Archive for the 'e-Business' Category

The Age of the Customer®

My latest book The Age of the Customer® is now available for purchase at the locations below. Click the images to purchase the book and to view more information about maintaining relevance with your small business.

This Has Never Happened Before.

You’re operating your business in a time when something is happening that is so momentous it has never happened before. Jim Blasingame identifies it as an epochal marketplace shift that’s causing the 10,000-year-old Age of the Seller to be replaced by the Age of the Customer.

Jim will reveal to you in plain language:

• How the two Ages currently, but temporarily, exist in parallel universes, and how much time you have left to join the emerging universe.

• How relevance is replacing competitiveness as the coin of the realm, and what you have to do to make this switch to Age of the Customer thinking.

• How your future will increasingly be decided at the Moment of Relevance, and what you have to do to be the chosen one at that moment.

• The new influencers who co-own your brand message sometimes before you even know they exist and how you can get them to be your partner.

• Why you must become a storyteller.

• The good, bad, and ugly of social media.

• The killer app that wasn’t any part of your past but will dominate your future.

Jim will teach you how the Age of the Customer is impacting love, trust, emotions, niches, globalization, intellectual property, selling, branding, and even technology. Plus he will reveal what is not going to change.

In the Foreword, Steve Forbes says Jim has both the foresight of a prophet and the courage of a heretic. This book is a visionary message delivered with tough love and, as Steve says, Jim is the best at this.

You’ll keep this book handy for continual reference, because you won’t find the perspectives Jim Blasingame delivers here anywhere else in any one place. It’s The Age of the Customer®. Let Jim Blasingame help you Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

Disregard the “Nu-uh!” Effect at your own peril

Once upon a time, but not that long ago, a brand message could be successful even if it was close to a work of fiction.

Created by Madison Avenue wordsmiths, copy for an ad or brochure was crafted to manipulate and motivate using puffery, a legal term referring to acceptable marketing exaggeration. And most of the time it worked.

In fact, generations of consumers allowed themselves to be manipulated by puffery that became part of the sound track of our lives. For examples:

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is.”

“Put a tiger in your tank.”

“The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.”

Here’s a local example:

“Largest inventory in the tri-state area.”

In the past, I’ve revealed how the 10,000-year-old Age of the Seller paradigm has shifted in favor of the Age of the Customer. The differentiator is control of the information, and your customer now owns that advantage, including the truth about your products, services, and marketplace behavior. This control is derived in part from something called user generated content, or UGC.

UGC is word-of-mouth on digital steroids; the commercial equivalent of political fact-checking. Today a successful brand message will look less like Madison Avenue manipulation and more like the good, the bad, and the ugly of your business discussed by customers in online communities, like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. You’ll benefit from good UGC one day and try to recover from negative UGC the next.

Negative UGC produces what I call the “Nu-uh!” Effect. It’s what someone posts online when your brand message doesn’t meet their expectations. If you say you have the freshest salad bar in town and one person writes “Nu-uh!” on Facebook or Yelp, that’s your new brand message until you find a way to redeem yourself.

A “Nu-uh!” could refute your claim in any number of ways, from a well-written critique to “Dude! Seriously?!” Either way, if you’re getting responses like this to your brand messaging, anyone who gives you a “Nu-uh!” raspberry is, at that moment, the co-owner of your brand.

Since no business, product, service, or relationship is perfect, the over-arching goal of your brand strategy in the Age of the Customer is to have more positive UGC than negative and, if possible, leave no ”Nu-uh!” unresolved.

UGC represents the two-edged sword by which brands large and small will either flourish or die.

Disregard the power of UGC and the “Nu-uh!” effect at your own peril.

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Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Video- Acquire and create intangible assets for your IP strategy

In this week’s video I explain why intangible assets are important for your IP strategy.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

SBA Poll: Do you have a smartphone?

The Question:
How will the news that it now costs the same to make a smartphone as a plain cell phone impact you?

85% - No impact - I already have a smartphone.

10% - I don’t have a smartphone but my next one will be.

5% - I don’t have a smartphone and don’t want one.

My Comments:
Two years ago in our online poll we asked our audience about their smartphone adoption and learned that just over half, 53%, had one, with the rest still using a dumb phone. As you can see, the smartphone adoption rate for small business owners has accelerated since then, with 95% of our new sample either owning a smartphone or obviously waiting until their next upgrade to get one.

This is good news because it’s important for small business owners to at least adopt technology at the pace of their customers. Remember this: Mobile computing was not part of your business’s past, but it will dominate your business’s future.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Acquire and create intangible assets for your IP strategy

In my previous column, I discussed intangible assets as intellectual property (IP) and recommended every small business have an IP strategy.

It’s not my job to tell you what your IP strategy should look like because, by definition, small business intellectual property is as unique as belly buttons. But it is my job is to help you get your head out of the tangible asset sand and start thinking about the increasing role IP is playing in the success of your business operation and customer acquisition.

Remember, your strategy will include IP you acquire from others, as well as the proprietary intangible assets you create. Here are some ways to think about both kinds of IP:

• Don’t think of your new delivery schedule as just a new route for your trucks; it’s your proprietary IP that’s making your business more efficient and more relevant to customers.

• The systems you’ve developed to produce products probably seem routine and common sense to you, right? No big deal. Well, it is a big deal because it’s one of the keys to your success. It’s an intangible asset you created and are maintaining as a trade secret – your proprietary IP. As such it should be recognized, protected and defended just as diligently as you lock the doors of your business at night.

• Don’t think of social media IP you’re borrowing from Facebook, Twitter, etc., as an obligatory task everyone else is doing; this acquired IP is an intangible resource you use to create communities from which come very tangible customers.

• Connect members of communities you build on social media IP with your face-to-face communities (customer list) by developing proprietary IP that integrates the two groups.

• Acquire customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing IP, and integrate the two with your own program to deliver content to and connect with prospects and customers.

• When you buy your next computer, don’t think of it as replacing an old one. This time acquire an IP tool that puts you in a position to maximize time, energy and resources, and is the device from which you can create your own IP and manage your IP strategy.

Having an IP strategy doesn’t mean you abandon tangible assets – we’ll always need those. But it does mean you put them in the proper proportion with intangible assets. Today, the alpha member of the asset classes is IP. In fact, any and all tangible assets we acquire, and how we use them in the future, will be determined by IP innovations.

Grow your business more efficiently and effectively with an IP strategy.

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In case you missed it, check out last week’s blog post and show segment where I talked about the history of business assets, how intellectual property has become the greatest business lever of all the asset classes, and why you need an IP strategy.

Click HERE for last week’s blog post.

Click HERE for my segment from last week’s Small Business Advocate Show®.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

SBA Poll: How do your sales and online presence relate?

The Question:
How much of your sales can you attribute directly or indirectly to your online presence - website, social media, etc.?

5% - 100%
10% - More than half
12% - About half
55% - Less than half
19% - None

My Comments:
I long for the day when we stop talking about an online strategy and simply go to market with online tools as part of our plan. But until then, since so many small businesses have far to go to effectively and successfully incorporate online resources into their business model, I have to keep asking questions like the one we asked in our online poll last week.

The good news in our poll results is that 81% of our small business respondents see at least some business performance from their online strategy. I’m going to have more to say about this in next week’s Feature Article, including a comparison to past surveys on this topic. Stay tuned.

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Be sure to check out my segments from The Small Business Advocate Show with guest Kathy Perry. Kathy is a nationally known social media speaker and trainer with more than 25 years experience in technology sales and marketing strategies.

Click HERE for interviews with Kathy Perry.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!




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