Debbie Mayo Smith, International Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

Archive for the ‘Cheap marketing’ Category

Diamond Marketing On A Pauper Spend

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010


Back in the late 90’s as a marketing consultant, I would always hear the Managing Director of a of risk insurance brokerage I was assisting tell his team “activity equals success”. Without a doubt he was right. The sales you make today are generated from the marketing activities you have done in the past. What differs industry by industry is the lead time required for that activity to create a sale. Stop the activity and in a corresponding time in the future – sales will fall.

 This is not yet another article espousing the imperative of continuing your marketing efforts in difficult economic times. Rather six strategies on how to enhance and refocus your marketing to generate greater success from less cost in time, dollars and effort.

I can vouch for all six because I personally do them every day.

 1. Quantify. Money talks. Fluff walks.

Put a dollar value on how they’ll benefit. Measure their rate of return. 

This exercise is easier than you might think. Will your event management service save them time? Put a value on it by estimating how much time it will save per annum multiplied by the value of that person’s time (their wage per hour, salary). You can reduce stress? Does that lead to happier employees which helps reduce turnover? You can quantify the recruitment costs saved along with the productivity continuum. By helping them put on the conference and not cancelling it this year – it will help them make more sales or increase turnover?  Take the average value of one sale (you can even factor in the life time value of that one new client) multiplied by the number of new ones expected.

You can get the base information any number of ways. Research on the Internet. Their Competitors. Annual reports. Talk to HR professionals about salary levels. Colleagues in that industry. Allies within that company.

2. Do Your Homework

How much time do you take researching a prospect before your initial contact? After several presentations this September at the Bi-annual Asia Pacific Ronald McDonald House Charities conference, An Australian house manager made this comment. “Debbie the most important point I’m taking home from you isn’t one you mentioned, it’s what you vividly demonstrated throughout this conference. It suddenly hit me that I wasn’t doing any research before going to talk to prospective business partners or donors. I just front up the meeting, talk about us and ask for donations or support. It is now clear to me that we can be much more successful by understanding them more. Putting their shoes on. Empathising how we can be of help to them also.”

3. Them. Not You

Almost every piece of marketing material, proposal, sales presentation that I see has the wrong I/You ratio of.  Your prospects care solely about themselves. Yet most marketing material focuses on how wonderful we are. How great we do. Send this chest thumping guerrilla marketing philosophy packing. Replace it with a customer focused what’s in it for them strategy. How will it make them more successful? How will it make them happier? How will it make them more money?

4. Communicate

Build relationships. People do business with people, not companies. How many communications do you receive from businesses after you’ve paid the invoice or bought the good? By maintaining a regular communication strategy you will stay top of mind and gain more referrals. But remember point 3 – the communication is primarily for their benefit – not just yours. The mode of communication should be varied too. Not just email. When was the last time you picked up the phone and called existing customers? You’d be surprised how much business you can generate that way.

5. Tenacity

Figuratively speaking most businesses knock on a door and ask “will you do business with me”? When the answer is “no, not now”, they move on to the next prospect. Then the next. And the next. That time spent is forever wasted.

When you knock, change the question to “can we start up a conversation”? In other words, by using the communication strategy you set up in point 4, you create tenacity. Persistency. You nurture prospects along until they are ready to do business with you or equally important, they refer people to you.

By combining these six strategies, you can improve your success while using less money, time and effort.

Motivational speaker Debbie Mayo-Smith improving business performance

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Lessons to learn from ME

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Would you like get 30% to 40% of your non-returning customers back? Or conduct a fast, inexpensive offer to your customers with the double benefit of significant new business and new customers? Then I must tell you about the owners of ME, a salon in Auckland. The clever marketing and customer service initiatives of owners Andy Grant and Iain Smith have significant relevance for any business. They have combined clever thinking with three business ingredients to their advantage (that so many others ignore). A customer database. Everyday technology. Customer communications. Cross marketing Most salons offer hair, makeup and beauty therapy. ME strategically branded their three services as ME (hair), MAKEUP ME and TOUCH ME (beauty therapy). This creates three separate services to cross market. Their software system has built in bulk SMS messaging. They ran a campaign sending 500 (SMS) texts to hair clients saying if they use a TOUCH ME service they get a gift voucher of equal value for themselves or a friend. Lesson: You have targeting. Cross marketing. Inexpensive, easy, Immediate and personal value added communications. The result is 300 out of 500, 60% took up the offer. That is 300 non-discounted new pieces of business. The fact most gave the voucher away means a fabulous inexpensive source of new clients. Further by giving discounts on services rather than cutting prices means  generating revenue rather than cutting income and creates a higher perceived value for all clients than the actual cost. Raising the dead Each Monday they print two lists. The prior week’s clients and those that have not returned in four to six months. They have the receptionist telephone both lists. The first a customer service follow up ‘how was your appointment?’ The second a ‘we miss you, how can we bring you back’? Lesson: This raising the dead list gives you a great vehicle for feedback and tweaking service – ME normally get 30-40% of the clients to return again. If you look at the average lifetime value of a client, let’s say $2500 here, this simple exercise is a significant revenue generator conducted during a quiet time.

Activity equals success

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

If business is slow, don’t sit twiddling your thumbs waiting for the figurative telephone to ring, Listen to your gut for what would be good for your clients in this economy. Using your database, create your own activity. Activity Equals Success.

Let me give you a personal example. Last winter was going to be an exceptionally quiet one for business. While dropping the kids off at school at 8:25, I thought to myself “Why don’t I run some database marketing workshops around New Zealand and Australia By 9:35 I had segregated out my New Zealand and Australian newsletter subscribers, wrote a simple two paragraph plain text email to each group. I asked them to reply only if they were VERY interested in attending. A flood of over 700 emails had just arrived. Now two months later I conducted 14 workshops for 410 individuals, generated four speaking engagements and sold a lot of books. Let’s look at the aspects of this marketing campaign in relation to this economic climate.

This entire exercise was marketed solely though my newsletter database. With the help of my readers, it was spread though their sphere of influence.

Why burn the goodwill of your list by sending people in the UK, Spain, Brazil or Florida an email about an Australasian workshop? After the initial send, the communication continued primarily with those whom had expressed interest rather than the whole database.

Ease. Speed
From my initial idea in the car through to the final targeted execution and distribution of over 10,000 emails – only one hour had elapsed.

The outlay was purely my time and that of an assistant helping with faxed forms and invoicing/receipts.

Not Fancy
It was simply plain text paragraphs. In fact I am 100% positive that the simplicity not only helped the email get through spam filters, it also was easy to digest and act on immediately.

Searching For New Business

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Are you feeling challenged finding new business and opportunities in this economic climate? Ive got two ideas you might like. 


First try this great website, It tracks the Internet for your topics/searches and sends you a daily (or weekly) update of them by email. The beauty of this is you never have to go back and troll through material you’ve read online before which is mixed in with the new. Please don’t think “what’s the big deal.”

Put this free service to work for you. Here are several ideas to get you started.


New business
Do you respond to RFP’s? Do you look for business activity that you can fit into, such as what construction is occurring? Have Googlealert send the search to you, then decide if you want to investigate.

Help your clients
In this economy great customer service will shine brightly. Don’t you agree? Let Googlealert help you to help your clients. If you know their interests, their industry problems, what their roles and responsibilities are, you can sift through the alerts for relevant material and then via email send the information to them.


One of my very clever clients, Leisa Donlan the CEO of the Rotational Moulders Association Australasia has been doing this for years. In her words “Our customers (members) operate in a constantly changing market. Information is vital.  We use Google Alerts for daily updates on new articles on the internet relative to our customers’ interests.  That’s great on its own, but often not all is pertinent. 


We personally sort out the stories that are specifically relevant to our members interest (Eg Water Tanks) and then send a weekly “Media Update” tailored to suit them, which includes just a few sentences on the story and the hyperlink to the rest.  If they want to continue reading, it’s just a click. Our members love it!”


Check Your Competition
Why not keep an eye on what your competition is doing? Set an alert with an individuals name, the company name or a product as the search term. You might want to hone it to exclude their website to ascertain what is happening outside of their company.

Second, consider setting up a profile and connecting with others on the social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. LinkedIn is skewed towards business, jobs, opportunities, networking. Facebook has a different complexion than LinkedIn, it’s more aligned with building relationships, friendships. Don’t dismiss Facebook entirely for business though.


Christina Force Managing Director of The Collective Force (marketing agent for New Zealand photographers) primary recommendation is to know exactly what you want to use the social networking sites for before you begin.


‘I buckled under pressure and signed up for a Facebook page early this year. All my clients in Asia are on it, and I’ve managed to track down and rebuild relationships with clients who have become highly successful decision makers in countries with much bigger accounts such as USA and Europe. It’s been brilliant.


I purposely refuse access to any family members and friends unless they’re in the right industry or have the right attitude to be exposed to all my clients. I have of course explained to my family that it is a work tool only. I hide my list of ‘friends’ (which on Facebook is exposed to all and sundry unless you block it) until they have been accepted as a friend on my page. This keeps my client list away from competitors prying eyes. I refuse access to any photographers other than those I represent for the same reason- even if they’re really good friends.


I use the picture gallery to display my photographers work such as exhibitions and specific series’ of work not on our website. I also have a link to the website.


When I travel overseas to meet clients I put general travel announcements on Facebook so my clients know I’m in town. Many of my clients freelance so they respond very positively to these postings as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to reach them.


Facebook is set as my homepage so I can easily update it daily. When on holiday, I post notes of where I am, even though not working my clients are still exposed to my news.


Every day I’m amazed at the amount of clients and old clients who ask to be on my page. This is also because they want to know what other creative’s in their industry are doing- potential networking for them too!”


I am sure you’ll agree that when you consider that both these Internet tools are free; GoogleAlert brings you opportunities from outside your sphere of influence and the Social networking sites work from within, you shouldn’t go past trying them to your advantage.

Social Networking? Show Me The Money!

Friday, February 6th, 2009

As a marketing columnist, my finger is supposed to be firmly pressed on the pulse of what is new on the Internet. With so much happening in the arena of social networking, it’s hard to make complete sense of it all. Facebook, Bebo, LinkedIn, Stumble Upon, MySpace, Flickr, Friend Feed, Youtube, Digg, Slideshare. Then there’s blogs, podcasts, videos.

My last column highlighted Belizean tour operator Jimmy, successfully competing against the Goliaths of the cruise industry. One of his strategies was promoting and utilising favourable user-generated comments from travel sites. Anyone can understand the positive or negative impact on business from this type of social networking.  However, though I’m a marketer, a huge advocate of the Internet and constantly bombarded by gotta be there hype, I’ve been pretty skeptical about the business value of social networking sites in relation to personal time put in.

Through late 2008 I viewed the arena as easy to make personal websites for the exceedingly ego-centric. It’s the place where people that have time on their hands go to post pictures about themselves, tell the world what they’re up to, write about themselves or ramble through their stream of consciousness. If you read blogs, you’ll find the good, meaty educational ones are so rare. So let me put it this way. Who has the time? Who the heck cares?

I subscribe to the philosophy of spending your time and energy on activity that provides the most profitable return on your investment. Remember the famous Jerry McGuire line “show me the money”?

If your market is the same as mine – mature business decision makers with money – they are not spending their time on social media sites – at least not for business. They don’t have the time!!!! If there, it’s primarily to stay in touch, view photos and connect with children.

This bias of mine was borne out by a 19 January 2009 study by Pew and American International on the percentage of Internet users in the USA that have a profile on a social networking site by age. You can read the study here.

The study found most adults use the sites for personal rather than professional use and about half were on MySpace., under a fourth on Facebook and only 6% on Linkedin:

  • 89% to keep up with friends
  • 57% to make plans with friends
  • 49% to make new friends

Of all the social sites, the one I considered the most useless waste of time was Twitter. You send short messages (called a tweet) from the site to announce to your audience what you’re doing at that moment. It’s like a txt message – short, maximum 140 characters. One can download little programs like Twitterific or Twinkle so you get the tweets as txt messages on your cellphone, or through a window on your computer.

Your audience comprises friends and admirers whom you have persuaded to subscribe. Can you see why anyone with a family, mortgage, or busy job would consider this an unbelievable waste of time? Who cares who’s waiting for the handyman to arrive? Who has the time to continually tweet and read those of hundreds of others?

This was my argument during breakfast the other week in Manhattan. Over coffee and two inch thick crunchy French toast on 7th Ave and 57th, David Berkowitz and I were discussing Twitter. David is Director of Emerging Media and Client Strategy at 360i. With clients like NBC, MTV, American Express and Office Depot, I valued his point of view and was ready to listen.

“Debbie, where did you go for news about the plane that crashed on the Hudson River yesterday”? ” I was on Canal Street shopping and saw it on a TV, but I suppose I would go to the TV, or on the Internet a newspaper website or Google it.” I replied.

“I went to There were thousands of tweets, people sharing what was happening. Because the best links and information gets re-tweeted, it comes out higher in the rankings. I was able to immediately know and see exactly what was happening before the media sites”.

He also had a rebuttal for me about the handyman tweet. “Comcast (a cable tv company) wanted to improve their customer service reputation. So they would search through Twitter to find what their customers were saying about them. If they saw someone that said the Comcast cable repairman was one hour late, they would reply to the Tweet asking for an email address, then they’d get in contact with the individual to try to sort it out. This activity would work a double benefit of generating good word of mouth”.

Point taken. Twitter is good for real time information, research and monitoring what is being said about you or your company. I joined Linkedin in early December, started a blog and will now start putting up three years of one minute videos I produced on my YouTube account. I’ll keep you posted.



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