LaTosha Johnson [targetstars]
Up till now, what has been your professional career path?
My career path has always been in marketing. However, the difference between then and now is that I own my own company called TargetStars, Inc.
Please list web addresses where one can see something about you.
http://www.targetstars.com (click on newsletter for access to our free newsletter)
http://tinyurl.com/az82ws (My interview with Brazen Careerist)
http://tinyurl.com/ppbdhl (I made it to the final round in the Hot Mommas Project for my case study called Life is NOT an ATM)
I will be featured on http://fbenow.com/ (the article is not out yet)
I was recently interviewed by Business Week but the article is not out yet ( it will be another 6 weeks since it is a print article)
What is your stance as a marketing professional? What are you good at? What differentiates you from others?
My stance as a marketing professional is that you have to master the art of listening. I feel that this is one of my strongest qualities that differentiate me from other marketing professionals. People do not like feeling like they have been pressured into making a decision. By actively listening to the needs of entrepreneurs, consumers, etc., I am able to anticipate their needs and craft a marketing message that will resonate with them. Therefore, I don’t have to “sell” them my on the products and services I provide.
A marketing strategy begins with an idea. How are yours born?
My strategies are born through experience. There is no better way to learn than by trial and error.
In which market, products or services, are you currently working?
My company provides marketing, market research, and virtual assistant services to small companies from various industries and solopreneurs.
Did this product exist ten years ago? And the brand?
Yes and no. Marketing and market research have always been around. However, virtual assistant services is still a fairly new concept. Many people are becoming entrepreneurs, but can not afford to hire help. Therefore, by hiring a virtual assistant they can save money and have time to focus on their endeavors. Read this article for more information http://tinyurl.com/dh3tzf
What is the consumer or user like that you have to win over?
They typically realize that they cannot be the "Jack or Jill" of everything related to growing their business. Therefore, they come to my company for marketing and virtual assistant services.
What is the key to gaining consumer fidelity?
Mastering the fine art of listening. You can't anticipate their needs if you do not know what they lack.
How do you determine what consumers think and feel? Is something more than qualitative research necessary?
By listening to them via focus groups, blogs, and whatever other social networking sites are out there where your target market frequents. You need to have a balance between qualitative and quantitative research. I am a huge fan of surveys because this can indicate underlying problems you might not know exist.
What type of communication are you utilizing?
Social networking, networking events and conferences.
Who/what is your competition?
Other marketing and virtual assistant companies.
What differentiates your product/service from the competition?
TargetStars, Inc. mission is to discover the essence of our clients' companies. We ask them, " Why are you unique?" They may know the answer to this question, but do their customers? Our marketing strategies will ensure that their customers and them both share the same answer. We also provide them with virtual assistant support as well in order to help them concentrate on expanding their business.
How do you value the results obtained up to now?
As long as the client is happy then I am happy!
What is a better way to communicate your product: emotional or rational?
This depends on the product or service that you are seeking to promote. Each scenario calls for a different approach.
What's your answer to the typical question: does marketing create nonexistent needs?
Marketing anticipates needs that do exist; however, the consumer just hasn't realized it yet. Therefore, it is up to those in marketing to bring it to their attention.
In times of crisis sales of generic store brands rise. What should premium brands do or not do when faced with this?
Do not get into a price war competition! Highlight the added bonus of using your brand over the generic ones.
Can you cite brands or well-known products that you admire for marketing brilliance?
The consumer is king: have advertisers realised this yet?
No, because they are too busy talking and not listening.
Are we heading towards more individualised marketing and advertising?
Yes, consumers expect to be treated as individuals (rightly so) and companies must cater to their needs by marketing on their turf (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) if they hope to gain them as a client.
What percentage of your marketing budget is invested in digital advertising and why?
What is the most surprising thing you have learned about digital marketing in the last few years?
How it effectively reaches your audience and further increases the ability to spread the word about your brand.
A few years ago, it was said that online sales would end up killing traditional store sales, but that has not been the case: how can you explain this?
People still need to try clothes on and have the ability to try various products before buying them. Who wants to deal with the hassle of shipping items that did not work out?
How do you evaluate the potential of social networks for marketing on-line? Do you really think there is a new 2.0 marketing paradigm?
Yes, the landscape of online marketing has changed and social networking sites are definitely the reason why. People like to make their decisions by going to those they trust and seeking their opinion. Companies do themselves a disservice if they are not listening to their needs on these sites. I wrote an article on this as well called Social Networking: Can your company afford not to participate? http://tinyurl.com/r35dam
What industry or market segment do you find attractive for devoting yourself to in the coming years?
Solopreneurs. More and more people are going into business for themselves and are often left thinking that they have to do everything on their own. I want to help them run a successful business by providing them with marketing and virtual assistant services.
Be a prophet. What phenomenon will revolutionize marketing in the next few years?
Providing consumers with options to purchase their products and services in ways and price points that are convenient for them. Social networking sites are going to continue to become inundated with companies seeking to anticipate their customers needs because they are finally getting the picture that you can't mass market a product or service and expect everyone to buy accordingly without acknowledging the various ways individuals may use this product or service.
Are you part of any professional networking sites? Has it served its purpose for you?
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Virtual Assistant Forums. They have all helped me make connections as well as gain valuable information.
How do you do your own personal branding? What do you recommend other professionals do to position themselves in the job market?
Participate in social networking sites, start a blog, and attend conferences with respect to your industry. Make yourself unique by providing quality information which will help to establish your expertise within your industry.
Lombard, IL USA