It was over a foot long. It weighed more than two pounds. It cost about $4,000 for just one.
No one would carry it around today. In fact, Will Smith told Tommy Lee Jones in the movie Men in Black 3, “Don’t put that thing near your head.”

It was the Motorola Dyna Tac 8000X. It was approved by the FCC in 1983 and changed the way people saw telephones. It was the first phone that could operate without being plugged in–the first phone you could use while walking around a city block. It changed how we communicate. The idea and reality that we could carry a phone with us impacted the way we live. We now expect to be able to communicate wirelessly any time—24 hours a day and 7 days a week. And we do.

Game changers. It can happen in sports, in business or in life. One idea. One new technology. One chance meeting. Or it can be a series of steps dedicated to a specific goal where a company or individual applies discipline to change the landscape, gain market share or crush a competitor. Dedication, focus and discipline can set your foundation for discovering or becoming a game changer.

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business landscape, there are some strategies you should consider that can be a game-changer for your company.

Strategy 1: Claim Your Google Map Listing

It’s free and allows you to update information like business hours, services and photos. Claiming your Google Map listing increases customers’ abilities to find you and build loyalty. Google Maps helps you promote new services and products. You will generate more business by communicating what customers can expect when they look you up. If you have not done so go to https://www.google.com/business. If you are having an event or sale, you can update your listing and gain an advantage for Search Engine Optimization over your competitors. 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. Don’t miss this. It could bring in new customers and change your bottom line in a very short amount of time.

Strategy 2: Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Making sure your website is mobile-responsive and easily viewed on smartphones is critical. Here is why: Google reports that 50% of ALL Google search traffic is now on mobile phones. And again, these searches result in sales. 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. Over 80% of Americans use smartphones while watching television. And 90% of smartphone users move between devices to accomplish their goal, which is more likely to be shopping and spending money than anything else.

If your site is mobile friendly, then you will likely get a ranking boost from Google. Google has stated that they will “downgrade” or push sites lower in rankings if sites are not configured to deliver a fast mobile experience. There is a free tool to see if your site is mobile friendly. Here is the link: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. If you find your site is not performing well in the mobile search world, then make the investment. Making your customers’ experience a positive one on their smartphone ties into our next game changer.

Strategy 3: Start Thinking Like Your Customers

It was a hot July afternoon in Orlando. I was in line with my four-year-old son to get Goofy’s autograph at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Neither one of us wanted to be there. But he was particularly vocal about it. He kept screaming “I don’t want Goofy’s autograph. I don’t care anything about Goofy!” The heat was sweltering and his cheeks were flushed. However, his older sister and mom were dead set on getting the costumed character’s autograph. He began to cry and so I took him to a bench to give him a change of scenery and some space. Plus, I was tired of standing in line, too.

As he continued to cry an Ice Cream vendor came up and asked me if he could “give my son a Mickey Mouse-shaped ice-cream on a stick.” I looked perplexed and asked, “For Free?!” This was Disney World after all. He simply answered. “I have that power. No one should cry at the happiest place on earth.” I realized then how Disney had thought of every detail and how to change a negative customer experience into a positive one. They empowered their employees to see a need and meet it. A crying child did not represent their brand well. How could it be the happiest place on earth if kids cried all the time? Disney makes a positive customer experience their primary goal.

When you start thinking like your customers, you begin to discover their habits, emotions, language, what’s important to them and what’s not important to them. Then all of a sudden, you begin to view everything you do with fresh eyes. The wording on your website, the creation of your ads, the media mix and the media buys that target customers when they shop–what they look for, what they talk about, the problems you solve for them–all these considerations begin to take on a different shape. When you walk a mile in your customers’ shoes, then you can truly craft messaging that matters to them.

Author Steven MacDonald reports that “almost 70% of customers quit doing business with a company because they feel like the company does not care about them.” He also writes that truly putting your customers first means that you begin the discipline of these key customer-focused elements. “Understanding your customer, developing customer-focused leadership, designing the customer experience to be customer focused from start to finish, empowering the front line, looking at metrics that matter and getting customer feedback. Then you can continually improve.”

Famed ad executive David Ogilvy said, “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.”

Another way to look at it is this: If you had a family member you cared about that was about to do business with a company like yours and purchase your type of product or service, then ask yourself: “What should I tell them they need to watch out for? What do they need to know to make an informed decision that is going to help them get what they need?” Whatever you would say to them is going to be in their best interest. They trust you. You are looking out for them. You have their back. Do the same for your customers. Communicate to them in the same way. Watch out for their good. Do good.

Sam Walton of Walmart and Sam’s Club said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Customer service speaker and expert Shep Hyken says, “Kindness and courtesy are at the root of a positive customer service experience.”
Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Group of companies, says it best, “Doing good is good for business.”
All true statements. All good reasons to get into the mind and heart of your customer.

Strategy 4: Set Performance Goals for Every Dollar Invested.

The danger of success and consistent growth is that you can get lazy about measuring what is working and what is not. It’s when the economy changes and times get lean that you begin to really drill down into what you can afford to keep and what needs to go. Why wait for a change in business, markets or the economy when you can establish success metrics now and discover how to grow sales in any type of market?

When you set goals for your advertising and marketing investments, then you get a clear picture of what is performing and what is not. You take emotions out of the equation, and you can make rational decisions based on performance. If you invest $1,000 in an ad, what do you want from it? How will you measure it? When will you know if it succeeded or failed? What can you do change it? You should be able to answer all these questions before you spend any money. We all have expectations in life. We should not be afraid to write down what we expect from our marketing investment in terms of response, leads, sales growth and ROI.

Strategy 5: Check Out Your Competitors.

It’s always wise to understand how your messaging and marketing compares to your competitors in your line of business. There are a few tools out there that can let you see what your competitors are doing, how they are communicating and what they are offering.

  • For pay-per-click ads, you can check out a service like Spy Fu. There is a monthly cost, but it might be worth it to see how your competitors are using pay-per-click and how much they are investing.
  • For display and banner advertising, then you can check out www.moat.com. It allows you to search current and past display ads by brand name. There is a free version of Moat, and you can upgrade if you want to see more competitor data. It’s incredibly useful and fast.
  • If you want to look up television spots and advertisements, then you can go to www.ispot.tv. You can browse ads by brand. If you want to get estimates on investment, then you have to pay a fee. But it’s a good way to keep current with creative trends.

One or all of these can truly change the playing field and help you improve your advertising and marketing results. Game changers… It feels good to win.

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