Archive for 'group'

Inaugural Zing Presentation Review

Today, Ken, Watson, and I (Roger) headed to Wilson Muir Bank in St. Matthews bright and early to give our first official Zing Presentation to a small group of business owners from around Louisville. We discussed the impact personalized marketing has on increasing revenue; sales and marketing alignment; standing out amongst the massive amounts of marketing clutter; “The Hourglass Precept” and how that came about along with automated marketing campaigns. A tad bit of time was dedicated to our partnership with Infusion and how various automated marketing campaigns can provide a consistent experience for the customer and eliminate unnecessary phone calls a sales rep has to make to warm up leads.

In attendance were:

It dawned on me during the presentation how our organization has really evolved over the last year or so when we began flirting with the idea of partnering on something together. It made me very proud to have gone through the experience with Ken and Watson even though there have been some bumps in the road, but what worthwhile venture doesn’t experience that?

When we began, we thought we were going to be more of a lead and awareness generation type of outfit, then we came to realize that we were getting deeper into the sales funnel which ultimately led us to focusing on helping clients increase revenue by capitalizing on the entire sales “hourglass” instead of just the top part of it (the traditional sales funnel). The bottom half of the hourglass focuses on repeat purchases, building customer loyalty and creating ambassadors for your brand. Worthwhile stuff indeed.

Some of the things to come out of the dialogue amongst the group was that the focus on the bottom half of the hourglass is a good place to focus to help our clients increase sales. That seemed to be a consensus although each attendee had different perspectives on what they heard.

Todd Smith of Formwood, who happens to be the king of great metaphors, stated that the key for him when considering any initiative is “return on time” or ROT for short. We’re planning to use that term more in the future as it really captures the essence of automated marketing. One of the initial metaphors Todd shared with us the first time we all met was that he was trying to keep his organization from “swinging at pitches in the dirt.” That’s well stated, and it summarizes what a lot of organizations go through as they grow. Too many wasted swings at bad pitches that can’t be hit with a boat oar. Anyway, Todd is always great to talk to because there will usually be a nifty takeaway that is applicable across a wide array of situations.

Overall, I thought this was a very good introduction of Zing to the local business public and something we can definitely build upon. As of this post, we’re tentatively planning to have our next presentation on April 15, but that may be delayed one week due to vacation plans and event coordination considerations. Check the blog for more details as one of us will post something when there are more details ironed out. I hope you can join us for one of our next outings.

SMC Louisville Meeting Recap

I (Roger) attended my first Social Media Club of Louisville event last night hosted at C-Net’s office here in the ‘Ville.  I had a good time and enjoyed meeting Joe, Lenny, Chris, Jason Falls, Jeremiah, and chatting with Rob and Todd (who I already knew ahead of time).  Thanks to Jason for bringing beer for everyone (that was a very pleasant surprise) and the kind soul who provided an elaborate food spread for the gang.

The focus of the meeting last night was being social as there were no speeches or formalized agendas . . . just people getting to know one another which is what a “social club” should be all about right?

Joe, Jason and I chatted about balancing all of the options out there to share content and some ways each of us attempt to create content by forcing ourselves out of our comfort zones to stimulate creativity and focus.  Glad to know the strategy I use, boarding myself up in a hotel room out of town, isn’t viewed as “strange” like it was by my ex-girlfriend.  😉

Rob and I chatted about creating some social media educational resources although Rob is severely strapped for time with multiple companies and a newborn.  If anyone is interested in working together to develop some educational material (eBooks, videos, podcasts, workbooks, etc.) about social media or automated marketing campaigns, please contact me.  I’m not very skilled in front of a camera so that would be a very welcome addition to the mix.

Chris, Lenny and I chatted about some past jobs, the workings of C-Net (Chris’ employer), and some things that are on the horizon for Chris and Lenny.

Lenny works for Chrysalis Ventures here in Louisville as an Analyst so he’s seen some pretty interesting business plans that I’d enjoy hearing a lot more about.

It seems as though Guitar Hero was quite popular based upon the crowd in the “other room” playing.  I’m always intrigued to see group dynamics at work when people of varying backgrounds and interests are gathered under one roof when it’s the first time for me to be exposed to them.  It’s much like walking into a bar for the first time where you only know a couple of people, and those couple of people know quite a few of the “strangers” at the bar.  Since I’m usually the guy at the bar that knows a lot of people, it was an interesting role reversal.  Online social media is much like that in general–there are subsets of people familiar with one another long before a “newbie” arrives, and it pays for the “newbie” to observe and chat up a few people on the periphery before jumping into the middle of the group.  So many people join a social media site then think it’s free reign to try to sell a product, service, or themselves, but social media doesn’t work like that much like offline relationships don’t.  It takes time to get to know people whether it is on or offline so that’s the lesson of last night’s gathering for me.

There’s more that I’m sure I’m forgetting about, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next meeting/gathering and getting to know more people.  If you’re in the Louisville area and want to learn about social media and how it can benefit your business, I encourage you to attend a future meeting.  They occur the third Tuesday of each month.  For more information, visit SMC Louisville.

Maximizing Success–Day 1 Report

Thanks to Debbie Allen‘s “shameless promotion” on my radio show last Thursday, I’ve had the privilege to attend her “Maximizing Success” seminar in Sedona, Arizona this weekend. The seminar runs three days (Friday-Sunday, November 9-11), but I’m leaving after Saturday’s session to return home to attend to some loose business ends.

First off, Arizona, as a whole, is beautiful! I had a trip out here slated to happen next year, but I guess the law of attraction is working its magic already. Those that know me fairly well know that I intend to live out here someday down the road. That or have a winter home in Scottsdale.

Anyway, here’s a recap of the first day of the seminar and some of the topics covered.

The seminar kicked off Friday morning with Dave Dee talking about “how to keep your phone ringing off the hook with hot leads.” The main crux of his story centered on a client (beautiful single mother named Alexis) that made $117k on one teleseminar call and how those in attendance could do the same. He talked about marrying offline and online marketing and how many of the top online marketers are also doing a lot offline even though they don’t tend to talk too much about that aspect. E-mail marketing is still effective although not as effective as it used to be–the key is to inject some of your own personality into the message.

Next up in the seminar was Joel Christopher who talked about “how to triple your online list and increase your profits in 99 days or less.” Joel is a super nice guy, and you could pick this up immediately during his presentation. A lot of SEO was touched upon throughout his presentation, and that made me feel validated that what we’re doing at SMB Consulting is high quality. Most of the recognized “gurus” preach many of the same things we’re doing.

My rhetorical question to myself after Joel and Dave’s presentations was “why am I not up there telling people how to do many of these same things?” So look for some of that in upcoming weeks–it’s time to get out there and kick some knowledge around.

Next up was Bill Walsh, not the deceased former football coach, and he really had a high quality presentation. Bill is a genuinely good guy who ended up buying us dinner later in the evening, but I digress. He imparted that we must have belief in our vision when nobody else does–how true! He also talked about the importance of having high quality materials for marketing (including suggesting visiting http://pkgraphics.com). “Always map out tomorrow, today” was one of Bill’s quotes and part of what he deems the “daily method of operation” or your DMO. Some other things Bill talked about (and I’m purposely being as brief as possible) included social networking, SEO, media relations, marketing plans, magazine ads (visit http://mediabids.com), and ask for the REM slots when trying to find low budget television and radio advertising spots.

Bill also talked about investing in your mind with daily positive content; starting a mastermind group (something I’m planning to do upon returning from Sedona); read books; attend workshops (if for no other reason, like minded people will be there). Also–surround yourself with successful people; always strive to provide 10X the value; perception is projection; auto-pay your favorite charity.

To wrap up the day, 14 time (something crazy like that) bestselling author Barbara DeAngelis spoke to the group. This was one of the most powerful speeches of the day, and it really seemed to move a lot of people within the group including me.

Admitted pigheaded stance pre-speech: I had to remind myself to open my mind because I was prejudging Barbara based on her “Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus” work with Dr. Gray because their relationship didn’t workout so it always seemed rather hypocritical even though that’s a dumb and narrow view on things. The advice and how to apply it matters more than the source, and I got over my stupidity very quickly into her talk.

Barbara is a dynamic speaker that has a message that will truly impact you if your mind is open and in the right place. She talked about how “the time is now,” and we’re seizing it. Many of the group has been experiencing what she calls “divine discomfort” where you know you’re supposed to be doing more, but you’re not quite sure what it is. Or maybe you have internally realized what it is you’re supposed to be doing, but breaking free to accomplish it is messing with you. We need to surrender control and let go–we’ll figure it out as we go. “You’re being prepared for greatness” Barbara told the group, and I’ve felt like this has been happening to me personally for about six-eight months now. Something internally is going on that I cannot explain, but I feel as though my life finally has purpose and I’m on a path to something tremendous. Barbara also said something I’ve found myself saying lately in that sometimes “we need to get out of our own way.” Amen!

This has been one very interesting day in beautiful Sedona. I am not sure what will come of me upon returning home, but I don’t believe I’ll be 100% the same. This has already been an incredibly enlightening experience. I can’t wait to see what Day 2 brings!

In Search of the "Easy Button"

The group I have been partnering with has been working with a local (Louisville, KY) franchisor to help with their marketing efforts. We’ve met with the franchisor four or five times, and we seem to struggle with getting our arms around everything his franchise needs from a marketing aspect. They need a lot at this stage, but our approach has been to offer certain things while pointing him in the right direction on others. (Most franchisors have similar needs so this project isn’t vastly different from the ones we may face with others as we move forward.)

It dawned on me during a bike ride last week that our approach is flawed–he doesn’t want us to point him in the right direction for this or that; he wants us to take over solving marketing problems for him. He wants the “easy button” where he can push it and we make his life easier. Isn’t that what we all want when we seek out a solution to a problem? Don’t we want someone to magically fix it? I believe we’re going to be much better off if we take the “easy button” approach with him and his franchisees than we will by offering some of the services and providing guidance on the rest. What do you think?

Eight Weeks To Business Change

by André Taylor

Searching for the right business strategy, many organizations fall in love with big concepts. But for many, it stops there, as “doing” can be an elusive concept. In my advisory work, I suggest a systematic approach to tackling change comprised of an 8-week period of intensive focus, followed by a repeat of the process in 8-week increments throughout the year. Here are the eight big questions to explore during this process:

Week One:

What are the next 5 things we must do to get closer to our vision?

This is the hardest part for many organizations. We often have too many objectives. It is important to have a crisp vision, but even more important is developing a crisp daily focus. This focus should consist of a handful of clear objectives.

Week Two:

If we keep doing what we’re doing will we achieve our vision within our timeframe?

During the first week of our program, you’ve defined your focus and you’ve begun to take action. But once you begin, you are bound to see adjustments that must be made. You must now take inventory of where you are.

Week Three:

“Who are the people and partners best suited to help us reach our vision?”

Creating change in an organization requires the participation of many people with different talents, backgrounds and perspectives. Vendors, advisors, partners, mentors, and customers are all needed and we need multi-generational team members to shape our approach.

Week Four:

What are our potential and current customers saying to us indirectly?

Develop an attentive ear. Your audience is often telling you things indirectly about their likes, dislikes, tastes, and preferences. We may think we’re listening, but instead we are really thinking of our customers as a group, rather than individually.

Week Five:

How do we create a new, distinctive relationship with our audience?

Our objective is to reach a level of interaction with our audience that reduces and ultimately eliminates boundaries. We want to penetrate and understand the customer “psyche” and discover what’s beneath the surface.

Week Six:

How do I move into the view of new customers and partners?

New audiences want to feel like they’ve discovered you. Your role is to help them do this, by moving into their view. By partnering with other organizations, you will expose your business to new audiences.

Week Seven:

How are we managing the natural conflicts and complexities that arise?

Dynamic organizations are comprised of people with differing views, experiences, and competencies. We need a composite of organizational talents to advance our mission. We must also change the perception that disagreement is bad, or that there should be a penalty or stigma associated with failure.

Week Eight:

How do we follow through in the most efficient way?

Today’s environment requires highly focused periods of evaluation, ad hoc teams, a rapid assessment of the situation, and quick decisions. We must also trust individuals with an uncommon understanding of the situation who can “run” with their creative vision.

© Copyright 2007 – André Taylor – Taylor Insight Group, LLC. Go to http://www.andretaylor.com and get Andre’s free newsletter.

André Taylor is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and advisor to growing companies and one of today’s dynamic voices on business and personal success. He’s the author of a collection of audio and video programs reflecting more than 25 years in enterprise management and the discipline of personal and organizational development. He provides an uncommon understanding of the lessons of business and personal resilience, and extraordinary insight and commentary on the subjects of entrepreneurship, leadership, sales, marketing, innovation, and growth.

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