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President’s Note – October 2009

2009/10/21
by

October 2009

Is Your Brand Important?

For many of us, marketing and branding are like black magic; we are all about selling and not about that marketing stuff.  However, when you step back from the sales process, how you are perceived by your prospects and your customers influences  your success more than you know.   I thought I’d share some branding pointers I picked up during my time away from our industry; when I worked for an in-store marketing industry association.  During those years I had the pleasure of working with the heads of in-store marketing for companies like Coke, Pepsi, Wal*Mart, Proctor & Gamble, and Frito Lay.  They were all brilliant business people focused on marketing their respective brands and brand image along with the actual products.

From a dealer/reseller prospective you can influence how your local “patch” views your company and welcomes your sales or technical staff.  How does your customer perceive your company…provider of leading edge technology?, Customer focused?, Local institution?, New company with a new approach?  You need to create and manage your dealership or company’s brand image.  Do you have a company brochure? Do you have a professional web site? How do your sales and technical staff present themselves and communicate with your prospects and customers?  All Resellers and Vendors need to pay attention to these items as they create perceptions and reflect directly on your “company brand”.

In today’s tech savvy world,  Marketing and Branding are much more than a Yellow Pages advertisement.  Work with your vendors to leverage their programs; such as BlueStar’s Fusion program and Scan Source’s marketing support.  Carefully use vendor provided Co-op marketing funds for more than polo shirts and coffee cups with your logos.  Do you have a comprehensive marketing plan for your company, market(s) and products?  On the association’s part, we launched our Marketing Services member benefit to provide cost effective marketing and branding programs for our members.  Check it out at www.NoneOfTheBS.com .

Your challenge is to use all of the ideas, tools and funding available to craft your image, message and brand.  These tools will help you differentiate yourself from the competition, while making prospects and current customers more aware of who you are and ultimately bring you  more business.

Social Marketing 2009 = Web 1.0?

Today, Social Marketing is a cool buzz word and a hot topic!  Companies are creating social marketing strategies while learning that tweeting is something both people and birds can use to communicate.  But how does all of this help you make money?

The Social Media buzz reminds me of the Web 1.0 buzz.  “Back in the Web 1.0 days”, many companies were touting their new web portals, plans to “attract eyeballs” to their sites and business plans which would swing to a profit sometime in their second decade of existence.  The same thing exists today with social media.  [Even Twitter has not figured out a money making business strategy.]   RSPA has been engaged in social marketing programs for over two years. Our websites community forums were just the start, RSPA’s LinkedIn community, Facebook , Twitter, blogs and more are used to create communities and to communicate with our members and the entire retail technology industry.  However, we’ve also been focusing on how to master these Social Media communications and utilize them as profit generating business tools; much like the web 1.0 to Web 2.0 transition.   For our part RSPA has integrated social marketing into our overall communications and marketing strategy.

Watch for our education programs on marketing and social media at www.GoRSPA.org/Education and watch what RSPA will be doing with these great new marketing tools. Our goal is to be out in front and leading the way with these new tools and as always we are ready to share our best practices.

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