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Joann Marks and 22 Other Experts Share Advice on How Your Brand Can More Effectively Reach Today’s Media-Savvy Tweens

Posted by Joann Marks on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

FashionPlaytes Tween Marketing ExpertTween Fashion Company, FashionPlaytes, reached out to 22 advertising and marketing experts to hear their advice on how to more effectively reach tweens in today’s high tech world. Joann Marks, Founder and CEO of Cosmetic Promotions, shares her knowledge and expertise on the subject. Cosmetic Promotions has conducted Beauty Marketing for Mass brands such as Revlon, Maybelline and CoverGirl. Cosmetic Promotions knows tweens/teens well through its experience over the past 5 years designing and managing a major drug chain’s teen marketing program.

1) How are brands effectively interacting with tweens?
Many of the beauty brands are using younger Tween-loved celebrities to promote their
products and even develop color stories- if not full lines – for them. For example, Taylor Swift and Cover Girl, Justin Bieber and OPI polish. The Justin Bieber partnership is called The One Less Lonely Girl nail polish collection for Nicole by OPI and was sold exclusively at Walmart, who reported that within a few weeks of its debut, all six of the line’s launch colors sold out at more than 3,000 stores across America. His fragrance partnership with Elizabeth Arden includes a “Someday” fragrance for women as well as a unisex fragrance called “My World.”

2) What are some of the challenges companies face in advertising to tweens?
Companies have to be careful not to use the word tween or teen in any advertising. They don’t want to think they are “kids”, they want to believe they are mature and making decisions on their own. A company that can get good word of mouth going and have “brand ambassadors” wearing their logo to school will fare better than ones who deal in traditional methods of promotion – Tweens/teens are not watching TV commercials. The one thing they still do LOVE are magazines (such as Seventeen) but even Seventeen has expanded its reach to more APPS and social media to keep them engaged. Both Tweens and Teens also are actually budget conscious as well, so direct sampling and couponing work very well. If they get the product for free the first time and love it, they tell their friends and the company has more reach then via traditional marketing. Our company has a direct sampling program at Teen Concerts where a variety of manufacturers team up to be in a bag we distribute after those concerts. The manufacturers have reported huge lifts immediately following our sampling dates.

3) How is this generation (GenerationZ) different in their attitudes towards consumption of media, and advertising?
Companies who understand social media and technology have a better time engaging them. Traditional TV commercials won’t work – they want InstaGram, Twitter and Vine. They
love to text and basically have better developed thumbs then the rest of the population. Tweens have to be attached to their friends (and therefore their phones) all the time. This age group also wants to be accepted and more interested in what their peers think more than other age groups.

4) Where are tweens reached most effectively?
Their schools, through their friends and on social media. In addition, there are a ton of very young beauty bloggers that have tons of followers and smart companies are sending these bloggers information and product samples. My 12-year old niece follows a you-tube blogger who shows her how to do craft projects.

5) Are there brands that parents feel particularly good about\for their tweens?
Yes, parents feel good about healthy snacks that are not filled with sugars and artificial ingredients, they are willing to buy those items for their kids. They also are willing to be talked into products that are not too trendy, give them a chance to interact with their kids (such as craft projects) and encourage any form of education.

6) How savvy are kids about being messaged to?
Very savvy – again, they don’t want to feel like the product is for a TWEEN but rather something their older sibling would want. They want products that celebrities use and what their friends have and are texting about.

Read the entire article on the FashionPlaytes website.

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5 Ways to Attract Customers with Apps

Posted by kristen on Thursday, June 7th, 2012

U.S. smartphone users are spending more time using downloaded apps and less surfing the general Web according to Flurry, a mobile analytics firm. The average smartphone user spent 94 minutes a day interacting with self-contained apps on a mobile device, versus only 72 minutes a day on the web either from a desktop PC or a mobile device. Time spent using apps rose 23% from December 2010 to June 2011, and another 15% from June 2011 to December 2011. Growth seems to be mainly due to repeated use rather than longer sessions.

Fortunately, apps are becoming easier to create thanks to the increasing amount of DIY tools. Here are 5 ways to increase your success with this important marketing tool:

1. Build Excitement Early

Remember, if your customers don’t know about the app, then they’re not going to download it. Create excitement for the app before the release, such as a splash page on your website, an email blast to current customers or include flyers at an event. Including things such as a device image, some branding relevant to the app, very basic details about the app’s functionality and social media links can help your app get early attention and gain interest over time.

2.  Use Beta Testers

With your splash page and other preliminary marketing activities, try getting beta testers to sign up to use your app pre-launch. They can provide feedback for improvement and ideally will become brand ambassadors when your app launches. Our in-house nationwide demonstration agency, Cosmetic Promotions, can help with this by handing out invitations at an in-store event to interest possible beta testers from consumers that are already purchasing your products.

3.  Have a Great Icon Design

Since your icon is your salesperson and gains the attention of potential users, you’ll want to make sure it’s beautifully designed. Try to avoid greens and blues since most of the standard Apple icons are either green or blue (as well as a lot of the popular social media apps). Don’t only have one icon, have a set that covers standard sizes, retina display sizes and iPad versions.

4. Use QR Codes

Try putting a QR Code on in-store signage, brochures or print ads so that customers can install your app on their phone within seconds. Your app should lead to content that the customer will find useful like a coupon or order form. Cosmetic Promotions has had great success with adding QR codes to counter cards (created by our in-house design team) that are used for prepack promotions or in-store demo events where the customer’s attention is already captured and it is a natural, easy step for them to scan the code. Call Cosmetic Promotions for details about how we can customize store signage and displays to get your message across.

 5. Run a Sweepstakes

Seize the attention of new consumers by providing an exciting sweepstakes that customers can enter through your app. The entry method could be numerous things such as a comment on the app itself, a creativity contest to add content to the app, or simply a registration form that they get to through your app. Cosmetic Promotions can help create an online landing page that customers get to through your app to register for the sweepstakes, run the contest and even award the prizes, providing you with an exciting tool that is hassle-free.

Regardless of the promotional methods used to attract consumers to your app, remember that it needs to provide useful, consistently updated information to your customers since they are spending more and more time within them. Apps can be a highly successful marketing tool if managed correctly, so what are you waiting for? Call Cosmetic Promotions today to assist with the launch of your new app!



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Let’s Talk About It

Posted by Tracie Gilbert on Friday, July 16th, 2010

Word of mouth has exploded as one of the fastest-growing segments of the marketing industry these last few years. According to a report by PQ Media of Stamford, Conn., an alternative media researcher, it is forecasted to reach $3.7 billion by 2011, with blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook seeing ever increasing popularity. At the same time, word of mouth is one of the oldest forms of advertising. As long as there have been brands, people have talked about them, both positively and negatively. Unfortunately, people are much more likely, almost 10 times in fact, to talk about a negative product experience than a positive one. So how to you generate positive word of mouth? Read on for a few simple tips and tricks.

Talk to Me. Diversify your networks by getting active within your community, professional networking groups or professional associations. Most business people stay within their comfortable zone of home and work and back again and can’t figure out why no one is referring them. Get active and visible within your community and let people know you are there. (More tips on this next month!)

Mouth to Mouth. Develop relationships with businesses that are symbiotic and noncompetitive with yours. The wedding industry, real estate market and construction industry are all great examples of this. A new customer for one becomes a referral for the rest – such as with real estate where your real estate agent can refer you to a mortgage broker, title company, inspection and repair companies. Determine what services best compliment your own and begin building a relationship with them, breathing new life into all of your businesses.

He Said, She Said. Use your website and social media outlets to your advantage. Create a system where customers can review your products or services. Customer reviews are one of the most effective user-generated methods for driving sales. In fact, over three quarters of customers admit to seeking out peer reviews before purchasing a product or service (A.C. Nielsen). Then expand outward from your website inviting customer feedback from various venues such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and partner websites – you want to make it easy for people to talk about your brand wherever they are…and to drive them back to your site. Finally, if you get a good customer review – use it. Integrate it into your ads, signage, newsletters, emails, etc and let customers know what others are saying.

Actions Speak Louder. Develop an army of volunteers, samplers, ambassadors, etc that you can send out new product/service invites to for the purpose of reviewing and telling friends and colleagues about. Large companies such as Procter & Gamble, Lee Jeans, even movie companies such as New Line Cinemas, have begun using this method that has been shown to increase favorable opinions in case after case from 50-75%. (Source: Company reports). By using a select group of thought leaders of companies, clubs or groups to ‘preview’ your new product or service, you are creating implied endorsers/thought influencers to sell for your brand.

Keep a Civil Tongue. Obviously, you do not want to ignore your current customers either. Remember that the customer is always right and to keep them happy. A happy customer will come back for more business as well as tell their friends and colleagues about you. Make sure you listen to your customers and show that you care about their needs. Get their opinions on new products or services and incorporate the useful information. Customers like to think that you value their opinion – and you should. After all, they are the ones supporting your business.

Talk Shop. Referral programs are always a great way to get current customers to tell their friends and colleagues about your business. Referral promotions can be something as simple as a percent off their next purchase, a free gift or a donation made to their favorite charity. The important thing is to make it as easy as possible to refer you. That means emails that they can just forward, including business cards or brochures with invoices, samples/gifts that they can share (such as pens, notepads, lollipops with your logo/web address), etc. – whatever method (or better yet METHODS) you use, make sure the customer can pass it on easily and quickly. You want to show the current customer that you appreciate the fact that they would refer you, but not take up any more time in their busy day.

The Final Word. Last, but not least, you do still need to focus on minimizing your negative word of mouth by making sure to provide a quality product or exceptional service. It does not do any good to get new customers if you are unable to keep them. Make sure that you are honest in your marketing materials and sales tactics. Try and correct problems immediately, showing them that their business is important to you. Referrals and growth are going to be hard to come by if the customer is unsatisfied. Better yet, go the extra mile. Make sure the work you do get’s people energized, excited and eager to tell a friend.

Increasing your business through word of mouth advertising is about cultivating relationships with people and allowing them to get to know you and trust you. People do business with people they have confidence in. Simple as that. If you go into this process understanding this one key point, you will have a better opportunity to build your business through word of mouth.

“If it’s not worth talking about, it’s not worth doing.”
 – Andy Sernovitz – Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking

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Work Smarter, Not Harder

Posted by Tracie Gilbert on Thursday, June 24th, 2010

You start the day with a positive attitude, but by the end of the day, you find yourself frustrated and that little distractions have kept you from accomplishing your goals. Often we are own worst enemies, interrupting ourselves by jumping from one half-finished task to another as they come in. See below for a couple of tips to help organize your days:

  • Create a productive atmosphere. Spend a lot of time at your desk? Improve your productivity by creating a work space that is inviting and inspires you. Art, plants and music as well as organizational tools such as file sorters, letter trays, etc. can all help to keep you alert, organized and focused.
  • Be adaptive. The work place is changing and employees are being asked to do more and more. Take a hard look periodically at how you spend your time and purge tasks that are no longer necessary in order to stay on top of the things that are.
  • Be decisive. Stop doing “the desktop shuffle” – try to take the next action that’s required each time you handle a piece of paper. Use your letter tray to help clear your desk. Don’t save paper that you’re not willing to spend time to file. If you avoid filing things because you’re afraid you’ll forget to follow up, write a reminder in your planner or computer. Then file or trash. You’ll save a lot of time looking for the document in your ‘piles’ later if you take a few seconds to file it now.
  • You have a scheduler, use it. Schedule in time so that you can work on that important project. During that time, focus. Don’t answer email, don’t answer your phone. Then schedule 2-3 times throughout the day where you can answer emails as well as return calls. This should help you stay intent on your project minimizing time costing errors as well as maximizing the amount you get done. Not to mention the potential for good ideas that your full attention gives.
  • Create a ‘To Do’ list at COB. Write down all the items that you want to achieve the next day. Then prioritize them. Don’t set yourself up for failure by putting too much on your list. This will also help to motivate you to get done those items that you repeatedly put off day after day or to recognize them as a task to purge.
  • Beware burnout. Schedule in personal time and vacation. If you get burnt out or frazzled from working too much, you won’t be of much benefit to your company, your family or your customers. It is better for you to leave at 6 on Wed and to be productive on Thurs/Fri, rather than to stay late and get nothing done the next 2 days as you are too worn out to concentrate on anything, or worse, to do things wrong and have to spend even more time fixing them.

People cannot work 24/7 and still be effective and companies are beginning to realize this. If you find ways to work smarter and not harder, you will be able to figure out how to balance your work and personal life so that neither suffers and you remain a valuable employee in these challenging times.

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein

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The new Great American Dream… or Nightmare?

Posted by Joann Marks on Friday, June 4th, 2010

The other day my oldest and most important client somewhat jokingly said I didn’t “love her” anymore; that she hardly spoke to me these days. Of course, relating to clients is very important and I took her comments to heart. So what am I doing that is so important I don’t have time for clients? The answer is simple — I am running a small business.

The “new” great American dream is to own your own business. More entrepreneurs launched new businesses in 2009 than at any other time in the past 14 years, according to a study released in May from the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity report. This could be due to the fact that so many people have been downsized that they feel the only way to earn a living or be secure is to be their own boss.

The problem is that it’s just not that easy! One of my favorite expressions is “you don’t know what you don’t know” and there isn’t one easy source out there that can feed you all the information you need to know in order to stay on top of the laws and intricacies to running a business – you find out when something happens how to handle it.

SO what was I doing last week instead of touching base with my (very important) clients? Well here is a little run down.

On Monday, I had back to back conference calls with my 4 managers so I knew what was going on in their departments that week and update our deadlines. A catch 22 for small business owners: you hire people so you don’t do all the work and then you end up managing people and creating another category of work for yourself. My company has 10 employees — not enough for me truly delegate everything other than working with the clients, but just enough to add a few hours to my workload each week dealing with them. You need to train them, mentor them, talk with them and, of course, manage them. Once you delegate things to them, you have to go over the results with each of them. This is why so many bosses fail to delegate because sometimes it takes the same amount of time to give the task to someone else then to do it yourself. Ongoing tasks can easily be assigned to an employee, but the weird things that pop up daily (and, trust me, they do) have to be handled and usually you are the only person left who can handle it.

Monday afternoon I spent over 3 hours researching the “use tax laws” in Michigan and discussing the inquiry we got from that state with our CPA and internal AP person. We are a service company and we don’t sell products so why would Michigan ask us to pay taxes in a state where we have no office, no sales, no employees? Because we issued some 1099’s to independent contractors to do in-store demonstrations in a few stores in that state. Each state has different tax laws. We can’t afford to go to an attorney on every issue that pops up and, unlike large corporations, have no one person who can deal with these things. So the small business owner ends up handling these issues one by one.

On Tuesday, I was dealing with my warehouse manager’s neck and back problems. We only have one warehouse manager and the fact her doctor put her on light duty meant the warehouse basically shuts down. We had to find a person immediately to go in and do all the heavy lifting plus deal with the insurance issues.

On Wednesday, I was dealing with another legal issue and this one was really fun. When we starting doing a lot of shipping, we began using a ship broker who was referred to us by another company. For the first 3 or 4 years, it was great – no problems and good rates. Then the broker, Doreen Dillon, sent out a change of company name correspondence assuring us that we would still be dealing with her, but she was working for a different company. It seemed to be business as usual, but then things got strange; she was using different shipping companies for each shipment, she was hard to reach, some invoices were coming straight to us saying they were not paid – she always had a plausible excuse for each. Finally, Doreen disappeared (with 2 years worth of payments) and the shipping companies started coming after us for payment.  It was and continues to be a nightmare; every few months another shipping company pops up and we have to settle with them. Basically we have paid TWICE for all the shipping that occurred during those couple of years. I put her name in this blog in case anyone reading this is doing business with her! Trust me, there are a lot of people who would love to find her.

Other things I handled last week included managing all our projects; making sure that nothing falls through the cracks and that we get everything done on time. We are also in the middle of redeveloping our website and working on a new part time PR position so we have one person monitoring all our social media, press releases and contact lists (something I pretty much handle alone at this point). I get hundreds of emails each day from clients and associates and make a point to respond quickly to everyone. I also invoice most of the projects myself because I do most of the quotes.

I feel extremely lucky (and proud) that we have been in business for 20 years and keep growing.  I hope other entrepreneurs find as much success as I have. But I laugh when someone thinks owning your own business is “freedom” and you can take off whenever you want to. My biggest piece of advice – realize it is going to be twice as hard as any job you ever had and then maybe you won’t be as unprepared for the demands that reaching the great American dream will bring. Oh and yes, stay in touch with your clients because you really do work for them.

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Cosmetic Promotions: Retail Beauty Marketing
Cosmetic Promotions, Inc.
2111 W Pine St. Orlando, FL 32805
Phone: 407-310-4839