Archives for April 2009


Marketing movies… with real success in advertising

One of the best movies ever… especially if you own a business… or want better results from your advertising.

If you haven’t seen Crazy People with Dudley Moore and Darrel Hannah yet – get it!

I am on my… ahhhh…. 10th time through it by now.

Every time I watch it – I pick up on something new (ok – maybe just have a great laugh every time).

Dudley Moore stars as Emory Lesson, an advertising genius who ends up in an insane asylum.

What made him “crazy”?

Emory had enough of creating phony advertising and hypy garbage (none of that on the web now, is there?) and decides to create his own campaigns that tell… the truth.

Advertising with truth – what a concept!

Since sex sells, Emory crafts an explicit ad campaign consisting of unadorned sexuality… “Jaguar-For men who want hand-jobs from beautiful women they hardly know”

His colleagues take such great offense to the honesty in the ad – they decide he is now unfit and commit him to an asylum.

Undoubtedly, he fights it – but soon settles in to find a beautiful new friend Kathy (Daryl Hannah), and bunch of whacky misfits that are eerily comforting to his new home life.

Where it starts getting really good is when his ad agency accidentally runs a bunch of his “honest ads” and finds that consumers absolutely LOVE them – and buy the products being sold in droves.

Emory also finds that the crazy people are natural-born advertising geniuses… and a new business is born. Honest Ads being creating out of an insane asylum. And they are major hits. The ads hit home run after home run… and the laughs are great.  A few more ads in the movie…

“Metamucil- It helps you go to the toilet. If you don’t use it, you will get cancer and die.”

“Porsche-It’s a little too small to get laid in, but you get laid the minute you get out of it.”

“Come in Jamaica”

Needless to say – if you are in marketing and want to pick up an idea or two on creating more effective advertisements… watch this movie.

The truth behind it is real – people want honesty – and will buy when it is given to them.

My highest recommendation.

Pick up a copy and watch it soon – your bank account will thank you.


Simple tools for testing your marketing

Let’s talk about inexpensive ways to get to your buyers.

Are you leveraging community newspapers?

And yes, this does apply if you are in a business to business market. You just have to look at what papers and newsletters (print ones) are going out to your ideal target market.

But, if you are targeting consumers, have a look at these numbers:

Community newspapers reach:

  • 77% of affluent Canadians
  • 75% of women
  • 76% of parents
  • 75% of homeowners*

(Community Media Special Report 2008)

(This is from a study in Canada, but the numbers would be the same anywhere else who uses quality community newsletters).

Who reads them?

The most recent survey showed that 74 percent of Canadian adults read the last issue of their community paper. That figure was even higher in some provinces; in Saskatchewan it was a record 83 percent. The study also revealed that 76 percent of adults with household incomes over $75K are regular readers, as are most adults with a university education. 50 percent of the surveyed readers do not read any daily newspaper at all.

Think about this now.

If you target a higher income family that you cannot reach via email or newspapers, this is a potential goldmine. 74% of your ideal buyers read the community paper regularly. They earn more money, they are better educated, and they are looking for appropriate products and services (see the survey below for more details).

The best part?

The price of community newspapers! To get a quarter page ad – $50. Full page (with color) – $150. That gets you in front of thousands of targeted prospects (you can choose which community you advertise in by the average income in the community, choose communities that have a higher percentage of golfers, have more than average numbers of school aged children, or have a significant number of boomers and seniors.

All it takes is a little research on your part and you can tap into a very powerful source of potential buyers.

To add to that… community newspapers are filled with crappy advertising! Yours done right, using the information you pick up for free through the Total Package, and you can get some exceptional results.

Definitely worthy of some testing.

Right now, with the economy as it is, people are travelling less and spending more time at home, and in their yards. What better way to reach them than through a paper that 74% of them open every chance they get.

Try and get that through email!

One other inexpensive marketing tool at your disposal

The lowly flyer

What amazes me with these little unsung heroes of direct marketing is the sheer impact you can get with minimal dollars invested.

Here in Canada, we can send “unaddressed admail” to as many homes or businesses as we want for$0.11/per piece. So we can go to 1,000 businesses for $111.

Where else can you get that breadth of distribution? For that price?

Especially now that you can do geographic and demographic targeting of those businesses and individuals?

Thompson Rivers University received a 1.43% response rate to its latest flyer campaign! Higher than the industry average for addressed direct mail… at a fraction of the price.

“The sheer volume and ability to geo-target by postal code keeps my cost per inquiry low and, in general, helps to build brand awareness.” Thompson Rivers University

These days, you can also very selectively target who receives your flyers…

Let’s say, for instance, you want to target upper-class households in central Canada with an interest in golf?

Targeting like this is not only possible, but cost-effective because it eliminates unreceptive audiences.

Again, for $0.11/home.

There are firms that do this for little charge… and are a goldmine of great information for you.

Imagine the power you hold in your hands when you combine neighborhood community newspapers, combined with flyers.

You could be blanketing an entire community (or city) for very little money out of pocket.

You can select exactly the type of demographic you want reading it.

You can target their interests and hobbies.

And you can dominate your industry using little used techniques like this.

It doesn’t all have to be through email or in-house database work.

This is a VERY effective way to generate sales

and build your prospect database…

… using very targeted, very effective tools available at your disposal.

If you have recently used these types of tools, let me know. I would love to hear what you did, how it worked, and if you had used it to it’s fullest ability.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Trying times call for more interaction and help from you!

This post originally ran and was written for Clayton Makepeace’s Total Package Blog, which I contribute to every Friday.

You can find my column, Small Business Mastery, at


Productivity and profit with 2 simple steps

This is a big pet peeve of mine… and is something I am always trying to improve at.


It eats up your day and limits your income as an entrepreneur.

This may sounds simple, but the following is my best formula for getting $#@& done.

Step #1)

The night before, go through all your notes for your top 3 items to get done the next day (for now, focus on just those 3 things).  Look at what needs to be done.  The notes you have on the history of it.  The research you have done. Things you have read about it. Things you saw online, etc.

Book off 3 hours for tomorrow where you are completely without distraction.

Get completely immersed in the project to be done.

Just before bed, write out this statement…

“Subconscious mind… I need your help finding the easiest path to getting _____ fully completed tomorrow.  When I awake, please show me exactly what needs to be done, in what order, and with what resources.  I fully expect you to come to me with the answers I need. Thank you.”

Simple… yes.

Silly… no.

There are far too many research studies that support this method that I don’t need to list here.

It works!

At least try it.

Then go to bed.

Step #2)

Wake up.  Write down anything top of mind before going off and getting started with your day.

Set aside the next 3 hours – no distractions allowed!

Drink 2 glasses of water.

Go for a 20 or 30 minute walk (gets the blood flowing and the brain working).

When you get back, have something healthy for breakfast – a piece of fruit, a shake, something with some vitamins in it.

WARNING: do not check email until after this is done.

Get yourself a timer, or have a watch nearby.

Then fully immerse yourself in your project for 50 minutes. Do not sway from the course. Do not answer the phone. Do not check emails.  Just work on your project for 50 minutes.

Then take a 10 minute break away from your desk (again… no email, phone, or distractions)

Back at the desk and go through this again for another 50 minute block (if you have finished the one project, start another).

10 minute break.

50 minutes again.

Then stop.

You know what?

In those 3 hours, I am willing to bet you got more done than you did in the last 3 days, maybe even 3 weeks.

If you have to… do this 3 times a week offsite at a coffee shop, a book store, even the library.

This simple technique will easily allow you to get a TON of stuff done.

When you are in business for yourself, getting stuff done usually means you can make more money.

Which is the PERFECT reason to take this serious!



Massive Success Through Swearing

Never before has such foul language proved itself as a major business tool.

By now, I do hope you have heard of Gordon Ramsey, host of ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ and ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.

If not, I would highly suggest watching the ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ show sometime soon.

First, a WARNING: Thin-skinned folks need not tune in.

If you cannot handle foul language and incredibly abrasive personalities, do not watch Gordon’s show!

He is rude, loud, in-your-face, and LOVES swearing to get his point across (and everything is a point, so pretty well every sentence consists of swear words).

I am not going to go too much into Gordon’s past, but, rest assured, this ex-professional Scottish football player has a list of credentials that is long, and highly admirable.

He is now working on his 25th restaurant and many of them have multiple Michelin stars to their name (the most recognized and influential culinary ratings guide).  He has multiple best selling cookbooks, 4 television shows and a DVD series, to name a few.

The story line behind a kitchen nightmare

Gordon comes into restaurants that are almost ready to close their doors, for any one of multiple different reasons.  He has 1 week to turn the business around and make it a success.

He is a no-bull guy and when he starts, there is no stopping him.

Why is this important to you?

Because Gordon’s formula for a 7-day business turnaround is one that each and every one of us should pay close attention to.  If you are looking to increase your sales, the ideas below will help you see new ideas you have never thought of before.  If you are struggling in your business or cash flow… go through each step below and reconstruct your business from the ground up.

Step #1: Figure out what you are selling now.

Sounds basic … but is it really?  When Gordon first steps into one of the restaurants he is about to makeover, he sits down for a meal.

While he waits for the different dishes he ordered, he watches carefully for the way the staff works, the way they treat customers, and the way customers are enjoying (or not) the food.

When the food shows up, he is usually disgusted in what they are passing off as main course meals.

Also, the restaurants that he steps into are almost always seriously lacking enough customers to stay in business.

Step #2: Who is behind this disaster they call a restaurant?

This is where the real truth starts to come out.  He interviews the owners, the servers, the head chef and the kitchen staff.

Usually, he finds one or two of them passionate about the business, the rest of them are putting in time between paychecks.

Typically the ingredients are sub-par, the menu confusing with too many options, and the actual food being delivered not worthy of a roadside burger stand.

Step #3: Find out what the customers REALLY want

Rarely is it what is being delivered!

The first thing to be done – – ASK THEM.

Find out what is missing on the restaurant scene.

Find out what foods they want the most, or that they have a tough time finding.

Find out who the regulars are and what they want.

Find out which restaurants are doing best in your area ? then go in there to sample their food and service, always looking for ideas to improvise upon.

And, very important, if it is a seasonal business or location … make sure that the restaurant caters to those who live there year round! Those are the people who keep the restaurant open…
catering to one-time tourists is a sure-fire way to bankruptcy.

Step # 4: Find the signature dishes

Such a simple concept that so many businesses (in every possible niche) completely ignore.

What is the one dish that the head chef enjoys making the most?

Usually, Gordon finds out that the chef has an incredible signature plate that is not on the menu.  Why?  The owner is usually the problem.  As Gordon says, ‘owners should never write the menu… the head chef should be the one to design the menu’.

Step #5 – Simplify the menu and the number of choices

Too many choices leave people confused and lacking in direction.

It also over complicates what is required in the kitchen to deliver what was promised (resulting in inferior quality on all the plates).

The menu is typically cut in less than half and the customers are usually very happy about the change.

Also, a large portion is NOT a secret to restaurant success.
Smaller portions reduce waste, and keep customers coming back for more.

Step #6: Systems ARE the key to success

Once the new menu has been created, putting systems in place to ensure consistent (and fast) delivery is key.

Being able to double business in a week, without loss in quality or without increase wait times, is something Gordon does in every restaurant he walks into.

Step # 7: Feet on the street marketing

Last, now that everything is in place and the systems have been tested on a smaller scale, they get busy.

Getting the staff all geared up in uniforms, loaded up with their new signature dishes, they hit the street and let anyone and everyone try out the new menu choices.

Usually, an afternoon of that and they have enough curiosity built up to guarantee their first night’s dinner is packed with diners and hungry new customers.

The 7-step formula above sounds simple, but it consistently turns failing restaurants around in 1 single week.

The customers love the new choices (the ones they told you to start making), the staff become much more motivated to deliver consistent service, and the restaurant very quickly starts to make a profit.

Gordon usually revisits the restaurant after a month or two to see if they have held together all the new changes.

9 times out of 10 they have held it together, stuck with the changes, and are enjoying more money than they have experienced in years.

And yes, this does apply to your business too.

* Figure out exactly what you are selling now

* Who is behind your business? What do the customers see? What
do they think?

* Find out what the customers REALLY want

* Find your signature offer

* Simplify the number of choices

* Systems ARE the key to success

* Feet on the street marketing

Last, a few side lessons from Gordon:

It IS about the image you portray

Use only the finest ingredients in areas the customers enjoy

What is the passion ? Where did it come from ? Find a way
to bring it back

Don’t take it personally… take it seriously.

It’s about the story you give them to tell others

When you hire a professional to help… try listening to their
advice for a change (not that any customers who hire a copywriter
or marketing consultant would ever ignore the advice of an expert!)

What you hear most on the show: ?%^&#ing HELL!! (which he says every time he sees something that is destroying the business…
about every 32 seconds you will hear him say ?%^&#ing HELL!

My favorite Gordon quote:

‘It’s been a process over the period of a decade. However, for me the secret is to make sure the business is running to perfection, with or without me.
That’s a challenge. You need to master that, and make sure there are no discrepancies, with or without you being there. But it’s a tough card to play.’

To your success,

Troy White