September 19, 2014

BrandingBlog Radio: Test My Marketing with Brian Schmitt

Have you ever poured your time and energy into an ad, or an email, or a blog post, video, phone message, sales pitch, or, or, or….?

Sometimes you are just too close to the issue to realize what may be wrong with your approach, the words you’ve choosen or the the fact that you might be leaving out something critical. TestMyMarketing.com is a place where you can upload your marketing message and have it critiqued by at least 3 marketing professionals who promise not to hold back. If you can take the heat, you’re message will be tempered by fire.

Back in August of 2011, the Awesome Sauce class at Wizard Academy birthed this baby business that was adopted by a couple of students. Brian Schmitt and Matt Lenhart decided that this was an idea that they could get behind and nurse into a full-grown enterprise. Now, more than half-a-year later, they’ve added another partner, changed the name and are in the middle of another launch mode.

I had a chance to catch up with Brian Schmitt last week to discuss how things are going. You’ll like what you hear…or your money back!

 

BrandingBlog Radio: Roy Williams and The Pendulum

Wow. I told Roy Williams that I wanted to hear the scary bits about his new book, Pendulum: Where We’ve Been, How We Got There, Where We’re Headed, he reluctantly agreed. He’s traced back the trends of societal change 3,000 years. What he’s found will give you a few reasons for apprehension the next 20 years or so.

Don’t expect many direct applications to advertising and marketing. You won’t find them in this book.

However, he doesn’t want to be known for just ringing the alarm bell and sending us all into hiding. So, he will be following the Pendulum with a new book called Invisible Heros. These are the type of people who can lead us out of whatever mess we find ourselves mired in for the next two decades.

If I were you, I’d have a happy movie ready to play after you listen to this one. You’ll need it.

BrandingBlog Radio: Michele Miller on Sports, Politics and F.A.R.E.

Recording this Podcast was a blast. I’ve been working with Michele Miller for 10 years now and being able to share conversations like this is exactly why I started podcasting.

What really made this one fun is that we were face-to-face instead of on Skype. We were both in Palm Springs to have an annual meeting with a client that we’ve worked with almost as long as we’ve been Wizard of Ads partners. This past year our retail client grew 28% over the previous year. That’s a big deal any way you look at it.

In this rambling conversation, we discuss trends in societal change, sports (was it baseball or football?), politics and New Year’s Resolutions, or the lack thereof. You’ll learn about Michele’s F.A.R.E. mantra and my own twist on it.

I hope you enjoy it. I think I managed to maintain my family friendly rating on iTunes. Somehow, turning on the recorder kept us both from flinging f-bombs around the room.

This picture was from her Wonderbranding Class at Wizard Academy on Halloween, 2007. Yes, she taught the class dressed like this.

BrandingBlog Radio: Irene Watson on Book Publishing

Irene Watson’s media empire focuses primarily on self-published authors who need reviews, publicity and coaching for making the most of the book creation and promotion experience.

Her site, Readerviews, offers a wealth of knowledge archived over years of helping authors. Her services are priced and sized just right for authors trying to break into a bigger pool of  exposure.

I first met Irene at Wizard Academy. She took the Blog and Web workshop from Paul Boomer and me several years ago.

I really had a good time catching up and learning about the many things she can do to help someone maximize the potential of their book.

BrandingBlog Radio: Year-End Tax Advice from Adrian Van Zelfden

I’ve been getting Adrian Van Zelfden’s “Tidbits in Time” emails for several years. He’s a huge history buff and he enjoys a historical almanac to the point that he started sending out a monthly missive to share his celebration of what happened when. He started by sending it to his friends. None of that opt-in stuff, just a “hey, you might enjoy this as much as I do” kind of spirit. And, when you get an email, any email, from the smartest CPA/Lawyer around, what do you do? You open it and read it.

For his friends who also happen to own businesses, he started putting a section at the end “For Business Owners Only.”

The December issue had a 12-page, single-spaced PDF attached to it full of Adrian’s best Year-End advice to business owners. As I skimmed and scanned it, I knew that this was information that would be helpful to a lot of my readers, so I got Adrian to join me for conversation and this podcast is the result.

If you’d simply like to get to know Adrian, you could bail out after 15 minutes or so when we start to get our hands dirty in the numbers.

If you’d like a copy of his checklist, go to Adrian Van Zelfden’s Facebook Page, Tidbits in Time and click on the “Join My List” link in the left column. He’s also given me permission to send it out, so if you join my list you’ll also get a copy. A third option is to go to vanzelfden.com and shoot him an email. You’ll get a good sense of his dry humor if you google the latin phrase in the header of that page.

So…how good is he?

In 30 years of helping clients with taxes and going with them to countless IRS audits, he’s often walked out with the IRS owing his clients money. More importantly, he’s never lost a dime of his client’s money in an audit. That is, his record is perfect. He’s never had a worse outcome than having the IRS say, “Yep, this tax return is just fine. No changes.” Damn. That’s good.

I like doing interviews that get me a bit out of my comfort zone. Finances, taxes, government…you get the idea. For an example, if you haven’t listened to my interview with Pamela Yellen, you missed out on her surefire way to grow your cash without exposing yourself to risk. And now, I hope you enjoy Adrian and that you find his timely advice worthwhile as you seek to keep more of that hard-earned money for yourself while staying out of trouble with the IRS.