Thursday, August 21, 2008

Phil Collins Divorce Facts (or Fax)

This post has nothing to do with Phil Collins' music so stop reading if you're a fan. I mention Phil Collins because I read about his recent divorce from his third wife Orianne Cevey and the ensuing $46.5 million dollar payout.

The tabloids say that Phil's settlement is the largest in British history, topping the Paul McCartney and Heather Mills divorce by a mere $2 million. It was also noted, and the real reason for this post, is that when Collins divorced his second wife, Jill Tavelman, he did it by fax!

Imagine getting that document.

To: Jill
From: Phil
Re: Divorce

Dear Jill,
I think we've reached a point in this relationship where it's OK for us to see other people. Talk to you soon!

Although Collins did the unthinkable by divorcing his wife via fax, he did utilize a powerful business communication tool that seems to be collecting a lot of dust in many offices around the world. Granted, the Junk Fax Prevention Act (JFPA), passed by Congress in 2005, has scared many away from using the machine, but it should not deter you if used properly.

Without going into great detail, the JFPA specifically states that a fax advertisement may be sent to someone with whom you've had an established business relationship (EBR) if the sender 1. obtains the fax number directly from the recipient, through, for example, an application, contact information form, or membership renewal form; 2. obtains the fax number from the recipient’s own directory, advertisement, or site on the Internet, unless the recipient has noted on such materials that it does not accept unsolicited advertisements at the fax number in question; and 3. has taken reasonable steps to verify that the recipient consented to have the number listed, if obtained from a directory or other source of information compiled by a third party.

If the sender had an EBR with the recipient and possessed the recipient’s fax number before July 9, 2005 (the date the Junk Fax Prevention Act became law), the sender may send the fax advertisements without demonstrating how the number was obtained.

Many current and former customers, therefore, can be solicited with special sales, discounts, and promotions via fax. Why not start today? Your offer may be the only one they receive this week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hurricane Marketing

Hurricanes are tough. They're hard to manage. They come in quick and are soon gone. If you manage your marketing like a hurricane you're not being very efficient.

Marketing should be like a slow, gentle rain. It lasts for a long time and is easily absorbed.

Many small businesses have well intentions about their marketing. They decide on a promotion, develop a plan, and budget the dollars to make it work. Unfortunately, money is squandered because activities are done too quickly. Big ads are placed too close together rather than spaced out in industry publications; direct mail pieces contain too many sales messages rather than contain one single benefit each; and telemarketers call with a scatter-shot marketing message that talks about too many features.

Good marketers understand that you shouldn't blow your $5,000 ad budget on two big ads but spread out those hard-earned dollars to create a series of six smaller ads that will last for half a year. They also realize a four-color brochure many not be effective as a series of simple, two-color postcards sent out over the course of 12 months.

So plan accordingly and realize that being big and bold with your marketing is many times not as effective as being slow and steady.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bigfoot Sighting

Two men claim they found the body of Bigfoot in the northern Georgia mountains. Unfortunately, they have not produced the body to the media for a closer inspection. Until then, the two will have to defend themselves with more press conferences and grainy photographs.

Are you defending your product or service with vague benefits to skeptical customers? Just like the two Georgians, you need proof to prove your value. Until then, you're company is a huckster too. You can weave a tall tale about how your product is better and will save the customer time and money, but until you can prove your value, you'd better keep your stuff in the freezer.

How do you prove your case? Real testimonials are good but visuals are the best marketing tools. Sure a brochure is nice, but with today's technology you had better capture your benefits on video. Show your product doing what it's claim to fame is and I can guarantee your closing ratio will soar high above the tallest trees in the forest.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps and Marketing

As a marketing junkie I get jazzed when I see an opportunity for marketing. Michael Phelps, the superhuman swimmer, is/will be a marketing magnet for a very long time (at least for another four years). The bottom-line is that when you excel, when you're good, when you're the champ, and when people want to be/like you, then you are attractive to business.

We are a vain country. We like the finer things in life, V.I.P. tables, and access beyond the velvet ropes. We like to be seen and say that we have celebrity status, i.e., "Do you know who I saw gambling at the casino last week?"

Marketing will always be about making money, power, and vanity. Marketing is not a crime, and if played by the rules can transform your business to heights never imagined.

Marketing must never lie or bait the prospect into thinking he will get something that you never intended to give him. Do this once, and only once, and you'll suffer the consequences for a very long time. Can you say Michael Jackson, Brittney Spears or Barry Bonds?

Marketing is about benefits; the "what's in it for me?" mentality. Find a way to make "me" better, faster, stronger, and your company will ride the wave of profitability until the 2012 London Olympics and beyond.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Digital Variable Printing

DVP. Do you know what it means? If not, you better get updated on the latest printing technology.

DVP, or digital variable printing, is printing a small or large quantity of letters or postcards that are personalized with the recipient's name, product preferences, or company name. Personalizing your material makes the recipient feel that the sales message was created just for him or her. So instead of a postcard headline reading "Furniture Sale This Weekend", the new technology will allow you to say "Mary, We're Having an End Table Sale This Weekend That Will Match Your Leather Sofa You Bought Four Months Ago." See the difference!?

DVP is like the old mail merge feature in your word processing program. Try to use it whenever you can. The technology might be out of the price range for smaller companies, but those whose sales depend on frequent mailings may want to research printers that offer a quick payback period.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Working Vacation

Although many get away from work for a week or two every year, it's still not a bad idea to take a little work with you when you go. I'm not talking about bringing a foot high pile of reports to the beach but a small, manageable file folder containing some industry articles, your next quarter's calendar, and paper and pen.

Industry articles will keep your brain fresh and may spark a potential moneymaking idea deep within your cerebral cortex. I usually scan through magazines that have accumulated and rip out the articles that seem interesting.

I always bring my calendar. If you have an elaborate computerized system or Filofax-like binder, photocopy the next four months worth of pages. It's on these pages where you can leisurely set goals, to-do lists, and plan other business objectives.

Pen and paper are crucial too. Many great thoughts have burst to the surface while digging for shells, lazily floating on a raft, or drinking your favorite beverage as the seagulls fly by.

Make your vacation work for you now so that upon your return, your work will feel like a vacation.