Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Marketing Concept: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business

Guest post by Phillip Davismarketing concept naming branding

Naming a business is like laying the cornerstone of a building. Once it's in place, the entire foundation and structure is aligned to that original stone. If it's off, the rest of the building is off, and the misalignment becomes amplified. So if you have that gnawing sense that choosing a name for your new business is vitally important -- you're right. With 18 years in the naming and branding business, I've witnessed the good, the bad, and the really bad. Here's how you can avoid the worst of the mistakes and get off to a good start.

Mistake #1: The Committee (Getting all your clients, employees and family members involved) 

We live in a democratic society and it seems like the right thing to do- involving everyone in an important decision. This approach, however, presents a few problems. The first and most obvious fact is that you will end up choosing only one name -- so you risk alienating the very people you are trying to involve. Second, you often end up with a consensus decision, resulting in a very safe and very vanilla name. A better method is to involve only the key decision makers, the fewer the better, and select only the people you feel have the company's best interests at heart. The need for personal recognition can skew results-- so you are best served by those who can park their egos at the door. Also make sure you have some right brain types in the mix. Too many left brains and the name often ends up too literal and descriptive. 

Mistake #2: The Train Wreck (Taking two words and colliding them head on) 

When forced to come up with a creative name, many aspiring entrepreneurs will simply take part of an adjective and weld it onto a noun. The results are names that have a certain twisted rationale to them, but look and sound awful. Someone starting a high end service franchise then becomes QualiServe. It's a bit like mixing chocolate syrup with ketchup- nothing wrong with either but they just don't go together. Other common truncations include Ameri, Tech, Corp, Tron, etc. The problem with this approach is that it’s simply forced – and it sounds that way. 

Mistake #3: Where's Waldo? (Names so plain they'll never stand out in a crowd) 

The first company in a category can get away with this one. Hence you have General Motors, General Electric, etc. But once you have competition, it requires differentiation. Imagine if Yahoo! had come out as It would be much more descriptive, but hardly memorable. And with the onslaught of new media and advertising channels, it's more important than ever to carve out your niche by displaying your uniqueness. Nothing does that better than a well conceived name. 

Mistake #4: The Atlas Approach (Using a map to name your company) 

In the zeal to start a new company, many businesses choose to use their city, state or region as part of their name. While this may actually help in the beginning, it often becomes a hindrance as a company grows. One client came to me with complaints he was serving more of the market than his name implied. He had aptly called it St. Pete Plumbing since he hailed from St. Petersburg, Florida. But yellow page shoppers assumed that was also his entire service area. With a little creative tinkering we changed the image of St. Pete from a city to the image of St. Pete himself, complete with wings and a plumber's wrench. The new tag line? "We work miracles!" 

Other companies have struggled with the same issue. Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining was growing beyond their industry and their state. To avoid limiting their growth they became 3M, a company now known for innovation. Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC, de-emphasizing the regional nature of the original name. Both of these companies made strategic moves to avoid stifling their growth. Learn from them and you can avoid this potential bottleneck. 

Mistake #5: Cliché you say? (A good name is worth a thousand words) 

Once past the literal, descriptive stage, the thought process usually turns to metaphors. These can be great if they are not overly used to the point of trite. Since many companies think of themselves as the top in their industry, the world is full of names like Summit, Apex, Pinnacle, Peak, etc. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these names, they are just overworked. Look for combinations of positive words and metaphors and you will be much better served. A good example is the Fortune 1000 data storage company Iron Mountain, which conveys strength and security without sounding commonplace. 

Mistake #6: Hide the Meaning (Make it so obscure, the customer will never know!) 

It’s great for a name to have a special meaning or significance. It’s sets up a story that can be used to tell the company message. But if the reference is too obscure and too hard to spell and pronounce, you may never have the opportunity to speak to that customer. They will simply pass you by as irrelevant. So resist the urge to name your company after the mythical Greek god of fast service or the Latin phrase for “We’re number one!” If a name has a natural, intuitive sound and a special meaning, it can work. If it’s too complex and puzzling, it will remain a mystery to your customers. This is especially true if you are reaching out to a mass audience. 

I pushed the envelope a little on this one myself, naming my branding firm Tungsten, after the metal that Thomas Edison used to create brilliant light. However, my clientele consists of knowledgeable professionals who appreciate a good metaphor and expect a branding firm to have a story behind its name. It’s also a way to differentiate my services (illuminated, bright, brilliant). So while it works for a branding firm, it would not do well as an ice cream parlor. 

Mistake #7: The Campbell’s Approach (Using alphabet soup to name your firm) 

This is a trend that is thankfully wearing off. Driven by the need for a matching domain name, many companies have resorted to awkwardly constructed or purposefully misspelled names. The results are company names that sound more like prescription drugs than real life businesses. Mistake #2 sometimes gets combined with this one and results in a name like KwaliTronix. (Or worse- mistakes #2 , #4 & #7, resulting in KwalTronixUSA). It’s amazing how good some names begin to sound after searching for available domain names all night. But resist the urge. Avoid using a “K” in place of a “Q” or a “Ph” in place of an “F”. This makes spelling the name, and locating you on the internet, all that much harder. 

It’s not that coined or invented names cannot work, they often do. Take for example, Xerox or Kodak. But keep it mind, names like these have no intrinsic or linguistic meaning, so they rely heavily on advertising – and that gets expensive. Many of the companies that use this approach were either first in category, or had large marketing budgets. Verizon spent millions on their rebranding effort. So did Accenture. So check your pocketbook before you check into these type of names. 

Mistake #8: Sit On It. (When in doubt, make no change at all) 

Many business owners know they have a problem with their name and just hope it will somehow magically resolve itself. The original name for one of my clients was “Portables”, which reminded some people of the outdoor restrooms or the portable class rooms- neither one a good association. This added to the confusion when phone operators tried to explain their new concept of moving and storage. After some careful tweaking, we came up with the name PODS, an acronym for Portable On Demand Storage. The rest is quickly becoming history as they expand both nationally and internationally. Peter Warhust, President and one of the original founders states, “For the record, changing our name to PODS was one of the best moves we ever made”. 

Exercise Experience, a former Florida based company, was frequently confused with a health club. In reality, they sold very high-end fitness equipment. This brings up a very key point -- it’s better to have a name that’s gives no impression than a name that gives a wrong impression. Much of the ad budget we spent on Exercise Experience was used to clarify that they sold fitness equipment. This was valuable airtime that could have been put to better use selling the equipment rather than explaining the business. Ultimately, the company folded. It’s not to say it was solely because of the name, but I believe it was a factor. 

Mike Harper of Huntington Beach, CA, bought a thirty-year old janitorial and building maintenance company named Regency. We both agreed it sounded more like a downtown movie theatre than a progressive facilities management firm. After a thorough naming search, we developed the name Spruce Facilities Management. Spruce not only conveyed the environmentally friendly image of a spruce tree, (something important to the client), it also meant “to clean up”. The new tag line fell right in place – Spruce… “The Everclean Company”. 

It’s only a matter of time before Southwest Airlines and Burlington Coat Factory and others who have successfully outgrown their original markets begin to question their positioning. Much like 3M and KFC, they may need to make a change to keep pace with their growth and image. 

In the fever to start your new business or expand a current one, take time to think through some of these issues. According to the late Henry Ford, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it”. Albert Einstein took it one step further claiming, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. By tapping into your creativity and avoiding these potential pitfalls, you’ll be able to create a name that works both short and long term – one that allows for future growth. Like the original cornerstone of a building, it will support upward expansion as your company reaches new heights. 

Author's URL:
Phil Davis President Tungsten Brilliant Brand Marketing 

Phil’s life goal of “creating environments where people thrive” reflects his desire to assist in personal, professional and business growth. Phil founded and ran a full service ad agency for over 17 years and now works full time as a business naming and branding consultant. Phil resides with wife Michelle and four energetic offspring outside Asheville, North Carolina.

Tags: marketing strategy, marketing success, marketing concept, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, small business marketing expert, branding, marketing coach, marketing consultant, small business marketing speaker, marketing tip, brand strategy

Marketing Coach: Dumbest Marketing Question of the Week

Marketing Jackass Direct marketing advertising

I get questions. Some are smart and some are... not so smart.

This one is not QUITE worth the Marketing Jackass Award - but it's close. 

And now without further ado, here it is - THE Dumbest Marketing Question of the Week (yes, it's only Wednesday but I have a high level of confidence that it won't get any worse THIS week)...

From: Joe Blow <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 4:54 PM
Subject: David, may I borrow your mind?  


We all appreciate and can feel the power of social media. My question is, if I do not care about impression national wide / long time brand build, what's the best way to move products? Just simply sale it.  

-- Joe

First, this gent wants to "borrow my mind." That's a compliment I suppose. Some days, I'm not sure even I can use it to best advantage. Tell you what, Joe -- it's yours. Be my guest...

If I don't care about impressions nationwide - Hello? This guy sells a product. A great product. A product sold on the web. GLOBALLY. Yet the premise of his question is that he doesn't care about impressions nationwide. This is problem #1.

I don't care about long time brand build - WHAT?? So you want the slam-bam thank-you ma'am instant sort of branding, name recognition, word-of-mouth referrals, and raving fan base, right? Coming right up... How about a zero-calorie Big Mac to go with that? And some non-addictive cigarettes? This type of wishful fantasy thinking is problem #2.

What's the best way to move products? Just simply sale it? The best way to "move products" and sell more is to make impressions nationwide, become known as the "trusted brand" in your market, focus on a niche to generate a raving fan base over time, and let your customers spread the word about how ridiculously AWESOME your product is. Missing this fact ("as obvious as a ham sandwich" as Alan Weiss likes to say) is problem #3.

The second best way (and it's a FAR DISTANT second) is to invest in a LOT of direct marketing and buy a LOT of advertising. 

I'm not being a smartass - really - because if you have the direct marketing and advertising budget of Bose, Gevalia, or Tempur-Pedic - be my guest. Spend hundreds of millions of dollars. But here's the rub: THAT will take YEARS too! And a whole hell of a lot more dollars.

You can do it my way. For 95% less money. Starting right now.  

Your call, Joe. 

What do you think? Please share your responses in the COMMENTS area below...

marketing coach, marketing speaker, jackass marketing award

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing for coaches, marketing concept, marketing jackass, marketing ideas, marketing coach, marketing strategist, marketing mix

Awesome Book Review: "Say Yes And!"

Say Yes And BookAvish Parashar has just released a new book titled, "Say Yes, And!" and he has a great special offer for people who buy the book by midnight tonight, Feb. 28.  

The book takes a fundamental principle from improv comedy - saying "yes, and" instead of "yes, but" - and shows you how that one simple idea can help you improve your career, your business, your relationships, and your life.  

As a special promotion, if you buy the book today, February 28th, you'll get access to over $200 in free gifts, including PDF versions of two of Avish's other books and over 8 hours of MP3 recordings of some of Avish's most popular audio programs. That's over $200 in gifts in return for buying a $12.95 book.  

To get the book and the free gifts, visit

p.s. Here's my review from

First I have to tell you - I'm a business book junkie. I read 'em all. Big ones, little ones, famous ones, and hidden gems. All topics including sales, marketing, leadership, strategy, the how-to, the what-to, and the why-to kind.

And this books stands out.

Plain and simple, Avish Parashar packages essential wisdom, insights, and practical advice into a small concentrated form factor.

But don't be fooled - this is life-changing stuff.

One small turn in what you think and what you say CAN and WILL make a huge impact. Example after example pours out of this book and will soon spark ideas and memories in your own mind of times you took charge and created success - and other times when you chose the "Yes but" path and created your own obstacles, limits, and barriers.

Whether you are a business owner, corporate executive, sales professional, association executive, or non-profit leader, this book is for YOU. Filled with immediately actionable insights and concrete take-aways, this little book may trigger the biggest and best changes your team, your organization, and your results will ever experience.

Tell you what - STOP reading Amazon reviews of this great little book, say "YES AND I'll buy it right now." In fact, you may want to buy three - one for yourself, one for your boss, and one for the significant other in your life. Yes (and) the ideas in this book work as powerfully at home as they do at work!!

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Marketing Concept: Lose Your Earnings Cap

product development for speakers, consultants, and expertsGuest post by Erin Blaskie

Does your business only have one income stream? Meaning, one way that you receive revenue from your paying clients?  

If so, please read this post as this marketing concept might very well change your business and your life!  

If you’re a one-revenue pony, you probably trade your time for money. This means that you probably sit at your desk (or on a couch or stand on a stage) and you do something in exchange for income. Maybe you provide a service or maybe you provide your insight and advice or perhaps you provide a speaking event. Whatever it is, you have one way to produce revenue.  

Now, let’s imagine that you have a cap of eight working hours in each day. I know you may have more or less but let’s just say eight for the purpose of this example.  

With eight working hours, let’s imagine that five of those hours produce you revenue whereas the other three are spent answering e-mails, creating proposals, entering expenses, etc. – all of the business stuff that no one pays you for.  

If you have five billable hours in each day, let’s figure out your earning cap. We all have one – this earning cap is the maximum we can possibly earn if we only do what we are doing right now for the rest of our working life.  

Five hours multiplied by your hourly rate is equal to your earning cap.  

Here’s an example:  

  • 5 x $50/hour = $250 per day
  • $250/day x 5 days/week = $1,250/week
  • $1,250/week x 52 weeks/year = $65,000/year  

See?  You have an earning cap.  Most people who come to me say, “I want to earn six figures” but they have no idea whatsoever how much they would have to earn in order to actually MAKE six figures per year.  They just want that elusive figure.  So, let’s see how much someone would have to make per day if they wanted to earn $100,000/year.  

  • $100,000/year / 52 weeks/year = $1,923/week
  • $1,923/week / 5 days/week = $384.60/day
  • $384.60/day / 5 hours/day = $76.92/hour  

You can use the equation above to figure out how much you need to earn per hour in order to hit your various revenue goals. This will help you to understand how much you really can make without trying to over extend yourself.  

Now, imagine that you had your five billable hours each day per the example above AND you had other revenue streams.  

Imagine what it would be like to see sales come in from other sources where you aren’t actively working. Imagine seeing sales come in at night, when you are spending time with your family on the weekends and while you are vacationing.  

Other revenue streams instantly boost your earning cap.  In fact, adding income streams to your business blows the roof off of your earning cap because there is NO earning cap when you have the potential to make income wherever you are, regardless of what you are doing.   

These other revenue streams can come from information product sales, affiliate revenue, group coaching and online training as well as membership sites and more.  


NOTE: If you would like to destroy the revenue cap in YOUR BUSINESS, there's no better program to get you launched than the 8-week Product Development Toolkit program. Early Bird savings have been EXTENDED for this special offer and full details are online for you here: - Join us!


About the Author: Erin Blaskie, also known as the Bizinatrix, is in a hot, passionate love affair with the Internet. Whether she is leading her team of creative, outsourcing professionals or sharing information via the web, Erin brings to the table her enormous passion for tech, geek and the Internet

Tags: marketing strategy, marketing success, consultant marketing, consulting firm marketing, professional services marketing, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker marketing, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, content marketing

5 BIG Reasons Thought Leadership Marketing Matters

thought leadership marketing professional servicesMarketing used to be about “getting in front of” prospects, delivering your pitch, and making the sale.

Today, buyers increasingly distrust marketing “claims” and expect businesses to show, not tell, when demonstrating their products and services. They shun self-serving salespeople and seek businesses that focus on making a difference, not getting a sale. 

Thought leadership centers on earning trust and credibility. Thought leaders get noticed by offering something different—information, insights, and ideas, for instance.

Thought leadership positions you and your company as an industry authority, resource and trusted advisor—by establishing your reputation as a major contributor to your industry.  The exposure you and your organization will receive by focusing on thought leadership in the industry will earn your prospects' trust and credibility AND strengthen your relationships with your current customers.

(For another take on Thought Leadership Marketing, check out Jose Palomino's blog post here)

5 reasons thought leadership marketing really matters for B2B. 

1. Because Prospects Want Your Perspective, Not Your Product

As Jeff Ernst of Forrester Research puts it, “Business buyers don’t “buy” your product or service, they “buy into” your perspective and approach to solving their problems.” 

In other words, your myopic obsession with your individual product or service is a turnoff.

Thought leaders take part in conversations that are bigger than the little niche of the market they represent. You want to show you understand their whole world, not just what your product can do for them. 

2. Because the Sales Process Starts Early and Ends Late

Buyers are out to solve a problem, not a buy a solution. That process starts long before the active buying process does, Ernst notes. And the actual time to investigating the problem to searching out solutions can take months to years. 

Thought leadership helps you get in early, developing a conversation and building relationship with the buyer. This keeps you front-of-mind when you enter that mid-stage and late-stage period of the sales cycle. 

3. Because Your Buyers Use Google

These days people don’t expect to scour your website. They turn to peers on LinkedIn and Twitter, Q&A sites like Focus and Quora, and, more often than not, Google. 

You need to go where your ideal audience is. Once you’re there, your thought leadership content is one of the best ways to get their attention. Google is putting greater focus on identifying content that delivers real value.

Thought leadership is your key to getting found and spread around. 

4. Because Thought Leadership Needs Content, and Content Feeds Social Strategy and Demand Generation

B2B marketing today usually involves a mix of social marketing and demand generation. Both of these require content – compelling content.

The market has a short attention span, which means it’s on you to develop thought leadership that differentiates you from the crowd and gets you heard through the noise. 

5. Because Trust Still Matters

Cynics will tell you that trust doesn’t mean anything in today’s ad-saturated business climate.

They’re wrong, particularly when it comes to B2B marketing. 

It’s imperative that you build conversations that build trust over time, Ernst says. In B2B, where the purchase decisions get more involved and expensive, buyers want to work with brands they know they can trust.

Demonstrating thought leadership implicitly demonstrates you’re a company that can be trusted. 

Adapted in part from Jesse Noyes at Eloqua and Jeff Ernst, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

What does thought leadership mean for you? What strategies have you picked up to become a leader in your industry? Leave a comment and... 

thought leadership marketing

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing success, marketing for coaches, thought leadership marketing, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, marketing consultant, small business marketing, thought leadership, content marketing, becoming an expert, recognized authority

Marketing Mix: 13 Questions for Creating Your Best 2012

marketing speaker marketing coach 2012Yesterday, you were promised some thought-provoking questions for creating your best 2012 - and here they are. Once again, these are from the Soul Purpose Institute and they struck me as especially relevant for business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals.

Not only will these questions help you clarify your goals, focus, and themes for 2012 - they will also help you narrow down your choices, remove some overwhelm, kill some unnecessary "shoulds" in your marketing mix and generally help you focus on what matters most to your business, professional, personal and financial success.

13 Questions for Creating Your Best 2012

  1. What would you like to be your biggest triumph this year?
  2. What advice would you like to give yourself?
  3. What is the major effort you plan to do to improve your financial results?
  4. What would you be most happy about completing?
  5. What major indulgence are you willing to experience?
  6. What would you most like to change about yourself?
  7. What are you looking forward to learning?
  8. What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2012?
  9. What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving?
  10. What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore?
  11. What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of it?
  12. Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving?
  13. What one word would you like to have as your 2012 theme?


marketing coach small business marketing doitmarketing

Please use the comments area below to share your 2012 successes, goals, plans and strategies. What's working? Where could you use a bit of help?

Want to kick it up a notch in your business for 2012 and tackle your most important marketing, sales and business growth TO-DO items all in a single, super-focused day? Check out DO IT DAYS and join us for the next one.

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing for coaches, consultant marketing, consulting firm marketing, marketing concept, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, marketing coach, motivational speaker marketing, success tips, marketing consultant, small business marketing, marketing mix

Marketing Concept: 14 Questions for Completing and Remembering 2011

marketing speaker marketing coach 11This just came across my email inbox from the Soul Purpose Institute and these 14 questions struck me as a powerful marketing concept to help you close out your 2011 and prepare you to launch into your next level of success in the new year.

I'll post some equally powerful questions about your 2012 - tomorrow!

  1. What was your biggest triumph?
  2. What was the smartest decision you made?
  3. What one word best summarizes your 2011 experience?
  4. What was the greatest lesson you learned?
  5. What was the most loving service you performed?
  6. What is your biggest piece of unfinished business?
  7. What are you most happy about completing?
  8. Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2011?
  9. What was the biggest risk you took?
  10. What was your biggest surprise?
  11. What important relationship improved the most?
  12. What compliment would you liked to have received?
  13. What compliment would you liked to have given?
  14. What else do you need to do or say to be complete this year?


Ready to launch your speaking, consulting, or solo professional practice into its next level of success? You'll get 30 days of specific tools, tactics, templates AND the structured day-by-day guided implementation to remove the overwhelm and make it "paint-by-numbers easy" -- Details are waiting for you here:


Got 2011 thoughts and reflections to share? Use the COMMENTS area below and...

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Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing success, marketing for coaches, consultant marketing, consulting firm marketing, marketing concept, thought leadership marketing, marketing professional services, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, marketing coach, marketing strategist, motivational speaker marketing, success tips, speaker marketing, marketing consultant

Professional Services Marketing: 7 Ways to Build a Corporate Speakers Bureau

Publisher: PR News | Authors: Lori Zetlin and Jeanne Teeprofessional services marketing speaking engagements

Ask any professional services marketing or corporate communications exec what she/he is doing to secure executive speaking opportunities, and the overwhelming response will be “not enough.” A savvy communications executive knows the benefits of a successful speakers program: brand development, executive visibility, product/service promotion, thought leadership and lead generation.

One speech can reach an enormous and valuable target audience of clients, prospects, employees, media, business partners and analysts. The audience has chosen to attend the conference and your presentation, so they are ready and willing to listen to your experts and your messages. The conference environment is conducive to networking and deal making. And you can’t beat the price. These coveted sales, marketing and PR benefits can be yours for the mere price of a plane ticket.

Yet many companies are frustrated with the process and the results of their existing speaking programs. Why? In our 20-plus years of experience creating and managing speakers bureau programs, we’ve found the root causes to be a lack of planning and a shortage of resources. Typically, companies assign a junior-level PR or marketing person to establish and manage a speakers bureau program with no strategic plan and no executive support. If this sounds familiar, know that there are a few simple things you can do to build your speakers bureau program into a highly visible and successful part of your marketing and communications strategy.

1. Create a game plan: Invest the time and effort to determine clear, attainable goals for your program. In addition to increasing brand awareness, you may want to promote a new leadership team or support the launch of a new product. Creating a program based on these goals will not only help you secure management buy-in, it will enable you to plan, prioritize and execute more effectively. You also need to work closely with your management team and subject matter experts (SMEs) to determine the most charismatic, effective and willing speakers. Make sure this conversation also addresses their expectations for the program. You need to understand what they want from the program and be able to adjust those expectations accordingly.

2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize: With an ever-growing list of business and industry conferences, it is critical to prioritize your efforts. Know your target audience and your business goals and be true to them both when researching conferences and pursuing speaking opportunities. Consider current and past speakers, location and venue, attendee profiles and other important criteria when building a focused target list.

3. Know the realities: Successful speaker placement is a difficult pursuit, so be ready for the challenges. Placement timelines are long (six-to-nine-month lead time), so start early and be willing to track an opportunity for months. Competition is stiff and sponsors get many of the top speaking slots (the unfortunate “pay to play” system). You can work around this system, but it takes perseverance and creativity. Select speakers and topics that are compelling and noncommercial, enlist clients for joint case-study presentations and spend time building relationships with conference organizers.

4. Invest in your speaker program: Like other key components of your PR and marketing programs, a speakers bureau requires investments of time, money and resources to be successful. It is critical that you dedicate an experienced professional or team (internal or external to your company) to manage all aspects of the program— from abstract development and executive relations to logistics and follow-up. And be ready to invest significant time and energy in doing it right. Follow up regularly on submissions, speaking frequently with show organizers to build relationships that increase your chances of placement and help you identify upcoming opportunities.

5. Prepare before your pitch: Take the time to create a library of speaker biographies, head shots and noncommercial abstracts on timely and compelling topics—this last piece can make or break your placement chances. There’s nothing worse than identifying an opportunity at the right event and then scrambling to meet the submission requirements. Having these critical pieces ready will increase your ability to respond to opportunities quickly.

6. Leverage your successes: The speech itself will come and go in less than an hour, and while the impact is significant, promoting your speaker successes and taking advantage of ancillary business opportunities can help you increase the benefits of each engagement. Participate in all available conference marketing opportunities— brochures, Web sites, press releases and direct mail campaigns. Leverage the conference location to conduct meetings with clients, press, partners and employment candidates.

7. Did we mention follow-up? After the speech is delivered and the conference has come to a close, there is still work to be done. Look for ways to repurpose the speech for other conferences and other audiences. Share the speech and its impact with your employees, press and analyst contacts, clients and business partners to reinforce your key messages and boost brand awareness and thought leadership. Conduct an assessment of each speaking engagement. Track attendance numbers and audience profiles, and solicit feedback from both the speaker and the conference organizer. This will help in determining whether or not you should pursue a speaking opportunity next year.

In an increasingly crowded marketplace, a strategic and well-managed speakers bureau program can help your professional services firm reach the right audience with the right messages. But, as with other professional services marketing programs, you have to invest the necessary time, money and executive support to realize the tremendous benefits a speaking program can yield.


What do you think? How have you leveraged speaking as a marketing strategy? Please share your advice, insights, and recommendations in the COMMENTS area below:

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing strategy, consulting firm marketing, marketing concept, thought leadership marketing, marketing agency, professional services marketing, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, marketing consultant, marketing mix, thought leadership, raintoday

Marketing Coach: Referrals, Leads, Introductions and Recommendations

Guest post by Rob Brownmarketing speaker referrals leads recommendations

Marketing coach tip: Let's talk about referrals. You do all this networking to either win direct business or cultivate relationships that will lead you to direct business. This second strategy is referrals.

The problem is that few people can tell you what a referral is.

Getting terms mixed up can make you sound a bit confusing when you ask for help. What you think is a referral might be a lead to someone else. You can see how it will help to get people on the same page. Would it help you to get a definitive answer on this?

Knowing exactly what a referral is should be the logical starting point in any guide on winning more referral business. Otherwise you ask 20 different people what a referral is and get 25 different answers!

See, many people mix up words like referrals, introductions, recommendations and leads. Then they wonder why the whole process is so confusing and why their customers and contacts struggle to pass them the business they want in the way they want it. So let's define some terms:

A LEAD. A lead is a contact that may come from any number of sources. This contact is generally not expecting your call. For example, if someone gave you a list of people who bank with a rival and are in your target range, you might consider that a lot of good referrals. Unfortunately, because the prospects are not expecting a call from you, it'sbasically not much better than a cold-call.

A RECOMMENDATION. A recommendation is something different. It's an endorsement to action. It makes you want to do something. It is similar to a referral, and makes a fine substitution. But all it does is tell you to call someone, go see that movie, eat at that restaurant. It is similar to a lead in that the person you approach still may not be expecting your call. A recommendation comes in the form of wise advice. The tone is ‘if you were me, you'd do this.' They have your interests at heart. Take action and you'll get good things!

A REFERRAL. A referral is a little more. It has more engagement and attachment from those involved parties. A referral is the opportunity to do business with someone in the market to buy your product or service who's been told about you by a mutual friend or associate.

"A referral is not a guaranteed sale. It is an opportunity for somebody to present their business where that presentation will be looked forward to with anticipation."
-- Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI

With a referral, you hope that when you contact them, they already know who you are and what you do. It is stronger than just a lead because the prospect has talked to your referral source and is generally expecting your call. Hence, they are referred.

AN INTRODUCTION. An introduction is simply the bringing together of interested parties. It's what you should do with a lead or referral. You've probably introduced people on email, by phone and of course, in person. When you bring people together, you become the social glue that oils the wheels of commerce. You are the catalyst that makes things happen. You are the conduit and the hub through which social capital travels.

When I talk about referrals , I'm expecting that you involve your referral sources as much as you can to bring about those introductions. When you do that, you're more likely to convert your referrals and keep everyone happy! A word of caution. Unless your network of customers and contacts are familiar with the word ‘referrals' and know exactly what it means and how it works, then we suggest you make ‘referrals' an internal word. Here is a great quote from Bill Cates, one of the top referral gurus in the USA.

'When we ask for referrals, what we really want is an introduction - a connecting to the new prospect. An introduction implies recommendation, but goes a step further and creates a connection. Someone can recommend us to someone, but not connect us to them. Likewise, someone can introduce us, but not recommend us. Which would you rather have? I'll take the introduction any day of the week. Ultimately, you should use the word that works best for you and flows most naturally for you. This way, you'll engage in the process more regularly.'

To recap... a lead is cold, a recommendation warmer, an introduction warmer still, and a referral the package of all three. So your mission is to generate a whole lot more of them for your business!

Rob Brown is the UK's leading authority on how to perform better and win more business through networking and referrals.

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing success, marketing for coaches, marketing concept, marketing coach, marketing strategist, marketing mix, inbound marketing, referral marketing, referrals, raintoday

Persuasive Speech Topics: 7 Lessons from Andy Rooney

persuasive speech topics rooneyAs a marketing speaker and marketing coach, the question often arises about how to deliver persuasive speech topics effectively. 

This week, we lost one of the great journalists of our time, Andy Rooney. As a side note, there is a strong case to be made that Andy Rooney was the very first video blogger - and certainly the first man to produce viral videos. You can see some examples here and here and a CBS-produced retrospective here

So as you're crafting your next persuasive speech topic, here are seven lessons from Andy Rooney to inspire your preparation and increase your effectiveness...

1. Start strong - don't waste a lot of time in the wind-up. Begin like a good courtroom lawyer and come out swinging with no doubt as to your position and perspective.

2. Use specific examples we can all relate to. Model your favorite stand-up comedian: "Don't you hate it when..." "How come that every time you..." or "The thing that makes me crazy about ABC is XYZ." Specificity sells your ideas - and in the case of comedians, it also adds humor.

3. Go negative when it makes sense. And it almost always makes sense. Yes, when it comes to marketing and persuasion, some people will tell you to plant yourself firmly in the world of aspirations, dreams and goals. I disagree - the sound bite is "If you're going to sell fire extinguishers, first show the fire." Sell their problem - then you can sell your solution.

4. Don't be afraid to share your opinions on the facts, not just the facts. Yes data is important - but it's emotion that sells. Andy Rooney always had plenty of emotion behind his comments - and he often tapped into yours. Spark an emotional reaction and you'll quickly separate your supporters from your detractors. And when you're trying to persuade, it's the middle of the road where you find the roadkill. 

5. Don't let the critics get you down. As I always say to my audiences as a marketing speaker, "if you don't risk turning some people off, you'll never turn anybody on." If you are working on a persuasive speech topic that is selling an emotionally charged idea or one that requires your audience (prospects, colleagues, boss) to take a leap of faith, you will have to deal with critics, skeptics, haters and even some saboteurs. Take it all in stride and understand what my friend, motivational speaker Marvin LeBlanc likes to say - "You ain't nobody 'til somebody hates you."

6. Charm will go a long way. Even at his most ornery moments, Andy Rooney always had a twinkle in his eye. Yes, he could be sarcastic, negative, nasty even... but although he took his subject matter seriously, he never took himself too seriously. And his good-natured charm showed through his most acidic banter, sarcasm, and negativity. It set a unique contrast. It was effective for him and it might be effective for you.

7. Share your passions. Persuasive speech topics are nothing without the persuasion - so once you've made your case, don't be afraid to go positive in a strong way and share what you love, what you believe in, and what you want your audience to believe in. One of the greatest examples from Andy Rooney is this piece in honor of newspapers.

Andy's obituary in today's New York Times concluded like this:

Mr. Rooney frequently said he considered himself “one of the least important producers on television” because his specialty was light pieces. “I just wish insignificance had more stature,” he once said.

But he put things in perspective in his 1,097th and last regularly scheduled “60 Minutes” appearance.

“I’ve done a lot of complaining here,” he said then, “but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life.”

Thanks, Andy - for showing us how to persuade, how to spread your ideas, and how to have a great time doing it.

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing success, consultant marketing, professional services marketing, public relations, speaking, persuasive speech topics, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, motivational speaker marketing, success tips, marketing tip