Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Need A Freelance Writer, Editor, Blogger for Recession-Proof Results?

Mike Means Business

You need a pro. Someone that can see today, and the future, and act on it before it happens.

I’ve been a writer, managing editor, the first multimedia producer at IBM, and I started the first professional corporate blogging group at IBM in 1988 with 15 full-time writers.  That’s right, it’s not a typo – 1988.

“That kind of future-vision experience will get results for your business.  My recession-proof marketing writing will get more traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales for you – for the lowest cost per customer – in today’s market.”

From there I went on to win a NY Film Festival Award in 1989 for showing the world what the Web would become 6 years before the Web went live in 1995. My 1989 production was featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Discovery Channel, magazine covers, and local TV affiliates all over North America.

Editors at the NY Times looked baffled when I showed it to them in 1990. They still haven’t caught up.

“How did I know?  I’m plugged in. I have 1,478 real contacts in my smart-phone including thought leaders, teammates, future visionists, media pros, and entrepreneurs. Together we see the flow, the trends, and select strategy wisely. I’m an early adopter. I learn new technologies, channels, and techniques before most others and implement at the right time – not too early, never too late.”

Then Motorola stole me away from IBM and I used the Internet to launch a little company called Nextel. I got them Business Week Magazine’s Product of the Decade in the 1990’s.

“Do you need these kinds of results?  Hire a pro. Someone that is plugged into the markets, knows how to research for now and the future, uses cutting-edge information strategy, and can drive traffic to you.”

Since then I’ve been helping organizations take advantage of the Internet. I cut $9.8 million from the Pulte Homes Florida annual advertising budget by moving them out of traditional media to the Web. In that same year, I increased their lead-bank from 70,000 leads to over 300,000 qualified leads for 80 communities. Their sales went to 4,200 homes per year – over a $Billion. In 2009, they had 3,200 home sales. Down, but not out, still using my methods and systems.

During the worst real estate crisis since WWII, I helped a boutique new homebuilder grow from 24 home sales in all of 2007 to 204 home sales [in 6 months] in 2008 – for $84 million in sales. What real estate bubble bust? Not when I use my methods.

“I’ve specialized in tech, science, healthcare, real estate, non-profit, and public policy. Call me right now to get a free quote!”

If you are looking for a REAL pro, that has the strategic vision, background and skill, and hands-on writing experience to increase traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales, see my portfolio:

“You won’t get the same winning results from part-time bloggers, students, interns, or all the posers working from home out there. Getting $million results is not like writing a letter to home or an email to the boss. It takes strategic thinking, creative talent, and a track record of big wins to give you the confidence in the decisions you make.”

Hire a pro.  Get results.  Call me today: 561-756-1674



Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Future Vision, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , ,

Art vs. Results

My recent article about “How to Find and Hire a Professional Writer” is directed at copywriting and commercial writing, where the goals are to increase traffic, leads, prospects, brand perception, and sales.  The goal isn’t art.

Although we use similar techniques that artist’s use, the content that copywriters create must focus on driving results. It may in fact be quite artful, but it may not. A couple of examples:

One of my productions, “Everyday Heroes and Leaders” brings tears to the eyes of the audience quite often – especially the police, fire, and military crowd.  It has an “art” feel to it.

I believe the best commercial messaging in all media types has an emotional appeal as the primary tool of persuasion.  Logic kicks in after the emotion driven decision is made, usually to justify the emotional decision… a truism about almost all commerce.

But the goal was not art. The goal was to use the devices that artists use to change the perception of the Motorola brand in the business and government sector from a two-way radio technology company to a full-service communications company – that helps people work together.

You can see the spot on my portfolio here:

The campaign was so successful that the Business and Government Division was the only profitable Motorola division during the tech wreck before and during 9/11.

An example of less artful content is what is usually offered in direct response/direct mail sales letters. The wording still entices the emotions, but maybe not using techniques that appear to be art.

Again, the goal of the language is to drive results. The language might be artfully used; but, it doesn’t appear that way when you read it. You know they are trying to sell you something.  It’s obvious.

I’ve learned to use fictional techniques, 3-act plays, etc. in non-fiction, news, and marketing.  But I wouldn’t call what I do art.  I’m informing and selling stuff.

Mark Twain, Michael Shaara, and Somerset Maugham – that’s art.

My world is about the goals. The math is more important than the feelings and entertainment.  Clients pay me to bring them more traffic, leads, prospects, better brand perception, and sales.  If I create something that looks and feels like art or entertainment, and doesn’t do what they pay me for, they won’t be clients for long.

I hope that makes what I meant more clear. What do you think?

Filed under: Advertising, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Marketing Measurement, Print, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, Video & YouTube, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

Newsletter Postcards – Direct Mail that Works!

2010 Annual Meeting Newsletter Postcard (Front)

Newsletter postcards are the best way to attract an audience with direct mail.  This piece brought a record crowd to the Annual Meeting.  It doesn’t look like we are “selling” but the Annual Meeting is the biggest event to get memberships to the organization.  The larger the audience, the more members renew or sign up for membership.  

Guess how much it cost to produce, print, and mail?

The cost is much less expensive than printing a folded newsletter that has a tab or comes in an envelope, postage is cheaper, and readership/response is much greater because the receiver doesn’t have to open anything to get to the content.

You can do them in any size card.   This is 8 1/2″ x 11″.  I also like 5 3/4″ x 11″.     

Like what you see?  Go to my “Box” for shared files on the right and download a PDF to show others.  And if you need help creating a newsletter postcard campaign or content marketing program to increase traffic, leads, or prospects, contact me today!  Print works when you use it the right way!          


Newsletter Postcard (Mail Side)

Contact me today to find out how much it cost to produce, print, and mail town-wide!  


Filed under: Advertising, Content Development, Content Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Traffic, Writing, , , , , , , ,

It Takes More than a Single Bullet to Win in the Marketplace

Barney Fife, the deputy on “The Andy Griffith Show” was the only person that I’ve ever seen that was successful with a single bullet.

Of course there wasn’t much crime in Mayberry so he didn’t need the bullet for anything; but, he had one just in case.

Over the last month I’ve heard one employee after another, one senior executive after another, and one consultant after another tell me that they are looking for a magic bullet to solve their marketing and sales problems.

They didn’t phrase it that way.  They said things like:

* “We’re jumping all over this social networking thing.”

* “I’m trying TV. I think that’ll bring in leads and traffic.”

* “I’ve got this really hot sales exec coming in. She’s going to make our numbers soar.”

* “The guy I was going to hire a year ago is available now so we’re ‘bringin him in’ because he’s a market maker.”

I asked, after each one of these statements, what else are you going to do and they each said, essentially, nothing.   That’s it, nada.

Doing more than one thing makes it more complicated… harder to imagine.

I still remember Barney Fife pulling that one bullet out of his top pocket quickly in an “emergency” and watched him fumble it all around and eventually drop it on the ground before he could load his weapon. By then the crisis was either over, or it had escalated, and Andy would have to save him.

That’s the outlook most have.  “If I can just find that one magic bullet……”  …that one relationship, that one method, that one technology, whatever…

Our culture is trapped in hero worship, the rugged individual that will save the day.

As one of the top leadership consultant’s, Dr. John Maxwell said, “If you want to do something big, you must link up with others.  One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

That goes for both people and weapons in your strategy.

No single person will sell you to success.  No single marketing channel or component will make your marketing work.

An integrated marketing and sales approach works every time, in every market condition.  A team of highly qualified marketing and sales pros working together, under solid leadership, will sell more.  Period.

It takes everyone (not the magic one) rolling their sleeves up to work hard:

– Deciding who is going to do what – VOLUNTEER – Don’t wait to be assigned, no boundaries, no silos, get involved!

Don’t sit in your office!  Find out about the market situation.

– Work together to figure out what the best buyer types would be for each situation.

– Formulate an INTEGREATED MARKETING PLAN (not the magic advertising channel) to reach those buyers, including a marketing MIX and a measurement system to quantify and qualify lead results. Think out of the box and get everyone involved.

– Put the budget, tools, and systems in place for successful marketing and sales execution.

– Create and approve marketing material based on what sells to the customer you identified as the best buyer type, not your personal opinion – or the opinion of the boss.

Don’t sit in your office!  Address issues as a team as soon as they come up. SOLVE THEM!

– Execute those marketing plans and change tactics based on measurement.  If something works, keep doing it until it stops working. Don’t change it for change sake.  If a component or channel is not getting measurable results, kill it and move on.

– Put a SALES PLAN in place that fosters teamwork, not competition, among sales execs and marketing, including rewards and recognition.

– Execute the sales plan with a feedback loop to marketing to continue to get more and more qualified leads.

– Sell with excellent customer service – beyond what is expected. Astonish your customers.

Don’t sit in your office!  EVERYONE visits customers to learn, help, encourage!

– Create a post-sale customer service and marketing program and get ready for referrals and repeat buyers.

It’s a lot of work.  It takes energy, organization, and leadership.  But it is ALWAYS more successful than the magic bullet!

Even if there is not much business out there, you’ll get it and your competition won’t; because, they’ll still be sitting in their office looking for the magic bullet that doesn’t exist.

Filed under: Advertising, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Traffic, , , , , , , , , ,

3 Sources to Help You Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing & Advertising

I’ll bet you want to find out how to get more qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales?

I’ve received a lot of questions in the last couple of weeks about what are the best sources for practical information on marketing – especially online.

One of my specialties is to look across industries, find best practices, and test to see if what I learned applies to a particular industry.  This method has helped me introduce new marketing methods and systems for many products and brands.

There is NO magic bullet for marketing, especially in this economy, even though there are a lot of marketing pros searching for it, and a lot of hucksters promoting it.

Like many industries, marketing is an evolving science.  I say science because if you are doing it right, you don’t spend a dime on marketing without a strict measurement system in place – that means a well-thought-out-system [including Math] to check the results!

This next statement is going to surprise you. Please let me explain.

Two of the best sources of advertising knowledge today come from an early advertising copywriter, John Caples, that wrote “Tested Advertising Methods” in 1932, and Claude Hopkins, an engineer and inventor that wrote “Scientific Advertising,” also in 1932.

Most of their principles for testing marketing and advertising work today – you just apply their methods to traditional advertising AND online.  I read these books early in my career and have worked to apply what they taught me to direct mail, traditional advertising (print, TV, radio), and online.

I use systems to measure and quantify results to find out if a marketing component or campaign is working.  It’s extra work but it takes most of the guesswork out of advertising and saves huge $$ in the marketing budget.

The more recent book that will help you learn the new marketing and PR paradigm is written by a friend, David Meerman Scott.

There have been thousands of books written about marketing, advertising, and PR from 1932 to today.   I’ve studied a lot of them.

If you will combine the fundamentals from the earlier books and add New Rules, you’ll go a long way to gaining an in-depth knowledge of practical advertising and marketing that works to increase your qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales – for the lowest cost / customer.

Let me know what you think!

Filed under: Advertising, Marketing Measurement, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 Minutes. That’s Your Response Time-Frame for Web Leads

When I first joined DiVosta Homes in Florida, they had a rudimentary website. They gathered webleads for their 15 new home communities around Florida via email, through the headquarters office, then sent the lead to the sales center, and the VP of Sales had a policy that a person from each sales center had 24 hours to answer each lead.

It sounded reasonable, for last century policy; but, they got poor results in converting those leads to sales.

If the lead happened on a Friday after 5 p.m., the sales person wouldn’t get the lead until Monday morning, and then had until Tuesday to answer.  The prospect was long gone by then.

I came from the Internet world at IBM (wired) and Motorola (wireless). Early on I realized that the web is open 24 hours a day.

When I re-launched the DiVosta brand and website, I made sure leads went right to the sales center 24 hours a day. In addition, a copy came to me. 

I gave the sales center 15 minutes to engage the prospect. Not just answer the weblead, but call (first choice if a number was offered) or email and help the prospect immediately. The sales conversion rate went through the roof.

After hours, I personally responded to each weblead telling them that the sales center was closed but I would have a person contact them from the sales center by 9:15 a.m. when it opened.  I also asked if they needed anything I could help them with immediately.  99% of the time they said they could wait.  I checked at 9:20 to make sure it happened. The reaction we got from customers was amazing.

Imagine how a customer feels when they are still on the Internet and they get a call or email about their request – from a human, anytime day or night. Your brand worth goes way up.

This is important for new home communities AND resales.

I check the sales process for clients now.

You would be shocked that even in this economy, with real estate crashing all around, webleads go unanswered, even though I provide my email, phone number, address, etc..

Recently, I made 30 inquires to web listings, between 2:00 and 3:30 a.m. on a Thursday.  I couldn’t believe that 21 did not respond at all. A total of 8 responded via email 1 to 7 days later. There must be plenty of business out there for all those agents not to answer my weblead.

One, yes I said one (1), responded at 3:30 a.m. that same morning and asked if she could call me that morning and when would be a convenient time.  She was my last inquiry of the night.  Imagine how impressed I was.

No other agent called on the phone at anytime.  What?!!!

When a customer provides that much personal information: name, phone number, email, and address… that’s a hot lead and should be treated like one.  Needless to say, the agent that contacted me within 15 minutes in the middle of the night got a bonus from her broker.  She was both helpful and hungry and it showed.

Technology can help. I wouldn’t suggest an automatic email response. That feels too much like “Customer Care” and humans know when machines answer. It feels fake.

Smart phones and business processes must be in place, and used, so a human can make contact.  After all, we’re talking about selling something that costs 6 figures or more.  Customers want immediate action. 

When you engage fast they feel important. Get those webleads turned into emails or text messages and send them to smart phones! And then get right with the prospect. Your business depends on it.

The sales staff that responds first, many times gets the sale – and even if they don’t, they get a brand reputation that is better than at least 29 others.

Filed under: Lead Generation, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown

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Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign!

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

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