Is your marketing enough?

Lately, I have experienced a paradoxical combination of both joy and sorrow, while preparing to move an elderly family member into a personal care home. This is a process rife with stories for virtually everyone in the community who has gone through it–both seniors and their families.

Just the other day, a colleague recommended a particular mover to help us move a very heavy chair, customized for use by seniors—a computerized recliner that we’ve often joked can nearly launch its inhabitant to the moon!

The colleague who made the referral consulted her contacts to share the name of a good mover and I am extremely grateful to her for that sharing. (A gift of chocolate will ensue!)

The only trouble was that in the process of the referral, my colleague brewed up much anxiety over how I should call the potential mover and what I should say, when I did. With the best of intentions, she sent me a telephone script and offered to coach me through it. When I tested out the idea, I quickly became a Nervous Nelly.

This exchange reminds me of what marketers Michael Katz and Terry O’Reilly have written, about how nervous marketing can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: Marketing that exaggerates the risk inherent in an exchange of service for pay undermines decisive, well-reasoned and confident action; such marketing subverts healthy entrepreneurial exchange. This is true whether one gets a haircut or hires a landscaper to mow (regularly) a 10-acre plot of land.

When I actually called the mover, a few minutes later, I spoke with a man who was nonchalant, happy to oblige and who even offered flexibility in terms of dates and times—something my  colleague had not expected. Giving a bit less than one month’s notice to hire for this small contract was, the mover assured me, “more than enough.”

I’m confident that he will do an excellent job. And of course, I will have purchased insurance to cover any damage, if he doesn’t. My exchange with the mover reminds me that the best kind of marketing is based on a fair entrepreneurial exchange, one that keeps moving (pardon the bad pun!) the trade of payment for services professionally rendered.

It seems to me that this story is really about uncertainty. Arresting a sales process by over-thinking and trying to control the conversation (beforehand) only breeds anxiety and potential mistrust. Nervous Nellyism makes this exchange feel more risky than it needs to.

The valued colleague who offered the referral (and whom I have profusely thanked; bless her) messaged me later to express worry that the chair may not be moved, damage-free. I responded by saying, “Friend, our marketing here is enough. There is sufficient ground for trust and that we must carry that forward.”

And now it’s your turn. Have you participated in nervous marketing? How did the situation play out? When did you realize your marketing was enough?
Please share your experience; I’d be delighted to hear from you.

September 2020–Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN)

Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling Let me tell your story!


ARTICLE 1: Do you use email templates to make business communication efficient?


Bryan Garner on “plain English”




Welcome Mid-September 2020!

As I prepare this issue of “Tell Your Story Newsletter,” the cool fall air and shortening days remind us that autumn is here and winter not far behind.

In this month’s newsletter, as we all face pressures to be more productive in less time (pressures exacerbated by the current pandemic), I visit American copywriter Kaleigh Moore’s simple strategy of using email templates to communicate more efficiently with prospects and clients.

And in “Storytellers’ Corner,” I cite Bryan Garner’s example of the need for what he calls “plain English,” across all disciplines (business, academia, politics, etc.)

May the best of autumn–the warmth (physical and emotional) that can be cultivated, the nourishing food and stories we can share–be with you, as we survive the last four months of a very tumultuous year.



Principal, Storytelling Communications

+++++ Continue reading “September 2020–Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN)”

Wordsmiths of the world unite! . . . Grammar guffaws to make you laugh

Plenty of friends and colleagues prefer not to use Facebook. But the following posting, from friend Evelyn Mackenzie, brought some needed laughter to my day! This was written by Jill Thomas Doyle and shared by Hilary Harley and then Evelyn. If you haven’t seen this listing before, then here’s some laughter for you!

• An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk and smoking cigars.
• A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.
• A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
• An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
• Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”
• A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.
• Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

Continue reading “Wordsmiths of the world unite! . . . Grammar guffaws to make you laugh”

Want your business to stand out? Personality branding offers one way (with Ed Gandia and Danielle Hughes)

In earlier postings, I have referred to some episodes of the “High Income Writing” podcast of American copywriter, Ed Gandia. Gandia is usually insightful and often gathers intriguing solo professionals to the “microphone.”

Recently, Ed interviewed New York-based branding and copywriting consultant, Danielle Hughes, about how to increase our success as creative professionals by developing our own “personality brand.” Ed prefaced the interview by observing how reluctant self-employed creatives are “to let our personalities shine.” We either don’t know how to do that, or we fear that by doing that we’ll “alienate potential clients.” Continue reading “Want your business to stand out? Personality branding offers one way (with Ed Gandia and Danielle Hughes)”

August 2020 –“Tell Your Story Newsletter”

August 2020 Vol 2 Issue 8

Tell Your Story Newsletter (TYSN):
Specializing in Entrepreneurial and Organizational Storytelling
Let me tell your story!

Welcome Mid-August 2020!

 After passing an extremely windy past weekend, with cool air, but little rain, some of us felt like autumn had nearly begun. During this Covid year, the changes in seasons feel especially uncertain, as we closely watch the statistics of contraction, recovery, and tragically, deaths.

Since February, many of us in our various fields have learned Zoom, Web-Ex and/or Skype, conducting most of our meetings online, from home. Zoom use has brought with it plenty of jokes, such as the observation that participants in its meetings often look like Jim Henson’s famous puppets, in the stage gallery that opened “The Muppet Show.” I visit the puppets’ entrepreneurial nature in a lighthearted first article, in this issue.

In “Storytellers’ Corner,” I visit the word “fogy” or “fogey,” a derogatory term that often can be heard when people speak unempathetically of the aging. Continue reading “August 2020 –“Tell Your Story Newsletter””