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The “Pay it Forward” approach to business. A powerful marketing tool.

As my 29th year in the marketing business wraps up, I felt compelled to share a philosophy of doing business that might shock you. In fact, revealing my enthusiasm for this approach may make me look like a kook or worse. I call it the Pay it Forward (PIF) approach.

What prompts me to write this article is a reoccurring circumstance that leaves me befuddled. I find myself attempting to explain to people that I’m willing to help them in some way just because I like their product or perhaps I am inspired by their story. I don’t assume that I can help or that I’m some sort of omnipotent business savant – I just offer to help if I can. Call me kooky.

As a purveyor of PIF, I expect nothing in return for making introductions, sharing knowledge or supporting their endeavor. This lack of expectation is a challenge for many people in business that are conditioned to look for the “catch” or the sales pitch. When they find none, they pass on the opportunity because it sounds too good to be true.

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Crowdfunding and Marketing. A recent report by Clarity.

Late last year I completed a research project for a client that was interested in crowdfunding. It occurred to me that others might get some value from this research and my experience raising money via the crowd. You can download the report below. The power of the crowd is shaping up to be a valuable tool for entrepreneurs. If/when the SEC decides to let people crowdfund for equity, I believe it will finally become a viable tool to raise capital. My experience with crowdfunding and my research tells me that success is predicated upon a sound marketing strategy. You’ll need to create your program to reach far beyond your friends and family if you are attempting to raise any real money. The most successful crowdfunded projects embarked on significant marketing and promotion campaigns. In other words, they didn’t just rely on word of mouth – they pulled all the levers,[…]

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Viral Brilliance Defined

The guys at Emergent Order have done something amazing and it’s not just the videos. They have proven that viral marketing is possible if you make something topical, entertaining and dazzling. Even more interesting to me is how the high production value viral component has driven significant traffic to a series of other videos that are essentially well produced talking heads. In other words, they engage and entertain people with the big video and then educate them on the follow up. These guys are going to change the world. [youtube d0nERTFo-Sk]

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Where are your future knowledge workers? In elementary school right now.

I believe the person who cures cancer, solves the energy problem or invents the next insanely great thing is in elementary school right now. Over 90% of these bright young minds enter elementary school with a passion for science and an insatiable curiosity about their world. By the time they reach 7th grade, it is barely above 30%. That is a loss of 60% of America’s future innovators before they even reach high school. I think that is unacceptable so I’m willing to do something about it. [youtube -IqIe9wZe24]

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How to know when you might need marketing help.

So I’m sitting with a client and he shows me an industry magazine that includes a feature article on one of his competitors. It’s one of those Q&A format articles where they post a question and the subject of the article answers – usually in a different font and/or color. In this case, I believe it was Comic Sans. Snappy questions like: “How did you get started in this business?” And “What is your greatest achievement?” But the one I really liked was the question “What three words describe you?”. Actually, I liked the answer much more than the question. The president of this company replied with three simple words – “Anal, anal, anal.” Now that’s marketing genius right there. If I were their consultant of choice, I would have covered this possibility in our first meeting together. It would have gone something like this:

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Pants on the Ground and the Macarana Gambit

Here we go again. Mr. Pants on the Ground is this year’s William Hung and a viral sensation! It just shows that viral distribution for marketing and entertainment content is a viable ploy. But wait a second. Viral has nothing to do Larry Platt’s rise to temporary fame.

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How to spot a marketing wanker

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I’m somewhat disappointed in the marketing industry with regard to how they obfuscate, mislead clients and generally say and do anything to make a buck. I know this is true because almost every client I talk to has several horror stories of those who came before me. And, rightly so, they are suspicious and guarded when it comes to engaging. Fair enough. Now, I’m not saying that ALL folks involved in the marketing business (and related categories) are all money grubbing slight of hand artists. I know many consultants, designers, web developers and other people who really know their stuff and operate at the highest levels of ethics. I just believe they are in the minority. I’m going to share with you some warning signs to look for when choosing a marketing partner so you can avoid getting ripped[…]

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