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5 Ways to Market in this Economy

Posted by Joann Marks on Friday, June 26th, 2015

Market in this economyThe current economy actually shows that people are increasing their spending in the health/beauty category. Smart brands should retain their marketing plans while improvising tactics, and only slightly adjust their marketing spending even when the economy isn’t great. If you have the resources, this is a real opportunity to grow market share as other companies are spending less on promotion. From 1980 to 1985 (mostly a time of recession), the companies that did NOT reduce their marketing budgets increased sales 16-80%. The Health and beauty category is getting higher amounts of customer’s discretionary income because this is a time where people want to feel good about themselves – lipstick sales went up after 9/11. This is your opportunity to show that your brand is the one that will make them feel confident. Here are 5 ways to market in this economy.

1. Great value for your customer doesn’t just mean lower prices
Obviously customers spend more carefully during a recession, but that does not always mean paying the absolute lowest price. Spending wisely means not wasting it on poor quality products. They want more value for their buck. When you are marketing your product, be sure to promote the value of your product, even while you are providing discounts. Uphold and defend your core positioning, and resist the temptation to sacrifice quality or reduce innovation efforts for the sake of cutting prices. This is especially important if you have a leading brand. Trusted brands and their appeal tend to transcend and outlast times of trouble. If your product is not a necessity, it needs to be marketed as important to your customer as possible. Point out that your product solves a problem, satisfies a need, or makes life easier.

2. Make people feel good
These economic times have shown major increase in families spending time together at local community events. Consider promoting your product or service at as many community events as you can. Consider hiring street teams to hand out samples and coupons to all the free family events in key demographic neighborhoods. Your marketing campaign should uplift customers. And make them feel valued when they do buy from you, step up your customer service and emphasize how your products are helpful or cost effective in your marketing campaign. Remember to appreciate your employees; they are your most important assets. Your employees can be extremely effective marketers when they are happy.

3. Use organic strategic search optimization (SEO)
Pay per click search engine advertising allows you to get top search engine placement by paying for keywords related to your product or service. Organic SEO can be done by optimizing your web pages and increasing link popularity (done by acquiring or paying for links that point to your site). This results in high rankings on the search engines for your search terms. Place greater emphasis on your organic SEO, don’t just throw all of your marketing money to GoogleAdWords. Not only is this method cheaper, but it’s more productive. Organic listings can attract 60-70% of clicks as opposed to 30-40% for paid listings. To go organic, make sure you optimize ALL keywords on your website, and don’t forget about your titles and meta descriptions (what search engines display as a description for your site).

4. Focus even more on your core customers
When the economy isn’t great, marketing budgets are cut down, which is a good time for marketers to invest more in their best customers. 20% of a company’s customers represent 80% of total sales. Any significant fallout with this core group could mean a serious hit to total sales volume. Use the money you can spend to target your best offers to your most loyal customers. Mass marketing efforts tend to ignore the groups that are already familiar with your company. But it’s your core customers that need a reminder of how much they enjoy your product to motivate a buy. Take this time to segment and test the customers you have. Focus your offer, messaging, and tactics and you may find that loyal regulars are ready to spend extra. Enhance your customer support. This means stepping up customer service and communicating regularly with customers through newsletters, emails, and mailings. More than ever you want to maintain your relationship with existing customers who will still be there when the economy takes an upturn.

5. Get the message out – get more for less
Instead of cutting marketing budgets (companies that cut brand advertising during a recession typically see sales and income fall 20-30% over the next two years as a result); look for different ways to spend your advertising money. With your competitor doing less marketing, it is easier for your brand to stand out in the marketplace. Consider radio vs TV, website and texting over direct mail and perhaps partnering with other brands/services to share the costs. Think about ways to touch the customer through in store sampling, community sampling or in store demonstrations. Did you know that Cosmetic Promotions has professional makeup artists who can perform makeovers at in store event? Or that we have effective community sampling programs targeted to certain demographics? And many times we help save money on marketing by matching you up with a non-competitive brand to share the costs. Don’t let a poor economy cause your sales to fall. Find more information on our Sampling Programs and In Store Demos.

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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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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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Cold Calling Cures

Posted by Tracie Gilbert on Friday, April 30th, 2010

COLD CALLING. Brrrrr. Yes, it is a dreaded task that only the certifiably insane enjoy, but there are ways to make the process smoother, reduce your chance of sticking your foot in your mouth and increase your chances of actually acquiring a new customer. Read on for 10 simple, easy to use tips for talking to strangers:

  1. Be Prepared. Simple, right? While most of us insist that we know this Boyscout motto, not many actually do it properly. Now, don’t get discouraged that this is not some amazing new trick. But it is listed here as tip # 1 as it is THE most important tool you have that will make a difference. There are a wide variety of ways that you can get prepared – research your markets and prospects, prepare an opening statement, loosely script the rest of your call, be prepared with specific requests, KEEP IT BRIEF AND END THE CALL.
  2. Re-Re-Research. Take advantage of the wide variety of information available today and find out as much as you possibly can about your cold call contact in advance. It can be a huge advantage to be able to talk about their business and their needs when you call them, making the call personalized and not quite so cold. It also demonstrates your knowledge and commitment about their problems and the opportunities to solve them.
  3. Opening Statements. This lets you organize your thoughts before cold calling and helps you avoid common mistakes in the call opening that would give the person you’re calling the chance to terminate the conversation. DON’T read your opening statement into the phone, but use it as a framework to get the conversation off to a good start. The approach can vary depending upon what your research turned up, but your appointment rate should go way up when you show prospects you are interested enough in their business to have done some homework and personalize your introduction/call.
  4. Loosely Scripted. Lay out the benefits of your product or service and the reasons your prospect should buy. Write out possible objections and your answer to them. Once again, DO NOT read your script word for word when you call. You do not want to be so focused on your script that you are not paying attention to the customer’s reaction to it. A script’s purpose is to organize your thoughts so that you do not ramble, customize your conversation to your customer and allow you to highlight your main points while keeping the call BRIEF.
  5. Converse, Don’t Pitch. In most of our daily interactions, we simply want to get to know and communicate with others. But when we go into sales situations, we have an agenda – to make a sale. And because a pitch can trigger the perception that that’s all we want, many people will sense this immediately and put up their guard, limiting your chance for real, honest communication. If you instead create a conversation around the problems or issues you know they’re facing and have a conversation about how to solve those problems, leaving off the sales pressure – prospects will share their truth with you. They’ll tell you whether solving the issue is a priority, whether they have the resources to commit to it and anything else you need to move forward.
  6. Perfectly Purposeful. The cold call is NOT about making the sale, as many sales people tend to think. It’s about getting the chance to make the sale. In plain terms, the purpose of a cold call is to set an appointment to make the pitch. Be specific, “Would Wednesday at 11 a.m. be a good time to meet/call?” instead of saying, “Can I meet with you to discuss this next week?”
  7. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Respect their time. Keep your call as brief and precise as possible — generally less than a few minutes. Remember, you are calling them out of the blue and need to realize that you cannot just assume they have free time to listen to your pitch; you need to do your intro, get them interested, then schedule that time with them. If you promised them any additional information during the call, then make sure you send it before your scheduled appointment.
  8. About time. Set aside a time each day to make cold calls. By setting a time to make your cold calls, you are creating a new routine for yourself, limiting the chance of procrastination. Generally, the best times to call are either early or late in the day as potential customers are less busy and more likely to answer their own phones.
  9. Cut through the clutter. With cold calls, it is all about attitude and how you react to the customer and situation. Don’t be just another drone. Whether using honesty (I realize you probably get 100 of these calls a day. Well, buckle up – here’s one more!), an industry article they may find interesting (Did you see the recent article about xyz?) or humor if the call is not going well (Mr. X, are you about to hang up on me?) – make sure you distinguish yourself and keep it light and energized.
  10. Persistence Pays. “Eighty percent of new sales are made after the fifth contact, yet the majority of sales people give up after the second call” (AllBusiness.com). Keep it up! Just remember that people are having to do more and more with less help these days and it may take a while to find some free time. Don’t be annoying, but routinely follow up to show them that you are reliable and willing to go the extra mile in order to help them with their problems.

There are a million sites out there for tips, tricks and even scripts for cold calling. Use them, make the cold call your own and warm up to this area of sales. While cold calling may never be your favorite sales tactic, you can get better at it. The more you practice, the more effective it will be. The people who want to do business with you are out there – but you have to let them know about you first.

“Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

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New Year, New Business

Posted by Tracie Gilbert on Friday, January 29th, 2010

Happy New Year everyone! To celebrate the new year, let’s briefly discuss the eternal search to get NEW clients. There are tons of different methods to approach new customers, but we are going to explore just 4 of the most impactful.

Cold Calling – While not the favorite method of reaching new clients, it can still be wildly successful if done correctly. Research your prospects and their industry – first to make sure that you are contacting someone that would benefit from your services and secondly so that you can prep before your call to outline how you can help them. Prep an opening statement customized to that prospect to catch their attention. Loosely script your call to help you keep it brief and to stay on subject. By talking to the right people about problems/issues specific to their industry that you can help with, you increase exponentially your chance of success with a cold call.

Word of Mouth – Everyone knows that a dissatisfied customer will talk to many more people than a satisfied customer, hence the hyper focus on customer service, right? But good customer service can only reduce your chances of negative word of mouth. How do you actually generate positive word of mouth? Believe it or not, there are a couple of different ways. Get active in your community, professional networking groups and professional associations (see below). Develop a referral network – determine what professions work to complement your services and develop relationships with them. Think of wedding services – florist, photographer, caterer, travel agent – each networks and refers each other so that a referral for one is a referral for all. Finally, make it easy to refer you – whether sending an email, business cards, brochures, etc with your invoice – make it easy for people to pass on your contact information.

Networking – Most people have a wide variety of networks already in place that they fail to take advantage of, such as Alumni Associations, Special Interest Groups, Volunteer Organizations, etc; there are a variety of people within these groups that may have need of your products/services. Don’t be afraid to bring up your business in these groups, even if it is just in your introduction to someone new and giving them a business card. People are much more likely to go to someone that they have met before and shares some life aspect with them, than to risk going to a company that they do not know. Most important to remember when networking is to be sincere, relaxed and to follow up – so if you promised to email an article to someone next to you on a plane, do it. Networking is about building your trust and credibility, NOT about smoozing everyone you meet.

Current Customers – The quickest, most cost-effective way to increase sales volume is to sell additional products/services to your existing customer base. Compare your current service/products offers to those of your competitors. Add complementary services/products. Expand the range of your service/product line. Offer volume discounts, special offers or package deals to up-sell orders. Be a 1 stop shop for your customers as much as possible. Your customers will thank you for saving them time and making them look good. When they do, GET REFERRALS!

Doing these 4 things should help you to reach new customers immediately, but again, there are a million different ways to expand your customer base. If you have a great tip, feel free to sound off below!

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar

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