Author Archive
Stories written by mosher.shannon

Weight Watchers Misses A Trick

   I married my bride 21 years ago. Good stuff!

   Along the way her philosophy of life’s rubbed off on me: “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.”

   She said that to me in March when I considered buying fuzzy
promotional creatures with eyes, feet and a hat glued on. I thought I’d
give them away at speaking gigs. She pointed out they’d do nothing for
the business.

   Scratch that idea.

   The wisdom of her words also hit me at the San Diego County Fair in
Del Mar when I came face-to-face with the greatest temptation known to
mankind: Chocolate covered pickles. Sounds like something perfect for
pregnant women.

Now I’ve Heard EVERYTHING!

What’s the most outrageous marketing you’ve heard of?
James McDowell

   That would be the Great Philadelphia Wedding of 1999.
A young couple wanted, but couldn’t afford, a large, lavish wedding.
Taking a page from television’s book, the groom sought sponsors for
their “show.” With a list of everything they could possibly need, he
persuaded 24 area businesses to donate rings, flowers, food, cake,
limousines, veil, perfume, invitations—the works.
   In exchange, each of the contributing companies received promotional
consideration. Their names were listed on an insert sent with
invitations and thank you cards. They were thanked on scrolls on the
dinner table, in a newspaper ad, and in a speech at the reception. They
were mentioned in a newspaper article.
   How else do you think I learn about this stuff?

There’s untapped business in your mailing list

   Customers who bought from you within the past year—your “house” list
—-provide tremendous potential for building your bottom line. These
people have experienced your products and services and generally know
what to expect from your company.
   Assuming you’ve created a mailing list by collecting customer
e-mails and addresses, you should be able to build sales with the
simplest of marketing tools: the postcard.
   Think about it. Every six months you get a postcard from your
dentist reminding you to get your teeth cleaned, right? And you
dutifully make an appointment. 

Reporters have a job to do

   Carefully, assuming everything you say is on the record.
   Getting a reporter’s call might be an opportunity to demonstrate
your expertise on a subject. Or it could mean you’re on the hot seat.
   Assume you’ve got one chance to get your story right. There’s no time for a “do-over.”
   Former president Ronald Reagan regularly got into trouble by making
offhand comments that were subsequently clarified by the White House
press office. Editors cut Reagan slack since they were dealing with the
world’s most powerful man and they wanted access to him the following
   However, you don’t have the same luxury Mr. Reagan had. You must get your story right the first time.

Marketing by handshake

What’s the key to business success?
Jay Newman

   A firm handshake.
   The handshake originated as the conferring of power from the gods to
an earthly ruler in ancient Egypt. It later appeared on the ceiling of
the Sistine Chapel.
   Later still, handshakes became the way for medieval villagers to
show strangers they were unarmed. With the bulk of society having a
right-handed bias — and with that hand primarily used for sword battle
— extending the right hand showed you had no weapon. This tradition
carried forward to modern times.

Where do sales come from?

   It’s scary how many businesses don’t know where their sales come
from. Customers appear, buy stuff and leave with minimal conversation.
Rarely is the question “what prompted your visit today?” asked.
   This knowledge gap about your customers virtually guarantees a less
profitable business than you’d have with the information in-hand.
Perhaps you’ve forgotten that knowledge is power.
   Knowing which ad, coupon or billboard generated a particular sale
makes it possible to track which ad, coupon, etc. is worth repeating.
   In a perfect world, you could track every sale to its source,
analyzing sales per lead source to learn how profitable each marketing
tool is to you. Continually doing this exercise over time would
demonstrate patterns of profitability, teaching you which marketing
vehicle produces the best quality sales.

Good judgment—or judgmental? You decide

 Businesses needing help sometimes bring in college interns for extra
hands. The student gets solid experience, employers keep wages low, and
schools can offer something extra of value. 
   Being inexperienced, students can be forgiven for not recognizing
they’re interviewing for a job, have competition and must present their
best face.
   Business owners regularly interview girls with bare midriffs and
pierced navels and guys with huge holes in their ear lobes for publicly
visible positions. Except where customers are similarly attired, few of
these kids are typically hired.
   But what of someone who dresses the part but doesn’t speak well?
ESL classes can help the individual whose primary language isn’t
English. But someone who just doesn’t care about speaking well—that’s
another story.

How to wear away customer objections

My drip campaign needs help
           —Rudy Bromberg, Vista
   Regularly scheduled outreach messages (drip campaigns) can wear away
objections about why someone shouldn’t buy from you. Yet they don’t
always have maximum impact. Consider a few things to improve your
ongoing communications efforts.
   • Check your content. Is it fresh, well-written, entertaining and interesting to recipients?
   • Check your frequency. Does it go out frequently enough to maintain reader interest?
   • Are you constantly increasing your mailing list with new contacts and sales prospects?
   Every new reader is a potential unsubscriber. That’s harsh, right?
But realistically, just because someone signs up for your newsletter
doesn’t mean they’ll read it forever. Life’s distractions and lack of
time may force readers to ignore your materials or to unsubscribe.

Reaching 50,000 people in 48 hours

Does social networking really do anything?
—Lillian Graham

   FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube and other social networking sites are
making huge differences in the communications efforts of both
for-profit and non-profit organizations. Depending on your audience,
one site may be more effective than another.
   It’s easy to understand why such sites have become so popular. You
get a free podium to talk about yourself, and it seems almost everyone
is using these networks to communicate with friends and associates.
   Advertising on social networks is easy. Facebook targets specific
audiences, like 51-year-old male San Diegans. Plaxo has ads from
Monster touting locally available jobs.
  HR professionals are using LinkedIn and Plaxo to find prospective
employees. Salespeople work these same channels, knowing “Joe sent me”
is much stronger for building customer relationships than a cold call
will be.

Free advice, and much more

   Free! It’s a powerful word, isn’t it? It caught your attention just
now. This new column is about free stuff — free advice, free
information and free marketing ideas.
   You see, most eyes glaze over when the discussion turns to
marketing. Business owners want the results good marketing can generate
(increased traffic, sales and profits), but are reluctant to understand
the many layers of research, experience and just plain hard work that
must go into creating those results.
   This is where I step in. After 25 years in the trenches, including
10 as principal of a Madison Avenue ad agency, it’s my job to determine
an organization’s marketing needs and translate those needs into
reality — keeping it both interesting and economical.