Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Happy Birthday from Walt Disney

In 2009 you can visit a DisneyWorld or DisneyLand free for the day as long as you can prove it’s your birthday. What a wonderful marketing tactic especially if you live in North America. Do I really need to explain the power of this tactic even if 99% of prospects never take you up? One word….goodwill.

Celebrate your customer’s birthday with them!
So how you could model this idea..?

What could you do on your client’s birthday? Send ‘em something!

What you could do on your personal birthday? Free digital product

On your business’s birthday a special bonus on all products and services.

By the way, my birthday is May 2nd which is a Saturday this year.
Don’t forget me!!

Monday, 30 March 2009

What do to when a prospect say no

One of the challenges you are going to have to deal with is when a prospect chooses someone else rather than you and your business. Now, this is OK early on in the marketing process, but it’s harder later on the cycle.

Last week, I lost a piece of business I thought I had won. It hurts financially. It hurts personally. It bruises your business ego. It’s like being dumped by a partner. I was not a happy Roddy! So what should you do?

Get over it! Nobody cares! We all make these decisions every day not to spend money with certain suppliers. We don’t obsess as buyers nor should we as suppliers.

Here are some simple tips:

1. Don’t get mad with the prospect. They have just made a decision that seems logical. They’ll hardly welcome you telling them they’re wrong.

2. Were you really as good as you thought you were. Did you offer enough value? Were you remarkable enough? Or just another supplier they could easily say no to.

3. If you want to continue a relationship with the prospect, keep your emotions out of any correspondence. “You told me I had the business” won’t go down too well.

Last week’s news was tough for me, but I took a lesson from it. I have to offer more value and be more remarkable.

Now, how do I do that?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Blogging on a Saturday

It’s 8.15 am on a dark damp Saturday morning in Ealing. I have just dropped my wife at the Airport she’s going with some friends to Amsterdam for the day. It’s a girls trip, no room for the boys. My teenage daughter is on a sleepover. It’s just me and the cat. All Baroque FM is playing on iTunes Radio. I have my filtered coffee and muffin. What better thing to do than blog?

So this is a blog about my blog. Pretty ego-centric eh?

According to my blog stats I have written 36 entries this year, 20 this month. So this is my first Saturday entry. By the way:

Thanks for reading this whatever way you are consuming it from my page or RSS. Thanks I appreciate your attention and time.

My commitment to myself is to blog every working day. Thanks to Graham Jones for encouraging me into that. Why do I it?

1. It’s permission. You don’t have to read this, I’m not forcing it down your throat in some interrupt spammy way. If you want it, you read it. Find it dull, then move on.

2. It forces me to think. I love the brevity of twitter where you just fire stuff off. I love watching JaythePal on 12 Seconds TV. But for something a little deeper and chance to mull over what’s happening a blog allows me to go deeper. Sloane goes deeper??

3. I receive a reaction. Some of my entries receive no response others get a comment attached. I welcome all responses. That’s just what they are responses. As JaythePal would say. "Go for it, yeah!"

If you haven’t started your blog yet or you only adding occasional entries then I encourage you to do more. Make a commitment to yourself. Who knows where it may lead. Hey, tell me what you think leave a comment.

Time to go to the local Farmers's Market to buy some pork and stilton sausages. Yeah!

Ask Jay ThePal Episode 7: Rod asks...advice for small businesses on 12seconds.tv

Friday, 27 March 2009

What can you say that no one else can say or…. dare say?

But your followers or constituency will repeat and admire you for saying it!

Muhammad Ali said it, Karl Marx said it, JFK said it, Gandhi said it and Jesus Christ said it especially.

Here are some tips of how you cannot think about building your message.
1. Not Marketing Hype…the best seminar ever

2. Not offensive

3. Not silly

4. One single sentence

5. If you have to explain it, it’s not good enough.

6. If I Google your words do you have competition.

7. Can it be printed on a t-shirt or cufflinks and would somebody wear them?

8. Does it have to be original? No, not if you make it yours. Was Ali the first to say “I am the greatest” No, but he was the first to say it to a TV audience with such confidence and conviction.

My friend Jeoff Haskins says “Right now, wherever you are, you have chosen.”
Here are some that I could say:

1. All marketing should be No-Bull marketing

2. Marketing? What marketing?

3. "Stuck? Ask what Rod Sloane would do, now?" OK a bit ego centric!!!

4. Pick up the phone, you wazzock!

5. You call this, marketing?

What can you say that no one else can say or…. dare say? Go on say it!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

How to Market in a Recession

Snappy title for this blog. Eh?

Well, actually I borrowed it from John Quelch over at the Harvard Business Review. John wrote an article with the same title listing eight areas to focus on.

Now John is obviously a lot smarter than me. I would say eight are way too many. I would suggest that you just do one thing. One thing a lot better than you can presently imagine. Be the best you can be at it.

So if it’s networking, what results have you achieved from your networking in the last 6 months? Hard results, not soft stuff like greater exposure! Should you be spending more of your time, energy, money or creativity in this area?

How would you score yourself out of ten? If you’re a five how can you become a six? How are you educating you and your team to be better?

There are lots of actions you can take just to make one marketing tactic better.
Put all your efforts there, be the best you can be and monitor the results.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Your Permission Marketing just got Harder to Execute, a lot Harder!

For the last decade you’ve probably heard about how the best way to market was via the concept of permission marketing developed by Seth Godin. “Marketing centred around obtaining customer consent to receive information from a company.”

The important thing is that it’s not you who defines what is and isn’t permission; it’s your customer or client. And half of them don’t think that you have that much. The slide shows that at least 20% don’t believe that they have given you any permission to speak or even market to them. Which means you are shouting at them like some tacky 2nd hand mortgage sales man.

You spammer -- You’re just as low as a banker!
OK, maybe not that low.

But if you believe that permission is a good idea to have in marketing then you need to think about asking for it more and more often. Do you? Because clients don’t think that you do.

Keep asking for permission.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Are you worth talking about?

We live in a commodity based, reality TV, homogeneous world. Everything is the same, everyone looks the same. Crikey, even all the stand up comedians now wear smart suits. What stands out anymore? What is worth making a remark about? Are you worth making a remark about? Are you remarkable?

Are you worth talking about?

Is this blog worth talking about?

How can you tell?
Well, it’s not what you do; it’s the way that you do it! Hey, maybe there’s a song title in there somewhere.

I can ask a gazillion people to create a new website for me, the world is full of smart accountants and I can receive SEO tips anywhere, anytime and anyplace.

All that matters is :

1. How you do what you do---will I enjoy the experience

2. The results you get—every business is a results difference

Think “How am I different?” If you want to be talked about, that is?

Monday, 23 March 2009

Who’s the Celebrity in your Business?

We live in a celebrity culture.

Now you may like or loath it, but that celebrity culture has been around in business ever Josiah Wedgwood did his first mass mailing of about his pottery to the European nobility in 1763. And you thought spam was something new?

Now, every TV channel seems full of successful business types telling you how to run a successful business.

You may love this, be indifferent or despise this trend. I don’t care. But do you see it as an opportunity? You should. It’s yours to take!

Personalities engage with their audience. Does your business engage with clients and prospects? Here’s a simple test. Go to your website, can you find:
1.) Your Picture
2.) Your story---why you do what you do?

Maybe it’s more comfortable to think of yourseld as personality rather than a celebrity.
You do have a personality don’t you?

As my friend Scott McKain wrote “All Business is Show Business”. So how can you get started on adding your personality to what you do?

1. Decide to do it. Are you ready to show-up?

2. Express your opinion. Don’t be afraid of other comments, we like people to take a point of view. Sitting on the fence is OK for cats and birds, but no use for adult humans

3. Tell your story

If you would like some prompting on this then why not join me in London on April 6th for my fr.ee marketing seminar
“How to Barack Obama your Business”

Drop me an emial at rod@rodsloane.co.uk

Hail to the Chief!

Friday, 20 March 2009

7 Minutes of Wisdom with David Ogilvy

Probably the most successful English marketing/advertising man of the last century was David Ogilvy.

I was never fortunate enough to meet the man but thanks to the power of YouTube and video we can now all hear his wisdom.

Here he talks about using direct marketing to grow his business.

Take notes and take action!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

You’ve got to Stand for Somethin’

You’ve probably heard of Google, you are accessing one of their products right now to access this blog. You may not have hared of Zappos, they are the online shoe and accessory retailer that have a turnover of $1bn from a zero start eight years ago. Both of these companies make Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies. Now you and I do something both these businesses do.

You can stand out and stand for somethin’.

Call it core values or business philosophy (!). I simply call it my ten things. What do you believe as business and as a real person? Please keep management and marketing speak to a minimum, OK, I sometimes fail there. Only put down stuff you all believe in. Only write things you feel comfortably being held accountable to. Only put down stuff that people would recognise you for.

Publish them.

Tell People about them.

Be Proud of your Core Values

Go on I dare you….Stand for Somethin’

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

What you must get right in Marketing

I grew up in a country that was mainly white-Anglo-Saxon Christian. The boys in my school were either Alan or Gary; the girls were Julie or Ann. It was hard to get their names wrong. Fast forward to 2009 and we all now live in a global village where the exotic or different is now common. Misspelling or getting people names wrong is unacceptable and only for the ignorant. Getting somebody’s name right when you talk about them is basic stuff.

I fell below these basic standards this week and it wasn’t even an exotic name that I messed up on. I referred to a Peter as Paul. No excuses, I apologised to Peter and he accepted my apology and asked that I changed the marketing piece. At this point I became self-righteous and indignant, why couldn’t he just accept my apology? Why did I have to put it right?

Peter was right and I was wrong. It took me over 90 minutes of my own time to correct my simple, stupid clumsy error. My real stupidity was thinking that I could get away with it and that somehow I was victim. What a schmuck I was!

Get people’s names right, apologise if you get it wrong and then fix it. Don’t bleat like I did.

The small stuff really matters in marketing.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Why you need to be Irish?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you.

How Irish are you?

Twenty years ago that might have been a setup line for an old fashioned joke, but much thankfully has changed in that time. Ireland is now rightly seen as a sophisticated innovative country with one particular great resource. No, not the black stuff, it’s people, that’s Ireland greatest asset.

I could claim to be Irish, but I’m not, even though my father and wife were both born there. I have all the normal hang-ups of all the English. Plus, I can never understand any of those Gaelic Sports or Aussie Rules. I have family in Dublin and so I do spend time over there, look at that, I call it over there! Now, you would have to be some type of superior, arrogant Englishman not to enjoy the company of the Irish. I’m not just talking about the craic, although do drop me a line as I know some great pubs close to Phoenix Park. No, it’s the people and what I enjoy is their love of live and curiosity in others.

A typical Irish greeting is “Hi, how are yaa?” Maybe, I’m just gullible, but it sounds like they mean it. It’s never hard to have a conversation in Ireland, in fact it’s much harder to keep quiet.

So what can a dull Englishman learn from this?

It’s this….. be more approachable, more than ever in 2009, you cannot afford to be locked up in an ivory tower. Make yourself accessible, be friendly, be real, be….. Irish.

Good Luck to Ireland in Cardiff this Saturday!

Monday, 16 March 2009

How NOT to market TVs

This weekend Mrs Sloane, not my mother, and I went shopping for a second TV. We popped into a local superstore and also a large electrical chain. Now, imagine you are looking to buy a TV. What do you want to see? Apart from the TV itself, you probably want to see the set turned on so that you can see the picture, don't you? Do you like the picture?

So, why then was every TV we looked at, was turned off. TV after TV turned off. We had to ask assistants to switch the sets on. Now, maybe this is some new retail marketing technique that forces the punter to speak to the retailer. I think it's dumb.

Have the TVs turned on, give punters what they want.

What are the TVs in your business?

Is it a podcast, video or blog, turn them on and give people what they want.

Friday, 13 March 2009

The Friday Marketing Quiz

Minimum words today, watch the great Drayton Bird speaking at a seminar.

Can you work out or guess which pieces of marketing were more successful?

No Cheating

Thursday, 12 March 2009

All Business is Show Business

Yesterday, I went with my wife and some friends to sit in the audience for the recording of this week's Graham Norton TV Show. Now, at one level there is nothing more shallow than a celebrity based, light entertainment chat show. It's fun for the half hour on TV, then it's forgotten. But there are ideas that we can take and use in our own business.

1.Don't Be Boring
OK, if you are a brain surgeon and I need a life saving operation, I wouldn't expect you to be cracking one-liners. But you are not a brain surgeon, are you? If you are, why are you reading my blog? However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to be too earnest and bore your constituency. As Scott McKain wrote “All business is show business”.

2.How do you do it?
Be yourself and let your personality come through. You have a personality that your friends and family see. Start showing up and let it out. It's OK to play with your constituency, have some fun this is business after all, you're not trying to save mankind.

3.Free, Free, Free then Fee
You can go to the Graham Norton TV Show for free, you can watch his TV show almost for free on the BBC, you can watch his material for free on the BBC website and YouTube. And those people who access all his free stuff and are then likely to shell out £50 per ticket to go and see him perform in the West End. Adopt the free, free, free and then fee model. Hint: start a blog!

4.Become a your own Media Channel.
But Rod, Graham Norton has the resources of the BBC behind him, how could I do that? The internet has made us all media people. You can interview celebrities and personalities in your industry in a blog, on a podcast, on video. Come on, if I can do this, so can you. Most people are flattered to be asked for an interview especially from you, as you're not some hack looking to carry out a hatchet job.

You might never win a BAFTA, but that is not your goal. Your goal is to stand out and have your constituency welcome your stuff. If I can do it, so can you.

If you want to see what happened on the Graham Norton TV Show, tune in at 10pm tonight on BBC2 or catch it online. I'm the guy in the red lumberjack shirt.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Showing Up!

I am showing up on this blog, by trying to be and give you my best. I am no fan of namby-pamby, wishy-washy ideas or actions. Do it properly or don't bother at all. All that sort of thinking.

I struggle with ideal small talk with people I will never meet again. Don't like being at the margins of events or organisations. Now, I have don't need to be the centre of attention, it's just when I'm there i want to be there rather than anywhere else.

I want to be with you on this blog right now rather than doing anything else. By the way, thanks for reading this far, I appreciate it.

So what have I been bleating on about? Showing Up is my core process. Core process is what I discussed in my last blog yesterday.

Showing Up is easy for me. When I want to be there. Sometimes I have to make a conscious decision that when I plan to go somewhere that I intend to show up and give my best, not just turn up and see what happens.

When I'm focused on my Core Process life, work and probably living with me is a lot easier.

So find your Core Process and start living la Dolce Vita. Ciao Bella

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

When are you are at your best?

I am good at some things and pretty hopeless in others. I am reasonably good at speaking at conferences and meetings. But don't put me in charge of admin or small talk networking. Like you probably, I'm better off focusing on what I do better or naturally.

Now, of course, this is nothing new in the 1970's Chris Bull and Janet Mills while working at ICI came up with the concept of your core mission they called it a “core process”. Your core process answers the question what you are here on the planet to do best. Stay with me here, I haven't been eating mushrooms!

I did my Core Process with Nick Heap about three months ago and I decided that my core process was “Showing Up” as opposed to just turning up and hoping for the best. Your Core Process can also provide a guide when you feel stuck. Ask yourself “What would you do now if you were following your Core Process?”

I encourage you to look at the Core Process system and have a chat with either Nick Heap or Tom Evans, they are both smart, intuitive and supportive individuals.

Wouldn't it be better to just to focus on what you are uniquely good at?

Monday, 9 March 2009

Most of Your Marketing is Junk

Most of the mail that you send is junk mail. Most of the mail that you receive is junk mail, in that you don't want it and it's not personal to your needs but it has your name on it.

Most of the direct mail that you put into envelopes and send out as postcards is also junk, in that it's not relevant or personal to the recipient.

So should we all give up using that horrid direct mail as a marketing technique?


I was listening to the great Drayton Bird discussing this recently. Drayton is probably the smartest and most experienced minds in UK marketing. Drayton's view is that the majority of most things is junk.

The majority of TV is junk, but we call that Trash TV, the majority of literature is junk, we call that pulp fiction, the majority of the weather in the UK is junk, we call it British weather. Most of the media is .... Most email you receive is junk, but we call it spam. Thank all those techiess for inventing spam filters. The majority of the football I see is junk, is that because I support Blackpool?

Then, just because this stuff comes through your door with your name on it and you have to bend down and open the thing we give it a special more odious title. Because we have to act as own spam filters and bin the stuff we don't want we give it the pantomime villain name of Junk.

Now, you don't normally have Seth Godin and Drayton Bird agreeing but on this they do, junk is junk, trash is trash and pulp is pulp. You are wasting your time and money and not impressing the reader.

Find a more relevant way to communicate.

Be more relevant.

Think what does your prospect want? It's probably not another piece of mail or email from you.

You have probably had enough of me.

Was this blog junk?

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Old Marketing v New Marketing

At the recent Seth Godin talk in London the slide that he spent the longest on was this excerpt from his book Meatball Sundae. Seth was explaining how the left was the traditional way of marketing that's often not producing the results that you want.(Click on the image below to make it bigger.)

On the right is the new stuff, it's equivalent, so rather than talking about your features, trying telling your story or even better the story of how clients use your stuff and how it's helped solve their problem.

You don't have to try all 14, just try two or three.

First make sure that you stuff is remarkable.

No one wants average stuff anymore.

Remember what happened to Woollies!

Surfing the Downwave

Alan Stevens, the Media Coach, has written an excellent free guide on promoting your business and winning more clients in these tougher times.

If you are not sure how to use modern technology to spread the word about who you are and what you do then grab a copy of Alan's 27 page ebook to find out how to do it.

Alan talks about 11 techniques and vehicles you can use. Remember you don't have to use all of them. Pick one and master it, before you move onto the second. Take your time.

It's a bit like the Pick'N'Mix stand at Woollies, choose whatever appeals to you.

Download here.

Read and take some action!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Gillette, Sky TV and Freebie Marketing

You may think of Gillette as the the shaving business that throws lots of money at David Beckham and tells us "It's the best a man can get!" Now a division of Proctor & Gamble it's very...well, ordinary.

But Gillette didn't start out that way. Started by King C. Gillette in 1895, what a great name, this was an innovative business. Gillette really exploited the concept of freebie marketing, in that you give something away to sell the consumable. Gillette would give away the razor to sell the blades. They still give away their latest product the Fusion Power. Same marketing tactic for over a 100 years!

Yesterday, I received an email from Sky TV telling me that they will give me a Sky+ Box and install it for free. All I have to do is sign up for one of their programme mixes.

Razor blades and TV programmes sold the same way for a 100 years. Now I accept that these are consumer products, but what can you give away to sell the consumables, maybe it's seminar, book, mp3.

What can you give away as a freebie that will keep people coming back over and over again? Time to think.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The One Page Marketing Plan

If you can write a one page business plan, and a one page proposal, then why is your marketing plan three pages long?

Make it shorter and simpler.

Simply include your target market, marketing strategy, marketing message, lead generation tactics and your marketing plan. Can you get this one sheet of paper? You bet.

Drop me an email rod@sloane95.freeserve.co.uk and I will send you back a one page template and an example of how to do it.

Get cracking write your one page plan and then publish it and review it every thirty days.

It’s the first step to moving your marketing forward.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Be Like Norm Dominguez

I was lucky enough about a dozen years ago to have a business mentor, his name is Norm Dominguez. Norm shared a lot with me and I am grateful for the time he spent with me. If you meet Norm you will remember one adjective about him, he uses it about himself when he’s asked the question “Hi Norm , How are you?”

He would always respond “Remarkable!”

No you may think, that makes Norm a little full of himself. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Norm is remarkable because of the time he is willing to share with you, expecting nothing in return. I often wish that I was more like him.

Are you remarkable? Would you clients and colleagues write about you in a positive manner, or are you instantly forgettable.
Try more. Work harder. Become remarkable.

Thanks Norm.