Wednesday, March 29, 2006

And the Lightbulb Goes On!

"A brand (or new product offering) is nothing more than an idea. Ideas that spread are more likely to succeed than those that don't." -Seth Godin

While this probably seems like common sense now, it wasn't always and for many ( I can vouch for that!) it still isn't.

Break it down though.

So often we come up with a "brand" or "product" and that thing takes on a life of its own. It's nothing more than an idea someone had and our job is to help other people first know about the idea and then (hopefully) accept it and agree with it.

When we place too much stock in the "thing" we lose focus of helping people see our idea for what it is and for what it can be.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Why Not?

Seth references Mark Polino as to why don't hotels allow you to use your room key for vending machines at the hotel.

I was recently at The Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells and their restaurants in the resort allow you to use your room key to charge to your room. Why not extend it to vending machines? For resort towns, why not take it further? Why not have an agreement with nearby grocery stores for long-term guests to be able to use their card for groceries?

This, to me is TRUE value-added. Existing to make the customer's life better/easier/more fulfilling.

Who will start this to start the next "industry-standard" revolution in the hospitality industry?

Friday, March 24, 2006

T.L.C

"A little TLC goes a long way." -Tom Peters

When did we get the idea that businesses are living beings?

When did we start treating businesses like they aren't made up of people?

What can we do to get back to dealing with people?

So many times businesses/salespeople/marketers treat ideas and companies in the abstract. We tend to forget that every business decision that is made is made by a person. A person with emotions, feelings, desires, goals and fears. But, we forget to address those things (the most important things!) and focus instead on numbers and statistics.

What if we start treating people like people? What if we start remembering that the people that make up companies are people and not numbers?

What if we started focusing more on TLC than ROI?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

BOOOOOOOOORRRINNNNGGGGG

"In almost every market, the boring slot is filled." -Seth Godin

Brilliant!

So many people try to fit what is already in the market. So many people play it "safe" and in the process become boring.

Face it, safe is boring. It's not sexy, it's not fun, it's not exciting.

When faced with a choice between a boring choice and an exciting choice...people choose exciting.

Plus, unless you've just created an absolutely new market with no competition (hint they don't exist...you've always got some sort of competition) you're not the first one there. So you absolutely cannot be the first one to be boring.

Why not be the first to be absolutely exciting?

Monday, March 20, 2006

For Example...

"'Please give me an example.' These are the five most important words in the interviewer's arsenal and they can't be used enough." -Tom Peters

Be it an interview, sales meeting or any conversation, this is a valuable technique.

Why?

In my opinion there are a few reasons this is a valuable technique.

It helps you to understand EXACTLY what the other person means by what they are saying. If you don't understand what they're saying, how can you offer a proper solution?

It helps illustrate your interest in their concerns or opinions and solidify their view of your concern for them.

It also helps to get them to think about what they are really trying to say. This may be the most valuable outcome. You can help them think through their true needs so that they will truly understand the need for the solution you recommend.

Everyone benefits from a better understanding of the other person's needs.

So, can you give me an example of how you've used this technique?

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's What/Who You Know

"Know more about your client (or co-worker) than the next person and you've got a leg up." -Tom Peters

Everyone wants other people to care about them. You and I are no different.

We want to feel important, valued and special. Deep down we are all focused on ourselves. We try to focus on other people, and often we succeed, but internally, we are concerned about ourselves.

That's human nature.

But, how does this apply? Well, if a potential client perceives that you know more about them than your competitor, they will feel valued/special/important when they deal with you. Then, naturally they will gravitate toward you. They will want to work with someone who makes them feel valued, makes them feel important and shows that they care.

What can you learn about your clients and potential clients today that will make them feel more valued tomorrow?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Advice?

So, in a few weeks I have a meeting with the three owners of the company about marketing. I was pulled aside and told that I needed to follow their recommendations better today.

Things like bringing a list of prospects to each meeting (instead of implementing a CRM system) and brining a spreadsheet so that when they talk to someone, they can (if they remember) write down the conversation for me to enter into a system on my computer to track it. Honestly.

I want to understand their views of marketing so that I can meet them and gradually try to shift them.

What do you recommend I ask to open up the conversation and how can I get their true feelings on marketing?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Deal or No..Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

Remember when Who Wants to be a Millionaire first started?

One week on, a few weeks of build-up to the next week? Etc.

When did things start to go downhill for them? In my mind it was when they started being on a regular schedule and eventually every week.

It took the mystery and excitement and anticipation out of waiting for the next installment.

Now Deal or No Deal, which is a good show if you haven't seen it, is going down the same road.

They started with being on for a week, off for a few. Then on again.

But then they did something strange (read stupid). They looked at the ratings. They said, "Let's add another week next week!"

They they looked at the ratings again and said, "Let's put it on Monday and Friday nights every week."

Sure, they're going to make a bunch up front, but what would happen if they stuck with the on again off again for a while? Promoted the upcoming episodes? Enhanced the viral nature of friends telling friends about this great show...you have to see it when it's on again.

Disappointing.

I Am The Greatest!

"Is your product the best at anything worth measuring?" -Seth Godin

That's a good question. Ever considered it?

The key there is not being the best at something that YOU measure or that matters to you, but being the best at something that the CUSTOMER measures.

Sounds pretty basic, but how many times have you read company literature that boasts about being the best, being number one, etc. and it just seems to be bragging to their competition, not offering anything to their customers?

If you are the best at something worth measuring to the customer, they'll measure it and they'll know. Then, they'll tell their friends.

What say you?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Missing the Forest for the Trees

I know I've complained about this before...but no one's listening so I can keep ranting.

Why hire a marketing person if you're going to undermine every recommendation they make?

The age old solution for non-marketers of, "Marketing is sending out letters, etc." is DEAD.

DEAD!

If you have nothing to say, no message, no opinion, nothing to offer...you are nothing! You won't get anywhere telling people what you can do because, if they can't do it themselves, someone can do it cheaper.

What's in it for them is more important than ever.

How do you convince company owners to subscribe to that school of thought and spend the marketing dollars that way?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ugh, tradeshows!

Three days at a trade show + two nights out with clients = TIRED!

I've been thinking through the concept of mind mapping lately and realizing I have to learn more about it. Maybe it's a way for me to begin to truly use these books I read all the time!

Incidentally, I'm reading through "All Marketers are Liars" for a second time and picking up some good stuff.

Now, I just want a nap!