Posts Tagged ‘Destination Marketing’

Marketing Legend

November 13, 2013

Last week the Puget Sound Chapter of the American Marketing Association paid me the honor of naming me “Marketing Legend”.  From the podium I said what I’d like to repeat here to a much wider audience.


I felt awkward receiving such an award for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I was just an entrepreneur doing what I needed to do to build and grow a successful business.  Never did I expect to one day be known as a “Legend”.

The second reason is the most important.  I didn’t come to earn this recognition alone.  A number of very talented, creative people deserve to have their names on the trophy.  In fact, the trophy couldn’t be big enough to hold all the names.

While I did not attempt to name them all that evening and I know this list will be woefully incomplete there are a few creative geniuses that deserve a public shout out.


Jim Bright (left) Sunny Kobe Cook (center) John Murphy (right)

The first is my longtime friend, Jim Bright who was responsible for our iconic tag line” Why buy a mattress anywhere else?”.

Next is undoubtedly Dan Voetmann of Destination Marketing.  He helped steered my business to “Legend” status.  He also accurately noted that together we set a new standard for my industry as evidenced by the imitations that can be found in countless other markets in North America.

There were production geniuses too.  People like Michael Kostov, Glenn Lorbecki of Glenn Sound, Dave Raynor and dozens of others.

Our representatives from the various media outlets such as Kerin Brasch , Catherine McConnell and Phil Mark all helped spread the message and make my name well known in our market.


I want to publicly thank everyone who helped create “the legend”.  The true honor is not in the award, but in the privilege of working with each of you.

New Media and Your Business

January 15, 2010

My television was on in the background as I worked when the first news of the terrible earthquake in Haiti began to break.  Before there were news crews on the ground providing video, there were only a few still photos giving us a by sampling of the heart-breaking devastation.  Those photos were taken using cell phones and uploaded to Facebook through satellite internet connections.  Hours before media teams and relief workers could arrive; people living and working in Haiti used Twitter, blogs and Facebook to tell the world of their plight.

This is not the first time the “new media” has served as an information portal on situations where traditional media was not able, or allowed to cover breaking news.  In June, 2009 we learned of the unrest and protests in Iran over their “election results” from the very same “new media” sources.  That was the first time I recall extensive citizen reports being used on the national news and the on-air teams were careful to point out that what we were about to see was information which “could not be independently verified” but it was of such historical significance, they felt we should see and hear it none the less.

As I watched the incoming news of the Haiti earthquake, I saw Shepherd Smith of Fox News seamlessly integrate Facebook posts, Twitter “tweets”, cell phone photos all with a satellite hookup phone call from a witness on the ground.  CNN’s reports for the first few hours also contained information directly quoted from Twitter and Facebook posts.  By the time our citizen reporters lost the last of their battery power, the more traditional news teams had begun to arrive and picked up where the first reporters had left off.   Beyond being moved by the tragedy and inspired by the willingness of the world to pitch in to help neighbors; I was moved and inspired by the way new media allows each of us to more fully participate in the world around us.

What lesson is there for all business people in seeing how the new media has not only emerged  – but merged into the everyday sources we turn to for news and information?  I think the message is this:  Ignore new media at your own peril!

My chronological age may make me a dinosaur to my teen and early twenties stepsons, but here I am with a blog, a Facebook page and of course, a website.   I am by no means an “early-adopter” of technology.  Some of my friends are much further down this road.  Gayle O’Donnell, owner of All About Weddings and Celebrations has a much read blog and lots of followers on Twitter.  True, her customer base is young women planning or participating in a wedding, but this younger demographic will continue to become more and more important to ALL our businesses.  The ways they communicate and get information are not likely to suddenly switch back to traditional methods once they turn 30.

The changes in communication and information gathering are not limited to those under 30 either.  The telephone books were just delivered to our home and they went directly into our recycle bin.  No one in our household can recall the last time we consulting a printed directory for any goods or services.  The computer is our first source for all information.   Are we unique?  I don’t think so.

I do some consulting for Destination Marketing clients and they have a person on their team described as the Digital Evangelist.  More and more businesses are becoming aware of the need to both have and manage their on-line presences.  (Have you done a Google search of your business name today?)

The local chapter of the National Speakers Association hosted an event last week with event planners and speakers at the Columbia Tower Club.  The message these event planners sent loud and clear was this:  “We are all on-line, on Facebook, on Twitter and connected to each other and our counterparts all over the country.  We expect to find you in those places too if you want to speak at our events.”

For years I have been telling fellow speakers and consultants that staying current is critical to your credibility.  People believe if your look is dated, your information must be dated as well.  Your “look” has now expanded beyond your clothes and hair.  Now it includes your digital presence as well as your physical one.  (Repeat Google search for you personally.)

Recently I was speaking at a national conference.  In the audience, the under 30 attendees were texting and tweeting during the presentation.  I asked one of them later if they would mind telling me why.  Did they find my material boring or irrelevant?  No, quite the opposite, the texts and tweets were to other attendees in different sessions telling them they were missing out.  In fact, I had noticed several people come in and take seats near the back of the room well into my speech.  This is the power of word of mouth advertising in its new form in the digital era.

The internet and various social media forums are not the domain of only the very young.  Seniors are now on-line in ever-increasing numbers.  Several years ago I bought my mom her first computer.    I got a frustrated phone call from her recently when she couldn’t find something on the internet.  I did some searching myself and did manage to find a phone number for the business.  When I called and asked for their web address I found out they didn’t have one! I relayed this information to my mom – who only a few years ago was convinced she didn’t need this computer I was buying for her – and she was appalled!  How could they NOT have a website!?!

If your business does not have a website, even a simple one; you need one, in fact, you needed it 7 years ago.  If you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, you need that as well.  Best part about Facebook; it’s FREE.  Even if you don’t see a single customer from it right now, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t cost you anything to build or be there.  This blog is also FREE.  If you are an expert in your field, you should be blogging to share information with your customers and prospective customers.

Don’t know how to get started?  Do you have a recent college grad living in your household who has not yet found a full-time job?  Let them earn their room and board by doing a simple website and your Facebook page for you.  Then get a 30 minute tutorial from them on how to maintain and update the information.  Not one in your house?  Lucky you.  Ask your friends.  One will no doubt have just such a young person who can devote a couple of hours to getting you set up and showing you what to do going forward.  Offer to write them a letter of recommendation and/or buy them a tank of gas if they do a good job for you.

This train has already left the station.  If you run right now, you can still catch it.  If you don’t, you may soon find yourself standing alone on an empty platform asking, “Where have all my customers gone?”

Uncommon Ways blog debuts

January 13, 2010

My first blog post, quite an auspicious moment! What can you expect if you subscribe to my blog? As an entrepreneur, I relish the countless ways business people find to do very “common things in uncommon ways”. My lifestyle takes me many places and exposes me to a wide variety of things. Through these simple posts, I will share what I find with you.

I had lunch the other day with my long time friend, Kerin Brasch who is the Director of the Puget Sound Chapter of Girls on the Run. We met at the Magnolia restaurant, Maggie Bluffs, a cozy spot overlooking Elliott Bay Marina. Knowing they have killer sweet potato fries, I went to the restroom to wash my hand so I could enjoy my fries guilt-free, at least from the germ perspective.

As soon as I walked into the restroom, I knew what my very first blog post HAD to be, it was hanging right there on the wall.

So what earns the honor of my very first post? The Dyson Airblade™! Made by the wizards who have created the best vacuum cleaner, their unique technology makes a hand dryer that actually DRIES HANDS. In only 12 seconds. Dry hands with no paper towels used, so if using less trees and making less trash is important to you, this is your dryer. It uses less power than traditional hot air dryers too and, did I mention, it actually dries hands? It’s also the ONLY hand dryer certified by NSF as hygienic, and isn’t that the reason we are washing our hands in the first place?

Cold and flu season, and a flood of H1N1 PSA ads, have brought hand-washing to the forefront of consumers’ minds. Three cheers for Maggie Bluff’s Marina Grill in Magnolia for having the Dyson Airblade™ in their restroom. Go check it out for yourself. Prepare to be amazed! It’s so much fun to use you will want to wash your hands before and after you eat. Your mother will be so proud!

Sure, they are by no means the first or only business to utilize this awesome new technology, but they demonstrate you don’t have to be the largest business in your industry to LEAD in your industry.

Business people who have a restroom, particularly a public one, take note: We HATE traditional hand dryers! I have gone into bathrooms, seen a hot air hand dryer and gone back out in search of something to use to wipe my hands. I have taken stacks of paper napkins from your fast food counter, from your popcorn seasoning counter at the movie theater, even an extra cloth napkin just to NOT have to use the typical hand dryer. If I notice too late, I take as much toilet paper as necessary to do the job – the hand drying job – not its intended “job”. This costs you money. So do the traditional paper towels. No matter what bulk you buy in or where you buy them, eventually the math works in favor of a dryer.

The CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE  should tip the scales in favor of the Dyson Airblade. We are all in favor of you saving money on paper towels, we are good with saving trees and, of course, we love less trash and cleaner restrooms, but we do not, repeat DO NOT want to resort to drip drying, shake drying or wiping wet hands on our clothes.

Experience the new Dyson Airblade for yourself at one of the cutting-edge businesses currently using them in their restrooms or check them out on the web at:

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