Monday, October 3, 2011

The New ScLoHo Website

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

On Sunday October 2, 2011, I launched a new website, Scott Howard aka ScLoHo at .

While I set up domain redirects for the 4 separate blog sites, like this one, you will most likely need to resubscribe to the RSS and newsletter feeds on the new site.

Why the move? Here's the answer =


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Creating Something New?

I work with such a variety of businesses.

I have businesses that are in their third generation and those that are looking for guidance as they are just starting out.

The past few months I have been working on my own "Something New".

Since 2003 I have been writing and sharing online via a few ScLoHo blogs.

ScLoHo actually began as an email address in the 1990's and became my online identity as there are many, many Scott Howards and ScLoHo is a mashup of my first, middle and last names.

As ScLoHo, I have posted over 9000 blog posts and was recently challenged to recreate my brand.

This new brand is a stronger merger of Scott Howard and ScLoHo, although I really didn't have a split personality, it only seemed like it at times when some people only knew me from my online presence or from my face to face relationships and not the other side.

So, I have been creating a new website which you will be redirected to in October, It has taken a number of hours to organize and prepare for this debut and I have a lot of respect for those that I work with who create websites 40 hours a week.

The new site already has over 100 articles published and will be featuring updates 5 days a week plus a weekend update. It will be a merging of the 4 blogs that are currently being updated 40+ times a week.

I'll have links to the archives, and this feature, The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo will move to Wednesday updates instead of Tuesday.

For a preview, go to and save in your bookmarks.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Every Day a Decision is Made

No one cares how many hours you work.

No one cares if you are working 2 hours or 16 hours a day.

What they care about is if you are available (working) when the decision is being made.

Do you have the answers?

Do you have the solution?

Do you have it when they need it?

This is part of the beauty of the Internet.

It is why Google beat Microsoft, Yahoo and all the others as a search engine.

Google connects people to answers.

Do you have a website that provides answers?

Does Google connect people who are looking for answers to your website?

Is your website designed to move people from the visitor stage to the customer stage?

Are you sure?

Every day someone is looking for what you have to offer.

They are spending money, every day.

Once they buy from someone other than you, they are no longer going to buy from you.

You lost that one.

You can win more than you are right now.

This year I joined Cirrus ABS, the regions largest website development company that impressed me with their focus on net-centered marketing.

I can help, we can help.

Contact me at 260-255-4357 or

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Old Fashioned & New Tech

When I first entered the media world I was a 16 year old high school student who was paid to babysit a radio transmitter and take meter readings every two hours.

The Federal Communications Commission required a properly licensed individual to be on site at all times when a radio station was on the air.

This was 1976.

35 years later, due to a combination of rule changes working hand in hand with tech changes, this type of job no longer exists.

Radio stations still exist, however.

The best ones still use human beings talking and sharing local events and information, just like they have for decades.

Now, think about your business.

What are the old fashioned elements that will be required to keep you successful for decades into the future, even with new tech popping up every few years?

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Truth?

Recently I was doing some exploratory work at a car dealership and was amazed at how they manage inventory, and their internet presence.

They can tell how many people have visited their website, which vehicles they looked at, what links they clicked on, etc.

I mean, this is one slick technology rich business.

But there was one part that stuck out as a fatal flaw.

The final tracking device.

They hand the customer a piece of paper with several options of how they heard about the dealership and ask them to circle one.

At first I thought using pictures and drawing a circle was clever. It is.


It's not accurate.

It relies on a customer to recall something that they really don't care about.

And this type of tracking is highly unreliable.

If you have the technology to track but then end up with a flawed link, then you better find a better way, or at least realize that you're dealing with bad data.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Short & Sweet today.

What was on your to-do list for 2011?

What list?

Uh, Oh.

It's not too late. Take some time as we enter the final 4 months to plan for the rest of 2011 and 2012.

And do some dreaming too!

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Offense or Defense?

As a former employee of a group of radio stations, a few years ago I was asked to sign a non-compete agreement.

This was the second time I had to sign one of these and this time it was incredibly one sided, all in favor of my employer.

I was prohibited from working in my chosen profession for 365 days after leaving, no matter who terminated my employment.

I was not allowed to work for any broadcast or print medium within about 100 miles.


They were scared.

Scared that I would take my clients and get them to cancel their advertising and follow me to my new employer.

They were paranoid.

Paranoid that they would train salespeople only to have them take their new found knowledge and go to work for a competitor.

Scared and Paranoid are not good ways to run a business.

If these are part of your primary business culture, I suggest you stop playing defense and flip it around.

Start playing offense.

Instead of worrying about employees leaving, create an environment that they'll never want to walk away from.

Or partner with those that have good ideas and you may find your next new big "thing".

And if they really want to go, give them your blessing, you never know how building bridges instead of burning them may be beneficial.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Way to Downsize


Ignore the above little code and keep reading:

Face it. We have a stubborn cold that we can't seem to shake.

The economic conditions we are in have people around the world wondering not only about the future of the United States, but the ripple effect that is felt globally.

In the meantime, you and your business may have to make some tough choices.

This chapter is not about sales or marketing, or advertising.

It is about dealing with the people who work for you.

The ones who are worried about their jobs.

A common practice is to keep people on staff too long because you don't want to hurt them by laying them off.

As a result, you lose money, capital, and cripple the business.

It's time to take stock of what is going on now.

And have a conversation with your staff.

There are alternatives to an outright layoff.

Maybe there are ways to reduce hours for someone who would like to have more free time.

At the radio stations I worked for the past 8 years, our business manager worked 4 days a week, which left her with a day away from the office to take care of family stuff. And with 4 kids, including a 2 year old and 1 year old twins, she needed that time!

Another office that I'm familiar with changed their full time receptionist position into two part time positions.

The key is to ask your staff for ideas on how to weather the storm as we ride this one out.

Your employees are more likely to say good things about your company if you do this.

Let me know if you need some help.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No, Please No..

Almost 3 years ago I started subscribing to job alerts from, even though I was not actively looking, 2008 was a year anything could happen.

Working in the sales world however, as long as I brought in more than it cost to keep me, I was fine.

Anyway, I still get regular job alerts from Monster since I:

  • Haven't figured out how to make them stop...
  • I have friends who are looking for jobs
This was from a recent email:


Don't hire Hot Shot's.

They give a bad name to all sales people, even the good ones who put their clients needs first.

The term Hot Shot makes me think of this guy: Click here.

Hire professionals, but beware of Hot Shots.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not Clear on The Concept...

Before I tear into the marketing folks at Ruby Tuesday, I'll show you what I received in my email yesterday:

You can click on the pic to make it bigger, if you need to.

1st off: Thumbs up to Ruby Tuesday for the clickable links that surround the coupon. They all worked seamlessly.

Next: Read the legal mumbo jumbo.

Why is this offer not available in Hawaii, Manhattan or Airports?
and Why is a Credit Card Payment required to redeem?

But what really got me going was the whole Screen Shot This Coupon On Your Mobile Device And Use All Month Long concept.

Do they mean take a picture with my phone and then show it to my server?

Because there is a much better way to incorporate mobile couponing.

You can use QR codes that I scan and then you can track my visits and the details.

You can use LBS, (Location Based Services) to check in and see if I take advantage of the 15% offer.

You can do so much more, Ruby Tuesday.

(In the name of research, I'm going to have to try this and see what happens when I visit.)

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What The Digital Shift Means to Your Business

A few years ago I was doing speaking engagements on the subject of Social Media and inviting people to "Join the Conversation".

Despite the insistence of some of my current co-workers that Social Media is not new, and that they were using electronic bulletin boards back in the 1990's, we are now in a new age of Social Media.

The difference is it has moved from the tech-geek to mainstream.

Just a couple of days ago I read a tweet about 3 generations in one family are all on Twitter, Facebook and now Google+.

The shift from traditional, old school sources of information, entertainment and communication to digital is having an effect on businesses because your customers are shifting to digital.

What is Traditional & Old School? Here's a few examples:

The Daily Hometown Newspaper. This was the way to get all the in-depth information on everything current from the previous 24 hours. The Sunday Classified section was where they made lots and lots of money do to the help wanted sections and full page automotive ads.

The Phone Book. Now we Google it.

The Evening TV News. CNN and the other 24 hour networks made the ABC, NBC & CBS nightly broadcast unnecessary.

Music Radio Stations. I hate to say this but unless a radio station is providing local content that you cannot get elsewhere, there is no need for many of them to exist. And I worked in that business since I was 16.

Some of these Traditional, Old School sources will adapt, reorganize and survive, if they get their business model organized to stay profitable.

And some will stay strong for years to come do to external factors which include:

Generational habits: Face it, some folks prefer not to change. My Mom (who passed away in 2001); preferred to give her credit card number to a stranger over the phone to place an order, than trust the "internet-web-thing". I wonder if she were alive now, if she would have changed.

Technology changes: I wonder if there is some secret pact between car makers and radio broadcasters to always include a radio in every vehicle that is sold. I believe that is a primary reason for the survival of radio broadcasting. However, with the inclusion of web access in newer vehicles, this could signal the end. It will take years however due to the number of older cars that dominate our roads.

How is your business involved in this shift?

By the way, click here for a study with more info.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You are in the People Business

I started writing this in March:

No matter what you produce, provide, sell....

No matter how automated and sleek your systems are...

No matter if you wear jeans or a three piece suit...

You are in the people business.

There's a couple of coffee shops on the same street in my town that have very different personalities.

My favorite has been in business for over 10 years and has switched coffee providers once or twice, changed some of the details and each year they seem to do a little remodeling.

They used to have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. They don't anymore. They used to be open late on weekends. Now they close at 8pm every night. They have a couple of the original staff, and the others that work there fit in to the culture.

Most of the furniture is old, some is getting a little threadbare, but it is a comfortable place to go and get a bite to eat, a white mocha, a smile and a little conversation.

Down the street is another coffee shop that roasts their own beans and is also family owned. They moved from across the street to the same side as the first shop and expanded their offerings.

Along with having coffee, they also have a full service bar and on Friday and Saturday evenings they would have a special theme menu that would include ingredients from their garden and recipes crafted from their own chef. Coffee shop #2 really had it going for them as a place that my wife and I would often visit for dinner on Saturdays.

Not anymore.

Recently on a Saturday night at 6pm we walk in the door and notice the weekend menu's were not out. They were on the door, but not on the tables or at the bar. The owner and his wife are usually there when we show up, but not this time.

Instead of feeling comfortable, it felt like sort of weird. The guy at the register was busy counting change, the young woman who took my wife's drink order not only had to pull out the recipe card but had to ask what kind of liquor to use and she seemed very unsure of herself.

When I asked for a menu, they said they aren't doing the weekend dinner menu on Saturdays, only Fridays. Which was very disappointing since the read the menu as we walked in and was trying to decide which delicious items we would enjoy. Instead we had a drink and left.

It's now 4 months later. Neither one of us have been back. As a matter of fact, a couple of days ago, she asked me if coffee shop #2 was still in business, as we drove by on Saturday afternoon. That's not the lasting impression you want to leave with your customers is it?

And yes, they are still in business.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

1st Things 1st

In my previous life as a radio advertising sales person, it was common for my co-workers to sell advertising schedules.

An advertising schedule is simply a certain number of ads in a specific time frame and a specific medium for a specific price.

Businesses owners would negotiate on these items and contracts would be signed and that is the way most advertising is bought and sold.

This is stupid, wrong and a waste of money.

But it is common practice.

Let's make sure you do things in the right order.

You want to make money by selling your product or service. Your Stuff.

You need to get the word out about your stuff you want to sell.

Instead of blindly buying advertising, or creating a website, a Facebook page, or even attending a networking event, you need a strategy and a map.

If you were sitting where I am right now in Fort Wayne Indiana, and decided to go to Nebraska, where my step-daughter lives, you would probably prepare for the trip.

If I was driving, I would need to look at a map or ask my step-daughter for directions on how to get there.

I would also make sure I had my car checked out so I could make the trip safely, and have enough money to pay for it.

Most business owners put more thought and planning into their vacation than they do their marketing.

Before you spend money on advertising, marketing, or your vacation, do some planning and research.

Talk to an expert, a professional, someone who has the knowledge to get you where you want to go.

That's what I do with my team at Cirrus ABS. Drop me a note: for help.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where Did They Go?

Ever wonder about the customers you don't have anymore?

Where did they go?

Some have moved out of town.

Some have died.

Some simply don't need what you are selling.

Some have found an alternative.

It's the last one that should concern you the most.

You need to find out what that alternative is and why it became an alternative for your customers.

You also need to find out why you are losing customers.

No matter how many new customers you have coming in your front door, if you can keep them from going out the back door, you should see your profits increase.

Now go do your homework.

The words of Scott Howard aka ScLoHo

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Losing It

Do you know how many times your business has lost potential business because they had the wrong person dealing with the public?

A couple weeks ago, my friend Amber made the following comment on Twitter:

If your receptionist isn't friendly when I call or visit, I won't call or visit again.

What Amber stated is not profound, or new.

She simply stated what most everyone feels.

If you are going to skimp on employees, you are probably losing more business than any advertising and marketing program can ever generate, because now with the power of Social Media, those bad experiences have an audience.

Fix it today.

Fix it now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 80/20 Rule

If you are not familiar with the 80/20 rule, it goes like this:

80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.


80% of your business comes from 20% of your sales staff.

Go ahead and examine those figures in your business and see if it holds true.

Let's say you have 10 sales people and 2 of them are doing all the heavy lifting, 2 are paying their own way, but the other 6 are not.

How long are you going to keep those bottom 6?

Do they truly have the potential to pay their own way and become one of your top dogs?

Are you hanging on to them because you feel you need the "feet on the street" even though they aren't cutting it?

And why aren't they cutting it?

Is it a lack of training? A lack of ____________ that can be fixed?

Or is it time to trim the fat and become leaner?

Before you get rid of those that are struggling due to your lack of ____________, make sure you do an honest evaluation.

Then if you need to cut them loose, do it.

It will help you in the long run.

The group of radio stations I worked for recently did this a few years ago. We went from 25 to 6 on our sales staff.

The result was we reversed the 80/20 rule and then slowly added 1 new salesperson at a time.

Do you have the courage to make the hard choices?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Too Easy or Too Lazy?

Or just afraid?

This is about sales.

On May 12th I received the following email:

Hello Mr. Howard,

My name is Name ReMoved, and I’m with the Name Removed Ham Company of Ft. Wayne. I was writing because I realize that there are times during the year, where you may need to order lunches. If that’s the case, would it be okay for us to email over some information regarding our program?

We have a wonderful catering program with boxed lunches, buffets, platters and more. Our ham is our classic sandwich option, but we also have a variety of other great sandwiches, including turkey, roast beef, chicken salad, vegetarian options as well as some amazing specialty sandwiches. Chips or Deli-Sides come with every meal, and we also have amazing dessert choices as well.

We can deliver it right to your door, and always provide complimentary set up. We’d love the opportunity to work with you, if we can.

Have a great weekend, and please let me know if I can be of any assistance. Oh, and please keep us in mind for those end of year Gift ideas.

A month has passed.

I have not contacted him, he did leave me his email, phone number, cell number and fax number.

I have never met him and I doubt that I will.

If his only method of reaching out to me to get me to do business with him is one long email, we both loose.

Because as I re-read his email, the food sounds good, but the only reason I read it more than once is because I knew that this would make a good lesson for all of us.

And that Lesson?

Follow up.

Make a phone call.

Send another email.

Contact them on Social Media.

Do what it takes to get a yes or no.

It's too easy to hide behind an email campaign, if you were to call this one, which it really isn't, since it is just one email and nothing else.

Or is it just being lazy?

Don't let fear hold you back, and don't be lazy and only do the easy stuff.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Power of Hype

Last month the rapture was to have occurred according to Harold Camping.

It generated enough attention that it was the top trending topic a few times that week and weekend on Twitter.

CNN, CBS, and the other networks all spoke of it both before and after.

Most people did not believe the hype, but had fun making fun of the hype.

When the Hype for an event, product, service, or person is bigger than than the event, product, service, or person; credibility is lost.

You don't have to do something on the scale of a rapture prediction to create Hype.

You can create an incredible offer, promise or guarantee.

Just make sure you can back it up.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Embrace Change, Beware of Change (Part 2)

Last week I encouraged you to Embrace Change.

This week a few words of caution.

Change for the sake of change without consideration of the past and an eye on the future is full of risk, sometimes too much risk.

I have had clients who wanted to move their radio ads from one station to another every 3 months because they felt it only took three months to become established and they moved on to the next group of radio listeners. It doesn't work that way.

Instead of simply changing by stopping something and starting something else, perhaps you need to add something to your business marketing.

In the 8+ years I have worked for a group of radio stations, whenever we changed the format of a station, we threw away the thousands of listeners of the old format in the hopes of finding a new and better audience for our advertisers.

The most recent change we did in the past year was more transitional, more cautious. We added a 3 hour talk show to an all music station, then 9 months later added another 3 hour talk show. Now, instead of 24 hours of music, we have 18 (to preserve the old audience) and 6 hours of talk to attract a new audience. Depending on the results we may add more talk programming in the future.

My recommendations to you:

Keep tabs on trends, investigate where they are going.
A short-term fad is now a couple of weeks.
Anything lasting a month or longer may be a trend to consider.

Know your strengths, weaknesses, core values, and reasons for your past and current success.
With this knowledge, you will begin to see what NOT to change, and what you can adapt to meet your marketplace.

Your comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Embrace Change, Beware of Change (Part 1)

97% of all paying employment will change in the next 50 years.

I just made that statistic up.

But it doesn't matter what the numbers are, we live in an era of change where the technology will make some peoples lives better, others lives will become worse.

What determines if your life becomes better or worse?

The way you handle change.

The changes will occur outside of your control.

So you cannot stop the changes, only learn how to adapt.

Let's take the coffee shop I'm sitting in right now.

The Firefly has been around since 1999. Some of the original employees still work here. Others have come and gone but are part of the Firefly family.

A few years ago they added a second location in the downtown library but it didn't feel right so they shut it down.

They still grind their own coffee and use the non-automated equipment to "pull shots" of espresso. Starbucks is a different story. Starbucks automates as much as possible to create consistency in all of their worldwide locations.

So the Firefly has developed consistency by training their employees to do things the "Firefly way".

The Firefly has also embraced change by adding an arts & crafts section so people can browse and purchase some unique gifts while they are waiting for their beverage.

The Firefly also has free wi-fi, one of the first public venues to do so. They encourage loitering as long as you buy something. Ever been in a restaurant for 2 hours without getting some hostile looks from the staff?

One of the owners is a talented carpenter and he has built and designed furniture and also their latest addition, a three compartment recycling center for plastics, paper, and regular trash.

There are regulars who come in every day or every week. They have a winning formula.

Contrast this with a former coworker of mine who worked in the plastics industry for years and was resistant to change. He liked his job at one time, but as the plant evolved, he resisted, and as a result, he was replaced since the job he use to do did not exist and he never trained for a new one.

I'll take this one step further today.

Your clients and customers (The Marketplace) have embraced the internet in multiple forms as part of the new normal.

No, not everyone has a smart phone, and everyone is not on Facebook. But the world continues to move the web and related communication tools into the mainstream.

Which means if you don't have a website, you are out of business to many of your customers.

If your website has not been updated in the past 3 years, you are out of business to many of your customers.

If you are not participating in social media, you are out of business to many of your customers.
Next week, a few warnings about change.

Your comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Say No before you Say Yes

Over eight years ago I joined the company now known as Summit City Radio. This was my second venture into radio advertising sales, and I knew what needed to be done as I had been the the radio business since my teen years.

I started out with high standards as far as what I would accept as an ideal client and my first two were exactly what I was looking for.

Then I started to expand and try a few other ways to work with advertisers and my business grew and grew and I was very busy.

Problem was, some of my clients were not fitting my ideal client profile and they either required more work or they failed to get the results they were looking for. Sometimes both.

Over the years, I've become pickier.

Every month I tell people that my radio stations are not the best choice for what they are trying to accomplish.

Actually, what I usually do is advice them on what they need to do with their business in order to be prepared to handle what will come from the radio advertising.

Usually that means they need to get their "house in order" so they can handle new customers properly.

Advertising and Marketing will only amplify all that is wrong with your business.

Say No to promoting your business until you are really ready, but don't delay either.

Every day that passes is a day that your potential customers are spending their money with your competitors.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

ScLoHo Moving Day

Just a quick note that it is moving day for the 4 ScLoHo Blog sites.

I will continue to use the Google Blogger hosting platform, but each now has their own domain name:

ScLoHo's Really is moving from to

ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom is moving from to

ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure is moving from to

The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo
is moving from to

I am doing this on a Saturday which typically is the slowest traffic day for the ScLoHo sites because there may be some downtime as the transition occurs. They say it could take 24 to 48 hours for a transfer to complete, but so far, it has been less than an hour.

All of the sites should automatically redirect, however for future reference, I would urge you to save the new domains in your bookmarks.

Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Name Game

Last month I was reading on a subject that I've thought about off and on for years:

The significance of your business name.

Our parents are responsible for our given names, we are responsible of the name of our company, product or service.

Look at a few big names:

Ford. The company founded by Henry Ford was the only major automaker that did not take bailout money from the government a couple years ago. They remain strong. Their name is good. We all think of cars and trucks when we here the name Ford.

I.B.M. Do you know what those letters stood for when the company was founded over 100 years ago? Click here for the answer.

Let's look at food. McDonald's was pretty much a 1 location hamburger joint in California until Ray Kroc took over from the two brothers and spread the McDonalds name across the globe.

My grandparents started some businesses in New England include a restaurant, Howard's Restaurant that went thru three generations before it was sold to a long time employee who kept the name due to the value of the name.

Remember that phrase, the value of the name.

Locally, we have a place called Calhoun Street Soup, Salads and Spirits. Nice place, good food, but they are stuck... on Calhoun Street. They could go the IBM route, and start using their nickname CS3, and open additional locations in the future.

Some business names are self centered and tell you nothing about who, what, or why a business exists. Brian Smith Corp. Sally's. JP Enterprises. I'm sure you can find a few in your town like this too.

You need to pick a name that creates a brand and allows for future growth.

Are you creating a business that you will want to sell off one day? It might not be wise to use your name. Very few Howard's Restaurants survive when the family is out of the picture.

One more thought on the subject of business names.

Make one up.

Throw some letters together.

Make sure it is pronounceable.

Have a reason for the name too.

Google did that.

So did Yahoo!

ScLoHo was just an email address based on my first, middle and last names. Take the first two letters of each and you get a ScLoHo.

Use it enough and it becomes a personal brand. Add a couple of descriptive words and file the paperwork and you have a business. ScLoHo Marketing Solutions.

Do enough marketing and you grow.

What are your thoughts on this whole business name subject?

picture of my grandparents Mr. & Mrs Vern Howard who passed away in the 1950's

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lost Your Mojo?

Last week I received a very important announcement from Yahoo!

Dear Scott Howard,

Thank you for being a Yahoo! Mail user for the past 7 year(s). We look forward to bringing you an even faster, safer, easier-to-use Yahoo! Mail very soon.

In the coming months, we will ask you to upgrade to the newest version of Yahoo! Mail for your account All Yahoo! Mail customers will be asked to upgrade. But in the meantime, you don't have to wait, you can have the newest Yahoo! Mail today.

When I clicked on the link in the email, it went to a page that featured this video:

After watching the video, which told me nothing except using Yahoo Mail would be messier, I clicked on the links that would actually tell me what was new and improved.

I was disappointed.

Yahoo Mail was trying to be like Gmail. But they already lost their mojo with me.

About 5 years ago, I stopped using my Yahoo Mail account and switched over to Gmail from Google. The primary reason for my dumping Yahoo was the spam filtering that Gmail offered was so much further advanced from what Yahoo was doing.

I had given up on Yahoo Mail and only kept that email account alive by forwarding Yahoo emails to my Gmail account.

Now it appears that it has taken 5 years for Yahoo to catch up with where Google and Gmail was 5 years ago.

In the meantime, Gmail continues to offer improvements so Yahoo will always be behind.

What about your business?

Are you constantly playing catch-up or are you leap-frogging your competitors.

It isn't enough to say, "You know that service or product that they (insert competitors name) offer, we have it now too."

By the time you have caught up, you've lost your Mojo.

According to the Urban Dictionary:


The word originally means a charm or a spell. But now its more commonly said meaning sex appeal or talent.


1. Self-confidence, Self-assuredness. As in basis for belief in ones self in a situation. Esp. I context of contest or display of skill such as sexual advances or going into battle.
2. Good luck fetish / charm to bolster confidence.
3. ability to bounce back from a debilitating trauma and negative attitude

In this ever changing world, you always risk being left behind. Especially if you wait 5 years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Overcoming Commercial Backlash

Advertising is an accepted form of marketing in our country.

But for the past 30 years or so, we have been conditioning the public to think of advertising as a bad thing.

I worked on the air at a radio station in the early 1980's and we would promote "commercial free music sweeps". These were usually 20 or 30 minutes long and at the time it was to promote longer listening, less tune out, and ultimately higher ratings.

What did higher ratings do?

It was one way to promote the value of the station to advertisers, to sell more commercials at higher prices! Sounds contradictory doesn't it?!

Like the overweight doctor who smokes telling you that you should lose weight and stop smoking!

Before this commercial free craze hit the airwaves, radio stations would stop the music 4 to 6 times an hour and play 1 to 3 commercials, and get back to the music. The idea was to keep it moving.

So what happened to when radio stations cut down the number of commercial breaks?

They increased the length of those commercial breaks.

Radio ads are usually 60 seconds long, sometimes 30 seconds. Television ads range from 10 to 30 seconds long. Most people don't have an accurate perception of how long each commercial is. If asked, they usually say "a minute".

A couple of years ago, a music based radio station in my city cut down the commercial breaks to 1 per hour. That meant they would play 8 to 12 minutes of commercials back to back, followed by 50 minutes of "commercial free music".

What happened?

They trained their listeners to tune out, either mentally or literally, (as in tune to another station) for the next 10 minutes while they paid the bills.

The advertisers were paying for listeners that weren't listening to the advertisements, because the radio station told them commercials were bad. If your commercial was the first or second to play or the last one, you had a chance, but all those in the middle... forget it.

Broadcast Television is just as bad and cable is even worse. recently featured a story on this. (Click here)

And it's not just broadcasting that is overloading us with advertisements, this occurs in print, outdoor signage, online, even in the selling of naming rights of sports venues.

How do you overcome this if you are a business owner?

1. Demand non-commercial commercials.

Several years ago Target reinvented themselves by running a series of ads that didn't prominently mention their name. Instead they were fast paced ads that featured items they sold in a lifestyle setting and at the end displayed the Target logo and a web address.

They ran a branding campaign which set them apart from their competitors and it worked.

2. Don't buy spots, flights, packages, or other short term advertising programs.

Think long term. 13 weeks isn't long term. My most successful advertisers buy annual advertising contracts.

As a business owner, I would toss out anyone who didn't offer me an annual option. Then I'd go one step further. Ask for a two year option. These 1 and 2 year options are for advertising campaigns and require strategic thinking and planning. They also require flexibility because you will need to adjust as circumstances change in your business and the marketplace.

3. Realize that advertising has it's role, and is not a cure all for other things that need fixing and improving.

Wash the windows, dust, sweep, hire the right people, retrain or fire those that are a negative influence on your business.

Make a list of 25 things you can do to improve your business. Jot down any idea. Now write down 25 more ideas. Make that your bucket list for 2011.

Then take action on these items I mentioned today.

image from

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Early Adopters & Late Bloomers

Changes are occurring faster and faster.

I'm sure my parents and even grandparents felt the same way in their lifetimes.

With the speed of technology improvements, it seems that what was last months new thing, is already outdated.

And there is no sign that any of this shows any sign of slowing down.

So how do you ride the wave of the next new thing?

Understand that the Early Adopters are always going to be looking for the next new thing. These people will not make you rich, but if they have influence, they can help push your new thing to Mainstream.

Once the new thing becomes Mainstream, the Early Adopters may or may not stick around, since they are always on the look out for the next new thing.

But Mainstream is where the money is at. If there is money to be made by your thing, this will be the time. If your thing becomes really popular, you will face competitors, more than you can imagine.

What about the Late Bloomers? Typically these are the hardest to convince. Usually no amount of advertising will ever move them to spend their money with you. Word of mouth and peer pressure along with a low price is what gets them to become your customer.

Once you understand this business cycle, you can create a focus, a strategy, and the tactics to make it work, and worry less about trying to please everyone, all the time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Much Money...

Does it cost to create advertising for a successful business or organization?

All to often I see a lack of understanding of the marketing and advertising that it requires for a company to be successful.

A few months ago a new seafood restaurant at a busy intersection opened their doors and now there is a For Sale sign in front.

A co-worker of mine called on him with a strategic plan to build his business that involved no money, only a small trade. The owner said no. Instead he spent a bunch of money on "generic newspaper ads".

I say they were generic because you could have pulled the name of the restaurant and replaced it with another local restaurant and it would have made sense. What doesn't make sense is that the newspaper sales person took all of their money and didn't bring them enough customers.

To be fair, I don't know all the details, but over the years I've seen it too many times:

1. Business owner knows how to run his/her business.
2. Business owner knows next to nothing about advertising and marketing to be successful.
3. Business owner gets talked into something that sounds good, signs the contract and waits for all the customers to come rushing in to spend their money.
4. Business owner runs out of money because their advertising didn't work, and it would have been a miracle if it did!
5. Business owner shuts down, closes shop, and ends up bitter, frustrated and broke.

So is there a real answer?

Yes. Whatever amount of money you were planning on spending on advertising, double it.
Heck, triple it. Or if you are a real cheap skate, quadruple it.

Start thinking like the big boys when it comes to investing in attracting and retaining customers.

They get professional advice and they pay big bucks. How much?

Office Depot spent $60,000,000 in 2010.

The U.S. Army? $200,000,000.

Now unless you are the size of the Army or Office Depot, you don't need to spend that much, but odds are you are underspending.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Below the Surface

All of us have had some pretty exceptional, positive experiences in our lives when dealing with a business.

You may not remember them as much as you do the negative experiences, but the positive ones go just as deep into your subconscious and you subconsciously change your behavior.

Here's an example from my life that I'm sure you can relate to.

I eat.

2 or 3 times daily.

Breakfast and Lunch during the week are all up to me. I can grab a bowl of cereal and something from the fridge to brown bag it, or I can eat out.

Let's focus on Breakfast. At least 3 days a week, I eat something on my way to the office.

Without getting out of my car and without going out of my way, I can get food from 3 McDonalds, 3 Arby's, or 3 Subways. There are also 2 Starbucks and 1 Burger King that I pass.

I don't really go through a long pro/con debate of each of the 12 places, most of it is subconscious.

Except the Starbucks and Burger King options are off my list due to price or quality of breakfast food.

It is a matter of mere seconds that I have to decide between the first McDonalds/Arbys/Subway. Out of 20 visits, 15 are going to be Arbys, 4 McDonalds and 1 Subway, according to my receipts.

At first I thought it was due to Arby's has my favorite drink, Diet Mt. Dew, but I almost always grab an ice cold can from home and have it with me when I'm deciding which drive-thru to visit.

In preparing this story, I have had to ask myself why Arby's gets more of my breakfast money than the others combined. And the answer is the people.

It's just a brief transaction, but in those few seconds, the Arby's crew makes me feel better than the breakfast crew at McDonalds or Subway.

Most people don't know the subconscious answers to these questions, they just decide where to spend their money.

So my challenge to you is what can you do to improve the experience for your customers so that when all the obvious choices are equal, they will go below the surface to the subconscious and do business with you?

(In the interest of full disclosure, both McDonalds and Subway are advertising clients of mine, and they get more of my lunch money than Arbys.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Questions that need Answers & Ideas

If your best customer was also your best friend, what would you be doing differently in your interactions with them?

If your best friend was also your best customer, what would you be doing differently in your interaction with them?

If you treated all of your new customers the way you treat your best customers, what would you need to do differently?

If you treated all of your current customers the way you treat new customers, what would you do differently?

Take a moment and answer those 4 questions.

Write those answers and ideas down.

Only you know the real answers.

Now I have one more question.

If you implemented the changes and ideas you just wrote down, would your business be more successful and your future more secure?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

6 Marketing Essentials for Your Business in 2011

25 years ago I began my adventure into the world of advertising and marketing. I took a job in Detroit creating campaigns for radio advertising clients.

I've spoken to 100's of business owners, managers,and entrepreneurs. I've interviewed the customers, clients, frontline workers and support staff. And I'm still learning.

My definition of marketing is everything that presents you and your business to your "marketplace". Your "marketplace" includes your current, past and future customers and clients. It also includes influencers who may not buy from you, but they have the power to influence those that will.

Number 1: You have to get your entire business moving in the same direction to create harmony and forward momentum. Think Big Picture. Really BIG PICTURE. All of your employees need to know what the mission is and that each one of them is responsible for contributing.

Number 2: You need to create a long term identity that will define who you are in all economic climates. This identity, also called your Brand, will not change over time, it will only be adapted.

Number 3: Your brand and your mission will be known by your customers and clients. If you are unsure what your brand is, perhaps you need to ask your customers and see if you are both on the same page.

Number 4: You need your own website. Not a Facebook page, not a Twitter account, you need something that you control. In 2011 if you don't have your own website, you don't exist as a legitimate business.

Number 5: You need a presence on Facebook and Twitter. This is not a contradiction of number 4. Social Media is a communication tool. Your website is to show that you are real. Odds are Social Media will be just as important as your website, but for a different reason. Think of it this way. A retail store is like a website. Social Media is like a phone number. See the link?

And Number 6: You will need to optimize your website for mobile. Predictions are pointing to 2012 as the year that more people will access the web via smartphones than laptops. This means smaller screens and if you have not created a mobile version of your online presence you will eventually be behind your competitors.

Which reminds me, I need to do number 6 myself!

Do you agree with my list of 6? Are there others you would add?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

7 Secrets

(This is an updated repost from about 15 months ago.)

For nearly 8 years, I have worked for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana known collectively as Summit City Radio. (Click on the logos to go to each stations website.)

This was not my first experience in Sales or in Radio.

My radio career began in 1976 at the age of 16, and ten years later I began a career in radio advertising sales and marketing.

The 7 Secrets are neither original, nor secret.

However, I have seen so many people in the sales world either fail, burn out, or never establish their full potential because they either didn't know or didn't follow these 7 Sales Secrets.

So, let's get started:

1. People don't want to buy what you are trying to sell them. They want to buy a solution to their problem/need/want. The classic example is people don't buy a drill because of the shiny black handle. They buy a drill because they need to create a hole.

2. Price is not important. Value is all that matters. While there are limits to what someone is willing or able to spend, if your customer sees no value in what you are offering, there is no price cheap enough to overcome a lack of value.

3. Objections can lead to a yes. An easy "yes" means you either know your client very well, or you're just being an order taker. I know it sounds harsh, but objections are conversation starters, and these conversations can lead to customizing a solution to their problem/need/want. Which leads us to...

4. You have to listen and learn, more than smile and sell. I do my homework and am prepared with research about my customers and their business. I also look at their competition and we talk about them. We talk about their goals for the future, their past history, what they have done that was successful and what didn't work too. Too often salespeople are only focused on what they have to sell instead of seeing how they can help their customers.

5. Your customer knows more than you give them credit for. We live in an information age with easy access via the internet. Your customer has done their research. However...

6. Your customer knows less than they think they do. Just because the information is available, doesn't mean they know how to use interpret it and use it to their advantage. That's where you come in as the expert. Which means that you better know your stuff inside and out. You are personally responsible for your own education, not your boss. Be your very best.

7. Relationships are forever. Apply the Golden Rule. Treat others with the same honesty and respect that you would like to be treated with. Keep relationships alive with your customers, potential customers and even those that may never become your customers. After a few years at my current group of radio stations, I had developed relationships that began paying off in ways I would have never imagined.

That's it. A half dozen plus one Sales Secrets, that shouldn't be secret. Your comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Big Give

Last month I was invited to lunch for some marketing brainstorming.

I find brainstorming fun. It is one of the favorite parts of my day, because I get to play detective.

I ask, observe, listen, watch, suggest, and repeat.

This particular brainstorming session was with a hotel manager who is looking grow. His property is not the most expensive, nor is it at the bottom of the heap.

It is mid-market, without anything special or unique. He has spent the past 22 months cleaning the place up, making improvements, and "setting the stage" for more customers. He has improved the appearance and improved customer service.

Several ideas were discussed but the one that I remember the most is an idea that I use in my business. It is a question I like to ask, and in a moment I'll tell you the 5 magic words.

I discovered that he can devote 15 to 18 hours a week getting out in the community. My advice was for him to go door to door to door to door to every single business within a 3 mile radius of his hotel and offer to help each of these businesses.

See, he estimates that in a year he will have between 10 and 20 thousand guests staying at his hotel. Most of these guests will be from out of town.

These out of town guests will have various needs while they are visiting. Sure there is the obvious like a place to eat, or a drug store. But what about a car wash? A cell phone store? A Chiropractor? A ____________?

As he goes door to door and starts a relationship with his business neighbors, he is offering to give recommendations to his thousands of guests to these businesses. He will collect names, literature, business cards from these businesses and give them his information too.

But he will also use the 5 magic words:

"How Can I Help You?"

These words are the beginning of the Big Give. When you ask that question, you are not asking for yourself, you are asking to help others. You are opening the door to starting a relationship.

"How Can I Help You?" is not used in the same way the guy at Burger Barn speaks when he wants to take your order. It is used sincerely without expectation of immediate financial reward in return.

Most business people won't have an immediate answer, and not every business will be a good fit, but he is doing something none of the other hotel operators are doing.

Can you apply the Big Give to your business?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nickel & Diming Yourself Out of Business.

I know you are busy.

Too busy.

I met with the marketing manager of a local manufacturing company recently and he is wearing many, many hats.

He started out in the shop, so he knows how that side of the business works.

But now he is in charge of marketing the family business.

He is also the Purchasing Director.

And the Sales Manager.

And he is in charge of all the internet stuff including social media.

He needs a twin. Or a couple of them to get everything done.

If he was single and only required 8 hours of sleep a week, he could do it all.

But that's not going to happen.

Our current economy has forced multiple changes including having less people and needing to do more.

I know that this situation is repeated over and over and over again in small and medium size business and the pressure on the people to perform increases.

So, it can be easy to take the path of least resistance when certain opportunities occur. Like when an advertising sales person comes to you with an offer to do something that sounds like it might work, and is reasonably affordable, you might say yes, and then jump back to the rest of your multi-tasking.

Without a long term marketing and advertising plan, these types of decisions can nickle and dime you to death. A few hundred here, a couple thousand there and it all adds up to money spent.

This marketing manager/sales manager/purchasing director is smart. He knows what needs to be done. But he is too overwhelmed to get the important things done and instead is focusing on the urgent.

The day to day. Putting out fires. Coping with the changes in buying habits.

Here's what I learned in our meeting:

This started as a family business and didn't have to advertise or do much marketing. Word spread of the quality that they built and their customers sought them out.

With the downturn in the housing market, the environment for their product changed. No longer were home builders using their products, when they could cut costs and go with cheaper versions and save a few bucks (by sacrificing quality).

So they started reaching out to consumers but that only represents 15% of their business. This is where they spent some money recently due to an advertising sales person putting something together that sounded like it might work.

It Didn't Work.

But I'm not surprised.

The thought that ran through my mind was: Can a goldfish feed a family of four?

Silly concept you say, but that was what he was trying to do with the advertising campaign he ran.

He needs to determine if he wants that 15% direct to consumer market to grow to 30% or 45% or even more.

He also needs to determine how to win in the wholesale side that currently is 85% of their business.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Big Dog or Little Dog?

Mr & Ms Business person,

Would you like to buy 1 30 second commercial that will air in the Superbowl and be seen by 111 million people (give or take a few million) and that is all the advertising and marketing you can do for the next 12 months?

Why? Well the cost of airing an ad was $3 million in 2011.

The cost of producing a Superbowl worthy ad? Between $400,000 and $4 million.

But let's just work with the cost of airing the ad. $3,000,000.

There were over 40 minutes of ads that ran during the game. That would add up to 80 30 second commercials. Plus pregame, plus post game, plus local ads, and the network promotional ads.

30 seconds in a 3 hour telecast means you are 1 of 360 half minutes. And it cost $3 Mil.

Were you a Big Dog or Little Dog?

If you just aired one time, you were a Little Dog.

The Game itself was the Big Dog.

Chrysler, VW, Doritos, Pepsi, they also were Big Dogs, because they dominated the advertising during the game and in the weeks since.

But they spent more than 3 million... so.. so.. much, Much, MUCH more.

And face it. You can't afford to spend what they spend to be the Big Dogs in the Superbowl.

So, do you look for other Big Dogs to advertise with?

Or do you become a Big Dog yourself?

Let's take this down a level to the arena I work in. The city is Fort Wayne, Indiana. We are market number 110 in the United States, maybe a little higher.

We have about 20 radio stations, the 4 major TV networks, a couple of newspapers, and the usual advertising options.

In the radio business that I work in, there are 5 radio stations that have over 100,000 listeners every week according to the ratings service.

The next 5 have between 56,000 and 96,000 weekly listeners. And the remaining 11 range between 37,000 and 5,000 listeners per week.

If you advertise on one of the top 5 stations, it could cost you $100 per commercial. If you advertise on one of the stations in the bottom half, you could spend $20 or less per commercial.

If you have $3,000 a month to work with, you could get 1 commercial a day on those Big Dog stations that reach a lot of people, but you would be a Little Dog because 1 commercial a day is nearly worthless.

(There are some exceptions to what I just said about 1 per day, ask me and I'll tell you.)

What happens if you spend your $3000 a month on a Little Dog Station? You become a Big Dog with those stations listeners, because they are hearing about you more, 5 times more per day, and your brand and reputation grows and in turn your business grows.

This concept of Big Dog vs. Little Dog is one that advertising sales people often get backwards, and if you buy into their thinking that you have to advertise only on the Big Dog Stations, you both lose. Sure they may get your money once. They may get it twice if they are convincing enough.

But your goal as a business person is to find a group of people that you can afford to reach repeatedly and consistently with your advertising and marketing messages, and become dominate in their mind and hearts. That's how you become a Big Dog.

One last thought for this week.

It's not mine, I read it somewhere a long time ago.

Would you rather convince 100 people 10% of the way to do business with you?

Would you rather convince 10 people 100% of the way to do business with you?

The initial cost is the same, the results are vastly different.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't Ignore the Elephant

There's an expression about "Ignoring the Elephant in the Room", that refers to ignoring the obvious.

Borders filled Chapter 11 last week.

Less than 24 hours later, they used the power of their email data base to address the issue with this email:

Nice job of addressing the elephant.

Don't hide from bad news, address it front and center, Be A Leader in bad times as well as good.

There is just one other element they could have done and let us know which stores are closing.

The Wall Street Journal did provide a search-able list online. Borders let you find out if you found the right link and clicked, a pdf file would appear which you could search to see if your favorite store was going away.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Chance to Learn

Another Update... The original 50 tickets are gone. Currently (as of 4pm today) you can sign uo for the Wait List. In talking with Kevin Mullett, the host of the event, there will be an additional 20 or 25 tickets released soon.

So, click on the link, and sign up on the wait list.....

One week from today, I will be one of the panelist for the Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne event: Managing Social Media Message Delivery & Interactions

I admit, it's not a flashy title.

But it is accurate.

Here are the details from the eventbrite registration page:

This months event:

This months Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne event will consist of a panel of those charged with social media management and active social media professionals. They will be answering questions, discussing, and displaying methods for managing message delivery and interactions via social media channels.

Host Kevin Mullett, himself an online marketing practitioner, will ask the panel a series of questions geared specifically to have you leave with an enhanced understanding of how to use social media to engage their audience.

Come with pen, paper, laptop or other mobile notation and recording device to take note of how each of the four panel members will answer practical questions like:

  • Setting up an editorial calendar
  • When is it appropriate to preload or schedule content
  • Why is being transparent or real important and how to do it while being efficient
  • How to use alerts and notifications when a response or action is required
  • Tips on maintaining quality, legal, and ethical methods for posting
  • What tools might make social efforts easier and more efficient
  • much, much more, including open follow up questions.

Our panel will consist of:

Heather Schoegler - @HSchoegler: Communications Director for health care non-profit. Her blog.

Lee Hershberger - @LeePings: Marketing Director for Harlan Cabinets

Scott Howard - @ScLoHo: Media and Marketing, multiple ScLoHo blog author

Randy Clark - @randyclarktko: Member of the TKO Graphix marketing team

The Plan:

  • 7:30 a.m. Breakfast & Networking
  • 8:00 a.m. Take your seat, pens & devices ready?
  • 8:45 a.m. Open question time
  • 9:00 a.m. You can't hide from work any longer.

There seems to be an explosion of events in our area that are offering to teach you how to use social media and people are signing up in droves.

Social Media has been around for a long time.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, I was an early adopter.
2011 is the year social media is becoming main stream.

The opportunities are far and wide. I urge you to take the time and start learning, make the time to seek out events such as the one I'll be at on February 22nd.

Even though I am on the panel, I will be learning too and taking notes.

The past 3 or 4 years, I have both attended these events, and been the teacher, host, mentor, instructor, panelist, etc.

Registration is limited, the cost is free, and all the details are here:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Morning Quarterbacking

Friday, I was asked which will be better, the Superbowl, or the commercials.

Here it is 30+ hours later, and I have some answers.

The Superbowl was an event. For the folks in Texas, it will be a long time before it is ever repeated at their stadium.

For football fans it is an annual event.

In less than a year, it will have been played in my home state of Indiana.

But all the Superbowl hype and festivities have a deadline, and once the time has passed, it is over, until the next year.

The season is over, the time has passed, we have to wait a few months until the start of the next season.

And to throw another monkey wrench into the equation, the players union are renegotiating for the next season, which means there is always a possibility of a strike....

But I want to talk about the difference between the game and the commercials from a marketing viewpoint.

Like I said, the game was an event. It's over. There was a timeline and it has passed.

The businesses that ran commercials during the television broadcast however, needed a different mindset. A long term, long range, branding mindset.

Grab a pen and paper and jot down the commercials that you saw.

I'll wait...

(Tick, Tock)

How many companies did you write down?

That is the power of the Superbowl and the megabucks it cost to run a 30 second ad.

What will really determine the success of the ad however is what all those companies do next.

If they had the event mindset, you won't see their ad again on tv. Which is a BIG waste.

If they are smart and have the long range, long term, branding mindset, then you'll see those ads again and again and again and again and again.

Those companies used the Superbowl to launch an advertising campaign.

For the others, the Superbowl was their advertising campaign.

What about you? Are you a one and done advertiser?

I won't sell one radio commercial.

I could, it would cost you $50, and be a complete waste of my time and your money.

Go Long instead.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rigid vs. Flexible

In the "good old days" of advertising and marketing, a company would often develop a plan for the year and stick with it. That plan would include a budget for this, for that, and have expectations of growth base on doing better than last year, etc.

I still have companies that plan for things annually, which is smarter than not planning at all.

But if you don't allow for some wiggle room, you could be missing out.

Missing out on an opportunity that you were not aware of when you had your planning meeting 6 months ago.

And what happens when you say, "No, it's not in the budget"?

Someone else says, "Yes, I'll do it."

How does that add up when it is your competitor?

Here's the math:

Let's assign a value of $1000/per year to a new customer. Your numbers could be much, much higher. Let's also assume that the opportunity could have brought you 50 new customers.

You say no. That means you are saying no to inviting potential customers to spend money with you. Using the numbers above, you said no to $1000, 50 times or $50,000.

Well, you still have your original plan, so everything should be fine and dandy.

Try and ignore the fact you turned down an additional $50,000.

But that $50,000 has also been taken out of the marketplace that perhaps you were counting on in your original marketing plan.

Now instead of losing out on increasing by $50,000; you've lost $50,000 in business that you were counting on coming your way.

How rigid do you want to be?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Business Cycles?

In my radio station life, we have ups and downs that are predictable, as far as advertising revenue is concerned.

Most businesses have cycles that are predictable but what it the reason for those ups and downs?

Is the pattern breakable?

Is it worth trying?

Granted, some businesses like the slow months, that's when they take 3 day weekends, or vacations, but what if you could increase the revenue during those slow times?

Restaurants are typically slower on Monday and Tuesday and pick up as they get closer to the weekends and paydays. Is there something different you can create that your customers and clients will pay you for during the slow times?

By the way, I believe the reason that advertising sales is slower in the 1st quarter is due to the activities of the advertising sales people, not the businesses we serve. We are often so busy in October and November taking care of the December rush, that our prospecting falls off and we start the new year from scratch.

This year for me is different than 2010. Yes there was a drop in January, but it only took 3 weeks instead of 9 to be back up to speed.

Your thoughts are always welcome..

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Systems for Success

Each of us has a system for doing the things we do. These systems include your morning wake up routine and the various systems we have in place for our work activities.

If the systems and routines we are using in our personal life need tweaking, we often do so without much thought. Setting the alarm 5 minutes earlier, driving a different way to work, all pretty simple.

But what I see a lot of resistance to is changing work related systems.

The bigger the company, the more resistance is pretty common. Too many people involved including the "nay-sayers" who say no to everything; the "Don't fix it until it's broken" group who still use AOL; and the other extremes... the ones who want to throw everything out that we are doing and start from scratch, and those that always want to "wing it".

Each of us are responsible for our own systems, if you work for a big company, and you find a way that conforms to their standards, but also helps you to do your job better, Go For It!

The past few years I have set up a few systems and am in the process of setting up even more in the social media world that I live part of my life in.

When I was the V-P of Communication for the Fort Wayne Advertising Federation, I would create an email that was sent to members and interested parties. I had a couple of templates that I would customize for each month, and then modify slightly as we got closer to the event we were inviting people to attend. The email service provider allowed us to both personalize the invites and schedule when the invites were being delivered.

I post between 35 and 50 blog posts a week. This blog you are reading is updated at least once a week on Tuesdays. Three other blogs get a total of 6 to 7 updates a day! And there is only one way to accomplish this, and that is with a system.

My System is a form of automation. But it requires a personal, hands on touch too.

I can write posts and schedule them to appear online in the future. Currently I have some scheduled for February 2012, which would be really freaky if something tragic were to happen and I met an early demise before they all post!

I usually have between 20 and 120 blog posts scheduled and they will automatically appear online when I have scheduled them.

I could set up an auto-Tweet or auto-post-to-Facebook, or auto-post-to-LinkedIn.

But I don't want those automated. Instead I want those to be personalized for each of those services, to promote the blog postings in a more conversational manner. And do to the fact that I'm not online when every new post appears on my blog, I may promote it a few hours after it is published.

I urge you to automate when you can, but beware of being too impersonal.

I also urge you to review what works, and what doesn't. You may be too close to your own situation and need someone without an insiders knowledge to challenge your thinking and challenge the status quo.

Are you ready for that?

If you are in the Fort Wayne Indiana area, contact me. If you are outside the area, I have contacts that I recommend. My email is Scott @