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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Marketing in Today’s Net-Savvy Connected World

By Terry L. Brock

Ah, for the good ole’ days of yore. You remember what it was like don’t you? Long ago when you could buy ads on the local TV station, radio station or in the newspaper. You had a sale at your hardware store, you put together some ads and pushed the information out to the public.

Since they only had a few TV stations to watch, one newspaper and only a few radio stations, you could be pretty sure that if you had good prices, good ads and were open for business you’d get some business.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

The consumer is in control today and has more choices. They are not limited to just a few measly stations, a couple of radio stations and one newspaper. Your customer today has access to about a gazillion cable TV channels (that was the last accurate number I saw!), radio on the Internet, TV and video choices on the Internet, Podcasts, Video Podcasts, e-mail marketing, magazines for every special interest you can imagine and a host of Internet sites being launched every day. We’re way beyond the inundation of information we talked about a few years ago. We’re already drowning in the middle of the ocean with hurricane-force winds hitting us daily.

Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg talk about this in their book, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark? Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing. Today’s customer has to put up not just two crossed fingers but they’re hiding their eyes, shielding their ears, and avoiding you and everyone else.

I have to chuckle as I see clients coming to me and asking first how to get their message out to everyone with a blast e-mail, then five minutes later complaining that they are getting too much e-mail themselves. Think about it! You want everyone to be enthralled with your stuff, but you don’t want to see anything else?

So, how do you break through all the clutter out there? You start by recognizing where your customer is. We’re all bobbing up and down in that ocean, hurricane-force winds knocking us about and we want out. If a luxury cruise ship came along and gave us a warm, dry shelter that was safe, we’d be eternally grateful. You and your company have to be that warm, dry shelter that is safe in the hurricane.

This is what your customers want. They want a place to go and purchase the items they want, when they want them. They also want to interact with real people, not a canned voice mail message or automated e-mail.

Did you see that Cyworld launched in the US? What is Cyworld you ask? It is a Korean-developed website that provides community and interaction. On it members (who sign up for free) get to know others who have similar interests. is similar to that and has been around for a while. Users find a community, an online tribe where they get to know others.

In the midst of all the techno-babble and e-this and e-that, we want a human connection with people. I say it is not about the E-Commerce (The Electronics), it is about the R-Commerce (The Relationships). We want to be with people that are like us, who share similar interests.

This is really a matter of the Net and technology merely conforming to human nature. You can’t rely on the gizmos and gadgets.

Business today is more than just about transactions---even with transactions. You influence not just this one person. Every person walking into your “store” has the ability to e-mail lots of people who then e-mail lots of people, who are connected on a, Friendster,,, Google Groups, My Yahoo or other sites.

But how can you monetize this? Advertising is a big part of it. Targeted, requested, desired advertising. In the past it was push marketing. Today the consumer is in charge and demands certain things when she wants it at the price she wants. Because she has access to sites like,, nexttapg, and others, she can find the best price TODAY and get it.

Oh, and if she doesn’t like it, she can quickly jump on a site and say “This one sucks” and immediately thousands---even millions--- of others are going to say, “Gee, I heard that the blue widgets are really bad at XYZ store” and people avoid it in droves.

Right now a lot of the social networking online sites focus on 18-25 year olds. The technology exists and, like e-mail, fax, video and other technologies before, it is a precursor to what will be embraced by business communities soon.

What can you do? Here are a few steps:

1. Become a trusted source of valuable information. Work like crazy to keep up on what people are saying about you.

2. Find out the real buzz on the street. Learn about the difference between the one angry person who is mouthing off and the tidal wave of bad press that could wreck havoc.

3. Provide value for free to get people in the door. Move them slowly up the ladder of “getting to know you.” Like building a romantic relationship you have to gradually build trust.

This is only the beginning. Marketing is different than before but still embraces tried-and-true concepts that have worked for years. Be the safe cruise ship in an ocean rocked with hurricane-force winds. Your customers will love you!

Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

5 Powerful Technologies To Build Relationships

By Terry Brock

For a long time I’ve been saying that success in business is not about the E-Commerce (The Electronics), but it is about the R-Commerce (The Relationships). We can buy all the fancy, new-fangled technology we want to try and reach more customers. However, what matters most for success in business, is not the tools we have but the quality relationships we nurture. Successful people emphasize establishing, building and maintaining relationships.

Towards that end, here are some select tools that you’ll want to bring around you to build relationships more. These five tools are available today and they can help boost your relationships.

1. A Good, Working Contact Management System. You want a system that handles important dates (calendar), e-mail messages (communication is vital in relationships), keeps track of important information regarding contacts (address book) and more. There are several good software packages that can assist you. Some of these include ACT!, Goldmine, Maximizer, Microsoft Outlook and others. I use Outlook with the MS Office Suite and it allows me to keep details on contacts that are important, track dates that are important, measure results and more. I integrate Word, Excel and PowerPoint as different tools to help bring more possibilities to relationships.

2. Video E-Mail This is a breakthrough that is now possible due to a couple of factors. One is that more people are using hi-speed access to the Net making video possible. The other is that video tools are now easier than ever. Watch the video that accompanies this article (see reference at end) and you’ll see an example of one that I use to send quick, easy video e-mail messages. With video you can communicate more information faster and easier than with e-mail alone. Think about it---you can talk faster than you can type. Also, with video, you have voice and moving pictures to communicate and enhance relationships much more than with print alone. Sure, we’ll continue to use e-mail, but V-Mail is a tool that can seriously help you in communicating and building relationships.

3. Audio E-Mail As video helps to communicate more than just typed text, audio can often communicate more feeling and emotion. You can use some simple, easy audio editing software to create a sound file that you attach to an e-mail. A short, 30-60 second audio message can help to clarify your message. Ever get an e-mail that is misunderstood because of text alone? Audio can enhance the communication and clear up questions. Combine that with two or more voices and you take communication---and relationship building--- to a much deeper and longer-lasting dimension.

4. Handwritten Notes You ask, “I thought we were talking about technology? “ Yes, this is a tool and that is what a technology is. Don’t be deceived thinking that anything that is effective must have electronics attached to it. Remember, it is not about the Electronics, the E-Commerce---it is about the Relationships, the R-Commerce. I never cease to be amazed at the power of a handwritten letter or note to let someone know you care. In an age of e-commerce, e-banking, e-travel and too much e-everything, a simple, handwritten note saying thank you can have a much greater positive impact to build relationships than an avalanche of e-mail messages.

5. Handheld Computer/Smartphone/PDA Keeping in touch with people is paramount. You also need to keep your schedule, commitments and other items available regularly. A small handheld computer can help you with this. Today we have Smartphones that combine a cell or mobile phone with your calendar, voice recorder, video and audio playback device and address book. Watch the video that accompanies this article (see reference at end) to see an example of what I’m using and how it can help you. One of these devices can prompt you for upcoming meetings (using an alarm to prompt you, say, 1 hour before that important meeting). It can be a lifesaver to check out information on the Net and check important e-mail messages.

All of these technologies and many others are great tools for establishing, building and maintaining relationships. Remember that they are good tools but the emphasis must be on helping people that are important for you in your business. No, we can’t be in touch with all the important people in our lives all the time. That is not possible. However, you can use tools like your contact management system to stay in touch with a great number of people much easier than with a paper and pen system. I find that usually it is a combination of the old paper and pen system with an updated Smartphone, for instance, that provides the ideal, integrated system.

Remember also that your system will be unique to you. What works for one person might be counterproductive to another. You’ve got to find what works best for you in your situation.

Also remember that systems are living, integrated processes. They are constantly evolving and changing as 1) we find what works and what doesn’t work for us and 2) new technologies emerge that provide better solutions. Have the mindset to continually test and embrace those tools that help you achieve your overall goals.

With the right combination of tools and technologies you can achieve your overall goals of establishing, building and maintaining relationships better than ever. E-Commerce is nice, but the R-Commerce is what lasts.

To see the video that accompanies this article, and see some of these tools and how they work go to: .


Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Passion Of Mel Gibson – And Your Business

By Terry L. Brock

Recently we saw the news item of how Mel Gibson, the successful Hollywood actor, was arrested for drunk driving. This alone is not good (or, sadly unusual for celebrities). However, what has created a hailstorm in the media and a PR debacle for Mel Gibson is the alleged ethnic and racial slurs made by the actor against Jews during his arrest.

I won’t even comment on how despicable it is for someone to make racial slurs and how contemptible it is for someone in the public light to disparage those of a different race or ethnicity. Most reasonable people today find such behavior deplorable and rightly so. However, I find it interesting that the person who produced a movie about “The Passion of Christ” and claims to be a Christian would harbor such feelings towards other human beings.

OK, so I wasn’t there when Mr. Gibson was arrested and don’t know exactly what he said. From all indications it seems that the Los Angeles Police Department handled the matter professionally and fully in the scope of the law. Yet, I have to step back and wonder what would have prompted Mr. Gibson to feel he needed to engage in the whole tirade he initiated. I’m sure today he wishes he had stayed home and watched a movie rather than getting out and driving that evening.

First, driving under the influence is irresponsible and even criminal. This is serious stuff to get behind the wheel after being “too well served.” Hey, I enjoy an adult beverage from time and time and even enjoy being “too well served” myself occasionally. However, I make sure to not get behind the wheel in those cases where the beverages flowed a bit too much. This is only reasonable. Why didn’t Mel Gibson just get a taxi or call a friend for a ride home?

Then to utter what he did, while under the influence, indicates something deeper about him---and has ramifications for you and me in running our businesses. I love going to Japan where they enjoy sake among other adult beverages The Japanese often want to see potential business partners being “too well served” to find out the real substance of a person. Somehow when inhibitions are let down, small traits about a person emerge that would otherwise remain comfortably hidden behind a veneer of professionalism.

It has long been said that when someone is under pressure their true nature emerges. Robert Ringer said years ago that you can tell a lot about someone when they owe you money. Do they wait till the last minute or delay and delay? I think you can also find out a lot about a person’s character in the way they treat the wait staff at a restaurant.

When someone is under pressure often you find out what their true nature is. Do they blame others (a common trait in today’s “victim-mentality” world) for what is happening? Do they admit they made a mistake and make restitution where possible to rectify the situation (doing the right thing)? A quick admission of wrong and equally rapid attempts to compensate for the wrong mean a lot and also show the character of a person who, like all of us, messes up from time to time. It is not so much a problem to make the mistake. The bigger concern is how it is handled and why it happened in the first place

Mel Gibson has done an admirable job of apologizing and from all accounts his reactions are sincere. I admire that in the man. He is taking further steps to redeem himself, and this is commendable.

However, words, once spoken are out there forever. In the age of the Internet, we know the damage a hastily-conceived e-mail reply can create. Often it is best to wait a while before hitting that “Send” button. Perhaps it is wise often to save the message as a document and send later after more calm reflection and contemplation.

So how does this reflect on your business? Plenty. In an age of instant communication, blogging, podcasts and an all-knowing public, you have to be very careful of the words you speak. These come from attitudes you harbor. The old “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” mentality is extremely dangerous. You better plan for how you’ll handle various situations in advance. Part of that planning is to ensure that you don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re likely to cause harm (order the taxi instead of driving after being “too well served”). Have someone with you to help out if you say something that would not be appropriate.

But, at the core, why not examine your innermost thoughts and attitudes about others? Perhaps there is some latent ill-will or feelings towards another that could cause harm. How we react in a crisis springs from the preparation we undertake way before the event occurs.

I wish Mr. Gibson the best in this situation. I’ve enjoyed many of his films before and plan to enjoy more in the future. Even better, perhaps his experience will help others to be more careful about certain kinds of actions and words.

For your company, it is not only wise from a legal point of view but from a marketing point of view to make it clear you do not tolerate racial or ethnic slurs. This doesn’t make sense in marketing alone as you can alienate potential customers. Always striving to find the best in people is not only a good principle for living but it makes good business and marketing sense.

As Harvey Mackay has told us, “Little things mean a lot? Not true. Little things mean everything.” The little things can make or break you. One too many drinks can ruin a good reputation. Be careful not only of drinking and driving but drinking and talking---too much!


Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.