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Video – Secret to Success at Aviation Networking Events

Networking at shows like NBAA?  There are  no tricks or techniques that will help you if you can’t fix this one thing:

That said, there are MANY tricks and techniques for making the most of your time at a trade show. We talked about Networking at our last Marketing Master Class. Our members will get the full video recording, Q & A, and handouts.

If you haven’t already, make sure you download our Trade Show Checklist so you don’t miss any!

How Watching “The Blacklist” Can Improve Sales

How watching The Blacklist can improve your salesHow Watching “The Blacklist” Can Improve Sales

Raymond Reddington of NBC’s “the Blacklist” seems an unlikely hero in an era when spy dramas are full of cgi car chases and supernatural martial arts skills.

However . . .

The scene opens on a darkened roomful of good guys and bad guys in an eerie warehouse in the bad part of town.  The tension is high and you sense that this is the moment just before the bullets start flying.

Raymond “Red” Reddington strides confidently in the room his assistant Denbe at his side.  He flashes a high-beam smile at the assembled crowd, throws his hat down on a chair, and starts telling a story.

“Steve!  I’m delighted to see you.   It’s been ages.  You know, this reminds that time in Namibia.  A woman I was dating was so convinced there was a bomb in a package that she threatened the mailman with a bowling pin.  You know, she made the most amazing pie crusts . . . ”

What’s remarkable about Reddington’s character is that he doesn’t (usually) pull a gun, he doesn’t raise his voice or show anger, and before anyone realizes what has happened, he has taken control of the room, using nothing more than an affable presence and a finely-honed skill for storytelling.

And by the time he finishes his story, most likely the good guys, and bad guys (according to the story line, Reddington is a bad guy, although that’s easy to forget because he is so good at it) are placidly, if bemusedly, doing Red’s bidding. At least for the moment.  People have begun to know, like, and trust him, in spite of his reputation, and in spite of their own agendas.

In real  life as well as on TV, storytelling is a fantastic technique for convincing people to do what you want. Or at least, getting them to stop and listen to you.

The success of the show itself is evidence of the power of great storytelling.  (Even TV watchers love great stories!)

On May 11, 2014, owing to the show’s breakout success, NBC announced the show would air an episode in the coveted post–Super Bowl timeslot in 2015.

The show has received critical acclaim, with many critics praising Spader’s performance in particular.

Wikipedia – The Blacklist – TV Series

Why is storytelling so successful?  (And more importantly, how can you USE this to be more successful with your sales and marketing efforts?)

penn jilletteJames Spader is not the only gifted storyteller we’ve seen lately.   We had the opportunity to see Penn Jilette (of Penn & Teller) at the GKIC Marketing Superconference last week in Minneapolis. There is another man with amazing storytelling skills.

While people think of Penn & Teller as a magic act, the real talent comes in great storytelling.  Penn Jillette started as a street performer. He used stories and humor to draw a crowd, to explain each “trick” as it was being performed, (magicians notably call this “selling the trick”) and, most importantly to the success of a street performer,  to get people to actually want to give him money at the end of his act. He was so successful that his accountant was certain he was selling drugs or doing something illegal.  (Like, street performers make enough money to need an accountant?)

Here’s why they work:

  • Stories get attention.  From the time we were children, we learned to stop what we were doing and listen as soon as someone (particularly a gifted storyteller) started telling a story.
  • Stories are a pattern interrupt in a marketing or selling situation.  People are expecting a barrage of reasons they should buy your product. By slowing down the interaction and telling a story, the prospect (who was gearing himself up to object or resist your sales or marketing efforts) is caught off guard.
  • Stories are disarming. In the case of the TV show, stories can be literally disarming.  But in your case, you don’t need to convince a gang of mobsters to stop what they’re doing mid-attack. As a salesperson or marketing professional, you’re more likely to encounter skepticism and cynicism than outright violence.  (We hope!)
  • Stories build rapport.  Particularly if you use a story that connects with something you know about the prospect. Telling a story that includes an element that you know about your prospect (the town he came from, a school he graduated from, a sport he played, etc.) you can very subtly but powerfully build a very real connection in the process of telling a story.
  • Stories are convincing.  The stories you choose can be case studies or narratives about customers who achieved a particular result form using your product.  Facts and statistics are one thing, but a great story can be far more emotionally compelling.

Of course it helps if you have the supreme confidence,  resonant voice  and comedic timing of James Spader on a sound set (with a staff of fantastic writers working frantically to make him so delightfully villainous) . But even without those advantages, you can benefit from incorporating storytelling. And like most skills, the more of it you do, the better you get at doing it.

  • Watch great storytellers in action. Notice how they get get everyone’s attention at the beginning, introduce the story, build interest, and have a big finish.  The Blacklist is a good place to start.  🙂  Anything done by Penn & Teller is another resource. Jillette told us he spends many, many hours learning where to stand, which words to choose, what order to tell the story in, and what tone of voice to use for maximum effect.
  • Open sales presentations with a short, funny story.  Do this before you even BEGIN to talk about your product or service.
  • Collect a notebook of stories.  (The notes function in your phone is great for this.)   You probably have dozens of great stories if you think about your interactions with clients, interactions with your relatives, even your commute to work.
  • Practice the art of storytelling.  Often the difference between a compelling story and a mundane observation is not the facts behind the story, but the manner of telling it.  Spader has been acting for decades.  Penn & Teller spend weeks rehearsing a routine before it goes before the public.  You can (and should)  “rehearse” a story before using it in a sales presentation. Spend the time it takes to craft two or three great short stories for maximum effect.
  • Use stories in your marketing materials.  Use a narrative style in your blog posts and videos.

Of course, you should provide great information in your sales and marketing materials and presentations.  Some will say that the best salespeople should be teachers. (I’m one of them.)

But if you remember from when you were a kid, the best teachers WERE the great storytellers!

Are You Afraid to Raise Prices?

Aviation professionals who don’t have much experience with marketing and sales assume that if you offer your product at a lower price, you will sell more products.

There are many reasons this assumption could be dangerously incorrect.

This model assumes that your product is a commodity, like a can of beans, that has little to differentiate it from the competition.  It also assumes that your product is sitting on a shelf next to all of the other cans of beans, and all of your consumers easily and conveniently compare features and prices side-by-side, make their selection, and walk out the door with product in hand.

raise your prices

Even with straightforward commodities like a can of beans, I’ll spend up to 30% more on a product that has a trusted brand name.

Is this because I make irrational decisions based on available data?  Possibly. But it’s more likely that I want the best food for my family and I’m willing risk a little money to make that more likely.

And with aviation products and services, I’m even LESS likely to buy the least expensive product. Why?

  • Subconsciously, (and  sometimes consciously!) consumers associate a higher price with higher quality. (Note – This is a phenomenon called “perceived value.”  It’s what makes us think twice about buying a $30 Rolex watch.   Our first impulse is suspicion.  “What’s wrong with it? Why is it so cheap?”)
  • This is exaggerated even more in the aviation industry where safety is associated with quality. Nobody wants to trust their safety to cheapest components.
  • Aviation consumers, as a population, are used to fantastic customer service.  They are willing to pay m ore for it.

Many companies we work with have reduced their prices to adjust to market forces over the past few years, and with good reason – it’s allowed them to keep market share in a volatile economy.  This year, there are some positive signs in the number of business jets being sold, attendance at many of the major aviation conventions, and signs that aviation businesses and consumers are spending more money.

So, is now a good time to raise prices?

Probably.  Unless there are specific competitive reasons not to, (and sometimes even if there are – we advice our clients to avoid the “low price leader” position in the market!) there are great reasons to raise prices:

  • You can’t keep prices low forever – sooner or later you need to repair or replace equipment, hire new people or at least replace people who have left or retired, and/or move to bigger facilities.
  • You need to give your people raises to keep the best product production and service delivery people motivated and performing at their best. You also need to provide attractive incentives for your people to meet objectives.
  • You need to invest in research and development to continue to offer better products and services.
  • You need to invest in marketing to keep and expand your market share. (Our favorite!)
  • Depending on the demographics of your customers, and your marketing strategies, higher prices may actually make marketing and sales easier. (See the note about perceived value above.)  We, and our clients, have been pleasantly surprised on several occasions with less sales resistance and higher customer satisfaction survey results AFTER raising prices!

Couple of caveats:

  • Consider keeping your current pricing for existing clients.  It’s a great way to reward loyalty.  (And it IS much less expensive to keep old customers than to find new ones!)
  • Consider improving your products and announcing the new versions to coincide with the higher prices. (Apple does this masterfully with iPhones, iPads and computers.
  • Consider a marketing campaign explaining your reasons for raising your prices, and providing a time-delimited window to acquire products at the old prices.

With that in mind, here’s a flyer we sent to our current clients:


Warning -raise prices

Sales Phobia Panel Discussion

We’re looking forward to a great panel discussion next week that you’ll definitely want to be a part of if you’re involved in sales or marketing in the aviation industry!

We’ll be asking the questions YOU want to ask, of the people who are “in the trenches” making sales in different parts of the industry.

Our panelists: (In alphabetical order, because they all get star billing)

Dan Bigelow, Sandler Sales Training of Utah

Dan Bigelow - Sales PhobiaSandler Training (mcn.sandler.com) is a world leader in innovative sales and sales management training. For more than 40 years, Sandler has taught its distinctive, non-traditional selling system and highly effective sales training methodology, which has helped salespeople and sales managers take charge of the process.

The Sandler methodology is sales training that works and management training that works.

Brad Harris, Founder and CEO, Dallas Jet International

Brad Harris - Sales PhobiaBrad Harris is Chairman of NARA (www.NARAaircraft.com) and founder and CEO of Dallas Jet International, (www.DallasJet.com) which provides a complete range of services to jet aircraft owners.

DJI has recently completed its most successful year in business since 2007.

Brad is a current pilot of several aircraft including Gulfstream, Hawker, Falcon, and Citation.

Mike Livezey, General Manager, Cutter Aviation

Mike Livezey - Sales PhobiaMike Livezey joined Cutter Aviation in 2006 as Operations Manager for the FBO at Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, Texas and was promoted to General Manager later that year.In 2007, he accepted responsibility as Director of Corporate Marketing for the Cutter Aviation network of FBOs.
Mike entered the aviation industry in 2001 and held various management positions before joining Cutter Aviation. (www.CutterAviation.com)

Mike presently serves on the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee.

Michael J. Ryan, Managing Member, AirPSG, LLC

Mike Ryan - Sales PhobiaAirPSG’s hands-free, easy to implement marketing solutions enable our clients to take control of their own futures by reducing their reliance on charter brokers and online booking services. And we can make it happen for you too.

AirPSG makes it possible for you to compete with the big names and claim your share of retail air charter passengers and higher margin aircraft management business without having to invest a lot of time or energy. How? By providing high-impact, affordable BRAND and ONLINE MARKETING SOLUTIONS that are customized to fit your company’s needs. (www.AirPSG.com)

David Santo, President, Aerostar Training Services LLC
One of AeroStar’s two founders, Captain Santo has accumulated over 12,000 flight hours and is currently serving as an A320 Captain for a major U.S. airline. Dave is typed in Boeing B-727, Boeing B747-400, Airbus A320, Airbus A330, Learjet, CE-550 (Cessna Citation), HF -320 (Hansa Jet) and has served in positions as Assistant Chief Pilot, Check Airman, Delivery Pilot, Accident Investigator, Simulator Instructor, Training Center Evaluator for four part 121 airlines. Dave has previous experience developing, managing and constructing training programs and facilities from inception to completion. Dave is an alumni of Southern Illinois University, The Citadel, and Cochise College.

We’ll be asking them questions like these:

  • Do sales tasks come more easily to some people “naturally” or is it something that is learned/practiced?
  • What techniques help you prepare for a sales call?
  • How do you identify “sales phobia” in a team member, (Procrastination, excuses, etc.) and what do you do about it?
  • How do you hire great salespeople who are less likely to have “sales phobia” issues?

Seating is limited for this special event. If you have not already reserved your seat, please register now!

(Link won’t work? Paste this into your browser instead)


See you Wednesday, August 20, at 1:00 MDT

Be careful what you promise, and who you promise it to!

We attended a promotion party for a dear friend this weekend. Our friend, a recently commissioned Colonel, drew our attention to the words of the oath taken by officers. They do NOT promise to obey or defend their superior officers, the Joint Chiefs, the Commander In Chief even the Army itself.



They swear to defend the Constitution of the United States.

I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

(DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

So, why is this important?

Well, when you look at armed forces around the world who are obligated to support and defend the “tyrant of the month,” personal loyalty comes at a premium but also has a great price when there is a shift in the politics.

I have to cringe when I see marketing that makes unrealistic promises to unknown entities.

It’s one thing to say “We do whatever it takes to delight our customers,” until some overprivileged jet pilot brings your receptionist to tears, or some irresponsible student puts the safety of people or property at risk, or a group of young celebrities tries to sneak their stash of controlled substances on board a charter flight.

There have always been irresponsible consumers, but we have to wonder if the “over the top” marketing messages imply that imply “we’ll do whatever it takes to get your business” may have contributed to the problem.

Our philosophy – make smaller, more specific promises to carefully targeted prospects. They’re more believable. And it’s easier to meet (or exceed) expectations and get referrals to other carefully selected prospects.

What do you think? Does overblown marketing contribute to the phenomenon of “customers behaving badly?”

Marketing Strategies – Approaching Your Top Ten Most Desired Customers

This one of the most powerful marketing strategies that we share with all of our clients early in the process of working together.

One of our clients (who is a pilot) remarked that “customers don’t come with approach plates.”

No, they don’t.   You have to make up your own.

Unique Customers Require Unique Approaches.

One thing we recommend to our clients is that they keep a “top ten” list of customers they want to do business with. (Remember that prospects are people, not companies, so you need to identify the specific person, or at least the job title, of the person you think would make the purchase decision.)

marketing strategies

Why Just Ten?

Why ten? Why not hundreds?

Because most people don’t have the time or energy to “approach” more than ten people intelligently.

Of course you can (and should, depending on your marketing objectives) send broadcasts of emails or postcards, and you can advertise in publications and reach thousands or hundreds of thousands of prospective customers; but if advertising is a shotgun, then approaching is a sniper rifle – much more targeted, and much more effective, particularly for situations where the targets are fewer and more difficult.

In addition to advertising, we also recommend spending personal attention on your “top ten” list as a disciplined business development activity.

Here’s why:

  • Ten is a small enough number to make this a two-way street. You’re reaching out with the sincere interest of listening and learning.
  • You can customize, tailor and craft marketing messages that are specifically compelling to this particular customer.
  • You may  find the person you thought was the ideal contact may not be the real decision-maker.  This is something you would only learn by building relationships.
  • Building these relationships over time offers more benefits than simply making this specific sale or closing this specific deal.  You’re making friends for life and learning valuable insights that you can apply to the rest of your marketing.
  • As sales close, or as you discover that one prospective customer on your list is NOT a good prospect for whatever reason, you can replace him or her with another. So your top ten list changes each week, each month, or each quarter, depending on the velocity of your sales cycle.

After some discussion, most of our clients agree that approaching (or “stalking”) their top ten prospects is a good strategy. The next question is this.

Prospect Approach Checklist

“So, what exactly should I be doing to ‘approach’ these prospects?”

Well, here’s what you don’t want to do:

  • You don’t want to bombard them with communication
  • You don’t want them to be uncomfortable about your level of attention. (You don’t want them to feel like you’re “stalking” them!)

Balance the activities listed below, and tailor them to the prospect and to the situation. Use restraint and be willing to spend as long as it takes to build trust. Here are some activities you could perform on a weekly basis:

  • Look them up on Google. Find out what you can and look for things you have in common and ways to connect.
  • Connect with them on social media.
  • Go to an event that you know they will be attending.
  • Look for opportunities to help them. If they ask a question in a forum or user group, offer a solution if you can.
  • Comment on articles they write or updates they post, if you have something relevant to say.
  • Cut out an article you find in a trade publication or magazine that you think might interest them, given their interests (again, the more you know, the better this works.)  Drop it in the mail with a handwritten note, or (less effective) send them an email with a link.
  • Send a card for their birthday, anniversary or congratulations for a special event.
  • Meet and connect with their “influencers.”  Extend your social network (online and in person) to others in their company and in their industry. Connect with their boss, their lawyer, their accountant, and anyone else they respect if you have a legitimate opportunity. The more connections you have within their network, the more “real” and credible you will seem in their experience.

We spend a couple of hours each Friday (we call this “Follow Friday”) to make it easy to remember to follow, connect with, comment on, and otherwise “follow” our Top Ten most desired customers.

One caveat – we don’t directly contact our “top ten” every single week; we may spend several weeks doing research for each actual connection. And we never use these “Follow Friday” activities for direct sales pitches. If a prospect indicates interest, fine; but we let the prospect drive the pace of the sales process.

My flight instructor used to say, “never rush an approach.”

That’s good advice for marketing strategy, as well.

Social Media Survey of Aviation Professionals – Results and Recommendations

ABCI (Aviation Business Consultants International)  conducted a social media survey of aviation professionals, which concluded on July 11, 2014. The results confirmed some of our suspicions, and held a few surprises as well.

We advertised the survey on eight social media networks, as well as on our blog.  Survey respondents were compensated only with a report of the results.

Who responded to the survey?

The first two questions were designed to determine the segments of the aviation industry that respondents worked in, the companies they work for, and the positions they hold within those companies.

Social Media Survey of Aviation Professionals - Your Company

To divide this a different way, we can divide this into Business to Consumer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B)

  • Business to Consumer can include FBOs, Aviation Training Organizations, Charter Organizations, Aviation Product Retailers (B2C) and Aviation Service Providers (B2C)
  • B to Business can also include FBOs, Aviation Training Organizations (career- oriented or those that sell to airlines, etc.) Charter Organizations, Airport Authorities, Aviation Consultants, Aviation Product Managers (B2B) and Aviation Service Managers (B2B)

Social Media Survey of Aviation Professionals - Your Role

  • Several years ago, social media users were younger, entry-level employees. Now C Level executives and founders were the largest group of our respondents!

Who Else Answered the Survey?

These are people that selected the option “other” and wrote in an response.

  • State aviation office
  • Uber driver – airport pickup/taxi service
  • Airline
  • Helicopter Pilot CFII
  • Aviation association
  • Full-service aviation company 
(FBO, Charter, MX, Management)
  • Aviation association

Social Media Survey of Aviation Professionals - Frequency

Which Social Networks do you use, and how often do you use them? (Personal Use)

Social Media Survey of Aviation Professionals - Personal use

Which Social Networks do you use, and how often do you use them (Marketing Use)

Social Media Survey of Aviation Professionals - Marketing use

There are two ways to use this data-

  • Look for opportunities where there are lots of companies advertising. If they’ve determined that it works for them, it may be a good opportunity to evaluate!
  • Look for opportunities where there are lots of users of a particular social media channel, with few companies that actually use it for advertising. (Lots of buyers + Few sellers = ideal market opportunity!)

Planned Changes in Social Media in the Coming Year

These were responses written in on the survey.  This question was optional.

  •  Increased use of Facebook and Twitter for business
  • Increased activity to send of company information instead of print media
  • Use more images
  • We want to do more with Linked In and will probably explore Google +
  • More Facebook activity with our employees
  • Increased use of Instagram
  • More customized and targeted advertising on social media sites.
  • Find more ways to use social media more effectively.
  • Increase
  • Many, but also see a return to more traditional marketing as it is now different!
  • Increasing
  • Increase with more relevant content
  • It will increase…but it will probably diversify, thus, diluting results…
  • Increased use of Google Plus, Instagram, reduced use of Facebook.
  • Increased use of all channels
  • Increased expectations for providing full-blown customer service via social media channels

You can probably detect a trend here- people use the term “increased” and “more” a LOT. No one in our survey indicated they intended to do LESS social media marketing in the coming year.

Key Takeaways:

  • LinkedIn is the primary social media used most by the most aviation professionals.
  • Aviation professionals are deeply divided about Facebook usage (people love or hate it, with very little middle ground)
  • Google Plus has gained significant usage among aviation professionals.
  • All respondents plan to increase social media usage for the coming year.
  • Pinterest and Instagram usage remains low, but there are small pockets of dedicated usage among specific groups. (Instagram for highly visual aviation products, and Instagram among aviation maintenance professionals, for example.)

Need help developing a social media strategy or seeing how your social media presence stands up to the competition, and seeing what opportunities you might be missing?

Order a Marketing Flight Plan Today!

“Is it worth upgrading an account to LinkedIn Business, Business Plus or Executive?”

Here’s a question we received AFTER our LinkedIn webinar this week- it’s a good one, and I wish we had included in the session!

“Is it worth upgrading an account to LinkedIn Business, Business Plus or Executive?”

But, better late than never,  here’s the answer now.

Although I’m sure the folks that work at LinkedIn would disagree, my opinion is no, it’s not worth upgrading an account to LinkedIn Business or any of the premium options.

Is it worth upgrading an account to LinkedIn Business

Here’s why:

The primary benefit of those paid, premium accounts is that you are able to send “out of network” emails (they call them “InMails”) and ask for introductions.

If there’s someone you want to connect with that you’re not connected to now, you can simply join a group they belong to and begin interacting with them in that way, or find a person that you have in common. Seek out someone from their company at a trade show or other function, and ask for an introduction.

It is more genuine and impressive to invest the time and courage, rather than the money, to connect with the people you want to connect with. And aviation is such a “small world” when it comes down to it that it’s worth the time to build your network “the hard way.”

Agree? Disagree? We’d like to hear what you have to say in the comments below.

Want a DVD of the Webinar, plus the written workbook?

Enroll in the Aviation Marketing Master Class before July 31.

Our “Summer School Special” includes these bonuses:

  • DVD & Workbook of the LinkedIn webinar
  • Ad in the Aviation Services Directory
  • Complete Results of Our Social Media Survey
  • Social Media Cheat Sheet
  • Be Featured in our Referral Group in August

Summer is a great time to get a jump-start on your marketing skills and systems before the big fall conventions!

Click here to select the membership level that’s best for you.

LinkedIn Basics – What We Won’t Be Covering in Wednesday’s Session

Many people think of LinkedIn as an online resume service or job-hunting tool, both of which are definitely worthwhile LinkedIn Basics.

It can also be used as a powerful marketing platform, especially for the complex, high-touch business aviation market.

Our LinkedIn Webinar on Wednesday will be covering some very advanced techniques and exceedingly powerful ways to use LinkedIn, but we WON’T be covering the basics for first-time LinkedIn users.  We only have an hour, and want to make sure it’s a great use of time for everyone that joins us. We asked in the registration form about the experience level of attendees, and have found that most attendees are fairly sophisticated users and have a fairly high degree of proficiency with it.

So, we’re “taking it up a notch” with the course.

New to LinkedIn?   Coming to the Webinar?  

No worries, but to get the most out of the session we suggest you brush up on the basics first.

Here’s the “official” LinkedIn 101 tutorial:


You may find the audio too low.  If that’s the case, here’s another good basic tutorial, the narrator has a charming Swedish accent.

linkedin basics


Specific examples from the aviation industry will be used in Wednesday’s Webinar, and we will discuss different methods to use LinkedIn for marketing purposes.

Ten Things Aviation Professionals Should Do with LinkedIn –

  1. Find new prospects for your product or service.
  2. Connect with people you need to know in a way they respect.
  3. Research your competition and refine your competitive advantage.
  4. “Do your homework” before a networking event, important meeting or sales call.
  5. Follow up after a networking event, important meeting or sales call.
  6. Find thought leaders in your area of expertise to connect with.
  7. Get found when people are looking for your particular product or service.
  8. Obtain more publicity for your website or blog.
  9. Obtain more followers on your other social media sites.
  10. Establish your credibility as a thought leader in your area of expertise.

Most Master Class sessions are Members Only, but everyone is welcome to this special session!

There are a few seats left in this free workshop – reserve yours now!

Click Here to Register Now!

Register Now LinkedIn


Does your company rely on email marketing? Read this to avoid steep fines. . .

Obtaining explicit consent for email marketing has become more important than ever.  Even if you have been following best practices around email compliance for years, CASL changes the game.  CASL affects any person and business sending email to Canadian citizens.

If you ever have or intend to send email as part of your marketing efforts, you are going to want to follow this legislation very closely.

What is CASL?

On July 1, 2014 Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will be enacted and is being touted as one of the most aggressive anti-spam laws in the world.

The law is part of Canada’s attempt to deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam like identity theft, phishing, and spyware. Unlike CAN-SPAM, which accepts an opt-out model, CASL requires an opt-in model.  This means you must have explicit (not implied) permission from the recipient in order to send email marketing to anyone in Canada.

Starting July 1, 2014, you must have explicit (not implied) permission from the recipient in order to  send email marketing to anyone in Canada.

Click here for more information on CASL, and read the full text of the law here.

What could happen if I violate CASL?

The penalties are steep—up to $10 million per violation.  When the legislation goes live, the Canadian government can bring suit against violators.  Starting in 2017, CASL empowers Canadian citizens to personally take legal action against you and your business.

This legislation could open you and your business entities up to potential personal liabilities, ranging from civil damages to monetary penalties to criminal charges.

The best way to protect yourself is to obtain an affirmative double opt-in from your email marketing recipients. 

Although the law goes live on July 1st, senders have a three-year grace period to obtain explicit consent from their Canadian recipients.

Because it may be difficult to determine which contacts in your customer and/or prospect lists may be located in Canada, we recommend that everyone use double-opt-in methods for their email marketing.

And this is yet another great reason to have a marketing system that makes it easy to adapt when laws or technology changes.

It’s important to have redundancy in your marketing system so that it’s easy to adapt to changes like these.

“Diversity leads to stability.”  – Dan Kennedy

One of the biggest differences between vintage and modern airplanes is the concept of redundancy – instruments and controls that “cover for one another” in the event of a failure.  Redundant systems make it safer to fly.

If your glass panel fails for any reason, you can rely on the good old-fashioned “steam gauges” to help you get where you’re going.

Redundant Systems in an aircraft

Cirrus Interior – Photo – Wikipedia.com

Many  things have changed in the last few years when it comes to marketing laws and technology.  There are lots of things that could “go wrong” with a marketing system that is too dependent on any particular technique or media.

  • Email legislation (such as CASL)
  • Changes in do-not-call legislation
  • First class postal rates going up
  • Flat rates for parcels introduced
  • Better email “spam” filters
  • Social media channels have been invented, gained and/or lost popularity (i.e. – who bothers with MySpace anymore?)
  • Google has revolutionized search technology and can affect traffic to your site dramatically when they change the rules.

When you have a marketing system that has several effective options for each phase of the marketing process, it still continues to function, even if you have to take one option “offline” for legal or technical reasons.

ABCI focuses on building  redundancy into every marketing system we build, implement or manage.

Here are some examples of redundant features we include in our marketing systems:

  • Multiple advertising venues (i.e. postcards AND email AND social media)
  • Software AND “human being” website monitoring.
  • Nurturing several social media channels – as one falls into disuse, others become more popular.
  • Reporting (and decision-making) that includes results from several software tools that use different technology,  emphasis and bias  (Google Analytics AND Alexa AND Klout AND SumAll, etc.)


This diagram shows an example of Phase One activities for a marketing client.  You can see from the blue arrows there are several alternatives to email broadcast (email marketing.)

This ensures a stable flow of new leads, despite “turbulence” in the technology or legal landscape that may affect one or more of our prospecting activities.

Our job is to build and maintain marketing systems that maintain a stable flow of leads, anticipating any changes in the “weather” that might affect any of the activities we use in our systems; to plan for them in advance as much as possible, and to ensure that disruptions are minimal.

Redundancy may not be sexy, unless you’re a pilot.   (Or a pilot who’s into marketing!)


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