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Archive for the category “Business”

You Don’t Make Connections at the Drive-Thru—(Joe Pesci was right)

drivethruYou love coffee, I love coffee, we all love coffee.  As we all know, it tastes a whole lot better when someone else makes it and you sip it as you walk into the office.  But, you must also get your kids to school and be at work by 8:30am.  So, you rush around and get that morning coffee at the Drive-Thru. Oh, the stories and connections you are missing out on.  Joe Pesci had it right in Lethal Weapon 2, but for different reasons.  I promise if you take the extra five minutes and walk into Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks each morning (…and maybe even throw a buck into the tip jar occasionally) you will start your day off on such a higher level.

There is something about “The Law of Familiarity” that makes people friendlier, and like you more each time they see you.  We tend to be attracted to things we are familiar with.  But, here’s the catch.  The key word is “see” you.  Not Facebook…Not a Tweet….And DEFINITELY NOT an Email.  Engage in even a little conversation, and your coffee server can open all kinds of doors for you.  Maybe even an extra espresso shot here and there.

Be seen, be present, make someone smile.  As hard as Facebook tries, they haven’t figured out a way to capture a real smile and a warm “good morning.” (Or an extra shot of espresso)

The Tough Coach

xtechnical-sergeant.png.pagespeed.ic.95J3xuEMawWith Veterans Day on Saturday I thought I would take a moment and call out one of my first bosses in the Air Force.  TSgt Desnoyer was the typical, cigar chopping Sergeant you’ve seen hundreds of times in the movies.  Barely looked at you, grunted a lot, liked to give you funny nick names.  ‘Sink or Swim” being a favorite of his.

In 1987 I was a 20-year-old kid making $250 a week, brand new in the military.  At the time, the Air Force had an incredible program called the Montgomery GI Bill.  The plan was simple back then.  Give the Air Force $100 of your pay back each month for one year, and get  $10,800 to use for education when you get out.  No brainer, right? In my infinite wisdom I declined to be part of the program….That’s until TSgt Desnoyer “coached” me.

After yelling at me about how stupid I was to let free money go to waste, he reasoned with me.  He explained the power of education and how I should always be striving to learn and grow.  He finally got through to me.  Was it his persuasion techniques?  Was it his charm?  Was it his loud voice?  None of the above….It was because I trusted him, and I knew he honestly cared about me.  You can’t hide or fake caring.   You either care or you don’t.  Great coaches care about their team more than their own needs.

I did give the Air Force back $1,200 of my very little take home pay over the next year.  And I took the $10,800 they gave me and ultimately parlayed it into an MBA from Anna Maria College in 1999.  That piece of paper has opened more doors and changed my life in ways I could never pay back.

So, on this Veterans Day I salute all the great coaches in my life.  Especially TSgt Desnoyer for caring about a stupid kid who thought $100 a month was worth more than the 30 years of education that followed.  Happy Veterans Day

20 Random Advertising Thoughts

advertising

  1. People only show up to the party when you invite them.
  2. It takes a MINIMUM of 3 impressions (Closer to 6 in 2017) before someone acts on an offer.
  3. ….AND that’s only if they have a need.
  4. All advertising needs 4 Keys.  Reach, Frequency, Consistency and GREAT Creative.
  5. $500 campaigns don’t work.
  6. Crappy creative doesn’t work.
  7. People only care about one radio station…… WII-FM  “What’s in it for me”?
  8. Most people don’t listen……Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
  9. People really have no idea how they heard about a product.
  10. Most people automatically say…..“I saw you on TV” when asked.
  11. Radio MULTIPLIES the effectiveness of all other media.
  12. Radio also stands on its own as a media.
  13. You really can’t brand with print or social media.
  14. Social media is a conversation vehicle—Not a branding method.
  15. All advertising can work if done correctly.
  16. Cold feet is the #1 reason for a campaign not to work. (Stopped before it caught on.)
  17. Not following the 4 Keys is the #2 reason.
  18. People don’t care about features—Only benefits.
  19. Programmatic digital campaigns will end up embedded in HORRIBLE articles/websites.
  20. All that really matters is if the advertising makes the cash register ring more often.

Welcome to the party! Who are you?

Who are you questionWhen someone decides to make a purchase how do you make sure your company is even thought about?  Do they know who you are? What you are about? Did you even get invited to the party?

Have you ever been to a party where everyone knows each other? Would you throw out your hand with a big….”Hi, I’m John..Wanna buy some insurance?” That’s what you do when you post an offer on digital or social before you create awareness.  Without awareness and reputation, you are just another idiot trying to sell something.

To create brand awareness you need Reach, Frequency, Consistency and a great message (Creative).  This doesn’t come from a few Facebook posts.  It comes from engagement. Connecting to the local community any way you can.  Going to a few of those parties where you don’t know anyone, and getting to know people…Slowly, over time. Over 80% of an audience won’t click on a digital/social ad they’ve never heard of.

Build awareness through branding. Tell great stories. Be known BEFORE you’re needed. Then, target those who have the need.  Do you want to be searched on Google, or found on Google?

Now go send out some thank you notes for getting all those party invitations

 

 

Digital Unintended Consequences

unintended-consequencesThe Law of Unintended Consequences usually happens when you only get one side of a story, or surround yourself with people who always agree.  This is especially true in advertising, or anything that requires walking that fine line between strong creative debate and strong leadership.

Here is a case in point. The new digital ad landscape is like the Wild West. We’ve all looked at a product on Amazon, and then had an ad stalk us across the digital world like some Tron bounty hunter.  Although this is semi creepy, it gets even creepier when you look at a ladder at Home Depot, decide not to buy, and start getting Home Depot ads hunting you down..Or a Groupon for the same product you were just looking at.

While all of this registers about a ten on the disturbing index, the real unchartered territory is when a digital ad is placed in the middle of an online news article or website.  This is where ad executives don’t realize the damage they are causing their brand.  In television or radio, there is banter and buffer when the news transitions to advertising.  Not so when a cube ad is smack in the middle of an article about a seven year old ISIS kid decapitating someone.

The above example had a beautiful “It’s the New Year Mattress Sale” ad right next to the picture of the child with the machete. This is a major bed retailer.  Do they want their brand associated with this? You know the answer.

My wife and I recently watched an HBO documentary about alcoholism and looked up a “Where are they now” website about the subjects.  Right in the middle of the website, ABOUT ALCOHOLISM, was an ad for……Wait for it….A whiskey company.  This is a digital algorithm gone awry.  Marketing shouldn’t make you think negative of the brand in the name of targeting.

Traditional Media’s Free Lunch

So, everyone is upsetfree-lunch-is-only-found-in-mousetraps (1) that Facebook has changed their policy and is suppressing media and business posts in favor of friend updates.  Keep in mind that for many people their Facebook feed is where they get ALL their news.  Crazy right?  Well, the media let it happen.   

Let’s go back about 10 years.  Before the great 2008 recession. Back when a hash tag was just a pound sign.  Let your mind drift back and imagine everything you seen and heard on mass media.   I’ll help you out a bit.  Most (at one point almost all) advertising had one central message…..”Like us on Facebook”.   DJ’s had contests to get the most fans and likes. The Facebook logo graced the end of every local newscast. Every major brand had one mission—Build their fans & likes.

It was as if overnight everyone forgot there is no such thing as a free lunch.  “A way to connect with our customers for free”  Wow!…Yea  wow.  The media spent ten years turning all the power over to Facebook and now are upset that their relevance has declined…..A lot.

Radio, television &  print all thought that Facebook put them closer to their audience, and traditional media would always be the first choice.  Instead of building databases, investing in new social media platforms and better websites, traditional media took  the easy way out…Connect for free on Facebook.

And Facebook, much like a drug dealer handing out free samples, kept giving and giving….Until they didn’t.

The easy path is rarely the best path.  So congratulations Facebook.  You got the entire world to help build a database over a billion strong…For free.  So maybe there really is a free lunch?

 

 

 

 

 

LeaderSHIT. 10 ways leaders screw things up

Some mmistake1anagers are great leaders and some aren’t.   The day-to-day of tactics of running a business are a lot different from the broad strategic vision needed to grow a business.

I won’t get into all the differences between managers and leaders.  That subject has been beat to death.  Instead I will give you my top 10 things leaders should strive NOT to do when responsible for tactics and strategies.  We all stumble into these bad habits at times.  Recognize them, and don’t make the same mistake twice.  Learning and growing is where the magic happens.

  1. Hoarding the information and having favorites. Be honest, reward results, and be transparent.  Your people can smell dishonesty and favoritism 10 miles away. HONEST!
  2. Think one size fits all.  You can’t teach a fish to fly (I know, I know—flying fish…Just stay with me please 🙂  People have things they are good at.  Encourage and reward that.  Don’t try to make people something they aren’t.  Everyone has something to offer the team, or they wouldn’t be on the team.  Help enhance their strengths.
  3. Not being consistent. This is the absolutely hardest one to do. As leaders we have to try to be the same coach when we win as we are when we lose.  This is very tough, but the only way to let people feel comfortable enough to take the risks and chances needed to be the best.
  4. Taking the credit. All together now… It’s not about you anymore! It’s about the team.  Give the credit out to the troops and stop being so damn needy for approval.
  5. Being moody. We all can be moody, but nothing destroys trust faster. Not knowing if you will bite off their heads when they ask a question is a great way for you to be left in the dark on the REAL important things.
  6. Not listening. It’s the same with your significant other, your kids, or your best friend. Take a deep breath and REALLY listen.  I know your own voice has magical healing properties, but the next time someone wants to talk to you, don’t think about what you will say next, or that you need to pick up propane for a BBQ this weekend.
  7. Ego. There is some direct connection with the need to be wanted and loved and working your way up the ladder at work. Suck it up, let someone else have the credit, admit when you are wrong, and other smart people exist in the world.  Smarter than you believe it or not.
  8. Gossip. Being part of it, or allowing it to fester. Nothing will kill an organization faster than gossip. It’s negative, most of the time not accurate, and takes the focus off the mission of the team…To win.   Talk about ideas and ways to improve yourself, not if Sally is sleeping with Bob.
  9. Lack of growth/Education. We all should be enhancing our skills and growing daily. That means taking classes, reading books, and being open-minded. You don’t know it all, but you could get better every week. 2% educational growth a week makes you over 100% smarter in a year.
  10. Not taking action. Don’t over think the think, over do the do.  Stop talking about it, researching it, and thinking about it…Just do it!  Take an action and adjust along the way. Just like Patton told us (And kind of won a World War) “A good plan today is worth a perfect plan tomorrow”.

There are a lot more, but those are my top 10.  I struggle with some daily, but I know what to look for, and how to adjust and learn from my mistakes.  Lack of leadership is the top cause in EVERY poor and average team.  Our teams get better when we get better

(For my Sales Friends)–Feel the Fear

fear

  1. Pick up the phone to make a new cold call—-Feel the Fear….Do it Anyway.
  2. Making a big presentation to a board of twenty skeptical bankers….Feel the Fear—Do it Anyway.
  3. Pulling over and walking into a brand new prospect…Feel the Fear…Do it Anyway.
  4. Giving yourself a goal to beat your budget by 20%…Feel the Fear….Do it Anyway.
  5. Giving yourself a goal to call on 100 new prospects this Qtr….Feel the Fear….Do it Anyway.
  6. Giving yourself a goal to send out 80 new marketing pieces this month…Feel the Fear—-Do it Anyway.
  7. Hitting $200,000 in earnings in 2016….Feel the Fear…Do it Anyway.
  8. Asking for a million dollars of business this Qtr….Feel the Fear—Do it Anyway.
  9. Making one more call EVERYDAY before you go home…Feel the Fear….Do it Anyway.
  10. Doing something outside your comfort zone…. Feel the Fear ….Do it Anyway.

Perception is Reality…Woody The Internet Pecker

ImageWow…..I haven’t posted anything on WordPress for a long time. So, to get myself back in the saddle, I’ll throw the word “pecker” in the title..that should work.  

Perception problems are marketing problems. Don’t believe this?  Pop quiz…Who developed one of the first touch screen computers?  Well, the perception is that Apple started it all………and if that was your guess, you couldn’t be more wrong…But before you Google the answer,  the original touch screen was the most bizarre marketing blunder of all time and actually involves Panasonic naming it after a penis.

In 1996 Panasonic thought the mouse was too hard to use, and the internet was going to be the biggest development of the 20th century…They were right, but it didn’t  matter…The name of their touch screen computer was the Woody…Pretty bad right?  But  it gets a lot worse……They decided Woody Wood Pecker would be a great mascot to bring in the youth market  (In 1996??!) So before you connect the dots, yes,  the computer was named….Touch Woody……And if  it couldn’t get any worse,  Panasonic introduced  a new internet support feature called….wait for it…The internet pecker.

A touch screen in 1996!  Steve Jobs was just coming back to Apple and the IPad was over ten years away.  A touch screen was WAY ahead of its time.  But alas, you can have the best product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, (or laugh like 12 year old boys when they say the name) you will fail—-Just ask A. Wang, the creator of Wang Computer 

The Company That Will Bring It To You…..

captain-kirk-communicatorAs I type this my daughter is on Face Time with her friend on her IPOD Touch.  My ten year old has been using Face Time for about a week and a half. In that time she has become more proficient than Capt Kirk with his communicator. Who could have ever imagined us getting to the point where kids could communicate with their friends in HD quality on a device smaller than a deck of cards—-Wireless! When I was ten I had to share a party line with 5 other families at my grandmother’s house in Maine (I’ll save this for another story). My pointer finger is now about five sizes bigger than the rest of my hand from using the giant rotary dial phone…Tough times.

The funny thing is, growing up we were always told of flying cars and Dick Tracy video wristwatches. It just never seemed to happen, until it did..Slowly but surely most of the Sy-Fy predictions have caught up to us. (Well, except the flying car thing). I remember back in the early 90’s Tom Selleck used to talk about all the great things AT & T was going to do for us. Sending a fax from the beach, attending a meeting in your pajamas, borrowing a book from around the world. As Tom was pontificating about all the futuristic wonders AT& T was about to lay on us, I was still getting used to the AOL guy saying “You’ve got Mail.”   Apparently Steve Jobs watched those commercials too, and he became the guy who brought us a bunch of it. I’m sure AT & T is the infrastructure behind much of the technology, but Apple has a better marketing department

So I hopped on YouTube (the Irony of using Google to look up a commercial about A T & T technology was not lost on me) and went on a quest to find those commercials from the early 90’s. I found them, and they were even more accurate than I remembered..Scary precise. Check out the touch screen on the EBook. This was 1993 when people didn’t know what an EBook, or an Email even was..

So like a crystal ball peering into the future, I present to you a montage of those commercials telling us how great life would be for us very soon. Listening to my daughter giggle with her friends on her $100 IPOD makes me realize we haven’t seen anything yet….Kirk out!

 

 

 

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