Tag Archives: Life

Ads on Napkins, Becoming a Consultant, and Get $1,000 to Quit

This site has moved. Go to MarketingInProgress.com to read Ads on Napkins now.

I’m a little behind on sharing some great reading, but here are some highlights from the past couple months.

  1. Finding an extra 15 hours in your week. Seems the Marketing Minute posted all the great marketing blogs out there, and the next question became “How in the world do I find time to keep up with all that?” Here are the answers. Pooping productivity is especially key.
  2. Turning Points: How I Became a Consultant. Steve takes a look back at the moment he realize it was time to do it himself. The entire post is excellent and enlightening, but I believe this quote sums it up: “If I was going to fulfill my professional desires and drives, and add maximum value, I had to “create it myself,” and not vainly hope that someone else would conform their business to my ideals, or custom-create the perfect position for me.”
  3. Early Retirement is a False Idol. The norm is to slave away during our “working years” so we can finally enjoy life later because we don’t have to work. However (as quoted in the post): “Why does the idea of work have to be so bad that you want to sacrifice year’s worth of prime living to get away from it forever?”
  4. Focus on the Goal, Not the Mechanics. If you’re requesting the help of a designer or other creative service, don’t micro-manage the process. You obviously aren’t an authority to begin with, or you wouldn’t be asking for help. Be the champion of the end-goal, make it clear to your partners, and let them, the messengers, craft their message. As Jay Moonah is quoted in the article: “If you are working with an agency, what you need to help your agency partners understand is WHAT you want to accomplish, not HOW they should do it.”
  5. Here’s $1,000 to Quit. John cites a post on the new-hire policy of Zappos, a growing online shoe retailer. They offer any new employee $1,000 to quit within the first week. Why? Read the post. It’s smart, and probably quite cost-effective.
  6. Did You Know? – Brand Loyalty. Insightful quick stats on the price and profit of increased usage by repeat customers. Fascinating. For example, did you know It costs 7 times more to get a new consumer for the brand than it does to get a current consumer to make an incremental purchase?
  7. Not Even Cocktail Napkins Are Safe. Advertising on napkins at bars? C’mon . . . .

Indecent Exposure

Oblivious to AdvertisingThe other night, my parents visited for dinner. As the night was coming to a close, I noticed something in my house that I’d never noticed before. It was a white box on the wall, near the fireplace. My dad and I fiddled with it, until the white box fell off the wall, and the electronics of this mysterious gizmo were exposed. We still didn’t know what it was. Then my wife suggested that it might be where the actual sound of the doorbell emanates. I tested it, and she was right.

I’ve lived in this house now for more than two years. I have very conservatively walked past this white box 12,000 times. I’ve never noticed it, never looked for it, never thought about it.

Here’s the point: It doesn’t matter how much exposure you get with your audience if they don’t care about what you’re exposing them to. They’ll still never notice you.

Similar posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. Advertising Is Not Dead
  2. What Can 30 Seconds Do?

Raise Your Prices Now

Raise Prices NowRaising your prices is never easy, and the timing always sucks. But it’s an inevitable fact in most business models, so the key is learning how to best raise prices and still keep your customer base.

Our economy is giving everyone permission to raise their prices now.

With gas going up, airlines charging for everything and milk prices skyrocketing, Americans are getting used to hearing that prices on just about anything is going up. Which should give you a little bit of a free pass (well, almost).

The idea is not to exploit the opportunity, but to accept that customer spending might go down, and your margins might’ve been tight for a long time, and it’s simply the right time to raise prices, even if your costs haven’t gone up in the last six months.

It will be a while before price increases are as easily accepted as they are now.

Of course, if you can lower prices, that might be even better. It could make you a hero. But whatever you do, don’t allow your prices to just stay the same. Either capitalize on the opportunity to increase margins, or capitalize on increased volume via the marketing advantage of lower prices. But don’t let those prices stay the same.

Enjoying the Process (part 1)

Billy Blanks - Enjoys the ProcessWe’re all driven by the end goal of whatever projects we pour ourselves into. We invest so we have lots of money in 30 or so years. We write so people will read our thoughts and even comment. We play a game or sport so we can win at it. We go above and beyond at work so we gain recognition.

Finding end results that appeal to us is not hard at all. In the above examples, I believe everyone reading would be attracted to more money, more readers, more victories and more recognition. But that doesn’t mean we should all be investors, writers, athletes or blue collar all-stars.

In terms of how you spend most of your time, don’t choose based on the attractive end result; choose because you’ve found an end result in which you actually enjoy the process of getting there.

If you’ve ever met someone who is completely happy with their profession, it’s because they enjoy the process (the work) as much or more as they enjoy the end result. Which makes sense. We spend way too much time preparing and managing our little projects to not enjoy the process.

I would love to finish a triathlon some day. The idea of being the type of person that can complete a feat like that is extremely impressive. However, as of yet, I am not willing to go through the process of getting there. I’ve tried starting on several occasions throughout my life, and the same thing always happens: I don’t enjoy the process enough to keep it going.

At the same time, I love putting together market research reports. I love gathering the info, digging into it, finding little nuggets of info that probably only I will ever find interesting, gathering it all into a presentation that’s easy to read, and then presenting it to a group of ‘big dogs’ and waiting for their reaction. Sure, I love the end result, but I love just about everything that happens before to get to that point.

If you’re struggling with finding ‘that thing you do,’ start asking yourself which processes you enjoy the most. Find ways to spend your time doing what you enjoy. Or, if you already know what those processes are, start doing them more.

Similar Posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. A Fancy Name for Failures
  2. Making Connections vs. Making Impressions

A Boring Meal is Like Beating Your Wife

You’ve got to read this, for a good laugh and a little perspective. Who knew that a decline in spousal abuse would lead to the new dawn of advertising (and soups).

The sad thing is that the ad clearly communicates that it’s the wife’s fault that the husband is yawning at the dinner table. It’s probably cuz he’s so out of shape now since he’s not spending so much time smacking his wife around.

This was only 60 years ago . . . .

The Most Dramatic Rose Ceremony Yet?

Rose Ceremony on The BachelorYes, I watch The Bachelor. That’s not the point here . . .

The point is that every single teaser before the last segment of The Bachelor is concluded with, “Coming up, the most dramatic rose ceremony yet.”

This has been going on for about six years. It rarely lives up to the billing, and now it’s a joke.

The real point is that you need to be realistic with what you communicate. If it’s really the best and most ever, then say it. If it’s not, don’t. Like the little boy crying wolf, promising “the most exciting product extension since the iPod Nano” will get old and wreak of distrust. You’ll become a joke.

Making Connections vs. Making Impressions

Make a Connection Handshake - 200I lucked out this weekend and was able to meet and receive a presentation from Bruce Painter at a local DSWA event in Dallas. As detailed on his website, Bruce is a coach extrordinaire for both professionals and families, and he’s possibly best known as the author of The Giving Zone, a “roadmap for a contributing, winning, prosperous, and happy life.”

During his presentation, Bruce asked us all to simply greet each other, with the simple purpose of acknowledging the person you’re meeting. Sounds pretty basic, but in doing this with professionals who are clearly much better and more deliberate than I am, I realized something quite profound:

There’s a big difference between making an impression and making a connection.

I’m guilty of trying to make impressions. The signs of doing so go something like this: you often forget someone’s name, mainly because you never really heard it to begin with. You were too busy trying to think about what you were going to say next, how firm your hand shake is, and maybe the tone of your voice. Your primary concern is making a good impression.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a good impression, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to communicate effectively. However, it’s focused on you. You’re focused on how the person you’re meeting perceives your words, your posture, your vocal qualities, your hand shake. It’s very different from making a connection.

Making a connection focuses on the other guy. You try to relate to their name, their story, their words. You make genuine eye contact and you say things that are genuine responses, not canned. You value relationships enough to make hearing and understanding what they are saying is the priority right now.

Ironically, the best impressions are almost always made because a connection has been made. Yet, the mindset required for them both could not be more different.