Posts Tagged ‘Greg Schwem’

A Whole New Game

December 10, 2013

Monday December 9th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

My pursuit of marketing excellence begins. This is going to be the majority of my focus for the rest of my life, and I want to put it out there so people call me on it. My natural instincts are to be a performer first and focus all my creative energies there, but that route proved to be a dead end.

It takes plenty of creativity to be a marketer too, it’s just focused in a different direction. I need to consciously divide my waking energy between my actual product(s) and getting word to those I need to have be aware of who I am and what I can do so they can hire me . It’s a balancing act.

Before, all I would focus on was the ‘show’. I loved it and still do, but there was far too little of an effort put into the ‘business’. There was enough work for enough time that I didn’t need to put much effort into chasing it, and in fact it found me. I was competent enough to have bookers line up for my services. What I didn’t realize was, they weren’t ever going to get me to the next level.

Now I know much better, and I need to approach those who can help me advance. They would include network television show talent bookers, national and international media outlets, meeting planners for corporate events and venues I have wanted to work but haven’t for whatever reason.

I can even improve dramatically with places I already work. It would take minimal effort to put together a monthly or even quarterly newsletter of what I’m doing so I can get my name in front of them even more. They already hire me, but even one more booking would be worth my while.

This is just simple business maintenance, but I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t done it. There are zero excuses, and I’m going to change my ways immediately. What needs to get drilled deep into my rock hard skull is that these are sales accounts, and they bring in money. They’re cash cows.

It would be easy to beat myself up now, but that won’t do one bit of good. What will do plenty of good is to look ahead and make dramatic changes for 2014. On the good side, I can’t think of anybody who has paid more dues than I have getting a show together. I’m completely fresh meat to a whole new market, and I have to believe I’ll be able to get hired and establish a stellar name.

I’ll also continue to work the places I already do, but market myself a whole lot better. I’ll stay in much better contact, and I’ll put time and effort into a mailing list to keep my name fresh with booking agents, media and fans. Those are all areas that need to have steady contact maintained.

Another cage I’ve thought for a while about rattling is the National Speakers Association. I’ve heard mixed reviews on whether to join or not, and it’s a significant financial investment that has no guarantee of bringing in speaking work. I have had people I respect tell me to join, and others I respect tell me to avoid it. I’m still on the fence, but I’m going to look into it a lot more closely.

The main reason I am considering it at all is that speakers as a rule are light years ahead of any comedian in the marketing department. James Gregory and Heywood Banks are a pair of shining stars at comedy marketing, while there are too many speakers to count. Todd Hunt is outstanding as is Larry Winget – but so are Dale Irvin, Greg Schwem, Mikki Williams and Steve Olsher. I’ve met all of these people personally and will model their methods. I’m playing a whole new game.

I'm thinking about joining the National Speakers Association. I have heard pro and con, but I'm still deciding.

I’m thinking about joining the National Speakers Association. I have heard pro and con, but I’m still deciding.

My NEW Business!

December 7, 2013

Friday December 6th, 2013 – Gurnee, IL

My future boils down to marketing, and I know it. It’s not a secret, and now it comes down to execution. Will I or will I not be able to sell myself to enough people to continue to forge out a living doing what I was born to do? I say I will, but I am going to have to rethink my methods.

The first thing I will need to do is assume I am starting all over – which in a way I am. I’ll need to put together a complete list of everyone I can find who has the possibility of hiring me where I see myself working, and then get my name in front of them in a positive way until they hire me.

A content filled up to date newsletter is going to be a must have for 2014. Building long lasting relationships takes consistent effort, but it’s so worth it when it works correctly. Zanies is a great example, as we’ve been helping each other for twenty years. That relationship has been win/win.

As much as I love them, that’s not nearly enough. I need to forge similar relationships with lots of people all over North America and beyond. Comedy clubs don’t pay nearly what the speaking field pays, and I’ve got enough true life stories and stage chops to make a mark there in a hurry.

There have been quite a few top level speakers that have come directly from the comedy clubs, and I know several of them personally. Dale Irvin, Greg Schwem and Tim Clue are all based out of Chicago, and they smartened up a long time before I did. They’ve all been speaking for years.

Todd Hunt is a friend who was never a comedian, but he does give humorous speeches and he is THE best marketer I’ve ever seen – with the possible exception of James Gregory. Todd and I exchange ideas often, and I’ve helped him make his speech funnier over several years. Now he’s making suggestions how I can market myself better, and I’m listening with wide open ear holes.

There’s a whole lot of work to do, but that’s not the problem. The key is to sort it out into what needs to be done in what order, and sticking with that plan no matter what. I look at it as if I were building a house from the ground up. There needs to be logical progression, or it won’t get built.

I’ll admit that’s been an issue in the past. I’ve intended to build a house, but instead of digging a foundation I might varnish a door or squeegee a window. That’s not the right order, and that’s why I’m in the position I am in now. I’m not beating myself up, I’m just assessing my situation.

A new year is just ahead, and this is a perfect time to be thinking about all of this. I’ve hung in there this long doing it my own haphazardly way, why not switch it up and learn from my many mistakes so I can achieve results I really want? I’m excited knowing I’m doing it right for once.

I met with Eric Feinendegen tonight to plot out 2014. He’ll be my pit crew chief as I transition into speaking and more corporate work. I have the ability, and now I’m putting my team together to finally get my payoff for all my decades of struggle. I know there’s a place for me somewhere.

The most important thing to remember moving forward is that I’m not in the comedy business. I mistakenly thought I was for thirty years, but I’m in the MARKETING business. Humor is my basic product, but comedy clubs aren’t the only outlet. It took a while, but I’m finally wising up.

McDonald's isn't in the fast food business, they're in the real estate business.

McDonald’s is not in the fast food business. They are in the real estate business.

Walmart isn't in the retail business, they're in the trucking and transportation business.

Walmart is not in the retail business. They are in the trucking and transportation business.

Dobie Maxwell is not in the comedy business. He is in the marketing business - and this is the age I should have known it.

Dobie Maxwell is not in the comedy business. He is in the marketing business. This is the age I should have realized that. I know now.