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