Thursday 30 April 2009

The Role of Marketing is to...

Make selling as easy as possible.

But Rod, we don't have a sales team in this business, well then it sounds like you're the sales team. Aren't you?

Is selling hard for you and your business, then it's not sales skills you need, it's marketing skills.

Let me explain, I speak professionally, yes people book and pay me to speak. Now, if they just want a speaker then it's a challenge to sell me as opposed to some TV personality. However, if my marketing has hit the mark, they don't want any speaker, they want me. They want Rod Sloane.

So the question is why should somebody want you, above your competitors or looking for an in-house solution?

That's the purpose of marketing to make it as easy as possible to make those sales.

Focus on your marketing and remember be different, not better!

Wednesday 29 April 2009


I heard on the BBC, this morning, the statistic that 3 million are employed in the UK retail sector and most receive no or little training. If you work for one of the big boys you probably will undergo training, but all the smaller independent shops are left to their own devices. Hence, the announcement today of the Retail Academies for specific training in that industry.

So, what training goes on in your business, you know the simple stuff like how to deal with clients over the phone. How do you cope with complaints and calls that come in after reading your website and blog? How about some simple presentation skills training? Most employers often assume staff just knows what to do. Why not give them some help?

There is plenty of help out there from both the private and public sector. You don’t have any real excuse, do you?

Give your staff the skills and confidence and they just might hit those KPIs that you give them.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Spend More Time with the Queen!

I like stamps, no I'm not a philatelist, I'm not looking for a Penny Black. What I mean is that I don't use a franking machine or Smart Stamp from Royal Mail for the mail I send. I like to use stamps with the Queen's Head on. OK, I'm not a Luddite I do use the self adhesive stamps that come in packs of 100.

So why do I like stamps?

It's the personal touch, I would much rather receive a hand addressed envelope with a real stamp. It might be coming from a real person not some marketing department.

This means that I am more likely to open it, first, if it's a person-to-person message.

Do you like being treated as a number, a transaction?

No neither do I.

It's all bout probability, can you increase the probability of the recipient picking up your letter/ postcard opining it up and reading it. Make it personal.

OK, the real reasons I enjoy queuing at Post Offices and I like the blue of the 2nd Class stamp.

Monday 27 April 2009

Heads Up and Look that Prospect Squarely in the Eyes and say…

It’s just too easy to be focused internally at the moment.

Watch that cash flow, debtors and creditors, but there is another important group you need to keep your eyes on.

Clients and prospects.

How can you help them at the moment?

Are you going out of your way to engage with them more than ever?

Are you putting on more events just for them?

Are you surveying them?

What’s happening?

What’s the story?

Go engage with them, ask them, help them if you can or point them in the direction where they can get the answers they need.

Be a resource, this is an ideal time to grab the high ground in your market.

Go! Run!

It’s a land grab…stake your claim

Friday 24 April 2009

Your List

In 1949 David Ogilvy made a list of the clients he most wanted. The list included General Foods, Lever Brothers, Bristol Myers, Campbell Soup and Shell .Within ten years they were all clients of Ogilvy & Mather. He also picked up the likes of American Express and IBM along the way.

Now he did some spectacular work for these clients, but Ogilvy was proud of his list, so much that he wrote about it in both of his books.

So, do you have a list of target clients?

If you do, how is your business focussed on winning those clients.

If you don't start your list now, today.

It's that simple, decide what you want, write it down and organise your business to go after them.

Sorry if this upsets any MBA types, but this stuff is NOT difficult.

Do it now, today, no more excuses!

Thursday 23 April 2009

You get one chance, don’t blow it and there are no excuses.

If I visit your restaurant and the food and service is below average then to me it’s a lousy restaurant.

If I email your furniture repair service and it takes you four days to get back to me than I judge you as slow and useless.

If I phone my account manager at my bank and I get this voicemail message “Your call cannot be taken and you cannot leave a message, so please call later.” I assume you don’t care. And yes I heard that message today, from my bank. You know the one that lost all the money!

As Sam Silverstein says “no more excuses”. I don’t care how good you are the other 99% of the time if you suck when I interact with you then; you suck all the time to me.

Consistency is often our biggest challenge both in marketing and operations. It’s easy being a good on the sunny days, but can you still be the same when the clouds come over and the wind picks up. It’s not about being the occasional hero; it’s about your average being better than the rest. Lots cannot, if you can you will stand out.

Be ruthless and work on this every day.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

David Ogilvy and who you want as clients

When David Ogilvy started Ogilvy & Mather New York in 1949 they were a tiny back street advertising agency. This inexperienced Englishman was competing with the giants of Madison Avenue and Chicago. Yet within twenty five years had grown to one of the top four agencies in the world.

How did he do it?

Well David Ogilvy has written two books were he explains all about his advertising techniques and ability but he did two other things, one of which is so simple that you and I could do it.

He simply wrote down the top ten clients he wanted to work for and within a dozen years he had them all as clients including giants of the day such as Shell. He carried that list with him at all times.

Do you have a list of the top clients you want to work for?

Could you give me ten now?

Is the list written down?

Do you carry with you at all time?

This isn’t difficult is it?

Tuesday 21 April 2009

The BNI Visitors Day Letter

Have you ever received a letter to visit your local BNI Chapter? I received one today. Here’s what I noticed that this letter does right.

1. Plain blank envelope

2. Hand written envelope

3. A proper stamp used NOT a franking machine

4. The letter says that they want one of me to pass businesses to!

5. A P.S. at the bottom of the letter that sums up the offer

6. Black print for the letter with the a real signature in blue ink

7. It’s a physical letter not an email or text

In fact it’s the same letter that I received ten years ago, it’s their control letter written by Steve Lawson that’s still universally used. That’s the point it works, they know within a few percentage points how many readers will respond. Why change it? Only a fool would do that.

How about your primary lead generation tool, your moneymaker; what is it? What response rate does it give you? Just because technology and fads change, what used to work still works, especially in these days of less direct mail.

Shake your MoneyMaker.

Monday 20 April 2009


So I was relaxing on our sofa a couple of Sundays ago, when I heard a large “Crack!” and I sunk a little lower. I had broken the family sofa! Like a little boy I had to explain this to my wife and how I had not been jumping up and down on it whilst watching Robin Hood.

So what to do? It’s dangerous buying a sofa at the moment; you may pay a deposit to a sofa company who go out of business before they deliver.

So, I finally looked in Yellow Pages, yes remember let you finger do the walking, for a local furniture repair service. An ad for Stevens Restoration caught my eye because it was local to me and it had a free phone.

So on a warm Saturday I called them whilst drinking coffee in my garden. I was surprised that the phone was answered and a chap asked me a couple of questions. Then he further surprised me by telling me to email him in some photographs on the problem and he will give me a quote by return email. No need for a house visit. No having to wait in, for the furniture reply man to come round.

Now this impressed me so I got busy, and sent in my photos to get my quote. When was the last time that a supplier impressed with you with the way they operate?

When was the last time you impressed your clients with the way you operate?

How you can exploit technology to make prospects and clients life easier?

How many people do you think I have mentioned Stevens Restoration to?

Friday 17 April 2009

New is good in marketing unless….

It’s some get rich quick scheme or instant weight loss or some other fad like that.

New is good.

No one says did you see the old James Bond movie they all say did you see the new movie.

What do you think of my new haircut, new suit, new car?

New is good as its novel and fresh.

Why not add something new to your marketing?
A new blog, podcast, postcard, offer etc.

New doesn’t have to be expensive, just requires some thinking and creativity. It might turn out easier to spend the cash instead?

Today I am getting a ‘new’ haircut and then going to a photo studio for some ‘new’ headshots.

Watch out for new look coming to a web site near you really soon!

Thursday 16 April 2009

Does my business look crap in this website?

"Does my bum look big in this?"

The question all men dread being asked by their partners. Should the response be honest or reassuring? I don’t know as this is outside of my expertise and I just pretend that I haven’t heard the question.

There is an equivalent in your business, when you ask people what they think of your website. Are you ready for some honest feedback? People won’t like the colours, the pictures, the font etc. etc. But I recommend that you try.

Piers Mummery who owns Shoots Garden Centres asked people he knows these questions.

Take a look at the Shoots website and drop Piers a line on what you think of it

Please one commendation for every recommendation that you give.

Would you be so brave as to do this?

Does my business look crap in this blog?

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Which is the better marketing tactic blogging or Pay-Per-Click Google Advertising?

Blogging will help you have a good ranking in the organic searches, it’s relatively low cost apart from your time but it takes time and you have to stick with it for months, preferably years.

Pay-per-click is instant, quick you can pay what you want and determine the results very quickly.

So which is better?

It’s obvious, isn’t it?

No, and to use the answer any old marketing soak would use “It depends”
It depends on:

what you market.

who your prospects are.

what your competitors are doing.

what time of year it is.

It depends on lots of variables outside of your control.

So what’s the answer?

The only answer is test, test and test.

If you have expertise, case studies, provocative statements and insights then of course you should be considering:





webinarsetc, etc

There is NO certainty, we all need to test, test and test again.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

How to Apply Go-Faster-Stripes to Your Marketing

Where are you as of today and where do you want to get to?

What’s your revenue and profits for the last twelve months?

How many active clients do you have?

How many people do you employ in how many outlets, today?

Now where do you want to get to in terms or revenue, profits, clients etc,

Can you simply state where you are today and where you want to get to in 18 months?

The best vehicles to get you were you want to go is “Better marketing”. You know the one with the go-faster stripes. By the way you can put go-faster stripes on your old car.

Take the time to revisit your marketing and make it better.

If you can afford to hire a marketing consultant, now is the time to do it.

If you cannot afford a marketing consultant, then you need to educate yourself buy the books, study them and apply them. You will have to do a lot of application yourself.
Apart from my book what book would I recommend? Try “Selling the Invisible” by Harry Beckwith.

Hire a marketing consultant or study the books. You choose!

Monday 13 April 2009

Get to the Point, Quickly or else….

The average video on YouTube is watched for less than 15 seconds, then people switch. has taken this concept further in that 12 seconds is the maximum length of the video you can post on the site.

On twitter the maximum length of message you can post is 140 characters. Twitter has 4-5 million users. People are becoming conditioned to short fun size messages.

It’s getting harder to ask people to read your long stuff.

The message is get to point quickly or else I will go else where.

Go do!

Friday 10 April 2009

Don’t Confuse Simple Marketing with Easy Marketing

Making outbound telemarketing calls is simple, but most avoid doing it and don’t think of it as easy.

Speaking in front of groups who could hire you is simple. Most don’t find it easy.

Writing a blog everyday is simple, doing it is...

Telling jokes is simple, being funny is not easy.

Lots of tasks that you do that you find simple others may well struggle with, avoid and certainly not class as easy.
So don’t assume people can do the stuff that you can

It’s OK to also say I’m not sure I could do that.

Tip: stick with the stuff that you find simple and easy, outsource the rest!

Thursday 9 April 2009

Obama Tip #7 Hire an Excellent marketing Team

Quelch’s last tip from the campaign about Obama was that he “chose an excellent marketing and campaign team, and managed them well.”
He hired people who understood the new media especially Chris Hughes the wonderkid from Facebook. He attracted the best he could to help him to spread the message.

Now maybe you can afford to hire the best, if so go do it.

If you cannot afford to hire the cream, go to their events, buy their stuff and read their blogs. I’m far too modest to put myself in that category!. To paraphrase Brain Clough I might say “I wouldn't say I am the best marketing man in the business. But I’m in the top one.”

Not sure that I can carry on with this as it I’m sure it will start to sound arrogant.

Go read and study the best and if you can afford to hire them.


Wednesday 8 April 2009

Outsmart your Competition

John Quelch’s next point in the Marketing of a President is that Obama's communications were professional without being slick. He was smarter than the competition. So how you can you be smarter?

1. Have you shared you story, do you talk in stories?

2. Do you use all the media both old and new?

3. Do you know what business you are really in?

4. Is it all about you, your products and services? Or are you trying to share ideas and be a resource?

5. Are you consistent with whom you are, what you say and do?

6. Or are you changing message every five minutes?

Outsmarting the competition takes time and courage...start today!

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Marketing Message

Part 5 of John Quelch’s article the Marketing of a President reviews Obama’s Marketing Message. Quelch referred to it as:

“The emotional appeal was buttressed with solid and specific policy details. The ability to combine emotional with functional benefits and the discipline to be consistent in positioning and message delivery are core to all successful branding campaigns.”

Obama message was “Change you can believe in” which was repeated during his campaign.
So what’s your marketing message?

Do you people know that only you can say it?

Anybody can say “Passionate about websites!”

Do you talk about yourself and your business or do you talk about your clients?
Do you repeat it?

More importantly will others?

This is your homework for the rest of your business live, roll your selves up and get to work!

Monday 6 April 2009

Reach Out....I'll Be There!

It’s a beautiful day in London, the sort of day (as Ken Dodd would say) that makes you want to go up to clients and prospects and say do you want some of what I have? Accept, Ken said it in a more end-of-the-pier style!

But that’s exactly John Quelch’s point about what Obama did in the presidential election

“Obama reached out to all citizens. He targeted his message beyond previous or likely voters.”

Are you reaching out to your entire constituency or just the few who know you already?

Are you targeting your message beyond just your customers?

Your marketing purpose should be to spread your ideas, you need to tell people about them.

Remember the theme tune of all marketers.
As the Four Tops sang…”Reach Out, I’ll Be There”
Go play it on Spotify!

Friday 3 April 2009

Use the Media

John Quelch noted that Barack Obama was “aided by his appreciation and use of all communications media, notably the Internet, to engage voters.” Not only the traditional but also the new online media.

So how do you use both traditional media :

Newspapers and Magazines
New Media:

Your blog, you have a blog don’t you?
Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy etc
Your web site
Your membership site

Take one of the above and start engaging and working it.
If you don’t your competitors will and become better recognised.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Ask for Support

John Quelch’s Number 2 Obama Marketing Success is converting empathy into tangible support. Obama was able to develop leverage on the basis of his support.

Before you go out chasing supporters, clients and fans, before you start putting your slogan on your t shirt and websites, ask this. Do you have a bedrock of support, from family, friends and other colleagues? Have you tried your ideas out on them? Do they resonate? Or do they sound like you just some watered down version of the latest book or article you happened to read?

Before I called what I did No-Bull Marketing I spoke to others whose opinion I respected. Was it me, did it make sense? Only when I received the thumbs up that I wanted did I go public! Try it.

Grow a nurturing support close to home before you go out into the big bad world

Wednesday 1 April 2009

How to Develop Obama like Personal Charisma

In his no-nonsense straightforward article “The Marketing of a President” John Quelch Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School detailed eight areas that that Barack Obama excelled in to win the US Presidential Race.

The first was Obama’s personal charisma “his listening and public speaking skills, his consistently positive and unruffled demeanour, and his compelling biography attracted the attention and empathy of voters”.

So how do you score on the Obama Charisma Stakes?

1. How good a listener are you? Or are you just waiting to speak…I know that I fall into that trap. Want to improve your listening skills start giving constructive feedback to others, tell them what they do well and only lightly where they need to improve.

2. Public Speaking Skills. I believe that this is the number one skill to improve your public charisma. Maybe you’ll never be as good as Obama but you can’t start to soon in this. Join Toastmaster International; take an acting or improv class. Start today. We can all get better at this and we all need help.

3. Positive and Unruffled Demeanour. Do you know what your goals, purpose and objectives are? Do you have a plan? It is written down? Do you keep a journal? Don’t worry about critics as long as you believe you’re on course.

4. Compelling Biography. Have you written down and published you story? It doesn’t have to be 20,000 words, it might only be 500. Is it at least on you web site?

The stuff is NOT difficult, just take your time and tick them off as you do them.

Can we all seriously be charismatic?

Yes, we can!