Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sears Catalogue

On Aug 14, I posted about the destructive marketing messages that people in your company might be sending. All the creative work of the “marketing department” can go ‘down the drain’ because of sloppy execution or poorly trained front line staff.

Then along comes Sears, providing a good example.

The Sears catalogue was delivered today. Where would you expect to find your Sears catalogue when you look out your front door in the morning? In the mail box? In the magazine rack? Perhaps laying on the mat? Maybe on the porch? Or at least close to your door?
All reasonable guesses and expectations.

I discovered the Sears catalogue at the far end of the drive by the street where I normally put my garbage for pickup. I know that’s how papers are delivered in rural areas – end of the driveway - but we are right in the city. It’s a short driveway – tough to fit two cars one behind the other. It is not a long walk to my front door from the street. Yet the Sears catalogue was dropped or thrown out of a car window on my driveway as though it were litter.

As I went for my morning run I noticed all the houses on my street and neighbouring streets had a Sears catalogue on the driveway by the edge of the road. Fortunately they were wrapped in plastic because it had rained. Most were probably dry inside the bag – assuming that householders would pick up the wet package, brush off the wet leaves and not throw it directly into the garbage.

Some packages were ripped open and the pages strewn across lawns.

Just imagine the time and money that went into the creation of that catalogue – plus the hopes of the CEO and VP sales. They probably patted themselves on the back for creating another colourful catalogue. The marketing department probably awarded themselves another trophy for their creative design.

So will anyone really know why sales are down during this next season?

Perhaps they’ll conclude that catalogues don’t work anymore.

Where the catalogue is placed is a small detail – and small details can sink your marketing campaign.

George Torok

Power Marketing

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Genghis Khan, the Mongolian Marketer

Play word association with the word “Mongolia” and you might reply with “Mongols” which would lead you to “Genghis Khan”; then you might run out of words.

So what do you do if you are Mongolia, a country that suffered almost 70 years of Soviet communism? (The Russians didn’t like the Mongols.)

You are emerging into capitalist markets. You want to sell your products and attract tourists. You leverage the greatest resource you have - the name of the most famous Mongol, Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan is more famous than the Beatles – and according to John you know how famous they were.

Most people don’t know the capital city of Mongolia, (Ulan Bator), but you do know the name of the international airport, university and vodka – they are all named Genghis Khan. And of course there are the many restaurants around the world bearing that name.

The beauty of the Genghis Khan name – it has worldwide recognition and there are zero endorsement fees. No one owns the name.

So instead of spending millions for a Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong to endorse your product why not search through the history books for some long dead adventurer, conqueror or poet to attach to your brand?

George Torok
Power Marketing

Friday, August 25, 2006

Key Marketing Questions for the CEO

As the CEO your job is not to know all the answers. Instead your job is to ask the right questions. Then listen.

As the CEO here are a few key marketing questions you might ask. Some of these questions might disturb someone – maybe even you.

What is your key marketing message?

Who knows this?

What do you do that sends this message the best?

What do others in your organization do to reinforce this message?

Who sends this message the best?

What do you do that might detract from this message?

What might others in your organization do that detracts from your key marketing message?

What resources lie untapped or underutilized to help send this message?

Is everything you do and say consistent with your key marketing message? If not - why not - and how will you correct that?

What will you do to magnify and multiply your marketing message?

Why should you not delegate total marketing responsibility to your marketing department?

George Torok can help you ask and answer these questions. When you are ready he has more questions – and answers - for you.

Do you want some disturbing questions asked?
Do you want to gain an unfair marketing advantage?
Do you want to transform your marketing efforts from a department fixation to a company-wide force?

When you want these difficult questions asked - and answered - call George Torok at 905-335-1997

George Torok
Power Marketing

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Executive Briefings – Power Marketing

What will you do now?

That is the question that CEOs and presidents of mid-sized businesses were asked after listening to an executive briefing with George Torok. You might be surprised at what they said.

After meeting with George Torok the CEOs said they would change in these ways:

Talk to more media. I found the presentation a good touchstone to remind me to follow up with existing customers and also to increase the touching base with media and others closer to us – customers, suppliers and staff.
Keith Chen

Find our niche, develop one focused message, and find a good way to deliver it. A great re-awakening and very pragmatic!
Mike Brigham

Use Postcards to promote our new retail store and create an award for the most unique installation of our columns or related products.
Richard Reynolds

Thank people more often and do it in writing. Change my method of sales to change perceptions in the eyes of customers. Perfect timing for me; I needed help to create change in my future approach to staff and customers.
Stan Engelberg

Personal notes, thank you’s and congratulations, personal contact.
Practical and easy to understand and implement ideas on bringing business back to the human element.
Terry Sunderland

It is excellent. I learned more in a couple of hours what I did wrong in the past. I got a couple of very valuable points to improve my business.
Felix Gutnik

Work on getting people to talk about our company and our people, especially myself.
David P. Vella

Excellent practical pointers in marketing and relationship building.
Donald Taylor

More effective use of referrals. Informative, provocative and pragmatic. A very entertaining and useful session. Thank you on behalf of ExecForum.
Paul F. DeCarlo

Our image with more visibility using pro-active means. Simple and succinct…easy to pick ‘nuggets’ and implement.
Louis Zammit

As you can see – these CEOs and presidents reaped a fabulous return on investment from working with George Torok. If you are ready to reap similar results – call George Torok now. 905-335-1997

George Torok
Power Marketing - Executive Briefings

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Marketing Myths

What marketing myths have you “learned” or are you being fed? Marketing has its own dogma - outdated beliefs and mumble jumble all intended to protect self-declared marketing mandarins. Marketing should be helping you get your key messages out - so you can grow, sell more and win more of the time.

Watch out for marketing rules that only seem to protect the marketing mystic without helping you grow your business.

Beware of the marketing bureaucrats who seem to be missing the point of marketing. Depending on what business you are in, marketing must help you sell – product, service, membership, investment, participation, and/or support.

You can get past the myths of marketing. You must get past the myths if you want to out-market your competition.

Where do you start busting marketing myths?
Here is a good place to start.

Dangerous marketing traps and myths you must avoid:

The “talent” trap
The myth is that you should hire “talented” people.

The reality is that you should never rely on talent. It runs hot and cold. It subjects you to the whims of prima donnas. Instead – build on systems.

The “build a better mousetrap” fallacy
The myth is that you should build a better mousetrap – then wait for the crowd to arrive.

This is an old myth. The reality is that you need to market. The difference between the financial failure of Van Gogh and the success of Picasso was marketing.

The “find a need and fill it” myth
The myth is that you should find a “need” and fill it.

This myth is still taught by many business schools. The reality is that people don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want. How can you make your customers want what you sell?

Myths about the media
Too many business owners believe that the media hates business.

That is not true. The media is a business. The media will help you if you help them. What they need is information and stories. How can you best convey your stories to the media in a way that works for you?

The myth about “how to be number one”
It is surprising that whenever I ask this question of business owners many answer, “Deliver the best product or service.”

The reality: To become number one; create your niche. How can you find and declare a niche of your own?

The fallacy about value
Value is not what your engineers create or accountants measure.

There are two elements to value – real value and perceived value. How can you maximize the value you deliver from both elements? And why could it be disastrous to ignore the importance of perceived value?

The “lucky break” myth
Stop hoping for the lucky break.

Success is never about the lucky break. Torok learned this lesson well from the hundreds of entrepreneurs and CEOs that he interviewed over the past decade.

The reality is that success results from good systems that you follow. Even an imperfect system is better than none.

The above are just a few of the dangerous marketing myths that you must be aware of, and prepared to avoid.

George Torok has a way of destroying myths and getting to the truth. Work with George Torok to recognize, avoid and master these myths.

“The Greek and Norse Myths make for wonderful fantasy. But if you base your marketing on myths – your success will only be a fantasy.”
-George Torok

George Torok

Power Marketing

Friday, August 18, 2006

50 Power Marketing Ideas

It’s powerful, it’s effective and it’s free. And you can make it work for you.

Enjoy the first three ideas from the booklet, “50 Power Marketing Ideas”.

1. Own one day of the year. Create an annual promotion, sale, or event. There are 365 days in the year. You can claim any one or more of them. Look for creative ways to link your business promotion to anniversaries, holidays or seasonal events.

2. Barter your product for media advertising. Approach the media to trade your product or service for theirs. Or work through a barter exchange group to do the same thing.

3. Run a cross-promotion with another business. They put your offer on display and you give coupons for their products. There are many variations of this one. You set up a booth in their store. You donate your product as a prize for their contest.

If you like what you just read and would like to have all 50 Power Marketing Ideas then you can download a free copy of this ebook. Find out how here.

George Torok

PS. The regular value of this guide is $27.95. You can get it free along with the special bonus.

PPS. Don’t waste time. Get this guide before your competition does.

Get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas

®Power Marketing is a registered trademark of George Torok

George Torok
Power Marketing

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Good Policies Might be Hurting You

Fortinos - The grocery store

The scanner priced my 10-lb bag of potatoes. I noticed that the price was $1 more than advertised. Reluctantly I pointed the discrepancy out to the cashier. She was obliviously new and was out of sorts. The customers behind me in line looked displeased. But I waited stoically. When the supervisor arrived she looked at my bag of potatoes, the computer display, then muttered something that both the cashier and I missed.

The supervisor punched some cash register buttons and walked away.

The cashier and I stared at each other waiting for something to happen. Then we figured out that the supervisor had rung my purchase of potatoes as free.

I did not expect my purchase to be free – only to be as advertised so I was awkwardly yet pleasantly surprised. The cashier was obviously new and did not know the store policy so she could not tell me about it. Who knows why the supervisor did not explain the store policy to me and/or the cashier.

A well-intentioned customer service policy was diluted by the actions of the grumpy supervisor. The impact was lost on me – the customer. Instead of feeling special I felt confused, frustrated and cheated.

Learning point
The best marketing is training, testing and reviewing your staff.

George Torok
Power Marketing

Monday, August 14, 2006

First, Train your People

Everybody in your company is marketing. Marketing is about sending messages and everybody is sending messages. Are they marketing for you or against you? Are your people sending the right message for you?

Your people need to know the message that they should be sending. They need to see you sending that message. They need to be trained to send it consistently. They need to be reminded.

Some messages your people might be sending:

Your sales rep who makes unrealistic promises to get the deal

Your customer service manager who hordes customer information

Your marketing expert who creates campaigns in isolation

Your delivery driver who drives recklessly

Your accountant who verbally abuses and threatens your client

Your purchasing manager who lies and misleads suppliers

Your receptionist who is cold and unfriendly

Your warranty officer who is obnoxious

Your cleaning staff who claim “Its not my job”

Your engineer who tells the customer that everyone else is too stupid

Your production foreman who complains that the sales rep lied again

Marketing Point
Before you spend millions on advertising, spend a few thousands on training and communicating to staff. You could save millions.

George Torok
Power Marketing

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dog Days of Summer

Get media attention when the news is slow, and it is usually slow during the dog days of summer. How can you leverage the Dog Days of Summer as a marketing opportunity?

Here are some Dog Days of Summer ideas that you might consider:

  • Hold a Dog days sale with a dog theme.
  • Hold a Dog Days beauty contest.
  • Put doggie water-dishes outside your shop.
  • Hold a “who looks like their dog” contest.
  • Show dog movies like Rin Tin Tin and Lassie.
  • Photograph owners with their dogs (or hire a professional photographer)
  • Collect and donate money to the animal shelter.
  • Mail a Dog Days postcard to your clients and prospects.
  • Give away free doggie biscuits.

It might be the Dog Days of summer – but you can still have fun with it.

George Torok

Power Marketing

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Early Days of George Torok

In case you wondered about his early years in business....

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away. An onion keeps everybody away."

George Torok claims that he never wanted to be in sales.
Yet when he was nine years old - he and his younger brother, Stephen, set up their first lemonade stand at the front door of the office building down the street at 3:00 pm. It was a hot summer day. They ran out of lemonade.

A couple of years later George piled all of his precious comic books into his wagon, recruited his younger brother again and together they walked about the block to sell and trade the comic books with the neighbourhood kids.

When George sold apples for Boy Scouts - he devised a sales pitch, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away. An onion keeps everybody away. I'm selling apples today. Please support Scouting." Even then, George knew that when you make people laugh - they are more likely to like you and buy. That little ditty, his smile and energy helped him to outsell everyone in the district.

While he was in Junior Achievement, he sold candles and key cases door-to-door. That took guts and a lot of forced smiles.

As a student at Delta high school, George knocked on a lot of doors selling pens, peanuts and sponsorships to raise money for the high school band. The band had ambitious travel plans and they did a lot of fund-raising. George played trombone in the band. He was happy to travel by bus and train around the country.

George Torok
Power Marketing

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What’s New in Marketing?

One company president asked me this question just before I was about to speak to a group of company presidents. He went on to tell me that this was the information he wanted.

I quickly told him technology and terminology were new – but the fundamentals remain the same. He looked at me sideways with a funny look.

Then it was my turn to speak to the group.

So, I told the group of company presidents that nothing was new in marketing. However, many of the fads might have made them forget the fundamentals – and they need to understand the fundamentals before they can use any of the tools.

The fundamentals that they heard from me were:

Success comes from using systems – not talent
Marketing is about sending messages
Be clear on your message before you send it
Be clear on who you are sending it to
Your prospects’ perception is more important than your intended message
People notice the discrepancies in your message
Total value is the sum of real value plus perceived value
Relationships are built on simple acts like thank-you’s
People are emotional beings and make emotional decisions

And yes, I did offer them examples and anecdotes of these fundamentals in action.

In the end I noticed that this message appeared new to them.

The same company president approached me after my presentation to tell me how much he got from my message.

Curious; sometimes new is old revisited.

George Torok
Power Marketing