Category Archives: Charlotte

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 Call to Action Friday

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 – Call to Action Friday

Getting this in a little last minute today but keeping the streak alive nonetheless! Still in the mountains of Banner Elk, NC and wrapping up Day 14 of the fitness streak (only 90 more to go yet to meet my goal).

Again taking a bit of a detour with something that I make more of a thing going forward: Call to Action Friday. Wanted to shout out that I’ll be back down in Miami all next week. The schedule is already packed with client meetings, prospect meetings, networking events, and much more. I’ve said many times I’m ALL IN on growing the business more and more down there and this is another major step in the right direction. I still have some availability left but even if we’re not able to meet in person this trip please reach out and let’s at least set up a call and make a plan for the next time as I’ll certainly be back often!

Also, I’m still continuing to seek more and more content from entrepreneurs and professionals who are looking to create more whether written or video. If that’s a part of your strategy for the year please reach out and we’ll get something going.

Thanks for the attention while I keep getting these reps in and have a great weekend!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 6 CRM

The WIMS Guide Ep. 6 – CRM: The A-Team

If you’re following along (if not that’s ok too) today we’re talking about what you do as the next step in launching or redeploying your CRM. You’re going to focus solely on the A players for now. The main thing that is going to create momentum and keep you using the system is achieving ROI as quickly as possible. That’s the main benefit you want out of this and thus its the primary goal.

The quickest way to get there is prioritizing the A players first, aka your best clients and prospects. So after you’ve got the data, context, and all the other appropriate information about them in there you’re then going to focus on doing something about it.

You’re going to pick these people and go through them and schedule/pre-plan your out reach and follow up strategy. You’re going to leverage the task list, the calendar, reminders, etc. to layout the timing and content with which you’re going to conduct your outreach. And you’re going to leverage the CRM to systematize/automate it and take out the human element (somewhat, but not entirely).

By now you should have some sort of script that articulates your value proposition well along with a deck or brochure. Pre-schedule your follow up, and do between 3-7 touch points to make sure you see it through. Once you close the deal you can eliminate the subsequent steps as they’re convert. Put the email script in there, add some customized talking points, context, recall a funny joke or something they care about and set the entire campaign up in one shot.

The feeling you’ll get knowing this has been accomplished is going to propel you forward and create an invaluable supplement to your day to day activities. Give it a shot and let me know if you need any assistance.

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 3

The WIMS Guide Ep. 3 – For Entrepreneurs and Professionals Focused on the Journey

It’s Friday! Already got day 7 of my gym streak knocked out, got it in early today as opposed to the 10pm sessions I’ve been pulling off lately.

Today’s client work was mostly related to government/military contracting as well as the legal industry. Fascinating stuff. I try to bunch project work together by themes/industries as much as I can in order to maintain a consistent and appropriate mindset. It doesn’t always work out that way, but when it does I find it helps create more efficiency as you don’t have to transition from say a law firm to a restaurant instantaneously.

Also, I’m rocking the Charlotte Business Group pullover on this rainy Charlotte Friday to give the organization a little extra love as we have big plans for 2020 as well. We also have an event with the Charlotte Hornets coming up on Wednesday the 8th. Make sure you stay tuned!

Most important however, I wanted to use today’s post as more of a call to action to all of you. If you’ve got the goal of creating more written and video content surrounding your business I’d love to do some guest posts/collaborations moving forward. I just have a few small stipulations that I list on here. So please reach out to me so we can make this happen!

PS, yes I’m a pacer, rocker, fidget-er even (again media training on the way), it comes out especially when running on pure adrenaline after a wild week too haha. (Man watching these playbacks is awkward…)

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 2

The WIMS Guide Ep. 2 – For Entrepreneurs and Professionals Focused on the Journey

First of all, thank you for the feedback from Day 1, it means a lot and I appreciate it! There were a lot of you savages still grinding long into the night of January 1st checking LinkedIn/YouTube and I love to see it. Secondly, my wife has agreed to give me that media training refresher after all. So, when that happens, I’ll record it for you all as she’s a legit pro – and talk about META AF content am I right?!

For today’s message I went in a bit of a different direction as I wanted to highlight some of the other content I launched. I wrote a blog post specifically about Charlotte and offered some tips for how to grow your business here in 2020. Then I also wanted to highlight the newsletter we launched today that goes out to the company list and includes a ton of content. It’s the original The WIMS Guide that typically pairs with the blog and includes some additional content such as event calendar and travel advisory. Check the blog site (wimsguide.com) if you’d like to subscribe and get it, or you can email/text me or comment and I can add you to the list.

On here I give a rundown of some of the content from the newsletter, and rather than be redundant here I’ll just throw some links and let you listen to the rest. If there’s anything I can elaborate on or something you’d like me to talk about in the future, please let me know. Onward!

-Mike Simmons

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

Charlotte 2020

Charlotte 2020: Grow Your Business in the QC

If you live or do business in Greater Charlotte then you already know there’s a whole lot to be excited about in 2020 and beyond. The opportunities here are incredible, the city and state of NC in general are growing at a crazy fast pace and receiving all sorts of recognition nationally in “Best Places to Do Business” type articles. You can see for yourself (here, here, and here). Figuring out where to get plugged in or get more involved can be overwhelming, so I wanted to give you a few quick initial steps (4 to be exact) to take in the new year to kick things off, and I’ll elaborate and expand on this further throughout Q1.

Whether you’re new here, haven’t arrived yet, grew up here, or have been here for years now I highly recommend investing your time getting to know other professionals who are doing big things in business. Networking here has led to a substantial ROI for me and my businesses and I can’t encourage it enough. There are tons of organizations and resources with which to leverage at various price points and time commitments based on you and your company’s needs.

Personally, I’ve been involved in various capacities at board and committee levels with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance (formerly the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce). I’d highly recommend it as a great place to start and get involved. However, to be fully transparent, after merging with the region’s economic development entity the organization’s mission and day-to-day focus are shifting pretty substantially.  Rather than solely focusing on greater Charlotte, The Alliance now has 15 counties across both NC and SC in its purview. Needless to say, that while it’s a positive shift overall that provides incredible opportunity, the scope and reach has shifted dramatically. Serving that wide an area comes with new challenges as well however, so clearly the day-to-day operations needed to change with it.

While I still very much intend to remain involved as a member and hopefully more, it would be a disservice to you if I didn’t say the new mission has simultaneously left a pretty sizable void for those with a more narrow focus of making an impact in greater Charlotte and don’t have the resources to have a target market that expansive. Again, yet another opportunity

This is where the Charlotte Business Group comes in. (Full disclosure: I recently joined the board in 2019 because I knew this transition was happening and wanted to prepare accordingly.) There are still a ton of business professionals who just have the capacity to focus on Greater Charlotte (it’s hard enough covering the Lake Norman to Rock Hill/Fort Mill area as it is, let alone a dozen plus other counties). So we decided to step in and do just that. We’re providing networking opportunities with our mixers, educational opportunities with our panel discussions, and we recently launched a membership program to be able to ramp up additional opportunities in the community (as well as with more focus on fostering referrals and connections but much more to come as the year rolls on). The focus will remain greater Charlotte, but everyone who wants to do business here is more than welcome to get involved. If you and your organization wants to align with that mission please reach out to me to set up a membership or sponsorship and we’ll get you plugged in.

Next up is another really non-negotiable if you’re serious about Charlotte. You need the Charlotte Business Journal in your life, by way of subscription (print and digital), attending their events, and you NEED the Book of Lists.

Charlotte Inno (formerly Start Charlotte) with their newsletter and PitchBreakfast events among others are also truly invaluable. Whether you want to learn about local start up success and origin stories, or see what other events are coming up on the horizon (they host many incredible ones themselves as well) you at least need to sign up for the newsletter and take it from there.

 

We’ll leave it here for now, as that’s 4 invaluable steps that you need to take in the new year if you haven’t already. But I’ll be adding much more with respect to the specific Charlotte focus moving forward (including a non-profit edition). Would love to hear your feedback on what organizations you’re involved with, what you’d recommend and to continue the conversation as it’s one that’s a major priority for me.

The WIMS Guide Video Edition

The WIMS Guide Video Edition Ep. 1

Happy New Year and welcome to the new decade! After about 50 takes I figured what the heck, let’s just launch this thing. It’s raw and vulnerable, warts and all. Clearly I need a media training refresher from my wife who is a former TV reporter. But that’s ok, the polish will come later with practice and reps.

Without further ado, coming to you from the WIMS, Inc. War Room it’s The WIMS Guide video edition! I’ve procrastinated for years now on doing video content as surprisingly, it may be the one area I’m a little self-conscious. But that’s also why I needed to just put myself out there and DO it already. So here we are.

I definitely cringed a little (ok a lot) watching the play back, but I will absolutely get better. I’ll begin conveying my thoughts my clearly and concisely. But if you could give your boy a little grace here in the beginning, I’d appreciate it. Or don’t, feel free to roast me too I can take it.

As the blog this is meant to be about the never ending/ongoing journey of business, entrepreneurship, professional development and much more. I’m going to try to provide you with as much value as I can through the insights gained from running my companies, WIMS Consulting, EolianVR, and ARRE (along with perspective and experience gleaned from dozens of clients across a variety of industries and sizes). But I also want to learn more from you too, and even build a community around our shared insights and experiences.

My goal isn’t to build a Gary V or Grant Cardone or Ed Mylett style vlog. It’s to just force myself to get better, get out of my comfort zone, and try to serve my community in any way I can. That’s really all I can hope for. It could last a week, or a decade, we’ll see…

Here goes nothing!

 

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

LDR BRD

Leveling-Up the Loyalty Game – Welcome to LDR BRD By: Tom Schaefer, Jr.

What are those letters? We’ll get to that later, I promise it’s worth the wait. In my previous post, I went on and on about how Loyalty systems don’t work.  At the end of that piece, I explained that loyalty does work, it just seems the retail application was broken. They’re rewarding existing loyalty (which reduces the Lifetime Value, or LTV, of a customer that wasn’t going anywhere) but failing to convert new customers to loyal ones. If there’s something we’ve learned from Star Trek/Wars, Marvel, and even the gaming community, its that consumers crave something they can connect with. The obstacle here is translating what other mediums do well, into a retail or B2C environment.

Janet Robinson, former CEO of the New York Times Company, said it best –

“Repeat business or behavior can be bribed, Loyalty has to be earned”

But what inspires loyalty with your customers? First, we need to separate Customer Loyalty from Brand Loyalty. Customer loyalty comes from the buyer’s power on their own personal spending. They’re likely motivated by lower prices and competitive deals. The loyalty Ms. Robinson is talking about is Brand Loyalty, which is based on perception of the Brand and its value. Brands that focus on excellent quality in product, service, and a cohesive message, are much more likely to inspire loyalty in their customer base.

After all of this research into loyalty/reward programs, I went and did something about it. I created a loyalty platform that ties into the basic fundamentals of building strong brand loyalty. I could tell you all about Aristotle’s 7 causes of human action, defining the 7 ways we make decisions and take actions, or go through some other psychological triggers, but the answer is much simpler than that. Create a quality product or service, provide excellent customer experience, and unify under a strong message. Once that is in place, the rest is as easy as paint by numbers.

My system plays into 4 areas that help grow customer loyalty: Trust, Character, Excitement, and Community. First, we extend the excellent customer experience outside of the standard financial transactions. Using a common platform like a CRM program, helps us stay in touch with our customers, understand their actions, and allows them to provide us with feedback to make their next visit that much better!

 

Enter LDR BRD (but where’d the vowels go?)

I’ve been so excited to share this with everyone! I’ve spent most of my professional life in Sales and Marketing, and leaned on quantitative data for most of my decision making. We use tools like Lead Scoring to determine which people are more likely to buy, and which are just window shopping. Then it hit me…what if we could do the same with loyalty? It’s a messy, qualitative, emotional category that isn’t easy to track. So how do we do it? I took a sample group of people who self-identify as “Brand Loyal” and interviewed them over a couple weeks.  Turns out their actions oftentimes spoke louder than their words. They were more likely to make large purchases from their preferred brand, share with friends and family through word of mouth/social media/online reviews, and fall into the habit of making regular purchases. Loyal customers should make up at least 20% of your base, but will account for 80% of future profits. It’s time to find out who they are (and what they care deeply about)!

 

Ready Player

We took the traditional lead scoring model, and made is public facing. This effectively turns loyalty into a game that adds a competition component to a system that doesn’t separate the loyal customers from passive return business. We have a system in place to track activity both inside and outside the traditional financial transaction. Did someone share a post on social media and tag your business? Get Points! Did someone invite their coworkers or friends to your bar for happy hour? Reward them! Did someone make a large purchase? Don’t let it go unnoticed! Our system also incorporates Feedback Loops (similar to popular games like Fortnite, with each new season giving players a reason to re-engage), so everyone gets a chance to shine, regardless of the previous activity. This allows new customers to feel like they have a chance to benefit in the system, while longer tenured customers continue to benefit from past activities. The purpose of this system is to identify and reward loyal business, all while turning your customer base into your own personal marketing army!

What about the name? I was inspired by the classic video game displays that list the current high scores. The leader board gives new players a number to beat, driving competitive behavior. At the end, you can only use three initials to describe what you are.

Leader Board became LDR BRD.

Are you ready to play?

If you have any questions about LDR BRD or would like to discuss how this platform can transform your business and drive revenues, fill out the form here or email me and let’s talk: tschaefer@wims-consulting.com.

 

WIMS Client Spotlight Proteith

WIMS CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: PROTEITH Oral Hygiene System

Revolutionizing Oral Health Care

Proteith sport and healthy.

PROTEITH® Oral Hygiene System is an all-natural formulation of plant proteins, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants scientifically balanced to fight periodontal disease. PROTEITH® is dentist-certified to maintain a healthy mouth for protection from gingivitis, canker sores and aphthous ulcers, tartar build-up, dentin hypersensitivity, and oral malodors or halitosis. PROTEITH® natural toothpowder users have reported the following benefits with dentist-certified data:

  • Stops bleeding and receding gums
  • Heals mouth sores and cuts in the mouth
  • Cleans teeth and removes surface stains
  • Prevents tartar buildup
  • Reduces tooth sensitivity
  • Eliminates bad breath

Why Choose PROTEITH®?

PROTEITH® is a patent-pending formulation containing only the highest quality ingredients to support a safe and effective regimen for your teeth and gums. Not only is it one of the best products for gingivitis, but it has a whole host of other benefits as well.

Proteith Diagram

To learn more about the science behind Proteith, read testimonials from other users, or to purchase some for yourself please visit: https://www.proteith.com/. For a discount, email Mike Simmons at msimmons@wims-consulting.com.

If you have periodontal disease, consult your dentist for best results. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  See A Study of Protein-based Toothpowder Effectiveness on Reducing Gum Tissue Pocket Sizes in Dental Patients for dentist-certified data.

Make Cannabis Legal Again SuperPAC

WIMS Client Spotlight: MCLA SuperPAC

“IN 2020 WE WILL MAKE CANNABIS LEGAL AGAIN”

“If we had to start from scratch and design a medicine to help lead us out of the opioid epidemic, it would likely look very much like cannabis.” — NEUROSURGEON SANJAY GUPTA, M.D.

Medical Proof
Marijuana is medicine. There is science-validated, medical proof that cannabis can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Crohn’s disease, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, muscle spasms, PTSD, pain management and more. The science is clear: cannabis delivers results to those who need it.

Based on science alone, North Carolina should have a medical marijuana program. The fact that people are suffering when they can have access to proven medicine is barbaric. We deserve better.

There are now 33 states in the U.S. that have functional medical marijuana (MMJ) programs.

WHY DOESN’T NORTH CAROLINA HAVE A MMJ PROGRAM?

Beyond Medicine
Medical Marijuana is good for the economy. A well-managed medical marijuana program greatly increases the need for not only farmers and the agricultural industry, but for white-collar professionals like accountants and lawyers, as well as skilled professionals like electricians and HVAC specialists. It also provides retail opportunities for equipment and nutrient suppliers.

Based on data provided from the current 33 medical marijuana programs, MMJ would create 25,000 jobs in North Carolina. The total value of added revenue to the N.C. economy would equal or exceed $2.5 BILLION per year.

NORTH CAROLINA WILL BENEFIT FROM A MMJ PROGRAM!

Help Us, Help All
The science and data are clear. North Carolinians deserve the choice to use medical marijuana to help treat illnesses and benefit our economy. We need your help to make the message clear.

Until recently, politicians were able to hide in gerrymandered districts, purposefully avoiding the discussion of medical marijuana. But in 2020, we’re hopeful this will change. Help us convince our politicians to support medical marijuana.

If you’re interested in getting involved you can click here to get more information, donate, and spread the word.

NORTH CAROLINA DESERVES A MMJ PROGRAM!

*The MCLA SuperPAC is a FEC Registered Independent Expenditure-Only Committee.”

Why Loyalty Programs Don't Work

Why Loyalty Programs Don’t Work…

As Marketers, one of the key metrics we follow is brand engagement, also known as Loyalty.  We often talk about the size of a market, or how much market penetration a particular business or campaign has achieved.  Loyalty is the measurement of how much of our captured market repeats business with us.

It’s said keeping a customer is cheaper than gaining a new one.  Considering the retail industry as a whole spent over $1.9 Billion in 2016 running Loyalty programs, I’d say it’s still pretty costly.  Businesses use “Loyalty Programs” or “VIP Clubs” as a way to grow customer loyalty.  Unfortunately, these programs are often costly to operate and rarely translate to any kind of loyalty to the brand using them.

The average house is participating in over a dozen loyalty programs, and less than half the users are active or engaged with the brands.  While the program is designed to increase loyalty, the business ends up spending money on the customer base that’s least likely to leave.  These programs effectively cut into the profit margins from customers that were likely going to return, regardless of any additional perks.  That last part is especially true considering most of the participants either don’t know how to redeem the rewards, or don’t care enough to find out.

You can find all of this information and research with a simple Google search.  However, there is one market segment adding these types of programs at a faster rate than previous years.  The beverage industry, specifically Breweries, Brewpubs, Tap houses, Wineries and Vineyards, Distilleries, and Hard Cider Mills.  The most common model is by far the Mug Club, or Mug Membership.  While some are a one-time payment, most are annual or monthly payments to a business, providing the member with added perks.  Now, as a former member of these clubs, I LOVED them.  I probably doubled my money with the perks I received.  An example of the perks is as follows:

-Personalized mug, typically 2-4 ounces larger than the standard pint but priced the same

-Brewery/Tap house Merchandise (T-shirts, Hats, Koozie, bottle openers, stickers, etc.)

-Discounts on Beer/merchandise

-Special Events (no cost to members)

-First in line for special events/product releases

-Free Growlers and discounted fills

The average cost of these programs to the members can range anywhere from $40 to a couple hundred, depending on the Brewery or Bar.  I spent $150 to join one, and $85 a year to keep it renewed, with additional shirts and events with each renewal.  The Breweries justify this by saying it creates a group of loyal customers that will promote the business outside the walls and gives the members a unique sense of community.  When most of the Brewery clubs have 100 members or more, that’s a big cut into a profit margin from a group of people that would likely be loyal customers with or without the club.  Can the breweries prove these members are promoting them in the community? What’s the return on the brewery’s investment?  If you can’t prove something works, how do you justify the expense?

 

Alternatives to the Club

Now you don’t think I’d sit here and rip apart an old system that’s been in place for years without offering alternatives, do you?  I love a good beer, and want to see these Breweries grow.  They stay in the same system, or don’t participate, because there aren’t many people out there talking about alternatives.  The end goal is to increase their market share, and promote loyalty within their current customer base.

 

Special Release Clubs

These kinds of membership clubs seem to work for those chasing the elusive “Whales”, or special limited run bottles.  Breweries can forecast what kinds of beer they want to make, based on cost of production, and divide that total into the membership count to give them the cost per member.  Tag on whatever margin they need to make it worth their time, and the membership group can turn a profit before the first batch ever goes into production.  This gives the members a sense of loyalty, status, and keeps them engaged with the brand as they look forward to the next release.  There’s a value add, and breweries can measure the benefit.  Club members typically have to travel to the brewery to pick up the bottles, and will often spend a bit more on beer during the visit.  POS systems can track the members and allow breweries to measure the additional revenue per member at the time of the visit.

 

Active Point Systems

This is a new take on the long-standing loyalty system, but with a twist.  Breweries, Distilleries, Cider Mills, and Vineyards/Wineries can easily turn their typical social and marketing engagements into a point system.  By continually engaging with their markets, breweries can put out a series of tasks that equal points.  Create a clear, public facing list of “award tiers” that customers can follow, and the point totals needed to reach each one.  World of Beer did something along these lines with their “1 point per beer purchased” programs, with prizes ranging from a free t-shirt to a private party with a free keg of your choice.  Not a bad start, but they could have gone further.

The one beer = one point model only works when people are in the building, and it isn’t typically something most of their market thinks about unless they’re already patronizing a location.  The prizes also need to be collected from the location they signed up for the program.  This negates the benefits if someone moves or a location goes out of business.  You can switch your “home” location, but that’s unnecessary friction for the customer.

Award Tiers need to not only benefit those already in the building, but also incentivize the market as a whole to either patronize a brewery, or promote the brewery.  Our team at WIMS put together a system that rewards your market for not only coming in to buy your product, but also promote your product to their own network.  You keep them engaged with your brand with regular bonus point activity, creating a sense of community.  We put a system in place that allows you to track and quantify the return on investment from the dollars spent on a marketing campaign.  The best kind of loyalty is from customers that not only frequent the brewery, but also promote the brewery when they’re not there.  Expand the market and increase loyalty within the new segments as it grows.

Whatever system you put in place for your Brewery, Distillery, Cider Mill or Winery, make sure you can measure the results.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, I’d love to hear from you.  Reach out in the comments below or sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Cheers!

-Tom Schaefer, Jr.

Part 1 of aseries…