Once again, as we start a new year, I can’t help but reflect on my many decades of involvement in marketing and sales. If you review my LinkedIn profile, you’ll understand. Not on my LinkedIn profile, are the marketing and sales positions that I had as a kid that really have shaped where I am today and why I have such a profound passion in this area. One of those positions was as a paperboy.
It was the winter of 1968 when I really started my journey down this road with a paper route. Trudging through the snow in the cold, dark, early morning Boston winters with a bag full of newspapers wasn’t easy. My work wasn’t wrapped in clever marketing slogans, but just true grit. I learned a lot of lessons about business and life back then that are still proving to be quite beneficial today and which can be applied anywhere by anyone.
I became very “street smart” from that experience and built upon it by additional life experiences and formal education in marketing that really contributed to my success throughout my career and which continue to guide me to this day. The fundamentals are basically the same. It’s the tools that have changed.
Goals & Objectives
Just like anything in life, and certainly with Social Media, you have to have clearly outlined goals and objectives to succeed. In the case of my paper route, my goals and objectives were focused on earning enough money to attend hockey school in Toronto the following summer. Being the oldest of 6 children from a lower middle class family, I had no choice but to try to earn my own way and that is what I did. I didn’t let the Boston blizzards, the heavy spring rains, or the summer heat stop me from reaching my goal.
Hockey school was great! It’s amazing what one can achieve when they set their goals high enough and don’t let anything get in the way.
As we begin this new year, we all need to have goals that we want to achieve for the year. It is imperative that they be written down or otherwise most will soon be forgotten.
I had a profound interest in seeing to it that I provided exemplary customer service. If it was a rainy morning, I’d make sure that each and every newspaper was placed inside the customer’s front door. I was never late and delivered the papers before 6:30A. It was tough getting up on many a cold morning with snow on the ground, but I knew that my customers wanted their newspaper to read during their morning breakfast and this is what I was going to deliver. I’ve never forgotten this and have always tried to put myself in the customer’s position and have tried to see what I could do to exceed expectations.
I was always trying to gain market share with my paper route. Market share wasn’t a term I was familiar with at the time, but what I was doing was certainly attempting to gain market share. You see, at that time, there were three newspapers in Boston. I tried my hardest to pick up new customers who were reading the other papers and was fairly successful in getting a number of people to switch or add the Boston Globe to their reading list.
Marketing/Selling What You Believe In
I was lucky, as I was “marketing” the Boston Globe. It was a great newspaper then and still is today. I could sell it because I knew it was good. I learned a life long lesson at that time that you can never be good at selling or marketing something if you don’t believe in it. Without a passion, there’s nothing. You won’t be successful.
I always enjoyed meeting my customers and getting to know them. They always appreciated the job I was doing and referrals were often given to me by them. At that time, I had no idea what referral marketing was, yet it was quite helpful in expanding my business. It’s something which I continue to try to apply on a daily basis. This is certainly the easiest way to gain new business.
Yes, 1968 was a long time ago, but it’s nice to still be able to remember the things that I did then that have shaped my life and career. They were simple concepts without fancy names, but the lessons I learned at that time are still part of my DNA and have proven to be invaluable.
Do you have any similar childhood lessons that you can share which will help shape your 2017?
Catrett & Associates Casting with the collaboration of the Producers of Step Sisters, decided to try a unique approach to find their extras for a shoot on Wednesday, June 29. They’re looking for hundreds of extras to fill the seats in the gymnasium. To fill the seats they’re offering registered non-profits and charities the opportunity to raise $10 per “Extra” brought to the set. As volunteers you donate your time (approximately 2-3 hours). There is no compensation for this, your time is worth $10 contribution towards the charity of choice AND you get to be a part of a feature film! With this said, TEAM FOX, a registered charity, wants to recruit YOU!
TEAM FOX is a registered charity. TEAM FOX is the grassroots fundraising branch of the MICHAEL J FOX FOUNDATION FOR PARKINSON’S RESEARCH. 100% of the money raised goes directly toward Parkinson’s Research.
To ensure your participation counts toward TEAM FOX, check in with the representative identified as TEAM FOX when you get there.
Here are the details:
• The date is Wednesday June 29 at the Morehouse Gymnasium
• You will not get paid, but $10 will go toward your chosen charity
• Everyone is welcome – no age limit, no size limit, no limits at all as to who can participate.
• Extras will be seated in approximately 2 hour blocks of time – they will rotate groups through but do not have set times for the rotation
• Check in with the TEAM FOX representative when you arrive
Referral marketing has been around since the start of commerce. Throughout history, those who bought products or used services and liked them would simply tell others of their great customer experience and recommend the business to their family and friends.
Fast forward centuries later and little has changed in word-of-mouth-marketing. For instance, according to a Nielsen survey, 84% of consumers rely on recommendations from people they know for purchasing decisions. It is the highest rated form of “advertising” by a wide margin. Those recommending businesses or products to others have very seldom, if ever, been rewarded. The ability to facilitate this was generally lacking until now.
The true intersection of referral marketing and rewards for those doing the recommending is now here in the form of the Yaystack app. I just discovered this app that I feel is a paradigm shift. It is a great way for customers to be rewarded in the form of discounts but they are only rewarded if they share company’s featured offers. Given that so many businesses rely on word-of-mouth or referral marketing for their businesses – this app is a true game changer.
Sure social media is great for creating awareness, providing offers and reviews, but it has been lacking a true viral element where people are rewarded for sharing what they post. This is where Yaystack comes in. It truly is referral marketing on steroids.
Benefits to Businesses
As a business, you finally have a way of showing your appreciation to your customers for bringing in their own community. You have a new way of creating a “salesforce” that you could have previously only dreamed of. You now have the ability to turn your marketing on its head by turning your patrons and fans into your own street marketing team and reward them for their viral word-of-mouth marketing.
I spoke with Yaystack founder, Trey Roth and he shares, “The reason we built Yaystack was to elevate quality business’! The best way to grow a business is through relationships. With Yaystack, we strive to accelerate growth by giving company’s fans an easy way to share about them, and by providing a business owner an easy way to thank them for it!”
With a simple to use dashboard you have the ability to create and share deals. More importantly, you no longer have to figure out what a social media View or Share really means for your business. Impressions are one thing, but it’s difficult to determine if these impressions result in sales and a decent ROI. Now, with Yaystack, you have the ability to measure total activations and redemptions, as well as calculate the redemption rate for your campaign. Meaning, you can accurately track how successful your promotions and Yaystack campaigns are!
Benefits to Consumers
It’s simple! You finally now get great deals from the businesses you like and recommend to others. The only work involved is in sharing the discounts or other offers that they are promoting with your network.
How to Use
As a business, signing up and using Yaystack is very simple. The company has a user-friendly interface for entering your business information, managing your offers, and tracking campaign results. You simply have to make a share-worthy deal and you’re in business. The deal can only be redeemed if it is shared via social media or via text with at least 3 of the customer’s friends. No share, no exclusive Yaystack deal.
As a consumer, all you have to do is download the Yaystack app, set up an account and get started discovering offers and sharing them. You can also “stack” your deals for future use and discover what your friends are stacking. You can also share the love for the deal via a simple click indicating your approval.
A True Disruptive Technology
Finally, a disruptive technology has emerged that allows consumers to be rewarded for their efforts in “promoting” businesses. For businesses, they now have an easy means of facilitating referral marketing and measuring its effectiveness. Yaystack is a truly disruptive technology and will forever change the way that referral marketing is facilitated and managed.
For my followes, Yaystack is offering a $99 year membership special for any business that is interested in becoming a Yaystack preferred vendor. For this special, please use Invite Code: “yayfinders” when signing up on the Yaystack website.
And of course, download the app from the App Store to share and get an exclusive deal. Sharing is caring!
I continue to have an insatiable thirst for learning. I guess it’s what keeps me young.
I also like to share motivational and inspirational quotes and tidbits with others, in addition to my content on marketing and sales. More importantly, I believe in helping others and, in particular, those who have helped me along the way. This all leads to this blog post.
Over thirty years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed and hired by Jack Driscoll. Jack is a true icon among those who have ever been involved in the electronics industry or in high-tech. More importantly, he is someone who greatly influenced the career success I achieved, my ability to see the world, and providing me with the opportunity of meeting so many outstanding individuals from many of the world’s largest companies.
While attending a company function at Jack’s home many years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting his daughter, Kim. At that time, she was a young college student. Kim has since gone on to become one of the most influential people in education through her co-founding of the Ron Clark Academy and her many speaking engagements to educators and business organizations throughout the world. She, along with Ron and the others at the Atlanta school, have trained thousands of educators who are now using their techniques at their schools.
In running into Jack at a local supermarket last week, I learned of the upcoming release of Kim’s book which intrigued me. Knowing Kim and her accomplishments, I’m sure it will be good and something which will touch many in academia and beyond. What’s more, her experience in working with Ron Clark and others in changing the way children are educated and the feedback she has received from her students has been extensive. Although from young students, many of the lessons she has learned are directly applicable to business. It is just a few of these that I’d like to share with you at this time.
1)Solving the Puzzle: The children in Kim’s life have taught her that our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle: every piece is jagged and awkward when studied in isolation, but has a clear place and purpose as the picture begins to take shape. If we seek to nurture our talents and use them to their fullest, we will learn that each of us is a one-of-a-kind limited edition who has great purpose in whatever capacity we serve.
2)Realizing the Power of Tenacity: It is easy to become frustrated when we don’t see immediate results after pouring so much effort and time into our work. When this happens, it is important to remember the power of tenacity: every word, every deed, every outpouring of love has the potential to instill something that will later empower an organization in meaningful ways.
3)Creating Chemistry that Changes the Climate: The most powerful relationships occur when we willingly seek to understand others wholeheartedly. The chemistry we create with other people is the primary element that affects our ability to guide others, mold them, and help them find success.
4)Setting Expectations… and Meeting Them: We must believe in every individual’s ability to achieve greatness: lowering expectations doesn’t help those who struggle, but rather it hinders them. Every person needs to be “seen” not as they are, but as what they can become.
5)Uplifting Others: Every person needs to feel beautiful, comforted, valued, and cherished. We must know that we matter and that we have significance. By serving others, we elevate not only their self-perception but also ourselves.
6)Knowing What Matters: When we stop to appreciate the blessings all around us, we begin to understand the limitless possibilities for our lives. By spending time with others who have little and love much, we realize how others find abundant joy, despite their dire circumstances. Fellowship, love, and laughter—they are available to us all.
Kim certainly has many more points to share that can be applied to business. These are all contained in her upcoming book which is now available for pre-order:
Crash Course The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me
Whether you’re in education or business, or want to learn more from someone who has really had a profound impact on our society and the way that children are being taught, and has countless success stories to validate her methods, it’s worth listening to what Kim had to say. I know I have and will continue to do so.
In the Internet era, so much has been lost due to the lack of personal contact and everything being done online. It is a genuine pleasure to get out and meet and greet people who buy your product or services. I’ve been quite fortunate as the author of The March of the 18th: A Story of Crippled Heroes in the Civil War, and to have met and spoken with those who have purchased my book. Many thanks go to the accommodations that local branches of a national bookstore chain have provided. It’s a lot of fun and something I look forward to every time.
In doing this over the past six months, I have learned quite a bit about what you should and shouldn’t do as an author in presenting your book at these locations. It’s not rocket science, but if you pay attention to some of the things that I have learned, you, too, can achieve a great deal of success in selling your book at these venues. I’ve compiled a fairly extensive list that should be of great help.
DOs and DON’Ts
People like to meet authors, especially if they look like… them. Be yourself. If you are naturally private and introverted, take a chance and act out of your comfort zone. Re-invent yourself for an afternoon.
I have a theory about customers at brick and mortar bookstores. Half know exactly what they want, and are on a mission. These folks are hard to engage. The other half are killing time. They are looking for something that peaks an interest, is reasonably priced, and may teach them something they didn’t know before they met you.
This customer is your target market.
Each sale is very gratifying. But selling them all is tremendously satisfying.
“Kevin Horgan is a USMC veteran (’79-’84) and served as an infantry officer. The March of the 18th http://www.marchofthe18th.com is his first published work. He enjoys writing and talking about the book, and discussing with everyone the forgotten heroes of our nation’s history. He is committed to giving half his royalties to charities for wounded veterans, and is deeply appreciative of the support he has received for writing and marketing this historical novel. “
As someone who has been involved in the Tech community for over three decades, and most of that time here in Atlanta, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen such excitement in the Atlanta area in Tech. The number of startups I’ve encountered is incredible. There is certainly no lack of brilliant new ideas. As with all new technologies, some will succeed while others will fail. What’s important is that these businesses are starting, creating new opportunities for thousands of people and generating tremendous residual value for the overall Atlanta economy.
I think what’s really unique about this time period versus years ago is that startup capital seems to be more readily available. In the past, Atlanta was often overlooked as a technology center, but now many angels and VC’s seem to be embracing the city and all of the exciting things going on. From Internet security software, mobile applications, and biotech, to financial transaction systems firms, there seems to be no loss for potential companies that may revolutionize the way we do things and benefit mankind. The only area that is really lacking appears to be in hardware based on discussions I was involved in the other night after an angel meeting. Perhaps this, too, will emerge as one of the new growth areas.
There’s certainly no lack of talent to assist in executing ideas. With this growth has come a corresponding increase in the number of Tech jobs. In fact, according to a recent study by Trinet, Atlanta now leads the nation in the creation of Tech jobs with a growth rate of at 3.31%. This is great to see.
What’s more, there is a great deal of buzz about what’s going on. I’d like to applaud the efforts of Wes Moss and his Atlanta Tech Edge Show which is on Sunday mornings at 11A here in Atlanta. I’d also like to thank the many sponsors of the show and WXIA TV for backing it. It’s been something which has been needed for years and is now becoming a great catalyst for furthering the success of so many Atlanta Tech companies. In addition to the media exposure, there’s also been a groundswell in new infrastructure to support what is now going on. There are many organizations and educational establishments such as the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Southern Polytechnical. Georgia State University, and the University of West Georgia, as well as the many other fine institutions in the area, that are committed to making things happen. Coupled with incubator and coworking spaces popping up all over the city. including Atlanta Tech Village, Opportunity Hub at 200 Peachtree Street, Strongbox West, and ROAM, to name a few, all of the pieces seem to finally be in place to take Atlanta to the next level and truly position it as a dominant world leader in emerging Tech.
Finally, with the low cost of living, moderate climate, great national and global accessibility, you can;t beat it as a place to live. I moved here form Boston over 30 years ago and have never looked back. I do miss Boston and my family and friends, as well as celebrating the World Series win by the Red Sox, but I’m looking forward to finishing out the rest of my career in Atlanta. I hope that you’ll join me. I’d like to leave you with a very well done video that was recently done in support of a new campaign called #chooseATL. I believe that this will certainly provide my followers worldwide with a sense of the gear things going on here in metro Atlanta and why if you’re thinking about starting a Tech company or if you’ve just recently launched one that Atlanta is the place to be.