What’s your story?

This week began with an overflow of positive energy surrounded by women who have persevered and accomplished much despite personal or career-related challenges. Everyone has a story; and as I gathered with 14 women (including the publisher) to kick off the launch of “Mentoring Moments: 14 Remarkable Women Share Breakthroughs to Success”, I was honored, thankful, but most importantly, inspired by their stories. 

Denola Burton, publisher from Enhanced DNA Publishing, who inspired each of us to be a part of an “anthology like no other”.  This anthology resulted in a compilation of stories from different women that will encourage those who are starting their career, struggling in their profession or succeeding in climbing the ladder, and to challenge them to have their eyes wide open and to focus and find purpose in their vision.

Pass The Torch For Women Foundation

Pass The Torch For Women Foundation

Deb Hallberg, CEO of Pass the Torch for Women Foundation wrote the Foreword and in a couple of pages, captured the essence of what the book conveyed; while capturing the hallmark of the Pass the Torch for Women Foundation. If you are wondering, their mission is to “create a community that guides women as they navigate their career pathways by providing mentoring and networking opportunities.” 

Image Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Image Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

 The location of the launch event was The Indianapolis Propylaeum, in downtown Indianapolis. It was the perfect place since The Propylaeum Historic Foundation’s goal is to “advance educational and cultural opportunities for women and the community ...”. A long standing contributor for women suffrage and lifting up women in leadership roles, it is a member based organization that reflects what we achieved through the pages of Mentoring Moments.

It goes without saying, “Thank you” to the 100 something fans that came out on a beautiful sunny day (even while the Indianapolis Colts were playing in their home stadium a few miles away for a home game!) to support the authors, our stories and to celebrate this milestone with us. You are an amazing network of support. We are each grateful for you! 

Image Credit: Anthony Photography

Image Credit: Anthony Photography

Finally, my co-authors, 13 Remarkable Women from five different states, all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and ethnicities, ranging from educators to social workers, corporate executives to entrepreneurs. For many, this is their first book. I’m sure it will not be their last. The energy of kindness, support and sisterhood overflowed. I am honored to be in their company and to share the pages of Mentoring Moments with them. 

Image Credit: Anthony Photography

Image Credit: Anthony Photography

It was a great way to start the week. I believe that everyone has an inspiration to share. What’s your story?

 To find out more about Mentoring Moments: 14 Remarkable Women Share Breakthroughs to Success, visit https://www.EnhancedDNAPublishing.com/mentoringmoments or to purchase a signed copy from individual authors. Paperback and eBooks are also available on  Amazon.


Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. An expert in her field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her book series Mindful Minutes:  A Marketer’s Journey Through Business.  In addition, Sonya collaborated in publishing an anthology, Mentoring Moments:  14 Remarkable Women Share Their Breakthroughs to Success.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Trumbull, Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

 

Is there a gap in your customer’s experience?

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, Jarvis Consultants, LLC

It is always intriguing to me that when you ask most companies what differentiates them from their competitors they always say customer service. How many videos have you seen where the CEOs promote that delivering the best customer service is their most pressing pledge? They go on to tell everyone that they have the best team to deliver that brand promise.  

Truth be told, majority of businesses fall short on customer service. We truly get in our own way. In most cases, even for major brands, at best, the customer experience is inconsistent. Primarily, because your customer service is only as good as your customer facing people. We like to think that there is no gap in our image of who we say we are and what others experience when interacting with our brands.

The reality is that it just depends. We are only human and a lot of issues come into play when your people are dealing with customers. It can be the same brand; yet, customers can have totally different experiences. Here’s one of my recent experiences with a brand that I really enjoy.

I have a Starbucks app on my phone that I like to use when I go to Starbucks.  The app tracks my spending, purchases and visits.  Sometimes I will receive a survey from them asking about my recent experience at Starbucks located at XYZ.  It is interesting to compare notes on my responses. Unfortunately, while I appreciate the skills of a Barista, I do not need one.  The drink I order is not complicated.  It is as simple as you can get at Starbucks, Grande blonde roast aka a black cup of coffee.

As I stated before, it all depends. The one Starbucks generally gets higher marks because they seem happy, friendly and genuinely interested in serving what I want, however boring it may seem.    At a different Starbucks, they seem hurried (in a competent way) and disengaged with the customers. You got it, not very happy.

Your employee’s attitude shines through with each customer experience.

Some Starbucks seem to have green stoppers; and, others do not. I did find out that the franchise Starbucks are different from the corporate Starbucks; and, do not have the green stoppers; nor, do they honor the Starbucks phone app to use as a form of payment.  Honestly, it should not matter whether it is a franchisee or not, the brand’s integrity should always be intact.   

Your brand’s consistency or in this case inconsistency shines through with each customer experience.

I like the brand, so I have a tendency to give it the benefit of doubt through all of my experiences both good and not so good.  Yet, my recent experience got me to thinking about the tolerance of the unevenness of the brand.  When will all of these broken promises add up for me and start cracking my loyalty?  When will the customer service gap become unacceptable and I jump to the next brand?  I will not know until it happens and I suspect that is the case with each loyal customer.  As brand leaders you are called to make sure every store, every unit, every division, and every department employees feel supported.  If they feel supported and appreciated they most likely will consistently deliver on your brand promise because they are only human.

 Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. An expert in her field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her book series Mindful Minutes:  A Marketer’s Journey Through Business.  In addition, Sonya collaborated in publishing an anthology, Mentoring Moments:  14 Remarkable Women Share Their Breakthroughs to Success.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Trumbull, Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

“It’s not about the Customer”

Image Credit: Christopher Brown

Image Credit: Christopher Brown

Recently, I was speaking with a prospective customer who was explaining an objective. The statement used to describe the objective was “it’s not about the customer.” I was so stunned I literally wrote it down. There were no words. I did not agree or disagree. For once in my life I was speechless.

Later as I was thinking about the conversation, I began playing different scenarios. Taken out of context the statement that “it’s not about the customer” is beyond pale. Then again, taken in context the statement “it’s not about the customer” is beyond pale. It is my belief that the bottom line on this subject is that it’s always about the customer.

Do brands become so removed from their customers that they merely see them as representing revenue on a financial statement?

When I started out my career, I had the opportunity and privilege to work for a mid-size family owned independent media company.   At that period, it was being run by the second generation. The owner was emphatic that management and editors perform annual “field work”. We had to select a customer and then go visit them. It was a three day out of office experience. Once we returned, we had to write a report (think college papers) with what we learned from our “field work”. The owner read each one and made comments on the report. There were times when he would cite information from reports in meetings. It would impress all of us!  Also, office gossip had it that sub-par reports were returned; and, employees had to re-write and submit it back to him. The point here is that the owner took getting to know the customer seriously.  He invested in those priceless experiences to educate his employees about the customers. He invested in our career growth through those experiences. He was willing to give up productivity with employees being out of the office (for three days) because he felt strongly that it would pay off in the end.

The field work that I did at that company taught me that you have to invest time and money to visit the customer. With every customer visit there were goals and objectives. It was not a get together or a boondoggle (as we would call it back in the day) but, a purposeful visit to understand the company’s customers. I learned a lot from those visits.  Here’s some universal lessons I learned from the customer’s perspective:

  • They appreciate that you took the trip to come in visit them in their headquarters.  That means that you cared enough to come and see their contribution to the world.  Think about it when that friend or relative gets on a plane and comes to visit.  You’re happy that they’ve come to your home.  This is the same experience that many feel when visited at their flagship stores and/or corporate headquarters.

  • They introduce us to their employees and colleagues.  You are able to meet the team behind the success.  Otherwise, you are relegated to meeting one or two executives who represent the company at industry events.  Think about it, when you’re able to introduce associates to your family and close friends.  It’s a sense of pride and those people get a glimpse of those you love and who you choose to be surrounded by.

  • They showcase the company’s accomplishments and are able to share with you their achievements.  It’s a feeling of delight.  Think about it when you share with others your achievements or your child’s accomplishments; it gives you a sense of pure joy.

In each of the above lessons learned, it’s always about the customer.  When you make it about the customer it is transparent and they really appreciate your product and/or services.  When that happens it truly brings you a feeling of delighting the customer!

 Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. An expert in her field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her book series Mindful Minutes:  A Marketer’s Journey Through Business.  In addition, Sonya collaborated in publishing an anthology, Mentoring Moments:  14 Remarkable Women Share Their Breakthroughs to Success.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Trumbull, Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

My In-N-Out Burger experience

Image Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Image Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Have you ever heard the saying, “keep it simple”?  Well, my family and I were vacationing recently in Southern California and on our vacation to do list was to eat at the famous In-N-Out Burger. There are many fans and followers of this burger experience.  I have passed many In-N-Out Burger restaurants along the travel route of my career but never took the plunge and tried it. Our daughter wanted to experience it and we were game too. 

 We went to the In-N-Out Burger in Huntington Beach, California.  It’s right off of Beach Ave which is a busy strip. We pulled in, easy parking and it was a super clean welcoming experience to the restaurant. We looked at the menu board and were surprised to see limited options. We were underwhelmed. Is this all they have to offer? A lady came up and picked up her order and there were some awesome looking fries. I asked what they were and she replied the animal fries. Well, we didn’t see animal fries listed on the menu board but thank goodness I asked. They are delicious!  We loved them. In addition, everything is fresh and not frozen. We ate outside.  As we were leaving, I counted the number of cars going through drive thru. It was really busy (and it was past lunch hour).  There were twenty plus cars winding their way through drive thru.   This is definitely a “thing” that people love!

Credit Image: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Credit Image: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

I googled In-N-Out Burger. There are more than 300 restaurants primarily out west. It was started in 1948; so, they have been around for a long time!

 Here is our experience that they got right with us:

  • While it is fast food, it is fresh ingredients. (You do not feel bad eating it because it is not processed food). 

  •  It is a simple menu without tons of options. (They concentrate on what they do well). 

  •  It is super clean and no frills. (The price is right). 

Credit Image: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Credit Image: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

 They are obviously grounded in faith but they do not throw it in your face. (It’s a nice surprise to find a biblical verse on the bottom of the french fry container)

Credit Image: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Credit Image: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

We bought all of the signature items animal french fries, cheeseburger and a vanilla shake. All of them were good! 

 There are countless examples (in my life) where I have made very simple marketing options complicated. When I experienced In-N-Out Burger it reminded me to keep it simple and your customers will come. 

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her book series:  Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business which is now available to purchase on AMAZON.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.

 

Guest Blogger, Denola Burton: What was the inspiration for "Mentoring Moments" - The Book?

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Early in my career as an HR professional, I sat down with my supervisor to discuss my “career development.” I had recently made the decision to transition from a scientific career to a Human Resources career, and we both knew that I had a lot to learn in order to excel in the HR field. 

As we established my annual career goals, one goal was to obtain a mentor — someone who was experienced in HR and could be a counselor and trusted advisor. We began to discuss different people who might be a good fit and came up with several options. The next step was for me to determine exactly what I wanted to gain from a mentor/mentee relationship and to have a conversation with each candidate to determine whether one (or more) would be willing to serve in that capacity.

In preparation for those conversations, I first needed to be sure that I understood what a mentor really was and could provide. From my perspective, here were the key considerations I had when considering someone as a mentor: 

M — Motivation: Mentors are motivators. They should be readily available and provide positive encouragement to help mentees pursue their passions and goals.

E — Excellence: Mentors should exhibit excellence and should urge their mentees to do their absolute best in everything they do.

N — Networking: Mentors should help mentees establish a strong network and, if possible, introduce them to influential people and to new networking opportunities.

T — Time: Time together is important, and mentors should be willing to invest their time and establish a nurturing relationship. They should be willing to have regular meetings to establish a strong support system.

O — Openness: Openness and trust between the mentor and mentee are critical, and if they are established early, the mentor/mentee relationship will thrive.

R — Respect: Mutual respect ties into trust, and once a mentor relationship has been established, mutual respect will hold that relationship together. 

I never established a permanent relationship with someone that I called my mentor and as I helped so many with career guidance as an HR professional, the idea for this book came as I reflected on my career and pondered whether I had missed out on something. I did have many people that I called on for specific guidance, for discussions about my career and personal life and I established relationships that I felt were mutually beneficial.  Were they mentors - YES!  Whether formal or not, these relationships served a purpose and made a difference in my career.   

As managing editor of Mentoring Moments, I reflected on my career and the role that these informal mentors played in my life. I also wanted to provide a tool for women contemplating the direction in which they wanted their career to go, for example, women in the workplace who were trying to decide whether they wanted to enter (or leave) corporate America, mid-career hires with little or no direction, and entrepreneurs who were ready to break out on their own. I wanted them to realize that if they had direction and support, that they did not have to feel as though they were doing it alone, and that if others could succeed, so could they. 

In this book, 14 remarkable women share their challenges and ultimate successes in their lives and in their careers. My hope is that each reader will be able to identify with these 14 remarkable women and their stories and see them as a mentor, as women who can help provide guidance to think through some UNexpected life situations or decisions that need to be made.  My hope is that they will see these 14 remarkable women as women who have “been there,” who made it through, and who continue to succeed.  

At the end of each chapter, there are “Mentoring Moments” that can be used as a tool to work toward future successes.  Each chapter ends by asking five key questions for someone to ask themselves and identify how to move through to success.  No, this book is not a replacement for a mentor, but it can surely be a tool that can help someone to find the right questions to ask themselves and provide answers and work through with their own mentor. 

Stay tuned - Mentoring Moments:  14 Remarkable Women Share Breakthroughs to Success is coming soon!


Denola Burton, Founder & CEO, Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve

Denola Burton, Founder & CEO, Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve

Denola M. Burton is the Founder and CEO of Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC. Denola has a B.S. and M.S. in Biology, is a natural nurturer and after transitioning to a Human resources career, brings over 20 years of HR experience and expertise to challenge everyone to grow and develop wherever they are in their life or careers. Through Enhanced DNA, Denola’s goal is to develop and nurture individuals and organizations so they can achieve their Leadership, Communication and Performance objectives.  Denola is the author of three books, all published by the Enhanced DNA Publishing Division of her company. She has been married over 26 years and she and her husband have two daughters.  You can follow Denola on all social media @EnhancedDNA or through her website:  www.DevelopNurtureAchieve.com.

 


What does the word VALUE mean to you?

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If you follow me then you know that I am currently reading the book KNOW YOUR VALUE by Mika Brzezinski. It is based on the fact that women have a tendency to under-realize their value and approach aspects of their lives underestimating their contribution, expertise, etc; and, not receiving the full reward of their contribution.  The author is realistic in the stories told by different women’s perspectives with real life, honest and sometimes embarrassing examples. It is a good read and I am enjoying it. As a woman in the business world I can definitely relate to some of the stories. It is always interesting to me that while life’s experiences are unique there is always a theme that emerges within any group that resonates and is relevant.  We can all continue to learn from one another.

While valuing a person’s contribution is important.  One has to also be able to stand up and quantify your own value.  The author really got me thinking about the word “value”. From a small business perspective customers and prospects use that word a lot; and, rarely a day goes by when someone does not say over the phone or in an email to me:

  • What is the value?

  • I am not sure of the value?

  • What type of value am I receiving?

Value can be a very emotional word. It can also take its own form and can be subjective in nature when quantified.  I would argue that it is more of a feeling than a tangible transaction or receipt when you are marketing and/or selling a product or service. Primarily, because there are no 100% guarantees. Most likely, if I am selling something I believe it to be of value.  Yet, I have to persuade you that there is value. Whether it is a product, service or a talent/personality the value has to be translated through the eyes of the buyer.

When selling VALUE here are 5 elements that I always keep in mind.

1. It has to be Very important and you have to elevate the significance of what you are selling in the mind of the buyer.  

2. There has to be a clear Advantage; and, you have to show its differentiation.

3. Can you List and itemize the benefits to make it quantifiable and show the ROI?

4. Is it effective and can you show its Usefulness?  

5. Is there an Evaluation element to measure the outcome?


Using all of the above as a guide or a reference point helps me to see the proposition I’m offering from the buyer’s perspective.  When it is from the seller perspective there is a tendency to let the closeness or the attachment of what you’re marketing/selling get in the way; and, the seller thinks of it as “priceless”.  When that happens the buyer will never see the value. 

So, don’t under-realize the value of what you are selling whether it is a product, service, or talent/personality but pitch it through the eyes of your prospective buyer; and, good luck!

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her book series:  Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business: is now available to purchase on AMAZON.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.


Where’s my Hardware Store?

Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

If you follow me on social media then you know that my family has had the opportunity these past several months to drive through small towns all over the great state of Connecticut. It has been our pleasure to see Connecticut this way; and almost always there is a town hardware store.  It seemingly never failed that in most cases they are not tucked away; rather, they are front and center in the heart of every town on Main Street. Makes sense, right?  It especially makes sense because independent family run hardware stores are the cornerstone of our towns across the country. They are our neighbors and friends to the community they serve. And, I bet they have been entrenched in their communities running their businesses for multiple generations.

 The fact that they are in the heart of their towns (I would guess) is reflective of their long standing commitment to the communities they service.   Here are some other notables that I would like to share that we saw.  Generally speaking, the hardware stores:

  • Family name was proudly displayed.

  • Physically looked different showcasing their independence regardless if they flew the same co-op flag or not;

  • Showcased add on businesses like Plumbing or Rental to complement the hardware store.


Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

Credit: Jarvis Consultants, LLC

The interesting aspect in the age of franchising or corporate retailers opening a store on every corner, is that it is clear that independent brick & mortar hardware stores are unique.  For example, it is highly unlikely that you will find another hardware store on the next corner.  There wasn’t a big box store to be seen. I’m sure they were near you just couldn’t see them because they are never in the “heart” of the town.

 In a lot of cases there were other businesses in the same town with the same family name. These types of independent retailers are known to give back to the community; whether, it is supporting a cause or a little league sports team.  Did you know that when you support an independent retailer that for every $100 dollars spent locally with independent businesses that $48 gets reinvested back into the local community?  While, the opposite is true when you spend that same $100 at chain stores, a mere $14 gets reinvested back into the community.  You can read more information on why shopping small gives back to the community on one of my previous blogs Do You Shop Small?

 I do make it a point to shop small.I started thinking how lucky these communities are that have their very own hardware store.And, I started getting a little jealous.I live in a relatively small town of 30,000 people in Connecticut.Several years ago, we had a local dealer (that has multiple locations) open a store in our town that focuses on paint.They primarily service the contractors.Now granted, we can drive to ANY next town for a hardware store visit.That’s right all of the towns around us have their very own independent hardware store. So, where’s my Hardware Store?  Independent hardware stores know that you are always welcome on Main Street in the heart of our town.

 

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her book series:  Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business: is now available to purchase on AMAZON.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.

I got basketball on my mind...

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Two things happened last week that were connected for me. 

First my daughter finished up her AAU basketball season and the NBA Draft took place. This is our daughter’s second season playing in this league which consist of travel to tournaments each weekend where two games are played each day. To her dismay (later she will appreciate it) it is a family affair. No really, we enjoy it, we are invested in it and we plan our schedule around her game tip-offs. We drive her to the games and this year they all took place within the state of Connecticut. 

Second, the NBA Draft took place; and as a basketball Mom watching the draft it was really moving. A large number of the draftees were overcome with emotion. It appeared to be raw, honest and an unscripted pouring out of gratefulness for their life journey that got them to their NBA Draft moment.  Each young man whether their parents were alive or not credited that moment to their Mom or their Dad or both. While the players sacrificed with time, effort and pain it was fitting that they recognized the sacrifices that their families made for them too.

 Life happens one play at a time and sometimes there is not always a goal in mind. In some instances I would insert the word desire for goal. We do things that are hard and we keep doing them because we want to get better, we want to compete at the highest level but most importantly we have the tendency to work hard for or on something because we love it, we enjoy it and yes we recognize that we are good at it. 

We support our daughter’s basketball desire because she loves it. It is that simple.  The plus is we truly enjoy watching her play. We have no illusions of WNBA but the character that sports helps to build is priceless.  It teaches her to work hard, to play hard, to work together as a team; and, ultimately to be selfless.  I remember watching a documentary about the great Pat Summit. She was the women’s head basketball coach for the University of Tennessee.  She told her players that you don’t have time to feel bad about yourself because you should be so concerned about your teammate. So true and all of these sports lessons can be applied to other areas of our lives. 

 Life happens and we participate in a lot of activities but by the grace of God we all hope to experience a moment in time where the hard work and sacrifices all come together; and, we are overcome with emotion and the gratefulness overflows. 

 

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her book series:  Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business: is now available to purchase on AMAZON.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.

My Top 3 Symptoms of Spring Fever 

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While spring began officially some ten weeks ago, the weather is finally breaking here in the Northeast.  So spring fever, while late, is hitting a lot of us; and, those tulips cannot bloom soon enough. After a long winter and a soggy spring we cannot wait to take off our coats and feel the warm sunshine. 

 A client asked me what I did for the Memorial Day holiday and I told him we were finally able to get the deck painted and put out the outdoor furniture. He felt that sounded too much like work and proceeded to tell me that he went fishing. 

For me, the spring season more than any signals new beginnings particularly with house and lawn projects.   Consumer research shows that we delay our spring DIY projects due to bad weather.  Yet, when it is good weather we run out to our local hardware store or big box to start on those spring DIY projects.  It is a domino effect.  Good weather gives us energy, it gives us hope but most importantly it inspires us to do something (with the house and lawn); and, to take the time, invest the money to get those projects completed. 

 It’s a time of renewal when we start working on our spring DIY projects. Here’s my top three symptoms (categories) of spring fever when it hits my household:

 #1. Lawn & Garden. We (My husband and I) walk the property to see what shrubs survived. What do we need to replace or even nurse back to health, if possible?  It was nice to see that we only lost one shrub this past winter. 

 #2. Outdoor Living.  Flowers, flowers and more flowers to spruce up the outdoor space. And, what about the cushions, umbrellas and decorative items?  Are they in good condition for another season or do they need replaced?  And, we can’t forget to give a little tender love and care to the mailbox that has been abused all winter by the snow plow trucks. 

 #3. Storage & Organization. It is time to put away winter “stuff” and pull out spring “stuff”.  Are my storage bins up for the job? Oh yeah, and what about my laundry room organization products?  Summer time means picnics.  Do we have storage containers to take food to outdoor parties or to the beach?

Once the review and evaluation process is done in each category we start tackling the projects where needed. It always feels good to feel the sunshine and the sweat of work. We try and DIY as much as possible. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes the results are a big dud.  The important point for us it that we tried; and, it is ours to make the mistakes and learn how to fix them. 

So, while our spring fever kicked in a little late, we are glad it came and we are enjoying every symptom.  Hope you are enjoying your spring too!

 

 Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her upcoming book series:  Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business: is now available to purchase on AMAZON.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.

Keep Moving Forward

Mindful Minutes: A Marketer’s Journey Through Business by Sonya Ruff Jarvis NOW available on AMAZON.

Mindful Minutes: A Marketer’s Journey Through Business by Sonya Ruff Jarvis NOW available on AMAZON.

Perseverance is defined by Webster as persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  To be persistent is to be tenacious, determined, resolved to have the emotional grit to stay the course no matter the difficulty, the set-back, the disappointment. 

How many of us have that type of fight?  Better yet, at what point does the fight not seem worth it anymore?  When do we hit our threshold and resign ourselves to giving up and quitting?  The bottom line is everyone is different. 

As a mother of a young daughter I try to teach moments of persistence in a variety of everyday lessons. Keep shooting and you will score; study hard and you will get a good grade; encouraging my daughter that being persistent in whatever you do will yield results; and, that she will persevere. Persistence also means being patient.  If what we are trying to accomplish was easy we wouldn’t need to be persistent.  As Oprah says “we must keep moving forward.”  

To be persistent means that we have a vision that drives us to achieve that goal.  A powerful thought that calls for action to back it up. It’s hard to be persistent, life gets in the way and things become overwhelmingly hard. 

If we as women are honest we can feel as if it is super harder for us to achieve. The beauty is that perseverance as a character doesn’t discriminate; so, there are no excuses whether the obstacles are real or perceived. 

Perseverance will help propel us forward. 

The playing field isn’t even but one characteristic that helps to at least make it competitive is persistence. We need to bring it with us wherever we go whether it is to a sell, to the board room, to that idea/product/business.  Persistence helps to make things a little more equitable for us ladies. We have a tendency to work more determined, harder and smarter (that’s my opinion anyway). 

 A recent research study showed when comparing women run CEO companies to men run CEO companies, the companies ran by women outperformed the men. There are real numbers to back up these facts. Check out the Nordea study.

 Surprised?  Don’t be! 

To be persistent we have to possess will power, flexibility, strength of character, determination and a desire to succeed.  

 Tonight I will be celebrating a result from being persistent and persevering with my first book signing event. Mindful Minutes: A Marketer’s Journey Through Business has been published! It is the first in a series of books that I can now claim authorship.  It’s no coincidence that today my daughter’s bible verse quiz is on James 1:2-4“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, [a]whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

So next time you think you have had enough. Stop, pause and push the forward button because as Oprah says we must keep moving forward. 


Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries.  An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her upcoming book series:  Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business: is now available on AMAZON

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

Please join me on this journey...

I fell in love with marketing. It just seems a part of me. I enjoy it and it makes me feel good to contribute to something that is inevitably always bigger than me; that is sustainable, that can create historical moments and can even live through generations. (Think about an ad, sign, commercial, event that has withstood the test of time). 

My journey through marketing has gotten me to this very minute. A compilation of moments that I have been mindful in and have turned into lessons learned. Lessons that will undoubtedly be put to the test as I continue on my path. 

Mindful Minutes: A Marketer’s Journey Through Business is my debut book in a series. My desire in publishing this series is to remind everyone (including me) that there are lessons in everyday encounters, as long as we are mindful and present in that moment.  It is adapted from Sonya’s Blog, Breaking the Code of Excellence.

The first book in this series will take a look at how we all strive for excellence. We (sometimes) fall short, get back- up and achieve one moment at a time. One way I have done this is by being present in the moment and learning from every day “marketing” encounters; then, applying those experiences as lessons learned as I walk along my professional path. 

Please join me on this journey where…

I give light to my life’s passion.

My desire is that you are doing the same. 

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, a life-long marketer, has been a corporate executive, bible study teacher, organizer of events with tens of thousands attendees and now a successful small business owner. And through all of this, Sonya has run the New York City Marathon, survived breast cancer and created an innovative business-to-business customer relationship model. She and her husband live in Connecticut with their daughter who is a fierce basketball player and their Havanese dog, Sadie, who completes their family. 

Her book, Mindful Minutes: A Marketer's Journey Through Business, is the debut of a series of books on business, branding and event marketing. Additional information and Sonya’s Blog can be found on www.jarvisconsultants.com. Please follow Sonya’s author page.

Guest Blogger, Patrick Foster: Why Store Service Isn’t Only For Your Bricks And Mortar Hardware Store

Image credit:    PublicDomainPictures

Image credit: PublicDomainPictures

Being a standout retailer in the digital age is a daunting challenge, because internet retail and broadened supply networks have ensured that many store experiences feel very similar. Inside a physical hardware store, you at least have the chance to set yourself apart through providing incredible customer service. What about on your website?

After all, you can’t send forth a support assistant on a website, and utility demands that every website have roughly the same structure. But you can still provide great store service on a website. In fact, it’s more important that you do so — and here’s why:

It’s hard to keep online visitors around

When you walk into a physical hardware store, it’s inconvenient to walk out right away. This makes you inclined to stick around for a few minutes at least to see if there’s something worth your time. When you visit a website, though, you can leave immediately.

Consequently, no matter how difficult it is, you simply must try to provide support through your website. Whether through online orders or store collections, there’s a lot of revenue riding on it — especially since online buying is only going to get bigger as time goes by.

The industry standard isn’t too intimidating

Big retail brands have mastered in-store support schemes, and invest heavily in improvements. Home Depot, for instance, continues to run big-picture internship programs with an eye on new technologies — and since big brands invariably have much more substantial premises, it’s tough to excel as a smaller hardware store in a competitive area.

Online, though, the low bar to entry means that the standard of support is much lower. Plenty of DIY sites are stocked with the imports and flipped on storefront marketplaces for quick profit — the owners don’t always care about creating lasting customer relationships.

This means that even a modest effort to assist people can earn you some loyalty — attention to detail and burgeoning brand equity can help you create long-standing customer relationships. Starting off in ecommerce for the first time means investing in your brand value proposition to help you stand out from the crowd.

Think about how you can embrace a multichannel customer service approach from day one for your new store, making the most of support channels like chatbot, emails, and social media. Other new online businesses can provide valuable data on the current state of ecommerce customer experience — a cursory glance will show that investing in a few core channels, rather than spreading yourself too thin, pays off.

Good online store service is easier than you think

You can’t rely on classic store service methods online but doesn’t mean that it’s harder to support someone through a website. In some ways, it’s actually easier. Here’s how to do it:

 l  Be easy to find. It’s no use having a great website if people can’t find it, so make sure you’ve covered SEO (including local SEO for people near your physical store).

Provide an FAQ section. Your website visitors will have certain popular queries, so include a section to answer them as expediently as possible.

Implement live chat. If someone needs help — perhaps they’re trying to find a particular item — then your team can provide it through live chat.

Be active on social media. Shoppers use different channels to express frustration, so don’t stick to your website. Monitor your brand everywhere and step in when needed.

 Use these tips to offer great support online, and start reaping the benefits.

 

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 Ecommerce Tips is an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. Start growing your business today and check out the latest on Twitter @myecommercetips.

Follow Sonya Ruff Jarvis, Jarvis Consultants, LLC on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit

Please follow the new eRetailer Summit showcase page on LinkedIn here. 

 

 

 

 

 

Are your prospects hiding?

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Throughout my career, I have encountered business professionals who purposefully hide their identity for one reason or another. It might be that they work for a big brand or they have a big title. But I have to admit, even I hide every once in awhile. Sometimes you want to be anonymous for one reason or another. So, let’s examine if your business prospects are hiding?  Here are, in my opinion, 5 points that can help you identify if your prospects are hiding from you.

 

1.      Do they walk a tradeshow floor or an event with their registration badge flipped over so no one can see it?

 

2.      Is their phone number missing on their email signature line?

 

3.      Did they purposefully neglect uploading a photo on their LinkedIn profile?

 

4.      Do they make it a point to never and I mean never have business cards to give when asked?

 

5.      Are they vague when questioned about what they do (even though they most likely are the decision maker)?

 

So, now that you can think of someone or a situation that fits the bill of the above business hiding aspects; what do you do?  Here are, in my opinion, 5 ideas to help reveal the hider and start building a long term sustainable business relationship with them. 

 1.      Be Empathetic – they are hiding because they have been burned or stalked before by an overzealous business pursuer. 

2.      Be Honest – let them know that you really do want to understand their business needs and that you will protect and use their contact information with integrity.

3.      Be Fair – let them know why you are interested in meeting and staying in contact with them.  But, make it about them and not you.

4.      Be Courteous - ask first, (if they don’t have a business card to share) up-front while in person if they are on LinkedIn; and, if so may you reach out and connect with them?  This way they don’t feel ambushed when you invite them to connect later.

5.      Be Gracious– always and I mean always thank them for their time.  No one wants to be taken for granted.

So, if you think a prospect is hiding from you do not get discouraged!  There are ways that you can start building a business relationship that is mutually beneficial as long as you are not the one hiding…

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries.  An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.  Sonya shares her experiences in her upcoming book series:  Mindful Minutes, A Marketer’s Journey through Business:  Book 1 will be available in April, 2019.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

 

 

My Top 5 Similarities between Retail + Casino floors

I confess that I love walking retail and casino floors.

I confess that I love walking retail and casino floors.

Many of you already know this about me, but for others I confess that I love walking retail and casino floors. I spent a number of years in the gaming industry and most of my career in the retail industry.  Retail stores and gaming floors are alike, in my opinion.  There are a number of comparisons.  Both floors are strategically designed to allow consumers to see what’s new; experience the merchandising strategy and layout; signage and overall promotions. There are also similarities when it comes to marketing and promotions to drive in-store/in-casino traffic.  (I’ll address that concept in a different blog).  When strategically developing retail store or casino floors some of the same objectives, objections, ideas, and tactics hold true. 

 Yes. Really. 

 Here’s my top 5 similarities that I believe exist between store and casino floors.  

 #1 Shopping.  When we go shopping we always have to walk through the floor/aisles to get to the good stuff.  Floor lay-out is important in attracting the shopper or player to walk through areas that normally they wouldn’t.  Meanwhile along that walk there are a lot of bells and whistles to attract you to spend more money than intended.  The most sought after products and/or games are always worth the walk. 

 #2 Destinations. Destination is defined as “being a place that people will make a special trip to visit”.  It’s an easy explanation and it definitely fits the bill for both retail stores and casinos. 

 #3 Merchandising.  Merchandising is evident when you walk down any shopping or casino aisle with promotions pulling us like magnets to buy or play; whether, it’s a slot machine randomly screaming out; or, a great display that catches our eye drawing us in to check it out. 

 #4 Rewards.  Creating loyalty rewards programs recognizing and quite frankly identifying your best customers is important.  Casinos have always led this phenomenon with identifying and developing programs for their best customers “high rollers” and now giving access to gamers at all levels with some type of rewards play card.  Both casinos and retailers have robust loyalty reward plans because they are “must programs” for these high transaction types of businesses.

 #5 Entertainment.  Shopping is fun for many as well as a necessity; and, gaming is considered by many a fun past time.  Some casinos are even investing in targeting families to visit.

 So, in my opinion as a retail and gaming nerd there are more similarities than differences when walking the floors; and, each could learn from the other. 

 So next time you’re walking a retail or casino floor see if your experience can relate to the similarities I shared. And, oh yeah I can never pass up a Wheel of Fortune slot machine screaming out to me.  So, the promotions work even for a nerd like me!

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

Please follow the eRetailer Summit showcase page on LinkedIn her

Isn’t Civil Rights, Human Rights?

My father circa 1960s.

My father circa 1960s.

I rarely use this space to voice political issues but I feel compelled to on the topic of Civil Rights; especially, on this last day of Black History Month. Black leaders and Black History Month are synonymous with Civil Rights as they should but certainly Civil Rights shouldn’t be relegated to the month of February. Or, exclusively to the fight of Black leaders.

Civil Rights and the continued struggle for equality for ALL people is an everyday occurrence. Yet, it never seems more evident than in February that we are overwhelmed with teaching moments for our “tween” daughter. It’s exhausting to explain away why she as a brown skinned little girl has to carry the mantle in being “honored” (singled out because of the color of her skin) to be lined up with the other African-American children in a class to read a poem in recognition of Black History Month.

Honoring Civil Rights Leaders is an honor for all of us regardless of our skin color even during Black History month.  

 The poem should be a privilege for all to read. 

 Many of us are a product of institutional biases. We don’t even know that we carry these prejudices forward and exhibit it daily with what we say and do. We all do it but we have to recognize this and just stop. 

All of us should carry this struggle of creating a country that is based on the reality that there is equality regardless of fill in the blank. 

 Isn’t Civil Rights, Human Rights?  My answer is yes. What’s yours?

  

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

Please follow the eRetailer Summit showcase page on LinkedIn here.

 

What took so long to revive, Toys ‘R’ Us?

(Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

(Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

I don’t know about you but I’m thrilled that former executives from the now defunct Toys ‘R’ Us are staging a come-back.  My only question is what took so long? 

Take as recent as this past weekend, I was on a mission to find a Disney Princess Tiana dress XL (that a tween could squeeze into), long white gloves, and a Princess Tiana crown. And, yes Princess Tiana has her own crown.

It was a time crunch (as always).  I needed it by Monday.

All of these stores that have been vying for the “toy” business; and, every article I have read since the closing of Toys ‘R’ Us brags that the big guys Walmart, Amazon, etc. are slurping up the market share.  Well, I looked on AMAZON Prime $199 for a small adult dress – not happening.  Went to two different area Walmart stores to look for long white gloves and any crown at that point.  Neither store had them because I asked.  A sales associate informed me that they carry more of that type of merchandise around Halloween.  Okay, I get it.  It’s not Halloween.

I went to six different retail stores.

Couldn’t find any of the real stuff that I wanted except JC Penney’s had an entire merchandising area for Disney Princesses.  Exactly what I was looking for … just for toddlers.

The closest for my tween was the combination of Party City and Target.

I had to go from store to store and piece it all together which was beyond exhausting.  I complained loudly to my husband that this wouldn’t be a problem if Toys ‘R’ Us was still around.  What happened to it anyway?  That was a rhetorical question only.  Okay, I know the answer. 

So, I was thrilled when I read Toys R Us plots 2nd act with new look, new name.  Bring it on Richard Barry!  Here were some of my favorite things about Toys ‘R’ Us, it was always:

  • Halloween

  • Christmas

  • Birthdays

It wasn’t a seasonal toy store.  You could find any kind of toy and accessory regardless of the season (I mean maybe not a water sprinkler or baby pool) but you know what I’m talking about…

We love the brand, we love the company and I love the toy industry,” said Barry, CEO of Tru Kids Brands, a company formed earlier this year that owns the trademarks, brand and other assets of Toys R Us and sister store Babies R Us.

— Sarah Min, 2/12/2019, MoneyWatch

There is a void that Toys ‘R’ Us left in the marketplace that can’t be completely filled by the giant retail leaders or independent toy stores year-round.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one experiencing it; and, that’s why it makes perfect sense to me that Tru Kids Brands revival of Toys ‘R’ Us is already a winner.

So, while the name will be different it appears that it will be run by those who loved and respected the Toys ‘R’ Us brand.  When the Toys ‘R’ Us specialty retailer closed its founder Charles Lazerus died within days.  Toyrs 'R' Us founder Charles P. Lazerus dies after the chain says it's closing.  While I didn’t know Mr. Lazerus, I bet he’s asking the same question.  What took so long?

 

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

Please follow the eRetailer Summit showcase page on LinkedIn here.

 


Jump In!

You have to take that leap of faith. Jump all in!

You have to take that leap of faith. Jump all in!

Most of our lives (both personal and professional) we are always waiting for the right time. 

Whether it is waiting for the right time to get married; or, the right time to change jobs; or, you can fill in the blank for the right time you have waited for in your life. 

When is it the right time to follow your dream?  When is the right time to leave the corporate job or the 9 to 5 and to jump all in?  I was recently asked that question. When did you know it was the right time to leave your job and start your own business?

 There is never (in my opinion) a perfect time. And, if you wait for one your opportunity will pass. 

You have to take that leap of faith. Jump all in!  You have to believe not to at least try would end up being one of your life’s biggest regrets. That thought was a motivator for me to jump all in. You have to try and if for some reason it doesn’t work out then you at least tried. There is a Japanese proverb that goes something like “fall seven times and stand up eight”. Yep, that sums it all up. 

 There is a difference (in my perspective) between waiting for the right time and timing. The right time never comes but timing comes based on a will of circumstances whether you are ready or not; and, you usually aren’t!  You did nothing to set it up. It was not planned. Something happens. The window of opportunity opens and you either jump in or not. 

I jumped.

I took the leap of faith like so many other entrepreneurs before me; and, I certainly was not ready but I was not willing to regret letting the timing of my circumstances pass me by. 

  •  It’s hard work. 

  •  It never ends. 

  •  I own it.  Yes, it’s mine.😊

  •  I love it.  

 If owning a business is one of your dreams. 

 Don’t wait for the right time. It may never come…

Be able to recognize what you will miss, what you will regret if you don’t do it. If timing opens up a chance and you are not ready - which most likely you will not be - 

Follow your dream. 

 Jump in!

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

Please follow the eRetailer Summit showcase page on LinkedIn here.

 

PRIME©… and I’m not talking Amazon…

In this digital world, direct mail still matters.  You might disagree but it is always nice to receive a piece of mail that is not a bill; and, in so many ways our daily USPS box probably is not as cluttered (and overwhelming) as our inbox.  A recent LifeWire article post shows that the average business person receives 121 emails a day which is a lot of emails to filter.

Regardless of what format the message is sent, we have conditioned ourselves to quickly scan what to keep and what to trash.   Many of us have it down to a science.  Whether it is a circular received in the mailbox or an email message. When it comes to deciding what to spend our time on opening whether it is with a click or a tear it has to be relevant!  We make decisions on what to read in seconds to decide if it is worth our time and effort. Research shows that consumers have on average an 8 second attention span.  Hard to believe but it’s really true.  Microsoft did a study that showed that goldfish have a longer attention span than humans.  They beat us by one second!

While many question the results of that study; and, many articles and blogs have been written to debunk the research we all have to agree that the premise has validity.  In this day in age there is something to be said about the barrage of content, messages and advertising that we are bombarded with on a daily basis.  An integrated marketing approach is always best in reaching our target audience whether it is digital or direct, here are some fundamental questions to ask to yield the highest ROI in marketing regardless of the format.  I created a formula called PRIME© and I’m not talking Amazon. Each component of PRIME© needs to work together to optimize the success of the marketing message.

 Personal – Does the person receiving the messaging feel that it is personally meant for him/her?

 Relevant – Is it important enough for them to spend time reading/watching it?

 Informal – Is it easy enough for them to quickly assess the offer and what they need to do?

 Measurable – What are you doing to track the usage/engagement?

 Employ – What tactics are you using to follow-up when the inaction and/or action is complete?

We received the below direct mail piece at our house before Thanksgiving.  Here are PRIME© check points for thoughts to consider using this card as an example.

Blogphoto1Jan162019.jpg

 It is:

PERSONAL.  We had recently shopped there and they thanked us for being a customer; and, it tied into the Thanksgiving season since it came early November. 

RELEVANT.  Although, we would have rather received a coupon during the spring time when we have a lot of home and lawn projects; but, understandably many consumers are getting their home ready to host the Thanksgiving holiday.  So, it passes the relevancy caveat.

 INFORMAL.  We could quickly scan and get the gist of the offer and what we needed to do. 

 MEASURABLE.  They included a $10 coupon. We either use it or not. 

 Not ENGAGING.  It would have been great to receive at least two emails from this company:  1). Letting me know that I should have received a card; 2). Reminding me about the coupon expiration date. 


BlogphotoJan162019.jpg

So, whether you decide to go digital, direct or both consider using the PRIME© model to see if your messaging hits the mark.

  

Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. An expert in the field, Sonya has been published in numerous retail industry b-to-b publications.

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

Please follow the eRetailer Summit showcase page on LinkedIn here.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

The beginning of the year always starts the annual trade show schedule.   If you are anything like me, while you have the shows on your calendar they always seem to sneak up; and, are here before you know it. To keep with my New Year’s resolution to do more up-front planning and to be as prepared as possible I put together my list of the top things to do when working trade shows and broke it down before, during and after the event. 

 

 Before the trade show

  • Do your homework, yes that means make the time to spend on the trade show’s website to help you prepare to optimize your time out of the office.  This will help you stretch your travel and investment dollars to get the most out of your bucks. Simply put, have a purpose.

  • Develop and write 1-2 goals you want to achieve and make it specific (i.e. meet the VP of Sales from XYZ Company; get an understanding of who’s making the decisions at a newly re-structured company). 

  •  Set up relevant meetings before-hand specifically with companies on the fence or that you have spoken with for a while and there is no movement forward. Don’t wait until you get to the trade show. 

  • If the trade show is held in a prospect or customer HQ city, make an appointment to stop by their office and visit (after the show) but plan for it during you pre-show preparation.

 During the trade show 

  •  Are you walking the show floor?  The same logic kicks in. Map out your route. Make the floor work in your favor. This will help you see the most amount of companies possible in a limited amount of time. 

  •  Don’t get sidetracked. It’s easy to run into an old co-worker or a partner. Spend some time to get caught up but don’t get sidetracked because time flies by fast; and, the next thing you know you are behind schedule and there is no making up time at a trade show; so, make sure you allow time for these impromptu catch-ups. 

  •  Block out time on your calendar to talk to people you don’t know because you never know where a conversation can lead. Also, when attending large trade events that means there is opportunity to meet people in the elevators or taxi lines. You get my point. Don’t be shy strike up a conversation. 

  •  Always break bread with a customer or prospect. Be sure to have every meal hour full with appointments; and that means a drink before dinner. Spending uninterrupted time with a prospect or customer is a great way to REALLY get to know them.

 After the trade show 

 Believe it or not, all leads generated at trade shows do not get follow-up post show for various reasons.  Some of those reasons are valid.  Just by following up on your leads you will outpace your competition.  Here are some specific ideas. 

  • Quick email asking for a brief follow-up call. 

  • Connect with them on Social Media that means an invitation to LinkedIn, following them on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

  • Did you promise to send someone a bit of information or to make an e-introduction? Then do it!

  • But, most importantly when you get back in the office do all of your follow-up or time will slip by and you will be too embarrassed to follow-up. I learned that lesson the hard way. 

Good luck on your preparation for each show; enjoy the time at the trade event and make sure you get the most out of it.  Happy New Year!

 Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and the Founder of the eRetailer Summit and JC Event Group. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. 

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.  

Please follow the eRetailer Summit showcase page on LinkedIn here.