Using Your Inventory Calendar as a Marketing Tool

Setting an inventory calendar can be useful for more than just inventory management. It can serve as the framework and guide for your marketing schedule as well. It makes sense to align marketing and promotion with the inventory your housing at the time and to be prepared to turn seasonal stock as quickly as possible.

Consistency is often one of the biggest struggles for dealers, and establishing a marketing plan can give you a guide to follow to help you stay on course and in front of your customers in the most effective way possible.

First, establish the list of marketing tools you plan to use to reach your customers.

That list may look something like this:

  • Radio Ads
  • Facebook Posts / Social Media
  • Event Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Text Messaging Service
  • Local Business Flyers

Next, reference your inventory calendar to know what items you should be promoting for that respective month. Promotions need to be done in advance of your selling season to prepare customers, so it’s always good to set your marketing plans 3-5 months in advance.

An inventory calendar will help paint a visual picture of the opportunities you have to focus on, what promotional efforts could be combined or if it is necessary to run multiple campaigns simultaneously. Obviously margin and/or volume will factor into your focus each month, but don’t leave out ‘door-opener’ products that could generate traffic or interest as well.

Once you’ve established your product focus for the month, detail your marketing plan to include specific tactics, contacts you need to reach out to, deadlines, etc. There are several tools and programs you can use for social media, email marketing and text messaging services that allow you to schedule in advance so you only have to manage these messages once per month.

At the end of the month, you should revisit each marketing medium used and analyze its effectiveness so you can make any necessary adjustments for coming months.

Displays that Wow Your Customers

Product displays, if executed well, are guaranteed to stop customers and generate interest. When marketing to the show livestock audience, keep in mind that exhibitors often play more of a role in feeding decisions than you may assume, so your display should cater to a younger demographic. During the breeding season, cattlemen may prefer a display that educates them about the challenges products help them overcome. Every product and audience is different. The following are a few tips to keep in mind as you hone in on your merchandising skills:

LOOKS MATTER
Make sure your display fully embraces the product brand. BioZyme® invests a great deal of money and energy promoting brands to the end customer, and therefore, it would be in your best interest to stay consistent with the respective brand look. Because of the diversity in types of dealers within our networks, we are happy to discuss options in customizing a display to fit your space.

COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
Communicating a clear understanding of what a product does is key to successful selling. Remember that communication is not limited to words: both the visual and written language of a display must also carry a cohesive message. A successful design is one that will seamlessly integrate with the rest of your marketing campaign (and in this case, the national marketing campaign efforts of BioZyme brands).

PRODUCT IS KING!
Ultimately, every display has one goal: to sell product! Displays that overwhelm the product defeat their purpose at retail. Make sure that your display is making the product the star. If your retail area does not have enough space to showcase every product, make sure you are highlighting those small pack products (Vita Charge®, Vitalize and the new Sure Champ® Spark) as conversation starters so you can lead in to telling customers about the larger mineral products available as well.

ADD VALUE FOR YOUR CUSTOMER
Every new display project is an opportunity to create value for your customer. Value can be created through timely placement (putting the right product out at the right time), added education or a sales promotion or bundled products.  Consider a display that can be changed according to time of year so your customer benefits when most appropriate for their business.

For help with your store displays, contact Katie Vaz, Marketing and Communications Manager, at kvaz@biozymeinc.com or 816-596-8782.

Understanding The Value

Without an understanding of what all is included in a bag of BioZyme mineral, it is possible your customers feel they are comparing apples to apples when, in fact, they are not. BioZyme mineral prodcts contain a host of things other mineral brands simply do not offer:

AMAFERM®
The key ingredient in all of BioZyme’s products, Amaferm® is a natural feed additive, that acts as a prebiotic increasing digestibility to 
maximize the energy value of feed.

OPTIMIN® Proteinates
The nutritional success of any organic trace mineral depends on the ability of the organic escort to hold onto and protect the metal from undesirable reactions. Optimin’s superior chelation stability maintains the integrity and keeps the organic mineral in its original form during digestion. Optimins are soluble and ready for absorption, especially when they are needed most – under stress or during difficult dietary 
digestive conditions.

PRICELESS Attributes of BioZyme Mineral Products

  • Research proven vitamin and mineral levels
  • Exceeds NRC requirements for respective production stage
  • Highest ingredient quality and consistency
  • No least-cost formulations as BioZyme manufactures to the ingredients, not the guarantee

Promote Where it Matters Most

It is very apparent that organic reach for Facebook posts has been taking a hit over the past few years. Even as recent as this year, with Facebook limiting the reach of “promotional posts,” the percentage of followers a company reaches organically continues to decrease. While it is possible to slightly improve this percentage through higher quality content, Facebook advertising offers more effective ways to improve post viability, for a price of course.

Facebook advertising allows companies to choose a post and have it distributed in the news feed to anyone they want, based on interests, demographics, etc.

Before you get started, it’s important to have specific goals and understand the different options and ad types available to promote a post on Facebook. There are many reasons to boost a post, including:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Increasing brand engagement (shares, comments, likes)
  • Boosting website traffic
  • Promoting new content or blog posts

Use your budget most effectively by following these guidelines for boosting a post on your Facebook business page:

MAXIMIZE TARGETING OPTIONS

It’s easy to boost a post. It’s hard to effectively boost one. The key lies in who you are targeting. Based on the goal, you have the ability to target anyone you want on Facebook. When boosting a post, Facebook offers specific targeting options including: audience (fans and/or friends of fans), location, age, gender and interests.

If the post is focused on information only relevant to current fans, it’s important to target only those people. On the other hand, if the goal is to interact with potential new customers, that needs to be reflected in the targeting.

FOCUS ON QUALITY IMAGES AND VIDEO

There is no way to stress enough the importance of having a high quality image or video tied to a post. When boosting a post, especially to users who might not be familiar with the brand, the image will be the first piece they see. It needs to be eye catching and engaging at the same time.

If using an image, make sure it is appropriately sized. If these dimensions are not followed, Facebook will resize them, causing images to look less attractive. An image 1200px by 900px is a safe bet. You can find ideal image sizes for all the Facebook Advertising campaigns at: https://www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide/post-engagement/photo. It is important that all images are high quality to avoid blurry and distorted messages. Most importantly, if you plan to pay for a boosted post, you must follow the 20% text rule. While organic posts do not need to follow the 20% text rule (only 20% of an image can include text), boosted posts do.

UNDERSTAND ALL AVAILABLE OPTIONS ON FACEBOOK

Facebook offers a variety of different advertising options. While they make it easy to boost a post and move on, it’s important to know what options they have and see if there is one better suited for the target audience and goals. Visit www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide for a breakdown off all the different advertising options.

While boosting a post may seem as simple as pressing a button, there is a lot more to consider in order to effectively use it and see results. To avoid irrelevant clicks and visitors, advertisers need to understand who they are targeting, what the goals are, and why users should care about the post.

Don’t Sell. Help.

It’s a safe bet that most people have had a bad experience with a sales person. You may even cringe, roll your eyes or your stomach turns when you hear the words “sales person.” Kelley Robertson, author of Stop, Ask & Listen – Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers into Buyers and The Secrets of Power Selling, lists seven reasons why customers hate sales people:

1.) They don’t listen
2.) They talk too much
3.) Lack of knowledge
4.) Lack of follow-up
5.) They lie
6.) Fail to understand the customers’ needs
7.) Refusal to take “no” for an answer

However, sales are essential for business. After all, nothing happens until you sell something. So how do you find balance? How do you become aggressive in growing your business without being labeled as a “sales person?”

To be great at selling, you must first be passionate about the product(s) or service(s) you’re representing; and secondly be passionate about the people you serve. This type of passion is something a dealer can rarely fake. A passion for what you’re selling coupled with a passion for helping your customers make the best decisions for their operations will come across in everything you say or do.

This is one area BioZyme® dealers often do not have trouble as 80% of dealers use the product personally and have experienced firsthand results they are passionate about sharing. Here are four reasons this type of passion is a game-changer for your business:

Passion Builds Trust with Customers
There are no sales without trust, and a passion for selling can cement trust between a dealer and a potential customer like nothing else. When passion is genuine, customers know it, and will respond to it by placing their trust in you and your business. A passion for selling also helps build trust because:

  • A sales person with passion truly wants to understand the customer and their unique needs and then sculpt how a product or service fits into that picture.
  • When a sales person is fully invested in the products he or she represents, that passion can be contagious for customers.
  • Passion permits a sales person to go after the best possible outcome – even if the best possible outcome for the prospect is not the product he or she originally had in mind.

    Passion Keeps the Sales Pipeline Full
    One of the great things about a passion for selling is that it can help dealers maintain a full sales pipeline without as much effort as those who lack such a passion. Why? A passion for selling turns customers into advocates (see page 6) who will recommend the dealer and their products to others. Word-of-mouth marketing continually sends new leads who are interested and ready to buy to the dealer. Having these customers who are also willing to provide testimonials and refer other customers, is priceless in any industry.

    Passion Allows Dealers to Be Persistent
    Persistence is always a watchword in sales since customers will not always be quick to pick up the phone or return a call. Great dealers who have a passion for selling have an advantage here because that passion helps them overcome such barriers and be persistent in pursuing the sale without becoming a hindrance to the potential customer. With passion, great dealers can come up with creative solutions to reach their prospects and ultimately make the sale.

    Passion Helps Dealers Continually Improve
    When dealers have a passion for selling, that passion often makes itself known through continual improvement. No dealer is perfect, but not all dealers are willing to make the commitment of time, money and energy it takes to reach the next level. Those who have a passion for selling are willing to make this commitment not only because it is the best thing for their careers, but also because it is what they want to do. That is passion for selling in action.

Marketing Multitasking

While many studies lay claim that multitasking can actually reduce efficiency, I will argue that ‘marketing multitasking’ is a no-brainer. Unlike mobile devices that are distracting and often prohibit productivity, finding ways to inject marketing into tasks you are already performing is quite the contrary. In fact, marketing multitasking is an excellent opportunity to multiply your effort.

You wake each morning with a standard routine that must happen in order to operate your business. You get dressed. You go over important tasks with your staff. You communicate with your customers during the sale, at checkout, and hopefully, you follow up. You invoice clients. Perhaps, you spend time driving to deliver product. You attend events, such as stock shows, where you simply visit and support your customers. Because you are accustomed to this routine, it is possible that you overlook marketing opportunities that can be easily injected into those everyday tasks at little to no cost.

Let’s touch on a few marketing multitasking ideas that can be incorporated into your normal business routine:

Staff Dress Code. You should never underestimate the value of apparel or wearables. Next time you are at the mall or large event, take a look around. Count how many shirts you see with brands like Nike, Under Armour, Carhartt and other popular brands. You’ve just been marketed to – many times over. Outfitting your staff with branded apparel creates walking advertisements for either your company and/or the brands you represent. Clothing can be used as conversation starters and magnet for potential customers, and they work overtime! How is that? If you invest in attractive apparel that your employees or customers like, they will wear them everywhere, even when you don’t ask. Being strategic about getting dressed in the morning is a cost effective, fun way to market.

Invoices. For dealers who snail-mail to send invoices or statements to customers, consider adding a product stuffer to the envelope. This is a small piece of paper designed to fit perfectly in an envelope and tells your customer about a new or related product they could benefit from. While you’re spending money on postage, you might as well include something that could spark interest and generate additional sales. For those who utilize electronic billing systems, you can also take advantage of this by attaching a PDF flyer in your email or, better yet, including a coupon for your customer’s next purchase.

Checkout Chatter. The short period of time a customer stands at the counter to check out is a perfect time to introduce them to upcoming promotions, new products or simply ask them if they are satisfied with the customer service they received. It’s the perfect time to up sell or receive feedback on their experience.

Vehicles. As a feed dealer, it is a given you spend much of your time on the road or have a vehicle out and about on any given day. A great way to increase brand awareness is with a vehicle wrap to advertise your dealership or a magnet that has your contact information, creating a traveling billboard.

Show Sponsorship. You will likely attend a stock show at some point throughout the year, whether with your family or to support your customers. While you’re there, wear your branded apparel and consider a sponsorship of product for class winners or champions. Ask if the show will announce your sponsorship over the microphone throughout the event and let people know where they can purchase product. Signage at these events is always a great way to increase awareness, and depending on the event, can come at a low cost.

Employee Time. If you have employees who have some downtime throughout the day, ask them to utilize that time writing thank you notes to your customers. You can never thank your customers enough, and a simple note will pay dividends.

As business owners, you face two important challenges each day:
1) feeling as if 24 hours is not enough to get everything accomplished and 2) engaging with your customers on a level so they know they are important and that you care. Our world is becoming more demanding of our time, and communication space is more cluttered. Rather than revolutionizing your marketing plan and falling short because you don’t have the time or resources to pull something big off, evaluate current activities to know if you are being fully efficient in the tasks you are already performing. And, more importantly, understand your customers’ worlds are just as cluttered as yours. Personalize your marketing efforts to speak to customers about what specifically interests them. By respecting their time and catering to their needs rather than cramming them into a one-size-fits-all plan, you will create engaged customers who appreciate your effort and who will remain loyal to your business.