About Dean La Douceur


Posts by Dean La Douceur:

Adapt or Die

IID-100359940f you market a product or service, your reaction to the following statistic shows where you are located in the digital divide.

More than half of digital traffic online now comes from mobile devices and through mobile apps. A comScore report says smartphones and tablets combined now account for 6o percent of all online traffic up from 50 percent a year ago.1

If this scares you, it should.

Yet, too many business owners, marketing consultants and know it all’s still pine for the past. You can wax nostalgic all you want and get upset when people click past you, won’t return your phone calls and box you out while cold calling. The truth is that if you don’t have significant digital awareness, you might as well be living back in the 1950’s along with Fonzie and Ritchie Cunningham.

One rule which the greased back and saddle shoe marketers can’t shake is the overwritten copy about how great they are. I know they know that it’s about the customer, but they want their solutions to sound so grand and majestic.  A small X in the upper right corner is the true sign of their demise.  One click and they are gone to ad and marketing Valhalla where all great and important marketing campaigns go to die.

Crisp copy that engages a decision maker, then creates engagement and ultimately converts their interest it into a sale is the key. If you are reading this, you know this. But the problem is too many digital marketers want to look like they are wearing a cashmere sweater, but pay the price of an acrylic knit. Invest in your digital strategy. Don’t just pretend that a weekly dabble is enough. Don’t lie to yourself that having personal social media is the same as having a campaign based strategy with good metrics and A/B testing. If these terms are Greek to you, work with someone who knows how to create the outcomes you want by using the tools available.

You have to adapt to the technology or your business will die. It’s really that simple a choice: adapt or die.


Five Simple Market Hacks To Implement RIGHT NOW


Five Simple Market Hacks To Implement RIGHT NOW
I. Focus on identifying areas for growth and creating strategies how you plan on reaching new, tighter target markets.
II. Use digital marketing tools and strategies to reach your decision makers BEFORE they make a decision. Once they’ve bought, it’s too late.
III. Welcome as much customer feedback on your business,  no matter how much it hurts your ego.
IV. Keep your eye on the rear view mirror; someone is coming up behind you – DISRUPTION HAPPENS.
V. Be willing to invest in your success. Work with partners who know what they’re doing. Spend more of your time and energy doing the tasks and duties which bring you success.

Shining The Spotlight On Awareness of YOUR Business

photographic-spotlight-1418290-640x480In sales and marketing, you cannot overstate or downplay the value of awareness.   100 Percent of people who didn’t know your business was an available option didn’t buy your product or service.  Some of you say this fact is obvious, but it is also 100 percent true.

Successful business owners know that generating profitable sales goes beyond merely having a product or service to sell. Your overall success of also relies on how effective you are in creating greater visibility and awareness for your brand, products or services, especially with targeted customers who are about to make purchasing decisions.

Businesses with massive marketing budgets once went the traditional route and spent fortunes advertising on radio, TV and print pieces. According to research from the State Bar of Michigan, the Great Lake State has currently over 33 Thousand lawyers practicing law. If you watch the same local broadcast TV for news I do, you would think there are only eleven law firms practicing in the state and most of them specialize in Social Security and disability, accidents claims or divorce and family law.  Some of these firms first try cases in the headlines. Others sponsor everything possible program they possibly can put their name on.  Others have catchy jingles, celebrity spokespersons or moody music to make the point that they are out here for us.

What do you do to stand out?

Awareness means more than you are the person who comes to mind when I say the generic term for your field or area of expertise.   It means that those who are making a purchasing decision consider what you do a real and available solution for the products and services they seek.

Now, in the rapidly evolving digital age, all businesses can get the same or even better visibility and exposure for their brands through utilizing digital marketing channels.  The most important of which is the strategic use of social media. This also has the advantage of a lower point of entry, less than the cost of the traditional media that those law firms use.

Creating greater awareness for your brand can be a bit challenging particularly for small and medium businesses.  Too many people think just because they have a simple account for their personal use, this should create an avalanche of business for their company. Effectively using social media platforms for a consistent campaign can however level the playing field.  It seems it should be simple, but to create an effective campaign takes experience, knowledge and insight. Understanding how to reach your targeted customers effectively gives g your business the potential access to over  2.05 billion active social media accounts.

It has to begin somewhere. The first step on the journey of digital marketing success starts with awareness.  It bears repeating: 100 Percent of people who didn’t know your business was an available option didn’t buy your product or service.  You can’t rush out and put closing sales and being profitable before it.

In my next post, I will talk about the second step in the process.



If the financial markets no longer trust big radio, can you?

cumulustrans copyCumulus Media owns many of the most prestigious broadcast properties in radio: KLOS and KABC in Los Angeles, WLUP and WGN in Chicago, WJR in Detroit, WABC and WPLJ in New York. All told, Cumulus owns and operates 460 different radio stations in 90 markets.

On September 29th, the stock of Cumulus Media bottomed out at 68 cents a share. This closing price for the number two radio ownership group in the US represented an 83% drop in the stock’s value since the beginning of 2015. As a result, Cumulus has since then languished in the low to mid 70 cent range and is now considered a penny stock. Compare this to its debt load of $2.5 billion and it’s net operating income of only $11.8 million, and you can see a significant problem. The market cap itself — about equal in value to that of 10 major market FM stations — has Cumulus worth more if it was broken up than from keeping it together. On the 29th, Cumulus’s board then announced that Lewis W. Dickey Jr., the founder of the company, would be stepping down as its President and CEO.

The number one station group owner, IHeartRadio, is also in depressed shape. IHeartRadio operates over 850 radio stations nationwide. The stock recently closed at 4.15, which is just shy of 4.01; the lowest overall share price in the last 52 weeks. While the stock rebounded to 8.50 in the late spring, news of what happened at Cumulus has driven IHeartRadio share prices down once again this year to near dangerous record lows.

For communicators and marketers, this lack of confidence from the financial markets is an urgent SOS. Confidence that radio is the direct medium to demographics who actively buy, make choices between products and are seeking new information seems nonexistent. The shift to personal digital technology has changed in how music, news, and information are all packaged, reported and consumed. This single fact has this once venerable industry now on its knees and begging for mercy.

smashed-radioDon’t think the broadcast industry is turning a blind eye to this. Every radio property has its own digital footprint, with website offerings and whole communities dedicated to music formats and lifestyles. Cumulus is betting heavy on Nash; the Modern Country outpost it created.

Even in your vehicles, (more…)

The marketing bait that attracts the fish

fishing-for-money-1416836-639x961A cold steel hook rarely catches a fish. Experienced anglers know they have to bait the hook to draw the attention of the fish in order to hook and draw them in.   In marketing, there is only one effective way to bait your hook. The marketing bait which will draw in your prospects, clients and supporters is an effective headline.

From print ads to social media posts, your target audience is party to an endless flow of information snippets. It takes a great deal to cut through the clutter. Since your goal is to attract someone to your social site, landing page, piece of content or ad, it is critical you learn how to bait the hook with headlines that get action.

Three Types of Bait

As someone who is fishing would use minnows, flies, and worms, we have our three types of bait. Attached are the three most powerful appeals I use and in parentheses how they may engage the brain of my audience.

Evidence or proof is a great way to attract attention. It plays off the idea of herd experiences, where members of your audience don’t want to be left out.

  • The secret behind how Oprah achieved her unequaled success. (No one can dispute that Oprah Winfrey has had outstanding business success, no matter what you think of her. Knowing this could lead to more success on our part.)
  • Join the list of top business leaders who have already downloaded this eBook. (If a group of top business leaders know something, most business professionals looking to get ahead also want to have that knowledge.)
  • Be the someone that other car drivers ask.  (Cars are a status item. If someone of influence is the first one and demonstrates leadership and innovation, everyone is at least curious how they did it.)

Pain avoidance is an effective way to get the attention. This headline ties directly back to the possibility or actual occurrence of a negative event and what you could do to avoid it.

  • Don’t pay outrageous heating costs again this winter. (No matter the climate, no one wants to pay more than they have to for natural gas, heating oil or electricity.)
  • Before you take your infant out, the four things to check on their car seat. (Most parents are cautious around infants and toddlers.)
  • How to keep in Google’s good graces with your SEO. (All technologists work hard to stay on the right side of Google’s search algorithms, and no one wants to fall to page two because of a stupid mistake. )

Success motivation is my favorite bait to use. It comes from a (generally) sincere desire to help others achieve their goals, feel better about what they are doing and find the success which they seek.

  • Teach you dog whose master once and for all. (Every dog owner would like to end the tug of war between them and their pet.)
  • Just three minutes a day will positively lower your cholesterol. (Good health in just three minutes? It sounds too good to be true, I wonder what they suggest?)
  • What to say next time you ask your boss for a raise. (Everyone feels they deserve more money. Yet, the majority of employees get tongue tied and nervous at just the mention of the idea. Sure, let me know what to say.)

Take the time to develop bait which will attract those you want to catch. Writing great headlines takes practice and skill. With time, you will be landing schools of fish into your marketing boat.


Quotes from Ad Man David Oglivy

ogilvy2David Ogilvy was an advertising executive who was widely hailed as “The Father of Advertising”. In 1962, Time called him “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry”.   He brought innovation and research into a field that was often composed of froth and make believe. His activities and insights make him worthy of the term Markethacker.

Quotes from Ad Man David Oglivy  

  • I don’t know the rules of grammar. If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language.
  • The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.
  • The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.
  • Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.
  • What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.
  • Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.
  • The secret of long life is double careers. One to about age sixty, then another for the next thirty years.
  • In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.
  • I prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance.
  • Like a midwife, I make my living bringing new babies into the world, except that mine are new advertising campaigns.
  • Political advertising ought to be stopped. It’s the only really dishonest kind of advertising that’s left. It’s totally dishonest.
  • The advertisers who believe in the selling power of jingles have never had to sell anything.

The one sure way to kill any marketing program

money-gun-1495486-640x480There is one sure way to kill any marketing program – Underfund it.

Marketing takes capital. Only liars will tell you differently.  They will say you can just work hard and good things will happen.

Capital will not take the place of hard work, but as yeast is a catalytic agent … so too is Capital.

How much should you budget? Even the brightest minds argue how much. I have seen figures from as low as 2% of sales up to 10% of projected revenues, depending on where you are in the business cycle.

Isn’t Markethacking supposed to be about marketing your business for low or practically no costs?

You can’t have a website if you won’t pay for a domain. You can’t go networking if you won’t pay for business cards. You may have expenses, but you have to invest some capital into your project. Ideas and effort alone will not make your business a success.

One key to Markethacking is putting the money into things that matter.

People matter. You can’t be like Tom Sawyer and con everyone into whitewashing your fence while you skip down the street.  Raw materials matter. You need the elements that make your product and service.

You can’t say that you will market when you have the money.  You will never have the money if you think that. 

You can’t cringe and cry when it’s time to invest in the elements of your marketing. See the costs as similar to utilities. You would be lost without electricity, gas and water.

You can’t go cheap on elements of marketing when you have no experience or ability. If you aren’t a photographer or writer, hire one. Hire a good one. Don’t rationalize some half-baked effort and say “Good Enough.” Good enough really isn’t.

Take the time to invest in your future. Set a percentage of each dollar you earn for marketing:  4 to 6 cents doesn’t sound like a lot, but it could ensure that you will have the ability to create the awareness you want in the future.

There is one way to feed the future of any marketing program – fund it.

What is your “Go to the Moon” declaration?

240px-John_F._Kennedy_speaks_at_Rice_UniversityOn September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech before a crowd of 35,000 people in Houston’s Rice University football stadium.

Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …” It is best known as the “We will go to the Moon” speech, where he laid out the vision for this to be accomplished.

From that day forward, the limits of a country’s imagination were stretched further than all the science fiction writers previously. The will of the American people,  engaged in a Cold War/Space Race with the Soviet Union, were now galvanized towards a specific outcome.  The modern aerospace and technology industries were never the same.

On July 20, 1969, the bold proclamation made that day by President Kennedy came into full fruition.  Neil Armstrong descended from the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Module and set foot on the barren, rocky surface of Earth’s moon for the first time.  Today’s planetary explorations stand squarely on the shoulders of this one single accomplishment: Man had reached up for Earth’s moon and finally landed upon it.

What is your “Go to the Moon” declaration?  

What is the statement which you need to make with such boldness and confidence that you are willing to marshal every resource, both known and unknown, towards achievement of a goal?

Market Hackers need to have that same vision and desire to bring it all together.  Even though it has been over 53 years since that speech and 46 years since that first lunar landing, the impact on the collective culture is immeasurable. A bold statement, backed by progressive action and focused resources, achieved a mighty goal.

Perhaps your vision isn’t as historic?  But take inspiration from the achievement of the goal of interplanetary travel which has been spoken about throughout the ages.

What is your “Go to the Moon” declaration? What is the idea in which you have bold confidence, focused resources and tireless determination to achieve?

Knowing it makes you a marketer. Doing it makes you a market hacker.

Does your website suffer from CRUFT? Here’s what to do about it.

As a professional writer, I champion “Your Content Matters.” Yet, the exact opposite quality content is cruft.

Cruft is low quality and duplicate content on websites that needs serious attention. While some blow it off as harmless or something they will get around to fixing, this extraneous information is actually quite harmful to your websites potential. Here is a great video from MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday to help keep your webpage content tidy and taught which will result in keeping your search rankings high.


Your Content Matters. Insure that your content is high quality and very searchable.


RENAISSANCE MAN: Leonardo Di Vinci would have been a market hacker.

da-vinci1Leonardo da Vinci, who performed brilliantly in so many different fields, is best known by history as a Renaissance Man. His areas of strength included painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, invention, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. To perform as a market hacker, you have to develop the mindset of a renaissance man.

This is no idle claim. To call yourself a effective market hacker means to combine the knowledge of the modern diciplines including digital technologist, marketing director, artist, psychologist, ethicist, and brand champion.

Market hackers are wise in the ways of digital technology. They understand that metrics gives them greater power over their brick and mortar counterparts.  Traditional market research would have an intern sit at the front door to count people who walk in. They would send follow-up surveys and hope they received a representative response.  Market hackers know who is coming to their site, and more importantly how to take this to get more of those they want to come.

Market hackers are world class marketing directors.  They know the tools and techniques of business communication to ensure that their message gets out to their target audience. They understand how all the elements work together to create a sound call to action.

Market hackers have the flair of an artist. An artist shows us worlds that may not exist, but could be in our imagination. So too does the market hacker. In his vision is a wrong that can be solved by this right. He sees something better that hasn’t arrived, but through his prophecy, it is much closer to fulfillment than ever before.

Market hackers are learned behavioral psychologists. They understand complex human emotions and deliver solutions of connectivity. They know that lost and lonely are no way to spend your first night in a new city. They appreciate that others like many of the same interest that you do and having you all interacting is a very good thing indeed. They appreciate the struggles that people experience every day and think, “wouldn’t it be nice if ….”

Market hackers are also cognizant ethicists. They walk right up to the line of right and wrong to ask, is what I want to do legal, fair or appropriate? They want to test the established boundaries and norms, in an attempt to use this as the catalyst for something new, different and innovative. Market hackers make a decision on the ethics and morals on their course of actions what they do as part of their innovation.

Market hackers serve as brand champions. They put every thought, emotion, action and feeling available into making a product truly a success. They know that there is no turning back once they chart a course of action; their success is their only measuring stick.

Leonardo’s genius was truly representative of the progress from the Renaissance Era. He is best remembered as a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination.1” As Di Vinci was a great master of his renaissance age, history will remember market hackers as the leaders, innovators and renaissance men and women of the 21st Century.

1 – Gardner, Helen (1970). Art through the Ages. pp. 450–456

Don’t Fear “The Hack”

hand-on-keyboard-1243602-640x480The term “Hack” can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on where you stand.

For those Baby Boomers who feel the word has a negative connotation, make friends with the term hack. Your younger business associates, family members and media use it every day.

Let’s start with a simple definition: Hack. Noun. A tool, technique or process used to create a successful outcome. Often, the hack is learned from an expert in the field or specialist as a short cut or direct route for the desired success. It can also apply to using items or techniques of which someone hasn’t thought to use.

A hack the answer to the question, “What do I have to do to get this done?” Your answer: “Here’s the hack.” Synonyms include process, way, method, dao and system. Like any slang term, the edge comes from the insider implications that those who use it know something that the common man or woman does not.

The most common current use of the term is Life Hacks. Drop your smart phone in water? Here’s the hack for it. Want to get stains out of an expensive shirt? Here’s the hack for that. Can’t afford something and you want an alternative? There’s a hack for that too.

Growth Hacking was coined to describe the various tools and techniques grounded in digital marketing that are used by this generation of startup businesses whose foremost object is growth in all areas of their enterprise: market share, awareness, prestige, profits.

Market Hacking is actually using the success principles that these startups and young entrepreneurs use to steal sales, gain market share and divert positioning away from an established business and use these tools and techniques to beat them at their own game.

This essay is a hack. The goal is to teach you why this term is highly effective and why you should embrace it, not fear it like a persistent cough. Bottom Line: Embrace it … Don’t Fear “The Hack”