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Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Attracting the ideal

Posted by Vicki Moulton on April 1, 2010

If you’re having the kind of year I’m having so far, then you’ve probably been struggling a bit trying to find the right kind of client for your business. You know, the kind that appreciates what you have to offer, wants to work with you right away, and remains loyal for the long term. In other words, the absolute ideal.

I found this article by Angie Segal of Action Coach very inspiring. It’s reprinted here (in edited form) with permission.

“What Kinds of Customers Are You Attracting?”

How do you get the customers you want and deserve? Are you randomly stabbing at the marketplace, or do you have a plan for getting the type of customer you want to work with?

Here are some tips for planning to attract the ideal client:

First, decide who your ideal client is and write it down. What size are they? Where do they operate? What do they look like?

Next, describe this ideal client to everyone in your sphere of influence. Communicate this clearly. Then ask your partners and alliances to describe your ideal client. How they answer this question will tell you whether you’ve been specific enough.

Find out where you can interact with people who fit your description of the ideal client and attend those functions.

Finally, look at yourself and make sure you present yourself in a fashion that would attract those people. In other words, dress for the job you want.

Clarity is a key element in finding your ideal clients. Once you are clear on whom you are trying to meet, and your actions are in line with that, it’s easy to find your ideal!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pushing past paralysis

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 17, 2010

Ever have one of those days that just feels “off,” right from the moment you open your eyes in the morning?

I had one of those days yesterday. And even though I’m aware that some of the folks I met at a networking event last night might be reading this today, I just have to be honest: I wasn’t in my usual rah-rah-let’s-go mode. In fact, I almost didn’t show up.

It would’ve been so easy to just stay home, avoiding the crowds, the hand-shaking, the quick room-scanning, the u-turns to avoid running into certain people. But I knew I’d regret that decision eventually. I also knew that this was an opportunity I could not afford to pass up, even if I was in the wrong state of mind to begin with.

As a small business owner, I’m particularly susceptible to feeling overwhelmed with a long to-do list and crossing stuff off just to give myself a break. There are no staffers to send to networking events on Movick Marketing’s behalf. I am my company’s chief ambassador. I can either accept that responsibility, and all the gripping-and-grinning that goes with it, or I can go take a nap and let my company drift away.

Pushing past that feeling of near-paralysis–getting yourself out there, keeping your commitments, honing that elevator speech–is critical to keeping the momentum going, especially for small businesses just getting started with word-of-mouth marketing. It’s never okay to give up just because you’re not in the mood.

After about 45 minutes at the networking event, I woke up and started to get into the spirit of things. By hour 3, I met some really interesting people, gathered some promising business leads, and wondered why I’d ever felt like staying home.

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Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Helping a sister out

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 8, 2010

Using the Twitter bully pulpit, Movick Marketing is now featuring woman-owned local businesses!

I started last Friday with the first tweet to promote Melissa Meman Designs, and today I tweeted for Lisa Koehler’s Singer Source.

Look for a new section on this website with a complete list of links to all featured businesses. I’m starting local, with people I know well and/or businesses that I have patronized, to show how the social networking community gives back to its own. In the case of Melissa’s jewelry business, we are old friends and I wear the jewelry myself, and Lisa is my friend and professional singer’s agent.

But beyond that, I really admire what these two dynamic and talented women have done with their business ventures–while simultaneously raising their families.

If you’d like for your business to be featured, email me or comment on this post. Come on, let’s give back to woman-owned small businesses! And don’t forget to become a fan of Movick Marketing on Facebook. The more fans I get, the more value I can add to the fan experience!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Risking growth

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 27, 2010

“What would it look like as a newspaper headline?”

This was one of the thought-provoking questions posed during a presentation I attended last week on strategic partnerships. When you imagine your company’s name in a headline, is it announcing an exciting new development… or a disastrous scandal?

The presentation focused on how to choose the right partner, what can be gained, when to say yes, and what to watch out for. Doing your homework before making such a big decision as forming a strategic partnership means researching everything about the other company so that there would be no surprises, such as the hypothetical newspaper headline revealing an unsavory skeleton in the new partner’s closet, right as your strategic partnership is announced.

Scary stuff, right?

Taking a risk–opening the door to new possibilities–can mean staring down your greatest fears of failure. What if I lose money on the deal? What if my new partner doesn’t live up to her end of the bargain? What if my company’s reputation is hurt by this association? All of those questions are valid. But so is the flip side of that argument. What if this partnership could bring me new clients? What if my business flourishes? What if my company grows so much that I need to hire an assistant to handle the extra work?

Risk and reward are two sides of the same coin. You can’t expect your business to grow without taking at least some kind of risk. Putting your company name out in public, marketing your services online, shaking hands at a networking event during flu season: all of these things involve risk. If you let your fear of risk dictate your business philosophy, you’ll never get anywhere.

When planning to start something new, you should always do your homework and be aware of all the risks. But remember to follow your instincts and balance the potential for failure with the potential for growth. As I’m learning with an exciting new strategic partnership between Movick Marketing and Exemplus Virtual Business Services, great things can happen when you open yourself up to new possibilities!

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Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sharpening the double edge

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 20, 2010

I received an unexpected gift today: an extra-long stretch of time to work on my business uninterrupted. I was able to follow up on networking connections and research blog ideas for a couple of clients. I even had time  to ghostwrite a blog post. 

The source of this gift? Instead of the usual 2- to 3-hour toddler nap break I get every afternoon, my daughter was so sick with a cold and fever that she slept for 5 straight hours.

There’s a word for what I feel right now: grateful. As the old SNL Harvey Fierstein-type character used to say, is that so wrong?

Building a business while raising a family involves tradeoffs and shifting priorities on a daily basis. I wield this double-edged mommy sword to ward off exhaustion, apathy, and guilt wherever possible. One side is sharpened by the needs of my child, the other by the needs of my business. It cuts both ways: either neglect one to save the other, or risk losing them both. Today, just this once, I think both were saved.

Yes, I am worried about my daughter’s health and on guard for signs of worsening symptoms that might necessitate a trip to the urgent care. But I’m also relieved that her body kicked into hyper-sleep mode to help her recover–which coincidentally helped me get more work done. Two problems solved with one mother of a nap.

As for the mommy sword, it’s resting comfortably tonight, safely locked away in a toddler-proof sheath.

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Making connections

Posted by Vicki Moulton on October 7, 2009

lotus lampI’ve been looking over my notes from the “Brand Reinvention Summit” (yes, this makes post #4 about this event… so sue me). Besides the authenticity theme, I found some other good advice, common to most of the speakers, that I wanted to share here–in particular, the idea of connecting with others through and with your brand.

With the following list of quotes, I’m giving each expert due credit:

Kaira Rouda (Founder of Real You and Real Living): “Today’s business is based on true connections, on networking. The way to connect is to tell your story. It helps your customers and employees understand you better.”

Mary van de Wiel (Brand Analyst, Master of Zing): “Make a connection… The explosion of social media has fed the human desire for connection… It’s about telling stories, being one-on-one in meaningful relationships. It allows people to see that you ARE who you say you are. When you feel connected, in a group especially, you feel supported.”

Anita Campbell (Founder/CEO of Small Business Trends LLC): “Are you different? Can your clients connect with you, communicate with you, develop a relationship with you? The client needs to feel comfortable with you as a person. This is not a business-to-business relationship we’re talking about: it’s person to person.”

Anita Campbell: “A passion, a hobby, a travel destination–something like this might be the one thing that sparks the interest of a potential client. You would never know this if you didn’t share it. You want to work with people you like, and so do your clients. This kind of information could provide a common thread.”

Simon Sinek (Author of Start With Why): “Are you courageous enough to be completely open and honest in your business? People tend to be very insecure about how they’re perceived by the world around us. But if you’re honest, people will be drawn to you and put their trust in you.”

Liz Taylor (Founder of Wow-at-Work.com): “Share and bounce ideas off of other people. Connect with others. Get those ideas out into the open. Be provocative. Take a risk.”

Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Getting grilled

Posted by Vicki Moulton on September 10, 2009

grill fireI did it: I wrote my elevator speech. I can finally check that task off my to-do list. Whew!

This short speech is supposed to be a creative and/or intriguing answer to the casual question tossed one’s way at a Saturday barbecue, “So, what do you do?” The goal is to make the questioner want more information while avoiding putting a short little label on yourself (e.g., I’m a lawyer, I’m self-employed, I’m an artist, etc.).

So here is my elevator speech, subject to change after next Monday’s feedback-filled networking meeting. I welcome comments and suggestions before then, of course!

“I am an expert at marketing communications. I know how to get to the heart of the message and communicate it effectively. Through my company, Movick Marketing, I help clients design new ways to promote their services. Together we figure out exactly what they want to say and the most persuasive, creative, and affordable way to say it. Here’s my card. Check out my website!”

Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging, networking, writers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Making lemonade

Posted by Vicki Moulton on August 3, 2009

yellowRemember your grandmother’s advice about what to do when life hands you a bunch of sour lemons? This classic lesson about turning a negative into a positive can be applied quite handily to any sticky business situation.

SCENARIO: Your client assumes you are skilled in anything that’s remotely related to your actual line of business. The line between what you know how to do and what you pretend to know how to do is getting blurrier by the minute. You like this client and don’t wish to lose potential business by revealing the pretense.

DIAGNOSIS: Your professional brand is not well-defined, and you’re straying from your core mission.

SOLUTION: Take this opportunity to define who you are and what you have to offer. Make a list of your capabilities, and include everything that you’re confident you know how to do well. Make a separate list of things you could do with a bit more time/training/networking help. Leave off items in which you simply don’t have any expertise or would find yourself in over your head.

Next, write a short descriptive statement about the kind of work you want to be doing. You can take elements of this statement to become your mission and your slogan. This should include only the work you want to be known for, and be as specific as you can. If you have a web presence, you can turn all of this into your personal brand.

Then, any areas that go beyond your mission/slogan could go under a “consulting” umbrella, meaning you can always find someone else to help your clients with specific needs beyond your bailiwick. (Hey, I’m connected… I can get you someone for that project. Just tell me what you need!) Definitely keep your relationship with the client, and make sure you stay involved as a “project manager,” even charging a consulting fee (while you learn new skills from the other individual). You might consider partnering with that other expert on future projects.

Once you’ve defined your business, client requests for work beyond your core capabilities won’t cause you angst. To paraphrase Grandma, life may hand you lemons, but you’ve already mastered the recipe for lemonade.

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trending toward video testimonials

Posted by Vicki Moulton on July 7, 2009

video cameraI keep hearing about the future of social networking being video rather than text. Everyone knows that YouTube is leading the way in making DIY video uploads easier than ever, and if you’ve got a fast Internet connection, linking videos to blogs and Facebook pages is a snap.

Last night, at our monthly Creative MasterMinds networking group meeting, one of my well-informed colleagues talked about how some experts are predicting that the not-so-distant future will have everyone carrying little digital video cameras to record and publish images to Facebook and Twitter (ad nauseum)–in essence, replacing written words with videos.

It’s an intriguing idea. This could prove useful even today, in the area of client testimonials. A video testimonial would involve interviewing a happy client in person or via Skype to capture a positive review, for posting on one’s website, blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or wherever.

The written word is still priceless, as far as this longtime fan of writing is concerned, but video adds a new layer of excitement to the mix.

Posted in communications, marketing, networking, writers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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