How To Learn To Love Advertising In A Recession

Name another time when your competitors voluntarily leave the market, allowing you to own it Every year, month, week, you advertise. You promote your product. Your Service. Your Expertise. And your competition is matching your spend dollar for dollar. Then an economic speedbump hits and suddenly you have an unfair advantage. You can keep advertising. Maybe your counter can not. Or chooses to stop spending. Do not ever stop spending on marketing. To do so is to slice the jugular of your company. Who knows what you sell if you do not advertise?

Tempting as it may be put to the brakes on, we implore you to keep going. Do not let up on your marketing. Do not you dare slow down. Shift gears sometimes, refine it a bit, but do not slow down your marketing efforts. Clich, perhaps, but Advertising Does not Cost – It Pays!

If You Stop?

All that awareness, and momentum, the brand equity you've built up comes to a halt. If you wait three months, six months, a year to get going again, it will take you too long to reach the level of consumer awareness you previously enjoyed. Your competitors will have a huge advantage because they kept their name out there.

Any hockey fans out there?

Advertising during tough economic times is like being on the PowerPlay. You have a chance to go aggressively on the offensive, knowing your competitor is handcuffed by reduced spending. If they stop spending altogether, then it's a five on two Power Play because they've divorced their own goalie too. You can possibly score a couple of goals. When they get back to an even strength economy, you're already a couple of major sales, or customers ahead of them. You say, "… but our ad budget is not unlimited.

Here's how to handle that. Let's say you currently have five business to business trade publications which are specific to your industry that you're advertising in. You typically try to stay current in all of them through the year. Some continuity with an ad campaign for six of their 10 issues, four of their six issues etc, and you overlap the year with some coverage everywhere. In every industry, there is one magazine that is usually head and shoulders above the others. The recognized industry leader. Maybe there's a close second place magazine too. The other three are nice-to-haves, but they do not carry too much of your audience.

Go to your 3rd, 4th and 5th place publications. Retrieve your investment from them. (Cancel or do not renew your remaining ads). You're only giving up a small% of your target group in doing this. But you could be saving disproportionately large budget. Let's say you save $ 10,000. It could be anything, but $ 10,000 is a good barometer.

Use 50% ($ 5,000) of those saved funds and go back to publication # 1. With the 50% you save, offer it back to publication # 1. (Put the other 50% – $ 5,000) into savings for additional opportunities- we're not sure how long this sword will last.)

Advise magazine # 1, that despite its being a tight economic time, you are prepared to invest more money with them if they can make it attractive. If you've been running a full page, 4 color ad, ask them for an adjacent 1 / 3rd page vertical strip with a coupon driving people to respond via 1-800, or mail, or website.

They should cut you an excellent deal due to more money in a tougher time.

Other Options?

Secure a preferred position (Outside Back Cover) at no premium. Have a Reader Reply Card inserted at a discount so you can track inquiries to the ad. Make magazine # 1 work hard enough that they get the incremental spend and you get a discounted bonus. Both parties win.

Your profile is elevated and recognized by the readers of publication # 1. It also demonstrates to the publisher that you are an aggressive marketer and they should offer you a preferred rate or bonus.

So what's happened here?
You save some money
You raise your profile to your most relevant target group
You gain a critical edge over your competition by increased visibility while they recede into the rear-view mirror.

Additional Marketing Efforts in Tough Times:

In addition to tweaking your media campaign, some businesses have introduced incentive programs for their salespeople that influence sales and boost morale and attitudes internationally.

A properly executed sales incentive program helps keep staff motivated, feeling more secure about their employment, and they go an extra mile in anticipation of an award, a promotion, and a bonus.

Such increased motivation can lead to increased sales, resulting in being able to stay competitive or even move forward while competitors are struggling.

The benefits of a tougher economic time?

This is a period to cut fat. Eliminate media and strategies that are not working and replace them with leaner, more efficient media.

It will force you to take a good hard look at what your marketing is doing.

What results, if any, is it achieving for you?

Do not like the TV ads? Consider replacing them with a Trade Show presence for closer one to one interaction with your clients.

Sometimes during a belt-tightening stretch, a company has to run leaner. Perks and less essential items or non-critical staff are eliminated. When better times emerge, you are stronger and more streamlined for it.

The lessons learned of targeted, efficient, tactical media usage can carry over to more buoyant times as well. While it can be an unsettling time for companies and employees alike, the creativity which emerges from advertising during a recession can serve your company well into your future.

How and Where to Advertise

More than anything else, the key to success in business depends on how and where to advertise. You must advertise or forever remain unknown. If you have "the better mousetrap," you have to let people know about it, or your ideas and efforts will come to nothing. Everyone seems to have an idea for a product, a service or a "how to" manual of some kind. Many people spend half of their lives perfecting a product, learning how to perform a special service, or writing a book – only to end up penniless and heartbroken because "no one beats a path to their door" to buy whatever it is they are trying to sell.

In most cases, it's a matter of whether you want to "go down in history" as just another inventor, hard-worker, author or want to "sell a product and enjoy the rewards."

Always do some basic common sense product analysis and market research before you begin building, learning or putting together something you want people to buy. The same kind of 'research' will save your time, frustration, and money, if you apply the same principles to every "selling opportunity" that arises your interest.

Make a check list of questions that must be answered before you embark upon any project or get too deeply involved in any selling situation. Such a checklist should answer the following questions:

1) who will I sell it to?
2) Do these people really want, and need it?
3) How large is the market?
4) How will I reach these people and get them to buy?
5) Is anyone else selling a similar product, service or book?
6) What makes my product and strategies different?
7) Can I supply the product at a price the customer will pay, and still make a profit for myself?
8) How much time, effort and money will I have to invest in order to reach my profit goals?
9) Do I have the resources, and the stamina to carry this idea through to success?

Once you've answered these questions – completed this bit of basic product analysis and market research – then you can start planning exactly how you intend to sell it, and map out your advertising strategy from there. You'll find success in selling effort, much easier, and much more profitable, if you honestly and objectively answer these "check list" questions before you begin.
It's absolutely imperative that you analyze the product, and profile your prospect customer – the sale ability of your product, and the demand for such a product by the people you want to buy. One other thing, do not ever overlook or "poo pah" your real and / or imagined competition.

When people neglect to analyze the product, and answer the basic research questions, they're almost certainly doomed to failure. These are precisely the reasons for failure among people who attempt to start a mail order business. We literally get tons of mail order offers for products that are losers; and even offers from people trying to sell us our own material and / or related items which we can buy at wholesale prices.

When Sears & Roebuck send out a new catalog or sales circular, do you "really" think they send one to Montgomery Ward? Another thing, this "we're all friends and in the same business, so you buy from me and I'll buy from you" philosophy may keep you busy and you mailbox full, but it'll never result in profits on your P & L sheet. Advertise in the media that reaches your buyers, and send your direct mail materials to people likely to but – not sellers. Remember, your first task is to determine who your most likely customers are, and then design your advertising campaign to reach those specific people. Typically, you would not try to sell pantyhose with an ad in a care magazine, or socket wrenches with an ad in a magazine for bride-to-be.

In other words, design your advertisements to appeal to "your kind of customer," – send $ 5 for our report on HOW TO WRITE ORDER PULLING ADS – and then, place these advertisements in the publications these people buy and read. If you're selling gift items, crafts and other merchandise, advertise in those kinds of publications – general merchandise catalogs catering to that kind of buyer. If you want to recruit sales people, dealers and distributors, place your ads in publications reaching people looking for these kinds of opportunities.

I do not recommend that you begin, or attempt to launch your business via direct mail, but when the time comes for you to expand into direct mail, be discriminate – select mailing lists for your type of customer. Do-it yourselfers for shop tools, cosmetics Buyers for jewelry and self adornment merchandise, how-to-book buyers for your crafts, hobbies and self-improvement books, opportunity seekers for business start-up manuals, and proven advertisers for your publications.

So, when you read in a business success article that you should place your ad in publications carrying similar ads – the advice given is "place your ads in publications reaching your kind of buyer." Just because it's a publication reaching mail order people and you're selling imported gift items by mail, does not mean your ad will pull from exposure in that publication. Always add one more answer: Does it reach a large number of the type of buyers I'm selling to?

Definitely, this is where many mail order entrepreneurs go wrong, and very definitely, this is the fallacy of advertising in the M / O ad sheets. Analyzing the type of people a publication reaches; and the loyalty as well as true interest of a publication's readers; and then determining whether or not they'll respond to your ad, is easy if you will just ask yourself a few common sense questions.

Mail Order Ad Sheet: These reach beginning and small mail order dealers … Their appeal is very egotistical to see the advertiser's name / ad in print – read by other mail order dealers to see who is advertising, what's be advertised, and for the accumulation or processing mail lists. Very little if any response for the recipients who are looking, not for things to buy, but for shortcuts to more profits.

Mail Order Tab Sheets:

These reach basically the same audience as the M / O Ad Sheets … Generally more appealing because of the "instructional" articles and greater space devoted to mentioning who's doing what / names in print & free publicity. Rate these according to the "information" being passed along in articles. Typically, these publications pull a greater response than the ad sheets, but still, they're the largest audience is one made up of sellers.

Mail Order Dealer Catalogs:

These reach the mail order dealers, plus a very large segment of specific buyers – generally related to the overall kind of merchandise offered within the catalog. Unless there are "business building" articles, the recipients generally toss them after after a quick glance … These are very good showcases for your dealer / distributor ads, and if it's an "established" merchandising catalog of the kind of product you ' re selling, these catalogs can be very good advertising outlets for you …

Extra Income Magazines, such as Money Making Magic, Venture and Entrepreneur:

These publications individually reach a very loyal basic subscriber list, most of the people wanting or hoping to get started with, or already involved in a spare time extra income project, and tremendously large number of "first time" readers with each issue. Look for, and rate them according to the balance of actual "business building" articles that carry, in relationship to their advertising – and overall, according to the quality of the publication as well as the audience each trying to reach – do the articles really help you, or are they "publicity write-ups" for the advertisers … You'll find that these magazines are retained, and referred to by the recipients for years … In almost every case, you can expect a good response from your ads placed in one of these magazines – provided you've got a good ad and it's geared to the readers of that particular magazine.

Remember: The bottom line is knowing your type of buyer – presenting your product or opportunity in a style that applies specifically to that type of buyer – and then placing your ad in the publication reaching your kind of a buyer. Cooking magazines for recipes; mechanical opportunity in the mechanics magazines; self-improvement books and merchandise in general merchandise catalogs; and income opportunities in business-building, self-help magazines such as Money Making Magic!

Beside matching the profile of your customer with the demographics of the publication, it's also important that you match your selling prices within the average price range of everything else offered in that publication. Running an ad to sell a book at $ 65 In a publication featuring $ 20 books, probably will not pull for you. By the same toke, any ads trying to promote "re-production type" reports in a magazine selling $ 50 books, probably will not bring very many responses for you either.

To achieve success – know your product, profile your prospective buyer, design advertising that appeals to the self interest of that specific kind of buyer; and place your ads in publications reaching those kinds of buyers. If you're trying to sell by direct mail, send your offers to prospective buyers – not sellers of the same type of materials you're trying to sell.

Very few people recognize a legitimate opportunity, even when you hit then over the head with it – even so, unless you've got something REALLY NEW, and a deal that really is THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME, save your money and don ' t try to push your program onto other mail order dealers who may already be selling it. Assuming that you "know" your typical customer, and the best media to reach this kind of customer, the next step is putting your ad together. It's said millions of times before, but it's important that you UNDERSTAND, and REMEMBER: Your ad MUST appeal to the self-interest of your prospect. It must somehow be different, and better, than all the others, particularly if your product is being advertised in the same publication by other mail order dealers.

Nothing beats originality. Write your ads from a different angle. Lead off with the answer to every customer's most important question: What will I get if I send in my money?

Use words to paint pictures of success, wealth and happiness. Eliminate the customer's fears of being taken or ripped off. Picture yourself in your prospect customer's shoes, and give him real reasons to send his money to you. And finally, make it easy for him to order – call toll free; use your bank card; order now and we'll bill you later; self-addressed envelope.

Do not be too determined to sell your primary product from your ad. Chances are, if it's as good as you say it is, and you really want to make big profits, you should use a sales letter 4-or more pages in length. Consider a "leader" item, and run an ad like this: FREE RAGS TO RICHES MAIL ORDER OPPORTUNITY guide! Send your name, address, zip code & two first class stamps.
Then in response to all takers of this Free Offer, include the complete sales letter, brochure, order form, and self-addressed return reply envelope with the booklet you send out. Using this 2 step method, some people have attained 60 and 70 percent sales for their primary product.

Another angle? FREE BOOK! Mail Order Millions from a Shoestring Beginning! Send your name, address, and zip code, along with $ 1 for shipping and handling. In response, you send out the book and a sales letter inviting the recipient to avail himself of your mail order business consulting services.

Again, the rules are:

Determine who you want for a customer. Get his undivided attention, and then sell your product or service. Simple, easy, and it works every time. All it takes is a little bit of common sense on your part!

A small, inexpensive classified ad offering a "most wanted" leader item, followed up with a dynamic sales letter … and your success is actually guaranteed! As a means to an end, particularly if you want to enlist people to sell your product for you- Start an ad sheet – run exchange with each ad sheet publisher in the country – there are literally thousands of them. (Send $ 1 for our listing of mail order publications …) But, instead of running ads to promote your ad sheet, run your "leader item" offer and follow up with your sales letter on your primary product. From this, you'll get fantastic FREE exposure; inquires from people you can actually sell to; and the virtual "no-cost" establishment of a nationwide sales force to promote your business. Do chain letters really work? In no way, form or fashion! But, this method of running your "leader item" ad as an amended ad, will work – and, it's legal! The end result will be what the letter letter promoters are promising you – People all over the country promoting and selling your business for you.

You can not do it all by yourself. You must multiply yourself – get other people to help you, and present your product offer to as many potential customers as possible. And so long as you're working from a limited budget, there's no way on this green earth you can afford the kind of advertising costs necessary for overnight success! Send $ 5 for our report, HOW TO BUILD A NATIONWIDE DEALER AND / OR DISTRIBUTOR NETWORK.

Finally, comes the moment of truth. Do you have what it takes – the ability to go on studying, learning, and adapting – the dedication and the stamina to last through to the kind of success you want?

It's important that you do your homework – product analysis and market research – the rest is merely common sense. You've got it, now use it! For sure, it will not be easy work ahead, and lots of understanding required – but you CAN do it, and the end result will be well worth the investment. After all, what have you got to lose but a try at total success?
From here on out, the ball is in your court and investment of some kind of action on your part is required …

5 Tips to Get More Patients With Chiropractic Marketing

On any given day you will hear, see or read a multitude of advertisements for something, someone or some product. A magazine of 100 pages will have about 15-20 ads. You can’t watch a 60 minute television show without at least 20 minutes of commercials. However with all of the busy lifestyles, DVR’s have helped to relieve us from commercial laden television viewing as we fast forward through to the next scene in the show. But you can’t fast forward through radio so you are left with listening or turning it off. With the computer we have pop up blockers, spam filters and more. The junk mail, don’t even get me started. I’ve threaten to place a trash can next to my mail box. That leaves the newspaper and it too has its share of ads.

Am I an “ad basher”? Absolutely not, I realize that advertising is part of business. It pays for publications to stay in business; it keeps television free, unless you have to have cable, which by the way used to be advertisement free. Advertising keeps radio stations operating and I guess the advertisers are keeping the postal service afloat too.

Business owners have to market themselves in order to compete with other businesses. So business owners market themselves through advertising in various venues in hopes of getting more business, more patients and bottom line more money. There is so much marketing going on that one might wonder if they even have a chance of being seen. But they can be seen, they just have to find their niche, focusing in on their target audience and by doing this a business owner can actually save time and money.

For chiropractor’s time and money are valuable as is for most business owners, but let’s face it, advertising for chiropractic is different from advertising for ice cream, delicious food or the newest shoes to hit the stores that every teenager wants to own.

There are many opportunities available for chiropractors marketing their practices and get their name out in front of their intended target audience. I’ve included some tips below to help utilize some common marketing platforms and ideas.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip #1 – Print Advertising. The internet is a great tool for marketing your practice but remember that newspapers are still a viable platform for your chiropractic advertising. Even though there are fewer newspapers than there were 10 years ago, print advertising is a great way to market. Costs to run an ad in the paper will vary from region to region and I will admit, for some the cost is too great to overlook. However there are other print marketing techniques that are more cost effective. Example; ask your newspaper rep about the cost of inserts if the cost or placement of the ad is not working with your budget.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip #2 – Use all available resources. Take advantage of the internet even if you think that you cannot afford a website, web presence is still easy to master. Begin a blog website and write articles about chiropractic in the community, write about your office, fitness, health, sprinkle with some personal experiences. There are blog sites that you can pay for, but there are also free sites. You can even purchase a domain name and direct it to your free blog site. Both Blogger and WordPress offer free writing venues. Later on when you do decide to have a website, you will be able to incorporate your blog posts into your site which will only enhance your web presence by feeding fresh content to your site on a regular basis.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip #3– Jump into Social Media with both feet. Twitter and Facebook are the social media hot spots. Both are very user friendly and what you don’t know or can’t figure out, a quick Google search for step by step tutorials and you will have more information than you know what to do with. Research and find out information before you plunge in, but if you already have a personal profile on Facebook then you are only one step away from a fanpage. Here’s one quick tip; if you are thinking about a Facebook fanpage for your chiropractic practice, you will want to carefully name it using the right keywords so you can be found by those looking for you. Example, your location and your profession go hand in hand. If you are a chiropractor in Smalltown, BigState; then you will want to utilize that information. So your Facebook fanpage could be named Smalltown Chiropractor/Your Name. That way when anyone who lives in or near your location doing an online search for a chiropractor, they simply type in the town name + the term “chiropractor” and your page should pop up on the results page.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip #4 – Think outside the box. Find a reputable source for established, tested and proven chiropractic marketing tools. You already know that there is a wealth of information out there about marketing and now with all of the niche marketing you have many companies marketing their chiropractic marketing products to chiropractors. Be smart! Do your homework, read as much as you can about the companies selling chiropractic marketing products. Things to look for… price of course but more important, what do you get for that price? Do they offer support? Is there a money back guarantee? Are the products tested and proven to work? Find blogs and articles on or about chiropractic marketing. Many offer free tutorials and nuggets of information to implement into your marketing and they cost nothing.

Chiropractic Marketing Tip #5 – Be consistent with your marketing and never stop marketing your practice. Map out a marketing plan for 6 months out to a year. Break it down into weeks. Beginning with holidays, write in a holiday focused marketing plan, then move to seasonal marketing ideas, next go for the holidays that are not known for their national observance, like grandparents day, hug a tree day or make one up. Don’t forget to market within your office. A dry erase board with a chiropractic tip of the week only opens the door for your patient’s to ask you about what you’ve written on the board.

My last bit of advice, never miss the chance to get a referral from your patients. You don’t have to hound them about it, just have some nice referral cards or coupons printed up and ready to hand out when you hear one of them mention a friend, neighbor or family member.

Mental Health Care Outreach and Social Media

If you work in the mental health field, you are a natural born communicator. Can we all agree that there is no borrowing without a true command of language? After all, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers must all be well versed in BOTH, the spoken and written word to succeed within their chosen career fields.

Counseling sessions are based on active listening skills and the ability to successfully organize and summarize what the client shares. In addition, everything learned from each client session must be converted to accurate, comprehensive and concise progress notes. The data is often admissible in legal proceedings, so the mental health professional must be able to use an economy of words which express a multitude of thoughts and details. Let's also just remember everyone that professionalism and field credibility also requires neatness, flawless spelling and grammar and attention to proper syntax.

So, where does Social Media enter in to a discussion about listening, thinking, talking, writing and detail orientation?

Social Media Representatives the "New World" of Opportunity for Everyone

Social Media is an important form of communication these days. It is becoming a communication tool of choice for many mentally ill clients, especially when they wish to communicate – anonymously – with others to avoid positive

identification and attached stigma. Mental Health professionals are increasing spending their counseling time instructing their clients in the safe and productive use of Social Media, for this purpose. The chief goal is ALWAYS to protect the vulnerable from exploitation.

The mental health professional is also using Social Media as a way to gain additional professional knowledge as well as to network with others in his own field; including the many that live and work a great distance away.

There are also new opportunities for degree work and certification through online universities and professional organizations, respectively. There are accelerated and open forums for career-related discussions on a variety of professional topics developed to advance the field of mental health care.

Plenty of collegial relationships and friendships have been forged in the online world, often leading to one-to-one telephone conversations and live meetups. Face-to-face meeting has always been the goal of Social Media, which is designed as an enabler and not a replacement for physical human interaction.

Job information has been replaced and employment interview offers are often tendered online. And, then there is the research that keeps the mental health care professional up to date on the changes taking places in his field from day to day. Some of the research and anecdotal contributions are the product of practitioners, just like you and me, who choose the Internet as a place to publish our work and share it with the world. We no longer need to wait for third parties to publish what we write.

Forget the Yellow Pages. You Must be Active in Social Media to

Succeed

There is another area in which the worlds of mental health care and Social Media often come together – marketing and outreach. Can any nonprofit or private business afford not to avail themselves of the benefits offered through Social Media? I think not. Why? Because, the collective Social Media audience is huge and diverse. We need the kind of visibility and name recognition that the Internet can lead us to.

Most everyone that we need to connect with is already online, with more and more people showing up daily. Facebook, alone, is already at or near 600 million users. Confidently, there is no one on earth that does not know – at least – a single person with a Facebook profile.

Marketing and outreach others in Social Media need not take a huge amount of resources, either. In fact, the entire effort can be limited to just a few platforms and a limited amount of posts on a consistent basis. This is resource allocation, well positioned.

Are you LinkedIn?

All professionals in any field belong on LinkedIn. Create a profile with your credentials, contact information and over time, as many business references as you can gather. Take some time to join some professional groups and pose and answer career-related questions among the group members. There is a lot to learn from others and much one can share to prove his field expertise. It is such expertise that builds professional credibility and helping relationships over time. Such relationships are invaluable when it comes to creating all sorts of professional opportunities including business partnerships, client referrals and employment offers. Do not discount the value of LinkedIn as a premier Social Networking platform for mental health care professionals.

Are you Facebooking?

Facebook is another place where the people we need and wish to "talk" to are a great deal of the time. Sure, it is a place where one must be especially careful not to embarrass himself among his friends or professional collections, but it is a place where using good posting discretion can balance the fun with the serious. The common denominator is "value." Bring value to others and garner their respect and loyalty.

Facebook does have a business side, too. The Facebook business page offers a place to create and foster community, client and professional relations through providing value to some and offering an outlet for others to do the same. A few well placed posts about happenings in the mental health care field on your Facebook business page and a few more posts and comments on the pages of others you seek to have an audience with and you are on your way to growing a successful Facebook presence . Just remember that on Social Media, it's not all about you. Value for others, FIRST. You have the right to pitch your own endeavors about 15% of the time. Do not try and sell in Social Media; work harder to impress. Being respected and liked will get you the opportunities you are looking for.

Have you Blogged, Today?

Blogging is also a great tool to become better known. Show you are an expert in something and share it wherever you can. One or two 400 – 500 word blog posts per week, can quickly establish a professional as an expert that others want to hear from regularly. Invite others to write for your blog, too. Guest bloggers are refreshing and help give the impression that your blog is important enough for others to take the time and contribute to. Their followers will come to read their posts and have a chance to read yours. Often newspaper and magazine writers read the blogs, so do not be surprised when you receive offers to publish your contributions in their print and online publications. This is good for you and your business, because their readers are probably your own target audience.

When did you last Tweet?

Do you need to tweet? Twitter can be effective if you can develop a targeted and convertible following. Building such a dedicated following takes much work. You want to create a following of reliable mental health care gurus; monitored field publications; a pool of main field field nonprofits and for-profit; federal, state and local government leaders; supporting local businesses and potential client groups. Retweeting others and replying to their tweets is just as important as tweeting your own materials. Again, you must limit tooting your own horn to about 15% of your tweets. Tweet value and seek to connect with others. If you can build relationships and take them off-line, you are succeeding.

Are you in Constant Contact with your Primary Audience?

Lastly, look into using an E-mail service such as Constant Contact to keep your audience up to date. Send out a monthly newsletter; issue announcements such as new hires and business expansions; announce your Social Media presence: and even create event invitations and holiday E-cards for your contacts. The more you can get your name in front of others, the better it is remembered. Just do not overdo it. Strike a balance by using all of your Social Media tools, timely and appropriately.

This is a very exciting time for mental health care professionals. Their appropriate use of Social Media can do many wonderful things for them; their professions; their businesses and organizations; and the clients they serve.

A Virtual Experience For Trade Shows and Business Expos

Market Introduction:

In March 1997, The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) designed an Electronic Market Place program available at all international trade shows. This marketing program was designed to provide online virtual exhibitions. TIA is a leading trade association (600 members) representing global information and communications technology (ICT) industries. TIA is accredited by ANSI.

Small and large companies are recognizing the benefits of virtual tradeshows and exhibitions. Large corporations around the world are going the virtual marketing route to capture more business channels. Companies are using virtual marketing to sell more efficiently, acquiring a wider range of leads with less cost. Even virtual career fairs are becoming a more favored route to recruit talent.

According to Tradeshow Week magazine, mid-to-large size businesses spend over $ 550K USD annually on trade shows. Current economic conditions have caused many to trim their budgets. Virtual exhibitions are viewed as a cost and time saving alternative to traditional tradeshow marketing endeavors.

Competitive synopsis – Nearly all competitors in the virtual exhibition market offer 'online' tradeshows and expos as an alternative to conventional events. Virtual exhibitions are positioned as cost effective and convenient alternative to traditional exhibitions. Industry indicators suggest their popularity is gaining momentum among various industry sectors. Primary reasons for the shift in popularity are ease of use, cost, and attraction of more qualified prospects.

Virtual Trade Show (VTS) explanation:

A Virtual Trade Show (VTS) takes the best ingredients a traditional (in person) trade show using the internet as a hosting platform. A VTS is like an interactive electronic sales tool. Unlike traditional shows, a VTS can provide the exhibition and advertising tool that can interact with prospective customers' 24-hours a day, 7-days a week up to an entire year.

A VTS offers additional benefits to the exhibitor as well as the visitors. The logistic hassles of travel, accommodations and set-up are eliminated. There is less time spent away from the office resulting in better productivity.

Virtual expo platforms are gaining popularity, but it is still a novelty to the masses. Virtual platforms have shown steady growth over the last few years – and they appear to be gaining momentum. As with any novelty, many people may not fully understand how to receive maximum benefit from its use. There is marketplace learning curve still in existence. Education and promotion of VTS use will certainly create familiarity and attract more users.

Research shows that virtual tradeshows tend to attract more attendees than traditional shows. The main reason for higher attendance is of the simplicity for sign up and elimination of logistic issues.

Virtual versus Traditional Platforms:

Tradeshows and exposures are moving to virtualization formats to attract more attendees to counter shrinking company budgets. Companies continue to use tradeshows as part of their promotional marketing, but current economic conditions have tightened budgets. The tradeshow industry has recognized companies have become more frugal in their marketing spending. Offering virtual shows and exhibitions provides effective marketing tools without the hassle of logistics and at a lesser cost than traditional platforms.

Setting up a virtual trade booth is much easier than physically doing it. People can easily attend the virtual shows from the comfort of their own office via a web browser, which improves productivity by eliminating downtime for travel. Virtual shows work very much like the traditional alternative. Shows may last a few hours or span several days. Just like the 'real-world' shows, virtual shows also offer speaker presentations, lounge areas, exhibit halls, and more.

Virtual show booths are relatively simple to set up – usually an hour versus several hours or days in a 'real-world' setting. Exhibitors are able to upload their display banners, videos, and other marketing collateral right from their computer. The exhibitor will staff their booth like a regular show. Exhibitors can continue working their normal duties until a visitor arrives and requests a chat. A visitor clicks on the virtual booth and accesses the marketing collateral and company data for review. The visitor can interact with exhibitors usually with an instant messenger chat feature. Some shows offer web camera features to chat with visitors. A visitor can also leave a message if the booth is unattended for lunch or breaks.

Establishing a virtual booth does not require extensive technical knowledge. Virtual platforms are generally predesigned and the exhibitor just completes an 'automated' registration process. Instruction is provided on upload requirements for documents, video, avatars, etc. Most events do not require an extensive knowledge of virtual environments. Contact information is automatically compiled into a profile, which others can view and download when the show goes live.

Virtual shows have better tracking mechanisms than real-world events for collecting attendee data. This provides for better follow up for leads. Some virtual shows track the amount of time visitors spend at a booth. Others even guarantee each exhibitor will receive a certain amount of leads. The main purpose of tracking is to collect information so the exhibition can refine their marketing approaches.

As stated earlier, virtual exposures are gaining popularity; however, they still do not receive as many attendees as real-world expos at present. A typical virtual expo may attract a couple thousand people; versus a real-world show that can literally attract tens of thousands. Virtual exposures appear better aligned with small to mid-sized companies at present. Larger corporations tend to be attracted to physical expo settings, but they are starting to use the virtual experience at increasing frequency. Some large companies use both the virtual and physical expos. These companies are inclined to use virtual shows in specific small niche markets and use physical exposure to appeal to larger relationships. Some large industry relations still still prefer the inconvenience provided with physical networking versus virtual.

Conversely, virtual shows can offer small companies to receive better attention than trying to compete with large corporations at physical expos. Virtual expos last longer than their physical counterparts do. Physical expos must be dismantled when a show ends. Virtual booths and marketing collateral can exist for periods up to 12-months. Visitors can still access exhibitor data long after a show has ended – offering a small company significant advertising advantages.

Costs associated with virtual exposures vary and can be a significant expense to some companies. However, the cost of going with a virtual platform is far less expensive than real-world shows. Costs associated with physical expos include, but not limited to, travel, cost of booth design, cost of printing brochures, rent for space and equipment, and even labor expense to staff a booth. These costs can easily exceed $ 20K USD. On the other hand, virtual expos avoid many of the traditional expo costs and do so at a fraction of the cost.

A down side to using virtual expos is the absence of face-to-face contact. Some view this as an obstacle to establishing rapport with prospects. Virtualization is sometimes viewed with negativity because it does not offer a personal touch. Nonetheless, work schedules are getting busier and people are seeking out more efficient ways to conduct their business affairs. Budgages are controlled tighter than previous years. Uses of virtualization tools are gaining popularity to save costs and improve efficiencies of conducting business. According to an enterprise market survey performed by Ziff Davis Media ( http://www.ziffdavis.com ), CIOs are planning to increase their virtualization spending by 6% over the next year. The overall virtualization market has grown from $ 560 million to $ 2.7 billion from 2005 to 2009. The virtual business experience is here to stay and is fast becoming a powerful marketing tool for the 21st century.

Top 10 List For Successful Trade Show Exhibiting

Think sales and making personal sales calls on the trade show floor

There are few functions in business as exact and dynamic as personal selling. An organization's sales team lives and dies by the results of its efforts, which can not be easily fudged, finessed, or faked. A salesperson obtains the orders required and either makes sales targets or does not. By thinking sales and positively affecting the selling process as a trade show goal, the exhibitor is setting realistic expectations that place more in the area of ​​an exact science. Armed with an understanding that the selling function has many phases, the trade show can shorten the existing selling cycle by delivering qualified prospects to your exhibit sooner than later and establishing a positive environment where sales and prospects will meet face to face to solve problems, add value, and influence the purchase of your products.

Plan early

At least six months before a trade show, present goals and objectives in a pre-show memo distributed to all involved. This overview should include a list of products being presented, show service details and logistics, display guidelines, appearance, and operation. It should also include input from sales, management, and marketing departments. In addition, the pre-show meeting time and location, as well as a booth duty roster, should all be in place weeks before anyone departs for the trade show.

Determine how much space you need

A simple analysis of setting targeted prospect numbers will help determine how much space is needed to attain goals and objectives for the trade show. The average salesperson can make one good sales presentation every 10 minutes while on booth duty and needs about 5 feet of space in which to operate, including support functions. If your pre-show plan calls for seeing 10% of the 5,000 attendees or 500 suspects, prospects, and customers during the 24 hours a trade show is open, you'll need at least 20 feet of space and 5 salespeople manning the booth at all times. Consider additional space for storage, literature processing, customer relations, audio visual equipment, and closing or conference rooms.

Target your audience

Based on prior business, sales, and trade show attendance experience, establish realistic goals and objectives by asking how many attendees are kindly to purchase products like yours in the next 6 months. Use that number to determine your exhibit space requirements, budgets, and operational demands. The trade show will deliver everyone from attendees who have no interest in your products and services to those ready to purchase immediately. By setting realistic targeted attendees profiles, you'll be more likely to attract, meet, and discuss products with a high level of pre-qualified prospects and customers.

Select the right space

In most cases, you're not able to visit an exhibit hall in advance of a show. As a result, it's important to study the floor plan provided by show management to determine where your exhibit will function best with as little interference as possible. In some cases you might want to contact the convention facility directly to obtain a more detailed floor plan that could show columns, elevators, food service areas, low ceilings, floor obstructions etc. to avoid being surprised when you get to the show. Other exhibitors are also important to consider because some might have loud AV programs or other distractions that will negatively affect your ability to conduct business effectively.

Design an exhibit that communicates from the aisle

Your exhibit's signs and graphics should function much like magazine advertisements. The headline and body copy should be seen from the aisle and effectively communicate product benefits that encourage targeted prospects to enter the booth and want to talk with someone. An unorthodox way of looking at this important exhibit function is to consider that the exhibit must communicate well enough from the aisle to keep 4,500 non targeted attendees out of the booth while facilitating face-to-face meetings with the targeted suspects and helping achieve your sales goals and objectives.

Select the proper people to work the booth

Not everyone is well suited to effectively and positively stand booth duty and perform the duties required during all scheduled hours of the show. Those selected to work the booth must have complete knowledge of product features, benefits, and value and be comfortable to present and demonstrate them within the often chaotic trade show environment. The pre-show meeting the night before the show is an ideal opportunity for marketing, management, and sales to review the salient value of all products on display. Staging a booth team meeting each evening at show close also creates an opportunity for everyone to compare exhibit performance notes, review sales leads, make adjustments to improve display and booth function aspects, and generally prepare for the next day's opportunities.

Generate quality sales leads

Every screened visitor to the booth has an interest on some level. At the end of the show, sales lead cards or forms are worth their weight in gold, assuming they are filled out correctly and completely. Every person on booth duty should be well versed in asking the right questions and be able to carefully record a prospect's answers, concerns, and expectations and rate each on a scale of cold, warm, or hot. When the show is over, an excellent sales lead card used by the local salesperson can make a quality impression hard to match. The follow-up salesperson should thank the prospect for visiting the company's exhibit and refer to the lead card to discuss details and offer whatever might be needed to satisfy the prospect and close the sale.

Prepare follow-up materials in advance

Weeks before traveling to a trade show, define, prepare, and assemble literature response kits to effectively respond to a booth visitor's interest. It is also imperative to have a management system in place that identifies and notifies the local salespeople of what material was sent – and when – to facilitate a timely follow-up. It is totally inconceivable to spend tens of thousands of dollars exhibiting at a trade show and do not have an effective follow-up system in place to deliver information to every exhibitor visitor a week or two after the show. Equally important is making contact with a visitor to confirm receipt of the information and offering any additional materials that might prove helpful.

Conduct post-show evaluation

Gathering comments and feedback about the planning and execution of trade show exhibits will allow you to build on past show experiences and take gradual steps to maximize future show effectiveness and success. The building blocks for a professionally managed trade show exhibition program are located on the floor of every trade show in which you exhibit. It is critical that experience be positively encouraged in order to overcome challenges and maximize opportunities while maintaining firm continuity over the development of the entire program. The best way to accomplish this is for the trade show exhibits manager to be completely immersed in the function and to experience all aspects of planning, executing, and managing the entire effort, including physically manning the booth and being available during most hours of a show .

Conclusion

The myriad complexities and variables associated with successful trade show exhibiting require a careful, committed, and contemplative focus in order for this expensive and time consuming activity to evolve into a well-managed, justifiable promotional function. The many lessons, experiences, and opportunities learned by exhibiting provide the exhibit with a means to establish and build upon a platform where over time, problems are omitted, planning excels, and desired results are assured. Those who can justify trade show exhibiting as a way to reduce sales time and costs while increasing the number of qualified customers and prospects should take every opportunity available to build and support a robust trade show program.

Branding Yourself – Rodan Fields Rep Sells Skin Care With a Paper Bag Over Her Head

Here I am surfing around on Linked-In and I spot a woman selling a new skin care line wearing a PAPER BAG ON HER HEAD! Okay, she didn’t really have a bag on her head, but she might as well have.

I don’t know about you, but I feel blind as a mole on Linked-In. The resolution of our profile pics are very poor quality, so your words are very powerful here. I would guess this woman was around 45-47? Come to find out, it wouldn’t matter who she was.

At any rate, her profile was all about this new miracle product line that changed her appearance. She did have her standard work background, but the rest was all dedicated to Rodan Fields and the Proactive MLM.

She, like so many ducks, had her replicated website proudly posted beneath her name. Of course, those sites NEVER reveal a darn thing about the Rep. I read ON and ON about this product and why I need it. I felt like I was reading that fine print in a magazine advertisement. You’re nodding your head in total agreement….profiles like this are unfortunately everywhere.

Why didn’t she just put a paper bag over her head? One minute on her site and I had totally forgotten about her. How fortunate are these network marketing companies that are profiting on these little mini-ads across social media? Where is it getting business builders in their MLM business opportunity network marketing?

This is something you already know; BRANDING is king in the business world. People follow BRANDED leaders in our industry. No one in their right mind would sign-up with her as their sponsor. No business building MLM tools for her team…. No leadership skills….Keep drinking the Kool-aide, lady. You feel sorry for her lack of information right now, don’t you?

Landing Your Dream Job Takes A Lot More Than A Polished Resume

When it comes to our careers and businesses, no matter what you do or what stage of the game you’re in, we’re all in sales. YOU are your hottest commodity so put the word out! But with the high level of competition out there, simply listing your experience and skills on paper isn’t going to cut it. The fact is, a resume is great for conveying what you’ve done but it doesn’t say much about who you are and what you want.

With everything that makes you unique-your personality, passions, preferences, aspirations and valuable characteristics-you are so much more than a resume. It’s also fairly difficult to communicate all of that effectively in writing. That’s why knowing your story, being able to articulate it in a compelling way and confidently selling it to others is one of the fastest ways reach the next level in your career.

While most people find selling themselves a real challenge, there are extraordinary people who’ve mastered the art of story telling. Some are changing industries and others are breaking into them, but all have created a memorable approach to getting noticed-and remembered-in a positive way.

The first step is to “Know Your Story”

With her motto, “It’s not just who you know. It’s also who knows about you,” Michelle Tennant spends every day unfolding her future. The co-founder of Wasabi Publicity, Inc, one of the top virtual public relations firms in the country according to PR Week, Michelle has mastered the art of storytelling to the media, from working on international campaigns with young entrepreneurs to securing The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, for a reality TV show. Wasabi has not only quadrupled in size since its launch in the summer of 2002, but its success also happened quickly: Within four months of opening Wasabi, Michelle found herself at a private party at President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton’s Washington D.C. home. But she didn’t get to that place by accident-she became a master storyteller by understanding her own story first.

Knowing she wanted to create a business that would suit her lifestyle, Michelle first set out to understand exactly what she wanted out of life. She took a sabbatical from her corporate job to become a whitewater raft guide, and knew that the outdoors had to be part of her every day. She also wanted a company that could be located anywhere in the world. As a result, she with her business partner, Drew Gerber, founded Wasabi Publicity near the Smoky Mountains where there’s plenty of fresh air and whitewater rivers.

Michelle says she learns something from every person she meets, from her local grocery clerk to multi-millionaires. She also emphasizes that people need to be able to categorize others in their own minds, whether for a press story or for life in general, so it’s important to know what industry you are in and what product or service you provide to help them group you accordingly. If you make an effort to relate and connect to that person, and can then tell them what you do in one direct, clear sentence, you’ll have an excellent chance to leave a lasting impression and open doors to your future. People remember images, stories and one-liners. Craft yours well and you’ll inspire others to retell your story again and again.

Now that you know your story, it’s time to “Set Your Goals”

Have you ever fought for first dibs on freshly baked brownies just so you could get a crispy edge piece? Or maybe you’ve been disappointed by a batch you pulled from the oven because it was burnt on the outside but undercooked in the middle. Matt Griffin, inventor of the revolutionary Baker’s Edge Baking Pan, knew there was a better way to bake a brownie. His vision was to create a pan that distributes heat evenly and leaves each piece with at least two edges. After years of building prototypes and dreaming about taking his concept to market, opportunity knocked on his door. VISA had launched a contest called Ideas Happen to find a select group of people with innovative ideas and hand $25,000 in startup capital to the winners.

Matt had a only a few hundred words to convince the voting audience that his product was solid gold, so he knew it was time to get his story down to a science and deliver it with impact. With an enormous amount of focus, Matt whittled down his invention’s most important details, honed his pitch and submitted his entry. He certainly got his message across, because VISA did indeed fund his project. The Baker’s Edge is today being featured on HGTV, in the Baker’s Catalog and in even in the Indiana State Museum.

Not bad for a quick pitch.

Tip: If you’re unfamiliar with the “elevator pitch,” it’s time to acquaint yourself, because this very brief and powerful way of introducing yourself isn’t just reserved for elevators. That speech is your chance to capture someone’s attention in minutes and sell them on your story-and on you.

No matter where you are, find the opportunity to “Sell Yourself”

Whenever you meet a new person, you are selling a very important package: You. The way you present and describe yourself to others will determine which doors stay open and whether people will remember you, so it’s important to think creatively. Curtis Estes has become a master at selling himself, and that skill has led to his position as one of the most successful Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance agents in the U.S.

The most successful people are a compelling breed who know how to position themselves, get their points across and excite others about their ideas-all critical in business. To hone those skills, Curtis started his successful journey by learning how to meet people. When he was in college, he took his freshman face book (before there was an online version) and challenged himself to meet one new person every week.

The importance of networking was so clear to him, particularly given the industry he was pursuing, that he disciplined himself to reach that goal consistently until he knew everyone in the book. His ability to introduce himself easily and develop a rapport with others has not only taken him to the top of his game, but it earned him the respect and admiration of those who work with and for him-particularly his clients.

If you’re starting out or starting over, it’s critical that you “Overcome Your Lack of Experience”

Ever since he can remember, Nate Hoppes has wanted to a sports broadcaster and he’s taken every opportunity to show his stuff during each of his internships, whether at Radio Disney or ESPN. A genuine people person, he typically befriends a lot of his coworkers and enjoys connecting with others. But his talent for networking doesn’t come from memorizing tactics and names, it stems from his sincerity and passion.

Nate’s hard charisma and excitement have opened many doors for him, including working on the X Games and doing play-by-play commentary on camera for NBA TV. With his focus firmly on his goals and his passion clearly evident in all he does, never mind his ability to make friends, Nate is quickly becoming a rising star in broadcasting.

If you are just starting out in your industry, it’s more important than ever to make a good impression on the people you meet. Let’s face it: When people like you as a person, they are simply more inclined to help you. Of course, when Nate hits the big time, he won’t be telling his own story quite as much, because he’ll be too busy talking about the world’s sports superstars instead.

He’s okay with that.

Get the Doors to Open

No matter where you are in the game, it’s a lot easier to take things to the next level through the power of people. Networking isn’t just a matter of meeting people and getting their business cards, though-you need a plan to help you make a positive impact on the people who can open doors to the life you’ve been dreaming about.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” it’s most appropriate for when you have the chance to make an indelible impression on someone who can help you. A resume will only get you so far. It can get you to the door, but it might not open and, even if you get invited in, who says you’re going to stay? That’s where you come in. Telling your story in the right way can make the difference between stumbling through an introduction and getting your next big break.

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4 Steps to Ramp Up Your Marketing

Always a good strategy in any market, but especially in a slower one, we're going to focus the sixth article in the 'Riding the Recession' series on ramping up your marketing.

Here are 4 simple steps to follow so you can put in place a good plan of action for a marketing program for your business:

Step 1: Pull together your marketing collateral

Here's a checklist – choose the items that are relevant to your business and products:

o Brochure
o Stationery
o Product / Service overviews / descriptions
o Website
o A book – use as a marketing tool to promote your expertise
o Testimonials from clients and business partners
o Posters / Photos
o Newsletter / magazine – print and / or email
o Product displays
o Copies of PR / Awards / Magazine layouts & advertising
o Direct Marketing letters / 'pieces'
o PowerPoint / other presentations
o Catalogs / product listings
o Information kits (for prospects & enquiries)
o PR kit
o Packaging / wrapping / delivery or carrying format – branding clear
o Promotional giveaways – eg: mugs, caps, executive desk 'things' (link with events)
o Signage

Identify what you have, what you do not have but need, and what you have but that could be improved upon. Make a rough estimate of what that would cost, decide on your priorities, write a list of what needs to be done, and either delegate or get onto it!

Step 2: Be clear about what sort of marketing activities are appropriate

Here's a brief checklist of some of the different types of marketing activity that your business could be doing:

o Advertising – print, outdoor, radio, TVC
o Advertising – online (PPC etc)
o Articles – online & offline publications to raise your profile
o Blog – use in a similar way to a website, but more frequent new content
o Events – invite clients and prospects to your own & others' events
o Direct marketing program – print and email
o Networking
o Strategic alliances
o Speaking engagements
o Editorial coverage (the media approaches you for your opinion; about you)
o Submit PR / Press releases to selected publications (you approach the media)
o Sponsorship of events
o Telemarketing (could use arrange appointments, for client management)
o Run workshops (to train / educate)
o Teleconferences & teleclasses
o Webinars

Some of these activities, such as having articles published in business magazines, will raise your profile. In order to increase awareness of your brand and your company's services, profile raising activities are appropriate. If you want to build relationships, and ongoing business opportunities, with existing clients, then one on one events are good, such as taking clients out for lunch or dinner, or inviting them to events with others.

If your aim is new business development, activities that connect directly with new prospective clients are most appropriate, such as speaking engagements in front of the right audience, direct mail and phone follow up, and networking events where you meet the right target market for your services.

Step 3: Identify which activities produce results

If you've implemented different marketing initiatives before and some have worked and some have not, you need to go back and review what worked and what did not to understand where you are likely to get more returns in the future. Prioritise those types of activities.

Make sure to check that when you did get results or responses from your marketing, that you got the right sort of responses. If you do a speaking engagement and get lots of interest from your audience, but it's the wrong target market, then sometimes the speaking part of it worked, but the forum needs to change. Sometimes it's trial and error to get the formula right, whether it's for speaking engagements, client events, sponsorship, or direct mail. Keep working on it until you get the right activities, and the right mix.

Step 4: Draw up a calendar of marketing activities

Draw up a spreadsheet – months or weeks across the top and activities along the side. Put a tick in the cell for whichever activity you plan to do in which month (or week).

Go through the above lists and work out how many of the items you do or have now, and how many you could be using. If there's a big gap there is a lot of scope to really ramp up your marketing. Make sure you have a mix of activities to develop new business, build your brand and nurture existing clients.

Stick to what you know and what you're good at, but do try new things. If you need help, outsource. Track and implement on a daily or weekly basis to make sure your new marketing activity is consistent and reinforced.

To read more articles from Jenny Stilwell, visit www.bossmentor.com.au

The Mechanics of Celebrity – Madonna, John Wayne Bobbitt and Susan Boyle

It’s an interesting illusion that Madonna, John Wayne Bobbitt and Susan Boyle can be mentioned together in the same sentence. But, I have found a way. The mechanics of celebrity is the issue that can bring just about any three celebrity names together in the same sentence.

There are several ways in this world to become a celebrity. Not everyone who has graced a tabloid has followed the same set of rules. In fact, rules are pretty much out of the question.  Madonna, John Wayne Bobbitt and Susan Boyle are each great examples of the fact that rules are indeed out of the question.

I could have mentioned any number of celebrities here. But, I have chosen these three because of the extreme natures of their back stories. The way they each came to celebrity status are so different in nature that they are the perfect examples for my expanse.

Everyone knows who Madonna is and what she’s up to these days. She has been a mogul for years and by most probable standards will stay on that level of stardom for the rest of her life. She will be remembered long after her passing much like that of Jerry, Kurt and Elvis.

You might argue that Madonna could never be on the same level with the likes of Jerry Garcia and Elvis Presley. But if you think about what I’m saying you’ll be able to see that despite the arguable differences, Madonna will be remembered. That in itself is comparable to any great you stack up against her.

Years ago, a rising star out of New York, she had what it takes to make it in the music industry. She had talent and ideas. She was a trend setter, not only in music but also in fashion. She is a beautiful woman. But, there are so many beautiful women who know music and have great ideas who don’t make it. How is it that Madonna made it through?

She used sex appeal. She did outrageous things in the public eye that still are used as icons today. Her outrageous bra is just one example of the way comedians and impersonators like to portray her. You can have blond hair and you can talk with a Brooklyn accent. But if you put your hair back in a pony tail and wear cones over your breasts, you’re suddenly recognized as doing Madonna. And Madonna has been enjoying that for years. Millions of teenagers used to dress like her back in the 80s. She’s big because she makes herself big. She brings it large and that’s one way to celebrity.

John Wayne Bobbitt is a celebrity for another reason. You might argue that John Wayne Bobbitt is no celebrity. But, mention his name in a room and mostly everyone will know the story. It was outrageous. It caught national attention. I’m not saying that you should have your wife cut your male member and throw it out along the highway. But, that kind of outrageous behavior is what puts people on the map.

Celebrities like Steve-O and Paris Hilton eat into that every day. Think about it! What is Steve-O’s talent? Is he a member of a band? Is he an actor in the movies? No, he is a Jackass. Part of the crew who lights bottle rockets out of their butts and sick alligators on their moms. Bam Margera once cut the top out of a Lamborghini just to make Billy Idol happy. That’s a jackass.

Speaking of which, who is Paris Hilton by the way? Is she a singer? Is she an actress? Well, it can be argued that she is both of those as well as having a few other significant celebrity titles. But, her celebrity came with being an heiress to the Hilton hotel chain. She has rubbed elbows with celebrities all her life and found herself in the spotlight along with them regardless of the fact that she wasn’t actually a talent among them. So, finding yourself in the spotlight regardless of any talent you may or may not have is another way to break through the glass ceiling known as celebrity.

That brings us to Susan Boyle. She is the mark of a different kind of celebrity. She was given a moment and she completely knocked us on our butts. Everyone in the audience of Britain’s Got Talent was chuckling. The judges were skeptical. But, she opened up and out of her mouth came her beautiful rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.  Simon Cowell’s expression was priceless and when you see Simon Cowell genuinely surprised, you know you have really nailed something right.

Rumors are flying. One exciting rumor is that there might be a movie deal and Catherine Zeta Jones wants to play her role. I saw a pole taken on a top celebrity news broadcast that asked the audience whether Susan Boyle had surpassed Brangelina in celebrity status. It wasn’t a majority, but a significant number of voters thought that she had indeed surpassed the power team couple.

Now, what is that? That’s fifteen minutes of fame for all the right reasons. She has a talent and was able to catch the world’s attention when she was given her moment. Eminem talks about choking at a moment like that in his song “Lose Yourself.” Susan Boyle lost herself. She owned it and she didn’t let it go.