Stories by Bob Pinchin

You just don't call any more

In my last column, I discussed “Transmedia Storytelling” as the new hot topic when it comes to marketing yourself to prospects and customers. But like any hot topic there is some cold-sauce to be poured. The other critical part of engaging with your target audience is that old fashioned, much-maligned approach of actually engaging in human contact.

With consolidation comes opportunity

The recent acquisition of Axon by Integral ends a lengthy period of speculation. Since the days that the likes of Computerland fell into international ownership, there has been conjecture that Axon would be next on the shopping list. That day has now dawned and amid debate about whether the acquisition is good or bad for the industry, we sit and wait for someone to really turn the market on its ear.

It's the taking part that counts

To the casual observer, it seems New Zealand is overrun with awards programmes that either directly or indirectly cover the technology sector. Therefore, your company is not short of opportunities to gain recognition. But with so many options, how do you choose whether to enter or not? Theoretically, this choice should be the easiest part, but you should ask yourself two questions first:

Staff on the 'same page' means more sales

When was the last time you rang your own company? Listened to a pitch from your sales team? Ordered something from your website? Rang up and complained to your accounts department? In other words, do you know what it is like to be on the receiving end of your staff’s idea of customer service?

Please RSVP by next Friday

If you haven’t come up with a great New Year’s resolution yet, I have one for you: RSVP and mean it. For most of us running events in the current economic climate - it does matter. Few businesses can afford to plan for an event and then pay for people who don’t show up. The opposite problem can be equally difficult and expensive, particularly if you have to cover extra costs for the arrogant few who decide to ‘rocka up’ at the last minute.

Beware the 'Season of Sales'

As the end of another year approaches there is nothing surer than Santa Claus that the sale signs will start coming out. This year, more than ever, it will spread outside the realm of retail as the reality of sustaining cashflow across the disrupted summer trading months hits home. I know it is the season for giving, but I fear too many companies will, this year, take “giving until it hurts” to the extreme.

Get your head out of the clouds

Maybe I’m getting old and cynical, or simply have been in this fine industry way too long, but with each new “transforming” or “disruptive” technology that comes along, my crap meter starts pinging.

Once upon a time, there was a really good idea

I want to tell you a story. It is about a great entrepreneur who came up with an amazing idea for a product he knew his clients had been hanging out for. It was a world first and he lay awake at night visualising his revenues going through the roof as soon as it hit the market.

Your call is important to us

I’ve made reference in a past column on the importance of holding on to the customers you have – surely not rocket science.

Get the most out of events

Events, whether you love them or hate them, still form an integral part of the marketing strategy. Although there’s a move to virtual events such as webcasts, you can’t beat personal contact with potential customers at a conference, trade show or product launch.

Targeted news will hit its mark

When was the last time you, or your PR company, sent out a press release to the media and got cranky that nothing was ever published? ‘It’s the damn journalists’ fault – they just don’t understand my business and they don’t get how important this announcement is’. Pray stop and think a little.

Is your marketing working?

I’ve just read a Twitter feed from an ex-colleague in the US who has been working on research on the effectiveness of tech marketing and how much of it really gets used by sales people. You might be surprised by his finding that 80 percent of marketing collateral never gets used by sales people!

How different are you really?

We were recently engaged by a client who wanted our help to raise their profile. During the introductory phase I questioned this new client about the company’s business. One of the first things I asked was, “What sets your company apart from the competition?”

Communicate, communicate, communicate

The year is kicking off with announcements of layoffs, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions and customers holding off on those buying decisions. In a year in which many companies will need to respond to changing market conditions, one thing often gets forgotten: the need to communicate. In tough times your own people and even your existing customers often get taken for granted, as you battle to find new customers and assume your own team know what’s happening.