Scott Smith talks about marketing and branding…

As I was searching the other day for more information on creative advertising, I found some really great information from Scott Smith. This is information that will help with effective marketing and advertising.

In my old advertising and marketing days, I’d always start by collecting deep knowledge of the product or service, and of the category. That included always trying the product for myself, or getting someone I know and trust to try it.

I think this is crucial: if you don’t believe in the products you are selling or know anything about them, how do you expect to speak with confidence to your potential clients? What if they have a question about a specific detail – Can you answer it? What if they want to know more about the products reputation or durability – what can you say about it without having used it?

So, bottom line – Use the products you are selling! Have your friends and family use them! Get feedback. Post the feedback on your site (especially if it’s really good!); if it’s bad you may want to look at other options within the product line. Scott Smith goes on:

…ensure that the product or service [is] up to snuff and functioning properly according to its goals, and that brand or line extensions [are] in place to address various users’ needs or tastes.

We’d learn as much as possible about what the users think, and what they want. Car manufacturers can put all the technology they want into a car, but if a consumer wants a RED car and the manufacturer doesn’t offer RED in that model, the sale is lost. You gotta know stuff like that. Knowing the category is essential to maximizing potential revenues and profits.

The phrase “knowing the category is essential to maximizing potential reveues and profits” is perfect. If you don’t know what your clients want, you are probably waisting lots of time. Find what people want and then give it to them!

How do you find out? One way is by going to a bookstore or library and looking at magazines that your market users may be interested in. What types of products do they buy currently? Who advertises in these niche magazines? What do they offer?

Another way is to ask your market. Do a survey, make a poll or form they can fill out; give them something “free” if they fill out a brief quetionnaire. Do something to collect data that you can use in the future to better meet the needs and wants of your customers.

If you understand the importance of knowing…this stuff, and make it your business to know the answers in your categories, it makes selling and positioning a brand within a Web site whole lot easier…

Great stuff! Now use it (and make comments!)…

Unique, Lifetime Marketing to a Specific Targeted Audience!

Businesses are taking advertising to a new level: directly targeted, lifetime marketing and a personal connection with a specific market segment. Brand is defined as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of these, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.” (Principles of Marketing, Kotler, Armstorng, p. G1)

Perhaps the most distinctive skill of professional marketers is their ability to create, maintain, protect, and enhance brands of their products and services. Most consumers view a brand as an importnat part of a product, and branding can add value to a product. Branding has become so strong that today hardly anything goes unbranded.

Advantages of Branding to Buyers:

  • Brand names help consumers identify products that might benefit them.
  • Brands tell the buyer something about product quality.
  • Buyers who always purchase the same brand know what they’re going to get in regard to features, benefits, and quality.

Advantages of Branding to Sellers:

  • Brand name becomes the basis on which a whole story can be built about a product .
  • Brand names provide legal protection for unique product features.
  • Branding helps the sellere to segment markets. (General Mills can offer Cheerios, Wheaties, Total, Kix, Lucky Charms, etc. – not just one general product for everyone.)

Highlight Sports feels that allowing businesses to brand themselves for a lifetime on completely customized DVDs is a huge benefit to specific businesses. As you can see in the video below, clients watch customized DVDs over and over again and put a high value on preserving memories.

If this is something your business would like to be a part of or you’d like more information, email Nate at Moller Marketing today.

Michelle Sorro’s “Exit Interview”

There have been some great comments on Michelle Sorro and her “exit strategy” – if that’s what you want to call it.  Here are some of her exact words:

“What I signed up for originally is not what I’m dealing with now…”

Well, what did you expect?

“….it’s certainly not what I signed up for…”

Did you want a walk in the park resume builder?

“I don’t even feel like I want to come back to the board room(I’m sorry you feel that way!)…I would like to resign…”(ouch!)

When asked “Would you have quit if you had won?” she replied,

“I may have quit [if I had won]…” (Bold strategy, we’ll see how it works out for her!)

Closing remarks:

“I appreciated the opportunity…I have learned so much about myself…It’s a great way to get to know your strengths and weaknesses…I didn’t think it would be quite like this…I’m quitting in my [boxer’s corner] because there is something going on with my spirit…I can cope with this any way I want so for me, it doesn’t feel like I’m quitting anything, it feels like I’m actually staying true to my integrity, staying true to a process that doesn’t work for me naturally…”

All I can say is Wow – the nerve, and on National TV in front of millions of potential employers – she’s in a tough spot! To see the entire exit strategy, go here:

So, what has happened to endurance, accepting failure, and learning from it?  Michael Jordan, when cut from his high school basketball team, didn’t “resign” or “stay true to [his] integrity” by walking off the court.  Babe Ruth was not what you call an athletic specimen of a baseball player, but he sure worked around that.  When life gets tough, is just giving up the best “moral” thing to do so we don’t “look bad?”  In my opinion, and I may be wrong, giving up makes you look terrible!

What are you waiting for?

Grrr…. 😉 Now that I’ve got your attention – Does procrastination get us anywhere? Are we satisfied with what we’ve always done? Did we maximize our potential in 2007? The obvious answer for most of us is NO!

What are you waiting for?Do we really believe we can achieve whatever we set our mind to? Do we really want to make changes? Do we feel that “Now” is the time?

As I read Rob Schaumer’s Blog about goal setting, I thought a lot about clients I currently work with: they all want to make changes, see results, and succeed. The one’s that see the most success all have one major thing in common – “[they] never worry about [what they] can’t change, [they] labor only on what [they] do have control of: attitude, knowledge, skills, and work ethic.” (Moller Mission Statement)

A key part of goal setting is implementation! As the saying goes: “Getter Done!”

The Power of SMO!!

Wow, what a change in traffic! Yesterday I added a plugin for and digg, two of the top SMO services on the internet. I submitted a new article about Michelle Sorro from the Apprentice. Today I’ve seen a huge influx in traffic – from 25 visitors yesterday to 761 visitors and counting today! Yahoo! (literally) – most of the traffic is coming from this Yahoo site:

So, if you haven’t got a or digg account, get them and use them. Make sure you submit articles to the right categories and avoid spam. Use the links to “Socially Bookmark” your favorite pages.

Focus, Focus, Focus!

Starting an eCommerce business, or any business for that matter, can be a difficult task. Focus is critical! If we try to do everything at once, we can only expect mediocrity in pretty much everything.

Keep things narrow at first. Focus on the smallest possible problem you can solve that will potentially be useful. One of the biggest problems many new companies make is trying to do too many things at once. This makes life really difficult and can impede our progress. Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages: with much less work you can be the best at what you do. Small things almost always turn out to be much bigger when you zoom in.

The concept of focus is really logical; however, most of us seem to have a resistance to focus. Just remember, when you get to be #1 in your particular niche market and then find that niche to be too small, you can always broaden your focus.

How do I start a Joint Venture or Business Partnership?

A Joint Venture is a “business strategy where two parties utilize one another’s strengths to positively grow their prospective businesses, creating a win/win relationship.” ( I truly think there is nothing better: utilizing one another’s strengths to effectively grow your business.

Here are a few steps I take when forming a Joint Venture:

Step One: Set Goals about what you want to accomplish with this new marketing strategy – the more specific you are, the better chance you have of realizing these goals. Write these goals on paper so you can see them. “A goal unwritten is only a wish!”

Step Two: Ask yourself: “Who already has a strong relationship with people to whom I might be able to sell a noncompetitive but related product or service?”

Step Three: make a list of company names on paper, then DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Research the companies you think would make great partners with your company. Find out what their clients like best about them. Look at the companies marketing: What do they do now? Who do they target primarily? How could it tie in with what you do?

Step Four: Contact those non-competing businesses and present them with a proposal that is hard to say no to. Show them how committed you are to making this work. Make a list of all the benefits your product or service will bring to their clients. Introduce them to your product or service. Supply them with plenty of information on what you sell, and some testimonials confirming its high quality.

What are steps you all have taken when forming partnerships or joint ventures?

Michelle Sorro: The Apprentice Quitter…

I watched the end of the Apprentice Los Angeles tonight and found it quite amuzing: the teams were being critiqued on a project they did for a bus tour ordeal or something. As the truth came out, Michelle Sorro, who was the Project Manager for the losing team, began to try to cover herself by saying things like “Well, this program wasn’t really what I expected…” and “My inner spirit just isn’t able to perform at it’s best in these conditions…” (quotes are made up but this was the general feel of her argument).

As I listened to the weak reasoning she gave for her failure, it helped me realize that there are going to be excuse makers and quitters everywhere! Some succeed and reach their full potential; others don’t. Why? Why? Why?

I really believed what Donald Trump said – No matter what business you go in to there will be trials and things that pull you out of your comfort zone; however, quitters will never see the success they are truly capable of because they throw in the towel and give up. He went on to point out that he’d much rather watch a boxer go out and fight to the finish, even get knocked out, before seeing him quit or give up early.

How true this is in small business management and eCommerce. The main difference between those that are extremely successful and those that don’t achieve what “they expected…” is one word: PERSISTENCE! When times get tough, when they don’t see immediate results overnight, do they get frustrated and sulk, or do they dig in and use the tools they’ve been given? When they see a little success, do they sit back and relax or do they focus hard and try to capitalize even more on the small success, which will lead to bigger success?

“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” – Napolean Hill

Bottom line – it’s too bad that Michelle Sorro will have to live with the label of a “quitter” (even though she makes about $50 million a year in real estate 🙂 )

Branding Rules!

Good idea – wonder if my wife would be okay with this “marketing strategy”?

The Power of Linkbaiting!

Link Baiting, or linkbaiting, is one of the waves of the future for SEO and SMO. Below are some things I really liked from

Link Baiting

The idea of link baiting is to create a piece of content which is centered on a set demand from a specific audience. Questions to ask yourself are:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • Why would they care?
  • Why would they want to share your ideas?

Some common link baiting techniques

  • Talk about a specific target audience.
  • Give people a way to feel important about themselves, someone they care about, or something they feel should be important.
  • Take recent events and scale them out to others in your community.
  • Be controversial.
  • Be complete thorough.

Mine, Mine, Mine!

  • People like to view themselves as being important.
    • Many bloggers search for links to their blogs on Technorati or Google Blog Search multiple times each day.
    • Calling out specific people, especially with humor.
    • People are more likely to believe and spread messages which reinforce their opinion.
  • Community involvement is important to help others identify with and feel ownership in your link bait.

Just Ask!

  • Ask for feedback from people who may be interested in helping you improve your idea or helping you market it.
    • Asking people for feedback can help others feel ownership in your idea, and is a way to pitch them on your idea without looking sleazy pitching it.
  • Some social news sites allow you to place voting buttons on your site. Do so on your most important ideas.
  • Have a friend or yourself submit your best ideas to the most authoritative and relevant social news sites.
    • Ensures your story has a title that is easy to vote for.
    • Ensures your story is submitted at an appropriate time.
    • If you do not do it soon after mentioning a story on your own site someone else may submit for you, using a dumb title or dumb post content.

Leverage, Leverage, Leverage
Use the connections you have.

  • Call in favors from people you helped in the past.
  • Incorporate community ideas into your idea.
  • Leverage friends and contacts via instant message and email.
  • Build accounts on social news sites:,, etc.