Monday, December 5, 2011

Love-ing the Holidays

The holidays are a time for gift giving and good cheer.

And so I thought I'd use the auspices of this column to step away from its customary charge to educate and inspire on matters marketing -- how presumptuous of me to begin with -- and, while lacking in gifts for you, at least spread some of that good cheer.

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

Not wishing to come across as too treacly, I am still sufficiently bitten by the Holiday bug to where I'd like to put forth some thoughts on one particular kind of "gift."

This is lifted from a column that appeared in this space about five years ago. Enjoy:


What does Love mean?

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of four-to-eight-year-olds. The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy, age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl, age 5

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri, age 4

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby, age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka, age 6

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy, age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy, age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare, age 6

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann, age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen, age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica, age 8

Finally, author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia recalls a contest he was asked to judge, the purpose of which was to find "the most caring child."

The winner was a four year old whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."


On second thought, maybe there was a gift or two in there...

Happy Holidays, and a prosperous and healthy New Year to you and yours.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Monday, October 31, 2011

Drawn to Caricatures

  Allow me to indulge myself and present the case for marrying two passions of mine: marketing's creative side...and caricature art.

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

(If you were not otherwise aware, Yes, I do caricatures. And I’ve been doing them professionally – apart from my copywriting, conceptual and marketing strategy work – for over three decades now.)

In recent weeks, my capabilities as a professional caricature artist have been engaged by three different clients, all of whom have sought caricature art as a unique, fun embellishment to enhance their messages to their respective marketplaces.

One is using caricatures, or in this case "straight" cartoons, to create a "Provide the Caption" addition to her national B-to-B blog; another client is using my cartoons to add visual emphasis to his sales training management seminar/workshop reminders; the third individual wants his business to stand out by incorporating his caricature visage to snail mail notes...and a self-published book cover.

Naturally, caricatures can be applied to other marketing avenues, such as ad specialty items -- on tee shirts, coffee mugs, and the like. Caricatures can enliven collateral marketing materials, ad campaigns, publicity packages, PowerPoint presentations and trade shows as well.

Social media anyone? I can count at least five individuals (that I know of) who have used my caricatures of themselves as their personal avatars on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Soon it will be holiday gift-giving time. You can do the fruitcake thing, the gift basket thing, the popcorn-in-a-tin thing or the gift certificate thing. Or you might want to consider giving a gift that is truly customized and personal...

Caricatures make a uniquely original and thoughtful gift for your clients or your favored customers...and certainly families and friends on the personal side. Caricatures of loyal (and long-standing) staff make great gifts as well, showing your appreciation for their dedicated service. Yours truly has done caricatures of individual staff members, framed and mounted on company walls. So it’s not only a unique, fun idea…it’s great for morale.

Another popular means by which to utilize caricatures -- and no less a marketing tool than a corporate brochure or flyer -- is a Holiday Greetings card...customized to feature the illustrated likenesses of company officers and selected staff, and sent out to clients with a seasonal message thanking them for their business. See art, above.

And to see samples of other art I've done -- business and personal -- please check out my caricatures website,

So...want to consider introducing a 500-year-old art form to 21st Century marketing sensibilities?

Give a thought to caricatures. And in the meantime, frame the first Tuesday of next month for another artful sampling of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Make October YOUR Month!

October is Halloween month, right?

And then there's New Year January, the Ides of March, the Merry Month of May, The 4th of July, Thanksgiving November, Christmas December...

Well, if you're into promoting your business through PR tactics -- whether retail, service, B-to-B, B-to-C -- you might wish to re-think October. Or any month for that matter.

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

It's a very popular, and tried and true approach, to associate one's business with a particular month. This is perfectly fine. Along with usually being perfectly obvious.

How about stepping outside the box, and bringing a less-observed date into the marketing mix?

Not only do you show to your clients and prospects a broader base of cultural reference, but you get the opportunity to uniquely and memorably make your selected date...your own.

Did you realize October alone offers these unique marketing tie-in dates?

Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month

• Animal Safety and Protection Month

• Augmentative and Alternative Communication Awareness Month

• Bake and Decorate Month

• Bat Appreciation Month

• Breast Cancer Awareness Month

• Car Care Month

• Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

• Celiac Disease Awareness Month

• Children's Magazine Month

• Chili Month

• Chiropractic Month

• Church Library Month

• Co-op Awareness Month

• Crime Prevention Month

• Cyber Security Awareness Month

• Dental Hygiene Month

• Depression Education and Awareness Month

• Disability Employment Awareness Month

• Domestic Violence Awareness Month

• Down Syndrome Awareness Month

• Dyslexia Awareness Month

• Eat Better, Eat Together Month

• Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month

• Emotional Wellness Month

• Financial Planning Month

• German-American Heritage Month

• Global Diversity Awareness Month

• Go Hog Wild--Eat Country Ham Month

• Go on a Field Trip Month

• Halloween Safety Month

• Health Literacy Month

• Liver Awareness Month

• Long-Term Care Planning Month

• Medical Librarians Month

• Organize Your Medical Information Month

• Orthodontic Health Month

• Photographer Appreciation Month

• Physical Therapy Month

• Polish-American Heritage Month

• Popcorn Poppin' Month

• Positive Attitude Month

• Protect Your Hearing Month

• Raptor Month

• Reading Group Month

• Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

So go ahead, grab a date and make it your own. It's free!

What else is free? The first Tuesday of next month's installment of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Information Overload

Are you suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous information overload?

I feel your pain. And I'm not nearly as hooked up to all the social media and communications outlets as I either could be or should be.

We're not even talking about getting around to performing the job we are charged with doing to assist our client...or even to market ourselves.

It doesn't help, either, that after we've first checked Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn -- probably before breakfast -- for whatever "news" is being disseminated, we tend to stick around...just...a...little...longer to see what this buddy has to say about the game or what that girlfriend plans to wear to a party tonight.

Welcome to the September issue of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

CMSWire is an online magazine dedicated to all things content management; its audience comprises "CIOs, technologists, decision makers, vendors and analysts with a focus on information management practices, content, document and asset management technologies, web publishing, enterprise collaboration and a dash of social media."

Well, Chelsi Nakano, one of their writers, has a thing or two to say regarding that "dash:"

Information overload is hazardous to your organization.

A recent webcast hosted by Dow Jones, a leader in news and business information, and BrightTalk, a venue for online events for professionals and their communities, aimed to help us effectively fight information overload.

Here’s what we learned about the perils of information overload:

• A minimum of 28 billion hours is lost each year to information overload in the United States.

• Reading and processing just 10 email messages can occupy over half of a worker’s day.

• It takes 5 minutes to get back on track after a 30-second interruption.

• 66% of knowledge workers feel that they don’t have enough time to complete their work.

• For every 100 people who are unnecessarily copied on an email, 8 hours are lost.

To keep from contributing to information overload, here a few helpful tips we gathered:

Prioritize Your Workflow: Create thoughtful workflows that help workers make more intentional, mindful decisions about how they engage and collaborate.

Practice Mindfulness: Whether it’s reading e-mail messages more carefully before they are sent or maintaining an accurate status on your instant messaging client, simple tasks can make a big difference.

Advance Your Search: Use a variety of search engines and tools to help collect relevant and accurate content. Using advanced search options also makes us more mindful of how we search, which can save time.

Pursue Fresh Perspectives: It seems counterintuitive, but engaging with others to discuss solutions for information overload can help. Fresh perspectives can offer advice.

Information will not go away anytime soon. Rather than being buried by it, we can stand up and decide to manage our time and information more effectively.

So, boys and girls, what have we learned and what are we going to do the first Tuesday of next month? We shall disregard all our e-mail that day and read only the next installment of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips...

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Video Saved the Marketing Star

Thirty years ago, virtually to the day, a British New wave rock group called The Buggles, became pioneers when what turned out to be their one-hit wonder -- "Video Killed the Radio Star" -- became the very first music video shown on MTV.

But if video killed the radio star, it's positively life affirming to marketers these days.

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

"Video" is from the Latin verb videre, which means "to see."

I have a client who demonstrably asserts that the video intro she has embedded in her e-mail signature and on her website has been a significant asset in promoting her business and her brand.

I have another client who enthusiastically utilizes this medium to showcase his brief talks and webinars.

Those of you already engaging in video activities (no, not the Tommie Lee or Rob Lowe variety..) needn't be reminded of this medium's far-reaching effectiveness.

To enjoy it passively as well, there is an online service that links you, free, to webinars and related broadcasts that can provide a treasure trove of information on all kinds of subjects.

BrightTALK, according to its website description, "provides online events for professionals and their communities. Every day thousands of thought leaders are actively sharing their insights, their ideas and their most up-to-date knowledge with professionals all over the globe through the online event technologies that BrightTALK has created.

"At BrightTALK, we believe that people learn the most when they hear directly from those who know the subject best. We also believe that this experience is enhanced through a dialog between speakers and the audience. Our online event tools offer a dynamic environment for everyone involved. It is the interactions we witness and the advancement of knowledge in our online communities that excites us the most.

"You can join BrightTALK’s vibrant exchange of ideas as either a viewer or a presenter. We offer viewers live, interactive access to businesses’ top thought leaders. You identify the topics most relevant to you by searching communities, channels, summits or individual webcasts and are introduced to new experts via their timely and relevant presentations. Your comments, your ideas, and your voice will not only influence how others think, but can shape future events available for your viewing and participation on BrightTALK. In addition, webcasts are available on-demand for future viewing and for sharing with your peers and colleagues. "

Since I subscribe, here's a recent e-mail I received:

Dear Joel

Last week on your subscribed channels:

Webcast: Jul 26 2011 1:00 pm Elevating Digital Measurement Beyond Last Click and Towards Return

Channel: Media and Marketing

Webcast: Jul 27 2011 1:30 pm The New Way to B2B Marketing

Channel: Media and Marketing


Webcast: Jul 28 2011 12:00 pm Lead Nurturing: Automating the Buyer's Journey

Channel: Media and Marketing


Subscribe to additional channels that interest you:

Thank you.

Want to run your own online events? Click here to set up a free BrightTALK trial.

Cool, huh?

Join us again the first Tuesday of next month for a non-display resolution/aspect-ratio version of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Summer Fable

Summertime is time for getting into a good, juicy novel. A romance, spy thriller, political drama, sci-fi...the kind that's called a real "page-turner." The ones that often grab you come with plot twists that challenge our ability to figure out whodunit, how and why.

This little fable made its way into this space sometime ago and I thought I'd share it once again…

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

Many years ago in a small European village, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a moneylender. The moneylender fancied the merchant's beautiful daughter so he proposed a bargain: He would forgo the merchant's debt if he could marry the merchant's daughter. The merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. The cunning moneylender suggested that they let Providence decide the matter.

The moneylender told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender's wife and her father's debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

The moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles from the ground. But the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.

What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her? Initial analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Ah, but here’s what she did: She put her hand into the bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Most problems do have a solution; sometimes we just have to think about them in a different way.

In marketing, as well, there may be all kinds of problems that tax our abilities to solve them -- usually the most vexing is the budget, or lack thereof.

Is the answer relatively budget-free social media to handle a project alone, or is there some combination with conventional media that should always be considered...Is there a useful role a company's staff can fulfill beyond that of a marketing hired hand to help move a product...What about relationship building with the media...Onsite relationship building with clients and customers...?

What different ways have you thought of to arrive at your marketing solutions?

See you again the first Tuesday of next month for another page turning (page scrolling?) edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is The Social Medium the Message?

I'm on Facebook but I'm not on Twitter. I'm on Plaxo but I'm not on Foursquare. I'm on LinkedIn but I don't Flikr. Yet. I've been asked to join Referral Key and Ace of Sales, but I'm not sure what distinguishes them from other variations on those themes.

We're merely on the cusp of the social media revolution and already my head is spinning.

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

And as a hot summer day is wont to do to me, I'm starting to stroke from all the virtual means there are -- with surely more on the way -- to help "connect" me with my social and professional brethren. (And sisteren...or is that cistern? Never mind, that vessel has sailed...)

We all gotta do it to remain viable in the business world, though, right?

It's when these online and electronic outlets are touted as the only ways to achieve meaningful connectivity with our markets that we perhaps lose sight of more universal "truths."

Peter Shankman is the founder and Editor of HARO, about which I've written in the past -- "Help A Reporter Out," which offers subjects for both print and e-media for folks like you and me to contribute our expertise to -- but now he's weighing in on why "I Will Never Hire a Social Media Expert, and Neither Should You." This is excerpted from his blog, :


I was going to call this article “All “Social Media Experts” need to go die in a fire,” but I figured I should be nicer than that.

Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.

Social Media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. Say it with me. Repeat it until you know it by heart. Bind it as a sign upon your hands and upon thy gates. Social Media, by itself, will not help you.

“It’s not about building a website anymore! It’s so much cooler! It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence, and…”

Will you please shut up before you make me vomit on your shoes?


It’s About Transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now – It doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past. Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye. It’s about using the tools to market to an audience that wants to help tell your story, because you’ve been awesome at providing them with the service they deserve.

It’s About Relevance. It’s not about tweeting every single time your company offers 10% off on a thingamabob. It’s about finding out where your customers actually are, and going after them there. If you’re tweeting all your discounts, and none of your customers are on Twitter, then you sir, are an idiot. Marketing involves knowing your audience, and tailoring your promotions in specific bursts to the correct segments. “Social media experts” don’t know this. They’ll build you a fan page, and when all that work doesn’t convert into new sales, they’ll simply say “Well, we’ll just post more.” Don’t be that guy. Real marketers know when to market using traditional methods, social media, or even word of mouth. Go ahead. Ask a “social media expert” what a traffic planner does at an agency, then laugh as they quickly ask Google for help finding the answer.

It’s About Brevity. You know what the majority of people calling themselves “Social Media Experts” can’t do, among other things? THEY CAN’T WRITE. The number of “experts” out there who can’t string a simple sentence together astounds me. Guess what – If we have about three seconds to get our message across to a new customer, you know what’s going to do it? Not Twitter Followers. Not Facebook Fans. Not Foursquare Check-ins – NO. What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. BAD WRITING IS KILLING AMERICA. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication.

Finally, it’s about knowing your customer, and making sure your customer thinks of you first. When Barry Diller was running Paramount, he’d call ten people in his Rolodex each morning, just to say hi. That translated into all of Hollywood knowing this previously unknown executive’s name, because he took the time to reach out and communicate. It also translated into Paramount making billions in a time where other movie companies were struggling. Do you know your audience? Have you reached out to them? I’m not talking about “tweeting at them,” I’m talking about actually reaching out. Asking them what you can do better? Asking those who haven’t been around in a while what you can do to get them back? It’s not about 10% off coupons or “contests for the next follower.” For God’s sake, be smarter than that.

Social media is not “cool.” MAKING MONEY IS COOL. Social Media is simply another arrow in the quiver of marketing, and that quiver is designed to GENERATE REVENUE.

If you’re doing anything else with social media, here’s a book of matches, and I expect to never see you again after the smoke clears.

Whew. And I thought I had the market on rants...

Join us again the first Tuesday of next month when we Morse-code you another edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo,
ISES, NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why, and How to, Write a Book

Quick, what's faster than a speeding press release, more powerful than a rushing web site, able to leap social media in a single bound?

Look, up on your bookshelf -- it's a bird, it's a plane (Hey, I said look on your bookshelf..!)

It's a book.

Welcome to the un-bound edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Savvy marketers are realizing that, along with the conventional tools of the promoting trade -- web site, brochure, ads, commercials, a social media presence -- a good old fashioned tome can speak...pardon the pun...volumes about what one can offer in the way of expertise. While adding cachet to one's professional status that is virtually incalculable.

And that's whether the book is published through a literary press, or downloaded from a web presence.

There's a book in pretty much each one of us.

But rather than have me tell you about it -- I got Hooked on Phonics only last Thursday -- I thought I'd leave the real muscle to my friend, a former high school classmate of mine (who also lives in Charlotte), now a successful writer and author.

Jonathan Singer began his career at CBS in New York as a copywriter. He moved to Charlotte in 1988 where he has been a creative director and a ghostwriter (How Sweet the Sound, the autobiography of Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother, Doubleday, 1998) and an occasional contributor to Charlotte magazine. He considers Joel Kweskin a friend – this week. He can be reached at

Nothing Beats a Book

If you really want to do something for yourself, write a book. Nothing else compares with the impact, the instant credibility, the authority that a book conveys.

A good book can suddenly get you speaking engagements, and free publicity. It can also leverage you well beyond your current station where a whole new demographic of clients graze.

I can’t tell you how to sit down Friday night and have a finished book by Monday morning. What I can show you is a way to avoid getting stuck – which is when most people quit.

Go out and buy four packs of ruled, 3 X 5 index cards. I’m embarrassed to promise that something so utilitarian will revolutionize your life as a writer. But it will. I know because it revolutionized mine.

Writing is about two things: structure and creativity. Most people think they can do both at once. You can’t.

Our brains do one thing and one thing well, at a time. The index cards give your brain a green light to brainstorm all the things you want to include in your book. Clear off a tabletop. Now write one idea, one thought per card, starting on the first ruled blue line. The temptation is to start writing the book on the cards. Don’t. You shouldn’t be using more than a couple lines to express that one thought; that one fact (garnered from your research); that one quote.

Spread out those cards on the tabletop, willy-nilly. For one particular book I did with under 20 chapters, each chapter had as many as 100 cards on the table.

When you’ve put all your ideas/facts/quotes on the cards start grouping them together by subject. Expect to have several groups. Give each group a one or two word title and write it in red on the top red line, extreme right.

Now, within each group, put the cards in some logical order. Record the order you’ve put them in by numbering them at the top of the card, on the red line, extreme left.

Arrange the cards vertically like venetian blinds with just enough to show what you’ve written on each card. Paper clip the sides of three or four cards together in that position, keeping the whole row of cards in a neat vertical. From the first card to the last, you ought to be able to scan what you’ve written easily from bottom to top.

Continue this process until you have as many separate vertical rows as your narrative warrants.

By this time you should see some natural transitions between the end of one row and the beginning of another. Arrange the rows in some logical order.

From your position above the table (work with as big a space as you can) if it’s a “chapter” you’re working on, then at a glance you ought to be able to see in the first row of cards the beginning of the chapter and in the last row of cards, the end of the chapter.

What you have on the table is the structure of your manuscript, logically progressing from one thought to the next. That in itself is a major accomplishment. But the real beauty of the cards is that now you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to say. It’s all right in front of you. You can, at a glance, see the beginning, the middle and the end.

An added bonus of seeing your material flow in so graphic a manner is that by keeping an eye on the end you will know how much time you can spend on the beginning and mid-section. That’s pacing!

You’ll never write yourself into a corner again. Writing one thought/fact/quote per card in no particular order allows your brain to spill everything you want to say – without having to make any association between the facts.

With all the “information” on the table that’s one less job your brain has to do. That frees you up to just look for the relationships between your thoughts and ideas – connections that may have never occurred to you.

Finally, once you’ve ordered and grouped the cards, then arranged those groups in a pleasing, logical order, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’ve got a clear field ahead of you. You know exactly what you need to say and in what order. There’s no mystery. With all the facts in order at your fingertips, your brain is free to just be creative and write.

Try the cards. If all else fails, hire a ghostwriter.


Join us again the first Tuesday of next month for another literati gliterati chapter of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo
ISES, NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Hit'em Where They Ain't!"

"If at first you don't succeed...try shortstop."
-- Soupy Sales

It's April, and that means my annual salute to The National Pastime. While professional football has clearly taken over as the country's premier team sport for its grasp on virtually all media and revenue (forgetting the current NFL strife between millionaire players and billionaire owners), there is still something about the influence Baseball has played for the last 141 years on the shaping of our country.

Curiously, it is the only game where, almost randomly, the defense controls the ball (or puck?).  And it is the most democratic of all games -- anyone can be involved in a play at any time...and everyone gets to bat with an opportunity to score.  With neither height or weight having a bearing on the player's role.

I don't know about you Dads out there, but I bought my toddler son a glove well before I ever bought him a football. And I still own two gloves. (They're from the Pleistocene Era, but we won't get into that now...)

Welcome to the "BATTER UP!" edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Jacques Barzun, a French-born American historian of ideas and culture, once famously said "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball..."

And along with it, some lessons we can apply to, yes, marketing.

A few years ago, I first pitched this article to the readers of this column. Here's the replay:

There was a baseball player around the turn of the century -- at 5'4" the shortest ever to play the game -- named Wee Willie Keeler. Known for perfecting the "Baltimore Chop," whenever Willie stepped to the plate the chant would ring out, “Hit’em where they ain’t!”

The meaning was simplistically clear: hit the ball where the fielders weren't positioned, to improve the chances for getting a base hit.

What if, metaphorically speaking, you could “hit” your target markets…where your competition “ain’t?”

Most businesses – however small or large – tend to market themselves through the standard avenues…the local newspaper, the local weekly, radio, TV, et al. And buckshot mailings to one’s database of clients, colleagues and friends. (And now, of course, through various forms of social media.) Chances are that your industry counterparts are doing mostly that same thing.

Maybe the next time you’re “at bat,” consider going – pardon the pun – farther afield. That is, think about hitting those markets not just among your primary audience but also to the outer periphery of your spheres of influence.

¶A CPA, for instance – whose services are needed by virtually everyone – can make herself the go-to professional with the local remodelers trade association.

¶A chiropractor might consider offering internal clinics to the staffs of Home Depot or Lowe's (think of all the lifting, stretching and bending those folks go through).

¶An etiquette consultant might consider aligning with a business or life coach to offer services to further their clients' business growth and social success.

¶A sometime caricature artist might join a wedding and event planners organization to be their unique source of party entertainment. (Hey wait a minute, that's me..!)

For that matter, maybe there’s a hobby you have, or a weekend passion you love, that can be parlayed into a business opportunity -- by providing your services to fellow aficionados. Do these enthusiasts have associations? Do they have meetings? Do they have means, i.e. literature or promotional materials, by which they communicate with one another…and in which you can contribute an ad or, better yet, an informative article?

Again, something that perhaps your competition hasn't customarily done...

Next time you grab that metaphorical bat and stand in the box…you may want to think outside of it every now and then. And hit’em where they -- your competition -- likely ain’t.

By the way, did you know that, after "Happy Birthday," the second most sung ditty among Americans is..."Take Me Out to The Ballgame?"

See you again the first Tuesday of next month, with some "chin music" edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.846.4835 office
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo
ISES, NAWP, Visit Charlotte

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Facebook Fenomenon

Well, it didn't win Best Picture, or Best Actor or Best Director, but "The Social Network" certainly made its presence felt at the Academy Awards Sunday night earning three other Oscars, including Best Adapted Screenplay. More than anything else, though, it was the subject matter itself -- Facebook -- that will likely resonate long after "The King's Speech" has run its course in our collective conscience...notwithstanding the upcoming nuptials of Kate and William.

And that's because the latter is a fairy tale kingdom curiosity, while the former is virtually (and...virtually) part of our everyday lives.

Welcome to the Ide(a)s of March issue of Not Your Usual Marketing tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Facebook can be intoxicating, it can be exasperating, it can be enlightening, it can be depressing, it can be educational, and many hope it can be a boon to their business. Personally speaking, notwithstanding a project here or there that sprang onto my "wall," the jury is still out on the sustained efficacy of that perceived capability.

But at least in the case of one pundit out in the blogosphere, you better be there...or be square.

In One Social Media -- -- author Mike Bal opines on What Happens When You Don't Use Facebook?

"We talk to a lot of people who don’t think Facebook is necessary for their brand or company. What they don’t realize is that millions of people have come to rely on Facebook as their primary form of interaction with companies, brands, and people.

"What happens when someone can’t find you on Facebook? They give up and look for someone or something else to replace you. The hardest thing to do as a brand is to get people to trust you. Facebook makes taking that step a little easier for the customer. They can start by clicking the 'Like' button. From there they can interact with you and your page all the while developing a better relationship with your brand.

"Marketers have spent years trying to find the perfect customer. A customer who wants to hear what you have to say and who will spread the gospel of their favorite brand. Facebook offers a way for those customers or fans to find you and we would recommend taking advantage of it.

"Having a presence on Facebook doesn’t mean you are getting anything out of it. You have to be willing to maximize your efforts by creating strategies that get your customers and “fans” involved. By being valuable to those who choose to follow you, learn from you, be entertained by and informed by you.

"How are you being valuable to your customer base?"


Like one point seven bajillion other people, I'm on Facebook. But, with pretty much strictly a business development intent, I'm still poking my stick out there to see how truly fertile this virtual landscape can be.

In the meantime, look for us the first Tuesday of next month for another red carpet treatment of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
704.575.8850 mobile
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Keep it Brief

Now that we’re about to experience Super Bowl XLV, what’s next?

Why, JDK Marketing Communications Management XV, that’s what!

Five years ago in this column, I acknowledged -- duh! -- Anniversary X. Here's a reprise of that column, amended slightly to bring some points up to date.

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

February 14, Valentine’s Day, marks the fifteenth anniversary of JDK Marketing Communications Management. In this span of time, we’ve been fortunate to expand our client industry representation to nearly 50 different and varied companies while broadening our capabilities to some 23 “ help bring business your way.”

Thank you's are in order to: my "stable" of fine creative talents (i.e. graphic designers, photographers, videographers, web developers) and commercial printer resources; business colleagues for their friendship, counsel and referrals; and, of course, to my clients who have given me the opportunity to not only make them look good, but me as well. You are all among my readers here and I appreciate your efforts in my behalf.

There, I’ve said what I wanted to…and kept it reasonably short.

Since I've been occasionally chided for being too wordy in some of my NYUM Tips, I’m trying to be more mindful of that particular proclivity. (Though obviously not enough, you see, to resist alliterative turns of phrase.)

But the point to be brief and concise is, generally, well advised.
As marketing guru Robert Middleton -- -- points out:

“Since all marketing is about communication, the faster you can get your message across, the better results you'll typically get...

”Some places you can use the short message technique:

”1. On the home page of your web site. People want to be able to glance at this one page, read a few words and know what you're about. You need to go beyond a few bullet points, but you don't need several long paragraphs outlining every single thing your business offers.

 ”2. In an email that points to more detailed information on a web page. In tests I've done, a message that was only 84 words got 50% more click-throughs than a message that was 284 words.

”3. In an Audio Logo. A concise statement in ten words or less saying who you work with and the problems you address will almost always generate more interest than a long-winded description of what you do, who you do it for and how you're different.

”4. In a phone message left on voice mail. Saying your name, company name and your phone number will generally get more return calls that a big recorded sales spiel that often convinces your prospect that they definitely don't need your services.

”5. In an answer to the question: ‘Tell me more about your services,’ it's better to tell a little and then ask a question than it is to give an itemized list of every service you offer.”

…And I think I’ll end it right here, before I’m accused of doing what I said I wasn’t going to do.

See you again the first Tuesday of next month for another “trying-not-to-be-too-wordy” edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2011, and Volume Nine (!) of this little monthly foray into observations and anecdotes touching on the sometimes craft and science, but mostly the caprice and alchemy, of that integral part of commerce we call marketing.

Each January, it's been our tradition to offer up 12 resolutions -- one corresponding to each month -- for the New Year. For those of you who missed it last year, here we go again. For those of you who read it last we go again.

(That's the great thing about authoring one's own newsletter -- you get to call the shots...)

Welcome to Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

There’s a great scene in an old “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry has apparently telephoned reservations for a car rental. Except that when he gets there to pick up the car, he’s told there are none to be had. The woman at the counter explains that, for whatever bureaucratic reason, his rental was released to someone else. In his customary exasperated manner, Jerry “educates” her with the admonition that although it is their business to MAKE the reservation…they also have to be able to HOLD the reservation..!

It’s January of a New Year. From a marketing standpoint, presuming you’ve MADE your New Year’s resolutions, are you planning to actually HOLD them?

Here are 12 Resolutions, one for each month (in no particular order):

1. Guerilla Marketing: Think outside the box for ways to promote yourself. There are rules…and sometimes they're made to be broken.

2. Networking: Don't just focus on the standard business networking groups…look into joining associations, fraternal organizations, groups comprising fellow hobbyists, etc. That means getting more active in the social media milieu, as well...i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, et al.

3. Publicity: Toot your own horn if you have to; no one else knows your “key” as you do.

4. Positioning: All things being equal…what makes you “more” equal than others?

5. Seminars/Workshops: You think you know it all? Heck, maybe you do – at least as far as certain audiences are concerned, and the new business opportunities they might provide for you.

6. Newsletters: Share your ideas, broaden your constituency; send out industry-relevant information either as hard copy…or as an e-zine (such as what you’re presently reading).

7. Trade Shows: Go to them, be in them, network within them, write a program article for them, propose to give a seminar at them.

8. Event Marketing: Sponsor a cause, host an Open House; it’s good P.R. by “socializing” your business.

9. The Newspaper: Remember that old-fashioned medium? For business ideas, for client contact opportunities, simply to stay topical, don’t just rely on the 11:00 PM news. Read the newspaper.

10. Greeting Cards: It doesn’t have to be Christmas to send them to clients, prospects, colleagues, friends. Stay top of mind year-round, with Valentine’s Day, July 4th, Arbor Day – whatever! – as an excuse.

11. Postcards: Along with greeting cards, postcards are a fast, convenient, economical way to let people know about what's new with your business (think Realtors, Financial Advisors…).

12. JDK Marketing Communications Management: Yeah, I know, I “fudged” on this last one. But how else are you going to be able to effectively take care of the previous 11 resolutions…without first resolving to contact yours truly?

Baker's Dozen Bonus: Re-tool your website, if necessary, with updated info, new pictures, perhaps a video.

Have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011. Hope to catch you again the first Tuesday of next month with Volume 9, Number 2 of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo