By k | July 21, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I attended a focus group yesterday.
There were two ads featured.

The first ad was a product ad.
It showed a fairly unremarkable product,
touting reliability.

The second ad was a story ad.
It told a story about the product user
and featured the product
as a reliable part of that person’s life.

The first ad was safe.
It got okay reactions
but I doubt anyone would watch it
more than one.

The second ad divided the group
into those who hated it with a passion
and those who loved it with a passion.
Participants cared.
They either hated the product user
or they adored her.
The moderator tried to steer conversation
to a competitor’s ad campaign.
The participants returned back to the second ad.

You may think…
no brainer.
Go with the second ad
but I bet
there are as heated discussions
between executives
over the focus group results.


Because the second ad is scary.
Some participants HATED the ad.
To set yourself up to be hated
is very, very scary.

I’m betting they chicken out.
Would YOU chicken out?

By k | July 20, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Today I have a two hour meeting
three hours away
at noon.
That is the only thing
I have to do at this location.

Yep, very poor planning.
It completely breaks up my day,
that I do nothing before the meeting.
So basically this is an eight hour meeting.

It turns out
I can’t do this meeting another way
(the client refuses alternative methods)
and I have to factor it into my cost
of taking on this project.

But that isn’t always the case.

If travel time is a beyotch for a meeting,
try to meet half way
or accumulate things to do in the same location
or figure out a way
to share the information
without meeting face-to-face.

By k | July 19, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A new author posted
on a publisher loop
complaining about
how her eBook hadn’t gone to print.

She acknowledged her low eBook sales
and her lack of promotion in that format
but insisted that would change with print.
You see…
she has her print promotion plan in place.
She had no eBook promotion plan.

In other words,
she wished to skip a step
in the process.

I see this all the time.
An author or entrepreneur or career employee
plots out all the steps
to success
but then concentrates on the next step
rather than her current step.

Concentrate your efforts
on the current step in your plan.
Clear that hurdle first
before working on the next.

By k | July 18, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I was enjoying the previews
before The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

There was the preview for
a Disney Princess movie,
followed by the Smurf movie,
and then…

the preview for Resident Evil.

It was violent.
It was shocking.
The children in the theater cried.
It was completely
inappropriate marketing.

Shock marketing is very effective.
But only if the prospect you wish to target
is present.
Seven year old kids are not seeing
Resident Evil.

Be a responsible marketer.
Don’t use young children
to sell a very adult product.

By k | July 17, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of the best investments
I make each year
is buying a package of
fine felt tip pens
in a variety of colors.

You see…
one of the ways
to look at a piece of writing differently
and to inspire creativity
is to add color.

If I’m stuck creatively,
I’ll start handwriting in another color.
It shakes my thinking up.

I’m not imagining this.
It is real.
Studies have shown
that red enhances memory
(why edits are often done
in red pen)
and blue inspires creativity
(I use a sky blue).

If you’re stuck,
try a different color pen.
(And not those ugly black or blue pens
found in every office supply cabinet).

By k | July 16, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of the common ways
to market eBooks
is to pimp them
on Yahoo reader loops.

Yahoo readers loops
are sort of like blogs.
The last post
is the first post read.

Yet I see
time and time again
authors bumping their own marketing.
They’ll post about their latest book
and THEN they’ll respond
to various posts.

Yeah, not smart.
The marketing post
should be the last one
authors post.

We often do that though.
We’ll send a bulk email
promoting our latest project or win
and then we answer the lower priority emails.
The lower priority emails
are then the first emails
recipients see.

Don’t bump your own marketing.

By k | July 15, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I attended a seminar
held by romance writer Robyn DeHart
on Saturday.

She said that every book
has a piece of the writer in it.
Usually it is the emotion.
The source of the emotion
may be different
(I don’t go around killing people,
for example)
but the emotion itself is the author’s.

That is also true of other products.
Yes, we try to make it all scientific
and reflecting prospect’s needs
and as impersonal as possible.

However, there’s a reason
why you picked THAT product
to test with consumers
or that you thought of THAT product
at all.

That’s one reason I call my products
my babies.
They are a part of me.

Sometimes you have to kill your babies
and that hurts.
It is okay that it hurts.
Take some time and grieve privately
(focus on privately
as women especially don’t want
to get smacked with the deadly emotional label).

And when they launch successful,
be proud.
That’s a piece of you
sitting there on the shelf.

By k | July 14, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Mary Buckham gives
one of the best explanations
I’ve heard
about the differences
between literary writing
and genre writing
(such as romance).

The difference comes down to world view.

Literary folks believe
that people (and usually circumstances)
don’t change.
They can only be understood.
Forest Gump was the same person
at the start of the movie
as he was at the end of the movie.

Genre folks believe
that people (and circumstances)
can and do change.
The lonely learn how to love.
The murderer is caught.
The alien learns to appreciate humans.

Most entrepreneurs
adhere to the second world view.
They believe that
prospects do change
and that
they WILL buy the new product.

World views can change.
I believe you are what you read.
If you are trying to change the world,
consider reading more genre fiction.

By k | July 13, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

“Managing email now accounts
for about half of the average employee’s workday.”

You read that right
Four hours a day is spent
on email management.

That is a crazy waste of time.

I receive
about 1,000 emails a day
to my personal inbox.
Clientk readers who email me
(and I do love the emails)
will know that I’m not always the best
at responding.


Because I spend most of my day
I do first
and then reward myself
with email.

That’s the best thing about emails.
They don’t go bad.
Whether I answer them at 9am or 9pm
won’t matter.

Do first.
Check email second.
Read Cameron Herold’s article
for other great tips.

P.S. the exception is
if I’m between projects
and on a mini-holiday
as Elisha recently found out.

By k | July 12, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Managing big ‘oh shit’ moments
is part of managing projects.

So how do you manage
project results
that disappoint key stakeholders?

Brian McCurtis
in the June PM Network magazine
reco’s a four step approach.

1. Act fast - and make it personal.
Follow up within an hour
of that distress call from your key stakeholder.
Follow up in person if possible

2. Don’t walk in with solutions.
That first meeting with the stakeholder
should be about listening
to her issues.

3. Identify issues that can be tackled right away.
Once you have those issues,
pick six key make-or-break issues
and give her a schedule for fixing them.
Under-promise and over-deliver.

4. Define a follow-up schedule and stick to it.
Give them regular updates
so they know you’re working on the issues.
If it is a serious issue
(a business continuity type of issue),
these updates should be at least daily.

You WILL have those ‘oh shit’ moments
so put a process in place
to handle them.