Monthly Archives: February 2011

Nevada Business and Politics

Map of Nevada highlighting Storey County

Image via Wikipedia

More Snow on the way. Ski resorts are doing the happy dance and local retailers are just hoping the roads do get so bad that no one comes shopping.  Life in the Sierra’s can be interesting for business owners.
Of course the snow is fantastic for our tourist based economy and will do wonders for our avoidance of a drought in the Nevada Desert. So signs of hope again will creep into our economy.
But the Storm that I am most interested in today is not the snow, but the storm at the legislator over the “Sex Industry of Nevada”. Wow is this going to get interesting. Morally I have no problem with what Mr. Reid suggested, seems like a “Sex Industry” trade would put  a potential negative mark on our state. I know that when I moved here that my wife openly was concerned about raising her children in a state where “Sex Industry” was promoted. I also know how as an employer in the state I have had to answer the questions from future employees about the perceived ” abundant Sex industry” in Nevada and the family atmosphere concerns they had before accepting the job.
However if I can take the Moral issue and put it aside for just a few minutes, I find that I don’t, as a businessman, agree with MR. Reid. It is just not logical. The “Sex industry” in our state is a county regulated industry, which produces income, tourist attraction, and a non-illegal base for sexual activity. By telling Storey County that they have to shut down their thriving industry in order that the State can potentially profit from business movement to Nevada is a very weak campaign.
 A couple of thoughts here to consider:
1) If you do shut down the industry, and are successful in bringing in new companies because of it, they are not going to relocate to Storey County. So you end up creating blighted areas of the state that now must get assistance from the state to fund its activities because of lost revenue. Plus the now voided need for these activities are picked up by Pimps (Sexual entrepreneurs) and the industry hits the streets instead of the Cathouse. Nevada’s image will not improve anymore than if you had the show RENO911 eliminated from the cable stations.

2) Casino’s are already handicapped by the competitive indian casino action at our borders. One of the features that they have to stand apart from our neighbors is access to the “Sex Industry”. Nobody wants to say it but it does have influence. “What happens here stay here remember”.  Park your car along hwy 50 coming from Tahoe or HWY 395 coming from Reno for a day and watch how many limo’s are bringing clients down to MoundHouse to enjoy the Tourist activities.

3) Learn from California , I have not seen many industries stay away from California because they are the PORN capital of the world.  Or because you can pick up a hooker (Sexual worker) at any busy intersection in every Metro region of the state.  The Fact is that Business owners will move here for better tax structure, better living, great pools of employee to pull from and opportunity to grow business.  Show me one company that says it is because we are a more wholesome place to live and I will show you a company that is just trying to tell you no politely. They just don’t want to come and are using the Sex industry as their excuse to say no, because they know you will not have a good excuse to resell them on Nevada.
No I think we are better off leaving the industry alone and focusing on the other issues that will bring Big business to Nevada: 1( Larger Educated Employee Pool – Might want to start by funding the education system with teachers instead of Executives. 2) Opportunity to Grow, Develop better trade routes and communication networks that help Business grow globally from Nevada. 3) Taxes, well we already do that don’t we.
Anyhow that is just one mans opinion…What do you think?

Social Media + Traditional Media + Mobile

QR-coded-business-card

Mark 2011 on your calendar. This is the year that small business is able to leap over the hurdle of heavy box store competition and level the playing field in marketing.

Ok, small business still is not going to be able to own the newspaper of TV prime time slots with their budgets but in world where their influence has been diluted the small business owner and entrepreneur now have opportunities to capture prime real estate and market share like never before.

In todays Blog I want to discuss how small business can add simple steps in Social Media, Mobile Marketing and traditional media in order to drive their marketing campaigns to levels they have never before imagined possible.

Social Media is a scary process for most small business owners. They just don’t see how they can have enough time, or knowledge to share, to make this a worthy investment. Even though most of the social media world (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you tube, Manta etc…)  is a free service, I find that many small business owners still have stayed away because of time constraints.  I spoke with a business owner last night regarding the time it takes to run your social media campaigns and to stay connected with customers or future leads. He was amazed when I talked about 30 minutes a day of planned out routine and then just basic communications with customers throughout the day. He confessed he wasted more time than that daily in his office in small talk.

Truth is if a small business will commit to 30 minutes a day of content development for any of their channels, then properly link the social media together (Blog) the remainder of the Social media experience is communication with current or potential clients. And last I checked I have never found a business that did not have time to communicate with customers.

Now lets insert Mobile marketing with Social Media, this is where I will lose many small business owners. First as an owner you have to disengage from the notion that people like yourself don’t like to receive text messages or use their smart  phones for business.  Reality is that busy professionals are increasingly growing their use of mobile technology and now will do as much searching about your company by phone as they do on their home PC or office computer. The challenge is two-fold for you, one your current website is to graphic heavy for smart phones and customers have to wait through painful download times. the second is that you miss out on lead generation capabilities of cell phones by not capturing their phone number when they visit.

Mobile Technology allows you to eliminate both those obstacles. With the use of SMS or DSMS text marketing, and QR codes small businesses can now provide quicker data, and collect phone profiles fo potential customers. There are services now that even offer small business owners a mobile app for the i-phones, a mobile version of their website, that will download to all phones through cloud based software systems and allow you to build VIP Text clubs in order to continually text your best customers and drive additional buying cycles.

By adding both these technologies to your traditional direct mail or mass media buys, you have invited new consumers to engage with your company in multiple channels. This increases your success and increases ROI in marketing.  Imagine adding a short code or QR code to your next Direct Mail Post Card, this short code directs clients to your Facebook page for contest entry, and additional printable coupons for your business.  Your Direct Mail campaign now has three channels working at one time:

  1. Time sensitive offer of a Direct Mail post card – 40% off this weekend
  2. Mobile opt in program that offers them an immediate additional 10% coupon for one item
  3. A social media contest that drives fans and future sales. This is also shared with thousands of people who you would have never been introduced to for future potential sales.

Both the Mobile application and the Social Media come with built-in customer data base applications which will help future marketing at a very reduced investment. And I have not even mentioned how you can use E-blasts to do this same model with a smaller budget.

 Steps to get started:

  1. Start a Blog –  Small business owners must be content creators. A blog will feed your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn accounts with little work. A blog will also help you in ranking higher all the major search engines because you are providing content. If you need help find a local business which offers set-up services. Many markets have several business start-up s which have taken this new career path of social media marketing.  Some services offer basic start-up and will set you up with all the services and teach you how to run it yourself, others offer to do the entire marketing program for you.
  2. Find a local provider of short codes and QR codes – You will have choices for SMS, or DSMS text marketing systems, or locate a business which offers the text service with the mobile app and mobile web functions. (www.wcmobi.com)
  3. Plan a marketing campaign with your next traditional marketing program. Add all your Social media links and invite customers to follow you. Build a contest for new fans and provide additional discounts if they join your mobile marketing program.
  4. Collect Data and use your instincts in growing business moving forward.

Good luck and remember the best way to succeed is to start.

Marketing Lessons from Dennis Rodman

Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman 1995 - 1996 Season

Image via Wikipedia

I can’t believe I am actually going to write this, since I really could not stand the guy when he played, but the announcement today that he is a finalist for the basketball hall of fame inspired me.

Dennis Rodman – The NBA model of one Bad Man – is a marketing engine. He is in that rarefied air in athletics where the name becomes a brand and industry of its own.  One o the original BAd Boys of the Detroit Pistons, Dennis Rodman did not start of as anything special in marketing. He was a rather bland product if we keep this in marketing terms. He was incredible defender and rebounded for a team with many larger personalities and brand.  He played in a time where the world was being transformed by a rival in Micheal Jordan and legendary figures in Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were still fresh in everyone’s minds. Dennis Rodmans Brand had some serious competition for the limelight.  (Sounds a little like small business vs. Wal-Mart)  Most professional athletes in this position would be ok just being that role player of a brand, serving just their smaller marketplace and being happy about the little niche of customers they would receive as fans. But that does not seem to be what Dennis Rodman was all about. First came a romance with a Supermodel porn star, then a few Tattoos and Body Piercings. Soon to follow colored hair, hair slogans and a very public party and bash profile on all the networks. Dennis Rodman became the tabloid equivalent of Aliens are landing and the government is covering it. The world all of a sudden could not get enough of this Bad Boy, Turned Rock Star Turned Weird character, which by the way was killing it in the NBA as a Rebounder.

A Rebounder… thank about that for a minute, here is a guy that could possibly go into the Hall of Fame as one of the best in his profession, and he was a Rebounder.  Not the guy making the winning shot, or pouring in 50 points, a rebounder, a very skilled and awesome rebounder.  This just does not happen however in Hall of Fame history.  No what I believe has happened is that Dennis Rodman, master marketing genius, decided long ago that he was not good enough to compete with the  Wal-Mart of celebrity Basketball players (Jordan, Magic, Bird , Isiah, etc..) and instead became the brand nobody was trying to become, and he not only filled that void he took it to levels never thought of and transformed an image of culture and popular thought.  Ok, I don’t know he is that smart but what can small business glean from this example in today’s business world?

Marketing Tips learned from Dennis Rodman:

  1. If you can’t own the traditional normal markets, change and own your own market Dennis Rodman would never fit in with the clean-cut image of NBA legends he was playing with, so he choose to explore a different path and found a very profitable audience.
  2. Be the best at something and huge rewards will follow Dennis Rodman became the prolific rebounder of a generation. In a time where rebounding just was not the sexy of a topic on ESPN or talk radio.
  3. Let your hair down and live Stop taking yourself so serious, Dennis Rodman, was like the class clown that knew getting the laughs from all the jocks was actually attractive to 80% who were not jocks in the world. In your business, when was the last time you just let the staff have some fun and be creative.
  4. Creative.. CReative…Creative – Want to change your stars?  Get creative. Colored Hair, Body Jewelery, A flair for the dramatic was a pretty inexpensive stunt that gave Dennis Rodman a powerful brand. What can your business do to stand out.
  5. Ok I can’t finish this without the one mistake you don’t want to do…Dennis Rodman failed to put on the brakes and he has paid a price. In business and Marketing you have to know when to get off the bike and start walking again, keep the glory nad exit quietly, not with a huge crash.

Tell me what you think?  What lessons from Dennis Rodman did I miss?

Trade Show and Event Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

JATA World Tourism Congress & World Travel Fai...

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Do you have your business scheduled for a trade show or an event this spring?

I have spoken with several business owners in the last few weeks and thought it would be a good topic for me to get out. I have a few strong beliefs on the mistakes that business owners make at trade shows or events and a couple of suggestions to help you make a better marketing strategy. For the sake of this conversation we are going to assume that trade shows and events are relatively the same.

So here is the where I need to make a point:  Why do people come to events or trade shows? To Buy?  Or to socialize and browse? I believe that 95% + of all visitors are there for the latter. So my opinions on this matter take that assumption as reality.

Don’ts:

  1. Just assume that your marketing materials will make them want to buy.
  2. Assume they came because they were interested and are a warm lead.
  3. Your free give away will be enough to sway them to give you a try.
  4. Assume that the e-mail they gave you was the best way to contact them. (ever heard of a junk e-mail folder)
  5. Fail to follow-up with leads

Do’s:

  1. Get a short Code and invite them to become a TXT Vip for additional savings.
  2. Hand them a discount card / coupon  for your website or their next visit. Make it a really attractive offer that will bring them back.
  3. Invite most interested to an after hours cocktail event to discuss additional opportunities to connect (best for business to business)
  4. Post company invitations around event center driving them to your booth. (might be a great way to use the TXT marketing system)
  5. Ask for best contact information, don’t be afraid to make sure you are not going to end up in spam, and let them know you will be contacting them.
  6. Smile and enthusiastic about meeting them.  People remember the booths or stores at an event that make it enjoyable for them and not just a sales presentation.

Remember that 95% are there to socialize, get free items, and to see what is new. You need to do a lot of show and tell but also need to encourage them to come again when they are ready to shop. 

Have a great event season.

International Networking Week

Skyline of Reno, Nevada. Camera is looking nor...

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This week has been powerful for me as a professional. I was invited by a friend and business colleague to come to a BNI event in Reno, International Networking Week Celebration.

Now I have often gone to networking events and could not wait to get out of the place, usually hiding near the food line or in a back table until it was ok to leave the event. However this event was a little different for me.  Same type of set up as before but I had given myself a little pep talk, regarding over coming fears and being a positive figure in the room.  It worked. I made over 100 contacts and was able to communicate with fellow business leaders and discuss how I could help their business and them mine.

I had the pleasure of listening to three great speakers: O.C. Gillam (stand up Comic), Molly Geil, PHD. (Arbonne), and Jordan Adler (self-made millionaire, author of ‘Beach Money” and professional networker) The topic’s these speakers spoke on centered on Goals and developing teams  that can help you achieve.

Goals and Teams – you know after one leaves competitive sports in their lives, I wonder how often we actually think of our teams when developing our goals? Do you know what I mean? When I was young I would set goals to achieve but they were always  in the scope of team achievement,  I wanted to lead the league in Rebounding so that our team could be a dominate defensive team.  etc… 

However in my professional life I struggle to think of Goals I have created that involve the help and talents of my team.  I have set goals, I have been blessed to even set goals for companies, however I am trying to think if I ever considered the team when developing the goal?

What is my point and why do you care? We are now into our second month of 2011. How are your goals going? When you set them did you have a team around you ready to help you make them? Did you consider if you needed a new team in order to help you reach that goal?  I just wanted to put that thought out there today, maybe as much for myself as for you, I may need to reevaluate my goals and the team of people who I now work with in order to find success in the near future.

Jordan Adler, spoke of future (Goal/Dream) journaling for his goals. This was a practice that I learned way back in high school and I know it works. The key is to write your goals in a present tense, to write honest goals that strike the core of who and what you want to be.  Take this challenge and see what happens for you in the next year.

Goal journals:

1) Find some quite time and relax.

2) Start writing a story about your life one year from today. ( Maybe you want to right it two or three years away, does not matter)

3) After finishing this story, save it and read it to your self every day for one month.

4) Find a team that will help you start to accomplish pieces of your dreams.

5) go to work.

I believe 98% of the world would never do this. The other 2% are living that life that everyone else aspires to.

Good luck and join me on this Challenge.

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