Ray Kroc & Wisdom from McDonald’s

I recently finished an interesting book and wanted to pass it along to other business owners as a suggested read. The book is titled “Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s” and it’s the autobiography of Ray Kroc, the entrepreneurial legend who brought McDonald’s to the world.

Published in 1977, seven years before Ray died, Grinding It Out is an insightful look at a true salesman and entrepreneur, in his own words.

You may not realize it, but Ray Kroc’s success with McDonald’s didn’t happen until his mid-fifties and in his own words Ray said, “I was 52 years old. I had diabetes and incipient arthritis. I had lost my gall bladder and most of my thyroid gland in earlier campaigns, but I was convinced that the best was ahead of me.”

The other thing you might not know is that Ray Kroc did not start McDonald’s, the McDonald brothers of San Bernardino, CA did.   Dick and Mac McDonald founded the first McDonald’s restaurant and when Ray discovered it, he saw gold and formed a business relationship with the two brothers. For a number of reasons, the relationship did not last long.

According to Ray, “The McDonald brothers were simply not on my wavelength at all. I was obsessed with the idea of making McDonald’s the biggest and the best. They were content with what they had; they didn’t want to be bothered with more risks and more demands.”

The rest, as they say, is history, with Ray growing McDonald’s into an international, multi-billion dollar empire.

Regardless of your opinion on the quality of McDonald’s fare, a study of Ray Kroc, his thinking process, his appreciation and insistence on developing systems and his deep concern and focus on the customer […]

Marketing Context is Critical for Maximum Results

One of the principles of marketing I constantly remind people about is the importance of appropriate marketing context.

The term “context” means the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, scenario, etc. and for this article, what I mean by marketing context is the appropriateness and sensibility of a particular marketing message delivered to a particular target in a particular way.

Dan Kennedy preaches the importance of the MESSAGE-MARKET-MEDIA pyramid and his simple communication model is a fundamental model for all business owners.  The right message to the right person via the right media is a recipe for success and chances are you’ve heard this before, but what you might not have considered is the critical importance of marketing context.

Marketing context considers who you are communicating with and how you should be communicating with them. For example, you should communicate with your current customers/clients/patients differently than you would communicate to a prospect.  When communicating with a customer, the context of your relationship allows you to be more informal and personal because of the existing relationship.

With a prospect, the relationship has yet to be created, so the context of the relationship is one of a “warm-up period”, where over time, you allow them to get to know, like and trust you.

You’ve probably heard marketing context compared to the dating experience.  Most people do not ask their spouse to marry them on the first date.  There is a courting period, an engagement period and finally marriage, yet many business owners market the same way to all their target audiences.

Let me share a specific example of marketing context and how it relates to day-to-day marketing.  My friend and expert-marketer, Bill Glazer, often shows one of […]

Fix Your Follow-Up Marketing

NO business is immune to it and I guarantee everybody reading these words is guilty of either inadequate, or worse, no follow-up marketing. Like a leaky bucket, poor follow-up marketing is draining your business of additional sales, profits and customer goodwill.

Over the years I’ve consulted with hundreds of business owners and every single one of them had follow-up marketing holes in their business and while I cannot condone them, I understand the reality of running a business.

The lack of proper follow-up marketing systems is an insidious problem and often ignored and overlooked, in lieu of “sexier” marketing initiatives. Most business owners typically focus on the efforts of driving new leads and prospects into their businesses to become customers and even though considerable time and money is spent, many of these business owners have embarrassingly inadequate follow-up marketing campaigns to convert these leads and prospects into customers.

Marketing-oriented business owners focus on acquisition and more, but often still fall short. These business owners try their best at staying in touch with customers, with various customer nurture marketing efforts like newsletters and broadcast emails, but if you peek under the hood of these businesses you will find the same follow-up marketing holes.

For the bricks and mortar business owner who relies on customers (or clients/students/patients) to walk through his or her business front door to buy products or services, properly designed follow-up marketing techniques and campaigns are critically important for these important reasons:

They differentiate your business from your competition.
They delight prospects and customers.
When automated they happen without you having to think about them.
They add more bottom-line profits to your business (by adding a few specific follow-up marketing campaigns you can convert more prospects into customers and create more […]

A Copywriting Headline to Help Overcome Procrastination

Being on the lookout (e.g. having your marketing radar always set to ON) for smart marketing you can modify and use in your own business is a worthy use of your time and attention.   If you’ve been reading my article posts over these past several years, you know I am constantly advising business owners to be on the lookout for smart marketing they can replicate in their own business.

Here is such an example of a simple, yet powerful copywriting headline worthy of your attention.

I found this print ad for The Stuttering Foundation and immediately thought the headline was a great one to add to my swipe file, since it goes to the core of a common human trait – that crosses ALL industries and niches – inertia and procrastination.

Unfortunately, none of our businesses are immune to our prospects and customers not doing what we ask them to do, even when it’s in their own best interest to respond or do something now.

Each of us has to be constantly motivating people towards the desired outcome and this particular headline does a good job of this because of its direct, no-nonsense message.

What I like so much about this ad’s headline is the ease of which ANYBODY can tweak and modify for their business. For example, with just a few seconds of thought I came up with these variations:

There are many ways to help your elderly parents. Doing nothing is not one of them!
There are many ways to lower your taxes. Doing nothing is not one of them!
There are many ways to reduce your business benefits expense. Doing nothing is not one of them!


You get the idea.

Now it’s your turn. Think of your own business, take this […]

5 Marketing Game Changers for Your Business

I cannot help myself, but I love talking to entrepreneurs and business owners. It tends to drive my kids nuts, especially when we’re at a new restaurant or store, but I cannot help myself. I find these conversations quite interesting and as you would expect from me, I usually start to asking the owner various marketing questions.

Unfortunately, many times I hit a wall where the owner expresses reluctance and staunch stubbornness to even consider trying something new in their marketing efforts. Running and marketing your business with blinders on is inefficient and detrimental to your bottom line. Now I’m not saying you need to pay attention to every shiny object that hits your email inbox, but being open to learning and trying new things is an inherent trait for successful entrepreneurs.

The challenge comes down to knowing where you should spend your time and money and in this article my intent is to showcase five marketing game changers you should thoughtfully consider for your business in 2015. These are not the sexiest strategies and there’s a 99% chance you’ve heard me preach about them in the past, but I’ve seen success after success with these strategies with my Private Client Group members and others I know, that you would be foolish not to spend quality time considering how to use them in 2015.

Each of these strategies can work for you. They can increase your level of influence. They can drive new prospects into your business. They can help you connect with your best customers and offer them the products and services they want, but only if you figure out a way to use them. So with that in mind, here are five key marketing strategies […]

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    Marketing Contest: Can You Identify These High Impact Marketing Strategies?

Marketing Contest: Can You Identify These High Impact Marketing Strategies?

In the past, I’ve shown several advertisements for the Jitterbug cell phone because their ads typically follow good direct response marketing laws and design techniques and this recent ad is no different.

This ad in particular, does two very smart things, which both represent powerful strategies for you and your business and rather than just share them, I want to get you thinking and seeing if you can figure out what they are.

Click on the above image to enlarge the ad so you can read it easier and see if you can figure out one or both of the key marketing strategies this ad showcases.

Three tips for those up to the challenge:

One of the strategies is something I talk about on a regular basis and is something every business owner should be doing with every one of their marketing campaigns.
The other strategy is an engagement technique.
And finally the two strategies are NOT design or layout strategies. So while this Jitterbug ad does a lot things right when it comes to making it readable and easy-on-the-eyes, these are not the techniques I want you to grasp from it.

I have two valuable prizes for the first two readers who correctly identify the two strategies. I will update this article later this week on Thursday and highlight the best suggestions from readers and give you the final answers (along with my analysis).

To play along, simply type in your answer(s) below and check back this Thursday.

Thursday Update and My Analysis:

First off, thank you to everybody who submitted their answers to this contest. There were a lot of smart insights and feedback on what makes this ad from Jitterbug so well done and worthy of your study.

However the two BIG […]

Take This Simple Direct Mail Test & Avoid Costly Mistakes

I will make a professional disclaimer right from the start – critiquing 99% of the direct mail that lands on my desk is like fishing out of a barrel – there’s really no challenge to it, because most of the direct mail being sent is so bad.

So the purpose of this article is not to illustrate my direct mail prowess, but instead offer you a simple, one-question direct mail test (and reminder of what NOT to do).

Ready for this simple direct mail test…?

Question: Does your direct mail look like this?

Answer: I sure hope not!!!

If your lead generation direct mail looks like the two samples above, please do yourself a big favor and STOP!

You will save yourself time, money and frustration.

And you will save the poor souls who have to now throw it, unopened, into their recycling bin.

Friend, if you read my blog articles and/or are a High Impact Marketing Club member, I’m guessing there’s a good chance you would never send out direct mail like this – ever. These two examples of Big Dumb Marketing (BDM) perfectly illustrate what’s so wrong with much of the marketing business owners attempt on a daily basis.

For background sake, these are mailings from local insurance agents asking me to call them to learn how to save money on my auto and home insurance (ironically I received them two days apart). I would love to know what the results of these mailings are, but since I highly doubt the local agents or the parent company track response, I will never know. But my guess is the results are pretty bad.

If you’re new to my personal brand of High Impact Marketing, let me share the top five reasons to NEVER, […]

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    Announcing an Elite Dan Kennedy Newsletter Added to the High Impact Marketing Club Benefits

Announcing an Elite Dan Kennedy Newsletter Added to the High Impact Marketing Club Benefits

I’m pleased to announce the addition of an exclusive Dan Kennedy newsletter, that is near and dear to my marketing heart, to the already impressive list of member benefits for my brand new High Impact Marketing Club!

The newsletter is one I have been a subscriber to since 2009 and it’s Dan Kennedy’s LOOK OVER MY SHOULDER copywriting newsletter.

In addition to Dan Kennedy’s laws and principles of copywriting for more than 10 years, I’ve had the good fortune of being asked by Dan himself to speak at three of his high-ticket workshops over the years, including one dedicated to the craft of professional copywriting (picture above).  I was also asked by Dan to contribute a chapter in his Ultimate Sales Letter book (4th edition) on the topic of copywriting cosmetics (click here to read article).

To say I am a fan and life-long student of Dan Kennedy copywriting is an understatement, which is why I am so pleased to be able to include his LOOK OVER MY SHOULDER as a member benefit.


LOOK OVER MY SHOULDER is a Dan Kennedy newsletter focused on the craft of writing direct response copy.  First published in 2004, Look Over My Shoulder is a behind the scenes look at how Dan creates copy for his clients.  He goes into great detail into the thought process and strategy for writing engaging copy.  As you probably know, Dan is known for creating some of the highest converting sales copy and helping others do the same thing.

His fees to write copy for clients often reach into six-figure budgets and there’s a GOOD reason for that.

His copy gets attention, converts that attention into response and makes his clients (and himself) big bucks!


Trump’s Viral Video Task – the Right Challenge?

The other night on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump assigned a task to the contestants to “develop a viral video” for the 83 year old Chock full o’ Nuts coffee company.

As soon as I heard the task, I said to my wife “That’s a ridiculous assignment” and then, much to her viewing dismay, I went into a mini rant about the state of current human behavior, how people keep themselves entertained and what viral video means to the average person.

Trump’s task was designed and delivered to tap into the notion of what a viral video is to the average show viewer. Think sad cats, talking dogs and singing cops (have you seen the recent video of the police officer from Dover, Delaware singing a Taylor Swift song and how much national exposure it has received?) Enough said.

A better assignment would have been – Go forth and create an attention-grabbing, fun marketing campaign to get 20-somethings to put down their Starbucks and try Chock full o’Nuts.

Maybe it would be a video, maybe not, but starting with the primary goal of “creating a viral video” is the wrong place to start and within a few seconds I was proven right as the two teams proceeded down the road you would expect them to go down with stupid, meaningless content.

For the average Main Street-type bricks and mortar business owner, the concept of viral marketing is often skewed and distorted by the seemingly daily media stories of sad cats getting 30 million video views and singing police officers.

In my opinion, the Celebrity Apprentice task requiring the teams to “create a viral video” further warps the concept, because it puts the cart before the horse.

For the most part, […]

Part 5 of 5: Infotail Automation = Business Acceleration!

In Part 1 of this five-part series introducing Infotail®, I described the concept of Infotail broadly and why it is an appropriate marketing platform for Main Street-type business owners.

In Part 2, we looked at the Infotail Customer Lifecycle and why it’s an appropriate goal for your business.

In Part 3, we looked at a collection of Infotail Tools.

In Part 4, we looked at Infotail Systems.

In this fifth and final part of the Infotail introduction series, I am going to wrap everything together and put the bow tie of marketing automation on it all!

Once you have the specific Infotail Tools and Systems set up for your business, the next step is to automate the systems so they happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year using a behavioral-based marketing automation platform like the Infotail Automation Platform. Behavior-based marketing means subsequent steps are determined by the action or inaction people take during your marketing and sales efforts.

True automation decreases your dependency on making sure employees do the right thing and frees you up from having to remember to do everything. For example,

Leads are being collected 24 hours a day, through various systems.
Personalized follow-up phone calls are being made without having to remind staff.
Customers are being thanked for their business 100% of the time!
Happy customer testimonials and reviews are being collected.

This is the essence of being an Infotailer!

Before we go further I want to clarify some “who is the who” language as it relates to which step the “who” is in.

Leads – are targeted individuals who have raised their hand and expressed interest in what you have to offer (via your lead generation tools) but have yet to visit, or have an […]

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