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Lots of years ago, before I opened my own firm, I was a Media Director, first for two advertising agencies in New York City and then for the largest one in New Jersey.

The print advertising pattern was always the same, and I had no power to change it:  stay out of the January and February issues, while the clients finalized their media budgets for the year; advertise in March, April, May and part of June: stay out of the latter part of June, plus July and August when everyone was on vacation; advertise in September, October and the first part of November, before everyone was distracted by the holidays; then stay away from late November and December, unless you were a retailer.  Year after year this nonsense went on.  

In 1981 Al Ries and Jack Trout published a landmark book, Positioning – The Battle for your Mind.  The book had a profound impact on me.  In fact I consider it one of the three best business books of the 20th century and have yet to hear a critical word about it.  Audience members often report that the book changed the way they thought about their businesses.  

Having invented the word “positioning,” Pies and Trout proceeded to explain it.  (No, the term “niche marketing,” which soon followed, was not the same thing.)

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Yeah!  It’s summer!   

One of the reasons that summer is such a marketing success story is that the pace lets up a bit.  We have time to think, and we can be more productive.

If you tend to work with a messy desk as I do, you suddenly get the urge to clean it up.  Once you can see the surface, what do you do?  Why, you make a resolution that you’ll keep your desk neat from now on.  After all, it’s so much easier to find things and accomplish more . . . at an accelerated pace.

Usually the resolution about keeping a desk clean lasts no more than a few weeks, but here’s what happens in those weeks:  you go through snail mail more quickly; you respond to voice mails faster, since it’s less painful to sit at your desk; you even answer emails sooner than usual.

So, direct marketers, please note:  direct mail receives better attention in the summer.  This is not just because of a desire to go through mail a.s.a.p. to keep the desk clean; it’s also because there’s less of it.

And the reason why?  It’s obvious.  

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Had an interesting meeting with a new client this morning.  

He’s very computer savvy, and he wants to put his expertise to use by training others.

He told me he believes he has two ways to go.  

The first is to develop an online business, with brief, how-to videos for sale at very reasonable prices; the other possibility is to get out in the field and train people face-to-face.

I could tell he was somewhat conflicted.  As a computer guy, he was already counting his money from high-volume sales of inexpensive products.

Yet, when he described his experiences to date in helping people either face-to-face or through an online website that allowed both parties to participate, he was smiling.  It was clear he reveled in compliments and being able to see instant results of his expertise.

My client has an outgoing personality and an easy smile.  He’s a people person, unlike so many of the computer geniuses we encounter today, who just want to work at their computers and create interesting stuff.  He relishes the idea of speaking to groups of people.  Fortunately he’s not desperate for cash. 

Well, you can guess which fork in the road he’s going to take.  

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In the past couple of months, I’ve watched three clients struggle with internalization.  

What is it?  

Well, as best I can explain it, internalization is the act of creating all kinds of scenarios– usually negative – in one’s mind and becoming paralyzed into inaction, without ever considering seeking help.  Medically, that might not be totally correct; but that’s what happened in these three instances.

The three client situations were all centered around family.   And, without seeking advice from others as to how they could begin to address these challenges, they allowed their businesses to be badly ignored.

Once you ignore your business, it doesn’t take long to see a decline in clients, leads, referrals and prospects.  Then, as the business heads south, you begin to feel like a failure.

Perhaps you want to seek another business or field, or maybe you have delusions of all the other things you might like to do.  Usually the ideas are rather impractical, or they might involve venturing into something with which you have little to no experience.  Instead of solving the challenges, you look for an escape, which solves nothing.

It just gets worse.  

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Peoples’ attitudes towards summertime marketing never cease to amaze me.  There’s still far too much of “We don’t market during the summer.  Everyone’s on vacation.”

Well sure, people do vacation in the summer.  That’s true.  

Dig a bit deeper, however, and you’ll realize that people go away for an average of just one week.  So?  There are 13 weeks to summer, and not everyone vacations in the same week.  Duh!

People are more relaxed during warm weather.  They’re more likely to respond to voice or emails more promptly.  And yes, they’re under less deadline pressure.  These are just a few considerations that make summer, in my book, the most effective season of the year to market.  (Of course there are those for whom summertime is high season, but those who are too busy to market pay a steep price in the fall, facing an empty pipeline.)

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