Clear Communicating

Your business card is not an ad

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Work boots are like soccer shoes in the sense that they both provide a protective covering for your feet. But if you play soccer or work in a steel plant, they are anything but interchangeable.

Your marketing materials are purpose built in the same way. A brochure isn’t interchangeable with a frequent buyer’s card any more than work boots are interchangeable with soccer cleats.

People who run their own small businesses are hard-working and busy. They typically seek to leverage time and ...

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The economics behind the media meltdown

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What really happened that caused traditional media to shrink so much over the past decade – and why are so many still struggling to come back?
That’s the subject of this presentation, which I’ve given several times over the past few years.

 

Make sure value-added really adds value

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Value-added is the currency of the new economy. The idea is this: You do business by giving people what they pay for, but you gain and retain customers by adding a little something extra on top.

When the Eat ‘n Park restaurant chain gives each child a free Smiley cookie after dinner, that’s value-added. When UPS and FedEx provide tracking numbers so you can follow the progress of your package, that’s ...

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First things first: What game are you playing?

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billiards_James Barker_freedigitalphotosStrategy before execution. This should be simple.

But it’s human nature to jump right into doing stuff before sweating out the big questions.

For example, a couple prospective clients have put off small, closed-ended projects that I proposed to help them align operating strategy and marketing. This in turn would  help them answer such daunting digital communications questions as how to deal with social media, ...

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Everybody’s a publisher now

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I moved from the editorial side of the publishing business to the money side in 2000 and my timing couldn’t have been worse.

In my first month of selling advertising, it was my job to convince would-be advertisers why they should select my products as opposed to anybody else’s.

By the second month, I was answering a much more difficult question: Why they should advertise at all.

Even in 2000, at the height of the first internet bubble, marketers were figuring out how ...

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Advertisers will always go where the people are

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Alan Mutter, who calls himself the Newsosaur and whose opinions on the news business I deeply respect, points out that newspapers are now well into their sixth year of declines in advertising demand. In a recent blog post, he noted that annual newspaper sales hit $10.7 billion in 2006 – and now stand at $4.3 billion, about the same level as 1983. And they continue to drop.

While the drop in advertising isn’t new for newspapers, it hasn’t always ...

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So much to do that nothing gets done

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Many small business owners are not marketers. They’ll tell you as much.

People start their own business in order to do what they love and do well. Marketing becomes a necessary evil.

For many, writing is a chore. Or databases are a mystery. Or blogging takes too much time. Social media creates an uncomfortable blend between business and personal. Networking is superficial. Advertising is too expensive and doesn’t work quickly. Public relations is a crapshoot.

It’s altogether too time-consuming, too hard, too expensive. ...

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The worst of both worlds

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I had breakfast with an entrepreneur who is at that point where his young business ought to be gaining traction. But he’s bogged down in building the next generation of software that supports the business.

The problem is that he and the software developer – to whom he has given equity in exchange for the development work – disagree on their vision for the 2.0 version. They’ve been deadlocked for six months as competitors begin to pop up around them.

I suggested he ...

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Content: made simple

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In a longer interview on consumer media by iMediaConnection.com, Professor Henry Jenkins from USC’s Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism offers this breathtakingly simple explanation of the role of content – and a fair warning to those who would exploit it with hands of ham:

“… In a world with many media choices, consumers are actively selecting what content is meaningful to them and circulating it consciously to people they think may be interested. ...

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How big is mobile computing? Really big.

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Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley made the following presentation at a recent meeting of technology wizards and gurus. (Notably she got the name of the event wrong; it’s the CN Summit.)

There’s a breadth of information here, ranging from adoption of mobile technologies to the potential for mobile advertising to the investment outlook for companies in the business.

The big takeaway for me is how it underscores the increasingly reasonable-sounding claims that mobile computing will change how we think about computing; and, ...

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