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7 Things I Learned in Italy About Online Marketing – Part 2

Here's the second part of an article I released earlier on the online marketing lessons I learned in my recent trip to Italy.  To read Part 1, click here.

Lesson #4 - Tell Really Good Stories

We learned from one of my daughter's Italian professors that our name "Diaz" is known in Bologna.  The story is spelled out in a plaque in Bolognia Piazza Maggiori.  On it they recognize our "Diaz" ancestors for keeping the city safe from foreign invaders.  You can see our name in the lower right of the plaque.

plaqueYou know this story.  In Verona, droves of people visit Juliette's balcony.  This is the Juliette from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette.  The originals that inspired Shakespeare's tragedy are said to be two Italians from Verona.  There's a statue of Juliette beneath the balcony and women are encouraged to rub her breast (I'm not making this up) to bring good fortune in love.

People love stories.  

They won't remember facts and details.  They'll forget names, dates and raw information.

They'll never forget a good story.  Your marketing, your presentations, everything promoting what you do should packed with stories.


img_2008Lesson #5 - Be Prepared for the Unexpected

After dinner, our Italian friend asks if I would like an after dinner drink.  I figured I would learn about some Italian after dinner drink so I told him I would have what he's having.

I was wrong there.  He pulls out two bottles of Knob Creek.  Turns out he's a Kentucky bourbon fan.  Knowing I'm Cuban, he pulls out some Cuban cigars.  So here we are in a town outside of Milan, smoking Cuban cigars, sipping Kentucky bourbon and the nearby tavern, which plays their music loudly, is playing Latin salsa.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

When running your business, always assume things things will NOT go as planned.  Be prepared to pounce on the unexpected seeing it as an opportunity.  Every business owner faces this same lack of predictability.  The ones that see these as opportunities to better promote themselves are the ones that will best move forward and succeed.

Lesson #6 - Don't Wait for Utter Perfection

My Italian is getting better and better. I started learning it years back from our first trip to Italy.  I've taken a few online courses.  What I learned from learning Italian is to not wait until I get really good. You start using what you've learned when you get the chance.

I spoke to Franco while we attended this evening BBQ.  (Yes, this group of Italians love Texas style grilling.  Go figure.) His English was about as good as my Italian.  As fellow IT guys, we had that in common and we hacked together a conversation.  We sort of understood each other and got to know each other better.  Italian / U.S. relations got so much better.

I run into so many people that aim for perfection.  They work on their marketing programs and will not "pull the switch" until every single part of the campaign 100% perfect.  I'm not a proponent of doing things on the fly.  I am a proponent of getting something out there quickly, taking smaller steps learning from what you learned in the previous step and growing your solution gradually.

I've seen too many business owners paralyzed and hold back on their promotional efforts because they perceive what they have isn't perfect.

Remember:  Perfection is the enemy of "good enough."


Lesson #7 - Relationships are Tops

Had we not had our friends in Italy, we would not have visited some great places in Italy.  My wife has been in travel all her life and she knows how to find the right places to visit.  But because of our friends in Milan, we were able to:

  • Visit a VERY local winery that was way, way off the beaten path.
  • Attend a Texas style BBQ or grillata as they like to call it.
  • Tour of a university in Milan that was the first hospital in all of Europe.

Our trip was a more intimate experience than it would have been otherwise.

Relationships are the core of sales.  You use the Internet to identify potential prospects, but after making the connection, what follows is relationship building in the most traditional sense.

The Internet brings you tons of resources for building our businesses.  However, people do business with people and not with businesses.  What you know from relationship building applies to the online.  Don't throw out common sense in favor of online tech advice.

Hope this all helps!