Are You "Givin 'em a Goldman"?

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Don’t ignore the elephant in the room…

Have we learned anything from the Goldman Sachs debacle?

The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Goldman of defrauding clients by selling them a product without disclosing that it was designed so another client could bet against it—a “shitty” product, in the words of Senator Carl Levin. We call it “Givin ’em a Goldman.”

The Goldman scheme appears to violate the first rule of business: Be your customer. Sounds esoteric, but in reality, if you’re selling a product or service, you should try to get inside the customer’s head. Have you seen the recent GM ads? Makes us wonder what they’re thinking. The recent Chevy ads focus on interior space and mileage, while Buick highlights a smooth ride. We say, Huh? If the success of the “Cash for Clunkers” program is any indication, consumers today want value, not headroom, for their hard-earned dollars. We say GM is “Givin ’em a Goldman.”

Here are some other ways to insure your service is not perceived as “Givin ’em a Goldman.”

Bounce the balls. Your business can’t rely on one or even two ways to communicate with prospects nowadays. Bounce as many balls as possible: phone, e-mail, texting, electronic newsletters, blogs and seminars. Not all at the same time, but in more than one way.

Go community-relations. Beyond donating money, identify a community need and make it yours by integrating it into your marketing plan so that it becomes an extension of your brand. The goal is to align your company and its resources with your community relations program.

Avoid trite words and phrases. Watch out for these in your marketing materials: value (prove it); “We have great people” (Who says so?); “We care” (words are not reality); “Your business is important to us” (Is that why you give out 25-cent trinkets?); “We provide solutions” (what’s that mean?). Such words are “high-level abstractions” that don’t mean anything to customers. Be descriptive and tell stories.

Get the tears flowing. Facts can be helpful, but they don’t translate into action. With its recent TV ads for its women’s EasyTone shoes, Reebok gets the message: “Better legs and a better butt with every step.” The ad stirs up a buzz, a sure sign that it hit an emotional target. How can your DJ business appeal to emotions? Easy. You often provide entertainment for an emotional milestone in somebody’s life. You don’t play music—you make memories. You don’t do interactive dances—you allow people to share in their friend’s most important life events.