Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

When Everyone is a PR

Monday, November 5th, 2018

Productive Content

I walked into a countryside pub recently and I saw a guy attempting to play darts, missing the entirety of the dartboard frequently, endangering bystanders and very irregularly hitting the required number. My first thought was “give yourself a break, get a new hobby”.  It reminded me of countless number of people daily posting their musings on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or issuing press releases, articles, and self-authored content. Aimless content disappearing into the ether of self-congratulatory irrelevance. Time really is precious.

If you want to “play”, be very sure who your target audience is (specific traits), aim where they demonstrably hang out and engage with others (publishing forums), and be clear what response you want to elicit (provocation, engagement, seen as a peer or thought leader). I am not suggesting you keep score of every piece of your content’s impact (futile activity), what I am suggesting is you ask yourself is this time well-spent given my immediate priorities? Be honest.

Finding Money Under The Seat

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Hidden Cash

If the owners of the eponymous London nightclub, Annabel’s, can rake in upto £1.2 million selling the old property’s tired fixtures and fittings, it is a great reminder in our own businesses to look under our own seats. What historic products, services or relationships do you possess and could you quickly re-purpose using different media for both your existing and prospective clients? Such that they receive tremendous value and a dramatic impact on their immediate goals with fair and equitable compensation for you. The hunt for the “hidden cash” demands two things: (1) Aptitude, you have the volition to regularly look for it and (2) Application, you possess the wisdom to apply it your buyers’ immediate and relevant business needs. Get searching!

In Good Company

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

If you are an entrepreneur wanting to attract the highest quality investors,  people, business partners and so forth, think about the company you are keeping. Am I spending time with gatekeepers, window shoppers or real buyers/investors of my product, service and relationships? Does the event or platform put me in rarefied company or am I circling around with a largely undifferentiated crowd? Will my presence and affiliation with the audience dramatically build my brand or have a negligible impact?     

Where is the hard evidence or observed behaviour to validate my judgement?

It is myth that any “exposure” is a valuable use of our time. That is rubbish. If you are not in front of a high proportion of your target audience, decline the invite with a simple “No”. You don’t need to explain yourself, you do need to avoid wasting time talking to the wrong people.

Uncommon Market Attraction

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

The Secret of A Seductive Rapport

When business or investor prospects are drawn to your intellect, social interaction and your communication style, the relationship moves to a depth of reciprocal trust and respect where doing business together becomes “probable”, not  “possible”. Counterintuitively, you get to that point, not by submerging business prospects in everything there is to know about you (marketing collaterals, credentials, deals) but impressively answering what the prospect wants to know.

You help yourself in advance, by visualising where you want the conversation to end up, the obstacles that might lie ahead, and natural responses to keep your conversation on track with maximum momentum.

You help yourself after the conversation, by examining what worked well and you can repeat successfully next time you meet, what didn’t work well and what you must improve when in the same situation.  

   

The Fear of Referrals

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

There are some people, who are instinctively uncomfortable about referring others even from a trusted source. The resistance is more often than not about their own self-worth. Don’t dwell on their fears or trying to overcome them, move on.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

The “Ask”

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

 

How direct is acceptable when making the “ask” in a business or social setting? That question had me thinking watching a young huckster approach two pretty girls that he clearly had never met at London’s Masterpiece art fair last night with the line “I’d like to take you out, can I have your telephone numbers?”. That they handed them over with a nervous giggle and 30 seconds of mumbling conversation shocked my wife. In an insta-glam world of dating, perhaps that is increasingly the norm. Do we really forsake building a trusting relationship for a quick response? In business, in my experience, that only works for life insurance salesman and charlatans.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

A Very Royal Connection

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

25 million Americans will arise early this morning seduced by a few hours of British pageantry,  a young Californian girl and a British prince walking up the aisle. It is a moment where fact suspends fiction. Where a powerful brand leaps out of the television set and creates a deep visceral connection with its’ audience. Pure marketing nirvana.

The Twinkling Diamond

Friday, May 18th, 2018

What, precisely, are you doing to draw your ideal audience to you and to maximise their intellectual curiosity?  When you perfect those techniques, you have close to zero acquisition costs.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Investor Casting Couch

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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“The Investor Casting Couch”: a mindset that says we are best served at our first meeting, acting cagey, and getting the other party (co-investor, adviser or entrepreneur) to reveal themselves to us first to protect our own self-interest, at all costs. In extreme cases, we must do as little as possible to reveal our own past, ideas or intellectual property.

Reality: Your actions merely serve to show that you have close to zero interest in building a trusting peer-level relationship, collegiality or collaborating in anything other than constant “fear” (stolen IP or contacts). You might, of course, be right on the odd occasion when you have a rogue across the boardroom table. However, 9 times out of 10 assuming that you have done your due diligence properly, you are merely revealing the depth and breath of your own insecurities. Why would you create that first impression? In the misplaced belief, it projects your superiority when all it does is project your stupidity. Why would anyone, except the desperate, choose to spend a millisecond further in your company?

I see this mindset widely adopted by experienced bankers, corporate financiers, private equity and venture capital professionals to the point of huge irritation. They have been a success in their career but they refuse to act like a success. Stop, in the name of common sense!

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Social Media: The Investors Perspective

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

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I get asked by investors about the role of social media in stimulating the profitable growth of mid-market business-to-consumer and business-to-business targets seeking growth capital. My default response is ‘why does someone want to share their video, tweet, blog? Then, how does it help them (entrepreneur) and you (investor) achieve your goals in the next 12 months?’ If you don’t have a compelling answer to that question, it is probably a waste of time and going to have zero impact on the firm’s growth. Review any YouTube, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook listing of most popular videos, tweets, images or blog posts and there is always that one thing that made people share it. That is the secret sauce. The son of one of my old bosses, Sam Tsui, an American songwriter, has had incredible success attracting 2.5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. Sam is talented (Yale-educated). He possesses a great voice. He has learned to leverage the medium with great effect (singing duets with himself) in order to create a strong brand.

However, sharing alone is insufficient for Sam and the businesses I describe because there is no taste or noise filter, think of profane rants from soccer fans, product disasters and compromising personal photos, dressed up as “comedy” or black humour.

There needs to be a “gravity” pull for your target audience and a reason to keep returning. That requires volume, value and consistent messaging (“VVM”) to create engagement. Paid promotion works to raise “conscious” awareness of your product or service for a millisecond but it does little to stimulate someone to act (subscribe, make the call, visit the store, buy). So long as you put the marketing investment in the appropriate context, there is little to worry about but you must be willing to be intellectually honest about the results.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.