3 Common Marketing Mistakes that Could Be Hurting Your Business

In this new world of social-distancing and other preventive measures, the way we conduct business has been changed for the foreseeable future. No one knows what that means for the long-term, but, at the very least, companies need to take a deep breath and focus on how to adjust their marketing strategies.

Regardless of current events, having an effective marketing plan is vital to growing and retaining business. SMART goals should be the cornerstone of every marketing strategy. (A SMART goal is used to help guide goal setting; SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.) More on this topic later.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at three marketing mistakes that could be negatively impacting your business’ bottom line.

  1. Not having a solid marketing plan.

All businesses, regardless of size, should have a documented and organized strategic plan for their marketing initiatives. Unfortunately, many companies tend to put this task on the “back burner.” Even those who have a plan may not designate a primary point person or committee with authority to make marketing decisions. This inaction can lead to wasted and misguided efforts if too many people within the organization can make marketing decisions on a whim.

For example, if vendors can call on anyone within the company, and the company has not communicated a policy about who has the authority to vet marketing-related products, the results can be disastrous! The least of which is wasted time and resources.

You wouldn’t ask your production manager to handle your accounting, so don’t allow your sales staff to make your marketing decisions. Businesses need to thoughtfully determine who in the organization is best suited to make marketing-related decisions. This can be one person or by committee. Take the time to develop sound policies, and then communicate the information throughout the organization. Ensure that everyone is on the same page with how to achieve goals and objectives, including branding awareness, lead generation, customer satisfaction, and positive ROI.

  1. Being too impatient.

Today’s society expects immediate results. And “Why not?” Advances in technology have streamlined many activities, where with one click, we get results. This leads to unrealistic expectations, particularly related to marketing activities. As with any endeavor, marketing tactics take time to generate results. A business cannot expect to put a social media plan in place and then expect inquiries to pour in within a matter of days or weeks. Growing your audience and increasing awareness takes time and consistent evaluation, regardless of the product or service.

Therefore, have a plan in place (see point #1), know your target customer, measure results, and be patient. As noted earlier, using SMART goals will lead to greater success, but it’s a success that takes time. Realize that it may take six months or more to see the desired change in customer behavior. Engaging a consultant who can take a deep dive into your marketing strategy and help monitor trends to identify opportunities for improvement can keep you grounded throughout the marketing process.

  1. Jumping on the latest bandwagon.

Just because a specific marketing trend is popular right now does not necessarily mean that it is a good fit for your business. Podcasts and video marketing have been all the rage in recent months, but if your target customer does not use these platforms, you’re wasting money. For instance, businesses that are marketing to older adults need to be mindful of their awareness and comfort level in using newer technologies. On the other hand, if your audience is young business professionals who listen to podcasts on their commute to keep up with industry best practices, a podcast could be a worthwhile pursuit.

Just because you are sharing content, doesn’t mean your target customer is consuming the information. Invest in marketing platforms that your customers do connect with, and that will catch their attention. Do your research and then determine if the latest marketing fad is right for your business.

So, what can you do to avoid some of these common mistakes? Make it a point to get everyone on the same page when it comes to marketing plans and strategies. Have a solid plan in place first, and then you can figure out which tactics to use to implement it. If you do not see the results you expected, consider working with a consulting firm like YGL Enterprises to refocus and assess your current strategies. Optimize your resources and develop a focused approach to put the most effective marketing solutions in place. Contact us today to get started.


Start from Within: Selling Employees on Your Brand through Internal Marketing

Businesses spend an exorbitant amount of time and money, selling their products and services to customers. After all, this is what keeps the revenue flowing and drives business growth. But a critical aspect of marketing that many businesses overlook is marketing to their employees. Business owners should view their employees as the best and most-accessible advocates for the business’ products or services. As the primary ambassadors of the business, they must have a solid understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals to project this in everything they do.

Why Internal Marketing Matters

When employees truly believe in the business, and what it is selling, they become more engaged, provide higher quality service, and are often more satisfied with their jobs. Plus, they become brand representatives and advocates of the business when speaking with others. Whether interacting with family, friends, clients, or people they have just met, they can proudly and confidently promote the business and what it stands for. They can talk about what makes the products or services so great, reliable, functional, convenient, or whatever the benefits may be – its unique value proposition.

Internal marketing also plays a key role in attracting and retaining top talent. Not only can HR departments enhance their recruitment efforts by advocating for why the business is a good place to work, but employees can do the same and drive referrals. They’re more likely to encourage others to work there if they enjoy it themselves.

Creating an Internal Marketing Program

Now that you understand why internal marketing is important, it’s time to develop an effective plan. Decide who will lead efforts in educating employees, creating materials, building a strong culture, and providing consistent communication. This is not a one-person or one-perspective job. Consider creating an internal marketing team that includes both employee leaders and management.

  • Gauge current knowledge. Find out what employees already know and think about the business. Develop a survey where they can rank their understanding of the organization’s mission and vision, its value proposition, and its products/services. Ask about whether they believe in the mission, if they use the business’ products/services, and if they would recommend the business to others. Asking questions on the front-end will provide the answers that focus your efforts in crafting materials and training.
  • Develop education and training opportunities. Invite employees to attend meetings and open forums to discuss what is happening within the business, as well as the future goals. Offer training sessions for new products or services where they can ask questions, provide feedback, and try out products themselves. Distribute a monthly newsletter with updates, statistics, opportunities, and fun facts.
  • Make information readily available. Have an internal webpage that employees can use as a resource when they want or need more information. Use videos and graphics to increase engagement and present content in a meaningful way. Post the latest updates on changes within the organization, the launch of new products/services, and how the business is performing against its goals.
  • Leverage social media. Make it easy for employees to share press releases, product information, new developments, and external marketing initiatives with their connections through the business’ approved channels or platforms. Keep the business’ social media pages updated and encourage employees to like and share content. However, ensure that there is a social media policy in place to protect the organization’s online reputation and set guidelines for employees’ online activity.
  • Keep going. Internal marketing is not something that is ‘once and done.’ It should be ongoing. Integrate messages into daily meetings, monthly trainings, and business communications. Building employee engagement and support is something businesses should always be striving to do. If efforts become stagnant, a lot of momentum can be lost.

Every single employee from the custodian to the administrative assistant to the CEO should know what the business’ brand stands for and be able to speak positively about it (and want to do so). Having a strong internal marketing plan is just as important as the external marketing plan.

Start creating a strategy that transforms employees into natural ambassadors and advocates for your business by partnering with YGL Enterprises today. You’ll receive guidance tailored to your organization, its goals, and its employees to help you be as successful as possible. With YGL Enterprises, you get a focused strategy that leads to realized marketing solutions.


Keeping a Pulse on the Client: The Importance of Surveys for Small Businesses

When you buy a product online or take your car to the dealership for service, almost immediately, an email or text pops up, asking you about your experience. Large businesses are always asking for feedback to gauge how they are doing and where there are opportunities for improvement. And yet, small businesses seldom follow suit. This is a missed opportunity that ultimately impacts long-term client satisfaction, as well as the company’s bottom line. Today, we explore why small businesses are hesitant to ask for feedback and how they can overcome their fear of the process.

Here are just a few common reasons why companies fail to survey their clients:

  • The client won’t respond, so why bother?
  • Fear of what clients may say, and uncertainty of how to respond.
  • Customer feedback programs are too expensive to implement.
  • Assumption that, because the company is small, it already knows what its clients think or need.

All the above are common myths. Every business should actively and regularly seek client feedback about its product or service. If businesses are not asking for feedback, they are missing out on major opportunities to:

  • Improve business operations.
  • Enhance customer loyalty.
  • Turn a negative experience into a positive outcome.
  • Remind customers to share their experiences on online reputation platforms.
  • Tweak product or service offerings to better align with their customer base.
  • Identify areas of opportunity to reach new customers or fill a gap in the market.

Online, Email, Paper or Face-to-Face

There are a multitude of resources that businesses can use to solicit feedback, such as:

  • Automated online surveys such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Polldaddy
  • Face-to-face surveys
  • Telephone surveys
  • Hard copy surveys with a personalized letter from senior management
  • Any combination of the above.

Businesses should carefully reflect on which option will likely generate the most participation and what is the overall goal. Are you surveying a multitude of clients about their general perceptions of the company, or is the survey targeted to a handful of “key” clients who represent a significant portion of the business’s revenue? Complex services such as legal or accounting will benefit from using face-to-face surveys or telephone surveys. Additionally, experience shows that clients are more likely to respond when going through a neutral, third-party source where they feel they can give honest responses, or if there is a small incentive included such as a discount on a future purchase.

Keep your expectations realistic – you’re unlikely ever to get 100% of clients to participate, but that’s okay; even a 10% response rate can provide valuable information.

Rather than asking vague, generic questions that have little value when it comes to measuring satisfaction or how to improve, focus on specific, targeted questions around key aspects of the business. For instance, break down experiences into important points, such as:

  • How easy it was to check out online
  • How quickly someone responded to inquiries or problems
  • How they found out about the business or what brought them there
  • What other services or products they are interested in
  • How likely they are to recommend the company/product/service to others

Have a plan in place for what information you want to collect and how you will respond.

*Remember to keep the survey short; six to eight questions are the right length for optimal client response.

Managing Feedback

A critical factor to keep in mind when implementing a voice of the customer program, however, is that the business must be committed to accepting and acting upon ALL feedback. Just because a business doesn’t like a response doesn’t mean it should be ignored or swept under the rug. Clients want to see that their opinions and concerns are being heard and acted upon. Ignoring negative feedback can result in the client airing the grievance online.

For example, if several people respond that the business is not responsive to returning phone calls or emails, be prepared to execute change quickly. This could mean implementing a policy of a 24- or 48-hour timeframe for replying – and sticking to it! Note the change on the company website, and other social media venues, so clients know that you listened to their concerns and care. Implementing positive changes can mean not only a greater financial return but also improved customer loyalty.

If a specific client has an issue, senior management should be ready to step in and personally address the problem promptly. This simple act by small businesses can go a long way in forging improved relationships because there is a personal connection and emphasis on doing what is right. It shows clients that they matter.

Implementing Client Satisfaction Surveys

Are you ready to take the next step? Implementing a plan for a client feedback program can be easier than you think. Working with a marketing professional such as YGL Enterprises can allow you to put in place a program that fits the unique needs of your business and generates the type of feedback you can use to drive continued success. Contact YGL Enterprises today to learn more and develop a focused strategy to realize marketing solutions.


YGL Enterprises’ 12 Days of Marketing Tips

‘Tis the season! As 2019 winds to a close and the countdown to holiday celebrations begins, your business needs to be ready to go once 2020 hits. We’re helping you get started by offering 12 tips to boost your marketing planning and preparation for the new year.

  1. Conduct a marketing audit.

If it’s been a while since your business took a deep dive into its marketing strategy and performance, the end of the year is great time to make plans to do so. Partner with a professional who will give honest, objective feedback about where there are opportunities for improvement, how various effective approaches are, and how to enhance marketing initiatives to drive greater return on investment.

  1. Review your budget.

How much money will you have in 2020 to put toward marketing, and how are you going to allocate these funds? Are there specific areas you want to invest in further such as creating video content or revamping your website? Did radio ads convert better than television ads? Evaluate the return on investment over the past year to help guide your focus for this year’s spending.

  1. Look at the data.

Leverage analytics tools such as Google Analytics to get down to the nitty-gritty of performance. You don’t want to continue pouring time and money into strategies that data shows are not generating a meaningful return. Look at website traffic and referral sources to understand where users are coming from, find out what keywords are top hits, and learn how customers are interacting with your site.

  1. Run a competitor analysis.

You know what your business is doing, but what about your competitors? Take a closer look at their campaign strategies and how they’re reaching customers. Are there certain emotional appeals they’re making? Aspects of the product or service they’re focused on? Promotional deals they’ve been running? Look at how they interact with customers across social media and what type of content they’re generating. This information can give your team valuable insight about your competitor’s strategies.

  1. Research the latest trends.

Trends change all the time, so figure out what’s gaining momentum for 2020. Some areas to look into are podcasting, video content, voice search, AI, automation, personalization, and the customer experience. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll eventually get left behind as competitors tackle more innovative and cutting-edge approaches. Keep pace with how the industry is changing and what you need to do to stay ahead.

  1. Update buyer personas.

Take a critical look at who you are marketing to and what is important to them. Go back through your buyer personas and see where changes need to be made to better align with your target audience. Use data to add detail and guide insight as you decide where to focus your marketing efforts for the new year.

  1. Refine segmentation.

As you update your buyer personas, it’s also a good time to tweak segmentation. Your business can’t be everything to everyone, and not every group responds to the same tactics. While millennials and Gen Z may seem like the same, when you break down the facts about their buying habits, you discover that they’re actually quite different. For your marketing strategy to be most effective, understand the differences, and then tailor your marketing accordingly.

  1. Plan content.

Now is the time to plan your editorial calendar for the year. Highlight certain holidays or times of the year that you want to promote a specific product or service. Come up with overarching themes for content that carry through the month or quarter. This will help you continue generating content on a regular basis and give structure and cohesion to what you’re sharing.

  1. Set goals.

Step back and look at the upcoming year as a whole. Determine long-term goals that you want to achieve by this time next year. Do you want to expand your presence in a new market? Grow website traffic by a certain percentage? Once you have your main goals, you can break them down into smaller milestones to track your progress and keep momentum going.

  1. Collaborate.

Every person on your team has their specific strengths and ideas. Invite others to share what they see as the greatest opportunities and challenges that your business faces. Work together to figure out how to adjust your marketing strategy to address these issues. The first idea is not always the best one, so collaboration is key in finding the most effective and innovative strategies.

  1. Get everyone on board.

Share your marketing strategy with the whole business and educate others on the part they play in driving success. Every single person is an influencer, so how they promote themselves and the brand says something about the business. Give employees the knowledge, tools, and support necessary to promote an exceptional customer experience no matter where they fit into the process.

  1. Celebrate your successes.

The year is nearly over. Take the time to celebrate all of the business’ achievements, big and small. Reflect on positive customer feedback and reviews that shine a spotlight on everything that went right. Recognize employee accomplishments and the role they have played in growing the business and making it more successful.

Get 2020 started on the right foot and make the most of the next 12 months of marketing by partnering with YGL Enterprises for all of your strategic marketing and branding needs. Let us guide the way as you customize and refine your approach to optimize results. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on building a focused strategy to realize marketing solutions.


Who You Are Matters: Humanizing Your Brand

No matter what you need, whether a product or service, you can find it. In fact, today’s consumer can choose from multiple options from multiple sources. Whether your favorite shopping destination is Amazon, eBay, or direct from a company’s website, your options may seem endless.

So what factors tip the scale towards the purchase of your product or service vs. your competitors? At the most basic level, it is the connection the consumer has with your brand. That means that businesses need to pay attention to the “Emotional Connection” if they want to garner loyalty and increase sales.  As humans, we make connections. Whether it is with one person or a company made up of many people, the Brand connection is what sets you apart.

Motista (www.motista.com), the pioneer of Predictive Emotional Connection Intelligence solutions, released a 2018 report that supports this idea of the importance of the Emotional Connection. The report states that “Emotional Connection is the most predictive driving force behind brand purchasing decisions and the long-term loyalty of consumers.”

So, how can you showcase your brand’s unique personality and connect with your audience?

Generic = Forgettable

Don’t be afraid to be unique.

If your brand tries to be everything to everyone, it will quickly get lost in the shuffle. A generic approach blends in with the crowd when what you want to do is stand out. Take a step back and figure out what makes your business different. Is it your commitment to service? How you make your product? Does the value you offer exceed the cost? Your process? As one young entrepreneur pointed out, “If I stopped providing services tomorrow, what would customers miss the most about what I offer?” That’s the key.

Find Your Audience

A BMW is not for everyone. They target a specific type of customer, one who expects premium quality, performance, and luxury. By strategically focusing on the desires of this niche population, BMW is a leader in the luxury automobile industry.

Take a lesson from BMW. Instead of stretching your business thin by trying to capture every possible customer, focus on finding the specific segment you want to target and build a solid relationship. Make sure your marketing strategy is on point and geared toward the lifestyle of your audience. If small business owners or the under-30 crowd aren’t your primary demographic, don’t spend your time and resources trying to appeal to them. Show customers that you are in touch with what matters most to them and foster genuine connections.

Be Authentic

Humanizing your brand is the backbone of a successful marketing strategy. No one likes automated, cut-and-paste replies. If you’re engaging with your audience on social media, be personable and authentic. According to a recent study, “86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.” When you’re creating marketing strategies, mirror what is happening in the real world so that customers can relate and tie those messages back in with your brand. Give your brand value and meaning – show customers what you stand for.

Live Your Brand

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Show, don’t tell,” and this timely adage applies to marketing and branding too. It’s not enough to tell people what your brand stands for; you have to live it and incorporate it into everything you do. You want to send a consistent message that spans all of your channels. Reinforce what you say through what you do so that customers see your mission and vision being carried out 24/7, not just when the pressure is on.

Be Confident

Don’t be afraid to buck the trend and be true to what your business represents. Customers want to see this dedication. You may lose a few customers here and there, but staying true to your core beliefs will attract a more loyal following. Take the time to develop a clear vision and strategy for your brand, but make sure it is true and authentic. Ask yourself, “Would you want to do business with your organization?”

If you’re struggling to put a human touch on your business and make personal connections, YGL Enterprises can help. We’ll work with you to find your brand voice and build a marketing strategy that meets your needs and those of your customers.  We offer focused strategy, so your marketing solutions are realized. Contact us today to learn more.


A Complete Checklist for Rebranding Your Business

Just like the person who realizes that their look has long since gone out of style, businesses can find themselves in need of a brand refresh. Reasons for a rebranding may be simple or complicated, but getting it “right” is essential. Planning is critical to avoid common rebranding mistakes that can sabotage your efforts. If rebranding is the right move for your business and your logo looks dated, taglines are no longer relevant, or bad publicity is forcing a change, use this checklist as a reminder that your logo, company name, and tagline may appear in dozens of locations, online and in print.

Website

  • Send your updated brand (logo, tagline) to other websites; e.g., vendors who link to your site.
  • Post a press release on your new website explaining why your business has rebranded. Tell your story. Make it relevant. Keep it simple.
  • Add a redirect link on your old website to the new URL once it is “live.”

Directories

  • Update your listings in any applicable online directories, including any location data management tools such as Yext.
  • Update your profile on online crowd review forums such as Yelp and Trip Advisor.
  • Don’t forget about industry-specific directories. Many professional service businesses, (e.g., legal, accounting, and financial services) have online review forums. Check to see if your business is listed, and find out how to update your information.

Social Media

  • Each social media platform has specific policies. Check with each on how to update your business page or feed. In some cases, you will need to create a new page.
  • Encourage employees to post information about the new brand on their own social media pages. Examples include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Review your company’s social media guidelines with all employees before the brand/rebrand rollout.

Signage

  • Replace interior and exterior signage including on company vehicles and uniforms, and in buildings, lobbies, and boardrooms.

Business Stationery and Forms

  • Letterhead, envelopes, labels and cover sheets
  • Electronic templates
  • Business cards
  • Invoices, statements, checks and other banking forms
  • Company policy statements and employee handbooks
  • Name badges
  • PowerPoint templates
  • Presentation folders

Promotion

  • Local press and trade publications – press releases
  • Tradeshow booths
  • Giveaways
  • Banners

Communications

  • Telephone greeting and messages – general mailbox and individual voicemail greetings
  • Outgoing caller ID
  • Email signatures

Advertising and Media

  • Print and digital ads
  • Fact/spec sheets
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Annual report
  • TV/radio spots
  • Videos
  • Blogs

Employees

  • Employees play a crucial role in communicating a company’s brand. Make sure that everyone understands the purpose of the rebranding initiative before it goes “live.”
  • Hold an internal launch party to share the purpose and goals of the branding initiative.
  • Train all employees about what the brand represents and how each person helps deliver the “brand promise.”

Existing Clients

  • Pre-launch: Send an email to your customers ahead of the launch to let them know about the upcoming rebranding. Reinforce that the change will be a positive one and that your company will continue to provide the same great service to its customers.
  • Launch: Send a letter to customers announcing the brand launch, signed by the CEO or president. Explain the reason for the change and reaffirm the company’s pledge to its customers.
  • Post-launch: Encourage all employees to talk about the new brand with their customer contacts.
  • Hand out new business cards to existing clients and in subsequent meetings.

Don’t be discouraged if you forget to check off one of the above tasks. Remember, proactive planning and laser-focused execution are critical steps in achieving a successful rebranding launch. Don’t rush. Consistent communication throughout your organization is key. Your employees are your best promotors and caretakers of a company’s brand. Once the initial launch is complete, encourage your employees to be on the lookout for other forms, marketing materials, and social media where your old brand is displayed, so you can update the item(s) as soon as possible.

If you’re considering a rebrand for your business, partner with the professionals at YGL Enterprises to ensure your strategy is well thought out, and you’re creating a positive change that will resonate with customers and support your brand for years to come. Contact us today to get started!


Making a Name for Yourself: Why Executive Branding Matters

Whether you realize it or not, you already have a personal brand. It comes from all the information that is out in the world about you, whether you put it there intentionally or it stemmed from other sources. Cultivating an executive presence that you are proud of and that positions you in a positive light can help you to grow as a professional. Personal branding becomes even more important as you try to set yourself apart from others and want to remain competitive in the job market, levy for a promotion, or simply change the narrative.

Find Out Where You Stand

From searching for yourself on Google or social media platforms to investing in online reputation management tools to do the work for you, it’s essential that you not only know what is said about you but also take charge of your narrative. You may find that you don’t have much of an executive presence at all; therefore, you need to take action to establish your brand. Or, you may find that you need to bolster certain areas to position yourself for advancement or change the story altogether so you can shift your career in a different direction.

Decide Where You Want to Go

As noted above, executive branding is having a solid sense of how others perceive you in the marketplace. What story do you want told? What traits or accomplishments make you stand out? If you’re not sure how to differentiate yourself or what you should be emphasizing, it can be beneficial to work with a brand strategist. The primary benefit to you is that a brand strategist can help you see the “big picture” by asking probing questions that get you thinking about how you view yourself, your professional goals, and how best to achieve those goals by clearly articulating your personal brand.

Figure Out How to Get There

Now that you know where you want to go, you must put in the effort. This is where partnering with a brand strategist can really pay off. A brand strategist can help you:

  • Identify and focus on your target market and audience
  • Access effective channels for promotional and marketing activities
  • Leverage social media to maximize your brand and increase awareness
  • Create on-target messaging to build or pivot your brand
  • Monitor performance to assess strengths and areas for improvement
  • Capitalize on opportunities to grow your professional network and expand your reach

It can be challenging to look objectively at your own executive brand presence and see what is working and what is not. That is why YGL Enterprises takes the guesswork out of building your brand by conducting detailed assessments and developing strategic plans to position you how you want to be seen.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an established CEO or an emerging leader trying to get a leg up; your brand has an impact and determines your competitive advantage. Stand out for the right reasons and position yourself for success by teaming up with YGL Enterprises for all your personal branding needs. Our “focused strategy – marketing solutions realized” approach is just what you need to get ahead in today’s fierce market, so contact us to get started.


Why Your Company Needs a Comprehensive Marketing Audit

Virtually every well-established business conducts performance reviews on its employees. It’s a way to assess strengths and weaknesses as well as productivity, and identify opportunities for improvement. Think of a marketing audit like a performance review for the business; a chance to see how the business is performing brand-wise, where adjustments can be made, and how it can attract and engage customers more effectively.

Why Conduct a Marketing Audit?

From a fluctuating economy to increased market competition, there are a multitude of reasons why businesses should conduct periodic audits of their marketing activities. Here are four to start:

  1. Trends change. The latest crazes are just that – crazes. They come and go. What once captured your audience’s attention may not be as effective anymore. Continuing to push marketing strategies that no longer generate the best return can be waste of precious resources.
  2. Technology changes. Businesses like Google and Facebook are constantly updating and tweaking their algorithms. These changes affect how your ads and general content are ranked and who sees them. You must be on top of your game and commit to regularly analyzing performance, then adjust your inbound marketing efforts accordingly.
  3. People change. This applies both internally and externally. If there is turnover within your internal teams – marketing or otherwise – and unless your business has a strong marketing plan, your efforts can become distorted. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Likewise, as your audience’s tastes change and evolve, you need to adjust your strategies to stay current or risk losing valuable market share to the competition.
  4. Goals change. Has your business introduced new products? Are you marketing to a new or different audience? Have you shifted your focus? All of these factors impact marketing effectiveness, making it even more essential to conduct regular marketing audits.

Why Hire an Outside Professional for Marketing Audits?

Now you know why you need a marketing audit, but who is going to oversee the initiative? Can’t your team handle it? Maybe, but maybe not. To truly understand how your business is performing and identify areas for improvement, it can be beneficial to bring in a professional who can ensure you’re getting results you can use – and help you make sense of how to do so.

A professional consultant provides an objective view. They are unbiased because they have no personal connection to the business. There is no skewing of results to make things appear better than they are – it’s straight-forward, data-driven, evidence-based feedback. Whereas an internal team member may be hesitant to call out the business’ weaknesses, an outside professional offers constructive feedback.

They understand the big picture. A marketing audit takes into consideration both internal and external factors that can affect marketing performance, whether that is the economy, competing businesses, targeted demographics, employee advocacy, or business vision or goals. They evaluate both the macro- and microenvironment and know exactly what factors to assess.

They can identify gaps. Internal teams may be too close to efforts to see where there are gaps and where strategic and tactical initiatives may be misaligned. A consultant can recognize missed touchpoints and untapped opportunities. You may think your business has a solid marketing plan and strategy, but when everything is broken down, there may be pieces missing.

Engaging a consultant to conduct a marketing audit can not only provide your business with a comprehensive overview of your current marketing initiatives, but also provide suggestions for improvement that will ultimately generate greater return on investment. Putting in the time and effort to revise goals and plans can pay off in the long run.

YGL Enterprises offers customized marketing solutions to businesses across the Carolinas. Stop wasting time and money on initiatives that aren’t the best fit for your business. Contact us today to schedule a marketing audit to refocus your efforts and help your business thrive.


10 year anniversary

Thank you! Clients Colleagues Friends and Family

Thank you!

It’s hard to believe that I launched YGL Enterprises 10 years ago. It was the ultimate risk, but I felt the timing was right and I was ready for new challenges and opportunities. Lucky for me, my instincts were correct. As I reflect on the past 10 years, I realize that without the support of family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly, my clients, I would not be here today. Please know that each one of you has had a lasting impact on my success—both personally and professionally.

Life Lessons

Being a small business owner is not easy. You must wear many hats, and there have been countless days when I questioned whether this adventure was one meant for the long-term.  What kept me going? My commitment to honestly reflect on how I responded to key events, positive and negative, and to make better choices going forward.

These are a few of the lessons that I have learned over the past decade:

  • “Being” and “Succeeding” are two different concepts. To say that you are in business is one thing; putting in the hard work every day takes determination, reflection, and the realization that you don’t have all the answers. This is the hallmark of a business with an eye on the future.
  • You MUST be willing to adapt to change. The world, your target market, and your industry is constantly evolving. As a business owner, it is essential that you keep an open mind and not fear change.
  • It’s natural to experience the feeling of self-doubt. We all have moments of uncertainty. Am I making the right decision? Can I achieve this goal? Embrace that feeling. Take time to reflect. Seek out a trusted colleague or friend to share your thoughts about the direction of your business. New perspectives provide new opportunities.
  • As a small business owner, you will always walk the tightrope, balancing business development with meeting client expectations. There are 24-hours in a day. No more, no less. Try to find the right balance, so you don’t end up in a trough of no work. It takes time to develop new business.
  • Embrace the client experience. There will always be a handful of GREAT clients, as well as FRUSTRATING clients. Learn from both. Remember it’s the CLIENT who hired you to do a job. Give it your all, then reflect on what you want more of in the future and how to achieve that goal.
  • One solution does not fit all situations. Every client is different. No one likes a cookie-cutter approach. Listen to your client, determine their primary needs, and then deliver.
  • Trust your instincts. If that little voice in the back of your head says, “Hmm, this doesn’t seem right.” Listen! Don’t rush into “yes” if you are unsure of some aspect of the situation.
  • Finally, take time to thank yourself. Sometimes, we are our own worst critic. Take a breath and remind yourself that being in business and staying in business is a huge success in itself.

 

Again, I thank everyone for helping me continue to offer my services through YGL Enterprises. Your belief in me is what keeps me going every day. I look forward to 10 more years of helping each one of you achieve your marketing goals.


Marketing Programs Suffer from Complacency

Complacency Defined

Noun: a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better: a complacent feeling or condition; self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies

Recently, I had coffee with a fellow colleague. “Complacency” surfaced as a key discussion point. As we are both marketing consultants, we have seen our fair share of businesses who become complacent in their marketing efforts. Their business campaigns look tired and their competitors gain market share as they offer more compelling alternatives. We admitted to ourselves that we have also been guilty of this sin as we are busy and our business “seems” to continue on a positive track. However, further inspection of our efforts and those of other businesses can often uncover unsettling surprises.

All businesses have pain points. Failure to address these problems will place your business on a track of slow demise.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, your business is guilty of marketing complacency:

  • We need to be more intentional in our sales and marketing efforts.
  • We are passive in our marketing efforts.
  • We do not have a defined plan in how to stay in front of our core customers.
  • We would like to explore new sectors/services that we don’t currently offer, but don’t know how to market ourselves, effectively.
  • We invested in a new website with the hope that it would increase business, but have not seen measurable results.
  • Are we spending our marketing $$ in the right place? How do we measure ROI?

Negative Impacts

Brand imageSo, how does complacency negatively impact your marketing strategy?

As noted above, “complacency” is a feeling of being satisfied and not wanting or understanding why you need to make it better. From a business perspective, this feeling can negatively impact your bottom line. Marketing strategy is the cornerstone of your business. The presumption that your past and current marketing efforts will continue to garner the same positive results is similar to assuming that your fax machine will continue to be the favored mode of client communication. Ask yourself, “Are you losing sales?” “Are new competitors entering the market?” The business landscape is ever-changing. Existing products or services become passé. Customer expectations continuously change and evolve.  While most businesses dislike friction or change, forcing yourself to embrace new ideas about your marketing initiatives will provide an enlightened focus about your target markets and provide opportunities for increased sales and customer loyalty.

Every business, large or small, should embark on an annual review of its marketing efforts.

While many view this exercise as tedious, I encourage you to approach this from a positive perspective; one that will keep your business healthy. Evaluating your sales and marketing efforts for the past year, will provide points of discussion and reflection in how your business needs to move forward. Professor David Bell, Wharton School of Business, coined a marketing framework that is highly useful in developing a marketing strategy for a specific problem. The components include:

  • Market (target audience)
  • Message
  • Mission
  • Message design (creative component)
  • Media strategy
  • Money (budget)
  • Measurement

As the year draws to a close, now is the time re-energize and re-evaluate your marketing strategy for the New Year. Gather your leadership, including your marketing professional to win the fight against complacency. Your business will reap the benefits of your efforts.