Small Retailers Stake Claim vs. Goliaths

What an inspiring article by a brand whiz, on how he helped two mom and pop businesses take on their own Goliaths by showing them how to tell customers why they’re better and more unique.

  • Moths to a Flame: For a too-quiet restaurant at the end of a dark road, enticing prospective patrons to tread a dark alley and draw nearer to lit torches. Once in, the food and ambiance won them over
  • Early Birds Catch the Worm: Urging a green grocer to tell his story of dedication and care in selecting fresh produce at the crack of dawn every day using the most elementary of tools, taking on the giant while armed only with polaroids, note cards and a Sharpie.

If you’re a locally-owned business who’s facing down a new Goliath in town, reach a little and stake your claim based upon your key values — dedication, personal care, affordable pricing, convenience. If you also get the chance to sell and serve customers online (previous post), these same rules apply for reaching shoppers far and wide.

Please read Martin’s article at Fast Company; link here.

World’s Largest Companies: Top 25

Quick, what’s your guess on the world’s largest company?

Did you guess an energy provider, a manufacturer, or a financial group?  Of those three, I’d guessed Royal Dutch Shell, and I was wrong.

The largest company is JP Morgan Chase & Co., according to Forbes magazine. It’s hard to think that over 16,000 jobs worldwide were filled at JP Morgan in the past year, considering the state of banking.

See ’em all here.

 

Retailers of All Sizes Win Global Shoppers

Hanson Marketing recently structured an online retail strategy with global reach for a retailer of natural personal care and gourmet food goods. No matter the size or current reach, any retailer with the right mix of unique solutions and compelling story can go global.

Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) states that “Domestic-only retailers and online pure-plays are using e-commerce to achieve global reach without opening stores by enabling cross-border trade (CBT) from an existing website (e.g., Saks Fifth Avenue) or by building complete, local e-commerce operations (e.g., Amazon).”

Think about what this means, particularly for local, one-shop bricks and mortar retailers and for those operating purely online: the global retail market isn’t just for the big boxes!  If you believe that the products you offer are unique and that your store is the best source for them — after all, this is what you tell your customers everyday, right? — then you’ve got a foundation for going global.

Contact Tom for a detailed case study on how Hanson Marketing formed a global retail strategy with proven growth results.

“Social Media Means Business”

As an authority on automating successful selling, salesforce.com can’t be beat. They’re also at the center of the brainstorm on how well social media really contributes to successful sales and customer service. salesforce.com vp Peter Coffee spoke at last week’s Ingram Micro Summit. A couple of thought-provoking ideas from Coffee that bode well for every business, from sole proprietor to Fortune 100:

Selling Tools Unite to Form One Social Body

  1. “Social Media Means Business”, cited Dell’s 22,000+ social media interactions daily
  2. “Moving Toward Zero, One and Infinity”, customers marching toward:

    • Zero on-premise infrastructure with zero acquisition cost, zero adoption cost and zero support cost
    • One coherent environment rather than software stack
    • Infinite scalability.

salesforce.com’s position is especially valuable, given their commitment to partnerships with ISVs, who develop social media-centric tools; and to MSPs, whose toolkits help realize the 2 ideas above.

btw, I’m working in an office where Facebook access is blocked (really not a bad idea).  As a consumer products manufacturer, we actively use social media, so we have to step out back and fire up our smartphones to see how they’re performing … joining the fraternity of smokers. WiFi and ashtray, one convenient location!

(Thanks to Joe Panettieri at TalkinCloud, whose blog post covered Peter’s talk. Image courtesy salesforce.com)

MSP and VAR Channels Seek Slice of the Cloud

This month, MSP and VAR channel experts are tuning in to news and events from Microsoft and Ingram Micro, as both define latest Cloud solutions and the roles their trusted partners will play in deploying each.

Microsoft’s running an online ad campaign titled Cloudcycle: A Hybrid Model, illustrating with vivid clarity the features and benefits and key concepts of cloud solutions.  They’re readying for a 28 June Cloud Suite launch, and a worldwide partner conference next month in Los Angeles.

Ingram Micro just wrapped up a partner summit in Phoenix, wherein they presented tools and programs to MSP and VAR partners.

The questions for MSPs and VARs for both companies surround how much freedom they will have in packaging and billing these partners’ strong new programs, and how much of the profits they can claim vs. share. Even though channel partnerships are now the largest revenue growth source for technology providers, when it comes to sharing the Cloud isn’t always Open Skies.

SaaS Market Expansion Strategies: Part4

Hanson Marketing is leading a market expansion project for a SaaS solutions developer. (View Part1 here and Part2 here and Part3 here) We’re seeking international markets across many verticals wherein SaaS is in rapid growth mode, and are focusing our efforts on the Managed Services Provider partner model. But first, it’s roll up the sleeves and create marketing messages that will resonate well with new target customers, and populate a SEO-savvy, re-designed website.   Success stories and industry-specific solution descriptions will form the meat of the new website.

We’re also gauging the viability and influence of our target industry trade associations and analyst groups: namely, those which are in orbit around the world of Managed Services Providers (MSPs)

Finally, the client is bringing aboard an account manager, to cultivate new business from existing revenue from trusted, current partners.  That’s the low-hanging fruit I discussed in

Hispanic Population Influences Channel Strategies

Mexicans are the largest Hispanic group nationwide and in 40 states, according to data released from the US Census Bureau. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation’s 9.7 percent growth rate.

This brings up three points to consider when evaluating and forming your sales and marketing channel strategies:

Use local talent. Bring on specialist brokers, PR agencies, and retailers with proven success in reaching and selling to Hispanic consumers. Pay special note to your current strategies in the nation’s five largest metro areas… espcially in Midwest US cities. How well do your retailers and advertising providers reach Hispanic households?
Value family ties. Multi-generational and extended family ties are strong in Hispanic communities nationwide. Your value propositions and outbound marketing themes should encourage word-of-mouth referrals, family plans (think Verizon Wireless) and “trusted source” status to gain business from three generations, from abuelos to niños.
Think North American. If you’re realizing sales gains in the US Hispanic sector, know that here’s a fast-growing market in Mexico, too. Work up a channel strategy that will cover key areas there, to complement what’s working in the US. Head to www.trade.gov and get in touch with your local Export Assistance Center for a quick and easy evaluation; they’ll even help introduce you to best partners in Mexico and other countries.

Read all about it here.

SaaS Market Expansion Strategies: Part4

Hanson Marketing is leading a market expansion project for a SaaS solutions developer. (View Part1 here and Part2 here and Part3 here) We’re seeking international markets across many verticals wherein SaaS is in rapid growth mode, and are focusing our efforts on the Managed Services Provider partner model. But first, it’s roll up the sleeves and create marketing messages that will resonate well with new target customers, and populate a SEO-savvy, re-designed website.   Success stories and industry-specific solution descriptions will form the meat of the new website.

We’re also gauging the viability and influence of our target industry trade associations and analyst groups: namely, those which are in orbit around the world of Managed Services Providers (MSPs)

Finally, the client is bringing aboard an account manager, to cultivate new business from existing revenue from trusted, current partners.  That’s the low-hanging fruit I discussed in

 

Internet Resources for Global Business

Today, I spoke to eight creative, energetic businesspeople about how to set their course for successful international expansion, and shared how Hanson Marketing puts Internet resources to good use to grow businesses globally. Hosted by Mr. Gustavo Guerrero, Director of The Small Business Development Center and the Center for International Trade Development, these and other events are a great way for area businesses to learn what it takes to Go Global.

I’ve learned that when you gather eight businesspeople in a room, you get 80 great new ideas. Resources and connections are swapped, and all go away smarter and more motivated. Check out this inspiring, random assortment of eight surefire business models, whose customers are, at this moment, waiting on foreign shores:

  • after-market batteries for Apple products – from factories in China to consumers in Mexico
  • books and videos by a published author and noted speaker, destined for Latin America
  • casual apparel inspired by Hispanic culture, for fast-growing populations of all ages in US and Latin America
  • skin care products bound for Asia, targeting style-conscious women in Taiwan
  • broadband, wireless and telco goods and services for growing South American system integrator and b-2-b markets
  • eco-friendly interior design and compatible products; the beginnings of a global decor bazaar
  • modular, solar power generator stations – from Utah to Baja
  • threat assessment, investigation, and security services – targeting HR, IT, travel professionals

You can learn more about today’s presentation and register for upcoming events at the SBDC & ITC at their website.  It was my pleasure!

SaaS Market Expansion Strategies: Part2

Hanson Marketing’s latest project – finding new markets for a provider of SaaS-based data management solutions – has entered phase two, wherein we have selected Managed Service Providers (MSPs) as the optimal new customer profile. In the global MSP sector, we view highest revenue growth potential, and most opportunity to extend the company’s credentials as subject matter expert on the crucial issue of data governance in the Cloud.

MSPs are target customers themselves, as are their clients; and many have developed industry-specific expertise (i.e., healthcare, financial, research) They’ll be interested to know about our client’s proven success in these and other sectors.

Up next?

  • Product Positioning – relate the existing product line’s robust performance in the Cloud, through data sheets and white papers that are driven by customer testimonials
  • Public relations – extending the reach of the client’s deep industry experience and early entry into Cloud-based data management solutions. Speaking engagements, guest editorials, sponsorship at MSP industry gatherings
  • Web Assets – Formation of a new web presence, via a new site that will co-exist alongside the company’s existing, product-centric website. Here, we introduce three elements vital to any successful website: focused URLs and page descriptors, customer-driven success stories by sector, and SEO-friendly words that win the attention of decision makers in the global MSP sector
  • International expansion – defining a short list of 3-4 new international territories, in which there are well-established MSPs and relatively few obstacles to entry by a foreign provider. As a US-based software developer, our client has a strong advantage in any international market they choose to enter.
  • Stay tuned as we delve into these and other market-building elements, in our quest to successfully re-position our client in as an expert solutions provider for MSPs, worldwide. (View Part1 here)

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