Enthusiastic Marketing

How To Keep Your Marketing Enthusiasm(Photo by David Goehring)

If you have been in business for a while, you have no doubt fielded the same questions over-and-over-and-over. The person asking (a prospective client, perhaps) is sincere. But you have heard the same questions and your been giving the same answers year-after-year. And if you are not careful, your frustration at hearing the same question is likely to seep into your response, and you risk alienating your prospective client.

The secret is to improve your empathic listening skills.

Concierges in hotels face this exact challenge daily. Each guest is experiencing things for their first time, and they want to know the answer to their (familiar) question. The best concierges project an air of enthusiastic curiosity and willingness to help because they (try to) remember what it’s like not to be an expert, and to know that their answers have the potential to create powerful lasting memories for their guests.

The next time someone asks the question you have anticipated, stop, breathe, and see if you can make someone feel very special. That single act could create a lifetime of good will.

New Is Sexy

New Is Sexy In Marketing

Want to get people to pay attention to what you’re offering? Make what you’re selling new, and highlight your new offering as sexy.

We’re programmed to see new as exotic, special, limited, better, healthier, etc. New also commands a higher price and more attention – since getting the newest thing first is a status symbol (the lines to buy a new iPhone, for example).

However, when you introduce new that means by definition your old has just dropped in value or stature. So, be sure not to cannibalize your product line in search of new is better. You old still can command a high value – to the right audience.

New is ideal for the trend-setters or cutting-edge early adopters. They are on the leading quest to find new, to prove to that they are worth following. New is great in its own sake.

But those that are looking for trusted solutions still want the old. In fact, you may have increased the value in their eyes since you’ve invested in a new version of what people still want.

Everything Old Is New Again

When trumpets were mellow
And every gal only had one fellow
No need to remember when
‘Cause everything old is new again

Dancin’ at your, Long Island, jazz age parties
Waiter bring us some more Baccardis
We’ll order now, what they ordered then
‘Cause everything old is new again

Get out your white suit, your tap shoes and tails
Let’s go backwards when forward fails
And movie stars you thought were long dead
Now are framed beside your bed

Don’t throw the past away
You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again

Get out your white suit, your tap shoes and tails
Put it on backwards when forward fails
Better leave Greta Garbo alone
Be a movie star on your own

And don’t throw the past away
You might need it some other rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again

I might fall in love with you again

Songwriters: Peter W. Allen and Carole Bayer Sager

Two Companies. Two Names Or One?

I’m a general contractor with 66 rental units. We do about $1.2M a year gross, with basically no branding whatsoever. I’m looking to expand in both arenas with web and basic advertising. I don’t even have business cards.

1. Should I brand the property management and development separately from the general contracting?

2. Can I move forward with a more global name like “_____ Development”?


Jay’s Answer: If your two companies would share similar messages with similar audiences, then a single company makes sense. If not, then two companies would help to make your message much better targeted.

Name Our Summer Music Series

I work for the Town of Silverton in Colorado at 9318′ elevation. I am starting a monthly summer music series that will be on the third Friday of June-September in our Memorial Park. It is going to feature local area bands and will have alcohol that we sell to raise money for our 4th of July Fireworks. Some ideas currently are:

  • Tunes for Booms Summer Music Series
  • Silverton Summer Concert Series
  • 9318′ Elevated Music
  • Music in Memorial Park

We want something recognizable but original as a number of towns in our area have their own “Music in the Park” and “Mountain Air Concert Series”. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you!


Jay’s Answer: Some different directions to play with:

  • Third for the Fourth (Series) (since events will be on the 3rd Friday and benefiting the 4th of July)
  • 3/4 Time
  • 4-3-2-1-Fireworks Series

Marketing: It’s All In The Details

Marketing is all about details(Photo by Meena Kadri)

Your product is the best. Or it’s the first. Or it’s the newest. Or it’s the cheapest.
Your services are fast. Or they are efficient. Or they are highly creative.
Do any of these statements sound like your marketing message? If so, no one’s likely to believe you (or even pay attention to you).

Stop talking in generalities (everyone else is). Talk in specifics. Here’s how to create a statement (and supporting story) of specific achievements:

  1. Identify the problems, situation, goals, or opportunity that your previous clients  faced.
  2. What did you do to help your clients overcome these problems?
  3. What quantitative or qualitative results did your clients see?

Let’s say you are a caterer. Thinking back to clients that you wow’ed, you might remember Ms. Frances, who hired you at the last minute because their caterer decided to instead cater a wedding reception for a local celebrity. Ms. Frances needed last-minute help, and you were able to create a menu that was also better tailored to the bride and groom’s special dietary needs. So you could say, “Specializing in last-minute tricky catering needs“. But rather than being seen as the “fall-back” caterer, you want to position yourself as the caterer that won’t cancel and will delight. So instead say, “Ensure your catered event will be delicious, highly-customized, and on-budget … Guaranteed!” Your specific story of Ms. Frances will be just one tangible example of how you exceeded expectation, reduced fear, and made your clients successful.

The Good Jobs Strategy

The Good Jobs Strategy CoverIs only way a company can keep costs down is to reduce the cost of labor? According to Zeynep Ton (a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management), it’s not a requirement – it’s a just a very bad choice.

While reducing labor costs produces short-term benefits for share-holders, it will ultimately produce long-term negatives. People that are employed with minimal benefits, low wages, and poor schedules won’t be able to provide great good service, won’t follow corporate “best practice” procedures, and won’t have any job loyalty.

Instead, the author recommends paying well, scheduling well, and training well, based on 4 Business Operational Choices:

1. Offer Less. In offering a wide range of goods, your inventory becomes a risk: greater numbers unsold goods, goods that are lost in storage, and product choice overwhelm. With fewer choices, employees will be able to better recommend products in your inventory.

2. Standardize and Empower. Identify the best way to perform tasks and standardize them. Standardization makes training easier and provides consistency. Empower employees to go beyond the basic rules (based on their training) as needed, and improve the standardization as better opportunities arise.

3. Cross-Train. Train employees to do a number of related jobs well. For example, an employee that can operate a cash register, stock shelves, answer phones, and ship packages can flexibly adapt to the varying daily needs of a business. When fewer customers are around, employees can do other necessary work.

4. Operate with Slack. In trying to schedule the “right number” of employees for a shift, you’ll invariably have situations where not enough employees are available. Understaffing creates a drain on all aspects of the business. But cross-trained employees can adapt to providing the services that are needed.

Providing “good jobs” will have a long-term benefit your employees, customers, and investors.

If your company implements the Good Jobs Strategy, the slogan Fast, Good or Cheap. Pick two, will be obsolete.

Good Cheap and Fast

Independent School Enrollment Management Consultant

I need to name my new consulting business for the field of admissions in independent school. It is tricky because I want to work with the schools, not with the families of students trying to gain admission to the school. I may also look to represent educational software vendors for enrollment management and financial aid.

My skills are in modernizing the admissions process, improving data analysis and reporting, and assessing office operations for admissions, re-enrollment, financial aid, and data analysis. Many admissions directors are nervous about changing outdated processes, but know they have to get on track. I hope to convey a feeling of partnership and camaraderie in helping get them revamp their processes.

I want the admissions directors and/or heads of schools to find me if they’re looking for support for their admissions office or if they are having difficulty with enrollment.

I’ve considered dozens of ideas from as simple as Enrollment Management Consulting to including words like: Renovation, Modern, Quantum, Larithmics, Catalyst, Catapult, Innovation, Solutions, Services, Audit, Advantage, Mentor.

I would be grateful for your brainstorming ideas!


Jay’s Answer: Because you have a relatively small market, it’s unlikely that your target audience would choose you based on a online search. It’s much more likely that you’d want to find THEM – advertising in media that they read/watch or in direct (e)mail campaigns. A name alone probably won’t be clear enough to stand on its own (you already pointed out the potential confusion). So, you’ll need a tagline to clarify. The tagline is likely to be something like “For Better/Efficient Independent School Admissions”. Then your name could be something like “Excelsior Consultants”.

Help! Name For Furniture Consignment Store

My business partner and I cannot find the “right” fitting name for new business. We are a furniture and home goods consignment store. We offer two options: pay you upfront (lesser amt) or let you consign your goods. We do pick-up’s as well. I feel like customers need to know that it is a consignment/resale store, so the name Savvy Home, isn’t getting it for me. It sounds too much like a regular furniture store versus a consignment/resale store. PLEASE HELP! This is the only hold up from us moving in our space!


Jay’s Answer:

  • reSavvy Home (with the re- prefix indicating resale)
  • preLoved (Furniture)

Name My Training Videos For Change Management

We’ve created some short (less than 4 minutes) training videos for Change Management for General Motors. I’d like to have some clever names for them other than just “Training Videos”. I’m liking the word snippets but at a loss of thinking of a clever name. Any help would be appreciated!


Jay’s Answer:

  • (Getting) From Here To There
  • Quick Change (Series)