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What gift giving strategies actually get modern clients’ attention?

(Business Marketing) Gift giving is an age-old marketing tactic that most consumers see through, so how do you capture attention and earn referrals in the modern era?

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gift wrapped

gift wrapped

Getting attention the right way

In today’s information consumed marketplace, strategic gift giving provides you a unique competitive edge, for those who do it well. Unfortunately, most of the time the money is better spent on the lottery. For instance, I received the following ‘creative’ gifts at a recent conference: a stack of cheap wine (that I can’t carry-on the plane), books a reseller would charge me to give them, an inspirational poster (also can’t carry-on the plane), a chocolate bar with the company logo on it, pens!, and a rock. Yes, I received a rock.

I can empathize. I am a terrible gift giver, or so I hear from my better half. Then I met John Ruhlin, a leading expert in gifting. I know this not just because I’ve seen him speak on the subject, but because my wife received a customized set of Cutco Knives from him. The only mistake John made was that he couldn’t convince my wife the gift was from me.

John got my attention, and now I use the strategy to get others attention, something that has never been more difficult to do. As legendary researcher Herbert Simon wrote in 1971, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

The age of attention scarcity

Your customer (like all people) consumes more than three times as much information as people in 1960. You can send email blasts, tweets, Facebook posts, and even put up billboards, but it doesn’t change the simple fact: your customer is unlikely to pay attention to you. We live in an age of attention scarcity.

Enter gift giving as a strategy. Our brain’s are wired to be attracted to new, novel, and unexpected stimulus. We prefer to focus on experiences that create positive emotional sensation. We love to feel valued. We even feel an obligation to those who give stuff to us.

Gifting done well accomplishes all of these goals. So how do you do it well?

6 tips on gifting effectively

Here are some of the tips I’ve learned from John:

  1. Frequency. While the random gift is appreciated and helpful, the few who really succeed have a plan. They send gifts on an ongoing basis to keep the attention of their key potential customers.
  2. Unique. Your customer has received 14 bottles of wine and 349 boxes of popcorn during the holiday season. Find something different.
  3. Personalized. We respond and pay attention to things that are all about us. I am well aware that marketing should reinforce your brand, but if you don’t make this gift about THEM, then your gift can send the entirely wrong message.
  4. Spousal focused. John became the #1 sales person in Cutco on this principle. The executive whose attention you want is, believe it or not, tired of 75 dollar steaks and expensive scotch. Their spouse is even more tired of it. If you can send something that values the spouse, you get an advocate on your side. There’s no better advocate for you than the person your potential customer is sleeping with.
  5. World Class: People don’t respond to average. If you are going to send cheap or average, just send a personalized card instead.
  6. Shelf-life: One of the key benefits of a strategic gift is that the person thinks about you every time they use it. As amazing as the wonderful chocolates taste, the only lasting reminder of them is on the waistline Buy the gift that lasts and reap the rewards for years to come.

In a world of information overload, gift giving is an excellent route to grab and keep your customer’s attention. Just don’t send me a rock.

Curt Steinhorst loves attention. More specifically, he loves understanding attention. How it works. Why it matters. How to get it. As someone who personally deals with ADD, he overcame the unique distractions that today’s technology creates to start a Communications Consultancy, The Promentum Group, and Speakers Bureau, Promentum Speakers, both of which he runs today. Curt’s expertise and communication style has led to more than 75 speaking engagements in the last year to organizations such as GM, Raytheon, Naval Academy, Cadillac, and World Presidents’ Organization.

Business Marketing

Pantone Color of the Year is ‘Classic Blue,’ hoping for calm this year

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Pantone picks a new color every year to represent what the globe may, or should be feeling. This year they chose Classic Blue.

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pantone classic blue 2020

Heading into 2020 with what is assured to be a contentious election, with forests in the Amazon being decimated, with global warming melting polar regions faster than a butane torch and political violence escalating in just about every part of the world, Pantone has decided to harken back to a more calm, confident and connected time with its own Blue period.

Pantone announced the color of the year for 2020 and its Classic Blue (PANTONE 19-4052). The Pantone Color Institute selects its Color of the Year, forecasting global color trends and suggesting what it will be the “it” color for the coming year, according to the company’s website.

Pantone color of the year classic blue

The Classic Blue may remind you of the color of Facebook, the Democrat Party, and a pair of Levi’s; the organization said it is attempting to harken back to a feeling of comfort and protection, even as technology races ahead and we humans are left to play catch up and attempt to process in its aftermath.

In a press release, Pantone described the denim-like tone as “solid and dependable,” and “non-aggressive and easily relatable.”

“Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge,” according to the website.

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on,” said Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of The Pantone Color Institute.

The color is said to be an “anchoring foundation,” evocative of the “vast evening sky” and to increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.

For more than 20 years Pantone has been choosing a color of the year and it consults a whole host of experts who seek out color influences and trends from the world of music, fashion, movies, media, etc.

In his article on Web Designer Depot, Ben Moss said of the choice, “Classic Blue is a color that harks back to a time when we hid our head in the sand and pretended everything was fine. It’s the color of the pre-2008 crash, the color of Facebook pre-privacy scandal, the brand color of your parents’ bank. Classic Blue is about as 2020 as Helvetica.”

As an alternative to the Pantone choice, Moss said a more forward thinking color for the time would be cyberpunk pink.

This is not the first time Pantone has been taken to task for its color choice. At a time when the Great Barrier Reef is dying because of the impact of global warming, The Pantone color for 2019 was Living Coral. That choice was seen as tone-deaf from some of those in the design industry.

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Business Marketing

Upwork revealed its top 100 skills job seekers should aim to have

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Upwork released a list of the top-100 highly sought after skills in freelancers, and there are probably skill you didn’t even know were sought after

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upwork skills

It’s about to be a brand new decade, and we freelancers know that with each passing year, the competition gets more and more stiff. Luckily, Upwork has our back as they’ve recently released The Upwork 100, which ranks the top 100 in-demand skills for independent professionals.

The list, whose methodology was developed by the Chief Economist, Dr. Adam Ozimek, PhD, at Upwork and he found the following trends in regards to the skills. First, U.S. workers are supercharging global business. Second, the average hourly rate is higher than the majority of workers in the overall U.S. economy. And third, A diverse range of industries in the Fortune 500 leverage independent talent.

Listed below is the list in its entirety, according to their quarter three research. Us independent workers can see where we need to brush up, and perhaps be inspired to take on a new skill!

The Upwork 100: Q3 2019
1. .NET Core
2. TypeScript
3. Landing pages
4. eBooks
5. Android
6. Electronic design
7. Presentation
8. Sketch
9. Research
10. Technical recruiter
11. Bank reconciliation
12. Slack
13. Google Tag Manager
14. Sourcing
15. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
16. Video post-editing
17. LinkedIn recruiting
18. Data visualization
19. Interviewing
20. Interior design
21. System administration
22. Kubernetes
23. Data scraping
24. Technical documentation
25. Project scheduling
26. Adobe Premiere Pro
27. 2D animation
28. Firebase
29. Customer retention marketing
30. Salesforce Lightning
31. DevOps
32. Selenium
33. Accounts receivable management
34. Microsoft Windows Azure
35. Database design
36. AutoCAD
37. Usability testing
38. C development
39. Accounts payable management
40. Lead generation
41. Product descriptions
42. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
43. Circuit design
44. eLearning
45. Google Docs
46. Docker
47. GitHub
48. Redux for JavaScript
49. Business planning
50. Data entry
51. Motion graphics
52. Infographics
53. Architecture
54. ASP.NET
55. Asana
56. Instagram marketing
57. Shopify development
58. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
59. Architectural rendering
60. PostgreSQL administration
61. Salesforce app development
62. Python
63. Magento 2
64. Link building
65. MongoDB
66. Bootstrap
67. SEO writing
68. Web scraping
69. Animation
70. Network security
71. 3D rendering
72. Agile project management
73. Administrative support
74. Data mining
75. Internet research
76. English grammar
77. Squarespace
78. Elasticsearch
79. Startup consulting
80. AWS Lambda
81. Branding
82. Media relations
83. Appointment setting
84. 3D design
85. Bookkeeping
86. Romance writing
87. Budgeting and forecasting
88. Product design
89. Financial accounting
90. Adobe After Effects
91. Zendesk
92. Accounting
93. Virtual assistant
94. Google Cloud Platform
95. Postgre SQL programming
96. Tax preparation
97. Embedded systems
98. Audio editing
99. Google Analytics
100. Amazon S3

This helps us to not only see what the current climate is like, but may also remind us of skills we forgot to include on our resumes. What do you think of this list? Comment below with your thoughts!

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Business Marketing

Startup pays $10K for people to leave The Bay

(BUSINESS) Get paid $10,000 to leave the Bay Area? Spoiler alert: MainStreet admits it’s a gimmick… but a gimmick for the greater good.

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MainStreet employee

Decide for yourself whether there’s a touch of irony to three former Google employees in San Jose launching a company that will pay workers $10,000 to move out of the Bay Area for work. Irony or no, that’s exactly what the founders of MainStreet are offering as they rev up a combination tech recruiting/coworking start-up that they hope will shift jobs away from traditional tech centers and make them available to everyone.

The $10,000 bonus is the splashy hey-y’all-watch-this that’s supposed to get everyone’s attention.

MainStreet co-founder Doug Ludlow flat-out admitted to The San Jose Mercury News that it’s a gimmick, both temporary and payable only after a year at that. But it’s a gimmick in service of MainStreet’s mission, which has a broader, greater-good tone.

MainStreet’s plan is to recruit employees working from home, to provide training and co-working services in metropolitan hubs where they have a collection of companies seeking remote workers, and to connect those companies with those workers – all with the goal of creating more tech jobs in areas that aren’t Silicon Valley or New York (or Austin, though we’re never mentioned). Their launch language, touted their long-term mission of “creating a million new jobs in rural and suburban areas over the next decade.”

To start with, at least, they don’t mean Manor or Marfa. The MainStreet team told The Mercury News their first target is Sacramento, where they hope to have an office space open for business in a few months. Salt Lake City and Portland also get mentioned.

So you take their $10K, and you move to Sacramento. (It can’t be that bad.) What do you get out of the deal? MainStreet promises connections with companies looking for remote workers, training in best practices for working at home, and the possibility of available office space to overcome the dreaded isolation/lack of office social life that research sometimes shows can be a drawback to not braving a commute and sitting in a cubicle all day.

That office space is part of the draw for employers as well. You’re trying to staff your start-up, say, and you can’t afford Silicon Valley rents and neither can your new hires. But you can afford Sacramento and the like, so you decide to give that a shot. You decide to work with MainStreet, because they can connect you with remote workers in the area. And because you’re one of several companies that have decided Sacramento is preferable to San Jose, there’s enough of a need that MainStreet can provide a physical space for folks in your remote workforce.

Win-win, it sounds like. It does kind of remain to be seen, though. The MainStreet goal of managing a million remote workers for all the remote locations that don’t exist quite yet is lofty. But if they can follow through with support for both employees and employers, gaining the trust and buy-in for both? Well, heck. Sign me up.

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