Marketing Data and Perception Needs Balance in Today’s Online Marketplace.

tI know I haven’t been as consistent (or constant) with my video content lately, but life happens. In the meantime, I’ve taken some time write down a number of topics worth a discussion or two. Once I’m able to get my studio finished, it’ll be a whole different ballgame. Anyways, at PreFocus, I’m committed to helping businesses truly discover what sets them apart and whom it speaks to the most – or best. Far too often, brands focus more on popular concepts instead of really digging into the ways they approach strategy. With that said, I wanted to talk for a minute about a quote from a book by Peter Druker. It really fired up my brain about marketing data and perception.

Somewhere in the pages of the book, The Effective Executive (sorry I can’t remember), he says “computers can be logical but human beings are perceptive. Immediately this makes me think about robots and people. AI and person to person analysis. Automated drip campaigns and tailored ads. No matter what initially comes to your mind, this sheds a grip of light on marketing in general. If you haven’t noticed, many initiatives have shifted to computer generated campaigns.

Out-of-Touch-Efforts Create a Glass Ceiling.

Whether you’re running a drip campaign, sales texts, click funnels or display ads – all of these marketing arms are computer generated. The list is a lot longer when you really think about it. Brain-run marketing efforts and general creativity is becoming even more obsolete as the internet evolves. It’s only a matter of time before public places target you with ads on display screens based on your mobile behavior (what you do on your cell phone).

Aside from privacy concerns, the unique touch of individual creativity is fleeting. To me, this is a big problem. For example, why aren’t Super Bowl commercials funny anymore? Everything is turning into a quantitative game of: remember me! Companies (especially corporations) know once consumers click or call, they can aggressively target them longterm.

But is this really all that effective? With marketing data being used in a number of ways these days (despite the ignorance of many), it’s becoming rather simple to prey on people.

Perceived Value Cannot be Shallow.

Which brings me to my next problem. The perception of people just isn’t valued anymore. While a certain campaign may breed profits, it doesn’t mean it’s your best bet. In fact, you could be missing best buyers with bland content. What’s so wrong with raising the bar? Who says catering a genuine message that matches the culture of your brand is silly? The thing is, it takes a little work. Not many marketers in this day and age want to take the time to think outside the box.

It’s far easier to automate things and compare results with similar industries. Sorry folks, perception matters. Ruining a first impression altogether, or failing to wow your audience is not only lazy – it’s risky. It’s not that difficult to talk to your customers or those of a competitor to determine what they like most. What they appreciate, consider, delve into or latch onto can make a big difference in returns. At the end of the day, marketing needs to be rooted in the nurturing of trust.

Questioning Your Marketing Strategy.

If you’re not investing in the perception of your business, what are you really doing? What people think is a big determining factor in their purchase behavior. Sure, entertainment or dangled carrots draws appeal – but how are you establishing loyalty? Whether you go with marketing data or perception as your groundwork, this is all that matters – right? In the grand scheme of things, your ability to keep the business afloat relies on repeat business. So pursue it!

Ads and marketing campaigns that don’t truly understand their customers just aren’t sustaining. A good blend of entertainment, value and resonating relevancy takes any initiative to the next level. This is even true within the culture itself. While statistics and forecasting is great for blue-print-work, the knowledge of people helps you lay a sound foundation. So it burdens me to see so many brands investing in basic efforts. Originality and an authentic vantage is what I’m all about.

Combining Marketing Data and Perception.

When you get back into the office on Monday, take the time to take a look at all of the marketing campaigns you’re doing (or even sales efforts). Challenge yourself to analyze your attention to consumer perception. Are you formulating strategies based on date (the numbers), demographics or what your competition is doing? Are you pouring a bunch of money mimicking things or duplicating efforts? Or are you really getting to know your ideal customers and their actual tendencies?

When you understand people’s hidden wants and needs (not just their obvious wants and needs), you’re able to present them with an adequate and valuable solution. Instead of vying for attention or leaving a cheesy mark, make an impression that means something. Going off data or playing it safe can really limit repeat business. A meaningful memory with a quality first impression is far more profitable.

My Final Thoughts on Cognitive Messaging.

Marketing data and perception, when blended well, can be a game-changer for your brand. So figure out your identity and who’d value it the most. This root grows strong. Be purposeful with everything you do guys and always remember to PreFocus.

Want to Talk About It?

A number of things go into a quality marketing strategy. Taking the time to iron things out will drastically enhance your aiming point. Let’s hash it out – the first discussion is on me!


Invest in a Review Strategy or Influencer Marketing?

I know I can be overly critical – but it’s the little things that make the biggest of differences in my line of work. Even the simplest of marketing strategies require some sort of knowledge, experience and skill to execute. I mention this because a good number of business owners are often sold on limiting concepts they don’t fully understand. Whether you want to invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing, you have to acknowledge the correlation between the two.

Going all-in on any marketing ploy, without much insight, can leave a lot of money on the table.

What Do I Mean by a Review Strategy?

First and foremost, when I say reviews, I’m talking full blown testimonials. I’m not depicting these two sentence, “he was great” submissions. If you want to preview the experience (which you should), then you have to do more than asking for Google review. Garnering quality feedback, that speaks to people, requires a sound plan. There are a number of ways to go about this in the post purchase phase.

Whether you capture reviews virtually or in person, they can be optimized and used for a number of marketing initiatives. While an “average Joe” may not draw as much attention as a well-known ambassador, a multitude of testimonials may. Determining what might work best before you invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing is definitely worth looking into.

Invest in Reviews or Influencers?

Certainty is the key to adequately positioning and promoting any product or service. While a certain idea may seem advantageous, it’s never a bad idea to be sure. Paying someone to help you PreFocus a little may seem wasteful, but what if your investment doubled? With that said, let’s break down both options in five ways to help you better determine what might better benefit your brand image, long term.

1. Detail Your Ideal Target Audience.

If you haven’t already mapped out personas, developed a market mix or identified loyal buyers – do so immediately. This is important because it can be difficult to operate strategically when visibility is low. Keep in mind, you may have a certain audience you appreciate most, but it doesn’t mean they are or will be carrying the business. Take the time to fully understand who’s spending money with you and think about how you want to be perceived.

Whether you invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing, every angle of insight matters. I personally like to go as far as analyzing hidden wants and needs. Once you have a list of potential suitors, try to define their values to better understand yours. Deep down, what do different audiences really appreciate – for the most part? More importantly, what don’t they appreciate? What might be seen as spammy or even overkill to a specific demographic – or geographical area? Is the audience fairly narrow or super broad?

How Do You Know if an Endorsement Will Appeal?

Will you need to invest in multiple personalities or are you able to find an influencer that can speak to them all? Will they appreciate being told what to do? Will they listen to a popular recommendation? If they’re the type of group that likes to do their own research, will a paid plug even sway them? If you really have no way of measuring this, ask them!

A simple email that shows you value a loyal customer’s opinion can do wonders. The reliability of reviews within your industry is also something worth stewing on. Sleazy tactics by competitors can often tarnish your ability to be effective on review platforms.

2. Analyze the Volume of Business.

The number of customers you interact with on a daily basis should also play a big role in the business choices you make. If you manage a longer sales cycle, are you able to engage your audience in every phase of their decision? How much weight would a 3rd party voice really carry throughout the process? In most cases, multiple forms of encouragement and engagement are required.

Is this attainable or will the investment only cater a small corner of the market? Walking through different scenarios and putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes is the best way to really determine what makes the most sense. If you offer a click-to-buy solution, a multitude of testimonials may appeal to you. But if you live in a competitive market, a vocal endorsement could easily expand your market share.

The answers to these questions are privy to the brand. I believe every offer is unique in some way. So as long as you’re able to differentiate yourself, it’ll be a good move.

What Percentage of Your Volume is Return Customers?

Another thing worth considering is loyalty. Getting people to come back is a lot more laboring than a quick, one-time transaction. If a majority of your income is repeat business, you ought to really think things through before trying anything new. When this is the case, I’m certain there are plenty of customers willing to speak on your behalf.

Do you really need to pay an influencer or will a legion of reviews suffice? When a lot of people already support you, do you need to muddy the waters? Does a sound reputation not speak well? Is the ability to uphold equity not of great value? In my opinion, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. At the same time, most companies don’t have this luxury.

Although paying mind to customer feedback is rarely a bad idea, the right influencer can be enough to deliver. Just be mindful of the amount of people you serve before you invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing tactics.

3. Who Exactly is the Influencer?

This is pretty straight forward. If you’ve taken the time to establish brand standards or have a certain aura about your business, then it’s extremely important to find an influencer that seamlessly aligns. Any type of deviation can actually detract from your own credibility. While the voice of popular icons have the ability to move many, it doesn’t mean their plug is going to set you up for the longterm.

For the most part, influencers are short term investments. Nonetheless, their future choices can haunt you. What happens when they’re nothing like the personality they promote? What if they door a poor job with the promotion or add their own twist to it? What type of contractual details are you experienced in?

How are you holding them accountable and making sure you’re not getting taken advantage of? Many influencers are fake and simply full of themselves. So you have to proceed with caution.

Who A Brand Ties Itself To Matters.

The last thing you want to deal with is questions about someone you paid a lot of money to in order to garner attention. That’s awfully difficult to come back from. This usually happens when a business owner (or decision maker) invests in someone they personally enjoy watching – or most of their customers follow. While this may seem like an sure way to get in front of easy targets, in can be risky. This is especially true if a longterm partnership is agreed upon. Things sour, guys. 

Would a bad outcome be better than a bad review? Besides, you may not even know if the people listening are in the market to buy. General interests don’t always equate sales. If you need an immediate return, an awareness campaign isn’t going to help you much. Taking the time to find an influencer that’s relevant to a problem you solve is always a good bet. A random plug can be fruitful, but it may take some time to see the results. So if you’re set on influencer marketing, take your time.

4. What Does Your Budget Look Like?

The main thing I want to cover here is desperation. Far too many brands invest in influencer outreach without much rhyme or reason at all. The past few years, there has been somewhat of an obsession over captivating millennials. Many companies feel as though they have to purchase attention or support instead of driving home an identity and culture.

My point is, if you have a tight budget and you’re struggling to make money, there may be other things to address. Do you really think pouring everything into someone’s voice will save the business? Testing the waters of advocation is a lot easier once you’ve sustained things a little bit. Is an affordable influencer really going to do you much good?

Companies with wiggle room in their budget (or a lot of capital to spare) have a better chance at locating and managing ideal influencers. So don’t let desperation drive your decisions and manage your money wisely. Focusing on customer reviews could be just what you need.

5. The Extent of the Influence.

If you’re trying to figure out if you should invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing, you have to at least consider one question. How long will the influence last and can adjustments be made? Testimonials, for the most part, are controlled and extremely authentic. If done right, early every review will speak to unique consumers in different ways.

When you’re in control of the strategy, it’s hard for anything to go wrong. When you wait for reviews to be left, you’re taking a risk. My point is, customer feedback is evergreen. As long as the review is published, the influence is permanent. Unless an influencer is making a lot of money off of you, or truly appreciates you, it’s going to be hard to stay atop their ambassador feed. Sure you can incentivize certain voices, but you’re still leaning on their effort to make you money.

It may be exciting to pay a rapper to showcase your product, but what happens after two months? Will they embody your brand or forget?

Customer Feedback Will Always Be Essential.

Are you able to take advantage of an influx in sales? Will the awareness drive loyalty or only “likes” and “follows”. What happens when your landing page or overall presentation is detouring? How will people respond if you don’t have any reviews to support a bought claim? It’s really important that you know how to leverage self expression. Since we know the impact reviews can have, we have to be certain an influencer can deliver the same or better results, right?

Final Thoughts on Reviews, Influencers.

To be honest, you really ought to have review systems in order before thinking about paying a mouthpiece to promote your brand. Capturing reviews from the customers they send your way is invaluable. Likes and shares really don’t mean a lot anymore guys. Getting people to convert and share their experience or value is what doing business is all about. If it was easy, everyone would do it. 

In my opinion, even the smallest of budgets can fund a solid idea that involves customer testimonials and a prominent plug. Who says you have to invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing? Why can’t you do both? It just takes a little effort and creativity to piece a good idea together. So don’t be so quick to jump the gun! Be purposeful with everything you do and always remember to PreFocus.

Branding Workshop Host, Guest Speaker Near Memphis, Tennessee.

prefocus solutions midsouth branding expert for speaking engagements near memphis tennessee to help businesses establish themselves in the marketplace with effective marketing and advertising strategies

Now that I’m situated quite well just south of Memphis, I’d like to start talking about the effort I’ve put into my branding workshop. Helping business owners enhance the way they present and position themselves is an absolute passion of mine. Since 2007, I’ve been banging the table over authenticity. The problem is, many business owners just don’t understand the value of seamless brand identity. They simply want to hire an aggressive marketer that can drive immediate sales. But a long term return is far more rewarding.

Not only does a quality developmental process improve company certainty, but also the way the brand is perceived. Consistency and intention speak louder than sales pitches, So, if you’re in the market for a guest speaker or a detailed branding workshop, I’d love to help! Although I’m hesitant to share the details of my process, I’m hoping this outline inspires other marketers to be more creative with their clients. At the end of the day, I’m tired of fixing low quality campaigns and concepts. Business owners deserve better.

No matter who I’m presenting to, we have to go over the basics. If you have any questions or comments, please shoot me an email!

What is Branding, Exactly?

  • Business Dictionary says..
  • says..
  • To me, branding is every identifying element of the business – How it looks, acts, communicates and responds to the market/consumers and makes them feel.

What are the Four Keys to Quality Branding?

  1. Authenticity – who you truly are, your values, competencies and promise.
  2. Relevancy – making sure what’s important to customers is visible to them.
  3. Consistency – staying true to your identity on all channels so you’re recognizable.
  4. Commitment – keeping promise(s) by training & enforcing standards for employees.

Why it’s Important to Understand Ideal Customers.

  • Branding is responsible for speaking to your target audience in every way.
  • It’s easier to develop (a) promise(s) when you know how customers think, feel and desire.
  • Branding is meant to streamline your marketing efforts with cohesion in mind.
  • If you want a loyal following, you must know how to garner their trust.
  • Reaching outside of your audience is wasteful and impacts perceived value.

How To Get Started on Customer Personas:

  • What are the stated wants and needs of your target audience?
    • How do you plan on serving them?
    • How is competition addressing these?
  • What are the hidden wants and needs of potential customers?
    • How do you plan on serving them?
    • Is any other company leveraging these?
  • Identify demographic, geographic, behavioral and attitudinal characteristics.
    • Create 3-5 specific personalities that you’d like to target.
    • Create 3-5 specific personalities that might be interested in you
    • No matter what you do as a brand, cater to these ideal personas.

How to Define Your Branded Culture:

  • What exactly does culture mean? Harvard has an interesting take.
  • (?) What does brand culture mean to you? 
  • How do I see brand culture in today’s marketplace?
  • Determine the answers to these questions:
    • (?) How do you define and describe leadership? Stakeholders?
      • What qualities and characteristics are you looking for to lead your brand?
    • Who are your ideal partners or charitable organizations and why?
    • (?) What types of employees are you looking to target and why?
    • (?) What does a “moldable” employee look like to you?
    • How will you communicate brand standards (Ie: on-boarding and every touch point)? 
    • How might you implement and enforce new standards in an outdated culture?
    • Who can you identify to monitor brand standards (champion, advocate, cheerleader)?
    • (?) What could you achieve with a precise hiring process, shared vision and purposeful culture?

The Actual Elements of a Brand.

  • (?) What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of branding?
  • (?) What do you think are the key elements of a brand? Most important?
    1. Brand Values and Drivers.
      • Why you started statement? Your purpose and origin story.
      • What event actually caused you to get started?
      • What are you looking to uphold? What’s your true intention?
      • What do you plan on doing differently? How’s it benefit the customer?
      • What is your core promise to the market?
        • (?) How do you know if the “promise” you’re making is the right one?
          1. Case studies
          2. Market research or complaints by competitors
          3. Where does opportunity exist and why?
          4. Questionnaires/poles
          5. Post purchase surveys
      • This section comprises your company overview, vision and mission statements.
    2. Brand Identity or Company Personality.
      • Human-like characteristics that define value and provide clarity.
      • Something original and authentic that direct consumers can relate to.
      • Ask yourself if you’re branding an expertise or a definitive value?
      • (?) Try to give your business 3-5 unique adjectives. Do you know?
        • Sincerity, ruggedness, excitement, competence, and sophistication.
      • (?) Does your brand persona makes sense or align with provisions?
        • Making sense (or meaning something) to you doesn’t always resonate.
      • Good Example: Michael Kors.
        • Upper class, glamorous, and trendy.
        • Promotes products at aspirational events, landmarks or moments
      • Bad Example: Uber
        • No connection with users and only drove home a need.
        • The face of the brand was a jerk – like they’re Pacman logo suggested.. Eek!
      • Why is a Brand Identity or Persona Important?
        • It keeps all marketing and sales channels cohesive – saves money.
        • Creates clarity and allows people to identify with a business.
        • Many people will support you subconsciously because they can relate.
        • An identifying persona enhances recognition (talk about that shortly).
        • Knowing who you are streamlines design elements and messaging.
    3. Making a Brand Name for Yourself. 
      • Reflect values and purpose
      • Create association with the brand persona
      • Easy to say and understand
      • Unique and memorable
      • Before solidifying, communicate name with associated value and purpose.
      • Ask for feedback 
    4. How to Create Tag-lines and Slogans.
      • What is your definitive value proposition or best promise?
      • How can you formulate it in a unique and simple way with clarity?
      • What type of jingle, verbiage or tempo would intrigue an ideal customer?
      • Think it through as most brands don’t solidify these right away.
    5. Understanding a Brand Style Guide.
      • Everything discovered above should be considered.
        • Ie: Sincerity, ruggedness, excitement, competence, and sophistication.
      • Color Palette
        • Featured color, secondary color, etc..
        • Visual combinations.
      • Typography
        • Which fonts communicate your brand personality best?
        • Accessibility for designers and web developers.
      • Logo Design
        • Consider what the brand stands for.
        • Even if it’s meaningful to you, it needs to make sense to customers.
        • If ever in doubt, ask for feedback and keep it simple.
        • Determine specifications, uses, lockups and save all files.
      • Unique Characteristics, Icons and Additional Identifiers (abbreviations).
      • Writing Style and Tone of Voice.
        • Informative, educational, authoritative, encouraging, direct, etc..
        • What is the main purpose of content (end goal)?
          • Will you use different voices for different purposes?
        • Who would narrate a commercial or radio ad and why?
        • What are common words you’ll use throughout communication?
        • Good and bad examples.
      • Imagery and Illustration Guidelines.
        • Editing style (black and white, high contrast, colorful, etc).
        • Perspective (panoramic, 1st person, etc).
        • Image graphics and colors (placement and sizing).
      • Print Design Layouts or Templates.
        • First impressions like business card designs.
        • Brochure/flier guidelines, letterheads and marketing materials.
        • Large format printing and banners.
      • Digital Design Elements.
        • Website design, purpose and functionalities.
        • Email templates
        • Social media style guides
        • Media guidelines, titles and graphics
      • Product Packaging
        • Functional role
        • Messaging and reasons to believe
        • Personality embodiment 
      • Employee Wardrobe and Presentation.
        • ID’s and branded attire.
        • Dress code or boundaries for wardrobe liberties?
        • Are you looking for strict cohesion or individuality?
      • Store Design and Customer Experience.
        • Flow of the experience and outdoor specifications.
        • Ideal features, possible concepts and customer input.
        • Consider every touch point, even the online experience.
        • (?) What can you do differently to establish a memory?

Brand Awareness and Driving Recognition.

Before diving into a marketing strategy for an established brand, we have to understand every phase of the customer cycle.

    1. General Awareness
    2. Needs Recognition
    3. Informational Search
    4. Evaluating Alternatives
    5. Purchase 
    6. Post Purchase

From here, we can start to uncover the ideal position. But first, let’s talk a little bit about promotability. You can’t just assume every consumer will salivate over your business.

What is Brand Recognition?

  • Being known or recognizable through a design, voice, jingle, imagery, icon, character, etc..
  • Example: “Nationwide is on your side.” Nike can be any color combination. Pillsbury Dough Boy.
  • Brands can also be known for quality, reputation, reliability, consistency, good time, etc.

The Benefits of Brand Recognition:

  1. Peace of Purchase – people buy from a known/trusted source. Price isn’t as important.
  2. Known for Value – consumers understand who you are and why you are. Clarity.
  3. Recruiting Talent – people are drawn to a household name. Better options.
  4. Lower Turnover – employees tend to want to be a part of a recognized entity.
  5. Support Esteem – easier to attract partners/sponsors. Sought after more.
  6. Lower Spending – loyal customers don’t need to be marketed to as much.

How to Communicate Your Brand Promise(s).

  • Now that everything is solidified, you must determine how to market the brand.
    • Why do you want to communicate?
      • Make an announcement or recap
      • Discuss about features or benefits
      • Promote something in the future
      • Expand on or reinforce brand promises
      • Build tactful awareness by stating facts or promoting data.
    • What Are Your Brand Drivers?
      • Functional – The basic job the brand does.
      • Emotional – How the brand can make people feel.
      • Economical – How the brand saves time or money.
      • Self Expressive – How the brand makes users appear to others.
      • Societal/Environmental – How the brand impacts both.
    • What Does Your Positioning Strategy Look Like? 
      • Short term is more tactful with clear value propositions.
      • Long term is more strategic towards awareness and loyalty.

Rebranding Preview

  • Normally takes care of all the steps you’ve initially missed.
  • Many specialists do this for design elements despite a deeper rooted issue.
  • Rebranding is more difficult, frustrating and expensive..
    • Re-implementing standards for clients and employees.
    • Updating designs and reprinting – wasted spend.
    • Reconfiguring the workplace, implementing new standards or procedures.
    • If perception and image are ruined already, will a makeover even work?
      • Most designers will not be honest about this.
    • If you’re investing in a rebrand for the wrong reasons, the cycle will ensure.
      • Start from the ground up and it’ll all come together in confident fashion.

Quality Branding Workshop and Training Events.

Since I launched my business back in 2016, I’ve been passionately trying to educate business owners on the perks of a sound strategy. No matter how you look at it, perceived value always depends on a sensible brand identity. Building one takes a lot of work. But for those of you that are committed to the process, and essentially your customers, it’s well worth it in the end. Just remember, clarity and certainty are everything.

If you ever want to spitball about your brand and it’s position in the marketplace, let me know! I’m always up for a good conversation and your first consultation is always free! Best of luck in the longterm!

6 Ways Businesses Screwed Up in 2021.

We can all agree that life has been rather strange for the past year and a half. Thousands of businesses have been forced to shut down and many others have struggled – to no fault of their own. In all honesty, it has been tough to see. Google hasn’t helped by taking advantage of high amounts of adspend. Neither have social media giants. Silencing certain groups of people and throttling original content has really impacted lead generation. But the external things can’t be blamed for failure. Many businesses screwed up in 2021 because they didn’t have a plan and eventually wavered from their brand values.

Be Careful Where You Make Your Changes.

It can be hard to relinquish something you’ve grown accustomed to. But the hard reality is, what has worked in the past may no longer be viable. At some point, you’ve got to dig into purpose and passion. Sadly, many leaders failed to PreFocus this year. When times got tough, some ended up investing in sketchy (or shady) marketing methods just to get by.

My point is, justifiable compromise can tarnish a company’s image and reputation fast. Now, I’m not here to sit on a high horse and shame businesses for screwing up in 2021. I’m just trying to remind people there isn’t just a mainstream way to go about things. Truth be told, this year was a little rough for me. A number of my clients refused to acknowledge some pivots that needed to occur. With so much information out there, there are just tons of ideas to grab onto.

Today, it’s really difficult to garner trust in the galaxy that’s labelled “marketing” – and rightfully so. But decision makers also need to know what they don’t like to hear. If you’re wanting to step up your game in 2022, then it’s important to learn from some of the ways businesses screwed up in 2021. If you really do offer something special, then you can’t forget it.

How Businesses Screwed Up in 2021:

Nothing is worse than seeing a quality experience succumb to the culture. Generating leads will always present a challenge. Some instances are tougher than others. But I encourage you to remain creative and avoid shortcuts that can cost you layers of differentiation. Here are 6 business owner pitfalls you’ll want to steer clear of.

1. Desperation.

The ugliest thing to watch over the past few years has been the behavior of many businesses. Nearly everyone is identifying with something these days. But did hanging a Trump flag, posting a black square, shaming mask wearers or flying rainbow colors really boost brand clarity? How about general trust? Did you feel as though you had to join a movement to secure the group’s business? I hope not and wish more people would see the pander.

When you’re desperate to get attention in a time that everyone wants to be heard, it’s a recipe for disaster. Following trends for likes is icky anyways. If you really want to be seen as a unique experience that people can love you can’t be swayed by the noise. Politics and news stories will never give your business the exposure it needs.

Another thing businesses make the mistake of doing is punishing their loyal customer base for setbacks. Whether this involves solicitation attempts, higher fees or different requirements – your desperation can’t be boding well. If you’re panicking after years of success. you have to realize when you’re digging a deeper hole. Desperate times don’t have to call for desperate measures and acting out of character is dangerous. Consistency and the long game is a lot easier to sustain.

2. Unthoughtful Risk.

The second way businesses screwed up in 2021 is similar to desperation. Any type of strategy that bears fruit has been grabbing the attention of struggling CEOs and marketing managers everywhere. Like trends, the momentum can be extremely appealing and misleading at the same time. When emotion and fear of failure are involved, it’s easy for most business owners to blindly follow what’s worked. Instead of trusting in themselves, they look to feed off the coattail.

This is dangerous in so many ways. Every business is different. Even companies in the same industry cater to a unique market. Forgetting these foundational facts and going all-in on someone else’s win is not worth the risk in my book. Sure, there are top 10 hacks and business consultants slash realtors slash nutritional supplement influencers – but duplication is rarely the answer. Consumers want you to be more than an option. It can be easy to forget this during uncertain times.

3. Tough Sales Focus.

Nothing bothers me more than a company that sells aggressively in order to close deals. It tells me people have to be talked into making the purchase. At the same time, you can’t blame most businesses for shifting gears this way in 2021. Moving a complete operation online or getting hit hard by inflation doesn’t give you much of a choice but to sell harder. Since many leaders had their backs against the wall, a number of honest people have been let go. These types of cost cutting measures have only hindered quality.

In my opinion, far too many businesses screwed up in 2021 by leaning on crafty sales reps and spammy processes to get by. I’m not saying I don’t understand why – I just think there are better ways to ensure you don’t jeopardize brand perception. Now that most people are sitting at home, many companies have resorted back to cold calling and salesy emails. Even social media profiles are riddled with offers and promises.

The desperation that alters one’s train of thought can eventually transform everything. When your back is against the wall, it can be easy to remember everything about why you started.

4. Roots Were Forgotten.

Any consumer can tell you what makes a business special. When one isn’t, it’s simply just an option. Many people forget that they don’t see their company the same way consumers do. They’re not obligated to appreciate your work if they don’t want to. This makes nearly any business expendable when you think about it. So when a founder or creative team goes outside of who they really are and what the brand stands for, they’re disconnecting value.

Companies that forget about their brand roots usually make poor decisions. Steady profits tend to make it difficult to hold onto passion. When the fire isn’t there, it ca be easy to drift away from what got you there in the first place. Peter Drucker talks about this in his book, The Effective Executive. You can water down clam chowder in many ways. Sticking to your bread and butter and the reason behind it is a sure way to come out of a hole and retain loyalty.

To be frank, a lot of businesses screwed up in 2021 by playing the waiting game. Instead of working to get ahead with their identity and what they stand for, many decided to complain. Social media makes it tough but this is never good for morale. When you forget your roots and lose the passion, it can be hard to recover. But if you’re able to double down and remember where you came from, you can make waves for all the right reasons.

5. Bad Partnerships.

This one is pretty self explanatory. In any year, bad deals occur. Affiliations don’t work out. But a number of businesses screwed up in 2021 when they put their faith in someone else to pull them through. Believe it or not, not all partnerships work out. They may sound good, but the business owner is typically put in a position with everything to lose. Bigger companies know this and investors are usually willing to take risks on good companies that are low on cash.

Far too many of the “little guys” (with the biggest value) were crushed after signing bad contracts or giving away stake. But in many of these cases, a simple strategy would have gone a long way. Companies lose control of their identity when they let other people sell them – instead of selling their brand. At the end of the day, discernment is what helps you find a lasting partnership that benefits everyone involved. Unfortunately, they were few and far between in 2021.

6. BONUS: Wide Targeting.

Many of you aren’t aware, but pretty much all of the paid search platforms did away with EXACT MATCH bidding this past year. This means, advertisers can no longer bid on specific search phrases. Instead, their ads are shown to adgroups (keywords grouped by relevancy). The problem is, it’s not very accurate. Say I wanted my shop to show up for people searching for a “quality oil change”. My ad will more than likely also show up under “premium oil filters”.

This is a big deal because most businesses pay per impression (the number of times their ad is served). The cost per acquisition of some of my past clients have almost tripled. Some have even asked me to help – but I don’t even trust the system anymore. Search ads are basically creating irrelevant traffic and wasting the clicks that used to go towards pinpoint bids. It’s really a shame. More than ever before, companies need to be able to find those that need them the most. The highest bidder shouldn’t get the most chances.

If you ever find yourself casting a wide net in hopes you’ll catch something – stop and think. There are so many other things you can be doing to not only drive awareness but loyalty.

PreFocus on a Bright Future.

You might be one of the businesses that screwed up in 2021. But let’s be real here; There probably isn’t one soul that handled the past year with grace. Every day we wake up, we have the choice to do something we love or endure something we hate. No matter what business you run, it takes a lot of grit and hard work. These two aren’t one in the same. Sticking to what you set out to accomplish will ensure you don’t screw up in the future.

Let me know if I can ever be of any help – just be purposeful with everything you do.

Society Hands Over Private Information Like it’s Nothing in 2020.

Society Hands Over Private Information Like it’s Nothing in 2020.


Does anyone else notice we’ve been slowly conditioned to give private information so we don’t have to hand over money? 

  • “Sign up for a free eBook”
  • “Subscribe to our blog for a discount to our store”
  • “Sign in to read the rest of this article”
  • “Pay for a subscription for unlimited access”

But what does this really cost us? Is it worth “$3 off a blouse” or the free sticker? Are people truly giving private data to receive unnecessary things? If so, why so? Look, I get it – it’s not that big of a deal.. But is it not?

1 million $3 subscriptions can make a NON-EXPERT $3 million (minus digital expenses) overnight.. With that being said, what are you actually subscribing to? What’s closing you and why? Imagine what manipulated capital can then be funnelled into. 

Would it be just as easy to hand over personal data if the invitation said:

“Tell us what your email is and where you live so we can save you a discount (worth a few dollars off), keep our marketing costs low and put you on a list so it’s easy to send you offers. This way, our brand is in front of you all the time and you’ll start believing in some of the things we tell you and need/want some of things we sell you. In the meantime we’ll be able to monitor and track your behaviors so we know your interests and what encourages you to spend more money with us over the next few years. Matter of fact, give us your phone number too so we can sell your full contact information to another operation – potentially a scam – once we feel as though we’ve maximized your wallet.”

Full Name……………..Email………………Phone………………….[ SUBMIT!!!!! ]

It doesn’t sound too promising does it? Imagine how many people over the last decade alone have innocently handed over pertinent information about themselves or others around them with no knowledge of what transpires thereafter.  New online users, seniors and children are extremely vulnerable. Are we really not wired to look into the things that could steer our steps in an unintended direction every day?

It’s easy to assume everyone has good intentions or there’s value on the other end – especially when an advertisement feels like it’s speaking directly to you – but who’s really the benefactor and who’s the beneficiary? And if you’re a business, do you really want to be lump summed with some of these types of operations – even if your intentions are good? At some point in time, society will become fed up with the bombardment of sales pitches. What happens when people no longer listen to automation?

Look, I know email marketing is essential. But the way we go about it is important. If you take short cuts, then expect to cut costs (and even employees) at some point down the road. If you don’t believe me then you’re probably doing something shady. I don’t care, I’ve seen enough of this stuff now to know what a genuine outreach and purposeful messaging brings. It’s not even close.


As a Business or Corporation..

Wouldn’t it be easier to execute an effective model and/or simply go above and beyond for the ideal customer? Doesn’t it seem rather risky to condition people to spend money with you or overwhelm them when someone else can easily do the same? Don’t you want your customers to stick by you during tough times – like this COVID-19 pandemic? Wouldn’t it be good if your customers knew you’d stick by them too?

An ability to sustain with a positive future outlook eliminates a number of potential burdens. Most of which impact a leader internally. There’s nothing more troubling than financial uncertainty. Wouldn’t it be easier to have support even when you make mistakes? Wouldn’t it be better to have customer relationships that embody honesty and transparency? Wouldn’t this improve brand equity?

Doesn’t refocusing on your unique purpose, passion and value sound good?

Of course it does, because it is. We’ve just been conditioned for too long, by phony marketing “experts” that this is bad. Don’t worry, we’re working on it. #PreFocusWithUs

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How to Create Purposeful Promotions During a Pandemic.

Purposeful Promotions in a Pandemic.

Here are some simple ways businesses can communicate the essence of their brand to drive new acquisition or retain loyalty when resources are limited.

In the world today, plenty of people are strapped for cash. The Coronavirus has left quite the trail of destruction and business owners have been longing for the light at the end of the tunnel for a few months now. In a matter of days, millions of people lost their grip on what they thought was their future.

When it comes to surviving life in general, consistency, direction and adaptation are usually rewarded. The same can be said in business. Nearly every company faces a wall of adversity as some point in time. In reality, most fail before they even get started because the company isn’t built to survive. Getting a business off the ground and keeping it running is no easy task.

Because of this, nobody should run one without proper training, adequate experience (competence) and a vision that means something. Far too many people look to launch for the money and autonomy. But they quickly find themselves in over their head. No matter how coveted a product or service is, the brand and the experience is what keeps customers coming back.

In a time like this, not everyone has to fail. But if you’re focused on duplicating other entrepreneur’s efforts and following guides created by salesmen then it’s going to be an uphill battle. Nobody likes to select from a “bucket of options” or be sold or told what to do. Inexperience can be devastating during unexpected periods of time – like a pandemic.

The reason I bring this up is because there are tons of operations out there that could be winning right now instead of sitting on their hands. Just because you’re experiencing limitations doesn’t mean opportunity doesn’t exist. There’s always a chance to get in front of someone that’ll value your brand.

Brand Equity Can Be Built During a Pandemic.

It doesn’t take a lot of time and money to interact with consumers right now. For the most part, all you have to do is see what’s trending. Over the past few months, nearly everyone has been online, surfing for the latest delicacy or indulgence to keep them entertained. Discussing what everyone else is can be an easy way to build brand awareness. At the same time, it’s fairly cumbersome – and why would you want to do what everyone else does?

Understanding Your Customers Makes a Big Difference.

One of the best and easiest and most effective ways to market a brand is to understand your ideal target customer. If you don’t carry a passion for who you are, what you provide and who your customers are then.. that’s a shame. Knowing who you serve best is an immense advantage. So how is the process of understanding a marketing strategy? Well, what do you think the result of having quality conversations with your customers would be?

Asking people about their preferences or if there are ways you could do business better are good ways to strengthen relationships during tough times. Any form of genuine communication should be received well right now. From the consumer’s perspective, your actions speak volumes. They take note of businesses that continue to pursue their target market, even in the midst of loss.

Let the Market Understand You Better.

At the end of the day, authenticity is the best way to promote with purpose during a pandemic. Everyone is going through something right now. If you haven’t learned anything since March, then you’re probably doing something wrong. Listen, if you’re worried about the business, then you’ve got to let people know.

Hiding behind your desk or crossing your fingers that things turn around is a bad strategy. Have some humility, get in front of a camera and look for ways you can be transparent and authentic with the current state of the business. Plenty of people are looking for things they can identify with right now. Why can’t it be your business?

Maybe you’re dealing with relational problems or you had to let go of tenured employees for the first time. Maybe you’re struggling to adjust to a work-from-home environment. Maybe you’d like to share some of the curveballs you’ve faced thus far and how you’ve overcome roadblocks throughout. Maybe you want to honor someone from your staff or jump on a podcast with an affiliate company.

Talking to people about real people things build real relationships. Moreover, when you’re able to be vulnerable in the public eye, consumers are able to see your heart and the passion you have for the business to thrive. People want to believe in leaders like that. Raw, uncut content from a time of struggle can be extremely powerful for your brand.

Promotional Purpose is So Important.

So if you’re looking for ways to publish purposeful promotions during a global pandemic, just keep it simple. Show your true colors and discuss unique topics that set you apart from your competition. There’s no need to turn to desperate measures for short term relief when the longevity of your business is vital to your success.

Never lose sight of your big picture and always leverage your identity. Constantly being consistent (constancy) and building an open community establishes and sustains loyalty. If you don’t want to return to the workforce for less pay than before you started, then you’re going to have to dare to be different. An unwillingness to survive simply tells me you never had a true purpose to begin with.

Be purposeful with everything you do and always remember to PreFocus.

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