Business and the Writing on the Wall

February 21, 2011

What does what you say about your business say to your customers? Can they read the writing on the wall?  If customers can’t quickly understand just what you are offering them, it’s likely you may never get the chance. No matter what your business  is or how big or how small, the way you tell your story is  key to success.


Cartoon #5115 - 'It appears to be some sort of pyramid scheme.'
See more Other Cartoons


We have many ways to share our message.

As business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders and marketers, we have more tools at our disposal than ever before.  Social media, the web, email, print, TV and radio all come together to extend our message to a wider and wider audience.  The question is, when we reach our target audience, is our message clear… or cryptic?

The RIGHT message answers 5 basic questions – Who, What, When, Why, and How.

  • Who are you and what do you stand for.  This is the primary reason we have core values and brand messages.  Make sure that yours is clearly stated and repeated often.
  • What are you offering.  It is amazing how often I see an ad or message and there is no clear value statement.  If I do not know what you have to offer me then how will I know if I want it?
  • “When” comes next.  Your when is a call to action.  Is this a limited offer?  Is there an incentive for acting now?  Develop a sense of urgency so I, as your customer, can take you up on your offer.  Mediums like electronic retail (the QVC/ShopNBC/HSN networks) and Direct Response (the infomercial crowd) have this down to an art.  They clearly state the “who” and the “what”  with a compelling ACT NOW messaging strategy.  This is  the art of timing.  Just remember, when you call your customers to action, be sure you are ready to deliver.  Otherwise, you just frustrate of confuse them and they will not be listening when you reach out again.
  • The why is a two part process.  First communicate WHY you have the right product or service for your customer.  This is not about you, it is ALL about them.  Why is your product better for them?  Why is your product  different or better than their other alternatives?   Why do they want to buy from you right now?  Secondly – be sure to keep the promises you made in your Who, What and Why statements.  The first customer experience may be a result of your marketing prowess, but customer experience will be WHY they come back to buy from you again.
  • This leads us to the How.  When you put the writing up on the wall, be sure that you clearly state… How to reach you. How to buy from you. How customer’s can use your product or service to the customer’s advantage after the sale.  If there is no evidence of a how, I may not buy.  If there is no results from your “how” after the sale, I definitely won’t be buying again.

So get your message out there and make it easy for me to understand. 

I just might have a need for what YOU want to offer.  Just keep in mind that customers like me are busy and you are not my highest  priority…yet.  Creative marketing campaigns or messages may capture my attention but if you do not clearly communicate the Who, What, When, Why and How you may have succeeded in entertaining me, but you have failed in your primary goal…engaging me as a customer today and tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


Joan Koerber-Walker is a two time Stevie Award National Finalist and Chairman of the Board of CorePurpose, Inc. and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  She also serves as Executive in Residence for Callaman Ventures and on the boards of for profit and nonprofit organizations.  As the former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association she has worked with hundreds of  businesses and on behalf of thousands.  She believes that when you combine leadership with innovative products and services you get results.  With the support of a great  team at CorePurpose she helps client companies of all sizes do just that.  Chat with her on Twitter as @joankw, @JKWgrowth, @JKWinnovation, @JKWleadership and@CorePurpose , at her blog at or by email by clicking here.


Go Forth and Raise Whuffie

October 13, 2009

In less that one month, entrepreneurs from around Arizona and from other parts of North America are gathering for AZEC09, The Fourth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference which will be held in Tempe Arizona on November 12, 2009.  

AZEC09 continues the Arizona tradition of bringing together thought leaders in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media together for a full day of sharing ideas, making connections, and even launching new companies and products that started with Jump Box in 2006 continues with another great new idea that emerged from last year’s conference and will be debuting this year. 

Each year our lunch keynote is a special treat, someone sharing great ideas that each attendee can take back to the office and put to work in their business the very next day.  Past keynotes have included Michael Gerber author of the best selling E-Myth, Dan Morrison, CEO of IT ToolBox, and Matt Mullenweg founder of Word Press.  This year, at lunch we’ll be hearing from Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor, as she inspires us to raise a little whuffie. 

What – you don’t know what WHUFFIE is!  We’ll let’s get a sneak preview from Tara as she answers the question …What is Whuffie?

In addition to learning how great companies are putting Whuffie to work in their businesses, AZEC09 is an opportunity to gain insights from Michelle Robson, the founder of EmpowHER, get the latest from Kevin Surace on the strategies that are helping Serious Materials succeed in the eco friendly building materials space, get the latest developments in Healthcare 2.0, hear from panels of local CEOS who generously share their secrets on how they are building great businesses,  and get the scoop from Howard Lindzon on the state of Venture Capital.

But, like everything else in business, you can’t win if you do not show up. 

And since winning is so much fun, we have even decided to liven things up with some great prizes during the day thanks to some of our generous sponsors and partners.

So here’s your chance to win.  Register now for AZEC09 and if you do so before 8AM on October 16th you can even save $50 with the $99 early registration rate. (At 8:01 AM on the 16th tickets go up to $150.)

It’s your chance to Engage, Connect, be Inspired and WIN.

I know where I will be on November 12, 2009.  How about you?

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Chairman, OTEF, The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation

Host organization of AZEC09 , AZEC08, AZEC07, and AZEC06.

AZEC08 November 12, 2009

P.S. – You might be wondering who those great sponsors are…so here’s the list:  The Business Journal Phoenix and Infusionsoft – who have generously stepped up EVERY year, as well as Mashable, Microsoft, Affordable Image, The Town of Gilbert, Metro Studios, Pour Masters, Gangplank, Stealthmode Partners, CorePurpose, Brent Spore, Chuck Reynolds, The Performance Magazine, and  The Social Media, PLUS our great friends and community partners at The Knight Center for Digital Media, EO, TiE-Arizona, and The Arizona Technology Council, Social Media Club Phoenix, The Phoenix Innovation Foundation, PodCampAZ.