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Wayne Lewis

In business to make profits, are ya?

The New Customer Engine, Part I There’s a well-known saying you’ll hear echoed from the halls of corporate America to the smallest businesses. Heck, you’ve probably heard it on Shark Tank more than a few times. “Sales solve all problems.” Like most quippy one-liners, this one leaves out a rather important modifier – “profitable” sales solve all problems. It’s profitable revenue you’re after, not just any revenue. As a business, much of your success story (or otherwise) will be determined by how well you understand and solve this problem. It should go without saying that if it costs $1.25 to…

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“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

That’s how I used to feel every day as a publisher. It’s been my job to make sure our company stays at the audience table and it’s not an easy task. Tastes change like the roster of the NY Yankees and sometimes the audience just gets up and leaves for another table. I’m talking about you, Internet. It’s an invigorating challenge for sure because publisher is just another word for ‘problem solver’. I started my journey in newspapers – way back in 1997 on the campus of Louisiana State University. The school paper was the local juggernaut but I quickly found that a bit of innovation and…

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Marketing vs. Advertising. A love story.

All businesses, great and small, have one commonality – the need for people to think about your brand. It’s the oxygen of business. No cars can be sold or sandwiches served without your brand popping into someone’s head first. So what makes people think about your business? Contrary to misguided belief, your customers are not thinking about you at all hours of the day. In fact, probably never on their own. They’re thinking about themselves – just like you. Humans are hardwired this way. The good news is you can break into their brain box through marketing and advertising. Yep, this stuff really works. But isn’t marketing…

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Dispatched

What a morning. For years we have battled for readers, advertisers and employees with the Dispatch Company. They’re our largest competitor. Today, after a 100+ year run, the print assets of the family-run company were finally sold. And this was not a sale done from a position of strength, quite the contrary as its owner admitted. What this means for the future of the products we compete with day in and day out, only time will tell. The new owners (a media holding company based in NY) have been likened to a corporate “chop shop” but perhaps Columbus will be different.…

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Authentic? Ask your customers

“Authenticity” is the new buzz-word in marketing circles these days. As it should be. But what does it mean and how do you achieve it with your brand? It’s definition is easy understand – not being fake, being genuine or real. Yet businesses struggle with portraying their authenticity every day.  It’s not something you can conjure in a marketing meeting. It’s not something that is contrived at the highest levels of management. The key to having an authentic voice is to first know what who you are as a business. You’ll find the answer from only one source – your customers. Their…

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So you want us to write about you, huh?

There are many publishers out there who will promise to write glowing articles (PR pieces, really) about their clients. Or even write an article to get a business as a client. These types of stories are usually not too tough to spot – like fresh bird poo on the hood of a newly washed car, says my editor. Business publications and local weeklies and websites are notorious for it. In fact, we are asked to do it on an almost daily basis. Probably because there are so many in our business who say, “Yes”. We aren’t one of them and there are three…

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What’s your elevator pitch?

Just because you’ve never tried raising venture capital doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an ‘elevator pitch’ for your business. Imagine being thrust into an elevator (see creepy guy in video) with someone very important and you have just a few seconds to explain your business and its value proposition. That’s an elevator pitch and every business owner and marketer needs one. Sure, you might read how the elevator pitch is dead. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find this is just about finding new quirks or gimmicks to make them memorable. If you’re a restauranteur you’re not likely to find yourself in a Silicon…

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“The quotable brand”

I’m a big fan of historical quotes. The good ones are usually uttered by those smarter than most of us. They have a way of distilling complex thoughts and ideas into a memorable bite. That’s the hallmark of effective marketing – making your brand easy to understand. So here are a few quotes to get you thinking about your own brand… Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product. – Elon Musk, co-founder PayPal, Tesla…

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The Facebook Fallacy

On November 6, 2007 business owners were introduced to what promised to be a marketing silver bullet. A way to build an online presence free of charge on a platform that already had 30 million users. Even better, this platform would allow you to collect “fans” and allow those businesses to maintain a constant stream of communication with their fans. It was pretty brilliant. All that was required was to promote your presence on this novel, new platform called Facebook. And boy did you. For the better part of a decade businesses have been promoting their Facebook presence on menus, brochures, TV and…

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