Monday, June 28, 2010

Everyone Competes with Disneyland

Who is your strongest competitor? I’d like to suggest that no matter the industry you’re in, it’s Disneyland. Not because people have to make a choice between spending their money purchasing your products or services or going to a theme park, but because Disney has set a benchmark for creating an experience against which we are all measured, whether we like it or not.

I just spent a couple of days in the Disney parks—something I have done many times before. But this time was different. We didn’t take the kids. We took a couple of tours in which I became much more familiar with Walt Disney and his vision for the resort. I spent a substantial amount of time in the museum reading about the development of Disneyland and history of Mr. Disney.

Since I wasn’t spending my time looking after kids, I was afforded the opportunity to really pay attention to the systems operating all around me. Every cast member was an expert in creating the Disney experience. Long lines melded into their surroundings, creating experiences for those waiting in them that made the wait painless. Food service was quick and seating was plentiful.

I made note over and over of the interactions between cast members and guests. No one was in too big a hurry to meet the requests of each and every guest. When I looked at the numbers of people being moved about, enjoying the various attractions, eating, and making purchases—all in order and synchronicity—I was blown away.

What can we each learn from the vision of Walt Disney? How can we make the passion we feel for what we do as contagious as Mr. Disney has?

With my trip to Disneyland as a springboard, I intend to continue to study the philosophies and accomplishments of Walt Disney. I invite you to join me. I highly recommend the walking tour, “A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps,” along with a study of the displays on Main Street as a beginning to your studies. I would appreciate any insights on books or other materials you may know of as I continue on my journey of discovery.

To Walt Disney I offer a heartfelt “Thank You” for his vision, beliefs, and tenacity. May his inspiration live on and forever burn as the lamp in the little window above the fire station on Main Street that remains as a constant reminder to all of the light he has shared with each of us. The breadth and depth of his ever-growing legacy is immeasurable as more and more of us strive to emulate his profound example—not just making a living, but making life better for others by passionately doing what we do.

Here’s to our collective Disney-inspired success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Marketing Success Institute

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Fast Way to Turn OFF Prospects

Email is great, isn’t it? You can contact as many people as you want at virtually no cost!

That attitude gets a lot of people in trouble. When you’ve been given someone’s email address, it is because they trust you. Don’t break that trust by spamming them.

This past week I received an email from someone I don’t believe I’ve met before, and I know I hadn’t signed up for any email contact from him. In a nutshell, he asked me to help him sign up a given number of new clients for his company’s services so he could win a trip. The tone of the entire email surprised me. It was almost as if he was doing me a favor by remembering to include me in his spam distribution.

I actually made contact with this salesman and found he had a bunch of old cards from networking events another person in his office had attended, so he added them to his email list. First of all, that’s not how it works. Secondly, even if he had met me once at a networking event, I’m certainly not his instant advocate and, therefore, willing to help him win a trip.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when starting up email-based communications campaign when someone has not specifically signed up for a specific newsletter, coupon mailing, etc.:

:: Make your contact valuable
Provide your audience with information that is timely and useful.

:: Don’t jump into sales mode
If your first contact says, “Buy from me,” you’ve missed the boat.

:: Personalize
Don’t lump everyone into the same category. Communications with those who know you well can be different from general email messages for your broader audience.

:: Prepare your audience if necessary
If it’s been a while since you met the person, a phone call before adding them to your email list can go a long way to having your email messages read and not simply discarded.

:: Allow for easy opt-out
If an email is personal, using your email account to send it is fine. If it’s part of a large distribution, use a system that allows for simple management of one’s email preferences including opting out of the email list.

Email is wonderful. I thoroughly enjoy being kept up on what’s happening with the people and companies I choose to follow. I know many people feel the same. So let’s be part of that group that builds strong relationships through proper use of email instead of turning off our audience with unwanted messages.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Founder, Marketing Success Institute

Monday, June 14, 2010

Are You An Expert at What You Do?

Are you an expert at what you do?

Nobody wants to do business with the newbie. Everyone wants the expert.

Think about it: The new surgeon, or the experienced one? The first-time pilot, or the one with tens of thousands of hours under his belt? The house painter who just bought his equipment this morning, or the one who painted all your friends’ custom homes? You get the idea.

So, let me ask my question again: Are you an expert at what you do?

If you’re not, that needs to change NOW. If you are, you know maintaining your status is an ongoing journey. The best way to become and remain an expert is to demonstrate your expertise consistently to both your client and non-client audiences.

:: Write articles that openly share your knowledge
:: Conduct complimentary seminars (live, on the web, or by phone)
:: Stay in front of your audience with an e-newsletter that provides value
:: Write a blog that is worthy of being shared
:: Offer your products or services in supporting community volunteerism…

There are as many ways to establish yourself as an expert as your creativity will allow. Gather your marketing team. Analyze your position as an expert. Decide how you will establish or improve your image. Then act.

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope
Founder, Marketing Success Institute