#62 Is Retail Business Doomed?


Welcome, listeners, to another stimulating and informative episode of Freedom Ocean. This week, James and Timbo talk about patterns, the future of retail businesses, resilience and simplifying in business and in life.

2013-07-17 19.52.44-1


In this podcast:

  •     Tim describes James’ working setup
  •     History repeating itself
  •     What is James’ “superpower”?
  •     How retail businesses fall short
  •     Upfront pain for long term gain
  •     Paring things down
  •    Smart content management


…humans haven’t changed much for 3,000 years… [Click To Tweet].
…you should be more focused on the quality of your content… [Click To Tweet].
I think that the salespeople will continue to thrive. [Click To Tweet].



Internet Marketing Products & Resources

Here you’ll find Tim and James have some things to help your business become more powerful.




Tim:                Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome back to the Freedom Ocean. I am Timbo Reid. Right there is Jimmy James Schramko.

James:            G’day, Timbo.

Tim:                 We should be able to paint a picture Jim… Jimmy, I think, well, right now?

James:            I thought that was funny counting down 3-2-1 since we are in the same room.

Tim:                 It’s nice!

James:            Yeah, it is nice. It’s that idea that we’re doing something together.

Tim:                 Correct. There’s a lot of love in this room. Let me paint a picture for everyone listening right now. I’m sitting in James’ apartment in… I was going to say Bondi but it is Manly. We are overlooking the ocean, we are sitting in a dark room. James has a very sort of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” chandelier above his head. We are surrounded with technology. I’m sitting on a couch which I think would be listed in any atlas, it’s that big.

James:            No, It actually comes with its own postcode.

Tim:                 I’ve no doubt. So, mate, it’s great! It’s lovely to be able to look out to the real Freedom Ocean and to kind of eyeball each other as we banter our way through this episode.

James:            So depending on the level of audio engineering we do, you may be able to hear the surf. But that’s probably one of the greatest attractions for me, it’s the fresh air and the continual little surf background, it’s quite relaxing.

Tim:                 Yeah it is. You can get used to that. I’m just sitting here in your lounge room, mate, and just been into your office and even in your kitchen. You’re surrounded with technology. You cannot walk five metres without bumping into a tripod, a lighting set-up, a stand up desk with a MacBook on it. You have got all sorts of stuff and I wondered, like, five years ago, you wouldn’t have had, you might have had a zoom microphone.

James:            Hey, that’s an interesting topic because when I went to visit Google, they were talking about how many televisions or screens actually, it’s what they’re talking about, people encounter in a day. And then they started to include things like smart microwaves, fridges, your car, your watch, your phone, blah blah blah, and they were counting up ridiculous numbers like 50 or 100 screens. But I will say I actually think that I have a fairly effective set-up but I don’t think that I have a lot of all these items. I actually have less. I’m actually using one computer now and one external monitor. And that desk that we’re looking at, the stand up desk, I have spent the last… more than a month operating from that single space. So within a…

Tim:                 Is that your space there? That little…

James:            That’s where I work.

Tim:                 We would be calling that… I reckon that that’s not even a metre square that desk. It’s got a fancy new iMac right there with road mic hanging up…

James:            That’s a MacBook Pro with an external monitor.

Tim:                 Oh, you got the monitor.

James:            Yes, that MacBook Pro travels with me all around the world. When I come home, I just plug it into that with the Firewire and it’s connected to the ethernet cable. Because that’s where the modem is. I get a much faster connection over the ethernet. I’ve got the good quality mic, the good quality camera. That is my eagle’s nest. That’s where I’m operating.

Tim:                 Yeah, the eagle has landed. Did you know, one of the things that I find when I speak to you, because all these equipment by the way is to help you run a business but a lot of it is also to create content, which you are prolific at. I always…I get a lot of questions about, you know, what mic do you use, what’s your setup? And I’m sure you would, too, and I think it’s a little bit of a… I always think, forget those questions. That’s the easy part of your marketing of your business. I think you should be more focused on the quality of your content and what it is that you’re going to share.

James:            Yeah, I think that tools will change. I like the idea of getting a good tool and…

Tim:                 You love a good tool.

James:            I love a good tool and I like to stick with that where possible. I’m not trying to introduce new stuff. I’m trying to remove stuff. So I do have a box with old gear in it that I don’t use anymore. I found the tools of my choice and I could use these comfortably for quite some time. So I’ll use the… you asked about my other computer that I used to use. I used that for a year and a half. It was great. I’ve then found that the processing wasn’t enough so I needed to replace the tool because it couldn’t do the job that I wanted it to do. The tool that I’ve got now, I could see it lasting a long time. Same with my iPhone 5; the only reason I’ve upgraded to that was because I could do high-definition selfies which you couldn’t do in the 4S.

Tim:                 Love it!

James:            Well, videos.

Tim:                 You’re such a selfies guy.

James:            No no… the videos. You can’t do a high-def video on the 4S but you can on the 5. So the thing that hasn’t changed a lot are the fundamentals and human beings. And I had this boss who wasn’t big on the Internet when I was in the car game and he was always harping on about humans haven’t changed much for 3,000 years or whatever and let’s get back to the fundamentals. When someone walks into the showroom, we will meet them and greet them. We will offer them a tea or a coffee, shake their hand, exchange names, we’ll find out what they want. And you know I was just going through the process of buying a car during the week and it’s all out the window. The old place, my old Mercedes-Benz dealership where I used to work, there was just nothing. It’s like you got to work to buy something these days when you phone up. And I just think that… I bet you they’re surrounded by whiz-bang, great gadgets, they get these little auto generated emails, direct response crap that comes into my mailbox occasionally. They haven’t once invited me to a drive day or a golf day, nothing personal. And they miss out because of that. They’re not even doing the basics but they’ve got all these tech stuff.

Tim:                 I’ve just finished a book which is based in sort of like 12th century medieval England. And a very big book and what I noticed is that I went through generations and generations of people. People haven’t changed. Even back then, you know, they were still dealing with the same problems you know, it’s just that circumstances have changed, technology has changed, but people back then were still dealing with problems of greed or envy or famine or whatever it was, you know.

James:            But I found… I was watching a movie the other day and I could predict exactly what was about to happen each time because there’s only a certain number of storylines and it’s almost like having a superpower. You know what’s coming next because the pattern is there and I’ve really been enjoying history and learning more about the past on one of my books on the coffee table here is Led Zeppelin book and learning about how they remixed and ripped off other artist that came before them, but there really isn’t that much new and there’s a great TED presentation about everything being a remix. The same is true of war events like Iraq and then 10 years later, the same sort of stuff. I saw some film with the young Julian Assange in it. And when he was a kid, not him but someone playing him, when he got arrested when he was a little teenager, he was hacking into war files and finding that there were civilian casualties and stuff and then 10 years later, it was exactly the same stuff but with more modern technology. General Patton was great at reading the old war books because he knew the lay of the land. We literally fought on the same land. In the same places and he knew…

Tim:                 We’re not very quick learners are we?

James:            We’re not fast learners and we repeat mistakes in cycles because the whole generation forgets about stuff so if you want to predict the future, it’s a good thing to look in the past and have a look for trends and cycles and behaviors that just continually re-occur.

Tim:                 Hey Jimmy, you mentioned superpowers before, what’s your superpower? What are you thinking right now, now that I’ve asked you that question?

James:            To be honest the word that comes to mind is acuity.

Tim:                 Hang on just hold that thought. When I asked you that question, were you thinking, “Wow, which one do I choose?” Honestly?

James:            I’m thinking which one would people say about me. And that is that I’m reasonably connected to what’s going on around me before other people figure stuff out. I’ve had really good timing with stuff, with my career. It’s like that little spidey web, I can sort of sense things coming before they happen. And I don’t think that that is a… I don’t think that’s a premonition or psychic ability. I just think that I’m more aware of patterns and cycles and behaviors because of the amount of face time I’ve had with people, with debt collection and face-to-face selling, speaking to customers, speaking to my team, being in forums and communities. You know, I’m quite a social person and I’ve just had more experience communicating to people in different scenarios, like that Jay Abraham thing where he cross pollinates industries with one thing that works and one industry who work in another, I’ve had a lot more exposure to stuff than most people. So I’m able to have a high awareness of stuff. Where I do think, and John Carlton talks about this, people tend to just walk around in a trance. So I think I have a high level of acuity.

Tim:                 What do you mean walk around… what do you mean when you said walk around in a trance?

James:            Well, most people in society… yeah, they’re just highly suggestive to hypnotic suggestions: to drink Coke, work in a job. It starts when you listen to your school teacher who’s qualified at school teaching. They go to school, they go to school, they go to school. You know, if you think about it, the kid teaching your child how, and I mean “kid,” like some of these teachers are very young, have not much ability to go beyond the school or education. They also haven’t had the experience or exposure so I think that the majority of society are just indoctrinated into the way that things happen and no one’s really questioning it. So they’re just doing… I think some people don’t even realize they have a choice.

Tim:                 You just talked about the idea that you’re very good at predicting the future. What are you looking for… what do you see coming in the next 12 months for small businesses?

James:            Well, it’s the same as in the past. There’s always businesses that come along. There’s always businesses that fail. It should always be sticking to the fundamentals and… give me some more context.

Tim:                 Well, we’re talking business from a business context. There’s a lot of small business owners listening. Lot of people listening who are entrepreneurial, who want to start the next big thing or have have an idea that they want to get to market…

James:            Well, I think there’ll be a continual trend where retail stores realize they have to go online. As I look around, there’s a lot of shops for lease. Just in this suburb, there’s ….

Tim:                 There’s resistance to that isn’t there? I’ve just spent the last five weeks meeting one on one with 30 different… but all retailers pretty much. And there’s just a massive… some of it is resistance to actually doing it, to actually moving their physical store online. Others it’s just the technology block, as to wow, how do I do that? Others have just been completely misquoted in terms of what it would potentially cost.

James:            Oh there are some horror stories there but here’s a great example. I took my bicycle into the bicycle store here which services bicycles of my brand.

Tim:                 Unusual.

James:            Yup, interesting, it will be unusual because their biggest competitor in this suburb is a warehouse and the warehouse here does $3 million a year in selling new bicycles. They don’t sell some brands, they don’t service them apparently and they don’t do parts. They just sell new ones. And from what I’ve read, this company was in the higher bicycle, higher business and they wanted to re-stock their bikes and they realized how expensive and difficult it is to buy new bikes in Australia. So they actually I think ship the bike to the customer. They have a “ride it or return it for free” policy so they remove all the risk and I think the retail stores are getting shredded by these people. So when I was talking to the guy there, the staff member, not the owner, about, it started off about MX actually, they don’t take MX. And I said, alright, it makes it hard for people who use a certain card. And said the owner doesn’t like that card you know, so that’s A, an interesting choice. B, I said “So what are you guys doing with the online stuff?” And he said, “Yeah, we’re still waiting.” And I said, “What are you actually waiting for?” And they were like…”Oh, he’s just so busy. The website’s hard.” And I said “If I was the owner here, I’d be getting everyone in the staff a demo bike, I’d buy a GoPro for the office per person and say go nuts with it. And then I’d have all those footage edited.” And he said, “We all have GoPro footages.” And so what are you waiting for? “Because with our brand, we’re not allowed to sell them online.” The brand restricts them. I’m sure it’s probably against the anti-competition but they’re not allowed to sell in their area, they’re not allowed to sell online, they can only have an online brochure that’s sort of… but why wouldn’t they be content marketing, showing people the newest arrivals and really beefing it up? If they don’t, they won’t be in business in a few years because the retail space around here especially I think is some of the dearest in the country.

Tim:                 Do you think a… it’s pretty generic question, it might apply to every business but do you think small business should look to getting online presence, an online store with a view to actually that being 100% of their channel in the future or….

James:            No, I think… here’s the other, the flipside of this, when I was in the Mercedes dealership and we go back 5 or 6 years ago, there was a lot of hoo-ha about cool ways to market and tricky stuff. And then we’re still ignoring people that walk into the showroom. There’s still a place for retail, still people want to go… I mean, I went down to the bike shop here. It’s in my local area, I walk past it, I like it, they can service my bike, you can get a little blinking red light or white light for my handlebars. You know, there’s still a place for that but it has to be done well and lately, especially in this country, I’ve been really intrigued as to how sloppy the average business owner is at talking to customers who are actually in their store right now. It is so hard to buy something sometimes.

Tim:                 Business owner or just staff? Because I find the business owners are pretty…

James:            A good business owner is going to have staff who work in the business as if they are the owner, you know. Just to buy a pair of Vans, some skate shoes and I couldn’t find anyone to serve me. I could see the ones I wanted, I’m like a lay down customer. I know what I want, they’re sitting right there, I just

need someone to go and fetch the box my size. I mean, how hard could it be?

Tim:                 Not that hard.

James:            When I did finally found somebody, it was a two-minute exercise. Do you have these, in size 12? Yes, here they are. Try them on. Thank you. I’ll take them. Wouldn’t it be good if they said, “Ah, do you need some socks with that?” Or, “We have hoodies on special,” whatever. And I’m like, there’s no real salesmanship, whether it’s online, offline or whatever, I think that the salespeople will continue to thrive. The people who are just dialing it in, or just existing, will continue to find it very difficult.

Tim:                 I’m doing a job at the moment for Australian pilots, and they have a large travel section toward their post office service. You go in and you get your passport photo taken and the ability to then upsell to people maybe traveller’s cheques or some kind of multi-cash visa card passport, some kind of travel sim card, some travel accessories that you know, you can take away. Your money belt, your air pillow, all that type of stuff. And yeah, it was amazing. Some get it. Some post office staff get it, others just really kind of… maybe they all get it but just unwilling to go there.

James:            And it’s getting really easy to give people money. You just hold the card at the thing, the PayWay your stuff. Which is great. Some people have it and they don’t even know it. They’re still trying to put the thing in…

Tim:                 How amazing is that?

James:            That… I mean it’s just a low level…

Tim:                 That is amazing. That PayWay thing is just a game changer for me .

James:            And while we’re talking about with retail stores, it’s the same for people’s websites. If people could just put a phone number on it and if they could respond to inquiries, they’ll sell more stuff. So we continually put more effort to our service side of the business because it’s kind of non-existent in some businesses. So we put more stuff on our helpdesk and train the helpdesk to make suggestions that help the customer, but also help you.

Tim:                 How did you get your staff trained up? Is that something you do on a regular basis?

James:            Well, I tend to hire people from call centers so they have a support mentality, although you have to change some of the KPIs, some of the KPIs are how quickly you can get someone off the phone. And I don’t care how quickly, well, A, we don’t do the phone, I’m the phone guy. The B, if we’re on the help ticket, we value things like how quickly we respond to someone, rather than how many tickets each person’s doing per day. You know, I want the customer to feel good about the company and what I have seen is a trend lately. We’ve been getting a lot of compliments in our web development business by people who have tried to do the oDesk, or the Fiverr or the freelancer in India or Romania or whatever and just having massive disconnects and they’re just enjoying having someone who they can talk to that is consistent and stable and gets the job done and it’s easy. People will always prefer to have easy and consistent and that reassurance. They’ll value that so much more than just cheap. And I think any business that is online, if you’re thinking that you’ll take the cheap path, I warn you, that is probably the worst path you could ever take.

Tim:                 Who would have thought a business that any business that chooses to go online should put a huge amount of effort in customer service and really promote that as a fact that you are going to… it’s almost it’s like a major fear barrier for anyone buying online which is, are there people there? Am I going to get it? When am I going to get it? Is it going to arrive? Is it advertised? All that type is the service supporting that? Were all those questions really answered?

James:            Well I’ve actually just I’ve just moved a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of business from one company to another where I was not getting responses for a critical service that I needed. And I moved it based on not being able to get a response.

Tim:                 How long did you wait? How long did you wait before you moved it? Did you tolerate it for months or literally…

James:            No, I waited a day and a half and that was it. And they’ve lost… I’ve already been a customer for five years and I spend an average three and a half thousand a month so that’s gone now. And then when they figured it out, they were begging me to stay, they were putting me on to the director, they were going to give me a free month’s credit. I’m like, it’s too late.

Tim:                 Was it hard to move? Whatever it was, was it a big move? Was it like moving banks or was it actually easy enough to do?

James:            Yes, well, here’s the thing. For the average person, it’s the fear of moving and the fear of change that holds them into a shitty scenario. Whether it’s the bank, the phone company, even where you live. For me, I don’t care. I am fine with change. I don’t mind moving banks, moving accounts, moving house, If I’ve got to make the move for the long term because I’m thinking of the compound effect of it. What’s the next two or three years? And this was one of the considerations when I changed the way that I’d structured my membership was the thought of doing another year with the wrong structure was just so expensive and so unsatisfactory that I would make this big upheaval to like literally to start a whole new one and close my old one and migrate 500 people all because I decided that I’d be better off to structure it in a better way. So take the upfront pain for the long term better scenario. I say remove that compromise. That would actually be a great action step for someone listening to this podcast is think about something you are tolerating that you are not really happy with because overtime you’ll build up that shitty feeling. You build up the resentment and you will never find peace with it.

Tim:                 It becomes heavy. It becomes a burden…a burden.

James:            It does. Let it go. I was speaking to one of our mates today and he’s let go of one of his business divisions because when he put it all down on paper, all of the effort for the reward… it just wasn’t worth it. And it was just the pain of stopping it and turning off a little reward that was stopping him from doing it. But when he did it, he got the massive reward of freedom and simplicity and focus and everything became clear. That’s why I have one standup desk with one external monitor and one computer that I’m using. Sure I’ve got a spare computer that I can pull out in a minute’s notice like I had to at my event. When my slides jammed, I literally had a backpack next to the podium with my other computer in it, ready to just pull out and plug in. And you know I’ve always got redundancy in mind but you might never have to use it. That’s the way… my new server for example, I’ve set up, are the most powerful server I can get and I’ve got an exact same replica sitting right behind it and if the server stalls, the first one, it just moves on to the next one and I probably will never have to use the second one.

Tim:                 That’s insurance right there.

James:            Right there and it’s important because the long term effect of not having that could be detrimental.

Tim:                 Jimmy, we have been all over the place right here, mate.

James:            Have we been anywhere near Freedom Ocean?

Tim:                 Well, it’s all about you know… it’s all about setting up your life and your business in a way that allows you more freedom.

James:            Yeah, so back to the core topic…

Tim:                 Which was?

James:            Well, Freedom Ocean. Like all other stuff we talk about, it’s mindsets and attitudes about how we think about stuff that in getting what we got. So you started this with the technology thing. I guess I’ve sort of tied this in with the whole idea that just be effective with what you’re doing and don’t suffer compromise. Have good things but you don’t need as many things. I think I got way too many things.

Tim:                 You’ve got, well it’s interesting, you commented earlier that you work at having less. But you probably got more in terms of equipment. You’ve got more than you had five years ago, I reckon.

James:            Yes but actually, I’ve got less equipment than I had two years ago.

Tim:                 Right. So you win hard. You realized what you really needed.

James:            That’s it. I go big first. I acquire a massive block of marble and then I chizzle it away to find my statue of David. OK, so I had three or four computers at one stage now I’m down to just one with one backup. If I’m going to record something like this, like we’re recording on our favorite mic that I travel around the world with. And I only really use two mics now, and I only use two cameras these days. And it depends if I’m at home or away. But my home setup is like an office because, you know, I’m still running a multi-million dollar business from this room that we’re sitting in. When I’m at home and I’ve got just the things that I want and nothing extra.

Tim:                 And that good old whiteboard is just staring me right in the face.

James:            The whiteboard… you know, I started without that whiteboard because I had a bigger whiteboard and it wouldn’t fit. I started without a whiteboard again here, but I’ve found that…

Tim:                 Oh, you would have had some nervous moments. You would’ve gone to pick up the texter…

James:            You know you can write on the Mac with a whiteboard marker? But don’t tell anyone.

Tim:                 Don’t tell anyone that.

James:            You can write on a stainless steel bench, but…This whiteboard is getting me more leverage than most things, and I strongly recommend…

Tim:                 What is it about it? We’ve spoken about whiteboards before, but we’ve never tried to identify… what is it about a whiteboard that is so magical, in terms of the way it allows you to – what is it – express yourself?

James:            I think it’s like an exit door for your head, it’s like the eject button. You start to feel overwhelmed, you just purge, take a picture of it…

Tim:                 But you could do that on a Word document, you could do it on a bit of A4 paper…

James:            See, you do it on a Word document, then you close it or lose it, you’ll never see it again. It’s gone.

Tim:                 So why is a whiteboard different to writing on a bit of paper?

James:            You can’t ignore it. It’s right there, it’s a big physical thing. It’s like tying a little piece of string around your finger to remind you of something, versus setting a diary note that you may or may not see again.

Tim:                 There’s something also tactile about the whiteboard. You write stuff on, it’s pretty easy to erase, you can go on “Oh, it doesn’t fit there and I’ll put it there…”

James:            We probably are tapping a different part of the brain or something analog. What I tend to do is just put a couple of items up there that I really have to do and then I enjoy wiping them off when they’re done.

Tim:                 Yup.

James:            And then on the other side I’ll use it to mindmap out a process or something. I used to have a lot more intricate… again, another example, I used to have a lot of A3 pads that were filled with stuff when I started, a lot of research and a lot of planning and stuff and I never implemented 99% of it. Now I’ll draw something up, implement it, like execute, and then rub it off. So I’m doing a lot less, but I’m doing more effective stuff with the whiteboard. So I use it all the time, but I’m putting less things on. I really only want to hit the whiteboard session if it’s the best possible way to deal with something.

Tim:                 Just to maybe round off this episode, I got driven to the airport this morning, and I’m going off on a complete tangent here, I had a special moment in the car, on the way to the airport. So this guy picked me up, and it’s a kind of discussion around resilience. I had this guy pick me up from home. His name was Allen. I said, “Allen, do you mind if we drop my boys off at the top of the street, about a kilometer away, it’s the bus stop to school?” He says, “Why don’t we take them to school?” He’s a lovely guy, I never met him before. So OK, he takes them to school. He takes Jack and Will, my boys, to school, on the way to me going to the airport with him. And so we do that, he’s agreeing over a wonderful conversation, he’s got him some kids just a bit older than mine, you know, he’s really enjoying it, he’s a real family guy, he’s 59. And so the boys get out, we drop them at school, and we head off to the airport. And it started to turn out we had an amazing amount in common. He was previously a marketing guy, had a marketing business, he was previously a client at an advertising agency that I spent many years at, to the point of his dad fought in World War II in New Guinea in the air force and so did mine, and he was one of six kids and so was I. That was all pretty special. It got really special when he said that he went… he was well, he was threatened with bankruptcy four years ago, and as a result, he lost everything. He never went bankrupt, in fact the tax office has still kind of got the pen over the paper, to sign the form that you are bankrupt, but he’s holding them off. And he’s rebuilding his life. He lost everything because a business partner did the wrong thing behind him and done all the things, whatever…He lost everything, and gee it was touching, he was… He’s driving this car to pay the bills, and as a result… he’s also starting another business where he’s had two friends who have put in a quarter of a million dollars for him to start this new business venture, and he’s working on that when he’s not driving. And I just found it absolutely touching and fascinating that he was so resilient. He was being quite personal with me in terms of the details. I thought, wow, you know, there’s a lot of people out there hurting and this guy really hit a low point but was working through it all.

James:            That’s kind of the Aussie battler spirit. But there’s an example of really old – it’s an old pattern from Sun Tzu, Art of War. About being like water. And then Bruce Lee recycled it, and this guy’s living it.

Tim:                 He was absolutely living it.

James:            Being formless and shapeless around these obstacles.

Tim:                 Yeah, it’s a lovely way to put it, because he was. I mean he was just breaking through walls. He looked physically spent, I must say, you know, I looked at him once we got out of the car, he dropped me at the airport. I thought yeah, you’ve done it hard these last few years, but at the same time he had this beautiful determination. There was no sadness. He understood there were learnings from it. You know I flipped him a text afterwards, say you know, for what it’s worth, all that pain you’ve been through, I’ve walked out of that one half-hour ride with you a better person.

James:            You know, I’ve been driven by drivers all around the world, and it’s such a common pattern. Old guys, driving the hired car, or the taxi, who are coming from behind, because they’ve…

Tim:                 Made a bad decision?

James:            Well, they’ve made bad decisions or they’re not prepared to grow the gonads that you need to do something bigger and bolder. Yeah, a lot of old boys driving around. Really, really common scenario. And there’s a couple of drivers I get who are really interested in talking to me and a lot of them can’t really relate to the things that I share with them, but I encourage them and I give them an idea of which Kindles they might want to read. Like, they’re driving, they get so much downtime. Sitting around that car, and they have a smartphone or an iPad, or a laptop. They could be educating themselves. They could be having an Internet business for sure. But quite often they don’t. They don’t have what it takes or they don’t want to do it.

Tim:                 Yeah. No, you’re right.

James:            But it’s there if you want it.

Tim:                 Yeah. It was a fascinating journey. I’ve re-booked him to pick me up tomorrow and then I’m heading interstate next week and I’m just going to keep using him, because I just found… It was just invaluable for me. It was cathartic hearing his story.

James:            I find it like reverse benchmarking.

Time:              Yeah, it’s almost like that.

James: :          I’m like, gosh… It’s like gee, I feel thankful, grateful for the life that I’ve got, and that it’s a great motivation to you know, just keep making sure you take out insurance and keep having that redundancy built in. I logged onto Facebook yesterday and some guy had lost a fan page, with 60,000 fans. And someone referred him to my thing, Own The Racecourse, and said, you know, this is a testimony to what he’s talking about, James says build on your own platform. We even talked I think in the last episode, don’t put all your best content on someone else’s platform. Because this sort of stuff happens all the time.

Tim:                 I spoke at a conference last week, and I talked about the idea of sharing your content around, but putting the majority of it on your own platform. And I had a guy call me on it going, pretty much saying, “You’re an idiot.” Which I thought was kind of interesting. I let him go. I let him go, because he ended up, making a fool of himself.

James:            There’s always one. At least one in a hundred, right?

Tim:                 You know, I was talking about it before, but the reality is, your whole Own The Racecourse programs are better. To think that Facebook or YouTube or Twitter or LinkedIn or any of them are never going to change, is just farce.

James:            It is a farce, if you think about MySpace. And MSN.

Tim:                 Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And they continue to change. I mean YouTube made that change, maybe four or five weeks ago, where they’ve got a new header, and there’s a bit of a new layout. You can go to many, many people’s YouTube channels now, and you know, they just look outdated because they haven’t changed the header or effective changes to the background, or anything like that.

James:            Well, the Gmail inbox has just changed and all of the marketers’ emails are pretty much just getting filtered out into a promotion sink. So you’ve got to have multitouch points, you’ve got to be in front of the customer where they are but bring them back to your own place and build a house list, which is exactly the core asset that a retail store has, that house customer list is still the most important thing in business. That is the asset. Build that, stay strong, I guess we’ll catch up with you on a future episode.

Tim:                 Well. Hey, I’ve got one more question before you go. Didn’t think we were going to end that quickly. Speaking of building the house list and sending emails, your emails that are going out are multi-topic, correct? Mutli-links?

James:            Some of them are, yes.

Tim:                 And are you happy with how they are perform? Because it seems to go against the idea of giving people one thing to concentrate on and getting them to one place.

James:            Yeah, the “one thing to concentrate on” thing is like fishing for marlin. You know, one line, one thing. Think of what I’m doing as like long line fishing. You know, I’ve got a long line with a lot of hooks on it, and you know, it’s like bullets in copy. One of those hooks might bring someone to the thing they’re interested

in, and that’s OK. And there’s a few other reasons. I’ve been dialing back my content in the last week or two, because there’s been some big launches on in my market, and I don’t want to be in people’s inboxes at the same time as every single person promoting these big products. So I just bank up a couple of posts and then I’ll send a little summary. And it also improves my open rates, and that helps my deliverability. So I don’t think it’s a bad idea. The weekly summary’s quite a popular option that people choose anyway, which is them saying, “Send me a digest,” “Send me the clumped-up version.” And if you think about the front page of the newspaper, it’s got multiple stories on it. So don’t take everything that people say literally. But if you’re going to sell something bigger, a high ticket item or a specific event or whatever, it’s probably a better idea to maintain the focus. But for a continuous content campaign with perennial offers, then I think it’s OK to bunch things up or to batch them into little groups.

Tim:                 Jimmy James Schramko, that has been an episode of Freedom Ocean. I am now going to hop on the Manly ferry and make my way to Circular Quay.

James:            Well, you have a wonderful time, and thank you for contributing to my spoon collection. With our Yogurtland purchase today.

Tim:                 Yes, we did, we just came from the Yogurtland store where we had a lot of fun getting a lot of flavors, Jimmy with the kind of pastel colored flavors, I went for a kind of chocolate and cream…

James:            You’ve rephrased “girly” into “pastel.” That’s very complimentary.

Tim:                 I knew you’d take offense to “girly.”

James:            Well I like the citrusy stuff.

Tim:                 Yeah, girly. Well, mate, see you next time.

James:            See you.


  1. Hi Guys,

    This must be a great one ! But the Sound is really bad on this episode, to hard to listen to with background noice is going up and down. Seems like the freedom ocean is interupting you 🙂
    Hope you can make the sound better, it is the same problem that was on this episode on the ilovemarketing podcasting you were on James: http://ilovemarketing.com/episode-077the-one-with-james-schramko/

    Best regards,

    • Yes the surf was roaring and we were using one digital voice recorder. We will see about using an unfiltered one to replace this version thanks.

  2. Hi guys,

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this for ages. One of the deaths of retail is that store employees use their mobile phones during work hours. How many times I have walked into a store and the employee is texting, googling or checking their social media. Instead of assisting a customer. I know so many people have walked out of a store because of the lack of interest by the staff. I don’t know who is to blame more the staff or the manager for letting it occur. The staff loses the ability to carry a conversation. I managed a very successful music store for years and the customer came first. Always.

Speak Your Mind