Mind Capture News E-Letter
Sunday, May 18, 2008, 09:25 AMHere are three timeless marketing principles that work despite recessions, wars, the media, election year slogans and attempts at social engineering (I couldn’t resist sounding a little 'snobby' by using big terms.) to bring you down and hinder your ability to grow and prosper:
1. The power of stories. For fear of sounding like a broken record to some of you, let me hammer home the point again that using stories in all of your marketing efforts is a wise idea. In the age of fragmented and sped up communication, the lost art of storytelling can give you a decided advantage in the competitive market place of ideas and influence. In the age of digital use video, audio and blogs in addition to your other marketing avenues to spread the story.
Here are some great idea starters to keep your marketing stories fresh, updated and increase the odds of customers, prospects and associates reading or listening to them:
*Before and after examples *Show you solved a problem *Client feedback or testimonials *Employee comments *Your work in the community/industry *Why your organization exists or mission *How your company started or key history or milestones *Updates *Positive articles or news stories about you or your industry
2. Good old fashioned listening to others. Forget focus groups. They’re too easy and often times the feedback can be skewed. Let’s get real. Pick up the phone and make a phone call. Simple, yet highly effective in the age of email, and printed surveys that most people never look at or rush through because they see little value in spending time to fill out. Humans talking to one another will give you feedback that’s priceless for both parties.
Yeah, yeah some of you say, I’m too busy Tony. My response is simple: Make time to do this for three main reasons:
1. Most people won’t do it so you’re way ahead
2. You’ll get REAL feedback and ideas in their full context versus a one line answer or quick suggestion
3. You will be stunned at how a simple remark from a key client or associate can radically improve what you’re doing well or what you need to work on to get even better. I rest my case. Grab a piece of paper if it’s near you and make a list of five people vital to your business success that you need to call today!
3. Personalize for profits. What do I mean here? It’s really quite easy: in an age of automation, Internet commerce and CRM systems where most human elements are lost due to time, staffing constraints, and online commerce, you can rise to the top in ALL of your communications if you simply add in the human touch.
Here are some excellent ways to crank up your own marketing and communications efforts:
*Personalize key communications by making a phone call versus sending anemail
*Use handwritten thank you notes and postcards
*Customize your follow up by using photos and mentioning people by name
*In key mailings either you or your team should try to include a short handwritten note or message to give it the ‘human touch’
*Have some fun by using special mailings or ‘grabbers’ that generate a smile, but more importantly show that you really care
*Send congrats notes, cards or leave voicemail messages to key clients or people in your sphere of influence if you can’t catch them in real time
Yes, a lot of this is grandma’s common sense but sadly most people have become lazy and spoiled with follow up and either use only email or do little if any personal follow up whatsoever. Marketing is sometimes confusing but it’s often times boils down to a person’s mindset or belief structures that causes errors and messes things up.
Until next time, implement these three timeless marketing principles and be prepared to witness your relationships, business and organization reap the many positive benefits that others are still struggling to find.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2008, 04:47 PMIn my last blog entry I discussed my recent escapades to Disney with my wife and kids. I shared three marketing lessons with a promise to give you five in total.
I find myself in my scenic hotel room here in Colorado Springs about two hours away from giving a dinner speaking engagement. I wanted to reveal the remaining two marketing gems from Disney per my last posting.
4. Pictures to sell the experience. You've heard it before I'm sure, but let me remind you that a picture is worth a thousand words. Once case in point involves signage. The parks we visited all used vibrant and easy to read signage with pictures to direct, explain and guide you throughout the park. Many a retailer could pick off a list of brilliant visual signage strategies from walking through a Disney property to gather ideas for helping them attract and let people know how to find them or identify key in-store promotions and offers.
A second area related to using pictures is related to rides and shows. The use of pictures and even video at the parks to build interest or 'Ride Capture' helped build curiosity to dicover more. Many businesses miss out on using great pictures, and video with their marketing to prove and demonstrate the value of their messages they're trying to communicate to customers and key prospects.
5. Sponsors, sponsors, sponsors. Disney understands the traffic and huge numbers of people that pass through the admission turnstiles each day in their parks worldwide. They use this knowledge wonderfully to sell sponsorships to other marketer's in search of a captive audience. Sponsorships are a BIG business.
I noted on a couple of rides a ton of in-ride placement from companies such as Siemans, GMC and Kodak to name a few. Disney's not doing this for free I can assure you! Someone sold a sponsor on the value of partnering with Disney and the equity/leverage of tying into their audience.
Take a look at your own business. Are you missing key areas that others would pay to access or sponsor to reach your customers or assist you with co-op marketing? Never underestimate the value of your business relationships and customers. Many non-competing firms would entertain, if it makes business sense, partnering with you or doing a joint venture.
Well, I'm about ready to head out here shortly and do a 'Live' marketing session so until we meet again, have a great night and thanks for letting me share a few marketing moments with you in cyberspace.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008, 08:26 AMI'm sitting in the Atlanta Bread Co. here in sunny Orlando and reflecting back on a week filled with fun, beaches and of course - amusement parks we visited. My wife always warns me to turn my marketing brain either off or keep it hidden from her when on vacation as I'm always observing things anywhere I go as they relate to sales, marketing or customer service.
I must tell you as a loyal reader of my marketing and motivation ideas, rants and wisdom (yes, I'm getting carried away now) that I risked life, limb and mamma's wrath to bring you relevant lessons direct from the marketing front.
Temptation overcame me last Thursday and I couldn't resist noting some great marketing taking place. As my wife, three children, mother-in-law and myself all waited in line last Thursday for a ride at Epcot, I could resist tempatation no longer and I turned around slowly and grabbed a pen and receipt from my back pocket and carefully scribbled out five things on the back of a receipt that I noticed at Animal Kingdom and Epcot that were forms of great marketing in action.
As I slowly slipped the freshly written notes into my wallet, I looked at my wife and remarked, "this place is like Las Vegas for kids!" The look on her face indicated that I was on to something. So, without further delay let's examine five marketing gems from central Florida and the Disney marketing machine:
1. Turning frustration into opportunity. Let's face it, we hate to wait in lines. I observed that at both parks we visited a lot of things designed to lesson the burden and impatience of park guests. Simple, yet highly effective, forms of distraction to take your mind off of waiting and lowering frustration included music, TV screens with ride related messages, exhibits, and many other forms of distraction to make time appear to speed up.
I often comment in live seminars that the fast food industry is becoming just the opposite of that. I wonder if they could borrow a thing or two from Disney? I'm waiting for the call from McDonald's or BK at any moment to learn the rest of my marketing secrets :-)
2. Upsell, upsell, upsell! They aren't shy at any park we visited about extracting maximum cash from your wallet. From buying a picture package, renting lockers for your items and backpacks (some rides made this mandatory) to additional discounts on souvenirs and cross sells at the gift shop, they hammer you at every turn to spend money. As a marketing teacher and fan I was like a kid in the candy store watching each interaction. Yes, as the credit card ad on TV asks "what's in your wallet?", my response this past week would be DISNEY and their upsell magicians.
3. Use your excitement and emotion to get you to spend. If you've visited any of their theme parks the last few years you've certainly noticed that you never exit a ride or show directly back into the park. No, no, no my friend, another crack at your wallet is about to take place. My wife and I can attest to how crazy this can be when you're also in tow with Grandma and three young kids.
This is a high percentage sales opportunity to take a part of the experience and ride or show home with you for a price. The price is two things: jam packed luggage and $79.63 if you're not careful.
In our next blog 'capture' experience I'll reveal the other two marketing gems I discovered from my time at Disney last week in Florida. Pss: Please make sure you don't let Kim know I posted this or I'm a goner!
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 03:45 PMThe setting: A marketing conference in Nashville two weeks ago. 1200 other entrepreneurs from around the globe and I were wrapped in a hypnotic spell watching a rock star perform with one major twist. Instead of our hands in the air clapping along to the music, we were all seated and writing down notes as fast as our pens and laptop keyboards could process marketing advice from arguably one of the top media stars walking the planet today. I’m talking about Gen Simmons from the classic rock band Kiss.
Gene’s band Kiss isn’t as popular on the current music scene as they were in the late 1970’s when the ‘Kiss Army’ was recruiting new fans faster than a politician can grab a check at a fundraiser, but they are still a huge business and his popularity is still strong. His fame and marketing prowess has allowed him to capture whole new generations of fans and lots of wallets for that matter.
Three BIG Marketing Strategies From This
Musician Turned Marketing Genius
I’m looking at my three pages of handwritten notes as I type this eletter from my two hours spent with Mr. Simmons in Nashville and thinking to myself, which three nuggets can I share with you? So much ‘Gene-ius’ where do I start?
Here are three gems to enjoy:
Build your brand. “Kiss is not a rock and roll band. We’re a rock and roll BRAND!” With over 3000 licensed products (he’s retained ALL rights), three successful TV shows and the band still doing live gigs, this guy is busier than ever and has created a marketing machine most company’s would die for. Whether or not you like his band or his philosophy, you simply can’t argue with his strategic thinking and ability to think far outside the box. So, the question for you to consider is: How’s your brand doing?
Pick up the phone. I’m amazed at how much he advocated and still promotes using personal phone calls to make deals happen. Granted he’s very well known, but the bigger lesson is that he still picks up the phone and makes things happen. He doesn’t believe in having an entourage and surprisingly still negotiates most of his business deals and inquiries directly. Gee, I wonder why he’s so successful? On that point he also reminded us to, “connect with people and thank them.” Sage advice indeed.
Wow, one of those rare celebs who’s not in rehab (he’s never done drugs or alcohol) and actually acknowledges and still thanks those who’ve made him rich and famous. This is just common sense but sadly too many folks believe their press clippings and miss out on the power of gratitude and giving thanks to those who’ve helped them and supported them along the way.
Be accessible to the people and opportunities. I witnessed this first hand the evening before Gene spoke at the conference. I was having getting set to have dinner with a couple of business associates inside the Gaylord Opryland hotel and no lie, who walks up to me as I’m surveying the dinner buffet? None other than Gene Simmons! Having met many famous people before I must admit that even I was a little aloof and star struck at first. I then immediately thought, what the heck, he’s taking photos with people and has no security so let’s be bold.
I quickly punched in my wife’s phone number on my cell phone, hit the send button and prayed she’d pick up the phone. When she answered I calmly handed my phone to Gene and politely said, “Gene, please say hi to my wife, she’s a big fan.” He spent about 20 seconds on the phone with her. Yes, I was stunned at how cool this celeb encounter went but more importantly how nice he was. No security guards pushing me away or him being rude. A moment in time that my wife and I will not soon forget.
Alright, enough of my rock-n-roll encounter let’s get back to the seminar. He mentioned how amazing it is that many CEO’s and leaders put up walls to access their customers and miss out on not only great ideas, but ways to improve their operations. In addition, he mentioned that being difficult to reach or simply unavailable is not a smart business strategy and to avoid it all costs.
Well, our time is up for now. I hope you enjoyed this blog update and lessons from Gene Simmons. Oh, I almost forgot: THANK YOU again for reading this and allowing me the chance to ‘Capture’ your mind!
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Thursday, April 10, 2008, 09:32 PMIt’s amazing when you give your mind a project or powerful question the response you sometimes get back! I can speak of this firsthand after a recent display of it in action. It seems lately that the popular press reporting on how bad the economy is or other headlines predicting recession and tales of economic woe are ratcheting up in intensity and showing up frequently in conversations with other people I meet in the business realm. I’ll explain the rest of what recently happened to me that once again proved the awesome power of channeling our thoughts and letting our mind bring us ideas and solutions, but first a little history update.
People who know me well, can attest to the fact that I’m not a big fan of negative news. Yes, it’s part of life but it shouldn’t dominate and control most of our thoughts either as far too many people give it the power to do. In the age of instant, 24x7 news and media saturation it’s easy for people to become addicted to a steady diet of doom and gloom and then alter or scale back their goals and dreams. Fellow faculty member John DiLemme is even tougher than me on this point as he feels that TV is close to being the equivalent of letting an armed felon into your house in terms of danger to our thoughts, goals and health.
While not as popular as it was almost a year ago the hit book and movie The Secret has in my opinion opened up many new people to explore the power of personal development and overall why we must be careful what we focus our time and attention to. While many have debated the merits of The Secret I do consider it a positive breakthrough and worthy of study as we did in many issues of my paid offline newsletter A Captured Mind last year via up close and revealing interviews with many of its key players such as Jack Canfield and John Assaraf.
Now, let me come back to what I opened up with as it relates to the power of our mind when we present it with a positive question. I’d lately become extremely disturbed at all the negative economic talk and it hit a peak about a week ago during a live seminar when a middle aged women asked a question and lamented at the same time how bad the economy was in her industry. I bit my tongue and brushed it off.
About two hours later during the drive back to my office the women’s question resurfaced and I thought to myself, I refuse to let this bother me any longer! What advice can I share with people to understand that it’s not nearly as bad as it seems out there? I had changed the thought to a positive question and sure enough an interesting thing happened four days later.
I was re-reading the classic book The Science of Getting Rich written in 1910 by Wallace Wattles which Rhonda Byrne, creator of The Secret, swears was the main inspiration for her movie, when a passage I scanned literally jumped off the page, and smacked me over the head. I immediately circled it and thought, that’s exactly the answer I was looking for last week. It was eerie because I’d forgotten I even planted the question and like a comic book caption – WHAM! - out of a book written 98 years earlier an answer appeared to a present day problem. Here’s what I found on page 75:
“Never speak of the times as being hard, or of business conditions as being doubtful.Times may be hard and business doubtful for those who are on the competitiveplane, but they can never be so for you; you can create what you want, and you are above fear. When others are having hard times and poor business, you willfind your greatest opportunities.”
- Wallace Wattles (1910)
Here are a few quick observations from the whole experience that I’d like to impart with hopes of helping you sharpen the awesome potential your mind contains:
1. Work on flipping frustration into positive fascination. Life is full of challenges, this is a fact. However, you control the response to it. Sadly, victim mentality and pity parties are big business these days.
2. The questions you ask or think about have a massive impact on your life. Success is an inside job and it’s up to you to guard your mental space carefully and feed it with positive, solution based questions if you want to achieve more.
3. The answers or clues to the questions you ask are all around and can appear when you least expect it. My question was answered several days after I had first conceived it and in all places a book written almost 100 years ago.
Maybe it was The Secret at work after all? Until next time, I leave you with the famous Vulcan saying from the classic TV show Star Trek, Live long and prosper.
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