Posted by Cameron
on August 31, 2011
This is Marketing 101, but something we often need a reminder of:
When I was 21, I had one of 800 franchises with the world’s largest house painting company, College Pro Painters. My territory was 90,000 people and I was enthusiastic about marketing my services to all of them! But in order to hit my target profit, I only needed to paint 150 out of the 35,000 houses in Sudbury.
I learned my first lesson in marketing: it’s less about marketing to everyone and more about marketing to those who will most likely buy from me.
I was taught to describe my clients first so I could figure out how to spot them and know where they lived. I figured out the type of clients I wanted lived on curvy streets, with brass kick plates on their doors. They had manicured lawns, and drove BMWs and Volvos and their houses needed painting.
I became so focused on marketing to this group that if prospects called from areas outside of my target market, I didn’t take the work. Some might balk at turning away a customer, but I was focused on building my name and brand in my target market, (not to mention keeping my down time costs lower). Rather than be just another painter, I was molding College Pro Painters into the painting company of choice for a very specific market, and counting on the profitability from being so hyper-focused. I have helped several different companies focus their marketing efforts like this, and it always pays off.
Your target demographics should be so crystal clear that it defines everything you do as an organization.
Posted by Cameron
on August 25, 2011
‘GS&R’ for short is perhaps the most high impact meeting type I’ve used. I started using them in 1986 when I worked with College Pro Painters, and over the years I’ve learned how to make these meetings extremely effective.
GS&R is a one-on-one meeting that you have with each person who reports directly to you, and so on down the line. It’s when you set goals with your direct reports for the week coming up and ensure their goals are aligned with the objectives of your team and the company. I’ve even used this meeting very successfully in coaching franchisees.
These meetings are meant to be a blend of direction, development and support—it’s not an opportunity for task or project follow up. This is a weekly thirty to sixty minute meeting during which you coach your team one-on-one, demonstrating to them how to be more effective in their roles. It’s also when a ton of ‘situational leadership,’ an idea developed by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey, gets used.
Done right, GS&R will eliminate 80% of the emails between you and your direct reports during the week. How? Instead of emailing each other with random questions and ideas, you add those to a list to be discussed at GS&R, saving you both tons of time during the week. Needless to say, it also saves a lot of frustration caused by the miscommunication that occurs in email.
If you’re not routinely meeting with your direct reports on a weekly basis in a format similar to this, start today and you’ll see improvements quickly.
pic: from the movie ‘Fracture’ with Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins (I hope your meetings go better than theirs)
For more information on this topic, check out: Leadership at 100MPH.
Posted by Cameron
on August 15, 2011
When I meet people at meetings and conferences I take note of who is sharp and possibly how they could be of help to me in the future. I also make a note regarding their specific strengths on the back of their business card.
I’ll make sure to enter their contact information into my computer and write the word ‘mentor’ and also jot down a few key areas where they are strong, like, ‘mentor marketing,’ ‘YPO,’ ‘employee engagement,’ etc.. The idea behind building this database is to not only accumulate names, but to build relationships with them over time so I can turn to them for mentoring when I need it. I have a friend who calls his list of contacts his ‘MBA’: Mentor Board of Advisors.
I’ve never been smart enough to know how to figure stuff out. I have, however, been wise enough to connect with the really smart people and do what they tell me. In addition to the lists I’ve built in my contacts on my laptop, I’ve also built lists of connections on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and reach out to those people often. You don’t need a formal board of advisors for yourself, just a long list of people you’ve met over the years who you can start calling on. Start your list now.
“I don’t have all the answers – just all the questions.” – quote from a Fortune 500 CEO, but I forget who!
Posted by Cameron
on August 14, 2011
OK, based on requests from a ton of people who like to listen to books while driving or on planes, here it is…
The Audio version of Double Double is now available here…
Posted by Cameron
on August 12, 2011
My grandparents were cheap—they were Scottish so they can blame their heritage (copper wire was invented by a Scottish guy who was trying to stretch a penny) – and they taught me to make do and reuse far before it was trendy to do so. I learned from them at an early age how to bootstrap.
That “be cheap” mentality carried over to my marketing and operation strategies. Paying for advertising just seems wrong. It seems like too much of a risk. And until I’ve tried everything else that I know will work, I just won’t take the chance on marketing that might work.
“Be cheap bootstrapping” also carried over into getting marketing done for my companies. I’ve hired actors, and instead of giving them money for a photo shoot, I gave them a load of junk removal for free. We hired another actor when we were very small and gave him $200 cash for unlimited use of his photo. It ended up being on hundreds of thousands of pieces. Other companies would have paid $5,000 for this kind of work, but we got him to take $200. We just hired a good-looking, young guy who fit our brand. It didn’t hurt that we found someone I’d known since they were 12.
I’ve had TV ads produced, and every actor we used was a friend of the company who did it for no money. And I have clients in Berlin who are now buying TV advertising and paying a percentage of revenues that it generates to the television station. They refused to pay a fixed price and convinced the TV station that if the ads were “really going to work,” then the TV station could share in the risk and the potential gains.
Here is one of the biggest secrets ever: every magazine, newspaper, TV and radio station will barter for their advertising space. Even bloggers will trade space for something they want. The key is for you to find something you have that is of value to them. Give them some of your products or services in exchange for an equal or greater amount of credit, gift certificates, and so on. There are also plenty of websites around like CrowdSpring where you can get creative work done by dozens of people, and yet you only have to pay the person whose work you love best.
Make a game out of it: See how cost conscious you can get without compromising your operation.
And if you’re seeing my Ads all over the internet – don’t assume I’m spending very much money – I just found super cheap ways to attract people so more companies would show my DVDs to their employees too.
pic Business Week
Posted by Cameron
on August 08, 2011
Pitching The Writer
When you’re pitching your angle to the writer, you should have at least two or three options ready to go. That way, if they don’t like the first angle, or you can’t reposition it to fit their needs, you can sell them on a second or third story while you’ve got them on the phone.
Prior to pitching the story, you need to do this basic prep:
1. Come up with a catchy title like, “An Entrepreneurial Resource You Keep In Your Back Pocket.” Exercise caution, though: you’re not writing the actual title for them-you’re coming up with a headline to catch the writer’s attention so you can pitch your angle. Writing the story is their job.
2. For each angle/title, you need to have four or five key bullets prepared to help the writer craft a story. For example, if I was trying to get a writer to write a story about the cost savings of hiring a management consultant (like me), I would be sure to include these five points:
- Entrepreneurs & their teams have access to Cameron monthly
- They get access to his skills at 1/10th the cost of hiring him full-time.
- They get access to him whenever they need – just like having him in their back pocket
- They aren’t locked in to expensive contracts
- They don’t have the office space, equipment, HR, and insurance costs of a full-time employee.
3. Think of 5 key bullets about your company that you will mention to the media every time you interact, regardless of the story angle you’re pitching. For example:
- Cameron Herold has clients on three continents
- Cameron Herold hasdone speaking events in 18 countries
- Cameroncoaches entrepreneurs monthly
- Cameron was the COO for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, growing the company from $2 million to $106 million in six years
Once you have three story angles and five key bullets about your company, you should feel relaxed and confident about calling the media. You already know what to say, and listening is easy. Free PR is easy to get once you know how to pitch your angles.