Competition for customer loyalty has never been more tenacious. The biggest upside for us consumers in the midst of this Targeted Marketing craze is a reduction of physical junk mail and automated sales calls. The internet is getting to know you, your likes and interests, and like an imaginary friend or custom robot, finds things that you will like, be interested in and ultimately want (or need) to purchase.
Creepy or awesome, targeted marketing tactics and brand loyalty programs are designed for humans (with money), not ‘bots’ (to boost metrics) ideally to save time and money for both the business and their customer(s). Everything from gas and groceries to office supplies and dining out can be rewarding, via rewards or loyalty card, the biggest problem of course being the physical burden of carrying all those cards and keeping track of those rewards. Many programs offer a link up with your telephone number (in lieu of carrying the physical card) but this is still cumbersome and giving out your telephone number reminds us of those unsolicited calls we just got rid of. There must be a better way for both a business and customer to have a closer, more valuable relationship.
This is precisely the conclusion reached by Andrew Parker, co-founder of Jayu which is a business he conceived while serving as a Captain in the US Army. After a decade of service and extensive travel, Andrew decided that his vanguard and specialized experience in advance Communications could be applied to a revamping of customer rewards programs and founded Jayu in 2015 (along with an International partner in Hong Kong). After Andrew attended a wedding in San Diego in 2013, his decision was made to launch Jayu in San Diego, not only an ideal business climate and offering the greatest opportunity, but ideal weather, people, housing, a complete ideal lifestyle.
Jayu’s base of operations is located in downtown San Diego at ROC (Real Office Centers) allowing Andrew to not only be physically at the hub of Jayus’ US operations but in constant contact with his Hong Kong partner according to Andrew, the added support and benefits that come with of this type of space (at ROC) are predominantly absent in most corporate real estate.
Jayu already has more than 30 businesses utilizing their proprietary and custom tailored rewards zone program that works with customers Smartphones instead of those old cumbersome cards and keychain tokens (did anyone use really those?). Jayu knows when you walk in your favorite deli or store and it may not yell your name when you walk in like on Cheers, it will issue you rewards points for visiting. Jayu is currently working with small business owners in San Diego to participate in their pilot stage program while it lasts! If you are interested, you may submit your small business on the Jayu website for consideration.
So you have a start-up concept, or you’ve already started your start-up, great! Now, how do you make your start-up stand out and rise to becoming TNBT (the next big thing)? You’ll need more than simply old fashioned networking and newfangled (automated) social networking promotion; you need targeted direction, an alliance, and real tools you can begin using yesterday. Don’t worry, you’re not too late to catch the bullet train. You are exactly where you need to be, reading this, seeking the next step, and always moving onward and upward with your new start-up. Your next step is to put yourself out there. You need to connect with notable influencers and mentors and form alliances while establishing your brand, company or product as better than the best of the best.
You do everything in your start-up, from grinding your own coffee to grinding out good deals, so how can you make time for making connections? Most simply, you cannot afford not to. With only 168 hours in the week you need to maximize your efforts and presence. Thinking globally, Start-up Grind, a world-wide community for Entrepreneurs, hosts events in 175 cities in 70 countries and is coming to San Diego this week, limited space is still available.
This motivational and fortuitous event will be hosted in partnership with ROC at The Vine SD and The Irvine Company this Thursday, October 8th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm in downtown San Diego, advance tickets are still available at a discounted price. Start-up Grind San Diego at ROC at The Vine SD will feature Plug & Play powerhouse professional, Gabriela Dow who in partnership with her corporate affiliates in Silicon Valley is responsible for raising more than $1.8 billion for approximately 200 start-ups across the globe. Gabriela Dow is also an advisor to multiple tech start-ups and an extensive (and impressive) track record in government politics and media relations.
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”-Confucius
How can one argue with 2500 year old advice? Confucius said a lot of things, many of which are still applicable today. So often the important endeavors in life seem like staggering mountains we must traverse, likewise the most monumental and difficult things we do in life become the building blocks of our successes. This daunting, overwhelmed feeling is even more applicable to today’s start-up sector, where one individual or just a couple of talented and dynamic people are doing everything (and more) to launch their business to the next level. We need teachers, mentors (and investors) now more than ever as well. They are the ones that know we can move mountains and instead of teaching just how to do it, they empower us to get it done ourselves.
“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” goes another well-known Chinese proverb.
Even Angor Wat (a temple city, World Heritage site in Cambodia) was not built overnight despite the legends that say so. It took time and manpower. Each of the estimated 6-10 million blocks of sandstone were placed strategically, and structurally, for this reason it still stands today. Building requires not only a solid foundation but a solid plan and teamwork, or ‘collaboration’, in millennial terminology.
Building Bloc is an aptly named growth engineering consulting firm based at the ROC offices in the heart of Santa Monica, a.k.a. the newly christened Silicon Beach. Cofounders of Building Bloc, Mohamed Kamal and Alyssa Mason, have established an architecturally sound “three prong approach” working with specifically tech start-ups to take them to the next level and ultimately raise the roof of potential in real dollars. By investing their concentrated “high tempo” testing (one of the prongs), Building Bloc does much more than consulting and analyzing data, they are completely invested with the companies they work with for typically 3-6 months duration.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” –Confucius
Building Bloc also knows that continual growth involves continual learning and effort and that is one of the main reasons for their exclusive monthly “On the Rise” events which have been described as a micro-conference of sorts packed into an hour and a half and feature current and notably successful guest speakers (these events are invitation only). These events are held at the ROC offices in Santa Monica where these two founders have set up their operations and praised not only the office itself but the entire ROC community of supportive and stimulating people are there to thrive.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”-Confucius
After speaking briefly with both founders of Building Bloc about their own growth and success they shared with me that ROC itself is like a mini-incubator. “To us this is the best place to be, ROC is closely aligned with who we want to be and what we are all about as service providers.”-Mohamed Kamal, CTO Co-founder Building Bloc
The startup scene is expanding and Silicon Valley is not the only place for companies to flourish! Read how ROC San Diego is a part of the movement.
You’ve done all that you can do to get your start-up started. You’ve done more than you’re due diligence by meticulously researching your closest competitors and potential customers, how they differ and how you’re product or service is superior. You’ve set yourself above all potential competitors by positioning yourself and becoming an expert on your service (or product) yet the competition keeps coming up and nipping at your heels. Just keeping your start-up afloat requires you to dip into your savings or scrounge up your saved pocket change to take to a Coinstar machine and you’re wondering if you and your partners will ever realize a profit, maybe the principle problem is your pricing.
Even Disneyland has a problem of getting pricing right, believe it or not. This simple and all too common corporate conundrum is one of the first principles taught in Economics, it is the magic formula between supply and demand. Finding that fulcrum isn’t easy. Just today Disneyland Parks announced a new pricing system for annual passes which will deal with their problem of over-crowding on high attendance days. Just like the airlines, hotels and with Uber, money talks.
As adeptly noted by Peep Laja in an article for ConversionXL, “People are weird and irrational and there’s much we (still) don’t understand. Like why do shoppers moving in a counterclockwise direction spend on average $2.00 more at the supermarket?”
Laja also has cited a study from Cornell back in 2009 which observed that the simple act of omitting the dollar sign increases sales. Should you have also studied some psychology in the R & D process perhaps?
There are plenty of tasteless tactics in pricing strategies (the magic power of “9”, the “decoy” decision option, etc.) as well as wealth of interesting value quirks we have that are really nuggets of priceless knowledge when it comes to pricing your own product (or service) and understanding your customers and maybe just being able to predict their behavior a little better.
Your business may not be of Disneyland size and capacity just yet, but perhaps your own pricing strategy could use some old fashioned supply and demand revision too? Learning business strategies from corporate power houses (like Disney and Apple) is like having the cliff notes to capitalism in your pocket. Instead of making mistakes yourself with your start-up, learn from others (it’s more cost effective) and dare to steal their strategies (if they work)-why not? Additionally, here’s a great (“25 Unconventional”) book list for some further research in your (not) free time. No matter what the price is, you cannot afford to give up on your dream (your start-up) and you’re initial (and ongoing) investment(s)-keep the change!
Photo credit: By NBC Television (eBay item photo front photo back)”The Price is Right” c. 1963 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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