Chapter 3: The Four Principles of Customer Relationships That Pay

Marketing Plan Podcast_WEB BANNERWhy transaction hunting doesn’t work

In Chapter 3 of The Marketing Plan Podcast we will consider the main character of the story the customer.  Looking at most business models, we can see that the customer is a target. Something to be captured. Customers are often considered transactions to be acquired, trophies to be won. This is the essence of transaction hunting, but I think that’s running the wrong way.

The goal is an emotional bond between your brand and the customer, this transcends product and service. When you establish this bond, sales happen. And while the key to sustainability and growth is sales, creating a relationship does not come from sales tactics. I believe they arrive through four, simple relationship principles.

Principle 1: Understanding

Principle 2: Empathize with Action

Principle 3: Give Unconditionally

Principle 4: Safety

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Jay Ehret
Dean of Marketing Know-How
The Marketing Spot


Powering Down One Podcast – Launching Another

New marketing podcast is coming

After 99 episodes, Power to the Small Business will be changing. Actually this podcast will be powering down to make room for a new marketing podcast that I will launch next week, on April 24, 2014. I will post the first few episodes here so that you can get a taste of the new show to see if you like it.

Meantime, I invite you to listen to the most popular episode of the 99 that I produced. It features, Megan Duckett, the entrepreneur who founded Sew What, a theatrical curtain company in Southern California. Cool-sounding business, huh? Well it is, and Megan has a lot of marketing wisdom to share about how she turned Sew What into a powerful brand.

And, for your marketing learning pleasure, I present…

Top 5 Episodes of Power to the Small Business

  1. #39 – Megan Duckett; An Entrepreneurs View of Marketing
  2. #14 – Jim Morris: A Tagline is Your Best Brand Communication Tool
  3. #37 – Marketers Roundtable 1: A Discussion of Current Marketing Issues
  4. #40 – Tom Hopkins on the Sales-Marketing Mix
  5. #38 – Simon Salt: Building, Protecting, Destroying Your Online Brand

Remember to check back next week for my brand new marketing podcast. It will be filled with awesome content, and a plan to transform your business into the brand  you’ve always dreamed it could be!

Thanks for listening!Jay Ehret signature

A Radical Approach to Marketing with Gareth Kay

Are you are a radical marketer? Do you even want to be one? According to Gareth Kay of Zeus Jones, being radical is about solving the problem at its root cause; getting at the real, fundamental problem. And sometimes most times, that does not include throwing ads at the problem.

Gareth Kay of Zeus Jones talks radical marketing

Gareth Kay of Zeus Jones

Some sobering stats for the creative marketer:

  • Only 8% of Americans see a real difference in the advertising of competing brands.
  • Most Americans would be happy if four out of five brands disappeared tomorrow.
  • 5% of Americans believe that brands make a noticeable, positive contribution to their lives.

Brands are not as different or as creative as they believe. Kay thinks this is because of our narcissistic, creative approach to marketing. The different approach, he suggests, is a radical, hacker approach. One where marketers are no longer confined to their silo, but instead have a seat at the operations table where they can solve problems rather than create ads.

Guest: Gareth Kay of Zeus Jones
ost: Jay Ehret of

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Show Notes – A Radical Approach to Marketing

Radical Marketing: Solving problems at their root cause, by focusing on the fundamental problem.

Gareth Kay’s Radicalist Manifesto

  1. Be obsessed with the outcome we create rather than the output we make.“Be more obsessed with making hacks rather than making ads.” A hack is the most ingenious and effective solution to a problem.”
  2. Leave the quest for perfection behind. Experiment, put it out in the world, and then learn.
    “We don’t go on because we’re ready. We go on because it’s 11:30.”
    ~ Lorne Michaels, Producer of Saturday Night Live
  3. Make sure you put people first.
    Not just consumers, but real human beings. Think about people’s lives: What are they like? What are some of the things they love and find painful? What is the role your brand can play in making life just a little better?

Selected Quotes from Gareth Kay

“I really think that perhaps a better definition of a CMO would be Chief Growth Officer.  So really their job is to think about how they can best grow a business, and how can they do that through creating demand.”

“There’s a risk of ‘short-termism’ and really focusing on quarterly results, rather than building what should happen in the long term,  and is perhaps damaging to brand building.”

“We’ve hit the innovator’s dilemma. We are finding imaginative new ways to do what we’ve always done before, rather than looking for new ways to apply our skills and talents to generate real, new commercial ideas.”

Show Links:

Watch Gareth’s presentation at BOLO 2013: A Time For True Radicals (opens video in new tab)
Gareth Kay Opens San Francisco Office of Zeus Jones
Gareth Kay on Twitter

BOLO Digital Marketing Conference

Holly Jolly Marketing Folly

Marketing Foolishness: What Not to Do

Marketing-foolishness-small -business-podcast[For feed readers and email subscribers, click here to see the podcast player: Marketing Folly Podcast]

When everyone else is doing it, shouldn’t you? Unless you’ve first asked the question: “Does it Make Sense?” …maybe not. You could be following the path of marketing foolishness.

In this special post-holiday episode of Power to the Small Business, Spike Jones, author of Brains on Fire and a digital communications specialist, joins host Jay Ehret to take a fun look at how seemingly good marketing ideas can really be marketing folly.

Guest: Spike Jones, Group Director of Engagement at WCG, Austin, Texas
Host: Jay Ehret, Dean of Marketing Know-How at
Length: 24 minutes

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Episode Show Notes

Spike Jones’ Marketing Follies

1. Crowd-sourcing  Missteps:  Not having guidelines in place, allowing the brand to be hijacked.

Lesson: Instead of “Hey, what do you guys think?” …allow your customers to have a voice in a pronounced, pointed, exact way. Use guardrails to keep the crowd-sourcing focused. You don’t have to do what the crowd says.

2. Hijacked #Hashtags:  Remember, you don’t own the hashtag.

Lesson: Be aware of what’s going on in your brand culture. You cannot control what people say about you, as Starbucks discovered with their hijacked #spreadthecheer campaign.  Have some context before you put something out there. Think like the public.

3. Feed the “Great Content” Monster:  Great content is really advertising, such as the Red Bull Stratos campaign.

Lesson: Content managers and content divisions are really just a new name for copywriters and graphic designers. We are really just slapping a new label on an old concept. Great content is really engagement and great ideas to engage customers. It is marketing foolishness to think content marketing is some new concept.

You may be interested in this review of Spike’s book: Passionate Movements Have a Barrier to Entry

Jay Ehret’s Marketing Follies

1. Looking for The Next Big Thing:  This is a symptom of businesses looking for answers outside of the business to market their business.

Lesson: It is marketing foolishness to believe that the answer lies outside the business; that if you can just hitch your wagon to the next big thing, everything will be alright. The next big thing lies within your business; it’s not external to your business.

2. Using Free Tools Only: There are so many free tools, businesses are unwilling to invest in their business.

Lesson: If you only use free online tools, you eliminate options that could be successful, such as advertising. Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it works. It is marketing foolishness to not ask this question about free tools: “Does it make sense?”

3. Not Having a Website: Facebook only allows 15% of your fans to see your posts.

Lesson: It is marketing foolishness to not have your own piece of real estate on the internet. More than a third of all buyers will visit a company’s website before making a purchase. Your website is permanent and can tell the story of your business and even engage potential customers.

Contact: Contact Jay Ehret to suggest guests for to schedule a marketing consultation for your business: jay<at> or call 254-399-8093

Website Conversion Science

Topic: Converting Website Visitors into Customers

Converting website visitors into customers

Podcast Episode #81 of the internet show about small business marketing

Your website exists to create customers. But how? Website visitors must be converted from visitor to customer. That’s where things get tricky, or should we say that’s where science comes in; conversion science.

In this episode of Power to the Small Business, Brian Massey, the Conversion Scientist joins host Jay Ehret to discuss how you use your website to get more leads and customers. He will describe the five primary website patterns and prescribe a conversion strategy for each.

Host: Jay Ehret – Chief Educator at
Guest: Brian Massey – The Conversion Scientist
Length: 28 minutes



What is Website Conversion?

Find someone who is not a customer and convert them into a customer. On a website, it’s taking a visitor and converting them into either a lead or sale.

Five Website Patterns and Their Conversion Strategy:

I. The Brochure Pattern

Purpose is to provide enough information to whet the desire of a prospective customer and tell them how to get more information.


  • Design – Fits the personality of your business and your customers
  • Logical, Tree –like navigation
  • Contact info must be easy to find.

II. The Portal Pattern

Overall, the primary goals of a portal are to get people to stick around, to view more pages, and to join or subscribe.



Home page – Crucial to Conversion

  • Feature specific content
  • Highlight company and products, but don’t say too much about the company


  • Site Search
  • Drill-down navigation, nested menus, links to related content
  • Highlight specific content
  • Author pages


  • Know your abandonment rate.
  • Eliminate friction and make it easy for people to sign up

III. The E-Commerce Pattern


Category Pages

  • Home page has specific offers
  • Keep non-selling information at a minimum
  • Have search on the pages

Product Pages

  • Show the product
  • All the info necessary to say “yes”

Shopping Cart

  • Flexibility and optimization

IV. The Considered Purchase Pattern

Strategy: Start a conversation by email

V. The Site-as-a-Service (Saas) Pattern


  • Sample the product
  • Use a Google style pattern to convert triers to buyers

Selected Advertising Quotes from Brian Massey:

On the importance of content in website conversion:

“He who has the best content has the best conversion rates.”

On website conversion strategy:

“We can’t really see conversion as a button color, or a landing page, or a specific event. It really is about picking the right strategy that gives you opportunities to convert visitors.”

On website conversion tactics:

“This is the key with conversion: your audience is going to surprise the hell out of you.”


Brian Massey’s Website:
Related Articles on Website Pattern Conversion Strategy:
The Five Core Patterns of Conversion Marketing

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Marketing Traps and Treasures

Topic: What do to, what not to do.

Marketing Traps and Marketing Opportunities

Podcast Episode #78 of the internet show about small business marketing

Host: Jay Ehret – Chief Officer of Awesomeness at
Length: 27 minutes


Marketing Traps:

1. Discounting – Thinking the reason people are not buying from you is because your price is too high. See also: 3 Predictably Irrational Pricing Strategies and What Should You do About Discounting?

“It’s not the price tag that determines whether or not the customer will purchase. What does determine the sale is the value of what you are selling.”

2. Facebook – There have only been a few minor success stories for businesses that try to sell on Facebook. See also: A Facebook Fairy Tale – Horror Story and What should you do about Facebook?

“Most businesses put in time on their Facebook page with very little return on that time.”

3. Letting a media sales rep handle your marketing – Don’t let your rep come up with your creative and your campaign. It will look and feel like everything else on that medium. Maintain full control of your message and tell them what you want to run. Hire outside creative help if necessary.

“It’s not that they’re dishonest. They aren’t. They just don’t know what they’re doing. They’re a disinterested third party who hasn’t had the proper training.”

4. A good idea – Something really cool that doesn’t have a link to anything you’ve done in the past, nor anything you will do in the future. When that idea runs it’s course, the value of that idea is also over. See also: Opportunity Cost and the Danger of a Good Idea.

“Good ideas, they look pretty, but they’re tomorrow stealers.”

5. Going to an industry specialist – Most businesses from the same industry pretty much look all alike. The reason is they read the same industry trade publications and blogs, follow the same standards and methods of operations promoted by the same industry specialists.

“The only way you get talked about is if you are remarkable. And if you look like everyone else in the industry, you’re not going to get remarked about.”

Marketing Treasures:

1. Google local listings – You can improve your phone traffic if you raise your position in Google local listings. See also: Local Search Results and Local Search: The Game is Changing

“Claim your Google Places page and then optimize your home page on your website and raise your position in the Google local listings.”

2. Reading Books – Read three books on a subject and you will be an expert on that subject. Your ability is a combination of the books you read plus your practical experience. See also: Don’t just read a business book, digest it. and The Essential Small Business Reading List.

“Podcasts, blogs…they’re great. But, nothing beats books for in-depth knowledge.”

3. Tagline / Hook – An out-of-the-ordinary visual or verbal identifier. See also: The Importance of Taglines in Branding and What Your Tagline Says.

“A tagline, a hook, is something that customers can hang their memory on. Think of it as a ‘memory hook.’”

4. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools – They help you analyze your website traffic and improve your search engine rankings. See also: Online ESP: Reading Your Customers’ Minds with Web Analytics

“I fully acknowledge that Google is the Evil Empire. But I’m going to use their free tools to help my business.”

5. A meaningful brand identity – A psychological, emotional relationship between a business and customers. See also: What is a brand? and The Branding Process Explained for Small Businesses.

“A brand by-product is customer loyalty.”


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The Decline and Fall of Marketing Discipline

The Internet Show About Small Business Marketing

Photo Credit: Phillie Casablanca

Podcast Episode #68: Marketing Professionalism and Discipline

What’s up with the current generation of marketers? It seems as if traditional marketing discipline and professionalism are being discarded in favor of a “test it today, launch it today” strategy. The current marketing trend is to treat advertising as a current event, rather than as a tool to build brand value over time.  Have all the shiny, new online marketing tools actually misguided the current and next generation of marketers?

In this episode of Power to the Small Business, three marketers join host Jay Ehret to discuss professionalism and discipline in marketing: Stephen Denny, Emmanuel Brown, Mike Wagner. They discuss where marketing has veered off course, and how it applies to your marketing strategy.

Stephen DennyDenny Marketing, Santa Cruz, California
Emanuel Brown – Creative Technologist, Portland, Oregon
Mike WagnerWhite Rabbit Group, Des Moines, Iowa
Jay Ehret (Host)The Marketing Spot, Waco, Texas

Length: 34 minutes Email subscribers and feed readers – If you don’t see the player, click here to listen to Power to the Small Business

You can also download the mp3 file here: Download Power to the Small Business #68 (for personal use only)



– Advertising is the public display of a brand’s marketing plan. Most big brand advertising is bad. Therefore, at the core, most big brand marketing plans are bad. You should not emulate big brand marketing and advertising.

– Do not test your ideas and products through social media. The only way to test your products it through live testing, when customers don’t know they’re being tested.

– Testing products and ideas is often impractical for the local entrepreneur and small business owner. Sometimes you have to go with your gut. This is why it’s important to be engaged with your customers.

– Attract the customers you can please, don’t try to please the customers you can attract.

– Avoid marketing by good idea. Instead build brand value over time.


Stephen Denny
“There seems to be a problem separating theater from the commercial aspects of commercials.”

“…this preponderance of do-it-yourself tools is starting to make us a little bit lazy. We’ve lost the ability to do the math in our heads.”

“I wonder if…having a ready panel of people…through your Facebook presence, your Twitter stream…makes it easy enough to turn to out of convenience, but is it really giving you what you’re supposed to be getting out of it, which is projectable, quantifiable, robust, disciplined results.”

Emanuel Brown
“Does our client actually know their audience at all? Do they know the real audience? Or is it the audience of all the people that has signed up for their Facebook page?”

“We need to start thinking about this in terms of ‘What’s the end experience?’ If ‘easy’ is the way it’s going right now…what is going to be the difference to make remarkable marketing experiences for people to connect them to the brands, products and services that they’re looking for?”

“You may have a great idea and a poor execution. It may be a poor idea and a great execution, and you suck people in either way.”

Mike Wagner
“I wonder about the corporate cultures that no longer pass along the critical skills, the analytical thinking, the disciplines”

“It seems that, because it’s easy, because it’s a tool that’s a do-it-yourself tool for the most part, because there’s a sense of urgency being created by our economic climate, no one is sitting down and saying ‘how do I mentor the next generation of marketers?’”

“It’s an indication of the diminishing of true professionalism and the disciplines…I think that’s going away.”

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Mobile Search: This is not your father’s search.

On July 24th I stopped by SMX Local & Mobile in San Francisco and corralled Michael Dowd for an interview. Michael is manager of technology and mobile search practice lead for Outrider, a search marketing consultancy based in St. Louis. In this episode of Power to the Small Business, we look at the world of mobile search.

Is the search engine world already changing? Just as Google establishes itself as the monster of search, will it now have to conquer a new frontier? There are two different worlds of search: the PC and the mobile search space. While they may have similarities, they are not exactly the same. Listen to the podcast as Michael educates us on what you need to know about search in the coming mobile revolution.


Guest: Michael Dowd of Outrider

Length: 22 minutes

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You can also download the mp3 file here: Download Show (for personal use only)

Press the play button on the player above and get started. Comments, questions about mobile search? Please share it in the comment section below.

Mobile Search vs. Traditional Search


Different ads and different organic search results show up in your mobile browser when you search. Meaning you can search a term in mobile and the same term from a PC and get different results and different ads. Usually, mobile optimized websites show up first in organic results. Non-mobile optimized sites are not given as much weight in mobile search.

Take a look and compare these results, for “men’s shirts” on my PC and on my Moto Q. I searched Google on both and got different results in both organic and sponsored links. Try the experiment on your mobile device.

Pay Per Click & Search Marketing

PPC or search marketing works much the same way on mobile search as it does on traditional search. Now is a golden time to get into mobile search marketing. You can get in early and establish a high quality score because click-through rates should be higher.

Go into mobile search marketing with your expectations tempered. Advantages now are efficiency and low cost, but there just aren’t as many searches as traditional search. So for the next couple of years you may spend more manpower on the campaigns. But when mobile search begins to get populated, you will have established yourself.

To get started with mobile search, begin with the traditional powerhouses, Google and Yahoo, then start experimenting with other search engines. Yahoo has really been the mobile search innovator between the two, especially with the Yahoo Go product. Yahoo Go is a widget for your mobile phone that serves as the gateway to the mobile Internet.


Which Industries Need Mobile Search?

Just about every industry has a place in mobile search. No-brainers are automotive, fast-food chains, malls, grocery stores, anything with a store locater. Use mobile marketing to provide coupons and widgets to your customers.

Michael Dowd – Outrider


Is your website prepared for the mobile revolution?

On this episode of Power to the Small Business, we welcome Holly Kolman. Holly is passionate about the coming mobile revolution. She tracks it, writes about it, and advises on it on her blog: Mobienthusiast. Are you prepared for the coming mobile revolution? You should prepare because it gets closer with each passing month and each new iPhone sold. The good news is you can prepare rather easily and Holly’s going to tell us how.

What you are getting in this episode is short, concise, and yet so important to reaching your customers in the future. There are very few opportunities to be the first in the game, this is one of those opportunities. The opportunity is called the mobile web.

Guest: Holly Kolman of Mobienthusiast

Length: 24 minutes

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Press the play button on the player above and get started. Questions or comments on the mobile web? Please share it in the comment section below.



The Mobile Web vs. The Desktop Web


More than 270 million smart phones will be sold worldwide next year. Smart phones are those web-enabled mobile phones like the iPhone, Blackberry, and Moto Q. As the use of smart phones rise, so will the use of the mobile web. That’s a great opportunity for the small business, but it’s also a challenge.

Websites display differently on mobile devices than they do on your desktop or laptop screen. The desktop web is a long, graphic-rich, application intensive experience. That won’t work on a mobile device because that website will take forever to load. And it will look like a jumbled mess on the mobile screen when it does load. But what to do? Holly thinks you should develop a mobile website as a companion to your existing site.


The Basics of Mobile Website Design


Holly Kolman shares with us some basic tips.

  1. Make your site is long and skinny.
  2. Develop your site without frames or tables.
  3. Use small graphics and don’t make your site big.
  4. Use to check the mobile readiness of your site.
  5. Test your mobile website on several different phones to see how it looks. Mobile websites do not look the same on all phones.
  6. Use to create a free mobile website.
  7. Add a “click to call” feature

What To Do Right Now


  1. Register your .mobi domain name
  2. Get a basic site up
  3. Start getting traffic

Holly Kolman – Mobienthusiast

Holly’s website and blog with news and advice on the mobile internet

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You can also download the mp3 file here: Download Show (for personal use only)


This Is How You Build A Community

Building Small Business Communities The Right Way

One of the most pervasive, misused marketing techniques is building artificial communities. That’s because many online businesses fancy themselves the next Facebook, Twitter, or the early years of AOL. What results is a steady stream of friend requests to a constant deluge of new web communities. It’s really impossible to keep up. And it’s not very effective.

The new wave of community builders doesn’t really understand what building a community is all about. Marketers don’t help by presenting community as the magic marketing tool. But good news; we found two local business owners that have built successful communities. These communities are not about friend requests, they’re about enhancing the customer experience.

On Episode 13 of Power to the Small Business, we talk to two entrepreneurs who have built successful communities. Eric Brown is Founder of Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak, Michigan and he uses both online and offline elements to build a hip community of young adults in his eclectic brand of apartments. Gina Ford is owner of The Grape Wine Bistro in Waco, Texas and has built her community the old-fashioned way: through customer involvement and without the internet.

The Guests:
Eric Brown – Founder and Partner of Urbane Apartments
Gina Ford – Owner of The Grape Wine Bistro
Length: 31 minutes

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You can also download the mp3 file here: Download Show (for personal use only)


Show Notes:

– Eric Brown of Urbane Apartments. Cool, loftstyle, sophisticated apartment communities.

  1. Uses an online “lobby” on Urbane website.
  2. Organized “Pub Crawl” for Urbane residents
  3. Drop the fear and do it. Just jump in.

– Gina Ford of The Grape Wine Bistro. Local wine bar with a community consisting of many different demographics

  1. Instituted “Foodie Club” for patrons to make food and wine decisions for The Grape. Their participation makes them feel important.
  2. A pet-friendly patio with “Yappy Hour” so patrons can bring their puppies. Ties in with Gina’s volunteer work with the Humane Society.
  3. Gina has no website, just a MySpace page built by her daughter. Does feel the need to have a greater web presence.