Tactical

Taking the voice of the customer a bit too far

The fine folks at this Texas motel likely overheard their customers as they arrived. I can only imagine the conversation went something like this. Cleetus: Hey maw! We just ain’t getting enough business and I can’t be understandin’ why. Maw: Well I reckon we could fix the place up. Cleetus: Why the hell should we do that? It’s damn hot outside and my bunions are actin’ up. Maw: How about we just change the name? Cleetus: Damn, I knows I married you fer a reason. Folks keep sayin’ “It’ll do” when they get here…. Maw: Shut the hell up, Judge Judy is on. Cleetus: I’ll take care of it darlin’ Cleetus stands back and admires his work. “Problem solved”. It’s important to set realistic expectations with your business. Asking customers for their perception and buying critera is probably the most important step you can take. But if they tell you[…]

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The Unblinking Eye of Lost Opportunity

I drove past one of those LASIK eye surgery places today on my way to a planning meeting and saw it. A giant photo of an eye in the front display window. In fact, the eye had me feeling like prey back in the days when getting eaten by a huge lizard was a definite possibility. As this mega eye stared into my soul I thought to myself “What a lost opportunity”. You see, I have some interest in this sort of thing. I’ve helped many medical practices, dentists and eye surgery centers develop marketing programs and messaging. I wouldn’t advise a gastroenterologist to feature a giant photo of a belching mouth – or a proctology practice to feature a a doctor with an enormous middle finger?  That would just be wrong. But since there is no accounting for taste, the bigger issue is the opportunity this well-meaning business is[…]

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How much does it cost to make a video?

One of the most frequent questions I get is “How much does it cost to make a video”.  The answer is “That depends”. Some may think I’m being evasive with this answer. I’m not. I really does depend on what you want. Trust me when I say that estimating the cost of video production is a mystery enshrouded by an enigma hidden in a spreadsheet. Accurate estimates of video production costs depend upon a myriad of variables. Seemingly little things can add significantly to the budget. Therefore you must be very specific about what you want to produce. For example, a short video interview of an executive can vary depending the location, the delivery media (television or on-line or both), if a script is used (highly recommended), how well the subject is prepared (being unprepared increases editing time) – any of these variables can have significant impact on costs. To[…]

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Crowdfunding and Marketing. A recent report by Clarity.

Late last year I completed a research project for a client that was interested in crowdfunding. It occurred to me that others might get some value from this research and my experience raising money via the crowd. You can download the report below. The power of the crowd is shaping up to be a valuable tool for entrepreneurs. If/when the SEC decides to let people crowdfund for equity, I believe it will finally become a viable tool to raise capital. My experience with crowdfunding and my research tells me that success is predicated upon a sound marketing strategy. You’ll need to create your program to reach far beyond your friends and family if you are attempting to raise any real money. The most successful crowdfunded projects embarked on significant marketing and promotion campaigns. In other words, they didn’t just rely on word of mouth – they pulled all the levers,[…]

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Good Old Fashioned Sales Letters Still Work

The venerable sales letter is somewhat of an anachronism these days. With all these newfangled electronic gizmos, apps, FaceThingies, LinkedIns, utilizing sales letters seems sort of…well…quaint. But the reality is that a good sales letter (snail mail, delivered online or as a landing page) can generate high value sales leads. The secret lies in the concept of “good”.  A bad sales letter not only gets a fast, one way ticket to the trash bin, it can actually damage your brand. Writing is one of those skills/arts that everyone thinks they can do. “I done learned it in grade school. I forms words with letters and strung ’em together….” And while that is true for most people (I hope) writing for sales and marketing purposes is different from writing a comprehensive review of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Let me show you how the right approach can make the register ring.

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Download Networking One Sheet Template

When I hear someone say that referrals are what drives their business, I often ask if they use “Networking” as a business development tactic. Often they are fairly active in some form of networking but not seeing any real business impact unless you are measuring in waist line diameter from hundreds of coffee shop meetings. Don’t get me wrong here. I always enjoy rocking the Panara (they have cupcakes the size of your head) with my colleagues to compare stories, get inspired and think in new ways. I’m suggesting we should all do ourselves a favor and make sure each party walks away with a solid understanding of how they can spot business opportunities for each other – not in a “quid pro quo” sort of way – more like “pay it forward” sort of way. I started thinking of a tool to use for these meetings and have created a template[…]

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What is your head shot strategy?

Head shots are a vital part of the entrepreneur’s or executive’s tool kit. Think about it. The first thing someone looks at on your LinkedIn profile is your photo. The first thing they see at a meeting is your face. The days of the Sears portrait style are over. And, no, Virginia. A selfie won’t cut it unless you are looking for love in all the wrong places. Some of the worst offenders are realtors and insurance sales people for some reason. These hyper perky, over caffeinated gummy grins and poses don’t add credibility or make a true psychological connection with the viewer. The lowly head shot is usually considered an afterthought. Instead, it should be thought through strategically to maximize the value of your personal image. In other words, your selfie is leaving value on the table and could be harming your professional reputation unless you are a twenty-something[…]

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