The Marketing Formula Blog

Mar | 2014

Supporting Dayton Basketball and Beyond

DDN Front page
No one can argue the fact that the 2014 NCAA March Madness tournament has been more unpredictable than most. It’s been especially exciting right here in Dayton, Ohio, where we’ve been routing on the University of Dayton Flyers, as they’ve won two games no one could have guessed they would and arriving unscathed into the sweet 16.

I’ve seen a lot of people jump on the UD bandwagon since the beginning of the tournament. Lots of fans who never before mentioned anything about UD are now diehard fans. Typically this behavior bothers me, but for the first time I actually enjoy watching people jump on the bandwagon. The more the merrier. It may be because I myself am a bandwagon jumper, or maybe, just maybe, it’s nice to see some pride in Dayton.

Dayton Abandoned

It’s no secret that Dayton is depressed. All the bones of a once beautiful city still remain, but high vacancy in both residential and commercial real estate leave entire neighborhoods feeling like ghost towns. Though the crime rate has dropped dramatically, there is still a stigma that hangs over the city that repels people from venturing downtown.
Dayton is one of the few major metropolitan areas I can think of that people love their suburban neighborhoods. They take great pride in saying that they have the best school district, or the best sports program, but people avoid downtown like the plague. It’s time we took some pride in the downtown area and start rejuvenating and reestablishing Dayton.

Many cities have established what it is they want to be known for, there are cities that have a great music scene,
other cities are known for their trademark food, and still others are designated as sports towns. The great thing about Dayton is that there is something for everyone, arts, restaurants, and several sports teams.

I grew up north of Dayton and the only trip I took downtown was to get a new birth certificate printed. I went to Wright State University, and felt that the students at UD were elitists. (This was completely unfounded as I only knew a few UD students, and they were all good friends of mine). I spent my entire life enjoying the downtown area, but in 2013 I found myself working in the heart of downtown. I’ve discovered a city full of potential, with unique flavors and experiences that make Dayton more appealing that I ever thought possible. If you’ve never seen how beautiful Dayton can be navigate Here. Want to find out what’s happening in Dayton? Check out upcoming events Here. If you want to see what to eat to get the true flavor of Dayton, check out my friend Lauren’s Blog

Dayton Rejuvinated
So let’s all jump on the UD bandwagon. Let the world see how great our city is. Let’s not let it stop after the tournament ends. Let’s start pouring our heart and soul into downtown Dayton. Let’s be the generation that leaves a mark, and rejuvenates a city.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mar | 2014


Motivational Coffee

The other night my wife and I were watching a video online of a friend of ours. He was competing in a strength competition. It wasn’t a super impressive competition where the guys throw pianos through third story windows, but they were squatting more weight than I could dream of, and doing things like pull ups.
This may not sound super impressive to you, if you’re in good shape, but our friend spent a month in the hospital this past Christmas, because of complications from a ruptured appendix. He had been on the brink of death for several days, and at times it didn’t look as if he was going to make it. So fast forward 3 months and he’s competing in a fitness competition, you can color me impressed.

Anyway, while we’re watching the video, I noted that the only sign of his struggle from 3 months before was that he was straining a bit to get through the pull up session. My wife turns to look at me and says, “You couldn’t even do one pull up.”

Respect Cartoon

Now many of you may be up in arms thinking that is a pretty rude thing for her to say to you. I agree
completely, but here is the thing: My wife understands what motivates me. If she had said, “Do you think you can do a pull up?” I would say yes, conversation over, moving on. However, I live for a challenge. I thrive on being called out, I don’t back down from a triple-dog-dare. (yes I have gotten my tongue frozen to a pole, why do you ask?)

So the question you have to ask yourself is, “what motivates your avatar client?” What type of people do you want to attract with your marketing programs? If you just start putting out information about your company, without thinking about who you want to attract, you may not be speaking to the right customers.
Do you want people who are coming into your store and expecting you to compete on price? Do you have the largest selection available of your products or services? Do you want to attract a client who appreciates the best possible customer service?

Whatever it is that you’re offering, be sure to craft your message in a way that attracts people who appreciate it. Understanding and embracing the fact that you can’t offer everything to everyone is the first step in targeting your marketing to the right person. So get out there and start motivating your potential customers.

Weak man lifting weights

Oh, and I went to the gym this morning, and I did that pull-up. I’m not sure I really cleared the bar, but for me it’s close enough!

Categories: Business, Sales

Mar | 2014

5 types of twitter Users You Don’t Want to Be


If you’ve been on twitter more than 3 days, there’s a good chance you’ve unfollowed someone. There are a myriad of reasons for doing this, but I’ve focused in on 5 for you to chew on for a bit.

The social butterfly

Monarch butterfly isolated on white with soft shadow

The Horror: @Way2Social: OMG @ReTwMCgee @SoandSO @OneandonlyFocus @OMGINSPIREDSOMUCH: @NotarealTwitter @thisismadeup @CNN @HuffingtonPost @WSJLive @WaffleHouse @ChipotleTweets Hi.

You’ve probably seen this tweet once or twice. So full of @s and screen names that they have 7 characters left for their tweet. Please limit your mentions to 11 per tweet (fewer if you’re interesting and entertaining)

If you’re simply including handles to get followers, you may see an increase, but you won’t see any benefit to your business. (That is unless you sell twitter followers, then by all means please keep going.

The Proper Use: By all means, make your twitter conversational, but be sure that you’re balancing out your conversation with useful information.

The Retweeter

The Horror: @ReTwMcGee RT: @SOandSO I JUST ATE A SANDWICH.

Surely you can come up with some interesting observation to produce your own content on occasion.
When you begin to strategize, think of the entire cycle of a prospect on Twitter. How will they find you, How will they learn to trust / like / respect you, and how you can entice them to do business with you.

The Proper Use: Retweeting is a great strategy for building followers, but if you never put out an original thought, you’re going to have a tough time converting those followers.

The single minded tweeter


The Horror:@OneandonlyFocus: We’ve got deals

@ OneandonlyFocus: DEALS DEALS DEALS

@ OneandonlyFocus: LOOK! Deals

@ OneandonlyFocus: look at this picture of a cute puppy…. TELLING YOU ABOUT OUR DEALS!!!!!!!!

I will stop following you if you do this. Especially the puppy tweet, that’s just mean. Remember, well rounded is the key. If you don’t have anything new to say, look for inspiration, but don’t keep saying the same thing, sharing the same link, or promoting the same product. It gets old fast.

The Proper Use: Feel free to refresh some older evergreen content, if you’re low on ideas. But mix it in with new content as well.

The Insipirationalist

The Horror:@OMGINSPIREDSOMUCH: Remember, that life is a journey, and everything is beautiful if you look the at it right. You see life is short, don’t waste it, love much, breathe often, soar. Dance even if someone is watching you and critiquing heavily. Sing.

I know that people have entire twitter accounts dedicated to these types of tweets. They do great at attracting followers, but they are often not very interactive. Inspiration offers a quick boost, with no follow through. If you’re looking to gain clients, or a great reputation, use inspiration sparingly. (Side Note: I had a hard time finding an applicable handle that wasn’t taken)

The Proper Use: One great way to utilize this technique is to use graphical representation of an inspirational saying. That type of content is very sharable and can put you in front of a large group of potential followers.

The Hashtagger

hashtag cloud

The Horror: @#Hashtags4Life: #OMG #I #Went #to #Walmart #Today #It #was #awesome

Just typing that tweet out hurt me. It’s strenuous to create and even worse to read. If you want your content to be engaging you’ve got to keep it clean, make it legible, that’s not just limiting your hashtags. Be sure to proof read. And if possible use complete words.

The Proper Use: There are two ways you can use hashtags well:

  1. Use them as they were designed. You can join in conversations, or start a movement for your brand by getting your followers on board with a catchy hastag. It’s a great way to organize your interactions.
  2. Be fun, be ironic, but beware and use sparingly. If you want to use a funny or interesting hashtag, this can be useful, not to start a conversation, but to draw in the attention of people who are scanning their feed. If you’re catching eyes, you are more likely to gain followers, and generate buzz.

I had a lot of fun illustrating poor use of social media. I may have slightly exaggerated all of these, but we all know someone who is flirting with a Twitter disaster. Remember all things are good in moderation. Planning your twitter strategy is essential to success, but above all, make sure you twitter account has a personality that’s uniquely you.

Categories: Social Media

Mar | 2014

Letting Go


An interesting scenario played out this weekend at my church. Yes I said church in a blog, no you don’t have to run away screaming, I promise it won’t be preachy. Anyway, there was a man at our church this weekend, who was standing uncomfortably close to our stage. I take notice to this as my wife sings in the church band, and I noticed she was clearly shaken by this man. I began to watch his demeanor, to try and get some grasp as to in intentions. Was he simply a man who worshiped in a way that is uncommon in our church, or was there something else there? After watching him for a few minutes it was clear that he was under the influence of some sort of drug. It was a much more disconnected behavior than someone who is merely under the influence of alcohol. (Someone showing up to church drunk is a semi regular occurrence at our church. It’s the nature of our geographic area and the outreach that we do.)

The question arose in my mind, at what point and time do we intervene. When do we ask him to leave? Is it enough that he’s making people uncomfortable or do we have to wait for signs of danger? After discussing the situation with a police officer who attends the church the choices were clear. We could interact with him, make him feel welcome, and ensure that his demeanor didn’t change from something uncomfortable to something dangerous, or we could call the police (though unless he was threatening to harm himself, they would only be able to take him to jail). You certainly don’t want to be known as the church that sent someone to jail. So what do we do? When do we decide to act? How do we know it’s time to let go? In business these situations arise as well. I’m going to look at 3 such situations and help you decide when to let go.

Letting Go of an Employee

pink slip

In the story at the beginning I discussed being made uncomfortable verses being in danger. This can be a narrow line when dealing with an employee. Now I’m not talking about in a physical sense, obviously if an employee is making people uncomfortable our feel they are dangerous it is time for them to go. But what if they make you feel uncomfortable about your business. What if they have ideas that seem to go a different direction than what you envision for your company?

There is a thin line you have to walk here. Just because an employee has ideas that seem outside of your boundaries doesn’t mean they won’t be a great fit. These can be some of your most valuable assets. If you have an employee that is willing to challenge the status quo, and ask the tough questions, they can help your business grow by leaps and bounds.

The line you have to draw is when the challenging is no longer done out of respect. If they are challenging you personally, or outright ignoring your direction for the company, it’s time to let go. Nothing can drag a business down faster than an employee that is a divisive force.

Letting Go of a Product / Service

This one can be a tough one. We all have products or services that we offer, and we all have to adapt and change occasionally. Unless you’re Coca Cola, please don’t ever try and change again… So how do you know it’s time to let a product or service go?

This one is a little bit clearer. Talk to your staff. They will offer you the best insight into what is working and what isn’t. Just because something is profitable doesn’t mean it’s good for business. If you are making a profit at the expense of your employees’ sanity, you will see a move to higher turnover and employee burnout.

That’s not to say you can’t keep offering that product or service, but if your staff is at their wits end trying to produce for you, you need to find another way to make it happen. It might be new equipment, or more employees, or it may just be time to let it go.

Letting a Customer Go

This is the hardest one for most people to do. Customers are the lifeblood of your business and without them you’d be sunk. But how do you know when it’s time to let a customer go?

When they are a drain on your staff.

Have you ever dreaded a call from a client? You know the client I’m talking about, that when their name shows up in the caller ID your staff hides under their desks. It might be time to examine whether the stress they put your staff under is worth the money they bring in. Some may be worth it, some should probably be dealt with by the business owner / president, and some should be let go.

When they are a drain on your resources.

Have you ever had a client that seems to find every loop hole imaginable? The client that always seems to get something for free? I’m not talking about the client that is good at negating. I’m talking about the one that insists there are errors in even the most perfect project. I’m talking about the one that threatens to leave your business twice per project unless they get everything for free. It’s probably best to let go, believe me you’ll be better off.

Letting go is Freeing


Marketing your business takes a cohesive approach, and sometimes you have to let go of pieces of your business in order to grow, to remain cohesive in your overall message.

Letting go can be one of the best decisions you ever make. It can be freeing, and it can keep your business on track and moving forward. However, it’s not a decision you should ever take lightly. If you began to make this decision to often, and without fully considering the consequences, you will see your business start to suffer. Your employees will no longer trust you, your customers will be running from the hills and your product and service offering can be way to narrow and not competitive.

Remember, each time you make a decision to let go, that you must consider every side of the equation, but sometimes you just have to trust your intuition. That’s what got you where you are today.

Categories: Business

Dec | 2013

Is your Brand Friendly?

best friends

As I drove in to work this morning I tuned into a nationally syndicated morning show that is broadcast on a local station here in Dayton. I do this most mornings, some days I really want to listen to music, but usually I don’t mind the chatter.

When I first started listening I found it odd that I didn’t mind, typically I will only listen to music on the radio. (excluding my talk radio phase about 5 years ago, but we must never speak of that) Today however, I realized why it is I don’t mind listening to the chatter.

The DJs were playing a game where they would play a snippet of an old song, and then one of them had to sing the next line in order to win a prize for a caller. After each song the chosen DJ would attempt to fill in the next line, then they would all join in and sing along for another portion of the song.

It was in that moment, as I was also, unashamedly, singing along I was transported back to the days of high school and college. I was taken back to the times when I would road trip with my friends and we would find some song that was ridiculously popular at one point in time but had faded into obscurity. You know the songs I’m thinking of, the ones where you still know all the words though you haven’t heard the song in at least 5 years. (I’m thinking of one trip that involved a 15 passenger van with Sweet Home Alabama blaring as we rolled into a hotel in Mobile.)

Continued »

Categories: Brand Story

Dec | 2013

A Salesperson’s Guide to Marketing


I used to be a salesperson; I’ve been involved with webinars, and training sessions to no end. I’ve watched videos and read books from some of the greatest sales minds in the world. But I feel like there is a very real issue that never gets addressed in sales training. Marketing.

I know what you’re thinking; I’ve got a marketing department that does that for me. Or I’ve established a good process that has plenty of prospects coming through the door. I don’t need any more harebrained marketing systems.

I’m not here to present a marketing system to get prospects in the door. For now you’re on your own in that area. Keep reading for ideas to help you, but you’ll never find a one-size fits all system here.

Continued »

Categories: Sales

Dec | 2013

7 Steps to Being a Great Brand Ambassador

Stand Out

Being a brand ambassador is not limited to those select few that run marketing departments for major corporations. All of us act as a brand ambassador on some level. If you ever hope to earn a promotion or a raise, then you are an ambassador for your own personal brand.

It used to be simple to control your brand image. All you had to do was monitor your behavior around those you wanted to impress your value upon. With the rise in popularity of the social network however, we have to constantly be monitoring the content you put out there, and remember once it’s on the internet it’s impossible to take it back.

Here are 7 practical steps you can take to ensure your brand, be it corporate or personal is being portrayed effectively.

Continued »

Categories: Uncategorized

Dec | 2013

Why A Brand is More Than Marketing


Often times we taking branding and marketing to be synonymous, however there is a critical difference.

While marketing is directed towards bringing prospects in the door, whether literally or figuratively, branding is all about how your company is perceived. If we get lost in the marketing to new clients, we can burn our current customers and that can be toxic to a business.

Check out this infographic on why you should take some time to focus your brand on current clients

Continued »

Categories: Uncategorized

Dec | 2013

Coffee on Whole Wheat, Hold the Mayo


I spoke with a friend recently, and he was telling me about all the things I needed to do downtown. He’s lived here since we graduated college and is very in tune with the best local fun and fare. I told him we need to get together for lunch soon, and he says, “Absolutely, there’s this place we need to go called the Downtown Coffee Company … they have awesome sandwiches…” (I’ve changed the name because I don’t like making people angry, my apologies to any businesses actually named the Downtown Coffee Company, this is not about you.)

Continued »

Categories: Survey Marketing

Nov | 2013

Of Racquetball and Content Marketing

racquetball and content

On The Court

I like to play racquetball. For purposes of full disclosure, I’m not good at racquetball. I think I’ve won only once in my career, and it was possible my opponent had the flu. I regularly find myself being beaten by the 74-year-old man at the local YMCA that’s had at least 2 knees and 1 hip replaced.

But in spite of all of that, I still like to play racquetball. My lack of talent and inability to control the ball makes it great exercise. I’m constantly running around chasing my opponent’s shots.

I tell you all of this, to give you a little background on what I intended to discuss in this post. Recently my son “misplaced” my racquetball racquet. My first and only racquet had been purchased at a large retailer famous for low prices and the quality that accompanies those prices. Given that I was now without a market, I thought to myself, no problem, I’ll hop online and order a replacement. Typically I can sort through user reviews on and make an informed decision, but it was clear after a few minutes of reading that I was in over my head.

Continued »

Categories: Uncategorized