No More Marketing: Why I’m Done

No More Marketing: Why I’m Done

What I’m about to tell you might kill my business, but I have to say it: I’m done (yes, you can stick a fork in me). I’ve never wanted to build an empire — at least not one whose sole purpose was “bigger, better marketing.” And a...
5 Marketing Lessons from Celebrity Chefs

5 Marketing Lessons from Celebrity Chefs

Except for my client Rebecca Joseph (aka The Rabbi Chef), your goal is probably not to be the Next Food Network Star. But there's a whole lot that celebrity chefs can teach us about working in a crowded marketplace. The successful ones truly excel at building their brands and growing their fan base. How do they do it? Here are five of their marketing strategies that you can (and should) adopt today:
How to be an Entrepreneurial Chef (not a Business Cook)

How to be an Entrepreneurial Chef (not a Business Cook)

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin and was immediately struck by this passage: The future belongs to chefs, not to cooks or bottle washers...A cook is not an artist. A cook follows a recipe, and he’s a good cook if he follows the recipe correctly. A chef is an artist. She’s an artist when she invents a new way of cooking or a new type of dish that creates surprise or joy or pleasure for the person she created it for. I'd been mulling that over until what finally came out was my Entrepreneur's Manifesto, which starts off: Be a Chef, not a Cook.
The Golden Triangle of Coffee Joints: A Marketing Parable

The Golden Triangle of Coffee Joints: A Marketing Parable

Locally-based businesses (as opposed to multi-national corporations) are the life blood of any community. And people are beginning to understand the importance of nurturing local economies. But there are still a few hold outs. While it is clearly to our collective benefit to support local businesses, many people still patronize national chains. And the reasons don't all have to do with pricing. If you are a small, locally-owned business trying to compete with the big guys, you might want to consider the following parable.
5 Ways to Make Your Marketing Stick

5 Ways to Make Your Marketing Stick

When I was still a youngster (in the days before the Internet was considered a valid way to get your message out), I spent my nights and weekends at the UC Davis Extension learning the "official" rules of "Product-Price-Place-Promotion." One of my first professors (I think his name was Mr. Aguilar) had a strange attachment to the term "pasta marketing." He must've used this term at least twice in every class. His point was that lots of people do their marketing like they cook their pasta: they throw it against the wall to see if it's done. If it sticks, they think it's good. And if doesn't, well...you go back to the drawing board.
Features vs. Benefits: The Stories that Produce Sales

Features vs. Benefits: The Stories that Produce Sales

The $64,000 question is: Do your customers want to buy what you're selling? If you've done your homework (i.e., market research), and you know without a doubt that your product or service is something people need and/or want, yet you still fail to generate sales, then there's something missing in your marketing messages. In short, you're not "speaking" your customer's language (either online or in person).
SSC 1.2 :: The Meeting

SSC 1.2 :: The Meeting

Julia stood on the sidewalk, the letter in her hand. She looked at it again and then searched the storefronts for a matching address. There IS no 404. Am I even on the right street? She craned her neck to read the street sign. Hmm. West Burnside. It’s the right...
Storytelling à la Reality TV: What The Next Food Network Star can teach you about marketing

Storytelling à la Reality TV: What The Next Food Network Star can teach you about marketing

I'm normally not drawn to reality TV shows. I'll admit a wee addiction in the past -- especially the early years of American Idol and The Apprentice. But I nipped those habits in the bud after a few seasons. It was easy. I just cancelled my cable. But at the beginning of this year, I moved in with my boyfriend and rediscovered my love of reality TV through The Next Food Network Star. The main idea of the show is to find the next FN "star" (while also promoting FN and its current cast). But here's what you can learn from watching...
The Francophile Who Refused to Quit

The Francophile Who Refused to Quit

A CPA Dreams Big, Does the Math and Makes It Happen by Alecia Caine of Find Yourself in France My dream has roots in my childhood. I fell in love with the French language the first time I heard it in class when one of the mothers came in to teach us. I thought it was...
How to Eat Your (Marketing) Artichoke

How to Eat Your (Marketing) Artichoke

When you're a solopreneur or the owner of a very small business, it can seem almost impossible to find the time to get it all done. There is, after all, actual work that needs to be finished, or you won't be getting paid. I get it. I'm in the same boat. The important thing to remember though, is that every little bit helps. Baby steps are crucial. They move you forward and build good habits. Habits that can ultimately bring you all the customers you can handle.
Five Tips for Writing Clear Marketing Copy

Five Tips for Writing Clear Marketing Copy

There's science to prove it. Studies show that advertising is most effective when it's easy to understand. I know, right? Sounds easy enough. But if you're selling something more complex than soap or beer, you may be having a little trouble getting your message across. Here are five things to look for as you write your own copy:
SSC 1.1 :: The Invitation

SSC 1.1 :: The Invitation

Julia stood in the same spot she always came to when she wanted to disappear. The young adult stacks were in the far corner of the upstairs level. It was the quietest section of the store and easy to hide there. Usually. She stared at the shelf in front of her,...
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