Education Based Marketing

We are a society of information junkies. We thirst for information every single day. When we consider our own buying habits, where do we go? If it is a big item we might go to Consumer Reports or search for information online. We will certainly go to Google or Yahoo and search for whatever it is we want.

One of the very best examples of "Education Based Marketing" is seen at http://www.askthebuilder.com . That web site is packed full of information on the how to's of home improvement. People gravitate to vendors who supply the greatest amount of information.

A Simple Example:

If we were going to buy a pizza and we were standing right in front of two identical pizzerias, side by side, and one of them had a big sign in the window that read: "FREE Pizza Recipe Book," which one we would walk into first? We would probably all be interested in what ingredients are in the pizza and how the pizza is made.

What comes into play here? First of all we probably would never see two pizzerias side by side and we will more than likely NEVER see a pizzeria owner "divulge any secrets." The fact is, not very many people are going to ever try and make a pizza at home and it will certainly never taste the same as it does when you buy if from your favorite pizza vendor. The pizza vendor could have a business card with his web site address taped to the box with instructions on how to claim your free "Pizza Recipe Ebook." Of course there are "More Coupons" inside the ebook.

Many restaurant owners do not have much time to spend online. If the owner just had a printed recipe every week, (with his next week's coupon on the other side) he would create a customer loyalty and a following. All of his customers would look forward to the next recipe and would have to come into the restaurant to get it.

Most of us that have an e-mail address have bought something online or subscribed to an e-mail invitation for "specials" that the vendor offers. When we get their e-mail, all it includes is the items that they are selling and often times it is quickly deleted. If we were to buy something from the local craft store and they asked for our e-mail address and said: "We will be happy to send you the free" how to project of the month, "along with some coupons. up? Most likely we would if we had an interest in crafts. Of course that e-mail is going to include the "Special of the Month!" We might just head right back to the craft store to grab the new set of paint brushes that are on sale.

Yes, we are playing in the digital age. That brings up the power of educational ebook marketing. Ebooks are being made all the time and distributed freely all over the Internet. Along with the free information is an opportunity to purchase the vendor's products or services. Ebooks are easy to make or easy to have made for you. A simple example of ebook marketing is seen at: http://www.investigate.net The vendor gives away a free ebook that is useful for locating unclaimed funds held by the states. In it, there is an opportunity to buy unlimited access to public databases. Someone who uses the ebook can access it over and over without ever buying a thing. However, if that customer ever needs to find someone or find some secret public record, where are they going to go?

The salesman or woman who sells to business owners can be a welcome sight if he or she always shows up armed with some written information or "little known secret" about that particular owner's business or industry. That information is always given freely without any expectation of a sale resulting from it. In addition, if the salesman or woman took the time to send a one page piece of mail to all of his customers every month with the "Idea of ​​the Month" on how to increase sales, (along with a business card) who do you think the business owner would want to buy from?

The mission is simple. Educate your customer every chance you get. Provide the most valuable information you can to your customers. Continue to educate your customer the best way you know how and you will develop a customer loyalty that is worth its weight in gold.

What is an Art Collector?

A collector would be someone very wealthy, collecting for love or money or both. It is sometimes someone who purchases on impulse. Collectors buy art because they enjoy beauty as a part of their life style. Sometimes collectors buy art to fill a void in their life.

What makes a great art collector? Having an unlimited amount of money helps but it is not essential. Some collectors treat it as a hobby: an intellectual and emotional joy which served the additional purpose of decorating one's private home. Since the end of WWII there is a different type of collector. They pursue their own passions however with an awareness that the whole world is watching. Their collections are a matter of public record and their prized possessions are on loan to other museums and companies for the entire world to see.

There are as many types of collectors as there are collections. To the avid collector, knowledge about art is far more important than money. Collecting art desires desires, passions and emotions. It speaks of addictions, obsessions and instincts. A collector can be someone who does not have huge resources of money. It could be someone who has a minimum wage income, and goes to local thrift stores looking for baby bottles to add to his bottle and glass collection.

A collector is also someone who has the courage to buy the work of an artist early in their career; when the artist is still virtually unknown. Anyone can buy the work of a known artist if they have the money. Some collectors are in love with their collections and say good night and good morning to their favorite painting. This is probably a little sentimental and extreme; however it is this passion that creates a great collector. Collectors treat their collections and take the same measures as a museum would do to protect its art. In some cases ceramics and marble statues are bolted down to protect against earthquakes. Certain collectors have high standards when buying a work of art. A work has to be museum quality.

The artist and the collector create a partnership or sometimes a whole; two people coming together to create one organism almost like a marriage.

A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Vacations Are Possible When You Plan For It

With the spring and summer months right around the corner and summer break right on its heels, most people's thoughts turn towards vacation! My family is no different. In fact, we've been planning all of our vacation time for the past twelve months.

Our goal is to take three trips a year. Two short ones; maybe a weekend trip to another city in our state or a bordering state. And one nice, relaxing, long trip that we have to pack our bags and head for the airport for that lasts seven to ten indulgent days!

For example, about the time our son's April birthday rolls around, we plan a weekend trip somewhere in our state. His favorite is always San Antonio because he likes to visit the theme parks and gorgeous Riverwalk that they have there. Since we live in Dallas, it's less than a four hour drive; and it's usually the precursor to kicking off our year of getting away.

This year, the longer trip will be in the summertime, a week after school is out. We are planning a vacation to Florida to visit Walt Disney World. We will be gone for ten glorious days for fun in the sun.

And then, in October, my husband and I are planning a three to four day getaway to celebrate our anniversary in beautiful Mexico. And that will give us our three getaways for the year! It's as simple as that.

Now, we have not always been able to do this. Why? Because of poor planning on our part. But, that is no longer the case. We've wised up, and if you have not been getting away for a little rest and relaxation because of the same problem, here's how you can guarantee that that will not be the case next year … or the year after that – forever !

My husband, Muri, and I have created what we call a "Battery Recharge" account, or in regular terms, a travel account. All monies that go into it ensure that we'll be able to get away with our ten-year old son, Jordan, or for a romantic weekend on our own!

Have a family discussion and decide where each of you would like to go. Narrow it down, and vote on three locations. One that's far away and two that are within a reasonable driving distance.

Once you've done that, do your research. There are a number of online resources. Thanks to technology, finding attractions in the city of your destination is no more than a click away! You can build an itinerary of what your family will do, as well as get the costs of each show or attraction you'd like to attend.

Then, one-by-one, you begin to fund your "Batter Recharge" account until you have the money to do each trip! What's so great about the two short trips, most can be done for less than five hundred dollars. The key is not extravagance. It's just getting away with your family to bond and re-energize yourself.

You work hard, everyday. Take some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor with the ones you love and cherish. Your mental, physical and relational well-being will be all the better for it!

Happy vacationing!