Under Construction

Apr 11


Currently rebuilding my site to a WordPress Format using a Self Hosted Blog on Godaddy and a high end wordpress template. This is definitely the way to go.  I was working with a friend of mine Matt Meeker who works at Melrose Video Productions.

He suggested this template because it gave so many built in options.

You can add in lots of widgets to any blog, but this template has several useful ones built in.  This allows a more rapid load and is already built into the html code and has been optimized.

Now it’s a mater of tweaking it until I get it where I want it. I’ll also be adding some pages.  As you can see from the link above, there is quite a bit of technology in this template and for under $50 it’s a great way to start.

Just take your time, don’t get frustrated and if you have a buddy who knows WordPress templates…aka Matt..then it can work to your benefit.

Social Media Etiquette (we should all know)

Feb 25
Queen picking nose

"It's not my hand"

I admit, I don’t follow every suggestion in his article either, and some I hadn’t thought of, but Chris Brogan’s article AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE has exactly everything right.

From your appearance, friending, conservations, disclosure, promoting and so on, it covers it.  Many of my clients call and scramble to promote an up coming event. And though things can be done, it takes time to plan and orchestrate it to its best potential.  My advice is to setup and grow your social media base before you need it.  It definitely grows over time and you will learn a great deal about the people who end up following and engaging with you.

By following the proper etiquette, you insure that your customer base has a definite picture of who you are and who your are not.  In the *new normal* the customer isn’t just the King, but also the Chief Editor.  Your customers will sing your praises when earned, and possibly damage your reputation if not.

Chris Brogans article explains it clearly read here.

NEW Facebook Web Mail Monday 11/15

Nov 12
Facebook -- To: The World  From: Facebook  Postage Due!

Wow that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Postage Due"!

Their new Email is rumored to have an external mail client that can let you have it on every device you own.

I just read on Gizmodo.com that Facebook will be rolling out a entirely new Full Webmail Client  Monday 11/15/2010.  This will eclipse the registered users at  Gmail (170 MM, Hotmail (364 MM)  & Yahoo (303 MM) users.  Facebook has 500MM registered users, and though they won’t all jump over and use the new mail option but many will, and that’s a lot of possibilities.

Or what if Facebook just does it’s usual trick and somehow changes it so that All are just now updated, instantly attaining 500MM Registered Mail accounts.  Isn’t that the way Facebook does it anyway?  Open up the preferences and not tell you?  Though strangely demonic and unsettling it’s a brilliant maneuver.

More from Gizmodo (author Jesus Diaz)

Will Facebook overcome the world of email?

Facebook already tracks all of your moves which is one thing everyone hates about Facebook anyway.  Now, they’ll just be able to do it better.

I think the Day of Big Brother has arrived. But Big brother is portrayed as a slightly creepy, blond Geek with lousy social skills.

Video- Are We All Camera Shy?

Jun 10
No! - No Video!

Nope! - No Video!

Every phone has a video camera, almost every computer has one as well, but why are we so camera-shy. Yes there is YouTube, and blogs and Video posts and Webinars and on and on, but why is the average person so hesitant to get on their web cam.

And as you may guess I’ve several ideas about why people shy away from the spotlight. it’s one thing to post a stupid video on YouTube, just to be intentionally funny. But Remember back to when you were a kid and someone handed you a microphone. Either one on a PA system, or on a tape recorder and told you “It’s on!” What was your first reaction. Remarkably most people make an intentional stupid noise or voice or whatever. The point being that they take the opportunity to look stupid intentionally. Thereby having an out if anyone might rate them as being “goofy”! The answer is that “I was trying to!” And that’s your alibi.

If you intended to be “weird” then you succeeded. However, who ever says anything intelligent or of worth? No one. Because we have a fear of failure.

That is one major reason that people do not use video chat casually, because they don’t want to be seen as trying their best to be “professional”, “normal” call it what you will. But they are afraid of looking bad to others.

That’s why it’s easier to act in character than to try to act in a normal role. because your character is just that, a character that you have made up, a “Caricature” of the character you portray.

So to bring it back around, most people just don’t like to video chat. Associates, friends, family, anyone. Oh, well there is the porn industry, but again, they are playing a role so they have a scapegoat. And they are ,in their minds, providing a service.

And the new pastime of “Chat Roulette” , which could actually be fun, but I would imagine it’s for the uninhibited. But to us normal folk who have always been told that the camera adds 20 lbs we are terrified.

We all wanted a Video phone 20 years ago, and now that we have them, do the Grand kids talk to the grand parents….mine don’t and both have the capability. But neither have the time or find some way to avoid it. You can pick up the phone looking anyway you want and with a slight grimace you can put on a happy face (in your voice) even if you have strep and 102 temp. But some calls on a video phone and immediately your chat goes to “away” like that isn’t just a total diss!

I’ve a few friends that will chat any time, they are guys and I’ve known them for years. One hit me on Ichat and was leaning into his camera real close. (Unusual for this VP of almost every Large internet company I could name) And Giddy! Turns out he was on Ichat on an Airbus flight from LA that had inflight WiFi. He was smiling and whispering, I said “speak up” and he Shooshed me — then held his laptop up so I could see the 50 rows of people behind him on a Wide body plane with isles R&L. I saw a few people look up, one waved and then he brought it back down and we talked about the speed and clarity.

But for the most part I think most of us would rather not be on stage at the whim of anyone with a mouse who clicks on us. I my self don’t mind. If you want to video chat then add me to your iChat or AIM using curtrbuthman@me.com. Although you might have to email me and let me know you want to chat because I don’t keep it open as often as I should, unless I want to reach out or am working on a project and collaborating with someone.

And speaking of that, why is that so difficult and or expensive. In Ichat you can talk, text and share your screen, even let the other person drive from their desk on your screen. It’s great for working on projects or showing someone how to do something on-screen and the voice works the entire time. But being able to go cross-platform requires an advanced IEEE degree. Yes I can do it, but I won’t go into what that takes here.

I’d like to hear why you don’t (or why you do) embrace video chat/interactivity.

21 Marketing/Advertising Tips for Small Business!

Jun 10

All Dresed Up and No Place to Go!

I’ve heard from small & large clients for the past year, “I can’t afford to advertise” or

“I don’t need to advertise” or even worse, “my customers aren’t swayed by advertising”.

Here’s how it works plain and simple. You go to the Dentist when your Teeth hurt. You call a plumber when you got a leak. And you contact a marketing professional when you need to get your products moving. I have to tell my clients all the time, I won’t write your magazine if you don’t write my ads – Deal?

Because each of us are somewhat good at everything, but when it comes down to counting pennies, it pays to hire a professional. I did my own Taxes for years, and got money back. Then I went to a Tax account and he charged me $1,300. He also increased my Refund over 10,000 from the year before and nothing dramatic had changed. He was able to take deductions that I had never thought of. And to make it better, if there was ever an audit I don’t even have to go. He does. He sits in front of the auditor and explains everything in accounting language so I don’t make a costly mistake.

It’s the same with marketing/advertising and I was once a newspaper Adv. Sales Rep at Gannett. We had almost a year of sales training learing how to overcome almost every objection (from a newspaper point of view). I would guarantee you that the TV, Radio and Magazine reps had the same tools in their arsenal.

Point is, listening to the Sales rep will generally give you a one-sided opinion. And there is sanity in Dominating a media, or was when the media was Radio, TV, NP,Mag and Billboard. But now, there are hundreds of ways to spread your $$’s and targeting your customers is the only way to do that.

So how to you target a customer.

1. A Customer is Someone who comes back for the 3rd time
2. Treat Everyone that walks through the door or calls Like a Customer.
3. That includes Suppliers, Reps, Vendors & Competition.
4. Divide your Customers into Categories and define the Heavy Users
5. These are the ones who make up “Most” of your Sales.
6. Find out everything you can about this group, Make a list!
7. Look for patterns, Income, Geographic, Age, Psychographic, Attitude,
Religious, Political, Kids or not, Pets. (what ever makes them unique)
8. Now you may have an idea of how to reach them, and it’s ALWAYS with a Mix of efforts
9. And Remember, Loyal Customers are rare, so treat them special, and ask them to recommend you.
10. Reward them when they do! They are your best advertising!
11. If your Customers are Local do things for the Community when you get a chance.
12. If not then Join Professional organizations and become an active member.\
13. Make sure you and your Employees Always carry enough Business Cards with you .
14. No Advertising or Marketing plan will help if your Product/Service is flawed
15. Call in a professional to help you, and tell him everything, Profit, Loss, Debt, Everything.
16. Follow their plan (if it is sound) without making changes. Cakes are made, they don’t just appear!
17. Find one that is “Right Size” You do not need a Huge Agency to do a small task. Many small even
one person shops can handle a great deal of work because they spend less time in meetings and
work very efficiently.
18. Ask for Explanations of the Rational and Strategy. If they use “Industry Speak” tell them to “Dumb it down”.
19. Pay them on time. As with any Vendor, they do it for a living – It’s Their Job.
20. Tell them the True Results. Then Everyone Learns. Adv/Mkt are Learning processes. Like fishing
you have to test lures. That’s why they sell Tackle Boxes!
21. Be Nice! You never get GREAT WORK from someone you aggravate!

And that just defines your audience and gives you the idea that there is someone whose job it is to spread your word. And you are probably not it. But you can do your part, by trying to be objective about your business and never see things in Black & White. Nothing is black & white, there is always an exception and one small creative break through is all it takes to make you a success.

For instance, while working as a newspaper ad salesman in Portchester, NY for the Westchester/Rockland Gannett Newspaper Group, I was selling a Joint promotion page for Portchester’s Fashion Retailers. A Full page ad with a Big Banner on top and 9 Square ads on the page. Imagine a Tic-Tac-Toe board. Well conveniently there were just 8 Fashion Retailers in Portchester, from Athletic Shoes to Fine Lingerie. And having a good relationship with them I was able to get all 8 on the page. Which left a hole dead center. A 2 column by 5 inch Hole., which my Ad Manager suggested we do a House ad for our newspaper. Not wanting to look out done and fearing the comments I’d get from my advertisers who would obviously know what the situation was, I chose to fill that hole some how some way.

At 4:30pm on Thursday, I was sitting in Portchester on a bench with my mockup of the page in my lap and was trying to calculate how much $4 I would lose if I simply bought it my self and thanked the community for their support. Just when I had figured it would put me about $20 in the hole I stood up to go back to the office. I was thinking about the $20 and wondering how I would explain that o my wife because she had made plans for us to go out on Friday night and I’d have to let her know that it wasn’t going to be a real exciting evening.

And then it hit me — Straight in front of me was a Travel Agency. I took one long deep breath and walked in and asked for the Manager. He was available, but hadn’t done much advertising with our paper. I told him that I had an idea, and I was grinning ear to ear. He’d never been that welcoming and wasn’t this time, but I guess my timing must have been right. He sat behind his desk, and I couldn’t sit down. I Held the sample page away from him and said, “I’ve a Portchester Fashion promotion Page coming out this Sunday..” and he cut me off,”I’m not in the Fashion Business, I’m in the Travel Business!” and stood up to walk us both out. As he Came around his desk, I was so excited I couldn’t wait to unleash my idea. He stopped and looked at me. As I turned the Page around to show him that I’d signed up all 8 of the Advertisers in town and that I had one hole in the middle, he still was shaking his head. And then I looked him straight in the eye and let it out nice and slowly with a wave of my hand like I was presenting an Oscar to the man. “Imagine This Headline!” I said. “All Dressed Up And No Place to Go?” in a questioning but promotional voice.

He began to grin and it seemed to get just bigger and bigger. He turned around Opened his top drawer and pulled out a Leather Ledger. Sat down, opened it towards the middle and Said with the same grin, “How Much” as he was writing out “Gannett Westc….” on the top of the check. — SOLD

He then said that no sales rep of any kind had ever taken the time to give him something of value. And when the ad ran, he booked almost 3 times the volume of what he did last year. And the best thing, Not only did he become a loyal Advertiser, but he was the talk of the town because of his brilliance. And I never said a word to any of the other advertisers. I let him live in his glory.

The Charlotte American Marketing Association is Very Active

Jun 10

Charlotte American Marketing Association

Better know as CAMA , this is Charlotte’s local chapter of the American Marketing Association. I went to an Orientation meeting held at LGA advertising in Charlotte on Feb 3rd and led by the Christine Eubanks who is the VP of Membership of CAMA and she is also the VP of Management Supervision at LGA, and ran a well-organized professional presentation and had a truly warm personality. I was also greeted by Sheila Neisler (@catalystshelia – Twitter) the VP of Programing who is the owner of Catalyst Consulting who took the time to ask what I did, and explained how that integrates in various areas of the organization, which was very helpful.

The first thing that struck me was that they would have an Orientation for new members or those that had lapsed, to talk about their plans, introduce the officers and explain the many ways in which you can get involved. But, the get involved wasn’t so much doing the groups work, or fold ing paper…the usual thing you think of when you join a group. NO, It was about programs, forums and Sigs, which are small groups within the organization that meet to discuss real topics and share information. Things like Analytics, CRM, Branding, Facebook, Apple, Event Marketing…all relevant stuff.

I’ve been in Professional Groups and Associations, but honestly they did little more than have Happy Hours together, and monthly or bi monthly panel discussions, which were just social gatherings with something to look at.

This group is different! They had plans! They have an agenda! I found No Vendors there. Not one! Just real professionals looking to expand their network and learn something. The Officers were very knowledgeable about the group, it’s purpose and each wanted to expand on some aspect. In essence it’s a growing active organization that is so unlike the others I’ve been in I joined Immediately. So for the $260 for a Corporate membership yearly a I get access to tons of data on the AMA site and also get rosters of members, and chances to partner which is what everyone is doing these days.

Most of all, I felt immediately “accepted” when I walked in the room. Not like a “hi my name is…” accepted, but like I was with my own people. I could hear the background chatter (CRM, ROI, Client Retention, Budget Analysis, Social Media Trends) and it made me feel at home. Ok, not at home, because when I’m home and speak to my wife or kids about a new promotion I’ve worked on or created and What the benefit to the client is and why it’s better than their previous effort, I would just get that age-old look “Yes we have to look interested or he won’t make us a frozen Pizza” Look.

So at the CAMA I could spit out all the jargon and strategy and computer software talk I had, and they actually listened, answered back and I learned “NEW” things. And I was so impressed I volunteered to the Group Membership Sales Manager! I’ll be responsible for contacting Corporations that have group memberships and offering discounts for varying levels of members from their company, showing them the new online tools from the AMA that can help train & inform new employees and offer education on new technology & trends.

What a great opportunity. And I’ll be expanding my network as well. I began thinking that since I was spending so much energy developing my Social Media exposure on-line and realized that I should be doing that in Charlotte with real people. Social Networking means using All the tools, not just hiding behind a monitor and keyboard pretending to be brilliant. It really helps to get out there and actually “Meet” people and share ideas.

What the Take-away here? Well, Get involved! On many Levels! Give your Time & Service! Promote yourself “Live & Virtual”! Most of all there are lots of Organizations out there that are full of great caring people and shop around and don’t stop till you find one that meets or exceeds your expectations.

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