These last few weeks have been very stressful. The world is dealing with a catastrophe we don’t know how to fix. And we don’t know when we’ll find the solution.
While many businesses can do well in a booming economy, only innovative firms with sound strategic plans for stability and growth survive times of turmoil, and only the nimblest of those prosper. This moment in time will test your company.
But we’ve been here before: the disaster of September 11th; the recession of 2008-2009.
As a businessperson, you’ve solved many tough problems. That’s why most of us know we’re going to overcome this current adversity. We’ve had to divert our course before. And we have faith that we’re going to figure out how to deal with this; how to keep our families and employees safe; how to recover from the financial loss; how to learn from it all and better prepare for the next challenge.
And, of course, in all situations, we look for opportunities; the chance to grow, to improve, to make a difference.
Your initial reaction might be to hunker down, stay low and try to ride out the storm. But remember, companies that continue to market and strategically position themselves during the toughest economic times emerge stronger than companies that don’t stay in front of their audience.
Now is the time to develop creative solutions that provide more value for your customers. It’s the time to improve communication, not hide. MadAveGroup can help you with that.
We’ve been creating video, audio and digital content for many of our clients so they can share their response to the coronavirus crisis. We’ve also prepared several blog posts with tips on how you can adjust your marketing strategies and content for this unique environment. Here are the links:
- Prepare Now for the Post-Pandemic World
- Think Strategically About Your Response to Coronavirus
- How to Update Your Digital Marketing in Response to COVID-19
- Can You See an Opportunity?
And we’re providing the strategic guidance and tactical execution that will help you rebound when this outbreak subsides and emerge prepared for success.
For 30 years, we’ve been working to help our clients grow. We have no plans to stop now.
This will pass and we’ll all be stronger for having been through it.
Jerry Brown, Founder & CEO
I received a testimonial yesterday.
That's not unusual. We're fortunate to receive hundreds each year.
But this testimonial was special.
It wasn’t from a client, partner, prospect or vendor. In fact, it wasn’t from someone we’ve ever worked with.
It was from a man who called us by mistake. That’s right: a wrong number.
But, it turns out, he had such a positive experience with the person who answered our phone that he was compelled to let me know about it. He wrote the following.
“I actually called by accident. Your number is one digit different from another company I was reaching out to. But, when I got off the line with Courtney, I went to your website and read the intro about the importance of making a positive impact during EVERY interaction. It very much hit home because I’d just had that experience with Courtney. It’s been three hours and I still feel the positive vibe she puts out. I want to commend your organization and her sincerely. Nice, genuine people seem to be in short supply these days.”
His email made me smile with gratitude.
As CEO of MadAveGroup, one of my primary responsibilities is to “protect our culture.” And nothing has a greater effect on that culture than the people we employ and our commitment to creating positive customer experiences.
Building that type of environment doesn't happen by accident. Ideally, it's organic and begins with an authentic desire to serve people, but it must always be encouraged and nurtured.
It can be grown, too. For instance, you can use ongoing training to teach employees how to actively create positive experiences for your customers.
Do you provide the tools or incentives to create great interactions? Do your team members know they have the power to make things right with angry customers on the spot? Do you talk about proactively looking for opportunities to wow your clients?
And most importantly, do you follow specific hiring procedures that improve the chances of your new recruits fitting into your positive experience culture?
How would your customers describe their experiences with your organization?
The success of your company depends on their answers.
I don’t eat fast food often, but one day my wife and I were in a hurry. She suggested we stop into Chick-fil-A. I’d never been there before, but I agreed to give it a try.
When we arrived, rain was pouring down. While we were working up the courage to sprint into the building, someone knocked on my wife's window. It was a young man from Chick-fil-A, and he was holding an umbrella. He escorted her into the restaurant and then came back for me.
Once inside, we were welcomed with smiles and friendly greetings. Ordering our food was easy and convenient. And instead of waiting at the counter for it, we were invited to relax at a table, and told that our food would be brought to us.
During our meal, our host checked to see if we wanted anything. He cleared our table of the paper and containers we no longer needed. He refilled my drink - twice. He asked if we’d like dessert. And after we finished eating, he brought me coffee.
In just one visit, I was treated to eight pleasant surprises. I enjoyed a level of service I would have never expected from a fast food restaurant.
Chick-fil-A’s food was fine, but it was the overall experience that left me so satisfied. Both my wife and I left the host with a heartfelt “thank you” and “good-bye,” as well as sincere smiles.
Now, I find myself visiting Chick-fil-A more often, not primarily for the food, but because they make me feel so good.
So, what can you do to help your customers feel that same way? Surely, there are many points before, during and after your buying process that you can improve to wow your customers and generate loyalty and great word-of-mouth.
The process begins by caring enough to look for them.
On November 10, 2016, MadAveGroup CEO Jerry Brown was inducted into the Entrepreneurial and Business Excellence Hall of Fame.
The hall honors those who have successfully grown their ideas and businesses in northwest Ohio and/or southeast Michigan.
Since founding his first marketing agency in 1989, Brown has led the development of a family of specialized marketing agencies, all of which fall under the MadAveGroup umbrella.
“Making money is certainly important for any business,“ Brown said, “but what I really love is building something of value, whether it’s our agency and all the different things we can do, or helping our clients grow their businesses. That’s the challenge. That’s the thrill.”
The MadAveGroup leadership team was in the audience to watch the award presentation, including VP of Account Management and Fulfillment Valerie Likens. “Jerry is passionate about his work,” she said “and he’s able to communicate that passion and pass it along to his team.”
“There are tremendous challenges that come with starting and growing a business, AND trying to maintain a culture that’s both fun and focused,” said Scott Greggory, MadAveGroup’s Chief Creative Officer. “Jerry has done both wonderfully well, and managed to keep a great enthusiasm for life, for people and for the work we do here. He’s a very special guy, and completely deserving of this award.”
Watch Jerry's acceptance speech in the video above.
You left work late because a meeting ran long; a meeting in which you were given the responsibility of reducing office supply costs.
Now you’re driving home listening to talk radio. Traffic is a mess, and you need to pick up something for dinner. You pass, not one, but two billboards promoting the grand opening of a new store that sells deeply discounted office supplies. But, you’re so busy fighting traffic and looking for a drive-thru that you never see them.
Traditional outbound marketing and advertising rely on a “shotgun” approach for their delivery. Just present the messages over and over to as large an audience as possible and someone is bound to see or hear them.
And hopefully, your potential buyers will be in the right frame of mind to process the information.
That’s a very expensive way to market, largely because you're paying for access to a city's or region's or nation's worth of impressions, when only a small percentage of that audience will have an interest in what you sell at the time they see or hear your message.
Inbound, or Point-of-Entry Marketing, uses more of a “rifle” approach. It focuses on a one-to-one experience that always takes place when your prospects and customers are ready to do business with you.
They’ve taken the time to seek you out. They’ve called you on the phone, looked you up online, or walked through your front door. Usually their hands are on their wallets and they’re prepared to spend money.
I’m not suggesting that you eliminate traditional marketing and advertising from your strategy. Most often it’s the best, if not only, way to attract the number of prospects you need to be successful.
What I am suggesting is that you also implement robust marketing programs at the three points-of-entry into your business: your telephone, website, and front door / physical spaces. That way you’re sure to engage your prospects and customers when they’re in the right frame of mind to do business with you.
MadAveGroup has been named among the Best Employers in Ohio for 2013. In the annual survey conducted by BestEmployersOH.com and Best Companies Group, the agency ranked as the 8th best place to work in the "Small / Medium Company" category.
"We've always known we have a great environment here," said Jerry Brown, "but by comparing our company to so many others across the state, this survey and this award confirm it." Brown is the CEO of the MadAveGroup, which provides point-of-contact marketing services for clients throughout the nation from its Toledo, Ohio headquarters.
The best places to work are determined using a thorough company assessment. The two-part process gathers detailed information about participating companies. That information is then combined to produce a set of data which analysts use to determine and rank the strengths and opportunities of each company.
The image below is from the Best Employers in Ohio winners' book for 2013.
Tired of hearing about Toledo's brain drain? Then you'll like what MadAveGroup is doing in Toledo's UpTown district.
The agency has been developing The MadAveCollective, an open work space for writers, designers, videographers, photographers, animators, website developers and other creatives who want to work in a relaxed, affordable shared space, yet need a professional address where they can invite clients, hold meetings, and give presentations.
V.I.P. OPEN HOUSE & RIBBON CUTTING
To open The Collective, a V.I.P. party will take place Friday, October 25th from 4 to 7pm at 1600 Madison Avenue, Floor 2, Toledo. The event will showcase the newly renovated Collective space.
At 4pm, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, a representative from the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and MadAveGroup CEO Jerry Brown will participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony.
At 5:30pm, speakers from the public and private sectors will address the media during a press conference. Among the topics: future plans for Toledo's UpTown District.
There will also be free food and beverages from Manos and Manhattan's, live music, and the opportunity to network with local business and political leaders.
"The idea of The MadAveCollective is to bring a lot of creative energy to one area, so companies and agencies can find the talent they need for specific jobs, and talent can find freelance work," said Jerry Brown. "We hope that UpTown specifically and Toledo as a whole will benefit from that focused energy as well."
Members of The MadAveCollective also will be featured on a website where they can promote their services and portfolios. The site will include a rating system that allows users to choose creative talent based on the input of their past clients.
For more details on The Collective, visit http://www.madavegroup.com/collective/. To schedule a tour or to reserve your space, please call 419/473-9000.
Presented to one Ad Club member each year since 1959, the Silver Medal Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advertising, actively advancing the industry's standards, exhibiting creative excellence and demonstrating a commitment to social concerns.
Ad Club President Kathy Jex wrote that “When Jerry founded BusinessVoice, he helped to create a new advertising sector: on old messaging. Not many people can say they’ve been instrumental in developing an entirely new medium. And as a pioneering member and past Chairman of the international On Hold Messaging Association, Jerry helped to bring recognition and credibility to an entire industry.”
Brown was President of the Advertising Club of Toledo in 2004-2005. He also served as Vice President, ADDY Chairman and Auction Chairman, and continues to support the Club and its activities both personally and professionally.
Since Brown founded BusinessVoice in 1989 as an On Hold Marketing company, he’s grown it into a comprehensive Point-Of-Entry Marketing agency that serves thousands of client locations across the country. He is also a founding member of CEMA, the Customer Experience Marketing Alliance, a global organization dedicated to serving clients through effective Point-Of-Entry Marketing services.
An innovative leader, a national account executive, and a man passionate about providing marketing solutions for his clients, “Jerry is an excellent example of creative entrepreneurship and community awareness,” wrote Kathy Jex. “He is a champion of our industry.”