I recently spoke at the Nashville City Club about Finding Audience & Creating Uncontested Markets. (Watch Video Below) Over the years, I have worked in advertising and marketing, leading turn-arounds, start-ups and companies in transition.   This presentation focuses on developing the plans and strategies for successfully positioning your business.

Seven Video Segments of 6-9 minutes each: Total Run-time 54 minutes

Any viable internet strategy needs to include conversion concepts. Sometimes that might be economic, as in sales.

But it can also be non-economic; for instance, you may want to get people to move or migrate to pages, to opt-in to your email list, or to take whatever action you desire them to take. This conversion is the kind that creates steps in building relationships with potential customers.

Imagine if a customer walked into your store and you grabbed something off the shelf, shoved it into their hands, and said “Hi – you want to buy? Let me ring that up.” You would be rebuffed!

You need to realize relationship development and conversions that will move people through your website. You need to recognize strategies that will move the relationship orientation to your business.

I have a client whose sole online conversion goal is to generate phone calls into their office from 8-5 Monday-Friday. They’ve refined a specific strategy to deal with this, and they’ve built a very successful sales model off the concept.

It doesn’t need to be bells, gadgets and gizmos! What might work with your strategic planning? Here are some unique ideas on generating conversions in an article posted at the Wall Street Journal, Three Best Ways to Convert Web Traffic Into Sales – Read more…

Too many companies stay out of the internet. Others rush in with “techno-ecstasy,” often times at the press of employees and without any objective or strategy.

“Hey, look at this gizmo I found, let’s do this!” Whatever the latest marketing trick or tool, it may be worthy of evaluation. But if it’s not serving your larger strategy, it may not be useful for you.

You may think the resource is “free,” but it isn’t free when you consider the investment of your resources to run it out and implement it. Plus, there is a risk you take with poor implementation from a customer perspective.

The other downside is that it may distract you and keep you from implementing core strategy that is vital to your business.

Before I use the latest marketing tool, I want to make sure it connects with my audience, communicates with my audience, and harmonizes with other strategies I have in place. If it doesn’t pass those 3 tests, I won’t use it, no matter how shiny the object is!

Paul Gunning, CEO of Tribal DDB Worldwide, writes at ManageSmarter.com about the caution you should use in employing the latest gadget, gizmo, or tool. His article provides a very good understanding of the components you should evaluate it on, and the four corners of the strategy to put it together. Read more… Social Media Reality Check

I was at my bank on Saturday. The teller invited me to go to a special online promotion at “theirwebsite.com/teller.” I noticed this “register to win” promotion was also printed on my deposit slip. So a couple days later I went to the website. What did I find?

I found they had a new website. Their old URL is now redirecting to their new website – but there is no “/teller” replacement URL at the new site. The bank’s numerous locations all over town were giving a promotional push to “/teller”, but it was an undelivered promise – a breach of trust with their audience! (I will definitely reevaluate how much I trust them in the future.)

Here’s what often happens in businesses: we throw something up in the air and hope it sticks. This kind of thinking is mostly driven by new technology, or by a limited view of what the business perceives themselves to be.

Advertising and promotional planning all comes back to these 3 fundamentals: 1) a focused message, 2) expected results, and 3) the audience’s point of view. And it needs to be campaign driven. Businesses can’t just say “let’s run some online ads” and think that will do it.

Online ads, especially on click-throughs, can be a nebulous call to action with no meaning. We need to be focused on the ad content and on the strategy to be used to engage our customers, whether it’s in publishing or online ads.

Cliff Kuang of FastCompany.com recently wrote about online ad content in Print Media Is Dying. Online Revenues Are Tiny. What If the Ads Are to Blame?…Read more…

There is a dialogue going on, and if you are not part of it then you have no say in it. Staying out of the Social Network space is like prohibiting the use of the telephone. The real question is not whether to engage, but how to engage.

Many companies fail to translate themselves into the broadcast space. Previously, if your business did not deal with radio, TV, or media then it did not matter – although the ubiquitous “word of mouth” prowled around your customers and prospects without your knowledge.

Now, every company can broadcast on the internet; and if they choose not to, someone else will do it for them, as evidenced in this recent viral hit video:

Reuters recently reported “The heads of the top U.S. companies might be engaged in the boardroom, but they’re switched off when it comes to social media, according to a new study that said CEOs should be more connected to their customers.” Read more…Heads of top U.S. companies snub blogs, Facebook: study

It used to be that everyone marketed and bought ads on an age-based demographic. When we were coordinating millions of dollars in radio and TV buys, this was the only way to do it, because that is what Arbitron and Nielson provided.

Fast forward and everyone today says that the internet has changed our behaviors. I am not sure that is entirely true; however, one thing is for certain – the internet is giving us the ability to directly connect and “see” the folks we connect with.

You can see this on Social Network sites like Facebook, MySpace or… insert your favorite here.

It was always a frustration when working in the music business where reliance on age-based demographics were still the driving force. The only age groups that were certain were the youth groups, because they had a tendency to congregate. But you had to work harder to coalesce age groups beyond that because they were more fragmented and dispersed.

The internet has given us the ability to talk directly with the audience and see what they look like. In working with one artist, we were able to identify several groups of people, none of which were age-based. This allowed us to build out a relationship based program that connected with the audience based on personal preferences.

Rohit Bhargava has a good article that provides some interesting insight. Read more… 5 Reasons Your Customer’s Age Doesn’t Matter

I have had several meetings with companies and organizations inquiring about the significance, if any, of Web 2.0 and how it applies to them. It has been very interesting that even some of those that are in the Gen F crowd, are technology oriented, and do not see the practical application of this mindset for building and growing their organizations. Over the years of doing turnarounds, I learned early on the benefits of free-form task force and project team approaches for transforming organizations; blowing past the top down hierarchy that typically constrains growth and progress. This approach is also at the core of the Web 2.0 empowerment. A company that harnesses this style will succeed by developing servant leadership, empowering and equipping its workforce and customers to contribute to the overall accomplishment.

This will require companies to reinvent their management practices by luring the most innovative members of the Facebook Generation and meeting their Web 2.0 based expectations. Management guru Gary Hamel writes. “On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction.” At the Wall Street Journal Blogs, he has a good article highlighting the distinctions between “The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500.”  Read Article…

You can now follow my Blog on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

I recently spoke at the Brentwood Chamber Tech Strategies group about Social Networking.   It’s interesting to talk to business owners and leaders about this phenom and their reluctance to embrace it.  One attendee contacted me and asked that I speak to their executive group about the topic, only to have the CEO decide not to pursue it at all, and they have completely ignored the entire area as a group while their competition is embracing it.

Everyone has always said that the best advertising is “Word of Mouth,” so why aren’t more companies participating in their own opportunites in the word-of-mouth dialog? The truth is, you are in the social space whether you want to be or not.  Elective absence is not an option because your competition, and most importantly your customers, are there and they are talking with or without you.

Carl Weinschenk has an excellent article on ITBusinessEdge on the subject and I have to agree with him that “Any company that doesn’t think social networking is a corporate tool is missing a big opportunity.” You are already in the Social Space because your customers are there and if you do not participate you are leaving it all to chance.  This article is also cross linked with some great supporting topics like:   six misconceptions about corporate use of social networks, executives who are leveraging Twitter, policy and procedure suggestions on social media and social networks, and more.   Read article Social Networks, Suitably Altered, Becoming Workplace Mainstays

I recently spoke to the Tech Strategies group of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce this February. The subject was Building Audience ~ Creating and Engaging Experience, and below is the Preso including the Strategy Canvas and the Power Point slides of my presentation Building Audience Preso.

This is a large presentation and you have to manually advance the slides.

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