What if All Marketers weren't Liars?

What if All Marketers weren't Liars?

Realtors are notorious for their creative use of marketing terms. "Open floor plan" means there are holes in a few walls etc. Here are a few more creatively used terms. But this morning as I was out running I noticed this real estate sign. Maybe this guy just ran out of "I'm gorgeous inside" signs and it was the end of a long day so he sighed and went with the "A Nice Place" placard. Whatever it was, it was simple enough to get my attention.

Simple and honest are remarkable. You could argue that "A Nice Place" is still stretching the truth. Wonder how many calls this sign would bring...

Promoterz is the hands-free, word-of-mouth marketing service that takes care of the details so you can focus on business. Learn more

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

We dipped our big toe into the brave new world of "podcasting" this week. For those that don't know exactly what podcasting is, Wikipedia defines it as:

Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video programs, over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The term gained wide popularity as a portmanteau of iPod and broadcasting, but was seen before that as an acronym for "portable on demand".

So there you have it. A podcast is an audio file that you can listen to on your iPod (or other MP3 player) or your computer. Most podcasts are serial in nature. So once you sign up, you get a new episode every week or day or whatever the time period defined is.

Benefits of podcasting? From a marketing perspective, they are one more way to create a more personal connection with your audience and tell a story that you just can't do any other way. Think of it as getting the opportunity to sit down personally with each prospective customer and tell them personally why your product is so great. It is also a great way to establish the fact that you are an "expert" in your industry. From the listener's perspective, podcasts offer convenience. Podcasts can be downloaded at the office or at home and listened to while commuting, exercising, or doing any other activity.

How popular are podcasts? Depends on who you ask. According to this CNET article, some researchers are predicting that the U.S. podcast audience will climb from 840,000 last year to 56 million by 2010.

Not wanting 56 million potential customers to live their lives in ignorance of Promoterz, Joe, Dan and I gathered around one of our computers last week and recorded our story. Why the picture of the 3 Stooges with this post? Well, you see there were three of us...

Listen now.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

Best of Seeds 9/24/06 to 9/30/06


September 24th to the 30th, 2006

Here's a positive thought to get your week started: your business will likely make $9 billion more than Ford this year! Welcome to the big times!

Here are a few more ideas to keep you growing.

From Seeds of Growth--The Original "Long Tail" Entrepreneur
A few lessons from the man that invented the cotton gin, the milling machine and made interchangeable parts and mass production possible.

From Other Business Blogs
Number 3-- Feature Creep Extreme. from Business Innovation Insider.
Don't always assume more is better. Need an example of what can happen when you are NOT listening to your customers? The picture is worth a thousand words, though the user comments are very entertaining as well.

Number 2--Social Shopping Update from Springwise.
Description of a couple of sites that encourage consumers to come and rant and rave about products--all products, including yours. Point is, your customers are talking and their megaphones are getting bigger and bigger. Wouldn't you like to be in the loop?

Number 1--User Generated Content Uncovered: Power to the People. from Putting People First.
Discusses the change from traditional marketing to getting involved in dialogues with consumers--“It’s not about your message any more. Now, it’s all about whose consumers are telling the best stories about them.”

Best of luck!
Dave
--------------------------------------
Best of Seeds is a service of Promoterz--Happy Customers Talking

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

More Buzz for Promoterz

More Buzz for Promoterz

Couldn't resist pointing you to some more great things being written about Promoterz (c'mon, it's our baby! what do you expect?)

Robert Kingston over at Small Business Branding, posted a terrific "how to" on getting your message right and getting it out. He includes this about Promoterz:

If you take a look around now, a lot of businesses are realizing how beneficial WoM is for promoting their message. One such business I admire is called Promoterz who advocate the importance of being remarkable and worthy of your customer’s attention.

Zane Safrit is CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited and maintains a blog worth reading. He checked out Promoterz and had this to say:

Interesting service. I liked it. I REALLY liked their video. For a small company, getting started, running fast and being completely dedicated to their customers' immediate needs...this is the tool, I think. It incorporates the power of Fred Reichheld's Net Promoter Score and The Ultimate Question with a standardized, but flexible, program to stay in touch with your customers, follow-up, generate reports, extend special offers, etc.

Need we say more? Watch our REALLY cool video.

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

The Original "Long Tail" Entrepreneur

The Original "Long Tail" Entrepreneur

Chris Anderson's recent book, The Long Tail, has gotten a lot of press over the last few months. His main premise is that with modern technology it is now financially feasible, and even rewarding, to focus not on the center of the bell curve by offering a general product that will appeal to the largest group, but to focus on the many well-defined, micro markets that exist in the "tail" of the curve with specialized niche products. The purpose of this post is not to agree or disagree with Chris's book--others are already doing that. This post is about the original "long tail" entrepreneur: Eli Whitney and what we can learn from him.

Eli didn't want to be in the long tail of the curve, but he lived there along with all the rest of the world in the late 1700's. Everything was one-of-a-kind and custom made. Eli's dream was to go up the curve into the center of the bell by creating a system that could produce identical, interchangeable parts. Because we take that capability for granted now, it's difficult to comprehend what a significant thing it was.

One of Eli's greatest moments came in 1801 when he went to the new capital, Washington D.C., and demonstrated the power of interchangeability for several dignitaries including President-elect Thomas Jefferson. The demonstration? Eli disassembled several firing mechanisms and mixed the parts, then he had those attending choose a part from each pile and he put together a musket with the parts they picked. The fact each part was identical and not custom fit was amazing to those in attendance. Several federal and state contracts followed.

The impact that Eli's interchangeability invention, or the "American System of Production" as it came to be known, had on the course of history would be hard to overstate. It wasn't Eli's first "history-changing" invention either. He is best known for inventing the cotton gin. In the years following the revolutionary war the south had no cash crop and thus no economy. While staying at the plantation of a friend, Catherine Greene (widow of Nathanael Greene, General in the Revolutionary War), Eli met many locals who lamented the need for a machine that could remove seeds from the cotton.

By early 1793 Eli had a working model that was simply described as "wire teeth which worked thro' slats and a brush." The result: southern cotton production went from nearly nothing to 200 million pounds a year by the time Eli died in 1825.

George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." With that in mind, here are a few learnings from the life of Eli Whitney, the entrepreneur:

  1. Eli seemed to have a knack for staying in touch with the market and delivering what it wanted. As a fourteen year old during the revolution he talked his dad into installing a forge at the family farm. Then he made nails and knife blades (sold enough to have to hire a worker). When the war ended and English nails became available at prices he couldn't compete with Eli quickly shifted production to hat pins and walking sticks. He was only eighteen at the time. He did the same thing later in life when he shifted from the production of gins to the production of fire arms.

  2. He understood the importance of connections. At the age of twenty-three he decided to go to Yale--not because he wanted to go into law or theology which were the main courses of study at the time, but because he wanted to "become a gentleman, accepted by other gentlemen." The connections he made at Yale served him well throughout his entrepreneurial career. It was Oliver Wolcott, a Yale alumnus and Secretary of the Treasury, that helped Eli get his first contract with the government to put his interchangeability ideas to the test making firearms.

  3. He failed. Eli made very little off his cotton gin invention even though he secured a patent on it. He spent a lot of time in court rooms trying to enforce that patent, but in the end he had very little to show for it. At one point he wrote to a friend, "Bankruptcy & ruin were staring me in the face & disappointment trip'd me up every step I attempted to take. I was miserable...loaded with a debt of 3 or 4,000 dollars, without resources and without any business that would ever furnish me a support."

  4. He learned and succeeded. At about that time things were heating up in Europe and the Federal government was looking to become self-sufficient in arms production. With his knack for delivering what the market needed, and his connections, Eli got a contract to supply 10,000 muskets to the government in 28 months and got an advance of $5,000 to get things started. Having learned from his cotton gin experience that patents guaranteed nothing, he determined the road to success lay in producing more, at a faster rate and better price than any competitor could. So he set out to create a factory that could produce interchangeable parts. Success wasn't immediate. It took him 8 to 10 years to produce all 10,000 muskets but in the process he invented the milling machine. in 1811 he got another order for 15,000 muskets and produced them all in 2 years.

To learn more about Eli Whitney check out the Eli Whitney Museum I also like the book American Made by Harold C. Livesay.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.
I grew up in the west and now live in Arizona. There is a simple rule for growing things out here (this rule applies everywhere but is more obvious in the arid west): if it doesn't get water it does ...more.
After describing modern consumers and their desire to watch or read what they want, when they want, the current issue of Business Week concludes: The result: a serious case of attention deficit for ...more.
What is the most compelling thing about your business from your customers' perspective? Is it remarkable? ...more.
Another example of the power of promoters. Shade Clothing sells undershirts for women that are longer than normal for those that aren't interested in showing the world their belly button. It was fou ...more.
I read recently about a musician--a cello player to be exact--that moved to New York City. She didn't know anyone in the city and was looking for opportunities to play her cello. Her solution? She ...more.
I read a great article recently about George Washington. As I read about his amazing leadership characteristics it occurred to me that they are the same characteristics any entrepreneur or business l ...more.
On the company the effect is like being assimilated into the Borg, but for users of their software it's like having a friend with a malignant brain tumor. You're going to have to say "goodbye" soon t ...more.
What says summer more than traveling carnivals? Cotton candy, hot dogs, rides that go around and around until you puke! Does life get any better than that? I submit that it cannot! The blog worl ...more.
Remarkable is the key here. These native american kids are remarkable in and of themselves. Their product follows suit. They have figured out government issues, food serving issues, product, marketi ...more.
In the cluttered marketplace we compete in, I don't think the power (and necessity) of staying in touch can be overemphasized. I learned the lesson again last week--thankfully in a good way. It had ...more.

Blogroll