Dec 30, 2009

Test Yourself: How Was The Year 2009 For You?

The year is coming the end and it's time to take account of yourself. Here is the most useful self-analysis test I have ever encountered. It's from the book Napoleon Hill - Think & Grow Rich. Take a look.



Do you complain often of “feeling bad,” and if so, what is the cause?
Do you find fault with other people at the slightest provocation?
Do you frequently make mistakes in your work, and if so, why?

Are you sarcastic and offensive in your conversation?
Do you deliberately avoid the association of anyone, and if so, why?
Do you suffer frequently with indigestion? If so, what is the cause? Does life seem futile and the future hopeless to you? If so, why?
Do you like your occupation? If not, why?
Do you often feel self-pity, and if so why?
Are you envious of those who excel you?
To which do you devote most time, thinking of SUCCESS, or of FAILURE?
Are you gaining or losing self-confidence as you grow older?
Do you learn something of value from all mistakes?

Are you permitting some relative or acquaintance to worry you? If so, why?
Are you sometimes “in the clouds” and at other times in the depths of despondency?
Who has the most inspiring influence upon you? What is the cause?
Do you tolerate negative or discouraging influences which you can avoid?
Are you careless of your personal appearance? If so, when and why?
Have you learned how to “drown your troubles” by being too busy to be annoyed by them?
Would you call yourself a “spineless weakling” if you permitted others to do your thinking for you?

Do you neglect internal bathing until auto-intoxication makes you ill-tempered and irritable?
How many preventable disturbances annoy you, and why do you tolerate them?
Do you resort to liquor, narcotics, or cigarettes to “quiet your nerves”? If so, why do you not try will-power instead?
Does anyone “nag” you, and if so, for what reason?
Do you have a DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE, and if so, what is it, and what plan have you for achieving it? Do you suffer from any of the Six Basic Fears? If so, which ones?
Have you a method by which you can shield yourself against the negative influence of others?
Do you make deliberate use of auto-suggestion to make your mind positive?
Which do you value most, your material possessions, or your privilege of controlling your own thoughts?
Are you easily influenced by others, against your own judgment?

Has today added anything of value to your stock of knowledge or state of mind?
Do you face squarely the circumstances which make you unhappy, or sidestep the responsibility?
Do you analyze all mistakes and failures and try to profit by them or, do you take the attitude that this is not your duty?
Can you name three of your most damaging weaknesses?
What are you doing to correct them?
Do you encourage other people to bring their worries to you for sympathy?
Do you choose, from your daily experiences, lessons or influences which aid in your personal advancement?

Does your presence have a negative influence on other people as a rule?
What habits of other people annoy you most?
Do you form your own opinions or permit yourself to be influenced by other people?
Have you learned how to create a mental state of mind with which you can shield yourself against all discouraging influences?
Does your occupation inspire you with faith and hope?
Are you conscious of possessing spiritual forces of sufficient power to enable you to keep your mind free from all forms of FEAR?
Does your religion help you to keep your own mind positive?
Do you feel it your duty to share other people’s worries? If so, why?

If you believe that “birds of a feather flock together” what have you learned about yourself by studying the friends whom you attract?
What connection, if any, do you see between the people with whom you associate most closely, and any unhappiness you may experience?
Could it be possible that some person whom you consider to be a friend is, in reality, your worst enemy, because of his negative influence on your mind?
By what rules do you judge who is helpful and who is damaging to you?
Are your intimate associates mentally superior or inferior to you?
How much time out of every 24 hours do you devote to:
a. your occupation
b. sleep
c. play and relaxation
d. acquiring useful knowledge
e. plain waste

Who among your acquaintances,
a. encourages you most
b. cautions you most
c. discourages you most
helps you most in other ways
What is your greatest worry? Why do you tolerate it?
When others offer you free, unsolicited advice, do you accept it without question, or analyze their motive?
What, above all else, do you most DESIRE? Do you intend to acquire it?
Are you willing to subordinate all other desires for this one?
How much time daily do you devote to acquiring it?
Do you change your mind often? If so, why?
Do you usually finish everything you begin?

Are you easily impressed by other people’s business or professional titles, college degrees, or wealth?
Are you easily influenced by what other people think or say of you?
Do you cater to people because of their social or financial status?
Whom do you believe to be the greatest person living?
In what respect is this person superior to yourself?
How much time have you devoted to studying and answering these questions? (At least one day is necessary for the analysis and the answering of the entire list.)

*For more about Napoleon Hill I recommend you to get the book.

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Dec 26, 2009

Answer to A Reader's Question: B2B sector - How to Build Brand Value

A reader from India asked me a very specific question. He wanted to know how to increase the brand value of a company who is in agricultural post harvesting machines. Whether the company manufactures or just sells the machines doesn't matter. The key is to understand how to build brand value in the Business-to-Business industry.

Before going into the subject of brand building, there are three things you must understand about what is a brand.

My definition of a brand:
  • The brand is customer's expectation of the company.
  • The brand is company's promise.
  • The brand is an obligation to every employee in the company.
The brand is NOT a logo, visual design or name.

How build a B2B brand

You have to also understand that there is no magic wand. Building a brand takes time, knowledge and money. Let's say you have all those three.

The same brand building principles which apply in consumer business, work in the B2B sector as well. However, there is not only one way to build a brand.

If I was in a hurry, and didn't know how to get started, my first thing to do would be to read Duane E. Knapp's The Brand Mindset book.

After having the fundamental understanding of the brand, I would invite five different brand consultants to give me their brand building pitch (a.k.a. their new business presentation). They will do it for free, and you get more ideas about how to build brands.

I would hire the most promising brand consultant to help me with my project. When I started working in an ad agency that was the first thing I did. There is no reason to try to reinvent the wheel by yourself. Plus, it is a great learning opportunity for you as well. (A caution: it takes confidence and healthy self-esteem to admit that you can't do everything by yourself. Otherwise, the co-operation may not work.)

Be prepared to spend more money and time than you thought it would take. One of my colleagues, who is a brand consultant, is now working his third year with a large Finnish engineering agency to make the brand to become a part of their employees every day work. When your brand is an obligation to your whole staff it takes time to get everyone working together. Remember that people at Volvo has been working for safety since the year 1944.

In brief, it doesn't matter what your business is. You can build a brand to any business if you know the brand building principles. Use experts when in doubt.

I appreciate your questions and comments. Please, keep them coming.

P.S. Read all my free articles about branding click here

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Dec 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

I failed.
I tried to avoid all Christmas hype this year. Anyhow:

Happy holidays,


The CC 2.0 picture is from Flickr user H Dickins

Dec 22, 2009

Ad Man's Book Club: December 2009 Choice

Drayton Bird - Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing

Have you ever thought how advertising works? Do you know what makes people buy? Better yet, do you know what kind of advertising makes a person NOT to buy?

Drayton Bird knows. He has worked 45+ years in direct marketing. And he is now sharing his secrets with you.

Drayton Bird's Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing book answers those questions in detail. The book has over 400 pages of facts about marketing. Drayton Bird reveals things I didn't knew was even possible to know, until I read his book.

"Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world"
David Ogilvy

Anyone who reads this book gets an unfair competitive advantage over his or her competitors. At first, I was a little hesitant to even recommend this book publicly. Too much secrets, for far too cheap, I think.

What you can expect from
Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing

This well-written marketing bible belongs to every marketer's bookshelf. Even if you are not closely working with direct marketing this is an investment that will start to pay you interest immediately. Here is why...

1. Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing teaches you what is really possible to achieve in advertising. (Such as response rates of 50 per cent from an ad.)

2. The book teaches you how to communicate better. It teaches you how to sell, write and present your ideas in a way which attracts interest and brings measurable results.

3. After reading the 16 chapters and over 400 pages, you are just starting to understand what direct marketing can really do for your business.

4. Above all, it is fun to read - unlike those dry business school theory books.

Warning: This book is not for everyone

I don't want to over sell this book. If you are serious about marketing you will read it. If not, there are easier books to read. Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing makes you think your marketing efforts again, especially those parts where you spend lots of money and achieve nothing measurable.

At last - give yourself a Christmas gift which is useful.

For more about Drayton Bird, you can visit his blog or educational website.

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Dec 20, 2009

Introducing: A New Way to Use Social Media For Selling

Today I will tell you a joke. But first, here is how to use social media for selling...

1. Start from your goals

My first thing to do is to start from your goals. What are you exactly trying to accomplish? To sell 500 cars per month, get 10.000 new members or find 20 hot leads for your business?

Let's say that you are convinced that social media is the right way to accomplish your goals. The next step is simple.

2. Listen

Just like a real salesman, you should start by listening your customers. We are all selling something whether we like it or not. Here is an easy to get over it.

Maybe you are trying to sell your ideas to your co-workers, or trying to gain recognition from friends through social media, or you are simply trying to find new customers. What ever it is, you are a salesman. And the best sales people always start from listening their prospects.

Listening is the easy part. You just observe what is happening around you before you dip in.

3. Ask good questions to control the conversation

After you have listened the field for a while, start asking questions. Try to get people respond to you. Ask questions which are focused to your topic or product.

Many people say you can't control social media, as if it's some bizarre living thing which randomly decides who succeeds and who will perish. I think there is a way you can control social media.

Modern day James Bond

Social media is just people interacting with each other using tools that are hundred times cooler than James Bond's gadgets. My point is that social media consists of people like you and me. It follows the same laws of human behavior as any other group of people.

You control the conversation with your prospect by asking specific questions to carry him, her or them to the direction you want. That's a basic principle of selling.

The best question you can ask from your customer

The best question you can ask is Why? "Why do you hate Microsoft so much? Why do you think that Google is any better?" You are a smart camper, so you figure out better sentences to fit your purpose.

Remember that people are hungry for a little recognition and attention. A good listener is always in demand.

After you have listened, asked questions and listened the answers, then people are happy to give you a moment of their time too. This leads to my third point.

3. Sales pitch

Now you are ready to shoot. And yes, you can use social media for selling. It's not just for listening and having conversations.

For example, take a look what Dell is doing to sell more computers via Twitter. They have sold stuff for over six million dollars using Twitter. Pretty good for a service which bugs down several times a day.

A new way to sell

What I have described to you is a relationship model of selling. You spend most of your timing building trust with your customers. Just like in real life. You don't ask a girl to sleep with you when you shake her hand at the very first time (At least I hope you don't).

In sales, you start from listening, then you ask questions which qualify the prospect as a buyer. For example, you can invite people from discussion forums to browse around your store or blog to give you feedback.

However, if you haven't taken the time to build trust with the community, you will be considered as a spammer, not as a member worth noticing.

Advice from a sales superstar

Brian Tracy, a highly successful sales trainer, said that the paradigm of selling has shifted to the relationship model from the old "shoot as much as you can" model.

According to Brian Tracy you need to spend as much as 70 percent of your time building trust and rapport with your customers before you are ready to present your sales pitch. I think the number of the time to establish trust is even higher.

In the future, I will go deeper on how the relationship model of selling does really work. But that's another story.

Now what about that joke you promised, Timo?

In closing, social media is just bunch of people who are connected to each other closer than ever before has been possible. At the end of the day we are all just human beings with similar needs and wants. It's like my father once said: "Even David Beckham has to take a crap, like the rest of us."

Next time I will only stick with facts. That's a promise.

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Dec 18, 2009

We Need You To Save Direct Marketing

Once a second rate citizen, today direct marketing is catching up wind. This is all thanks to internet. But something is missing.

Direct marketing needs new talent, new skills and more enthusiasm. We need to attract new people to the industry and fast. Otherwise, it will disappear when more sexier fields such as general and digital advertising agencies are stealing our people.

We have forgotten that we have the power to shift people's expectations. We can shape our own image if we want to. Hell, we are more capable to do it than the general advertising people. We know what works. Now, it's our turn use our own weapons to save ourselves. The question is who is going to do it?

Direct marketing needs heroes. We need you. For too long, grey-haired old guys have dominated the field of direct marketing. No wonder that young people finds our craft boring and uninviting. (This doesn't mean you, Drayton. You are the ageless hero of direct marketing)

We need new thought leaders to fresh up our image. We need younger people. Most people think of spam, junk mail, and pushy telemarketers when you mention words direct marketing to them. I did too, before my eyes opened to its possibilities.

How could we improve our image? A better question is, what should the image of direct marketing be in order to attract young talent? Please comment.

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Dec 16, 2009

At Last - New Way to Use Social Media for Marketing

Do you know how to use social media for marketing? Would you like to learn how? Here is one way to do it.

One of the greatest success stories on social media today is Gary Vaynerchuk. He owns an online wine store which become famous through its Wine Library video blog. It's a place where Gary shares his opinions and tips about wine. Why this is an interesting case for successful use of social media?

The wine guy's secret

Besides Wine Library's impressive growth numbers, there points which are worth studying closer. When Vaynerchuk took over the wine store, it grew from 4 million to 60 million in revenues. According to Mr. Vaynerchuk he uses social media not for selling, but for listening. "Twitter is the ultimate listening device" he says.

Listen to your customers. And not just your own, but your competitors' customers too.
Think about what the customers are saying. Probably there are people complaining too. Find out what it is, and try to understand why. Only then you try to solve their problems.

Free weapons

Free tools are everywhere. You can start by googling topics and keywords which you are interested in. Don't just read what comes up on the first page. Try to read feedback and comments from all possible sources. Discussion forums talking about your products are worth looking into.

If you repeat "the Google drill" once a day or even once a week, you will know more about your customers than most marketing directors and CEOs who are too busy doing "real work", like having meetings with each other. You may want to consider free tools like Google Alerts for automated reports from your keywords activity.

  • Listen to your customers. (Many who complain, may not complain directly to you)
  • Analyze. Think about their motives for negative or positive responses.
  • What can you do, if no one is talking about you? (Hint: it's not a good sign)
  • Don't jump in and start to use new tools. At first, listen and try to understand your customer's behavior.

Just because something is free doesn't mean it's good for you. Success won't happen overnight. was launched in 1997. Sure, the internet is fast and powerful tool, if you know how to use it. But, even the internet takes time. Once more: start from listening.

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Dec 15, 2009

Interactive Marketing is Coming

I don't have anything to say about this. British KnickerPicker, a web store that sells underwear to women, is experimenting with interactive marketing. Very convincing.

I discovered it from
Interactive Marketing Trends: Does My Bum Look Big In This?

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Dec 14, 2009

Seth Godin & Co: What Matters Now - Free eBook

Christmas is coming early to you, dear reader

Here's something you may find interesting.
A free 82-page ebook from Seth Godin and his friends. Take a look, it's worth it.

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Social Media Marketing

Do you know how to make money from social media? Is it even possible? And what is social media anyway?

An interactive media describes social media better, in my opinion. Instead of one to many, it's personal, one-to-one communication. Social networks are platforms for your message to spread. Or not to spread. It depends on a receiver, not a sender. That's the difference between "new" and old media.

Social Media Marketing: How to make money from social media

The communication is more personal and more direct than ever before. This is excellent news for marketers. It means you can tailor your message to make it more relevant for the receiver.

The prospect (receiver) can now choose whether to respond to you or not. Either way, you get data from their behavior. This means more accurate, interactive marketing, or direct marketing as folks used to called it.

When you continue to adjust your marketing, you are able talk to only people who fit your profile. Using social media to marketing is nothing to be afraid of. You as a marketer are trying to build a relationship with your customer. Social media is the cheapest tool to do just that.

Don't reinvent the wheel

If you have heard terms like relationship marketing, dialog marketing, interactive marketing or digital marketing you are approaching direct marketing. Marketers, agency people and "social media experts" just don't like use the term "direct marketing". People are afraid that it is something unethical, mysterious and dirty.

Instead people reinvent the wheel. They come up with new definitions on how to deal with people. When you have a bunch of new terms, you need an army of consultants to explain the "new" way of doing business. As matter of fact, one purpose of consultants is to invent more terms to make things more confusing. Jack Trout wrote a good article why it is so.

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace, making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."
Charles Mingus

As much as I encourage you to study. Please, make sure you understand basics, before you jump into social media bandwagon. If you treat the social media marketing as an interactive marketing, then by all means study direct marketing. You are going to be amazed how simple it really is. Lots of good and SIMPLE books are out there. Many of them can be found when reading articles like this one.

According to Drayton Bird's book Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing he calls direct marketing as "any activity whereby you reach people directly or they respond to you directly" Do you think you could you apply that approach to social media as well? If you can, your job just got a lot easier.

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Dec 12, 2009

Christmas Shopping: How I Discovered The Power of

It was a cold winter night in Tampere, Finland. Four weeks before Christmas. I was walking around the dark city and decided to visit a bookstore to warm up. It was the beginning of how I discovered the power of online shopping.

My plan was to find something new to read. Perhaps even to do my compulsory holiday shopping. This year, the gifts finally on time, I thought. Without that last minute panic, which I'm sure you are familiar too.

I entered the bookstore. I was excited buy new fuel for my brain. The store was full of people. Me and everyone else was in their full winter clothing. Gloves, scarves, hats, jackets and thick shoes. Speakers played "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.." In less than a minute a went from pleasure to anxiety.

There are two ways to look at the situation.

One, the bookstore was nicely warm compared to freezing temperature outside. The store packed with customers creates a friendly atmosphere. Loud Christmas songs complete your perfect shopping experience.

Two, it's impossible to spend time in the store if you are sweating your ... off. Other shoppers fighting over few bargains hardly lifts my holiday spirit. What if your store would have stickers on door that promise "No Christmas songs played - Welcome". I would support that store just for their bravery. I bet lots of other people feel the same way.

You can call me Hasselhoff. But, I enjoy shopping in a quiet environment at my own pace. I want to explore books in peace, and not
wear a jacket suited for Siberia, while standing next to gossiping grandmothers.

I always thought that the brick and mortar stores had something special over web stores. However, having a cup of hot coffee, sitting in a comfortable chair, while browsing around the web stores beats standing in lines and getting poor service from seasonal store clerks, who can merely handle a cash register.

I have spend 50 to 100 bucks on, before my coffee is finished. At the same time, in the brick and mortar store, I wouldn't have even been able to collect all the items together. Not to mention surviving that extra long Christmas queue to the cashier.

That experience change my point of view of shopping.

If only shipping and handling would be cheaper and faster from to Finland...

Merry Christmas

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Dec 10, 2009

Marketing is nothing more than convincing people to buy a lot of things that they do not need

Disclaimer: I wrote this article when attending Estonian Business School in 2007-2008. Our English teacher gave us the headline. You can find out how I felt about it.

This headline is created by a bunch of hippies. I couldn’t possibly disagree more with it. Hippies and people acting like hippies are the cancer of market economy. They are spending all their energy
to fight against it while they could use their creativity to benefit from it.

Marketing is only a way to tell public about new products, services or even good causes. We have to understand that nobody is forced to buy anything. No matter how much people argue about marketing it all comes down to the freedom of choice.

You can make people buy stuff what they don’t need, yes, but only once. How many of us have bought food with wrong flavor just because you thought it would be good? How many of us went back the next day and bought that same portion just to make sure it really was bad? None.

Sure, we can be loyal to different brands for a while even though our expectations sometimes aren’t met entirely. Good brands are like friends, you can put up their moods for a long time if you really like them, but if you don’t, it’s time to move on.

Marketing can actually bring more friendships into your life if look it in a right way. When someone really loves Big Mac, who has a heart to deny that joy from his life just because that product is marketed by millions of dollars.

If marketing is all about pleasing desires what would happen if one day European Union would say that all products and packages have to look equals with only short description on top. What if you wouldn’t know that today you can buy two Big Macs for one’s price because of banned marketing. I don’t want to even think about that kind of world, it’s too scary.

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Dec 9, 2009

Get a Free Google Wave Invite (0 Left)

UPDATED December 10th 2009

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Dec 8, 2009

If You Have an Apple...

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But, if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

-George Bernard Shaw

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Dec 7, 2009

Top 7 Marketing Blogs

Here are the top seven marketing blogs for you to follow.

1. Seth's Blog
A simple, entertaining and educating marketing blog by Seth Godin. A must read for all marketers. His books are also worth checking out. If you don't have time to read lots of blogs, read Seth's Blog (or mine). He publishes new posts every day, seven days a week.

2. Landor: What's up below deck
The world's leading strategic brand and design consultancy's blog. Read the latest design and brand news. Landor has helped to build some of the most beloved brands in the world such as Evian, FedEx and Banana Republic.

3. How To Change The World
Guy Kawasaki's blog, mostly about online business. He become famous from his work at Apple. He is also a founder of several start-ups.

4. Fuel Lines
Information about how to use social media for your new business generation. He focuses to ad agencies, but I can ensure you that his tips are useful for any business if you keep your mind open. The author Michael Gass is a big advocate of blogging. Visit his blog to find out why.

Read what the big boys are reading.

6. Branding Strategy Insider
An excellent blog about branding. This blog keeps it simple. They have lots of interesting guest writers, including Jack Trout, who "owns" Positioning word.

7. The Drayton Bird Blog
Drayton Bird is my favorite author when it comes to direct marketing. He has 45+ years experience from it. You can watch his short video about the future of marketing here. Bird has published four books about direct marketing, including the classic Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing. "Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world." according to David Ogilvy.

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Dec 5, 2009

10 Direct Marketing Legends

Check this out. 10 Direct marketing legends listed by DM News.

  1. David Ogilvy
  2. Bob Stone
  3. Lester Wunderman
  4. Lee Epstein
  5. Lillian Vernon
  6. Stan Rapp
  7. Herschell Gordon Lewis
  8. Ed Burnett
  9. Ron Popeil
  10. Tim Litle

I only have one question: "Where the hell is Drayton Bird?"

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Dec 3, 2009

Digital Direct Marketing: A Guide to Personal Advertising That Sells

Digital Direct Marketing: A Guide to Personal Advertising That Sells
Click "download" to get your free PDF copy of "Digital Direct Marketing: A Guide to Personal Advertising That Sells"

(The download button is located on the upper toolbar of the ebook.

Dec 1, 2009

"The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!"

Search Engine Guide published an article titled "The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!". Read it. You can download the full checklist as a free PDF from here.

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