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With one foot in ICE water and one foot in BOILING water . . . on the average . . . you should be pretty comfortable!”

One of the things I remember from my college statistics class was that an ‘average‘ is a theoretical construct abstracted from empirical reality.

Practically speaking, it doesn’t reflect in any accurate way what’s really going on in your world — i.e. ’empirical reality’.

“Statistics Lie”
That’s 100% Incorrect. Statistics don’t lie any more than guns kill people.   But people do use them to present reality in a way that may invite you to either misunderstand or (more likely!) misperceive the ’empirical reality’ that they’re based upon.

The 80 / 20 Rule — AKA “Pareto’s Principle”
Pareto was the Italian economist who first suggested that “80% of any result is generated by about 20% of the effort required to get it”.  This ‘rule’ of input and output has been applied to almost everything.  In business, you often hear, “80% of your profits comes from 20% of your clients”.  That’s accurate — until you dig deeper!

Pareto’s Principle reflects a Statistical AVERAGE Not an Empirical Reality!
In advertising, you hear, “50% of every dollar spent is wasted” followed by the collorary “So I have to spend a buck to see any value”.  That’s consistent with the “80/20 Rule” — only in that case, it’s more like the “50/50 Rule”!

Even if the 80/20 rule is ‘technically correct’, it can be ‘practically in-correct’.  Why?  Because is SIMPLIFIES the situation and that is what causes the 80/20 rule to be dangerous if you take it on face value.

Pareto was a Pessimist!
What I mean is that when you examine which of your clients are contributing to your ‘bottom line’, you may find what MIT lecturer, Jonathan Byrnes points out in his book “Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink“.  Byrnes argues that your practice has a relatively few ‘super profitable clients’ who cover for the ‘grossly un-profitable ones’.  So while the 80/20 Rule may appear to be true, in reality, your profits are more likely to reflect the “99.9 / 0.01 Rule”.

KEY POINT:
Identify your SUPER PROFITABLE clients and cultivate relationships with them! 

Publish or Perish
Successful marketing requires that you produce and distribute relevant content on a regular basis.

That’s why Step 3: “Adopt The Publishing Model” is so important to honor and practice.

Of course, once you embrace this reality, using a marketing calendar becomes an inescapable conclusion.

Lead Generation
At the same time, you’ll be engaging in many different activities to market your business.

In Step 5, “Orchestrate The Lead-Generation Trio” you’ll be focusing on advertising, PR and referrals.  These marketing activities are not ‘one-off’ activities.  They are most effective when you engage in a series of actions.

For example, an advertising campaign requires that you plan your creative message, select appropriate media, monitor results and modify your campaign accordingly.

Public Relations involves identifying and cultivating media contacts with useful information on a regular basis.

Generating referrals requires a systematic approach and carefully coordinated actions to produce successful results.

Managing Your Web Presence
In Step 3: “Create a Total Web Presence” you’re managing your social media profiles — definitely not a ‘one and done’ kind of activity!  Creating and using a ‘listening post’ to monitor your brand’s mentions involves a number of orchestrated actions.  And let’s not forget the ‘big driver’ of your content is your blog — which requires definite planning to maintain a quality level that will generate traffic to your site.

Marketing is a NEVER-ending function of your business
Once you begin to implement your marketing, you quickly realize that consistency in your actions, over time, is best managed by creating a marketing calendar. The annual marketing calendar is not only a great planning device for campaigns and product launches, it’s also a great tool to organize and schedule all your time-sensitive projects and actions.

Creating projects and breaking them down into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly actions, helps you maintain focus on your marketing and the results you’re seeking from doing your marketing . . . by design, not accident and consistently and conscientiously rather than sporadically, erratically and ineffectively.

KEY POINT:
Ask, “What would happen if I started to manage my marketing ‘by the calendar’?”
Trust me, you’ll like the answer!

To paraphrase the famous words penned by the English poet, John Donne (1572 -1631)  . . .

“No Website Is An Island”
Your website can not long exist, much less thrive if it is not connected to a larger system of online (and, offline!) media.

Wayne Gretsky, the hockey legend said, “I go where the puck is going to be . . .”.  That’s your goal, too — be everywhere you can be online (and, off) so prospects can find you easily.

You Never Know When or Where or How
People who are prospects for your products and services are on all kinds of media. They’re on social network sites like facebook and Linkedin. They send and receive tweets on Twitter, they read posts on blogs and they’re constantly searching online using Google.

This is why your business must be easy to find and connect with online. This requires creating quality content that’s Google-friendly and easily promoted on social media.

It also means dovetailing your online presence into your offline marketing activities, as well.

KEY POINT:
The entire web is an opportunity to build your presence and traffic — use it or lose it! 

Yesterday, I shared what I truly feel is a quantum leap forward in how I, as a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, can bring you the collective wisdom of Duct Tape Marketing’s founder and recognized leader in the field of small business marketing — John Jantsch.

Today, I’d like to touch on how John’s Ultimate Marketing System, described in his book (Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide) has been updated to reflect the way the world of business and marketing is evolving and how it’s making our program known as The Marketing Catalyst . . . a whole new ballgame . . . for you.

Old is New (Again!)
The original Duct Tape Marketing Catalyst program was based on John’s well-recognized ‘7 Steps’ to small business marketing success:

1.  Narrow Your Marketing Focus
2.  Find / Communicate Your Core Difference
3.  Package Your Solution/s
4.  Create Marketing Materials that Educate
5.  Establish Your Lead-Generation Trio
6.  Automate and Dominate
7.  Live by the (Marketing) Calendar

Due to recent changes in how marketing is being done in 2011, the new seven steps are:

1.  Strategy BEFORE Tactics
2.  Embrace the Marketing Hourglass
3.  Adopt the Publishing Model
4.  Create a Total Web Presence
5.  Orchestrate Your Lead-Generation Trio
6.  Drive a Lead Conversion System
7.  Live by a Marketing Calendar

As you can see, the basics are still there, but there are some significant changes as well.

In the coming days, I’ll take each one of these significant changes / improvements in the ‘old’ 7 steps approach and explain not only HOW but WHY we’ve made the changes we have.

KEY POINT:
The world is dynamic, fluid and constantly evolving — your marketing is no less so! 

I just returned from Kansas City, MO. That’s where the annual ‘Gathering’ of Duct Tape Marketing is held.  My fellow DTM Consultants and I meet to renew alliances, build new ones and share the ‘best and the brightest’ ideas with one another.

This year, John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing shared a remarkable update to a venerated old standard — The Marketing Catalyst.

What Makes The New Catalyst . . . ‘New and Improved’?
Couple of things are readily apparent.  First, the program is now fully online.  That means that access to the participant materials is a close as your web browser and available 24/7/365.  “ON Demand . . . with the Brand (Duct Tape Marketing) that’s IN Demand”.

As you can see . . . the ‘new’ Catalyst is based on Duct Tape Marketing’s Ultimate Marketing System.  The ten (10) sessions provide a comprehensive approach to small business marketing that you can access — along with the guidance and support of SellMore Marketing –– over a period of time that ranges from 6 months to a full year depending on the needs of a client.

I also love that John’s made the program extremely ACTION-ORIENTED.  This is not an academic or philosophical program.  You’re going to work. Hard!

Each ‘session’ is based on specific behavioral ‘assignments’ that you must complete to ‘pass’ that session.  And there’s no place for shirkers, either!  If you’re serious about growing your business revenues by improving your marketing . . . this is a program you’ll love.

Here’s an image of the ‘Action Items’ for just one one of sessions:

Small Group Participation OR . . .  1-on1 Consulting — YOU CHOOSE
This version of Duct Tape Marketing’s Catalyst program is only available through a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant (like SellMore Marketing). If you prefer to work through the new Marketing Catalyst in a small group of your fellow business owners, that’s easily arranged.  If you prefer to work 1-on-1 with your Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, that’s easily done — using the online Catalyst site as your ‘base of operations’ while ‘we’ get you through the program content, assignments and to the improved results you’re seeking from doing your marketing — simply, effectively and (very) affordably.

My point — it’s comprehensive, and it’s easily used.  I sincerely believe this is one of the best things to come out of Duct Tape Marketing in quite some time!

Tomorrow, I’ll share what’s ‘new’ about the ‘old’ Catalyst. John Jantsch has been hard at work making serious improvements in how we help our clients approach their marketing.  It’s very uplifting and, these days . . . that’s a message of HOPE we can all benefit from having!

In The Last Year . . . Have You Referred Us to Others?

There’s an old adage, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”.  I like this one, too: “Clients Vote With Their Wallets”.  Both are very true.

The value of knowing that your clients are referring you to others / others to you is a SYMPTOM or EVIDENCE of how well you’re performing for your clients and how committed your clients are to you.

No business will please everyone 100% of the time.  But you can assess your performance periodically and use the likelihood of clients referring you as a benchmark of the experience you offer your clients.

Frederick Reicheld, a partner in the prestigious consulting firm Bain & Company, developed what he calls the Net Promoter Score.  This is a metric reflecting the overall effect you’ll enjoy (or, suffer!) based on how many of your clients will (net of those who won’t) promote you and your business to people in their networks of influence.

KEY POINT:
Learn your Net Promoter Score . . . and make it move ever higher! 

Emil Brolick, the new CEO of the fast-food restaurant chain Wendy’s,  has some excellent observations on his new position and the challenges he’ll be facing as the CEO.

Vision . . . is Always a ‘Good Start’ 
“A leader has to bring a vision to an organization . . .” Agreed.  But you also need the strategies to achieve the vision or your vision won’t happen and your staff will feel disengaged very quickly.

Keep Your People Focused and Involved 
I’m fond of saying, “The difference between your people and your profit is their performance.” Management is often defined as, “Getting things done through other people”.  Those ‘other people’ are your staff.

Communicate Your Expectations
If other people are to help you carry out your strategies, they must ‘buy in’ to your vision. They must also understand — and that’s your responsibility — what their roles require and how they support the achievement of the strategic vision you have created for your business.

Appreciate Your Employees
As the leader of your firm you want to recognize your staff as the essential asset they are. Also, make sure they know that the performance of the business reflects their collective performance. “All for one and one for all” is very true.

KEY POINT:
Brolick says it well . . . “A leader has to define reality and give hope”.  Amen, Emil! 

” __ __ __ __  Happens!!”
Yes, it does.  There’s even a bumper-sticker based on that truth! A colleague and I just lived through our own little ‘train wreck’.  We weren’t responsible for it.  But we were able to respond and recover from it.

In fact, there’s a good lesson here on how YOU can make the most of a difficult situation when the __ __ __ __  hits the fan!

Step 1:  Don’t Blame
It’s tempting.  But it won’t change the situation.  It usually makes it take longer to resolve.

Step 2: Take Ownership of The Recovery Process
A personal commitment to do ‘whatever’ it takes to correct the situation is vital.  It forces you to focus on the future (under your control) vs. the past (not under your control).  That’s positive.  And, productive.

Step 3:  Commit To Specific Individuals That You’ll Correct The Situation
Seek out the people who are most compromised by the situation and pledge your personal commitment to make them whole, again.  Write them a ‘check’ to fix it.  Then, ‘cash’ it.

Step 4:  Make a Plan of Action to Correct The Situation
Learn why the problem developed.  That helps you develop a set of actions that will correct the current situation . . . and prevent it from happening in the future.

Step 5:  Implement Your Plan
Once you know WHY the problem happened and WHAT you must to do to correct it . . . DO IT!  Nothing changes until your intentions become true actions.

KEY POINT:
Stuff happens.  After that, anything else that happens is really up to Y-O-U.

A recent post on LinkedIn prompted me to reply.  The question was prompted by a company asking, “How can I compete with the ‘Big Boys’ in my business?”  The business in question is ‘home remodeling’ and yes, there are all kinds of players in that field — from newbies to seasoned pros who’ve been in ‘the biz’ since they were born (or, so it seems!)

ASK . . . And Ye Shall Receive (Great Marketing Insight!)
I suggested the person survey his clients and learn what his ‘ideal client’ wants from a remodeler and then use those insights to make sure he’s operating in such a way that he’s seen as ‘more’ attractive on those qualities than his competitors — big or small.

A Practical Example of Managing Impressions to Cement Perceptions
One of my clients, a siding and windows company learned (by surveying his clients) that ‘appearances’ affect which firm a prospect is likely to hire. As a result, he pays for his crews to have a clean uniform and a truck wash EVERY day! Why?

Because it’s what his target market members want from a firm they’ll hire to replace their siding and windows. When this firm does work in someone’s home, they also wear surgical booties over their shoes, too. Why? They are managing the IMPRESSIONS they make on a client. That helps the client form a PERCEPTION about the firm that, “All things being equal, THIS firm is ‘better”. Seems to be working as his market share has been growing . . . at the expense of other firms in the same geographical area and business.

KEY POINT:
Manage the EXPERIENCE . . . Cement the PERCEPTION . . . Beat the COMPETITION!

I don’t usually tout some company or person.  The implications are often misunderstood or taken to be an endorsement beyond what was intended.  But today, my first day back online and with power since early Sunday morning, I had a great experience with a Matthew Smith over at BigContacts.com.

I’m publishing my note to Bob Walton, Founder of the company because I hope it helps him and BigContacts.com.  But I really hope it enlightens you, my readers, about what ‘good service’ looks like and what it does for all the parties involved — the consumer, the company and the brand.  Enjoy:

To:  Bob Walton, Founder / BigContacts.com

I just had a great call with a Matthew Smith of your organization.  I had to recognize him as a super ‘Brand Ambassador’ for your company.  You’re very fortunate to have him making contact with people like me . . . a prospect for your organization.

Matthew’s responses to my questions were forthright, accurate and helpful.  But mostly, his attitude was most definitely customer-centric.  In a world where service is a lost art and a forgotten element of differentiation . . . Matthew Smith did you really, really proud today.  

I will be working more diligently to ‘test’ your system (kudos on your thoughtful website and design — most impressive, too!) and intend to reach a decision this week.  Not that it should make a difference, but if the other system I’m considering is ‘as good’ as your system, I will go with BigContacts because they don’t have Matthew Smith working for them.  

I may not have the good fortune to reconnect with Matthew again, but the fact that your management was smart enough to have him working for you in the first place tells me that you make ‘good decisions’ and that . . . is what makes all the difference in the world to a consumer like me.

Thank you . . . after surviving a couple of days without electricity, running water and limited ability to move around after our encounter with Hurricane Irene, speaking with Matthew was a true pleasure and a most thankful experience in the wake of a couple of really not-so-fun days of bad weather and no power.

Cordially,

Bill