Publishing Your Damn Address

There’s apparently a paranoia among some business folks, usually sole props, in publishing their actual address. On business cards and websites specifically it’s conspicuously absent.

I am mystified and annoyed by this move. Why do they do this?

A website needs to have the legitimacy of a real mailing address. All marketing communications must include a real mailing or street address as well, as it pertains to the CAN-SPAM Act as well. So why leave it off? Are you really going to get that much mail? I doubt it. If you do, then contact the responsible parties and request removal.

Some of my business stationary awaiting their commission.

Some of my business stationary awaiting their commission.

The reason I notice is that I send out hard copy notes. Thank you, good to meet you, let’s get together, congratulations, condolences, and for all reasons where a personal note would be valued and appreciated. It’s marketing – very effective marketing at that. And beyond marketing, it’s a very human act of connection. I want people to see that I took the effort to write and send them an actual piece of whobody mail. That they matter.

My advice today: put your mailing address on your business cards, and make it very very obvious on your websites. All retail operations would do well to have their address and hours of operation on the very front page, top. Having to search for it is not customer friendly – it’s customer aggravation in real-time.

Telling people where they can find you is good business and good manners. If you want to do business, you’ve got nothing to hide. Besides, are you really going to regret publishing your address? A PO Box can serve the purpose if you prefer to not give a home office address.

In the age of transparency being good business, publish your damn address. Make it easy for people to find you.

Pre-Workshop Questions On Marketing

My local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hired me to give a marketing workshop this summer. In preparation for the workshop, I asked my fine host to send a few questions forward to the attendees so I could be sure to address them at the seminar.

One of the questions was:

On a scale of 1 – 10 (1 = low, 10 = high) how much do you enjoy marketing your business?

Responses included:

  1. 4 (I really enjoy the outreach I do where I personally talk to awesome entrepreneurs, I am less familiar with other forms of marketing and so enjoy them less).
  2. 10
  3. Maybe a 5 or so
  4. About a 3 (I love creating new music and performing music)
  5. 1 – 2
  6. I enjoy it, but don’t feel very good at it so I tend to put it off.
  7. When I get positive results it feels like a 10!

Okay – so this tells me a few things.

One, that people aren’t really excited about marketing. Reading between the lines tells me that a healthy percentage – likely a majority – of business people don’t fully understand what marketing is. The mentions of a high rating and comments are encouraging. I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Marketing matters.

Marketing matters.

Two, that people are hungry to learn about marketing.

I also asked for replies to this question: What is the most challenging aspect of marketing your business?

  1. Time, energy and budget constraints. I do everything, so often times if we have enough participation – I do very little marketing.
  2. Small Advertising Budget
  3. Where to spend $$$$$$$
  4. Knowing the steps to take that can give me a return.
  5. The most challenging aspect of marketing [my business] is 1) most people don’t want to EVER talk about [specifics of procedure], and 2) I can’t legally admit that there is ANY benefit to [said business], even though it’s been around for thousands of years and countless people worldwide have had miraculous healing from [this procedure].
  6. Understanding what really works and what doesn’t.
  7. Money!
  8. Knowing how, where to spend money and time, what is most effective

This input solidifies that people do in fact need marketing education. The SBDC tells me that their most often requested topic is Marketing. That’s great to hear – I want to change the world by helping people learn, understand, and exercise effective marketing. Like my friend Loren tells me, Marketing Is Sexy.

While that always makes me chuckle, it is a foundational business topic which all businesses and business people must be fully knowledgeable about in order for their work to bear fruit. Marketing is bringing your goods & services to market; it what makes the endeavor viable.

If you have some of the same feelings as these fine people above and want to know more about marketing and how it drives your business, contact me. We can work together to build better business with an appropriate marketing strategy with doable tactics.

Great Programs

“It’s only a great program if 90% of people who walk through your doors are excited.”

Great, amazing, local, millenniala, craft, mindfulness, awesome….

So many overused words, so much over-done enthusiasm.  They’re useful words to be sure. Simply grossly over and mis used.

Call your work and programs as you see them, accurately. Market them accurately. If they’re truly great, your customers are your best marketing tools. Be sure to fully integrate your customer feedback into your marketing plan. Because “Word Of Mouth” is still an investment, it’s not free as a lot of people call it.

If you’re in doubt, watch this pretty darn excellent TED talk on the very overused word, Awesome. She nails it.

What Does “Family Owned” Really Mean?

It always gives me pause when people say they want to work for a family owned company.

Just what does that mean?

It may be convention: that we think that business owned and operated by families, the same families who started the business, is a stable, healthy, sound bunch of smart and adept folks. They’re good  at communicating, diplomacy, honest and overall good people.

What I hear when people say family owned is that they’re romanticizing the idea of what a business can be and how it can operate. It’s a best case scenario fantasy. And don’t we all want the perfect version to be real!

The reality is that we can and do have many, many businesses operating that were started and are run by the family who got them off the ground. Part of that reality is also that it’s not all it’s ever cracked up to be (whatever we might be cracking). Part of the reality is that businesses are run by people: we’re imperfect in every way and beings subject to our environs,

Do your diligence so you don't get turned upside down.

Do your diligence so you don’t get turned upside down.

emotions, and outside influences. It’d almost be unnatural to expect a business to be the idealized version we envision.

So how do we still get motivated and inspired to work for and with – and sometimes start – businesses we can really feel are focused on the ideals of the fantasy. Easy.

  1. Do your research. Whether we work for another person or an entity, the onus is ours to do homework to see what the company is like, to discover its culture and attitude. Make phone calls, have conversations with a variety of people who work with and for the company. See what they can honestly tell you before you move forward in your pursuit.
  2. Pay attention. Do the brands and companies you’re interested in ethically practice in their communities? Are they stewards of the neighborhoods and planet? Do they accept responsibility or lay blame? Do they build or destruct?
  3. Listen to your gut. Our gut reactions to situations and ideas hold a lot of sway. Our gut is sometimes telling us, “Whoa – you’re gonna wanna pay attention here ’cause something’s not quite right.” Just as it could tell us, “Hmmm, this is looking good – not sure why, yet I have a good feeling about it.”

Family owned or not, what’s relevant is to do your diligence in determining who you invest your time and life in. A companies’ marketing can tell you a lot about who they are. Pay attention to words, phrases, images and communications coming from them. Then dig a bit deeper.

What most people are saying when they say they “want to work for a family owned business” is that they want to work for an honest, clean, upbeat and positive company. The literal familial structure isn’t the core; it’s a jacket from another wardrobe.

The hooray’s are all yours for the taking when you do your research; the egg on your face is also all yours if you don’t remove the rose-colored family owned business glasses and see what color the tiger stripes really are.

Book Announcement: How To Marketing Beer To Women, Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer

Ginger Johnson Releases Trailblazing New Book on Marketing Beer to Women

  • Founder of Women Enjoying Beer Debuts Book During GABF Week

Ginger Johnson, founder of Women Enjoying Beer, is releasing a comprehensive new book that instructs beer-industry companies on how to properly market beer to female consumers.

The book — How to Market Beer to Women: Don’t Sell Me a Pink Hammer — is a first-of-its-kind and valuable how-to book for the modern beer industry. The book’s insights are based on surveys Johnson conducted with female beer drinkers and Johnson’s eight years running Women Enjoying Beer, the nation’s only female-focused beer marketing company.

Johnson hopes the book will help fix a shortcoming in the beer industry.

How To Market Beer To Women: Don't Sell Me A Pink Hammer

How To Market Beer To Women: Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer

“I wrote this book,” Johnson says, “because beer companies don’t completely & respectfully market beer to women. They are ridiculously overdue in realizing they must reach out to women with a dedicated effort. It’s not about pinkifying – that’s pandering. It’s about acknowledging with full respect that you want female beer drinkers to be your customers.”

“Women in America make 75-85% of all purchasing decisions,” Johnson notes, “and they can make or break beer companies. So it’s time for beer makers to retire the old sexist and juvenile jokes and get serious about beer and women. If they don’t, they’re missing a huge opportunity.”

On Thursday, October 6 and Friday, October 7 at 6 PM each night in the festival’s bookstore area, Johnson will sign copies of her new book at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

Wednesday, October 5 at 6 PM, Johnson will discuss her book at Kokopelli Beer Company as part of the brewery’s Women’s Wednesday series. Kokopelli is at 8931 N. Harlan St. in Westminster, CO.

Johnson’s main event for her book release takes place on Friday, October 7 at 1 PM at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret on the 16th St., Mall in downtown Denver. Johnson will conduct a “Beer Marketing to Women 101” class at this event and read excerpts from her book and discuss its findings. Admission is free and limited to 100 people. Reservations for seats can be made by contacting the venue at 303-293-0075 or .

In many ways, How To Market Beer To Women ($49) showcases what Johnson has learned since starting her trailblazing company eight years ago. “In 2008,” Johnson recalls, “I looked around and wondered why more women weren’t enjoying beer like I was. That moment was the catalyst for my company and it has driven me ever since. The enjoyment of beer has been foundational to the development to the United States, and it’s a damn shame the beer industry has yet to fully recognize and address women as beer enthusiasts.”

A growing number of craft brewers have benefited from Johnson’s expertise and research.

“Let’s face it,” says Hugh Sisson, founder of Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing, “the Craft Beer Industry – the beer industry in general – has tended to overlook the female side of the market. Ginger Johnson is not only adept at educating brewers to open their eyes to this under-served market segment, but she also gives brewers practical ways to reach this enormous audience.”

For more information on Ginger Johnson and to set up interviews with her, contact Marty Jones at 720-289-9345 or

Contact: Marty Jones, 720-289-9345

Doll House

There are people in this world who make your work worthwhile. Doll Distributing houses a whole slew of them – starting with Mark & Julia Doll, Lauren Doll-Sheeder and going right through their ranks.

IMG_4898I had the pleasure to work with them again this summer in Des Moines, Iowa. Great town, terrific things happening – including developing beer culture. This is in part due to Doll. They’re passionate about ethical business, walk their talk and are super fun to be with. They’re a multi-generational business still going strong because they’re smart, not just because.

As a market with some very specialized expertise (marketing beer to women), working with companies such as Doll bring new invigoration to the game. They help me push on, farther, better.

Glad the feeling and experience is mutual.

Doll Distributing recently teamed up with Ginger Johnson to enhance our team’s selling skills and let me tell you, we were thrilled! Our main activity was an afternoon sales meeting and training regarding beer and food pairings along with some added sales tips. Our team was excited, inquisitive, and attentive during her whole presentation and are still talking about her suggestions! We were grateful to be able to broaden our learning through Ginger’s vast array of knowledge. – Lauren Doll-Sheeder, Doll Distributing

Business Gems

It was such a pleasure to get to experience Karen Barry of The Friedman Group lead a day long leadership development workshop recently. Karen’s a pro – organized, thorough, on track and focused. She’s also got a good sense of reality and humor.

Karen Barry (l) with Anne Breck, VP Stores, Harry & David. Both kick it.

Karen Barry (l) with Anne Breck, VP Stores, Harry & David. Both kick it.

Here are a few gems she shared at the workshop.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth following up.

Green = growing. Ripe = rotting.

If you’re leading without developing followers, you’re just taking a walk.

A directive is not leadership. Credibility in the ability to model and lead is.

Wanting is a cousin to whining.

In training, talk about behavior, not attitude.

Are you just doing your job or are you growing?

Leaders support, they don’t do the work for others.

Think about how all of these relate to your business and your marketing. Connections and improvement possibilities abound.

Business Is The Customer Experience, Not Stats

Why do so many people put so much value on metrics? Why are the statistics so important?

In my forthcoming book I take statistics to task: stats measure what has been, not what can be. You need the psychographic data – the qualitative (vs. quantitative) to really tell you the story of what’s going on. Stats validly measure what has been, then they go silent.

Peter Donovan sums it up in Cows Save The Planet, a smart read by Judith Schwartz:

The thing about data is that it can change our beliefs about what is possible and not possible. It can work on our imaginations, which is important because in our society we have a lot of conflict between the defenders of the impossible, those who say, ‘We can’t do it,’ and the artists of the possible.

Smart companies understand that business is based on the customer experience.

Smart companies understand that business is based on the customer experience.

The Customer Experience is the art of the possible.

In addressing and speaking with the attendees of the Harry and David Store Managers Conference a month ago, I could see how – as the days went forth at the conference – they all saw the art of the possible.

Are there hold outs in every group? Sure, there are always skeptics and skepticism. That doesn’t hold back the artists of the possible, though. In some ways it fuels the fire of progress. Stats are not taking into account what’s possible – they account for what has been. So be it. It’s simply not my reality.

I want every experience I have as a customer to be an exercise in what’s possible, not the ‘no can do’ too many embrace.

Everything is possible.


Discovery Sessions

  • Q: What’s the value in hiring a marketing pro?
  • A: Using and implementing the knowledge you purchase.

Like any transaction, the value in marketing is realized when you put the advice and expertise you asked for into action . Knowledge isn’t power – applied knowledge is power.

Is your marketing helping you make some bacon?

Is your marketing helping you make some bacon?

The Discovery Session is one of my most oft requested services. (Services page here) It’s popular in part because I let clients know that they’ll get LOADS of ideas – an idea blizzard if you will – to utilize. They get to pick and choose the topics we discuss, they then get to pick and choose how they’ll use that insight for their benefit.

I also encourage them to audio record the session. That way they can return to the conversation over and over, as they want and need to refresh for their own continued progress.

Like a car needs a driver with a map. Marketing needs people who will execute with a plan. Right now as we head into the fourth quarter it’s an ideal time to really get your marketing house in order. Hiring the right expert to help you finish the year with a solid plan into the next year is a big gift to yourself and your teams.

When you’re ready to get your marketing show on the road, call me. Discovery Sessions, Marketing Coaching and all the rest are a phone call away.

Useful Redefinitions

In 2015 I applied for and was chosen to give a TED talk.

The day I found out, I was visiting family in Wyoming. Though I like to keep my email and work at bay when trying to vacation, face it – for those of us who own and run businesses, it’s always on our minds. So I quickly checked my email.

"A must read." - G Johnson

“A must read.” – G Johnson

It was enough time to scroll through what looked to need my attention – and there it was. The Invite.

My heart immediately started pounding in my ears, I took the stair two at a time up to where everyone else was and said ” I got in!” Of course they couldn’t read my mind, so I had to tell them: I had been chosen to deliver a TED talk. Whoa.

The theme of the event that year was Redefining Success. We were to speak on a topic that was meaningful to us as to how we discovered the redefinition of success in whatever it was that moved us. I had chosen to address gender equity under the auspices of women, beer and a pink hammer. (Watch the talk here) Redefining success to me, for that talk, was to address gender equity from a new angle.

Forward to today and I want to recommend a book I’ve recently read. Redefining Girly, by Melissa Atkins Wardy. The subtitle is How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualization of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween.

It’s one of the most meaningful books I’ve read in a long time. And not because I’m a parent of a human child.

It’s because what she’s writing about, the ideas she’s sharing and offering are fundamentally useful for everyone. Literally everyone who reads her book can make active and positive changes to fighting and overcoming sexism. The stereotypes and sexualization she writes about is disturbingly real. And completely reversible and changeable. She addresses everyday activity the vast majority of people don’t even think about. That’s not an excuse to keep walking around blind to the changes

Prep day with my TEDx classmate, the fabulous Katy Haber, Compton Cricket Club.

Prep day with my TEDx classmate, the fabulous Katy Haber, Compton Cricket Club.

we must make to make progress in eradicating sexism, starting with how we raise girls and boys.

She outlines clear objectives, steps and ideas we can all implement. She explodes where some of this crap came from and what we can do about it. She does it with respect, intelligent curiosity to explore origins of what our current habits are and professionally provides insight we can all apply.

It’s not a rant. It’s a workbook for all of us to use.

Yes, she’s passionate about her children. The book is really about helping them both, one girl and one boy. Sexism doesn’t damage only females, it absolutely messes up males.

Read this book. Then take real actions to change.

As a marketer this book will become part of my library. Like my dear colleague Marti Barletta states, marketing is marketing. So true. And marketing can get a bad rap, sometimes deservedly so. Sometimes it’s absolutely driven by people in business. There are plenty of really smart and helpful pros in marketing too. Either way, we can use marketing to our benefit and I get the feeling Melissa understands that well. Let’s use the powerful engine of marketing and business to help, not hinder. To elevate, not denigrate.

The TED talk was a highlight of my adult life, personally and professionally. When I’m wrapped up in my own mind sometimes wondering if other people care about what I am giving to the world through my work, my attitude can change course with helpful tools such as Melissa’s and by watching TED talks that bolster our resolve.

Change the world for the better. Redefine you own success by pitching in and defining success for all females and males with a genderless lens. Thanks Melissa, Thanks TEDxNapaValley.