Archive Page 2

10
Aug
09

Technology barrier for Twitter

I have to admit I’m not a Twitter fan. Frankly, my ego isn’t big enough for that technology. Come on, do you really want to hear about me going shopping at Fry’s, driving in traffic, where I’m eating, or my lavish vacation in Milpitas, California?

Some of my marketing peers have rushed to embrace Twitter and Facebook as a “must” for their technology clients to be on, but I’m disagreeing with their recommendations on these two Internet marvels. Unless the technology company is selling to the consumer, this is a very expensive medium to put any marketing dollars, especially for the small return on their investment. Time, money, staff…someone has to manage this process, and I just don’t believe it is worth the investment.

On the other hand, YouTube has a number of merits for a technology company, with the biggest being FREE digital asset management for their product or educational video’s. Here are a couple of………
“Oh sorry, I got distracted as I just got Tweeted, my sister is at the pet groomers getting little Sammy trimmed.”

Let me know if you agree on Tweeter and Facebook?

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08
Aug
09

If you lie to start with, where’s the trust?

I often wonder if telemarketers understand what they are reading when they call to solicit. I say that because recently I’ve had a number of telemarketers call me regarding my health, my car’s health, my choice of cable or satellite services, and today my business status with the Better Business Bureau.

My God, the Better Business Bureau calling me…gee I must be special. The young sounding woman on the other end of the phone called to tell me they received an inquiry about my business and was calling to get some updated information. I acknowledge her for reaching out and calling me, and gave her some of the basics…address, years in business…all the stuff that one could get via my website.

Feeling confident she had enough information, she soon moved in for the close. We’d like you to join etc. “Wait a minute I thought to myself,” I’ve just been hustled. I stopped the conversation and ask if she had the name of the company that made the inquiry. She politely said they don’t give that information out. I politely asked her “So, really there was no inquiry was there? Come on tell the truth!” With a small pause she admitted it was her script she was reading and most likely no inquiry.

After her admission of guilt I asked a simple question, “how can a company, like the Better Business Bureau, an organization known as a brand you turn to for trusted advice, use a telemarketing script which lies from the get go? “ Of course she couldn’t answer that.

It seems too obvious that if the company, who wants your business lies over the little things in the beginning, can’t be trusted in the relationship. What happens when you are doing business with them?

Great brands build trust. Trust and respect build customers. What’s your take on it?

05
Aug
09

When Ad Campaigns Go Horribly Wrong…

On today’s Yahoo News items, they had an article entitled “10 Promotional Stunts That Horribly Backfired“, which told of a number of major consumer advertising campaigns that didn’t end up the way the client or the agency had hoped. They named some top brands like Sony, Pepsi, KFC and McDonald’s, all of which paid BIG dollars for those creative minds, not to mention the media spend and other expenses.

My favorite of their stories was the Snapple soft drinks company attempt at a Guinness World Record for the largest ice pop, and in this case they went with the tasty “kiwi-strawberry drink.” The problem: The stunt took place mid-June. Immediately upon unloading, the melted juice poured from the truck, creating a syrupy tidal wave down Union Square and a massive headache for cleanup crews. The worst part — aside from the few minor injuries: The 25-foot-tall ice pop needed to be free-standing to be declared a record.

This reminded me of a hot summer day many years ago, when my then client a well known chip manufacturer was holding its 25th birthday party and circus event in their company parking lot. Simple task for us, organize rides, games, give-a-ways and a 25 foot long birthday cake. The problem: 108 degrees outside in what was a record-breaking heat wave for San Jose, and a 25 foot birthday cake that was melting faster than we could clean up the mess. Add to it, no one knew there was a Bee Keeper with over 1000 hives just a few blocks from the campus. Yep, you get the picture! I can laugh about it now, but then OMG, bees everywhere, people running, kids screaming and our client in a complete melt-down. Oh the horror! LOL.

My other memory of things that have gone wrong, was with a client we had just lost to another agency. The now defunct Valco Mall in Cupertino, California had selected an agency in San Francisco to handle their upcoming holiday campaign. Frankly, I was a bit miffed about losing the account, especially after having been with them for a number of years, but when a new marketing manager comes in, sometimes out goes the old vendors and in with the new.

The problem: The new agency decided to do a number of fashion ads, which featured the local San Jose Sheriff. The Sheriff by the way was running for re-election, so it was a smart move for him to get all that free publicity. Or not. In this case, the ads featured the Sheriff hand-cuffing young scantily-clad girls, and unfortunately for the Sheriff, the pictures almost looked X-rated. Women libbers from all around the Bay Area protested, wrote letters, and demonstrated at the Mall.

I can still remember the agency owner saying on TV when interviewed, “Even bad PR is good PR.” Not so good for the agency and the new marketing director, they got fired. As for the Sheriff, you guessed it, he lost the election. Ok, I feel a little bad about what happened…LOL. Glad it wasn’t me.

24
Jun
09

#9 – Don’t Panic Call Tim

Combining Acts of Kindness to
Win Friends and Motivate Strangers™

33 Ideas that will empower you with your coworkers, peers, family, friends and strangers

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote from Sir Isaac Newton, “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.” Or from President Jimmy Carter, “Good intentions, beget good intentions.” The analogy I’m pushing here is “what we give, we usually get back,” and hence the premise of my book.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with some remarkable entrepreneurs, innovators of technology and captains of industry. Some of my employers and some of my clients proved to be outstanding managers and business people. Others failed miserably at being managers and business owners, and even worse at possessing any people skills. “Combining Acts of Kindness to Win Friends and Motivate Strangers” will document some of the events that happened during my career, and how a simple act of kindness can trigger combining acts of kindness and change a person’s life. While my book is in development, I thought I’d share some of the highlights in my blog, and welcome your comments.

#9 – Don’t Panic Call Tim

It was a beautiful summer morning, and the beginning of a work week at our start-up electronics company in Silicon Valley. I was employee #30 of 55, in charge of marketing communications as the company’s product was still in beta stage. If any of you’ve worked in a start-up, you know that the job description given you is only a suggestion, and most likely you’ll be handling a myriad of other tasks to get the boat afloat. So I pretty much jumped in to support others in the company where I could, from stacking boxes to handling the phones, to helping in client product demonstrations.

The prior week we hired our first field technician/engineer, a young guy named Remi, who had three years of work experience at a larger, well established company. Remi was still a bit green in experience, but what he lacked in experience, he made up in enthusiasm.

Remi, reported directly to the VP of Engineering. She was a real no-nonsense straight shooter, who was brilliant at engineering, but lacking any social skills, was a true “ball-buster” type of manager. She would routinely degrade her employees if they failed to complete a task, and she would do it in front of the entire engineering team during her weekly staff meeting.

After sitting through his first staff meeting the previous week, I’m sure Remi was thinking “what did I get myself into?” His assignment to have been completed by Monday was not going to happen, and of course, he was panicked at the idea of what he would endure at staff.

That morning I met up with Remi in the company breakroom and asked how things were going and if he was getting settled in. He sheepishly answered he was settling in, but thought he might not make it through the week. I was shocked at his answer, and asked why?

He confided that the VP of Engineering handed him an assignment, but didn’t give any direction on how to get it done. I laughed and told him it was typical and her way of delivering her now infamous “trial by fire” method of training. I told him not to panic and I’d connect him with someone who could help. Walking him over to Tim, one of the co-founders and key engineering gurus for the company, I made the introductions and explained that Remi needed some help in getting a project done. Knowing Tim was the go-to guy for our company, and the fact he was a great coach and mentoring type person, I knew Remi would do just fine.

The Kindness of Others.

The next day I asked Remi how things went at staff. He smiled and said “thanks for the introduction to Tim, he helped me get my project on track and even though I didn’t complete it in time, he gave me great advice on presenting the facts to the VP.” “He probably saved my job!” he said. We both laughed, but down deep I’m thinking Remi was really thinking he was going to get fired, or worse, quit because he was so embarrassed in front of his new peers.

Remi stayed with the company another eight years, and was promoted several times to a final title of Director of Engineering. The company was successfully sold and he started up his own technology company soon after. We’ve stayed in touch over the years since and remain friends. He’s also helped me with introductions to new clients and has helped me in my business. As for the VP of Engineering, over the next two years I worked with her, she lost all respect from her team and the rest of the company. Ultimately, she lost her job because she was extremely ineffective as a manager.

Bright Idea!
When you meet a new employee, take time to get to know them. Take the lead and make introductions around your department or even around the company where you have connections. Don’t let them feel like strangers. Give advice sparingly, as not to be a “know it all,” and become a good listener, so you can learn about them as a person, not just a co-worker.

Get on the list!

The book will be out later this year, if you’d like one of the first copies, drop me a note and I’ll put you on a list for a personalized copy. Write me at connect@allanlinden.com

©2009 Allan Linden. Bright Idea is a service mark of Allan Linden Global Marketing Consultants. Combining Acts of Kindness to Win Friends and Motivate Strangers is a trademark of Allan Linden. All rights reserved.

19
Jun
09

Looking for money in all the wrong places…

Over the year’s I’ve been part of 6 start-ups, 3 successfully sold and 3 didn’t fare well at the end. Modestly, I must admit that I’ve helped over 100 companies launch during my career and if there was one commonality that they all shared it was money, and the lack there of.

“All we need is $500,000 to get to the next step, but no one is interested.” That is a very familiar comment with entrepreneurs, and whether it is $100.00 or $10 million, the challenge finding the money and investors can be like climbing Mt. Everest in mid-winter. Here are 3 ideas for you and have helped myself and clients in the past:

1. Investor, VC or Business Loan? The first reaction for many is to say “I’ll go after a VC or Investor for money.” It would seem natural and easy as this type of financing is more knowledgeable about working with entrepreneurial risk. But, get in line, as thousands are in front of you pitching the next “Sham-Wow” and giving up 50, 60 even 70 percent of their company and ideas in exchange for a shot at stardom.

Business loans are another idea for funding. Right now, our Government is offering an incentive to business banks to push the SBA loan program. This type of stimulas package is an entrepreneurs boom, and one you should seriously look at. Loans from $5,000 to $2 million are available now, and even with what is happening in the credit market, you can still get funding. Best of all, you aren’t giving up your company to get the ball rolling.

2. Business plans that make sense. I’ve seen them all and hey, even written some of the 168 page “War and Peace” type business plans myself. Bottom line here is to write only what is needed now, not what your dream will be next year or 10 years from now. Why? Simple, the person you are presenting to only cares about the what, who, when and why. Many times a 1 page or 2 page business plan is all that is needed. Keep it simple and win.

3. Asking for $100 or $10 million is just as hard, so ask for $10 million. If you asked me today how many of my clients have gone out of business because they didn’t ask for enough money up front, I’d rattle off a slew of names. Look, if you only need $500,000 to last for 2 years, perhaps you should ask for $20 million instead. If you really do have a $100 million dollar idea, get some real investors behind you. You’ll find it easier to get your running money up front the first time, because going back to the well for more, is twice as difficult and will cost you and your original investors with the ultimate delusion of stock and company value.

Start with clear messaging and strategy for your product or company. Keep description simple so that the average person without a PhD in Biochemistry can understand what it is, what it can do, why someone needs it. Finally, make it clear what’s in it for the investor with clear benchmarks of time, income and profit.

If you’d like to speak with me about writing a 2 page winning business plan, give a call. It’s free to budding entrepreneurs.

Allan
http://www.allanlinden.com
connect@allanlinden.com

27
May
09

Anyone interested in making money, turning to consulting or take their business idea to the next level?

I’m putting together a 6 part Webinar conference aimed at those looking to make money, become a consultant or start a business. I’m hosting a 1 hour executive summary which will detail what it takes to develop a simple action plan for creating a business and/or consulting practice. Limited seating for this beta session. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll send details and date.

21
May
09

Looking for a job in all the wrong places?

I’m one for wanting to put a positive spin on what otherwise would look bleak for the rest of the year. We’ll hear of more layoffs, reduced pay and here in California our budget short fall will effect the lives of thousands of teachers and State workers with pink slips being handed out this month.

Here are some ideas for quick money:
1. Work for yourself. Start looking at some multi-level marketing companies to join. Amway is just one of the larger ones, but there are many out there. Find the company that offers products and services that you like and would feel comfortable selling. Health, beauty, soap, jewelry etc.
2. Put your skills and knowledge to use. “I’m too young. I’m too old. I’m too fat.” The excuses are many, but the truth is you have value in your experience, and obviously your last employer thought so. Think about competitors or other companies out their that can use your expertise…become a consultant. Do some research on what it takes, and make some phone calls.

Finally, now is the time to network with friends, and strangers. Don’t be shy, call them and let them know you are available.