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Face to Face- Priceless February 26, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications, Customer Service, Internal communications, Referral marketing, Sales.

We hear a great deal about the magic of a ‘Tweet” 140 characters to deliver a message.  Others say that Skype calls eliminate the need for travel and the lost time/expense associate with in-person meetings. This technology is great, it has its place, but there are still moments, projects, and situations that require a hand shake, eye-to-eye interaction, hand drawn diagrams -a human connection.

During the past few months I’ve encountered a few situations where a 15-minute meeting unwinds all the misunderstandings and fatigue caused by an e-mail trail. Sometimes reconnecting on a human level resets a relationship, energizes it, gets things back on-track. This can work internally or with external communications, both are very important, yet unique, and should be handled with due care.

Like most things in life, communications too comes full-circle.  Face to face may be making a comeback, to me, that’s priceless.

What’s your face to face success story? I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy the day.


The Power of Thank You January 27, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, non-profit, Philanthropy, Referral marketing, Sales.
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Whether you are acknowledging a present, business referral or expressing gratitude to a donor at a non-profit, sending something to express your gratitude should be standard procedure.  In our hurried SMS text and e-mail world, the power of a handwritten thank-you note is astounding.

Part of my weekly routine includes sending written thank-you cards to people who have helped with a business (or personal) matter. Today getting “snail mail” is often as infrequent as a fax. Granted there is a cost and some inertia to overcome, but what is the price of an impersonal thank-you?bigstock-Thank-you-vector-stamp-24628313

Forget the lists-just focus January 1, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Corporate Social Responsibility, Freedom, Referral marketing, Uncategorized, Veterans.
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The past few days I’ve read numerous Twitter posts and some blog articles about the “top 5 or top 12” things you need to do for success in the New Year. Although these are informative I feel that real progress or “success” in 2012 will come from focus. I’m not even talking about a formal written plan, for me it will be about self-discipline and remaining focused on the things that will move my personal and business lives forward with a lean toward balance (the thing virtually all humans struggle with today).

If it helps here are some of the things on my agenda :

  • Balance– pressure often comes from within prioritizing work/personal tasks, dividing up the day in segments is what I plan to try. Working in some exercise, music, pleasure reading and family time is on the radar.
  • Doing the Work– scheduling  client assignments, meetings, writing tasks, phone calls, blog posts and other small business owner tasks even on days when I don’t feel like it.
  • Helping– waiting for the corporate hand puppets in D.C. or  the State government level to help make this world a better place is a fantasy. The elderly, developmentally challenged and veterans are largely disenfranchised and that needs to change. These are amongst the causes I plan to help in 2012.
  • Tuning negativity out– this includes much of the election year lunacy, divisiveness , lies and mud-slinging. I’ll tune in enough to be informed and then it’s off. This includes main stream news, “gloom and doom” market reports and pundits. People who want to moan and sap energy, the voicemail goes on; period. Sanity will come from interacting  with positive people that want to make a difference. Other diversions from the madness will include Sirius XM radio, my iPod and portable HD radio (a Christmas gift which is really nice).

Small business people have been hurt by Wall Street, State, County and local level governing bodies-they are clueless and don’t give a damn about you or your future. It’s time to build our own networks and move things ahead with self-reliance and old-fashioned grit.  Networking, referrals and opportunities through involvement are the key to success from my point of view.

Focus and self-help begins in 3,2,1…

small Business Saturday November 26, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Marketing Planning, Referral marketing.
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Today we all have an opportunity to put some organized focus on supporting local merchants in the neighborhood. Small Business Saturday is more of a statement than anything, but hopefully it will build an awareness of all the things you (likely) need are nearby; being sold by a neighbor trying to carve out a living as a small business owner. The Edison Park Chamber located in my Chicago neighborhood is distributing a punch-card, offering a premium for visiting multiple merchants in the area . This is 101 marketing, (not expensive) merchants working together to gut through challenging times is just what we need to stimulate store traffic. http://www.edisonpark.com/

So today I started with breakfast at Mac’s Cafe, a classic old diner that was remarkably busy. It’s on to some small merchants for a few Christmas gifts.

Ready to join me?

A Guest Interview with Tina Roper August 1, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Interactive Marketing, Referral marketing, Site visibility.
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In today’s post I wanted to do something different, sharing some of the “behind the scenes” strategy and client interaction steps we employ at Wisdom Bridge Marketing.  The following interview with Tina Roper an expert web designer and internet strategist who recently worked with me on a client assignment provides a  perspective on creating “momentum” for web sites, enjoy.

 Tina Bower Roper

 Special Interview with Tina Roper Web Designer & Internet Marketer 

Tina as you know we recently completed the redesign of the website for Graceland Prairie Dental http://www.drbarrydds.com/   in Des Plaines Illinois. One of the unique differentiators of the practice is the sedation dentistry credentials that Dr. Joseph Barry, DDS holds. Knowing this was one of the key points the  client wanted to convey to the marketplace, how did you approach the website updates?

Dr. Barry had been a client previously at Wisdom Bridge Marketing, both for traditional marketing collateral and for a website presence. When he returned as a client just a few months ago, I was happy to hear of his expanding practice. The addition of new dentists and staff, change to the business name and the new sedation dentistry credentials conveyed to me a one word design concept: momentum.

But how do you translate a one word idea like “momentum” into an effective website update?

When Dr. Barry first became a client, he needed a professional yet basic presence. By “basic”, I don’t mean “plain”; no client wants to think that they are getting something ordinary just because they are just getting started on the internet. Rather, by “basic” I mean what was needed initially was to communicate services and contact information at a minimum. This was accomplished, as was a clean design that was friendly and inviting.

When a client returns for website updates, sometimes they want a complete design overhaul, sometimes they want a refresh. In the case of Dr. Barry’s return, he and his staff provided a clear outline for a refresh to announce the new practice name Graceland Prairie Dental. This included adding new content to the site: a new company logo (which was created as traditional marketing collateral, then translated an internet format and incorporated into the website design concept), new copy, promotional coupons and photos and bios for each of the staff members. The refresh achieved the “momentum” concept: a build-out of their website presence that increased the volume and – most importantly – the quality of information on their site.

Since the practice is also growing with the addition of Doctors Swanson and Cox, what was your goal to convey the practice expansion while maintaining the “small neighborhood friendliness” they deliver?

Any time a client decides to refresh their marketing collateral or update their website, they are subliminally telling existing and potential customers that they are paying attention and willing to change. In my opinion, there is nothing better that a neighborhood-based business can do than to show its willingness to grow and adapt as changes are occurring in the community around them. That flexibility can translate in to word-of-mouth referrals that can ripple far beyond the neighborhood. Leads are invaluable in any business, whether that business is transitioning through an expansion or not. Changes to your branding or messaging makes customers (and competitors) take notice. In today’s economy, you can’t afford to go unnoticed. Therefore, you can’t afford to have an outdated website.

By choosing not only to update their site, but also to add photos of real and friendly faces, Graceland Prairie Dentals says to their community “We’re approachable”. And let’s face it, everyone wants to feel comfortable when they go to the dentist’s office! Their strategy to use staff photos instead of stock photos was a good decision from a website design perspective. A business should take advantage of any and all opportunities to make themselves accessible to their customers. To do so builds rapport, and good rapport means happy customers that will return with their business in the future.

When you thought about site visibility and how to help the practice secure some favorable search positioning, what was the approach taken?

To be effective at building a website, a designer must go beyond coding metadata keywords behind the scenes. They have to also be skilled at ensuring quality content management. This means knowing how to present copy that is descriptive enough to get the point across, yet concise enough to get picked up by the search engines. Infusing keywords outside of the metatags and into the copy, page titles and descriptions is essential. This placement and balance is the skill of a seasoned website designer, and not a setup that just anyone can achieve in a WYSIWYG website editor. And because search engine crawl methods and keyword criteria are changing all the time, a good website moderator will be informed about those changes and know exactly how to flex with them to achieve the maximum results for their website clients. Know who you are hiring, and know that investing in someone who has those capabilities can mean return dividends to your business.

If you’d like to discuss momentum and visibility for your web site just drop me a note :


Book Review-Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead April 25, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Music marketing, Referral marketing.
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This 2010 book by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan offers some great insights on what it takes to become an iconic brand. I selected this book largely out of curiosity regarding the title. As only a casual Grateful Dead fan, I now have a new appreciation of how the band defied the “best practices” of music marketing in the 60’s and beyond.  Through a spirit of generosity (long before it ever became a social media buzz term) the Dead bent all the rules and created huge revenue streams from a community of fans.

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead also offers a series of “call out” points that encapsulate how the band made money while giving many things away for free along the way.  The authors also point out the importance of social responsibility and how the Grateful Dead ultimately created the Rex Foundation to give back by financially supporting human services, the arts and environmental causes.

At just a tad over 150 pages, this is a brief, yet powerful read.

2010 in review January 2, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Marketing, Marketing Planning, Referral marketing, Uncategorized.
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Hello all,

As we start the New Year I wanted to share a very nice report that Word Press provides to bloggers. If you are a recent subscriber, please check out  the top-4 posts of 2010 (the podcast on market research with Jason Kuhl from the Arlington Heights Library is still available-well worth the listen).  If you have any topics from the world of marketing you’d like to see covered I’d welcome the ideas.

Should you know of anyone who would benefit from the free subscription to the Common Sense Marketing blog, please pass this link along.

Action is the key word sharpen those guerrilla marketing tactics and get things moving this week.

Here’s to you and a great 2011!


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has 296 steps to reach the top. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2010. If those were steps, it would have climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa 3 times

In 2010, there were 31 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 34 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 47mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 12th with 27 views. The most popular post that day was Common Sense Marketing Podcast launches.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, digg.com, mail.yahoo.com, wisdombridgemarketing.com, and slashingtongue.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jack macholl, “macholl”, wisdom bridge marketing, macholl, and take care of business in a flash.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Common Sense Marketing Podcast launches April 2010


Honoring our family heroes May 2010


About February 2010


Branding- Has Mediocrity Become the new “Good?” September 2010
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Do you ask for referrals? June 17, 2010

Posted by Jack Macholl in Marketing, Referral marketing.
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While reading The Referral Engine, a new book by John Jantsch I wondered how many businesses take time to coach employees on proper ways to ask for and nurture referral business opportunities?

In the book John encourages us to determine the “ideal client” and the characteristics they have. Once you complete that client profile, finding an organized, formal approach to educating your employees/sales staff on what to look for and an organized (trust building) process (not just hopping on the phone and asking for the business).

Additionally, many small, transaction oriented businesses may want to create simple referral cards; seeking support from loyal customers, asking them to help promote what you offer. You can provide referral sources discounts or free product in exchange for their word-of-mouth recommendations. This may involve some tracking of results, however, its likely the dividend (increased traffic for retailers) will be substantial if you try.

Are you ready to get your referral engine started?  The web link above will take you to The Referral Engine book site, where the author has generously provided several very useful tools that can help energize your thoughts in this area.

If you have a program that is working, please weigh-in on this post. There are many businesses out there that can surely use some ideas from the great minds in the network.