Does the idea of a weak economy scare you? It shouldn’t! (J. Munk)

June 20, 2008

195244498_01fbb73234 Drew’s Note:  As I try to do every Friday, I’m pleased to bring you a guest post from yet another interesting thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. Enjoy!

Does the idea of a weak economy scare you? It shouldn’t

We’ve been hearing it now for months: The economy is weak. The Dollar is weak. Business is suffering. It’s all very apocalyptic, and for marketers, you might think it’s a scary time. After all, you have revenue to bring in and customers to keep coming back.

But here’s why a struggling economy should excite rather than scare you:

1.  Customers are shopping around more than ever. When people are more price-sensitive, they compare costs and levels of service between companies more often, which means customers that may previously been out of reach to you might be looking your way now. It’s a great time to acquire new customers.

2. The weak economy will weed out the weak companies. This is survival of the fittest! If you’re a strong company, it’s time to rejoice, because soon you’ll have less competition to worry about and more customers to gain. If you’re currently weaker than you want to be, now is a great time to begin making the changes you’ve been putting off to become a great company.

3. Customers are looking for companies to trust. Show you care about and are there for your customers in difficult times, and go out of your way to make sure their experiences are great.  Do it well and they will be loyal to you for years to come. Now is the time to invest in your customers with solid CRM marketing.

4. Every change is an opportunity. This change happens to include challenges that can be easily foreseen, which is, in fact, great news for marketers. Now you can look at your organization holistically and understand more precisely how your actions might affect your business. What’s more, since the struggle is universal, you can glean great insights from everyone else who is working to deal with the situation.

There’s no denying that a struggling economy is difficult on everyone, but with that comes great marketing opportunities that can help you grow your customer base, increase the lifetime value of existing customers and stand out from competitors like never before. Take advantage of it!

Jonathan Munk owns a Lamborghini. Billionaire. Small business marketing expert. One of these describes Jonathan Munk (hint: it’s the last one). Jonathan has spent his career helping companies understand the importance of marketing and helping them solve problems related to their marketing efforts.  He invites you to subscribe to his blog Manizesto.

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.

Flickr photo courtesy of Donna Grayson.


Could you find an extra 15 hours? (DJ Francis)

June 6, 2008

19136863 I recently outlined all of the media I recommend to keep up with the best in blogging and marketing. It was a large list. Very large. After reading that list, I sympathize if you think it would be impossible to keep up with all of the books, magazines, blogs, and podcasts.

Before I started blogging, I never would have thought that I could consume all of that information (outside my day job, no less). I’m here to tell you that it is possible and these are the secrets to create at least 15 hours in your week to do so.

No Rest For The Wicked First, wake up an hour earlier. If you’re tired, go to bed earlier. It’s amazing the amount of time we waste at night. Believe me, you will not waste time at 5am. (Hey, no one said this was going to be easy.)

  • 1 hour x 5 days/week = 5 hours gained

Podcast Your Way To Work You probably commute to work – train, bus, car – doesn’t matter. Why are you listening to shock-jocks or staring out the window? There are a thousand ways to connect your iPod to your car radio (and one particularly effective way to connect your iPod to your ear). Polish off some podcasts on your way to and from work.

  • .5-1 hour x twice/day 5 days/week = 5-10 hours gained

Idle Hands And All That You don’t have to be a kid to realize that everyone poops. I don’t want to get too personal, but you’re just sitting there, right? I hear it’s a good place to, you know, read…

  • Let’s not even divide this by day – let’s just say 1.5 hours/week gained (give or take)

Digesting Content It’s likely that you eat during the day and that’s just wasted time. Sure, you might need to throw in the client lunch here and there, but most of the time you’re shoving down a sandwich in front of the computer like the rest of us. Grab a book or your iPod and head to the park. You’ll get work done over lunch and it’s better for your health.

  • .5-1 hour x 5 days/week = 2.5-5 hours gained

Exercise Your Mind Too How much time do you spend on the treadmill watching Chris Matthews bloviate on television? How about all of those hours watching the Yankees lose (or the Cubs win)? Don’t waste this time.

  • .5-1 hour x 3 days/week = 1.5-3 hours gained

Add It Up Add this up and you are looking at 15.5-24.5 hours gained per week! Think of what you could do if you had 2-3 work days just to focus on your own career – not the one where you earn money for your boss, but the one where you improve your life for your family. None of this is easy, but it is possible. It’s just a matter of how much you want to succeed.

Go Pro If you’ve mastered these steps and you are ready to go professional, follow Chris Brogan’s advice. Unlike me, he actually derives a living from blogging. I know these tips work – they’ve been working for me for months. Feel free to leave other tips in the comments.

DJ Francis has spent his professional life in the persuasive marketing communications world.  Whether it was his stint in political strategy, his foray into magazine marketing or his current gig, healthcare marketing — he has mastered the art of leading the horse to water.  You can subscribe to his blog Online Marketer and check out his free white paper, Writing Content for a Web 2.0 World.

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.


Taking the Fear From Selling and the Mystery from Marketing (Barry Moltz)

May 30, 2008

30445578 Have you heard either of these before?

The Sales Person: "It’s scary! I don’t want to call people I do not know."

Marketing: "It’s a mystery to me! What worked and what did not work in my marketing plan?"

This is where so many business people can get stuck in launching a successful marketing and sales campaign within their company. Unfortunately, without strong sales and marketing we do not have customers and without customers, well, all we have in is more inventory and debt.

What we have to understand about sales is that people only buy when they are in pain and have the money to solve that pain. When I ask someone to buy, it’s not personal. If they are in pain and have the money to solve the pain, they will buy from me (assuming I can solve that pain).

It’s that simple.

Our job in sales is to find the people who have the pain and the money to solve that pain. Where this job gets complicated is that salespeople have the tendency to focus a lot of attention on prospects who either are not in great pain or don’t have the money to solve the pain.

We accept a "maybe" from our prospects for answers and keep working on getting them to say "yes" even though there is no prize down that path. We keep doing this because it is more comfortable to call on people we already have had contact with and we do not want to admit to ourselves that maybe this person who we hoped would buy from us, just won’t.

The second best answer from a prospect is "no". A "no" allows us to let go, bounce, take an action and find people that have the pain and money to say yes!

Marketing begins to work when the prospect says no. Marketing is critical because we actually can’t sell anything to anyone, we just need to be there when people are ready to buy-period!

Marketing’s job is to consistently inform our prospects (the people who have the pain) that we are here. We retain visibility in front of them so when they are ready to make the buying decision, they call us. We can be considered.

One of my mentors, Robin Creasman calls this "the maybe pile". You get a chance to compete. That’s all we need to do. Most companies close 30% of the proposals they submit. When marketing gets us into the maybe pile we have more chance to close more sales.

Barry Moltz has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years.  His second book, “Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, teaches how to gain true business confidence. Barry is a nationally recognized expert on entrepreneurship who has given over 100 speeches to audiences ranging from 20 to 20,000.


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.


Grab the mic: The ingredients for cooking up a community (Liz Strauss)

January 25, 2008

Blogcommunity It’s easy enough, at this time of year, to suffer from the post-holiday blues. Blog traffic becomes weirdly unpredictable. Just when we thought that we our blogs were as bright as holiday lights, it seems the lights have gone out.

Ever look at a community that seems alive every day and wonder what’s so special over there? If you look closely, I bet you’ll see most of these ten traits . . .

  1. A community leader. Leaders know what they stand for. They know where they’re going. They know what they have to offer. Leaders are interesting people to be around. They’re generous with their experience. They don’t take themselves too seriously.
  2. A clear idea of people who are the community. A community is a collection of people who are alike in some way, despite their myriad differences.  All members of a community have something in common — that’s the need the community serves.
  3. A sense of place that reflects the community. Online or off, vibrant communities offer people an environment that looks familiar to them. If the crowd prefers to wear tuxedos and black dresses, they don’t hold their party in a barn. A vibrant community design sort of says to the people who see it, "Other folks like you hang out here."
  4. Honest hospitality. A vibrant, growing community notices new people and welcomes them as soon as they walk in the door. Someone answers their questions and makes sure they feel at home. That’s why they return and bring their friends.
  5. Plenty of entertainment/information. The environment is rich with things to explore — content, ideas, and questions about the visitors. Every decision reflects who the people of the community are.
  6. Conversation and Connection. From the first word, conversations leave room for folks to speak — no list is finished without participation. Every idea invites others’ experience. When folks tell their truth, people explore, discover, and learn from each other.
  7. Room. We always make room for one more — even the one who’s different. Inclusion is important.
  8. Respect. Every member has a place to stand and the chance to speak. Everyone is interesting and valued.
  9. Rules and Responsibility. The rules are few, but the standards are high. Occasional misbehaviors are handled in gentle ways. People notice and know they don’t have to worry about such things.
  10. Gratitude. People only have so much time. It’s a gift that they’re spending part of their life in the community.

So many great communities are happening. If we step back and make room for them, so many more will be.

Truly.   I know. Someone just told me about another one tonight.

Community builder = Liz Strauss.  That’s simply all there is to it.  Her blog Liz Strauss at Successful Blog is both a destination and an event for a fiercely loyal community of readers.  She’s known as a relationship geek, a person who answers every comment, and someone who never sleeps. If you ask her about it, she’ll tell you she lives inside your computer. Some folks have started to believe that.  Liz is one of the creators of SOBCon, a blogger’s event that combines learning, sharing and genuine caring.


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.


Grab the mic: The 3 Things You Need to Stop Doing If You Want New Ideas (Katie Konrath)

January 18, 2008

Stopsign The business world is moving faster than ever before.  New technology, new ways of doing things, and worldwide competition.  Whether you’re trying to come up with new products and services, or trying to make your existing offerings stand out, it’s essential to be able to come up with new ideas.  You need to be creative if you want to stand out in today’s overcrowded marketplace.

There is a ton of advice out there on how to be more creative.  You could try Lateral Thinking, buy some Thinkertoys, get a Whack on the Side of the Head, or any of the other techniques that jolt your mind into a new way of thinking.

But none of that is actually going to help unless you stop three self-sabotaging behaviors that destroy your best ideas before you have them.

So how do you stop stopping your creativity?

1. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

A lot of people think that every single idea needs to come from scratch.  After all, it isn’t very creative if you just copy what someone else is doing, right?  Wrong.  A lot of great ideas come from figuring out how to apply something from another field to your situation.
Henry Ford did this fantastically.  He didn’t invent the assembly line-that’s been around since the 1500s-but his idea of using an assembly line to assemble cars was genius.

He’s not the only one.  The idea for Velcro came when someone observed how burrs stick to clothing.  Golf allegedly was invented when someone saw how much the Scottish kings enjoyed batting around the heads of their enemies. (Not really.)  Even roll-on deodorant was modeled after the inner workings of the ball-point pen.

So, if you want to come up with a great new idea for your company, look around to see what people in other fields are doing.  Then adapt their solutions to your particular situation.  It’s not cheating if you expand on a concept that came from somewhere else.

2. Stop waiting for ideas to just happen.

Who has had a fantastic idea when they were showering, or in the middle of the night, or when they weren’t thinking about the problem at all?  Probably everyone.  It’s pretty common to have an idea pop randomly out of the blue.

The problem comes when you start believing that ideas just happen.  Then you start to rationalize, "If ideas are totally random, what’s the point in looking for them?"
Except ideas aren’t random. 

Serendipitous ideas occur because you’ve set your mind to looking for a solution, and–even when you’re not thinking directly about your problem–your brain is ticking in the background.  And then, BAM!  You suddenly make a connection and an amazing idea pops out of nowhere.

Random ideas might seem like they just happen–but you won’t come up with any ideas if you’re not looking for them.

3. Stop throwing out your worst ideas.

It’s way too easy to figure out what’s wrong with an idea and why it won’t work.  You’ve probably all heard that a Yale professor told FedEx founder Fred Smith that " in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea [for an overnight delivery service] must be feasible." 

Did you know also that Debbie Fields was told no one would ever want to buy soft cookies.  And that one of the Warner brothers just couldn’t understand "who the h@!! wants to hear actors talk!"

You’ve probably done it to yourself as well.  An idea might be too silly, or not possible, or just loony, or any of a thousand other excuses to bury the idea forever.  And, of course, it’s just so easy to toss an idea away.

What if you took a second look at that "awful idea" while saying "What part of this idea can I build on?  How could it work?"  You might be very pleasantly surprised.  A lot of ideas that sound completely backwards at first are actually gold mines for new and better ideas.

Fact is, it’s not easy to come up with new ideas.  People struggle with being creative all the time, and even the most brilliantly-innovative people have been so disappointed in a "bad" idea that they’d like to pretend it never happened.

That’s why there are so many techniques and tips out there to learn how to be more creative.  Because it’s not easy.

But it’s also not as hard as many people make it out to be.  If you just keep your eyes open for existing solutions that you can apply to your situation, make a point of looking for new ideas, and look for the silver lining of the ideas you want to discard, you’ll find out that you’re a lot more creative than you thought.

All you need to do is to stop getting in your own way.

Katie Konrath blogs about creativity, innovation and "ideas so fresh, they should be slapped!" at  She has a masters degree in creativity from the University of Malta’s Institute of Thinking and has studied creative thinking in Russia, Malta, London and Iowa.  Katie is also a certified Lateral Thinking instructor and a former creative problem-solving competition global champion.

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.


Grab the mic: Facebook as a Tool for B2B Marketing (Shama Hyder)

January 11, 2008



Ever wondered how to use Facebook to market your business? Maybe the thought never even crossed your mind because you didn’t think it was possible. Not only is it possible, but people are marketing and selling through Facebook on a daily basis.

So how can you use Facebook as a tool for B2B Marketing? Here are 5 steps!

Create a fantastic Profile– Facebook profile pages are soon going to top Google search results, so make sure you have yours up. Be sure to list your website address and your occupation. I get plenty of Facebook messages every week from people who visit my profile and are curious to learn more about our company. Think of your Facebook profile as an elaborate business card. Once you login, you can check out my profile as an example here.

Add friends…and people you want to befriend– You may be surprised to find more people than you expected are using Facebook. You can add friends through a widget that will look through your address books and messengers to find current friends. After which it will allow you to see "friends of friends." This is a great way to broaden your network. For example, you see that a major decision maker for a firm you have been trying to get in touch with is in your colleague’s friend list. You can easily drop them a small message mentioning the mutual connection and perhaps an invitation to connect further.

Join Groups– Facebook has a group on almost every subject imaginable to man. Some are funny (French Toast Lovers Unite), some are working for global change (Help Feed the Hungry), and some are professional networking groups (Professional Services Marketing). Facebook Groups are the perfect way to go about networking in a casual manner with like-minded individuals. I have heard from quite a few top bloggers that it is easier for them to connect with others on Facebook than it is through email because their inboxes are usually overflowing.

Create your Own Group– Couldn’t find a group you liked? Create your own! Whether it’s Accountants of UK or Direct Marketers for Auto Companies-you can start your own group. There are two benefits to this 1) You are perceived as a leader in your field for taking initiative, and 2) You get to cultivate friendships and prospects.

Let it Simmer– Perhaps the best thing about Facebook is it doesn’t require too much time. Once you setup a profile and add a few key friends, let your account simmer. Sit back and watch as more people add you, send you messages, and invite you to join groups.

Think of Facebook as a platform for networking and lead generation, rather than a tool for direct marketing and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Shama Hyder is an expert marketing consultant to independent professionals and professional service firms around the world. As the founder of After The Launch, Shama serves clients through her one-on-one consulting work, and through her company’s several online and offline marketing services.  You download her free report "101 Ways to Market Your Business."

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.


Grab the mic: Dan Schawbel – With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

December 28, 2007

Spiderman A blog is not just about a conversation, it’s about the ideas that flourish within the conversation and the influence that it has on others.  By writing posts, you may in fact be changing someone’s life, their train of thought or a decision they could be making. 

If you watched the movie Spiderman, then you must have picked up on the quote "with great power comes great responsibility." The quote was said by Ben Parker (Peter’s uncle) a few scenes before he was murdered.  As Spiderman, Peter’s has the ability to fight evil or become evil and depending on how he utilizes the gift that was given to him, he can change the world for better or worse. 

You are Spiderman. 

You may not have webbing or spidey sense, but your writing impacts lives on a recurring basis.  You’d be surprised how many people have a stake in your personal brand.  Check out your subscription base for example and see how many people rely on you as a source of information for running their daily lives. 

Having a blog is a powerful thing and empowers you to express your personal brand through writing, multimedia and community.  If you put yourself on the other end of the spectrum, as the receiver of your own information, you’ll get a deeper sense of the value and authenticity. 

Unethical behavior online, in which you plagiarize or falsely identify news or advice, can not only hurt your brand, but also negatively affect your readership.

For instance, if you write about how Google has changed their algorithm, in that the more links you have, the lower your PageRank, you are going to seriously hurt their business and your personal brand.  You lose credibility.  If you spread knowledge of new marketing strategies that you know have failed, the same effect may occur.  Remember that not everyone who reads your blog has this knowledge and they come to you to acquire it, so be mindful of what you write.

If you don’t blog, then pay close attention to the credibility of the blogs that you read.  It’s wise to review their profile; to ensure that they have the knowledge and field expertise required to be trustworthy.  You can get a better sense of their brand by reviewing their past few blog posts, as well as the comments they receive and the network they have on their blogroll. 

Bottom line –blogging is all about transparency.  Your actions will speak loudly, so choose them carefully.

As a leading Personal Branding expert for the gen-y audience, Dan has a world recognized blog, a TV podcast series, awards and a magazine on the subject of personal branding.  He is also the creator of the first 360 degree personal brand website that mixes his professional and personal life together into a compelling story. Dan has been featured in Fast Company Magazine, BrandWeek Magazine, Yahoo! Finance and has written for The American Marketing Association, MarketingProfs and other major resources.

Would you like to be a guest author on Grab the Mic?  Just e-mail Drew!


Grab the mic Friday: The Emperor Has No Clothes

December 21, 2007

Picture_9 I thought the first question was an easy one. "Why do you want to work on your brand?"

I told them how my friend, Michael Libby, had once pointed out to me that my business card, letterhead, brochures, and promotional items all had a different look, tone and feel.

He thought I would benefit from sending one unified message. "Besides" I continued, "we are moving our office and all this stuff will have to be reprinted anyway." As soon as I said it, I knew I was in trouble. I could see it in their eyes.

I was sitting in a conference room with great minds from both the McLellan Marketing Group and REL Productions. I did not want to have to pick one friend over another and they were interested in doing some collaborative work anyway. So I became the guinea pig.

Since this is Drew’s blog perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is Art Dinkin and I am a Certified Financial Planner practitioner here in Central Iowa.

Everybody, without exception, knows somebody who is in the financial services business. It is like being a four leaf clover on a football field. Chances are no one is going to look close enough to realize that you are not just like all the other blades of grass.  After nearly twenty years in the business, it was time to invest in my brand. Marketing professionals are very familiar with brand discernment; this is what it is like from the other side of the conference table.

The process is simple, but not easy.

Have you ever seen the show What Not to Wear? The participant steps into this room, which is nothing more than a 360 degree mirror, while the professionals critique her dress and style. That is kind of what it felt like. I felt like I was standing in that room, completely naked, as my business was dissected. The truth sometimes hurts, but it was necessary for me to first recognize that my brand was broken.

Here is an example. When asked "Why do people do business with Art Dinkin?" I told them about my experience, knowledge, and integrity. "That is not enough" they said, "those qualities do NOT make you unique. What is it about your practice that differentiates you from everyone else?"

They helped me discover that I am unique. I have a very relaxed style and I can explain complex financial arrangements in the everyday language which my clients understand. My brand lies within my uniqueness. The knowledge, experience and integrity are only important once the brand message is conveyed.

Drew warned me that as I learned to embrace my brand that it would become a guideline for decision making, and it has. It is easy for me to see which ideas fit my practice, and quickly eliminate those that do not.

Like financial planning, branding is a process … not an event. I started with my look and feel. Today I have a business card and stationary set which matches my brand. I am in the process of taking updating my blog and website with the same color pallet and style (I hope to have it done in a few weeks).

There are other recommendations which I have set aside for the time being. Some seemed near ridiculous to me when I first heard them, but as I have become more comfortable with my brand they seem more realistic. Thankfully I know Drew will never tell me "told ya."

Drew’s note:  Art experienced what many people do when they decide they need to think about branding.  It can be overwhelming and a little scary.  But it can also be absolutely illuminating.  Art has a great blog that makes financial decisions, information and possibilities something we Average Joe’s can understand.

Art also makes a great point — branding is not a switch you flip.  It’s an evolution and he’s well on his way!


The worst thing you could do is have a blog (Grab the mic guest post)

December 14, 2007

Picture_13 I’ve worked in advertising and marketing. I’ve even been a consultant. But that’s not really what I or my blog is about, in fact it seems quite difficult to get to grips with what it is I do over on The Kaiser and I have been asked on a number of occasions to explain myself.

So I thought I’d do it here.

It would seem that I, on a regular basis, break all the rules and top ten tips for creating a successful blog; I do tend to delete them you see – which screws up all sorts of things that have come to seem important, like technorati ratings, google page rankings and all the other stuff that bloggers think they need to keep themselves going. But I’ve come to see these things as blogger’s-crack and have simply walked away from them.

What I try to do is create seasons of content, and I do this through creating, developing and launching characters into what we call the blogosphere. These seasons are loosely based on television formats. I try and create interest and addiction while the seasons are running which then climax into sorrow and disappointment when we reach the last episode.

I’m not interested in creating a constant stream of constant content. I’m looking for waves, dips and peaks.

It’s challenging for me both as a writer and as a performer; yes I’ve come to consider myself a performer as most of the characters are some disguised version of myself. It’s challenging for the readers too and sometimes I get it wrong and sometimes I need to pace the dips and peaks differently.

I’m basically running formats, content formats, that try to entertain, confuse, anger and empower people. They sometimes move people too. It’s hard work because I’m creating all the time and I’m trying to be original but that’s the fun of it, that’s the joy and when I get it wrong  I seem to get it wrong for all of the right reasons.

And this is what I would like to share with you.

It’s tempting to read top ten tips and tricks, get bogged down with SEO nonsense and do all the other things that bloggers are supposed to do but the worst thing you could do is just have a blog. You need to have a format (not a niche) and you need to love that format and fight for it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a huge corporation, an agency, a small business or just a chap like me sitting in a little yellow kitchen, you need to have a format that you love because people will notice. Eventually.

Marcus Brown is the mad genius behind The Kaiser, Sacrum and many other blog legends.  His marketing sense is fresh and keen.  His humor is brittle and his heart is pure.  I rarely read his work without nodding and at the same time, shaking my head at the brilliant delivery.  He’s probably the bravest blogger I know.

Watch for more guest posts every Friday.  Interesting in being a guest blogger here at Drew’s Marketing Minute?  E-mail me.