Pinnacleceo's Take

Experiences put to paper…

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

’twas the Day Before the Business New Year

’twas the day before the business new year
Opportunities at hand
And me and my laptop were ready
To execute the well thought out plan

Appointments and meetings
Filled every calendar line
I had planned early
And January looked fine

But then my eyes wandered
And I soon became chilled
As I saw weeks in February
That were yet to be filled

So away in my Ford Truck
To the office I flew
It’s all up to me, no excuses
But I knew what to do

On phone calls on emails
On pre-approach letters
Soon appointments were scheduling
And now I felt better

As I looked at my results
A thought entered my head
Never prospect like a passenger
When you can be a driver instead

So as I closed my office door
I said to myself with a grin
“If I will just stay consistent”
This year business will be better, than its ever been!

A Repost of As Your January Goes, So Goes Your Year!

As another year draws to an end, I am reminded of the value of getting prepared early. So, I had to share this post that I submitted back in 2010. I hope it will inspire you to greatness in 2013. Enjoy!

I will never forget the first time I heard these words. It was several years ago and I remember them as if they were just spoken. Personally, I have never heard more powerful and accurate words than these seven. I have witnessed and experienced both the benefit and the consequences of being prepared and unprepared for the all important month that happens at the first of every year.

If you are in business for yourself or if you are part of an organization, imagine if you will a giant Etch-a-Sketch (for those not familiar with this devise, it is a toy developed sometime in the 60’s that allowed you to draw and create incredible images in straight line patterns. I loved making stairs!). Back to the point, imagine a giant Etch-a-Sketch that has the picture or the story of your last year. Some parts of the picture are just as you planned and some parts did not turn out exactly as you had planned, nonetheless, there it is, your last year’s production or performance.

Now imagine taking the Etch-a-Sketch and giving it a good shake and suddenly all that was once there is now gone, nothing left of what was, only the tiny dot of promise ready to be utilized again to draw the story of what will be the picture of your new year. Are you ready? Do you know what you want your picture to look like? Do you have what you need to make it happen?

The more prepared you are to begin your next rendering, the more likely your picture (year) will turn out like you want it to. The key is to be ready when it’s time to begin-Thus the importance of your commitment to that first month January.

I have seen many individuals begin to prepare for their year when the year begins. This is poor planning. I knew an individual once who set out to devise his game plan in January only to find himself implementing it in March. Before he knew it, his year did not start until April and he found himself behind the entire year unable to catch up! The key to a great year is to hit the ground running in January. How do you do this? Good question. Here are a few tips.

1) Plan your next year at least in the final quarter of the previous year. Schedule time to review what has gone well, what needs to be adjusted and how to move forward.

2) Have clear goals and objectives. Know what you want and how you will get there. Have an accountability process to keep you focused.

3) Have something waiting for you when you begin. There is no greater feeling than having activity, appointments or opportunities waiting for you when January rolls around. Prospect for these opportunities throughout your previous year!

Some of you may not measure your performance in January. I understand. But I hope you see the point here in that you cannot perform at your highest level if you find yourself struggling to make up for lost time! Stay ahead of the game…stay ahead of the competition!

While your January may seem like you are “starting over” you can impact your start by the way you prepare. Giving yourself a great “boost” to explode in January will create momentum that can carry you throughout your year…because as January goes, so goes your year.

So to all of you reading this article, January IS almost here! We have many exciting things already in place and if the rest of the year looks anything like our January, we going to have to find a bigger Etch-A-Sketch.

Best wishes for a very successful 2013. Train Up!

Four Key Ingredients to a Successful Marketing Recipe

I have had the great fortune to be part of some great marketing campaigns this year in particular to the launching of new products and services in a variety of industries. This being the end of the year and my final post for 2012, I wanted to share with you the recipe I gleaned from my experiences to hopefully help you launch into the new year.

Now I confess I am not much of a cook. After my special scrambled eggs, I am pretty much done in the culinary world. I do however know one thing; as with any good recipe, the correct ingredients make all the difference in the outcome. There are no substitutes for them.  If you try to short cut them or simply try something else, the taste just does not come out right. It might be palatable but, it is not what we had expected.  This has great application to a marketing recipe as well. So with that said, I give you my personal marketing recipe.

The first ingredient to a marketing recipe has to be your Purpose.   Why are you developing or creating this product or service in the first place?  Is it to gain awareness or loyalty? Are you rewarding customers for staying with you, or creating an intriguing opportunity to give you a shot at earning their business?  It is critical to understand the purpose or the “end game” in order to create just the right mixture of ingredients. 

A good way to determine the “end game” is to first identify what you want the end result to look, feel and even smell like. Then you can determine what it takes to get there versus what you have to make it happen and begin the process of adding the right amount of ingredients.

The next ingredient is the Product.  What is specific about it?  What sets it apart? Does it provide something unique, or give you a competitive edge?  This can be a huge advantage to a marketing campaign…but only to a point.  I am not belittling this ingredient in any way but it in itself, for the most part, cannot sustain long term success.  The only time I have seen product specific success stories have been in highly specialized fields.  More on this later. 

The third key ingredient is Promotion.  We know why we created the message (purpose), we have the message (product/service); now how do we share it?  I have discovered two very different approaches to promotion, each having significant results.

Top-down Allocation vs. Top-down Demonstration

 Top-down allocation is when leadership creates a product or service and then without any follow up, simply passes the entire process to the frontline and never reinforces their belief and commitment to the value of the product or service.  They simply allocate the process in hopes that all goes well. What I have found with this approach is that the recipe never gets a chance to bake or develop…the ingredients simply stay in the mixing bowl.

Top-down demonstration is a transparent view that management not only supports the efforts but actually demonstrates their belief by following up and measuring and monitoring progress.  They even roll up their sleeves and get their hands in the mixing bowl to make sure the recipe is just right.  What a difference this approach makes!  It reinforces the efforts of those promoting and provides them instruction and incentive to make certain the finished product comes out perfect. Speaking of the finished product…

The final ingredient to our successful marketing recipe is Placement. It is the method of our delivery. The true key to the success of our recipe will be validated in how we place or deliver our finished product into the hands of those we serve for their benefit.  Remember in my earlier statement I said the product could be a huge advantage to a point but as a standalone ingredient would fall short?  Here is why.  A couple of years ago I worked with an organization that I discovered had a concept to a product that no one else in their community offered.  I asked them how they got this message out (placement) and they indicated they told folks about it only if they inquired about the product. WHAT? You have something unique to your competition and you are not proactively telling them about it!  This is why placement is so critical to the success.  Delivery must be a concept that those delivering the message have a complete buy-in into the product and service and cannot wait for the next opportunity to promote or share it with those they serve.  You see, the greatest life-changing product or service will have little or no success if no one knows about it or simply finds out through reactionary means.  It must be proactively placed in the hands of your potential or existing customers consistently and throughout the entire enterprise.  I wouldcompare this to the smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, permeating every corner of the room. Once you get a “Whiff” you can’t wait to taste them personally…hungry?

So as you get ready to make your master dish for the new year, don’t forget the four key ingredients; Purpose, Product, Promotion and Placement.  To add another “P” to the list, if you measure these key ingredients effectively, you can take Pride in your work knowing that you have a finished product that will be the talk of the town. 

Best wishes for a very successful 2013!

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