Sunday, 13 July 2014

Mini Post: What Business Are You In?

This week I wanted to do something that I remembered recently about a past employer, and I think it is highly relevant to today, so join me on this trip back in time...

Believe it or not, this is a serious question: "What Business Are You IN?"

I was once (a very, very long time ago when I worked in a very different media company) on a visit with a co-worker seeing a client, and the client, before we even had a chance to introduce ourselves asked... "What kind of business are you in?"

The co-worker was about to answer when I jumped in and said something...



"We're in the ship building business" I answered (remembering something I had just read in a motivational book).

My co-worker looked very confused, as did the client because we were wearing the company shirts with our logos on them (and that logo looked nothing like a ship of any sort).

"We build relationships, partnerships and friendships."

The thing is, I still think it is true.

No matter if you are a service provider, business to business supplier, or a manufacturer. We all are in the ship building industry.

For example, in the media, in any media, we look at building relationships with our audience.

Partnerships and friendships with our clients.

And, most importantly, all three types of ships with each other.

Have you thought about what type of business you are in?

Until next time... Keep On Selling! Earl Pilkington

Saturday, 12 July 2014

You Work In Copy? Right?

Hi everyone - Just in-case you follow me both here and on the other blog that I write for a radio station, you may be aware of some issues with blog posts over there.

The issue was with copyright and ownership of posts - posts which were originally published here, and used days, sometimes weeks or months later on the other site.

This has now been resolved - and all other posts from this blog are now only published here.

If you know of anyone who is searching for archived material from the other site - feel free to direct them here, where they might find what they are looking for.

Cheers and have a great day, and I look forward to moving forward with this blog.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Creative Dilemma

This is a truly great question, and one that I have wanted to explore for a long time here on this blog, so here we go...

Steve Jobs knew how to innovate and was famous (or should that be notorious for his 'reality distortion field'. He would often say to his staff, 'let's do this new thing' and his staff would respond with 'how is that even possible?' His response... 'just do it!'

Now, don't think for a second that I am a fan of Apple, I am not. But you have to admire Steve Jobs' creative attitude, he wanted creativity, and was less concerned with the feasible constraints of current reality. He wanted innovation and creativity, and gave his team permission to go there and do what had to be done to achieve it. How they got there was of little concern, as long as they got there.

Now: Many people have differing opinions on what something creative like a commercial might actually be.

I cannot tell you the amount of times that I have written ad's that were creative (because that is what was requested), only to have the client say, no, they wanted their phone number, address, Facebook page and website mentioned as well.

Ummm.... that kinda kills the creative part of the ad and removes over half of the content you were trying to fit in creatively.

Is creativity in any form (technology or radio scripts) based on expertise? An idea? A concept? Or a vibe?

2 people with the same expertise in a field will look at a problem, and rate it's creative solution in 2 very different ways. For example one might have the mind-set of 'how' do I do this, they other 'why' should I do this.

Some of the latest research out of the USA says that there are around 30 cues that some people use to identify creativity in a particular project or idea (Jennifer Mueller from the University of San Deigo, Jeff Loewenstein from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Jennifer Deal from the Centre for Creative Leadership). Some people rely only on a narrow set of cues, some on a much broader range. 20% of people sampled could identify that one of the cues could indicate creativity.

When you say "we want a creative innovate commercial that makes us stand out from the crowd", and we say "Geat! Here's some creative ideas!" Suddenly, what you see as creative, and what we see as creative are worlds, if not universes apart.

But take heart, it's not just the client customer relationship where this is true. Even manager to co-worker, even individuals in each department can see the same thing and think it is, or isn't creative.

So even if we produce one version of a 'creative' script, the decision makers may have wanted another, and their staff have a different idea all together. The result in this case is usually something that is bland, and boring and not creative in the slightest bit.

The solution then to this 'creative dilemma' is what?

My choice is to just have one person involved with the decision making, and have them only decide on what to go ahead with - why?

Because that one person can have the world laid out before them as to 'why' this was written 'that' way, and it will make sense to them (hopefully), then, if they have done it right, so will their customers and clients.

It's just a thought, but are too many people involved in your decision making?

If you want something 'creative' done, are you bowing down to a team mind set where everyone has their own agenda, or are you prepared to make a stand and be creative yourself?

Comment below if you agree, disagree, or feel indifferent to the whole 'creative process'!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Using Scarcity In Advertising

Let's say today that you are planning a sale of an item in your store...

The "Principle of Scarcity" states that individuals are more attracted to products or opportunities when they are less available." (Cialdini, R. B. in Influence: Science and Practice)

This means on a practical level that when you choose to advertise that product, you are going to need to have statements such as “limited time offer” and “as long as supplies last” or "we may have some, or we may have already sold out" or something similar in your marketing messages.

Thankfully, they are very powerful weapons of choice when done right, they will influence, lead, and motivate your customers, because they lead consumers to act quickly if they are interested in the product.


Because individual customers will naturally conclude that things with limited quantities or limited time offers are more valuable, since they are more difficult to obtain.

They really hate it when and if an opportunity to purchase a limited product is missed.
Any advertisement using the limited-number technique is a great motivator to use, as it does urge consumers to act quickly.

And the sooner consumers act, the less time they have to think of objections and construct doubts about their decision.

It may be considered cut throat, but that is the reality of sales and business in a nutshell.

So my question to you is... Can you build a scarce product into your next marketing campaign?

Got a comment to make? Want to add your own thoughts? Or have you done this before? Has it worked for you? Comment below! Go On... Limited spots are available to comment!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Motivational Advice

Today's post may seem a little tiny bit self indulgent, but see what you think: Recently I was asked by a client what the best motivational advice I had ever gotten was, or ever gave was.

Now, this is a very hard question for me to answer, as I collect many, many, many motivational books, quotes, and articles, magazines, and... well, you get the idea.

So I thought I would impart some advice that I give out daily to clients, in my own words, and hopefully they would inspire you too!

"Everyday, behave like the business and company that you want to be, not what you are today. Eventually you'll catch yourself up"

"Tell your story, tell your story, and... tell your story"

"In any advertising, use only 1 message per ad, not a shopping list. 1 message works, a shopping list is easily forgotten."

"People buy personalities, and buy people more than they buy brands. Can you make yourself or your staff a brand?"

"Always take notes! That fleeting thought might just be where your next innovation comes from"

"Listen to your staff! They are at the coal face, and know what's going on!"

"Don't drop your price, educate your clients as to why the product/service is that price, build value in their minds and they will buy from you."

"Hire people with the right attitude, then train them for skill, and success"

"Think about screening your clients and customers the same way you screen for employees. It will make you stop and think about the way, and why you do things, the way you do."

"Move with the times, and expose yourself to everything you can from other industries too... you'll never know where an idea will come from that you can use."

And that's it for today. Keep On Selling!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

I Cant Get No Consumer Satisfaction

Consumer Satisfaction and You

Consumer Satisfaction, not something many small businesses think about. And I am pretty sure that not many small business owners lose sleep over the satisfaction of their customers, but maybe... you should!

In a recent article I saw in a marketing magazine:  Kelly Kiyeon Lee, a postdoctoral fellow of marketing at Washington University and Min Zhao, associate professor of marketing at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto; says that while you might think that the best way to avoid triggering a case of buyer’s remorse is to not mention how much the customer paid for the product or service.

Dead wrong.

Kelly says that many retailers fear consumer satisfaction and repeat business take a hit when consumers focus on convenience and forget the long-term benefit of function.

“Once you’ve concluded you’ve made a bad choice, you’re not happy with the product and you may not want to go back to the company again."

But, there is often a pshychological cage match going on within consumers minds... Consumers are torn between the value of benefits of function over time versus the short-term preference for low-hassle convenience.

Reminding consumers of the price paid actually strengthens purchase choices and leads to long-term satisfaction. For example, if you bought a gym membership but are tempted to lie on the couch instead, a little reminder from the gym—with a reference to the price paid—will remind you of the value and long-term benefits of the purchase.

A useful thought, especially when you look at advertising, should you say a price, or not? Should you remind people who joined your gym at the start of the year in the rush of New Years Resolutions, just how much they paid, and are they getting the value they deserve out of it?

Well worth considering.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Wow Your Customers NOW!

Wow Your Customers
I don't know about you, but I have occasionally (make that VERY OCCASIONALLY) been absolutely wowed with impressive service, products, and businesses. Which, I think is a sad factor of today's economy and business practices.

But, when I am really "WOW'ed" I really take note!

This WOW Factor is well worth the time then to tell everyone about it!

After all real head-turning, jaw-dropping, impressive, memorable and engaging service/people/products and even processes from within business' can't be easy to accomplish. 

So, while I step up to my high horse, and start to climb into the saddle, here are a few suggestions to get the WOW Factor in your business.

It's easy to give your customers a taste of the WOW FACTOR
  1. Take the Lead:Innovate new products and services certainly get my attention. As do added or improved features and benefits. Expanding your knowledge and use of technology do to. As is being the first to market something new and different in the area. Then the advertiser in me jumps in and I really like business' which disturb the status quo and really do things differently. They then set the de facto standard, becoming the absolute best-in-class. Plus, any business which introduces the next big thing will get my attention every time. Then, being able to differentiate yourself from competitors and make/tell everyone so they take notice will help and make you dominate your industry and your target market. Then, and only then will you become such a huge stand out, that you will WOW me! The same-old, same-old will do nothing to make me look twice at you.
  2. Become the “Best Deal” Not Only In Town...:If you make your products, your services, or your customer experience easier, better, faster or cheaper than your closest competition, or any competition, then you will win business every time! By providing superior quality or superior workmanship, or say the fastest delivery time, or the widest selection of products, or even a legitimate price advantage, that will bring you to the front of the line, every-time! Then, throw in exceptional value, the most convenience, or best guarantee/warranty and you have my money! Your entire business is your product, from the windows, to the front of store, your advertising, marketing, websites, staff uniforms, EVERYTHING! Your business must shine throughout. And; When it does, YOU will automatically become the “best deal"!
  3. Dazzle Every One of their Senses:This one can be hard to pin down, but I will give it a try... By creating a strong marketing “sensory package” you will be able to engage the multiple senses of your customers (that's their sight, sound, smell, touch, taste). Therefore, your business becomes a customer magnet. Where people know they can go for engaging, fun, entertaining, motivational and consistent products and services. By also telling relevant humorous or inspirational stories to your staff and customers, you build rapport, by teasing or arousing curiosity of the story behind a product or service, you build followers. If you champion a cause tell people. By offering this new vision you will become a distinctive, thought provoking, dramatic, or even controversial figure in the business community. If you really do razzle-dazzle your customers you will get inside their heads and hearts! Building loyalty.
  4. Offer Overwhelming Proof:It is a well known fact that a customer will buy, if you take away all doubt about the value or your product or service. Doing this through the provision of testimonials or eye-opening case studies, or enthusiastic reviews, demonstrations, samples, or no-risk guarantees; will all help you to close the sale. By providing statements from previous customers, facts, or statistics to prove your claims, then when your WOW FACTOR even bigger. Especially when you also supply more interesting, shocking, surprising, and compelling your facts and figures that continue to grow with your company - this is not a one off exercise, it is on-going. Make your case so convincing that the customer’s decision to buy from you is going to be a no-brainer, and you can prove it!
  5. Impress them with You and Your Staff's Exceptional Know-how:By showing any prospective customer that you and your staff (at all levels) is prepared, has knowledge, expertise and professionalism on their side, then that will produce immediate confidence with those customers. People want to do business with those people they trust, those who take the time to inform them, to teach them, or take them by the hand and show them exactly what to do. By becoming the best resource available to solve their big problem you will take away their worry's or frustration's, and, make their task easier. By lightening their burdens, solving their problems, you have not only encouraged and reassured your customers that they have come to the right place, but they will trust you, and return!.
  6. Give Killer Customer Care:
    The final step now; Provide a fast resolution to any customer problems. This is HUGE! By going that extra mile to make them feel as if their problem is of prime concern to you, and by exhibiting a high degree of fairness and integrity. You will be giving them the most value you can for every single dollar the customer spends with you. You could, and can create a system around dealing with complaints, but, the biggest one I can recommend to any business owner is: Allow staff to solve problems, WITHOUT coming to you for approval! First and foremost, deliver on your original sales promise to a customer, and exceed those expectations if and wherever possible. Try to continually seek ways to surprise and delight your customers, and you will win them back time and time again!
Is there any other way to provide that WOW FACTOR?
WOW Factoring your business can only be done through training, preparedness and creating systems and steps for people to proceed through in order to achieve the goals you want - but you need to set up those goal posts first, and let everyone know what they are, where they are, and what they look like. Really; There is no other way! 
So, go ahead and apply some of the suggestions above to try to boost your business, I am sure that even one idea may change the way that customers view your business, two or more, and your business will grow, a whole lot of them, and you will have accomplished a WOW FACTOR business that I will want to discover!
Got a comment? Want to know how I got off my high horse... Comment below:

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Testimonials: Do They Work?

Do Your Testimonials Work?

I was reading an article the other day online by Sean D'Souza who runs a website and business called Pshycotactics, which is all about using your 'marketing brain'. Sean's site is pretty good, but the article I saw by him really made me stop and think.

I have written, asked for, and helped people to write testimonials for their business', clients, and friends. But have we got them all wrong?

According to Sean D'Souza, we do!

Instead of writing a lot of positive, flowery speech about how wonderful the product or service is, how it's perhaps the greatest invention since sliced bread, he instead advocates leading a testimonial with something negative. This got me intrigued.

Here are two examples, see if you can spot what he means:
“I love the ABC product because it makes my website look like a million dollar designer built it and I get compliments all the time that it looks so professional ...”
“I really didn't think ABC product would make a difference in my website, and I certainly couldn't justify the investment the way my business was losing money ...”

Which testimonial do you believe so far? And which one would you keep reading?

If you have read, or written testimonials that are all sugar and spice and everything AMAZINGLY nice, you and your prospects are going to be highly skeptical, as they should be. No product is ever perfect and no service does everything really well, and they know it.

Now, I want you to think about the last restaurant recommendation you got from a friend (which is actually a testimonial).

Odds are... it went something along these lines:
“You know that place that looks like a dive in the industrial area Riverside Drive? Well, they've converted it into a Thai restaurant, and while the ambiance is still pretty rough, the food is excellent, fresh, and the prices are really reasonable. Plus the waitress is super friendly and she gave each of us spring rolls for free, too, because it was our first visit. Can't wait to go back.”

Now that's a real life testimonial.

There's good and bad in telling both sides of the story, and because of that, it's totally believable.
Plus, when it starts out with, “You know that place that looks like a dive...” you're anxious to hear the rest.

How does this end? Lousy experience? Great experience?

Did they get mugged? Get food poisoning?  What happened? It's now a story and you're not going anywhere until you hear how it turns out.

When you craft your testimonials this same way, two things will happen:
1. People will actually READ your testimonials.
2. People will BELIEVE your testimonials, and, they'll be influenced to a far greater degree than if you had made them 100% positive.

Test it out for yourself and see the results.

Monday, 30 June 2014

The Post Apocolyptic Future of Advertising

You may have already experienced this: have you seen an ad follow you from one website to another?

For example, if you browsed shoes on a website on your computer, then hopped over to another site, the shoes you looked at earlier may show up in an ad on the second site. In the world of digital advertising, that is known as re-targeting.

It works simply by dropping cookies (software code) on your browser to track what websites you visit, and uses the data to help advertisers follow you.

Now, if you see the same ad on your mobile browser too, it’s not just coincidence. This is cross-device re-targeting, and the technology behind it solves a big problem advertisers face: how to track users as they increasingly access the Internet on multiple devices throughout the day.

It's not that hard to imagine that also happening on your radio too, with ads specifically targeted at you, on digital billboards, street advertising - everywhere.They would know when you are looking, paying attention, and when you weren't...

It would be just like this scene in Minority Report...

Is this good? Or is it Bad? Or is it going to happen?


What do the providers of such services say about the benefits targets users across all Internet-connected devices? They say it offers better return on investment in digital campaigns, Higher brand recall and can in the long run save money by reaching only interested customers, not everyone.

What do you think? Are you prepared for the next generation of digital radio devices, digital billboards, TV, bus signs, etc that target just you!???

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Business Lunch: & Your Advertising

Now we get down to it, and although written about radio ads specifically - the same will be true across all mediums!

The Business Lunch: Your Radio Ad

After the past two days of blog posts - I have to admit - I am hungry!

But now, to the reason why I put those two posts up... Lets think of your business lunch, as a radio advertising campaign.

1. Before you make the invitation - know who you are inviting and why.
Or to put it another way, know who you are targeting in your advertising, and engage them in the right way. It's no point having a commercial for a trucking company with a soft female voice with piano music - is it?

2. Ask the right way.
Start your commercial off on the right foot, engage your customers with either a problem/solution commercial, or something creative. Make your intentions clear, and establish who you are.

3. Choose an appropriate restaurant.
The right words, phrases, tone, voice, music and sound effects - everything will effect the way a listener will engage with your commercial. And, just like in a restaurant, there are lots of things in life that can distract them - so make your commercial work for you with the right elements to make people pay attention.

4. Make a reservation.
Have the right number of commercials going to air, on the right days that will be heard by the right people to make your ads worth running. It's no point running your commercials from midnight to dawn, unless you are targeting shift workers (recently done by a client of ours, and boy did it work! Wow!)

5. Do some pre-meeting reconnaissance.
Check that everything is correct, what you want is in your commercial - it sounds like what you want, and will play when you want. The more time you have to check things will be right, the more chance you have of correcting an issue before it goes to air, and after someone hears it.

6. Always arrive early.
Let your staff know what is happening, they must know the details of your advertising campaign because there is no point running an ad for a product or service, that the staff think is still the same old thing that you have always done - also, this helps to keep your staff up to date with what you are doing to promote the business, and I really feel this is never done enough in any business - but hey, that's me!

7. Turn off your phone.
Nothing puts off a listener quicker then when they try to either call, or visit a business that they have heard on radio - and can't get in contact with someone to ask a question. That's why a website (your silent 24 hour sentinel) is vital! If a customer wants to know what/how/where/when and where you are, they had better be able to contact you.

8. Let your guest go first.
I always try to imagine what a customer of yours is interested in, before I write a script. Then, I look at what it is that you are trying to achieve, and then try to marry the two together. One does not necessarily lead the other, so that's when some creative thinking comes in to make a customer pay attention to what it is that you are offering. So, sometimes, it may take us 2, 3 or 4 goes to get a script right.

9. Go easy on the drinks.
Don't celebrate to early, or think it's too late for something to happen. Sometimes radio branding is a slow boil, other times, a call to action campaign runs so hot you want to bolt the doors shut. But then there are times when it is a steady stream response.

10. Mirror your guest's courses.
Radio is all about the pester power, repeat, rinse, and repeat. The more they hear you, the more you will remain at the top of mind.

11. Segue into business at the right time.
'Always' is the right time, right? Wrong! Once you have piqued our listeners interest, that's when the real business begins. Make an offer sound amazing, your business sound incredible and memorable, and they will do something about it.

12. Always treat the staff well.
Do I really need to say this?

13. Pick up the bill with confidence.
This may seem like an odd thing to say, but I always recommend paying that little bit extra for a highly professional voice to do your commercial. The more professional the voice, the better the delivery, and the more memorable. We have some great and amazing production companies on our books, and also some individual actors, so if you want to pay that little bit more, just ask, and we will gladly point you in the direction of some of Australia's top vocal talent.

14. and finally... Post-meal.
Don't thank us, thank your customers, they are the ones paying the bills. They are the ones who have paid attention, and bought their money in your door and spent with you. I feel that our listeners, yur customers are the most important people, and should be the ones treated like royalty, so go on. Thank a customer today.

That's it - we're done. I'm done. I'm stuffed now, and need a strong coffee. Care to join me?

Write your comments below as I sip this strong brew... ahhhh!