Summer’s Setting Sun

Hefner_sunset

While it may be hard to believe, Summer 2015 is drawing to a close. Family vacations have been checked off the list, the kids are heading back to school (watch those school zones!) and football season is about to kick-off. It’s time to sit back and coast into the holidays… right?

Not so fast there, Santa. We are only half-way through the 3rd Quarter! There’s lots of year left for your business. Now is the time to dust off your business goals and marketing plans for 2015 and make something happen! From contacting clients with whom you lost touch during the summer hiatus to addressing your most important goals for 2015 to determining which projects should be pushed to next year, this is the prime time for action.

The smart folks at Inc. magazine identified 4 ways to dominate the 4th quarter (well, they didn’t call it that… but they should have!). I found these to be incredibly useful and think you will, too!

If you thought this summer went by fast, just wait and see how quickly the rest of the year goes! Get started today so you don’t find yourself “under the gun” during the festive holiday season.

Why Are You Here?

Sunrise in Oklahoma

I was going for a jog the other morning. It’s July in Oklahoma, which means getting out really early, before the blistering sun begins to bake everything it can touch. This year, however, Okies have been blessed with a rather mild summer… and it’s awesome.

Anyway, as I was running my standard two-mile route, I passed the pond on the main road. This day, however, it was different. It was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. So much so, in fact, that I stopped to take the photo above. Nice, huh? Seven minutes later, when I passed this same spot on my return trip, it had changed completely. Sure, the sun was still rising and the water was still silent, but the pink hues, the perfect reflection the silhouette of the houses and trees… they were different. That magical moment I captured was gone.

This got me to thinking… “Why am I here?”. Sure, that’s a big ol’ heavy topic, but I wasn’t thinking in a metaphysical sense (at 6 am, with sweat gushing from every pore of my body, I’m not in ‘deep thought’ mode!). I was thinking more along the lines of the immediate space around me. Why am I here?

Sometimes, things click so well, you know without a doubt why you are in this space at this time. Sometimes, it’s not so clear. You’re going through the same motions you did a week ago, but it’s different now. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different. So, why are you here?

Last month, my wife and I took our 7-year-old daughter to see Despicable Me 2 (don’t judge me!). It was a matinee and there were lots of kids there. At the climax of the movie, the woman in front of us (who had several kids of various ages) jumped up and started screaming, “Help me! Help me! Help me!”

I quickly ran to where she was and noticed two little legs sticking up from one of the chairs that was folded shut. She screamed, “My baby is in there! Don’t let him die!”

Wow! That was unexpected. I was just enjoying an animated film and now this?!

I pulled out my phone and used the light to see where the little guy’s head was. Yep. It was stuck. A second later, another man was there to help… and this guy actually had a flashlight! While I held the light and pushed on the chair, he tried to get the baby free. Another guy joined us in the effort and within two minutes, we had the baby out.

After the movie, I shook hands with the first guy and said, “Great job, man.” To which he responded, “I guess we know why we were here today, don’t we?”

Double wow!

I think he was right. That was the reason I was there. Sure, the movie was great, but I can watch it on Netflix next year. I was in that theater for a bigger reason, just like I was running down that road for more than just a morning jog. I was there to catch a moment of perfection… A beautiful sunrise that I may never see again.

We may not always know the why of our situations, but we can be certain that it is there… even if it’s to play a part in someone else’s story.

So… Why are you here?

 

(Blue) Grass Roots Marketing on the Interwebz

 If you have been around this blog for any length of time, you have probably realized that I have strong feelings about “content creation” (thanks for the term, Bobby Lehew!), marketing and music, just to name a few things. And, I absolutely love it when someone combines all three together! Check this out…

A couple years ago, I had the chance to go to a bluegrass festival in Kansas called Winfield. OK, so it’s actually called the Walnut Valley Festival, but everyone I know just says “Winfield” and immediately heads begin to nod. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. If you ever get the chance… GO! You can thank me later.

Anyway, while I was there, I had the opportunity to hear a great band called The Greencards. They play some great bluegrass, with incredible harmonies and pretty darn fancy string plucking. I was so taken with them that I purchased a cd after their set and waited in line to have them sign it. This was the only cd I bought the entire time I was at Winfield.

So, flash-forward to the present day. I’m on The Greencards’ email list. I like knowing where they’re playing, when a new album is coming out, etc. I’m not a die-hard fan or anything, but they’re cool and their emails are always non-intrusive and written in a friendly voice. I like that.

Earlier this week, I received another email and this one took things to another level. Here’s what it said:

Be a Part of Our Next Album

 

You better believe this got MY attention!

With visions of myself in the studio trying to keep up with these talented folks, I quickly clicked on the link to see how I might be able to become immortalized on this album. Well, not only was I relieved to see that I didn’t have to audition to join them (which, for the record, I could not have done!), but that playing music was absolutely not required. They have an entirely different approach to this.

The Greencards are offering fans a chance to “buy a brick” on the artwork of their next album for a very small fee. Now, how cool is that? You can forever have your name on the album art of a wonderful band. Can you imagine? These folks are already successful… This album could be the one that sends them into super stardom! And YOUR name will be on the artwork.

So, let’s recap here: Great band who plays awesome music. They keep in touch with their fans via a permission-based email newsletter. They engage their fans rather than market TO their fans. And they are offering people a chance to be a part of their newest project.

Yeah. The Greencards are definitely “Turning It Up To 11”!!!

Turn It Up To 11!

Turn It Up To 11

Turn It Up To 11... With B2design 

For those of you who know me in real life or as president of the Oklahoma City chapter of the American Marketing Association, you know this is my new motto… My creed… It’s what I want to do. But, perhaps, there is a slight disconnect about what this really means. Let me give you some back story and then I want to introduce someone who is LIVING this message.

 

 

So… My position is that in whatever it is you’re doing, why not push it just a little bit up to the next level? Why not “Turn It Up To 11”? No matter what you are doing, it can be done just a little better. Imagine if we all did this… Every day. How much different would things be?

Several years ago, my brother-in-law introduced me to a musician who goes by the name G Love and Special Sauce. Well, he’s G Love, his band is Special Sauce. Anyway, this is one talented cat and I was instantly hooked. He’s created his own style of music that he calls “The Hip Hop Blues.” Catchy, isn’t it? Now, I’m not a big hip hop fan, but I am definitely a connoisseur of the blues and this man knows how to make his guitar sing.

Over time, I have come to own virtually every album Mr. Love has put out. Heck, even my four-year-old daughter can sing a handful of his songs and she recognizes his harmonica playing on other people’s tunes. Cool, huh? Anyway, one day I decided to check to see if he was on Twitter. He was. I followed him.

I was pleased to see what he was up to… The occasional picture… Tour dates… Set lists from the previous night. This is all good stuff. Then, G Love decided to ‘Turn It Up To 11’.

Broadcasting to his fans was no longer enough. He wanted to interact with them. He wanted them to promote his ‘brand’ to their networks. And, really, isn’t that what all of us marketers want to do when we use social media. Here’s where Mr. Love was smart, though… He didn’t say “I’m coming to Tulsa… Please RT (re-tweet) this!” Instead, he started offering a free pair of tickets to an upcoming show by Tweeting:

“Tweet ‘I wanna see @Glove in Tulsa tonight!’ One lucky person will get a free pair of tickets!”

Now, how easy is that? Yeah, It’s That Easy. Can you imagine how much free word-of-mouth promotion he gets by doing this? Every day? In every city he visits? You can’t buy this kind of promotion. This is social media at its finest. It’s grass roots… And it works!

And what do the winners think? Well, let me tell you… I won those tickets to the Tulsa show to see G Love & Special Sauce… And… I won a pair to see G Love open up for Jack Johnson in Dallas last week. Not only did it solidify Garrett’s position in my ‘Book of Cool’, but it also made me realize what a great marketer he is. He is all about The Hustle. He is willing to take a few minutes out of his day to interact with his fans… And give them a reason to help promote him. Now, that is how you ‘Turn It Up To 11’.

G Love doesn’t stop at Twitter when it comes to social media, though! He also does a short, 30-second video blog every Thursday at 12:07. Everyone on his mailing list gets an email when the new video is posted to his website. Not only that, he lets people download exclusive live tracks… FREE. Talk about creating a community! This is how you do it.

 

Without a doubt, G Love knows how to Turn It Up To 11. What about you?