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4 Reasons Why Effective Job Descriptions Add Value to Your Business

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Effectively developed job descriptions are communication tools that greatly contribute to your organization's success. Poorly written employee job descriptions, on the other hand, add to workplace confusion, hurt communication, and may leave employees unsure of what is expected from them. Further, having a written description of duties accomplishes many important things that protect your business and positions you for success:


1)      Legal Protections. If a dispute arises over job duties, the job description will be used to settle the matter. An accurately written job description may avoid potential lawsuits and defend a termination decision for an employee who did not satisfactorily meet the requirements of the job.

2)      Reward & Recognition. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities provide the basis for employee reviews, salary increases, setting goals, and growth paths. Employers also use job descriptions during evaluations for raises, promotions and recognizing employees that go above and beyond.

3)      Employee Compensation. A job description serves as a reference guide when determining comparable industry salaries and helps maximize dollars spent on compensation for the position by ensuring experience and skills needed for the job are detailed.

4)      Recruiting the Right Talent. Job descriptions provide the foundation for effective job advertisements and developing interview questions that ensure you are screening and selecting candidates with the skills and experience necessary for the position.

“Other Duties as Assigned” is the most important element of a job description.

Make certain employee job descriptions have enough flexibility so individuals can "work outside of the box." Ideally, employers are hiring highly motivated and skilled employees who are eager to do more than just their assigned tasks. But not all workers are as dedicated to their jobs or the companies. Employees who refuse to do more than their job description specifically states can create avoidable headaches for their employers.

By including “other duties as assigned” to a job description, the employer has flexibility to add new tasks to the position as needed. You want people who are comfortable taking reasonable chances and stretching their limits. You don't want to encourage people to think, "That's not my job."

Finally, job descriptions should always include an “Employee Signature” at the bottom. All employees should sign to demonstrate acknowledgement of their job description. Signed copies should be retained in the employee file. 

Reagan Freed is an accomplished HR executive with extensive experience supporting small, mid- and large businesses develop people strategies that support organizational goals. Her experience ranges across a wide variety of industries including engineering, construction, telecommunications and business process outsourcing (BPO).

Solvere HR Consulting provides powerful HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset -- your employees. Learn more at

Marketing Tactics: Segmentation

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

  What’s so important about segmentation?

The simple answer: If everyone was the same we could sell anything to anyone the same way. But this is not the case. Surely your product or service offering is not a one size fits all model. When we segment messaging, or offers, to key groups of people, the results are better.

There are five key practices to consider when segmenting your data. They are:

1. Audience segmentation

Know who is buying your product and/or services. But don’t stop there. It’s equally important to determine who is making the decision. For example, data shows on the consumer side that women in the household make the financial decisions. But, at the same time, it may be the man who is doing the research and deciding which products to consider. On the business side, a human resources executive may be looking for a solution, but the CFO is making that final purchasing decision. And this is where segmentation becomes so important. In other words, the end user who may not be the decision maker is most concerned with features, but the final decision maker may be more concerned with cost and value.   

Fact: Segmented email campaigns produce nearly a 29% higher open rate and a nearly 50% click through rate than undifferentiated messages

2. Demographic segmentation

Once you’ve identified your audience you need to go another level down and segment based on demographic. For example, if you’re a car manufacturer you can’t always market your highest-level model. You’ll need to understand the audience better and consider factors like geography, household income (HHI), gender and more. This way, you can market the high-end to the higher HHI groups, the base models to the lower HHI groups, and perhaps all-wheel-drive models to geographical locations that have winter driving conditions. The fact remains that you can segment your list in an infinite number of ways. So you’ll need to be methodical and test everything you do.

3. Behavioral segmentation

Behavioral segmentation is a key to testing your efforts. Once you have segmented your audience, you can begin to segment future communication based on their actions. For example: for the group that has not responded, you’ll need to create a new message in hopes of getting their attention. Then there’s the group that may have responded, but not converted into a sale. You’ll need to send them a new message that gives them more reason to take the next step. There are a variety of tools to help you understand the data, so be sure you set up your campaign in a way that allows you to track actions made by your audience.  

Fact: “Segmenting the data for one client produced a smaller mailing resulting in a cost savings of 37% with a 32% increase in response.” – Nonprofit client

4. Segmented landing pages 

Once your direct communication has done its job and brought your audience to your website, you begin to have more control over continued messaging. How you manage this becomes a key factor in converting visitors to sales. Using the latest technology, your website can be set up to recognize customers individually when they visit. By doing this you are able to control what they see, using dynamic content to deliver a highly personalized experience. From simple messages like “Welcome John”, to displaying specific products or services, you want your first hit to be as impactful as possible. There is no doubt you have seen this on some of your favorite retail sites – but when it’s done well you might not even realize it.

5. Predictive modeling

Sometimes what we’ve learned in the past can be leveraged to help us succeed faster in the future. By leveraging predictive modeling, the ability to save significant costs by targeting marketing campaigns to a smaller universe of prospects that generate a higher ROI versus marketing to a larger universe of prospects becomes possible. A predictive database model looks at existing and past customer behavior and predicts future buying behaviors. 

By using a client’s existing sales data we can identify:

     The customers that are most likely to buy and at what price

     The most likely first time customers among prospect records

     The current customers that are likely to become lapsed customers

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, marketers must significantly improve the impact of every marketing dollar spent. And communicating the right offers to the right people at the right time - through the right channels – is key to optimized results.

Joe Contrino is CEO of The Contrino Group, a direct marketing agency located in Lafayette, CO.

Joe is an award winning direct marketer with over 32 of years of experience.   Prior to founding The Contrino Group, Joe was a Senior Partner at Suite 700 Direct, Integrated Marketing Solutions Manager at Henry Wurst, Inc., and CEO and owner of Contrino Direct Marketing, Boulder, CO.

Joe is a Direct Marketing Association Certified Direct Marketer Professional, Industry Co-Chair of the Denver Postal Customer Council Board of Directors, and speaks regionally and nationally on direct marketing topics and trends.

5 Useful Apps for Small Business Owners

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In today’s society, technology is everything. People use it to track their finances, communicate with everyone, track their health goals, and even wake them up in the morning. Technology can come in all forms, and small business owners have many opportunities to take advantage of the ever-advancing technological world. Apps are an easy and effective way to utilize technology, so here are five apps that are great for small business owners:


  1. Gusto: Similar to Quickbooks, Gusto is an app that streamlines the entire payroll, tax, and benefits process. The app can help you with employee onboarding by automatically reporting new hires to the government along with their tax information. The app costs a base of $36 per month plus $6 per month per employee, but if accounting isn’t your thing, Gusto is worth every penny.

  2. Slack: Slack is a communication platform you can use to keep in contact with all of your employees. You can create groups based on projects or departments, and keep track of workflow. You can also use the app to send direct messages, and there’s no limit to how many employees you can add. You can try Slack for free or get more features for only $8 per month.

  3. RescueTime: This app tracks and records how much time you spend on different sites. You will receive daily reports on how you spent your time that day, which is great for improving efficiency. You can get the app for free, but for $72 per year, you get access to added features like alerts and the ability to block websites.

  4. Square: For businesses like food trucks, retail shops, or salons, Square is a great go-to payment app. Users receive a portable card reader that they can attach to any mobile device for easy payments. Square costs $49 upfront and 2.75% per transaction, but it’s free to download and works on all devices.

  5. MailChimp: MailChimp is an email managing app that can help you send out newsletters and other mass communications over email. This email marketing app can help you keep track of all your contacts on email lists. Pricing depends on the number of subscribers you have, so look at the website for more information.


Being a small business owner means you have to wear a lot of hats. These apps can help you get organized, communicate with your employees and customers, and keep track of payroll and workflow, so take advantage of them because you can!


How To Focus Your Marketing Budget

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Not all customers are created equally.

No matter how advanced we get with technology, we’ll never be able to predict how much a specific customer will spend. However, there are ways to analyze existing data to help profile customers and determine where your marketing budget should be focused.

The fact remains, not all customers are equally profitable, nor do they all have the potential to become your most profitable customers. This is a fundamental tenet of marketing, which is why it’s critical to continuously improve the impact of every marketing dollar spent. 

By utilizing your database to communicate the right offer, to the right person, at the right time, you can effectively influence customer decisions. It all begins with segmenting customers to deliver the right message at the right time.

Your budget will likely dictate how sophisticated you can be in your data segmentation. The three most basic forms of data segmentation are:

1) Demographic – Age, Income, Net Worth

2) Attitudinal – Psychographic, Clusters

3) Behavior – Lifestyle, Buying History

Once you’ve developed your segmentation, RFM analysis, and cluster analysis, predictive modeling can be used to measure and identify segments with the most relevance.

RFM looks at customer history to determine recency, frequency, and monetary value.  Customers are then scored and a contact strategy can be developed.

A cluster analysis can assist you in developing “clusters” or groups of customers with similar characteristics, but who are different from members of other clusters. By differentiating, messaging strategies can be better developed.

Lastly, predictive modeling identifies multiple variables that may or may not relate to buying behavior. Variables are fed into a statistical program and the output provides a score for every record. When compiled correctly, this is a powerful tool that can improve customer acquisition and decrease customer attrition. 

In the end, knowing your customer can be a critical aspect to developing a loyal base from which your business can grow.

Joe Contrino is CEO of The Contrino Group, a direct marketing agency located in Lafayette, CO.

Joe is an award winning direct marketer with over 32 of years of experience.   Prior to founding The Contrino Group, Joe was a Senior Partner at Suite 700 Direct, Integrated Marketing Solutions Manager at Henry Wurst, Inc., and CEO and owner of Contrino Direct Marketing, Boulder, CO.

Joe is a Direct Marketing Association Certified Direct Marketer Professional, Industry Co-Chair of the Denver Postal Customer Council Board of Directors, and speaks regionally and nationally on direct marketing topics and trends.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Tradeshow

Friday, May 12, 2017

Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Tradeshow

Tradeshows are great for any business. Not only are they an excellent place to display your business, but they make networking easy and they’re fun. If you’re new to the tradeshow circuit, the idea of presenting your business at such a platform can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to help you get started and make the best of your tradeshow experience:

1.     Have at least two people from your business attend if you can

One person will need to attend your booth at all times to talk about your business and answer questions anyone might have. The second representative will be responsible for networking: they should explore the tradeshow with business cards in hand, meet people, and try to acquire some clients or business partners. They can also attend any lectures or workshops at the show. Both of your representatives need to be knowledgeable enough about your business to answer any questions and thoroughly explain what you do.

2.      Pay attention to aesthetics

Your booth needs to be attractive, since that’s what initially attracts attendees. Use colorful banners and large printed photos. Use technology if you can: running slideshows or videos on a TV always creates a crowd. Make sure your company’s logo is clearly visible. Also make sure your representatives are dressed nicely and in a way that represents the attitude of your business (however, sweatpants are never acceptable). Just being there isn’t enough: your display needs to be noticeable.

3.     Prepare your people

As previously mentioned, whoever is representing your business at the tradeshow need to be well versed in all aspects of your business. If you are featuring specific products, write a short script for the person/people presenting it at your booth. Rehearse a quick introduction for your booth and for networking. You can also create a spec sheet for any details that are important or any questions that might be asked. Just make sure your representatives don’t say the wrong thing.

4.     Bring your products

If you have a product, it needs to be presented at your display. If your product is small enough, bring a lot. If you have a larger product, like a piece of equipment, ask for some outdoor space to do a demonstration or film it working and have the video rolling at your display. There is no point of presenting your business if you don’t have your product clearly visible somewhere in your display.

5.     Have fun

Tradeshows are fun. They are a meeting of people and businesses with similar interests. They are a place where you can get excited about what you do and show off your business. Networking is important, but being personable and having fun with the experience makes it easier to talk to people. The same goes for presenting your business at your booth: being confident in your knowledge and expertise will make people feel more comfortable interacting with you. Explore and smile, and you will certainly get the most from your tradeshow experience.

Tradeshows are a great opportunity to humanize your business and get your company more facetime. Tradeshows cost money, and they aren’t always cheap, so make sure you take full advantage of the opportunity.

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