Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Below is an excerpt from an unwanted email that got through my SPAM blocker and filters. The sender manually authorized their email address to get through.
Notice that the opening line boldly stated that "This is not SPAM." And they they gave a lame excuse.
There are legal definitions of SPAM And those vary by country. Generally SPAM is massive emailings to lists of names that have not asked for the email. This email wrongly claimed to have a right to send me their "information". There was no link to allow me to unsubscribe from their list. They falsely claimed to be an organization that doesn't exist but might sound official. No snail mail address was given.
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
Attention! This is not SPAM and this letter is delivered according to the legislation since the e-mail address is in open access
The Canadian Drugs Medical Association
blah, blah, blah .... The selling text and links to their site have been removed.
Respectfully, The Canadian Drugs Medical Association
The links went to a Google Groups page that was selling the usual drugs.
I use the SPAM blocker called SPAM Arrest which works very well.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
My motorcycle dealer is bankrupt. The notice in the newspaper screamed that message and announced the two-day bankruptcy sale. By “my” dealer I mean the one where I bought my motorcycle.
Naturally I was unhappy to read that news because now I would have to look elsewhere for motorcycle service. My bike is a Suzuki and Cycle City was the only Suzuki dealer in Burlington.
I attended the bankruptcy sale and noticed that there were some real deals on motorcycle clothing and accessories. I picked up a $40 manual for $10. The bikes were already gone.
A lot of bargain hunters were picking up deals. I noticed one of the owners behind the part's counter dispensing friendly advice to a customer. At least he didn’t seem bitter about his failed business venture.
While browsing about the store I heard at least one person comment on the bankruptcy that “it was a sign of the times.” I couldn’t help but wonder what this bankruptcy might be really a sign of.
Here are some of the random thoughts that occurred to me.
When a business fails in tough times – the people responsible absolve themselves of responsibility and blame their failure on the economy. Yet they claimed responsibility for their growth in a growing economy. Why were they so smart in a growing market and so blameless in a declining market? GM, Ford and Chrysler demonstrate this “not my fault’ syndrome well.
The current owners bought the business less than two years ago. I believe that it was a father and son team. After the previous owner ran the business for over 20 years which included some bad times why did it fail now? Did the new owners pay too much for the business? Were they qualified to run this type of business? What assumptions did they make that blindsided them? What part of the business did they neglect?
The fastest growing segment of motorcycle buyers is the aging baby boomers. These are folks who have grown their own business or career. They have money to treat themselves. Their children have probably left the nest and the mortgage is manageable or nonexistent. If they want a motorcycle they will buy one. If they are downsizing their expectations then they are more likely to buy a Suzuki instead of a more expensive Harley Davidson.
I bought my motorcycle from Cycle City in Burlington more than three years ago. I have never received a communication from them. That includes the previous owner as well as the “current owners”. They did not remind me to come in for my spring tune-up or winter storage program. They never invited me to their open houses or demo ride days. Why did they not realize that their greatest asset is their database of customers? When the new owners started – a note, email or phone call would have made me feel important. But none of that happened.
As a midlife renewed motorcycle owner I was aware of gaps in my motorcycle knowledge, so I asked clarifying questions when I bought accessories. The parts manager at Cycle City was annoyingly sarcastic when I asked him to explain the benefits of the special oil. Customer service can make or kill your business. I wonder how many other customers that parts manager pissed off.
I wondered if the new owners of Cycle City understood the changing nature of their business. Did they really know what business they were in? The answer is not “motorcycles”. Nobody buys a motorcycle because they need it. They buy because they want it. And the competition for your customers’ money is not necessarily other motorcycle dealers.
Even if sales of new motorcycles were declining – that would not kill the business. In the business of selling rolling stock – automotive, motorcycles and farm equipment – there are two ways to make profit. That is the sale of used goods and the sale of service. Those are the profit generators in these types of business. Competition for new goods is so competitive that little profit is made on that. The value is in the customer database. What else can you sell them?
What other programs, events or value did they offer to the clients on their database? Judging from what I received from them – none. Smart business owners offer their clients extra value – value that the competition hasn’t even thought about yet.
Cycle City used to have a pretty good website. It was especially good for their listing of used bikes. But lately I can't even find it when searching on Google. And the new owners didn't seem to upgrade the web presence. If you're new - we expect you to offer something new. Imagine if they posted a YouTube video every month.
I’m sorry to witness the bankruptcy of Cycle City in Burlington. But let’s be real. It’s not about the economy. Businesses fail because of mistakes by the business owners. Some learn from their mistakes. The rest of us can learn from the mistakes of others.
Motivational Business Speaker
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Leverage your volunteering
Volunteering can be productive marketing especially in troubled times. A small investment of your time and effort can pay back profitably.
How do you get the best return from your volunteering?
Select your volunteer work on these two criteria
The primary criterion is, "Do you believe strongly in the cause or program?" You will need to tap your personal motivation to sustain you through challenging obstacles. And folks will see you at your best.
The secondary criterion is, "Will you receive positive marketing exposure to your target audience?"
If only the first criterion is met then it's not marketing - just community service. And that is okay as long as your expectations are clear. In troubled times there is usually a greater demand for volunteers.
If only the secondary criterion is met then you will probably do it half-heartedly and thus fail on both accounts.
Some of the ways this can work
Supporting a charity is warm and fuzzy marketing. Those who like and respect the charity will like and respect you for your volunteer work.
When you work closely with other volunteers you can connect easier with folks who might not normally take your call. You get to build relationships around a common cause that can fuel business relationships later.
There are two roles that get the media exposure. The most time consuming role is president or chairperson. The more profitable role is the public relations person. Of the two the latter is the easier role and it allows you to establish relationships with your media contacts that you can continue to leverage long after you left that role.
As membership or recruitment person you have the greatest opportunity to connect with new and prospective members. As the first friendly face to connect with them you have the advantage of making a lasting impression. That builds your name recognition within the organization.
Show me the money
If you are a fund raiser that will force you to contact prospects, condition you to ask for the money - and it will show you where the money is.
There are many ways to volunteer.
There are many organizations that welcome volunteers.
By volunteering you can help others and yourself.
Register for Free Power Marketing Tips
PS: Tell me how this marketing tip helps you.
PPS: Forward this marketing tip to your associates.
Monday, December 08, 2008
What a Difference a Decade makes to Marketing
Imagine that you could continue to market successfully the same way for ten years. Do you like that thought? Well delete that daydream because it just isn't so. Welcome to marketing 2008. It's more threatening, more promising and more exciting. Buckle your seatbelt, take your motion sickness pill and be prepared to be amazing. Because that is what you need to compete today.
Still the Same
Of course some things remained the same. Let's establish our foundation before we venture into the swirl of the Time Tunnel.
The fundamentals are the same. That's what makes them fundamentals. Marketing is still closely intertwined with selling and the purpose of marketing is to help you sell more. Marketing and selling are both strategies to help you make a profit. In fact marketing was and is a fundamental responsibility running through every function of your business.
Read the rest of What a Difference a Decade Makes to Marketing
PS: This article was originally published in the January 2008 10th anniversary issue of Enterprise Magazine.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Power Marketing Tips 13
Your Worst Dressed List
Mr. Blackwell, the creator of the famous annual lists "Blackwell's Best Dressed" and "Blackwell's Worst Dressed", died this past week.
He was an out-of-work actor who went into fashion design and produced his own line of clothing, House of Blackwell. Yet he is well known internationally for his annual lists. His fame demonstrates a few good lessons for marketers.
What can you learn from Mr. Blackwell's best and worst dressed lists?
It cost him nothing to create the lists - just some creative thinking and boldness.
First published in 1960, here was a powerful example of what we now call viral marketing. It was controversial, cost nothing, garnered free media coverage and created a buzz. His comments were cheeky, colorful, brief and quotable.
Although he created and published two lists the better known one is "Blackwell's Worst Dressed".
Why? Blackwell rated and berated the rich and famous. Most of us secretly like to expose flaws in others, partly because we sometimes feel guilty about our own flaws. And we enjoy it even more when the rich and famous are the butt of our jokes.
The Worst Dressed list contained all the incendiary elements of gossip - which is the original viral marketing. Those elements are: controversy, repeatability and opinion. There is one other element to gossip - that is the assumed superiority of the gossiper by expressing judgment upon others.
Mr. Blackwell was the first to create these lists. There have been and will be more imitators but they will always be seen as copycats.
By publishing these lists he established himself as the expert. The best and simplest way to become number one in your market is to create the niche. Coke, McDonalds, The Boston Marathon and Sir Edmund Hillary are number one in their markets because they were first.
How might you use this in your marketing?
Create a list of mistakes, errors, and disasters. Then show prospects how you can help them avoid those traps. This could be a one time list or like Mr. Blackwell you could publish your annual list.
PS: Tell me how this tip helps you.
Register for your free Power Marketing Tips
Thursday, November 27, 2008
If you want to get more of your email opened then read this study from Marketing Sherpa.
MarketingSherpa recently pored over a year’s worth of data on our weekly newsletter subject lines. We learned a lot about what we’ve been doing right, and what could use some improvement. We wanted to share our findings with you – our faithful readers. Check out the four big takeaways and take advantage of our subject-line ‘Aha!’ moment.
The year long study indentified the four best ways to improve readership of emails. Here is an excerpt on the first tip.
Takeaway #1. Show value in the first two words
Sherpa’s top subject-line performers showed that pushing the value of a particular newsletter in the first two words was optimal. Meinhart recommends having your subject line writer focus on what *exactly* those first two words should be.
To illustrate the importance of those initial words, here are the 10 top-performing subject lines in the 12-month time period:
- Top 12 Email Newsletter Mistakes
- Simple Email Link Change Lifts Clicks
- CAN-SPAM - Must-Know Updates
- Best Time to Send Email: Test Results
- 6 Actions to Lift Clickthroughs: New Data
- Your Copy of Annual Email Study Results Enclosed
- HTML vs Text: Which Works Better?
- Newsletter Design Exclusive Data
- Email Audit PDF: How-to & Checklist
- How to Conduct Email Surveys
Read the rest of this study at Marketing Sherpa.
Free acess to this report is open until Decemeber 2, 2008.
Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Bloopers, Boondoggles & Blunders
The blunder: An attempt at innovative promotion brought trouble the client never wanted.
The lessons: Although Lowe Roche didn't set out to launch a viral campaign, Burlington, Ontario-based marketing expert George Torok says that Audi may have unwittingly benefited from the online chatter. "The best way to get viral marketing is to be provocative," Torok says. "Sometimes that happens by mistake—and if it does, then the company needs to find a way to leverage that and surf it out." Failing to exploit such an unexpected opportunity potentially exacerbates the error.
The above is an excerpt from the article published in the Globe & Mail, Report on Small Business magazine.
Of course the Ad agency responsible for the Boondoggle, Lowe Roche, was quite defensive about their accidental viral marketing campaign. Perhaps they created a monster they did not know how to manage.
But agency founder Geoffrey Roche says his goal was simply to reach an elusive consumer without spending a fortune on TV commercials. "We're not in the business of pissing people off," he adds.
Curious response from Geoffrey Roche - because that is exactly what they did. And every business pisses somebody off. That's the nature of the beast - especially marketing. You can't please everybody. So please your clients and engage your target audience. The rest - you really don't care about.
Read the rest of this article here at the Globe & Mail.
What I find strange is that the Audi cross promotion with Marvel Entertainment on the Ironman movie was brilliant. Did this come from the same people? Read more about that Marvel Entertainment Ironman movie here.
The final comment from Roche - the riskiest campaign of all is one that nobody notices.
Finally some words of truth from the advertising man's mouth.
Secrets of Power Marketing - the national bestseller
Executive Marketing Briefing for the CEO
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I first wrote about this concept in the Financial Post earlier this year. Since then I have discusssed the dangers of chasing the brand with my clients and they appreciate this refreshing perspective.
A longer article from me, The Branding Fallacy, recently appeared in Enterprise magazine.
The point is that small business needs to stop worring about their brand and instead focus on bulidng stronger relationships. Relathships should be the goal - not branding. If they build strong relationships - the brand will be a byproduct.
Small business gets fooled by the "branding clergy" who point to the success of the big corporate brands.
But small business can't compete with the resources that the corporations spend on branding.
And small business has a tool that big business does not have. Small business can build relationships which is a far better business-building tool. Big business can't build relationships so they take the weaker second choice - branding.
Read more about this discussion on the blog of Nicky Jameson at http://nickyjameson.com/
Friday, November 21, 2008
It's that time of year again. Many business owners are thinking of sending Christmas cards to their clients, prospects and associates.
My advice - don't send Christmas cards!
That might sound harsh. It has nothing to do with political correctness. It is based on sound marketing principles.
Your marketing should do one of three things for you:
- Grab attention
- Demonstrate value
- Build relationships
And it should do that better than your competition. If it doesn't - you are wasting your money.
The reality is that too many businesses still send Christmas cards to their clients. The result is that nobody remembers who got a Christmas card from you.
If they don't remember you - it was a waste of your money. So don't send those Christmas cards.
Either do something incredibly memorable at Christmas time or do something at another time of the year.
For example: Send cards in January and wish folks a Happy New Year. How many New Year cards do you think they get? You would stand out and be more memorable. Pick some other day of the year to send your greeting cards. Thats good marketing.
Have a Merry Christmas - but don't expect a card from me.
Canadian Business Speaker
Saturday, November 15, 2008
"Expect Major Delays"
Those were the words that jumped out at me from the sign in the middle of the street. This road construction sign demonstrated a few important marketing lessons for all of us.
It grabbed my attention - the first role of good marketing. It was right in the middle of the road and it was bright fluorescent orange. I would have had to be blind to miss it. Is your marketing standing out or blending in?
Those few words grabbed my attention, engaged my emotions and conveyed a clear message. Review your print ads, your printed materials and websites. If you want to immediately engage your prospects use powerful words. And use as few words as necessary. Remember that images might look nice but it is powerful words that engage our emotions. Check your marketing copy for emotion stirring words.
When I saw that sign my immediate fear was that I would be waiting in my car a long time just to get home. Instead I slowed down for the rough road and breezed through. I felt lucky. Why? Because I was expecting a major delay. Instead it was quite minor.
This might be the most important marketing lesson for you. Manage the expectations of your clients. Set the bar of expectations low enough so you can easily clear it. It's more important to clear the bar than to raise it. Don't promise delivery in three to five days. Your client hears three and when you deliver in four they think that you are late. Under promise and over deliver.
Register for free Power Marketing Tips and receive a free copy of 50 Power Marketing Ideas.
Order your copy of Secrets of Power Marketing.
PS: Tell me how this marketing tip helps you.
PPS: I welcome your comments.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Informative article from Marketing Sherpa. Access to this article is open until November 18. If you have a blog you should read this article. The Internet is not the wild wild west. There are laws that you should know and follow to stay out of legal trouble.
SUMMARY: A company blog can be great for marketing. But inappropriate content and troublesome comments can also expose you to lawsuits.Here's advice from a 30-year business attorney with extensive knowledge of the laws on blogging and user-generated content. Includes tips to avoid turning a blog post into "exhibit A."
Click to continue
(Open access until November 18th)
Sunday, November 09, 2008
What's in a name? Could be millions. If you were a movie producer and you wanted a "name" to help you reap millions - you would pay $10 to $20 million for Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Jim Carrey or Arnold (when he returns to Hollywood…he said he'd be back). You know the money has no relation to their "acting" ability. It is the name that is valuable - the name that sells.
Imagine if you had the power of these names promoting your business: Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Lance Armstrong, Venus Williams, William Shatner or Celine Dion. Some companies paid millions to associate their products with these names. Why? Because there is something special in a name. A name conveys credibility, acceptance and emotional hunger. I want to be like him or her. It is like a zombie trance - "Tiger Woods wears Nike - I must have Nike".
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
Bill Cosby.... read the rest of Be a Name Dropper.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Would you like to know if your name is still available?
Use this free tool to check over 60 web services in seconds for the availability of your name.
If you are venturing into the use of the interent social media you might want to use the same user name on several services. Perhaps you just want to reserve your name while you have a chance.
Here's a neat free tool to check your website and those of your competition for search effectiveness.
It takes a few seconds to give you a fairly comprehensive report of how your site is performing along with suggestions on how to improve. You get a grade out of 100.
There is a Twitter Grader
There is a Press Release Grader
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Touch the emotions
If you want people to remember you - touch their emotions. Make them laugh or make them cry.
Kudos to Brenda McKinley, real estate agent for Royal LePage in Burlington, Ontario.
She has been "pinging" us for years with her glossy monthly newsletter sent by regular mail.
This month she sent a one page letter. The letter commented on how the upcoming Remembrance day on November 11 reminded her of the visit she made with her husband to the Juno Beach Centre in France on the Anniversary of D-Day.
It is an emotionally touching letter to read. I believe that she was sincere.
She included a poppy in her envelope and encouraged the reader to wear it proudly.
She also announced that she donated to the local Canadian Legion Branch on behalf of her clients.
And the last line reminded the reader that she would love to hear from you if you or your friends and relatives have a need for real estate services.
Nice marketing Brenda McKinley.
Canadian Business Speaker
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I recently stayed at the Rimrock Resort in Banff, Alberta while speaking at a conference for the IT industry.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Blue Man Group
Ask a friend who has seen the Blue Man Group to describe them to you. If you have seen the Blue Man Group, then try to describe the group to a friend or more importantly how you felt about the show. (I just saw them for the second time.)
Words like amazing, awesome, energizing, funny, unique, incredible and captivating might flow over your tongue.
If that's the impression the Blue Man Group creates then the next question is, "How do they create that impression?"
There are three guys dressed in black with blue latex masks covering their head and neck. They don't speak. They pantomime, play percussion on funny plastic pipes, splash colored paint, mix in multimedia and have an awesome light show.
Who else does that?
No one. Although none of those individual things are unique the combination is.
What does that mean to you as a marketer?
What words do your clients use to say how they feel about buying from you? If your clients are not using the words you prefer what can you change to encourage those words?
How would your best clients describe the elements of your product or service? More importantly - who else does that? If the answer is almost everybody then you need to change the mix.
The success of the Blue Man Group is not due to any one element of their show. It's the combination of elements that make them successful. It's the combination that attracts audiences and encourages audiences to tell their friends about the experience.
What's in your mix? What could you add to the mix?
PS: tell me how this tip helps you.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sudbury Chamber Event
The following is an excerpt from the Sudbury Star.
Motivational speaker in town Tuesday
A Hamilton author and radio show host who believes image is crucial to attracting and retaining clientele will be in Greater Sudbury on Tuesday.
George Torok, who coauthored "Secrets of Power Marketing" and hosts "Business in Motion," a weekly radio show in Hamilton, will host a six-hour event. It will include a workshop ("The Secrets of Power Marketing") and keynote speech ("The Secrets of Success").
Set for 8 a. m.-2 p. m. at the Holiday Inn on Regent Street, Torok's workshop will run from 8:30-11:30 a. m. The keynote speech will be given from noon-2 p. m.
"Motivational, very engaging, colloquial and energetic is perhaps the best way to sum him up," said Jonathan Laderoute, a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce spokesman. "Back and forth with the audience is what he does: he feeds off it."
As of Tuesday, tickets were still available and can be obtained individually for the workshop, keynote speech or both.
The cost for the workshop is $90 for chamber members and $125 for everyone else. Cost to attend the keynote address is $60 for chamber members and $90 for nonmembers. To attend the entire event, the cost is $120 for chamber members and $170 for non-members.
Tickets can be obtained by calling the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce at 673-7133.
Monday, October 27, 2008
SUMMARY: Three email pros answered 12 questions during a recent webinar on what marketers need to know about the latest provisions for CAN-SPAM. Here is a transcript of that session.
Hope Hopkins, Membership Content Manager, MarketingSherpa, realized that many Sherpa members still had questions about the new CAN-SPAM provisions. She organized an event with a trio of authorities who discussed what the recent changes mean by responding to a dozen questions.The webinar served to put a bow on this issue for many members who were seeking more clarification on new CAN-SPAM provisions.We share a transcript of that session with you.
Click to continue(Open access=permanent)
This will open a pdf document.
If you want to know what is and isn't SPAM - read this panel interview.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Get First Page on Google Searches
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Basics and Tips
By Jim Estill
Do you want to get first page on Google? If you have a web page or blog, you likely already are first page for some searches. With a bit of SEO, you can gain first page on more searches. And its simple.
The first and most obvious step is think about what words or phrases you want to be first page on.
Once you have that list, determine how many people are searching for those terms. To check how popular a search is you will need a tool. I use Wordtracker (there is a free online version). The higher the number, the more popular the search. No point in trying to optimize for a word or phrase that is rarely searched.
There is also no point in trying to optimize for a word that is too popular because getting a high ranking there will be almost impossible.
Think about "long tail"
Think about how people will search. People often search with a question. EG where do I find X? Or where do I find Y in Canada. The longer the string, the less competition you will have for it so the easier you will get ranked.
So make the list of phrases you want to "own" and ones that are realistic to "own".
Now it is simple. Just put these words and phrases in your titles, picture descriptions, videos and in your text. The titles are the most important. That is why a blog called "Shrimp Fish Soup Recipes" will get good Google juice on all 4 words. So searching "Shrimp soup" will get first page. Or "fish soup recipes" or "Shrimp recipes" etc.
Yes you want to repeat your words and phrases often in the text. This said - write naturally. Never let SEO be a substitute for good content.
So you do this and you still are not first page. That is because you do not have enough credibility with Google. You need another free tool to check this. I use a free Firefox plugin called searchstatus. It gives me both the PageRank and the Alexa rating of any web page. Higher PageRank numbers are better. High credibility is your ultimate goal as that is what gets you ranked first and Alexa tells you traffic (a lower number is better)
How do you increase your PageRank?
It is all about quality inbound links. You want people with a high credibility (PageRank 4+) to link to you - eg Wall St Journal would be great. More is better and link rank is almost logarithmic so a PageRank of 6 is worth 10 times one of 5 etc.
This said, for you to get a link from an 8 rated site like pornstars.com would not increase your rank in the business genre. Sites are ranked for relevance.
The best inbound links are contextual. So someone blogging and saying I heard time management guru John Doe speak and hot linking from "Time management guru" is great for John Doe. Second best, hot link from "John Doe". Third is just having a link on a blogroll without any context.
You get a higher rank if you update your content regularly. That is why having a blog on your site is a good way to increase your ranking.
Moderate cross linking within your own material will also increase your rank and clarify for google what it is that you do.
3 ways to get links to your site:
1 - Ask politely. You might not always get a link but it never hurts to ask.
2 - Comment on other relevant blogs (and have your PageRank on so you ignore low PageRank and high alexa). Note that most comments in themselves do not constitute a link. But being out there gets people to look at you. You need people to look at your stuff for them to be inspired to link to it.
3 - Have good material. People link to quality. But of course they have to see it so promote your content:
Have your URL on all your print material, cards, letterhead, email sig file etc
Write guest articles and blogs in the right (high traffic) places (check the Alexa).
PR - get written about
Contribute to other sites. EG write reviews on Amazon, join the conversations.
And a word of warning. Never play games (like buying links).
In the end it is about having good quality material. And being out there so people look at your material. People link to quality without you asking as long as they know about it.
Jim Estill is the CEO of SYNNEX Canada, a $2 Billion distributor of computers.
To learn more about his successful business strategies, visit his blog at http://www.jimestill.com
Jim Estill's CEO blog at http://www.jimestill.com also has information on ordering his audio book and ebook, Time Leadership.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
What story do your clients talk about when they hear your name? Is it about your legendary service, unusual origin, crazy character or strange obsessions?
Do you have a story that should be told but isn't?
KFC continues to promote the legend of "the secret recipe". This is a recent news report.
"Colonel Harland Sanders' handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices was removed from safekeeping at KFC's corporate office in Louisville, Kentucky for the first time in decades."
Apparently it was moved to "an undisclosed location" to allow updating of security measures. It was temporarily relocated amid much fanfare about security measures. The recipe was placed in a locked box which was handcuffed to the arm of a security expert, (a former New York Police detective) who stepped into an armored car that was escorted by off duty police escorts.
Notice how KFC dramatized the legend to make this a news story.
The legend could be about the business or the individual. Donald Trump has built his legend of being big, bold and brassy. His legend is so powerful that landlords are willing to pay the Donald a royalty of up to US$20 M to put the Trump name on their high rise buildings. Yes, Trump doesn't own every building named Trump.
Lance Armstrong, Stephen Hawking and Oprah are legendary for overcoming the incredible obstacles in their lives.
Walt Disney is legendary for his vision and creativity, the Disney parks for the memorable customer experience and Domino's Pizza for their bold promise of "hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it's free".
What's your legend? Is it being told and retold by your clients and the market? If not, you might need to review, rediscover or repackage your legend.
Don't be a legend in your own mind. Be a legend in the minds of your prospects and clients.
PS: tell me how this tip helps you.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Watch this video of George Torok speaking at the First Canadian Apple Reseller Summit in Niagara Falls.
Apple Resllers are faced with the challenging prospect of competing with Apple Computer who is competiting directly with the Appler resellers. This is very upsetting to the Apple Resellers who have supported Apple for decades. Suddenly the hand that feeds you is biting you.
What do you do?
That was the focus of discussion at this event in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Of course - some folks didn't like the answers they heard.
Enjoy this video of marketing expert, George Torok speaking on the panel for the Apple Resellers.
Next year this event will be held in Toronto.
Enjoy this excellent article at Marketing Sherpa on the topic of influence while you can. It is only open until October 21.
SUMMARY: Influencing others isn't luck or magic - it's science. There are proven ways to help make you more successful as a marketer and an office politician.We talked to a renowned expert on the science of influence and pulled excerpts from two of his books to demonstrate ways to make people say "yes" to your messaging and management. Includes links to scientific studies and takeaways to use at work or at home.
Click to continue (Open access until October 21st)
If you miss the article the six principcles are listed below:
Six Principles of Influence
2. Social Proof
3. Commitment and Consistency
Canadian Business Speaker
Monday, October 13, 2008
I'm not yet decided on this Twitter thing and I decided to check it out.
I certainly made the wrong quick judgement about blogging - and look at me now.
I just created my account on Twitter and you are welcome to "follow me" on Twitter.
I welcome your feedback.
George Torok on Twitter
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Here are two new articles published on the Power Marketing site.
Marketing in tough times: A golden opportunity
Less money coming in? Business a little slow? What should you do about your marketing? If you answered, ‘less’ you are in the majority and making a big mistake. When times are tight the knee jerk reaction is do less marketing. That’s why you should do more. Stand out from your competition – zig when they zag. (1010 words)
What do your best customers smell like?
What you should know about your best customers
Think about how a hunter tracks their prey. They learn the habits, smells, likes and dislikes. You can do the same to find your big game. Here is a sampling of the information you might collect about your best customers; clubs and associations of which they are members, where they live, what they read, their education, special interests, sports and hobbies, recreation, demographics & ethno graphics, etc. (1000 words)
Read more marketing articles
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Are you ready for back to school?
Back-to-school marketing opportunities
It's back-to-school time in North America and other regions of the world. The back-to-school sales are in full force. That includes the usual clothing, various school supplies and electronics. Apparently the returning student not only needs a new computer but an iPod and iPhone as well.
Even if you don't sell school related supplies, back-to-school presents a marketing opportunity for you.
Where are the opportunities? Explore these ideas to find the one for you.
Parents will be spending money to bribe their progeny to return to school and to study hard. After the exhausting buying spree many of these parents will feel that they deserve to treat themselves.
You deserve a break.
Coffee shops, restaurants and Spas can offer back to school specials for the stay at home parents who want to celebrate the end of another summer.
Resort hotels, Bed & Breakfasts and travel agents might offer a weekend getaway for the deserving parents.
You can not afford to be left behind.
Accountants, lawyers and financial planners might offer (free or paid) seminars with the reminder that your future depends on you going back to school too.
Almost any business could mail a letter with the heading, "The kids are back in school. Now is a good time for you to seriously think about ______"
You might brag that you and your staff are going back to school to continue improving your expertise and skills to better serve clients.
You could hold a three R's sale or special event. The three R's related to schooling were Reading, (W)riting and (A)rithmetic. You could redefine the three R's to some aspects of your business - Relaxation, Roughage and Reinvention.
Find the back-to-school promotion that fits best for you. And if you miss this opportunity then start planning now for Halloween.
Register for you free Power Marketing Tips now.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Salute To Brant Business Networking Event: Power Marketing
Power Marketing Secrets - EXPOSED!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Guest Speaker George Torok
Co-author of the National Bestseller "Secrets of Power Marketing®"
Paris Grand Golf & Country Club150 Paris Links Rd., Paris, Ontario
Cocktails 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Use the Secrets of Power Marketing® to grow your business immediately!
Free Admission (Limited Seating: Pre-Registration recommended)
Learn about government programs and services to benefit your business
Discuss issues with the Mayor, Members of Council, and Municipal Staff
Network with other members of the Brant Business community
Enjoy delicious food samplings
RSVP by Monday, September 22, 2008
Email: EcDev@brant.ca or Phone: 519-442-6324 x3032
Canadian Business Speaker
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
It can be easy to be turned off email marketing. I never realized I had so many rich relatives in Europe and Africa all dieing to give me money. So we adapt and learn to block, ignore and delete the barrage of email liars.
And of course the liars learn to adapt as well. Lately I've been receiving poorly written emails from folks who claim to be Internet marketing experts. They format their email to resemble a legitimate email ezine. They even have an unsubscribe link - which I wonder about. I know that I did not subscribe and they even took the time to "authorize" their email with my SPAM Arrest. So I delete, block and unsubcribe.
Here is one that I have seen a couple times - same person? The unsubscribe page is the most annoying that I have seen. Remember - I did not ask for this email - yet this person threatened me with their language. Oh - and they are lieing.
Here is the text from the unsubscribe page. Read it and decide how you would feel.
EMail Blacklisting Page
If you want to unsubscribe from my newsletter, your email address is automatically blacklisted, which means you can't subscribe at a later date (that's how the software works)
I thought I'm upfront with it, have a Day full of Love & Wealth!
So - how would you feel? And no, I don't believe that's how the software works. The word "blacklisted" will intimidate some folks not to unsubscribe.
What's "love" and "blacklisted" got to do with each other?
Not sure what this person was selling. Perhaps this was for their own amusement. There are some twisted people out there.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Stop Wasting your money on branding and start building profitable relationships
Listen in to my interview on PR 101 Radio as host, Erica Taylor, interviews me on the above topic. If you are wrestling with branding - you better listen. Could save you alot of money and agravation. Listen live and ask your questions.
Live Wednesday Sept 24
12:00 noon - 1:00 pm PDT (California time)
Special Guest - George Torok
What is PR 101 Radio?
PR 101 Radio - Marketing Advice for Small Business is the world’s first live, call-in advice show providing insight into Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising.PR 101 Radio's Mission is to provide small- and medium-sized businesses (those with under 500 employees) and entrepreneurs expert knowledge and education about how to more effectively market their businesses and avoid costly pitfalls along the way.
Where Can I Listen to PR 101 Radio?
PR 101 Radio - Marketing Advice for Small Business airs weekly each Wednesday from 12pm-1pm PST. The program can be heard on:
Windows Media Player
The show anticipates drawing an initial combined weekly audience of a quarter million. The program is targeted to an educated audience of small- and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs.
Who Hosts PR 101 Radio?
PR 101 Radio - Marketing Advice for Small Business is hosted by Erika M. Taylor, CEO/Chief Publicist for the award-winning PR Agency, Three Girls Media & Marketing Inc. Taylor enjoyed an 18-year on-air career in the San Francisco Bay Area before transitioning to the Public Relations industry. She brings a unique insider perspective to working with the press, launching and marketing a business.
Marketing Expert & Author
Canadian Business Speaker
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Lately, I have received several requests to trade links.
Nothing wrong with that. Links to your website boost it in the search engines. And I am happy to exhange good links.
However, many of the requests to link seem to come from gmail or other free email addresses - not from legitimate email address. What does that say about the person requesting the link? Why are they hidding?
So I agreed to trade some links. And after I linked to them and asked for a response - no response.
We should learn from our mistakes.
This is my response to future resquests for trading links - "You go first".
Marketing Speaker & Author
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Summer seems to be coming to an end in Ontario, Canada. That reminds me how much I enjoy each season for different reasons along with the change of the seasons.
So here’s an interesting marketing challenge – how would you market each season?
As a marketer what would you say about the seasons?
Tell me how you would market each season?
Address these areas and questions.
The pains of your audience.
The benefits of the season.
The features of the season.
How would you trigger the emotions?
What images can you create?
Any other elements that help to sell the season.
Add your responses as comments to this blog. If you email me I will add them to the blog.
Marketing the seasons
Marketing Expert and Speaker
Canadian Buisiness Speaker
Friday, September 12, 2008
Colonel Sanders' Secret KFC Recipe, Part 2
Maybe you've heard the story of 1000 restaurant owners who rejected Colonel Sanders' Fried Chicken proposal, and Prospect #1001 who finally said "yes."
BUT... did you ever hear the story behind the story?
This is a good one. An old photocopier salesman, who called on Colonel Sanders back in the 60's, passed this along to me.
The real story is:
The Colonel had a restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky, which had been doing very well. A new interstate highway was planned to bypass the town of Corbin. Seeing that his business was about to dry up, the Colonel auctioned off his operations. After paying his bills, he had nothing to live on except his $105 Social Security checks.
In 1952, confident of his chicken recipe, he began crisscrossing the country in his car, making an offer to restaurant owners: He would walk into a restaurant, announce to the owner, "I bet my chicken recipe is better than yours" and propose a cook-off.
(The chicken provided by the restaurants he visited, using his recipe, was part of his plan for feeding himself during those lean days.)
If the owner was favorable, he would "franchise" his chicken recipe to them at 5 cents per chicken.
In all, just over 1000 restaurants turned him down, without one successful deal.
Then one day he was having his daily cooking duel with a bar owner, who said to him, "Sir, I'm trying to sell beer, not chicken. This stuff needs to be a whole lot saltier so customers will get thirsty and buy beer!"
So he grabbed the salt shaker, poured some salt on, and took another bite. "Now THIS is GREAT," he said. "If you'll add salt to this recipe, I'm a taker!"
The Colonel took a bite and spit it out -- it was terrible!
But Colonel Sanders had been on a NO SALT DIET for 30 years, so his tastes were obviously different than everyone else's.
The Colonel wasn't stupid! He might not like the salt, but it was better than poverty. Thus began the Colonel's enormously successful Kentucky Fried Chicken legacy.
Here's the kicker: At one time, if you bought a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken, here's what it said on the side: "When Colonel Sanders added the 11th spice, he instantly knew it was the best chicken he'd ever had."
Of course they didn't tell you what spice it was.
This is so instructive.
First of all, Colonel Sanders could have made 1000 MORE presentations, driven his car until the transmission fell out, spent every dime of those $105 Social Security checks, prayed for success and recited positive affirmations every morning in front of the mirror. But he still would have come up empty handed, had he not been willing to change his recipe!
Secondly, although the recipe he so passionately believed in was the best recipe for HIS taste buds, it was not the recipe that his customers really wanted. Without a recipe that the customers wanted, no amount of effort or persistence would make it work.
With the right recipe, he was unstoppable.
Third, the recipe he had before he added salt was ALMOST right. It was VERY, VERY CLOSE to what it needed to be. Adding salt to a lousy recipe wouldn't have helped much. So all the effort he expended developing the original recipe was worthwhile.
Fourth: Persistence DID pay off, but not the way we might expect it to. Sometimes we're looking for the magical day when our persistence, and the sheer number of people we talk to, leads us to the RIGHT person who will say "Yes" and open wide the doors to success.
But for Colonel Sanders, playing the "Numbers Game" was not the key. The real key was bumping into someone with the audacity to suggest something different, and for the Colonel to be eager enough for a breakthrough to change his recipe.
Fifth, the magical ingredient was ordinary table salt. Salt, all by itself, is worthless as a food item. Chicken, all by itself, is pretty bland, and may not even do the trick with 10 other perfectly good spices. Put them together, though, and you've got a real winner!
Never overlook the possibility of combining very ordinary things to create something "entirely new."
Finally, motivation and hard work alone are rarely (if ever) enough to accomplish a challenging goal. Innovation, flexibility, careful listening, endless experimentation, and the setting aside of egos and old paradigms are all equally important.
P.S.: That elusive 11th spice is THE #1 thing that weuncover during the 2-day, 4-man Intensive. September 24-25:http://perrymarshall.com/adwords/roundtable.htm
Perry Marshall's books on Google advertising are the most popular in the world. He is quoted all over the Internet and by USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Could you be mistaken for a twin of your competition?
Are you ready for the defining question that will help you grow your business? How are you different? Before you sputter, "We offer quality, value and service." Ask yourself, "Who else can say the same?" If the answer is - most of your competition - then you are not different.
There is only one reason that you will attract new business. It is by being different: different from your prospect's existing supplier, different from their existing experience or different from their other options. You must be different.
Being different is not enough
If you want to grow your business you must appear to be different.
Reread that sentence. The important phrase is "appear to be different". It's not so important that you are different. It's more important that your market perceives you to be different.
For your difference to be effective it must be noticed, valued and remembered.
The Pizza WarsThe pizza wars are a good example of the perception of being different and how they are many different hats you might claim to wear in your pursuit of difference. Domino's is the "30 minutes or it's free" champion. Pizza Pizza has a cute name and the easy to remember phone number, (go ahead and sing the jingle). It's easy to guess what's different about "Two for One Pizza". Delicioso is "the frozen pizza that you'll swear was delivered". There are the shops that sell pizza and subs, the ones that sell pizza, subs and wings and the ones that offer goat cheese and other alternative toppings.
You can learn a lot about niche marketing by watching very competitive markets. The differences don't need to be big, just clear. It's like tuning your FM radio dial. You only listen to the stations that come in clearly.
So, how are you different?
Register for your free marketing tips
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Kid Snips has reinvented the business of cutting kids hair. The kids sit in chairs that resemble carnival rides - planes and cars. Instead of staring at a mirror they watch a video. And the kicker - the hair cuts cost between $15 and $18 instead of $10.
You can charge more when you transform a painful experience into a pleasurable one.
Plus - the shop also sells toys, candy and other kids fun stuff, (more revenue for the shop).
So what could easily be a tantrum- spawned headache can instead be fun and easy. Isn't that worth paying extra for?
When you think about it - the answer was obvious. Barber shops and hairdressers were designed to serve adults. No wonder kids don't enjoy them.
But if your market is young children look around and learn from the best. That includes Disney and McDonald's. Kids like going to McDonald's because of the toys, playland, and quick simple treats. Parent's like taking their kids to McDonald's because they don't have to fight with their kids to take them. The result - a positive experience for the parents and the kids.
How might you transform the experience for your clients?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
That's what Seth Godin called it. Mixing things together that really don't go together.
Mixing ideas is a creative approach to marketing. But some things just don't belong in the same dish.
Monday, August 18, 2008
You’re great. Who says?
You think that you are great – prove it.
Yes – you should believe in your product, service and company. Yes you should make bold statements about that belief.
Most importantly you should be prepared and willing to back up those claims of superiority.
You should not be surprised when your prospects ask you to prove yourself. And you should not make your prospect feel uncomfortable or guilty by asking you to prove what you claim.
Recently I was approached by a company offering an intriguing web video service. I was impressed by the technology and toying with some possibilities. However I had never heard of this company nor did I recognize the names of any of their clients. And the investment was significant so I was thinking about ways that I might get a good return on my investment.
So I asked for some references that I could call. I wanted to talk to other people like me and learn about how they were using this tool and learn about their level of satisfaction.
Sounds like a reasonable request. But I was surprised and disturbed by the response of the sales rep.
His response to my request was something like this, “If I give you some references I need a commitment from you that I can ask you to close this deal.” He said the word, “commitment” as if only I should make a commitment – as if he was doing me a favor. He wasn't committing to anything.
I responded, “Yes you can ask.” But I felt awkward about his tactic. I'm sure my voice conveyed my unease - yet he didn't seem to pick up on that. Why was I being polite to this person who just was impolite to me?
If you are in sales – you always have the right to ask for the sale. However this exchange felt like blackmail to me. I had simply asked for some references. I was not shopping for this service. I wasn't sure how I might use it. But this sales rep made me feel both trapped and angry by his tactic.
I simply asked for references. The best response would have been, “I’m happy to provide some references for you. How many would you like? When can I follow up with you?
You must demonstrate over whelming value first - then you ask for the sale.
He did not give me any references and we are supposed to talk in two weeks. The chance of him making a sale? You guessed it – zero to none.
Motivational Business Speaker
Friday, August 15, 2008
So you finally get a interview call from the media. How do you make the right impression?
Follow these tips from PR specialist Pam Lontos
Pam Lontos Column: 15 Tips (Plus a bonus!) to a Great Interview
Besides spreading the word about your speaking services, what's the best thing about landing interviews? The answer is: you can conduct the interview wearing your pajamas! But there's a catch. You can't sound like you're wearing your pajamas. That's right. Even though you're talking on the phone to the reporter and no one can see you, you still have to communicate a professional image. Otherwise, you might get bumped form the story and theydefinitely won't call you back for future stories. So how can you ensure that you make the right impression and, perhaps more importantly, that you're called back for more interviews?
You can use the following fifteen tips for giving great interviews:
1. Allow yourself private time prior to the interview. Use this time to relax and focus. Imagine that you are speaking with the interviewer face to face. Rehearse the points you want to make and remember that you can never be too prepared.
2. Seek a quiet spot for the interview. If you are speaking from home, close yourself off in a room with few distractions. Turn off your computer, TV, or radio, and clear your desk so nothing can take your mind off the conversation.
3. Write your main points before the call begins. Do not read scripted responses from a pre-printed sheet, because reporters can tell when something is being read to them versus when you're giving honest answers. But do prepare a note card with three to five topics you would like to touch upon during the interview. That way you won't struggle with an answer during the interview.
4. Show that you care about the reporter and their story. Be helpful and responsive to their requests. Ask the interviewer what you can do to make his or her job easier. Then really listen to their answer and be an eager, accessible source of information.
5. Stand while giving the interview. Even though you're talking on thephone, act as if you are giving a live presentation and stand tall. Standing will raise your energy level, and you will be more alert than if you were sitting. Interviewers love energy and really pick up on your mood.
6. Smile, and answer honestly and sincerely. People can hear your smile over the phone, and a reporter will feel more comfortable after hearing the joy in your voice. Also, the sound of smiling builds a rapport with interviewers. If they feel they can trust you, they will think of you first for their next interview.
7. Put energy and spunk into your voice. No one wants to listen to amonotonous drone, and the reporters and producers are no different. So put energy into your voice. This could make the difference between a mundane interview and a great conversation.
8. Have backup information handy. Reporters will inevitably ask you one question you don't want to or can't answer (this is another place your notecard comes in handy). In case you are unable to respond, you can say, "That brings up an interesting point." then go on to one of your prepared statements. Or, offer to find out the answer to the questions and get back to them as soon as possible.
9. Be concise. The average answer given is only nine seconds long. If you cannot convey your message in this short amount of time, your answer will not be used. So be careful not to ramble and be sure to stick to the facts. Don't overload the reporter with unnecessary information that is not directly related to the story.
10. Be forthright. Answer the reporter's question accurately and thoroughly, and don't be afraid to give away too much information. Many speakers fear that they might give away too much information and then no one will book them for events. But it's impossible to spoil years of experience and training in a short interview, and the audience will actually want more when you give them a little. So answer the questions and don't say, "You'll find the answer to that when you hire me for a keynote."
11. Use the word "you" often. The word "you" draws the audience in and helpsthem relate to what you're saying. And always give them a reason to pay attention by adding benefit statements to the facts in your presentation.
12. Let the reporter lead the conversation. The reporter most likely has an agenda for the story's development already in mind, so don't attempt to take over the conversation or talk about points the reporter does not want to cover.
13. Incorporate personal experiences into your responses. Audiences love to hear firsthand accounts of experiences relating to the topic. It helps them feel as if they know you personally. But make sure you stay on topic and don't get distracted with your story.
14. Be prepared to back up your claims. Reporters want factual information.So instead of saying, "The majority of people do this." say, "Eighty-five percent of my clients do this." And don't say, "I think" or "maybe." Speak with authority and confidence.
15. Find future stories. After the interview, thank the reporter and ask what other stories they're covering. Even if their stories don't directly pertain to your speaking topic, explain how you can be beneficial to what they are investigating.
16. Interviews in the future. Although interviews usually entail a relatively short phone call, you still need to take your time and prepare for it beforehand. You don't have to shower and shave, but you do need to have energy and excitement in your voice. During the call, you want to put your best foot forward with clear, honest and accurate responses. And when you're finished, don't forget to thank the reporter and offer to help onother stories. When you use these fifteen tips for giving great interviews, you'll communicate a professional, expert image to the reporter and the audience for you and your speaking career.
For additional publicity tips and articles now, visit: www.prpr.net. Pam Lontos is the president of PR/PR, a public relations firm thatspecializes in professional speakers, authors and experts. An author, speaker and former VP of Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting, Pam knows the ropes of getting you good publicity and how to use it to boost your bookings or book sales. She is also author of the forthcoming book, "I See Your Name Everywhere!" Call for a free consultation: 407-299-6128 or visit:www.prpr.net.
Reprinted from 'PR/PR Pulse,' a free e-zine featuring tips and techniques for gaining publicity. To subscribe, send an email to email@example.com with 'Add Me' in the subject line.
Marketing Author - Secrets of Power Marketing