Baby fatigue and TV commercials

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Does anyone else suffer from baby fatigue?

I understand that Pampers and Huggies and Similac might want to feature babies in their television commercials, but of late it seems the little cuties are everywhere advertising everything.

I can’t get through an evening without my wide oohing and awing several times… admonishing me when I miss one.  I hear look, look, look all night long. A baby smile, a dribble, a bad hair day or God forbid and outright laugh and she is reduced to jelly.

But ask her afterward what the commercial was about and she has no idea. I bet many people don’t.

Enjoy. Maybe it’s a passing fad. I hope so.

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Filed under advertising, Television, Uncategorized

Listening is paramount for business growth

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Do you have employees who are smart and engaged and that you suspect have great ideas but don’t seem willing to contribute? Do they trust you to acknowledge their contribution? Do they think you will even listen to their ideas?

Most employees have ideas and while not every one is a gem, some of those ideas will inevitably be good ones. But if the right environment isn’t present, most won’t step forward.

SpyingListen, encourage and acknowledge. Not every idea is a breakthrough but don’t be afraid to say so, while creating a listening environment. It’s an indicator of the health of your business. Talk to  your employees individually on a regular basis. Encourage them to contribute. Build trust.

Over time they will know you value their ideas and it will encourage them .

Good companies don’t have people working in silos. Build a culture that requires interactive listening where people contribute in a meaningful way and are acknowledged for their contribution.

Listening affects how you learn and grow.  Talk to everyone involved in your company and ask for their ideas. The results may surprise you.

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Filed under Communications, Human Resources, Managing, Uncategorized

Do customer loyalty programs work?

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Do loyalty programs work? Air Miles is one of the most effective in Canada. Aeroplan? Shoppers Drug Mart’s Optimum card? Canadian Tire money or gas cards? Some grocery chains have their own points programs redeemable for merchandise.

But does any of it really matter?

Loyalty programsForbes in a weighty opinion says that low-margin retailers often argue they can’t afford customer loyalty programs, but questions whether that’s true? Two business professors make the case that such programs are profit-enhancing differentiators. You can read their paper – Six Myths About Customer Loyalty Programs.

loyalty can tireI am less convinced.  I look for product quality and customer service first. That’s my major differentiator. If they happen to offer Air Miles, that’s a bonus.

Consumers are more selective and they have more options. If you are all about price, it’s easy to do comparison shopping online and even make the purchase from the comfort of your kitchen table. Want express delivery. No problem.

But if it’s your car mechanic, then you likely want someone you trust, someone who caters to your needs and won’t overcharge you. Same for a hairdresser/barber.

Ask yourself a simple question. Are you loyal to the product, the brand or the service?

Do customer loyalty programs work for you?

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Filed under Marketing, Uncategorized

Educate, celebrate, motivate

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

You have discovered that  content marketing is the new glamour girl of online marketing. You want to get involved but you have nothing useful to say.

content mktingEducate, celebrate and motivate. Use your expertise to educate others, who can benefit from what you know. Celebrate your peers and  friends and their successes. Motivate with stories and anecdotes about people overcoming the odds.

Any combination of those three things and you are on your way to developing a content marketing strategy.



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Filed under blogging, Content marketing

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours

By Stephen Rhodes

Back scratching is at core of social media. That is, mutual back scratching.

Most small businesses that I have met are still scratching their head over the use of social media. Many are there because they feel they need to be but haven’t yet figured out that these tools – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn- are not just billboards to advertise their wares.

Three Happy Polar Bears with Santa's and Captain's hat

Eventually people will tire of your self promotion and stop reading your posts. To be effective in any of the social media platforms, you must share not only your own content but also that of people following or liking you. It’s about dialogue and not monologue- providing people an opportunity to talk to each other over shared values, emerging trends, business opportunities, even quality of service.

Online reviews, and referrals can carry enormous weight.  So, be sure to acknowledge praise when you get it and  most importantly, respond quickly and efficiently to any customer concerns or problems.

To do that you need to be scratching a few backs.


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Filed under Content marketing, Customer Service, social media