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Blind Spot

Certain cars or truck have blind spots, and as drivers we use our mirrors and best judgement to determine whats there. In other words we imagine what is there with out actually seeing it.  Often, our imagination is dead wrong , and most of us have experienced being in a car that tries to change lanes, and then suddenly realizing if you do, you are about to crash into a car that was hidden in the blind spot.

In business, we use our imagination to fill in the blanks when we don’t have all of the information, and  our customers do the same. What we think we see, is sometimes only partially true because our brains are hard wired to fill in blind spots and missing information with out us even realizing it. For example, an upset client conversation with your company’s representative goes bad, and after hearing both sides of the story you play back the recording. Wow! How could both the customer and the rep both been so wrong, do they actually even remember talking to each other. Yes, they each probably remember 10% of what was actually said, then their mind “Makes Up” the rest. Think to yourself, is there any situation that you could swear happened a certain way in your life only to discover you were completely wrong. You aren’t crazy…it’s just the way the mind works. We make up stuff to fill in the blanks.

Here is a cool demonstration to prove we all have blind spots, and by that I mean a part of your eye that you cannot see out of. The only logical, and clinical explanation, after seeing this is that every day our mind is forced to fill in the blanks. Our mind does a such good job of it we can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what our mind has conveniently filled in.

So the next time you are faced with that nagging thought of, “Did I think I just see that!” or “I can’t believe that conversation!” Remember, it might have been your mind filling in the blanks!

Print out the below picture and follow the instructions:

Blind Spot

Instructions: ( Print the sheet out and hold it in your right hand with your arm fully extended. Close your left eye and stare at the plus sign in the diagram with your right eye. Off to the right you should be able to see the spot. Now slowly move the sheet closer to your face while continuing to stare at the plus sign . At a particular distance (everyone’s a little different), the spot will disappear (it will reappear again if you move the sheet closer or farther away). You have just discovered your blind spot. )

Here is a PPT file of the image: http://www.leeraito.com/download/BlindSpot.PPT

If you have seen any other good examples please post a comment!

Does Marketing Matter In This Economy

Well here is a thought to wet your noodle. Would you even know about the economy sucking if marketing didn’t matter? Probably not, you see the media’s job is to not only pass on information in an unbiased manner (take that with a grain of salt), but to do so with POWERFULL WORDS  that will catch your eyeballs attention faster than the competition. The overt headlines we read in print or hear on TV are expertly marketing the news. 

Marketing matters. With out sales and marketing almost all businesses would fail over time.

“The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.”
Thomas Jefferson

Get Contagious with Gregory Ng

Gregory over at http://getcontagio.us reminded me of something very important. 

He posted on his blog a video posing a simple question. What are you doing to cut though the noise with your messaging? I semi-brilliantly answered the question, and it immediately reminded me that I have gotten off track with my MARKETING & IDEA blog.  Sure, I want to write about odd topics and go off on tangents, but is that cutting through the noise of the 1000’s of other marketing blogs you can read online? How many idea guys are blogging these days? (Just checked and there are 9.6 Million Results in Google…ouch!) 

Nike says __________! 

Face book lets you ________! 

Google is the king of _________! 

Now I understand these are global brands and I am not…yet! But, we all need to be crystal clear these days on our value proposition and specifically how we differ from the crowd. My point here being, our messaging starts with how we are perceived by our customers, as any future messages will never be heard or seen if we don’t have our customers attention in the fist place. 

I have some FUN work to do this weekend in retooling my messaging, and if you find yourself in the same situation maybe this is a good kick in the butt for you to the same. Either way, go check out Greg’s video at http://getcontagio.us/wordpress/2008/10/03/how-are-you-producing-messages-for-your-customers-that-breakthrough-the-clutter/

The Power of No

I recently sent this email responding to a potential customer who turned me down for an appointment.   

Hi *First Name*, 

As always, thank you for your time.    After your response to my meeting request, I realized something very important. When I asked to meet with you this time, I clearly didn’t offer anything of immediate and compelling value to you and your business. As time equals money, why would any smart business person give up their valuable time for a meeting of unknown proportions?  

You can be sure that the next time I contact you * First Name*, I will bring an offer of compelling value to the table. Cheers,
Lee 

The power of hearing the word NO can cause an epiphany, of which hearing a YES usually can not!  When we get too many positives or yes’s in our lives, we can become complacent and start making assumptions about the perceived value we bring to the table. We need to be turned down once an awhile to keep sharp, to keep ensuring we communicate clearly to our customers and potential clients the immediate value we bring to the table.  Come to think of it, the power of NO is true for any relationship. Embrace the NO, and learn from it!

10 Cures for Writers Block

Almost everyone has to write for some purpose or another. Whether you are in marketing, journalism, or simply have a deadline to write a business proposal or birthday card, writers block can hit at the most inconvenient times. Here are few interesting ways to cure the nastiest cases of writers block. 

Top 10 Cures for Writers Block 

  1. Call A Friend– Call anybody your truly enjoy talking to and chit chat. There is no need to mention writers block just truly enjoy a conversation with a friend. Then as soon as your done write the first thing that comes to your mind.
  2. Shut Google Down– Instead head over to www.Wikepedia.org  and search for your first pets name or full name of your first crush. If this doesn’t cure you writers block, then at least you’ll have a new found respect for your first pet, or be crushed that you first love is now a multi-millionaire internet mogul. Start writing!
  3. Power of Now – If you have read Eckhart Tole’s book you will realize we constantly have a ‘self speak’ conversation going on in our own heads. Take the next 5 minutes to try and seriously not think about anything or let a single thought come into your head. Writing should be easy after this one!
  4. Write Facts- The simple exercise of writing anything can truly break your writers block. Pick up the Yellow Pages, go to the first page your fingers select half way through the book and start typing out what you read. (If you’re curious, page 532 in my City is the Handyman Section…yahoo!!!)
  5. Alarm Clock- Set your alarm for 5 minutes from now. The purpose behind this one is that if you are sitting at a computer you will have to stop and hit the snooze button every time it goes off, thus forcing you to stop what you are doing momentarily. If whatever you are doing is not helping your writers block or you find your self zoning out…stop, drop and get writing!
  6. Drink Coffee- Caffeine tends to spur brain activity. If you can’t drink coffee (who the heck doesn’t), then have a Pepsi or a chocolate bar. If you just can’t have caffeine period… skip this one all together!
  7. Pen & Paper- I know it sounds really strange, but pull out a pen and pad of paper and try writing on that. No laptop, no spell check and no clickity clack…
  8. Listen To Music You Would Normally Hate- If you listen to music while you are trying to write and aren’t producing results, then listening to the same old tunes is not going to change your mindset. Shake things up and listen to _________ and start writing.
  9. Still Blank– Accept the fact you have writers block and walk away to write another day. Go do something totally off the wall and fun!
  10. Unplug Your Internet- If the Instant Messenger, Email, Facebook & iTunes aren’t curing your writers block, then they may be causing it. Disable your internet connection and start writing with out distraction.

Three cheers to the end of writers block and may all your words flow as easily as the air you breathe. If you have found other ways to beat writers block please post your comments below. I may need a # 11 soon :>)

PRWeb Press Release

I had a reader ask where to submit press releases online that actually get SEEN, and the answer to that is quite simply PRWeb. I know there are a ton of online free press release services, but I haven’t found or heard of any to be truly effective. If you care to disagree…please post your comments at the end of this post! 

WHO: PRWeb 

WHAT: Press Release Service 

WHY: Besides getting a ton of eyeballs immediately viewing your company or service via Google News, Yahoo and other major online news services, the potential to get your story picked up by main stream media, TV, & radio should be why you submit a press release on or offline. If your story is compelling enough and starts to spread virally, it is more free advertising than you or I can potentially imagine. 

As well, your press release will be permanently pointed to your website. This can send you additional website visitors, improve your search engine rankings with major search engines, and even have your story picked up by media again, and again. 

WHEN: 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week /365 days a year.  WHERE:  www.prweb.com

My Hush Puppy Customer Service Story

I have an interesting story about shoes that might not be indicative of blogging about marketing ideas, but certainly is about customer service and pride of product. 

For the longest time, I have been in love with Hush Puppy dress shoes. I wear them almost day and night and despite loving the product so much almost dropped buying the product all together because of a bad experience.When I bought my last pair of Hush Puppies about a year before my problem occurred in 2004, I told everyone. It was their most expensive shoe and I was ecstatic with their new technology, which put a cushion of air under your heel. I talked about them on the plane, at seminars, to family and friends…to absolutely everyone. They looked good and felt even better. I gave Hush Puppies so much free advertising some might have accused me of being on their payroll, I assure you I wasn’t and am not currently.

A little over a year after buying the shoes, I one day realized…hey, my feet aren’t so comfy anymore. I took off my shoe and took a look inside. In both shoes, the air cushion had collapsed and a crater had developed under each heel. I’m hard on my shoes but not that hard, and I’m not even a heavy guy. So, I was disappointed but figured it wouldn’t be a problem, just take them back and get a new pair…right? Not that easy after all.The store indicated that they only can return Hush Puppy product with in one year of purchase and you must produce a receipt, which was OK as I still had it. Strike one. I figured OK, if I contact Hush Puppies directly, they would surely recognize a manufacturing default and pony up a new pair of Puppies. Nope…after contacting Customer Service via email their response was simply to shrug me off stating that they only provide a one-year warranty on all their products. In other words, we don’t care that their may be a manufacturing default and you are out of luck. I guess some people may have stopped trying at this point, but I wanted my Puppies repaired or replaced, and I wasn’t taking no for an answer.In the mean time, I had purchased a new pair of stylish, yet comfortable jet black, slide on Rockports. They were surprisingly comfortable, but not my dear Hush Puppies. With the shoebox that my new Rockports came in, I boxed up my old Hush Puppies and shipped them to the office of the CEO of Hush Puppies, with a letter letting them know how I felt.

One of two things is going though your mind. He’s crazy … well, just a little, or brilliant. I really don’t think either are holey appropriate. The fact is Hush Puppies had a choice, they can either stand behind their product or they can leave their customer hanging, in a highly competitive market.

What did they do?

About three weeks after sending my shoes off, at the whopping cost of about eight bucks, my wife received a call from the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Hush Puppies. I happened to be on a business trip at the time but Tanya indicated that she knew why they were calling. The lady politely asked Tanya if she thought Lee would mind waiting about a month, until their new line of shoes came out, and they would ship me a brand new pair. Whoo…hooo…success! Tanya said that would be fine and that she would pass on the message to me. Tanya called me pretty much immediately after getting off the phone, as to date we have had quite a few laughs over the Hush Puppy incident.

I was elated that in the end I succeeded at achieving my goal, but was still upset that it took such great lengths to get satisfaction. This was not a case of a miser seeking a freebie, as I always believe in paying fair prices for quality; their product obviously had an “alleged” manufacturing default. Maybe it was limited to all the shoes produced on New Years Eve, who knows and who really cares.

The morale of the story is stand behind your product or service and your loyal customers will take care of you. If you don’t, they will abandon you faster than you did them.

 

No Job is Too Small

It doesn’t matter if you are a marketer, a plumber or an actor, if you advertise your services as being no job is too small for your undivided attention, then that’s what you need to live up to.  It’s a great way to make every customer feel important, of course, only if you can and will dutifully follow through on your promises. 

Regardless of your market there is money to be made in small jobs, or what some might call micro sales. You just have to figure out how to keep your promises and be profitable at the same time.  

Amazon has figured this out with the Artificial Artificial Intelligence (that’s not a typo), where people are profiting from services completed for as little as .05 cents. It’s called Amazon Mechanical Turk http://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome If your business is online you’ll immediately see the value of this service!

Why can’t the local handyman who advertises ‘No Job is Too Small’ do the same?

The Marketing PDF

The Marketing PDF

 So what is The Marketing PDF?

This one page PDF is the fastest way to a better marketing strategy. In less than ten minutes, and in only 3 steps, you will zero in on YOUR greatest marketing proposition, drop many bad marketing habits and immediately create a high level actionable marketing strategy that will propel you or your business forward for years to come.

Why did I create The Marketing PDF?

Quite simply, I was working on a  project that I needed to quickly zero in on the offer and marketing strategy. The other templates I had been using were just too cumbersome, old and were slowing me down. So I created a new one.

Favor to ask?

I have put this out for anyone and everyone to use, and I honestly expect nothing in return, other than if you do make use of The Marketing PDF please take the time to come back and comment.

Please feel free to share this PDF with anyone who may get use out of it. If you enjoyed this post or any other please take a moment and sign-up to receive blog updates one a week.

Click Here to Download the PDF: The Marketing PDF

Your Marketing Entourage

I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of the TV show Entourage, but the friends I bounce my marketing ideas off of totally are. From here on in we will refer to these fellow marketing freaks as ‘My Marketing Entourage.’ 

Who’s part of your entourage? Who do you bounce ideas off? 

On my BlackBerry I have in constant rotation over 100 notes for crazy marketing ideas that I pull out when needed. But prior to implementing anything, I run them by ‘My Marketing Entourage’. More often than not I get negative feedback, and less often hear, “That’s a keeper!” Mixed in with the negative and positive, I always hear nuggets of information, and variations of my original ideas that in my wildest dream I never would have thought of! 

Your ‘Marketing Entourage’ makes you better, makes you smarter and ultimately pumps you up when you are down. 

If you read my blog regularly you are de facto a part of ‘My Marketing Entourage’! If you are stuck, you are down, need an honest opinion or just want to run an idea by another professional… shoot me an email or post a comment.