Surviving Change You Didn’t Ask For (MJ Ryan)

June 5, 2009

30444973 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares her insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…MJ Ryan.  Again. Enjoy!

Have you ever encountered that “life stress” list that rates changes such as moving, death of a spouse, getting married, etc.?

The folks who created that list in the sixties estimate that life is 44% more stressful now than it was 50 years ago, and they came up with that estimate before the 2008 global meltdown. I’m not sure we even want to know the new number!

Chances are you’re confronting some change you never asked for—perhaps a loss of job. Or some dream. Maybe you have to have to learn to work in new ways or find a new place to live.  I’m sorry if it’s difficult.

None of us knows what the future holds. But there is something we can do right now—develop the ability to adapt. As far as I can tell, it’s the key indicator of success in these turbulent times. AdaptAbility is the capacity to be flexible and resourceful in the face of ever-changing conditions. To respond in a resilient and productive manner when change is required. Some of us already know how to easily do this. The rest of us need to learn–quickly.

Resisting change wears down our bodies, taxes our minds and deflates our spirits. We keep doing the things that have always worked before with depressingly diminishing results. We expend precious energy looking around for someone to blame—ourselves, another person, or the world. We worry obsessively. We get stuck in the past, lost in bitterness or anger. Or we fall into denial–everything’s fine, I don’t have to do anything different. Or magical thinking–something or someone will come along to rescue me from having to change.

We don’t want to leave the cozy comfort of the known and familiar for the scary wilderness of that which we’ve never experienced. And so we rail against it and stay stuck.

Fortunately, once you become conscious of how to adapt, you can face future changes with greater confidence and swiftness.

Want further incentive to learn? Experts in mind-body medicine have shown that people who are master adapters live longer and healthier lives than others. How come? Because they counterbalance the stress hormones that wear down our bodies with positive attitudes and behaviors that release feel good hormones which restore balance to our cells, organs, and tissue. That’s why many health experts define health itself as AdaptAbility.

When the environment changes and we must therefore too, it’s appropriate to complain, to take, in the words of Dr. Pamela Peeke, the BMW (Bitch, Moan and Whine) out for a little spin. But soon it’s time to put it back in the driveway and get down to business. We are all being called on to stretch mentally, emotionally, and spiritually into the future. We can do it!

MJ Ryan is an inspirational author and coach; internationally recognized as a leading change expert. Dubbed “an expert in human fulfillment,” she specializes in coaching high performance executives, entrepreneurs, individuals, and leadership teams around the world. Her work is based on a combination of positive psychology, strengths-based coaching, the wisdom traditions, and cutting edge brain research.

Her new book, titled “AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn't Ask For” was recently released published by Random House’s Broadway Books.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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Five Sales Pitch Fundamentals That Win Business in a Recession (Joey Asher)

May 22, 2009

32139748 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Joey Asher.  Again. Enjoy!

I attended many high school parties where there weren’t enough girls. Competition for dance partners was fierce.  That’s what the marketplace looks like in today’s recession.   New business is scarce. And competition is fierce.

Just as when there aren’t enough dance partners, when business is scarce you need to hone your pitch. In your next sales presentation, focus on five fundamentals to separate yourself from your competition.

Fundamental #1. Present a solution and nothing else.  Many of your competitors start presentations by talking about themselves. “Before we start, let me tell you about how our company began . . .”  Blah. Blah. Blah. Who cares? Your prospect only cares about is how you can save them money, grow their revenues, or reduce their risk. Detail your plan to help your prospect and tell stories about how the plan has worked for others.

Fundamental # 2. Keep it simple.  I watched three construction firms pitch to build a new school. No presentation had less than 10 points. None of the messages were memorable. Instead, you should hammer at three messages. “We’ll build your project on time. We’ll meet your budget. We’ll deliver quality work.” Simplicity separates you from the competition.

Fundamental # 3. Speak with passion. If you’re one of three firms competing, you know that your competition can do a great job. Personal style can be the separator. “When it’s close, many of the decisions just come down to who connects with us best,” one CEO told me.  Passion in the voice helps you connect.

Fundamental #4. Leave half of your time for questions. Questions address your prospect’s hot buttons. Your competition often makes Q&A an afterthought. Avoid that mistake.

Fundamental #5. Rehearse. “I can always tell who has rehearsed,” said one CEO who has heard hundreds of sales presentations. Most people don’t rehearse much. Practicing sets you apart.

In a recession, the pool of new business is small. Focus on fundamentals to grab your share.

Joey Asher is Joey Asher is President of Speechworks, a communication and selling skills coaching firm that has been helping business people communicate more effectively for over 20 years. This post is adapted from Joey Asher’s new book “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition.  You can also read Joey's blog at Talking Points.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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Avoid Crash and Burn: Check! (Nicolas A. Boillot)

May 15, 2009

FlightPlan Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Nicolas A. Boillot.  Again. Enjoy!

Launching a marketing initiative that successfully reaches your intended audience and delivers a spot-on message in many ways resembles a perfect, incident-free flight. Before every phase of a flight, pilots perform a series of checks to ensure that all systems are in order.

This happens before starting the engine, before takeoff, before landing, and when shutting down the engine. The procedure ensures a successful flight, and when in trouble, checklists abound for each kind of trouble a pilot faces. But sometimes a small detail missed at any phase of flight – be it on the ground (full fuel?) or before landing (gear down?) can create a “domino-effect,” which could lead to disaster. After all, you can’t pull over to the side of the road when you’re flying.

Similarly, in marketing and communications initiatives, a “flight plan” enables you to map out key check-points where you can check whether you’re on track or likely to miss the mark. The ideal flight plan for a communications project requires a review of each phase of a project or campaign at specified intervals, measuring against original direction as well as new information recorded along the way.

Whether creating an ad campaign, pitching a story to a publication, or developing a brand, dividing your plan into phases, or “legs” where you must check in and review progress to date, can make all the difference in arriving safely at your destination. 

We have all left client meetings thinking, “We’ll knock this one out of the park” as we already envision the outcome and how to get there. And most of us have experienced that awful feeling a month later, when we discover that we’re not even close to meeting the client’s expectations. Or, the real client was the CEO, but nobody told us that – and she hates all the work that’s been developed so far. With the deadline approaching, we trudge back to square one, desperate for a  winning solution that will rescue us from endless revisions and a death spiral for the project. 

How did we get so far off course? 

With our eyes on the prize, we easily switched to auto-pilot and turned a blind eye to potential barriers. Instead, our checklist might have included meetings with key decision-makers at every phase of the project. In fact, our pre-takeoff checklist might have included figuring out who the key decision-makers were. 

As marketers, we generally take to the creative process more easily than the project management. That’s why a checklist makes so much sense. It relieves us of the burden of figuring it all out again with every new project.

Try it some day – take a type of project that you do on a regular basis, and make a checklist of key considerations to address along the way.  Use it on the next project, and edit for anything that’s missing. And don’t make it too complicated – even a simple check, such as ensuring you have enough fuel for your flight, might dramatically cut the number of times you have to land at alternate airports.

Here's an example of a project checklist for writing an article.

Nicolas A. Boillot is Managing Partner and co-founder of Hart-Boillot, LLC a full-service advertising and public relations agency specializing in higher education, medical, clean- and high-technology markets. Since Hart-Boillot’s founding in 1999, Boillot has managed significant communications campaigns for brands such as HP, Gore Bike Wear, EMC, Fairchild Semiconductor, Vicor and NanoHorizons.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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20+ lessons I (re) learned about marketing when starting an Internet business (Dennis Price)

May 8, 2009

36107243 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Dennis Price.  Again. Enjoy!

I run a business in the real world that has an internet presence and uses some (basic) internet tools . (Hey, I am even on twitter, have a LinkedIn profile, but I wouldn’t describe myself as one of the cool kids on the block. Like this one, and this one or this one. I connected with Drew through the cool conversation, but I am not cool. I do not come from the dark side either…)

Running and marketing this ‘real’ business is very different from running an internet business – even if you use some of the same tools. But there are also some universal principles that continue to apply, no matter what the platform and no matter what the business idea.

Like everyone else, I am lured to the internet-only business model because there is such great potential to:

  • automate processes
  • scale up
  • tap into global markets
  • earn recurring revenue

I am also an experienced marketer (in fact I teach marketing part-time at a world-class graduate school) and I like to think I know the basics. Boy, was I wrong.

In April 09 we launched And these are the lessons I learned along the way.
It started out as a membership driven website business model, but evolved into something else. That is because we made many mistakes. Some of these we should have known better because it really is just about fundamentals and the other lessons are just about us paying our school fees. In hindsight, they are all obvious.

  1. There are a lot of people who can talk the talk but not too many who can walk it.
  2. There is a gulf (of money) between social-media-as conversation and internet marketing scams. (And there is a real opportunity in between.)
  3. If your business model and if your target market is not exactly clear before you start, you will spend a lot of time re-writing and re-designing.
  4. The technographics profile (put forward in ‘groundswell’> ) probably over-estimates the number of participants and ‘creators’.
  5. No one on the internet knows you are a dog. But the flip side of that is that no one cares about your blog.
  6. And they might not care if you are a dog, you will not be able to hide your ‘dog-ness’ for very long.
  7. There is an art to eliciting comments – and one not yet mastered.
  8. If it is extremely difficult to do, or if no one else has done it before; it probably is for good reason.
  9. A large following counts for a lot – and it is a lot harder to achieve (authentically) for anyone but a first mover. (In the internet world there is only room for one. One Amazon, one EBay etc.  – but that is a post for another time.)
  10. One month = 7 internet years.
  11. The corollary of you don’t need much capital to start is that you can’t raise capital easily.
  12. By the time somebody has discovered the recipe AND is prepared to pass it on, the goalposts have moved.
  13. The average business person and employee – and that includes Gen Y – is not as computer literate as you think.
  14. Crowdsourcing cannot be applied to decisions you have to take.
  15. Customer service cannot be automated.
  16. Your competition almost always charges ZERO.
  17. The internet is a shallow pool.
  18. Face-to-Face counts. A lot. Maybe even more than before.
  19. Being in constant beta is a reality of the platform, but it is harder to live with than you think.
  20. Just because you like it does not mean everyone else will.
  21. Simplicity is hard.
  22. And one bonus lesson. The business plan counts for nought. The planning is invaluable. (I think I steal this from someone famous.)

If you have lessons of your own, comment below and I will be sure to take note because I don’t have any money left for more school fees.

Dennis Price is CEO of Ganador Management Solutions, a company the focuses on helping the retail supply chain work more effectively with the retailers. is the online version of that, and has been handed over to the community – for free and he is giving away a free E-Book in the process.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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Is my Business Plan a Weapon or Just another Word Document (Cory Isaacson)

May 1, 2009

81947852 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Cory Isaacson.  Again. Enjoy!

The economy is challenging investors and entrepreneurs like never before.  The bottomless well of funding has officially dried up as the fight for investment capital has become an all out war. 

Yesterday’s business plan needs to be today’s battle plan, and for an entrepreneur, the ultimate validation for the battle plan will be its ability to connect a defined value proposition to a clear and attainable business metric.

If not, then the real question one has to ask is “who really cares?”  As glib as that may sound, it should be a fundamental concern for any entrepreneur with a vision and the inspiration to put forth his or her thinking.  

First things first, you need a clearly defined value proposition that answers two simple questions: 

  • how will it disrupt the marketplace?
  • how will it be profitable? 

Coming up with the answers to these questions will be a challenge – it should not be a comfortable process, challenging yourself never is.  If those two questions are not answered, forget about it and head back to the drawing board.  Conversely, if it does answer those two questions, then you’re one step closer to arming yourself with a battle plan.  

A bullet proof value proposition becomes your arsenal and shield, capable of mounting a solid offensive as well as defending the battle plan from the nonbelievers and an unpredictable business climate.  By clearly demonstrating how the value proposition can transcend the challenges posed by the marketplace, an entrepreneur will then be able illustrate the opportunity for growth.

By illustrating that opportunity for growth, you’re ready for war.  It was with this very concise but simple approach that we drove the creation of the original Walton | Isaacson battle plan for “The Planet’s Most Interesting Agency” – and in turn, generated the interest and funding of entrepreneur, media mogul, NBA legend and our partner, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

There will be more losers than winners during this time of economic crisis.  However, those entrepreneurs who fiercely believe in what they’re doing stand the best chance of winning.  The only factor any investor really cares about is results, and if results can be clearly communicated through your value proposition in a simple and direct manner, your vision and battle plan will become a well-funded reality.

Cory Isaacson's expertise in developing and executing highly successful marketing programs is widely regarded throughout the industry. Over the years he has been recognized for his groundbreaking work, including Jack Daniel’s Studio #7, Hanes Hosiery / Tina Turner, Kodak / House of Blues, Burger King / Backstreet Boys, HP Moving Fashion Forward, Budweiser / Rolling Stones, and Ericsson’s “Power of  Voice” with Celine Dion.  His unique approach has earned him numerous industry awards, including PROMO’s Pro Award, Ex Awards and Effies. 
Isaacson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Wisconsin and has taught MBA classes on entertainment marketing at Tulane University.  Cory currently resides with his family in Chicago and is a partner at Walton | Isaacson.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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Recency: Where is the lagniappe in your marketing? (Stan Phelps)

April 17, 2009

Lagniappe1 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Stan Phelps.  Again. Enjoy!

The concept of primacy and recency simply defined is: People have a greater recall of the first thing and the last thing they experience.  Advertisers are well aware of this principle as it relates to television.

The first and last three seconds of a thirty second spot are the most critical.  The first three seconds are all about grabbing your attention and the last three seconds are about reinforcing your message or brand. 

In general marketing, primacy is important because you 'never get a second chance to make a first impression', but recency is the last thing your customer or client remembers before they walk out the door or hang up the phone.   

Challenge:  How do you leave a great impression after the sale is made or the contract is signed?

There is great word that originated in Louisiana called 'lagniappe' (pronounced lan-yap).  The creole word literally translated means 'the gift.''  It refers to a small unexpected extra gift or benefit presented by a store owner to a customer at the time of purchase. The people of Louisiana have embraced the term and have broadened the definition to include any time a little something extra is given.  [Click here to read Mark Twain's account of his first introduction to lagniappe from Life on the Mississippi]

How do you integrate the concept of 'lagniappe' into your marketing?

Here are the four main ingredients:

  1. Unexpected – the extra benefit or gift should be a surprise.  It is something thrown in for good measure.  Think 'surprise and delight'.
  2. Relevant – the item or benefit should be of value to the recipient.  Make sure that the item or service is a true benefit.  It shouldn't be a one size fits all proposition.
  3. Unique – if it's a small token or gift, try to select something that's rare, hard to find or unique to your business.  
  4. Authentic – many times it comes down to the gesture.  It becomes more about 'how' it is given, as opposed to 'what' is given. The small gift or extra communicates that you care about your client and you appreciate their patronage.

In today's difficult business landscape the ability to provide 'added value' will set you apart from your competitors.  Are you always striving to deliver above and beyond?  What is that 'little something extra'? 

Where is the lagniappe in your marketing?

Stan Phelps is Executive Vice President at Synergy Events.  Synergy is an award winning experiential marketing agency specializing in mobile marketing tours, pr events / launches and sponsorship activation. You can also check out his blog 9 INCH MARKETING which discusses how to bridge the gap between traditional and social media by taking a sensory approach to integrated marketing. [FACT: The average distance between the brain and the heart is 9 inches]

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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Characteristics of Successful Salespeople (Dave Kahle)

April 10, 2009

94365824 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Dave Kahle.  Again. Enjoy!

Are successful salespeople made or born? It is the eternal question: the sales manager's version of nature versus nurture.

Since I spend most of my time teaching salespeople how to become better at their jobs, I'm 100 percent in the "made" camp. There are best practices in the sales profession, and outstanding salespeople do many of the same things. A salesperson can, and should be, taught those best practices so they know how to do the job well.

Much of my practices consists of identifying and teaching the best practices to salespeople. I'm a believer in the notion that sales is a proactive profession – that you must first act, and then your actions get reactions. A good salesperson acts in the right way. His or her behavior is ultimately what determines his degree of success.

Thus, I believe that anyone can be taught the principles, processes and practices of effective sales. I like to characterize it like this: On a 1 – 10 scale, I can take 7s and make them into 10s. I can take 4s and make them into 7s. I can take 1s and make them into 4s. But I can't take 1s and make them into 10s.

As in every sophisticated endeavor, in the world of sales it sure helps if you have the aptitude and character with which to begin. "Character" is the operant word here. The Encarta Dictionary defines character as "the set of qualities that make somebody distinctive, especially somebody's quality of mind and feeling." In a common sense, we understand a person's character to be that combination of qualities, beliefs, tendencies and attitudes that give rise to his/her behavior.

It is the combination of characteristics that define who is the person. The practices and principles we teach instruct the person on what to do. While countless books and articles have addressed "what successful salespeople do", few have described "who successful salespeople are."

I don't claim to have the last word on this, nor do I believe that this group of characteristics is the whole story. But, from one person's perspective, here are my observations of the essential character traits of a successful salesperson.

The first characteristic that I see among successful people is this: They truly want to be successful. This isn't as simple and self–evident as it sounds. The world is mostly populated by people who don't want to be successful – at least not if it is going to cost them anything. Most people would like to have the benefit of success – the sense of confidence and competence, the material advantages, the respect and admiration of others – it's just that they aren't willing to accept the cost that is the inevitable prelude to success. 

Success is almost always the result of a consistent, long range investment of time and energy on the part of the successful person. You must give something up if you want to be successful. For example, if you want to be home everyday to watch Oprah, and you won't give that up, you probably won't be successful. You're not willing to give up something in order to get something larger. 

Successful salespeople want to be successful to the point they are willing to accept the costs and invest the time and effort that it takes to be successful. Thus, the success–focused salesperson works more hours than his average colleague. They try to make their first appointment for 7:45 a.m. and their last for 4:30 p.m. And when someone cancels, or the salesperson finds himself with unplanned downtime, he finds something productive to do. 

Whereas most salespeople have not invested $20 in their own development in the last year, the success–seeking salesperson constantly buys the books, listens to the CDs, and attends the seminars in an attempt to gain more ideas and, therefore, shape his behavior more effectively. He/she is eager to learn from others, pays attention at sales meetings, and solicits his manager's input into his performance. He constantly thinks about his job, and continually tries to do it better.

This willingness to trade a short term pleasure and invest in themselves for the long term benefit is the first characteristic of a successful salesperson. Most just aren't willing to make the sacrifices that success calls on them to make.

I call characteristic number two "the ability and propensity to learn." For salespeople, I define learning as exposing yourself to new ideas, and then changing your behavior in positive ways as a result. Thus a successful salesperson is always looking for the next good idea, and continually experimenting with practices and behaviors that are designed to give him the best results. 

This is the operating expression of the first characteristic. Whereas the desire for success supplies the energy and motivation, the ability and propensity to learn is one key way that motivation expresses itself.
Following this life–changing practice means that eventually every success–seeking salesperson is going to become exposed to the best practices of his profession, and every salesperson so inclined will eventually fold them into his/her routines. That means, equipped with this characteristic and given enough time, they are going to be successful. It is inevitable.

These two characteristics are so powerful and fundamental that they form the cornerstone of a success profile for a salesperson. The other characteristics which follow are derived from and expressions of these two characteristics.

For example, successful salespeople deal successfully with adversity. They don't let failure knock them off the path. They see failures and adversity as temporary stumbling blocks, and bounce back from every defeat. This is such a pronounced characteristic of successful salespeople that some authors hold it up as the single most outstanding characteristic of successful people. 

It is this characteristic that causes them to make the second sales call after having been rejected in the first. It is this characteristic that stimulates the salesperson to approach just one more prospect, or visit this account one more time in spite of having failed previously.

It is this characteristic that prods the salesperson to bounce back from a failed marriage, a financial reversal, a bad experience with an employer, or a manager with whom he doesn't get along.
Motivated by his desire to succeed, and equipped with the ability to learn, he sees adversity as just another learning experience, and becomes more focused, wiser and more committed as a result.

The last of my big four characteristics is "the ability to focus." This is particularly important in our 21st Century economy. There are so many "things to do", so many opportunities and demands on our time, the unfocused salesperson can squander much of his day reacting to the superfluous.

Remember the movie "City Slickers?" When asked his secret for living a successful life, Curly held up one finger. "One thing" he said. Focus on one thing and do it well.

Very few people can do more than one thing exceptionally well. Sales is an incredibly sophisticated profession wherein real, long–lasting success takes years of disciplined work. Successful salespeople know that, and stay focused on the basics of their job, and the practices and principles that they know will pay off.

Given these four characteristics and enough time, the salesperson will become successful. When we find one of them, and then we add training in the principles and practices that define the best way to do the job, we have every reason to expect that person to develop into one of the successful superstars.
It starts with character.

Dave Kahle is the country's premier sales training educator.  Since 1988, Dave has worked with over 400 companies, helping them to increase their sales and develop their sales people. He's been published over 1,000 times, writes a weekly Ezine, and has authored seven books.  He has a gift for creating powerful training events that get audiences thinking differently about sales.  Also, check out Dave's blog.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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Four Buzz Tips from Startups (Emanuel Rosen)

April 3, 2009

51116081 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Emanual Rosen.  Again. Enjoy!

In researching my books on word-of-mouth marketing, I’ve interviewed several entrepreneurs who have been successful in creating buzz for their business. Here are four lessons I have learned from them:

The most important buzz technology is your ear. When Brian Maxwell was developing an energy bar for athletes, he started by listening to what these folks had to say. The late co-founder of PowerBar estimated that he and his team talked with about 1,200 athletes during the development stage. When the product was ready, these people got some bars (and a follow up survey) and were the first to buzz about the product.

The right channel can create initial buzz. When Margot Fraser decided to market Birkenstock in the U.S., she went to the most natural channel: shoe stores. But shoe store owners didn’t believe anyone would buy these strange looking sandals. Fraser found that owners of health food stores were more receptive to the unconventional sandals. Many of them bought the product for their own use and buzzed to their customers about it. (A similar thing happened with PowerBar that spread through bicycle shops.)

People don’t buzz for money, but… everyone likes a little thank you note. Here’s an example: When you bring in a new member to Angie’s List, you get a one-pound bag of M&M’s.  “From the very early days, we have put a big emphasis on rewarding our members when they get other people to join,” says Angie Hicks, co-founder of Angie’s List.  The company used to send a blank check for seven dollars that you could make out to yourself or your favorite charity, but they discontinued this promotion. The M&M’s are still very popular…

People love to tell a good story. Consider this one: A few years ago, Blake Mycoskie visited Argentina where he found these cool canvas slip-on shoes called alpargatas. A few days later, he came across some impoverished kids who were running around barefoot and he had an idea: He would redesign the alpargatas and for every pair that he’d sell, he would give away another pair to a child in need. His company, Toms Shoes, has given away tens of thousands of shoes and is getting tons of buzz. “I wish I could give you some great topical or tactical way we’re doing this,” Mycoskie told me “but the truth is it’s just a great story and people feel good telling it.”

Emanuel Rosen is the author of the national bestseller The Anatomy of Buzz (Doubleday, 2000). His new book The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited: Real-Life Lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing, was published in February 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @EmanuelRosen, visit his web site or email 

Purchase his new book The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited (which is fascinating…you'll find yourself quoting it all week!).

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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One big question (Steve McKee)

March 20, 2009

58042149 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Steve McKee.  Again. Enjoy!

The economy stinks. Everyone knows it.

A recent survey commissioned by American Express says that 59% of corporate CFOs expect their revenue to either be flat or go backwards in 2009.  Meeting a company leader who actually expects his or her organization to grow this year is the exception, not the rule.

As such, it’s safe to say we’re all struggling with the economic tsunami swirling around us. And we’re all wondering what to do about it. I’d like to suggest one big question for each of us to consider.

In my book, When Growth Stalls, I characterize external, uncontrollable events such as the current recession as “market tectonics.” Just as plate tectonics determine when and where the ground is going to shake (from which nobody is exempt—an important point), market tectonics are events with which every company in this interconnected economy must deal. Nobody gets a pass.

So here’s the question: is your branding and marketing effort strong enough to withstand the tremors, or has the economic earthquake spawned by the financial crisis revealed fissures in your marketing foundation?

If the former, your task is to do the best you can to ride things out—conserving cash without cutting off the fuel to your economic engine. It’s an art, but it’s manageable. If the latter, your task is somewhat more difficult. But you may look back on this time as a key turning point in your company’s history.

Sometimes difficult events end up becoming the biggest blessings.

While all of your competitors hunker down to ride things out, you can use this time to rethink your value equation. It may be that it’s off by just a few degrees, or it may be that you need to make wholesale changes.

But just as when the yellow caution flag comes out on a racetrack it allows the cars in the back to catch up with those in front, this period of economic recession may give you the time—not to mention the kick in the pants—to strengthen your brand proposition. 

Steve McKee is president and founding partner of McKee Wallwork Cleveland, an award-winning marketing firm that helps companies get and stay on the growth curve. He writes a monthly column for and speak to a variety of organizations and corporations on the topic of stalled growth and how to turn it around.

Purchase his new book When Growth Stalls to learn more.


Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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7 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Business Right Now (Jamie Klein)

March 13, 2009

88055567 Drew's Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado…Jamie Klein.  Again. Enjoy!

The current economic crisis has impacted all businesses.  To succeed in this market it is imperative that you identify ways to make things happen in your business. 

I’d like to provide you with some marketing and sales tips that will have an impact for any company that wants to improve their performance in this difficult time.


  1. Define what a quality lead is before you start prospecting.  In addition to age, income and other demographics characteristics it is increasingly important to identify lifestyle trends of your current and prospective buyers.
  2. Message-you must make sure your marketing message is closely tied to the lifestyle trends that you have identified when defining your qualified leads.
  3. Targeting-More than ever you must identify where the highest concentration of your defined leads are before you invest marketing dollars.
  4. Your people and processes for when prospects respond to your marketing and advertising must be identified, written and reviewed.  In consumer surveys, most sales and marketing operations score extremely low in these areas.


  1. To convert leads into sales in a down market, it is critical that your sales people are able to discover essential needs, not just incidental needs.
  2. Follow-up-This is the most abused sales process whether in good or bad markets.  Surveys consistently tell us that 70% or more of the leads you give sales people are not followed up on effectively.  Your sales and marketing organization cannot possibly survive in a down market unless you have processes, procedures and leadership direction in your sales follow-up.
  3. Performance metrics-all sales and marketing professionals especially in current times must accurately account for the number of leads generated, cost per lead generated, volume per lead generated and cost as a percent of revenue produced.  These ideally should be completed by your marketing channel.

A new study just released by The Luxury Institute echoes these findings.

While most people would say these 7 steps are the basic building blocks for marketing and sales, the truth is, most companies aren't doing them consistently or well.  In this turbulent economic environment, companies that are spending money on sales and marketing efforts must be more effective and efficient than ever before.  

Jamie Klein has over 30 years experience in the sales and marketing real estate profession with a focus on Lead Management and Shared Ownership. Jamie’s expertise coupled with his leadership skills on lead management and sales and marketing programs help to launch theses three major brands into the shared ownership industry.

He launched luxury shared ownership business enterprises, including lead management and sales and marketing operations for the Marriott Vacation Club, the Four Seasons, and, the St. Regis Residence Clubs (on behalf of Starwood).  

Purchase his new book, Lead Domination, to learn more.


Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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