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An Infographic on How Pinterest Affects Purchase Paths for Retailers

Vision Critical recently came out with report about how Pinterest affects retail store purchases and offers some great insight. Their finding regarding Pinterest was published in the Harvard Business Review, the article is titled “How Pinterest Puts People in Stores.

The study found that about 41% of participants did “Reverse showrooming” meaning that they would find a product online, and then shop for it at a retail store location.

Pinterest infographic: This infographic details how Pinterest influenced purchasing decisions at retail stores. Contrary to common belief, many buyers still go to brick and mortar stores to buy products, and use Pinterest as a way ofreverse showrooming. They go online first, discover a product, and then look for them at a retail location.

Some Pinteresting Stats:

21% of Pinterest users bought an item in store after pinning, repinning or liking that item. This number increases to 36% for Pinterest users who were under 35.

The question of how an item that was purchased first came to the attention of Pinterest users.

10% found it by searching on Pinterest
24% through a stranger’s Pinterest board or stream
19% through a friend’s Pinterest board or stream
7% through a retailer’s Pinterest board.

This means that a total of 60% of Pinterest users who did buy an item, first discovered that item through Pinterest first.

The other ways of discoveries included Google, e-mail, blog, a different social network or a retailer site.

The report also covered some great stats. I highly encourage you to pin and share the Pinterest Infographic.

MCNG Marketing Announces Marketing Partnership With Elite HR Solutions

Elite HR Solutions

MCNG is Happy To Announce our New Marketing Relationship with Elite HR Solutions

MCNG Marketing is proud to announce their new marketing partnership with Elite HR Solutions, an employment screening and talent management agency. Elite HR Solutions is one of the Canadian hiring organizations that is certified to conduct the Harrison Assessment, an employment assessment tool that has been used by companies such as Samsung, Volvo, Unilever, American Express, Domino’s Pizza and hundreds more around the world. We are are proud to provide Elite HR Solutions with their social, online, and offline marketing plan for lead generation and brand awareness.

Elite HR Solutions Provides Employment Screening and Talent Management Services

Kevin Coburn, founder of Elite HR Solutions, first reached out to me through a marketing community I created on Meetup.com. After a phone conversation we had the pleasure of sitting together and chatting. After a few of our chats, we realized that we had similar values and a definite vision to bring the Harrison Assessment across Canada to help growing companies hire the right employees that were the best fit for their positions, and to help save companies millions of dollars in their hiring practices by spending less than $12 a month for an employee that stays at for 3 years or more.

Harrison Assessment Uses of Paradox Theory

What was more impressive was being able to go through the Job Success Analysis with a Harrison Assessment myself, which measures over 156 traits with a 30 minute test. I went through the assessment for the position of “Marketing Specialist, Focus on Branding with moderate experience.” My suitability fit was for the job was 90%.

What’s unique about this personality test compared to others such as DISC, or Myers Briggs, is the fact that it bases itself on Paradox Theory, meaning that people aren’t one characteristic or another, but that they may fit into two or more different characteristics depending on the context of the situation.

Harrison Assessment, which is an online tool, measures what happens when a person experiences stress under certain types of conditions. As an example, the Harrison Assessment can tell you when that an employee under non stressed every day conditions is usually very permissive, warm and emphatic or if they become harsh in their communications when they experience stress, and how much it may it could be a detriment to the job.

The assessment can also let you know in which situations a potential employee becomes passive in making decisions or taking actions during specific stressful situations, which can also hinder certain job performances.

How To Attract the Employee

What’s also amazing is that at the end of the assessment it will tell you specifically what it will take to attract a person that has the behavioural traits need to excel at the job, and lists them in terms of essential, important to other possibilities to consider. For myself, if I was to work with another agency, it states that “Vincent has an extremely strong desire to be in a leadership position. He has a very strong drive to take charge.” This of course makes sense, since I’m a partner in my own marketing agency.

But the assessment also goes on to say “To attract Vincent to work for your company, specify the areas in which he will be able to take initiative. If Vincent has strong eligibility, convince him that opportunities will be provided.” There are other golden nuggets of information that I believe hold true as well such as. “Vincent has a strong desire to have employment that he perceives to be be beneficial to society. To attract Vincent to work for your company, explain the ways in which he could help society though his work in this position.”

This is a big part of why I was attracted to working with Kevin Coburn, from Elite HR Solutions. I believe that companies can hire the right people so that great companies that have great values can find ways to create jobs for the right people.

I believe that when people are put in the right position that makes them happy, that they will not just be happy at work, but they will be happy people when they return home to work. Work and family life cannot be separated. This is why I’m personally excited to be working with Kevin and bringing the right people to the right positions to people across Canada.

Creating a Community of Loyal Customers for Your Business

Stadium Crowd Here’s some bad news. Consumers today are bombarded with thousands of different products, services, businesses, advertisements and a whole spectrum of jibber jabber that it’s becoming harder and harder to create loyal customers. Marketers and advertisers are constantly finding ways to create loyal relationships with their customers and it’s definitely getting harder to create lifetime loyalty.

Here’s the good news, very few small businesses are able to do it in an excellent and meaningful way. In this blog post I’ll discuss five ideas of how to create a community of loyal customers.

1) Stand for Much More than Just Your Business

I’m a big fan that any business or service should represent more than just what they sell or provide. My dream for MCNG is to create a world where work culture is humane, creativity flows, and that everybody is enjoying the economical benefits to help sustain the local economy that they live in. It’s about being able to have team members come in smiling, to be able to bring in their dogs to work, and to be able to bring their children to come in and play with us (play and physical activity can help relax the mind and sometimes the greatest ideas pop up). I dream of the day that we will become a top 50 employer in North America.

A great example of a company that has done an amazing job of building this community is Lululemon. Here was a company that brought yoga to the mainstream masses. A company that cared about the health of their customers as well as their own employees. It was never about just the clothing, it was about creating a community that loved the clothes, and loved yoga.

2) Develop Customer Relations, Not Customer Service

If you want to create loyal customers to your business, you need to stop looking at your business as providing customer service and start looking at it as a way of creating customer relationships. Good customer service is like having a great one night stand, and the sex was so good you go back for it again, but you never quite look each other in the eye to create that connection.

Customer relations takes the perspective of how your actions are creating marriage type relationships with your customers. When I managed Starbucks, there were always a few things to encourage community at our own store, which made it rock. Our team knew hundreds (I believe it was 300) of our customers by their first name, and hundreds more by their drinks, and as time went on, some of them even received nicknames from us.

I remember one day one of our customers came in during my afternoon shift. A man with silver hair, who always ordered a grande half sweet, no whip, hot chocolate at around 6 am in the morning. He came in to tell me that he would no longer be coming in, because he was laid off from work. He came in for 3 years almost every weekday before that. He wanted my morning leader to know in case she wondered what happened.

I didn’t know what quite to say at the time, I was a little choked. I later told my morning leader about it, and all I could see was her holding back her tears and feeling a sense of loss. When you have customers that love you that much, you know you didn’t focus on customer service, you focused on customer relationships.

3) Develop a Loyalty Program

It’s almost standard nowadays that people expect a loyalty program with your business. A great loyalty program, whether it’s through creating a loyalty card like Scene for Cineplex theatres in Canada, or using RewardMe to reach out to customers via text message that says, “We miss you! :) Hope to see you soon.” (As a disclosure, I’m actually an investor for RewardMe.)

Loyalty programs don’t need to be complicated. It’s still okay to use punch cards and keep them at the counter. There are modern ways to keep loyalty up, such as using Foursquare and awarding mayorships.

The best type of loyalty program to create, is the one with the element of surprise. Our brains love experiencing novelty and good surprises. If you noticed that a customer comes frequently to your business, offer something for free. If you run a restaurant, give loyal customers a free dessert. If you work in the printing business, print up some magnets of the front of their business card for free when they’ve printed business cards with you for the third time.

If you make it a habit of doing nice things spontaneously once in a while, you’re going to build up some great happy feelings in customers, and happy customers are loyal customers.

4)Hold Exclusive or Live Events

Regardless of the type of business you run, you can always find a way to hold exclusive events for your loyal customers or create events that generate a lot of buzz to attract those customers.

I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to cars, I don’t know a lot, and I put a lot of faith in my auto mechanic. I would be very impressed if one day a car dealership or auto shop held an event that provided an educational seminar on the basics of buying a car, and how to maintain it to the public.

Women are becoming huge decision makers in which type of vehicle to buy. And I know women would love to be in a non machismo environment where they can be educated about maintaining cars. Having person to person interaction, and being able to have a person answer customized questions is always such a bigger bonus than searching for the answer on Google and looking through 5 articles before you find the right answer you’re looking for.

When you do hold events the best question you should ask yourself, how does this particular event relate to my marketing strategy and brand?

5) Send out Birthday Cards

One of the most crowded times of the year to get cards is during the winter holidays. Everybody sells them and they’re nice, but it seems like everybody does it all the time. A great way to build a community of loyal customers is to send them out birthday cards instead. This is more unique and is more meaningful.

I must admit, I don’t practice this myself, and I have every intention to start in 2013, it’s part of the plan.

A good friend of mine told me his car salesperson takes it one step further. He takes the time every year to call him and wish him a happy birthday. Every single year for the last 12 years I believe. And my friend always told me that he will call that car salesman first, and give him first chance to find a vehicle that he’s looking for before moving on to someone else.

Calling or writing to people on their birthday allows us to create customer relationships, which then allow us to create a community of loyal customers.

You can’t use cheap tricks to get people to be loyal customers. You need to be sincere in getting to know people and to look out for their best interests. Take care of your customers as if they are your life blood, because they are and always will be the life blood of your business.

The Number One Reason Why Your Small Business is not in the News

You’ve opened up a new business and you believe that everybody in the world should hear and read about it. After all, who doesn’t want to hear about your great business idea, and how it’s going to potentially change the world?

The trouble is that newspapers, journalists, and editors don’t necessarily share the same enthusiasm about your business the way that you do. They don’t care whether your Facebook page is about to hit 10,000 fans, but if you’re able to find a way that helps 10,000 homeless people, now the news is listening.

Let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. A journalist has deadlines to meet on a daily and weekly basis, she’s going through all the different stories that are e-mailed to her, and on top of that she may have to cover an event for a full day. They must ensure that they choose the most interesting stories that are relevant to their reading audience. Not what the business owner believes is important.

During one of my meetings with a restaurant owner, he told me he had sent out numerous press releases to specific food writers but with no response from them. I didn’t get a chance to take a look at his press releases, but I have a feeling that what he wrote wasn’t considered something that was of interest for others to read.

If the press release was about a restaurant opening, sadly, there’s a hand full of restaurant openings happening every week. As journalists they have an obligation to write about what they feel would resonate with their readers the most. If your restaurant doesn’t have a great concept, or isn’t being opened by someone from Food Network or a celebrity chef, chances are that restaurant’s opening isn’t considered newsworthy.

Journalists Pay Attention to Newsworthy Stories

Most of the media could care less if you’ve opened up a third location of your business, or that your car garage fixed it’s 10,000th BMW. In order for your business to make the news, you have to send a press release that is newsworthy.

Journalist know the difference between a news story and advertising. If they feel that what you are sending them is purely about advertising your business then they’ll just throw the story away. You can’t try to fool them by sending in pure advertising copywrite, and have them think it’s news, it insults their intelligence.

Even Large Businesses Make this Mistake

I remember hearing a story from one of my marketing professors. She was one of the media relations co-ordinators for a large grocery chain in Western Canada. The chain announced the big winner of a $10,000 prize giveaway. The head of the marketing department wanted her to send out a press release announcing the winner of the prize. She told the head of marketing that the contest being won wasn’t considered news and that it could potentially hurt the reputation of the company when legitimate news needed to be submitted to journalists.

The executive told her to get it done anyway. So she sent out a press release regarding the winner of the $10,000 prize. The editor of one of the newspapers promptly responded back with , “Here’s the number of the advertising department. XXX-XXX-XXXX.” In which she went back and showed the executive.

How is What You’re Proposing Newsworthy?

A good test to ask yourself is this, other than myself, my family, and my friends, why would anybody want to read this?

For example, while the opening of your small business may be special, why exactly is it special, and different? Is your business a coffee shop that is located in an underground cellar? (This is newsworthy because very few coffee shops are underground, they usually above ground.) Is your business a social enterprise that helps support people who have been injured in war?

Does your story somehow impact the community around you? For example are you donating partial proceeds of what you make during the month of May to build help build a school playground in an upcoming neighborhood? Or maybe it’s to help build a school in Africa?

Does you company hire at risk youth, where they can develop job skills and have mentors help guide them in life decisions?

The truth is that every small business can get in the news. All you have to do, is do something that is newsworthy.

Own a Business? Then Your Personal Brand Matters.

Personal Brand Don’t be Separate from Your Company

If you love your business and you plan to do it for the rest of your life, then who you are should be synonymous with your business. This is the power of good personal and company branding.

When people think of Apple, they think of Steve Jobs. And when people think of Steve Jobs they think of Apple.

If you think about Bill Gates, which company do you think of? What about Richard Branson?

The Why is the Strongest Part of Your Personal Brand

When starting your company, the personal story of how you came about starting that company, the reasons why you wanted to start a company are extremely vital.

At MCNG, my vision was simple. It was to help bring interactive, digital and the creative marketing all together to help our clients and do my small part to get the economy going. I was sick and tired of relying on other people to create jobs, and watching great young talent fall on wayside being fed peanuts.

But part of my bigger vision for this company was to also create world’s best working culture that was profitable, and do it with a lot of fun, a lot of passion, and most of all ensuring that my clients and team mates felt the same way I did.

No matter what your business is, the only way to stay alive in your business is to really understand why you’re doing it and how it serves the greater good. What is that fire within you that keeps you going? Yes money is important, it keeps us functioning, and it pays the bills and the labour. If you truly don’t know why, you’re going to go through a lot of suffering with no easy answers.

The Essence of Who You Are Will Guide Your Company’s Brand

Whatever your motivation, and the story of who you are and the essence behind it, and how it relates to your business should not change. It’s when people know your dedication, it’s when people know what you stand for, what you want to achieve, is when people take notice of your company.

Your story of how you start your business, about who you are allows you to connect with the thousands of people that you will never meet. It gives them a chance to understand who you are, to feel that they trust you, to like you, without ever seeing you once in real life.

In the world of marketing it’s all about trust. If my consumers trust me and my story, they are more likely to buy my product and my services. When people buy Apple, they are essentially buying a part of Steve Job’s vision. When people travel Virgin, they are flying Branson’s Vision.

In the world of marketing, it’s important to clarify what your personal story is, and how it relates to the business you build. The word the at I can’t emphasize enough is the word clarify. When you’re able to clarify what you stand for, then you can consistently communicate it across all your different social media and communication channels.

When you understand that, not only will you talk about your business with a firey passion. It’s the nights when you wake up at 3 am and wonder, what the hell you’re doing, that you’ll be to answer with absolute certainty and know that the next day you’re going to do it all over again. That very reason that makes you stubborn is the personal brand that you will carry with you for life.

Why do you do what you do? What keeps you motivated during your hardest times in business?