Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Little Summer Reading

I’m reading a little book, aptly titled “The Power of Small.”(2009, Broadway Books, New York) It’s co-written by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, who preside over one of the nation’s leading ad agencies, the Kaplan Thaler Group. Among their accounts is Aflac. And among their signature creations is the Aflac duck.

Welcome to the mid-summer, smaller than usual Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Parenthetically, Kaplan Thaler is one of the most recognized representatives of the ad industry. She is frequently on TV news and talk shows, opining on industry trends and events.

But although the book has been penned by a couple of real sharp marketing minds, the subject is really pretty universal and, as such, can be filtered through the lens of whatever profession you’re in.

Interestingly, as Thaler and Koval point out, their mantra is – unlike Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” – hey, the small stuff does matter.

“Taking the time to give a compliment or being attuned to a colleague or customer’s subtle body cues are not inconsequential actions,” they posit. “They tell a story. They are the details that make or break a relationship, or crack the case…”

They then go on to illustrate through a series of anecdotes and stories (mostly true; they interviewed all kinds of folks, from building custodians to TV stars) how small acts of kindness, compassion or simple interest in another’s story or plight have led to significant advancements in one’s personal as well as business life.

“Did you double-check that presentation one last time, or hold the elevator for a stranger?” they ask. Disparate stuff, but it all flows together in almost cosmic fashion.

As for my own little story:

As a college sophomore, I attended a public dance at one of the local New York City universities. At one point, I noticed two girls standing side by side. I asked one of them to dance. We dated…for years. And then we got married. Wendy and that girlfriend of hers are still the oldest and best of friends.

Linda Kaplan Thaler.

Tune in again the first Tuesday of next month for another O. Henry ending to Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Cleaning Up The Mess

Every so often, we turn over this column to words of wisdom from friends, colleagues and clients as they additionally reveal a compelling back story on their own life.

Welcome to the July edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Before gaining fame as The DreamSpeaker,™ (“Helping you and your organization increase productivity, efficiency or profits 25% by pursuing that one thing which you can do better than anyone else…your unique purpose, your passion, your dream!”), Joe Murtagh sold insurance, and retirement and estate planning exclusively for business owners and, all the while, wanted to know what made them successful.

"No one in my family had ever been in business, so I started reading two best-selling business books each month,” Joe recounts.

"Soon I found myself assisting clients with their business planning issues as well as their insurance and financial services concerns. Shortly after, I started writing a bi-weekly column for the local Business Journal and before long found I had become a ‘consultant.’

“The Business Journal columns proved to be a great marketing tool and, over time, led to the creation of seven different training programs. Eventually, I was asked to do an International Keynote address that has led to a full-time career as a speaker, facilitator and trainer.

“For me, effective marketing starts with the ability to understand the ‘job’ that my client is trying to get done.

“What are the problems your customers are trying to solve or what are they doing now that could be done faster, easier, more conveniently or with less expense? Answer these questions for your customers and prospects and they will beat a path to your door.

“In ‘Reinventing Your Business Model,’ in the December 2008 Harvard Business Review, the authors reveal what companies must do to capture game-changing marketing opportunities. A couple that comes to mind with my family:

“P&G with its Swiffer mops addressed a customer need in a dramatically better way. No more buckets, hot water, heavy mops and harsh cleaners. Now one simple lightweight disposable applicator on the end of a broom handle does the trick. ‘My hands are so soft these days and I owe it all to Swiffer.’

“Your customer wants to know that someone is thinking... and thinking about them. The best of marketing starts out by thinking about opportunities to satisfy real customers who need a job done.

“My wife used to joke about spending $15.95 in order to purchase a CD to get the one song she wanted. She would drive to the store, sort through the racks, find the artist she wanted, make sure her one song was part of the CD, pay at the check out and listen to it on her way home.

“Apple blew up that business model with its iPod and iTunes music store. Now for the same $15.95, my wife can get 16 songs from 16 different artists and play them instantly as she downloads them to her hand held device and inserts her ear buds anywhere she is…at home or in her car.

“Although we don’t live in India, auto manufacturer Tata Motors is serving a new customer base with its Nano, the $2,500 car aimed at Indian families who can't afford any other type of car. Luxury? No, but a huge step up from motor scooters that were the only other affordable option before the Nano.

“All sustainably successful marketing comes from finding a way to create value for customers by helping them clean up the mess that they currently are dealing with in order to get a job done. Any job a customer is doing creates a marketing opportunity for a better solution.”


Joe Murtagh’s mantra is: Develop unstoppable power by connecting with your unique purpose and achieve it through a can-do attitude, empowered by acquiring the competencies necessary to succeed and implementing them through interdependent teams of like-minded people.

You can reach Joe at , log on at or call him at 1-800-239-0058.

And you can reach yours truly at the info noted below. In the meantime, join us again the first Tuesday of next month for another edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo