Posts Tagged ‘pittsburgh businesses’

Quality in a Disposable Society

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Quality in a Disposable Society


Image courtesy of Rolex The Finest Quality Watches in the World

Getting introspective seems to be a trait I possess. I have been wanting to write a post about Quality for some time. As with most of my writing, I usually kick around ideas and chew on them a while. Sort of a mental sorting out process is what I call it. Let’s hope it’s Quality.

Quality is Subjective

Personal opinions on “what is quality?” can certainly vary greatly. When it comes to opinion and speculation I like to forget the point of view and judge the motive. What I mean by that is; if I look at whether I agree or disagree with the writer, blogger, or person on the other end of the conversation, I may miss the point. But, if I concentrate on the motive behind the point of view stated I can get a much better appreciation of the quality of the point without having to agree or disagree at all.

Quality Lasts

Durability and longevity are factors I consider when looking for quality in anything. Will the person, product, or service be there for me when I need them / it most? Will they / it outperform similar people, or products, or services? Do they / it do the specific job better or faster or more reliably than all others in their / it’s class? These are my benchmarks for quality.

Quality People

I watched an interview with Steve Martin of SNL, comedy, movie star and extraordinary banjo player fame where he stated the keys to his success were, “Focus and Obsession”. It got me thinking about Quality. Steve Martin is a quality guy who has certainly gotten better with age.


Quality Backup Band (note about the video)

Earl Scruggs and his sons Randy on acoustic guitar and Gary on Harmonica, and a stellar group that included Vince Gill and Albert Lee on electric guitar, Marty Stewart on mandolin, Glen Duncan on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Glenn Wolf on bass, Harry Stinson on drums, Leon Russell on organ and Paul Shaffer on piano.

When I meet quality people they just stand out. They possess all the traits that I aspire to. They are courteous, prompt, professional, giving, and kind. These are just a few of the adjectives I’d use to describe what quality means to me in people. Quality people take the time to teach, love, and share their time; which I believe is the most important thing we have as humans. :-)

"Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin (<-- another quality guy)

Quality Local Pittsburgh Businesses

With all this in mind, Blackball Online Marketing is starting a Quality Local Business section to our blog. We will be spotlighting and promoting local businesses we have used or that carry some of the traits we have outlined in this post. One thing we have learned over the years is that our credibility goes with every recommendation we make. So you can feel comfortable knowing that if we recommend a company you can trust them.

Image courtesy of ROLEX

Have any local Pittsburgh businesses that you would recommend? Contact Blackball Online Marketing or leave a comment. Link spam will be deleted because that’s not quality. 8-:)>

Think On Your Feet or End Up On Your Ass

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Think On Your Feet or End Up On Your Ass

Your competition never sleeps – are YOU sleeping?


Think Fast on Your Feet in Business Today

Thinking On Your Feet May Just Save Your Business

Surviving as a small business takes brass. Are you ready to make your business stand out amongst all the competition? Are you willing to invest considerable time and money to make it happen? Do you have a vision for your marketing? Are you trying to hand off responsibilities and say, “I have a Facebook account and it hasn’t increased sales”, Social Media must not work?

Some Questions for the small business owner to think about:

  • Is your business successful now? Successful businesses are constantly evaluating the terrain, sizing up their competition and try to stay one step ahead at the least. Market leaders don’t have to be the biggest players, just the most informed. If you understand the web is the present and the future and just don’t know where to start perhaps some Internet Consulting services may be your best move initially.

  • Is the market growing, shrinking, or stagnant? Have you carefully thought about the future? When was the last time you asked yourself, “Have my sales hit a plateau?” What can I do to increase sales? Thinking about your business is something that owners can forget in the course of day to day operations. One day they look up to find themselves chasing the market instead of changing the market.

  • Are you looking to Social Media or a new website to save your business? Upgrading or adding a website is a good start but if your market is small and saturated with competition, you may want to explore a niche. Ask yourself, “What do I do better than any other business in my field?” Sometimes the best website and marketing in the world is not your answer. A different business or business model is. You’ll never hear that from the SOS. (short for snake oil salesman)

  • Is your product or service still viable? It’s been said that the kiss of death for any business is gaining an increasing share of a declining market. At some point the well runs dry and then what? Have you thought about alternative uses for your products or services?

  • Has your market shrunk or are your clients exploring alternatives to your products or services? Has your market shifted or dried up? Is there still room for growth in your industry? Can you sustain increased sales with your in-house talent?

  • Why should we care? Glitz and glamour only go so far. Remember the Where’s the Beef ads? Where’s the steak in your offerings? Is your business prepared to give the kind of customer service that makes clients stay with you even if your not the cheapest? Advertising agencies call this the unique selling proposition which is just a slickster way of saying be unique.

There is a reason this post has 20 questions (well 23) and is written in an interrogational style. Consumers are more savvy than ever. Forget the fluff and deliver. We Do. Ask any Pittsburgh Internet Marketing clients of Blackball Online Marketing.

Doing Social Media Well – Voice

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Blackball Online Marketing's Social Media VoiceSocial Media for business depends on your Brand Ambassadors carrying the message. Not a concocted standard company line but a genuine sentiment and opinion. Your customers can tell. Some will call these Brand Ambassadors thought leaders of a company; but we think every worker carries weight with a customer or potential business ally. Leveraging your employees, management, and ownership’s social voice can make or break your business in these hyper-competitive and changing times. Utilize them all.


Who are these brand ambassadors and what is their voice? This is where common business culture meets the public road; at your digital front door. Are they welcoming? Are the responsive? Do they help? Or Complain?


The social voice of your business carries louder, farther and with more clarity than any PR or advertising ever will. This is the true voice of your business and why it must come from within. The true voice will get out regardless, make it work for you. Like the little birds or the fly on the wall, your customers can hear it all loud and clear; much louder than the canned doublespeak pumped out through the standard channels. It’s the comments being heard in passing when the subject of your product or service is mentioned in day to day conversations.


Reputation = Track Record + Social Voice + 1/PR + 2/Advertising


Your Brand’s reputation is governed by the track record you have built plus the word on the street supplemented by a little Public Relations and a little more Advertising. Consumers are bombarded with ambient PR and advertising noise. They have adapted selective hearing and filters for the noise. Our opinion is that word of mouth carries more weight, and therefore more responsibility, than ever before.


Empowering Brand Ambassadors: trusting employees to share their real feelings can be a tough sell to big business. This is why big business has such a hard time with Social Media. Control issues cloud the fact that businesses must change their whole model or lens on the world. This control is an illusion and change of this magnitude always meets resistance. That’s where your Brand Ambassadors come in.


What worked yesterday is passé. Communication has fundamentally changed. Business 101 states that a company should always evaluate the sentiment on the street. Get a feel for the terrain. And speak in a language that your customer understands – your Social Voice.


Other Pittsburgh Internet Consulting posts by Blackball Online Marketing:


Doing Social Media Well – Audiences

Doing Social Media Well - Scale