Imagine being a marketing executive for Budweiser or Doritos or Pepsi – and having the pressure to deliver a Super Bowl ad that’s more entertaining and effective than last year. You might come up with the memorable ‘Weego’ featuring a dog that fetches Bud Light when you call its name or create the clever ‘sling baby’ that snags a bag of chips out of big brother bully’s hands. Then again, you might have a distorted opinion that your audience is moved to make a purchase because you show Danica Patrick scantily clad or David Beckham in his briefs.
Sometimes I wonder who has more pressure in ‘America’s Biggest Sporting Event’: the players and coaches or the advertisers. Yesterday’s game really didn’t have a clear winner in the ‘what happens during timeouts at $3.5 million every 30 seconds’ category. I heard a radio announcer this morning say, “We kept waiting and nothing outstanding ever appeared.”
The challenge with trying to top your greatest hit is it’s difficult to keep raising the bar. (Think about Madonna’s new single as compared to some of her best-known releases.) That’s why some are questioning Tom Brady’s legacy today… as if taking his team to five Super Bowls isn’t enough of a career accomplishment. On the other hand, experts are talking Hall of Fame for Eli Manning. What a difference a couple of minutes make at sports’ highest level.
For the rest of us mere mortals, perhaps it’s best to just try and be a little better each day. Over time that makes a big difference in the results of your company. Most of all, thank your stars there aren’t 80,000 people and a billion more around the world watching you work right now.
For the record, at the Super Bowl party I attended, laughs were loudest for these five spots:
M&M’s – ‘It’s that kind of a party’
Doritos – ‘Dog buries cat collar’
Skechers – ‘Mr. Quigley dog racing’
ETrade – ‘Speed Dating’
Acura – ‘Jerry Seinfeld’
Over the weekend a Focus Group I facilitate met in Naples, FL to once again take an in-depth look at the financial, marketing and operational sides of their businesses. Many of these seven franchisees rank among the sales leaders in their system, yet they value the importance of getting together each quarter to share, challenge and learn from one another.
Among the key metrics tracked and reviewed are Percentage of Salaries compared to Sales and Sales per Employee. One member has lagged in these categories for a while, so the group recommended it’s time to address the situation by either changing the makeup of the workforce, reducing headcount or increasing sales to make the ratios fall into line.
Not surprisingly, there was pushback to this suggestion, with the franchisee saying things like: “In our market we wouldn’t get a single resume if we advertised for anything less than what we currently pay,” “We couldn’t get out the door this much sales without the skills these folks bring” and “If we were to reduce salaries even slightly, there would be an uprising.”
Of course, the other owners and me countered with: “How will you know until you try?” “Might it be possible bringing in new energy in a few positions might give you more capacity?” and “So you’re happy with your employees maintaining their income while yours continues to fall as health insurance and other expenses rise?”
Owning your own business means you take all the risks. You cover mistakes out of your profit. You pay yourself last. Every franchisee or small business owner I know previously worked for someone else at some point during their career, so they’ve seen both sides. It may seem cold-hearted to make tough decisions about your employees, yet it’s part of the responsibility that comes with being the boss. As one of my first clients told me nine years ago, “The only place a business will run itself is into the ground.”
When the numbers don’t add up and cash flow is tight, you have to make the difficult call to protect the organization. Otherwise, one day you may wake up and be out of business.
Continuing the countdown of the Top 10 things I learned during 2010. Here’s #9:
Big Oops – You’d think a former marketing guy like me would know better. You’d be wrong. Last year was the best ever for Success Handler, LLC, so I made the classic mistake of convincing myself we were too busy during 2009 to focus on attracting new clients. How’d that work out? Well, let’s just say I had plenty of time on my hands this summer. Note to self… it’s harder to gain momentum from a standing start.
William Martin just released his latest novel – City of Dreams – featuring recurring characters Peter Fallon and Evangeline Carrington searching for a box of priceless Revolutionary War bonds. After reading the comments below about how he’s utilizing social media to promote the book, return to my e-newsletter and use “Send This To A Friend” to redirect Fast:Forward to someone who would enjoy reading it – or post a link on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or favorite social site.
Shoot me a quick e-mail with “Done” in the Subject line afterward. (Honor system in place!) I’ll randomly draw one name from all responses – and that person will receive an autographed copy of City of Dreams.
> View a short trailer on City of Dreams to experience just how much the publishing world is changing.
William Martin’s Comments:
“The traditional platforms are being dismantled. There may be half a dozen newspapers left in the country that continue to review books on a daily basis. And other platforms are being closed to writers. Just the other day I was supposed to be on a local televison show to talk about “City of Dreams.” The host was ready to do the the show. Then the higher-ups saw an interview with another writer and said, “No more writers.” So no more Martin on that TV station. The old ways of doing things are changing. Out in media land, they’re all worried. They’re all scared. They’re all cutting.
So what do you do? You can’t quit. You have to find new ways to market yourself. Instead of being swamped by the cyberwave that is sweeping everything before it, you should try to catch its crest and dive into it.
I haven’t mastered Twitter and don’t think I want to. Don’t understand all the “following” business. And I haven’t pushed too hard on Linked-In. I have friends who are urging me in that direction, but you can only do so much. I decided to use FaceBook. I’ve figured it out. It’s easy to post things there. I refuse to tell you what I had for breakfast or what kind of beer I like. But I’m able to tell readers about my characters when I’m writing and about my events when I’m promoting.
I don’t think FB will change my life. I only have about 500 friends and about 130 on my fan page but they say that you only need about a thousand real fans to help you get the ball rolling. I’ve sold a lot of books over the years, and I’ve counted on a lot more than a thousand fans. But FB reaches people who are genuinely interested, the kind of people who can help light the lttle brushfires of interest that can burst into a best selling conflagration. That’s how viral marketing – I’d call it brushfire marketing – works. At my book launch on May 11, we had an SRO crowd, in part thanks to FB. So friend me or join the fan page and see the pictures from that night. Help me toward the thousand fans who I hope will light matches in the brush around the country and help me onto the best seller list again.”
Continuing the countdown of the Top 10 things I learned this year:
Go For It – A few months ago I read where Seth Godin wanted to invite a select group of 10 small business owners to spend a day brainstorming. The cost would be travel to and lodging in New York City and a $3,500 charitable donation. I decided to apply and wrote a compelling business case about why the marketing guru should pick Success Handler. He replied immediately with a personal e-mail. A week later, he sent another… notifying us we weren’t among the chosen few. While that was disappointing, it convinced me that I’m one click away from anyone on the planet. In 2010, my biggest Rock is to reach out to a lot more smart people and see what happens.