How to Create Your Own Product 1 – Research and Outline

MODULE 1

CHAPTER 11

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN PRODUCT 1

– RESEARCH AND OUTLINE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

2.0 OBJECTIVES

3.0 MAIN CONTENT

3.1 Start with Information Product

3.2 The pros

  • The Leverages
  • Global Marketplace
  • Deploying the Power of Global Alliances
  • Better Kitted for Success on a Global Dimension
  • You Become a Highly Marketable Expert
  • Robust Resources for Premium Sales
  • Residual Income Extraordinaire
  • High Returns on Investment

3.3 The Cons

3.3.1 The Learning Curve

3.4 A Blissful Start

3.5 Remember, ‘Everything is a Remix’

3.6.0 How to Decide on the Kind of Product That You Want to Create

3.6.1 Meet Specific Need

  • Conduct a Survey of Your Audience
  • Scour the Internet for Blog Comments and Forums on Your Niche Market
  • Read Between the Lines
  • Showcase Your Expertise

3.7.0 Start with Your Most Convenient Method

  • Audio
  • eBook
  • Video

3.8 Product Forms

3.9.0 The Process

3.9.1 Do your market research

3.9.2 Sourcing for Marketable Information

  • Private resale rights
  • Interview experts
  • Compile popular questions and give answers
  • Permissible thefts
  • Record other people seminar and reuse
  • Set up webinars and teleseminars
  • Screen capture your skills using your computer
  • Adapt a successful eBook into another language

3.10.0 The Act and the Art of Creating Your Own Product

3.10.1 Write out your product outline

  • Write the eBook in Full
  • Turn it into PDF
  • Make Your eBook Beautiful

3.11 Write the Email Swipes

3.12 Create and Set up the Sales letter

4.0 CONCLUSION

5.0 SUMMARY

6.0 ASSIGNMENT

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Creating your own product for sale to your market is by far, a better idea, but it has some pros and cons.

2.0 OBJECTIVES

  • To give details procedures involve in creating an information products
  • To provide resourceful links to make this possible
  • To encourage learners to use this ecourse to plan and create their first information product

3.0 MAIN COURSE

When you are about to start an Internet Marketing business, two things will readily come to your mind.

The two things are:

  • are you going to sell your own products, and render services directly from your own self hosted website
  • or sell someone else product and services?

In other words, what are you going to sell to your customers?

3.1 Start with Information Product

Let me assume that your answer is that you want to sell your own information products. You may not want to start with a service like web hosting or website design service as you may not be a Technical person (AKA a Techie).

Hopefully, you will get to that point someday, if that is what you want. But for now it is a good flay of wisdom to offer an information product for obvious reasons – it is an easier, faster and highly profitable approach to online business.

Creating your own product for sale to your market is by far, a better idea, but it has some pros and cons:

3.2.0 The pros

  • The Leverages

Internet offers the greatest leverages now for any business than had ever existed in Industrial History till date.

If you have not done so before now, please hurry, find and read the book ‘Retire Young, Retire Rich’ by Robert Kiyosaki, and you will understand the above statement more.

This simply means more leverages, more profits at shorter period for your business.

  • Global Marketplace

Having even one digital product to sell to the whole world is abundantly more than enough to pull you out of the woods – i.e. if you know what to do.

Infact, it is knowing the process that really matter in this business, and that is what you should pay rapt attention to learn in these your formative years in this business.

After that, the rest is history, and it is you that is going to create or rather, recreate that your life history.

  • Deploying the Power of Global Alliances

By way of Affiliates who offer their lists and expertise to serve you in marketing your product(s) for free.

  • Better Kitted for Success on a Global Dimension

Talking about the skills and experience you gain in the process, you are among the best, on a global scale, not just a local champion and not just for a while but for expended period of any foreseeable future. Can you beat that?

  • You Become a Highly Marketable Expert

You can now build more and more products faster after the initial experience. Your can do this for yourself and others if you wish to.

  • Robust Resources for Premium Sales

Your initial product can easily be turn into other forms for sales at higher prices – Audio, eBook, Membership site, etc.

  • Residual Income Extraordinaire

You just create it once and sell over and over again, with few and rare revisions when necessary to keep up with technological development in the marketplace.

  • High returns on investment

Such that is never heard of in any other industry. Most of the time, when done, correctly, it usually brings in on a consistent basis, over 100% returns on investment (ROI).

There are so many other advantages to be enjoyed by a digital product owner, but let us just break here so that we can focus on other related issues.

3.3.0 The cons

3.3.1 The Learning Curve

This will cost you a bit more in terms of time and money.

But, it is doable.

3.4 A Blissful Start

If you are a professional or you have a high in demand skill set, you can easily start by selling some useful advice on that online.

For instance, you may be a Tailor, Seamstress, Organist, Teacher, Nurse, Doctor, Engineer, Accountant, etc. Do market research on the aspects of your profession that people are searching for more information with the tools that we discussed in chapters 2 and 3 of this ecourse.

Use those results of your market research to build your own product as we shall discuss in this and subsequent chapter.

A teacher may for instance decide to own a website and teach the whole instead of just his classroom members. Look in the direction of any of the following courses which are already in high demand globally:

beauty tips,

language lessons – French, German, Russian, Chinese and even English.

Remember, our world has become a global village, there is therefore a very high demand for these lessons worldwide.

A Nurse can teach Health with special bias on Natural Remedies. Most ailments that have become anathema in Western (Orthodox) medicine have been resolved with the help of these natural remedies. Thus, information on natural cures for cancer, diabetes, arthritis, etc. are selling like hot cake online now.

We have noted somewhere that as far as information marketing is concerned, the big three areas are Health and Beauty, Love and Relationship, and How to Make Money.

But this does not mean that information are not selling in other areas, or that people are not making a living online selling other products outside the big three. For instance, an Engineer may resort to Technical Writing. People who are not even Engineers are doing well in technical writing.

In your own country, what is the current challenges that people have? Remember your information product is not meant to be all about you, but to help people who buy them to solve their immediate problems.

Some people in your country want to travel abroad, learn baking, get overseas education, do rice farming, do importation, export cassava and garlic, learn computer programming, web design, SEO, decoration, etc., etc.

Please note that to minimize delay and confusion of what product to sell, you must first of all decide if you want to start selling at the local or foreign market.

There are a whole world of differences in both marketplaces.

Again, you don’t have to be an expert.

Just find out what people want and assemble information that satisfies that specific want and give it to them at a profit.

3.5 Remember, ‘Everything is a Remix’

Google for ‘Everything is a Remix on Vimeo’ and watch the online video.

Also remember what Steve Jobs said:

‘Good Artists Copy, Great Artist Steal. We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas’ – Steve Jobs, 1994.

This boils down to: creativity + innovation(s) = invention(s).

Again, let’s look at it this way, the basis of modern day information and communication industry started with the invention of:

Telephone, then,

Radio, then,

Telegram (telegraph), then,

Black and white television, then,

Coloured television, then,

Satellite television, then,

Mobile telephone, then,

Mobile satellite television (in mobile phones and PCs), then,

Mobile private and public satellite Video (TV) Channel e.g. YouTube

Mobile private and public satellite Radio Channel (in mobile phones and PCs), then,

And so on and so forth… more abound that I have not mentioned here, and many more are yet to come.

I am not about the order of which one came first, I am leaving that to the students of history and philosophy of science, but my concerns are:

the connectivity of the basic idea* + the main new idea**,

the creativity,

the innovation and

the ‘invention mix’ (as in the ‘market mix’).

And, it all started with GRAHAM BELL’s telephone.

In fact, if you scour the internet, you will discover that, it was not Graham Bell that originally invented the telephone, but the court, US and history at large just credited it to his name because of the wise and skilful innovations he added to the original patent that made it commercially viable till date!

(* the basic idea or the general idea here refers to communication by the old, usual and the natural means.

** while the main new idea here refers to communication by the new means i.e. the newly discovered or to be discovered means, in the case of telephone – communication by means of electrical wires).

That is what I referred to as ‘stealing wisely’ in chapter 9 of this course:

In our days – the 21st century, you don’t even need to steal, just ask the experts for a sample or complimentary copy and they will happily oblique.

So don’t be afraid to give an old information a new dress, shape or form. It could turn out to be very useful to you or at least to the rest of the people out there.

No, just go and take a long-drawn-look at the marketplaces, the categories, the niches and the sub niches and you will discover profitable niches to play along.

Sites like Nairaland, Hot Spot, ClickBank or JVZoo are good places to begin.

3.6.0 How to Decide on the Kind of Product That You Want to Create

Please note well what I want to say now.

It is what makes the difference between a successful business and a struggling one. It also applies to offline business, not just internet marketing only.

Do not sell what people are not looking for. Find out what they are looking for to use and solve their problems and fetch out or create the information product(s) for them and they will happily and repeatedly hand over their money to you in exchange for the solution to their problem.

Another way to say this is:

People generally want to buy solution to their problems. They have a pain they want to relieve, they have a sore or painful area in their live that they want to resolve as soon as possible or they have a level of pleasure that they want to enjoy. That is the reason they go online to seek for solutions.

Thus, your product must be a solution to their sore or painful areas of their lives, or it must provide the pleasure they need. It must relieve a specific pain(s) or give them a specific pleasure(s) they were looking for.

That and that alone is what will make them match down your website in droves in search for your product. So far as it resolve the pains or provide the needed pleasure, they will happily and repeatedly pay you for it.

But, there is still another way of saying this: ‘in online business, first, find out what people want to buy, then, find (or create) the product and sell to them at a profit’.

In practice, this applies in reverse order to offline business: where people first, find or create the product before they set out to find a market to sell to.

Thus, this small difference is what makes online business a highly profitable venture compared to offline counterparts.

By the time you finish the process of getting your information product, the market is ready, willing and even very hungry to buy it from you.

3.6.1 Meet Specific Need

You Can Be Sure Your Product Will Meet Specific Need and bring in high returns by doing the following things:

  • Conduct a Survey of Your Audience

This is possible if you have an existing Blog or Email list. If not, do not worry, there are many other ways to do this as we shall see next.

On your blog comment or email feedback, ask them the type of product that they will like to have, the format and the topics they will like treated. Find time to interact with your blog readers or members of your list. It can be very rewarding.

  • Scour the Internet for Blog Comments and Forums on Your Niche Market

Many people go online to talk about their problems and their cares. If there are many people talking about a certain issue in a forum or blog, this means that products that resolve such matter will sell well. Some blogs and forum require signed membership for this very reason, so do not be afraid to sign up. Do not ignore the social media in the process: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google Hangout, etc.

  • Read Between the Lines

This an advanced tactics. If you are already selling affiliate products online successfully, then watch out the type of products that people buys regularly and create similar product of your own in the market. It will sell like wildfire.

Remember, everything is a remix!

Not only in this business but in all aspects of life, everything is a remix.

You can also observe your blog for the most widely read articles and then create related products for sale. Then just add your links to those popular products and you are good to go.

  • Showcase Your Expertise

I have already talked on this in the previous paragraphs. As a professional, if you have a high-in-demand expertise (e.g. a beautician, physiotherapist, naturalist, etc.), then you can do market research to find out how people like you are selling theirs online and follow suit.

To avoid creating a product that will not make you money for your effort and investment follow these step one by one and will you find among them one, two or more that you can follow through based on your level of experience.

Please go back and follow the above steps one after the other to arrive at a marketable and profitable product(s).

3.7.0 Start with Your Most Convenient Method

  • Audio – you can just read out or dictate or talk what you intend to write in a standby microphone in a silent environment where there is no background noise. At the end what you have is an Audio product that you can sell anywhere around the globe.

Audacity is one of the best tools for doing this, Google for: audacityteam.

  • eBook – later, copying out the content of your audio product into a computer software like the Microsoft word (Open Office, it’s a FREE software, just browse and get it on the net) will create an eBook for you.

To sell it online all you need is to turn it into a Portable Document File (PDF) and it becomes a scalable product. More on this in a while.

  • Video – in most part of the world, people who wax music for the first time usually start with an audio CD and later a Video CD and progress to other formats including FLAC, MP3, WMA, WAV, etc. or vice versa.

Did you ever ask, why?

Convenience, cost and preferences.

Camtasia Studio is one of the best and industry standard nowadays for online video. But you can even start with your smart phone and upload the videos onto YouTube and it will be acceptable while you are making money to acquire expensive camera or learning how to use online software like Camtasia.

3.8 Other Product Forms

In the final analysis, your product must take so many forms so that you can sell it in so many markets in response to the market preferences.

Such forms include:

Audio training

Video series

Questions and answers

Membership Site with new contents added monthly

eBooks

Coaching supported by telephone calls,

Emails,

Skype,

Webinar,

Short reports,

Assignments,

Templates,

Continuity programs – weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, bimonthly, etc.

Workbooks,

Swipe files, and so on and so forth.

Suppose you want to start by creating your own digital product now, how do you start?

3.9.0 The Process

Below is an example of steps to follow in your information product creation process:

3.9.1 Do your market research

Google Keyword Planner, Market Samurai, and Longtail Pro, Nichebot are the best tools in the market for this task. I have already discussed in one of this course how to use at least one of them. You can Google for others.

3.9.2 Sourcing for Marketable Information

To make product creation a lot easier for most green horns and even topflight experienced business executives, there are ethical ways that you can source for information to make your new products.

Such ways include but not limited to:

  • Private resale rights

Just type that into your browser and you will find multiple sites to choose from. Usually you buy and rewrite them as your own product and add your own angle to the product. Remember this product is sold to many people and not only you, so endeavor to polish it to make it unique. If you are using free products for this, always endeavor to check out the rights, to avoid legal issues in the future.

  • Interview experts

Find out experts in your field and interview them. You can then use transcription services at Fiverr, Upwork, etc. to write them out in any form that you want.

  • Compile popular questions and give answers

You can do this by yourself even as a newbie in your market niche. You can also use freelancers at: Peopleperhour, 99designs, Craiglist, Toptal, etc.

  • Permissible thefts

Go to EzineArticles.com and browse for your popular categories. Download about 50 articles in your chosen niche topic and compile them into an eBook. You can cite them in bits and pieces and spice the book up with some Vimeo or YouTube videos.

This is legal so far as you keep the authors’ resource boxes intact. Remember to insert link to your site as you introduce the subject matter, turn it into PDF and sell.

  • Record other people seminar and reuse

You can help a friend record his seminar on the agreement that you will use it also to promote your own products. Your phone or your camera can do the job cheap for you, no need for a professional cameraman.

  • Set up webinars and teleseminars

You need some experience and confidence to do this, albeit it is not a hard thing. You can skip this till when you have enough money to hire expert to help you in the process. There are free and paid services to choose from.

The free ones are: Google hangout, zoom, bigbluebutton, join.me, meetingburner, mikogo, zohomeeting, webhurdle.

Anymeeting and gotomeeting are paid service, but they also have free trials for new clients.

  • Screen capture your skills using your computer

If you want to teach your skills to online audience, this is the preferred approach.

There is a free tool you can use for this: screencast-o-matic

  • Adapt a successful eBook into another language

China is a global destination now for global trade. Find a book, obtain the right and adapt it into Chinese and it will sell like hot cake. You can also do this with other books and other languages.

This is called Transcription service.

3.10.0 The Act and the Art of Creating Your Own Product

3.10.1 Write out your product outline

Start with major topics that you would discuss in your eBook, then write out the bullet points under each topic. As you fill in simple explanations in between the major topics will later become the chapters, while the bullet points will become the sections and sub sections of the book.

3.10.2 Write the eBook in Full

After the initial rough or manuscript as some may like to call it, go through the product again with the aim of crossing the tees and dotting the ais. Also read the whole plot with the aim of ensuring Mechanical Accuracy and some Congruence in the points presented.

Some people may differ on this by saying that you should not aim at perfection, there is actually no prefect product in the market as the Internet world is always changing in a very fast rate.

But I am not advocating perfection here, but wish to clarify the fact that there is always a growing competition in the marketplace and most victims are poorly and unduly hurried products.

If you found it more convenience to start with the Audio format, you can also use this software to get both Audio and eBook copies delivered to you online at the same time at:

dragon speech recognition software

3.10.3 Turn it into PDF

From your Microsoft word (Microsoft Open Office), you can easily convert your eBook into a PDF format. PDF is a globally available software that is usable in all types of computers.

This is advisable to do as you will be sending your eBook to different people in different parts of the world. Different people in different environments are orientated to different software, so it is good to have your eBook in a generally acceptable format that satisfies these global markets.

Henceforth, think and see your business as a global venture.

3.10.4 Make Your eBook Beautiful

It is more than a common sense to note here that if you add an attractive eBook cover to your product, you will attract more sales than if you just sold it as an ordinary PDF.

Period.

If you don’t know how to do this yourself, employ the services of experts online at ebookbaby, myecovermaker or even at Fiverr.

3.11 Write the Email Swipes

Email swipes will form part of your marketing materials.

See yourself now as a Vendor in one or more of the Affiliate Program sites like ClickBank or Affiliate network like Commission Junction.

Email swipes are follow up emails that you and your Affiliates will be using to follow up your prospects. It is known that most people won’t buy from you until you have been in touch with them for about seven times. Go ahead and write them now.

3.12 Create and Set up the Sales letter

A Sales Letter is your secret sales machine and the untiring Salesman.

This is going to be the page that you are going to show to your prospects who sign-up in response to your ads. It gives in details the benefits of your product, why he should buy now, how much he should pay into which account.

Ensure that your sales letter is professionally written. A good blend of text and graphics is recommended.

But if you are scared, you can get a virtual assistant at Fiverr to handle this on your behalf.

3.13 Set up Everything and Get Ready For Sales

By now you must have set-up a self-hosted website for this product. There are FREE and reliable software as well as paid once for this depending on your budget.

Just upload everything – the email swipes, sales letter, all the graphics and relevant files onto the website.

Remember to test-run everything by yourself, as well as asking your friends or mentors to also help you test-run, before you begin to advertise your business to the public.

3.14 The Profits are in the Links

I want to end this chapter by emphasizing the fact that we are living in the LINK ECONOMY. In other words, the profits of this business flows through the links.

This means check all your links to ensure that they all work fine. Use affiliate link where appropriate, confirm your right to use free products sourced online to avoid legal issues; and most of all be sure the download link of your own product is working as intended.

That’s the deal.

4.0 CONCLUSION

I just notice that I have gone so far, many pages, many sections and sub sections.

This is because, when you have your own product that is where the Internet Riches that you have been hearing of, actually comes from.

5.0 SUMMARY

I covered step by step details on how to create your own profitable product for the marketplace. But there are still other details that I have left out for the next chapter.

6.0 ASSIGNMENT

Go over this chapter again and again to get a good grasp of the process as I will be dealing with another aspect of this fast-tract riches in the next chapter.

A Man Who Loves His Beer – An Interview With Terry Michaelson of Craft Brewers Alliance

As I hung up the phone, I couldn’t help the immediate urge to pop the cap off a Widmer Hefeweisen and kick my feet upon this desk, even though my more responsible judgment was bitterly convincing (it’s mid-afternoon on a Thursday).

What the hell- I’m the only one here in my office anyway, and besides, it was time to taste the experience-in-the-bottle that is Craft Brewers Alliance.

I had the privilege of speaking at great length with the top executive of a company who is on the forefront of changing consumer tastes; with absolutely no guarantees for the future other than that people obviously love the product. I couldn’t help but wonder what that would be like, so I asked. What I found was that this man absolutely loved beer.

But he doesn’t love just any beer; just his. Terry Michaelson is the chief executive officer of Craft Brewers Alliance, a craft brewer that makes, markets, and distributes craft beer under the labels Widmer Brothers Brewing, Redhook Ale Brewery, Goose Island Beer Company, and the most recent addition that Terry and his team have been giddy over, the Kona Brewing Company.

Craft also owns and operates a small pub-brewery in Portland, Oregon, and sells a few of their more prominent beers nationally to liquor stores, supermarkets, pubs, and more;  the company’s headquarters are also located in Portland, a city known for being creative and edgy, a fitting environment for this small brewer.

But Terry and I’s conversation really wasn’t about the history of the company, and we didn’t spend a whole lot of time discussing the capital liquidity of the company’s floated shares or the intrinsic value that could lie beneath. We didn’t talk about enterprise values compared to revenues, and we didn’t make any attempts to dissect or analyze the stock’s recent movements using Fibonacci Retracements. We talked about beer.

Let’s start with the merger. In early August, Craft announced it would be buying Kona Brewing Co., based in Hawaii and recognized as one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the last 5 years, for just under $14 million in cash and stock.

The merger was the unanticipated result of a relationship that had been developing and growing for over 9 years between the two companies, and so it made sense, Terry said, to bring the companies together and allow Craft and Kona to aggressively grow their brands and bring more value the now much larger table.

Mattson Davis will stay on as the chief executive of Kona, further solidifying a bond that was already pretty strong. Davis was quoted in the original early August press release as saying, “we’re getting married, so to speak”.

In the second quarter of 2010, Craft reported some pretty decent numbers and developments in addition to the announcement of the merger. The company successfully modified an existing credit facility to more favorable rates and terms, indicating the bank clearly demonstrates confidence in Craft’s business going forward.

Operating profit was up for the quarter by $.4 million, from $2.5 million in the same period last year to $2.9 million for the second quarter 2010. Terry mentions as Craft releases earnings there has been a trend of positive reactions in the marketplace with these earnings, released August 13th, being no exception.

Perhaps it’s a result of the merger and the anticipated jump in production and revenue that will be coming down the line, or perhaps it’s the fact that investors are finally waking up to the fact that craft beer is in higher demand than ever – either way, the company’s stock has been hitting all-time highs.

Every publication from theStreet.com to Investor’s Business Daily has been all over Craft since the stock price starting a steady climb in May 2010 from $3.41 a share on average trading volume of about 17k. Last Friday, September 10th, the shares closed at $8.10 a share with a volume of over 300k.

I speculated to Terry that I think investors always follow consumers, and consumers started changing their tastes a while ago. I thought the ubiquitous and burnt out, water-flavored major beer brands are out and sexy, creative, small craft labels are wrestling their way into drinker’s hands to take advantage of those changing consumer tastes.

Terry agreed, saying “people are seeing the progress and they’re seeing our unique strengths. More and more people are aware of it, and it’s causing a reaction in the marketplace. This is a segment that is fairly new that has tremendous upside. Investors are looking at that, and we’re very excited. Those investors are just looking for something to invest in that they understand and can connect to.”

That makes sense, I thought. After all, what better facilitator of connections is there than a tasty and tall, cold beer? If investors can relate to the product and relate to the business model, they can and will believe in the company itself, and potentially make a lot of money when the product catches on to the mainstream – just look at Sam Adams.

TC: Tell me a little about your marketing plans and efforts. How is your model distinct from the big boys who have exorbitant million-dollar advertising budgets?

TM: For us, this is about creating personal connections and there is a personal approach than what a big brewer would typically do, so we want to build broad awareness of our brands. If we can get people to hear our story and sample our beer, then we’re successful.  

We still focus on some traditional things like print and radio, and are involved in sponsorships and festivals. We are also focused on marketing over the internet with blogs and Facebook and finding places where people are going to spend the time to find out about the brands. We spend only in markets where we think the brands belong to create those long-term connections.

TC: I heard you touch in there on social media marketing. Has that avenue become valuable for your brands?

TM: Definitely, the social media marketing is a big effort for us, because we can get to the consumer and surprise them in a positive way. People want to get to into these brands and understand their story, and then participate with them. They can drink craft beer because it makes them feel good and it’s affordable.

TC: Sounds to me like your company is on the forward edge of two very new and untested frontiers: the craft brewing industry and social media marketing. What does that feel like?

TM: As we look at it, there’s two ways we see that: one, it’s certainly a challenge. We’re paving new paths in terms of how things are done but we also see that as mostly a tremendous opportunity because it allows us to create new experiences for consumers, because overall, they are looking for something fun and something that makes them feel better in their lives. It’s a tremendous opportunity for growth. The challenge isn’t so much creating the business; the business is there, and it’s strong. It’s more how do we make certain we maximize those opportunities because we don’t just want a nice business, we want a great business.

TC: According to OregonLive.com, “Widmer produced 286,000 barrels of beer in 2009 and 184,000 barrels of Redhook. Adding Kona’s production puts the company at 583,000 barrels, or more than 18 million gallons”. Is that a fair assumption going into 2011?

TM:  Yeah, that’s a fair assumption.

TC: How does that level of expansion change the underlying value of CBA?

TM: What it changes for us is that it continues to give us the opportunity to put more people in the marketplace to sell the brands and help people find our brands. It helps us put more dollars in the marketplace to make create those all-important connections. The other thing it does is continue to make us more important to the retailer because the key to all of this is getting some distribution so the consumer can actually have a chance to find the beer and try it. We’re one of the larger craft brewers in the country, certainly in the top 2 or 3, and that’s important because that’s retailers are looking at for.

TC: Is there a defined line between a craft brewer and a typical brewer, and if so, as CBA grows, how close are you getting to crossing that line and losing the “craft stripes”, so to speak?

TM: We’re not there. I think it’s changed where there it’s no longer about a volume level anymore. It’s more about subjective valuations – what type of beer is it, what’s the brand all about, and where does it come from? Retailers are looking at the story behind the beer, and aren’t so much worried about the volume to determine whether or not a beer is craft. It’s about the quality and authenticity of the source.

It’s the segment growing up – look at Kurt Widner, he was a home brewer and was passionate about doing what he loved and having a business. He used to talk about, if I could just get 10 accounts, I’ve got a good business, because in the beginning of this, that’s what people were thinking. Now that the expectations have changed for the consumer, they want to be able to find it and experience it whether it’s on premise or off-premise.  It’s more about the experience and less about how big you are.

TC: So we’re talking about creating an identity.

TM: You’re exactly right. People are excited about having craft beer in their life. It provides them with a unique environment and experience. The pioneers of the industry – the Jim Kochs and Ken Grossmans of Sierra Nevada and Kurt Widmer – those people were really at the forefront and really risked a lot when they were starting their companies. I think the consumer can really connect to that kind of passion those people have behind their beers, and because they can relate, they love the drinking experience.

TC: Tell us about your relationship with Anheuser Busch.

TM: We have a distribution agreement with AB, because this being a three-tiered industry, the only way to get to market is through a distributor. The AB has traditionally been the strongest with the most market share and has high standards in how they deliver and care for the beer. That is a strong component of our business.

TC: AB owns a sizable, albeit minority stake in CBA. Care to comment on the buyout rumors that are flying out there?

TM: What I can tell you is that they are just rumors. We’re very dedicated to continue being an independent company and growing our business. That the plan at this point.

TC: How do you think those rumors came about? They sort of exploded all over the net during August.

TM: It’s hard to tell. I think people look at the changes in the business. We had a modification to our agreement with AB, so that could be a driver. Quite frankly, I think people just start throwing darts at the wall hoping it hits something, because there wasn’t anything specific that we could point to that would lead people to believe that.

TC: What’s your favorite beer?

TM: (Laughing) that’s an interesting one because it’s almost like asking which one is your favorite kid. I’m a fan of the Widmer Drifter, the pale ale. It has a really unique hop profile. I loved our summer seasonal red pilsner under the Rope Swing brand, it’s a great beer. Goose Island has some really unique reserve line beers; the Belgian-style Metilda is another one I really like. I think Kona Longboard is just a great Craft Lager. It’s really easy to drink and has a nice flavor…

Terry drifts off for a few minutes rattling off more beers he and his teams have created. I got the feeling his face was lighting up on the other end of the phone and that this was undoubtedly a man who truly loved his beer. He went on to chat about how he makes it down to floor all the time to check out what new brews the crew is working on.

We wrapped it up. I thanked him for taking the time to talk beer with me, and mentioned how interesting it was to interview a CEO that was literally brimming with delight about his brands. One of the last things he said: “That’s great, I really appreciate that Tom. Thanks for your interest and I always have a good time talking about beer and our company”, as if I couldn’t tell. 

Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Summer Promotional Products Sales!

Is the summer traditionally a slow time for your promotional products sales? It need not be.
While some may view the summer season as a time to relax and kick back, savvy promotional products sales professionals are out there exploring new opportunities and revving up their sales.

Here are my top 10 ways to increase your summer promotional products sales.

1. Get out of the office. The summer is a great time to get to know your prospects and clients better. A casual breakfast or lunch can yield great results. In my own business whenever I’ve had breakfast or lunch with a client amazing opportunities presented themselves. Remember, people buy from others they know, like and trust. Meeting your clients on more casual turf builds that know, like and trust factor.

2. Send a promotional idea of the week email blast. Your prospects and clients are always looking for new ideas. Send them a new, innovative promotional idea every week. Preferably send it out the same day, so they will come to expect it. Keep it short and don’t just push products. Provide marketing tips along with new product ideas. This helps position you as a marketing professional and puts your company name top of the mind as the first one they’ll think of when they’re ready to place an order.

3. Host a Christmas in July party. It’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts. Host a Christmas in July party and invite your top clients. Show them innovative holiday gifts at a cost savings when they order early.

4. Form strategic alliances. Who else serves the same target market but is not a direct competitor? Meeting planners, trade show display companies and graphic designers can make great alliance partners for promotional products sales professionals. Explore ways that you can work together for mutual benefit. Consider hosting an open house for all your current clients and prospects.

5. Spotlight fall promotions: Now is the time to be selling fall promotions. Back to School, Halloween, Breast Cancer Awareness month and Thanksgiving are all coming up. Make appointments to get in your prospects office to share new ideas and secure promotional products orders for upcoming events before your competitors do.

6. Explore new networking opportunities. In person networking is still one of the best ways to grow your sales. Get out there in a big way and look with an open mind at new groups to join. Many promotional products professionals have had great success with organizations such as (Business Networking International (BNI). Go a few times before you join to see if the group is a good fit for the markets you’re targeting.

7. Re-activate dormant accounts. Just because someone hasn’t purchased in a long time doesn’t mean they’re not interested. A casual phone call telling an inactive account about an innovative new product or idea that can help them promote their company or service can reinstate an old relationship. At the very least, ask if you can put them on your idea list and continue to send them new marketing tips. The important thing is to keep your company name on their radar screen.

8. Energize your social network. Social networking is here to stay. If you don’t currently have a Facebook fan page or a Twitter account the summer is a great time to get started. Read books and take classes on social networking. Take a look at what others are doing in our industry. The key to social networking is to engage your clients by posting interesting questions or hosting fun contests. Social networking can be a great research tool to find out what’s important to your most wanted clients so you can best meet their promotional needs.

9. Self promote. Self promotions help you sell more. Your core suppliers will have great ideas and special offers to put your logo on. When networking don’t just hand out your business card, give a small self-promotion with your company name such as a box of mints, or a post it pad or a business card holder. You’ll be remembered for what you do and you will get new business. No matter where you are this summer, on the beach, at the supermarket, on an airplane, always have a business card and self promotion handy. You never know where your next big order is coming from.

10. Stay informed. Opportunities abound when you look for them. Consistently read the business section of your local paper and get to know what’s happening in your area. Corporate name changes and new business openings are good opportunities for you to sell more.

Enjoy the summer and keep on selling!

© 2012 Rosalie Marcus