Friday, August 31, 2007

Canadian Marketing Expert

Canadian Marketing Expert

I’m Canadian and I’m proud of it. And yes my expertise is marketing. Does that surprise you? I’ve been called a marketing expert by both Canadian and international media. They label me as a marketing expert but never as a “Canadian marketing expert”. Interesting.

My book, Secrets of Power Marketing, became a Canadian bestseller within the first six months of publication. That is good for Canadian business. The book is published in at least seven countries at last count. That is good news for marketers around the world.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Canadian marketing expert. In fact there might be an advantage to being a Canadian marketer.

Americans have been accused of being the capitalist pigs of the planet. No question American entrepreneurs have shaped the past millennium – especially the likes of Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Sam Walton and Bill Gates.

It’s been suggested that Canadians have an understanding of the American way of business – fast paced, edgy and short term focused.

The further east you go on the planet the longer the planning seems to be focused. Whereas Americans seemed to be focused on current quarter profits the Japanese are reputed to plan 50 years out.

Canadians are strongly influenced by our American neighbours, (Canadian spelling). And Canadians do tend to better understand and appreciate the perspective of other cultures. The USA has always been known as the melting pot for its citizens. Make everyone the same. Canada is proud of its cultural mosaic. Try to understand and respect the differences. Neither system is perfect but it does lead to different approaches to dealing with people and business.

In Europe, Africa and Asia Canadians are often seen as a kinder gentler American.

Marketing principles are the same around the world. Why? Because there are some undeniable fundamentals about human nature. Marketing tactics will definitely vary around the world because of different cultures, language and religion. Tactics vary within a country depending on the target group.

When I speak to Canadian audiences about marketing they often ask me if I am American. I guess that is because as a marketing expert I am often too edgy for Canadians. When I speak in the USA they always know that I am Canadian. (No I don’t say “eh”)

So yes, I’m Canadian. And yes I’m known as a marketing expert. And I see nothing wrong with that combination.

George Torok
Canadian Marketing Expert
Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers
Member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association

PS: Enjoy my Canada Day Articles

Yellow Page Ads - mistakes

Yellow Page Ads - mistakes

I’ve had several questions from my clients about Yellow Page Ads. What are the common mistakes regarding Yellow Page Ads?

Designing your ad to blend in with the competition.
Not understanding what your prospects are looking for.
Putting your business name at the top of the ad.
Putting your slogan at the top of the ad.
Putting too much in the ad.
Using too much colour.
Using reverse print.
Not standing out.
Not grabbing your target market.
Not measuring the results of your ad.
Not thinking like your prospect.
Ignoring the other ads.
Not including a call to action.

George Torok
Marketing Specialist

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Telephone Abuse

Telephone Abuse

Are you abusing your customers with your telephone messages?

Too many business owners forget how important the telephone is as a marketing tool. Maybe that is because the telephone is not normally listed in your marketing budget. Yet it can be so powerful and so cost effective. It only takes a little thinking and training. How you use your telephone determines the message you send and feelings you create for your customers.

I agree with the following advice from, the "Master of Influence with Ease", Jeff Mowat. Go ahead check your telephone hold-message and follow this good advice from Jeff Mowatt. And find one additional piece of advice from me.

Common Blunders with 'Please-hold' Messages

If your company's in-bound calls are routed to a call-centre, check to see if your 'please-hold' recording includes any of these blunders:

"Due to overwhelming demand all our agents are busy..." This company is overwhelmed. Sounds like they're out of control and don't know what to do.

"Due to high call volumes..." I guess management wasn't expecting many customers to call. Or they're just incompetent at handling high demand.

"Your call is important to us..." They start the interaction by insulting our intelligence and lying. If our call was that important to them, they'd find a way to have someone pick up the phone.

Better to simply state, "Thank you for calling ABC Corp. Please remain on the line and you will be served faster than by redialing. Waiting time for the next available agent is approximately x minutes." It's to-the-point, informative and unlike the others, doesn't add insult to the injury of being on-hold.


Jeff Mowat always offers good practical advice when it comes to selecting and using the right words at the right time. That’s why I follow his advice.

The above is an excerpt from Jeff Mowatt’s weekly ezine, Influence with Ease. You can register here.

If you are guilty of telephone abuse please stop it because your customers might stop calling you.

Addtional Telephone Advice
And if you are sending a caller to hold, send them directly. Don’t make them wait for several rings before putting them on hold.

George Torok
Marketing Specialist
Motivational Business Speaker

Friday, August 24, 2007

Your Name can make or break you

Your Name can make or break you

Do you know the song by Johnny Cash titled, “A Boy Named Sue

The song starts out like this:

“My daddy left home when I was three

And he didn't leave much to ma and me

Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.

Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid

But the meanest thing that he ever did

Was before he left, he went and named me ‘Sue.’”

It’s a catchy tune with an “ah shucks” theme.

The song points out the influence a name might have on a person. The logic for the absent father in naming his son Sue was explained in this verse:

“And he said: ‘Son, this world is rough

And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough

And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.

So I give ya that name and I said goodbye

I knew you'd have to get tough or die

And it's the name that helped to make you strong.’”

Most parents study books of names to find the right sound and meaning for their child. If they had more than first and last name they might even write down the initials to check that it doesn’t form some inappropriate acronym.

Don’t ask me how and why Frank Zappa named his children; Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuuhka Rodan and Diva Thin. I imagine there was more than one day when those kids wished they were named Sue – even the boys. Even his albums had better names.

I’m lucky. My parents called me George and I am quite happy with that.

If only business owners invested more thinking in how they pick their company names.

Law firms have the worst names. The names sound boring, unimaginative and unmemorable. Most of them sound the same. It’s all a variation of Smith, Smithwicks and Smithers. Don’t they realize that people can generally only remember one name? Cleary, Cher and Madonna understand that.

There is the horde of entrepreneurs like Bob Smith, (imaginary person) who name their company BS Enterprises, (because they don’t know what they will sell and don’t want their customers to know either; BS and Associates, (because they want to sound bigger and might have associates one day) or BS Services (because they think that keeps their options open and they heard that the service sector was growing).

Let’s look at company and product names in future posts. The topics that come to mind are good and bad examples, the criteria in picking a name and the challenges.

Here is an interesting and helpful website on the topic of business names. The company is named Strategic Name Development. A good name because it tells you what they do. Their website has some helpful articles and background on language and words.

Their blog is named Name Wire – another good name because it is easy to remember and fits nicely with what they do.

George Torok
Marketing Specialist

Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Host of Business in Motion

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mattel Toy Recall is Marketing Opportuniity

Mattel Toys mistake is opportunity for you

Good news and bad news both present opportunities to be leveraged to get good news for you. The example of Mattel’s Toy Recall is highlighted in this message from Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound.

Mattel's Toy Recall

Mattel's second toy recall in less than two weeks presents publicity opportunities galore for smart Hounds:

--Pediatricians and other medical experts can offer advice on what parents can do if they think their children have been exposed to hazardous toys.

--How do you take toys that have been recalled away from childrenwithout resulting in temper tantrums from them and long explanations from you?

--Can your company, agency or school offer other alternatives to entertain kids? What about simple home-made toys you can make yourself?

--How can parents best protect their kids against dangerous toys and jewelry? Consumer experts can comment.

--Should we be more suspicious than ever of anything with a "Made in China" label? Let journalists know if you have manufacturing experts who can comment on this topic.

--If your company makes things that are used by children, what kinds of safety regulations do you follow?

--Mattel did a lousy job of damage control when this crisis hit. If you're a crisis counselor or PR expert, what do you think the toy maker should have done?

--Mattel has warned that it could announce more recalls. That has led some experts to question the fate of the Mattel brand in the wake of the bad news. Branding experts should offer comment on how this crisis might affect Mattel.

Reprinted from "The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week," anezine featuring tips, tricks and tools for generating freepublicity. Subscribe at and receive by email the handy list "89 Reasons to Send a NewsRelease."

Joan Stewart is a former journalist so she knows her stuff. Lots of good ideas there for savvy marketers to get your share of free media exposure.

George Torok
Get The Unfair Marketing Advantage
Read Secrets of Power Marketing
Get your copy of the Networking Success Guide

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bring Back the Brand

Brand Come Back

Bring back the brand. Is that a good choice? Here is an intriguing news article about the planned come back of the brand Pony shoes.

I was interviewed by Jennifer Davies of The San Diego Union Tribune for this article about the planned come back of Pony shoes.

Pony sneaker brand seeks a return to its glory days
By Jennifer Davies

August 12, 2007

The comeback is a central theme in American life. Celebrities stage comebacks all the time, as do disgraced politicians and injured athletes.

Is it possible for a brand to do the same?

That's the key question for Pony, the once-hot sneaker brand that in its heyday counted Pelé, Dan Marino and Muhammad Ali among its stable of celebrity endorsers.
The Pony brand, which has bounced around between owners since the late 1970s, was recently bought by Infinity Associates, an investment group that previously acquired Converse Inc. in 2001.
Read the rest of Brand Come Back article.

Jennifer Davies of the San Diego Union Tribune has written a helpful article about the challenges of bringing back a brand.

From what I heard, Pony is too broad in their brand resurrection. Bringing back an old brand is more successful when the new brand is focused. It seemed to me that Pony was too wide with their brand resurrection. Pony seemed to be targeting casual, fitness and teens. There is little in common among those diverse groups.

George Torok
Brand Specialist