Every business needs a RingMaster

Just like the Circus – Every business needs  a RingMaster and not just because you have to deal with clowns and wild animals at times.

When I read Malcolm Gladwells The Tipping Point I realised that I am a Connector and a SalesMan when I read his next book Blink I understood why intuition, gut instinct and first impressions result in the best decisions and when I read Outliers I realised how unfortunate I have been in life to be born of December 27th…….. I was treated in school and sport in junior years as being up to a year older than my body…. and maybe got left behind a bit.

I must admit those discoveries have been very valuable over the past 10 years in understanding who I am in a business environment…. and now I want to explain why I think business today needs people like me more than ever…..At last I am indispensable.

When I write a blog I need two things to get started —- A headline and a memorable Image.

The headline here was easy because I am about to change my enovAsia  Job Title to Ringmaster and wanted to explain why . So I found a striking impact-full image that would grab interest and one that allowed me to add to my story as well

ut-imlayThe wild beast on the leash reminded me of the President and CEOof Dun and Bradstreet Software (CBS) – John Imlay.  In the late 80s I worked for McCormack and Dodge – a Dun and Bradstreet Company. In the early 90s we merged with MSA our most bitter rival to form the world’s biggest Business Software Company.

At the first DBS Sales Conference I attended in Atlanta John Imlay came on stage  to present with a with a Tiger on a leash. This was his trademark – as a leader he was tough, forthright, feared and respected.  

This definitely wasn’t the image I wanted to portray and maybe it wasn’t the real John Imlay. Some months later I was working at head Office in Atlanta and waiting for the lift on the Ground Floor. The lift doors opened and there was John on his way up from the basement carpark. I got into the lift but noticed nobody else did. After a brief and pleasant chat I got out at my floor to be told by my colleagues that nobody got into the lift with John Imlay …that was the rule.

Maybe they forgot to tell John the rule.

So the message for me was Leadership style and actions need to be in sync – Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk.


When I first started eNova I was asked what I did and even before Gladwell told me I was a connector and salesman I answered that I saw myself as the old fashioned Switchboard Operator who made sure people found the right people to talk to and made the connection.

Unfortunately like the SwitchBoard Operator most of the time I was making that connection and dropping out of the conversation.

So clearly as a consultant  this was not the metaphor I was looking for….as dropping out of conversations is not good for billing services.

As I said the “Tipping Point” had a real impact on me and gave me an understanding of why connectors and sales people were important within organisations.  I don’t necessarily mean the traditional sales man selling their ware to the public – But the sort of internal salesman we all are day in day ….One that can turn Connecting and Selling into leadership. And lets not confuse Leadership with Management or with status ….anyone and everyone can be a leader in the business if they want to.

So enter the RingMaster. The person who knows what the organisation is all about … knows all of the people inside and outside the business and above all knows what the customers want.

At the Circus some want the clowns and others want the big cats while others want the glamour of the trapeze. And the customers range from toddlers to grand parents. It is up to the ring master to make sure everyone gets the experience they paid for.

She aims to get the best out of each individual and at the end of the show bring them together in harmony for one dazzling Grand Parade.

The Ring Master doesn’t care about titles only about talents and above all the customer experience.

I recently read a new book about the evolution of Digital Media by the founders of Razorfish,  Converge – Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology . Its all about the changes digital media is bringing as we are living in an era of converging technologies and practices … I wrote some years ago about Media Convergence and the future it offers us.

And it is this convergence and the breaking down of traditional barriers within a business that highlight the need for the RingMaster in every business.

Below are key points Ray Velez and Bob Lord make in the book are applicable to every business. As they suggest this can be a roadmap to the future…… And I believe you need to find your RingMaster to keep you focussed on the most important element …. The Customer

• Organise your company around the consumer by busting silos and applying the principles of agile development across your business

• Leverage the power of the cloud for inexpensive easy-to-use solutions to marketing challenges

• Inspire cross-disciplinary thinking and collaborative action

• Create a religion around convergence, explaining how to tell the story, throughout the organization

• Adapt processes to keep up with and takeadvantage of rapid technological change

• Engage customers by creating your own media instead of interrupting them in someone else’s

• Bridge traditional and digital media interactions to offer customers real-time shopping experiences

Every Business needs a RingMaster …. find yours now.

Real Estate Porn

Following my recent post about the future facing the Real Eastate world my attention has been draw to others addressing various forms of Innovation

In particualr a recent post on Mumbrella http://mumbrella.com.au/melbourne-real-estate-agency-ditches-dinosaur-marketing-146480 highlights the work of Melbourne based Real Estate Agency Philip Webb who no longer rely on newspaper advertising to sell property.

While I enjoyed the video they have produced to promotr their use of digitl advertising it was the way they described newspaper advertsing that amused me.  Having warned a number of clients of the futility of the use of newspaper advertising  for some years it was great to see simialr words coming from an expero]ienced Real Estate professional.

Philip Webb marketing executive Maddison Rawson told Mumbrella that while Melburnians still enjoy reading the property sections of local newspapers, they view it as “house porn” and consume the content like they would on Pinterest, without seriously considering buying a property.

“Committed house buyers go online,” she said, “where it is much easier to search for the property you want.”

Newspapers are obviously working very hard to please Real Estate adverstisers with new style lift outs, features in news secrions etc etc. It is quite obvious that Real Estate ads are vital to Saturday and Sunday papers and to local and regional publications.

I am sure that a major part of the attraction of newspaper advertising is the same as appeal of the ubiqutous sign in the front yard as Philip Webb puts it the agents

“who use your money to promote themselves instead of what should be the star attraction – your property.”

Given costs and effectiveness of the digital approach are far lower it is surely fear of change and being successful enough that keeps agents doing what they have always done.  Clearly they arent heeding the warnings of agents like Anthony Toop who have been embracing technology for several years.

When I do occasionally flick though the Real Estate section of a newspaper I am partcu;lary amused ny agents who use pemcil drawimgs of proprties rarher than creative photography, video etc to give potential buyers a good perspective without havibg to drive to an open inspection.

But I suspect the real aim of newspaper advertisng and vague descriptions is to build their database of possible buyers and sellers from people who like to attend open inspections.

Is TV the Ultimate Social Media Platform……of course not ….but…

…….It can certainly help prime the pump and build a social media  marketing engine.   TV can provide the reach to develop the interest that can lead to the engagement we all want from Social Media.

Many people think TV advertising is too expensive…but its not if used well and while many people in business know Internet can be cost effective they dont know how to generate traffic to their site….so why not combine TV and the Social Web backed by simple analytics to get max effectiveness.

We have all seen the way TV shows are harnessing Twitter to create conversations between viewers, Facebook to build 24/7 engagement with viewers and YouTube to provide promos and highlights to the masses. Now thy have specialist Social Media platforms like Fango enhancing websites to build  interactivity with viewers.

Also those of us with kids in their teens and twenties know that TV, Facebook and Twitter can all be used in sync without missing a beat.

So how can we use this knowledge to build business for your SME.

Recently working with our client Property Asset Planning we developed a campaign, to develop direct sales for a new product offering, which provides a good example of what can be achieved.

We are ensuring that not only do we reach a broad market but we also make sure our client’s past and current clients are kept well informed and encouraged to talk to friends and colleagues about the campaign. In addition to an innovative advertising campaign we have implemented a Social Media strategy to streamline our communications and are now implementing a new Customer Relationship Management System to ensure the best possible service levels are maintained.

The first step in reaching the market was to develop the NRAS 4 SA website and associated Facebook, Twitter and Blog presence. This was followed by developing a TV ad which gets across the NRAS message very clearly and points people to the website for more information.

This ad is very effective and very simple (as you will see below) but delivers one Message and one Call to Action — “Find out the Facts Now”… go to http://www.nras4sa.com …with that web address on screen for the entire commercial.

We developed 15 sec and 30 sec versions based on a powerful script which will also be used for Radio ads as well. Total cost of development and production was under $5,000

We decided to run a month long trial on Channel 10 as they had programming that matched our demographic and delivered the flexible approach that we were looking for. Suffice to say running the ads in about 30 spots (no more than 3 a day) for one week and then repeated after a weeks break – the results were impressive. Total costs for this month’s air time was less than $5,000 because of the mix of programs chosen (some spots costing as low as $20 with a max of $250) and the use of 15 and 30 secs ads throughout for maximum effectiveness.

The Google analytics were checked after each ad aired to judge effectiveness and programming for week two adjusted accordingly.

Each day the ad ran we had between 80 and 150 extra hits which resulted in 4 – 8 emails per day with about half including the optional phone number. More than 50% resulted in meetings and most of these in home presentations which resulted in sales ….bearing in mind the average sale is well in excess of $300,000.

We then committed to a further three months…to see if the results continued …..suffice to say the campaign has now been running for 6 months and the sales made so far comfortably exceed the total sales for the whole of last year……in tough economic times.

Thats ROI!!!

Each week we prepare a report that shows hits by day along with emails and appointments made this goes to our very helpful account manager at 10 who makes sure we continue to use our budget (which has doubled now) as effectively as possible.

One thing we have learned during the six months is the importance of a true mobile site. When the first ads aired about 20% of hits came from mobile devices while people were watching TV. That has now grown to 25% steadily and we have now developed a true mobile site (plus an app soon) to ensure People Find Out the Facts and can easily get in contact via email or phone.

There are many further aspects to the campaign to be implemented (inc Radio, Facebook, LinkedIn etc) but a shortage of stock and new staff to cope with the demand have meant less than 50% of the campaign has been implemented.

In June we bolstered campaign with Cinema screen ads but have found from our web analytics our ad is not having much impact …as such our Creative Team are developing a new ad that will have poeple in Cinemas take notice and act ….stay tuned for more.

Our main focus will be on Digital Media with the traditional media being used to draw attention to our website, Facebook and Twitter presence.

We will use our online “sites” to engage and educate our clients and encourage them to reach more people with the NRAS message by sharing the information we develop.

A Newsletter campaign is now engaging past and current clients with a Call to Action that encourages sharing content with friends and colleagues that they believe would beneft form Finding out The Facts about NRAS. Theya re encouraged to join our Facebook community for the latest news and views whilst also learning from and converse with others with interest in NRAS.

A great example of the impact of the campaign and the people sharing the message with friends and family came recently from the Nicdoa family. The saw the ad on Channel 10 on Monday and signed a contract by the following weekend.

Then they told everyone they knew about NRAS…. The result – they arranged a seminar at their home for a dozen people and invited Brian Chant from Property Asset Planning to present the NRAS story.

And of course many saw the benefits and have since acquired an NRAS property

“it was such a good opportunity to build for the future we had to share it with everyone we know.” said Mr Nicdoa.

Now Twitter is being used to send instant and up-to-date information such as latest stock availability and alerts.

And there is much more to come on this developing story.

Radio rules …. but why now?

oldradioradioradioThe launch of Digital Radio in Adelaide this week highlighted some outdated rules. An expert from one of the AM stations that is now available on Digital was asked by a listener if her reception would improve.

Of course he said as long as she was in their broadcast area. The listener lives about 30 kms from the centre of Adelaide but on the wrong side of the Hills. The Station has the equipment to enable broadcasting into that area … but the licence from the Federal Govt prohibits it. It seems her area belongs to a provincial station 70 kms away!

How antiquated are these rules that are there to protect stations that have a focus that is not in sync with changing demographics.

The listener lives 10 kms from the tower that transmits the new digital signal but must still listen to the “rural” programming from the station that does not have the ability or desire to broadcast in digital.

I am sure 50 years or more ago when the rules were established it was important to give stations protected broadcast areas to ensure financial viability … but with changes in technology it does seem outdated.

People around the world can listen to any radio station they like on the Internet so why this ongoing protectionism of broadcast.

Another classic example that Govt in Australia does not get new technology all that well … and is stuck doing what they always did to make sure we get what we always got … which is generally not what we want or deserve!

Radio and the Internet are the perfect combo of media … would be great to see Radio now embrace Social Media as well … there are many great applications for it too!!