151 Band

Saturday, September 22, 2012

9.22 Week In Review

The third week in September has proven to be a bizarre one, to be sure.  Muslim outrage, bizarre happenings in Seattle...we live in strange times and yes, it seems like things are reaching a climax in this weird existence that makes even Tarantino blush a little.  So, here's my rewind for the week!

Muslim Riots.  Embassy's are attacked and destroyed, American citizens killed abroad just because they are American and then the deplorable video of a murdered Ambassador being dragged through the streets.  It defies all logic. And then there's the President's tepid response.  What happened to the days when this country just didn't put up with such shenanigans?  I miss those days.  Perhaps they will be restored sooner rather than later.

Ratpocalypse.  Apparently, some of the construction in Seattle is "displacing rats and cockroaches," making city leaders anxious and residents, well, creeped out.   Oklahoma has tornadoes, Seattle has rats and cockroaches.  I'll take the rats and cockroaches any day. 

Fires.  Lake Chelan, Yakima Valley and the Columbia River Gorge in Washington State have firefighters from across the state hard at work containing wildfires.  The fires have largely been started by lightning storms, and unfortunately, they are bracing for another round of storms that could produce even more fires.  Thousands of acres have been destroyed. 

Presidential Dead Heat.  Rasmussen polling indicates that Mitt Romney and President Obama are tied at 46% which means that the campaign commercials will be coming hot and heavy over the next couple weeks and it should prove to be wickedly entertaining.  Romney released his tax returns, with little or no push back from the DNC.  Truth is that Romney donated a huge some of his income to charity, which explains part of the reason he is in the 14% tax bracket.  But with the $14 million annual income, giving over $4 million to charity barely scratches the surface of his total net worth.  Again, we're forced to choose between the evil of two lessers.  Tragic.

And now, for some interesting local and national news stories that I admit I read diligently...

'Go Rogue'  (Confession:  I think Sarah Palin is amazingly cute, though not bright, so I read far too many stories where she is quoted.)

There you have my weekly rewind.  Next week looks to be even more interesting. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Commitment: Not Just For Couples Anymore

Creating and developing a small business marketing plan takes real commitment.  Whether it be a small business or a multinational firm, marketing, public relations, branding and advertising are more than catchy phrases used to make employees feel good about themselves.  They are all an integral part of business success, or, they can contribute to business failure.

On average, businesses set aside 7-10% of their gross revenues for "advertising/marketing."  When the economy gets tough, however, that percentage drops dramatically and is often the first line item to be slashed in a corporate budget.  Successful businesses and true entrepreneurs believe their external marketing plan to be a communication tool to reach existing customers as well as prospective customers and to cut off that line of communication is tantamount to a married couple refusing to talk to one another - the aggregate result is always disaster.

The bottom line is that there are three primary reasons to create a marketing plan and to stick to it:
1.  To bring in new customers.  If a business owner can't understand this concept, he/she probably shouldn't be in business to begin with.
2.  To encourage existing customers to return.  Once the relationship is established, it's critical to maintain that relationship, nurture it and treasure the relationship.
3.  To increase employee/brand confidence.  Employees can be one of the greatest marketing tools in a marketing plan.  Happy, confident employees are productive employees.

To illustrate a point, let's see if you can recognize the following and identify the corresponding company:
"Eat Fresh"
"I'm Lovin' It"
"Have It Your Way"
"Like A Good Neighbor..."
"Taste the Rainbow"
"Think Outside the Bun"
"The Quicker Picker-Upper"
"I Don't Want To Grow Up, I'm A..."

The companies above committed themselves to a campaign for just that reason - for you to remember them to create top-of-the-mind awareness.  And yes, these campaigns were expensive, but the aggregate result speaks for itself.  These companies have learned early on that a commitment to a marketing plan requires sacrifice, diligence creativity.  They have established a synergy between their radio, print, television, Internet and social media networks in such a way that even the smallest business in the smallest town can emulate.  While your company may not have millions of dollars for an advertising budget, you can still be creative and get the most out of your marketing budget and increase your bottom line.

All it takes is commitment and a willingness to take a few small risks.  Are you committed?
Email questions here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What Goldendale Needs...

Goldendale, Washington is a great town, the county seat for Klickitat County, nestled just north of the Columbia River.  One public high school, one public middle school, one, primary school, two grocery stores, a pharmacy, a couple coffee shops, handful of churches, a public swimming pool, a little league park...you get the picture.  The town has pretty much all you could ask for, but in keeping with the American spirit, let's ask for more, shall we?

Recently moving back to Washington State, I remember spending summers here in Goldendale and there are a few things I would like to see return, or perhaps added.  

1.  Bring Back the Drive-In.  I remember my uncle and aunt taking all of us kids to the J&R Drive-In, enjoying a feature film and what was, at the time, some of the best pizza anywhere.  As I recall (mind you, it's been a few years), the screen was held up with what looked like old telephone poles.  The feel of Goldendale is such that it would be only appropriate that someone would have the courage to bring back the theater.  If anyone remembers why the theater was closed, send me an email here.  

2.  Taco Bell.  Yes, we have a McDonald's, a Dairy Queen, a Subway, awesome pizza from Hometown Pizza and the deli at Sentry Market isn't too shabby either.  However, every community needs a place where cheap indigestion and a plethora of hot sauce packets with catchy phrases can be found. 

3.  Apple Store.  Perhaps the population density is quite what Apple would prefer for locating one of their locations, however, it seems like everyone has an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer.  Just seems to make sense to have a place to service these fancy gadgets.

4.  WiFi Community.  Goldendale would be an excellent choice for one of the monster Internet Service Providers to experiment on a completely wireless community.  Whether it be hanging out in Okone Park, or the WWII Memorial Park, or waiting at the Klickitat County Courthouse, everyone could have wireless Internet access on their laptops or smart phones.  This is not to say, however, the current Internet providers aren't getting the job done, but it would be a pretty interesting selling point for the Chamber of Commerce.

5.  Local Live Music Venue.  Well, there is the Maryhill Winery down the road where some pretty names play, but every town needs a place where there can be some live music featuring local talent.  A couple of the bars in town have some live music every now and again, but a local outdoor venue where families could come and listen to local talent would be incredible.  Of course, the parks could be used, but it's yet to be seen whether that sort of thing is allowed in Goldendale. 

Bottom line:  Goldendale and the whole of the Columbia River Gorge is an incredible place to live.  Still, it would be interesting were any of the above to arrive on the scene.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It Could Be Worse

Taking freedoms for granted has almost become a national pastime in this great country of ours, forgetting the immense sacrifices made by our forefathers and our men and women in uniform today.  Life in America is hectic; friends, family, work and the ever-present political hoopla bogs us down, forcing us to take our eyes off the prize.

Blogging, for example, is a great freedom we have in this country - a place to express thoughts and ideas to the world and do so in an uncensored manner.  People across the globe see us, admire our freedoms and often are punished for their desire to have the freedom our Creator has given us. 

This, from the Washington Post:

MUSCAT, Oman — A journalist and blogger in Oman has been sentenced to one year in prison for alleged anti-government writings in a widening crackdown on political dissent in the strategic Gulf nation.

The official Oman News Agency says Mukhtar bin Mohammed bin Saif al-Hinai was convicted on Sunday of slander and violations of media codes, but gave no further details.

Al-Hinai works at the Azzaman daily, which came under pressure last year for coverage that angered some officials in the tightly ruled nation.
And lest we forget, Oman is a supposed ally of America.

Whether it be rural communities or big cities, our access to the Internet and our freedom of speech is priceless and should be defended aggressively.  Our government has taken a turn for the worse, going so far as to seriously consider taxes on the web and even using the Internet to investigate individuals who are what they deem to be derisive.  It's truly sad, but always remember:  It could be worse.

We could live in Oman.