Returning to Some Core Competencies

Returning to Some Core Competencies

“You got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.” These are definitely some wise words from the song The Gambler.

Many of you know that I have a background, besides my marketing jobs in the high tech world, in the insurance and financial services business and that I spent many years as an agent for Farmers Insurance. I’m licensed for Property & Casualty and Life & Health Insurance in Oregon and Washington and have my Series 6 and 63 securities licenses for offering variable life insurance policies, annuities and both qualified and non-qualified retirement plans (including 401(k) rollovers and setting up traditional and Roth IRAs).

For the past eighteen months I’ve been helping small businesses sort out their marketing needs in terms of markets, messages and media. But it’s been slow going and the demand for marketing strategy consulting hasn’t been as strong as I’d originally anticipated. So while it’s been fun, and I’m pleased to have helped a fair number of clients, it’s just not keeping me busy enough and there’s only so much time one can spend on social media activities without going a little stir crazy!

 

Praise for a Faucet Maker

FaucetPraise for a Faucet Maker

About a dozen years ago my spouse and I remodeled the kitchen in our condominium. We bought a beautiful Moen faucet for the sink and have been very happy with it until recently when the little rubber piece on top of the extensible spout that covers the stream vs. spray mode began to wear out. Still worked OK, of course, but it didn’t look “pretty” anymore. So I was tasked with solving this problem.

To the web I went for the Moen website. One click to get to kitchen faucets. Another click to browse by collection. A quick scroll to find the Extensa model number. Then to Replacement Parts for an excellent pictorial illustration of the faucet parts. But not down to the little grey gasket. Only to the whole spout. Hmm. Copy the spout part number from the illustration, paste it into the Part Number box and, viola, the $44.05 pullout spout is ready to be added to my cart for purchase.

Trouble is, though, I don’t need a whole new spout for $44.05. I only need a rubber gasket to replace the one that is worn on my otherwise perfectly good spout. So to the Contact Us tab for a phone number, which was toll free, and then a phone menu that was mercifully clear and short with only a few minutes wait for a human being to whom I described my situation.

The customer service rep asked me for the faucet model number, which I had written down. She asked me a couple of questions about the faucet, including the location of the logo and the color of the spout and then asked me for my name, address, zip code and email address. When I inquired as to why she needed this information to answer my question about whether or not I could buy just the gasket I was informed that she needed the information to ship me, without cost, a new spout since the gasket was not a user replaceable item and since the faucet is guaranteed for life. She then asked if delivery within 5-7 days was OK or if I needed it sooner, in which case I would have to pay for expedited shipping.

I was, frankly, blown away by this kind of warranty and this kind of service. She asked me if there was anything else she could do for me and told me that I’d receive an email confirming my order for the replacement spout. And that promised email was in my inbox before I even hung up the phone.

Why am I telling you this story? Because I think it’s high time we tell as many people as possible about good customer service as we usually tell people about bad customer service. You see the horror stories all over the Internet. Complaints about never being able to speak to a human being. Complaints about things failing one day after the warranty expires. Complaints about rude customer service representatives.

Don’t you tell as many people as possible about your unsatisfactory customer service experiences and maybe tell one or two, if you even tell anyone, about the good ones? How will the companies with bad customer service improve if we consumers don’t provide them with examples of what good customer service looks, sounds and feels like? We need to publicize the companies that do it right and, in my humble opinion, Moen gets a grade of “A+” for their policies, procedures and people.

In writing this article I went back to the Moen website and noticed their tagline: “Buy it for looks. Buy it for life.®” And I guess they really mean it based on the way they walked the talk with me. I know that if I ever have to buy another faucet, or recommend one to someone else, you can bet that a Moen product will be high on the list.

There may be other faucet makers who do as good a job as Moen. I just don’t have any personal experience on which to base an opinion pro or con so I can’t comment with any knowledge about them. But if I ever do have a good experience with another company like the one I had with Moen I promise to publicize it as well.

Do you have example of things you are especially pleased about? Or about outstanding customer service experiences? Please share them and ask others to do so as well. Thanks for reading.




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Ewwww! Gross!! — Marketing the Unmarketable

Toilet PaperEwwww! Gross!! – Marketing the Unmarketable

Karen Rice from Myrtle Beach, SC, posted the graphic you see to the left a few days ago. Here’s a snapshot of the conversation as a result of her post:

Jon Turino:  Wrong question! Whose brand are you buying? Why? Strength? Softness? Economy? Some other reason? Get it together at http://jonturino.com/probiotic-infographic/ Enjoy!

Monday at 10:32pm, Kathleen O’Mara:  I don’t want to know! LOL

Monday at 10:44pm, Kim Henson:  I would have never thought of all that, Jon Turino. Guess that’s why you market and I write.

17 hours ago, Kim Henson:  Me either, Kathleen O’Mara. Gross.

17 hours ago, Jon Turino: I wouldn’t want to be the marketer for this product either. But the people who are have come up with the bears who (1) shouldn’t use so much and (2) won’t end up with traces on their behinds, the “Enjoy the Go” campaign, using quarters to illustrate strength (with blue water), etc. Now let’s talk about probiotics and gluten free and how they can make your experience in the WC so much more enjoyable that you’ll sing and dance about it on national TV. For more of my “humor” get a copy of http://jonturino.com/packages-pricing/the-a-to-z-blog-book-jon-turino-on-amazon-and-kindle/ . There are 26 articles in it that we can chat about.

14 hours ago, Susan Baiden Chestnut: This one makes me go Hmmm!

9 hours ago, Kim Henson: Susan Baiden Chestnut, it makes me go Ewwww! Lol.

Thus I found the title for this post. And I got to thinking: What other products are really tough to market?

Hemorroids CreamsHow about hemorrhoid creams?

How about medicines for adult rash?Adult Rash Cream

There’s a new TV campaign for men who leak a little after peeing whose tagline is “Protect your manhood.”Guard Your Manhood

And pads for women who might leak a little when they laugh too hard, or cough, or are having their periods have been on the market for years. Panty Liners

Then there are adult diapers for both sexes.

Have I missed anything yet?

These are not generally the kinds of products that people talk about at social gatherings or business networking meetings, folks! They are normally quietly discussed between close friends to whom one trusts a seemingly or potentially embarrassing secret while looking for advice. And, like toilet paper, each has its own features and benefits when it comes to solving the problem – relieving the pain – associated with the condition.

I don’t know how much money advertisers spend on promoting toilet paper but it’s in the multiple millions of dollars per year. As are the expenditures for the other products mentioned above and illustrated in this post.

So what’s my point?

My point is that while everybody buys these things, the ones that get bought most often are the ones that are marketed most successfully. Just because everyone needs it and uses it doesn’t mean that you can expect to sell it without marketing.

If it can’t be found by the consumer or if your brand for your bottom is not “top of mind” when the need to buy it arises then you simply won’t have a viable business.

So let’s give a “hat’s off” – or a “bottoms up” – to the very creative folks who find new ways to market the unmentionables. And please give me a call if you need help marketing your product or service.

As always, thanks for reading and please do make time to comment pro or con.




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If I write it will they read it?

If I write it will they read it?

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If I write it will they read it?

If a tree falls in the forest when no one is nearby does the falling tree make any noise?

If a tree falls in the forest is the man wrong anyway?

What is the difference between the sound of one tree falling and two trees falling?

How do you know?

Do you know because you were there, or do you think you know because someone told you about their experience either in person or through their writings?

If you don’t know someone who has experienced something then you are very likely to learn many lessons in hard and painful ways. Unless, or course, you can read about them, understand them and avoid the hard and painful experiences.

But to do that, of course, you must make a conscious effort to read and understand what others have written – preferably before you are faced with a situation where prior knowledge would be extremely helpful.

Have you read something recently that will help you gain knowledge and wisdom or will you take your chances on being wrong in a critical situation?

Only you can choose.

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Horses, H2O and Humans

Horse  Drinking imageHorses, H2O and Humans

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a rant in this space. I’ve been inspired by Alex at Heyo and Derek at Social Triggers and even my buddy Jake at Embark Marketing. So here goes.

Cowboys used to say that you could lead a horse to water but that you couldn’t make him drink any. So the horses that wouldn’t drink any died. Which reinforced the cowboys’ belief that horses offered water that they wouldn’t drink were really stupid and thus deserved to die.

If you were offered water, would you drink it? I don’t mean Evian or Nestle or some other fancy water that you pay far too much for. I mean good old-fashioned water say from a tap in your kitchen. Or, if you are old enough to remember doing it, from the front end of the garden hose, after letting the water run for a while, of course, so that it was nice and cold and didn’t taste like rubber?

You probably might answer those questions with reservations. It would probably have something to do with whether or not you were thirsty at the time, right? But what if you weren’t thirsty at the time and a few minutes later your water supply was cut off by some catastrophe? Would you last as long as you might if you had drunk the water even if you weren’t in desperate need of it at the time?

Knowledge is like that. You might not think you need it when it is offered. But when disaster or drought strikes, you surely could have used it after your refusal to drink from the cup when you didn’t think you needed it, couldn’t you? How do you know when a piece of knowledge, a piece of expertise, a piece of experience or some advice on avoiding a mistake will be a critical element in shaping your future and the future of whatever endeavors you are engaged in?

I’ve been offering my knowledge to you for well over a year now. Many of you have taken advantage of it, particularly the free stuff, including the website resources list, the calendar of events, my monthly newsletter and maybe even these blog posts. And I’m thankful that my efforts to provide value for you are appreciated at some level and that you are finding them useful.

I have to say, however, that sometimes my efforts to bring knowledge to you so that you will have it in your time of need seem to be unappreciated or ignored. Not always, but sometimes. I did The A to Z Blog Book. $24.95 on Amazon, now $9.95 on Kindle and $20 if you get one from me personally, autographed or not. Several hundred ordered it during the free promo period on Kindle. Two were kind enough to write reviews, and very nice ones at that.

I just did the Probiotic Marketing Infographic. OK, the name is funny because it is a take-off on the TV commercials touting prebiotics, probiotics and other “features” of yogurt. Clearly a borrowed interest kind of name, to which I don’t normally resort,  but an infographic filled with tremendously valuable information on how best to market what you sell to the most likely prospects in the most effective way in any case.

I’ve been promoting these things heavily on Google+, Facebook and Linkedin. A few of you are drinking in the knowledge offerings, and many of you are complimenting them with “likes,”  but not nearly enough of you to justify the effort that it takes to lead you to the water. It reminds me of the cartoon showing an Indian chief ignoring a Gattling gun salesman because he was too busy fighting a battle with bows and arrows. You’ve seen the cartoon. And you’ve thought: what an idiot. But have you looked at, let alone taken advantage of the knowledge offers in The A to Z Blog Book or the Probiotic Marketing Infographic? Not according to my Google analytics! So what does that make you?

How much is a good idea worth if it increases your sales, bumps up your profits or helps you stay in business? How much is being prepared in advance worth? I have bunches of stories about how a few ounces of prevention can save tons of time, effort, money and grief. But you have to make the effort and the investment in learning these prevention techniques before you need them if they are to be of use to you.

Please give some thought to these issues. Buy The A to Z Blog Book in one form or another. Order the Probiotic Marketing Infographic. They don’t cost very much. And they contain the kind of information you really need and won’t find anywhere else in this world. Or be like the horse that is led to water and refuses to drink. It is your choice, and I hope you choose to drink in this valuable knowledge before you succumb to the results of not doing so.

As always, thanks for reading and please do bombard me with comments pro and con.

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Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_13261383_skinny-cowboy-horse-drinks-water-from-a-bucket-vector-illustration.html’>vipdesignusa / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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The Cost, Price and Payback for Helping Others

Help IllustrationThe Cost, Price and Payback for Helping Others

When someone asks you for your help with something do you do a cost/benefit analysis before deciding whether or not to respond positively to the request?

Do you try to figure out what kind of “price” you should charge for helping others, perhaps in exchange for some help you might need now, or to bank in order to ask for a favor sometime in the future?

Do you have a different set of criteria for helping others depending on their relationship with you or based on what kind of benefit you could get in return for your help?

Or do you just help whenever you can, however much you can and without regard to the nature or circumstances of the person in need of the help?

My father used to drill into my head the following:  “Always help as many people as you can, in as many ways as you can, whenever you can. Because you never know when you might need some help and if you’ve never given any help it might be tough to find it when you need it most.”

And “If you help others you may never get back as much help as you’ve given. But if you hurt others that hurt will come back many times over when you can least afford it.” I think he was talking about bad good and bad karma before I know what those words meant. Sort of like “What goes around comes around.”

Zig Ziglar said “You can have anything in the world you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”

It takes far more muscular effort to frown than to smile. Do you know that a smile from you will almost always help someone else smile, and thus feel better? How much does it cost for you to smile versus to frown? Smiling is one of those “win-win” situations.

How much does it cost you to say “Thank you” when someone does something nice for you, even if it’s their job to do so? How much does it cost to say “I appreciate your help” to someone, even if their help was minimal but their intentions were good? How much does it cost to tell someone that they did a good job on something or, where appropriate, that they look especially handsome or beautiful at a particular time?

How much does it cost to click the Share button on your social media account when someone you know asks you to do so? Or to “+1” something on Google when you think it was OK or might be of interest to others even if it isn’t of much immediate interest to you? Or to re-tweet something where it might help someone with a project they are trying to promote?

I’m not proposing that all of us help everyone all of the time. That’s just not possible, except perhaps in special circumstances (e.g., where you have all the time and money in the world to give and having that richness hasn’t turned you selfish and immune to the feelings of others). But I am suggesting that helping whenever we can, without first trying to figure out a cost or price or quid pro quo, is a better way of living than the other way around.

I am privileged to have a lot of friends, both in the real world and on social media sites, who go out of their way to help others. They provide advice, they answer questions, they help organize in-person events and they volunteer to help in their communities. All without wondering whether or not they’re going to get paid for helping and without expecting some kind of payback.

I’m also not suggesting that you confuse helping with working. If you earn your living by providing commercial services, I wouldn’t expect you to provide detailed help and advice in your field of expertise for me without expecting me to pay for it. And I hope that you wouldn’t expect me to provide you with detailed marketing help and advice on your particular business issues without being paid for it.

But if you need a generic opinion, or a connection to someone, or some hints on what events might be beneficial for you, I’m happy to help – without charge – because it is something that I can do and am happy to do. I’m convinced that each of us individually and all of us together can make this world a better place just by helping each other whenever and however we can.

I hope you are one of them. And that the next time you are in a position to help someone that you do so – freely, willingly and with goodwill in your heart.

Thanks for reading. Your comments, as always, are very welcome. To read more of Jons’ thoughts and ideas, order The A to Z Blog Book from Amazon or Kindle. You’ll love it.Order The A to Z Blog Book - Print Version

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Summertime, Summertime, Sum-sum-Summertime…

IMG_0531-croppedSummertime, Summertime, Sum-sum-Summertime…

As I write this in Portland, OR, it is 78°F under a crystal clear blue sky. Yesterday was gorgeous as well and the forecasters promise several more days like this. It definitely feels like summertime is approaching. We’ve already been buying freshly picked strawberries from the roadside stands and the local farmers markets have opened. It’s hard to sit at a computer and work under conditions like this!

There will be graduations to attend, early vacations and a host of other mostly outdoor activities coming up over the next few months. Participation in indoor networking events will be down, but the several al fresco events in Portland will be mobbed, even if it’s hot like last year. That’s because we live for the upcoming sunny months. They renew us in spirit, feed our bodies with vitamin D, encourage us to exercise more and just generally improve our moods.

There will be street fairs and celebrations that provide sellers with opportunities to bring their wares closer to their customers in convivial atmospheres. More people will be walking in neighborhood business districts and thus more likely to visit retail establishments. Restaurants with outside seating will be making more money well into the evening hours. It really is a wonderful time of year.

It’s also time to take a look at your marketing activities to make sure that you capitalize on your opportunities to attract more customers and make more sales. Get that table at the street fair. Hold a sidewalk sale – or two or three at reasonable intervals. Provide gift coupons to your loyal customers for outdoor activities they might enjoy. Perhaps you can partner with other vendors to do this without incurring too much extra expense by cross-promoting each other.

Participate in a parade if your town does one. Or sponsor concerts and movies in the parks, a very popular set of events here in Portland. Partner with a local ice cream or frozen yogurt store to do a promotion. Or rent a snow cone machine and the people to run it. Hire a face painter or a professional balloon artist to bring families with children to your establishment. Offer a mid-afternoon “happy hour” if you run a restaurant.

Celebrate the summer with your prospects and customers so they remember you fondly in the Fall and during the Winter months. And please share your ideas for summer business promotions with my readers and I. We’d love to hear from you. Enjoy June!
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The 2013 A to Z Blog Posts

2013 A to Z Blog Book Cover - Print VersionThe 2013 A to Z Blog Posts

The 2013 A to Z blog posts have been moved to electronic and printed books called The A to Z Blog Book now available on Kindle in electronic form and from Amazon in print form.

 

The Kindle Electronic Version is available at no charge until May 28th.  If you act fast you’ll save $3.95. All I ask is that you write a review.2013 A to Z Blog Book Kindle Cover

You’ll love this book!  Order your copies today!

Here is the information on the Amazon Print Version available for $24.95:

The A to Z Blog Book: 26 Articles to Entertain, Inform and Intrigue you. Order The A to Z Blog Book - Print Version

Authored by Jon Turino
List Price: $24.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Full Color on White paper
112 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1489552747
ISBN-10: 148955274X
BISAC: Business & Economics / Marketing / General
26 Articles to Entertain, Inform and Intrigue You. Starting with the letter “A” for The Power of the Word “ASK” and ending with the letter “Z” for Zero, Zip, Zilch, this book includes another twenty-four articles ranging from Decisions, Decisions… to Emotions, Empathy and Engagement, KISS — As In Keep It Simple Silly (or other “S” words), The Likeability Factor, How’s Your Perspicacity?, Truth, Trust and Transactions and many more.
You’ll love this book!  Order your copies today!

Contents include:

  1. The Power of the Word “Ask”
  2. “B” is for Benefits…
  3. The “C” Words
  4. Decisions, decisions…
  5. Emotions, Empathy and Engagement
  6. Features, Flash and Other “F” Words
  7. Go for the Guts
  8. “H” is for Help
  9. iWords
  10. Jargon and Junk
  11. KISS — As In Keep It Simple Silly (or other “S” words)
  12. The Likeability Factor
  13. Markets, Messaging and Media
  14. Networking Necessities, Niceties and No-No’s
  15. Are You Omniscient?
  16. How’s Your Perspicacity?
  17. Questions, questions, questions…
  18. Are You Responsive to Your Customers?
  19. Success Stories and Strategies
  20. Truth, Trust and Transactions
  21. Usury of a Different Kind
  22. Voracious, Vexing and Very, Very Necessary
  23. Wondering Why
  24. X-Ray Vision
  25. YOU Deserve Some Thanks!
  26. Zip, Zero, Zilch

 

 

Time for a Commercial Break

cropped-JTphoto+Logo_940x198.jpgTime for a Commercial Break

I spent some time today putting together a set of small videos that I’d like to share with you. Some have to do with free offers – the website Event Calendar and the Marketing Strategy Development e-Book – and others have to do with asking you to spend some money with me.

The very inexpensive offers are The Piano Story and the Marketing Plan and Marketing Strategy Worksheets. Very inexpensive and very, very useful to you.

The more expensive offers have to do with the Instant Strategy Session and the Monthly Mentoring Mode. Certainly more costly but much more in depth and personalized service for you.

I’d love to do business with you and I hope you’ll both enjoy these short videos and respond to their calls for action. Because I could use the business and I’m betting that you could use the help! Just click the links above to visit the applicable pages and view the videos.

Thanks for reading – and watching. And please do let me know what other products and services that you would find useful.

Smite Those Tactics!

Whac-a-Mole ImageMarketing tactics are insidious and prolific. They keep popping up on what seems like an almost daily basis. SEO. Content. Backlinks. Tracklinks. PPC. AdWords. Promoted posts. Featured items. Offers. Text messages. Mobile apps. Interactive cable TV. Webinars. Teleseminars. e-Books. On-demand presentations. Gadgets, widgets and plug-ins. And the list could easily go on. In fact it does go on!

Are you inundated by the latest “must have” tactics in your marketing strategy mix? If so, I suggest that you smite those tactics until you step back and take a broader view of your overall marketing strategy. Don’t succumb to the siren song of any new tactic until you figure out if it will do you some good.

To whom are you marketing? Are you in the B2B or B2C business? What are the demographics of your markets in terms of age, occupation, income and interests? What kinds of activities are your prospects interested in and how do they find out about them? Mightn’t that information provide some valuable insights to guide you in the selection of your messages and the media you use to deliver them?

Who buys the largest quantities of what you sell, and where can you find more of those kinds of customers? Are there uses for your products or services outside your existing customer base that could be exploited with new messaging? Would new media selection help your message go viral? Is going viral what you want? Can you support that level of activity?

The right hierarchy for your marketing strategy decisions is goals first, strategy second and tactics third. So if those tactics are distracting you or diluting your overall goal and strategy work then I suggest you smite them until it’s time to consider which of them you’ll actually want to implement to support your plans.

Comments, as always, are solicited and thanks for reading.

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