It's a new year, the time I receive them inane letters from folks not in my life anymore telling me how wonderful their dogs and kats are; how many vacations they've taken; how terrific retirement is; and how their children and grandchildren have managed to remain out of prison or rehab.
If we transpose these letters to the business world and look at them as marketing pieces, this is exactly the kind of advertising that does NOT interest your constituency — women.
It's been my contention for many moons that there are relatively few really new ideas; on the other hoof, there are truly innovative, even ingenious, ways to express them old ideas, and re-formulate them so they appear new and refreshing.
Enter Robin Jones and her “What Women Want” theme. She's knowledgeable, smart, entertaining, and a marketing VP for the Service Roundtable (http://www.serviceroundtable.com/ and https://www.linkedin.com/pub/robin-jones/1/95/6a1). She knows what does and does not appeal to women and has the background credentials to prove it. She was the original VP of Radio Disney and one of the innovators who made Radio Disney such a success.
I'm going to attempt giving you just some of her advice. It’s worth its weight in gold, and one of the main reasons I feel every building trades subcontractor in America should look into being at least a member of the Service Roundtable's incredibly compelling website and forum ... especially small companies who need to leverage every one of their overhead dollars.
Women don't want you to tell them how wonderful your company is. They want to know why they should trust you (think referrals), and how to build a relationship with you in order to help make their families safe, secure, and comfortable.
Robin says: Women want pictures of women in advertising to look like them. Do I even need to imply that the average woman in our society does NOT look like a 20-something stick-doll? (Uh, not that 20-something stick-dolls are all that off-putting to this ol’ codger ... but I digress.) If I ain't mistaken, even the makers of Barbie have put a few pounds on that American Icon.
Robin says: Do not show women pictures of things — HVAC units, trucks, toilets, electrical panels, etc. They're just boxes. Do show them pictures of nice warm, safe, cozy homes with nice, warm, safe, cozy families.
Robin has some almost unbelievable statistics she uses to back her advice. For example, there are a huge number of women who stay in touch via Facebook, and, if I remember correctly, about 30% of them check their Facebook account before getting out of bed in the morning. Can you imagine the good press you'd get if one of these gateway women posted a positive comment about how your company helped her the previous day? With Facebook Friends in the hundreds, and their friends having more friends in the hundreds — well, one referral becomes astronomical.
Twitter or Instagram? Robin shows how one woman business owner uses tweets to give out interesting info during the week to any number of friends and customers that follow her, and then promotes her company about every 10th tweet.
And there's Pinterest. This has basically evolved into an on-line bulletin board for women where they can post pics of ... whatever; and that whatever just might be a picture of one of your employees who did a great job for them. If you don't see where all this is going then you don't really care about no-cost, effective, highly visible marketing for your company — big or small.
About three or four times a year the Service Roundtable has what they call a "Success by Design Day" where they present umpteen reasons why you should sign up for one of their advanced business "Alliance" programs. I'd advise going for the free food, to learn more about how this terrific organization can help you, the business insights you get from the presenters, or simply to hear Robin wax eloquently about how and why you need to understand women.
If you get nothing else from this article, do understand that women are your target market. Have a profitable coming new year ... by the way, is your budget for the year done yet?
Ed O’Connell is the pro-active consultant to the subcontracting industry, a business coach for the smaller folks. He can be reached in Auburn, California at 530/878-5273 or by email at [email protected].