Three Little Words

Heart in sightsNo, not those three.

The three I have in mind are

  • what,
  • how
    and
  • do.

Putting together a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) program called No Budget Branding over the last few weeks made me think about decisions I’ve made over time and how much I’m like other people.

What

Back in the days when I was up to my eyeballs in a pheromone fog “What” started rattling around my skull. I was lucky. I selected my parents well so the decision for me was delayed until after those halcyon high school days. Friends and acquaintances had to choose due to financial and social situations long before I did. They followed their fathers into the construction trades and the military and their mothers into the careers reserved for women at that time…homemakers, cooks, waitresses and nurses.

Some of us were lucky enough to put that decision off until we went to college. It was called selecting a major. I had my choice between Business, Engineering and Advertising. I took one look at the business school types wearing ties and blazers, the engineers with huge slide rules hanging off their belts and said, “Madison Avenue, here I come!”

It ain’t pretty but that’s how I decided what I was going to do with my life. I could have changed but I stuck with it. I’m still sticking with it a full career later. Yes, I was one of the Mad Men. That TV show was accurate, sort of.

How

I learned a lot in College—mostly that I had a lot to learn.  You see, making a profit on what you do is dependent on knowing how to get it done. If you are working in a trade, your knowledge is what lifts you to a position of expertise. Understanding the how will get you into management, assure you better pay, and sometimes ownership.

What is the way people are intrigued with information on the internet. How is what they are willing to buy.

You can tell people all day long what they need.

You can get them to click on the offer because they want to know how.

Think about that offer which you ”bit on.”  The video on the web site told you how the seller was now making seven figures. The clock on the webpage kept ticking showing how little time was left for you to jump in. The testimonials talked about instant results. The key elements of the formula, what makes it work, were revealed and even offered as part of a downloadable note. Some organizations even showed you how they were improving society as well.

Do

You clicked the orange button, plunked down your credit card, signed up and downloaded the “goodies” to include the promised bonuses. Wow! Talk about instant gratification!

Did you notice the admonition that was the first thing out of the chute? It was something like this:

Step away from your limiting beliefs.

You can do this. Focus on it.

Dedicate your life for the next x weeks to this formula.

Focused action will allow you to accomplish your goals

You will be SUCCESSFUL

That’s because the seller knows a secret.

Most people will not act. Many will not even open the packet of information, digital or traditional.  They are telling you the truth.  They decided or were forced to decide what to do. They learned how (sometimes the hard way). They learned that the only way to make something happen is to do and stick to it.

Will you act?


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

 

The Registration Plus of the Personal Touch

Late today I got a call from a young man striving to get the same sort of business levels here in the Pacific Northwest that he and his wife had been enjoying in Texas. I agreed to meet with him and immediately turned to my files to see if there were tips I had passed along in articles that might help him.

This was first posted in 2013.

Bill got right to the point. He asked, “You’re the expert at on line marketing how can I put my half of the seminar attendees in their seats?”

“Back up,” I said. “Your half?”

Bill explained, “I’ve worked out a deal with a client to host a seminar and they will put 10 people in the room and I have to provide the other 10. I’ll present and they will host the room and the lunch. It’s a win-win if I can get those other seats filled without having to buy the room.”

“Buying the room is a theater expression for providing free tickets to an event to fill the room so it looks like it is a hit.”

“So,” I asked, “Why are you buying me coffee?”

He reviewed his plan to send out e-mails to his list of connections that had opted into his newsletter and even showed me the rough outline of his message.

Bill got a blank expression when I asked him, “What is the subject line?”

He was so wrapped up in the message that he forgot that you have to get the e-mail opened. There are two things people look at before opening an e-mail:

  1. Who it is from
  2. The subject line

The more personal the message appears, the more often it is opened and the easier it is to accomplish your objectives.

I told Bill, “If you have to put 10 people in the room the process they are going to go through is:

  • Open the e-mail (Open rates from a Newsletter list are good, up to 50% but don’t count on more than 20%)
  • Read the offer. Reject you, look for more information or register (Rejections—80% at least. The measure here is click-throughs)
  • If they look for more their options are to reject or register. (About 20%, with luck will register).”

Bill, who is a numbers guy said, “So if I hear you correctly, if I went out to 100 people only 20 would open the message. A best 4 would look for more information. Of those maybe 1 would register.”

“Right, “I said, “so the number you go out to is critical. With those analytics you need to go out to 1000 to get your ten. BUT I can increase our odds. Put their name in the subject line and you get a 15% to 25% increase in opens.

Do the math. That gets you 40 opens, 8 click-throughs and 2 registrations per 100 e-mails sent.”

Bill said, “Thanks, with the personal touch it now seems possible.”

How you handle the click through (CTA) to more information and the page which that delivers can also increase your odds but the single most important factor is getting them to open your message. Personalizing does that.


Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

Trump Brand Won Because of Trust

161110-blog-photoThere are at least a hundred definitions of Brand but only one that in my view encompasses all the possibilities:

Brand, any Brand, is the outcome of Trust.

Fail to get to Trust and you lose.

A Brand that has a singular vision, a mission articulated in a few understandable words, promoted consistently with words and pictures that touch the emotions will triumph if it gets to Trust. (See the video) http://www.brandbraintrust.com/resources.html

Sometimes it is a matter of how the Brand is positioned:

  • The Clinton tagline was: Hillary for America
  • The Trump tagline was: Make America Great Again!

In hindsight we know that he won because the people supporting him were the disenfranchised middle class that are opposed to the elites that they perceive to have hamstrung the government for so many years yielding control to the moneyed interests—the banks that took their homes, wall street and the big box companies that wiped out main street and the manufacturers that off-shored jobs.

The Trump brand was, pretty much, self-funded. It was Republican but not beholden. It was outrageous remarks followed by others saying “what he really meant.”

The Trump Brand was not a voice crying in the wilderness. It was heard by all the citizens out there beyond and within the big cities.” It didn’t matter what your party affiliation was. Your “tribe” was more important.

The Trump Brand is, for about half the population in the United States, a way to Make America Great Again.  Their belief is that an outsider and a business man can clean house in DC. and “straighten out” things that have “been done to them” over the  years, They Trust that they can “Make America Great Again.”

The last word of that phrase is the most important. The target audience, the people that voted in droves for him in the fly-over states are not looking forward. They see the USA as diminished. They want to go back to a different time. Their desire is to get “government off our backs.” Their hope is that the America they believe in, proudly serve, and honor can rise up and “do the right thing.”

Look at the difference:

  • Hillary for America (What’s in it for supporters? “I’m with her” was just as flawed)
  • Make America Great Again (It is what they want done and it implies the supporters will be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.)

The Trump line was carefully emblazoned on every item offered including the signature red baseball caps (and once or twice a camouflage cap). Hillary’s campaign offered nearly a hundred different designs, comments and reasons why. Little, if any of it, stuck to the wall.

They trusted Trump because in his bellicose way he said to them, “You’re right, we need to go back and I will keep shouting for you as long as it takes.”

They Trust him.

As I said, Brand is the outcome of Trust. I evaluate Brand development and report on it at www.BrandBrainTrust.com. If you’d like a neutral professional to review your Brand, call me.

_____________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher is the founder of www.BrandBrainTrust.com  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Briefs. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

The Pitch Ain’t the Title

“A friend told me about trying to come up with a title for a screen play over lunch,” said Gail. “She’s trying to get ready for a meeting with an agent from Hollywood. Apparently you only get a very few minutes and what you say in the first few seconds is critical.” 30-SecondMarketing

Kate snorted and said, “Sounds like every other sales call to me! That is pretty much my day, every day. The thing is you have to know what the hot buttons are for every person you’re calling on and if you don’t you have to find a way to get their attention and their input. Every story can be shortened to the point where it is one sentence long. The trick is to make that sentence intriguing enough that it pulls people into the conversation with you. Fletch’s 30-Second Marketing is the way to do it in networking situations and can be applied in most sales situations as well.”

“You’re right,” I said. this goes by a bunch of names but what it comes down to when you have to write it is:

  • Tell the story in a paragraph or two concentrating on the emotions evoked
  • Shorten it to a sentence about the overall shift in the story
  • Work on the language in the sentence to make people experience it and yet want to know more.
  • Relate it to something familiar to them
  • Given all that, give it a title that leaves them wanting more.

For instance:
Would you like to view a film that centers on the transformation of a son, Michael, from reluctant family outsider to ruthless Mafia boss while also chronicling the family under the patriarch. A lot of people did. It was called The GodFather. As memorable as it is it was not one of the highest box office movies.

The current top in domestic, international and worldwide sales is a science fiction flick. In it, a paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a spy mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the new world he comes to feel is his home. Right. It was called Avatar and to date has made $2,783,918,982 worldwide.

The number two box office leader is one for history buffs and romantics. The fact that a supposedly unsinkable ship went down in the North Atlantic was given an emotional twist by the tale of a starving artist that becomes the love of a high class lady. It was called Titanic and the star-crossed lovers were, I believe, a pure fiction. It was called Titanic.”

Rob, our Buddha of Branding quietly said, “And that, brethren is what we call trimmin’ the fat. There be movies popular down home you don’t have to hear nuthin’ but the title to know what it’s about. Wonderful stories like Driving Miss Daisy, Steel Magnolias and, of course, Gone With the Wind. Notice how the title can be the story all by itself, or give you insight into the characters or summarize a way of life that vanished? The difference of seeing what y’all are trying to sell through the prospect’s imagination makes all the difference. Thing is, they will tell you how they see it. Just listen.”

The Takeaways:

  1. All sales is about finding common ground, understanding the problem and then finding the emotion that connects the prospect to the solution.
  2. You must orient your view, your language and your emphasis to the prospect’s vision.
  3. Get help. Talk to others. Listen to what they have to say. Respond by making your pitch and your title stronger.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copy and the Customer Journey

Bubba, the brand Buddha was pontificating as I slid into my seat. “Tain’t always what you say that matters, It’s what people hear.”

“What people believe already can be a big chunk of that,” I agreed. (I’m Jerry Fletcher and I’m the Watson of this unruly crew that meets over lunch on Fridays.) Customer Journey Map

“What people believe can make a real difference whether you’re talking printing or politics,” said Kate. “I’ve been in sales since I was teenager and both learning the right language to use and teaching folks to understand how important it is has been difficult for me.

Never let anyone tell you there aren’t different dialects in America. There are racial differences, geographic differences, class differences, age differences and where folks are in the customer journey differences. You can’t just blather along. You’ll never make a sale if you aren’t listening and using their words, viewpoints and meanings. You have to talk to them where they are now, in the moment.”

“Got an example?” Chris asked.

She asked him, “Did you ever go to Las Vegas?”

“Sure,” he replied. “It’s the gaming capital of the Universe.”

“And there’s your answer, plainer’n a cake donut with pink icing and sprinkles,” said Bubba.

Chris looked at him completely non-plussed.

“Think about what you just said,” continued Rob in his typical molasses patience voice. You said gaming. That word never was used in the old days as a reference to Vegas or Atlantic City before all the Indian Casinos and the ones on steamboats docked in Mississippi.

Back in the 1970’s Wall Street shifted from calling it the gambling industry to the gaming industry. By the 1990’s only politicians called it Gambling. For a time Las Vegas was promoted as a family vacation spot. Now it’s a little naughtier, you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Folks heard the new word and over time the industry was perceived differently.”

The donut demo
“Let me use that donut idea to demonstrate how this works for Chris,” I said. People go through a number of phases where we can change how they think about a company or product or service:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Intent
  4. Purchase
  5. Satisfaction
  6. Repeat

At every point on that spectrum you can provide content that will convince, persuade and keep them in your funnel even after they buy.”

Ramping it up
Rob jumped back in saying, “But y’all are mostly working on the front end of that process so you should know how to ramp up there first:

  • Awareness—Listen for the symptoms. Find out how it’s pushin’ on their business. Now, take it a step further and figure out the problem and help ‘em understand it in that larger context.
  • Consideration—This phase is when they’re bangin’ around looking for information Build strategic website pages or videos or blogs or other kinds of content that homes in on the clear ways you can solve specific kinds of prospect’s problems. The more directly it responds to their need the better.
  • Intent— is when they have come to the point where they intend to make a purchase. The information you provide at this point in their path to purchase should include examples of how others have profited from your product or service, that’s hard data, analytics that prove your point but most importantly. Make sure it fits with your earlier information. Include first hand suggestions, observations and comments.”

The Takeaways:

The customer journey or path to purchase doesn’t end when they plunk down the cash.

You have to prove that you know their concerns and interests.

The clincher is most often the small detail that you’ve observed from their questions, or observations they make. Always ask why they selected your product or service.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

How to Outsource Your Digital Marketing so That Dog Will Hunt

Tony asked me how to resolve a problem for one of his clients. He told me that the client, located here in the upper left corner of the USA was considering “outsourcing his marketing to an outfit in Texas.” He was concerned that there was “more wishful thinking than common sense in play.”

That dog will hunt“That depends,” said Rob who we’ve taken to calling Bubba, the branding Buddha. “If the folks that will work with him know his industry and can provide the right kind of content it could be a marriage made in heaven but just because they claim to be experts don’t make it so. My dog sleeps in the garage. That don’t make him a truck.

Kate snickered and said, “Well put Bubba. I run into this when I get asked to train young sales people. They don’t know what they don’t know and so they claim to know everything. Trouble is, in today’s world they may know quite a bit about digital approaches to customers and have all the lingo at the ready but they don’t completely understand how to connect and go from there to make a sale.”

Rick nodded and then quietly added, “Most of them have not won their spurs in direct marketing and that is all digital marketing is. They have confused knowledge of the medium with understanding messages that work. Their idea of an offer is how long it’s free.”

“That’s all well and good,” I said, “but how do I help Mike with his friend?”

Gail, our veteran writer answered, “Tell him to quit messing around with tactics and start with strategy. You remember that start-up software outfit you told us about? (Cardsmith) That’s an easy way to lay out a strategy and then the tactics for a year-long campaign.”

Chris agreed and added, “As the digital marketing guy in my company I put the plan together with my staff using white boards and sticky notes. It is the same idea but the nice thing about Cardsmith is that you can share it easily even if you’re in different places. The major thing you have to do, regardless of how you do your planning, is to start with an objective, then build a strategy to get you there and then detail all the tasks to make it happen.”

Rick said, “When you are planning,the ability to move things around is really handy as well as the ability to show how things are connected. But I will guarantee you that it is a lot easier staying on plan today in the digital world because you have all the analytics to really determine what is going on, BUT you still have to assign dates to get implementations done and you need to agree up front on what metrics will be considered key.”

“All that is wonderful,” said Gail, “but I keep thinking about Bubba’s dog. If the people you outsource to are experts in digital marketing that is one thing. Do they know how to convince your customers to buy? Do they understand how that channel of distribution deals with their customers? Have they ever gone along on sales calls?

Kate cheered. “Right on sister! She continued, “the worst situation is when you have inexperienced people in both the marketing and sales positions. Knowing their level of capability can make all the difference.”

I said, “I told Tony that his buddy should look into spending a little money up front with a Marketing strategist so that objectives, strategy and tactics could be structured with relevant time lines and metrics so that the money spent would be worthwhile.”

The Takeaways:

Start with a real objective (that management agrees with)

Assess the ability of the people that will do the work on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of your business as well as their digital marketing skills.

Base agreements on specific metrics and timeframes that are sales related (your objective is to make money, not impressions.)


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

The Right Answer to the Most Common Question

30 Second Marketing Part 1

“It never fails. You walk into a place, say hello and within minutes you get the question,” I said. “It happens to every consultant, coach and professional, daily.”

Chris, our digital marketing director and the youngest member of the lunch bunch Singular most often asked questionblinked and asked, “What Question?”

Kate rolled her eyes, took a sip of iced tea and said, “It is THE Question. It is the simple request from someone to help identify you by the career path you are on. It is stock-in-trade for sales folks like me whenever we meet someone new.”

It is the single most asked question in the USA,” I said. “And most people trip all over themselves trying to answer it.”

Chris asked again, “So what is the question?”

Gail, our resident writer, put him out of his misery saying, “The question is: What do you do?”

Bubba, the branding Buddha, drawled with his usual southern charm, “Theahs just no way you can avoid it. Seems like folks kindly want to put you in a little box in their brain with a label stuck on it that fits their piddly memory.”

“You got that right,” I responded. “People always try to categorize new information and that means if you want to be remembered you need to do whatever you can to avoid what Bubba called, that piddly brain box.

An elevator speech is not the answer. That approach has come and gone.”

“But everybody says that you have to have an elevator speech if you’re going to be any good at networking,” said Chris.

“Everybody?” Asked Rick. “I don’t think so. The uninformed…maybe. The slow to understand the difference between how to market and how to sell…probably. Those that don’t understand the primary lessons of direct marketing, where I make a living…for sure. There are way too many people out there that just don’t get it.”

“A conversation instead of a commercial is the right answer,” Kate said. Most people will take interest in you and your profession if it is presented in an interesting way. But if you fall into the trap of describing yourself in common terms you lose. For instance, which would you rather talk to, a guy who says I’m a cpa” or one that tells you, “They call me Captain Crunch.’ That’s what Fletch calls a hook.”

Chris turned to me and asked, “What’s a hook?”

I told him, “A hook is the opening gambit of 30 Second Marketing which is a formula that helps you get to that conversation you want to have to make yourself memorable and give the person you’re chatting with ways to explain your difference to your ideal prospects.

The 30-Second Marketing formula:

Hook ‘em     (Get their interest)

Hold ‘em      (Tell them the problem you solve for most clients)

Pitch ‘em     (Tell them how you solve it)

Close ‘em    (Persuade them to take the next step)

The problem most consultants have is that they know way too much about their area of expertise so they have difficulty sorting out simple terms that people understand which relate to the reason they are looking for a consultant or professional to help them.

For example:

I’m a mechanic                  versus          I make cars go

I’m an IT expert                 versus          I make computers do it your way

I’m a website developer     versus          I build web sites that make rain

The Takeaways:

Make your answer memorable by simplifying it and putting the parts of the formula in language just about everyone can understand.

Test it. Try it on people you don’t know including prospects and pay attention to what they say and do. Then revise based on remarks, reactions and responses.  

Avoid lip service—the kind of responses that friends and family give you that aren’t realistic but rather are intended to make you feel good.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

Marketing Myths vs Math

“Today, I was answering one of those update phone calls to keep a free magazine coming and after the usual address and industry verification stuff the young man asked me whether I preferred the printed or digital version. Marketing Myth: Print is dead

I answered print and then asked him what most people wanted.

He told me print and before I asked said it was preferred about 4 to 1 regardless of the age of the respondent!”

“I can believe that,” said Rick who runs a world-class direct marketing firm. There is research from an ad agency, J Walter Thompson that says 8 of 10 Millennials prefer print because it makes them feel more connected.”

Kate pushed her dreads back over one ear and said, “That’s the Lion’s share of folks that sales people like me have to talk to in the B to B world. There is still a stack of industry magazines and newsletters on the desks of the offices I visit and I can’t tell you how often there is an open catalog there, too.”

Chris asked, “Do you see any post cards when you’re scanning offices? The reason I ask is that we’ve tested using postcards versus e-mail campaigns in my company and the post cards win going away. The call to action differential is as high as 5 to 1 and that causes a huge difference in the ROI regardless of the cost of mailing.”

Gail, our resident copywriter asked, “is that because of the relative lack of competitive mail? I understand it really dropped off over the years so now it gets more attention. A couple of my clients are starting to mail newsletters again and getting great results.”

“I know what you mean,” I said. One of my former clients had a pile of 9 by 12 envelopes sitting in a cupboard and decided to just try mailing for a couple of months. That was a year ago. They are still mailing because their clients keep them. I recognize that envelope and I look forward to getting it each month because of the great heads-up information on security and what Microsoft is doing.”

“Thas’ called branding ol’ son,” said Rob, our southern fried branding guru. “I’ll bet they are startin’ to put deals in that envelope, maybe printed on a different color of paper, to get you to look at them and dimes to donuts you’ve passed some along to clients or others.”

I bowed to him and said, “Guilty as charged.”

“Now let me put the pecans in the pie for all of you,” said Rob. Y’all ever get a mailer from Google offering a deal for starting up an advertising account? Think about that. One of the biggest digital operations on the planet is using mail to get your business. That tell you anything?”

Same way with catalogs. Kate is right about that. Somewhere around 12 billion catalogs mail every year. People are just more comfortable leafing through a catalog than trying to find an item on screen even if they order on line. Print builds brands and can be more efficient than digital.”

The Takeaway

The rumor of the death of printed materials is greatly exaggerated. Print is preferred for some purposes by about 80% of prospects. It is in many cases a stronger method of branding than digital activities. And always provides a more personal touch.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

Kick-ass Case History

“For starters,” I said to Nina, “don’t call it that.”

Kick-ass Case Histories in Video and Prin

Gail, the wordsmith in our midst agreed. She said, “I like your term Success Story a lot better.” (Video: How to get the data you need for a Kick-ass Case History https://youtu.be/UcvpMkBynYk)

“But, sometimes things aren’t successful,” said Chris. “In my digital retail marketing operation we often try things that just don’t work at all.”

“But that, young pup, is just findin’ out that you’re barkin’ up the wrong tree,” said Rob our southern fried Brand Guru. “Indeed,” he went on, “in my book that is a success.”(Get the PDF of the Kick-ass Case History form)

Rick raised his voice to be heard over a crash of dishes from the kitchen and said, “Most people think that a case history has to be only about what works but I’ve always found the most valuable experiences are the ones that teach you what doesn’t. Selling direct, like I do, has always been a laboratory. That’s why we test before putting up big bucks. What I’m trying to say is that keeping good solid info every time out of the chute is the only way to really know.”

“If you’re selling, like I do every day, the marketing and sales train wrecks are sometimes the best to convince a buyer,” said Kate. “Being able to give somebody hard data on an approach that didn’t work makes it a lot easier to get them to sign off on one that does. The other thing it does is it gives you a reason to walk away from a prospect if you know they are going to fail or to suggest a test that could make both you and them look good.”

Nina, our luncheon guest, looked around the table wide-eyed and said, “All I really wanted was to put some information on my website that tells people what I’ve been able to accomplish with my clients. It seems like there is a whole lot more to this than I thought. “

“You betcha, sweet pea,” drawled Rob. Most of us have been advising professionals and particularly consultants long enough to know that you need to look at keepin’ track of every engagement and assignment in a way that allows you to use all the information later.” (Video: How to present a Kick-ass Success Story in print) https://youtu.be/KM_lH2Eqrqo )

Kick-ass case history in print

All assignments and engagements,” I emphasized. Here’s a rough list of the ones I think you should keep track of:

  • Client Prospecting
  • Referral Approaches
  • Proposal based engagements
  • Assignments based on a retainer agreement
  • Projects awarded for previous experience
  • Engagements that require training or retraining of client staff
  • Situations that require you, the client or both to stretch

“So you’re saying to keep track of it whether it is business development, business as usual or business with a twist,” said Kate.

“Well put,” I responded. “Early on having a simple form that you fill out helps get you organized to do it. Later, you may pick and choose which of the jobs you take on to do a full write up on but it never hurts to have the information.” Kick Ass Case History Capture Form

Nina asked, “So what is on the form?” (PDF of form)

“All the usual client ID stuff, the kind of project, start and end date, situation, objective, starting data, ending data,” I said.

Rob said, “I like to keep a file with the form. You don’t want to forget any branding data that you might want when you report on it. That could be things like a logo or photos of the client and the client’s business or products. And if graphics are important it is a good idea to have before and after stuff.”

“Words, too,” added Gail. “When you change Mission or Position or Value Proposition it is a good idea to have both the before and after. Other word oriented items I like to include are testimonials. If I’m working with multiple levels than I try to get them from each. And I always like to get them to include the numeric changes in their statements.”

“Don’t overlook video,” said Chris. “If you can get a video that demonstrates what you do or just the client talking about what you’ve done for them you have a winner. What our studies show is that video seems to be the most convincing way to get a point across these days. “Video: One way to do a Kick-ass Video Success Story https://youtu.be/KPCU79FgXvE) Kick-ass video case history still

Kate looked over her glasses at Nina and said, “All that hard data is good. But remember we’re dealing with human beings here. There is a great deal of emotion wrapped up in what we do. Change isn’t easy. Transformation is what we are really doing. People are scared of it. They shy away from it. And then when the work we do kicks in they become proud of it. Don’t forget to capture that emotional content and the newfound strength you help provide. “

“You keep a file like that and you’ll be able to build a powerful Success Story  to publish on the ones that work. You keep the data on the ones that don’t and make that into a Case History by adding one thing: your investigations in to why the anticipated results didn’t happen.”

The Takeaway

To build a Kick-ass Success Story you need to capture the information on every major project or engagement or assignment. Keep a file that doesn’t rely on memory to help you gather the data and materials you need. Then express it in a way that lets people “get it” in whatever medium you are using to present it .

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Delving Into The Dark Side

“Human beings are built that way” Rob drawled. “They can be lured to the dark side so easily. ‘Course it doesn’t hurt if he thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow.”

Once again, our brand guru fueled on grits turned my mind around before I sat down.

Rob, I said, “What are you talking about? I know the new Start Wars opened last night but somehow I think it is something else you’re trying to convey.”Yin Yang & Dark side

“Fletch,” he said, that string of movies always has a fair amount of concern about the dark side so naturally I was talking to Rick about how that gets used in his direct marketing business and that led to politics and, well, that’s when you came in.”

“Okay,” I replied, “so the roadmap here is dark side to direct marketing to politics. Is that right”

Rick piped up and said, “That’s the short and not so sweet of it. Basically he’s saying that the way folk’s minds work it is really easy to get to them with the dark side not to mention that he thinks folks like Chris and I are experts at using photos and copy to exert an outrageous influence over most prospects.”

Kate, ever the pragmatic sales expert cleared her throat. Everyone swung to look at her.

She sniffed and said, “Don’t you all know by now when he’s about to spring one of those tar baby stories on you? He’ll lead you right down the primrose path and then snicker when he gets you to fling him into the briar patch. Don’t you know that’s where he grew up? He understands Brand because he has more than a nodding acquaintance with the dark side.”

You could hear the clock on the wall behind Gail ticking it got so quiet.

Gail, our writer/editor/campaign builder said, “Could you spell that out a little more for me?”

“Sure,” Kate said. “Name an iconic brand. I’ll bet you come up with Apple and Starbucks and maybe Google and a handful of others. Can you tell me one that set out to be an icon? Can you tell me one that had a mission statement that set them apart?CAn you tell me one that doesn’t have some contribution from the dark side?”

Rob said, “She’s right. All of them fell into it. In fact the iconic Apple commercial that ran in the 1984 Super Bowl had a suit filed against it by the estate of George Orwell. The commercial is considered to be one of the best of all time but it nearly did not get aired. The board of Apple wanted to kill it. Fortunately, that was a case of the dark side not winning. The agency defied a direct order to sell the time that had been purchased in the Super Bowl. They drug their feet long enough that the only thing left to do was run the commercial. That commercial got flung in the briar patch but still got aired.

Some people claim that Apple was introduced with the line “Think Different. Not so. The Think Different campaign came years later. That was in 1998. Originally, Steve Jobs was to be the voice over on the commercial but he felt people might believe he was an egomaniac. Right.

The dark side is always with us. It is a part of every brand. Theah’s a Chinese symbol that really makes it clear. Everything has positive and negative aspects. At the core of both the light and dark sides is dot of life spun up in the ongoing battle which describes the reality of any idea or company or organization. It is messy. There is always a dark side. It can be the basis of the brand or its downfall.

You can’t go all the way to the dark side or the light. Too much of either and you will crash and burn. The power is in adhering to the key precepts and acknowledging what got you here.

The Takeaway:

Brand is being perceived for a few key precepts by yourself, your employees, your customers and the general public. Brand is developed by those knowing full well that nothing is perfect and that there is always a dark side.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com