Archive for January, 2009

Perspective

January 21, 2009

Still in Nashville for David Baker‘s and Blair Enns‘ ReCourses New Business Summit, I spent the evening with Julian and David, both from California.

Since they’re a few years older than me, we spent quite a bit of time over our dinner checks talking about some big picture-life-perspective things. Things like when parents get sick and need assisted living, or even might pass away. Like how business partnerships should start, run, and end. Like…big…things.

Then we adjouned from dinner and decided that it was time to take in some of what makes Nashville THE MUSIC CITY.

The Music City didn’t disappoint.

First off, Phil Hummer and the White Falcons have it going on.

(here’s where my iPhone photo of the band goes. But, again, Holiday Inn’s internet is subpar and I can’t upload it)

But, beyond that – and deeper into that, actually – our perspective on the world we live in and the space we operate in it frames everything we do.

It’s not enough for Phil Hummer and the White Falcons to be good at country/rock-a-billy. They needed to commit to playing for free at Robert’s Western World on a Tuesday night. They needed to commit to practicing the hell the out of their tunes so guys like David, Julian, me and several dozen others would get enthralled.

They needed to commit – to take a leap of faith – that pursuing and fighting and staying true to who they were would eventually pay dividends.

Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.

But Phil Hummer and the White Falcons are out there pushing their dream with real intent to get to the goal.

Are you?

Are You Asking The Right Questions?

January 21, 2009

I’m still in Nashville conferencing it up about Business Development.

Blair had some brilliant sessions this morning talking about the buy-sell cycle and overcoming obstacles. One of the giant points that jumped out at me was about asking the right questions rather than talking about all the answers you can provide.

It gets back to the basic theme of good communications and connecting with your audience that’s true for politicians and for marketers: it’s about your customer/client – not about you.

Find out what they need. Find out when they need it. Find out if they’re serious about their need. Find out if they are willing to pay for it. Find out what it really is that’s driving them to even be talking to you.

So, whether it’s me seeking out clients-to-be, or your business seeking out customers, the key thing we need to keep in mind is: Are you asking the right questions?

Development

January 20, 2009

I had dinner with five very interesting people tonight.

Two others were dedicated Business Developers – so I had a lot to talk about with them.

Adam (aside from hating iPhones, as you’d know if you followed me on Twitter) is young and passionate and believes in his firm. He hunts down large corporations that fit his firm’s generalist approach. And he makes them money. We have a lot in common.

John is more experienced in the field and is new to his (new) firm. He also believes strongly and hunts hard. A lot in common with him as well.

The interesting thing for all three of us was talking about how paradigms are shifting for Business Development for firms like ours.

But, even more thought-provoking is the fact that that means every industry’s paradigm is shifting, too. Because our industry leads the communications for other industries.

So, if your industry isn’t already feeling the change, get ready. It’s coming.

Nashville Is The Music City

January 20, 2009

I’m in Nashville this week for the ReCourses “New Business Summit” with leading creative industry consultants David Baker and Blair Enns.

I walked down Broadway last night (sleepily) at 10 PM and there were at least ten bars/restaurants with live music going. On a Sunday night. Music City indeed.

Anyway, we just finished up our first day of seminars and they’ve been outstanding.

Like a lot of good consultants, I already knew a lot of what they talked about – but it gives me a completely different and more effective understanding to hear it clearly, concisely, and sometimes painfully bluntly from an outside expert. Kind of like how we at GrafiQa are able to help our clients see things a new and clearer way.

Oh, and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts is a pretty cool building, too…..

More on the Death of Traditional Media

January 8, 2009

Hubspot had a kind-of funny post today about the Death of Traditional Media that I was talking about in our last post.

Like TV, Radio and Print advertising, Direct Mail has seen better days, too….

The Slow Death of Traditional Media

January 8, 2009

smashed-tv

Have you advertised on TV, on the radio or in a print newspaper lately? You probably found that prices are skyrocketing and effectiveness is plummeting.

Why? Same reason as most major social shifts in the history of mankind: technology. Tivo and DVRs are devaluing traditional television ads. iPods and satellite radio are keeping people from listenting to the radio. And ask anyone you know under the age of 30 when they last picked up the print version of a newspaper.

Old school interruption advertising isn’t the same “that’s where the eyeballs are” media buy it was years ago.

So what’s a business or not-for-profit to do to keep their customers or clients engaged – and to get new prospects to become customers?

Learn as much as you can about e-Marketing. Social media, Business blogs, e-Newsletters, Microblogging (like Twitter) and Podcasts are where your customers, clients and donors are moving. So, in order to keep at the top of their minds, you need to move there, too.

Marketing and Sales in a Downturn. When the going gets tough – the tough get….

January 7, 2009

Here are some ideas on sales and marketing in the current economic situation and how we and many of our clients are weathering the situation.

1. Sales Down? Double or Triple your activity – fill your pipeline, go to new markets, develop new offerings. Get out there and make sure your prospects know you exist and make sure your clients know how valuable you are.

2. Look into Social Media Marketing. It’s almost free minus the work. Social media includes developing tools specifically for the web that allow your company/product/service to create a following. Having a following creates qualified leads. Having qualified leads always means you’ll get some sales.

3. Figure out ways to track your current marketing efforts. If your spending X thousand dollars on radio and TV, you have to know if it’s working or not. If you don’t know, it’s time to find out through surveying customers, tracking via online statistics, etc.

4. Give incentives to staff and potential customers to close more deals.

5. Ask staff to give a little more or take a little less less during this time is a much better alternative to having someone good lose their job.

6. Don’t stop marketing and don’t stop selling. Recessions are only an excuse to push harder; when you come out of them, you can be stronger and be on top of the hill.

I personally look at this downturn as one of the biggest opportunities of my generation. So we don’t plan on letting it slip by without taking action.