The Strategist

Today's Top 5

As outlandish as the above headline may sound – it's possible to purchase thousands of dollars in profit each and every year – for a one-time investment of $500 or less.

Try to make it real easy for first-time customers to buy from you. You don’t have to sell new customers on the whole package or deluxe version of your product or service. Instead, offer something as an introductory level purchase.

Advertising gives you total control of your message and allows you to deliver it in a way that captures attention, interest, curiosity and response. Effective advertising is the engine that powers many successful businesses.

Whatever helps you stay positive is what you need to do first thing each morning…and whenever you find yourself getting off track. Negative messages may be all around, but you don’t have to be adversely affected by them.

Look for opportunities to add additional products, services, packages or expertise in addition to that which you currently offer. Electronics and appliance retailers offer extended warranties as an extra option.

April 22, 2014

It’s amazing how powerful numbers can be. And that’s particularly true when you’re using them in your small business. I use numbers to manage all of my marketing – and of course the marketing I do for others. Numbers make it possible for me to measure the marketing I do. And because I can measure – I can manage. Trust me – this is no small thing. It is in fact the Holy Grail of managing your own marketing.

Here’s a powerful example of what I’m talking about. It’s a non-marketing example, but I promise a big payoff if you continue reading this email to the very end. Plus an opportunity to attend a special “Magic Numbers” seminar for FREE.

For the past 20 years or so, I have been actively involved in a self-directed retirement fund. I’ve always liked the excitement of investing. And I figured that no one would take as much interest in my financial future as I would.

The problem I had initially was that I didn’t totally understand the magic of numbers. And because I didn’t understand, I lost a lot of money in the market. In fact, I lost so much so quickly that I was ready to call it quits and turn the whole process over to a broker.

Then one day I came across a single equation based on two readily available numbers that changed my investing process and the results I was getting.

Now let me now stop here for a moment and give you a warning. I’m not an investment expert. I’m not a licensed broker. And what I’m about to tell you should not be considered financial advice nor should you consider using it for your own investing. I’m just sharing a story with you to make a point.

Anyway, for a good five years, I tried everything I could to figure out what a stock should be selling for. I guessed if I knew the real value of a company, I would know when it was cheap enough to buy; and I would know when it was rich enough to sell.

I also knew that I didn’t have time to watch a company very closely. I certainly didn’t have time to walk factory floors, interview management, and keep track of a company’s competitors. I’m a marketing consultant – I’m not Warren Buffet.

But I was smart enough to understand that I had to have some idea of individual stock values or I had no business buying or selling.

Here’s what I came up with. I reasoned that when it comes to returns, a 10-year Treasury bill was about as close to a sure thing as you can get. At the time, T-bills were yielding about 4 percent. So I reasoned that if I took the earnings of a company as expressed in a single share of stock and divided those earnings by the Treasury bill yield I would come up with the intrinsic value of that share expressed as “a sure thing”.

Let me work through an example here to show you exactly what I’m saying.

Let’s say that Home Depot is selling for $77 a share, and that its trailing earnings for the past 12 months are $3.76 a share. Assuming a 4% yield on a 10-year Treasury bill – the value of Home Depot would be $3.76/. 04 = $94. Since Home Depot is selling for $77 a share and it’s “worth” $94 – the shares are under valued. So in theory it would be safe to buy.

Now let’s do the equation again. But this time let’s says the 12-month trailing earnings are $1.77. Again assuming a treasury yield of 4% - the value of Home Depot would be $1.77/. 04 = $44.25. Since Home Depot is selling for $77 – the share is overvalued and I don’t buy.

So, in theory, using one simple calculation, I can make an “educated” guess as to whether I should buy or sell Home Depot.

Now you may be asking yourself – what does all this have to do with marketing? Well, for about two hours on Thurs., June 12th at 7PM, I can show you how to buy advertising, how to figure ROI’s on your advertising, and how to tell what your advertising is going to produce before you spend a single cent. In short, I will show you at least a dozen ways you can use numbers and simple equations, like the one above, to boost sales and profits, cut expenses, and measure just about everything in your small business. And I’ll do it all for FREE.

Let me assure you here and now that nothing will be sold in this seminar. NOTHING. Let me also tell you that there are only 24 seats available. And nine of those are already spoken for. So if you have an interest, put the word “Yes” in your subject line and reply to this email today.

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April 16, 2014

Somewhere along the line I discovered that marketing is a math problem.

What I mean by that is that everything about marketing that really means anything is always some kind of a calculated number.  For example, do you know what the lifetime value of a customer is in your business? That’s a number - and it’s always expressed in dollars.

Do you know what it cost you to acquire that same customer? That's is another number - again expressed in dollars. And when you compare this number with the lifetime value number you’re able to tell how long it will take to recover your investment in the acquisition of that customer and also how much money that customer will ultimately bring you after subtracting the cost of acquisition.

Do you know how much it costs you to get a lead? Do you know how many leads you need to get before you secure a customer? The answer to that last question is expressed as a percentage and represents your closing ratio.

Some businesses are totally on top of these numbers. But most are not. Many are familiar with some numbers and not so familiar with others.

No matter where you fall in those groups, I’d like to invite you a very special seminar on June 12th at 7PM in Camp Hill.  For two brief hours, I’ll show you how to create numbers that will boost sales and profits, cut expenses, and measure just about everything that matters in your marketing program.  I’ll show you numbers you probably know about and others you may have never heard of.  And I’ll try to entertain you every step of the way. And, when I’m done I’ll even give you a free handbook that I promise will help you tame all the marketing numbers in your business forever.

If you’d like to attend, simply reply to this email with the word “yes” as your subject line and I’ll register you for the seminar. There is no charge for the seminar and nothing will be sold. Moreover, there’s no obligation at all except for showing up.

But I should tell you that seating is very limited – only 24 registrants can be accommodated. And registration is mandatory for attending.

So if you have an interest, please let me know right away. Again, a simple “Yes” or “No” in the subject lone of your email reply will be sufficient.

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April 1, 2014

"It is not sufficiently recognized - especially by the critics of advertising - that romance in its broad sense is the most wanted product in the world." - James Webb Young

The most wanted product in the world? Yes. It's what we really see when we look at Jaguar automobiles, a fragrance from Giorgio Armani, or a fashion from Ralph Lauren. To be sure, we don't really need $100,000 sports cars, $1,000 fragrances, or $5,000 gowns. We only "need" enough food and water to sustain us, shelter from the elements, a few essential items of clothing, and perhaps some basic transportation.

Ah, but what we "want" is something entirely different. We want better heath, more comfort, more money, more leisure, greater popularity, pride of accomplishment, improved appearance, business advancement, security in old age, social advancement, praise from others, and most importantly LOVE.

The job of the salesman and the advertiser, alike, is to lift his product out of the doldrums of the commonplace and into the realm of the dream world. We do not sell houses; we sell homes. We do not sell shoes; we sell foot comfort. We do not sell cosmetics, but sell the beauty that cosmetics enhance. " - Henry Huff

In deed, we often use cold hard facts to rationalize our purchases. But at the end of the day, we buy with emotion. We may need very little - but we want what we want!

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March 11, 2014

Are you a gambler?

Do you like to risk your money on hot stocks, hot horses, or hot marketing techniques?

When you do gamble, do you like to win or lose? If you're like me, you probably prefer to win. Although, as far as I know, we generally don't get to pick the outcome.

Admit it, you don't know if a horse is going to win, a stock is going to go up, or a marketing technique is going to produce a profit. Moreover, there is no way you can know. Except with marketing.

Yes, it is possible for you to predict the future with a high degreee of accuracy when it comes to marketing. All you have to do is test.

One "headline" against another.
One "offer" against another.
One "price" against another.

And with the internet, you can test one variable this morning and get your answer within the hour.

I know. You've heard all of this before. Maybe a thousand times. But, do you honestly test before you spend in a big way? HONESTLY?

You may think that testing is not worth the effort. Then consider this.

I've seen one headline produce 20 times more sales than another headline - where the body copy stayed the same.

I once changed an opening line in a radio spot that had never made money - and instantly tranformed it into a spot that produced $5,000 a week in profits.

I once changed one word in a pay per click ad and watched click-through rates go up 1000%.

Note that in all these cases the price of the advertising stayed the same. But the ROI in every case went through the roof.

Look, there's not a whole lot you can do about the cost of media or printing, or postage. But often with a simple test, you can leverage your investment in media by a multiple of two or ten or fifty - just by testing one key variable against another.

Of course, what you're really doing is "asking" your prospects what "they" prefer. Why guess when you can "know".

So stop guessing. Stop "betting the farm" and take the the time to test. You'll be amazed at the results you get. And then, if you absolutely insist on losing, you can always put your profits on a fast horse.

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March 1, 2014

[I was looking through some old Strategist's this morning and I found
this little gem from a couple of years ago. I think it's worth sharing a second time.]

The U.S. based spirits distiller Heublein manufactures Smirnoff Vodka, and sells
it in 142 countries worldwide. Indeed, for a very long time, Smirnoff has held
the crown as the best selling vodka in the world.

So what do you if you’re a relative newcomer to the U.S. vodka market? How does
a little guy take on the Goliath of vodkas in a marketing competition? Really,
it was easy as putting two simple words on the label.

I’ll tell you what those two words are in a moment. But first a little history.

At the height of the cold war, an exchange deal was brokered between the Pepsi
Cola Company and the Russian government. The Russian people got Pepsi Cola.
And we got Stolichnaya Vodka.

So all of a sudden, Russian produced vodka was available in the U.S. for the
very first time. And by now you may have guessed those two words that Stoli (as
my drinking friends like to call it) used to put their spirit on the map - "Russian Vodka".

You see, the Smirnoff brand as you know it is still distilled and bottled in
North America. And as any bar regular can tell you – Vodka is or at least
should be made in Russia.

So in Stoli’s ads it was simply pointed out that Smirnoff was produced in
Connecticut while Stoli was produced in St Petersburg. The ads went on to say
that if you want real vodka, the only source is Russia. Compelling and brilliant.

Now I’d like to tell you that within months, Stoli became the leading brand of
Vodka in the U. S. But the truth is, Smirnoff still holds on to that crown.
What I can tell you is that Stoli went from a small boutique brand that hardly
anyone outside of Russia knew about - to the brand of choice for those smug
sophisticates who always make their buying decisions on a good inside story and
a premium taste. And it also made a ton of money in the process.

As an aside, it also made it possible for a dozen other vodkas like Absolut,
Popov, Ketel One, and Vox to come out of the dark and stake their claim to the
U.S. spirits market. In fact, it may have accidentally created what is now
become the premium market for spirits.

Of course if Heublein had been smarter they would have simply challenged those
premium upstarts to a taste test.

In a recent comparison sponsored by Business Week magazine, a group of regular
vodka drinkers who are devoted to the same brand were given a blind taste test
that included all of the premium brands mentioned plus Smirnoff. The results:
not one of the experts could repeatedly choose their brand over any of the
others. In fact, an $8 bottle of regular Smirnoff was chosen as often as the
brands with a special pedigree - including a few that sell for as much as $60 a

But just to be safe, Heublein now produces Smirnoff in Connecticut and in a
Russian distillery in St Petersburg.

The great advertising genius David Ogilvy was once asked whether the brand of
scotch whiskey he advertised, Chivas Regal, really tasted better than the
competition. He was said to reply, “Don’t make me laugh. What you’re tasting
is the marketing.”

And what about your brand? Whether you’re selling vodka, consulting services,
bath towels or coffee - you may think that competing against a Goliath is truly
a mission impossible. But I’m guessing that if you look long and hard, there is
at least one distinctive thing about your product or service that you can shine
a light on. And by doing so, you can lay claim to a position that the
competition is not even thinking about.

Now I’ll drink to that…

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