Monday, October 21, 2013

Everyone is a Coach These Days - Hire a Trusted Adviser

My wife and I recently attended Experts Academy and I was surprised by the number of coaches in the room.  A lot of people were calling themselves a coach and some of them were just starting.  When I first got into coaching back in 1995 I was the only Canadian coach in the ICF.  The Americans decided that coaching needed to have some form of organization and certified training since law suits were running rampant throughout the industry and those with professional credentials resented that fact that coaches were basically unregistered and that anyone could call themselves a coach.

So 25 odd years later we have more coaches than ever before.  I call myself the Marketing Coach since I felt I have earned the right to say so with my 30 odd years experience in advertising, sales and marketing. I have owned two marketing companies and built another family run enterprise in marketing and it is still one of Ottawa's largest and most successful advertising and marketing companies.

The key to coaching I think, is the experience someone has.  I have a post graduate degree in marketing which is good, but the real experience I can provide is being in the trenches and fighting a good marketing battle for a variety of clients including, government, retailers, advertisers, B2B, consulting companies, trade shows and special events, non-profit organizations and specialized and branded retail products.

The key to hiring a good associate and someone that is going to make a difference in your business life is empathy.  A good coach needs a sharp sword, a sense of purpose, a better understanding about the real world they are working in and a deeply rooted knowledge about the customer, client  or purchaser. He /she needs to fully understand what makes a customer tick. He /She also needs to know what to do with a client and how to help.

A good coach listens, advises, consults, reacts, takes some risks and pushes the client towards developing a strong sense of purpose on the way to achieving their revenue or sales target.

Next time your company needs the advice of a third-party to give advice in the marketing area remember what it takes to be a good coach.   A marketing coach should have been in the battle, understand the needs of the marketplace, the needs of the client and the needs of the customer purchasing the product.  Its part brain power, part knowing, part research and part risk taking. 

Marketing is the biggest cost any firm makes in regards to actual expenditures and therefore a good ROI model should be developed well in advance of going into battle.  In a market where traditional and social media collide, its important for a client to better understand who is on his side.  Too often the trusted agency is working for the agency, while the coach is always dedicated to bringing out the best for the client.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Social Media Business and the Future

Today I wanted to talk about social media and the future.  A friend of mine, Geoff said the other day, "you know you can learn a lot about a person by following them on Facebook".   I agreed with him and went on to tell him a few stories about how Facebook has changed my life and the lives of millions of others.Today we hear the news and see the weird stories that the news provides including, a killing here, a break in there or a fire or accident.  News reported like its always reported.

On the other had you go to you network and you see that that life is progressing pretty naturally.  Parents passing on, children being born, vacations, and people just doing day to day things.  Its pretty reassuring really.  I have found out more about what people do and how they do it than having long chats with them over coffee or some other libation.  So what gives?

Social media is just what it says it is.  Social and its your channel on the world.  In Canada we are pretty lucky, life goes on from day to day without too much confusion and without too many issues.  World-wide however there is still the problem of one religious group and or group of terrorist trying to take over specific countries.  We are very very lucky in this country.

The future of social media is here to stay. I believe that more people just need to be aware of just what it is that makes the world a better place and some day I hope that social media will help do that.

At the moment social media properties are just getting momentum, like Apple stock ( which at one-time I owned at $33.00 and is today over $500 dollars) Face book ( $37.00) will continue to grow. 

The business model that everyone is complaining about was earnings of $2B in the first quarter of 2013.  If that's not performance then tell me what is.  They have some hard costs, low cost of customer acquisition and millions and millions of participants.  Who says social media isn't here to stay.

The next round for companies and organizations is to figure out how to capitalize on this amazing free resource and get a seat at the table and we think our mission is to help clients figure that out, learn the skills and grow old gracefully integrating new and traditional media. 

Television and radio has still has not figured it out and is sitting on the sidelines thinking they are doing something, but rather than progressively market and gain viewers through multiple integrations, Bell Media and Global in this country cut programs, take unique personalities off the air and discard audiences like match sticks and then complain when viewership is down.

Social media on the other had has used an attraction marketing strategy and made their mediums more interactive, user friendly and participatory and this means a whole lot of individual participation.

For the customer this is the future, for companies selling products, you need to get it together and for traditional medias trimming all the things that made them great, good luck with that, you will continue to lose viewers, listeners and money.  The model is changing and its time to get on board.

So the future is bright and like that song, the future is so bright I need to wear shades, social media will become an integral part of our business environment ( as it already is) and will continue to grow. The time to embrace it is now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Inbound Marketing and Marketing, The Battle Continues

Well I am in the midst of a major event in the Nation's Capital and for the first time I hired a inbound marketing specialist to help generate traffic to our website for ticket sales.  I expected that we would be infiltrating a number of blogs, communicating with people online and generally increasing our ticket sales so much so that I could reduce my traditional marketing budget.

For those of you who have been using the web, web metrics and web marketing techniques this is probably nothing new. For a nubie like me however my needs, my perception and the outcomes were not what I anticipated.

First of all I thought that by developing an inbound campaign I was doing everything correctly. We hired the firm, a list of blogs was presented along, emails to a database, a Facebook page and a very robust website that was both regular computer and mobi friendly was developed.

Our inbound guy was pretty enthusiastic about the number of blogs we could reach, the types of incentives we would need to provide and the outcome and generation through our online ticket window.  A few months went by when the Mr. Traditional media guy here, says how are we doing with this inbound stuff.  Are we getting into any blogs and was our website traffic increasing and most of all were we selling any tickets?  Our web designer got active and setup a Facebook page and secured likes in return for entering a contest.   We encouraged our partners of our show to buy into the online inbound campaign for a really small amount of money expecting that the would see the value in it and provide the content, pictures and motivational promotions to make the program meaningful to the ticket audience.

After four months, limited input in the blogs, no support from the partners and limited exposure on the web we took a step back.   Why where we paying a guy to do anything more than what was already being done by those interested would do themselves and that was to find us.  Were the blogs and name mentions really doing anything for us or did anyone read the blogs or care.  Similar to this blog, I bet that its read by 20-30 people every month mostly those in the marketing field that are interested enough to consider the drivel I write as meaningful and important.

Our organic search continued as people interested in our industry found us and ticket sales while ahead of last year at this stage in the event did not get the surge we thought should happen since there was no real pickup by the market.

Our show is just starting this week, ticket sales are increasing due to our radio, print, Facebook pages and public relations campaigns.  Our online campaign has really not generated the results I expected and was told that " well its long-term" you can't expect it to generate what traditional media would do during the same time period however in the beginning I was enthusiastic and thought I needed it.

So for me the jury is out. I know I need to be progressive, be on the ball in regards to looking at what can be done and generate as much exposure online as possible.  I think we need to be consistent and continue with what we are doing, since the size of the market quite frankly is just too large.  However I think I need to look a lot closer at this whole online environment, and inbound campaign and consider it a lot more closely. 

Its not the be all that ends all. Its a support mechanism, another channel to market another approach to take.  For me, traditional media is not dead and is now a part of this bigger online market place.  The challenge is that the consumer has so many options to participate and is now getting their information from somewhere but where. Is it where from Google Ads, or are radio ads doing the job.

I think its a bit of everything. So I will keep experimenting and hoping I can find the right amount of online and offline and traditional media to get the point across.  The question is what do I do for an encore. Keep you posted, looks like this is a long term project after all.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Hybrid Agency and 2020 Transformations Strategies

Today I would like to introduce you to our new hybrid agency called Stratejis Business and Marketing Transformations and our new offices at the  Synergy Centre at 290 Picton Ave., Suite 101, in Ottawa.

The rational for opening the centre was to provide a safe and creative environment where a variety of creative individuals could have their own businesses but work and network together in a cooperative environment that would allow each to share their services with the other, pay each other a referral fee and have the use of all the services without the overhead of a traditional advertising or marketing agency.  So we have Robin Sauve from Bamboo Branding and Adrian Abbott from Action Man Media as part of our group my company Corporate Coachworkz/Stratejis and have a variety of other companies with whom we do business and share our expertise.

My new incarnation, Stratejis Transformation Strategies is a division of The  Corporate Coachworkz  and focuses in on working with companies, individuals or organizations on developing 2020 Transformation strategies and plan.   It allows a company to go through a 5 step process using our Level  4(TM) marketing methodology to help them transform their business or organization.

The process is actually quite simple, where where you, where are you now and where do want to be.  It sounds simple enough however there are a variety of steps that a company will need to go through if it really wants to transform its business or the way it markets its products to customers.  See for more information on the 5-Step Process and tips provided by Kamal Hassan is the Founder, President and CEO (Chief Excitement Officer) of Innovation 360.

The key point about a transformation strategy is that companies " will" be required to change their marketing approaches and change how they do business because of the Internet and the integration of mobile devices into the marketing mix.  They will also need to change process, structure, product selection and customer service and customer integration as well as all aspects of their sales and marketing for 2020, because 2020 is going to be a " whole new ball game".

For example the other day we had a rather long meeting at the centre which went into the traditional lunch hour.  One of the attendees asked if we could get some sandwiches and keep going.  Someone ( I suspect because of all their traditional advertising ) suggested Subway.  I looked the others and asked if anyone know where is there a Subway close to the office.  Adrian pulled out his cell phone and within seconds said, "there is one 3 blocks from here, lets go I will give you the directions on the way."

This simple step demonstrates that we are going to need both the marketing integration of outside and inside an organization, including outbound ( traditional advertising) and inbound ( Internet, new and social media) to support a product.  Product awareness is still going to be required and the building of a brand is still going to be required, however the mobile generation is going to require easy access points of entry and guidance about how to purchase products as well as a process for purchase.

People are still going to want to buy, we just need to give the customer the tools and the approaches to continue to carry out the purchase.  This is going to be a huge transformation for a lot of traditional companies especially those who have put a lot of focus in on bricks and mortar and expect customers to come through the door.

For example, many retailers are still using flyer's as source of new customers.  Many are finally getting smart, collecting email addresses, developing loyalty and information programs and marketing directly to them with emails, but that's it.

There is limited customer engagement with transient customers looking for a place to spend their money.   For a real marketing transformation in retail its going to take some hard work and its going to take a lot of looking at the current way you carry out your business, not just the marketing of your business but your business as a whole.

For example, we still have those businesses that treat a customer as if they are a nuisance.  Especially in Canada where customer service is appalling in both restaurants and in big retail stores. Its no wonder that Sears, Zellers and The Bay are all struggling to get new customers.  The mobile customer could care less, he/she can get anything they want wherever they want.

As business owners, it should become the first question you ask yourself when you get out of bed in the morning.  Where will our company be in 2020?  If you can't answer that question, then you will need to start today looking at where you want to be and developing a plan to get there.

Just like those companies that did not think web sites or telephones would catch on, the new customer is totally mobile and its going to take some time to figure out what you need to do an you better get started.

Kensel Tracy is Marketing Coach, Senior Partner in the Corporate Coachworkz and a trusted adviser with Stratejis Business and Marketing Transformations.  He can be reached at


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Taking on More Than You can Handel

When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. You want your business to be successful, no doubt, but you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and highly quality products/services, they don’t know or care about your behind the scenes operations to get those things done.

·       Look for these signs that you are taking on more than you can handle:

·       Clients’ needs aren’t being met.

·       Employee morale is low, clients are upset and you’re in a panic.

·       You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts.

·       Your current clients are suffering from trying to keep up with new business.

·       Profits are going down.

·       You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business.

·       Your clients/customers leave.

·       Resources are being reallocated.

There a trick called the Mock Fish Plan. This plan can help you react positively when you are facing some or all of these things and help you get your business back on track. This plan will:

·       Help increase sales in a short period of time.

·       Alter your products/services for the better.

·       Fulfill promises you made to your clients.

There are six steps to this plan:

  1. Bring in your best team and have them all help to meet the fish needs.
  2. Review your operational system.
  3. Anticipate future problems better.
  4. Communicate better.
  5. Include costs in your quotes.
  6. Always have a back-up plan.

All Your Eggs in One Basket

You can allow your company to become dependent on any one fish. Eventually or for certain periods there is going to be a slowing down period with your fish. In order to stay in the game you need to diversify.

If you’ve ever mishandled a fish, you could drive away potential fish as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do.

·       These things include:

·       Stay in the loop and try to know what’s going on inside your fish company.

·       Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry.

·       Stay exclusive.

·       Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts.

·       Spread your contracts out.

·       Price your products/services correctly.

You also need to work to reduce your dependency on your fish. This can generally be measures in sales or profits. Take a look back at the process we’ve used thus far to snag more fish to keep this all in balance.
These are the ways you can help avoid the killer mistakes that can make you lose it all.

Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle.

Even when business is good there’s still a change of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare, but is absolutely essential to a successful business.

Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:

·       Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.

·       Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.

·       Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payment, so you know who to contact if needed.

·       Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.

·       As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.

·       Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.

You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:

·       Always know which accounts need paid and when.

·       Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.

·       Have a bank contingency plan in place.

·       Build your own inventor network.

These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for fish transitions and slow sales. These last few lessons are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and your need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the best success.  If you need more help in these areas, just contact me and we will help you with business and the transformation of your business.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Do It Like the Big Dawgs!

Today we’ll take a look at how the kings of industry wine, dine and otherwise cajole prospects.

Most of successful professionals use a series of information based ads that build emotion and a call to action. These are much more effective than a standard company branding advertisements. The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit your needs with similar results.

Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional, effective ad campaign:

1. Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples or other proof of your success.

2. Develop value-oriented social media strategy including: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other other social media activities, tell everyone about your business.

3. Consider newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.

4. Offer a free seminar, webinar or other lecture to build awareness of your business, but make sure you make the information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.

5. Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.

6. Always test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
7. Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.

8. Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.

9. Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs or others.

10. Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.

Need more marketing information, check out, get one month all access for only $1.00 Over a million dollars in research has gone into this University. If you have topic of interest or want more consultation, contact me at