If they jumped off a bridge would you?

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

By Matt Plapp

Remember as a kid when your mom asked the question “would you jump off a bridge if your friends did it?”  You usually got this when you did something stupid that you typically would not have done had you thought about your decision first.
Well this is no different in running your business.  I just returned from a client’s trade show that reminded me of this scenario the entire time I was there.  The show is the Fall Market in High Point North Carolina.  It’s the largest furniture show in the world (but apparently not judged on sales or attendance).  This show has been going on  for many years and approx 10 years ago resulted in HUGE sales figures for furniture manufacturers who were on-site.  This event happens twice per year for 1 week each time.  The floor space sold in this show is 1.1 million square feet.  This show is gigantic when it comes to manufacturers and vendors displaying their product, BUT it’s missing 1 key element…BUYERS!
I spent half the show exploring the show during the “Peak Time” and no matter where I went there were not customers.  At one point I was leaving the main building where I was told everyone would be during the middle of the day and as I was leaving I attempted to be polite and hold the door for anyone behind me.  When I turned to look, there was NO ONE behind me.  I was amazed.  At this point I stopped and looked and at a show which has THOUSANDS of companies displaying there were less than 100 people at the #1 location of the show at 3pm on a Saturday!
What does this mean for you?  I’m talking about companies that continue to market their businesses where the ROI doesn’t exist.  This show is not working.  The answer to why most companies display there is pretty simple, they are afraid of not being there and customers seeing their competitors.  FEAR is the easiest way to sell or convince someone to buy something.  My question is “What customers are you afraid to miss?”  Sometimes you have to take a risk and do something different.  You need to NOT jump off the bridge OVER and OVER and OVER with your friends.  You need to step outside of your comfort zone and market your business different.  You need to build a rope ladder and climb down the bridge.  Ask yourself this question, are you doing something in your business that you know is “jumping off the bridge” and if so what are you doing to change it.  DO IT TODAY!  Make a tough decision and outsmart your competitors.  Be the first, not to the last to jump!
Needless to say I’m looking forward to my next few meetings with my client.  I know we can do something that will get the attention of the customers who DON’T visit this show anymore and we can stop “jumping off the bridge.”

Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at matt@mattplapp.wpengine.com


Doug Smith - Cincinnati Radio Marketing Consultant
Doug Smith - Cincinnati Radio Marketing Consultant

By Doug Smith

Last week, on my way home from work, my wife called me and wanted me to run by the store to pick up toothpaste and bread.  (Yeah, I thought it was a weird combination as well)I was amazed at how many different brands of toothpaste are on the market.  I stood there trying to digest all of the options until I finally grabbed a tube of Crest Mint Gel and headed towards the bread, where it wasn’t any better.  There were low calorie breads, breads with vitamins, breads with iron, breads for kids, wheat bread, whole grain bread, and…..well, you get the point.  I grabbed a loaf of Wonderbread and made my way to the register to check out.

With all of the options available, why did I choose Crest and Wonderbread?

I’m sure some of the other toothpaste options would do a good job and some other kind of bread would taste good, but when I was faced with too many choices I went with what I knew.  (I bet you can think of a situation where you did the same thing)

Think about your business.  I’m sure you have multiple competitors.  What are you doing to make sure you are the one chosen when a prospective customer is ready to buy?  Are you only targeting the prospective customers who are closest to purchase or are you making the effort to reach the larger pool of potential customers who are NOT yet in the market for your product/service?  Do you want your potential customers staring at five or six options and hoping they choose you, or do you want to be the one they think of first when they need your product or service?

If you are not consistently telling your prospective customers who you are and how they can benefit by doing business with you, you risk losing them to your competition.  By putting together a well thought out marketing strategy and sticking to it month after month, you increase your brand awareness and thus increase your odds of standing out from the competition, which will lead to increased sales.

Doug Smith is a Senior Account Executive for WREW Rewind 94.9 in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky.  Doug can help you with any radio advertising, event promotions, online coupons and other online marketing.  You can contact Doug at  (513) 535-9123 or dosmith@hubbardinteractive.com

Social Media's Importance In Online Search Tools

Here is an article that was just published on Radio Sales today.  Driven Media Solutions has been preaching to our clients of the importance to dominate YOUR BUSINESSES NAME on the Search Engines.  We always talk about how pages like Facebook, Linkedin & Twitter are influencing buying decisions and searches.  The first sentence tells a GREAT story About 45% of consumers don’t have a specific business in mind when conducting a local search online”.  So, aprox 55% of consumers search with a SPECIFIC company or brand in mind.  YOU BETTER OWN YOUR NAME ONLINE!  This is exactly what we’ve been telling our customers for 2 years!


Mobile and Social Dominating Local Search’

About 45% of consumers don’t have a specific business in mind when conducting a local search online. In fact, more local business searchers begin with general keyword terms in search queries. They have products and services in mind, but they are not sure where to make the purchase, according to a study released this week from 15miles, the local, mobile and social marketing arm of TMP Directional Marketing.

On the other hand, 56% of social and 60% of mobile users are more likely to search with specific businesses in mind because they are already outside the home looking for a nearby business to fill a need. The study points to a lack of sophisticated search functions in social networks for the differences.

This year’s 15miles Fourth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study identifies the power of local, mobile and social search among consumers. The study confirms that 70% of survey respondents view search engines, online Yellow Pages or social networks as their primary sources of local business information.

Search engine queries continued to increase at a strong rate with 9% year-over-year growth. Non-search engine queries such as Facebook and craigslist rose 22%, off a smaller base, to capture more than one-third of total query volume. This also impacts local. Of the 9% of local business searchers who use social networks, 93% said they use Facebook to find information on local business.

Most research today focuses on where searches happen, but this study looks at where sales occur. Google, Bing, Facebook and Twitter are just a sample of the major players to enhance local search features in the past year. It also examines how to make sense of consumers’ changing behaviors across various media types, and what impact search trends have on the bottom line.

By measuring consumer behavior and the impact on decisions, the study reveals insights that are necessary to influence marketers’ search strategies. Key factors include:

Trend 1: Online search is the preferred method for information about local businesses, with 70% of consumers citing online sites as their primary source.

Trend 2: Search engines are most popular, but they are not growing as fast as other media.

Trend 3: Local searchers are more apt to buy.

Trend 4: Businesses must develop a comprehensive search presence with essential information.

Trend 5: To develop a complete search presence, local businesses must consider every avenue.

Trend 6: Print is declining, but it still holds value for today’s consumers as a secondary source.

Trend 7: With emerging media on the rise, a diverse media mix must now include social and mobile marketing.

Consumers who use social networks and mobile smartphones are more likely to use and write reviews. More than 40% have submitted between two and five reviews in the past 30 days. In fact, 78% of social networkers — up 3% from the prior year — and 71% of mobile users — up 9% from the prior year — consider consumer ratings and reviews important in making their purchase selections.

Of those participating in the survey, 81% believe it’s important for local businesses to respond to questions and complaints on social sites; 78% want special offers, promotions and information about events; and 66% believe that company photos are important.

(Source: Online Media Daily, 10/03/10)


This one is for Sales People and Sales Managers…

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

Why do companies teach cold calling and not referral marketing?
I have worked for 2 broadcasting companies in my professional career and all they EVER talked about was cold calling, the #’s of calls made, call reports, BLAH BLAH BLAH. They never focused on quality, just raw numbers. I always did a great job for my customers and had many loyal customers. But I never received referrals from anyone. I always heard the speakers at sales seminars talk about asking for referrals, but it all seemed to be the big mystery for me. Instead we were told about the great results the other sales people got from COLD CALLING. It was a numbers game I was told, you call 100 to get 5 meetings and close 2 deals.
Then in the fall of 2008 a close friend of mine, Brennan Scanlon, starting talking to me about referral marketing and how to sell without cold calling. I honestly thought he was out of his mind. I had heard of this mystery thing called a “referral” for many years. I had seen many referrals in our retail business, but I had never had much luck with B-2-B sales referrals. Brennan introduced me to BNI (Business Network International). I joined a chapter and attended the meetings, but still nothing. Then after about 2 months Brennan took me under his wing and started mentoring me about being a GREAT Referral Partner. We started attending referral marketing classes hosted by The Referral Institute of Cincinnati and within a month I had a plan and training on how to GIVE referrals, how to educate referral sources, how to motivate my referral sources and how to create a target market (for referral marketing). Everything I had learned had nothing to do with getting referrals for me, rather how to help others. I was encouraged to get involved with charities, alumni associations and chambers to GIVE to others. I was taught if I gave to everyone else first, I would eventually get it back times ten!
I started doing all of it. I was volunteering, I was passing high level referrals and taking referral partners on meetings with me and promoting them in my marketing. I was doing whatever I could to help professionals who were in my target market. These were people who called on the same level of decision makers I did. I was helping them grow their business and guess what happened…IT WORKED.
Within 60 days my phone was ringing. These same people were now giving me referrals, HIGH LEVEL referrals. Many closed deals. All I had to do was show up and be the great marketing person they had told their clients about. It’s been almost 2 years now since I’ve made depended on cold calls for appointments. I’ve made less than 5-6 cold calls in the past years, and my business is through the roof. In fact I’ve not called anyone but my clients, friends and referral partners in 3 months. No more dealing with business owners who don’t appreciate what you have to offer, no more 100 calls for 5 appointments. Now I make 5 calls and get 5 appointments and close 4 deals.
WHY is this not taught instead of cold calling? Since I’ve started my referral marketing plan I have TRIED VERY HARD to include some of my former colleagues in broadcasting. I’ve hand delivered numerous closed deals to them. Guess what they say, “Thanks for the lead”!!!! What, lead, that’s a closed piece of business. That’s called a REFERRAL and you shouldn’t be thanking me, you should be trying to find a way to get me a great referral. Because if we are both happy, then we both will keep giving each other referrals and everyone can stop cold calling. But if we don’t help each other, one of us will get sick of helping the other and move on.
But the sad part is NONE of them understand it. Just like many other professionals, they are so focused on making money for themselves that they don’t make time to help others. They are hammered by sales managers that cold calling is the way to go. I don’t fault most of them, but the system that most companies put in place. Most sales managers just don’t get it and in turn their sales people waste ¾’s of their week on useless worn out sales practices. The sales managers think they have great relationships with past clients. They typically don’t, they have long term clients because of their products and service but many of them will turn on a dime when price becomes an issue or someone comes along who talks faster.


Not sold on not cold calling? I receive 3-5 referrals per week.  I have personally earned over $100,000 in the past 12 months off referrals. It’s changed my life. My customers are more loyal, the retention is much higher than I’ve ever experienced and I spend 90% of my time building my business instead of on a phone at a desk.
It took me 12 years to understand and a “Sales Intervention” by Brennan.  I can’t wait for the next 30 years of referrals! The question is when will you realize it?  Maybe we need a class in college for referral marketing?

Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at matt@mattplapp.wpengine.com