Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

BIG News: BADASS Conference coming soon to Kickstarter

badass conference

Imagine a new and different kind of professional gathering focused on bringing together GOOD people doing GREAT work... to collaborate, cross-pollinate, get connected and get inspired with each other.

The BADASS Conference:

BAD: For Top Dogs in Business | Arts | Digital

ASS: Audience = Speakers = Sponsors

That's the BADASS Conference. And YOU are warmly invited... soon. The Kickstarter campaign is just now getting its finishing touches and we should be ready to launch by Nov. 1... the event itself will be right here in Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty. It's a 2.5-day collection of AWESOMENESS happening in March 2013.

Meanwhile, you should know where this is all coming from.

Our foundational curiosity is...

What if we re-invented the conference format using the notion of "theater for business"?

More excitement, more energy, and one hell of an ensemble (starring YOU) giving it their all.

Or what would Comic-Con for business look like?

More possibilities... but the risk is that you won't "get it" or that you'd feel safer with a pre-set agenda filled with talking head keynote speakers and random breakout sessions that 99% of other conferences have. We don't do that. So you might not come.

Our core complaint is...

Most conferences and professional meetings fail to deliver lasting value. Still worse, they leave meaningful connections completely to chance. And they have no significant impact on the lives of attendees... and the role of those attendees is far too passive, too marginalized, and too much like watching bad TV without even the privilege of changing channels.

Perhaps you like watching late night reruns of COPS with the remote buried under those containers of old Chinese food on your sofa. Perhaps you're mouthing your words as you read this.

It's time to shake things up...

Our vision is a new kind of professional gathering: one that is for, by and about YOU, the participant.

Our risks are small, the challenges somewhat greater but certainly manageable.

The BADASS Conference is truly an UN-conference. Take your normal expectations and flip them upside down -- for example:

Most conferences have...

★ Glitzy website: We have
★ Overblown session promos: We don't know what'll happen til we get together for the Roundtable and Peer Session Signup.
★ Big name speakers: At our events, every participant is eligible to speak. The group decides. That's why it's called a PEER conference.
★ Ultra-expensive fees ($2,500-$7,500): We like deals so we're between 86%-95% off. Eat that, TED!
★ Elitist feel: Our audience (aka YOU) is always front and center. 'Nuff said.
★ Benefit the lucky: We benefit the Badass (aka YOU!)
★ All talk, no action: We build individual and group reflection and action steps directly into the event.
★ One-off vs. community: The relationships, connections and collaborations you start here will last long after you get home and will become a permanent professional asset.

You want in? If you're up for it, we'd love to have you join us.

Leave a comment in the COMMENTS section below and I'll let you know as soon as the Kickstarter campaign goes live...

And thank you in advance for spreading the word.  

Tags: video, small business, conference, apps, non-profit, mobile, web, entrepreneurship, big business, marketing, business, unconference, arts, digital, games, social

Marketing Coach Tip: It's Not Who You Hire, It's Who You Fire

Guest Column By Lee Thayermarketing speaker tip - marketing coach hiring

Firing someone is often a distasteful, sometimes painful, act. It is the end of something. Hiring someone is usually full of hope and expectation. It can be exciting. It is the beginning of something.

Yet you don’t learn much when you hire someone. It often turns out to be not all you had hoped.

You could learn a great deal about yourself and about others from the process of firing someone, however.

If you can do a better job of firing, you could do a better job of hiring. The most direct way of learning how to do a better job of hiring lies in what you can learn from the process of firing.

Here’s why:

  • Hope and wishful thinking clouds your perspectives when you are hiring someone. But when you fire someone, you are challenged to understand why.
  • Firing can clear the lenses. It can be – ought to be – a very rational process. If you do it right, you are dealing with bedrock criteria, not wishful thinking.
  • If you can figure out why and how and when to fire someone, it will clarify why you went wrong in the first place.
  • If you did a perfect job of hiring people, you would have a perfect understanding of how to fire people. But most organizations haven’t done a better job of hiring people in spite of the tsunami of advice about how to do it.
  • You have to come at it the other way around. There is no reliable recipe for doing a perfect job of hiring. You have to learn from your failures – as all leaders have had to do.
  • It is figuring out who needs to be fired and why that provides the clarity needed to get better and better at hiring.

There are always the conventional reasons for firing someone: poor performance, redundancy, obsolescence, RIF, attitude, and myriad others. There are reasons. And then there are the real reasons.

It is these real reasons the chief executive needs to uncover. You have to plow through the verbiage and your own thinking to arrive at the real reasons. Was it a poor hire? Was it just a poor “fit”? Was it the culture of the organization that was at fault? Was it the attitude of the person’s peers? Was it the person’s boss? Could it even be you?

Done well, this kind of forensic exploration begins to illuminate better hiring practices by starting with reality rather than the jargon of the day.

To the person targeted for being fired, there is often no correlation between the reasons offered and that person’s assessment of his or her own performance. Big clue.

Here is the crunch issue:

The person being fired was probably not told at the time of hiring the specific reasons that might lead to dismissal.

Three mistakes were likely made:

  1. The person was probably provided with a list of activities to be performed. That’s the way conventional “job descriptions” are constructed. There may have been some past experience or credentials thrown in for the company to hedge its bets.
  2. It was likely nothing was said about what was to be accomplished. You can’t measure activities objectively. But you can measure accomplishments.
  3. The person was most likely hired for a “job.” He or she was not hired to a role in the organization’s future. It is the future that really matters, not the past. Past performance does not predict well to future performance.

Competence is difficult to measure. So most organizations measure what’s easy to measure – the financials. But, to use a provocative metaphor:

Financial performance can only be measured in the wake of the ship. It is where the ship is headed that matters most. And then it is how it is powered and steered to get there.

It is full competence in every role in the organization that seals its fate. If you hire for full competence to carry forward in a well-specified role, you won’t have to fire for incompetence.

A key ingredient of competence is being in the “learning mode.” The best evidence for being in the “learning mode” is that the person performs his or her role better today than they did yesterday. You fire for lack of that. Maybe you should hire for the presence of that.

And, if it isn’t necessary for the person to perform his or her role better, poor performance may not be the person’s fault. It may be your fault for not making continuous improvement in every role necessary.

What is necessary will likely happen. What is not necessary may not happen.

Every organization, like every person, arrives at a status quo – ways of doing things that take precedence over doing them right. Percy Barnevik of ABB fame considered the status quo to be the enemy. His suggestion? Kill it.

There are people who have one year’s experience repeated 20 times. They become deadwood. How frequently do you clear the deadwood? Ranchers cull their herdsat least annually, in order to get better breeding.

Jack Welch eliminated the bottom 10% of performers annually. That takes the uncertainty and pain out of firing.

Outstanding performers are disruptive of the status quo. They are therefore more likely than mediocre performers to get the axe. If the culture of your organization is a safe haven for mediocrity, you are not doing a good job of firing.

And if you aren’t, you can’t do a good job of hiring.

One of the hidden reasons for firing people is that they don’t seem able to learn from experience. They never seem to get consistently better at what they do. Lesson? Make that explicit.

The best CEOs are not in their role to do the job. They are there to learn how to perform their role better today than they did yesterday. They expect the same of others.

If that’s not why you are there, you should be fired. You are, after all, the exemplar.

The best time to fire someone is the day before you hire them. If you can do that, you will be doing a far, far better job of hiring.

The bonus is that firing the wrong people for all the right reasons makes room for hiring more of the right people for the right reasons. But you have to know clearly what those are.

This is why knowing the real reasons for firing people will help you to make better and better judgments about hiring. In other words, the best way to get better at hiring is to get better at firing.

For what good reasons would you fire yourself? If you really figure that out, you will do a far better job of hiring – including casting yourself in the right role.


Lee Thayer has been a CEO coach and consultant for 45+ years and is known worldwide for his work “in the trenches” with executives to create high-performance organizations. Dr.Thayer has also held distinguished professorships in many of the major universities worldwide. His recent, acclaimed books include: Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing; The Good Leader; Leaders and Leadership; Leadership Virtuosity; How Leaders Think; Explaining Things and The Competent Organization.

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing success, small business, professional services marketing, consulting, small business marketing expert, small business coach, motivational speaker, leadership, ceo, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, success, business, business strategy, frustration, hiring, firing

Marketing speaker: New priorities for the new normal

Consultant Bob Treadway reports the following as top priorities of Fortune 500 organizations and leaders:
  • Building a coaching culture that promotes candor and dialogue
  • Linking strategy, structure, processes, values and human resources
  • Balancing strategy and tactics
  • Developing road maps for strategic planning and implementation at all levels
  • Identifying and developing future high-potential leaders ("HiPos")
  • Business literacy and management skills for new managers
  • Performance-based coaching and feedback skills for managers and execs
  • Persuasion, political savvy, managing without authority, managing upward
  • Building "bench strength" in anticipation of the next labor shortage as the economy recovers
  • Developing a bottom-line accountable culture
  • Motivating workers in uncertain times

Marketing speaker marketing coach David Newman top trends

What's YOUR take on the list above? Please SHARE and DISCUSS in the comments section below...

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing success, consultant marketing, consulting firm marketing, small business, professional services marketing, marketing, leadership, marketing ideas, thought leadership, small business marketing speaker, questions, recognized authority

Marketing Speaker: 5 reasons to become rich

marketing speaker money plantAs a marketing speaker and marketing coach, some clients have, on occasion, accused me of being "all about the money" and ignoring or downplaying the other (very) important parts of their business.

The bottom line is that of all the professional speakers, consultants, and professional services firms I've helped with their marketing strategy, tactics, and tools - 100% of them came to me with NOT ENOUGH focus on the money side of their business. Thus, their struggle.

Yes, I focus on the money... and so should YOU because money does bring you some very valuable advantages.

These include:

Power Bill Gates can do more good in the world than I can because he has a $37 billion charitable foundation. Money enhances your ability to help others.

Security When you attain financial independence, your money worries are gone for good, an enviable position to be in. Millions of Americans worry about money.

Comfort Money insulates you from hunger and homelessness, and ensures access to basic services such as heat, electricity, potable water, and health care— stuff we take for granted but millions worldwide lack.

Luxury For those who desire it, wealth allows you to indulge yourself, whether living in a mansion on the ocean, driving a Porsche, or dining on the finest caviar.

Freedom With enough money, you choose what you do, where and when you do it, and who you do it with…and never have to work at a job you hate because you need the cash.

Tags: marketing speaker, small business, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, marketing tips

Bring Back (a little) Decorum, Please!

marketing speaker etiquetteGuest post by Chris Di Fonzo

It's true, where to seat a prince for dinner as a guest in my home, never became relevant.  Still, those professional etiquette workshops "the man" made me take had value.  Shake hands, even if someone is visibly sick?  Yes!  Lift your glass when being toasted?  Nope.  Arrive late for calls and meetings?  Obvious.

Then what gives?  Lateness, lack of follow up, and lack of formality are prolific today, even among enterprise consultants, salespeople, managers, and executives.  The worst thing about perpetually more casual behavior in business is it's a death spiral.  Business culture is organic, not static, and our daily interactions either raise the bar or push it down.

Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creative independents, this is as opportunity to differentiate ourselves.  I'm calling myself out and asking you to join me.  Let's set the example by bringing back (a little) decorum.

Three basics to get us going:

1.     Say what you're going to do, and do it.  A simple formula – Learn it and live it.  Your word matters; treat it like a contract.  Think before making commitments.  Once made, follow through.

2.     Thank people.  Walt Disney was known for handwriting thank you notes daily.   Try it for your most important ones, it feels great and people remember.  Always formally thank customers and people who refer you business.  Failure to appropriately thank others is lazy and tragic.  (Self-disclosure: A little behind on thank you notes myself; I'm going to start catching up today.)

3.     Learn names and use them.  A dollar for every time you’ve heard, "I'm not good with names;" you’re a zillionaire.  Excuse, copout, laziness.  Make it a point to learn people's names and use them, it's fundamental.  The first rule to remembering names (and anything) is intent to remember.  When we care enough to remember, it's amazing how easy it usually is.

Why bother with decorum?  Many reasons, here’s one.  You represent your company, yourself, your cause, your town, your community.  Entrepreneur is a hard road, requiring more of us, not less.  Independence is not a reason for a lack of decorum; rather a responsibility to embody it.  Whatever your perspective on business etiquette, consider applying a little more protocol, formality, and decorum.  Represent.


Chris Di Fonzo is the co-founder of, connecting mobile business people (home-based workers, individual entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small teams) with open desks in professional office space.

Tags: marketing speaker, small business, etiquette, professional services marketing, entrepreneurship, small business coach, marketing coach, small business marketing

Marketing speaker: 5 Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success

Marketing speaker David Newman motivational speaker PhiladelphiaFrom Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express: 
  1. The first secret is to have a compelling business idea, one that is differentiated and sustainable.
  2. The second secret is to be a zealot.
  3. Third on my list of secrets is to have a conservative business plan.
  4. Secret number four is to work effectively with others.
  5. The last secret of truly successful entrepreneurship is to change and grow as your business grows.
Fred Smith Speech to Entrepreneurs: The Five Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success

From David Newman, founder of Do It! Marketing:

I would suggest that these 5 secrets apply no more or less to entrepreneurs than they do to people working inside organizations. In fact, they may even apply MORE so!

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, marketing success, small business, entrepreneurship, small business marketing expert, small business coach, marketing ideas, marketing strategist, small business marketing, marketing tips

Love and hate and 2010

If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?
-- Will Rogers

To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Trying to solve problems or find answers with the same set of information that got us "into this mess" in the first place indicates one of several things:

1. We are dangerously insane.
2. We are incredibly irresponsible.
3. We are sadly unaware of our own trailblazing and "off the charts" navigation capabilities.

What only a handful of very successful individuals realize is that, in fact, the current landscape, as perceived by others, is irrelevant as far as you're concerned.

One of the most powerful tools you have is self-knowledge. In the simplest terms, this comes down to answering these basic questions:
* Who am I?
* What am I all about?
* What do I love to do?
* Who do I want to be?
* What's the best way for me to get there?
* Where would I like the journey to take me?

Spend a few moments completing the following. Yes, you! Yes, right now.

Find a pencil. I'll wait...

Good. Here we go... marketing coach David Newman marketing speaker

Exercise: List 10 things you LOVE to do. Any context is fine. Use your personal life, professional life, with your family, friends, civic and church groups, anything:











Now review your list and summarize each of these ten items
into a 1-word VERB, such as "communicate" or "connect" or

These are ten of your core action words that define you at
your best.

How can you bring more opportunities to use these actions
into your life? In answering this question, please remember
that even a small change can have a huge impact.

You don't need to quit your job in an office in New York
and move to a kibbutz in Israel if one of your key words
turned out to be "share."

Why don't you share some of what you know with your
colleagues? Teach a class, write an article, start a
discussion group, create a lunchtime seminar series, or
start an interactive message board on your corporate

So many people are unhappy because the opportunities to use these core actions have evaporated from their lives or have become blocked by schedules filled with "too much to do" and "never enough time."

But stop and ask yourself, "How effective is my mind if my heart and soul are starving?" And if you don't take care of them, who will?

THIS is your real work for 2010 - enjoy the ride!


Tags: passion, small business, business plan, marketing, love

The Leadership 22 - Motivational Speaker Tips

marketing coach marketing speaker David NewmanAs a marketing speaker, I'm often asked the question if I'm also a "motivational speaker" and my answer is no. Although I do admire motivational speakers and topics - and HAVE trafficked in a bit of leadership thinking and writing.

Here's an oldie but goodies from the archives: 


There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you
damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human
duty, the duty to take the consequences.
-- P. J. O'Rourke

As a leader, I will expose you to the options and the
likely consequences of those options.
-- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

The Leadership 22

Leadership means...
* Exposing people to options
* Getting along with people
* Being a dealer in hope
* Sales (products, services, ideas, values)
* Teaching, mentoring, guiding
* Be the example
* Results, not talk
* Bringing sides together
* Being a dispenser of enthusiasm
* Solving problems
* Blazing the trail and leaving a path
* Producing more leaders
* Showing average people how to do the work of superior people
* Character and integrity
* Putting first things first
* The capacity to translate vision into reality
* Finding a parade and getting in front of it
* Your switch is never turned off
* The ability to communicate something people want
* Action, not position
* Backbone, wishbone, funny bone
* Doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons

What do YOU think? What would you ADD? Leave a comment below and share your opinion...

Tags: personal branding, small business, entrepreneurship, motivational speaker, thought leadership

10 Commandments of Marketing Coach Success (Short Coaching Session!)

As a mmarketing coach marketing speaker David Newmanarketing speaker and marketing coach, I'm often asked for "key nuggets" for small business marketing success. Here's a short list for your consideration...

Rather than blather on in a long-winded marketing coaching session, here it is in bullet format. Quick. Simple. Just not easy!

Small Business Marketing 10 Commandments of Success

I. Take Responsibility
II. Raise the Bar
III. Dream Big
IV. Develop the Action Habit
V. Visualize your Success
VI. Associate with Winners
VII. Give Something Back
VIII. Embrace and be Flexible to Change
IX. Learn to Love the Process
X. Have Faith and be Patient

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, small business, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, marketing tips

Marketing Speaker - A New Kind of Reference

Marketing speaker, marketing coach Philadelphia PAI got a phone call a few days ago from my friend Steve who is a fellow independent professional. He said to me at the beginning of the call, "David, I'm calling you as a reference."

So I'm thinking, "OK, he wants to hire someone I've worked with or someone I know - perhaps even a client of mine whose testimonial he saw on my website."

I say, "Steve, what can I do for you?"

And then he mentions someone's name. Let's call this person Larry. Now I like Larry and he's a good guy - perhaps a little confused about his marketing and messaging... and frankly that's OK because Larry is NOT a client of mine (although I've given him plenty of chances!)

Steve stops me and says, "No, no... I don't want to hire Larry. Larry wants to hire me. I'm calling you to ask you what kind of client do you think he would be?"

Wow. It's not a consultant reference, speaker reference, or service provider reference - Steve was asking me (essentially) "Would this guy be a good client?" FYI Steve saw me connected to Larry through LinkedIn and some other social media sites.

Lessons for YOU:

  • We live in a hyper-connected world
  • People DO read your social media profiles
  • People DO judge you on the "company you keep" both online and off
  • If you're a pain in the ass - as a consultant, speaker, vendor, partner, OR client... word will spread faster than you can imagine
  • The top people in their field (ahem, YOU) do not have the bandwidth nor the interest to work with folks who are a pain in the butt
  • YOU can't afford to be a pain in the butt on EITHER side of the professional services buying equation

Comments? What do you think? Have you had some experiences to share along these lines? Would love to hear from you in the Comments section below...

Tags: marketing speaker, client references, small business, marketing, marketing coach, clients