Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Marketing Mix: Paid to Speak

professional services marketing mix paid to speakMarketing Mix: Book Review of "PAID TO SPEAK" published by the National Speakers Association

PAID TO SPEAK is a virtual MBA in the business of speaking. From marketing to positioning to product development to platform skills, it's ALL in here. Well-organized, tightly edited, and with a logical flow from one part of the business to another, PAID TO SPEAK is also unique in that it tells it like it is. No sugar-coating. And no trying to fleece opportunity-seekers into believing the speaking business is a fast, easy, and glamorous way to make money. [It is NONE of the three!] 

Speaking professionally today is about thought-leadership, adding value to corporate, association, and entrepreneurial sectors, and understanding all the different ways that audiences and buyers want to access, use, and deploy your expertise. The book spans a wide range of business models, distribution methods, and revenue models. As it should - to reflect the current reality of many successful speakers (very few of whom have business models that look anything alike!) 

The key value in buying a copy of PAID TO SPEAK, dog-earing it, highlighting it, and taking notes in the margins... is that you will emerge from the experience with a wealth of information, some clear decisions to make, and a game plan to put it all together in a style and manner that suits your personality, your strengths, and your preferences. This is no "one size fits all" template for "THE" way to become successful. There are MANY paths up the mountain - and PAID TO SPEAK should be your personal handbook, guide, and reference to get you there miles ahead of the competition! 

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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

Marketing Concept: Storytelling for Business

Marketing concept for today: Storytelling for Business. This infographic came across my desk recently from the folks at Fathom Business Events. Whether your preferred method of telling your story is LIVE, such as speaking and seminars, or other online/offline channels, THIS is exactly what you should be spending your time doing:


Marketing concept storytelling for business

What do you think? Please use the COMMENTS area below to (wait for it...) share YOUR STORY about how these strategies have worked for you!

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing for coaches, consultant marketing, consulting firm marketing, marketing concept, storytelling, professional services marketing, marketing ideas, marketing strategist, success tips, marketing consultant, marketing mix, brand strategy, conference speaker, raintoday, advertising

Marketing Concept: 5 Tips to Write What They Want to Publish

Today's marketing concept is another stunningly simple one. marketing concept - 5 pr tips for speakers and consultants

When it comes to your public relations or article marketing strategy...

Write What They Want to Publish - Don't Try to Publish What You Want to Write

If you're trying to put your expertise in the spotlight, don't go to the marketplace with a fixed number or pre-written articles and say "OK, where can we get these puppies printed?" When you're brand new, that might be enough - but once you're a truly up-and-coming though-leader, you start to need to pay close attention to:

  1. Editorial guidelines (follow 'em)
  2. Functional requirements such as word length (make overworked editors lives easier)
  3. Editorial calendars with themes and topics (don't make editors stretch too far)
  4. Current trends (be relevant and up-to-date)
  5. Today's headlines and top stories (be timely so you ride the wave of attention)

It's the old marketing mantra of "Find a need and fill it" - but when it comes to niche PR, association publications, trade magazines and industry journals, we too often lose sight of the fact that editors are buyers and our content is our product.

Tailor, customize, and work hard to meet the demand and you will be published over and over and over again. Because you're writing what they want to publish.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to share your article marketing or niche PR success story, tip, or question. Eager to hear from YOU:

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing concept, media relations, marketing agency, professional services marketing, public relations, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, motivational speaker marketing, marketing consultant, small business marketing, marketing mix, thought leadership, marketing tips, raintoday

Marketing Coach: Stop Sending IDIOTIC Emails Like This One...

marketing coach - stop sending idiotic emailsAs a marketing speaker and marketing coach for thought-leading professionals and professional services firms, I'm continually amazed at the stupidity of firms who just DON'T get the fact that their marketing messages are NOT about THEM...

Case in point - a Philadelphia area communications and design firm whose list I have been on for more than 7 years. They have never - NEVER as in NOT ONCE - sent me a single solitary message that was relevant to me, my business, my marketing, my design needs, or my ANYTHING. Not a shred of value in sight. Zilch. Nada. None.

Every single flippin' email blast they send out is about THEM, THEIR awards, THEIR staff, THEIR media mentions. I mean it's over-the-top ridiculous. I could go on and tell you - but I'd rather SHOW YOU...

For some bizarre reason, I'm removing their name to protect the guilty. I dunno - maybe it's the holiday spirit of thankfulness that I'm not this big of an IDIOT myself. (See previous post on the Real IDIOT's Guide to Social Media for the backstory on this acronym.)

I've used green bold text to show each instance of "I, me, my" syndrome in this incredibly self-centered, years-long and completely ineffective email marketing approach.


Subject: Good things come in three for IDIOT Design+Communications 

Good things come in three for IDIOT Design+Communications
25th Anniversary, ranked 7th and scholarship winner 

[Unnamed town], PA - November 21, 2011 - IDIOT Design+Communications (ID+C), a brand design firm, is proud to announce three major milestones for the company

ID+C celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2011.  What started as a freelance graphic design job in 1986 has grown into a full service design agency serving the Northeast corridor from Virginia to New York. Their expertise includes integrative brand campaigns that span internal and external audiences. Branding initiatives include brand touch points that create and spark perception of brand positioning. ID+C specializes in employee communications and internal branding. According to President and founder, Susan Idiot, "I would have never imaged owning my own graphic design and communication business. It is the support of long-term clients and friends that has allowed me to do the work I love and for that, I am grateful." ID+C built their reputation in the industry on strong partnerships and would like to take this opportunity to thank each of their clients. 

Ranked 7th Among Philadelphia Design Firms  In July, the company was ranked Number 7 in the 2011 Philadelphia Business Journal among Graphic Design firms in the Philadelphia region.    

[Blah blah Name Changed here too] Executive Scholarship ID+C wishes to extend a special thank you to Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) for their continued support and for awarding Susan Idiot the [Blah blah Name Changed] Executive Scholarship. Idiot used the opportunity to attend Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management's Executive Program on Branding. From elite scholars in marketing to an international contingency of fellow business owners and branding professionals, Susan Idiot gained invaluable insights into branding strategy. As a result, ID+C can assist its clients to discover and express their brands' positions and future direction in a dynamic, global marketplace.         

IDIOT Design +Communications
address block
phone number
Susan Idiot


Questions for YOU:

  • Is this the kind of email you would pass along to your best business colleagues?
  • Would you be motivated to go through your database and see who else could benefit from such a terrific email newsletter?
  • Would you rush to your web browser and immediately check out their site to see what OTHER valuable resources they have to offer you?
  • Finally, would YOU give these people your email address so they could spam you with their accomplishments, awards, milestones, and anniversaries and spend nary a second in 7 whole years talking about branding, advertising, communications, or marketing ideas that might help you, your organization, or your career?

Yeah... me neither. Click. Unsubscribe. Bye, bye.

BOTTOM LINE: Don't let this happen to you.

What do YOU think? Please use the COMMENTS area below to share your thoughts on "I, me, my" Syndrome or share a success story of more prospect-centered email marketing! 

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5 Signs that Your Prospect is Giving You Too Much Bullsh*t

marketing concept you don't need this bullshitToday's marketing concept for you is simple - check this out:

Your marketing and sales process should be easy, effortless, and enjoyable.

Period. End of sentence.

If it is not - and if you're attracting difficult, high-maintenance or non-enjoyable prospects - here's another marketing concept for you:

If the dating doesn't go well, it won't get better once you're married.

As the great business sage, Donald Trump, once said:

"Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't do."

Amen, brother Trump!

5 Signs that Your Prospect is Giving You Too Much Bullsh*t

1. Agreeing to sign on and then backing off at the last minute or the next day to ask for references, birth certificates, blood tests, or guarantees.

2. Bargaining. Namely, asking for a price reduction with no corresponding reduction in services, terms, value, or relationship. (Asking for a price concession "just because" is a classic form of prospect bullsh*t!)

3. Undervaluing your services, track record, and expertise. "I could do this myself, I just don't have time..." or "We've outsourced this to several vendors and have never been happy..." (Run, my friend, run!)

4. Telling you upfront, "We're notoriously difficult to work with / a control freak / a perfectionist / highly demanding - but don't take it personally." (This means they've been fired by other service providers in the past and they're prepping you for the same eventuality while playing BOTH sides of good cop / bad cop. Nice!)

5. Using terms of false affection like "Big Guy'" and "My dear" or false compliments like "You are a great salesperson!" (Obviously, if you were a great salesperson, you would not be wasting your time with this narcissistic sociopath nightmare client from hell, would you?)

As poet Maya Angelou has so eloquently said, "When someone SHOWS you who they are, believe them."

Finally, a cautionary (and VERY funny) video to illustrate the point about Prospect Bullsh*t and how it looks in everyday life:


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Marketing Concept: 9-Point Client GPS (Goofball Prevention Screening)

marketing concept client goofball prevention screeningEvery day here at Do It! Marketing HQ, we work hard to make sure the clients we love are extremely happy with our work and our results. At the same time, we work hard to keep OUT clients who will make us nuts, sap our energy, or for whom it will be impossible to do our best work.

In this spirit, here is today's marketing concept: Your Client GPS tool (Goofball Prevention Screening)

A client may well prove to be a Goofball if they…

  1. Lack high standards of excellence – Good enough is good enough…
  2. Don’t care about increasing their knowledge – Not committed to becoming valuable resources to their own clients and customers…
  3. Refuse to work hard and commit to their own success – Lack persistence and are unwilling to try new things to achieve results…
  4. Think they already know everything – And are unwilling to accept help in expanding their skills, expertise, or capabilities…
  5. Resist investing in themselves and their business – They fail to understand that this is the best investment of all…
  6. Operate from a mindset of fear and scarcity – They can’t make good decisions long-term because they are so risk-averse in the short term…
  7. Won’t (or can’t) pay their bills – Their lack of financial responsibility spills over onto others in the form of late payment, non-payment, and endless excuses…
  8. Exude negative energy – Negative self-talk, pessimism and cynicism repel new opportunities, new partners, and new ideas (all vital to success)…
  9. Can’t commit to mutually supportive relationships – In business and in life, the most successful people don’t make it alone…
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Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing success, marketing for coaches, consultant marketing, consulting firm marketing, marketing concept, keynote speaker, professional services marketing, small business coach, persuasive speech topics, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, motivational speaker marketing, success tips, marketing consultant, small business marketing, marketing mix, small business marketing speaker, marketing tip, inbound marketing, raintoday