Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions to Sink Your Business!

With the New Year literally right around the corner (tomorrow), I thought I should share some must-not-do's of 2010.

1. Do NOTHING. That's right - do nothing. Do not network. Stay home in your pajama's and sit by the phone and wait for it to ring. After all, the economy is turning around, right? Plus - it is winter, it is cold outside, probably raining too ... maybe consider going out in the spring when it is warmer. Also, do nothing with your marketing either ... skip any public relations too because you do not need it. Everybody knows you.

2. Do not market your business at all. Marketing is expensive and is a waste of money. Seriously. Why would you want to invest in your own company when you can spend that money on a trip to Hawaii or some new clothes? Plus, everybody knows where to find you on the Internet so you do not need to blog, update your website or do a newsletter. Talk about a complete waste of time.

3. Repeat the same business tactics that are not working. If you do something enough times it is eventually going to work, right? Especially when the tactics are expensive, like doing an ad run in the Wall Street Journal. If it is expensive it obviously will work for you and for crying out loud do not consult a marketing professional. You know what you are are doing and talking to a consultant will be a waste of time and money on your part.

Happy New Year! P.S. At M Communications and 3L Publishing we will NOT be doing any of the above. If you want some real, free and funny marketing advice, sign up for the M-Dash at M Communications.


Michele Smith

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Marketing Mistakes

There are simple mistakes many business owners make come holiday season and all because of a case of "holiday-head". The "holiday-head" syndrome can affect the most intelligent business owners and below are a couple of the syndrome's side effects noticed by 3L Publishing and M Communications.

What plan? Fa. La. La. La. La. Fa. La. Flake Plan". Many business owners fall into the a very sad trap of wandering into the new year without a business plan and even a marketing plan. I have witnessed firsthand what happens when you do not have a marketing plan. You spend money on a whim - here and there; completely going over budget and spending money on what your audience is not reading, etc. Even if you only have 100$ a month to spend on marketing -have a plan. You can change it if something is not working for you but at least you have the foundation and research completed ahead of time. P.S. If you do not have one in the new year we can whip one out in the next couple of weeks so you are still basically on time. And, we will even not make fun of you in the M-Dash; one of our weekly newsletters.

PR + Holidays = Bad. Bad. Bad. Are you liking my equations yet? The worst thing you can do during the holidays is do nothing. You can always plan for your January campaign and for example, complete your press release in December for a January public relations campaign. If you hire the right marketing company - they will tell you what will and what will not get December media pick up. If you have a holiday product, a unique sale, or a unique tie-in like my musician client being hired to play at the airport to calm down passengers - these are all good holiday messages. As always, new year - new ??? is always a good one as well.

Procrastination, Procrastination, Procrastination. We have heard this one a lot too, "I will decide after the holidays." I completely understand if this is a financially based answer, but just to put something off that can be a completed project during or after the holidays is not good for your business. Especially, when it means you have delayed income for yourself for about six weeks because you got "holiday head" around Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, many business owners could have done a red-light, green-light, yes or no answer and have a completed website or whatever just in time for the new year but have procrastinated which pushes their project out even further. The worst side affect of procrastination comes in the form of lost income over the holidays. Who wants to lose money? Not us.

Have a good story? I would love to hear from you. Please send me an email to:

Happy Holidays!

Michele Smith

Monday, November 23, 2009

New 3L Book Helps Couples Get Pregnant

Fertile Kitchen
By Cindy Bailey and Pierre Giauque (Brand New Just off Press)

Are you one of the millions of couples desperately trying to conceive a baby? Are you aware that diet plays a critical role in fertility? Would you like to unlock the secrets to changing your diet and potentially increasing your chances of success? Co-authors Cindy Bailey and Pierre Giauque--when confronted with Cindy's medical prognosis of a two percent chance of conceiving a baby on her own--unlocked those secrets to develop a fertility diet that four months later produced a viable pregnancy, and soon after a healthy baby. The Fertile KitchenTM Cookbook includes a variety of simple-to-make tasty dishes that make the diet easy to follow. In this cookbook, the authors share these flavorful recipes, along with the dietary guidelines that helped them succeed. Additional tips and even a section on cooking basics, are included. You will learn: The importance of diet in conception and pregnancy, what foods you can and cannot eat to enhance fertility, how to identify and shop for healthy ingredients and food items, how to prepare the nutritious and fertility-enhancing recipes included. The Fertile KitchenTM doesn't guarantee success for every couple, but the cookbook does put you on a wholesome, healthful diet that is at the very least good for you. We hope you enjoy it and we wish you success in your fertility endeavors.

The book retails for $29.99. Please purchase it online via the 3L catalogue. Click here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hiring the Right Photographer

To Hire or Not to hire ... that is the Question. Chances are when you hire someone new you really do not know how they are going to work in person, despite their excellent photo record on the web. Well, Michelle Gamble-Risley and I (Michele Smith - the # 1 Michele - Just Kidding ... "1" by one "l" only) not only stumbled on a great photographer through eWomen but an exceptional one. Meet Gail at Quintessance Photographic Art.

Professionalism Period. You should expect everything ready to go when you get there. Conversely, you need to be ready to go. Do not waste other people's time and show up with wet hair and zero makeup - I stole this tidbit from our makeup artist. Also, if you work a talented photographer they are going to have opinions for the shot, but not lead you on the "my way or the high-way" routine (ala crazy photographer we have previously worked with). Trust your photographer - he or she will know lighting, etc. and you need to chill and rely on their expertise. The results will speak for themselves.

Raw Footage. Never expect to see raw footage and if your photographer is a doll and decides to show you anyway ... please note you are looking at raw footage with zero touch ups. If these photos look good you know you are going to look VERY good in the end result. Most photographers go through the junk ... like my niece sticking her tongue out in a majority of my wedding photos, and show you the good stuff later.

Set expectations up front. I always suggest contract, contract, contract but the main thing is that you set expectations up front. You do not want to have something not in writing and then almost get your Face Book account shut down because you are posting head shots that you purchased (true story). Ask about rights, usage etc. and if you photographer is willing to sign a photo release - most national magazines will ask for them.

Have a wonderful weekend from the marketing and publishing team at M Communications and 3 L Publishing!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

To My Mommy Peeps ... Mom's Keeping it Real just as GOOD ads should be

Hello - I just had the most fabulous time tonight with good girl time with my mom's group girls night out ... (soon to turn into wine day and spa night.) I feel really lucky in amidst all of the craziness I wound up being party of the most fantastic mom's crew where I can ask questions as a working mom ... and am not treated differently because I do work and am not chastised for it ... after all little D man is why I quit O-Corporate-o. For you moms out there ... here are a couple of signs you joined the right crew:

What job? Everyone needs a break now and a clear cut break. I really did not think about work or company(s) at one time tonight and thought about my most important job ... being "mommy." The cool part of joining the right posse' is that you have a forum to talk too and have completely unbiased answers and honest advice. hmm ... maybe the government and certain advertising should pick up this ... instead of the long disclaimer at the end of the ad ... "may cause heart failure, kidney damage, your breast might fall off, etc. etc. " You have heard those commercials ... probably during dinner too. Your forum appreciates the break too and you have FUN together.

Unsolicited Advice Crew.
Ask and you shall receive. Good signs of good crews are opinions based on real facts like day care a. offers snack time and no outdoor hiking and b. offers Spanish and computers. Ask and receive vs. stay-at-home barbie with mansion and nanny really not knowing what is going on in the real world. Oh, and the best is when you can say ... I have been having a "crappy" time potty training and need help. The worst is when you have mommy that has positioned herself as the "expert" it does not matter what ... diapers ... toys... whatever. If I see one more "expert" (a.k.a. laid off soap star giving me some infomercial b.s. on what I need to be doing with bathtub toys ) I am going to say bye-bye to T.V. You joined a good mommy club when you know they avoid the infomercial b.s. and actually have some worthwhile tips to share.

OK my Mommy-Peeps ... this one is for you! Looking forward to fun ahead .. and A. will bring calculator next time ... not my strong point.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zebra Club Alert

It is really important to take a break from the day to day routine. This week marks my first day off in 8 months ... I am not complaining though ... M Communications is on fire and our book SMASH is about to ship. Super exciting. On a funny note, while I was out and about on the town a couple of my gal pals and I had quite the entertaining evening. We did not plan on matching and I think all of you know my obsession with with White House Black Market. Check out the photo ... do you notice a trend. And No. We did not plan this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Watch out for Crazy!

It's true. There are crazy people everywhere. They come in the form of friends, clients, and everyday people who otherwise act completely normal until their crazy alter ego shows up. The following are examples of nutso behavior. You would think this would be quite obvious to most. 1. Do not reply ranting and raving to a newsletter that you signed up for. You can unsubscribe with just one click - really simple. Much better than being embarrassed later at networking events where you will most likely see the person you were ragging on. 2. Do not offer unsolicited advice in someones area of expertise. I actually was given book marketing advice the other week. Thank goodness I am learning how to keep a straight face. No eye rolling either. Being that the producers at Oprah, Today Show, Good Morning America, etc. (the list goes on and on) will talk to me ... I don't think I need any help in this arena. 3. Do not demand a lower bill rate after you are already been given a discounted rate and proceed to tell said agency they are not billing enough and offer to help them with this problem. Not good and also does not make any sense whatsoever. 4. Do not hire a marketing company to set up your business and expect them to do networking and business development for you. Last time I checked, M Communications does not have a sales staff for hire. Have a great crazy story? I would love to hear from you. Send me an email at:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Scrambled Eggs and Sandwiches

I firmly believe there are two things that are always better when someone else makes them: scrambled eggs and sandwiches. Although, I did make some pretty kick a$$ eggs last weekend ... which brings me to a different rule ... if you add enough cheese to anything it will end up being good. Here at M Communications, 3L and I see disasters on a daily basis ... when someone should have relied on someone else, a "real" marketing expert to make it better. It makes us so sad when our clients take the cheap route and then have to spend more money to fix what they did or hired someone to do. I will be honest ... I cannot draw and therefore am not a graphic artist and will never pretend to me. (I have however practiced this cute cat drawing over the years ) This is where we have our quality team members come in for our graphics, web design, and of course I handle the PR ... (did we tell you that Oprah called?) Oh, and I think 2L mentioned without the price tag ... no big office on top of the Tiffany's building for us, we are all virtual and seasoned players. The point of my message is this: hire someone to do the work for you. If you do not have webmaster on your resume; my guess is that you are probably not.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Don't Be a BAD Poster child

Bad Customer Service is Bad Behavior. This is also the same thing as being a Bad Poster child as far as I am concerned. Today's winner examples are as follows. I have had a reoccurring back problem since I was in my early 20's. Crazy water skiing accident where my Dad literally had to fish me out of the lake. Every couple of years by back goes out (I have been going to the same doctor's office for years now) and every time I get a new answer ... surgery, more pills, deal with it, surgery, arthritis blah blah blah. The latest and greatest was physical therapy. Ok- that sounds pretty good to me so I go back to said doctors office and doctor tells me that I am too tense and will live. Did she even read my file? No. Then she offers more vicodin. LAME. The moral of the story is treat your customers well ... they will come back. Listen to them. Get to know them. Understand what they are really about ... it will go miles for you and your business. This doctor is my example of Vicodin Poster child - will hand out pills ... will not do a little homework. Now meet public service notice poster child. Driving home I see someone who actually took the time to make his own personal license plate which says,"Hang Up and Drive." Wow. Really into the new law that has been around for a year. I am guessing this poster child actually causes accidents or at least people wanting to hit him. If you are going do have a marketing message on your car ... make it memorable but make it worthwhile too. Don't be a public service message poster child ... especially if it is for something lame. Have a good marketing story ... share with me. or visit our website.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Did Crazy Really just try to friend me on Facebook?

After another episode of a ranting and raving email to 2L and telling the graphic designer that we are not picking out the strongest pictures. (P.S. 2L nor I are allowed to email Crazy at this point without her going completely off the reservation) So, of course our sweet graphic designer asks for photos and she sends over the wrong ones. Again. At this point we had another photographer lined up to re do our whole shoot and we were going to head off to Stinson Beach. Mostly, I am irritated because this is delaying our book. Crazy does calm down and called 2L to ask where things went wrong because she honestly did not know. She also sent me a pretty long apology email and I responded with a thank you and that we really just wanted the photos and to finish the project. Our sweetheart graphic designer made one last ditch effort to get hi res and succeded. Then crazy tried to add me on Facebook. Really!?

Here is the deal, even when you are working with a family friend, there are certain things you need to get in contract ... oh, and HAVE and contract. Oh, and don't contract with crazy ever. It is not worth the grief.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crazy Part Deux

Crazy is definitely crazy. She did send more pictures, but I really don't think photos with our eyes closed are going to cut it. Michelle (2L) asked for our money back and that resulted at poor 2L being yelled at over the weekend by Crazy. Crazy also sent over two photos we really wanted ... low res with watermarks on them ... we might have to re shoot next week. Crazy has now officially delayed the production of our book SMASH by two weeks. We find out at the end of the day today if she is going to send over the photos without watermarks. I am guessing probably not. Watch out for the crazy people out there. M Communications will be adding the No - Crazy clause in the company bylaws. My fingers are crossed that we do not have to re shoot ... but who am I kidding.