Yes, We Do That

The Allied Group is New England's leading provider of Printing, Kitting, Mailing and Fulfillment services. Our blog authors have backgrounds in Sales, Marketing, IT, Production and Operations and post useful tips, trends, news and opinions in our industry and beyond. We know you'll find something you enjoy. Most of all, be sure to jump into the conversation!

Vice President of New Business Development

The 5 Fundamentals of Great Customer Service Organizations

"Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it.  It is what the customer gets out of it."                                        &n...
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Are You Really Going For It?

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult" Lucius Annaeus SenecaHopefully most of us have big goals and dreams. Ones that we desire to accomplish and contribute in both significant and meaningful ways. That is the very essence of human nature. When one lets go of his or her dre...
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Remember Me? I'm Your Customer.

"Your customer doesn't care how much you know until they know how much you care." ~ Damon Richards I had two experiences the other day that left me shaking my head in disbelief. Both were solicitations for my business. One a radio commercial. The other, a direct telemarketer. First, the auto dealership. Sometimes I feel like I pick on the...
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An Attitude of Entitlement Leads to Mediocrity—or Worse

"A sense of entitlement is a cancerous thought process that is void of gratitude and can be deadly to our relationships." - Dr. Steve MiraboliI found this story in my notes just the other day. My apologies for not being able to quote either the author or the source. Like almost all stories, I'm not sure if it is true or not. But, like any good stor...
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One Missing Sign is Often the First of Many

I recently went to breakfast with a business colleague at a fairly large hotel restaurant.
Now if you’re like me, and most people I know, you’d look for the sign that gives the instructions about how I’m about to be served. Either; “please seat yourself”, or, “please wait to be seated”. We saw neither.

And to make things even more confusing, there was NO ONE in any direction to help tell us with what we should do. Not wanting to break the unwritten rule we did not see, we waited. And waited. And waited.

After about 4 to 5 minutes we decided to seat ourselves and help ourselves to the breakfast buffet. We put our coffee, juice and first plate down and went to retrieve some silverware. When we got back to our table we found that our food had been cleared and table washed down.

While standing there more than somewhat both stunned and amused, the server mysteriously appeared again and when we mentioned what had happened she matter-of-factly responded that we could help ourselves to more food. And she disappeared again.

After finally re-loading our plates we found the eggs runny, the fruit not ripe, the coffee cold and the juice warm.

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What's your goal?

Do you need more Customers? More sales? More Revenue? If so, then you need better marketing communication strategies. Unbelievably, one of the first things that too many companies cut during the recession.

Why you ask? Because the ultimate goal of marketing is to attract customers by making yourself attractive to them. If they don’t know about you, then there is no way that they can buy from you.

Marketing is everything you do to promote your business; from the second you dream about it through the time you actually have customers buy your products and services. It encompasses all aspects from naming and branding your company through the ways you present your value proposition to your target audience. Peter Drucker, the acknowledged leading management thinker of the 20th century, said that marketing and innovation were the 1st concern of all businesses, more important than anything else - including finances.

Good marketing is not an expense but rather an investment because it will pay you back. Most successful companies, even ones that had a unique market position at the start, eventually have to differentiate themselves from the competition. The only way to do this in both the short term and long run is marketing.

Done correctly, effective marketing will:

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Where's the Wow?

For years now, every 4th of July, we pack the kids in the family car and head off to the firework show at the local park. And while it is always entertaining, this past year we started whispering half way through that maybe we would not come back next year. Been there, done that. Seen one, seen ‘em all. Then, all of a sudden, it started. The mother of all finales. Explosions of color and sound all over the sky. It lasted for more than 15 minutes. Incredible! Definitely worth going back for.

How many of your customers feel the same about your service? Even if it’s good, is it enough? Is there a wow factor, something unexpected that is worth coming back for? Remember the three possible outcomes of a customer interaction with your company.

Expectations not met. We know what happens then.
Expectations met. Do you really want only a 50/50 chance of retaining customers?
Expectations exceeded. Now we’re talking.

Now, one carload of kids, even mine, would not dramatically alter the economics of a community fireworks show. Sure, a few less glow-sticks and buckets of popcorn and lemonade and hotdogs would be sold, but the vendors would not go out of business. But multiply the not coming back effect slightly and it just may. Try losing 3 or 5 or 10% of your business because you provide only average value rather then something special and see what happens.

In this day and age of choice and global competition, deliver the basics and consumers are likely to judge you unfavorably. Deliver the basics along with what is expected and you might get a middle of the road rating. Only when you start to exceed expectations do customers begin to think about coming back on a regular basis.

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Meatloaf Got it Wrong - 2 Out of 3 Is Bad!

I want you…I need you…but b2ap3_thumbnail_meatloaf1.jpgthere ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you – now don’t be sad….cause two out of three ain’t bad. ~Meatloaf

One of the more popular singers of my youth, this was the signature line from one of his two most popular songs. We’ll save the review of Paradise by the Dashboard Light for another time.

Here’s my problem. I’m pretty sure that two out of three doesn’t work so well in the game of love. And I know for certain that two out of three doesn’t work at all in the world of business development.

Successful business development (long-term revenue and profitability growth) can’t happen without all three of the necessary elements in place and working well. All organizations must be able to do three things; attract, acquire and retain the right customers.

Attract. An integrated marketing communication plan usually consists of a variety of parts that may change over time but committed to so that no gap in getting your message out there exists. A winning marketing communication strategy could be made up of any number of tactics including unique lead generation methods, personalized direct mail and promotional products. The key is to get and hold a prospective customers’ attention.

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5 Resolutions for Business Success in 2016

The time has services company

1. Commit to Marketing. Why? Because if people don't know you are an option to fulfill their needs then they can't buy from you. Effective marketing should increase your number of new business opportunities. If it doesn't - you don't have a sales problem - you have a marketing problem. 

2. Start with strategy. Getting your message out consistently is important - as long as it's the right message and it's getting to the right audience. The only way to know that you are hitting the target is to be sure of who you should be communicating with - and - why. (i.e. marketing communication strategies).

3. Be prepared to change course. Realize that there are no permanent solutions. All marketing tactics only work for a while. Marketing is essentially trial and error. Marketing requires a multitude of tactics. Customers who buy are the only measuring stick. Customers look for relevant solutions to their immediate needs.

4. Develop a sales process. Sales conversion isn't always about the "number's game". It is about having a repeatable process. The essential thing to sales success isn't lots of opportunities at all. It's developing a (marketing and sales support) system to make sure that, no matter how many calls you make, every one is managed as effectively and consistently as possible. The maximum number of calls is rarely the optimum number.

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The 5 Sales Lessons of the Fall

There is a time for every season and every purpose under the sun I’ve heard it was written. Well, fall is no exception. It is here. And for me, it brings with it some interesting sales (marketing and sales support) and business lessons.

1. Look for low hanging fruit. On our recent trip to the apple orchard, I spent a good bit of time maneuvering the ‘picker’ to reach high up into the trees to grab the apples at the top. But as we went along, I also grabbed some of the apples on the lower branches, and, even some on the ground. If you’re looking to make some deals this fall, grab some of the ones on top but don’t overlook the easy ones.

2. Embrace change. Change is in the air. The temperature. The amount of daylight. The color of the leaves. If you’re like one of the now 7 billion people living on the planet, I’m guessing that you’re experiencing some kind of change right now. Maybe it’s because of; technology, the economy, trends, styles etc. or whatever. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. Figure out how to profit, be more healthy and productive because of it.

3. Look for extra time. We’re about to turn back the clocks. In this upcoming weekend that means we get one extra hour of time. In your busy schedule, look for some things you can drop (turn back) so that you can pick up a little extra time for the priorities in life.

4. Ask for the order. My kids didn’t walk up to the doors on Halloween night, ring the bell and say, “would you like to think it over about giving me some candy”? They rang or knocked on the door, it opened and they said, “Trick or Treat”? And they came home with hundreds of orders…ah, I mean pieces of candy.

5. Be prepared for surprises. The freak snow storm that hit Saturday night caught many people buy surprise. Hadn’t bought the new ice scraper, couldn’t find the snow shovel in the shed. Be a boy scout. Be prepared. Go into the day, the rest of this year and, next year, with a plan that includes being ready for the unexpected.


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