Product Creation, Marketing, Promotion And Sales

Last night was the 50th Super Bowl where the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10. It was a mild upset because all year long Carolina had pretty much been the premiere team while Denver kind of shocked the world by beating the 2nd best team in the league thanks to their great defense. It wasn’t close to a pretty game but winning beats pretty any day.

Clothes Sale
David Tan via Compfight

Since my routing interest most years, including this one, was fairly minimal (I have my annual pizza bet with my friend Scott; this year I lost… heck!), it means I’m always more interested in the commercials than anything else. As usual, there were some hits and some misses; also as usual, there were a few commercials that garnered both like and dislike, depending on the person in the audience.

There was also one other difference in the commercials. At least half the commercials were by companies that showed more than one commercial for their products. I think Hyundai, Jeep and Acura ran at least 2 commercial spots, and at around $5 million a commercial… whew!

I’m talking about commercials because during the game I was talking to my friend Kelvin about product creation. As y’all know, I’ve created a few products over the years. To the left there you’ll see 3 products I’ve created, two books and a webinar. I’ve also got another book, a training manual, an employee evaluation manual and a seminar series I can count among products I’ve created. I’m thinking that’s not so bad; who knows, you might even click on a link or two here just to take a quick look. 🙂

I’ve sold a few things here and there over the years, but never quite sustained anything or actually done the push towards selling any of my products. That’s a major failing on my part yet something I can now talk about… how much marketing and promotion are we willing to do, and what type and how much will we do so that we have the opportunity to make sales?

I’ll tell you the truth, I’m not the worlds best marketer. I know what I’m supposed to do; after all, I’m the guy who wrote about Yosemite Sam marketing after all. I’m also the guy who wrote a post giving folks definitive marketing rules to follow, which I do… kind of…

If I know all this, then why am I not doing it as much as I should or as good as I should? Is my reason the same as yours?

I have two reasons… neither of which I’m sure are very good, but I’m willing to share them.

The first is that I’m more of a creator than a marketer. If I’m not creating products I’m creating content. I spent hours reading and researching and evaluating and then writing about things I learn. After that I promote what I write in a few different ways and wait for you folks to stop by, read, offer your opinion, hopefully take a bit of knowledge with you, and move to the next project.

Hamburger/Sausage/Corn Dogs
Kevin Harber via Compfight

The second… overall I hate marketing! lol I don’t like bothering people, indirectly or not. Sure, I do some promoting, but I’m not close to doing it as often as I should. I might market my products 3 times a week on Twitter if I’m lucky. I might market my products on Facebook every once in a while, maybe every 5 or 6 months. Once I stopped writing articles for LinkedIn I stopped marketing there at all. Even when I’ve written about a product and created a sales page, most of the time I’ve forgotten all about it & don’t mention it all that often. I don’t have any email lists, don’t write anymore newsletters, won’t pick up the phone… whew! I’m thinking it’s hard to make any sales when I’m not doing any marketing or promoting. I’m sure you’ll agree.

I’m also betting that for most of you who are hoping to make money online or offline, your issue is one of the two issues I mentioned. It’s why most of us make little to no money, get little to no calls for consulting or training or project work, and don’t get as many comments on our blogs or even visitors.

I often ask myself “is it hard or do I just perceive it’s hard?” I think it’s a little of both. As much as I hate popups (see #8), it’s depressing to have to acknowledge that some people increase their lists and possibly make money because of them… though I’ve never signed up for anything a site has because of its stupid popups. I’m betting a lot of you have though; come on, admit it.

In this year of focus, I’m determined to figure certain things out and address them as well as write about them. With the acknowledgment that one can’t make money without marketing, no matter what it is, I’ve actually started a campaign on LinkedIn for my main profession, which I’ll talk about at a different time. I’ve made some contacts and good connections, which proves that it can work if you’re willing to do the work the right way.

Now all I have to do is figure out what my trigger point is going to be in marketing my products and services. Sure, I can do it on my blogs, but there are other ways of getting it done. I’m going to figure out something I can live with; I challenge you to do the same if you haven’t figured it out.

Then again, there’s always Adrienne… 🙂
 

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Creating Products That Already Exist… Kind Of…

Five years ago today, I wrote a post highlighting a product I’d created about 5 years earlier as it pertains to my leadership coaching and training business. The post was titled Mitchell Employee Evaluation Module because that’s what the title is of the item as well. If you want to skip the post and just check out the item itself, click here.

evalmodule

Although I talked about the item in that previous post, it was fairly clinical and pretty short. I just told what it was then; I was in a period where I remembered that I had products and wanted to get the word out. The strange thing is I never wrote about it on my business blog; I’m going to have to rectify that, and soon.

I didn’t talk about the process of creating it and a moment of indecision about it. I figured this was a good time to talk about that because, though it’s not a fascinating tale, it’s an inspirational one, if I say so myself. 🙂

If you’ve ever been an employer, you know it can sometimes be difficult to conduct interviews to find the right people for the position you need to fill. The problem is that for most positions there are a high number of people with close to the same qualifications and it can be hard to figure out which person to take. You also have to guard against perceptions of favoritism, racism, sexism, and a host of other isms. Truthfully, I hated having to go through the hiring process as a director.

If it’s that stressful to hire employees, try imagining what it might be like hiring someone for a leadership position. Then imagine what it’s probably like for people who might be looking for someone with certain qualities on one day of interviews, then suddenly changes the next day. It can get pretty ugly for many people.

It was never a problem for me though. I always knew the type of people I wanted to put into leadership positions. As you can imagine, I was also kind of different than the norm, and in the right position to do so.

Health care billing is one of those positions where a person without a college degree can actually be promoted into a supervisory position. Depending on the hospital, many can also get promoted into director positions if they show they have the skills in bringing in money and managing what we call the front end of the revenue cycle process. You don’t need to know all of that; what you need to know is that those types of jobs don’t always require a college degree.

Or do they? That actually depends on the hospital. There are many hospitals across the United States that not only require a degree, but want some kind of certification as well. There’s very groups that offer certifications in that respect, which means it’s pretty expensive to get those degrees. Therefore, not everyone has one; I don’t. However, I’ve done pretty well; I did help a hospital increase their revenue by $730 million in one year after all (yeah, I’m bragging lol).

It was the “do they or don’t they” question that prompted me to create the module. I sat down and came up with categories I felt were important in deciding what type of person an employer might need. Then I came up with different qualities under each category. In all, I ended up with 46 qualities.

I then created a spreadsheet for employers to use. The basic idea was to first answer a series of questions that lead hiring parties to determine what they were actually looking for. The next step was to go through the 46 qualities, based on the other answers, and pick 10 overall qualities they wanted in new managers.

This helped for two reasons. One, it made those who had to do the hiring actually evaluate what they needed and why. Two, it gave them the option of deciding if they needed that degree or not.

Just so you know, most of the time when people are hiring and ask for a degree, they don’t really need someone with a degree. It’s use is aimed at reducing the number of applications that come in for a position. Some might not want me telling you that, but I’m not in HR. lol

It was during the period of creating the spreadsheets when I had a minor dip in faith. This led me to talk to my friend Kelvin, who now runs a business called Intensely Positive. I hadn’t told him I was creating the product until I’ve reached this point, so he just listened as I explained the whole thing to him.

My issue wasn’t that there were other products on the market that could help employers figure out how to hire people. They weren’t exactly like mine, so I had that going for me. My issue was that I was creating spreadsheets that would become part of the package.

I said to Kelvin “These are just spreadsheets I’m creating in Excel. Anyone could sit down at a computer and do this.”

His response was quick: “They could, but they didn’t. You did.”

Truthfully, that’s all it took for me to go ahead and finish, which I did by the end of the next week. Other than my books and CD series, it was the first product I created. Not that I’ve sold a lot of them, but I have sold some. Back then I actually had to mail them out; now it’s a quick download. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be updated either; whew!

This is the beauty of creating products. Sure, there might be something similar, but nothing is actually a total copy when you think about it. Our buddy Troy Sweezy convinced me to read a book titled Steal Like An Artisticon, and the author pretty much said this same thing, that being very few things are actually new in today’s world. People either improve them or make them different in some way so that people believe they’re totally new.

If you’re using the excuse that “it already exists” or “why would anyone buy from me”, get rid of it now. Create your product, put it out there, market it, work it, and sell it; go ahead and do your thing. Even if it doesn’t become the next blockbuster thing that makes you a millionaire… you created a product! 😀
 

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