Pick A Card, Any Card

“I just finished my beginning test of a software program that can digitally capture a full variety of brainstorming, planning and project tracking approaches with both words and pictures” I said to the assembled crew.

Ultimate Consultant Marketing Formula

Chris, the Digital Director in our midst said, “You must have liked it or hated it or we wouldn’t be hearing about it!”

I agreed saying, “I liked it. It is not as fast as sticky notes and white boards but it has the advantage of being saved in a form that a group can work with even if they are geographically and time separated.”

Rick asked, “What is it called?”

Cardsmith,” I replied to our direct marketing expert. I told my friend Ron about it. He speaks on planning and project management all over the country. His e-mail said:

I love my sticky notes and this adds to the usefulness.

One thing it does better is making the sticky-note planning accessible to remote locations… and thus the one thing it does worse is removing the in-room collaborative MESSY brainstorming benefits. I think it might limit what people are willing to “post” as a “good-enough-to-see-daylight” idea.  

But it has a solid use and I think it offers some great opportunities for delivering and controlling shared work items.

Thanks for calling my attention to it. I’m going to play with it a little.

Kate our resident sales doyen asked, “So how does it work?”

“The best analogy I can give you is if you had a deck of 3 x 5 cards and you were trying to figure out how to organize something whether it’s a sales meeting, a book, a team building a product or even how to structure a complex web site. You’d jot something on a card and put it on the table, do the same for the next major step and put that on the table in relation to the first.”

Gail, our writer and editor said, “this sounds like a piece of software that was part of an offering to Mac users that were writers I once looked at. I was set up so you could structure a story arc for a book or a TV show and add cards to fill in plot data and character sketches. The whole system was based on a manual system that used 3 x 5 cards!”

“Exactly,” I said. “But this product is more flexible even in its fresh-baked version. For instance, you can put the cards in relation to one another side by side or above and below one another or even arrange them in a spiral if that floats your boat. The best part, as Ron said is the ability to keep everyone in a team on the same page. One consultant I know claims it has improved his productivity by several orders of magnitude!”

The Takeaway:

Cardsmith is worth a look if you ever get involved in planning or process management of any kind that requires keeping track of lots of connecting information. It adds productivity at low cost with a minimal learning curve.


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






Why Tech is Wonky

Gail slammed her purse down and said, “I tell you all I am sick and tired of just getting to understand a piece of software and they up and change it!

Interface frustration“Now what?” said Chris, our digital director.

“My assistant simply clicked yes to an upgrade on the blog software and it went all wonky. There is no way to edit new posts on it now,“ Gail replied. She continued, “I write and I edit and I always review the post before we publish it. Fat chance at the moment.”

“Thas not the only thing goin’ on at the moment said Rob, the Georgia peach of branding. I understand that the new Google change is driving people that understand this SEO thing kinda crazy, too.”

“You’ve got a point Bubba,” I chimed in. “But not everything is worse because of changes. I upgraded to a new I-phone and I have to tell you the interface is a whole lot easier to use. But I still think they should give you some sort of instructions with the darn things. Those of us that haven’t grown up using them to take photos and e-mail them plus push those apps around could use some help. Besides, I’ve got big thumbs.”

Kate our sales specialist smiled and asked, “Can I join this pity party?”

“Jump in,” said Bubba.

“The thing that gets me is how different all the contact managers I run into are,” Kate continued. “They’ve been around since the 90s and you would think that how to make them easy to use would have been figured out by now. Every time I go into a company to tune up their sales operations it seems like I’m dealing with a new way of doing the same thing. It starts with trying to upload a list of contacts and goes downhill from there.”

“I can tell you part of the problem,” said Rick who runs a world class direct marketing operation. “A lot of software is written by folks in new companies. They try to make theirs look and operate differently from the competition. There is no previous version to narrow their approach and there is no best practices to look at. On top of that they are engineers who seldom if ever try to think like an end user. The result is that we users have to adapt continually to the bizarre solutions they come up with.”

“All y’all got that right. Every time I get told about an upgrade I know I’m gonna be outa kilter for a while, said Bubba.

“The thing is,” I said, “there’s a whole science to this stuff that nobody ever seems to look at. It’s called User Interface Design. It all comes down to the fact that users just want to be able to solve their problem quickly and easily in the same way from software to software. They want engineers to stop thinking they are creative geniuses and start building stuff that is easy to use.”

You and me and all of us should think about that as we develop our trainings and products. If we stop reinventing the wheel we might get there faster.

The Takeaway:

Truly great user interfaces are the ones that are engineered to stay out of the way.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and an unruly mob of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

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 Conquer Marketing Overwhelm

Rick said, “A new client told me he was hiring me because I helped him conquer his fear of being overwhelmed by the marketing possibilities.”

Happy Man“After you said thanks, what did you ask him?” asked Kate.

“He went on to say that it was a relief to know he didn’t have to learn it all and do it himself.”

Chris said, “Yeah, but what does that mean?”

“Let me guess,” I said. “The client is on every e-mail marketing list you can imagine. He or she watches a webinar a week which is always about the next sure thing in marketing on-line. But because each one of them says something different and the client hasn’t invested in any of them the level of overwhelm is like a tsunami.”

“Right,” said Rick. “I took a lesson from Kate. I asked him what I’d said or done that made him feel that way. Here’s what he said:

‘I’ve been trying to figure out how to take my business up a notch and I concluded that the marketing was the key. So I went on-line and searched marketing. I looked at the Business Journal list on-line and every company shown as a client was way bigger than me so I decided to look for on-line marketing help. Good luck with that! SEM, SEO and Certificate programs for pages. So I typed in how to market on line and I looked at some stuff. Before you know it I was getting e-mails from four or five folks about the same programs. So I’d watch a webinar and everything they told me was about how wonderful their new product was and they would be happy to take my credit card order for it…’

“But why did he hire you? I sincerely doubt it was because of your brand,” said Rob, our Branding Guru. What I’m seeing is that there is a glut of information out there. A simple search can make y’all believe you’re livin’ in an e-mail tornado alley. Everybody and his great aunt Hattie is tryin’ to get you to buy their shiny object and showing you checks with big numbers on ‘em.”

Gail said, “I know exactly what that feels like. Happened to me this summer. This group helped. All of you got me to stop buying into the silver bullet theory of internet marketing. You made me stop and look at the numbers and what was working for the various clients you serve. Here’s the way I wrote it down one Friday afternoon:

Information by the ton
Hundreds of products
No insight into what works and what doesn’t
A single coach
An approach matched to my needs
Test, Measure, Analyze and Reset”

I said, “So the net result is that the client believed that the insights you offered would overcome the glut of information and that you would work to make the marketing plan a living thing based on results.”

Rick said, “That’s one way to put it, but I think it is bigger than that. The client trusts me. And I’m not going to breach that trust.”


The marketing lunch bunch will be back next week. If you’re finding yourself drinking from that information fire hose, stop it! Watch this space for advice on how to find that singular coach that can help you market your business.

www.JerryFletcher.com is Jerry’s consulting web site He is changing the marketing of companies that meet around kitchen and boardroom tables. He prefers working with “Little Guys” with 1 to 500 employees.

www.NetworkingNinja.com is his speaking site. He speaks professionally on three continents on how to craft Trust-based marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.