Entries by Jeph Maystruck

Semantic Markers

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Martin Lindstrom is a fascinating individual, he did a seven million dollar marketing study on the brain and wrote a book about it; Buy-ology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. I encourage you to read it but what got me thinking was a recent podcast put on by Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch.  Talking with Mr. Lindstrom, they simplified it down to semantic markers.  Lindstrom says, “Semantic markers are like a slap on the chin” in a negative or positive way.  Our subconscious makes most of the decisions for us so brands should be trying to create these subtle markers in our minds. Lindstrom goes on to say that small companies should be taking advantage of semantic markers to get a lot of value out of the marketing effort with very little effort.

So how do you create a semantic marker in someone’s mind?  By going to extreme’s and doing something completely unexpected but so memorable it is embedded in our minds.  Remember how good Burger Baron’s billboards were?  They were different and were actually funny that they stuck out in our minds, you’d chuckle to yourself when you thought of Burger Baron.

How about the Roughrider’s Watermelon heads?  
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A Two Word Strategy for Guaranteed Results

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Over deliver.

Seth Godin recently came out with a book titled Linchpin.  If you don’t know the story of how Seth came out with the book it’s worth a read.  To make a long blog short, he offered a free copy of his book in exchange for a minimum donation of $30 towards the Acumen Fund.  Within 48 hours this offer raised $108,000.

There was one slip up, for the people who took advantage of this offer living in Canada, the book wasn’t delivered on time.  Roughly two weeks late, my copy arrived.  I’m sure some people weren’t happy about the late delivery but it was the next event that really took me by surprise and made up for the late delivery. Just last week I receive a similar package in the mail, it’s another copy of the book.  Inside the front cover lies a note from Mr. Godin that offers this second book as a reward for my generosity and that I must now give it away as a present.

I was smiling from ear to ear for the remainder of the day.  Sure it must have cost Seth double the money to send two books, but I think to him having me tell this story is worth it.
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Marketing Yourself in Awkward Situations

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Yeah we get it, everything we do is marketing ourselves yadda yadda yadda.  But what do you do in awkward situations where there is a bit of tension built up?  You know, those situations where it could end up good or bad?  How do you get the other person on your side and trusting you?

Joke around with them.  Humor relaxes people and says “hey, I’m not nearly as bad as you think I am”.

Example 1: I play hockey, I usually hate refs in hockey, I usually yell at refs in hockey, not this time.  For the first time ever in my life that I can remember, while sitting in the penalty box, quite angry at the ref to say the least, he made a joke about what I did to get the penalty.  I had no choice to laugh and to start liking him.

Example 2: The Pastor at my church has a great sense of humor, after the service you can’t help but smile and laugh with him while he makes his remarks as everyone is leaving the sanctuary.  You feel a different connection with him because he makes you laugh.

You don’t have to be a comedic sensation, that’s not what I’m after, but if you can smile and make a comment that gets a laugh out of me, we’re already connecting on a different level.  
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Something is Awry at the Hill School

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Your website is the story you want to tell the world.  Do you have a purpose for each page on your site?  Do you know who your intended audience is?  What are you trying to convince them of when they visit your site?  If you can’t answer these questions it becomes blatantly obvious when we view your site.

For the past five years the Paul J. Hill School of Business at the University of Regina has entered the JDC West competition.  JDC West is the largest student run academic case competition in Western Canada which includes prestigious schools such as the University of Alberta, Asper School of Business, and Sauder School of Business.  The complete list can be found here.

The Paul J. Hill School for the past three years have finished in second place.  This is no small feat by any means and it truly shows the quality of students that the school is producing.  For reasons beyond my comprehension you can’t find a link on the School’s website to this competition.  Not just a second place finish, they also raised $21,390.12 for charity and the faculty is more concerned with course offerings?  Something is awry.  If I want to find out about programs offered I’ll search for them, they don’t need to be the first things I read.
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The New Generation

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I consider myself a part of “the new” generation.

Tell us to go somewhere and we won’t go.

Tell us to watch something and we’ll turn off the TV.

Tell us to wear something and we’ll choose to go naked.

Tell us to do it your way and we’ll find a better way.

Tell us to be a part of something and we’ll avoid it with all costs.

Tell us we can make more money doing it your way and we’ll go volunteer somewhere else.

Tell us “this is the norm” and we’ll disagree, we have our own norm.

Tell us to believe in something and we’ll make up our own belief’s, because we can.

Give us the opportunity to be innovative and creative, and we’ll surprise you every time with what we can do.

How are you managing the new generation; by telling or by giving?

Photo Credit: Anissa Thompson

Profitable or Passionate?

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This past week I had the pleasure of working with a friend I met in University.  He has since graduated from the film program at the U of R and now owns his own business called Living Sky Media.  Riley doesn’t charge an hourly rate for filming and editing video.  He can’t.  If he did, his clients would either;

a) Pay an absurd amount of money because he works on a project until it is perfect (or very near perfect) not worrying about time.

or

b) Pay a seemingly miniscule per hour rate to account for the extra time spent making the video great.

When you are passionate about your work time doesn’t matter.  For Riley, he’d rather put in the extra effort to make the video amazing whether he’s getting paid for it or not.

Most financial and business consultants would say this is a terrible business model because it does not amount to being profitable.  If Riley’s main goal was to be profitable he wouldn’t create such amazing video’s.  Now I’m not saying that being profitable is a bad goal to have but putting your passion before profit is something that many people do not do in business.  
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