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To BE or not to BE … Effectively

July 17th, 2017 by Dale Jones

“Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master.”
- Phil Kolter

Are you a brand name stalwart, practically married to a coffee, computer software or a particular service?

If so, you’re probably able to rattle off a litany of reasons to rationalize your brand name relationships.

Considering why a product or service earns your trust, hence your cash, is a science called Behavioral Economics: “… a method of economic analysis that applies psychological insights into human behavior to explain economic decision-making.” (Oxford Dictionary)

To be truly successful in marketing and advertising, we need to understand Behavioral Economics (BE) at a deep level in order to most effectively influence potential clients and/or customers.

Long before BE had a name, marketers were implementing it, for instance, Three for the price of two offers. Yet, despite marketing industry leadership use of BE, to this day, few utilize BE principles in a systematic way.

Solid BE marketing management works like magic to make seemingly irrational purchasing patterns more predictable. Understanding exactly how small changes to the details of an offer can influence the way people react is crucial to unlocking significant value-driven marketing technique and dominance.

Marketing professionals worth their salt know: ‘the ground is moving beneath our feet’. Fickle consumers are more demanding, enlightened and empowered. Hence, maintaining brand control is harder than in the past.

Customers expect brands to create meaningful, relevant experiences to simplify their purchase decisions and … their lives.

Behavior follows trends.

The secret sauce in BE is understanding how your customers make decisions and how your marketing should influence these decisions.



The Great Glass Elevator Speech

July 17th, 2017 by Dale Jones

Why the ‘Traditional Elevator Speech’ Leads Nowhere

As marketing and communication professionals, we’re frequently asked by nervous entrepreneurs and professionals headed to networking meetings about the best way to put together an “Elevator Speech”.

Fear not! Surprisingly and simply Willy Wonka has the answer.

First, let’s define an Elevator Speech.

Wikipedia says:

“An elevator pitch (or elevator speech or statement) is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.

The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.”

Back to Willy Wonka, the fictional character originally played by Gene Wilder and later Johnny Depp in the 1964 Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Incredibly, Wonka depicted the best way to begin thinking about effective ‘elevator speeches’ in his description of the Great Glass Elevator, which he called the Wonkavator.

Willy Wonka:  “This is the great glass Wonkavator.”

Grandpa Joe:  “It’s an elevator.”

Willy Wonka:  “It’s a Wonkavator. An elevator can only go up and down, but the Wonkavator can go sideways and slantways and longways and backways…”

Charlie:  “And frontways?”

Willy Wonka:  “…and squareways and front ways and any other ways that you can think of. ……”

To be effective, think in terms of your creating a Great Glass Elevator Speech that moves up, down, sideways, slantways, longways, backways, frontways, squareways.

Instead of a Traditional one-way Elevator Speech which proceeds only from the speaker to the captive, often dismissive listener.

Let’s look at a few reasons traditional one-way elevator speeches potentially do more harm than good.

For the complete article: Pay it Forward



An Answer for Growth Starved Companies: Thought Leadership

July 7th, 2017 by Dale Jones

Growth starved companies are commonly practicing Random Acts of Content; releasing periodic white papers, articles, videos, and blog posts with little focus or depth. However, when you are dealing with high level clients facing serious business challenges, this scattershot approach provides little value.

Thought LeaderThe answer is Thought Leadership:

An invitation for discussion…which ultimately provides an opportunity to get to know your client – and connect better – through meaningful communication.

A Strategic Thought Leadership Program helps position you as The Trusted Advisor in your industry.

Gartner, Inc. the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company defines Thought Leadership Marketing as “the giving – for free or at a nominal charge – information or advice that a client will value so as to create awareness of the outcome that a company’s product or service can deliver, in order to position and differentiate
the offering and stimulate demand for it.”

A thought leadership program provides the organization, the executives and the salespeople with a sustained stream of education and advisory content to help open doors, make more effective sales calls, differentiate their organization and deliver trusted advice, services and product. 

As you build a thought leadership position over time, your company will be increasingly seen as an industry authority, resource and trusted advisor, enhancing your brand’s visibility and reputation, helping you generate revenue and inspiring client loyalty.

In order to reach those objectives, a strategy is required which focuses on the creation of content relevant and compelling to your target audience, engaging those audiences where they congregate.

Thought leadership programs enable companies to leverage business development, marketing, sales, and strategic branding.

There are practical steps your company can take to design and execute a thought leadership program to help your sales force generate measurable sales growth in the next sales quarter.

  1. Build the foundation. Like building a house, a thought
    leadership program must be built on a sound foundation. If a thought
    leadership program is going to create business value, it needs to directly
    support your sales process and drive your communications, branding and
    product sales goals.
  2. Create building block assets. A profitable thought leadership
    program is built upon a common set of sales assets – such as original
    research reports, client videos, client ideas, practical “how
    to” articles, client education web sites, and advisory tools – all
    integrated with your sales process.
  3. Deliver multi channel programs. Deliver these
    thought leadership assets to your clients using disciplined sales programs
    such as education events, monthly “micro sales campaigns”, sales
    calls, e-mails and phone calls.
  4. Take a Stand: Make bold statements that might
    seem counterintuitive to what common sense says. You have to think about
    your messages as something someone is going to want to read.
  5. Be Vertically Famous: What you want to do is figure out
    to which audience you wish to be famous. You want to be known by all in
    that very particular industry.
  6. What Does Your Competition Miss? It’s a good
    idea to see what is not being done well, or perhaps not at all, by your
  7. Develop Your “Voice”: Whatever your
    style is, make a conscious decision to use and develop it. This is
    integral to your new branding effort.
  8. Get Published: There is a distinct halo effect
    when you can add the word “author” to your attributions.
  9. Start a Newsletter and a Blog: If your
    product or service has a long lead time, it makes good sense to start a
    periodic publication online. An e-newsletter is the most obvious way to
    go, but you should probably augment and amortize the content by employing
    other channels, such as publishing your own blog. When done right, there’s
    no better way to spend your marketing money.
  10. Talk Less, Listen More: Ask questions of everyone around
  11. Press the Flesh: In this age of increased computer
    marketing, there’s a lot to be said for a physical presence.

Leverage your content. A thought leadership program is about pervasive presence and ongoing conversation, not just traditional publishing and speaking. Clients want to think about and debate your ideas.
To encourage and facilitate this discussion, you need to leverage your thought leadership content by publishing compelling bits and bytes in appropriate formats across the networks and channels frequented by your clients.

If you’re working on a white paper, for example, you want to think: Is there a short video we can produce?

Where can we blog about this?

What articles can we publish?

Where are the opportunities to brief our clients on our new thinking?




Leveraging the ‘Long Tail’ in Your Marketing

June 20th, 2017 by Dale Jones

“The Long Tail” … a phrase that has been imbedded into our consciousness by Chris Anderson, executive editor of WIRED magazine through his book, The Long Tail.

Since gaining popularity, the term has been used to describe everything from viral media, guerilla marketing and grassroots campaigns to niche marketing and blogging.

More than just brand exposure, using ‘The Long Tail’ begins by building trust with those most likely to both listen, as well as spread your message.

The “Long Tail” as Anderson describes it is much longer, much thicker and more lucrative than any of us may have initially realized. We need to explore new niches, or go deeper into a niche we may have already found.

People are tired of buying the same old thing – cookie cutter products and or services. We all tire of being lumped together with the rest of our supposed demographic. While demographic profiling may help determine broad trends, it will never reflect the individual tastes and nuances. And, though seemingly simplistic, the time has never been better to seek and find specialized niches and market to those hungering for such.

Five Steps To Consider When Leveraging the ‘Long Tail’ in Your Marketing

1. Messaging is Critical: Using the Long Tail focuses your marketing message on clients – treating them as individuals with unique interests and needs – new niches.

2. Focus: Take the time to carefully hone a message that’s highly relevant to each of your target niches. Speak to them on their terms, not your own. It is better to reach a few hundred people who are enthusiastically listening to your message than a few thousand who aren’t.

3. Choose the correct tools to support your message: Media neutrality is key. Should you use traditional media? Social media? Or a combination of both? Use your basic research and your communications objectives as a guide; consider the types of social and traditional media tools that meet your objectives. Look at ways to extend the message from a standard press release into multiple social media venues such as video and blogs. Exploring smaller niche sites, bloggers and other influential online contributors are also critical. These are the individuals and media outlets that make up the Long Tail, where a large number of highly targeted messages can have as much impact as a single, big media marketing campaign.

4. Provide valuable content: Understand what your clients want to know and deliver it to them in a relevant and compelling way. Delivery of valuable, relevant and compelling content to your clients and on a consistent basis says you want to relationship. You want to communicate, to understand their needs and be willing to provide relevant services and products to help them.

5. Take a position as a thought leader: Achieve a unique identity – demonstrating leading-edge knowledge. Make your potential and existing clients feel wiser, smarter and safer in your hands. Whenever possible, provide them with news, video, links and other valuable content. The more trustworthy your approach and the more genuine your shared interest, the more receptive your audience is likely to be.




CEO as Brand? The Power of Executive Communications

October 20th, 2011 by Dale Jones

A Fortune magazine editor once observed:

“If you want to analyze a corporation, read its financial statements. If you want to plumb its soul, talk to its chief executive.”    



Companies spend fortunes establishing and promoting their brands, only to ignore one of the most profitable brand weapons in their arsenal: the CEO.

 Surveys show companies with a well known, positively regarded CEO perform better in the stock market.  However, it is very important for CEOs to be known by potential key stakeholders such as the media, employees, clients and the public for reasons beyond the price of a corporation’s stock. A positive CEO profile will improve morale, recruitment and sales.

Even though CEOs are themselves a brand, many companies waste this asset.

1. Communicating Knowledge

Knowledge is not effective unless it is communicated. The proper way of communicating is not only through speaking, but includes proper dress, body language, social etiquette, media relations, government relations and investor relations.  All of which sum up to public relations. The effective CEO needs to convey a command of strategy, and consistent vision to both internal and external audiences.

As a CEO, one must be able exude a consistent, credible persona to your stakeholders. This is achieved through appropriate, strategically timed publicity campaigns, commentaries, articles, interviews, public appearances, press conferences and so on.

Such communication is about bringing your values to life.

“40% of my time I communicate our company’s credo”

- Jim Burke, former Johnson & Johnson, CEO 

 For the entire article:



Bury The Hatchet

October 4th, 2011 by Dale Jones

The phrase (idiom) “Bury the Hatchet” means to forget about arguments and disagreements . . .

It appears traditional media and social media are at war with one another and that’s not the answer. We need to move past the arguments and disagreements.

Some companies believe that just because social media answers some of their most pressing needs with regards to communication and marketing, that they should abandon traditional media. We all recognize the importance of harvesting a social media presence, but the biggest mistake we see in a company’s effort to implement a marketing strategy is their approach.

ArtistotleA well designed integrated marketing strategy should take note of Aristotle’s statement: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” For optimum results, social media should be integrated with traditional media.

Social media has become an extremely important part of how businesses market their brand, products and services. Traditional media carries with it a great deal of credibility and although it may not create the same kind of buzz that social media creates, it is a very important contributor to the success of business. You must understand how to integrate social media with traditional media into your advertising, public relations and direct marketing campaigns.   

In order to succeed, you must be open to new ways of thinking about integrating your social media and traditional media.

If someone builds you the framework and a process for integrating your social and traditional media, you can apply it over and over again.

For the entire article



Today’s Marketing Model is Broken

August 3rd, 2011 by Dale Jones

Marketing is changing and it’s time you considered your options.

Whether you’re a large corporate brand like Audi, IBM or a small business trying to make it in this economy – you need to recognize how marketing your business is changing and how you can change to improve your business. 

What are the issues?  What are the answers?  See our 5 Steps to a New Marketing Model.

Watch this video for more.




What would your business look like tomorrow if your best customers left you for a competitor?

July 28th, 2011 by Dale Jones

You’re still in business.

Testimony to the realization: You are smart and you know how to survive this economy.

You realize your best customers are being courted by your fiercest competitors, both online and by traditional methods.

You’re holding your own and keeping them happy.

You must have the service mentality, marketing know-how and fulfill a niche that safeguards your business from losing your top clients. Or do you? Do you know for certain?

Recently, Guy Kawasaki, former Apple chief evangelist, tweeted about a study posted on Social Media Today called “Social Media case study: Broadcast vs. Engagement in forums”.  The study’s premise made a strong case: the traditional marketing concept of broadcasting a message at a market is less effective than building an engaging, interactive campaign which seeks the active involvement of the target audience. The study indicates a strong increase in views, and especially in comments, occurs when a promotional campaign that makes claims is changed to one that asks questions.

Kawasaki’s conclusion: “Why not do both?”

For the entire article:



Are Your Prospects Still in the Dark?

July 13th, 2011 by admin

Check out this video.

Are your prospects still in the dark because your message hasn’t been creatively conceived, seen or heard?

“Business today requires new perspectives on strategy, operations, and staff.  Most of all it requires a level of flexibility that has previously been considered a weakness in some organizations.

To navigate in an increasingly complex environment and zig when all the competition are all zagging, you must flip repeatedly between different perspectives and paradigms.  And you must do so in real time and on demand.”

Peter Sheahan, FLIP

The days of haphazardly throwing various forms of marketing and public relations campaigns at broad constituencies in hopes of garnering your organization’s share of the market are over.