Direct Marketing: Using Education as a Competitive Advantage

Direct Marketing: Using Education as a Competitive Advantage

This is Episode 42 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

Ed LaFlamme used educational direct marketing in the days before digital to propel his former landscape business into a multi-million dollar enterprise that he later sold to a national firm. In fact, his marketing newsletters were so successful they were featured by Inc Magazine as among The Best Newsletters in America.

In this episode we discuss how LaFlamme used education as a competitive advantage in his business by seeking out and learning from experts — to then become one.

Our Featured Guest: Ed LaFlamme

Direct Marketing: Using Education as a Competitive Advantage Ed LaFlamme is the author of the nationally acclaimed book, Green Side Up: Straight Talk on Growing and Operating a Profitable Landscaping Business. He was formerly the founder of the largest landscape maintenance company in the state of Connecticut, which he later sold to Landcare USA. Today Ed is a professional speaker and partner in The Harvest Group, where he mentors aspiring landscape businesses nationwide.

Learn from Experts to Then Become One

Ed learned early in his career that education and expertise are transferrable. To differentiate his the snow plowing segment of his landscape business he sought out meteorology (weather) experts and shared that expertise with his newsletter subscribers.

Over time, LaFlamme’s clients viewed his company as the winter (and summer) weather prediction experts. In addition to building trust customers and potential buyers, specific expertise suggests professionalism that extends into other aspects of the business, including the products and services being offered.

In competitive markets where products and services are viewed as predominantly the same, the differentiators are people and relationships. One of the surest ways to open doors to new relationships is with specialized expertise in the form of educational content that adds value to physical products and services.

To keep pace today, business owners are investing in education for themselves and their team. The savvier small businesses are also building their list of subscribers to then employ direct marketing methods to share their acquired expertise, a practice often known as content marketing: educating people to help them become better buyers, and the right customers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on direct marketing and online education? Meet me over on Twitter to take the conversation further.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Ed’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Study the issue at hand. Really get involved to have a thorough understanding for developing a solution.

His Favorite Productivity Tip – Make a list of what needs to be done and prioritize according to what’s urgent, important and long-term. Then choose the one that is most important to get done that day.

A Quote that has Inspired Ed’s Success – “Pounce on every day.” Jack Welch

Key Take-Aways

How to subscribe to This Old New Business podcast

Click here to subscribe via iTunes.
You can also subscribe via Stitcher.

Help us Spread the Word

If you enjoyed this episode of This Old New Marketing podcast, please head over to iTunes or Stitcher to leave a rating, write a review, or subscribe.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Distinction Marketing: How to Attract Customers with Clarity

Distinction Marketing: How to Attract Customers with Clarity

This is Episode 41 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

To be the industry standard requires more than great products and services. The business has to achieve clarity in the minds of customers for what it does, how it does it, and maybe more important, what it does not do.

We all know it’s possible to be good at what you do and still not attract your share of customers. Scott McKain points out that even great companies can fail to be stand out in the marketplace. The reason is often a lack of clarity that is resolved with distinction marketing.

Our Featured Guest: Scott McKain

Distinction Marketing: How to Attract Customers with ClarityScott McKain is an internationally known authority who helps organizations create distinction in every phase of business and teaches how to deliver an Ultimate Customer Experience®. His book, “Create Distinction” was named by 30 major newspapers as one of the “Ten Best Business Books” of the year — and he is member of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.

What to Do When Great Isn’t Good Enough

Scott McKain is fanatical about customer service, something he learned at a young age at the family grocery store in southern Indiana. Being distinctive in small town america works the same way in that place where most of us live that we know as the Internet.

Distinction Marketing: How to Attract Customers with ClarityIt’s probably hard not be noticed in a small town like Seymour, IN where McKain grew up because over time people notice what you stand for. While the Internet may be crowded, it tends to have a similar effect of amplifying who we are, and are not, which is why it’s vital to achieve clarity of distinction in actions and messaging.

According to McKain’s research, more than a few great companies have lost their way because they themselves were not clear about their distinction in the marketplace. That’s not good in a world where people have the Internet and social media to make comparisons.

Distinction is rising above differentiation, and thus, comparison. 

When customers are thinking and talking about their experience with your business, it has achieved distinction in their minds that defies comparison. Scott McKain suggests you write that down in a way that is that leaves no doubt for staff and customers alike.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on distinction marketing? Meet me over on Twitter to take the conversation further.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Scott’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Learn to create distinction in your marketplace express it in a way that creates mindshare.

His Favorite Productivity Tip – Choose your productivity tools well and stick with them to learn how to leverage their full capabilities

A Quote that has Inspired Scott’s Success – “Things that are easy to do are also easy not to do.”  Jim Rohn  — Scott explains that many people fail because it’s easy not to do even the simplest things that are necessary to succeed.

Key Take-Aways

  • You may be interested to know that Scott McKain’s hometown of Seymour, IN is also where well-known recording artist John Mellencamp grew up.
  • Learn more about Scott at ScottMcKain.com
  • Check out Scott’s Distinction Institute for online training at your own pace.
  • You can find Scott’s latest book, The 7 Tenents of Taxi Terry on Amazon.

How to subscribe to This Old New Business podcast

Click here to subscribe via iTunes.
You can also subscribe via Stitcher.

Help us Spread the Word

If you enjoyed this episode of This Old New Marketing podcast, please head over to iTunes or Stitcher to leave a rating, write a review, or subscribe.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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