Sunday, April 26, 2009

Passion Partners

My Childrens world is not the world that I grew up in when I was their age. When I was a child we had 3, then 4 then 5 television stations to choose from, a morning newspaper and afternoon paper, maybe 8 radio stations at the most that were local and that was it for local media and advertising choices.

I am back in my hometown and my oldest daughter also lives here. If she had cable, she would have access to hundreds of television channels, but she just has regular High-Def Digital which gives her access to a dozen channels. There are still 2 daily newspapers, but she gets her news from other sources. Radio stations? 20 plus in our town. Then there's the Internet which didn't exist when I was her age.

And now that I'm in the media and marketing business, I am aware of dozens of other mediums that business owners can use for advertising.

I also know that most business owners are clueless about what they should do to generate new customers, retain the ones they have and how to generate positive word of mouth. This is also true with a lot of non-profit organizations. And sadly, this is also the situation with most advertising agencies and internal marketing directors.

So, this week I have formally formed a business to help, ScLoHo Marketing Solutions. My passion is to help businesses make smart marketing decisions. This includes everything internally, externally, evaluation of what direction to head for growth in the future and in the present.

With experience dating back to 1986, working with 100's of business owners, finding the common threads of success and failures, and with a keen understanding of advertising and human behavior, I can help. And this is not a solo project, as I have partners that I will call on to subcontract some of the work depending on what the marketing project is. I know that I am not an expert in all areas, but I have a network of experts who will be working with me.

It all boils down to Passion.

You have a passion for the work that you do. You have become an expert in your field, whether that is health care, transmission repair, or whatever your field is. You need a partner to help you spread the word using all of the tools that are available today, and using timeless relationship principles. And you also need to find and fix the "leaks in your boat", that are causing you to lose customers and clients.

Currently ScLoHo Marketing Solutions will concentrate on businesses and organizations that are based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as I am retaining my role with the group of radio stations that I have been with the past 6 years. I will work with only a select number of clients, and you must be committed to the process which will be developed based on your current and future needs.

I am not a "yes man". I will tell you the truth. I may tell you to fire your sister. Or at least help her find a position in your company that fits her passions and makes your organization stronger.

Now, more than ever, you need help. Contact me to see if you qualify:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Are you Out of Touch?

A friend of mine has been very successful in the advertising world and he doesn't own a computer.

He could if he wanted to, but in his current line of work, he doesn't need one. Why? He has a secretary who takes care of all his emails for him. (No, she's not an administrative assistant, he prefers "secretary".)

He is an exception. The only thing that he does that I would urge you to follow is his work ethic. Each morning he reviews the to-do list that he wrote the night before with a pencil and a notepad and goes to work.

Yet, as I write this on my laptop, there are 5 others around me in this coffee shop on their laptops and they are all doing something that is keeping them connected. Perhaps they are on Facebook. Maybe they are on LinkedIn. They have most likely heard about Twitter even though they don't understand it yet. Most use Google I bet to find stuff. And everyone has email so it seems. Even my friend without a computer has an email address.

There is a problem or an opportunity for you right now depending on how you answer the following questions:

Does your business have a website?

Has it been redesigned in the past 3 years?

Is the website optimized so Google will find it easily?

Do you have any Google Alerts set up for your company? Your staff? Your competitors? Do you read them?

Do you know what happened to Domino's this month? Or does #AmazonFail mean anything to you?

The last 2 questions are related to Twitter and YouTube and the speed of communications these days. Businesses used to be able to control the spread of bad news and rumors, but not anymore. With the rise of the so-called Social media, news spreads faster than a California wildfire. And it can be just as destructive too, unless...

Unless you step up to the plate and join the growing world of instant world wide communication and at the very least start monitoring what is going on, followed by a policy and procedures on how to handle and manage bad news as well as good news, you will be limited in your growth.

It's available to you now. And it's not going away. Will you stay "Out of Touch"? Or will you embrace the future now as it unfolds all around you.

Your comments, and questions are always welcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beware of Awards

Some of my friends in the creative world may not like what I'm about to say. That's okay, I've had this discussion with some of them and many ultimately agree. If they don't agree with what I'm about to tell you, don't hire them to create your advertising campaign.

As a business owner, do you want your advertising to be creative or effective? You can only choose one right now.

If you choose creative, then you'll get an ad campaign that your ad agency's creative department will love. They will pour their heart and soul into special effects, story lines, a wildly dramatic production, maybe some humor and maybe some drama. The resulting campaign however maybe totally ineffective for your business.

Try this. Can you substitute your competitors name into your ad campaign? If so, the campaign isn't about you. It's about awards. And which matters most to you.. your advertising campaign wins awards, or your advertising campaign is effective at retaining current customers and bringing in new customers?

An award winning campaign can result in financial disaster and the loss of jobs, (yours and all the folks that work for you), if you are not careful.

Careful with what you ask?

Careful to stay on track with your advertising and marketing so that you place effectiveness as a higher priority than creativity.

Sometimes we need creativity to stand out in a world where we are now exposed to thousands of advertising messages everyday. However, the creativity in your marketing needs to be focused on why someone should do business with you. The folks putting together your message need to understand what makes you unique and desirable to your current customers and future customers. This requires digging deep into the heart of soul of your business and a passion to communicate that effectively.

I have friends who are musicians and composers and artists and do fantastic work. I appreciate their creativity. But just because it is creative, doesn't make it right for an ad campaign. I know from my own experience, starting out in the creative side of this business, that creativity is fun and exciting. But if it doesn't work, my clients would cancel or not renew.

I appreciate ad campaigns that can do both: Creative & Effective. You deserve to get your moneys worth so make sure your award winning campaign is also positively effective for your bottom line.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Focus your Target

No matter what form of advertising or marketing you use, you cannot reach everyone that you can help with your product or service.

So target your message to the ones that are most likely to respond AND the ones you most likely want to do business with.

Forget about the others for now. I know it is tempting to be the biggest and the best, but most likely you can either be the biggest OR the best.

And being the best in a niche will be much more successful in the long run.