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August 06, 2007


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Melanie Benson Strick

I've noticed there are a few challenges entrepreneurs face with marketing campaigns/promotions in general.

1. Knowing the right campaign to implement to produce desired results.

2. Having enough resources to do the right campaigns in a timely manner.

3. Actually tracking effort and financial investment against results to determine what to keep vs. what to get rid of.

I actually thought I was doing a pretty good job with all three until recently when I realized that I wasn't tracking the right statistics.

I personally get the best results when people can experience me live (telephone, live speaking, being introduced via someone else's network, etc.) But networking doesn't work for me unless I'm a speaker. I've learned it all comes down to trying, testing, tracking, then tweaking till you get it right. Takes time but the results are worth it!

Now if I can just find a good affiliate manager to manage our great affiliate campaigns I'll be all set!

Melanie Benson Strick
The Entrepreneur's Success Coach

Jeanne Hurlbert, PhD

I enjoyed both Robert's column and this discussion very much. Clearly, something went awry with Rob's attempt. As others have noted, it's highly likely that he chose the wrong context. Kammy's suggestion to "find organizations where your dream clients are most likely to belong" is right on target. I might broaden that to suggest not only thinking about where your dream clients are, but also where the individuals are who might generate referrals to your key clients can be found. The key is to determine who's "missing" in your business network and then assess where you can come into contact with those people. Get a list of professional and civic associations in your community (if it's not too large) and consider whether each one might provide access to the kinds of contacts you need. If you need a business mentor, find a group with lots of business owners, for example.

Once you're "in the right places," the skills become key. I'd suggest that you forget about "elevator speeches" that summarize your business and focus instead on LISTENING intently, then using what you hear as a basis for identifying the common ground that can help you build a relationship. Kammy's idea of thinking of "giving" not "getting" is critical--and it applies not only to the organization but also to the people you encounter. When you meet someone, think of ways that you might help him or her in THEIR business--that's a great foundation for a relationship. And remember that networking should be fun!

Kammy Thurman

Hi Rob,

Don't let one experience turn you off of networking. But also, don't network with the intention of "getting." Network with the intention of giving. If you're not in an organization to pitch in and help make it better, you shouldn't be there at all. People know instantly if you're serious about building relationships or if you're just "workin' the room."

I believe people put you off because they quickly figured out your motives. Networking is about building relationships, not making a one-shot sale.

My husband and I have had great results networking in our Chamber of Commerce because we go to the board meetings, even though we're not required to. We get involved in the committees. We volunteer to help at events. We go there because we genuinely care about helping the Chamber improve the business climate in our town. People sense our intentions, so they're very enthusiastic about referring our photography services.

We opened our studio just 6 months ago, and our name is spreading very quickly through the community. In fact, we've been so busy taking portraits, we're WAY behind schedule getting our permanent studio built!

So, Rob, I encourage you to find organizations where your dream clients are most likely to belong. Then show that you care about giving to the organization and its members -- not that you're just there to get something from them. It will make all the difference in how you're received by the members.


Cheryl Lohner

There are two reasons that I love marketing campaigns. 1) They provide focused approach to marketing, which always produces stronger results, and 2) often the process of structuring a marketing campaign can flush out areas that may need strengthening. Using Robert’s example, he listed the marketing materials needed to implement his marketing campaign. By going through the process of structuring this marketing campaign, it immediately become apparent whether or not he needed to create additional materials to increase the success of his campaign. And Rod, try not to get discouraged. I would use this as an opportunity to fine-tune your audio logo. Perhaps is too broad and doesn’t clearly speak to your qualified prospects. Although it appears that you missed your mark with this group, in fact you may not have been speaking to the decision-makers within their respective organizations. Stay encouraged and embrace every networking event as classroom to learn and improve from.

Robert Middleton

Following up on Rob Wendes: Rob, you did exactly the right thing. And you perhaps discovered that this is the wrong group for you. So you don't give up there. You attend a lot of other groups and you'll discover in the same way if they are right or not.

Some people say, "I tied networking once. Went to a meeting, didn't get any clients. What a waste of time." This is like saying, "Went to a gym once, tried a few machines. Didn't look like Arnold Shwarzenegger by the end of the session. Obviously a con."

So keep searching for group until a few click. And don't give up on that first group too soon either. You really shouldn't decide after one meeting. After all, I'm sure you didn't meet everyone in the organization in one meeting.

Good luck!

Rob Wendes

Although I can see a lot of sense in what Robert says, the big problem I have is a knowing what is a good venue for promotion and what is not. Let me give you an example. If you were selling professional services and you followed your marketing plan, in which you said you wourd join 3 professional or business groups, then the problem I have is in deciding what types of groups would be most likely to provide some yield. Here is an example.

I went to a social function to do with my University recently. thinking that this would be an ideal place to do business.

I thought this would be an great place to make contacts. I was wrong! My wife will tell you that I worked my socks off that evening introducing myself to anyone who would talk to me, being introduced to others, engaging everyone in general conversation and bringing them around to talking about the main point of my being there.

Although people were interested in what I had to say, it seemed that busienss networking was off the agenda.

'We do that offshore these days'
'We outsource'
'Not my line of business'
'My degree was an MBA so I know how to control that situation'

So after a huge amount of energy and effort I didn't meet any of my objectives.

This emphasises one huge point for me, that I have no idea what consitutes a good venue at which to implement a marketing campaign.

Karl Seidel

I try to read these emails because there is always something good in them. And I agree with Robert on this issue of active marketing. The passive kind is necessary but for a business owner to get their money's worth we need to make campaigns and monitor the results. I use a couple of tools to do this for myself and my clients - mostly along the lines of online project managers. At this stage I'm developing what I hope will be a better tool that will include budgets and commissions/revenue tracking. In this way I'll be able to show results based on campaigns (in the near future). Now that's active marketing!

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