Mind Capture News E-Letter
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. Iím talking about Gen Simmons from the classic rock band Kiss.
Geneís band Kiss isnít as popular on the current music scene as they were in the late 1970ís when the ĎKiss Armyí 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
Iím 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 ĎGene-iusí where do I start?
Here are three gems to enjoy:
Build your brand. ďKiss is not a rock and roll band. Weíre a rock and roll BRAND!Ē With over 3000 licensed products (heís 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 companyís would die for. Whether or not you like his band or his philosophy, you simply canít argue with his strategic thinking and ability to think far outside the box. So, the question for you to consider is: Howís your brand doing?
Pick up the phone. Iím amazed at how much he advocated and still promotes using personal phone calls to make deals happen. Granted heís very well known, but the bigger lesson is that he still picks up the phone and makes things happen. He doesnít believe in having an entourage and surprisingly still negotiates most of his business deals and inquiries directly. Gee, I wonder why heís so successful? On that point he also reminded us to, ďconnect with people and thank them.Ē Sage advice indeed.
Wow, one of those rare celebs whoís not in rehab (heís never done drugs or alcohol) and actually acknowledges and still thanks those whoíve 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 whoíve 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 Iím 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, heís taking photos with people and has no security so letís be bold.
I quickly punched in my wifeís phone number on my cell phone, hit the send button and prayed sheíd pick up the phone. When she answered I calmly handed my phone to Gene and politely said, ďGene, please say hi to my wife, sheís a big fan.Ē 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 letís get back to the seminar. He mentioned how amazing it is that many CEOís 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 ĎCaptureí your mind!
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Thursday, April 10, 2008, 09:32 PMItís 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. Iíll 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 Iím not a big fan of negative news. Yes, itís part of life but it shouldnít 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 itís 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. Iíd 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 womenís 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 itís 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, thatís exactly the answer I was looking for last week. It was eerie because Iíd forgotten I even planted the question and like a comic book caption Ė WHAM! - out of a book written 98 years earlier an answer appeared to a present day problem. Hereís what I found on page 75:
ďNever 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.Ē
- Wallace Wattles (1910)
Here are a few quick observations from the whole experience that Iíd 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 itís 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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Saturday, March 29, 2008, 09:35 PMIn the last post I shared with you the first three reasons to strongly consider using your home town chamber to build your business. Here are the other four reasons.
4. Networking. From seminars, leads groups, luncheons to business expos and various business and community committees, thereís absolutely no excuse for not being able to meet new contacts, referrals and people who can help you with ideas and additional ways to grow your business.
The old adage, out of sight, out of mind, is so true when it relates to networking. The chamber gives your several different venues to meet new people. My entire career Iíve utilized the power of networking in my home chamberís ranging from serving as co-chair of the ambassador league to sponsoring and speaking at different events. The positive outcomes on the bottom line and great people Iíve met thatíve provided me with their wonderful products, services, and ideas has also been a big plus.
5. Low cost advertising opportunities. As far as visibility at the local level, a chamber offers a wide range of affordable advertising options and sponsorship packages for just about every business or non-profit, ranging from newly established firms to existing. Iíve bought and sold traditional media and I can tell you itís not cheap. For the price of a few ads within a major media, you can often sponsor an entire program with the chamber, give a short commercial about your company, meet new prospects and follow up with the list of attendees who may have a need for your offering. This is a wonderful way to hold your marketing dollars accountable and see them working hard right before your eyes.
A common area to get low cost or free advertising is submitting updates or news briefs for possible inclusion within the chamber ďMember Newsí section of the newsletter. Amazingly, a lot of members do not take advantage of this wonderful free marketing opportunity provided with their membership. The chamber is always on the lookout for member related news. I make it a goal to get over a small news update or announcement at least every two to three months to the three local chambers Iím a member of because I know most of the time it will get printed and read by key people in the business community.
6. Advocacy. A foolish belief among large companies, especially national retail outlets is that theyíre too big or not local enough to care about getting involved or joining their local chamber of commerce. A few things they should think about: Are their employees and customers local? Are taxes and school systems important to finding and retaining a high quality work force? These are key areas that the chamber researches, lobbies and routinely discusses with local and regional government units, politicians and the media to keep people up to date on central issues of importance pertaining to their membership and the community.
What happens to your local employees and customers does have an impact on your business even if youíre a national chain. In addition, to missing out on networking, sponsorship and other business building news and benefits, I think it looks incredibly tacky if four or five local businesses are active in the chamber and a national firm in the same market area wonít even join. In my mind this sends an incongruent message to the market when the national company claims to be Ďa good corporate citizení but they wonít join and get involved with their local chamber of commerce.
7. Money saving discounts. If you fully leverage the cost saving discounts ranging from health insurance, office supplies, to discounted phone service to other items your business currently uses or will need, itís not uncommon for a small business to easily find enough savings in the first 30-60 days upon joining with endorsed providers or member to member discounts to recoup most, if not all of their membership dues. Being a small business owner, I can attest to the fact that being a member of the chamber and shopping around for discounts and services available makes joining achievable for any company regardless of how limited their marketing budget may be.
Well, there you have it! Seven great reasons to join or get more involved and fully leverage the benefits that your home town or regional chamber of commerce can provide your business or organization.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008, 06:12 PMIn a world loaded with marketing options and information overload Iím often asked by new and existing business owners for a simple, inexpensive way to increase their local visibility and marketing efforts to produce more opportunities and sales. Without a doubt, I always ask a stunningly simple question, Are you a member of your local chamber of commerce? I get one of three answers:
2. No, but tell me more
3. We used to be a member
Now I know every person has opinions but Iíd like you to take a moment to read this brief article to discover seven reasons why I strongly feel that every business and non-profit organization should be a member of their local chamber regardless of the size of their organization, marketing budget, years in business, or even if theyíve heard or possibly had a negative chamber experience in the past.
1. Visibility. Yes, youíve heard it said time and time again, that out of sight means out of mind. This is not a smart strategy for any business, especially when times are good. A market can change quickly. As Jim Collins says, good is the enemy of great. This is a great statement, but Iíd like to add to it as it relates to marketing and. Good is the enemy of great, but often times complacency and short term thinking are the enemy of sustained marketing breakthroughs.
Letís look at a real world example of chamber complacency in action. Having worked with hundreds of chambers throughout North America, Iím simply baffled that within many communities how few real estate agents and automotive sales reps are either non-existent or barely active within their local chamber. In these two highly competitive and crowded markets youíd think these folks would do anything to stand out from the competition and fully leverage the chamber to get an edge. Nope. Itís as if they have no idea the local chamber exists and how it can benefit their business.
2. Access. Unless youíre crazy or like consistent rejection, no one enjoys making cold calls all day long. Itís a painful, tedious process that often wastes far too much time and mentally drains even the most upbeat and friendly person after a while. When you join a chamber and actively get involved youíll discover that meeting prospects who may have an interest or who can refer you to key contacts youíre trying to reach, is a huge benefit of membership. From being on committees, serving as an ambassador, or attending specific events where prospects are likely to be, youíll find yourself in situations where you can identify and meet decision makers face-to-face versus making cold calls.
3. Ongoing training and education. Unless you have the luxury of a training budget or can afford to bring in local, regional region or nationally known experts on different topics, trends or key areas of expertise, I firmly believe that there is no other organization in America that delivers cutting edge, relevant and timely programs at such an affordable level for business and non-profit leaders as your local or regional chamber of commerce. By spreading costs among fellow members through registration fees and sponsorships, members can stay updated, informed and educated at a bargain price.
In the next post, I'll share with you the other four reasons to be a part of your local chamber.
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