find something of interest. 

Please feel free to contact us to discuss how any of these issues may impact your business.

Best wishes,
Vantage Strategy & Marketing

To paraphrase a former prime minister it quite often seems that every parrot in the pet shop is squawking about value propositions! But what is a Value Proposition, and how do you best deliver real value to your customers? In this month’s post we make clear what a value proposition really is, how you can define and refine it, and also provide some simple tools and examples to do just that. 

 ..

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08
Aug
2014

5 Tips to Help Make Social Media Work for You

Social media can sometimes appear like the emperor without clothes. Lots of people praise its power, and trumpet their success, in driving new business. Many more sit back puzzled at what all the fuss is about.

Much of the problem stems from believing (or hoping) that social media on its own will be the solution for all your sales and marketing efforts. It certainly is part of the solution, but not all as some would have you believe. For instance, for businesses where high trust is critical it won’t close a sale.

But if approached in the right way it can be an effective and efficient part of the marketing mix helping you increase awareness and make your offer more accessible and credible.

1. Fish where the fish are: Be where your customers (or prospective customers) hang out. You wouldn’t attend a networking event full of people you had no interest in doing business with, so why hang out on social media networks where there are no prospective customers. If your customers are on Facebook use that as your primary social media network; if business professionals are what you are after then LinkedIn is for you. And once utilising one of those platforms use their targeting and profiling tools to hone your focus.

2. Connect with a purpose: Social media is a great way to connect in a simple and non obtrusive way. But its real value comes when it is part of how you build your business network. If you sit behind a PC all day madly digitally connecting without a clear target strategy in place then you are pretty much wasting your time. You need to consider who you want to connect with and how you can add value (hint: it’s not all about you!).

3. Integrate online and offline: Online should be a part of an integrated approach. You need to connect online AND offline – that’s right face to face (especially for B2B) and/or via your service delivery. Think through how you build your network on and offline. For most businesses connecting offline is where you will build real trust – online is a support for that process and a great way to keep connected without having to be in their face.

4. Deliver value: Content is the new currency of marketing. And social media is a great platform to distribute and share. But it needs to be content that adds real value. It needs to hit what I call the sweet spot - solve real customer problems, be easily digestible (that is easy to read, understand and apply) and is grounded in your competitive advantage (what makes your brand and offer unique). Content that doesn’t hit this sweet spot – that is provide real value – will just be noise and add to the clutter. It can be a mix of original content by you and sharing great content by others. For more on sweet spot click here.

5. Be consistent and engaging: To expect a single posting on social media to make you a thought leader, or to ‘go viral’ with one click, is unrealistic. You need to have a strategy that fits with what you want to achieve and enable you to consistently connect, engage and share. Given the 1000’s of commercial messages everyone is exposed to every single day you need to creatively present and re-present the content you create. Just as TV ads are repeated to ensure you see them more than once you need to ensure you do the same in social media. But unlike say TV, you can easily keep them fresh by recycling and refreshing. Here’s a few ideas:

• Add an image or a quote
• Re-purpose for the different platforms (an image for Instagram, a quote for Twitter)
• Re-publish at different times of the day to reach different users
• Re-present in different formats – a video for YouTube, a presentation for SlideShare, a blog for your website
• Write intriguing headlines – numbers and lists are really popular

Two final thoughts. There are a number of cheap (or free) tools to help you manage social media, and your connection and publishing approach. Two good ones are Hootsuite or Sprout Social.

And of course be focused. Work out what works for your business and focus on doing that really well. If you take that approach social media can become an important part of driving sales and marketing success.


by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing.
This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

Social media can sometimes appear like the emperor without clothes. Lots of people praise its power, and trumpet their success, in driving new business. Many more sit back puzzled at what all the fuss is about.

 ..

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29
May
2013

Can A class marketing with a B class offering win?

Last week I listened into a webinar by a marketing guru.  There were some good ideas and insights but one comment really made me stop and think.  His view was that... A class marketing coupled with a B class offering is enough to ‘win’. 


Really?
In a world where information is at your finger tips, and the ability to use social media to uncover puffery and sub standard products and service, how could this be so? I think it is a very cynical view that you can make up for product gaps by overlaying great marketing.  The gap between perception and experience will be too wide and will be exposed.  Yes you may make a living for a time, but eventually a real A class offering will overtake you.

We should aim in what we offer to the market to meet clear and valuable needs.  For the need, or segment, you service it should be an A class offering.  It won’t work for everyone and it will, on occasion, fail to meet up to the standards you and your customers set, but that is where you aim.

I would argue the reverse holds true. An A class offering can manage with so called B class marketing.

Why?
Because word of mouth, potentially amplified by social media, will do the rest for you.  It will create a momentum of its own built off the base of your great product and service that is well matched to a specific set of needs.

Best approach – aim for A class in all that you do!  

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

Last week I listened into a webinar by a marketing guru.  There were some good ideas and insights but one comment really made me stop and think.  His view was that... A class marketing coupled with a B class offering is enough to ‘win’.   ..

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31
Aug
2012

Social Media Guidelines Infographic

By Guest Blogger Fergal Coleman We recently created the social media infographic below for internal use at Symphony3.













CLICK TO DOWNLOAD AS PDF 

We’ve had many frank discussions both internally and with clients on effective social media guidelines. We all agreed that striking the balance between setting the rules and encouraging people to get involved is the challenge. Hence we decided to develop this graphic. Our aim was to achieve the following:

  • Write simple and clear guidelines outlining the expected behaviour of all employees online
  • Provide some direction on the tools to use
  • Provide some ideas on how to use those tools and what to post
  • Deliver all of the above in a format that could be posted on our office wall and would attract attention (so people would actually read the guidelines!)
  • Ensure the format could be read and easily remembered


Of course, these guidelines are based on how Symphony3 as an organisation uses social media. Our most important stakeholders are existing customers and partners.  We want to look after them, support them and build stronger relationships with them using social media.  As a B2B company, new business comes our way largely as a result of recommendations and word of mouth from those customers and partners. Increasingly those recommendations are being made online, and word of mouth about us is happening on social media.

So to reiterate, our social media efforts focus on enhancing and strengthening the relationships we have already developed with our community of customers and partners. We provide them with valuable content and guidance which they in turn can share with their contacts.

Some companies will use the same guidelines and tools as we do but many others will have different behavioural rules, use less or more tools and post different kinds of content. How you fill in areas 1, 2 and 3 will depend on your organisational make-up – this includes the openness of your culture: the importance you place on social media, the trust you place in employees to do the right thing and the resources at your disposal to create good content.

However no matter how small or large your organisation this same approach can work for you. It allows you to articulate expected behaviours, to promote your favoured organisational tools to employees and to provide some guidance on the content you would like to see shared.

Do you have a social media infographic of your own you’d like to promote? Tweet it to us @symphony3think .

Social Media Guidelines – An infographic by the team at Social Media Team at Symphony3




By Guest Blogger Fergal Coleman We recently created the social media infographic below for internal use at Symphony3. ..

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25
May
2012

Challenging times - 3 simple business ideas

1.  Better Communication using YouTube
Whether it is internal communications, documenting processes or communicating updates to potential customers it can take hours to write up a written communication. Doing a video recording using a camcorder, Flipcam or even your iPhone however can take just minutes. You can then with a click of a button upload this video to YouTube and send out a link for the video to your target audience. If you wanted to be more creative and put intro slides and / or captions editing takes very little time.


 The important point is that the message you are seeking to communicate will get a lot more traction in video format versus written.

So next time you are about to write up a newsletter update to your customers how about use a YouTube video instead.  Here’s a few from Vantage

2.  Only worry about the things you can change
Business stress increases during volatile times. Ensure that regardless of the pressures around you in business at present that you focus your strategies / actions on aspects within your control.

We call this having an ‘internal locus of control’ where you take responsibility for change rather than pointing the finger at external factors.  

3.  Change hurts but...get used to it
The pace of change in business is rapidly increasing. A 2009 study by consulting group, Kotter International now show that 70% of internal change projects fail.

Combine these factors and the result is that many businesses are ‘change fatigued’ and not wanting to adapt.

Unfortunately there is no choice but to continuously evolve your business at present or risk being left behind.

Whilst any change is difficult ensuring your team are armed with a common planning methodology to manage the change, there is great communication from the top down on the direction the organization is heading and managers lead by example will help make it an easier process.

James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing Powered by Mindshop

1.  Better Communication using YouTube
Whether it is internal communications, documenting processes or communicating updates to potential customers it can take hours to write up a written communication. Doing a video recording using a camcorder, Flipcam or even your iPhone however can take just minutes. You can then with a click of a button upload this video to YouTube and send out a link for the video to your target audience. If you wanted to be more creative and put intro slides and / or captions editing takes very little time. ..


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