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The Lifetime Value of a Customer, A Strategic Prospective

May 15, 2006 | By | One Comment

Business on the ball, outside the Ritz, Tyson’s Mall in Northern Virginia

This weekend Charmaine was managing logistics for a presentation at the Council for National Policy near Your Nation’s Capital. Her goal was to make her boss look good.

One of her concerns was the dependability of the hardware supporting a Powerpoint presentation.

We’ve all been there. Something always goes wrong. New surroundings. Strange equipment. In front of 1,000 critical sets of eyes.

But I told Charmaine not to worry. She’s at the Ritz.

Years ago, I sat at the feet of the General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton for at TQM presentation. (Total Quality Management — the management fads do come and go, no?)

The GM interviewed every hire in the hotel. In the hospitality business where turnover is a mess — he beat the problem by hiring the best staff. And motivating them with,

“We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”

When the Ritz pledges,

…to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests…

I believe them.

And it’s not because the Ritz group are nice guys. They are in it to make a buck. Each employee has a $2,000 authority limit, no-questions-asked refund policy for guests.

Why? Is the Ritz giving away the store?

The upscale chain has determined that the life time value of a customer is $300,000. Solving a 1,000 dollar complaint instantly, is small change for a $300K customer.

The presentation went off without a hitch.

So the boss did a flawless presentation. He was, however, interrupted twice. Not with equipment malfunctions.

With applause.

Exceeding expectations at the Ritz.


The Penta Posse



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Thank you (foot)notes:

This was an unpaid puff piece.

Man on a Mission reports that the Ritz has the best mission statement he’s ever seen.

21 Apr



Selling the Great Wall of China

April 21, 2006 | By | 3 Comments


Elmer Wheeler selling

through the senses “Sell the sizzle, not the steak,” said master salesman Elmer Wheeler. His book SIZZLEMANSHIP: New Tested Selling Sentences and his others are among sales lore classics.

His original research was built around 105,000 word order combinations and tested on some 19,000,000 people, as the legend goes. Elmer then took the “Wheeler Word Laboratory” on the road consulting with major retailers. Teaching salesmen to sell more.

His research from the 1930′s still holds and sells today. Even half way around the world.

Your Business Blogger was touring the country side north of Beijing. Seeking out local thrills.

The buzz from my hosts was about a terrific luge-like ride. Nothing like Disney World. A real experience.

A ride faster and more dangerous. Not OSHA compliant with all those pesky safety restrictions.

It sounded great. All my senses were a-tingle. I jumped at the chance for danger.


Ski lift to the top of the runOur guides mentioned some history and scenery and artifacts, along the way. With an edge. So I ride with my buddy David Wayne up to the top. And sped down to the bottom.


A Chinese thrill rideEveryone was right! Cheap, exciting thrills! When you come to Beijing, be sure to look into the luge ride!

It sizzles.

By the way, there was another attraction in between the ski lift ride up, and the tremendous luge ride down.


The Great Wall of China

Here’s Your Business Blogger modeling genuine Chinese Communist Red Army head wear. At the Great Wall of China.

The structure was breathtaking. A meaty experience sold with sizzle. Anticipation rewarded with a concrete experience through each of the senses.

Marketing at its best.

Elmer Wheeler lives.


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Thank you (foot)notes:


Off-vertical brick laying Your Business Blogger worked in college as a carpenter’s helper and was intrigued by the brickwork of the Great Wall. The bricks followed the terrain contours. The Wall in the Middle Kingdom doesn’t follow the vertical to earth’s center. If a mason could plumb this out for me and comment, I’ll send a blog t-shirt.

From Emperor Heaven,

The Great Wall of China is one of the great man-made landmarks on earth, an incredible feat of engineering begun some 2000 years ago. It stretches for about 6,500 km from the Korean mountains to the Gobi desert. The average height is 10 metres (originally the height of 5 men) & the width is 5 metres (originally 6 horses wide at the top, 8 horses wide at the bottom).

It was started during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty as small bits of defensive wall for three of the individual states to keep the northern nomadic barbarians away. Under the Qin Dynasty the independent bits of wall began to be joined making it the ‘great’ wall to protect the whole country from northern invasions. Over a million people eventually were sent to work on the wall during the Qin Dynasty (local people, soldiers, scholars and prisoners) and it was worked on for ten years continuously day and night using, for the most part, local construction materials. If anyone died while working, they were buried in the wall. Workers who complained or tried to run away were buried alive. During the Qin and Han Dynasties the construction was of wooden frames which were filled with earth which was then tamped tightly. The frames were removed leaving a tightly packed earthen wall. Many years later the earth was enclosed by brick and stone.

It consisted of wall interspersed with watchtowers. The soldiers lived and stored their supplies in the towers and each tower was within sight of the next. The soldiers looked out for invasions when a flag or torch was used for signaling and occasionally took part in skirmishes with the invaders. Many of the garrisons had nearby farming plots so were self-sufficient as getting supplies to the remote areas was hard.

From the Han Dynasty (200 BC) to the Ming Dynasty (17th century), it was continually extended, reconstructed and restored. It’s the remnants of the Ming wall that are mainly visible today when the brick and stone work was extended and sophisticated designs added.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Russell Davies has a better picture of Wheeler. Bet on the Brits. And a better article. Blog roll him.

Men Hunt; Women Shop

April 6, 2006 | By | No Comments


From Tom Peters! Dunkin Donuts Presentation

Men and women are different.


Your Business Blogger was looking over Charmaine’s shoulder as she was working on her dissertation. One of her findings was about how men and women used parental leave in the academy.

Here’s what was claimed: Here’s what happened:

When women took parental leave to care for a new born baby:

Women took care of the new born baby.

When men took parental leave to care for a new born baby:

Men worked on their research.

Charmaine thought: Men, taking unfair advantage of the system!

Jack thought: Men, taking care of business.

Charmaine thought: Women, taking leave to change diapers!

Jack thought: Women change diapers, I’m taking a nap.

There’s a gap in more than how we move around in the GAP.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger has changed a diaper. Or two. Alert the media.

Hat tip to Rob May at Business Pundit for blog rolling Tom Peters. Be sure to read Rob’s Relationships.

Visit Laura and her Open Trackbacks. She gets it right.

Aslan's On The Move

March 29, 2006 | By | No Comments


Chinese Snacks in Chengdu Your Business Blogger was looking for a bit to eat. Maybe some local flavor. In Chengdu, in the middle of China.

A traditional snack. I dropped into a small grocer and loaded up. Pringles, Oreos, washed down with a Coke. And Cheetos chaser.

Then I noticed something. As I looked down into my feed bag, I saw international brand names.

(Nothing escapes Your Business Blogger.)

Peter Drucker said that innovation and marketing were the only competitive advantages the USA needed.

The raw ingredients in Coke and Cheetos are commodities. Available anywhere. Cheap.

The real added value is in the marketing. From America.

china yoest pepsi ad

Pepsi ad at The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

china wyeth beijing yoest 06

Wyeth formula ad in the Beijing subway

china starbucks beijing airport yoest 06

Starbucks at Beijing Airport

china coke chongdu yoest 06

Coke bench ad in Chengdu, China

china aslan streetside poster chengdu yoest 06

Narnia sidewalk poster, Chengdu Narnia? In the Middle Kingdom?

china aslan theater poster chongqing yoest 06

Narnia at a theater near you, Chongqing, China American marketing on the move.

Aslan’s on the move.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Interested in Narnia? If you are near Glen Burnie, Maryland, be sure to come to the C S Lewis lecture Thursday nite.

More pics at The Travel Bug

See Snacking Across China.

Visit Basil’s Blog for his pick of good posts.

The Original Site For Lobbyists

March 24, 2006 | By | No Comments


Charmaine Yoest with

Amy Bolthouse Shane

from ELI/China

at The Willard lobby

The English Language Institute/China recently held their 25th Anniversary in Washington, DC, staying at The Willard Hotel.

The hotel has a rich history.

The Willard is a social and political hub. President Lincoln probably stopped by a number of times while president. A few visits can be verified: with Mrs. Lincoln on July 6, 1861, to attend a concert by Meda Blanchard, and his review of troops with General Burnside on April 25, 1864.

In 1861 Willard’s also hosted Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words for The Battle Hymn of the Republic in her hotel room early one morning.

General Tom Thumb and his bride, who visited the Lincolns at the White House, stayed at The Willard in 1863.

In 1864 General Ulysses S. Grant was a hotel guest. In his presidency, he passed thru Willard’s lobby where he coined the term “lobbyists.”


The Original Willard

Lobbying is the practice of private advocacy with the goal of influencing a governing body, in order to ensure that an individual’s or organization’s point of view is represented in the government. A lobbyist is a person who is paid to influence legislation as well as public opinion. A more tactful description might be said to be someone who is engaged in public affairs.



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Thank you (foot)notes:

The English Language Institute/China began in 1979 at the start of normalization of relations between the People’s Republic of China and the USA. The PRC’s move to modernization and market reform created demand for English language skills. The first teachers were sent to China in 1982 for the purpose of teaching English, building friendships, offering instruction on the teachings of Jesus Christ to university students and faculty.

Differing Weights

March 20, 2006 | By | One Comment


Milton Friedman

Trusting TransactionsThe biggest challenge my American female clients have is learning effective negotiations.

They should spend a month in East Asia.

Most retail shoppes in that part of the world are modest mom and pop store fronts. Where evey price is negotiated.

Designed to extract the last yuan in consumer surplus.

Shopping in this environment is exhausting for Your (western) Business Blogger. Different cultures. But when in Rome…

So I ask one of my local clients his opinion on the custom of haggling over everything. Everything.

I thought he would wax nostalgic on the old style interaction of true competition: buyer vs seller. The best pricing equalibrium of quantity demanded with quantity supplied. A romantic Asian metaphysical transcendence of commerce.

Did he like the East Asian pure sales process…?

He hated it.

(Your Business Blogger can be such a dope.)

He said:

Everytime you buy something it takes so long to reach an agreement…it takes too much research for little items

Another local said the non-stop haggling was “draining.”

So why does this system continue?

Lack of trust. It is all buyer beware in Mandarin.

There is no trust in a fair offer. And,

There is every expectation to be cheated.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman spoke to this. He said that a cultural prerequisite of making money is the holding of truthfulness as a common virtue.

When you can trust a merchant’s word, says Friedman, “it cut[s] down transaction costs.”

Without adherence to common moral principles we must substitute external controls to govern business behavior; efficiency demands a framework of standards and accountability.

But there are modifications a-coming. Large retail shops in new malls have established set price policies.

Large international retailers coming to East Asia, such as Wal*Mart, have set prices. And they are reintroducing old traditions from the world over.

There is an ancient Jewish tradition of the prohibiting of “differing weights” for commodities. Established known weights would be used with a fair scale to measure items, grain to gold. A dishonest merchant would use a lighter or heavier weight to tip the scales for unjust enrichment.

Different prices for different people. Which is frightfully inefficient.

East Asia loves speed. Loves making money. Loves making money fast.

To get rich is glorious.

East Asia will tolerant no wasted motion.


Honesty is not only the best policy. East Asia is a bit more pragmatic. And a bit more demanding:

Honesty and trust make for good business.


Blogging from NRB: Calm Before the Storm

February 20, 2006 | By | No Comments

Cross Post at NRB from Charmaine.


I’m here in Dallas this weekend for the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters with an FRC team at the Gaylord. The exhibits open up at noon today and we spent yesterday getting set up — we are at Booth #317: if you are in Dallas, come by and see us!


7 Steps in Making Money at Trade Shows

February 18, 2006 | By | No Comments


Bush at a previous

NRB ConventionIn Your Business Blogger’s ongoing attempt to keep The Little Woman out of Nordstroms, I dispatched her to Dallas. For a trade show.

Charmaine’s exhibiting at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. With 6,000 of her closest show-bizie friends.

But I don’t want her to waste her time. So here’s a review for her. And you, too, if you like.

Why Are We Here? The best reason to buy exhibit space at a trade show is to meet decision makers and key influencers face-to-face. The best close rate is IRL. The trade show exhibit is where marketing meets sales. Good marketing will bring prospects to the booth; good sales will start and/or close the deal — open the account. The only reason people are there is to pitch or be pitched.


Meet and GreetThe sales presentation should be memorized. Exhibitors should take no more than three minutes to preform a sales presentation. Once you start with a single person, a crowd will gather. But before you start…

Get Professional Help. Assign a point man, go to guy. Large company = event planner; Medium company = marketing guy; Little company = consultant. Thinly Capitalized Tiny companies with no budget = free consultant. To get advice and ideas use an expert at no charge. Schmooze the advertising and promotional products sales representative who’s selling you your imprinted swag, the stuff we all get. That rep makes a living designing programs that sell. His advice is not free — it comes with the cost of the goods sold. But you can get a lot of advice and ideas with no “budget.” The point man will either be, or will assign the booth captain — to set manning schedules to work the booth and exhibits. And be sure to cover the…

Logical Logistics. Thick carpet to cover the concrete floor; unwrapped candies — M&M’s in a dispenser is my favorite; a DVD running continuously — a movie, movement catches the eye. Watch the heavy lifting: many convention centers are run by union thugs workers — your event planner will know what you can get away with. Be sure to get a trash can and the nightly vacuuming ordered. Don’t eat at the booth. (Decades ago we used to say ‘Don’t Smoke’ at the Booth.) Stand in the booth — sit someplace else. Electrical outlets needed? Parking passes? Once you master attention to details you can then be the…


Order Ronald Reagan’s

address to

the 1984

NRB ConventionCenter of Attention. No all trade show attendees attend to get drunk. At least not at the NRB. Except, maybe the Episcopalians. Anyway, the biggest (claimed) reason to show up is education. To learn what’s new in trends. Learn in-side how-to secrets. Learn from the Big Dogs. If you have the budget, sponsor a class. But even better would be to be the teacher, panelist, moderator, discussant at a seminar or breakout session. The perceived expert, class leader will get the leads. But be careful about…

Propaganda. Take aways to take home? No. Do not hand out literature at your trade show. It won’t survive the airplane ride home. Remember, your purpose is to make a friend. Make an appointment. Make a deal. All that paper only makes a mess. If the prospect is in real pain for (your) solution, he can retrieve the info from your website and blog. But you make an appointment. To see the prospect. Remember: Face to Face has the highest close rate. And it continues with…


Working the exhibit floorFollow Up. A hand written thank you note with a fountain pen on fine card stock delivered by snail mail will astonish your new friend. (This is the only value today for the Postal Service.) Then follow up. Follow up to meet. This will improve your…

ROI. Return on Investment. Run the funnel with number and dollars. For example, if the trade show had 6000 attendees, your booth 600 visitors, generating 200 leads, getting 100 sales presentations, producing 25 sales. If the trade show cost $25K, then each sale ‘cost’ $1k. Would the trade show be worth it? Maybe not. You need to justify the marketing expense with sales numbers and results. With this information you might spend the budget on other marketing and sales strategies. Even if you have to miss some great speeches.

I am an enthusiast for Trade Shows. But the purpose is to sell.

Marketing is what you do when you don’t have anyone to see and sell to. Trade shows are marketing vehicles.

Make sure the vehicle is convertible to sales.


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Thank you (foot)notes: church tech blog is attending the conference

Stacy Harp has background.

Indy Christian has more.

Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger has an interest in a number of advertising and promotional companies; in both distributors and suppliers.

More on the NRB Convention and Exposition at the jump.

Seth Godin has more.

Read More

11 Feb



10 Steps of Marketing With No Money — Then Sell Out

February 11, 2006 | By | 8 Comments


In the late 80′s Your Business Blogger was part of a medical device start-up. With no money.

We were launching new products, with new technology, teaching new surgical techniques, new medicine.

Conventional wisdom dictated hiring a half-dozen advanced-skill nurses to teach around the country. Our Board of Directors said no budget. This was a problem. Our product required extensive inservice training.

With a product that was 100 times the cost of its nearest competitive substitute.

So what’s a thinly capitalized company in trouble to do?

1) Throw a party.

My boss, John Harper, came up with the solution. Conduct training seminars. If we can’t go to the clinician; bring the clinician to us. (John Harper said something about mountains and Mohammed.) We would outsource the training to temping Nurse Consultants. We expanded his idea making the classes into events. Food, flowers, contests, framed certificates, lapel pins. More fun than a TupperWare party. Avon calling. Our mostly female nurses loved it.

…this list

of 10 steps provides a case study.

of brilliance in hindsight after the fact.

And desperation and frustrationbefore the fact…

This list of 10 steps provides a case study. Of brilliance in hindsight after the fact. And desperation and frustration before the fact.

2) Independent Contractors. Identify, recruit, train and motivate per diem consultants. 1099 not W-2. No fixed costs. Easy to hire. Easy to fire. I could make a lot of mistakes. And did.

3) Advertising. Small ad in local trade journals — ad buy was for multiple exposures, not size. Limited ad budget turned out to force creative thinking. I also learned that these thought and opinion leaders also were contributors to text books — and were looking for the latest technology — and wrote new chapters on advanced clinical techniques featuring our products.

4) Talent. Hired thought and opinion leaders who happened to be users. I simply hired my current customers. In setting up seminars the customers conducted the classes. Our instructors were typically ‘nurse of the year’ award winners for their organizations with advanced practice suffixes. These were smart women and everyone knew it. I hired 24 of the best.

5) Invitations. Snail-mailed and faxed personally-addressed invitations to thought and opinion leaders who were not customers. And phone calls. To attend our training seminars. A fax machine was hi-tech at the time. Hi-tech. Hi-touch. A personal invitation always sells.

6) Partners. Linked with local chapters of professional nurse organizations. Who were our key influencers and decision makers. Attended every industry trade show possible — I was less interested in the attendees as in the booth space buyers next to me — who were my channels of distribution.

7) Segment. Smallest, targeted market segment. We thought we would be selling to the 6,000 hospitals across the country. Nope. Not yet. It was the new home health care market. Which also was demanding performance over price. This tiny market segment was less price sensitive than hospitals.

8) Love. Appreciate the customer. Whenever a nurse passed (inserted) one of our catheters, I awarded her the coveted Landmark Nurse lapel pin. And a large framed certificate signed by the bosses. And corsages. Coming to our seminars was like going to the prom. I really loved my nurses. Still do.

9) Heeeeeree’s Johnny. Your Business Bogger acted as the Master of Ceremonies introducing the instructor and guided the logistics. There was no sales pitch. I openly disclosed that the Nurse Consultant was an instructor on the payroll. (At $500 a class — a lot of money at the time. Goodness, a lot of money anytime.) This Full Disclosure had an unanticipated consequence: Every nurse attending wanted to teach part time and would approach me later to get in on the $500 per gig action. Who knew?

10) Visit. Follow-up with a face-to-face visit. So here was my pitch: Buy the frightfully expensive product, I’ll train you, bring you roses, guarantee your happiness and patient outcomes. Or your money back.


The seminars were conducted at a fraction of the cost of hiring a team of clinicians full time. And we were able to bury the expense under the travel & entertainment budget. Which, as it happens, the seminars were. delectare et docere

So what?

I collected baubles for sales numbers.


And then what?

The company was sold to Johnson & Johnson. A profitable experience for the investors and stock holders.

johnson_and _johnson_logo.gif


Need to market with no money?

Throw a party.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

I had some terrific bosses at Menlo Care, Inc.: John Harper, Dave Maupin, Chuck Schreiber.

Read more on Menlo Care, Inc. after the jump.

Basil’s Blog has good content and links.

Read More

Vanity Fair CNBC Clip. Caution: Not Wise To View At Work Or With Children

February 8, 2006 | By | One Comment


Vanity FairCharmaine appeared on CNBC (attempting) to debate the cover of Vanity Fair. Is it art? Or money-making-porn?


CNBCCNBC’s On The Money

Click here for the CNBC Vanity Fair video.

This is a long 6 minute segment.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. blogs at Reasoned Audacity and FRCBlog

Be sure to visit Basil’s Blog.

Don Surber has best Wednesday posts.

Mudville has Open Post.

OutsideTheBeltway as links.

Aquila has more (or less).

See The Washington Post.