What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

I know we have all been told how important it is to remember someone’s name, especially when it comes to business. The correct spelling and pronunciation all help towards the customer thinking that we actually paid attention. This gives them a sense of importance. A strong human need that we all have.

People do mental training on how to remember people’s names. I have an example of a young man who works in the service industry who does this brilliantly. We first met about a year ago. He served my wife and I and as he was doing it he asked our names. I told him our names then he repeated them back to us. As he walked away I noticed he said our initials, “GJ”, his process of mentally remembering.

I noticed what he was doing and admired his willingness to make an effort to remember our names. We have been back regularly and every time he calls us by our names in that order. I made a comment to him about his process and I joked saying you should just call us G J. He laughed and has called us that ever since.

Now the importance of this is not so much his process on how he remembered (I only brought it up with him because I was aware and interested), the importance was the names. There is something unique and self-serving about hearing your own name.

The cocktail party effect

There is a psychological term that explains this phenomenon and how it is important to us individually. This is called the “Cocktail party effect” or the increase in interest when we hear important things like our own name. It’s like this, you’re at a party talking to someone and the rest of the crowd is just a murmur because you are only concentrating on your immediate conversation. Then in the distance, you hear your own name. All of a sudden your attention focuses outside of your conversation to find out who and why someone mentioned your name.

Although there is much more to Cocktail party effect, like the ability to block out other sounds and focus on another, regardless of what noise is surrounding you. We can say that this realignment of focus or change of attention is created by that innate sense of wanting to feel important. We can’t help it, it just happens.

So what happens when someone remembers your name? Your attention focuses on the person who said it.

On a marketing level, our challenge is to capture this cocktail effect in all of our conversations with our customers. For example, when we send mass emails we must personally address individuals no matter how massive the email send is. “Dear Peter” or “Mary” using “Dear valued customer” is not going to create this interest.

A perfect example of this cocktail effect making you stand out happened to me just the other day. I get takeaway from my favourite restaurant every Thursday and have done this for many years now. A year ago I introduced a friend to the restaurant and he started to do the same. Every time I go into the restaurant the owner comes up to me and shakes my hand and repeats my name. I for some unknown reason forget to call him by his name and just call him sir. My friend, on the other hand, told me that he always calls the owner by his name, as the first time he met him he wrote his name down so he could remember it.

So after years of saying hello to the owner, last Thursday I said to him that after all these years I have never gotten his name. He told me his name was Sankunna and I repeated it back to him as I shook his hand. To my amazement, he asked me am I still working with Rob (my friend who I introduced to him and always said his name).

So why did he associate my interest in his name with my friend Rob? I would suggest that he always did associate us together but never mentioned it. Now with me asking about his name, it triggered an association with the person who always said his name. Thus with Rob’s courtesy and effort, the man who I have known for a longer time is now associating my presence with the person who he had only known for a year.

No big deal you may say, but what if Rob and I were competing companies both vying for Sankunna’s business? I know who would get the sale and it wouldn’t be me.

How to set your marketing budget – Start small and build

How to set your marketing budget – Start small and build

Start small and build

One of the hardest things to do is to start something especially when you want to know how to set your marketing budget. Often the idea of starting something new is so daunting that we fall into the trap of not doing anything. When it comes to starting a marketing budget the issue is compounded by what you can afford. Most small businesses will have established a certain level of reputation that will bring them an amount of business as a normal part of their day to day activity. If you are in a situation where you want to increase business, then you will need to step out of your normal activity.

Start with a plan

Having a marketing plan will help you establish what you want to achieve (see this article for more information How to start your Marketing Plan). But starting a budget for that extra activity can be a totally different and daunting experience. To help you with this process we have some simple tips on how to set your marketing budget.

1. Ask yourself how much money can you spend on marketing?

Most small businesses don’t know how much they could be spending on marketing.  Find out how much you could possibly allocate to your marketing budget.  It could be as little as $100 per month. If that is the case then you have taken the first steps on how to set your Marketing budget.

2. Find out what you can do with this money

Ok so you now have a figure in mind. Research and talk to people about what that money can give you. Talk to marketing companies and agencies about what the options are. Although many of the larger agencies will not want to talk such low numbers. There is a saying “money talks”. An agency will tell you if you aren’t spending enough for them to help you. That’s ok don’t feel bad about this. At least then you will know if they will help you or not.

You can talk to us because we will help. That’s what we are here for!

I once talked to a small business who said that he only had $1500 to spend on marketing for the year. Instead of turning him away we worked out what he could be doing and gave him the options. Most of these options he could do himself, he just didn’t know they were available or the done thing. What a lot of agencies don’t understand is that not everyone has the funds available and therefore can only start small.

3. Put away that money, no matter how small

So now you have your budget, put that money aside every month. It is like your family budget a certain amount is always spent on food, or rent or whatever, but that money is never touched. By putting that money aside, it means that you can’t touch it. So, if something comes up then you need to find the money for it elsewhere. This money is budgeted marketing only. Once this is established you will start to gain respect for the budget. It is often the case that you will find the money.

4. Plan for what you want to achieve for the next six months

As a part of your marketing plan work out what you want to achieve. Is it more sales, more leads, brand recognition or business growth in new areas? Remember not every business has the same needs.

5. Add to that budget – putting that money aside.

When things get better and you start to get a return (sales) put more money aside for your marketing budget. In this way, you can build a larger budget that will allow you to do greater things.
We must understand as a small business money is a very tight and precious thing. If you need to start small then do so, but it is important that you do something.