The Mistake: Not Taking Advantage of Fashion To Engage Consumers

Fashion and design partnerships are one of the strongest opportunities being leveraged by brands to market products to those cutting edge trendsetters and influencers that closely follow – and lead – today’s fashion trends.Fashion partnerships result in an enhanced image and an overall sense of innovation and hipness to the brand. These partnerships are typically different enough to break through the clutter, gain consumer interest, attract press, and generate consumer buzz. In fact, fashion, like music, is globally one of the most popular categories in terms of online consumer interest as it too transcends culture and breaks down barriers.No longer are fashion events and content limited to fashion brands – today you see brands of all types leveraging fashion, ranging from title-owning Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Subway’s runway dress made out of wrappers, Moët & Chandon on the Golden Globes Red Carpet to Intel and HP’s multi-year long partnership with fashion-themed television series Project Runway.A fashion initiative has the ability to elevate the brand and provide the perception of appearing out-of-the box and cutting edge to consumers. It is important to remember that there needs to be a rhyme or reason behind the partnership. By looking at the core fundamentals of the brand’s objectives and messaging, a mutually beneficial campaign will result in success for both the brand and the partner when identifying the common ground in messaging.For savvy brands and marketers of all types, opportunities are available at a wide range of fee levels (read: very affordable to quite hefty) to create noteworthy partnerships that will get noticed by both media and consumers, while also providing content to significantly drive social media conversations. Brands no longer need to go to Paris to find success with fashion, and almost any brand can create a successful and sales-impacting organic partnership through one of these four platforms.• Partnering With Fashion EventsFashion event opportunities exist with large scale events, such as the “official” partnerships with Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week to smaller Fashion Week offshoots that are often just as press worthy and impactful, including runway shows and celebrity gifting lounges. There are fashion weeks held in cities all over the world, the most prominent in the U.S. being New York Fashion Week and Los Angeles Fashion Week held twice a year, in February and September. Also included in the fashion event category are fashion designer showcases held at locations year round or celebrity driven award shows where the red carpet is often the highlight of the night.Fashion events provide immense traffic and engagement in social media. Based on data gathered by Social Curation and Analytics company Curalate, it was found that during New York Fashion Week 2013, there were 100,000 related Twitter and Instagram shared by more than 33,000 unique users. On average, the top NYFW brand photos generated 37,448 interactions per photo, most of which were product-driven. Marketing campaigns are extremely effective when they take place in real-time, live at an event or location. Out of the 100K+ posts that drove the most engagement, 90% were taken on site at the NYFW.As an example of this social success, Harman-Kardon created a NY Fashion Week partnership 3 day event to launch their fashion-friendly white headphones, based on their ‘beautiful sound’ platform. During and following the event, the brand’s social media traffic increased by 970%, and they received over 19 million social media impressions and 370 million national press impressions.• Partnering with Fashion DesignersWhether brands want to establish themselves as risk-taking and groundbreaking, or more proven with long-standing character, custom alignments exist with fashion designers and events whose personality reflect those same valued traits. Celebrity and newly emerging designers offer opportunities to create endorsement partnerships and to liven up brand campaigns, trade events or event point of sale.• Partnering With Fashion TV SeriesFashion in Television is a constant theme, with series devoted to covering and showcasing fashion trends. Networks such as Lifetime (Project Runway), E! (Fashion Police), Bravo (Rachel Zoe), NBC (Access Hollywood, Extra) all offer sponsorship opportunities as well as options to integrate brands directly into the content. Even daily talk shows typically have a fashion segment, which brands can creatively become part of. Additionally, scripted series can provide the basic storylines of fashion similar to the previous hit Sex In The City format. The targeted viewer is typically the coveted female demographic, with an average age 25 to 49.Pilot Pen created a 4 month long digital partnership with NBC’s Fashion Star television series. A branded customized fashion trivia game was developed with a grand prize trip to NY Fashion Week, supported by ad units across the NBC platform along with the series website and print. Additionally social media drove conversations both from the show’s designers and the brand’s fan base. The partnership reached more than 14 million consumers, with website visits 184% over goal and sweepstakes entries 85% over goal.• Partnering With Fashion BloggersFashion bloggers provide a very strong platform to share brand fashion driven strategies, and can include consumer sampling and sweepstakes components.Once upon a time, New York Fashion Week was only for a very exclusive group consisting of the fashion elite and insiders. Today, largely with the help of fashion bloggers – “everyday” girls who have managed to become big time influencers – everything is much more accessible with wider public appeal. In fact, fashion – above technology, food, sports, travel – is one of the most popular blog categories, with 3 million Google searches a day, second only to music.The proper strategic alignment within the fashion world can elevate and solidify a brands image, while tapping into a following that is enthusiastic and eager to engage online. To create a partnership that is relevant and makes sense, it is important to work with industry experts who understand the landscape and what kind of opportunities are out there to identify and activate exactly how your brand can harmoniously and successfully partner with a fashion initiative.

Renting a Space For Business

If you are a new entrepreneur, you need to take note that location is important if you want to be successful. There are different factors to consider in choosing the right spot. There are some experts who believe that location is just as important in finding an affordable space to lease. You need to consider the type of business that you have. For service business that work on their customer’s place or if your business doesn’t deal with customers, the location is irrelevant. A business owner should be wise enough to go for low cost space. It could impact the prices of their products and profit margin.Profitable location for your business is determining how you will increase the volume of your customers. Consider factors like parking space, other nearby competition and the reputation of the community where your business will be situated. Remember that different businesses have different approach in luring customers. If you will be opening a coffee shop, situated it in a place where there is pedestrian traffic. Auto repair shops should be near the road so that drivers will see it easily. Think if your business would profit more if it is near other businesses. If you will be selling clothes, it should be near other shops because customers will tend to spend hours in one area. The bottom line is to know the habits of your customers so you can have an idea which location is the right one.Renting is a wise move rather than buying a space. Start up business might not have the funds to do so. When looking for a space to lease for your business, go for the one that you can afford. Do some financial projection and think how you can pay this every month considering other expenses. Seek the help of real estate brokers so you can get an idea on how much the rent will be in a particular neighborhood.When selecting a space for your business rental, consider your business itself. The facilities of the location should be appropriate for the kind of business that you have. If the building lacks a major thing that can affect your business operation, then scout for another one. Ask the landlord for information about communication wiring like internet and telephone. Aside from communication look into the electrical power source and see to that it is enough for your business requirements.

Why Sales and Marketing MUST Align

Let’s talk about a sales and marketing problem most companies have struggled with for years. I’m not talking about lead generation, market share, or customer retention, although it does impact each of those things and so much more. I’m talking about the chasm that separates Sales and Marketing.Take a look at a typical day in the life of both Sales and Marketing to see if you can relate…A Day in the Life of a MarketerA marketer works hard to generate leads for her sales team. She optimizes conversion opportunities across her company’s website, delivers email campaigns, builds landing pages and delivers valuable gated content. Her work generates a steady stream of leads, which she immediately passes along to the sales team. Because, after all, more leads is better, right?Our marketer toils away each day to create valuable marketing content and sales support materials. She sends emails to the sales team to notify them each new piece of content as it is finalized. She even uploads each new item to the company’s Dropbox account so everyone can access it.Ah, sweet success!But not for long…Her blood boils when she learns her sales reps haven’t even so much as looked at the leads she has been generating. She shivers with frustration when she finds out most of the sales team is somehow unaware of most of the content she has created. How can this be possible?Marketing feels undervalued and ignored.A Day in the Life of a Sales RepOn the other side of the Grand Sales and Marketing Canyon, a sales rep spends her day responding to urgent prospect requests, traveling from meeting to meeting, communicating with customers, reacting to unexpected changes with buyers – hers is a life of constant chaos and change.She often needs content in order to respond to immediate needs of her prospects. However, this leads to frustration because the materials she has access to are not the materials she needs. They are outdated or – worse yet – they don’t even seem to exist. This often means she ends up creating content on the spot. This requires time she simply doesn’t have. She can’t understand why Marketing doesn’t produce the content she needs.To top it off she receives endless notifications from Marketing about new leads she to follow up with, adding pressure to her already stress-filled day. She doesn’t have time to stay on top of communication with her own prospects, let alone a list of new leads from Marketing. Besides, Marketing leads never seem to be qualified and following up with them always seems to be a waste of her time.Sales feels misunderstood and unsupported by Marketing.Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so.Unfortunately, this situation is incredibly common. Marketers are not alone in their feelings of being undervalued and ignored. In fact, as much as 80% of marketing leads will never be acted upon by Sales. And according to the American Marketing Association, a whopping 90% of selling content is never actually used in selling.Sales reps, too, are justified in their frustration. The CMO council found that instead of selling, sales people spend upwards of 40% of their time creating their own messaging and tools. Also, according to HubSpot, only 27% of leads sent to sales by marketing are qualified first.Pretty sad statistics, right? So why is it happening? It’s that chasm I mentioned earlier between Sales and Marketing. These two teams are disconnected in a big way and it’s taking a toll on the companies they work for.It’s time to close the gap and align Sales and Marketing once and for all. While you would probably agree, you may not fully understand why it’s so important or what you can do about it.Why Sales and Marketing MUST AlignReason #1: Your Customers See ItAccording to the IDC, as much as 57% of customers feel that salespeople are poorly preparedor not prepared at all for initial meetings.Could it be that these sales reps didn’t have the resources they needed to properly prepare for these initial meetings? After all, these meetings with prospective customers are pretty important to sales reps – they are key milestones in the sales process! The vast majority of sales reps would certainly want to be prepared for them so they could be as successful as possible. They just didn’t have the content they needed to adequately prepare.Sales reps need content to effectively engage prospects and close sales. But not just any content will do. They need content that speaks directly to the needs, challenges and preferences of prospects. And they need to be able to access the most current versions of it whenever they need it.What To DoTake the first step toward Sales and Marketing alignment and talk to the sales reps directly. Work to clearly understand the challenges they face throughout the sales process. Ask them about the gaps they see in your marketing content. Try to understand how they need to access content and when and where they need it most. Attempt to learn what marketing support has worked and what has not – and why. Listen to their feedback and list the ways you can better serve your sales reps.One strategy I like to use is asking sales reps to write down questions they frequently receive from prospects. Then, use this list of FAQs as a list of content you can create to directly support the sales reps the next time they encounter such inquiries.The important takeaway here is that marketers can take the first step toward Sales and Marketing alignment by starting a simple conversation with sales reps. Just ask them what they need and work out a way to deliver it.Reason #2: Lead OverloadWhen Sales and Marketing aren’t aligned, inefficiencies are bound to happen. Like the examples given above, chances are pretty good that Marketing is delivering leads that Sales will never touch. With increasing adoption of marketing automation platforms and their ability to help marketers do more than ever before, marketers are capable of generating a lot of leads. That’s great. What’s not so great is when they just pass them all along to sales.Why is this such a problem? When sales reps are given more leads than they are physically able to follow up with, they become saturated… and those leads get neglected Here’s an example:Let’s say you’ve been striving to reach a lead generation goal of 30 leads per rep per week. That sounds great! That is, until you learn that each rep typically has about two hours per week to follow up with leads and each lead typically requires about 20 minutes of follow up time. You now realize that each rep has the capacity to follow up with just six leads each week. You have been working hard to send them 30.See the problem here? In this scenario, you would be sending them 24 more leads than they can physically handle. Every. Single. Week.What you thought was great marketing success was actually overloading sales. And it was leading to neglected leads.What To DoAs the previous example briefly mentioned, one of the first steps in solving this problem is by talking to your sales reps and Sales leadership directly to understand the realistic number of leads each rep can follow up with each week. Then adjust the number of leads you deliver accordingly.This doesn’t mean you aim try to generate fewer leads. Not at all. Instead, it means you might need to nurture them and better qualify them before handing them off to Sales.More work for marketing? Perhaps. But wouldn’t it be worth it if your work was actually used? By nurturing leads before handing them off to Sales, you increase the chances of the leads you deliver actually becoming customers.On average, according to a Demand Gen Report nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. What’s more, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more leads that are truly sales-ready. Even better – they produce these leads a third of the cost of companies that aren’t so great at lead nurturing.Invest some time in better understanding Sales and each rep’s capacity for following up with leads. Then refine your lead nurturing process to improve the quality and rethink the quantity of leads you deliver to sales.Reason #3: Revenue Gone to WasteWhen sales reps spend time searching for or creating content, this not only duplicates the efforts of marketing, it also pulls them away from important sales opportunities. And those wasted opportunities add up to wasted revenue – lots of it.Consider this: A study by IDC found that by saving a single sales rep just 60 minutes of prep time each week, a company could realize additional revenue generation $300,000 or more per rep! In a company with just 10 reps, that’s $3 million each year. If you’ve got 100 reps, that’s a staggering $300MM per year.If just 60 minutes of prep time can translate into $300,000 in revenue, just imagine how much potential revenue is wasted in your organization as sales reps struggle to find the content they need.What To DoClear out the clutter. As you work to build a better relationship with your sales reps and establish more frequent, meaningful communication, look for ways you can reduce the clutter – in both of your lives.Quite often, technology can help here. There are apps available today to help manage content. Anything from Google Drive to Basecamp, Dropbox to Salesforce – any number of tools can serve as a virtual marketing library for your content. Each one is available anywhere and on any device with an internet connection so sales reps should have no problem getting the content they need whenever they need it.If you can commit to making only the most current versions of content available in this marketing library, ask your sales reps to also make a commitment. Ask them to retrieve these up-to-date versions of content whenever they need to use it – instead of using outdated content stored elsewhere or creating their own.Close the gap between Sales and Marketing. Reach out to Sales to better understand their challenges and needs. Work together to better serve your customers. Sure, it will improve your business and probably increase revenue, but it will also improve your workplace happiness, and can you really put a price on that?