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“Forget TSL, Get More Cume” – a Q&A with Marketing Guru Doug Hall – Par

A No-Nonsense Marketing Smart Tip Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Listen to the podcast here:

Doug Hall is an inventor, author, and revolutionary. He’s the founder of the Eureka Ranch, a think tank and idea factory.

His clients include Ford, Disney, Procter & Gamble, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and many more top-tier companies. He’s the author of several books including Jump Start your Business Brain and Jump Start your Marketing Brain. He also hosts a weekly public radio show called Brain Brew Idea Factory.

Your latest book, “Jump Start your Marketing Brain,” is a compendium of real-world scientific marketing results and practical ideas. And it isn’t full of your own opinions – it’s based on a vast amount of research.

This book was developed out of some 3,000 academic studies. Oftentimes sales and marketing are too much a right-brained emotional thing. And while you need that, I think we’re working too hard. We need to figure out ways to sell more with less effort. By getting ourselves grounded more in the logical truths, we can start playing the odds instead of betting on a long shot.

I’ve translated the academic language into simple, practical ideas that any business professional can use.

You have a Marketing I.Q. test in this book. Here’s one question: “The smartest way to consistently build sales is to: A) Build loyalty, or B) Find new customers.”

Simple question.

I had a group of 200 CEO’s yesterday up in Canada. And out of 200 198 got the question wrong. They all said it was option A, “Loyalty.”

But the truth is the smartest way to grow sales is to find new customers. Most people think it’s better to protect what they’ve got. But the way you do that is by presenting an incredibly great product on the air. That’s how you keep customers.

We’ve got to figure out ways to find new customers. Three separate studies confirm this: One study was looking at 6000 businesses: The number of customers was 2.8 times more important in influencing sales volume than the amount bought per customer.

Are you saying we in radio probably don’t spend enough time trying to build Cume?


In fact, I got the listening data from public radio, which is analogous to commercial radio. What I found was that it wasn’t just 2.8 times more important. In fact, for stations which grew in both ratings and donor support, the number of listeners they had was 9 ½ times more important than the amount they were listening!

We’ve got to be reaching out. And niches of niches won’t do it. Reaching out takes guts and courage because most of us just don’t want to lose what we have. We’ve got to figure out how to get new target occasions, new target customers. That requires leadership, and it’s extraordinarily difficult in today’s world.

Another question from your quiz: “Most new products fail because of: A) Poor execution of sales and marketing, B) Poor product or service performance, or C) Not being a very good idea in the first place.”

The answer is C) Not being a very good idea in the first place. You can’t execute your way to excellence. If it’s not in the blueprints, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get there.

Imagine you’re building a house and you say to the builder: “We don’t really have blueprints. Why don’t you guys just figure it out as you go along.” That’s about as stupid as it possibly gets, and it’s what we do in business all the time.

You’ve really got to get your blueprints right at the beginning. Do your thinking up front – that’s the job of management, the job of leadership. Don’t beat up the workers for not executing, it’s not going to do you any good.

To get a good idea you need three things: First, stimulus, which is filling up your brain with new thoughts and ideas. We need to open ourselves up to new experiences, new things, and fill that mental food processor. Second, diversity. We need to be willing to talk to people who are whacked – who are totally different from us. Third, we need to reduce our fear. Fear is a negative, and right now fear levels are at an all-time high. Like a frog dropped in water as the heat is slowly turned up, people don’t even know they’re close to dying – and they are.

[Look for Part 2 of my Q&A with Doug Hall next week. Preview hint: Doug is not a fan of HD radio.]

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