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A small post about big clients: Bag the Elephant

Posted on June 29, 2007 by Sarah Eaton.

Every small company wants that one big customer that will propel business forward and help it grow.  "Bag the Elephant!" by Steve Kaplan professes to have the formula for landing big accounts.  We take a look at the Executive Book Summary this week:

Jeff Sanchez

Kaplan’s Bag the Elephant! is an informative how-to for a company to snag the large, money-machine client. The summary is draped with lists and bullet points to go through in the sales process of obtaining and handling the ‘Elephant.’

Some include the “Six Keys to Thinking Like an Elephant” such as “priority one” (making the client feel like the center of your world) and “partners” (the relationship is a two-way street: you both need each other). Other lists include ‘What to Know About Elephants’ and ‘Knocking on Doors’ (how to actually land the client).

The summary is easily skimmable and insightful…but where are the real-life examples and case studies? There was one tax company example in the beginning and that was about it. We all like something that resonates with us and creates a surge of inspiration. All of the lists can be a bit monotonous.

Kathryn Regina

I’m not sure if the original book or the summary is to blame, but the ideas in this summary are oversimplified and the writing is clumsy. Take the phrase “elephants…are equipped with long memories” for example. Is “equipped” really the right word?

Maybe most people don’t read business books for the language, but the concepts are just as lacking. The author posits that two principles for keeping your Elephant are “if you blow it, it’s over,” and “lavish plenty of attention on your Elephant.”

But what if you do make a mistake? And how can you give all of your attention to your Elephant while still maintaining good relationships with your smaller clients? The real challenges of a small business working to win big customers are not addressed in this summary.

Emily DeMarco

This week’s summary is about how small companies can land a big client.  For a lowly college student like myself, more sports-savvy than business guru, I tend to have sympathy for the underdog. After reading the “Bag the Elephant!” summary, I began to root for the small company in the same way I rooted for George Mason all the way to the Final Four.

The summary offers great insight to break down the defensive line of the “big guys.”  Ideas like “The Elephant Really Does Need You” (a.k.a. powerhouse football teams need a few little guys on their undefeated schedules) or “Know the Company’s Lingo and Quirks” (a.k.a. memorize their playbook) will really get you into the fight.

To be a champion, it’s all about playing the game and knowing the opponents weaknesses.  Once you’ve found your aerial attack, throw the ball every play. 

Vanessa Day

For small businesses, it is important to land the big jobs. “Bag the Elephant,” introduces ideas that help the little guys find the “elephants” that fit their network, build strong relationships, and ultimately better their company.

The most important point made is that in order to bring in the big companies, you have to start thinking like one. There are six steps you should take to start thinking like an elephant, including making your customers feel special, being flexible with extra work, and making work fun. The latter is key because not only is having fun good for the people in the business, but also it makes your company pleasant for others to work with.  I found that these were the most helpful tips for small, up-and-coming businesses trying to “bag” the big clients.

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PROBLEM: So many great business books. So little time.  SOLUTION: Read Less. Learn More. Subscribe to Soundview Executive Book Summaries!

June 29, 2007 in Brand enhancement, Building Customer Intuition, Corporate newsletter, Educating Clients, email tracking, Freelance newsletter, how to publish and promote online, how to write a newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Newsletter complete outsourcing, newsletter layout, Newsletter ROI, newsletter solutions, outsource magazine, prospect newsletter, sample newsletter, self publish, Thought leadership newsletter, writing magazine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stripped Speech: a blog post about a summary of a book about blogs

Posted on June 22, 2007 by Sarah Eaton.

In case you missed last Friday's post, here's an update: We'll be doing a review/summary of a new Executive Book Summary each week, in keeping with our quest to continually increase BeTuitive's collective knowledge.  This week, we take a look at "Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk With Customers" by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

Jeff Sanchez

After reading the summary of “Naked Conversations,” I think anyone would want to dive headfirst into the “blogosphere.”  Blogs are transforming stodgy and stiff corporate America into something that is personable and actually relatable to the public.

The summary touched on how the development of Microsoft’s blog warmed up their icy public image and allowed consumers and execs to develop a relationship that would be otherwise unheard of in any other media.  Blogs have become such a common thread now in our daily lives, whether business related or personal, and the summary projects the ultimate value blogs now possess that cannot be ignored by any marketer.

Scoble and Israel describe blogs through a “word of mouth on steroids” analogy that is right on. Blogs are increasing the credibility of businesses because the previous monotonous expert insight is suddenly softening through this informal platform.

Blogs are ridding big businesses of “intangibility” and connecting smaller businesses to a consumer base that may have been formerly unavailable to them. The summary ends with blog to-dos and don’ts that encourage transparent and authentic blogging and steer away from anything that may seem forced and of course, dull.

Kathryn Regina

Unless you know nothing about blogs, you can skip this summary. While the author gives a good overview of corporate blogging, I don’t think I read anything that I haven’t heard before.  The “Doing it Right” tips might be helpful to someone starting a new blog. And I appreciated the warning about forced blogging: “Busy professionals who had full plates before a company higher-up told them to blog often compose in a style that feels hurried and forced…’Forced blogging comes across as such, and cannot be disguised. You know it when you see it.’”

Brian Pinkley

“Naked Conversations” offered some terrific insight into the evolving world of blogs.  I would most definitely agree with the author’s perspective of the unyielding and transformative power of blogs in society today.  I also agree with the notion of businesses using blogs as a tool to reach and interact with their customer base.  The conversation between bloggers and their readers make for a more accurate kind of feedback and personal touch. 

However, if businesses don’t avoid a few pitfalls of blogging, it can have a detrimental effect on their reputation.  The authors mention that blogs were never set up to sell, but rather have constructive conversation among the users. 

Kevin Grant

I thought this summary was pretty spot-on in identifying a blog’s purpose and what is needed for any blog to be a success.  I like how it identified the fundamentals of managing a blog: Make it authentic, be open to responses and responding back, be transparent.  All are true and not to be taken lightly.

I enjoyed reading the examples of company success stories and failures when managing a blog.  They were concrete and interesting to read.  I did, however, think that many of the points were a bit repetitive.  The review featured the “top 11 techniques and guidelines for successful bloggers” along with “Five Success Tips,” while much of the review was structured in the same list of successful strategies.

Bottom line: It was a helpful review that identified all of the necessary tips in cultivating a successful blog, but all of the major points were covered in the first six pages.

Vanessa Day

Almost everyone has an opportunity to create a personal blog to post opinions, stories, and thoughts that stir curiosity and interest in the dedicated blogging audience. So it should be no surprise that the blog trend has found its way into the business world and it has every intention of establishing a permanent position.

This is what Robert Scoble and Shel Israel discuss in “Naked Conversations.”  To tell you the truth, I have never been a big blogger; I'm more of the face-to-face type. So this book was actually very helpful for a beginner like me. Not only does it tell you what not to do with blogs, but provides great tips to transform your blog into a successful resource for clients and other businesses.

What I found to be the most helpful hint from the book was the simple phrase: "be real." Scoble and Israel make the apt points that not only are people interested in the company but also with the individuals who run it. If you're yourself, people are less inclined to be skeptical, and they become more trusting of the industry.

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PROBLEM: So many great business books. So little time.  SOLUTION: Read Less. Learn More. Subscribe to Soundview Executive Book Summaries!

June 22, 2007 in Brand enhancement, Building Customer Intuition, Corporate newsletter, Educating Clients, email tracking, Freelance newsletter, how to publish and promote online, how to write a newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Newsletter complete outsourcing, newsletter layout, Newsletter ROI, Newsletter solution, outsource magazine, prospect newsletter, sample newsletter, self publish, Thought leadership newsletter, writing magazine | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

3 Keys to Cultivating a Successful Blog: Relevant, Consistent, Transparent

Posted on June 21, 2007 by Kevin G.

Ok, we get it.  We (marketers, business owners, the general public) all know that blogs are great tools to use.  They spread awareness, knowledge and ideas behind a name, brand, or identity to the world on a personal level.  But it takes more effort than you think to cultivate a bussling active blog.  In the pursuit of spreading my knowledge (or my two cents), here are my three qualities any successful blog should have: 

1) Relevancy is Key

Successful bloggers don't throw everything at the wall to see what sticks – that's just lazy.  If bloggers are able to pick topics that ring clear to their intended audience, it shows they get it.  Show that you know what your audience is concerned about.  Be an expert through research and sharing experiences that people can benefit from.  A blog with relevant conent will spark engagement and enhance interaction.

2) Keep it Consistent

Consistency is key to developing readership.  When you pick days to post (whether it be daily, weekly, or even monthly) stick to them.  This shows that you care about the flow of your blog.  Consider the way you write about topics, present media or comment on fellow bloggers' postings.  A consistent blog is a reliable resource for your audience.

3) Maintain Transparency

Face it, your blog is open to readers all over the world.  It is easy to get burned if done dishonestly.  Savvy blog readers can see right through a fake and can make it a personal quest to expose the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Make sincere posts with honest intent to connect with your audience on a personal level.  Also, allow your readers to get in touch with you through email or be open to answer back on posts.

Here are some good tips to make a smashing start for your new blog.  Now blog away!

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June 21, 2007 in award winning blog, award winning design, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business relationships, company blog, Corporate Blogging, Custom publication, customer retention, Educating Clients, Educating Prospects, grow relationships, how to publish and promote online, how to publish online, marketing solutions, nurturing relationships, web publish, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Speed of Book Summaries...and Trust

Posted on June 15, 2007 by Sarah Eaton.

One of the key components of BeTuitive Publishing's culture is continuous learning.  There's nothing we like more than sinking our teeth into new ideas.  Trouble is, we just don't have the time to curl up in front of the proverbial fire with the latest business books.  Lucky for us, Executive Book Summaries hits the high points for us. 

This week, we read the summary of "The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything" by Stephen M.R. Covey with Rebecca Merrill.  And here are the responses:

Kathryn Regina:

“The Speed of Trust” book summary has a few helpful points amidst a cloud of vagaries and one unfortunate tree metaphor (integrity is the root, capabilities are the branches, results are the fruits…). The bright side is that instead of reading a 200+ page book to glean a handful of insights, you can get the same thing accomplished in eight pages. Here are the points I found most useful:

1. “Trust always affects two outcomes: speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed goes down and cost goes up.” An employer’s lack of trust in his or her workforce also affects morale, turnover and motivation, all of which have a measurable impact on profitability.

2. How do you get your employer and/or clients to trust you? A few of the most relevant tips are to behave consistently, apologize quickly and be clear up front on how your performance will be measured. Then deliver results.

3. How can an employer create a relationship of trust with his/her employees? “Extending trust leverages it to create reciprocity…Based on the situation, extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust but extend it abundantly to those who have earned it.”

Vinnie Lacey:

“The Speed of Trust” lays out principles that we learned in kindergarten but forgot along the way up the corporate ladder.  The author gives fancy names and puts methodologies around basic concepts like sharing, caring, and doing what you say you are going to do. I really didn’t get much concretely out of the summary until I got to “Relationship Trust” portion, which outlines 13 behaviors that apparently are “common to high trust leaders and people throughout the world.” 

I’m not sure how the author quantified behaviors to reach his conclusions, but the advice is pretty intuitive. Just not acted on much, as human beings tend to do.  This is an excellent book if your philosophy of humanity has been crafted by the likes of David Hume and Thomas Hobbes—and you are looking for something to offset their characteristically gloomy interpretations of human behavior.

Jeff Sanchez:

Trust is vital for organizations and relationships…that I was aware of before this summary. However, to break it down to know how we seek it and how we can gain it is insightful as well as overwhelming.

These “waves” of trust that Covey describes do make reasonable sense--but don’t most people have a level of subconscious that leads to trust? I do not always see gaining trust as a strategic and meticulous process. In both personal and professional situations, it is often obtained merely by vibes or first impressions of other individuals.

I definitely see Covey’s waves of trust as more applicable in the workplace, especially between an employer and employee relationship. That relationship or similar would require steps to be taken to establish a trustful dependence on the employer being able to follow through on promises of employment and the employee fulfilling their roles and qualifications. If trust is obtained and lost it is a much more step-by-step process to gain it back…because as mentioned, trust is confidence and that is always appreciated in the workplace.

Brian Pinkley:

I completely agree with the authors’ perception of the great power trust has in just about every aspect of everyday life.  The authors explained how trust has two outcomes, which are speed and cost.  One example:  Before 9/11, flying around the country was a cakewalk compared to the slow process of expensive security protocols in airports today. 

One section I found particularly interesting was on relationship trust.  In this section there were behavior points that help aid in building trust.  My favorite point was “Listen First.”  By genuinely making an effort to really listen another person before giving feedback, you can build trust in a relationship.  This is not just waiting for the other person to stop talking before your agenda can begin.  The process involves really listening, analyzing, and understanding what the other person is saying. 

Once you’ve taken time to really listen to the other people, they will begin to notice that you’re actually taking account into what they are saying.

Kevin Grant:

Many times we think of trust as a nebulous gauge that influences our approach towards our various relationships.  Stephen Covey seems to see it a little differently.  I liked how the notion of trust was conceptualized as “hard, real, and quantifiable.”  By articulating a level of substance behind trust, it made the reader more willing to accept a model consisting of Five Waves, Four Cores of credibility and 13 Behaviors of high-trust leaders.  It made trust more exciting to explore and apply.

Beyond acting loyal, respectful and transparent in our various relationships, I like how Covey made sure to communicate how trust is not attained, but cultivated.  We need to practice it to maintain and grow it.  This also helps in developing “smart trust,” or trusting someone or something for the right reasons and not blindly. 

Lastly, examples of how trust can be rebuilt through different relationships were a nice encouragement to the notion that rebuilding trust is a difficult thing to do.

See? We got a lot out of just a little.  If you're interested in checking out Executive Book Summaries for yourself, do so here.

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PROBLEM: So many great business books. So little time.  SOLUTION: Read Less. Learn More. Subscribe to Soundview Executive Book Summaries!

June 15, 2007 in award winning blog, Brand enhancement, Building Customer Intuition, Corporate newsletter, Educating Clients, email tracking, Freelance newsletter, how to publish and promote online, how to write a newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Newsletter complete outsourcing, newsletter layout, Newsletter ROI, Newsletter solution, outsource magazine, prospect newsletter, self publish, Thought leadership newsletter, writing magazine | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hitting Two Birds With One Stone With SEO

Posted on June 13, 2007 by Kevin G.

It appears that even Google and Yahoo’s search engines can be consolidated in one main service. The search engine, SearchBoth.com allows users to simultaneously search on the Google and Yahoo search engines on the same screen.

The interface is easy to work with and search results are easy to navigate through. Powered by Yellow Pages Corp., it seems to be the easiest solution to win leverage against the two internet powerhouses. Check it out.

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June 13, 2007 in award winning blog, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Business editorial, Business relationships, Corporate Blogging, create newsletter, custom newsletter, Custom publication, Customer Intuition, e-newsletter, Educating Clients, Educating Prospects, email marketing solution, email services, Newsletter Marketing, newsletter outsource solution, Newsletter ROI, Print newsletter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

8 Ways to Boost Your Click Through Rates

Posted on June 05, 2007 by Kathryn Regina.

From product reviews to information sharing, the Medquoda Daily shares tips from the "Creating Great Free Email Newsletters" session of SIPA's 31st annual conference in Washington D.C. Read the article to learn valuable information about copy writing for promotional-based emails.

These eight techniques will boost your click through rates

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June 5, 2007 in Blogs, build credibility, business credibility, Business editorial, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, company blog, company newsletter, Company publication, Corporate newsletter, create a newsletter, create email newsletter, create newsletter, creating company newsletter, creating newsletter, custom newsletter, Custom publication, Custom publications, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, how to publish online, how to write a newsletter, how to write and publish a paper, magazine marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter content, newsletter creation, Newsletter Marketing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Feed the Burn or It's the Results, Stupid

Posted on June 04, 2007 by Vinnie Lacey.

Looks like Google is giving Chicago-based company FeedBurner 100 million reasons to rejoice.

At least, that's the word on the street this week as FeedBurner is expected to rake in $100 million from its sale to information giant Google.  (Note to self: Google self.  Make sure clone has not been created from aggregated information.  If clone exists, destroy clone.)

To those not familiar with the business, FeedBurner is a hybrid of a publisher's service and advertising company.  By optimizing distribution of feed-based (ie, regularly updated) content--blogs, commercial news sites, RSS, podcasts, etc.--and analyzing the traffic around such content, FeedBurner helps the authoring companies better reach their ideal audience.  Advertisers get into 'Burner by having their offerings stapled to these targeted, optimized feeds.  Content feeders can even make money, as FeedBurner offers them a slice of the advertising pie.

So how did a company less than three years old with less than 30 employees entice the voracious Google monster?  The answer is in the technology.  As Susan Wojcicki, a Google vice president for advertising products, puts it, FeedBurner is a good fit because both companies focus on selling advertising that is "very measurable," meaning publishers can track each time a computer user looks at content.

That's good news as advertisers struggle to reach a fragmented audience with increasing control over when, where, and how information (including ads) hits their radar. 

The potency behind a marketing campaign with targeted info--wrapping the information that readers find useful around promotional content--is, of course, no stranger to BeTuitive. 
We're convinced that's what keeps our clients top-of-mind, relevant and a returning choice for their users and consumers.  And we continue to refine our tools in measuring and analyzing our clients' results each time they publish.

But don't take our word for it.

Google just gave 100 million reasons to decide for yourself.

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June 4, 2007 in blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business relationships, company blog, Custom publishing, grow relationships, nurturing relationships, online marketing, online publishing, publications management, publish, publish a rss, publish writing, publishing outsourcing, publishing solution, web publish | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack