Why You Should Conduct A SWOT Analysis

Much like this orchestra, your SWOT needs to be masterfully conducted.

Perhaps you remember from some of your early business classes a handy little tool known as a “SWOT Analysis.” A SWOT analysis allows for the highlighting of the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as a look at opportunities and threats that loom on the company’s exterior.

While it is a simple business practice, it can greatly benefit your company by performing one of these regularly, be it annually or otherwise. Depending on your goals and objectives, a SWOT can shed light on a myriad of items.

A SWOT is a candid introspective on your daily operations and overall company performance. Bringing in a team to brainstorm and bring concerns to the table can flesh out a comprehensive snapshot that the management team alone may not have been able to garner.

Let’s start with your plan. What do you want to gain from conducting a SWOT analysis? This is the most important question you could ask yourself before you start. What do you want to derive from your findings? How much are you willing to change? To what lengths will you go to rectify any problems or reward any successes you discover?

Take a long, hard look at your daily operations and how they impact the big picture.

A SWOT also strongly encourages industry research that you may have been neglecting lately. What are your competitors doing? What part of the market do they have a hold on? Where are you surpassing them? Where are you falling behind?

Don’t be afraid of honesty. You will never move forward as a company without the clarity that only honesty can provide. When you have finished your SWOT, and all of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have been compiled, then you can assemble a list of priorities and begin to address them. A successful SWOT procedure can be the catalyst for a new business plan, which will steer your company towards profit.


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Business Growth Tips at DIMA 2012

I am quite happy to announce that I'll be heading to Las Vegas in January to participate in the DIMA 2012 conference. If you'll be attending or in the area, please let me know! I'd love to meet up with you.

What is the DIMA 2012 Conference?

Well, first things first: DIMA stands for Digital Imaging Marketing Association.

The 2012 DIMA Conference is the premier educational event for digital imaging professionals. It takes place January 8-9, and it is a prelude to the 2012 International CES show.

PMA@CES and DIMA Conferences: CEO John Foley, Jr. will be speaking there on 1/8/12 and 1/19/12

What will I speaking on… and when?

I will be delivering two presentations while I am there.

On Sunday January 8th, at 1:30 PM, I will be speaking on the subject of “Being Social: Creating a Successful Social Media Campaign“.

—Session Overview—
While everyone is talking about social media, marketers are looking for tools and techniques for implementation of an effective social media campaign. This session will discuss “how to” approaches for effectively utilizing social media. Participants will learn how to identify the “right audience” in the sea of social networks; techniques for getting and keeping the conversation going; options for translating the conversation into business results; and the right tools for measuring effectiveness.”

And then on Monday January 9th at 9:00 AM, I will present the topic “Transforming Your Photo Business“.

—Session Overview—
In this presentation, John Foley, Jr. presents an in-depth look at the dramatic changes that have affected the photo publishing industry recently. However, he provides proven strategies, plans, and tactics that photo labs can follow to grow their business despite the decrease in printing. He provides case studies of companies that have already found ways to adjust their business model, and succeed. He provides commentary and advice from industry leaders who not only offer valuable guidance on what imaging companies must do now, but also how they can prepare for what changes will come in the near future.

Where is the DIMA Conference being held?

I am certainly not sad to say this: The conference is being held at Bally's Las Vegas.
download cheap software online
Register today… and I'll see you there!


A Return to Strategy

Defining your Strategy!

“Tactics, Tactics, Tactics…. Everywhere I look, all I see is tactics!”

Perhaps you have also felt that same way recently. We hear about tactics across nearly every marketing channel out there. QR Codes. Personalized URLs. Augmented Reality. SMS/Text-Messaging. Mobile Email. Social Media Advertising.

Those are just a few of the terms that we hear and talk about quite frequently in the marketing world. I know that I can often get quite excited about them!

But, while there is nothing wrong with diving in and understanding specific tactics, we run the danger of thinking of those things as bright and shiny objects that can solve all of our problems!

Instead of falling into that trap, we must be willing to increase the amount of effort and focus that we put on having a strategy.

Long-Term Solutions Come From Having a Strategy

If our business primarily consists of providing marketing services to our customers, we certainly need to pay close attention to new tools and technologies that could improve our offerings.

However, we must ensure that the things we do add (for example, a QR Code or PURL on a postcard) are not treated simply as add-ons. Rather, we should focus on integrating them into the overall marketing strategy that supports our customer’s goals.

Often, the development of a strategy will consist of us asking critical questions. The answers to those questions will not only help us decide which tools and technologies should be used, but also, how should we best use them.

Yes, I realize that some clients may come to you with a fully thought-out marketing strategy. But in today’s world, many CMO’s are running around at a frantic pace; thus, they could benefit by having a service provider offer some consultation and suggestions. If you do find yourself in that position, here are 4 steps that could help you develop and/or analyze a marketing strategy for your clients:

  • Describe the Business: This sounds simple, but it’s crucial. It may help you to define key characteristics that affect branding and messaging.
  • Define the Goal: The goal will help us to avoid using a new tool or tactic simply because it’s new. Rather, it will help us to ensure that the reasons we decide to do (or not do) something are done for a reason.
  • Understand Who the Audience is And Where They Are: Think about QR Codes for a second. If your client is going to be placing print advertisements inside of a subway station where there is no cell service, do QR Codes really make sense? Or, if you are going to send information that is highly sensitive or private in nature, will a personalized URL actually cause people to not respond?
  • How Will You Measure Success?: As a service provider, we may be constantly looking for ways to demonstrate and prove our value. However, in the rush to incorporate a new tactic, we may overlook what steps are necessary to help us measure the effectiveness of a specific tactic. By answering this question ahead of time, we will increase our chances of being able to present valuable data to our customers during the marketing campaign.

These are just a few of the questions that can help us to develop and deliver solutions that increase our revenue now and in the future. I hope that you find them find helpful! Yes, there will be always be new tactics that catch our attention, create some buzz, and get us excited (me included!). But no matter what the tactics are, having the right strategy will help to put us on the right path.


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LinkedIn: From a Connection Collector to a Sales Generator

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When people talk about how they are using social media in the marketing efforts, Facebook and Twitter are often the first answers given.

Sure, they might be on LinkedIn. But they may currently only view it as a way for them to “collect people” – i.e. to amass connections.

If that sounds similar to how LinkedIn is utilized in your business, here is one idea for converting that connection data into a way to build relationships and generate sales.

Connections and Job Status

When someone experiences a change in their employment status, LinkedIn is often the very first social network that they update. Depending on our relationship with that person, taking action on that information can be valuable to them… and us.

I recently talked to a service provider that told me how he acts on that type of data. Here’s his story:

His company helps clients reach their marketing goals with design, print, direct mail, email, mobile, landing pages, and more.

While they have had success launching campaigns for a number of companies, they sometimes run into trouble because of high-turnover among the marketing departments that they work with. Lately, this has often occurred because of budget constraints, rather than performance.  But either way, the path to creating long-term, recurring business with those companies is not always easy when the employees change frequently.

In order to capitalize on the successes that they have helped marketers achieve, this company actively seeks to connect with those folks on social networks. Primarily, they try to do this on LinkedIn.

How LinkedIn Helps Deepen the Relationship

If a once-happy customer experiences a job change, the company still has a connection with them. For example, the company may:

  • Use LinkedIn to send a personal note when the job change does occur.
  • Offer up a recommendation for the person.
  • Refer the person’s profile to companies where there may be a fit.

Along with those one-time actions, they will make an effort to stay in touch with them in the weeks and/or months that follow.

By staying connected and engaged to these folks, they create opportunities to receive future sales and jobs once that person is in place at a new business.

How so? Well, they were already a fan of the services provided by that company. And their appreciation of them will no doubt be deeper because of the conversations and actions that took place during the process of changing jobs. Thus, they may be apt to highly recommend that company’s services to their new employer.

Can it Help You?

Certainly, this effort takes a bit of time and determination on behalf of that service provider! But in their words, “it’s helping me grow my business!”

If you are looking for ways to use social media to create and deepen relationships, paying attention to your LinkedIn connections might be a perfect place to start.


P.S. If you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn, here I am!



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