An Unexpected Discovery in Marketing Reason, Rhyme and Recipe

Brent asked me to review his latest newsletter.

Salsa Portfolio TheoryHe is a Certified Financial Planner. He said he was “Going
to make Portfolio theory understandable in two pages.”

That’s the kind of topic that can make my eyelids slam shut
so hard you can hear them reverberate down town.

So I agreed to read it. I assumed it would be from the
economist’s viewpoint and that it would feature the System 1 approach of neuromarketing.
In other words I figured it would be the old logic train of decision making.

Boy was I wrong.

He compared Portfolio theory to making salsa.

Stocks are the tomatoes. Bonds are the peppers and cash is
the onions.

He told me, “If you leave out the peppers and onions all you
have is a bunch of chopped tomatoes. You have to have all three ingredients to
actually make salsa. It’s the same way with a portfolio. Too few bonds or the
wrong kind and there’s no zing. Cash? Not a lot required but it is an essential

I was awestruck. I asked him if the analogy would stretch to
how financial people keep saying it may be time to sell some bonds.

He started in talking about “style drift and then caught
Starting over he said, “You can alter the ‘heat’ in your salsa by
using differing kinds of peppers.  Some
are sweet and some peppers will burn your tongue off just looking at them. 

Bonds have varying attributes as well.  Bonds with longer maturities usually pay
higher interest rates than those with shorter maturities.  In a normal bond market you can attempt to
generate predictable income from bonds by mixing a combination of maturities.  

But these days, many portfolio managers have shortened the
average maturity of bonds in their portfolios in anticipation of higher
interest rates. BUT if a portfolio is maintaining the same distribution pattern
with shorter maturities, what have they done in the portfolio to maintain the
income level? This can lead to a more complicated discussion about credit
quality of the investments and use of derivatives within the portfolio that
will probably glaze your eyes over and diminish the enjoyment of the salsa.

Too few bonds means less ‘zing’ in the Portfolio salsa

We have to find a balance.

We trust that if we follow the recipe that the results over
time will be good.

Reason: Understand the logic of the product or

Rhyme: Let’s you find the words, phrases, pictures
and music to get your ideal customer to hum along with your presentation.

Recipe: Is the analogy that will make it
understandable, explainable in user/customer/client terms and lead to referrals
for you.

Fletcher has the recipe for Start-ups, Professionals and Small businesses
. See his
approach at

speaks internationally. His speaking site is

Why A Promise Trumps A Goal And Should Be Added To Your Magic Words

A Promise DeliveredRJ was kind enough to host an introductory sit down in his
conference room. We had agreed that when he moved to his new location that we
would begin a lead generating and nurturing campaign for his operation.

He was introducing me to the senior staff of a group he
thought I might be able to help as well as building his relationship with them.

Don, the CEO, and I started comparing notes and found that
we had similar views about running companies and the power of words backed by
singular actions.

We bounced from hand-written thank you notes to what is
stated in what I call “magic words.”

“Magic words?” asked Don.

There are words that work like magic in interpersonal relationships,
I said. “The best example I can give is as promised. When you tell someone that
you will take some action, do so and then advise them you have, simply starting
with the words as promised will tell them a lot about you. It says you do what you
say you will and you can be trusted to do so.”

Don chuckled and said, “Funny thing about that word promise. It is powerful… more powerful than one of the most used words in business.”

He had my attention so I used another of my magic words, “Oh?”

“Yes,” he continued. “As a young CEO I was having difficulty
getting my staff to hit the goals we had all agreed to. One day in a meeting I
was so frustrated I made them each personally promise to hit their targets.
Long story short, to this day I exact promises instead of goals. It

When you and a colleague deliver on a promise there are three
winners: Your colleague, you, and most importantly, the customer.

A promise is personal. You can’t shine it on. It won’t go
away. A promise trumps a goal every time.”

I promised Don I would tell everyone I know.

This is a

Jerry Fletcher is a man of his word. Learn more at

Like stories with a point? Review the videos at his
professional speaker web site

What Are Your Metrics?

“Yes,” I agreed, “it is getting easier to measure marketing
performance. We can thank the web for some of that but not all.”

“What do you mean?” asked Jim. What are your metrics

“The problem is always the same,” I said. “Nothing matters
until you have a sale and if there is a sales person involved they believe they
should get most of the credit

Kate who has been known to make a cold call or two put down
her wine glass drilled me with steely eyes over her glasses said, “Humph” and
went back to her salad.

Jim glanced at me, then her and asked, “Did you have a
comment Kate?”

“Yes,” she sniffed, “This may be a little radical but before
you jump on me listen carefully.

Nothing matters but the sale. Nothing.

all the credit for this or that.

Nothing matters but the sale. The reason is the
sale is when everything all of us do pays off. Yes, marketing gets leads. But
what about the guys and gals that developed the product and the purchasing agents
that got the needed supplies and the teams that put it together? Or if you
operate in retail the buyers that decided what stuff to buy and the people that
figured out the displays and everybody that had a hand in that item being in
front of the customer?

None of us do this alone. No one of us or one department or
team should get all the credit. The sale is the result of all of us doing our
jobs. The sales are how we all keep track of how well we’re doing.

Are there other metrics we should keep track of? Yes. But
start with the ones that customers care about. Trust Matters. Did you deliver
on time? Did you provide a positive experience? Did you listen? Did you give
them the information they wanted and needed when it would be most useful? Did
you care?

You want marketing metrics? Concentrate on the ones that
help you improve things for customers and clients.
Find ways to get more people
to visit the web site because if helps them. Test to get better click through
rates because they understand exactly what they are buying. If they prefer to
buy by phone, make it easy for them. And then help me figure out what they want
to hear on the other end of the line.

But don’t talk to me about singular credits for sales. I don’t
want the credit alone.

Neither should you. The successful companies know that they
are all in it together and any improvement, even a tiny one in their area, can
make the bottom line better and that is the real metric that is important…the
revenue and profit scorecards.”

She took a sip of wine and asked, “Any questions?”

Jerry Fletcher just reports the luncheon conversations but this is one he totally agrees with including putting metrics to the marketing Visit:

Check out his new Speaking Site at

A Pickle Label Is The Best Pick Up Line on line

Rick said it again,
“A pickle label is the best pick up line.”

Pickle LabelGail, one of three ladies at the table responded, “I love
you dearly lad but believe me you need a great deal more. How long have you
been married this time?”

She was just the first. All the rest jumped on him with
varying degrees of disgust base on their age and their sex.

It fell to me as the oldest guy at the table to ask “What are
you really talking about my crazy Direct Marketing friend?”

“Finally,” he said, “A person who is not besotted with
carnality. What I meant was that failing all else play to the problem your
target has. Label it. Help them understand what you are talking about even if
you can’t bring yourself to use socially unacceptable language.
Get as close as
you can.”

Rob smiled and said, “Now I get it. How many of you know
what this headline was for: Within the curve of a woman’s arm…

Gail answered, “I don’t remember the product but it was the
first underarm deodorant for women.” 

“Hold it, I said, “What has that got to do with a pickle

Rick replied, “It is kind of a shorthand way of saying that
people will pay more attention to you on line if you tell them what you’re
selling or problem you’re solving in their terms.”

Chris chimed in, “So
what you’re saying is that in Adwords for instance I’m better off to use a
headline that Includes the Main Keyword.

“Exactly,” Rick responded, “When your main
keyword is in the ad and it matches the search query, the keyword will show up
in bold. Try it. Type in Barcdode Printer on your Pad or laptop

You can test your way to success.

Test what you’re doing on line. Start with
the pickle label and use that as your base of comparison or control.

(the pickle label)

snoring (the benefit pickle label)

Snoring Guaranteed (The benefit pickle label with a guarantee)

Include the pickle label, the keyword that
appears in your targets search in order to get your ad clicked on. That’s what
makes it a great pick up line on line.”

If your pickle labels include Marketing Without
Money you need to stay tuned. Independence day is coming. Learn more at

You’ll find out more at his speaking web


What Is In A Marketing Name?

Marketing NameA client introduced his intern who said, “I’m looking for an
inbound marketing job.”

Fortunately I’m familiar with the term. Most small
businesses are not.

According to the census, 78% of the firms in the USA don’t have
employees. Of those remaining, 36% have fewer than 100 employees. In other
words 99% of the firms in the country have fewer than 100 employees. So this
young man is going to send out resumes saying he is looking for a job 99% of
the firms in the country don’t have.

Our universities continue to teach as if all marketing jobs
are in Enterprise
level organizations.
And they continue to mislead young men and women that are
really pretty talented by stressing the possibilities of the new without
recognizing the power and the crossovers from the old.

They call print and broadcast “Traditional Media” Direct Marketing
in all forms is looked down on. According to the youngsters I’m talking to very
little real instruction is devoted to those areas in class.

Anything that has to do with the internet is considered “New
Their pursuit of the “bright shiny new technological toy” beggars the
imagination. Young men and women can cite voluminous statistics about how many
followers and connections are involved in the “social media” but they can’t
tell you what really works even though that is the promised differential
between “Traditional Media” and “New Media”

Twenty years ago the argument was about Business to Consumer
versus Business to Business (B to C versus B to

Now we have “Inbound Marketing” versus “Interruption

Seth Godin introduced the term “Permission Marketing.”

I’ve heard and seen the term “Content Marketing” used.

The list goes on as marketing firms try to sound like
specialists … and get caught in their own word webs as the new technologies
morph around them. You ask where to find the milk when you walk into the store… even if you drink something that never saw a cow

It is all Marketing. The job hasn’t changed. You
have to be capable of two things:

1.      The
ability to analyze the available data

2.      The
ability to empathize with a target audience to create ways to persuade,
convince and close the sale.

The internet has changed the tools available but it has not
changed the job.
We need to understand more ways to reach our objectives. We
need to understand how to measure your success regardless of the marketing
strategies and tactics employed.

But most of all we need to stop inventing names for the
various and sundry ways to get the Marketing job done.

Pardon the rant. Have you got a name you’d like to throw
against the wall to see if I sticks? Fire off a comment.

Jerry gets his dander up when misinformation is rampant. At other times he’s  a pussycat…if you like lions. That’s part of why you need to visit

class=”MsoNormal”>We let him out of his cage to speak at conferences and to business meetings occasionally. Learn more at

Your Product Is Not Perfect. So What And Says Who!

“Charlie,” I said, You still haven’t released the new
product! What are you waiting for?”

“Fletch,” he sighed, “it’s just not right yet.”

Rick, our Direct Marketing guru jumped in, “The only way you
are ever going to know if it is saleable is to try to sell it.

Your Product In the MirrorRob took a sip of his ale and offered, “Charlie, you remind
me of ole’ GR Squared Jones
a client of mine that had difficulties with getting
things done. We called him that because he was always Gettin’ Ready
to Get Ready. Now I’m not sayin’ we should give y’all a new
nickname but this has been goin’ on now for at least a year. Stop looking in that broken rear view mirror and get this show on the road!”

Charlie hung his head and muttered, “But it has to be

He put his hand up to ward off the evil eye from all three of

I looked at the other two and said, “Rick, why don’t you

“Okay, Charlie you know how when we market a product or
service we give it our best shot, right? 
But we just don’t fling it out there and hope for the best. We watch the
results. In the mail and in print and on TV we monitor sales and track where
they came from. It’s the same way on-line. We watch the click through rates and
the web site traffic flow and the actual orders.

We test against the best result we get which we call The Control.

Man, if you don’t try something you have no Control.”

Rob took up the cudgel, “If you don’t stop making it perfect
for you, you’ll never know what makes it perfect for the customer. I can’t
position it if I don’t know who the customer is and what need, use or occasion
it meets not to mention why if is unique for them.”

Charlie looked to me for help.

I shook my head no, looked him in the eye and told him, “No
product is ever perfect out of the chute particularly intellectual property
based products.
I know I’m right. Everybody talks about how prescient Steve
Jobs was in introducing the I-Pad in 2010. Nobody seems to recall the Apple
Newton which failed in 1993  but provided
the information needed to build the I Pad and I Phone.

Vine, the 6-second looping video that is taking the internet
by storm didn’t have a time limit and didn’t loop when it was introduced.

Excel didn’t have linked pages when it first came out. ACT!
was a flat file database.  FaceBook,
Linked In
and even Google continue to change primarily to meet changing needs
of their customers.”

“Charlie,” Rob added, ”Perfection is in the eye of the
and until you introduce it you are never going to know what a customer
thinks about it. Chances are what you think is perfect is not what they think. 

Rick capped it off, “Use the 80/20 rule. When you get to 80%
of what your concept is get it into a alpha test with real potential customers.
Trust them to buy and to tell you how to make it better.”

Strategies for new products and services are Jerry’s
favorite marketing task. Learn more at

Consider a speaker who stopped counting successful product
introductions at 207. Learn more at:

How To Write a Better Payoff For Your Value Proposition

It started with a cryptic voice mail message from Jack, “The
payoff has to be performance or success or something they can understand.”

Value proposition aspectsSome times when you’ve been working together for a while a
kind of shorthand emerges between you and your client.

Some time… but not all the time. This was one of those other
kinds of times. 

When I got around to actually working on the project I read
my note and thought, “Oh, he’s talking about the value proposition we’re
crafting to assure that each page of the new web site is on target.”

Then I realized that it had already been done and he had
either forgotten or not reviewed it yet.

For the record, a Value Proposition should clearly answer these questions:

  1. What product or service is
    your company selling?
  2. What benefit do I (or my
    company) get out of using it?
  3. Am I the target
    customer/user it is intended for?
  4. Is it for specific need, use
    or occasion?
  5. How is yours unique from the

Now, if you detect elements of Mission and Position in there you understand part
of what is needed.

Here is a formula that will get you started:

I’m (Name of Person) (Your positioning statement) work with
(Type/size of customer–if needed)

I (how you interface with clients or customers) when (the
need use or occasion that makes them buy)

I (what you do including a time frame)

I use (your unique approach) to provide (the benefit or

Now, take all that and put I into a single sentence that
answers Jack’s question:
What is the outcome for the buyer?

That one change I led with? Rewrite it from the customer’s
point of view.

I did that with the home page copy for his new web site. He
had a print out of the value proposition and the one sentence answer to his
request and heartily approved of it.

His jaw dropped when I read the proposition as it was
proposed for his web site. Here’s the formula:

Your company (benefits to business) when (consultant)
delivers (unique approach) to accomplish (your objective).

Do you need to (cite the need/use/occasion that causes them
to buy)

Consultant name uses (process description) to deliver
(results and time frame.)

Try it. Try presenting your value proposition from the Customer/Client viewpoint. I guarantee it will be more persuasive.

When he is not writing value propositions Jerry lives up to
his own. If you run a consulting business you could profit from his experience.
Find out more at:

Schedule him to speak. Visit

What To Do When Sales From Your Web Site Go Off A Cliff

Over a cliff“Let me get this straight,” I said, “You changed only the
home page of your web site and sales stopped instantly.”

“Pretty much like flipping a switch,” Chip said. “Here’s the
control (the original home page) and here’s the one I changed it to.”

I pulled both printouts across the desk and asked, “Did the
target change?”

“No, no way,” he replied. “The target is still the same
small business owner looking for a way to bring some business his way.”

“You’re sure they are guys?”

Chip nodded and stated, “For the most part. It’s probably
and 80/20 thing.”

“So the only thing you changed was this part at the bottom
where you added these icons and service descriptions,” I asked.


“Then what we’ve got heah is (a) failure to communicate” I
said, imitating the warden in the movie Cool Hand Luke. “Go back and look at
the target.

Empathize with them. Get inside their heads.

Figure out:

            What they

            What they

            What they

About you, your product or service.


primary concern about the problem it solves

            How they
want to buy it

  The need, use or occasion that
drives the purchase

            How they
want to use it

The cliff your web site sales went off of is one of those…
or a couple.
The better you can assume their mindset, the easier it will be for
you to get back on track.

Use the things that changed as clues. You added information
with icons and brief descriptions thinking they would be helpful. They stayed
away in droves. Could that be because what you thought was helpful added to
confusion? Could it be that they think they have to wade through all that to
get to how you’re going to be of help? Is it possible that your intent had the
opposite effect?”

Chip and I worked through a replacement based on greater
The Click Through Rate (CTR) is up 300% and Closings are up 500% in
the first few days.

Jerry Fletcher is one of a few experts in Trust-based
Marketing on and off-line.
Learn more about his consulting services

His linked in description says: Networking Ninja, Marketing
Rainmaker, Contact Relationship Magician and Professional Speaker.

Jerry speaks
on what he delivers and succeeds at communication.






Do You Know Your New Product Inflection Point?

Product Development CycleCharlie asked, “Would you talk to me about my company’s new
product process?”

“Sure,” I replied, “Is there some reason you’re asking?
We’ve known each other quite awhile and you’ve never been concerned before.
What is going on?”

“Fletch,” he answered, “I’m seeing a fall off in sales and
I’m not sure why but I figure I have to start product development now and I’m
not going to be able to afford any mistakes.”

“So this is not a casual inquiry, I said. “You’re telling me
this is not a seasonal thing or reaction to a competitive entry in the market.
It is a long term trend shift.”

Charlie smiled sheepishly and volunteered, “I figured if I
bought you lunch you might let me pick you brain a little.”

“Okay, lunch is on you. Do you know your new product inflection point?”

I could tell from his puzzled expression that he didn’t have
clue so I drew the diagram on a napkin.

I explained, “New product tracking starts well before you
begin recording sales.
Generally, there is time and money spent in product
development plus the cost of preparing to go to market which can include actual
manufacturing and shipping and setting up distribution channels no to mention
promotional marketing expenses.”

Pointing at the rough drawing he asked, “But why does the
sales curve turn down?”

“Look, I told him, “when you start to sell a product or
service the curve is not a straight line.
Sales don’t increase forever. At some
point they are going to decline. That’s why if is important to track them month
to month. Similar products and services in similar markets will have similar

Before your sales or your market share flattens you should
be looking to replace or add a product or service. If you really get
sophisticated your analyses will include seasonal, year to year data and will
be targeted on predicting the deflection point—the point where you introduce
the new product to take over the heavy lifting while the old product continues
to bring in revenue.”

He brightened when I went on, “There are some products that
seem to go on forever.”

Then he frowned as I continued, “But sooner or later
the volume will drop off. Having another product in the pipeline that will give
your sales an ascending curve replaces the lost revenue from the first. You need
to plan for it.

Tracking your sales, knowing the seasonality of your product or
service, looking at the trends and analyzing conversion ratios accurately will
help you find your inflection point.

Jerry Fletcher
stopped counting successful product intros a 207. He believes knowing when to
introduce is just as important.

Your group can have a conversation with a Networking Ninja. Jerry Speaks internationally on Networking, Email Marketing
and Trust-based Marketing on and off-line