14
Nov
09

This Blog Has Moved!

subscribe_newblogIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while or have just stumbled on my sporadic flashes of brilliance, you’ll want to Click Here to visit the new site. You’ll still get the same, no nonsense, behind the scenes marketing advice but it will be much easier to read and packed with more value.

Going to blogs is so 2004!

The best way to keep up with my steady stream of enlightened content is to subscribe to the new blog. That way, every time I whip up some deep thoughts on how you can grow your business, it will come straight to your in-box – no questions asked!

I won’t be updating this blog any more. So you’ll want to visit http://www.claritymarketingsupport.com and subscribe. Right now. Go on. It’s free. No, not after lunch – do it now.  Pretty please?

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02
Nov
09

Adoption Rocks! A Musical Celebration

To celebrate International Adoption Month, The Long Center for the Performing Arts has scheduled a benefit concert and celebration called Adoption Rocks! It’s a benefit for The Gladney Center, a Texas organization that’s been providing adoption services for over 100 years.

This event was inspired by an Austin family’s adoption of their Ethiopian daughter last year. The family’s friends hosted a small live concert last November to raise money for the Ethiopian orphanage. It was such a great event, the organizers decided to do it again this year, only larger, and benefiting the Gladney Center, which is a licensed, not-for-profit agency that has been creating bright futures through adoption since 1889, and has become a global leader in providing adoption services.

 

If you haven’t seen it yet, this YouTube makes a great case for supporting the event.

COME JOIN US! Here’s how…

The event is November 13th at 7:30pm or 9:30pm, featuring Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, John Pointer and the Sangra del Sol Dance Troupe.

Tickets are $100 apiece, $50 of which is tax-deductible. There’s also a silent auction and a cash bar.

Seating is limited. To buy tickets, click on the desired show time link below and enter the promotional code “ADOPTIONROCKS” (all caps)
7:30 pm link = http://budurl.com/adopt1
9:30 pm link = http://budurl.com/adopt2

The organizers are doing all the promotion for this event through word-of-mouth and social media to save on overhead. Please feel free to borrow anything in this post and spread it throughout your social networks.

The Facebook Fan Page is http://budurl.com/adoptfb

01
Nov
09

What Trick or Treating Can Teach You About Sales

by: Amy Hardin – AcSELLerate

YOU HAVE TO YELL “TRICK OR TREAT”!
I don’t know about you, but if a kid shows up at my house and just stands there, they don’t get any candy. Every kid who comes to my house has to say “Trick or Treat” before they get their chance at the goodies!

AcSELLerate Sales Tip: If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Sales people who are timid or slow about closing, don’t walk away with the goodies!

A GOOD COSTUME GETS EXTRA CANDY.
Who do you reward with extra candy? The kid who worked hard on his costume, donned a wig and even put on make-up or the kid who showed up wearing a black trash bag carrying an empty pillow case?

AcSELLerate Sales Tip: Sales people who go to the extra effort of preparing for the sales call (researching the company and/or the industry, setting an agenda and preparing some relevant questions) are always rewarded over their competitors who decide to “wing it”. Don’t show up for your sales call with an empty pillow case!

DON’T GO TO DARK HOUSES WITHOUT DECORATIONS.
Ok, this one is easy. Every kid knows that the houses with the lights off and no decorations are Halloween Scrooges. No candy there, move on. Chances are 100% better at the cool houses with jack-o-lanterns, lights, and freaky music. Things get even better if the owner answers the door in a costume!

AcSELLerate Sales Tip: Why is it so easy for kids to quickly identify their “Ideal Client” and yet so hard for sales professionals to figure it out? How often do we find ourselves knocking on the door of someone who will never be qualified to be our client? If you haven’t spent the time or the money to identify your “Target Market”, no wonder you aren’t getting very much candy! Quit knocking on the wrong doors and move on! Call on some prospects who will show up in their costume (their “I need what you sell” costume) and start enjoying the sweet life.

YOU HAVE TO RUN FAST TO GET THE GOOD CANDY!
Every kid past the toddler stage has figured this one out. Word spreads quickly about the houses with the good candy. You’ve got to get there early if you want the best stuff.

AcSELLerate Sales Tip: If you snooze you lose. Selling requires that you are well-connected in your industry and can quickly identify an excellent prospect. There is more competition than ever before, and those who aren’t up for a serious pursuit of the prospect should just stay home.

IF YOU CAN GROW A BEARD, YOU SHOULDN’T TRICK OR TREAT.

We’ve all seen this guy—eighteen, obnoxious and completely out of touch with the realities of his situation. He may try to fake you out with a cute cowboy costume, but we all know he isn’t the real deal.


AcSELLerate Sales Tip:
If you haven’t updated your sales approach or tactics in the last 10 years, you may be dating yourself. Worse, you are probably losing business. The time-worn techniques of bonding by asking personal questions and presenting features and benefits are out of touch with today’s businesses. Businesses today value high-level problem solving and The New ABCS of Selling: Authentic Business Conversations ™.

16
Oct
09

High Growth Firms Spend Limited Budgets Differently From Lower Growth Peers

Just read a study that shows that high growth firms in professional services categories invested in marketing activities very differently from their lagging peers. Here’s how it breaks down:

High Growth Firms put more emphasis on:

  • Building awareness through advertising and PR
  • Lead generation through channels such as direct mail, cold calls, trade shows and newsletters
  • Web site upgrades
  • Outside marketing experts and consultants
  • Training and using non-marketing staff to generate business.

Low Growth Firms were more likely to:

  • Have no formal marketing plan
  • Revise their strategy, structure or budget
  • Focus on thought leadership activities such as publishing and workshops

Marketing Initiative Priorities

The 2008 study by Hinge  broke down companies by size and industry. The above trends were across the board.

Interesting.

14
Oct
09

My Dad

dadsmFor my regular readers, this post may be a bit unusual. But, for me, it is right on topic since much of what I know about business and what I share here originated from my dad. Allow me to indulge you with the tale of the Air Force vet, turned pilot, turned rodeo rider, turned computer whiz, turned electronics manufacturer, turned cabinet maker.

My name is derived from my dad – he’s Peter R., I’m Peter J. For most of my life, he’s been self-employed. My first jobs were working for his companies. Some were successful, some were not. For me, it was just a job to put gas in my car and hang out with my teenage delinquent friends (at the time). What I didn’t realize was that my father was the best teacher I’ve ever had. He may not even know this and his teaching was never in words. In fact, my dad is the master of the three word sentence. Unless you count grunts.

He taught me by example. By how he lived his life (for better or worse) and how he ran his companies. You see, Peter R. Monfre always operated at the highest levels of ethics. Whether he was operating the Greater Milwaukee Flying Club (12 airplanes!), working for Control Data, building high end custom cabinets or roping calves in the rodeo, he put his customers and employees first – often to his own detriment. He did the right thing always.

I don’t know how he did these things. He didn’t go to college. Yet he is an accomplished pilot (thousands of hours – even full instrument ratings), provided quality control for early computers (punch cards, anyone?) and even manufactured the first subcutaneous chip implants (long story). I’m not even going to try to explain the calf roping. I suspect he has a photographic memory. I know he worked his ass off.

Looking back over the years, there is a reason I’m where I am today. And that reason is probably hauling bales of hay to feed his horses in 4 feet of snow right now. I, too, have chosen the road less followed. I’ve been self employed my entire adult life. I see the world as a place of endless possibilities where anything is possible. I may have chosen college but the lessons I learned at Monfre Cabinets have been more valuable to me than any lecture I was forced to attend.

My dad still lives in Casper, Wyoming in a house he built at the base of 5K foot Casper Mountain (the third house he build for his family). He’s back to making the best custom cabinets you’ve ever seen for an exclusive clientele that doesn’t even ask “how much?”.  They know that Peter R. Monfre will deliver on the level of a true master craftsman and anything less will never see the light of day.

He still has horses (somehow he’s managed to train two wild horses) and he still raises and trains German Shepherd dogs. He still watches Fox News and wears a very large western belt buckle. He still punctuates his sentences with grunts and he looks like his father, Joseph Monfre whom I suspect taught him unknowingly. He still drives my mom crazy.

And he’s still teaching me. We talk on the phone once a week or so (he gets bored with phone conversations quickly) and I still call him to unravel the mysteries of why I can’t install a pre-hung door to save my life. But his values and work ethic permeate my life to this day and I hope that I can be as amazing as my dad and teach my son that integrity is the true measure of success.

05
Oct
09

Media Fragmentation: A Nightmare or Beautiful Dream?

by Pete Monfre

Back in the good old days of advertising, marketing was simple. You’d whip up a T.V. and/or radio ad, broadcast it out to a huge audience and the dollars would roll in. It worked because there were few media choices and huge numbers of people tuning in to three channels of content. Fast forward to today and everything has changed – except the way most companies think about reaching people most likely to buy their products and services.

If advertising pioneer Leo Burnett woke today, he’d be dazzled by the sheer number of channels and competing messages people face every minute of every day. In fact, the marketing landscape is moving so fast, today’s environment is radically different from even 10 years ago.

According to a study by Nielsen, in 2006 the average household received 104.2 channels on T.V. alone. In the UK, there are over 13,000 media platforms (from newspapers to hot-air balloons) where advertising can be bought. So what does this have to do with small business marketing? Everything.

Small businesses face the same challenges at Proctor and Gamble – but with far smaller budgets. Their potential customers are difficult to reach using traditional methods alone (advertising, direct marketing, etc.). But more importantly, they are getting to a point of marketing saturation – as they are bombarded with more and more, irrelevant messages, they react by tuning ALL messages out. Gone are the days where a small business could run some ads, send some letters and garner enough response to build the business. The reality today is that small and large companies alike must shoulder a multi-media, integrated marketing strategy that combines some traditional tactics with new media channels. In other words, you need to be everywhere your customer is and expend no resources where they aren’t.

The Nightmare
This is easier said than done. Everybody wants marketing to be fun and easy. Every marketing director wants to create an hilarious viral video that collects millions of views and costs nothing. The truth is that implementing an effective marketing program is complex, multi-faceted activity that takes commitment, time and an appropriate level of investment. If you are not willing to face up to this reality, your marketing efforts will underperform and so will your company.

We’ve been sold a bill of goods by the marketing industry that promised fast results if we just hired them to build our website, design our logo, make that video, create an advertising campaign, or [insert clever tactic here]. Clients want to believe it’s really that simple so they write the checks. Nobody wants to tell the client that the truth of the matter is a bit more involved, requires a bit more time and (uh-oh…) costs money.
The Beautiful Dream
The good news here is that marketing can be a powerful force for growth. Even though the changing landscape makes the task more complex, the tremendous upside is being able to dramatically improve targeting and conversion rates while reducing waste spending. For example, an online pet pharmacy currently spends about 30 million dollars a year on advertising. The bulk of this sum is spent on television ads. While these ads work (the company reported a 14% increase in sales directly attributable to the advertising) there is tremendous waste as a significant portion of households who see the ads don’t own pets. In fact, the company reports that it’s cost of acquiring a new customer is over $33 each. Allocating dollars to an integrated on-line strategy that laser targets animal lovers would deliver fewer eyeballs but far greater conversations at a significantly lower acquisition cost. Increase sales and lower costs at the same time?! Sounds like a beautiful dream to me.

The key is to adjust your expectations and your methodology. Strive to understand how your target audiences interact with each other, find out where they gather (in real life or on-line) and facilitate those conversations. Speak in their language with authenticity. Understand their media habits and focus on providing valuable information in any and all media they prefer – whether print, broadcast, on-line, digital video, social media, whatever. Most of all make a commitment to sustaining the effort for the long term. Breaking through the clutter and breaking into the customer’s consciences takes more time than in days past. But even Mr. Burnett would be thrilled at the power of the new media landscape for it’s ability to target, track and deliver value.

Pete Monfre is an Austin-based marketing coach, consultant, media integration expert, producer and entrepreneur who works with businesses to develop marketing programs that actually work.

27
Sep
09

Erin Ivey – big show Oct. 1st Long Center

Erin

Erin

Get your tickets now for Erin Ivey’s MusicDanceLightArtapalooza! OK, she’s calling it the Musical Kaleidoscope Project at the Rollins Theater but I say it’s some kind of palooza.

Join this crazy good singer songwriter for an exploration of improvisation and inter-disciplinary collaboration featuring The Finest Kind (Hammond M3 organ trio), Red Corner Rhymers, and other VERY special guests including:

  • The Finest Kind – Hammond M3 organ trio – Rolf Ordahl, Ross Alexander, JJ Johnson
  • Red Corner Rhymers – Cheryl Kaderli, JC Baxter, Matt Howard, Gregg Irick… and add
  • Blue Lapis Light aerial dancers,
  • Ephraim Owens on trumpet,
  • Mike Henry as M.C.,
  • Jon Dee Graham on guitar,
  • Stephen Doster on guitar,
  • Joel Laviolette on mbira,
  • Danny Malone – song & dance man,
  • Matt Shields – tap dance…

The Musical Kaleidoscope Project at The Rollins Theater
The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, TX 8pm
Advance tickets on sale NOW!

This is a general admission standing-room show. There are a limited number of VIP passes, which include table seating.

Free parking at One Texas Center too!

ErinIvey_Oct1_onionad_2




Who is Pete Monfre

CLICK HERE to visit my web site

I'm a serial entrepreneur, marketing and media guy, raconteur, writer, producer and consultant. I write this little blog to help you unravel the mysteries of marketing and selling, to expose the silliness that masquerades as marketing and help you make better decisions that will grow your business. And I have fun with it. Why not comment? That way we can have a conversation. Or better yet, hop on over to my web site and drop me a line.

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