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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Google's Principles of Marketing Success

by Terry L. Brock

On September 15, 1997, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, a couple of really smart, energetic Stanford University PhD students, registered the domain, The past 10 years have not only been an outstanding business success but they have taught businesses how to market effectively in the digital age.

Hint: This is not your father’s Marketing Model.

In the 10 years since Google has been a company it has changed the very sinew of business and life today. When a company’s name becomes a verb, as in “I’ll Google that to see what it is,” we know it has permeated our lives and our society.

Here are some principles that you can blend into your business for success in the digital age. As you work with these, remember that having fun and making money are driving principles of Google and today’s Internet.

Provide Value For Free---Then Leverage It. In the Internet Age we’re oriented to getting lots of things for free. We need to get serious value for free, not just a bunch of junk that we can get anywhere. The traditional-minded marketer thinks this won’t work. Traditional-minded marketers think they should be paid for everything they do. They don’t understand the reality of Relationship Marketing and how you sow seeds before you reap a harvest. Google provides marvelous search capabilities for free. Then they provide ads that correlate to the searches. Sure, they are tracking what you type. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use Google. Permission-based marketing, as Seth Godin has told us, requires a strategy that doesn’t push stuff on people (think traditional advertising). Instead, it offers value in exchange for permission to stay in touch. Prospects reach out for the value offered and they provide, for instance, their legitimate name and a legitimate email address for future contact.

Not Just A Hunch, Real Serious Numbers. Too often in business we go with a “gut feeling” to make decisions. While it can be useful at times (think of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink) a hunch can often be wrong. As Gladwell tells us, the best hunches are based on fact and experience. We might think that the market wants blue widgets. However, seeing a report of what widgets people actually pay money for and take action to buy means a lot more. Google can consolidate these numbers and give us what we want. When you’re building a marketing campaign, you have to start with solid, real data before implementing a campaign. A hunch can be useful but only if backed up with lots of real, serious data for decision making. Tracking your ad words in Google on two similar ads can reveal a lot more about your advertising effectiveness than just a hunch.

Multiple Product Offerings.
Google provides a lot more than just search. Google provides not only search capabilities but it provides a host of other features. Google provides the ability to do math calculations, mapping, directions, provide alerts for specific terms when they appear in the press, and a host of other features. I love the Google Trends section that shows me what is happening in the world based on inquiries. Diversify in your business based on your core strengths, not just what looks nice. Track results and be the best in those categories where you offer products. Diversification and hedging are smart marketing moves in the age of the Internet.

Continued Innovation.
Marketing is changing as the needs, wants and desires of the marketplace change. Google is continually examining what will and won’t work. They are willing to risk time, money and effort to see what the market offers. While you’re offering your core products to the marketplace, continually be on the lookout for new areas of need. Filter it through the prism of what your market is ready, willing and able to buy. This is smart Relationship Marketing. You have limited resources, time being the greatest resource. Invest your resources in Relationship Marketing wisely.

“Cool” But Not “Cute.” In an effort to be seen as popular and knowledgeable of what is happening it would be easy to go too far and be seen as amateurish in your approach. Going too far the other direction makes your product boring and dull. Yes, it is a continuum and there are no definite answers. And yes, it is different for each business and each product. And yes, it is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make each day! Find ways to focus on buyers’ needs and what they want and you’ll be on the right track. Become a maniac about serving them. You’ll always be “cool” when your product is seen as a benefit by buyers. If you got too far into “cute” you can pull back---but remember the lesson for the future.

Happy Birthday, Google! It is the new company to model. It used to be Microsoft. Today it is Google (maybe Apple, also). We can learn a lot about running our own businesses by following these principles from Google. Who knows, perhaps 10 years from now I’ll be writing about you and your new company founded on new principles of success as the Internet changes! Prepare today for the changes and get ready for the fun!

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Study The Soil in Relationship Farming

Relationship Farming: Study The Soil Before Planting The Crop

By Terry L. Brock

Relationship Marketing, which I call Relationship Farming, involves a process that can help you operate your sales and marketing optimally. The principles of effective marketing are similar to effective farming and how a farmer begins the process which leads to harvest.

Study The Soil

Before the farmer plants the seeds, he has to study the soil. This means the farmer has to think hard before even sowing the seeds. The successful farmer discovers what types of crops grow best in certain kinds of soil. You don’t plant orange trees in Alaska and expect a great harvest. You don’t plant apples in Florida expecting a record yield. You have to sow the right kinds of seeds for the soil where you farm.

This principle applies to marketing. Successful marketers find what the market is asking for now. They do their research. What are current customers asking for that they are not getting? What are they getting that can be improved or tweaked? What new, innovative products could make it based on market demand?

This is particularly important today with all the low-cost marketing tools available. It is very easy---and inexpensive--- to get a Blog and/or Podcast going. However, producing the Blog or Podcast is the easy part. Marketing it is the tough part—and the most important part.

As a marketing coach I often hear people ask me how to get a Podcast or Blog going so they can “reach the world.” When I ask them what Podcasts they have listened to or what Blogs they have read they get that stunned look on their face. They often have never even listened to a Podcast, let alone follow a few over a few weeks to get a feel for what the Podcast world is like and what is already out there. They often don’t read Blogs and have little, if any, knowledge of what is already being done in the marketplace. Producing a Blog or Podcast without testing the market would be like a farmer planting seeds on what he “feels” the market wants versus diligent, proper study of existing conditions.

Much like a student working on her PhD, you have to study the literature first. Know what is already being done and said. This is studying the soil. Know what exists before you begin. Find the demand before producing your Blog or Podcast.

Once you know the “lay of the land” you’ll be much better able to market on the land. Get set up to listen to Podcasts. Listen to several over a few weeks to understand what is being done. Read several Blogs in your market to know what is available. Then find the holes. Find areas where there is a need and there is a market which is ready, willing and able to spend money for what you have. Yes, you might have to acquire some new skills. Yes, you might have to get some new products or add some new lines. But, after your skill development, you’ll know much more about what the market wants and can continue testing by planting seeds.

This “pre-planting” research is vital and ultimately saves you lots of time, money and effort.

Part of Relationship Farming is using the right tools. Here’s a great tool I discovered yesterday and have used it with very good results…

Actiontec MegaPlug AV 200 Adapter Kit

If you operate from a small office or home office, you probably need to connect your office computers. Connecting them through a network can leverage your ability to collaborate, share documents, share printers and other devices and boost your productivity.

Yesterday I finally got my router repaired thanks to Bryan, my tech advisor and assistant. Once he fixed my router, I asked him to install my new MegaPlug from Actiontec. The process was as easy as the company literature said. He plugged it in and it worked! This device connects computers around my condo not through cable strung all over the place, or even via Wi-Fi, which doesn’t work through some of the walls and buttresses here. It uses electrical outlets to connect to the Internet.

Two distinct benefits emerged immediately for us. One is that it really is easy. We literally plugged it in and it played. The second was the blazing speed we experienced consistently. We tested it at and discovered blazing speed at each location from the electrical outlets. I define blazing as the roughly 5.8 Mbps speed recorded. No wires strung all about. No security risk with Wi-Fi being tapped. No hassle. This is real nice!

This can be a solution for a home office which needs security, speed and ease of installation. Rather than spend $250 an hour for a technician to install and configure your network, a $169.99 investment for a starter 2-adapter kit MegaPlug AV 200 can get you up and running really fast.

(MegaPlug AV 200,Actiontec,, $169.99)
Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used without prior written permission.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Building Relationships Through Relationship Farming

By Terry L. Brock

Relationship Marketing is vital for your success in business. Successful people know that business is built on solid, mutually-beneficial, profitable relationships.

Relationship Marketing Is Relationship Farming

Establishing, building and maintaining positive, profitable relationships in business is very much like farming. Some say that business is war. They use analogies to combat, killing, beating the enemy, etc. I think that analogy is missing the point of what business is all about. War is about killing people and destroying things. Even if you win in war, you lose a lot.

Farming, on the other hand, is about creating and growing. It is about scientifically researching what is best. It is about studying the soil. Farming is about using the right tools to grow your crops. Farming is about being patiently persistent in doing the right things even if you don’t have immediate results. Harvest comes after a series of doing the right things in the right way. In framing you’re creating and providing necessary products. In war, you’re destroying and killing. I like farming better. Business is more like farming, Relationship Farming, than about combat or war.

That is what Relationship Marketing is all about. Look at successful people that you know in business. Most will agree that successful business is about carefully cultivating and nurturing relationships. I have yet to hear anyone say that success in business is about killing others and destroying things. Relationship Marketing is Relationship Farming.

Email For Relationship Farming

As a successful Relationship Farmer, you use many tools. One of these tools today is Email. Email is the most commonly used form of communication in business today worldwide. Used properly, you can get a better “harvest” employing Email as a tool for farming.

Learn to create short, valuable Email messages for maximum Relationship Farming. We’re inundated with email today. Now more than ever we want personal contact, R-Commerce, to connect with people. I remember when email was a novelty. We actually looked forward to getting an email message (imagine that!). I even remember there were days when I sighed around 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening that I had only received a couple of email messages that day.

My, how times have changed! Today businesspeople commonly complain about too much email. That’s why I’m suggesting an approach for Relationship Farming that works well. Carefully craft and mold creative, short (please!) email messages that are always valuable for the recipient.

Example of what doesn’t work--- “Hi Bob. Hey our new widgets are out and I wanted to let you know about them. In fact, they have a 50% discount if you act today…. Blah, blah, blah.” Even if YOU think Bob is interested in your product, you have to find out what HE is interested in having. This “force them to hear about me and my product” approach is more war-like than farming-like. It would be better to think like a Relationship Farmer and consider what needs to be done to yield the best harvest.

Example of what could work better--- “Hi Bob. I know you mentioned last time we talked that you thought about blue widgets for your marketing campaign this coming December. I just saw a new blue widget that is available and thought you might be interested. Here’s the link for more information. By the way, they said they can get you a 50% discount for early purchases by next Wednesday. No pressure, but let me know if I can be of assistance to you on this one. Hope that Mary and the kids are doing well.”

Notice the difference in tone between the two messages? The first is about me, me, me. The second focuses more on Bob and his needs. Guess what Bob is more interested in knowing about? Duh! This is not rocket science. However, this is farming. It is about cultivating and nurturing relationships over the long-term.

Think Relationship Farming For A Better Harvest

Email is just one tool that you, as a Relationship Farmer, can use to cultivate and nurture business relationships. As a farmer would not use a high-powered fire hose to water tender, growing crops, don’t come on too forcefully in selling. Apply gentle, nurturing, valuable assistance to your prospects and clients so they grow. The harvest could, and usually does, take a while. However, long your “season” for selling takes, the long-term Relationship Farming is about caring for people, helping them and creating a better harvest all around.

This is what R-(Relationship) Commerce is about. Relationship Farming requires work and persistent effort. But the yield at harvest time is well worth the effort.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission.

Friday, September 07, 2007

OmniPage and Relationship Marketing

Document Management Made Easier With OmniPage 16

By Terry L. Brock

A big part of Relationship Marketing is keeping track of important information for important people. By combining a sincere personal desire to stay in touch with people and what is important to them with the right tools and technologies, you gain a competitive advantage. One I just explored recently is OmniPage 16 from Nuance.

I’ve been using some very helpful document management tools from Nuance for quite a while. I didn’t think their tools could get much better since they did the things I wanted. However, they continue to amaze me with new versions and additions.

I recently tested the new OmniPage 16 and have to say that it is very impressive for keeping track of various documents. I tried the scanning feature with both my sheet fed scanner and scanner built into my printer. It took a little work initially and that techno-frustration was there for a while. However, after a few more mouse clicks and checking with the help files, I was able to get text from both a magazine article (ripped from the magazine) and a booklet (left in tact, but laid on my printer’s scanning tray). The software scanned the text in the article, recognized graphics on the pages and gave me the ability to edit that text in my word processing package, Microsoft Word.

This feature has some great options for tracking and keeping up with people and what is important to them. You can file the converted document as a Word document, Rich Text Format, several standard graphic formats (including JPG and PDF) and a host of others.

One of the more relevant and new features in OmniPage Professional is the ability to scan text from a picture you took with your digital camera. It brings to mind images of a 1960’s spy TV show. You can take a picture of a page in a book or magazine, then import that JPG into OmniPage Professional. From there you can convert it into text for further editing. My mind races with the devious possibilities!! (Just kidding!)

New features include the ability to turn text into speech. I had to try repeatedly to get it to work, but eventually the program was able to read back a line at a time of text in fairly reasonable speech (not sounding like a mechanical robot). This can be a big help for sharing your work with sight-impaired or blind colleagues.

You can also use the program for completing forms. OmniPage now scans forms and gives you the ability to complete forms and transfer data.

The program has what is calls, “Help Guides” which are fair. I’d love to see some Camtasia-like videos, which are available with many other programs, describing how to perform certain functions. This would save a lot of grief for users of the product and undoubtedly reduce the drain on Nuance resources in their customer support area.

Overall, this is a good product. If you go with the Professional version, you get PDF Creator and PaperPort, two must-have office tools for me. This one package would give most of the tools that most office workers need. Is it perfect? Not quite yet. However, it is one of my must-have products to increase productivity and connect better and faster for Relationship Marketing.

(OmniPage Professional and Standard, $499, $149 respectively.

Organizing For Relationship Marketing

Using a scanner and a product like OmniPage 16 gives you the ability to scan articles from magazines, pages from books and more. You can send these to prospects and clients with a “Thought you would find this valuable” note. Much like good relationship marketers have done for years in sending key items of interest to their network, you can update the process with a tool like OmniPage.

Using a tool like this allows you to scan, say, a magazine article that you found really helpful and then send it to several people who would find it of interest. Be sure to check with legal counsel to avoid violating any copyright agreements, but you can accomplish a lot with this that you couldn’t otherwise.

(By the way, here is a video where I share about another Nuance product called PaperPort which works hand-in-hand with OmniPage. You can also discover other tools that can help you with Relationship Marketing and R-Commerce. Check out this video!)

Not only can you send the article by e-mail, but OmniPage lets you use a process called FTP (File Transport Protocol) to send it to a website for many to view. You’d put the article on a website and then send a reference to people to view it.

Keeping track of important documents is a vital part of Relationship Marketing. You gain credibility points when you’re organized, can access the right document at the right time and be impressive with prospects and clients.

This is a good tool to consider for the mobile professional today. Yes, it will take a little time to master all the possibilities of a product like OmniPage but the rewards can pay off richly with an organized office, computer and enhanced Relationship Marketing.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission