Thursday, January 5, 2012

A local Fencemaker makes good

Jim Smith and Charlie Miller
of Texas Rock and Fence.
When we first met Jim Smith, he was in the construction business, working in Grand Prairie, Texas and gaining a reputation as a man of his word, in an industry not always known for personal accountability and integrity. He did what he said he'd do, and rode herd on his people to make sure projects were completed on time, and usually under budget.

So, it was a pleasant surprise to catch up recently, and see that he's opened his own company, and is working to bring his high-level of "bidness" savvy to the fence, wall & gate industry in North Texas.

He serves customers all over Dallas and Fort Worth, and focuses most of Texas Rock and Fence's efforts on Grand Prairie, Arlington, Mansfield and Grapevine. Using Facebook, Twitter and a regular stream of Google Adwords, he's getting the word out on this company, and seems to be getting results. A good example of utilizing local search where most small companies fail miserably.

What we like best is that Jim innovates. Instead of showing up at fence, wall or gate customers' doors and giving them an instant ballpark estimate, he carefully reviews all the factors of landscape, wood, metal or rock fence materials, installation issues and time required and reports back in 24 hours. His written estimate is rich in details, and spells out exactly what the fence customer can expect.

He and his Sales Head, Charlie Miller, also use laptops, iPads and iPhones to communicate with their design and installation teams, and their customers. He has even created a YouTube channel to share his fence and wall work, and his business philosophy. High tech stuff for a fence company in Grand Prairie, Texas.

It's unusual that a fence company would go to this trouble, but then again it's Texas Rock and Fence, and it's Jim Smith.

To learn more about Jim and Texas Rock and Fence's efforts in the DFW area., go to his site here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs and the Corporate Persona

The world is experiencing one of those life-jolts today as word spreads and news sinks in that Steve Jobs, the computer-visionary-turned-marketing-master, has died.

A sad moment, and a loss felt across an extraordinary slice of humankind. Steve Jobs was, as the Washington Post noted "Bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it."

He was a visionary man, a creative force, and carried with him the strength of his conviction. So much so, that the image, the Jobsian allure moved millions to embrace his take on "cool," and motivated an entire company to strive to perform at a higher level.

It wasn't always that way at Apple.

Point of fact, the company lost its way more than once (remember John Scully? Gil Amelio?) but clung to its core belief that its products were simple better than all the players in the PC marketplace, especially looking down upon its behemoth nemesis Microsoft. And even though at times the stumbles put it on a tenuous footing, the common thread of its ability to speak to a loyal base buoyed it through the troubles.

And, it's this thread, seemingly spun of gold that strengthened Jobs' ability to weave a bolder story in his second surge at the company, and eventually lead Apple, the Mac, the iPod, iPhone and iPad to new highs in corporate cache. He was all too aware of the power that gave him. Much like Edison's talent for driving innovation and promoting genius, Jobs established a culture inside and outside the company that kept a tight grip on opinion.

His PR machine let the media flail away and boost the company mystique often in spite of its efforts. The even more powerful marketing machine made geekiness even cooler, and brought technically-advanced products to the market in a such a cohesive manner that high tech became the sort of human support mechanism it's always purported itself to be. Apple products resonated with the buying public because they could make life easier.

We went along because we really wanted to think that Jobs believed in the better-living-through-modern-science promise AND understood the modern world's pent-up demand for such a product, such a company, such a leader. He championed that promise to harness the imagination and disposable income of millions.

Gurus take on all shapes and proportion to the problems they tackle. Jobs not only willed his company to enormous success, he also guided its image to a plateau that drove billions in sales and market value.

Lots of CEO's purport to lead. Many try to take on bigger/better leader status, and so many fail. The suit doesn't fit, and the music isn't right and the words don't sync with the picture. There is power at the top, but it simply doesn't shine brightly enough to light the whole building.

Is this the fault of the leadership or their public relations and marketing machines? Likely both, but the guiding light has to emanate from somewhere, and for all the stars, only so many are bright enough to cast shadows of significant proportion. We think you look to the top star because he/she has a gift for driving success, for seeing the timing and for embracing public need, but more importantly, the leader knows how to exponentially affect change via a core team of very strong followers. We think of this team as people who could be their own star, but choose to burn more brightly in a more cohesive glow.

They ALL mind the lighthouse, and the seafaring world is better for it.

That is the real genius of Jobs. He made the extraordinarily difficult seem magical (not easy) and he surrounded himself with talent and thinking that glowed even brighter with his guidance. Try to think
of another CEO so revered, and today so remembered. Nope, not there.

Corporate mavens, marketeers and PR flacks take note: if you're not up to the challenge either get out, or gear up. We all could use some Jobs-like greatness in today's economy, and the world is waiting for a sign.

RIP Steve Jobs. The world is better for your being, and perhaps "the Cloud" is seeing improvements as we lament your passing. Many a leader (and competitor) has survived your passing, but ever-so-few will come close to emerging from the shadow you cast.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Adding text marketing to your real estate tools

Ed Note: As part of our exploration into new waves of marketing communications given the surge in social media, emailing, texting and list-building, we present this article written on behalf of iZigg. For more information visit

By Joan Dailey
Real estate and mortgage professionals should be singing the praises of iZigg mobile text marketing.  There’s no better weapon to add to your marketing arsenal. Text message marketing gives real estate agents, mortgage brokers and property managers unprecedented and instant access to valuable customers simply because the mobile phone has become the preferred technology of choice.  We already know that people and their mobile phones are attached at the hip (literally).  Traditional marketing practices (email, direct mail, print etc…) have seen dwindling response rates and even worse ROI.
With the worst real estate industry we’ve seen in our lifetime, affordable and powerful marketing strategies are the ONLY way to go.  No one has money to gamble on marketing, it needs to be a surefire way to improve your bottom line.
So what does this mean for you as a real estate agent, property manager or mortgage broker?
Simply put, iZigg mobile marketing is the most transformational business strategy we’ve seen in the last decade.  It’s not only the client access that will give you the leg up on the competition – consumers also appreciate the attention and dedication that comes hand-in-hand with text message marketing.  Here at iZigg, we’ve listed a few more benefits that can directly impact your real estate marketing success:
* Paper business cards are out – and text message business cards are in.  Instead of handing clients a business card, you can text your details to your clients’ mobile phones, so they’ll never be at a loss for your information again.  iZigg offers a service known as “MCard”, which puts your information on a prospect’s phone and gathers their information at the same time.
* Real estate agents and property managers can keep in better touch with their prospects by texting real-time information on newly available properties.  This expedites the sales process – and will make your clients feel like they’re being treated like superstars.
* Text message marketing will increase prospect follow-ups and client satisfaction.   We don’t like to wait for information when we need it, so the faster we get it the happier we’ll be.  For example, if you’re a home buyer (or renter) and you’re driving by a home for sale (or rent) and want more details, you want that information real-time.  If you can send a quick text message and get those details immediately, how satisfied would you be?
* For mortgage professionals – this give you the ability to send real-time information on loan terms and rate adjustments.  Getting your clients and prospects that instant notification when they want it speaks volumes to your level of customer service.  And if you can get that information to your prospects sooner than your competition, your chances of earning their business go way up.
* Real estate investors are always on the lookout for a great opportunity.  For an investment advisor, those opportunities can disappear quickly, so having the ability to send out messages to select investor groups at a moment’s notice is critical.
* Text message marketing practices are outpacing traditional marketing practices hands down.  SMS campaigns have better open rates, better response rates, and better ROI.  What else is there?
Here at iZigg, this is our ultimate view: the business marketer who utilizes the power of text message marketing is the one that’s providing a far superior service than the competitor who sticks to traditional marketing channels.   And superior service directly translates into happy customers, a stellar reputation and recession-proof profits.
Do you have other ideas for how the real estate industry can leverage iZigg’s mobile marketing platform?  Add your comments below!

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adding SMS to your marketing arsenal

It's no secret that Internet marketers are watching email open rates slide dramatically, especially in the last 18 months. Even pros with proven, double opt-in grade lists are seeing rates plummet. All of which doesn't bode well for those making (or trying to make) a buck online, and certainly negates many of the promises still being made by unscrupulous marketers hoping to cash in on one last offer.

Late comers beware (ed note: for a review of this trend, go to our story w/ NadaGuru Scott Boulch here)

Enter the text marketing engine.

Destined for the same fate in approximately a 14-16 month window, (i.e. spam controls, complaints, abuse, blockers) this direct method of reaching clients, customers, fans, patients et al is right now one of the most effective ways to deliver updates, news, specials and tips that a business big or small could hope for.

Several companies are on the bandwagon at present, one in particular (iZigg)is launching this week, and after careful review we're endorsing this horse as a true leader in the field for a couple of reasons.

First off, this group has pulled together a plethora of really savvy marketers and systems guys to build a platform that's smart in coupling a front end that markets like a champ with a back office that gets things done in real time. No guesswork, no delays and plenty of documents and videos for training even the most technically-challenged.

Secondly, being the entrepreneurs they are, they added a reseller/multi-level platform to the business, so people can quickly build layers of customers and affiliates and salespeople into a grid that pays handsomely. Retail commissions alone are 25% and are paid weekly.

We applaud the effort, and we're adding it to our marketing arsenal for eNews subscribers and members.

Visit this new company here to learn more. Watch the vidieos and make decisions quickly. Easy to add, easy to implement, and especially easy to reach your audience,  which is all we could hope for.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Under 30's Rocking the Eco/Environment Scene

Researching young (under 30) professionals making an impact in ecology/environment.

Any suggestions? Links?

Just comment in this post if you know people (or nominate yourself) that are making a difference.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

HTML5 Continues to Astound -- See SI's Google I/O Demo

The future of online journalism is now wide open, as HTML5 continues to astound via demos from major publishing players. Many of the hottest demos are being showcased at Google's I/O conference this week, and the buzz is considerable, especially as it relates to the battle for dominance between the new html platform and Adobe's Flash.

Some wags blame Apple for firing a considerable shot across the bow of Adobe in it's refusal to support Flash on it's iPhone and iPad devices. And the vitriol flying between Adobe (and various development partners) and Apple has been considerable. Adobe has even begun spending large wads of ad cash to spin the "freedom of choice" discussion.

But, while Apple has made it's break w/ Flash a clear-cut position, others are jumping in behind the alternate platform while continuing their Adobe ways. Playing both sides of the fence may work out over time as both options fight for dominance, but many Valley Wags are ready to declare this the beginning of the end for Flash and Adobe Air.

Here is Sports Illustrated's HTML5 demo at the I/O Conference. Imagine this on your iPad, and it's easy to see the future of online publishing, and the viewer experience as it evolves from PC, to tablet, to home theatre. Wow.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sometimes gee-whiz apps on web sites are just that. Gee. Whiz. 


No there there, lighter than air, special effects that don't sell, don't leave much of an impact but sure were cool -- and expensive.

The talents at The Bear Cave though, put some really cool programming to work for eyeglasses designers Warby Parker.

It's called the "Virtual Try On," and it enables you to spend time trying on various frame styles online on your own mug. No more annoying tags, you see what the styles bring to your facehead in seconds following an upload of a photo. The application sums up proportion, size, head tilt, etc. and really fits the glasses to you.

Great example of an online app that functions in fine form. Bravo.

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