Tomato Fish Marketing Blog

Tomato Fish Marketing Discovers Untapped Resources in Kokomo

On March 29th, 2011 by brooke_deram

Recently, we finished a project with the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance (GKEDA) to determine the relevancy of targeting the life science industry in the Kokomo and Howard County region of Indiana. Partnering with Jon Speer of Creo Quality, an Indiana-based company specializing in strategic solutions, on the analysis, we agreed that the region’s “challenge is to figure out a strategy to leverage its assets and strengths while diversifying its economy to be less reliant on automotive.”

For many years Kokomo and Howard County have been linked predominantly to the automotive industry. Much of their past growth was due in large part to an influx of industries which support the automobile industry such as technical, engineering and advanced manufacturing. However, due to the steady decline of the automotive industry, it became necessary to assess new growth opportunities. This is where we stepped in and partnered with Creo Quality.

One of Kokomo’s most beneficial assets is that there already exists a framework of resources they leverage by repurposing in the life sciences arena. The technical resources and talent needed in order to branch out into complimentary industries is at their fingertips. Thus, our combined assessment was that GKEDA should consider targeting the life science sector in the following ways:

  • identifying assets with potential to support the medical device industry
  • developing medical device marketing strategy around those assets
  • focusing on making GKEDA and they work they do to support Kokomo and Howard County more known
  • identifying other industries where current assets and strengths can be leveraged

Working with GKEDA to determine the potential for growth was an eye-opening experience that we hope to repeat with many other economic development entities in the very near future.

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Social Media is About Making Emotional Connections

On February 18th, 2011 by brooke_deram

Too many companies these days are jumping on the newest, greatest band wagon in marketing — especially Social Media.

But, Social Media is more than just checking your number of followers and trying to get as much information out to the mass as often as possible.

Just last week friend of mine, Jon Speer of Creo Quality, decided to take down his Facebook page and subsequently remove his personal page from the FB world altogether. When I asked him why (via texting) he said, “Why no fb? Time waster. No value. I believe others are starting to see same thing.”

I’m not sure I agree with him based on the industry he is in (Life Sciences), but he has assessed the return on investment and has made a choice not to be a Facebook user any longer. Not to worry, Creo Quality still has a LinkedIn profile, an active Twitter account, and a fairly extensive library of YouTube videos.

Moral of the story, evaluate your social media strategy and make sure it is working for you. If not, then you can improve or get rid of it.

Successful social media:

  1. emotionally connects your audience to you;
  2. is consistent; and
  3. is a part of a larger marketing strategy

the “New Normal” for non-profits from Branding Bytes

On February 2nd, 2011 by brooke_deram

Interesting Q&A regarding the “New Normal” for non-profits from the Winter 2011 Issue of Branding Bytes (a FREE quarterly e-newsletter courtesy of Larry Checco of Checco Communications).

How dependent are we on government funding?
For decades, countless nonprofits have relied largely or exclusively on local, state and federal funding, or a combination of all three, to achieve their missions.  If yours is one of them, and you haven’t already experienced a decrease in your funding, brace yourself.   Given the state of most government budgets, it’s just a matter of time.

The Age of the New Normal demands that you start seeking alternate sources of funding.  Despite these hard economic times, there is money to tap into.

Do we still believe that marketing and branding would make us look too much like the for-profit sector?
If so, get over it. A lot of the available non-government money that’s out there is in the hands of people who made their fortunes in the private sector.   Many are seeking to support good causes. But only organizations that can effectively and clearly make their case by successfully explaining to these potential funders who they are, what they do, how they do it—and most important, why it matters—will be on the receiving end. In other words, marketing and branding should be integral parts of your business strategy.

Are we still trying to raise money under the rubric of being a “charity that makes a difference”?
If so, you’ve got a tough row to hoe. Under the New Normal, funders are seeking ever greater accountability, transparency, responsibility– and demonstrated outcomes. To simply say you make a difference will no longer cut the mustard.  You need to show how you make that difference. And the more data you have to support your claims, the better.

How well do we collect and leverage our data?
A lot of nonprofits don’t even bother to collect data, and those that do often don’t use it in a way to help promote their organization’s narrative or story. The New Normal says it’s not enough to tell prospective funders how many people walked through your doors last year.  The New Normal wants to know, among other things, how your services improved the lives of these people, what are these people doing now and what impact does your work have on the community, at large.

What about our use of technology?
Yikes!  Given the pace of technological change, the Age of the New Normal is a rapidly  moving target. At the very minimum, your organization should have a website that’s easy to navigate, is updated regularly, and allows people to donate to your organization online.  If you haven’t already, you should be looking into how best to use new social media, such as FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn as potential fundraising tools, yes, but more importantly to help build a community knowledgeable about and loyal to your organization.

FINAL THOUGHT: If a Millennial comes to you with an idea about technology, or anything else for that matter, do not respond by saying, “But that’s not the way we’ve done it in the past.”

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Cutting Cost Not A Substitute for Growth

On November 4th, 2010 by brooke_deram

This past summer I read an article from the IBJ that I recently stumbled onto again that I find very fitting especially since we are nearing the end of 2010 and most of us are reviewing the year’s growth (or loss).

The article discussed the idea that many Hoosier firms reported higher second-quarter earnings — but at what cost? Are most of these companies cutting costs and letting their people go? Yes and companies can’t have sustained growth or earnings based on cost-cutting alone. We need to start looking at other ways to grow the business cost-effectively and efficiently.

Take advantage of the lull in marketing by determining your differentiator and get it out to your audience – now is the time to act!

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We’ve Got A Competitive Analysis, What Else Do We Need?

On October 18th, 2010 by brooke_deram

How about a sound marketing foundation and strategy to start?

I’ve recently come across companies who rely so heavily on their most recent competitive analysis that they believe even a basic marketing strategy is not needed. Sure, a competitive analysis can help find “low-hanging fruit”, but this alone cannot serve as a marketing strategy. Why? Let’s get down to basics and look at what a competitive analysis and marketing strategy are:

Competitive Analysis

  • an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors
  • used to identify opportunities and threats
  • focus = on your competitors

A competitive analysis can help you determine:

  • Who are your direct and indirect competitors?
  • What can you learn from them?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How does their product or service differ from yours?

Marketing Strategy

  • a process that allows an organization to concentrate its resources on the greatest opportunities
  • used to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage
  • focus = on your company

A marketing strategy can help you determine:

  • What you want to achieve.
  • Activities or tactics needed to achieve those goals.
  • What tools to use.
  • When to use the tools.

    In essence, the competitive analysis is a component of the overall marketing strategy. It’s a tactic and is great information to have, but it does not provide you with a plan to follow to meet your goals and objectives.

    TFMail Helps Local Non-Profits Meet Goals

    On August 9th, 2010 by brooke_deram

    The Reach Foundation Raises $11,000 and Exceeds Fundraising Goal!

    Last week I had a client, CJ McClanahan (owner of Reachmore and founder of The Reach Foundation), call me and to let me know that our email marketing program, TFMail, had helped them meet their most recent funding goal of $10,000 to help local Indianapolis kids get back-to-school clothes this year. In fact, we helped them so much that they were able to meet their goal and raise an EXTRA $1000!

    If you’d like more information on The Reach Foundation and who the local non-profits that they help, visit them online.

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    Client Kudos

    On June 7th, 2010 by brooke_deram

    We love it when our client’s are so happy with our service that they send us copies of kudos they receive from their clients:

    “Thanks for keeping me on your newsletter list… there must be a way for us to partner on projects.”

    This simple success story lead to a new relationship for our client with potential revenue they would not have otherwise had if we had not developed their email newsletters for them on a monthly basis.

    Got quesitons? Learn more about our targeted online marketing and implementation system we call TOMI.

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    Winning Customer Referrals

    On May 24th, 2010 by brooke_deram

    Last week I received a post from BNET called “How to Win Customer Referrals…in 6 Easy Steps” – I love it when I get easy to follow steps on how to do something. So, I’m passing these steps along to you:

    • STEP #1: Understand the Referral Concept
    • STEP #2: Position Yourself For a Referral
    • STEP #3: Earn the Right to ask a Referral
    • STEP #4: Confirm that You’ve Earned the Referral
    • STEP #5: Ask for an Action, Not a Contact!
    • STEP #6: Follow up, Follow up, Follow up

    Read the full article.

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    Don’t Rush Your Seeds of Vision

    On May 11th, 2010 by brooke_deram


    The shortest known gestation period is 12 days for an Opossum, and the longest is over 700 days for an Elephant. Your countless ideas, visions and dreams gestate for anything from 12 to 700 days.

    So, don’t rush, but be prepared to let the world know about your ideas and know what to expect in those first few weeks. Say to yourself: “I am the parent of incredible dreams. I release them in the world like children, to grow and become mature plans.” Then, start to create a business plan that is more general to start but becomes more detailed as your idea matures.

    When you are ready to release this idea be prepared to begin branding and marketing it. Here are a few basic questions to think about when creating your business plan:

    • 1. What is the purpose of this idea – mission and values?
    • 2. What is my value proposition?
    • 3. Who is my target market?
    • 4. Where is my target market located?
    • 5. How can I best reach this target market?

    Then, contact a really good marketing or communications firm to help you build a strong marketing foundation in which to grow your idea into a successful business!

    Hey, I think I know people who can help, just drop us a line.

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    Building Stronger Foundations

    On April 12th, 2010 by brooke_deram

    Lately, we have had a handful of clients who came to us at their wits end because they are fed up with “lead generation” methods or other marketing tactics that have produced no ROI for their business. It disappoints us that they have tried so many things that never worked or at least did not work to their expectations.

    Our answer is always the same… without a strong marketing foundation you have nothing to build on and will never have true marketing successes.

    To combat this problem we have created a new system call TOMI Suite designed to improve communications with current customers / clients and implement targeted online marketing tools to identify who your leads are and market to them in a targeted and strategic manner. This system is made up of two phases: 1) Assessment Phase, 2) Implementation Phase.

    If you are interested in building a stronger foundation to your marketing and would like more information on our new TOMI System, please
    drop us a line

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