Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Got any stories?

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

One of Robroy’s favorite things to ask a CEO is, “Got any stories?”

After a couple of decades of listening to their replies, I’ve finally made an important distinction about story-tellers.  The good ones teach us something about themselves.  And the great ones teach us something about ourselves.

Imagine having the ability to do this with your clients and employees.  To help them learn more about themselves by the stories that you tell.  Imagine the bond of trust, appreciation and loyalty you’d develop.

“Does that really work?” you ask?  Well, let’s see what we can learn from five Baltimore CEOs who, by Robroy’s definition, are great story-tellers:

1. Greg Cangialosi, CEO of Blue Sky Factory, never was a sales guy, and yet sold his business for millions of dollars.

2. Bernie Dancel, CEO of AscendOne, realized that, unless he helped others, they would never be free.

3. Marty Mintz, CEO of Northern Pharmacy, withstood large, faceless competition to keep the corner drug store open for its 70th year.

4. Myra Norton, CEO of CommunityAnalytics, had to experience great sorrow before coming to trust her team.

… and, finally, a lesson from the past on what not to do:

5. Captain Isaac Emerson, CEO of Bromo Selzter, advertised a headache remedy for troubled marriages, while building monuments to his own failed marriage around Baltimore.

As for me, I’d say I learned that I am human.  I’m afraid of being misunderstood.  I’m afraid of losing business and losing love.  I’m afraid of having my loved ones die.

But I’m not afraid to go for it all, anyway.

How about you, boss.  Got any stories?

See Robroy LIVE!  http://bit.ly/qhmqek

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A portrait of the writer as a young man

Friday, July 8th, 2011

At the Marketing Excellence Awards dinner last month, I met a rising senior from a local university who reminded me of me.  I’ll call him Ernie.

Ernie has no clue what he wants to do when he graduates. I asked what he’s passionate about, and he said writing short stories and falling in love. I asked why.

“To me, falling in love is like writing in dreams,” he said. “It’s so beautiful. It’s so true. Then you wake up, and it’s gone forever. And you realize you never really had it.”

I was impressed. When I was his age, I could not even have come to an event like this, due to the fact that my only tie still had ketchup on it from the last Valentine’s Day.

“Kid,” I said, “you should be a copywriter.”

“No way,” he said. “I only write from the heart.”

“That’s great,” I said. “Stay true to what you know. There’s no reason to give that up, ever. Keep writing from the heart, no matter what you’re writing.”

He said, “Right,” and looked away, bored.

Exactly as I would have done.

What about you?  What advice would you give a young person who reminded you of you?  Leave a comment below.

(And while you’re here, have another Robroy.)

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5 thoughts for thought-leaders

Friday, June 17th, 2011

“Every man is where he is by the law of his nature; his thoughts have brought him there.” James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

Robroy has read this quote dozens of times over the course of 20 years, and I still find fresh meaning.  Lately, in my work helping CEOs tell their stories, I’ve discovered it means that we can not only found companies with our thoughts, but grow them by leading the thoughts of others.

Here are some ways being a thought-leader helps you grow your company:

1. Attract talent

2. Stay top-of-mind with prospects

3. Differentiate yourself from competitors

4. Shorten your sales cycle

5. Generate referrals

The idea is, the more you make people think, the more they think of you.  Steve Jobs and Apple Computer might be the ultimate contemporary examples.  Apple comes out with a new product, and legions of followers are inspired to think in new ways.  Could this approach to leadership work for you?

It’s a thought.

(While you’re here, have another Robroy.)

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The experience lie

Friday, April 29th, 2011

It’s good to have experience.  The problem is, it takes persistence and time to develop it, and more persistence and time to be known for it.  So how do you position your expertise when you’re still new?

Unfortunately, some companies take a shortcut that Robroy calls “the experience lie.”

The experience lie is when they tell you a story about their background that cannot possibly be true.  For example, let’s say Delta, Claude and Eli have three, one and six years in the industry, respectively.  To promote their new company, Delta might say: “We have ten years of experience, combined.”

The experience lie.

Sure, the math works.  But what kind of logic is that?  It’s like saying: nine 2-year-olds can enlist in the US Marines because their combined age is 18.

As for you and Robroy, we will speak the truth.  Even if we can only say, “Ah-goo.”

(Read Robroy’s column in the Baltimore Business Journal)

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Robroy in 3D

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Strange things online do happen.  Sometimes blog characters step right out of the screen, onto the conference room floor, smiling and telling stories.

Next week in Baltimore, Robroy will do just that.  It would be great if you can join us.

My talk is about how to use the power of story-telling and story-listening to sell better.  Here are some take-aways:

  • How to hear the prospect’s story
  • How to help them tell their story
  • How to apply the Story Wheel in your business growth strategy

Get registered here.  It’s Tuesday, March 8th at 7:30AM.  All blog personnel will return to their screens by 9:30.

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5 steps for guest bloggers

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Every now and then, someone notices how passionate you are about your topic, and asks you to submit a guest post to their blog.

You graciously accept.  After all, there’s nothing you love better than sharing your passion with others.  But what is the best way to structure a blog post?

1. Start with the Problem: For example, in this post, the problem is that it’s hard to write a guest post.

2. Dwell on the Consequence: If you don’t, you won’t be able to share what you are passionate about as clearly.

3. Find the Turning Point: What does it take to turn the problem around?  You know what to do.  You’ve lived it.

4. Share the Vision: Here you create the possibilities you have been imagining, so that others can see what you see.

5. Reap the Reward: Wrap your post with something that gives readers a reason to dream.

Be a proper guest.  Apply the 5-point structure to your topic, and you will make an imprint on the world.

That’s all we ask.

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Granny on the roof

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Every time I drive by, I get a kick out of the corner drug store in my neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore City.  I love how they’ve adopted a marketing stunt from auto repair shops of the 1950s.  Not a car but a motorized wheelchair sits on the roof of Northern Pharmacy.  It’s as though some hotrod granny overshot the parking lot, climbed down, did her shopping, and forgot where she’d parked.

I recently had a chance to interview the owner, Marty Mintz, for a story in the Baltimore Business Journal.  Here’s the column.

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Bull!

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Have you ever had a dream that you were alone in the ring with a bull?  You flourish your cape.  The crowd cheers.  Fifty feet away, the bull leans toward you, absolutely intense.  Are you ready?

If you’re selling or marketing your company, you’d better be.


The bull is boom times, and Robroy has news for you.  This is no dream.  In Maryland, the bull strode cooly into the ring earlier this year, when the Baltimore Business Journal acknowledged “the end of the recession.”

The bull paused, straining his powerful neck and pawing the dirt as the Baltimore Sun reported more data on economic recovery: http://ow.ly/1DaVo.

What does the data say?

Businesses posted thousands of new jobs in sales (up 23%), marketing (up 8%) and customer service (up 26%) on CareerBuilder.com, the Sun’s online job board, recently.  The article says more companies are restocking their revenue producing roles.

How is this good for you?

Whether you have a company or a revenue producing role, you have a new purpose.  Get out there and warn your prospects and customers that companies are going agressively into growth mode.  Not only is it safe for them to invest in growth again — it’s dangerous not to.

Ole!

Maryland gets first crack at the bull.  What we do, win or lose, will create momentum for other states.  So let’s be true matadors and engage fearlessly.  Our time has come.

(Read Robroy’s column in today’s Baltimore Business Journal)

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Robroy for president

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Since I started blogging, I’ve come to think about our country differently.

The politicians like to segregate us into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I’ve got a different view.  Thanks to Google Analytics, I see green states and yellow states.

For example, here’s a report from a blog entry I recently posted, showing where all that week’s traffic to my site came from:

Yellow means nobody in that state visited Robroy’s blog.  Green means they did.  Darker green means more visitors came from that state.  It makes sense that Robroy had the most hits in Maryland, my home base.  But I can’t understand why they don’t like me in Texas, where I always kiss the babies.  If this were an election year, I’d be nervous.

My fellow Americans, keep reading Robroy.  Because if you do, I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from California to Maine, the people will rise up and reclaim the promise of our destiny, and out of the polluted haze of partisan confusion, a greener day will come.

Thank you.  And for those who sneezed, God bless you.

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5 quick lunch tips for starting a blog

Friday, March 5th, 2010

One of the nicest unintended consequences of writing a blog is you get so many invites to lunch.  People are hungry to know how they can start their own blog.  So, yes, let’s sit down.  Tell me what you’re passionate about.  I’ll listen.  And here’s what I may recommend:

  1. Soup – To get started in blogging, you need Web stuff.  You won’t believe how easy it is with WordPress.com.  For 1:1 time with a Webber, Robroy trusts Dustin Pfeifer Creative.
  2. Salad – The healthy course is to have a social media strategy.  Some of the freshest ideas are coming from Right Source Marketing.  For example (I love this): http://bit.ly/br6kYJ.
  3. Entree – The meat and potatoes, the true richness of your blog is the size of your readership.  To be successful, “be famous,” to quote my friend, Marci DeVries.  Check out her Web energy company, MDV Interactive.
  4. Coffee – Care enough to serve the very best content.  Good strong stories can be addictive and keep your audience coming back.  Write them yourself, or hire a professional copywriter.
  5. Dessert – Indulge.  Respond to all comments on your blog with feeling.  Return the favor by commenting on their blogs.  And always, as they say at Etsy, “Be sweet.  Retweet.”

That’s it.  It’s really that simple.  Follow these 5 tips and you may never pick up the check again.

Unless of course you’re out with Robroy.

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