Getahead Consulting

Success strategies for the small business...

Fast Forward Your Business – Roger Hamilton in London

What will your business look like in five years time? Our economy, technologies and customer’s habits are changing rapidly. Are you ready to profit from the global changes taking place?

“When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wonder what happened.”
- John M Richardson

In the coming years, your customers will buy differently, pay differently, be served differently and have entirely different expectations on what they want and how they want it.

Your competitors will build their teams and harness resources differently, promote and partner differently and transform the way they make money. New billion dollar markets will appear, and many existing markets will disappear.

Fast Forward Your Business – London, 6th September 2011

You can future proof your business, and collectively prepare for the new risks and opportunities in 2011.  The Fast Forward Your Business one day event, presented by Roger  Hamilton in London on 6th September 2011, will equip you with the tools and strategies to harness today’s disruptive, exponential market waves.

Roger will be covering key topics including the current transformations in global business models, customer behaviours, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, crowd sourcing, outsourcing, mobile payments, virtual markets, cloud services, the trust economy and the trends in technologies, communications and global markets that effect your business today. This is a not to be missed event…

 

Fast Forward Your Business, London, 6th September 2011 .

Contact us for discounted tickets to this event.

 

QR Codes – the next generation marketing tool

You might be wondering what on earth are QR codes and why would you need them for your business?

This is a QR Code
A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Toyota subsidiary,  Denso-Wave in 1994.The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. It was initially used to label and track automotive parts, but it has since been gaining recognition as a next generation marketing tool.

Similar in concept to barcodes, QR codes can be used to encode pictures, text, vCard information, website URL or phone numbers. They can in fact encode up to 7,000 alphanumeric characters, all in a space of a square inch or less.

Benefits of using QR Codes

QR codes can be read rapidly with a mobile device such as smart phones.  Just activate a QR reader application in your mobile device (can be downloaded for free), point the device camera to the QR code, click and voila – a vCard with someone’s details is in your phone. No typing, no cumbersome menus to navigate, no mistakes. Just scan the code and the rest is pure magic.

See a cool new HDTV in the store and want more details before buying it? Just scan the QR code and you will find the information you  were looking for displayed on your phone. Instantly. Technical specifications, prices, addresses of stores where you can get it and more.

Does it sound like science fiction? Not quite, see for yourself.

QR Codes in action

QR Codes - the next marketing tool

QR code in action

In 2007 the British pop group Pet Shop Boys used QR code for the artwork of their download only single Integral . When the codes was scanned, users were directed to the Pet Shop Boys website.

In the US and Japan, the QR codes are popping everywhere : on billboard ads, in-store displays, event tickets, trade-shows, on business cards, print ads, contests, boarding passes, direct mail campaigns, websites, email campaigns and coupons just to name a few.

QR Codes are massive in Japan, appearing in magazines, billboards, business cards, shop windows, T-shirts, and more. McDonalds in Japan are also using this on the side of burgers which directs you to a web page displaying the nutritional information.

It is predicted that soon almost every business and person will have one or more of these codes.

How to use QR codes in small business marketing

Here are a few ways that you can use QR codes to improve your small business marketing strategies.

QR Code on merchandise

QR Code on merchandise

QR Code on business card - example 2

A QR Code can replace all business details

QR Code on business cards

A QR Code can be read with a smart phone

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can I do with a QR Code?

This is a QR Code Scan the QR code with your smart phone and you can

  1. Open a website without typing in the details  (try it now – scan our QR code on the right)
  2. Bookmark a website
  3. Make a phone call
  4. Send an SMS
  5. Send an Email
  6. Create a Vcard
  7. Create a vCalendar event in your Google or Outlook calendar
  8. Check out an address on Google Maps
  9. Check out an address on Bing Maps
  10. Upload Geographical coordinates to your iphone
  11. Go to YouTube video for iphone
  12. Insert free formatted text.
  13. Pay a bill
  14. and more…. (the list of applications that use QR codes is growing daily)

In some countries Google is sending out QR code window decals to top local businesses registered with Google Places. If they don’t send you one, generate your own QR code to place in your window.

You can use this code to encourage Foursquare checkins, point scanners to your Yelp profile, or simply invite customers to share memories in photo, video or text form via Stickybits.

If you really want people to pay attention to your QR codes, make them good for something fun.

Say you’ve placed a QR code decal in your storefront window, why not reward those who scan it with 10 percent off their purchase or a free pastry? Give them something small to thank them for their patronage. Simply create a custom QR code for the freebie you want to offer. Promote your QR codes on Social Media, on your business cards, on your van…

You could even get creative and hide the QR code offers online, like on your Facebook page or website, or somewhere inside your store. Create a QR Treasure Hunt promotion to spice things up.

If you need help with creating an innovating marketing strategy for your business, contact us.

 

How to generate a QR code for your business?

QR codes can be generated by going to websites such as KaywaQurify or Delivr

You can also generate your QR code right here… Try it out…

QR-Code Generator

You can go one step farther and create an “all-in-one” QR code on JumpScan.com which includes your web site address, phone, contact info, and social media feeds.

No more typing, texting, searching, entering and memorizing names and numbers. Just generate your own JumpScan QR Code, and anyone with a smart phone can take a picture of the image, which automatically links to your personal JumpScan page.

 

How to read QR Codes?

For your phone to be able to read QR Codes you will need to have QR Code barcode reading software installed on it. The following sites offer the option of downloading via PC and then transferring to your phone, or visiting with your with your smartphone (e.g. iPhone, Android phone or Blackberry) via browser for direct download and installation. Some also have the option of setting the application up on your phone as a device bookmark.

Optiscan – The best QR Code scanner for iPhones

Quickmark – For most phones.

NeoReader – A good range of phones and mobile devices (including iPhone and Blackberry) and also available as AppStore download.

I-Nigma – Probably the most popular decoder/reader application.

Blackberry Messenger – Comes standard with most Blackberry’s

Qoder – Innovative payment processing system based on PAyPal and QR codes.

P.S. We  use NEOREADER. The NeoReader QR-Code software is compatible with a number of popular handsets including Apple, Blackberry, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

 

QodeRPay! – Direct QR Code Payment System

QodeRPay is a simple yet very dynamic web application using a streamline version of the very popular Paypal Payment System. With this site you can create your own unique payment QR code where people can scan the code you create and get paid! Best of all most payments can be made right from a phone without having to worry about credit cards, or writing checks (A valid paypal account is needed).

 

QR Codes in Action

Watch this video to see another brilliant application of a QR code

 

 

Would you like to incorporate QR codes in your business?

If you would like some help with generating  QR codes or with incorporating QR codes in your marketing strategy, contact us.

Business leadership – True leaders start with WHY…

If you ever wondered why some companies consistently succeed while other fail, why everybody wants to buy MP3 from Apple but not from Dell, this article might provide an answer. According to Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why”, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. It’s those that start with why that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them. ….

Watch his talk on TED to find out more on this fascinating subject of business leadership.

Simon Sinek’s talk has inspired us to create a unique leadership programme . You can read more about “True Leaders Start with Why…” business coaching programme here.

Video hosting – Amazon’s great alternative to YouTube

S3 - Video marketing made easyIf you want to put video on the internet, you have to host it somewhere. If you upload it to your web server, you will most probably pay a fortune for bandwidth and clog your hosting service .  The size of a 4 min video with music and some bells and whistles can be around 40MB.

If you have only 500MB bandwidth per month, 12 visitors to your site would use up your entire bandwidth and your account will automatically be suspended,  your site shut down, or you will have to pay a massive surcharge for exceeding your allocated bandwidth.

To avoid this situation it is advisable to store your videos on a separate server. The most popular choice is You Tube, but many people feel that the service is not appropriate for hosting business videos. You don’t want other people ads plastered all over your videos  or your audience to be distracted by “recommended by YouTube” viewings, especially if the video is meant to bring traffic to your website.

To counteract this problem, alternative video hosting and streaming services  have been created. One of them is S3 from Amazon.com. You can setup a free Amazon S3 account and get access to unlimited storage, inexpensive bandwidth and be in control over what type of video player your video appears in.

All of the big name marketers host their videos with Amazon because they have a huge infrastructure which can cope with huge swathes of traffic in a short period of time and because the videos are not branded with a logo (like they are on Youtube), your video marketing looks very professional and nobody will ever know you are not hosting them yourself!

Read more about video hosting on Amazon S3 and how you can take advantage of this great service for FREE or almost free.

Performance Measurements – How to measure what matters?

One hundred years ago, the traditional accounting measures of costs, activities, efforts, and inputs met the needs of that era’s businesses. But today, these metrics are too narrow in their focus and don’t take into the account the shift in economy, from manufacturing and services to information age.  You therefore need more innovative Key Performance Indicators that can predict, rather than report, your company performance.

But finding the right indicators is not easy. How to find the right measures is the most asked question in the field of performance measurement.  How do you translate results so intangible as employee morale or service quality or corporate image into a measurable performance indicator?


Performance Measure Blueprint Workshop

If you if you want to find an answer to this and many other questions, you need to check the Performance Measure Blueprint Workshop.

The workshop is run by Stacy Barr, one of the most knowledgeable people on this planet when it comes to performance measurements. Stacey Barr is a specialist in organisational performance measurement, helping corporate planners, business analysts and performance measurement officers confidently facilitate their organisation to create and use meaningful performance measures with lots of buy-in.

Stacy normally lives and consults in sunny Australia, but this year you have a rare chance to learn from her in London.
Her Performance Measure Blueprint, where she introduces the Performance Measurement Process (PuMP), is one-of-a-kind workshop which teaches you how to overcome the most common practical struggles people face in trying to meaningfully measure what matters:

  • trying to measure a strategy that seems immeasurable and is filled with vague words like efficient, effective, sustainable, quality, reliability and productive
  • trying to find good performance measures that meaningfully track results, not activity
  • trying to get people engaged in measurement, so they buy-in and have ownership of their measures to improve performance

You can read more about Stacey on her website –  www.staceybarr.com

 

Predictive Key Performance Indicators

Another great resource for you to use is a book by Ronald J. Baker “Measure what matters to customers” – Using key predictive indicators.

You can buy it in our online book store.

 

Power Up your Marketing

I attended “Power up Your Marketing” in March 2010. Kerwin’s workshop rocked as usual. Although he was jet-lagged after a long flight from Sydney, he didn’t disappoint and delivered an amazing workshop.

He is not only a mesmerizing speaker, but also an astute businessman. He has helped many small businesses increase their sales through Joint Ventures and effectively promoting their businesses online. Kerwin is not just a speaker, he walks his talk e.g. with a few simple marketing strategies, he increased the turnover of a small business in Sydney, from $400,000 to over $5 million in just 18 months.

If you have a chance, attend one of his workshops and see for yourself. His next 3-day runs on in September (3-5 September 2010). Just do it. You won’t regret it.

Marketing Case Study – How to waste your marketing budget…

I don’t usually read ads on milk cartons, but today a small label on my favorite brand of milk caught my attention – “FREE ORGANIC YOGURT. See side of pack”.

I dutifully turned over the carton to reveal further instructions – “Cut out, and send us 5 TOKENS along with your postal address to receive a FREE Low Fat, Organic YogMarketing case study - how to waste your marketing budgeturt”. Terms and conditions at www….

Hmmm… Well, Ireland might have been hit hard by the recession but I just cannot imagine they will be getting many entries… Imagine the effort required to enter… You have to rip open the milk carton, rinse it, cut out a token, put it away safely (you need 5 tokens to qualify), address the envelope, enclose your own address, buy a 55c stamp, stick it on the envelope and post it. All that in order to get a €2 carton of yogurt?????

The plot thickens.

Intrigued by the logic of the competition, I decided to check the terms and conditions on the yoghurt manufacturer’s website….. I went to their Home page, clicked on the Win tab and found the following sentence – “The company is currently offering a FREE GOATS YOGURT when you send five tokens from promotional packs of Goats Milk!”

GOATS MILK??????

Imagine the disappointment of the few poor individuals, who dutifully collected the tokens and posted them in anticipation of getting their Free yogurt, only to find out that they didn’t qualify?

Did I forget to mention that the token in question was printed on a carton of ordinary cow’s milk and the ad on the side of the carton did not say a word about having to submit the tokens from goat’s milk cartons…

And then there was the last pearl…

“Please note that while vouchers and coupons are widely accepted in Irish retailers, acceptance of coupons and vouchers is at the discretion of the retailer.”

I give up. Why on earth would anybody bother?

The importance of place and timing on the perception of value …

Marketing Case Study - The importance of timing and place of your marketing message

Are you casting your pearls in front of the proverbial "swine"?

 

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. A plain-looking man was playing violin. His performance lasted about 45 minutes.

During that time, approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes :  a middle- aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat, and without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

The man finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

Why was this event of any significance?

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate music pieces ever written, Partita No. 2 in D Minor by Bach, with a Stradivari violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Three days before he appeared at the Metro station, Bell had filled the house at Boston’s Symphony Hall, where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. However, this experiment is also a perfect marketing case study.

It is a great thought to ponder upon before you create your next promotion, decide on your give-away or approve your next marketing campaign. Have you timed your message to perfection? Is your message presented to the receptive audience? Is the place appropriate to present message? Or you are about to cast your pearls before proverbial “swine”?

 

Absolutely brilliant example of guerilla marketing

The best marketing ideas don’t require huge marketing budgets. According to Jay Conrad Levinson, the author of “Guerilla Marketing” book and the father of guerilla marketing concept, guerrilla marketing “works because it’s simple to understand, inexpensive and easy to implement”. All you need is a bit of creativity and a good understanding of human nature.

This is all was needed to create a launch a brand awareness campaign for Absolut Vodka…Watch this great example of an astonishingly simple and brilliantly executed marketing campaign… Absolutely brilliant….

Guerilla Marketing example

 

More on Guerilla Marketing

If you would like to learn more about guerilla marketing concepts, read Jay Conrad Levinson book “Guerilla Marketing”. You can buy it from our online store.