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Would you embrace the Field of Dreams Theory of marketing?

(Business Marketing) When marketing your business, is it really true that if you build it, they will come? Let’s look at the possibilities, shall we?

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field of dreams

field of dreams

Do You Remember the Film?

I realize that I may be dating myself here, but after watching countless Super Bowl commercials this past weekend, I feel that a discussion of marketing for your small business may be in order—especially for those who don’t have millions of dollars to create thirty second ads to air during the Super Bowl.

In the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays the role of an Iowa farmer who hears voices that tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” From these voices, he understands that he should build a baseball field on his farm. He does this, and soon the ghosts of eight Chicago White Sox players that were banned from the 1919 World Series show up and start playing ball.

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Costner’s Theory of Marketing

As a marketing theory, “If you build it, he will come” is an interesting one to consider. Here are the key suppositions of the movie and also of the Field of Dreams Theory of Marketing:

  • Speak whatever you want into existence. Change your language so that it sounds like what you’re after has already or soon will happen.
  • Laugh at (or don’t be discouraged by) people’s claims that you’re crazy.
  • Understand that if you’re just talking about something and not doing anything to make it happen, you might be crazy.
  • The more you talk about it being a part of your life, the more you will want to make that an actuality.

The most important thing here is to not just talk about what you want to do. The saying goes “If you build it, he will come.” You must work hard in order for things to play out the way you want.

Applying the Movie to Our Business

So how can we apply this theory to our business in 2014—a quarter century after this movie was in the theaters?

First off, the most obvious message is that if we set goals, talk about them, and continuously work towards meeting them, it seems extremely likely that we will come close or actually meet those goals.

On a more granular level, let’s talk about the marketing and advertising that we create in order to generate leads. You cannot just speak or will yourself to obtain leads. And, you cannot just throw a website up and expect to get loads of traffic every day. Of course, if you do actually produce a marketing piece, the likelihood that someone will contact you is much higher than if you do nothing at all. But, with respect to the Internet, you are going to have to do a lot more than create a website in order for him “to come.”

Online Marketing Considerations

Here are three things to consider in regards to online marketing:

  1. Search Engine Optimization. Whatever you decide to build online, make sure that it is well-optimized for the search engines. Although this topic merits significantly more discussion than given here, if you are on a WordPress platform, using plug-ins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast will assist you in making that happen. Creating a Google plus page, and claiming Google Authorship can also significantly improve your placement on search results.
  2. Audience. People say that you need to give your customers what they want. What does your prospective audience want? How well can you deliver? And, more importantly, is what you are offering actually something that they need? If not, it may be time to adjust accordingly.
  3. Image. It is such a turnoff when you get to a website or look at a marketing piece and it is filled with typographical errors. Ensure that whatever you put out there for the world to see is polished, professional, and easy on the eyes.
  4. Freebies. America loves free stuff. What items of value could you give to your audience that would encourage them to come back for more? A free podcast or ebook? A free coupon for your store? A discount for everyone who checks in at your food truck location? Leverage the power of viral marketing by giving away items for value.

I’m not thoroughly convinced of the merit of the Field of Dreams Theory of Marketing. After all, it’s unlikely that if I build something a bunch of dead guys will show up. On the other hand, if I am careful and calculated in my business and marketing ventures and I take the time to plan and actually do what I say that I am going to do, I’m confident that the clients will come!

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Brett Clements

    February 8, 2014 at 5:26 am

    If you don’t build it, nobody will come anyway. So. Pretty obvious.

  2. OIRMS

    February 8, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Fuuny I just posted an article that eluded to the same thing, all too often small business owners assume just becuse they put a site up a steady stream of consumers will come-a-callin’. This is simply not the case, it’s all about diversity.

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Business Marketing

The Body Shop’s new policy is first come, first employed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) An issue that has been on a lot of peoples minds recently is fair hiring standards, be from sex, race, or age discrimination to former prisoners.

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The body shop hires prisoners

Anyone who has tried to get a job in the last decade can tell you that hiring is getting near dystopian. Everyone has heard jokes about needing 5 years of experience for an entry level job or the combined skillset of 3 positions to get one job. Things have gotten to the point where even some large companies are wondering if maybe hiring (and getting hired) shouldn’t be so complicated?

The Body Shop is making a radical change in the way they hire their retail employees this summer. They will be hiring on a first-come first-serve basis. Employees must meet three criteria to apply, but beyond that it’s open season – or “open hiring” as they are calling it.

1. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
2. Can lift over 50lbs
3. Can stand for 8 hours

The company will not be performing drug tests or background checks for this “open hiring” round. The goal is to remove some of the barriers to entry for people seeking employment. This move will be hugely beneficial to the formerly incarcerated and people who have minor offenses on their record.

The Body Shop’s U.S. GM, Andrea Blieden, said, “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

This isn’t the first time The Body Shop has tested out this hiring strategy. In December 2019, the company ran a pilot program at their distribution center. According to them, their employee turnover rate dropped from 43% to 16% and productivity improved.

This change could be equally beneficial to both employers and employees. According to PrisonPolicy.org, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of 27%. To put that in perspective, that is higher than the overall national average during the Great Depression.

When established brands make big moves, people pay attention. If they continue to report success, The Body Shop’s hiring practices could be used as a case study for other businesses looking to shake up their hiring process. Perhaps in a few years, this type of hiring could become more common place among retailers.

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.

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instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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Business Marketing

2020 marketing calendar – plan this year’s marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Have you ever wondered when is the best time for your ad campaign, well look no further. This marketing calendar has every event listed, even weird ones.

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When you work for a small business or non-profit, marketing is one of those essential tools that can make a difference in your monthly bottom line or fundraising take. And yet it’s often a challenge for busy owners and employees to find — and take advantage of — fresh promotion opportunities.

Add this to your toolkit… a 2020 Marketing Calendar from the team at Liramail, making note of big events and days that you can use online and IRL to engage customers and donors.

February marketing calendar

Some dates are obvious… major holidays, for instance, particularly the gift-giving ones. But you can find success around other events as well. The Central Texas Food Bank uses the Super Bowl as a driver for one of their most visible annual events, the “Souper Bowl of Caring.” On a smaller scale this year, restaurants and shops around the Austin area and all over the country used January 25, Australia Day, to raise funds for bushfire relief—drawing customers into their businesses, creating community ties and doing good all at once.

This marketing calendar compiles dates both big and small, providing plenty of opportunities for tie-ins and promotions. Running a clothing boutique? Play with Fashion Week. Looking for a good cause to support? World Wildlife Day and International Women’s Day are just a few weeks away. Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day… and that’s all just in the next six weeks.

The calendar is as useful for engaging your social media audience as it is promoting IRL events. You don’t have to own a pizza place to make a post with your team celebrating International Pizza Day and quizzing your followers on their favorite topping. You don’t have to be a veterinarian to turn Love Your Pet Day into a way to engage people by encouraging them to share photos of their pets.

And if you do have a direct tie? Absolutely use it. Each March, for instance, the small Austin well-building non-profit Water to Thrive observes World Water Day with a quick Facebook fundraiser. One of the Austin-area businesses that participated in Australia Day, Bee Cave coffeehouse/boutique Runaway Luna Lifestyle, did so because of family ties there, raising several thousand dollars with an in-store event and social media promotion of a GoFundMe fundraiser.

So page through the marketing calendar, making notes of days that you can take advantage of. And don’t forget, if you’re inspired to create an in-store event or other promotion, be ready for it. Get the initial date on the calendar, and then work backwards to create a long-range plan to support your event. Check your inventory, possibly looking for related items to feature. Book your advertising, draft your newsletter, schedule your social posts. Let your audience know that something special is coming up.

Have fun with it. Add your own dates. Whether you zero in on Talk Like a Pirate Day or Make a Difference Day, you can create new opportunities for your business or non-profit and for your customers as well.

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