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2 Lead Conversations to Replace Lead Funnels


Marketing Podcast with Danny Iny

The term “lead funnel” seems to be getting a lot of love from the Internet marketing set. Today it seems as though there are dozens of marketers promoting products and courses teaching this age old tactic cloaked in a new set of tools.

While the idea of a lead funnel makes a great deal of sense – you get people who are interested in an idea and get them more and more excited about your solution as the answer to their idea.

The problem I have is  more in the execution.

You don’t have to look much farther than the language of the lead funnel crowd – terms like lead magnets and trip wires give you the sense that this whole marketing thing is just a big game of cat and mouse and that prospects simply need to be tricked into buying.

For over a decade now I’ve presented the idea of The Marketing Hourglass as a replacement for the marketing funnel and as a way to more accurately represent the journey our prospects and clients want to experience.

Vital to this way of thinking is the realization that building know, like and trust sufficient to turn a prospect into a customer requires a level of engagement more like a conversation with a friend than guerilla warfare tactic.

[tweetthis]Turning a prospect into a customer requires a level of engagement more like a conversation with a friend than war tactic.[/tweetthis]

My guest on this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Danny Iny, founder of Mirasee Marketing, host of the Business Reimagined podcast and the bestselling author if multiple books including Engagement From Scratch. We discuss the power of a name, the value of storytelling in marketing, and better ways to reach your target audience.

Iny is quietly sparking a change in the marketing conversion world by teaching the art of the narrative conversation as the best way to communicate and build long-term marketing relationships.

In our conversation we cover a lot of ground, but mostly we agree that if you actually pay attention to and care about what your prospects care about, marketing is a lot more fun.

Questions I ask Danny:

  • How did you reach the name Mirasee Marketing for your business?
  • Is there a storytelling formula you can follow for your marketing?
  • Is a conversational tone in your marketing materials critical?

What You’ll Learn if You Give A Listen:

  • The value of storytelling in marketing
  • How to create the interest and desire for your product before you sell it
  • Why crafting a cool story isn’t going to sell someone something they don’t want

Classic Podcast: How to Differentiate Your Business

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 5.08.02 PM

Marketing Podcast with Bernadette Jiwa

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, we’re turning the clock back to 2013 and one of the most popular, and one of my favorite interviews of all time. We’re revisiting my chat with Bernadette Jiwa, and we talk about her then new book Make Your Idea Matter. Since speaking to her, she has published three more books including The Fortune Cookie Principle, Difference and her latest, Marketing: A Love Story. You can visit her very popular marketing blog, The Story of Telling here:

Jiwa is someone you should be following if you’re not. She created her brand by doing one thing very well – creating content people love.

She’s the leading voice these days on differentiating your business and someone that has proven you can build a large and loyal following through content.

Questions I ask Bernadette:

  • How writing a book based on a blog is different than writing a “Big Idea” book
  • How do you define branding in a small business setting?
  • How can a single moment play into the definition of your brand?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to differentiate your business and not be boring
  • How to decide on what to write
  • How your customers are involved in the creation of your brand 

This week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is MarketingProfs. Do you have the write stuff? Unleash your inner writer by downloading the latest MarketingProfs marketing writing kit for free! Visit:

2 Experiential Design: the Importance of Cohesive Event Branding

Today’s Guest Post is by Tori Atkinson – Enjoy!

Event branding offers companies, organisations and collectives a chance to massively amplify awareness – using experiential design best practices to offer an impactful and unforgettable experience. Through the power of distinctive, dynamic design, businesses can harness the immense potential of event branding – but it’s only through an intelligent and cohesive approach that you’ll experience the full effect.

Here’s how it’s done.

The Campaign Trail

The success of any event depends on how you execute the countdown. This phase is often neglected by businesses and organisations during the run-up to the big day – but taking the time and initiative to plan the preliminary elements, with a focus on cohesive design, is the key to ensuring the best possible results on the day of the event.

A strategic approach to event branding involves the creation of elements designed solely to build awareness and maximise the hype prior to the event itself. Considering how professional event design could enhance your invitations, tickets and even social media pages during the proverbial drumroll will generate as much interest as possible – boosting attendance and creating some welcome buzz around the event during the weeks or months beforehand.

Try it: bring some design cohesion to your event campaign materials by using one consistent tagline across the invite emails, print media and physical or online tickets to create a sense of recognition. Using one core aesthetic theme throughout, like one unifying symbol or colour scheme, adapt and embellish this as you see fit across the various design elements so that all materials are complementary without being visually identical.

From the Drawing Board to the Big Day

Event branding is an involved, ongoing process that starts with the drawing board and develops and evolves continually until the day of the big event. A sense of cohesion is crucial to experiential design – as no event will have the aesthetic or conceptual impact it should have without some harmony among its various parts. From the initial design stages to the production of event elements, the overarching concept should ring loud and clear across the campaign.

Ensuring that the unifying idea behind your event isn’t forgotten along the way will prevent the core message from being lost or diluted. So whether it’s pre-event advertising, the all-embracing branding or the experiential design itself, keeping a firm grip on the concept of the event will guarantee that it’s cohesive, connected and delivers on every promise.

Our work with 100%Design involved creating a holistic campaign design and carrying this concept throughout all elements made to support, promote and populate the event. Settling on an idea of ‘inspiring connections’ that tied everything together, we were able to guarantee total cohesion across the event branding.

Try it: keep a rigid focus on the overall purpose and concept of your event and create every element with this in mind. Promotional materials give you a chance to hint at your concept in a more abstract way, whereas the event itself is where you can bring these abstractions into the tangible, three-dimensional world.

‘Inspiring Connections’ was a theme that simultaneously offered inspiration for the pre-event promo design and informed the way the actual event was populated and presented. All elements of the event served as a translation or physical representation of this key concept.

Photo by Shaw+Skerm

Photo by Shaw+Skerm

Attendee Journeys

Creating a sense of togetherness throughout your event branding is especially important where the attendee journey is concerned. Whatever the ultimate aim of your event is – whether it’s to increase brand exposure, raise awareness on a given topic or drive sales and subscriptions – the journey an attendee takes from entrance to exit needs to be subtly and strategically designed.

With all elements of the event working in synergy, the journey from A to B should be seamless – that way, your audience will have the most immersive and engaging experience possible. Maintaining a sense of perspective throughout the event branding process guarantees results. It’s by keeping one eye on the big picture, exploring how different elements interact and how they work to communicate your core message, that you’ll deliver a meaningful and memorable event.

Try it: when designing the event itself, keep all primary components connected by enforcing one overriding aesthetic theme – whether that relates to colour, form or the message your displays communicate. Guaranteeing that all elements contribute to the central theme in a way that’s clear to all attendees will ensure you leave a powerful and lasting impact.

Tori AtkinsonTori Atkinson is a creative design blogger for Shaw+Skerm – providing professional event branding services to SMEs and organisations throughout London.

1 How to Make Your Brand Matter

Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Georgie Gallagher, Enjoy!

Every business has a brand – even if it thinks it doesn’t.

Your local coffee shop has a brand. Your local accountant has a brand. Your local vet has a brand. And your business has a brand.

I can see you rolling your eyes. Isn’t branding just a lot of 90’s marketing hype? Does a brand really matter in today’s world?

Yes, your brand does matter. In fact, it matters a lot. Why? Because in a world where we’re bombarded by thousands of messages a day, your business needs to stand for something to set it apart from the pack. What’s more, understanding your brand means that you control how people experience your business. This is your brand, and you’re in the driving seat.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s begin by understanding what a brand is.

What is a brand?

Here’s what it’s not. It’s not your brand name. It’s not your registered trademark. And it’s not your great logo you spent $10,000 on. It’s much more than that.

I love this definition by the father of branding, Al Ries. It’s stayed with me through the years while working with B2B and B2C clients.

“A successful branding program is based on the concept of singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no product on the market quite like your product.” – Al Ries

I like to think of it as that little piece of someone’s mind that you own – it’s all that person’s collective thoughts and experiences that pop up when they think of your business. We have the same process when we think of people. Some people make us happy. Some challenge us. Some are downright annoying. You want your brand to be one of the good guys.

Your brand is the look and feel of your business. It’s how people experience you as a company. It’s your promise to people – a kind of silent understanding about what you’ll deliver when you do business with them. And it helps create your unique identity.

But aren’t brands just for big business?

Absolutely not.

latte coffee on wood with space.Take the café that’s buzzing. It’s interesting. The guy taking orders gives you a great smile and good-humoredly banters with you. The girl making coffee is an artisan at her craft. Everyone’s busy. The tables are packed but clean. The service is fast and fun. There’s atmosphere. There are great magazines. There are quirky and fun things to look at. And you feel like you’re a part of something special, part of a club.

What you don’t necessarily realize is that this is all crafted as part of a well-orchestrated brand.

These guys know exactly what they stand for – great coffee, great food and great service in a fun, quirky atmosphere that people just love. EVERYTHING in their business is about delivering on this brand promise. From the quirky service and funky music tracks to the handwritten thank you with a chocolate-coated coffee bean on your bill, every detail has been attended to and shapes your experience.

Building your brand

So how can you go about creating your unique brand? What’s your business’s unique stamp on the world? How are you going to build a business that gets talked about and referred?

Here are four guiding questions that may help you develop your brand.

What are the real benefits of dealing with you? Do you deliver anything unique or special? Is there something over and above your competitors that you could offer? I’m looking for REAL benefits here. Think like your client or customer – why are they using you?

What’s your brand style? Are you professional, aspirational, quirky, fun, friendly or something else? How can you deliver this style with every client interaction and communication offline and online?

Branding - sign series for business terms.What are your brand values? You may value professionalism, the environment, people, your community or something else. How will your business live up to these values? How will this alter your clients’ experience with you? Be honest and true. Today’s social media savvy consumers will not tolerate falsehoods.

What is your essence? What is your reason for being? Why does your business exist? This is the toughest question you can ask business owners. But if you can nail this, you really do have a driving force that can shape your entire business offering. It’s a very powerful thing.

Once you answer these questions, then you need to work out how you can deliver and create a seamless brand experience.

There are some fantastic ideas on delivering on a brand promise for a huge variety of businesses in this eBook created by some very clever marketers at Duct Tape Consulting – download it now.

Until next time…

Georgie GallagherGeorgie Gallagher is the founder of Wildmoon, a specialist consultancy focusing on brand development, marketing strategy, marketing communications and strategic content marketing for SMB’s. Georgie’s a Duct Tape Marketing consultant and a CPM of the Australian Marketing Institute.

Like this article? Follow her on her blog here, or connect with her via Twitter or LinkedIn.


3 How You Turn Your Employees Into Brand Marketers

Think for a minute about your best customers. Not only do they represent returning business, but the best customers refer you to their family, friends and business partners. They rate your business highly on Google and interact with you in social networks. Essentially they are marketers for your business, helping promote you and maximizing your marketing efforts. Everyone can use more customers like these.

Brand Ambassadors

photo credit: via photopin (license)

But your best customers are hard to come by, and even the best companies occasionally have customers that aren’t happy. What if I could tell you there is a surefire way to increase your number of people that are assisting your marketing efforts, much like your ideal clients?

Look around you, all of your employees are resources that you can use to maximize your marketing efforts. We at Duct Tape Marketing believe in many simple principles, one of which is that marketing is everyone’s job. Whether you are in finance or HR, you’re representing and marketing your company. It doesn’t even take a conscious effort; just a positive viewpoint on where you work goes a long way.

That is why you should engage your employees and co-workers in your marketing efforts. Your employees should be your best customers and your biggest fans. Here are some easily implemented ways you can engage your employees and turn them into your brand marketers.

Promote a Positive Work Environment

This seems like a no-brainer, but can be difficult to achieve. You want your employees to love working for you, so they can’t wait to tell their friends and family about what you do and what makes your company special. Create a positive work environment by offering great perks or promoting after-work activities. If you’re a product-based company, offer free or discounted products to your employees and their family and friends. Even something as simple as branded T-Shirts or coffee mugs for your employees can turn into conversations outside of the workplace.

Show Your Employees What It Is Like To Be your Customer

At Duct Tape Marketing, we ask companies to examine their customer journey; the path every customer takes from the moment they discover your product through the sale and post-sale support. Visually, this should look like an hourglass; customers get to know, like and trust your company before buying, and then eventually repeating and referring you.

I suggest you walk each and every one of your employees through this process, treating them exactly as you would any other customer. That way, your employees will not only know what makes your customer journey special, but also how to describe it to anyone who asks. You can even do this during the new employee on-boarding process.

Social Sharing

Businesses are always looking for ways to keep their employees from wasting time on social media, but are always looking for more social sharing of their business posts. Why not ask your employees to follow and share your social media posts? Not only is this a great way to expand your audience in general, it hones in on your employees’ friends and family who are likely to have a positive existing view of your company.

Have Everyone Blog

Blogs are a great way to draw in good leads, but sometimes it can be tough to create enough content to keep your blog up-to-date. Try asking your employees to assist you in writing posts, or even set up a monthly or weekly employee post program. Regular blog posts from your employees can help give your blog a different viewpoint and voice while strengthening your readers’ connection to your company. In addition, ask your employees to share their posts with their friends and family in person or on social media.

These are just some simple thoughts I had to turn your employees into marketers. I know many of these reasons are why I love working at Duct Tape Marketing. Have you had any employee marketing efforts that have been effective? Let me know in the comments below!

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

23 The Brand Personality Test

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Bob Bare – Enjoy!

Does Your Brand Pass The Personality Test?

Consumers often seek out brands they like, know, and most importantly, trust.  A brand’s functionality is crucial, but the emotional benefit attached is equally important.  Marketers help cultivate this consumer-brand relationship by aligning their brand’s identity with what consumers aspire to be.  This job is not always easy and must be nurtured over time.

What is brand identity and how do you create one?

The best way to distinguish your brand’s identity is to fully understand what the term really means.  Your brand is what your company stands for and what it is known for.  Think of it as a lifestyle, embodying the characteristics of a particular person, group or culture.  Luxury-based brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel are often associated with a lavish lifestyle, so consumers who purchase these high-end products might like to feel sophisticated or elite, whereas a brand like Campbell’s is often associated with family and comfort.

Creating a solid personality for your brand is something that takes a lot of consideration, time, and commitment.  Marketing experts use a number of tools, tricks, and techniques to define a brand, but it is not always easy to keep the consumer-brand love affair alive.  They can expect that today’s price conscious consumer will shift between brands to find the best deal of the day.

So as a marketer, how do you keep the flame alive and stop consumers from finding someone new? It’s simple.  Offer them just what they want, when they want it, in a manner that appeals to them, and you can be sure that they will stay.

Brands with Benefits:

Start by defining your brand’s strengths and unique benefits.  Is your brand fast-paced and energetic? Stylish or practical? Casual or professional? Marketers sometimes use the car analogy to get the descriptive words flowing. If your brand were a car, would it be a minivan or Maserati?

Keep them coming back:

Next, determine what makes consumers return to your brand versus going somewhere else. What added value do you offer, or could you offer, that would attract new customers and keep the current ones interested?  It is crucial to stand behind your brand and deliver on what you promise.

Experience is Everything:

Also remember that your brand is the experience customers take away when doing business with your company.  Was their experience easy and gratifying?  Did they feel well educated with their purchase?  Was the checkout process safe and secure? 

Make Messaging Memorable:

“Just do it” is a slogan that resonates with consumers beyond the sports enthusiast. Memorable messaging will help you create a feeling just as Nike did with this powerful message.  Equally important is an impactful logo and great graphics.  Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.

Consistency is Key:

Once you determine the look and feel of your brand, keep it consistent across all channels.  Every detail matters, from your packaging and website to your press material and social media initiatives.   Remember that continuity is key and repeating those elements throughout your entire marketing campaign will help garner a greater impact with your audience.

Repetition is a Must:

Experts talk about “The Rule of Seven,” the number of times a prospect needs to see or hear your message before they take action.  It’s time to put your message out there and take the noise level up a notch.  Remember that you need to shout it loud and clear for potential consumers to take an interest, remember who you are, and buy your brand!

It’s time to take the personality test: 

  1. Do you have a powerful and unique reason why your potential clients should invest with you instead of one of your top three competitors?
  2. Can you articulate your brand clearly and concisely without hesitation when asked?
  3. Can your employees and/or friends correctly describe to you what your branding strategy is?
  4. Does the message your brand expresses inspire loyalty and trust among your current customers?
  5. Does the message your brand expresses attract and comfort new clients?

If you answered yes to these 5 questions, your brand has passed the personality test!

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons aditza121

About Bob Bare

Bob Bare is an author, speaker and founder of More Power University, an online business school and community for entrepreneurs looking to start, build, and grow their companies to the elusive seven figure sales mark.  A 40-year serial entrepreneur, Bob is known for his ability to create, grow, and turn around a successful multi-million dollar business while keeping his vision and values in sight.

14 Purpose as Brand

There was a time when I mentioned the word brand to small business and they would shrug their shoulders at the idea. We don’t have a brand, that’s big company we stuff. We have a business and we busy ourselves trying to build some name recognition, sure, but we don’t really worry much about branding.

small business culture

Image Infusionsoft via flickr

I suppose with the advent of social media small businesses have come to realize they do indeed have a brand – it’s not that anything has really changed – it’s that it has become much easier to hear it. The days when the collective perception around a brand was kept to the neighborly chat across the fence have given way to mentions that can be tracked, filtered, scored and aggregated to create a very vivid picture of the existence of a brand. Even the smallest of companies can now turn to Twitter, for instance, and turn up mentions and conversations about their brand from prospects, customers, competitors and journalists alike, all in real time.

This fact, combined with our market’s ability to freely publish and distribute content, comments, ratings and reviews, both good and bad, about any product or service they like, has given new life, meaning and importance to this word brand for businesses both large and small.

Continue reading

72 Stop Trying To Be Better Than the Competition

stand outAnd start figuring out how you can be different than your competition.

So many business owners or would be start-ups sit around this time of year trying to figure out how they can be better than the competition – better product, better service, better features, and, the real killer, better price. Heck, some even strive to be “best” in class. What they should be doing is figuring out how they can simply be different than the competition.

I’m not against lofty goals – the problem is creating a better product or service is hard. Prospects often won’t take the time to understand the subtle differences that make your product or service better and you might spend all your time and energy trying to educate them on better when all they want to know is the price. If you’ve even wondered why prospects are choosing your competitors over your obviously superior offering, you may have just a hint of appreciation for what I’m saying here.

Better than the competition is the enemy of different than the competition, and different is where the money is! Instead of trying to be better or exactly like, build a strategy around a simple way that your company is different from the pack. Again, this is sometimes a place where companies will say, “well, we are different we have a better product, or we offer better service.” Really, and do your competitors all suggest they offer crappy service?

We can debate the countless intricate ways that companies can use to create a strategy of difference, but it all pretty much boils down to:
1) Better product
2) Better process
3) Better relationships

In my opinion focusing all of your strategic thinking, goal setting and actions on building a better process or better relationships is the surest and maybe simplest way to create a true competitive advantage that someone might care about. Would you rather lean on your 5% better product or price or on something so totally outrageous and innovative that people can’t stop talking about it?

Creating your own special way to treat customers, creating an experience that’s unique, or creating a totally new and frictionless way for people to get a result is how you stand out from the pack, it’s how you create a difference that can’t be easily copied, and it’s how innovation comes to small business.

Instead of spending your precious R&D time on product features, spend it on creating branded intellectual property, a distinct way of marketing, or on developing people and culture inside your organization that enables you to be seen as different.

I’ll leave you with two powerful questions to pose to your organization to help you get started.
1) What are we doing that our competitors are not?
2) What are we doing just like our competitors that we could change for good?

Image credit: Laenulfean

76 34 Online Reputation Management Tools

Radically TransparentAndy Beal, co-author of Radically Transparent, stopped by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast to talk about monitoring and managing your online reputation.

People, products and companies today all have two brands – online and off. The problem with this is that the online brand may or may not sync with their offline marketing messages.

User generated media, blogs and discussion forums have changed the flow of information about your company forever.

A new emphasis on reputation management, even for the tiniest of companies, is essential.

Manage Your Identity – Works along with openID to verify your identity on multiple websites. – Link all of your networks together and verify your identity so people know it’s your profile. – Uses .name address to sign you up for sites. – Searches the web looking for mentions of you that might involve identity theft. – Use one username to verify your log in on sites that use OpenID – great for sites where you might otherwise have multiple log ins. – Identity Management System that allows users to access their websites and passwords remotely. – Another provider of the OpenID standard. – Sign up for a free account and use as OpenID

Manage Your Reputation – Sign-up and invite your invite people to write reviews about you and your work. – Look up your reputation, rate others, and they will be invited to rate you in return.

RepVine – Reference and reputation management combined. – A service that attempts to help you get things being said online about you removed – An online reputation service that ranks based on trust scores.

List of message board tracking services:,,,, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, MSN Money

Places to find groups to track: Yahoo Groups, AOL Groups, MSN Groups, Google Groups.

Monitor This allows you to monitor and track keywords over multiple search engines. A service that allow you to search for tagged blog posts across multiple blog search engines.

Manage Your Online Profiles – Put your online identities in one place to make it easier to show and find profiles – This site lets you link all your online identities into one account making it easier for people to find you across the Internet. – Another way to display you online profiles. – Very function heavy profile builder that shows off the parts of your profiles you select. – Pull all you profiles together and allow commenting on your profile mat page. – One ID for all your online profiles – Simple URL to show all your profiles – Lets you add all of your online activities, including blogs and comments to one page. – A landing page to show all your social networks