Saturday 20 December 2008

Two Marketing Questions

1. How are you going to survive 2009?

2. What are you going to do to pull your business up, after 2009?

Thursday 18 December 2008

About Rod Sloane (@rodsloane)

Thanks for clicking the URL in my Twitter profile - let me give you a little background on who I am and what I do.

My name is Rod Sloane and I’m the man behind and the @rodsloane twitter account.

You can read a little more about my story on Rod’s Marketing Story page - but let me take a moment to give you a bit of glimpse at who I am and what I do.

I’m a 50 year old Englishman living in Ealing, London. I am married to Mary and together we have a 17 year old daughter. Since 1999, I have been a full time marketing consultant.

My Podcast
I’ve been Podcasting since August 2008. My podcast is the Rod Sloane No Bull Business Radio Show. You can subscribe to my podcast from either the iTunes Music Store or my website.

on Twitter
You obviously have an interest in Twitter because you’ve clicked through on my Twitter Profile link. I’d enjoy connecting with you there via my @rodsloane twitter account.

If you follow @rodsloane you’ll get a variety of things.
Firstly you’ll see a glimpse of the behind the scenes in my work, life, speaking and reading. I share a little of what I’m up to, share links of what I’m reading, talk about posts I’m working on and give insight into the life of a full time marketing consultant.

My Book

I am the author of 121 Marketing Ideas to Grow your Small Business.
This is a practical business book that cuts through the clichés and attacks all the typical marketing wisdom that doesn’t work.

Connect with Me
Thanks for visiting my about page - if you’ve not already don’t forget to follow me on Twitter so we can interact there.

I’m also relatively active on other social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Ecademy.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Leave the competition in the dust. How to get prospects and clients to think that you show-up everywhere

Earlier this year I wrote that if you wanted to be more successful in your marketing then you needed to double the times you made contact with customers and prospects.

If you made called them monthly, then you need to go to fortnightly, if your email newsletter went out twice a month then send it out every week. People need to hear more from you.

Well I got some criticism from some of you, that you would end up swamping, pestering and annoying prospects and clients. And I would like to take this opportunity to say that I was wrong, and if you follow my advice you might well end up dead-wrong in 2009.

You don’t need to double the times you make contact with the market.

You need to increase it by a factor of 10, 20 maybe even 100.



Don’t rely just on word-of-mouth

Don’t rely just on your sales

Don’t rely just on your marketing

Don’t rely just on your boss (even if that’s you) bringing in all the work

Don’t rely just on your website

Don’t rely just on your telemarketing

Don’t rely just on your email marketing

Don’t rely just on your speaking or seminars

Don’t rely just on your advertising whether online or offline

Don’t rely just on your clients and customers

Don’t rely just on your staff

Don’t rely just on your friends and family

Don’t rely just on your direct mail

Don’t rely just on your book

Don’t rely just on your podcast

Don’t rely just on your blog

Don’t rely just on hope

Don’t rely just on any expert or guru

Don’t rely just on me!

Don’t rely just on this message

Don’t rely just on one silver bullet angering all your prayers

What should you rely on? Well what worked in 2008 may not work well enough in 2009. You really need to get serious about this now.

You need to stop your marketing just turning-up and hoping for a response.

You, your philosophy and your business need to stop turning up and start showing up.

There’s a huge difference between turning up and showing up. It all has to do with your commitment and expectation. You are going to arrive and are going to show them your best stuff.

You need to show up offline more.

You need to show up online more.

I need to show up more.

I have relied too much on this message just turning up and achieving something. Come on Sloane, you can and must do better.

How can you do this?

Give your market, snack sized versions of your message.

Not the full Mars bar but the fun size.

I want you to show up more.

Let me tell you how I am doing this and what I want you to do and it won’t cost you a penny

First take a look at what I am doing on twitter.
What is twitter? It’s quite simply the most cost effective way there has ever been to me talk to people who want to hear your message. Better than SMS, text and email all combined.

Take a look at what I do with twitter here:

Your end of year homework is to watch and understand what twitter is all about.
Don’t worry this will take time and a lot of head scratching.

Second, read my blog here

Are you blogging, if not why not?

Third subscribe to my podcast at the iTunes Music Store

Are you Podcasting, if not why not?

You, your message, your philosophy and your business need to show-up more. I need to show up more.

If you choose not to…you will become invisible.

If I can do this stuff, so can you or some body who works for you.

You need to show up more and get noticed.

You can do this.

It’s just “Simple Stuff, Done Daily, Makes Money”

I hope to see you more of you as you show up more in 2009.

Take the actions I mentioned above, they won’t cost you a penny

Friday 5 December 2008

Stop being such a Namby-Pamby in your Marketing!

This week I have been facilitating a How to Write Your Marketing Plan less than 3 Hours workshop.

One of the challenges that arose and that most businesses owners have is the creation of a strategic core message

What can you say that might raise the curiosity and cause the reader or prospect to stop and take a lot at what you have to offer?

Don’t worry this is what those big corporates pay lots of dosh to swanky agencies for. So how can you do without paying a Berkeley Square fee?

Ask yourself this question “What can you say that either you competitors can’t or won’t say?” Go on I encourage you to go for it. Stop using those namby-pamby cliché ridden terms and say what you want to say.

I don’t offer practical marketing.

I offer “No-Bull Marketing”

What can you say that either you competitors can’t or won’t say?

Say it, baby!

Monday 24 November 2008

Where are you going to spend your Marketing budget in 2009?

How are you going to spend your marketing budget in 2009?

Are you going to cut back on the expensive tactics, do more of the cheaper activities or stick to what works.

You see, I think your competitors are going to slash budgets and focus on the less costly activities. You now stuff like email and all that online activity.

Which means three things.

1. More email for you and your target market

2. Your competitors will start to look and sound the same

3. More opportunities for you to be different, not better

Personally, I think this is great news, according to a survey by Marketing Sherpa, a market research company. This information is pure gold.

Who wants more email, start doing what your competitors don’t and you will be different. When everyone is zigging, you zag and when they zag, you zig.

Email is important but the real future is in direct mail

Friday 21 November 2008

Isn’t this what you really want?

Let’s face who wants better marketing? Who? You only care how much it costs, how long it takes to do and how much it takes to get the results. Really, all you are interested in is the results, i.e. new clients or more work from existing clients

All you want to know is How to Get More Work/Clients?

If you could buy a new client for £500, then how much would you be prepared to invest on marketing to get that client?

Who buys new clients, plenty of businesses do. Some law firms are quite happy to buy business at more than £500 each.

Now, I know it depend on the life time value of a client, including how many times they buy from you and how many referrals they bring.

Ultimately you need to do whatever it takes to achieve the results that you want. Just be careful about basing it all on one golden tactic, buying clients, pay-per-click or word-of-mouth.

Isn’t that what you really want?

Tuesday 11 November 2008

You Better? You Bet!

I have just returned from the Professional Speakers Association (PSA) 2008 Convention. This is where speakers go to learn more about the craft and business about making a living from speaking.

Now the PSA is a wonderful sharing organisation. We leave our egos at the hotel entrance and encourage each other to improve.

Naturally being the brilliant speaker I am, I was speaking, but you know that I learned something….I am not quite as good as I think I am.

I can improve

I want to improve

I need to improve

What core skill/talent do you have that you are good at?

My suggestion is to take a class in it, whatever it takes to improve.

Otherwise someone is who more dedicated than you may well leapfrog you.

Monday 3 November 2008

Compliment someone them simple

Wonderfully simple solution.

Thanks for that simple thought.

I like your simple idea.

It's simple.

Go on be a simple man/woman.

For more resources join the Simplicity Club.

It's free and simple to join of course!

Friday 31 October 2008

Be Different or Be Unique?

Should you try and be different or be unique?

Now we are all unique, but apart from our loved ones who can be bothered to analyse how? Can you? I can’t.

Now, I like wearing black, black t-shirts, black shirts, black jeans, black shoes, my black leather jacket, Blackpool. Am I different? Yes, a little.

Am I unique?

Abso-blumin-lutely not.

Lou Reed was doing all this 40 years ago. Yes, I know Lou’s from Brooklyn not Blackpool.

Here’s my tip, be yourself and you will be different. Don’t worry what others think and about you. You are not responsible for their opinions and prejudices. Then someday, someone else, not you, may call you unique.

Simple, isn’t it.

Cue “Perfect Day”

Thursday 30 October 2008

What is the One Word that Clients, Suppliers, Employees, Friends and Family use to Describe You?

Can you really sum your personality, character, style and beliefs in one adjective?

It's too simple...isn't it?

Well it might be if you try and choose that word but what if you had no control over that adjective, if it was chosen by people who knew you?

Can you find a way to do that? gives us such a facility, with the Testimonials function.

Now the Testimonials ability is not perfect.
But apart from Catherine Zeta Jones, nothing's perfect. Is it?

I cut and pasted my testimonials and one word was used to describe me more than any other.

What was it….


So I'm a simple man, cue that Lynyrd Skynyrd song.

I offer simple ideas.

Now, I could be offended with Simple.
But I'm delighted with it.
Not sure what it means, but I mean to embrace simplicity.

What is the one word people use to describe you?

P.S. It may not be the word you want them to use.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Come and Hear Me Speak in London on November 6th.

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I used to frequent comedy clubs. I was just a member of the paying audience. We enjoyed ourselves, drank some beer, heckled some and laughed. But most of all I admired the talent and bottle of those stand-ups who entertained us. They had my respect.

Now, I was too much of a wimp to have a go at stand-up, so I did the next best thing, that is speaking to groups. Call it public speaking, professional speaking or showing-off….I love it. Maybe, I just like being the centre of attention in Rod’s World.

If you have never seen/heard me speak, then you hear me speak on Thursday November 6th in London. Why should you come out and hear me speak.

1.) I’m only speaking for 15 minutes so you won’t have to endure too much.

2.) There’s complimentary wine and appetisers, sorry no brown ale

3.) It’s free

Hope to see you on the 6th.

Register here

Monday 27 October 2008

Marketing is Too Important to Be Left to the Marketing Department.

You always have to admire someone who is smarter than you and works harder than you. Perhaps I should quit right now. No, come on it's only Monday, gotta keep moving on. One chap I have grown to admire is Jonathan Salem Baskin. Baskin writes a column for advertising age, writes a cracking blog, Dim Bulb, links down there on there right and is an entertaining speaker.

But what I really like about Baskin, is the title of his book “Branding Only Works on Cattle” where he attacks all those branding gurus and concludes all that matters is how much you sell and whether clients enjoyed interacting with you. No Marketing hype here.

After all the only purpose of your marketing is to make it easier, a lot easier, to make a sale. Forget all the other marketing mumbo-jumbo. And the next time some marketing type talks about branding... sack 'em.

Friday 24 October 2008

Are Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair or Easyjet better than British Airways?

Maybe, but it's hard to tell isn't it?

What they all are is different to BA. Being better than your competition is hard, really hard. Especially in the minds of prospects and clients.

So how are those other airlines different?

Well it seems to me that they allow their personality to be central to their marketing. How they do that is by allowing the personality of their CEO's to shine, to be heard We all have heard about and seen Richard Branson, Michael O'Leary and Stelios. You probably have an opinion of those three that might vary from admiration through to loathing. Because you have an opinion of them you also have an opinion about their airline. You may not even know who the current CEO of BA is.

So, what can we learn from this?

1.It's OK to be different

2.Let the personality of your top person be public.

3.Now, be brave and broadcast that message.

How can a smaller business do this?

Well one easy way is by doing this, producing a blog, that allows personality to shine through.

Don't be afraid to have an opinion or be a personality. People will remember you.

Remember, be different not better.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Wishin’ and Hopin’ are not Marketing Tactics

Wishin’ and Hopin’ might have worked for Dusty Springfield in the Sixties, please don’t tell me you are still using them 44 years later as key factors in your marketing.

So, what are your top three lead generation marketing tactics?

You know, those three tactics that when you implement them on a regular basis result in generating new business from prospects and repeat purchases from existing clients.

You do have three humdingers don’t you; please tell me that you do. You’re not one of those poor saps that has one tactic, are you? You’re not one of those businesses that say something silly like “We get all our business from …” Can you see the inherent weakness in that thinking that could drag your business down, especially in tougher times?

If you have ever heard, seen or endured me speaking about having a marketing plan, you’ll now that I suggest you should have a minimum of three lead generation tactics.

What are your top three? Can you say them right now? Can you write them down, with confidence? No, well start with one, you can name one, right? Now pick one that scares you and keep adding. You can change them

Here’s my tip, pick lead generation tactics where you can measure the results.

Extra tip, pick one that scares you just a little, you’ll be amazed at the results and fun it will bring you.

So what are my top three?

1. Speaking
2. Direct Mail
3. Blogging

What are yours?

Apologies, if I called you a poor sap, now go think of a stronger term…

Wednesday 22 October 2008

My Favourite Marketing Tactic

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..” could Dickens have foreseen our current economic plight writing in 1859?

Now, it may not quite the currently feel like the best of times, but I suggest it is the best of times to try something new and low-risk in your marketing.

Let me introduce you to my most favourite 'bestest' marketing tactic, namely speaking to groups of clients and prospects from your ideal market.

Now, you may be thinking that I have gone off my rocker, after all speaking is so difficult, isn't it. Let me tell you that's a load of old bull. Speaking in front of groups is easy.

Repeat after me 'Speaking in front of groups is easy'

You can do it. If I can do it, you can do it. It's not blinkin' bungee jumping or flying a helicopter.

Why do I like it and think it's useful.


1.It differentiates you from your competition
2.You are in control
3.It's fun.
4.It's as cheap as chips to do.
5.It's fun
6.It positions you as an expert, meaning people won't moan about your fees, in fact they'll expect more to hire you.
7.Did I say it's fun?

Forget all that stuff, about how difficult it is, visit your local ToastMasters International Club and start improving your speaking skills.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Time to Develop Your Core Marketing Message

What is the purpose of your marketing?

You might say it's to start the phone ringing, get people to want to hire you and your business or to make selling easier. All good objectives but tough ones, too. How about something simpler and easier?

How about the purpose of your marketing is to expose your core marketing message to prospects in your target market. You know the sorts of people you want to do business with.

So what is a core message, it's simply 8-10 words that uniquely conveys what you and your services do for your clients. Slogans and taglines may change. When you finish crafting your core message , stick with it baby. Sound easy? Well let me tell you that this is your homework for the rest of your business life.

What's my core message it's “No-Bull Marketing that catapults your business to the next level.”

Time to start working on yours?

Sunday 19 October 2008

What's your Marketing Strategy?

Tony, a friend of mine asked me the other day “Rod, What is your internet strategy?” I didn’t know whether to smile at Tony or slap him. Tony didn’t understand the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing tactic. And you know that for many years, neither did I.

So let me explain the difference. Both of these words are military terms.

Can Julius Caesar really help you in your business in 2007? I dunno.

Naturally, these terms have been adopted by MBA’s.

But today I want to give you my version, the No Bull version, the version that you can use in your business.

Let’s start with your marketing strategy?

Your marketing strategy answers the following simple question.

What is the most important position you want in the mind of your buyer/client? The ultimate perception! The ultimate place!

Can you answer that question? Because if you can’t then your client probably can and it may not be the position you want.

I find a good word to add to strategy is position. So what’s my strategic position?

“I want to be known, liked, trusted, hired and referred as the UK’s most practical, small business marketing expert.”

Just 19 words. Can you document yours?

So where do tactics come in? Well tactics are what you do to help your client think of you in your strategic position.

So is this note helping be more known, liked, trusted, hired and referred as the UK’s most practical, small business marketing expert?

When I speak to groups of business owners do I become known, liked, trusted, hired and referred as the UK’s most practical, small business marketing expert by my target market? Get it?

So what are tactics? Simply think of tactics as actions that will help you get closer to your strategic positioning in your client’s mind.

Networking, speaking, blogging, messing about on the internet...sorry I mean internet marketing, direct mail these are all tactics.

Simple isn’t it?

So first work on your strategic positioning then plan your tactics.

Of course I smiled at Tony. I would never have hit him; he’s bigger than me that was my tactic.

Monday 6 October 2008

Develop a simple client philosophy

You've probably never heard of Michael Mayson.

I hadn't. But we both should have.

Michael is the general manager of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham.

He also has a simple philosophy which is listen to the customer and give them what they want.

“I still use that approach today and it has never let me down,” he says.

My client philosophy statement is:

"Give customers what they want, not what you want"

What yours?

Thursday 2 October 2008

How to Respond in Uncertain Times.

I don't know about you, but this week the words of that dour Scot from Dad's Army, Private Fraser have been ringing in my head "We doooomed!"

The media love to tell us how bad things are, how the party's over and we will soon all be working by candlelight.

Well, for one, I say they're wrong.

You and I run our own small business.
The banks are not in control
The politicians are not in control.

You and your clients are in control.

Come on, I think it's time to get back to basics especially with your marketing.

It's time to discard all your old prejudices and fears.

Time to consider what really works.

What really works for example is direct mail.
For every £1 spend on direct mail, expect a £4 response.

Don't take my word for it, pop over to the Direct Mail Information Service and download their free report.

Friends, it's time to get serious about your marketing

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Why has your Marketing Material got such a Crappy Headline?

Currently in the middle of receiving marketing pieces from business owners as part of the 2008 Olympic Marketing Challenge (see below for details).

So why do so many of us use lame headlines in our marketing or even worse no headline at all?

Writing headlines is the fun and easy part in marketing.

We all need to work a little harder and test a lot more.

Headline I liked today that I saw was

"Bonus Whores Offers Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to Lucky Member"

Even if you're shocked you'll want to read more. Job Done

Wednesday 6 August 2008

The Famous Bob Monkhouse Tube Ad

This is the famous Bob Monkhouse London Tube advert.

It won awards, but I think it has one flaw.

Can you spot it?

Wednesday 30 July 2008

2008 Olympic Marketing Challenge


OK, I like Spain,

I love the climate, their beaches, their food and drink.

Can I just ask them to stop winning virtually every sports event this summer in Europe? First they won the football, then Wimbledon and now the Tour de France. Let's hope that they don't take up cricket and rugby.

Now, you maybe wonder what this has to do with your marketing?
Good question.

But this is a summer of sport and it's just about to explode with the start of the Beijing Olympics. A sporting feast for some and a turn off for others.

Well I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter because I am going to resurrect a Rod Sloane tradition.

I am calling it the Rod Sloane Olympic Marketing Challenge 2008.
Am I getting delusions of grandeur?

What is it?
It's a chance for you to receive some feedback on a marketing piece you are currently working on...for a zero fee!

How does it work?
Email me your marketing piece and I will give you some feedback on how you might refine it for improvement.

Does this mean that I will write your marketing piece for you?
No. You need to draft it yourself.

What type of marketing piece?
A brochure, marketing letter, single web page, marketing email, blog, postcard you name it.

Am I restricted to one marketing piece?
Yes one at a time, but after you have received feedback, you can send me another one.

What's the catch?
Well you have to put up with my opinion and communicate with me, apart from that, very little

It's not enough Rod, I want a further incentive.
OK. Every Friday I will have a drawing and one person who has sent me a piece for critique will win a copy of my best seller "121 Marketing Ideas to Grow your Small Business." Be quick though, you know how those Spanish are winning everything this summer. And no, I don't have a Spanish version of my book.

Rod, what's with this crazy offer?
Have you been struck by summer lightning?

Uhh, that's why my brain hurts.

What do I do?
Send me am email with your marketing piece attached to
Remember to include your name and business address if you want to enter the book draw.

When does the Rod Sloane Olympic Marketing Challenge 2008 finish?
At the end of the closing ceremony for the Games on Sunday August 24th

Hasta la vista

Friday 25 July 2008

How do people really see you?

This is how someone who knows me sees me.

Now I like to think of myself as a heroic good looking chap.

this person obviously sees me as the villain.

How do people view you and does it matter?

Probably not.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 23 July 2008

My Top Ten Things

This is what I believe businesses need to do to prove successful.

You may call it my business philosophy, my ten commandents, my mantra, my mojo.

I simply call it my Ten Things.

Of course there are 11, because 11 is always better than 10!

Do this and you will stand out and be different.

You don't need to wear a black t-shirt.
But it helps!Posted by Picasa

Thursday 17 July 2008

What's past is Prologue

It's gone.

It's over.

Forget it and move on and frankly who cares.

Nobody cares.

If you messed up, so what?

It's over.

It's history, time to live in the present and future.

Blame and guilt won't help you.

Come on, start again.

What's past is prologue