Great Stick Marketing Example

What is stick marketing?

When you do or send something after the sale to make your business stand out from all of your competitors. It’s marketing you use to “stick” yourself in the top of your customers mind and get them to tell others about you.

Most of the time these are simple: a chocolate or a thank you note in your box when you purchase an item or the salesperson who drops off muffins at your office. Those are good, simple examples.

The example I want to share today is great for a number of reasons. The most important reasons are it was a complete surprise and they really know their target audience.

This example is from, they are a cloud based company that provides server monitoring. That’s a brutally competitive market and it’s tough for a small company to stand out.

Here’s what we received and the VHS case made us go…


Or is it a game??

Server Wars


Let’s open it and find out….

Introduction letter

A handwritten note introducing us to our rep Rufus…

Made us ask…

”How much are we paying for this?”

Then we noticed the wax seal and had to show it to the other guys in the office

Wax Seal

After discussing how cool the wax seal was for a couple of minutes we all stood around to see what else was in the case:

Lots of cool stuff

  • A cool case
  • A handwritten note introducing us to our rep…
  • A wax seal – very classy
  • Some Earl Gray Tea
  • A little notebook
  • A sticker
  • A Patch

Why was this awesome….

It was a total surprise – mailed from the UK to the USA.

It showed they really know there target market which is network guys who run servers.

Really remarkable marketing makes you want to tell other people about it.

That’s why I had to share, great job Server Density!

Are You Using a Newsletter?

newsletter 350Have you thought about using a newsletter to help promote your offline business? If not, this is an idea that you really want to take a closer look at because:

For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment. (Experian)

A newsletter is basically a short email magazine that provides your customers with helpful information. Of course, you want to promote your products within this newsletter, but as more of a soft sell where you are educating and/or entertaining your customers.

You want to provide your newsletter free of charge and have customers sign up to receive it. This can be done directly at the checkout counter. As they pay for their product you can suggest that they sign up for your Newsletter. You would then simply add their name and email address into your database.

Let’s look at an example. Say you are a local vet, you can provide a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter that provides tips on pet care. These tips can be related to seasonal care information. Then at the end of the newsletter you could suggest a product that would help with this. Or you may just want to add a reminder about the importance of using heartworm medications for your dog, for example.

The best way to deliver your newsletter is by using a company that specializes in this. This method of marketing is often referred to by using an Autoresponder. You sign up with the service and can then create a list of customers for your newsletter. When you are ready to send it out you do this directly from within your account. Some of the top services for this are Aweber, GetResponse and Mailchimp.

44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. (

Other ideas for content for your newsletter include promoting local events, sharing employee’s birthday’s and business anniversaries. Again, with the vet example, you could get customers to send in their pet photo and you highlight one or two pets each month in your newsletter.

Include a calendar of local events, provide a list of places to see and other related local information. It also never hurts to help promote or suggest other small businesses in your area. Or you might want to include a short review on a local restaurant your visited or where you got your haircut.

Running a newsletter is a great way to stay connected to your customers. You can provide them with additional information, let them know about new specials or new products and more. This mailing list can easily become a good income source when managed correctly.

7 Benefits of Having Bricks With Your Clicks

bricks and clicks 300There are more people on the internet to buy than can ever walk through your door. Does that mean that I think you should close your doors and just operate online? No I believe that there are some huge benefits to combining the strengths of both channels.

That was Barnes and Noble’s biggest mistake when Amazon was just a small online bookstore that was bleeding cash. If Barnes and Noble had focused on their strengths in brick and mortar locations and combined their “clicks with their bricks” they would be the largest online bookseller today and Amazon would be gone or limping along.

What are these 7 vital ingredients that I’m talking about?

1. You get to look a customer in the eye and ask them questions.

There are some amazing analytics tools available on the internet for tracking and surveying customers. We learn a lot about our customers browsing and buying habits from these tools. But in my opinion they still are not a substitute for years of looking a customer in the eye, asking them questions and watching their response. The smartest business owners combine the benefits of both environments.

2. Many people still like the idea of going into a store.

The shopping experience is changing, but retail stores will not go away for a long, long time. I appreciate the convenience of the web for items that I know I want. But when I want to browse nothing beats a funky little store.

3. You can send people from your retail location to your online store.

Using your physical store as a medium to get people onto your This is a great marketing channel. You can have a slightly different inventory available online.

4. Your local clients will tell their out of town friends.

If you do a good job of servicing your local clients they will evangelize you to their friends. You can even provide incentives to those that bring you new customers.

5. You can form a relationship with your customers.

This is similar to #1 but the differences are that you will see them at church the ball games etc. They will see you as a real person, and probably refer to you as your business. You’ll be the furniture guy or jewelry lady, but it will make a difference in your business.

6. In store Pickup

This is especially strong if you have multiple locations – like Barnes and Noble had. You can allow people to pay for their items online and pick them up in your store. This will give you another chance to upsell to them. And there is nothing better than upselling someone who is picking something up that they already paid for because they feel like they are getting a gift. Walmart is doing a great job of this with their free ship to store service.

7. In store returns

Yes, none of us likes to take returns. But there are some great advantages to having them return it to your store. First it gives you the chance to find out why they really returned it. Rarely will you get the real answer online. Second it gives you a chance to change it into an exchange or upselling them something else.

The simple truth is that you can easily combine the benefits of both the online and in store shopping experience if you approach it with a smart strategy.

Who Are the Core Stakeholders in Your Business

If you set out to build a successful and growing business, you’ll increasingly find yourself depending on other people. Even the single individual running an online business from the bedroom will almost always rely on others to perform a number of critical roles. It is common to call these other key people stakeholders, indicating they have a real stake in the success of your company.

That stake can involve any number of factors, from the jobs and compensation of key managers to the financial returns of investors. While these shareholders who invest by buying shares are commonly understood to have such an interest, it is easy to forget about all the others affected by how well your company performs and thrives.blonde with connected people 400

Understanding the Players

Entrepreneurs and business owners have a natural tendency to focus on the end goal and the effort it takes to achieve it. However, it is a critical error to forget about those stakeholders who play a key role in helping to achieve those goals. That reality makes it crucial that every business owner take the time to sit and periodically review the different stakeholders they depend upon. In addition to the managers and shareholders mentioned, this group will include:

  • Key advisors
  • Board members
  • Spouses
  • Key line employees

In the final analysis, this list can be as long as the number of vital relationships with a vested interest in your success, including key vendors and even your major customers.

Involving the Stakeholder

The exercise of carefully evaluating the contribution of these essential team members will help you appreciate their individual roles and identify ways to make their involvement more effective and efficient. Taking time to communicate with each group of stakeholders is the beginning of that process. You quickly realize it is not enough for your supporters and stakeholders to want you to succeed; you must enable them in assisting you to do so.

Of course, true communications is a two-way street. While you must clearly express and lay out specific and achievable goals and expectations, it is often just as important to listen to what is said to you from those you are seeking to lead. Even more, it is vital to create a culture and environment where feedback is expected, rewarded, and acted upon.

An important element in creating this environment is creating proactive situations focused on communications, planning, and reviews. While it may seem difficult or even pointless to schedule monthly, quarterly or other periodic meetings, these can ultimately make the difference between success and failure, or so-so success and really knocking it out of the park success.

Simply putting a date on the calendar is an important first step. Make the date a priority and set far enough in advance that everyone can schedule around it. Invest some time in planning such a session and send out notes or thoughts about the goals of your meeting in advance. Likewise, be sure to send out follow up information, showing participants you heard and are acting on the information you gained.

Taking such time is a major investment of everyone’s limited time and precious company resources. That demands a real return on that investment. Accordingly, make sure the atmosphere during the actual meetings is collaborative and encouraging. As much as possible, make the event everyone looks forward to, not something to dread.

Remember what Lee Iacocca, one of our nation’s most successful businessmen had to say, “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.

Determining the Size of Your Market

Why You Want to Know the Size of Your Business Segmentmarket planning 400

When you are building a new business, or expanding an existing one, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the size of your potential market, for a number of reasons, including:

  • Having a concrete grasp of your market enables you to explain and sell it to your banker should you need start-up or expansion capital
  • Knowing the market will allow you to make determinations as to whether or not you can justify opening additional offices or locations
  • When you know the size of the market, often you are able to ‘work backwards’ and determine how much of the market your competitors are taking, which in turn gives you goals to shoot for in your growth.

There are a number of ways to determine the size of your market, and you should familiarize yourself with each of them, and select the data you feel is most appropriate for your business.

Resources to Call On

1) Your local chamber of commerce will have a good idea of how many competitors you have in your segment, and their relative size

2) Since you know a good profile of your typical customer, looking at US Census bureau tables will give you good information about the number of potential customers you have in your geographical area;  understanding the average annual expenditures per customer will give you a basis for projecting the size of the market

3) The Small Business Administration has a sub organization called “SCORE,”  Score is an acronym for the Service Corps of Retired Executives.  Volunteers with this agency are matched with businesses that request help, and you may well find a retired senior executive from your segment of business who is likely to be extremely familiar with the size of market in your city or region.

4) Dun & Bradstreet reports have ranges of revenue for businesses.  Although the information is voluntarily submitted by businesses, the raw data at least provides you with a range of the potential size of your market.


For a crude estimate, if you are an existing business, take your gross annual revenue and divide by the number of transactions during the course of a year.  Multiply this by the number you received from the census date. This gives you a rough estimate of the size of your market.

Virtual and actual reality are additional ways to start to get a feel for your market potential.  In the virtual world, follow businesses on Twitter and Facebook;  the comments from customers will give you some ideas of how much customers or clients spend.

If you are competing in retail, get interns from a local college business class to conduct marketing surveys in shopping malls, or on a most elementary basis, simply count the customers that go into one of your competitor’s locations on a daily/weekly basis.  If nothing else, understanding how many customers your largest competitors are garnering will give you a goal to reach for at your location.