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Pick Two: A Must-Know Marketing Theory for Houston Businesses and Marketers

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A wise creative director once put effective campaign execution so eloquently to me: “You can get it good, fast or cheap. But you can only pick two.” Talk about a marketing and advertising proverbial truth.

Back when I was a rookie in my career, it became increasingly obvious that the perfect mix of these three key ingredients wasn’t always possible. In fact, in most cases, it was impossible.

My understanding of the “Pick Two Triangle” saved the execution team and myself from the additional stress of a workload that didn’t have to be, allowed me to set realistic expectations and gave me relief to know that there was some semblance of a formula for success in the shades of gray that marketers constantly sift through.

My goal is to help the Houston businesses or marketers know and understand expectations when launching new campaigns or tactics. Looking at the “Pick Two Triangle” from the business to consumer angle may help:

Good + Fast = Not Cheap

You’re the owner of a Houston-based auto body shop and a customer comes in with a new, red convertible. It was just rear ended by another vehicle. And the [desperate] owner needs the vehicle good-as-new by 10a tomorrow. You know your crew can get it done – but it won’t be cheap for you, or the vehicle owner. That’s because unplanned man hours +over-time + expedited parts + rearranging existing auto appointments = a whole lot of work. But it’s worth it because you’ll make it up with the revenue on this one. Your team makes it happen. The car is as good as new and it was ready in time. But – again – it wasn’t cheap.

Good + Cheap = Not Fast

You own a local bakery that specializes in wedding desserts. You make it very clear to Houston consumers that you have a handful of experienced, professional bakery chefs that can create intricate, delectable wedding desserts at competitive prices. But in order for you to deliver on these expectations, your cake specialists only work twice a week. [Any more hours logged would increase customers’ costs and you don’t want to sacrifice this value proposition.] Yet, while orders for wedding cakes must be placed months in advance, the fantastic results drive business for you.  Weddings guests rave to others about your desserts and you continue to woo the fathers of the brides with the affordability.

Fast + Cheap = Not Good

You own a residential painting company and a leasing agent must turn a recently vacated apartment in less than two days, on a slim budget. You’re known for quality work and typically you could handle this job with ease. But on short notice, you’ve got your top employees booked on jobs. Therefore, you’ll need to send in a painter with less experience, the only one who can be available last minute. You debate in your mind the risk of quality in work – which could hurt your reputation. This may jeopardize the integrity of the job…and your business. It upsets you thinking of the risk you’re taking. Perhaps it’s not even worth it? You’re right. It likely isn’t.

As I painted these scenarios for you [pun intended,] it probably became evident that the inclusion of “good” in both instances seemed to position each business owner for success as long as the expectations on timing or budget were clear. Therefore, Houston business owners, whenever possible – include “good.” It’s worth the time. It’s worth the money. And you make the time and money factors work by effectively planning for both.

No business owner or marketer wants to see their brand and reputation compromised. Partner with your marketing teams/agencies to build effective timelines that maximize your budget but don’t compromise the quality of the experience with your brand. Respect the time that it takes to do good work. Your marketing and advertising teams want to help elevate your brands, not bring them down. Give them the resources and time to do their jobs well. It’ll be worth the wait – and the budget.

Houston consumers – marketing savvy or not – have been exposed to enough both sophisticated and shoddy advertising efforts to and know which brands have gone the extra mile to make it worth consumers’ time. Those are the brands they’ll do business with…the ones that make sure that no matter what… good is a part of their equation.

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Social Media Best Practices for Your Houston Business

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With the popularity of social networks on the rise, more Houston businesses are turning toward creating their own followings on these sites to market their own businesses. While some small businesses question whether they have the time or resources available for delving into social networks, they stand to gain from turning their marketing into sales by using simple techniques and best practices for social media.

Not only do businesses benefit from highlighting their own products and services, businesses seeking a competitive advantage can incorporate social marketing to stay ahead of the competition. Follow these best practices for social media for small businesses to effectively promote your business:

Engage Frequently with Followers

Even before they sign up, users of social media are drawn to the idea of interacting with other users. As a best practice for social media for Houston small businesses, it is recommended that they have frequent interaction with followers by providing fun and helpful information, without directly pressuring them to buy. Houston businesses can promote what they’re selling by posting “liked” company news on Facebook or micro blogging about new product launches on Twitter.

Connect Social Media and Traditional Marketing

While some Houston businesses prefer traditional marketing over social marketing or vice versa, the two can be used to complement each other. Small businesses can promote the link to their Facebook page on packaging or other printed materials in-stores in order to give customers more options in learning more information.

Promote Participation Using Contests

As a way to directly connect with current and potential customers, another best practice for social media for Houston small businesses is to create contests to increase user participation and raise brand awareness. Companies gain new fans as their followers win items that are either related to their own business or highly sought after like iPads.

Link Social Media to Other Websites

While each social networking site has a distinct persona, small businesses can link their pages together on different sites to boost their social marketing. Houston businesses are able to promote their how to video guides uploaded on YouTube and share them using links on Facebook. When a business links its social media accounts together, this can increase the followings of their social media accounts with weaker numbers as users cross over from one site to the next.

Reward Loyal Followers

To encourage social media users to join their small business fan pages, businesses reward their loyal followers with exclusive information about new features or give them the chance to try out new products. Allowing followers to have new information or promotions first gives them incentive to continue visiting a business’ social marketing pages.

Acknowledge New Fans and Other Businesses

Since engaging with social media users is integral to successful social marketing, encourage new fans and other businesses to learn about your business by following them or liking their pages. Using a career-oriented social site like LinkedIn allows a small business to network with others in its industry and to increase connections with like-minded individuals and businesses.

When strategizing about social media for small businesses, marketers should concentrate on improving user interaction and participation. By engaging with their followers on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and more, businesses can raise awareness of their online presence in order to effectively promote and sell their products and services to targeted customers. After learning about the best practices of social media for small businesses, companies are better capable of growing their business online and off.