Posted by . In topics: Marketing

While it’s clear now that the country is gradually emerging from the economic crisis, the strength of individual regions and business sectors is still decidedly mixed.  As small and mid-sized businesses look out into this environment, it can be tough to make critical and/or prudent decisions.  No one wants to be the last business returning to market, and few are willing to be the first.

The Growthwire would like to help.  We’re inviting the Growthwire community to take a 6-7 minute online survey to help other subscribers make more sense of what economic life is like on Main Street today, including strategies for growth in specific regions and business sectors.  When compiled, the survey will help you, and businesses like yours, understand how local businesses are working through our current economic conditions and even finding growth opportunities.

All we need to make this happen is YOUR HELP.  Please take a few minutes to contribute your views (all 100% anonymously) – we will post all data online and analyze specific trends in future Growthwire newsletters.  We will mail you an invitation later this week, but if you’d like to take the survey now, you can find it at:   http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BSZCN9J

Thanks in advance!  We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your insights.

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing

The book Buy-ology by Martin Lindstrom should be on the short list of anyone who’s involved in brand-building.  It reads like a good mystery novel, it’s based on very strong science, and it paints a very clear portrait of how physiological and psychological mechanisms in our brains drive brand preference.  In fact, the science is so revealing that it’s ignited an online debate about the ethics of neuro-marketing:  Is the stuff is so powerful that it’s not fair to consumers?

Chapter 8 is particularly fascinating.  Here, we learn why our visual senses – what most of us probably think are the drivers of brand impact – are highly over-rated when it comes to remembering and choosing particular brands.  What works better?  Audio (as well as smell).  Audio has the ability to mentally generate the visual images and, more importantly, powerful emotions associated with it.

While visual marketing tells consumers what something can, or should represent, this type of association is very abstract and doesn’t process well in the consumer brain.  Sound, on the other hand, allows the individual to conjure an association that is already in the brain (i.e., personalizing the idea) which has much more impact.  The research even shows how sound is engineered by companies and institutions to direct people’s behavior using our biological wiring and triggers.  It makes you wonder why marketers spend so much energy trying to reach us through our eyes, instead of our ears… Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Management · The Economy

While you may have some experience buying paper products, computer equipment, or even insurance for your small business at Sam’s Club, odds are you haven’t tried their newest service:  small business lending.

With a lot of the government stimulus programs coming to an end, often without helping the liquidity crisis facing many small and medium sized businesses, retailers like Sam’s (A division of Walmart) are taking it upon themselves to help businesses finance growth.  Call it over-the-counter stimulus plans.  Sam’s lending service is built upon a standard SBA loan program, though the service streamlines the paperwork and approval process considerably (a significant deterrent for many businesses) and even discounts the loan application.

The program lends from $5,000 to $25,000, unsecured, at a low rate (7.5% at time of publication).  Pre-approval is available online in minutes…  To date, about 45% of its applicants have been approved. Read more »

Posted by . In topics: Advertising · Marketing

We spend a lot of time thinking about ways to ‘make’ our product or business better. Don’t forget to think about how you can make people ‘think’ you’ve done the same.  Here’s a wry presentation by IPA’s Rory Sutherland on the importance of brand’s intangibles…