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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!

Yahoo Widgets Can Change Your Bad Internet Habits

If you are like many other people on the planet, you have great intentions of sitting down at your computer and hammering out your extensive to do list, maybe set up a marketing campaign, respond to all your emails, and usually the list goes on and on. 

Do you ever find you get side tracked and time just magically disappears on you? 

Maybe it’s Facebook that sucked you in to a 23 minute tangent, or maybe it was that funny video link your buddy sent you that forced you at gun point to go surf on YouTube for 30 minutes.  

Either way, I have found a new tool from Yahoo Widgets called Ten Plus Two that is so dead simple it works. It displays a ten minute timer on your screen and then gives you a little alarm when it runs out, then it gives you two minutes before it starts over again. They say it was designed to get up and take break every ten minutes, which is a great idea too, but I think it better suited as a consistent reminder to get back on task when you have been side tracked by mother internet. 

If you don’t have Yahoo Widgets already, you’ll need to first get the Yahoo Widget Software, and then just do a quick search for Ten Plus Two. Not only will you be cured of your bad internet habits, at least until you forget to start using it, but they have about 5000 other cool widgets you just might find pretty cool as well. 

http://widgets.yahoo.com/  

Get Around To It

I’ll Do It When I Get Around To It! 

When I was growing up as a teenager I remember we had ‘A Round To It’ posted on the wall in our basement. It was a constant reminder to avoid procrastination, and never, ever say I will do something when I get around to it. In the event someone slipped you were reminded of the round piece of paper of shame. It was simply a forbidden statement as it should be. 

I hope the round ‘To It” below will benefit you or someone you know as much as it has me. At the very least have some fun with your favorite procrastinator in your life.

A Round To It

Just right click and print…

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 :>)

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.

 

Dude You’re a Bobble Head

Saw this novelty item and felt compelled to share it with you for your unique marketing consideration. Unless you’ve been locked in a closet you are already familiar with ‘Bobble Heads’. They come in all shapes, sizes and more often than not are of famous people like Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe. Well that was until a launch of a new service not so long ago that will bring Bobble Head Personalization to the masses. 

For about $80 www.HeadBobble.com will custom manufacture a personalized Bobble Head and deliver it straight to your door in a bout three weeks. Just submit a picture, short description, and you or any one you choose can become a famous Bobble Head! 

Just think of the unique ways you could use this in your marketing efforts or for pure comedic enjoyment. Send one to your boss, send one to your x-boyfriend, to a sales prospect, to a star employee, to a bobble head employee, and last but not least get one done of yourself just for fun. 

I am in NO way connected to www.HeadBobble.com, other than I will be surprising people for years to come with yet another unique gift to differentiate myself from the mass market promotional material most other people choose to send. 

Bobble on, bobble on…..

Try Your Next Meeting in the Dark

A few months back, I had a very strange experience during a sales meeting. About half way through my pitch, the power to the entire building shut down.  It was so pitch black in the boardroom, I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. So I logically asked everyone if they wanted me to stop and come back next time I was in town or continue on?

Surprisingly, they wanted me to power on as a few people had pulled out their cell phones providing just enough light to make out basic shapes in the room.  I finished my pitch over the next 15 minutes filled with laughter, and then went on my merry way.

It doesn’t end there and gets stranger…

The following week when I was preparing to send the ‘Meeting in the Dark’ participants some follow up material, I though of a really cool gift I had come across before to include with their package. I sent along four eco-friendly wind up flash lights with a little note making fun of the experience. The note also said the flash lights were in case they again found themselves in a meeting in the dark.

I  though that was the end of the story, until I recently was  on another business trip in the area and happened to meet up with one of the infamous blackout participants  for  a coffee. During our meeting he told me about a week after our initial black out meeting, lightning struck a transformer that  again knocked out the power to their building. Although they weren’t in a meeting at the time, they again had to use cell phones to make their way around the office. He figured he would take off early, but his assistant reminded him their was a bubble package on his desk he might want to check out first. To everyone in the offices extreme surprise when he opened the package, there were the wind-up flashlights we sent just a few days earlier. 

I couldn’t even make this stuff up if I tried.   

Finger Nails on a Chalk Board Marketing

So what do finger nails on a chalk board have to with marketing? 

Well, for starters it is a statement that can often create a physical response. Many people, including myself, will feel their back curl when they hear the term, and subconciously visualize and even internally hear nails painfully scratching against a dry black chalk board. Ouch! 

Creating a physical or emotional response can positively impact your marketing message. It can also have a negative effect if done improperly. Here are a few of the more effective advertising and marketing messages I have seen that use sound and imagery to drive home a physical response. Take notice if you a feel a physical response while watching these.

Canadian Work Safety Commercials (Warning this might disturb some people): 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noFCekWiUGE [/youtube] 

Baby Laughing: 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXIfU-87TZo[/youtube]

Australian Anti-Smoking TV ads: 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YjrkBYDDQM [/youtube]

Shell Ferrari Commercial: 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mMoIlO5NV0 [/youtube]

If you have seen other good examples of marketing that evokes a physical response please post a comment and share.

Anything Worth Doing Should Be Hard

So when you read the title of this post you probably made a quick assumption that you were going to hear something familiar or maybe even profound. But I hope when you arrived your assumption of hearing an old adage was turned upside down. It simply amazes me how many ways you can say the same thing, but with different imagery completely change the message. Pictures can indeed say a thousand words, but only in combination with words can you ensure that every person gets the same message.

In marketing this is powerful, and almost magical when done right.  

Twitter Me

Top ten reasons to follow me on Twitter. 

http://www.twitter.com/leeraito  

  1. I will Twitter You if you Twitter Me. We’ll call it Twitter Karma.
  2. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but you can be sure it will be entertaining to watch while I figure it out.
  3. Bill Gates doesn’t follow me, but I follow him.
  4. I may launch a site called TwitterChain.com
  5. I’m Canadian, and have a friend who is an Actor in Hollywood.
  6. For techie folks you’ll be helping my website SEO and rankings.
  7. For non-techie people…. Just smile and nod!
  8. You have a similar name, hair color, HP Laptop, house, mortgage, minivan, spouse, kids and or you are human.
  9.  You want to send those @messages to someone other than your Mom you convinced to sign up for Twitter.
  10.  Absolute best reason to follow me on Twitter is because I’ll pay you…. and if you believe that, I have an Igloo to sell you just outside of Miami!

Click here to follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/leeraito 

Cheers,

Lee