What kind of marketing is the most effective?

sneezr.ca Have you ever asked yourself that question? I did. In fact, many years ago I spent countless hours trying to figure it out.
The answer turned out to be quite simple: word of mouth marketing. Or as I call it: the art of cultivating recommendations.

Surprised? Probably not. With recommendations, there is no sales pressure and no credibility issues. When your friends, family members or trusted co-workers recommend something or someone to you, they are genuinely trying to help you. That means a lot, which is why you usually remember it for a long time. But here is the catch: recommendations must be earned. How do you do that? Where do you start? How do you give people a reason to talk about your products/services? How do you nudge your story into every day conversations? I launched sneezr.ca to help you answer those questions.

How not to miss the future: the short answer.

Accept that, regardless of your industry, you’re a learning company.

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Are you ready to start a company?

Successful entrepreneurs often satisfy a single but important unmet need of a market. If you can satisfy just one single but important need of a market, you can start and likely sustain a company.

So, can you tell us in a single sentence what single but important and unmet need of a market you are going to satisfy? Below are three examples of folks who answered that question well in the past. (BTW, order is not hierarchical in any shape or form).

#1 Untuckit.com: “We started UNTUCKit because we had trouble finding shirts that looked good untucked.”

#2 Basecamp.com: “We weren’t happy with the project-management software available out there so we created our own.” – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of Basecamp

#3 7Shifts.com: “I first started 7shifts to make scheduling easier for my dad, who owned a few sandwich shops and scheduling was one of his biggest challenges.” – Jordan Boesch, founder of 7shifts.com, employee scheduling software for restaurants

My 2¢: Having a fanatical focus on doing one thing well can be your secret to success. You should be able to tell us, in a sentence, the single important unmet need of a market you plan to satisfy. If you can’t tell us, then you likely don’t know. And if you don’t know, are you ready to start a company?

Feb 11, 2016

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Turning the complex into the simple.

“You have a knack for turning the complex into the simple,” an ex-colleague once told me.

It’s not me; it’s karma. :) You see, English is my target language, but not my first language. And that can be a big plus. Here’s why: being a non-native speaker of a target language nudges you into streamlining your speech and writing.

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Your best friend is a stranger.

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Facebook reviews.
Amazon reviews.
Google reviews.

Those stories by ‘strangers’ matter. A lot.
Please treat ‘strangers’ who interact with you today better.

Jan 31, 2016

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You know that your company could miss the future, right?

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“I looked at lots of companies and why I thought they don’t succeed over time… And I said, what did they fundamentally do wrong? What did those companies all do wrong? And usually it’s just that they missed the future.” – Larry Page, CEO of Google

How not to miss the future: the short answer.

Step #1: Embrace Internetting. People have voted: Internetting is the foundation of the future. Yes, you read it right — Internetting is a thing. The digital has become physical.

Internetting isn’t a buzzword or a passing trend. It’s a mindset, and it’s the bridge to the best business opportunities of the future. Just look around: without Internetting, the life you love would not be possible.

Case in point: Netflix. Netflix’s ability to release entire seasons onto their streaming service all at once would be impossible without the Internet. (The Netflix way — watching your shows whenever and however you want to watch them — is obviously the best way to watch shows.)

Step# 2: Invest in things that cannot be copied or bought off the shelf.

“But hey, the Internet is like a giant copy machine — pretty much anything can be copied. Usually for next to nothing, or even for free.”

Is that what you’re thinking right now? If yes, let me remind you that only the shallow things can be copied. The truly meaningful things, the things that speak to the gut of the public, actually cannot be copied (with or without the Internet). There’s an old saying among guitar gurus: “Tone is in your fingers.” This means that even if you buy the same guitar and amp that Carlos Santana has, you will not sound like Carlos Santana. (Go ahead, open YouTube in another tab and play ‘Black Magic Woman.’)

“OK, invest in meaningful things that cannot be copied, got it. But what did you mean by ‘things that speak to the gut of the public?'” It’s simple: The money in the Internetting economy does not follow the path of the copies. The money in the Internetting economy follows the path of the things that feel right to the gut, things that display authenticity, empathy, and generosity.

Let’s go back to Netflix: for $8 per month, it will serve you hundreds of shows whenever and however you want to watch them. Contrast that with Blockbuster’s offer. Which brand embraced Internetting? Which brand better represents authenticity, empathy, and generosity? Which brand has missed the future?

Let’s wrap this up: If you don’t want to miss the future, embrace Internetting and invest in things that cannot be copied or bought off the shelf. Think: things such as fun (GEICO, Dollar Shave Club); education (Luxy Hair — check them out on YouTube); design (Tesla Motors, Method cleaning products); ease of use (Tangerine, Uber, Google, Amazon); remarkable customer service (Zappos, The Ritz Hotels); trust (Apple, PBS); etc.

Internetting isn’t a buzzword or a passing trend. It’s a mindset, and it’s the bridge to the best business opportunities of the future. If you are interested in the future, if you’re interested in investing in things that can’t be bought off the shelf, write to me. :)

Jan 23, 2016

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