NSA Logo

Thanks, YouTube!

By Dr. Burt Smith November 27th, 2007

Motivational StoryHere’s a little something just to make your week! It’s a very inspirational video about Team Hoyt. Click here to view it. 

I know a go-getter like you will appreciate this for its motivational value, but in case you have others in your life who tend to be just a little on the negative side, you can share this link as a way to help remind them they are probably nowhere near as bad off as their doom and gloom attitude might suggest. If they’re not moved after viewing this, you can tell ’em Dr. Burt said to just shut up!

The marketing lesson here is that thanks to YouTube, we all have a central, cost-effective place to store and share videos to help educate, motivate, entertain, inspire, etc. There are new uses for this cropping up all the time, and having this powerful tool working for us is something we should all appreciate.

So thank you, YouTube!

Is it because of  the dismally long lines? The grim faces of the shoppers? Because this day tends to bring out the most aggression in people? Because the want for material things overshadows the whole purpose of the Holiday Season?

Actually, it’s called Black Friday because that’s the day many of the nation’s retailers traditionally begin to turn a profit for the year! So from the standpoint of the retailer, this used to be a day to rake in the cash and breath a sigh of relief.

But not so in recent years…

The Internet has steadily chipped away at the “sure thing” retailers call Black Friday. Because consumers can get what they want from the comfort of their own homes and without the aggravation many associate with the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, many have opted to do the majority of their shopping online.  According the the Purdue Retail Institute, Internet Sales were about 6% of the total annual retail sales in 2006, which amounts to between $12 and $13 Billion of the $223 Billion of holiday sales. That number is expected to climb in 2007.

Personally, I have had a lot more positive experiences with some of my online purchases than with local businesses, so it’s pretty hard for me to feel too sorry for any traditional retailer who loses business to Amazon or Ebay. That’s not to say my business couldn’t be won back, but nobody’s bothered to ask me why I left! I am the customer, after all, and the customer IS the answer!

So you can expect your present from me to arrive via UPS in an Amazon box this year!

Comments Off on Why Do They Call It “Black Friday?”

In his timeless classic, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie advised us to count our blessings, not our troubles. This not only helps avoid stress but can help foster an attitude of gratitude and help us attract so much more good in our lives!

We live in a free market economy in the greatest nation in the world. We are free to agree or disagree on just about anything we want, from our religion to our political beliefs to who should be voted off what reality show, and we have a culture that, for the most part, supports you and me respecting one another’s position whether we agree or not. Installments to maintain that freedom are continually paid by brave men and women who don the uniform of their country and protect our freedom not out of a sense of professionalism, but a sense of duty.

Among the many blessings my family and I are counting this year are you for your support of the launch of this BLOG and of our business for so many years. You help us enjoy a quality of life we wouldn’t trade for anything. I hope you know your readership, referrals, and contributions to this BLOG are always appreciated, but will be high on the list of those things we count among things we are especially thankful for this year as we celebrate Thanksgiving. From our family to yours, thank you for making this relationship possible, and our very best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Comments Off on Thank You. What Else Can I Say?

Wouldn’t we like to know!

One very useful tool we have to help understand how consumers make decisions is the 5 stage consumer decision-making model. The model proclaims that consumers indeed go through 5 specific steps in every decision they make.

These are:

Problem Recognition > Information Search > Evaluation of Alternatives > Purchase Decision > Post-Purchase Evaluation

Personally, I tend to agree with this because the developers of the theory anticipated that a skeptical Gen-Xer like me would immediately question it. They go on to say that we don’t necessarily spend an equal amount of time at each stage, we may not follow the process in a linear order, and they say we may not even be consciously aware of going through the stages or of which stage we’re in. When you factor all of that in and think about any purchase decision you’ve ever made, you can see where it does apply and is quite a neat theory. You can also readily get an idea of how YOUR customers, or if you’re a business-to-business marketer, the customers of your customer (who are ultimately YOUR customers too if you’re truly practicing the marketing orientation) make decisions. That knowledge can in turn help you develop your entire marketing campaign from choosing your target market to developing ad copy and sales presentations to making it easy for the customer to make the purchase to ensuring the customer is happy once the relationship is opened (notice I didn’t say the sale was closed!), so they can help influence other consumers when they go through the stages of the decision-making process. Very powerful stuff indeed!

On the other hand, if you’re skeptical of this nifty little 5 stage process, you won’t be without a team to root for. Another lesser-known but consideration-worthy theory is that of the “black box.” This theory asserts that, though the 5 stage model has some application, ultimately it is very difficult indeed to truly, fully understand how and why consumers make decisions. The black box theory states that marketers can know what stimuli “go in” to the mind of the consumer and that a decision “comes out”, but understanding the exact process remains a mystery. If you and I both think about some of the purchases we’ve made and then tried to justify them, it gives credence to the idea of the black box.

Skepticism aside, I encourage you as I encourage all my clients and grad students to use this tool as a framework for decision making, to complement your experience and instincts. If nothing else, it gives us a blueprint for the questions we must ask our customers.

The customer IS the answer, after all!

Comments Off on What’s In That Black Box?

Do it anyway!

First, there is a difference between being “sick” and just not “feeling good.” A client of mine who owned several retail stores used that as a guiding principle for employees who considered missing work because they didn’t “feel good.” He pointed out that there is a difference in being ill and simply not feeling like working. He trained his people to ask themselves if they were really “sick” or just not “feeling good.” He reminded them that a professional knows the difference between being “sick” and just not “feeling good.” A professional also recognizes that others are depending upon him or her.  

There will be days when you just don’t really “feel” like attending an event and doing the whole networking thing.

Do it anyway!

GreatGameofNetworking.jpgThink about it. There have probably been times when you didn’t “feel like” exercising, cleaning out the garage, or going to church. But once you did, you were glad you did! I am not kidding when I say, on days like that, unless you are truly ill and could make the rest of us sick, DO IT ANYWAY! 

At first you may really have to push yourself, but you’ll probably find that once you get in the game, you are reminded how good you are at it! You will remember how much you really used to dread these kinds of events and how hard it was for you. You may see others who are struggling to play the game and you may help them out, and that may even be a reward unto itself!  Plus, it’s not an exaggeration to say that those who are new to the game and those already in your network DEPEND on you!

So the next time you don’t “feel like networking today,” DO IT ANYWAY! At the very least, you’ll just be glad you did!