Deep Thoughts

It’s good karma to wish something positive for others. It’s good karma to be kind to others. And it’s good karma to help others. Karma (car-ma) is a word meaning the result of a person’s actions as well as the actions themselves. It is a term about the cycle of cause and effect. According to the theory of Karma, what happens to a person, happens because they caused it with their actions.

Funny how life takes you in different directions and the evolution is not necessarily obvious. I wanted to follow two career paths out of school; become a psychologist or a lawyer. But during my time at McGill, I ended up getting hooked on radio. In my first year, I got the morning show, second year music director and final year was voted General Manager. It changed my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a kid, I listened to CKGM with a top 40 format. The music was incredible and the DJ’s like Ralph Lockwood were inspirational.

Once you stop worrying about what other people think and begin to live your authentic life, you will automatically become happier. I used to worry about what other people thought but know I do whatever I want and know is right. It’s better to be respected than liked in my opinion. If you know it’s the right thing to do, then, in the words of Nike, just do it.

Just Do It

This quote from Dale Carnegie is very profound and should be taken into consideration especially if you are not where you want to be in your life. I learned this quote in the Carnegie public speaking courses but it was actually coined by Henry Ford.

Do you want to be this guy?

Or this guy?

The people that have been successful in business took chances. They took risks or leaps of faith as I like to call it. And success in business is only a small part of living a life to its greatest potential. Happiness is based not on money, status or stuff; it’s based on peace of mind, love, family, and good health. As long as you are doing what you love, you don’t have to work a day in your life. I recently shifted gears and took two days per week to explore new opportunities. In order to do so, I had to relinquish a portion of my salary, however, I have been able to make that up and then some and I am having the time of my life.

It all starts with a simple decision and a belief in yourself and your abilities. And if you don’t try, you will never know. I always wanted to do two things. First, write a book and do seminars because I love public speaking. Second, run my own advertising agency because I love marketing. Well, when I turned 60, I decided it’s now or never. Now, Mango Publicity is in 4 cities including Montreal, Miami, Toronto and Ottawa. And my book, The Shy Sales Guy is available on Amazon. I’m living the dream and having the time of my life.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Fortune favors the bold is a Latin proverb that has been used in the military. Or the story of Burn the Boats.

The concept of burning boats traces back to one of history’s most inspiring leadership stories in 1519. Hernán Cortés led a large expedition consisting of 600 Spaniards, 16 or so horses, and 11 boats to Mexico. The goal: capture a magnificent treasure said to be held there. Upon arrival, Cortés made history by destroying his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back. They either win or they perish. Although you might assume that Cortés’ men would have become despondent, with no exit strategy in place to save their lives, they instead rallied behind their leader as never before.

Customer Service Sucks

You know, I am a big fan of stellar customer service. Companies complain that business is slow due to economic conditions whereas the reality is more based on customer satisfaction levels. Jeffrey Gitomer wrote a book where the title says it all. Customer satisfaction is Useless. Customer loyalty is priceless.

So I spent the month of January in Florida and experienced amazing customer service which highlighted the not so amazing customer service in Quebec. I didn’t realize how bad it was north of the border until I witnessed the opposite.

Customer service starts with simple kindness and is essentially an attitude. I walked into a Publix grocery store and within 5 minutes walked past 5 employees. Each and every one stopped what they were doing to acknowledge me and ask if they could help or just say good morning. If I were to walk through a grocery store in Montreal, I would be ignored. I one asked a clerk who was filling a fridge if they carried a certain brand of beer and she said I don’t know and went right back to work.

Every time I walked into a restaurant, I was greeted by female waitresses as babe, honey or love. And I found it to be very endearing as well as sincere. And you didn’t have to ask for a refill of diet coke; it was given even before you glass was empty. The employees seem to actually care about their customers.

So I just got back to Montreal this last weekend and my first customer service experience is at Tim Hortons. I walk in to pick up muffins for a sales meeting. There are 2 people in line ahead of me and 2 people behind me. There are 3 people behind the counter and no one is looking at the customers in line, rather they are focused on the drive through. I stand for 5 minutes and no one is acknowledging the people in line. Finally a young kid comes up to the cash and nods his head, in other words, what do you want? I asked the lady behind the counter why it was so slow and she responded we only have three people today.

Well if you know me, bad answer. So after 15 minutes, no positive greeting and a lousy excuse, I leave exasperated. Will I go back? Probably not. So please don’t blame the economy, serve your customers and they will continue to patronize your business. It’s not rocket science. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Flo Rida

I have been in Florida since December 31st and there are some huge differences between Montreal and Miami other than the weather. People in Florida are very friendly and pleasant which is something that I am not used to in Montreal. I could walk through a grocery store in Montreal and not one employee or customer will say hello. It’s the exact opposite in Florida. I walked into a Publix grocery store the other day and within 5 minutes every one of the employees in the store said good morning how are you today. I was shocked because this never happens in Montreal.

The opulence of Palm Beach is apparent in the cars and the multi million dollar homes. We drove by Mar a Lago but as it is a private club, the general public cannot enter. And business is booming with high end restaurants which are packed as well as luxury car dealships including Bentley. And once you get out of Palm Beach and into Lauderdale there is a proliferation of pawn shops with one on almost every corner.

The food is decent especially if you are a fan of fish and seafood. There are many down home restaurants that will serve seafood platters like the one pictured above. It includes oysters, shrimp, clams, crab and lobster. And if you can find one on the water, you lucked out. I use Yelp and Trip Advisor as a guide to the best places and avoid the chains like Applebee’s or Chili’s.

My favourite spot is the Hard Rock Seminole Casino. I like to play poker but there is so much more including glass enclosed displays of the clothes of the biggest rock stars. And the variety of restaurants is incredible. And of course the guitar shaped hotel pops out of the landscape as you approach. The upcoming entertainment includes Jerry Seinfeld, Trevor Noah, Steve Martin and the Goo Goo Dolls.

And one celebrity selfie with Emmanuel Lewis. Emmanuel Darnell Lewis (born March 9, 1971) is an American actor and comedian, best known for playing the title character in the 1980s television sitcom.

Mango Publicity was also open for business. A branch of Mango Communications in Montreal with my partner Richard McCrory who I worked with in the radio and professional sports fields.

Enjoy the day.

Marketing in 2020

And the first step for traditional marketing is to embrace the new wave of digital marketing. At first, I thought that digital was an add on to the standard marketing practices of print and broadcast media. But it soon became apparent that it was a force to be reckoned with. When a local car dealer told one of my radio salespeople that they were putting their entire advertising budget into digital, it was a wake up call. Could this be the future? No more traditional advertising? So I made a decision when I turned 60. I had 2 choices. Learn about digital or retire. So I chose the former. And I spent a year studying and taking courses. The rest of the blog is what I have learned

I learned to embrace digital marketing as it has an important place in the marketing strategy of every business. Without it, you’re dead. If you hear about a business and you google search them and they do not have a website, it’s all over. We had a lawyer advertise on our radio station several years ago. Solid business, plenty of experience but no website and the campaign failed. Not only do you need a website, it must be google searchable. Google ad words is the most important part of digital marketing. 95% of consumers use Google, 3% use Yahoo and 2% use Bing. Google ad words are not some mysterious phenomen, just download a Google ad words dashboard and start to learn through experimentation. It’s not complicated. Pick your geographic region, your age demographic and several other criteria and create your own campaign.

Don’t worry about SEO if your website is already up and rolling. I have spoken with 3 digital marketing experts and they have told me that SEO is highly overrated and not as essential as ad words. SEO services can boost (or destroy) your website traffic. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a concept that’s familiar to most business people. … – The money spent on SEO is a complete waste. The first page rankings for keywords in most businesses are too competitive.

Marketing is all about making consumers feel good about themselves. In the day of digital marketing, the vast majority of content creation is not in the hands of traditional marketers. It’s in the hands of young graphic artists, videographers and writers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. My graphic artist is 22 years old and brilliant. But marketing should be in the hands of marketing professionals. An individual that can see the product or service and understand the objectives, strategies and tactics to build the brand. And have the consistency and patience to see it through to fruition.

This quote by Atticus is appropriate in terms of the reference to magic. Seth Godin says marketing is no longer about products and services, it’s about relations, stories and magic. First, relations as it relates to your brand’s connectivity to consumers. Second, stories which represent the new world of marketing. Storytelling is the optimal way to build a brand and consumers remember stories 10X more than they remember statistics. And of course magic. The definition is
the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

So I picked this restaurant on my trip to Florida and it was fantastic. How did I find it? Social media. I googled seafood restaurants on the water in Jensen Beach and this was rated third. I read the reviews and checked out Trip Advisor and Yelp. With no point of reference, this is the way buying decisions are made in 2020. I booked the house I am staying at on AirBnb. I know Walmart and Dunkin Donuts but my goal when traveling is to find unique down home restaurants instead of chains. I booked a massage at Elements Massage based on a 4.7 rating in Google and downloaded a $30 coupon. Kallie was a stellar massage therapist. And I found a breakfast place called Berry Fresh Cafe based on their Google rating and my waitress happened to be from Laval. As a first time guest. I received a $5 gift certificate for my next visit. So will I return? Absolutely.

The future of advertising execution is a combination of digital media and radio. Yes, I said radio and left this until the end of my blog on purpose. Of the three traditional media, radio is faring the best. Almost 90% of North Americans listen to the radio every week. Unfortunately print audiences are in a freefall and there will be no newspapers by 2025. And TV is a viable medium if you have a big budget. But Netflix and PVRs are beginning to have an impact. Radio enables you to target a specific audience based on your demographic target and enables you to tell a 30 or 60 second story. If you educate consumers in your marketing, you will develop a loyal following.

Driving to Florida

I decided to spend a few weeks in Florida this winter in order to break the Montreal winter. As a fan of live poker my plan was to hit a few casinos along the way.

Maryland Live was a stellar experience especially since I was upgraded to a suite because my room wasn’t ready when I arrived VB at 530pm. The steak house was incredible and the filet mignon was cooked perfectly. But the front desk employees were the stars wanting to make sure my experience was magical.

Once you get to Virginia, the weather starts to change. The snow has disappeared and the balminess in the air. I had stayed at Live Maryland the night before and played poker the next day with a group of nice guys who welcomed a token Canadian to their table. Their questions were intriguing. Is everyone in Canada French? How come you are English and live in Montreal? Do you play hockey? Why do you guys say ay after every sentence?

I dined at the Prime Smokehouse the next evening and stayed at a Holiday Inn in Rocky Mount. I asked the guy at the desk about a good local restaurant but when he suggested that I dine at Cracker Barrell or Outback, I went to Yelp for help and it worked as the Prime Smokehouse was rated #2. The Prime Smokehouse is now the premiere destination in eastern North Carolina for those seeking good food especially good barbecue, soul food and southern cuisine and great entertainment. Each weekend, patrons in this crucible of jazz and blues history, are treated to local, regional and national touring musicians and entertainers in addition to good food.

South of the Border has been a landmark of the southeast for nearly 70 years. In 1949, Mr. Alan Schafer built a simple 18 x 36 foot beer stand known as South of the Border Beer Depot. As it adjoined the North Carolina counties, which were dry of alcoholic beverages, business boomed. A few years later a 10-seat grill was added and the business was re-named South of the Border Drive-In.

Clarks Inn and Restaurant is a perfect place to stop for a lunch along the way. I would recommend the fried oysters, shrimp and corn soup and the down home Southern hospitality is phenomenal. A couple of observations on the USA

  • They drive slowly especially in the middle part of the USA
  • No one is in a rush – good lesson
  • There are more restaurants than people
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods has a wall of guns for sale – see next picture
  • There are more trucks than cars
  • Speed limits in some States are 70 mph
  • The roads are impeccable and there is virtually no construction

That’s a scary sight. Wouldn’t you agree that if something is readily available, it could cause a proliferation of mass shootings. In Canada, you can legally buy a gun but they are not available at the local sporting goods store.

Savannah, a coastal Georgia city, is separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. It’s known for manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum architecture. Its historic district is filled with cobblestoned squares and parks such as Forsyth Park shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss. At the center of this picturesque district is the landmark, Gothic-Revival Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.

If you live to shop, the Tanger Factory Outlets are just off the highway in Georgia. The stores include . . .

  • Ralph Lauren
  • Coach
  • Michael Kors
  • Oakley
  • Old Navy

Saturday Night in Pennsylvania

Magic is the watchword for 2020. Seth Godin said that marketing is no longer about products or services. It’s about relations, stories and magic. The dictionary definition is . . .
the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

What are mysterious or supernatural powers? They are simply a combination of positive vibration and a high level of energy and passion.

Here’s the shocking truth: hugs boost our happiness levels. And scientific research is there to show this. Basically, a good hug is the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body. Oxytocin, also known as the “love drug”, calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions. Here’s how a good hug resulting in oxytocin flow affects you:

  • It lowers your blood pressure, especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious.
  • It lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone), enabling a higher quality of sleep.
  • It can increase your social connections and a sense of belonging.

As my mother would say, this too shall pass. We certainly cannot change the past. And we cannot predict the future, so we have to accept what is. That doesn’t mean we can’t work to improve our lot in life. Faith is something that is the ultimate intangible. My late father had a tremendous amount of faith in God. But faith requires hope without science. How do we know that there is a God and a place called heaven. We do not. We gotta have faith.

There is a great degree of faith in this statement. Sometimes in life you have to take a leap of faith. If you are willing to trust and believe in someone, you will walk down that path together. And have faith in what will be. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.