The basics

What We Can Learn From The Warriors about Running a Business

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Top of Mind Marketing GSWarriors

The Golden State Warriors, 2015 Western Conference Champions!

After a record-breaking season, winning an improbable 67 games, the Warriors have advanced in the playoffs and will face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA Championship.

What a year . . . they started the season with a brand new coaching staff, a few new players, some injuries and a lot of uncertainty. We were hopeful, yet no one saw this coming. But don’t underestimate the power of owners with vision, goals and deep pockets. These guys have made it clear they are interested in not just winning, but building a dynasty.

What we can learn from the Golden State Warriors about running a business:

  1. You need a management team that’s smart enough to hire the very best and let them do their jobs.
  2. Hire the GM who’s so good he just won the 2015 Executive of the Year. Bob Myers, a former player and agent, understands the game on many levels. The architect of excellent trades over several seasons, he has assembled a group of fierce competitors who play with heart and chemistry. Best of all, these are high-character guys with families who are involved in their communities. No rap sheets or 2am shootouts. Instead, we’ve got some wonderful role models for a lot of kids who look up to athletes.
  3. Trust your guts and hire a coach who’s never coached. Steve Kerr–a savvy basketball guy who’s played on four championship teams and learned from some of the best coaches in the league. He also spent some time as a broadcaster, but he’d never coached in his life. But Kerr’s a smart guy—he knew enough to hire smart, seasoned assistant coaches to make up for what he didn’t know. The result? A superbly team that continued to improve as the season evolved.
  4. Every team needs a clutch player. The amazing Steph Curry—the team’s superstar and a magician of a basketball player. When the team was struggling, Steph performed.
  5. It’s all about the team with a promise of success. Kerr & Co. introduced a new offense that required total buy-in from the team. Selfless ball that leaves no room for grandstanding—this is not Kobe Bryant basketball; forget individual stats—think about playing together as a team and winning. The seduction: picture yourself wearing a championship ring.
  6. Defense wins games. The Warriors got serious about defense this year, thanks to defensive wizard, Ron Adams. We watched this team become some of the best defenders in the league.
  7. Never stop improving. Much has been made of the strong work ethic of all of these players—and this is what it takes. We watched all of these guys grow over the course of the season–each committed to playing his personal best.
  8. Look to the future. Still a relatively young team with some serious talent, the future for the Warriors looks very bright, indeed. There’s a slick new stadium to look forward to. They’ve also overcome a major hurdle this year—changing a mindset that a jumpshooting, nuanced team can’t make it to the playoffs and win. It’s time for Charles Barkley to wake up and realize that basketball has changed. It’s not just about a bunch of big guys duking it out in the paint. The Warriors are playing a new brand of basketball—and it’s clearly working.

Top of Mind Marketing: writers and digital media specialists. We also develop and implementing marketing strategies for our clients.

Cancun? Thanks to Development and a Marketing Plan, It’s Not Mexico–It’s Gringoland!

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Cancun? Thanks to Development and a Marketing Plan, It’s Not Mexico–It’s Gringoland!

We’re in Mexico—we spent a few days in Cancun before taking off for other parts of mexicothe Yucatan Peninsula—the old colonial cities of Merida and Campeche—the latter a UNESCO world heritage site. But Cancun? Thanks to development and a marketing plan, it’s not Mexico–it’s Gringoland!

I’ve done a lot of traveling, and while I’ve passed through my share of resort areas, including the Costa del Sol, the French and Italian Rivieras, Portugal’s Algarve and Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh, they’re all pretty much the same. Beaches, pools, people aggressively courting skin cancer, expensive restaurants and water sports. And so it is with Cancun. It has very little relation to the real Mexico.

The Mexicans have completely sanitized Cancun

You’ve got to love the savvy Mexicans for building and marketing their resort towns. They think of everything so you don’t have to. Cancun is miles of fairytale hotels, pristine beaches, palm trees and tropical breezes. We checked into the Marriott and never left; I’ve been under a lot of stress and found the perfect antidote. I swam for an hour and a half every day in a blue-tiled pool that overlooks the ocean. I loved that I could swim right up to the bar to order my first Margarita of the day.

A self-contained environment

We ate in three of the Marriott’s five restaurants. You never have to leave the hotel because they bring the world to you. We chose among Thai, Argentine and Japanese cuisine. The most amazing? Champions, an American sports bar with multiple screens to watch our favorite teams. We ate sliders and watched the Giants beat the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS playoffs. Not to be found? A good Mexican restaurant that serves the wonderful regional specialties that we later found in other parts of the Yucatan.

Mexican marketing vision

I love Mexico—a short, direct flight, a rich culture with a wonderful history, and a strong dollar. It reminds me of what Spain, Italy and Portugal used to be like, and I admire the Mexican vision and their determination to capitalize on the tourist dollar.

There is nothing Mexican about these resort cities

They are overpriced and artificial, marketed to tourists who don’t want to be inconvenienced by things like foreign currencies, language or missing their favorite ballgames. Kudos to the Mexican government—they’ve thought of everything, and we enjoyed a few very indulgent days in Cancun before continuing our journey to the real Mexico—the one where they speak Spanish and pay for their purchases in pesos—not American dollars.

Need help with marketing strategy? Talk to Top of Mind Marketing—we’re writers and content marketing experts.

5 Things to do in August When Your Clients are MIA

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5 Things to do in August When Your Clients are MIA


All of your clients are on vacation, which is where you should be

This is the time of year when everything slows down. It’s beastly hot; and all of your projects are on hold because your clients are maddeningly MIA or onvacation, which is, after all, where you should be. You’re inching up on that no-man’s land where everything gets pushed off until after Labor Day.

Here are 5 Things to do in August when your clients are MIA

  1. Learn a new skill. I’m finally getting my arms around Yoast, the WordPress plugin that helps websites increase their SEO value.
  2. Deepen a relationship. I’m on a mission to develop relationships with power partners. Time for endless coffee dates.
  3. End a relationship. This is a personal fav. I just made a decision to stop working with a colleague who’s sucking me dry. It reminds me of a baseball game where a pitcher has a big inning. Baseball fans know how this one goes—one horrible inning that’s never going to end. The pitcher gives up a run or two, then the bases are loaded and the next guy up hits a grand slam and there are no outs. All of a sudden, it’s looking like a very long afternoon. In the same way that these big innings never end, some people just keep demanding more than you can deliver and don’t get that you haven’t any more to give. Worst of all, you’re getting nothing in return. Move on.
  4. Update your website. Be honest: is your website even relevant anymore? Have you added those new products and services that are now part of your business offering?
  5. Sign up for a webinar, seminar or workshop. There are so many great, inexpensive resources that we never seem to have time for.

One final idea: Forget 1-5 above and take time for yourself

Take an afternoon off and go to a movie. Have a long, indulgent lunch with a favorite pal. Have a massage, go shopping. Settle in with a good book and a glass of wine at your favorite wine bar or coffee shop. We’re always so busy taking care of our children, partners/spouses, parents and clients.

Taking time out for ourselves seldom makes our to-do lists, though it should be right up there at the top!

If your business has evolved, but your website hasn’t talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re website and SEO specialists.

4th of July Blog: Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

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American flagI’m not a particularly patriotic person. I’ve traveled all over the world and I’ve seen too much and understand that we really don’t enjoy a very high quality of life, not sure this America is really all that great. Our 24/7 frenzy is killing us.

But every once in a while, I get a little rush of pride in being an American. It generally comes at a Giants game when we stand up to sing the National Anthem. It’s when we get to the part about “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

I look around at the 42,000 other fans around me and I think about the brave people I’ve known in my life. My father who was a medic in WWII. I can’t even imagine the horrors that he saw, yet he never—ever—talked about it. Like other vets of his generation, he came home and simply got on with his life. With an incredibly strong work ethic, he built his own business and made sure his kids got a chance to go to college.

The soldiers who are coming home now from these horrible wars that never should have been in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thanks to better medical care, the survival rate has dramatically improved, so for better or worse, many of these men and women are coming home without limbs, with hideous brain injuries and uncertain futures. These people are brave beyond anything I can imagine.

Brave enough to seize opportunities
But there’s something else that makes this country great—opportunity—something I think we may take for granted. Opportunity is out there for everyone, but you have to be brave enough to reach out there and take a chance. These days, I’m surrounded by colleagues and friends who have started their own businesses and are thriving.

It hasn’t been easy and you never get to rest. I learned my work ethic from my father and inherited my mother’s indomitable spirit. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, happy that I was brave enough to take a chance, and ultimately, happy to be an American, where really, anything is possible.

Thinking about taking a chance and starting your own business? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We help our clients develop cost-effective marketing strategies that work.

Death by PowerPoint: if You’re Not Passionate, You Shouldn’t be Presenting!

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death by ppt

About 1M PowerPoints are going on right this very minute and 50% are unbearable. People are killing each other with bad presentations

Most of us these days, for better or worse, have become presenters. We’re either part of the speaker cycle in our networking groups or aggressively seeking speaking opportunities, boosting our chops as industry experts. If we’re paying attention, with each presentation, we become more polished. We may not love the limelight, but over time, we become more effective presenters. But we’ve all experienced Death by PowerPoint: if you’re not passionate you shouldn’t be presenting.

I just suffered through a PowerPoint presentation that qualified as a human rights violation. Dense, 10pt type, with neither graphics nor flowcharts to break the monotony, the presenter actually read this word for word. Not a soul was paying attention and he didn’t seem to notice. I fled after 40 minutes, my only regret was that I waited too long. I hate it when somebody blatantly wastes my time.

Some thoughts on PowerPoint presentations, with a little credit to Slideshare*

  • There are more than 300M ppt users in the world and 30M ppt presentations.
  • About 1M are going on right this very minute and 50% are unbearable.
  • People are killing each other with bad presentations.
  • Bad presentations = bad relations = bad sales = less money
  • Why do you present and why does it matter to you?
  • Are you passionate about your subject matter?
  • Create passion, passion attracts attention, attention leads to action.
  • The bottom line: If you aren’t passionate—or can’t convey that passion—stop presenting!

*if you’re not checking SlideShare out regularly, you’re missing out on some great ideas—perfect for those days when you’re trying to come up with an article or blog post and just can’t think of anything fresh, inspiring, clever or just plain fun.

Struggling with presentations and content marketing? Contact us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re content marketing experts.


Identify Your Audience–Unless You’re the SF Giants, Whose Audience is Everyone

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One of the most fundamental rules of marketing is to identify your Sergioaudience. If you think your audience is everyone, it’s the wrong answer—unless, of course, you’re the SF Giants.

I became a sports fan in 2010. Jim took me to a Giants game–my first baseball game in 40 years. It was bitterly cold and windy (it was summer in San Francisco, after all); and I’d forgotten that a baseball game lasts for nine long innings, not the seven innings I remembered, and I was miserable.

Over the course of the summer I became a diehard Giants fan, and we won the World Series. For a fan, it doesn’t get any better than this, and then, improbably, we did it again in 2012.

The Giants’ audience is, well, everyone
The Giants can forget about having to identify their audience because that audience really is everyone. In our section, there’s a guy with Down Syndrome who never misses a game. He brings a bag that includes assorted snacks, a baseball glove, a rubber chicken and assorted rally rags that he loves to stand up and wave. He occasionally forgets which team he’s rooting for, but we love him anyway.

There are old people, young people, kids and babies, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, African Americans, Asians, Latinos and Caucasians, heterosexual and LGBT—all proudly decked out in orange and black, each with his/her favorite player. Night after night, for six grueling months, these loyal fans pack AT&T Park with sold-out crowds.

I love being part of the crowd that streams into AT&T Park for game day. This group checks its problems at the door and is united for a few hours by our love of Giants baseball, which transcends a bat and a ball and a diamond. It’s group of guys playing their hearts out every single game.

Need help identifying your audience? Contact Top of Mind Marketing. We’re experts!

Newspapers, Bookstores Going out of Business, But Power of Words Remains Strong

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I keep hearing people say that nobody reads anymore. Well, yes, contenttnewspapers and magazines have folded and bookstores have gone out of business. But, if you’re paying attention, people still read—a lot–and it’s all about content marketing. Witness the never-ending stream of blogs, newsletters and social media posts with which we are inundated.

But content marketing, and the stories you tell, are what make people decide if they like you, if you understand their needs, and if they want to work with you. They initially may be drawn in by your well-designed website and beautiful graphics, but if that site doesn’t deliver any real substance, if it doesn’t address how you work with your clients or the problems you solve, you probably wasted a lot of money on your site.

The power of words has never diminished
We tell stories, make emotional connections and build relationships with words; and while imagery and design are important, we ultimately require more information. Think about the endless Googling we do to find product information. We always get visuals, but it’s the descriptions that really help us make  purchasing decisions.

Content marketing: the way businesses communicate today
If you’re struggling with content marketing—which is really all newsletters, blogs, web content and social media–contact us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re content marketing experts.

Better Writing Skills #5: Double Space after End Punctuation Marks—it’s Pure Amateur Hour

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If you’re like me, you were taught to hit the spacebar twice at the end of a sentence on those clumsy old manual typewriters in your high school typing class.


If you were like me, you learned to type on a clumsy old manual typewriter

That was a lifetime ago, and language and punctuation trends have evolved. Those double spaces after periods, question marks and exclamation marks make a writer look like an amateur; you will look infinitely more professional by inserting a single space after end punctuation marks.

Another tip on becoming a better writer
Become a better reader. Whether you are reading for pure enjoyment or to become informed, the intangible benefits are that you will increase your vocabulary and gain a better understanding of sentence structure.

This is not a goal unto itself—you will rarely be called upon to discuss sentence structure, after all—but as you read, you will be more aware of the role of punctuation. It helps introduce an idea and give us cues about what comes next. Punctuation is critical to transmitting the author’s ideas. It’s a wonderful tool–let it work for you!

Need help with content marketing? Contact us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and digital media experts.

When It Comes to Super Bowl Ads, Sentiment Scores a Touchdown!

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Budweiser ad

A little puppy stole the show at this year’s Super Bowl.

As a sports fan, I’m a latecomer, but I’ve been lucky. My initiation began with the San Francisco Giants in 2010, and we won the World Series. Next up? Football and the 49ers. Along comes Jim Harbaugh, who improbably turns a bunch of losers into fiercely competitive warriors. When the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman stole both the ball and our chance of going to the Super Bowl, there was a collective gasp heard all around the Bay Area.

So we gathered together to cheer for the Broncos—what’s not to love, after all, about Peyton Manning—hardworking competitor, a modest guy with integrity and class who may just be the best quarterback to ever play the game. Sadly, the Broncos were hopelessly outmaneuvered by the same defense that defeated the 49ers in what may have been the most boring Super Bowl on record. No wonder people turned their attention to the Super Bowl ads.

It’s been a week or so—which ads do you remember?
Even uber-coach Bill Belichick couldn’t figure out what to do with a quarterback who can’t throw the ball, yet T-Mobile asked Tim Tebow to carry the ball for their new campaign about contracts, of which Tim likely knows thing or two. Arnold, frustrated with thinning hair, has both a new wig and career path—that of ping pong player. There was that grotesque Audi ad about compromise—combining a Chihuahua with a Doberman—even digitally–is just plain wrong.

But the winner? Those ads whose stories were totally American
The reclusive, gravel-voiced Bob Dylan emerged as an unlikely spokesman for Chrysler: “Let Germany make your beer, let Switzerland make your watch, but we will build your car.” Budweiser told a sentimental story of family, community—and beer. Who didn’t love the heartwarming visual of the puppy and the horse or Chuck’s homecoming parade with those magnificent Clydesdales?

The Super Bowl is, after all, one of the most enduring American spectacles, and we love the ads that celebrate the images and traditions of our country. It’s sentiment, pure and simple, and we eat it up—year after year. 

Thinking about spending part of your marketing budget on advertising? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We help our clients develop cost-effective marketing strategies.