Dan Roam - Duct Tape Marketing

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15 What's on the Back of Your Napkin?

Marketing podcast with Dan Roam (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Dan Roam Back of the NapkinDan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin, thinks that any problem can be solved with a picture. And that anybody can draw it. With Dan’s new book Unfolding the Napkin he has completed a set of tools that show anyone how to use picture not to simple tell a story, but to solve any business problem.

I think the idea of using simple hand drawn pictures to solve problems is a very revolutionary idea. This book is not about using art to tap your creativity it is a systematic approach, complete with exercises, to visual problem solving presented in a mock four day workshop. Everyone processes information visually, including those who are visually impaired, and that fundamental reality explains a bit more why this approach is so important.

Dan readily admits this approach has nothing to do with drawing. It is a systematic approach to understanding how our brain processes information visually. Once you understand that you have a leg up on how to break any problem down visually and communicate it more effectively visually. I’ve heard Dan say, and I do believe it’s true, the person who can communicate the problem best will win. Think about selling situations. A salesperson who can demonstrate the clearest and simplest understanding of what your problem is will probably get the order.

Dan offers some free tools from the Unfolding the Napkin that help illustrate the power of his approach.

This is a valuable read for anyone charged with selling, communicating and leading.



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The halftime break is presented by Constant Contact

35 The Simplest Secret To Business Growth

Everyone wants to know the one thing they can do to get things going, the magic pill they can take, the one bit or advice from a guru that will turn the ship around. (How’s that for some clichés?) Truth is, business is mostly a bunch of hard work, done consistently. However, there is one thing that every business can do that works in every instance – the one simple secret to guaranteed business growth. Want to know what that is?

Find what’s working and do more of it. In fact, focus every fiber of your business being on that. Wait, wait, wait, I told you it was simple and to that I’m sure you’re saying something like,”well, duh,” but think about whether you really ever do this in you business or your life.

  • When Johnny comes home with an A in Calculus and a D in Spanish our reaction is to hire a Spanish tutor or ground him until that Spanish grade turns around – when it should be to see if the school has a math club or to send him off to meet with Architects, Engineers and Scientists that employ math in the real world.
  • When our new product doesn’t sell well we invest more energy, money and resources into propping it up – when we should be focused on doing even more with the five items that already sell really, really well.
  • When our best salesperson doubles everyone else using public speaking and writing we dock her for turning her reports in late – when it should be to spend hour upon hour with her documenting your company’s new lead conversion process.

Do I speak a little truth here?

We’re so wired to fix what’s broken and focus on weakness that we let what’s working, our strength, linger on its own when the real money lies in making what works better. There’s no doubt that’s where the easiest short term gains and the closest thing to a magic pill resides.


Sketch inspired by Dan Roam’s great Unfolding the Napkin

Take a look at your customer base and the graphic above. Almost every business has customers that are both highly profitable and who refer business. These are gold, something’s working here, you’re clicking with these folks on the logical and emotional level – put everything you can into understanding the who, what, when, where and why of these customers and build your business around that. Often it’s the folks on the bottom left, the one’s that complain the most, that get our attention. Do whatever you can today to eliminate the bottom left!

The same chart can be produced for products and services – stop offering stuff that people don’t want just because you’ve always offered it.

What about all your marketing activities. Figure out what’s working by analyzing and testing everything – then do more of what works.

How about your people? Grab a copy of First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham or any of the Strengths Finder books by Tom Rath and start figuring out what you and each of your people do well, and build on that, rather than trying to fix weaknesses.

Find what works and do more of it may sound too simple to be and effective strategy, but look around you a bit and you’ll find there is immense depth in these words.