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Timothy Vasko

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1to1Real: 50 years in the Making

September 15, 2010 08:01

I just received this email. Names withheld to protect the innocent.

-----Original Message-----
From: [redacted]
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2010 11:25 AM
To: Tim Vasko
Subject: Get Your Free Sales Assessment Today!
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-----
Looking at the content of this email - the list of questions being asked and the choice of solutions being offered. it suddenly becomes easy to answer the question of what the Connected Market Space is, and what 1to1Real is.
All of the questions in that email are just about sales. It conveniently forgets that running a business is about sales, managing people, creating a good marketing message to get the leads and buyers for your sales staff (if you have a sales staff - many of us wear that hat too) and keeping track of the bottom line.
In the world of this email, once you've answered the question of the day you get to sort through a host of solutions that promise to solve your problem of the day. But who has the time to evaluate dozens of software solutions and try to figure out what solution(s) might work for them? It's a never ending circle - what problem, what solution, how much should you spend - will it work? Getting tangled up using a different technology solution for every one of your business "problems" is no solution at all.
I was caught in the technology tangle years ago with my businesses. I thought to myself, "isn't technology supposed to help me? Why do I find myself doing more work at night trying to keep up with data entry, than I did before when all I had was paper?" I had found plenty of "tools" that needed me to do more data entry just to keep up. They didn't help me answer the questions (like those in the email) for my market, my prospects, or even my staff when I was busy wearing one of my many hats. They solved one problem and created others in their wake. Once I used a solution to improve my email marketing, I was left with too many contacts that I wasn't responding to well enough to... So, I need another "tool" to fix that problem. I was caught in a trap - a never ending spiral - the technology tangle.
However, when I realized I was caught, I noticed that everyone else was too. So, I set out to do something about it. I imagined software - an actual solution - that would do some of the work for my business, instead of making more work for me. I wanted something that once I set it up and said "go" - it would take the load off of me and my business and my staff, something that would connect me to my market and my customers. I've worked with hundreds of companies and thousands of staff over the last 10 years, and they've all had the same problems:
1) Wearing multiple hats
2) Getting your story to the market in a crowded marketplace
3) Keeping the message going out
4) Keeping the leads and business coming in
5) Using technology to manage the process
1to1Real is the solution to all of these problems. It's the Connected Market Technology I imagined. 1to1Real is a process engine; it's a robot - a sales, management, and messaging engine - it's an automated marketing machine. It's THE solution that actually connects you to your market and your customers, actually saves you time and actually does the work for you.
So, here it is - the week I turned 50. I didn't think it would take a decade of my life to create! It's been a huge investment to create 1to1Real and deliver the Connected Market Space to people. I can't say I've always loved the journey. However, I can say I've always been fascinated about the possibility of a solution.
Creating 1to1Real took the CMAEON team tens of thousands of hours of work, all while working with real companies who had tenacity and faith along the way to share the dream having of solutions that actually worked for them. These loyal customers helped us forge and invent and pushed us to think out of the box. They helped us create 1to1Real - the next generation's model for creating market connections, managing business processes, messaging, marketing and measuring how current and potential customers work with organizations. I am grateful for every hour, all the input and even the toughest of challenges - I look forward to all the ways 1to1Real will help with the entrepreneurial success and struggle.
I had a great birthday party this weekend, with many generous and wonderful friends. Coming toward this day, my insightful wife asked me, "what are the top quotes that have shaped your life?" I thought about that question for just a moment. It was easy to answer because, every decade I had inspiration from a discovered and cherished statement that struck me and carried me along - like a blast of wind filling my sails to catch a flowing tide, a philosophy always seemed to arise at the perfect time in life to send me onward.
Therefore, this is a wonderful week for me to finally deliver a version of 1to1Real that has an automated sign up. Now any business owner, manager, entrepreneur, sole proprietor - anyone, can use 1to1Real connect their inspiration, their dreams, their vision, their products and their services to their market. No matter what is on your list of your questions for your company, I believe 1to1Real can help. I've seen it help so many, for so long so I couldn't be more excited to share this next journey with you, with 1to1Real and our related product categories for specific industries.
Enjoy, and try 1to1Real - tell us what you think! Â We are relying on you to tell us how you use it. Help us invent the next decade for small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs.
I think we can all agree the future is in the hands of those of us who venture to run our companies with our teams. The recent failures of big enterprise has shown us that the road ahead lies in the connections we forge at the real level of entrepreneurship - the businesses that employ, deliver and drive the Connected Market Place and the economics the big guys just can't seem to understand.
Thank you to all for all your lessons and support - I look forward to what the next decade will bring as I sail from 50 to new challenges on new, changing seas.
"Life is short,
decades come and go,
But lessons and love last for all eternity."
Tim
 

Building IKEA

August 31, 2010 07:58
I spent the weekend helping my daughter move into her first apartment and get ready for this year at university. We visited IKEA to furnish the place. From the parking lot to the playground inside the store, the entire place was packed.
I've only been to IKEA a few times, but I've always been fascinated about the concept and how IKEA connects with their customers, anywhere in the world. I was in the IKEA in Montreal this weekend; however, I've seen IKEA not only across Canada and the US, but in Europe as well. Why do I see IKEA in all the places I seem to go? Because you can't help but see an IKEA - they are connected to the high traffic areas of their markets. They are always ready for customers (this weekend with back to school you could see students and boxes all around the student areas of Montreal), so it's no wonder IKEA's owners are some of the most wealthy in the world.
How does every IKEA work - and why is it such an "ff-line" great example of The Connected Market Space?
First, each and every IKEA is connected by location. Always off of a busy highway, you can't help but see the place. Â From Montreal to Malaysia, it's always the same connection to traffic. The volume of eyes from the highway racing by knows exactly what IKEA looks like and where they are located.

 

Inside, they're always bustling. Â Directly in front of me were stairs up to the showroom. We found the beds and bathrooms and all manners of home furnishings in between. Cool, cheap, and organized so we could easily grab our slip and jot down what we needed. The "shopping" experience was good (I'm not a shopper by nature) because IKEA tracked us right where we needed to go and we set about discovering whatever was on our minds, "bookmarking" it along the way (rack and bin number noted).
Down the stairs, into the back end warehouse - we became our own warehouse staff. All IKEA warehouses are the same. Searching for the inventory I wanted was easy and IKEA had just saved a ton by having us act on our own to pick and pack products onto our cart.
Finally checkout: self serve tills lined the isle, but we weren't on our own. For the few items that were too large, there was help to move those larger boxes after we had scanned and paid for the items.
How IKEA has connected with their market is by having the right prices, great looking stuff and a flow that allows their customers to self serve and save money. IKEA is a perfect example of a connected market space. It's easy to see how IKEA connected their warehouse, with a brilliant visibility and showroom strategy, with the internal track of how customers flow through the store to find what they need.
It's not so easy to do this on the internet though. Your warehouse is the back end data of your website, and your showroom is your web presence. The track your customers follow through involves virtual images and communications rather than a colorful line.
That said. what if you could build a presence on the web that allowed your market to connect? Imagine that customers that pass by on a highway notice your presence, so they can stop by when they need what you have to offer. They're served automatically - by just visiting your store. They can do whatever they want to themselves and they can even check out on their own, or ask for help. What if you gave your market exactly whhttp://umbraco.dev.cmaeon.com/umbraco/#tab0at they needed to find from your inventory in the back end: access to your data that represents your "warehouse floor"?
What the web is striving to be a connected market space. All you have to do is look at IKEA. If you can replicate that experience, your customers will be happily carting away your products or services - happily building them for exactly what they needed in their lives.
My daughter's apartment is all set up, and Iâ've said good bye. I won't see her for months. I'll miss her as she sits in her new kitchen on the new bar stools I put together.
Building IKEA. Somehow it makes me still feel closer - feel connected.

Accurate Information and the Efficient Marketplace

June 23, 2010 07:39
farmers market This blog talks a lot about the Connected Market Space - a marketplace state we can get to when accurate and relevant information flows between all parties, enabling everyone to efficiently access to the information they want and need. Today, we have created some of the capability to create the Connected Market Space with the way technology is evolving and how we use it.However, we have also realized that not all markets or marketplace endeavors are so noble as to efficiently deliver accurate information to us. Often, accurate information is the most difficult thing to acquire because there is too much information - mostly about things we don't want or need to know to make our decisions. That said, today, there are emerging filters for true voices and targeted, personalized information models emerging daily. Things we can easily adopt and opt in and out of - these are the gateways to getting truly connected. Remember - you're in the Connected Market Space if:
  • Everyone knows more about each other
  • Everyone trusts each other
  • Everyone can carry on a conversation
  • Everyone can complete a transaction safely
  • Everyone has accurate information

The first four points rest on the last one - you know more, you trust more, you talk more and you buy more if you have accurate information (not just marketing rhetoric or hype.)

So, when these five elements listed above all come into play, through an efficient process, that the result is a positive outcome and a Connected Market Space for everyone. Of course, the more complicated the transaction, the bigger the decision and investment on both sides, the higher the stakes, the more important this process, this "Conversation Market" becomes as we become more connected.

Photo: Natalie Maynor, Flickr

The Missing Connection: Comparing CRM to CRM? Why Feature Comparison Doesn't Work

May 7, 2010 07:33

It makes no sense, for any business, to invest in technology based on a comparison of features. Today, the basic features of CRM are well-defined - any CRM will provide the basics of contact relationship management.

CRM has been around for more than a decade. It was originally designed as a tool to enable businesses to share information between sales and other various departments that dealt with customers. Those features are clear.

The next iterations of CRM were designed to better track, manage and empower the sales force - hence the brand of a CRM by that name. Again, no real "dream" here.

With internal information and sales force automation handled, CRM companies continued to emerge. CRM platforms morphed and features upon features were added. This is where so many stand today - feature overloaded CRMs that are still focused on just adding more features as differentiators. But bells and whistles are not the reason you are looking for a CRM solution.

CRM companies compete by issuing white papers that highlight things like "The 10 Things Your CRM Should Do". The problem with this focus is it's not about what your CRM does or how many features it has - it's not even about how much you know about your customers. Any CRM will give you that.

Companies have lost focus on the single most important points by focusing on features! Connecting in the market to grow a more profitable business.

Today, your customers likely know more about your business and the market than you do. They are looking with unlimited information from your business - if they can find your business. Customers are often more connected than the companies that buy CRMs for a very simple reason.

While the business was busy with the software, the prospective customer was busy connecting to the market - becoming an informed buyer.

Wonder which company will earn that new business? Grow that market share?

It won't be the company that is busy trying to manage the CRM. It will be the company that has taken the steps to get successfully connected in the market space.

CRM is a linear solution in a non-linear world. That is to say, there are searches, social networks, iPhones, and Tweets all "linked in" - woven together through a web of opportunity and information. This Connected Market Space is where your very contacts discover, uncover, and decide who to do business with.

Investing in any CRM without considering the much larger picture - by asking "how will we manage our Connected Market?" - is an exercise I call the "technology trap".

This is the losing proposition of technology where 95% of the market goes. Adding CRM technology without asking first, "How do our customers connect to the products and services we sell?", is like hoping there is a silver bullet - some magic the CRM will bring to the sales force and your firm. Well, hope is not a strategy in business.

When you ask the right questions of your market and your business goals, you're likely to be far ahead of the pack.

Building a connection relationship solution becomes a market space that you can measure and grow. You'll find the solution that your business needs to manage and acquire customers becomes much clearer than any feature comparison CRMs will provide.

This reality is due to the fact that the solutions designed for today's market extend well beyond traditional CRM.

To be on track and to be discovered by outside factors, the business must connect to - rather than employ internal CRM tools - the connections needed outside to bring your customers and prospects in close alignment.

To effectively install the right solutions, including your CRM needs, look first at your core objectives and how customers connect in your market.

When you do that properly, you will ensure that your investment will pay off with more business and customers.

To get connected and get results - if you're thinking about CRM - evaluate your business goals with the Free BIPED® "Business in Process Enterprise Design" envisioner.

Based on 10 years of success, BIPED will ensure that you will avoid the CRM feature trap and help get you connected with your market.

Intuitively you already know that the right solutions and connections will guarantee your investment pay off. Ensure that you get your return on investment - and avoid the technology trap. Leave that to the competition.

Leaving the Ferrari in the Driveway

November 11, 2009 07:28

I've seen it happen time and again. Beautiful, well designed web pages, with flash and media, that cost the equivalent of a Ferrari are delivered, deployed, the companies and executives are excited. It rolls out, like a brand new red Ferrari slowly backing out of the garage. Then - nothing! It sits there.

Where are all the visitors? The neighbors come by and ohh and ahh. The proud owners stand by the car, jump inside, show off the bells and whistles - this video does this, and look at our virtual tour. Cool huh? But, very soon, the customers leave, the neighbors (clients) are bored. The proud owners don't really ever start the engine. Then something gets them going about their regular day, and way of doing things. They shut the car door and walk away - expecting it to drive itself. There it sits.

The difficulty of marketing today, and using the web is that it is a business within a business - it requires expertise (a lot of expertise), discipline and an entirely new level of thinking. Marketing has never been easy. But with all of the Conversation Marketing [you can view my video here #2 in the series - for a more in-depth understanding of Conversation Marketing]- actively engaging your prospects and turning them into customers - keeping them as loyal clients, is more difficult than ever. We deliver a ton of tools to clients.

Unless the web enabled tools available are used diligently, and over time, the metaphorical "Ferrari" just sits there, with all of the power under the hood and it never gets seen by more than a few. It never gets to rev up the engine and drive sales, drive leads and deliver profits.

There is a lot of work here in this new media and marketing territory. There are a lot more people active on keyboards and screens every day, doing a lot more than just typing in search terms. The Conversation Market is alive and well. And more active than you can imagine. We also call this Word of Mouth on the Web TM. Those companies that are figuring out how to use this powerful word of mouth online are thriving - gaining more market share than ever across every business sector.

Here is a hint - it doesn't take a "Ferrari" - just an active and well managed, well thought out and consistent conversation will do.

It takes knowledge and determination to do the real work behind the technology to make the marketing successful. It is more complex, and getting more so every day. Go it alone? You'll soon find out how expensive and difficult a proposition that direction might be. Today Free and Cheap and Fast can be very expensive (to be discussed in my next post).

Odds are, you don't have the team in-house to do this on their own (unless you run an online marketing and software development company). Even if you do have a team, you'll need to support them with the proper tools - or they will struggle. We understand this challenge for companies and for marketers. Which is why we created the Connected Market Enterprise tools - and built our team of experts to help you drive your market.

It's time to get your business out of the garage and onto the right track. Within a few months, you'll have the market engaged and have harnessed the power of your market to drivers to deliver your ROI on your marketing budget. The fuel behind the "Ferrari" on the net is content and conversation - The Connected Market Space is the secret to driving your sales skyward.

Impressive web sites are fine. But just a Google Pay Per Click and a great home page can do more damage to the marketing budget than good for your bottom line. Check out the difference with the right tools and approach at CMAEON with The Connected Market Space.

Tribute to My Dad - Frank T. Vasko 5 May 1930 - 22nd Dec 2006

June 12, 2009 06:37

I promised to write in my Blog prior to the holiday with three thoughts - a promise I was never meant to keep.

My father and mother were visiting from California. They had just arrived at my home on December 19th. After only a few minutes, my Dad, a happy, health (as far as we knew) and positive soul had a massive stroke - he passed away on December 22nd.

A flurry of thoughts and the greatest heartache and grief of my life has consumed me, leaving an insurmountable void at the loss of my best friend in the world. In the midst of facing up to the loss of my beloved father, my mentor, my friend, much self reflection and consideration as to what I am doing with my life, my family, my purpose has creapt into the moments that tick by ever so slowly these days as the memories flood in of the times we shared in our special bond as a father and son.So many people reached out to me and our family that the true meaning, the deeper meaning of connections rang true. Before Dad slipped into a coma, I was able to let my sister speak with him from China. She boarded a plane and was here in 13 hours. Dad's niece, Candy, from Japan was able to say one last time, "I Love You" - as were his brother and sisters, grandchildren from Chicago to Virgina. From Las Vegas to California, from Asia to Canada, were were connected.

Together we were praying and sharing support and our love. While Dad was concious, he knew through the magic of technology, that we were all there, by his side to say we loved him, to say goodby. I was able to use my Blackberry to e mail his condiition hour by hour - when Dad passed away, the only way I could even begin to let people know was to send a short e mail about this one of a kind man who was so kind in this world. I am proud to be his legacy and his Son. I am fortunate to have experienced what "connection" truly means in the hearts and Souls of each individual.

The overwhelming flurry of grief and activity surrounding my fathers passing has consumed me. I hope, in time, the catharsis and discovery of meaning will bring, in his memory, more true insight into what we all must face at one time or the other - the end of the life of a loved one and the continuing of our own lives fed by memories of the love and life of those we've lost. But mostly, how we connect in our lives today, in the day to day of our lives, the happy times and during the difficult.

In the weeks, months and years to come, as thoughts arise that are relevant to the mission of my life and in this Blog on connections, I will reflect and share, as best I can. I was able to experience, first hand, the relationship of business to this grief - and that influence on our lives from airlines to others that either showed they were connected and cared or were disconnected to a point of apathetic unconcern for the individuals affected. In this case it was me, it was my family, it was personal.

I believe with all my heart in the individual connections with and of people around the globe - more now than ever, I believe in the individual and how we relate to what we do in our lives and with the people, with the businesses that affect us, that we spend the limited time we have with. In the end we are all just one with our selves and with the relationships, the loves, the connections we form.

The mission and sense of "1to1" has never been more real to me and more relevant as global connections transform and touch the deepest parts of our existence as individuals together on the stage of life. It's not all JUST marketing. It is why Time Magazine's person of the year for 2006 was "YOU" . My Dad was the person of my life - and Time was right last year. It is about my Dad, it is about me - it is about all the "YOU's" that we all are as individuals. This is what makes up who we are, what happens and how we connect.

The connections we feel, the depths of our thoughts and Souls that can now be conveyed in so many ways, that are so relevant became more real to me than I would have ever imagined. Certainly this depth of insight has come to me in a way I never have wished for. With this sadness comes a new reality to me that I never hoped to understand in this way. But our God, our life, our destiny decides what and when our time has come. How we spend it, how we connect while we live, how my Dad connected and loved was magical. It is all that is up to us - what we share how we connect, how we live and care and love.

In the end we are each individuals - simply players on the stage of our life when the curtain call comes at the behest of something much greater than ourselves.

Welcome to the new CMAEON blog!

May 8, 2009 06:36

Here we'll update you on changes in the industry, and also on what we are up to in the office.

Blog posts will mostly be updated by Tim Vasko, CMAEON/s CEO, we will also be having guest bloggers contributing to the CMAEON blog, who are experts in a number of fields, including marketing, real estate and mortgage banking.

So keep checking back for new updates, and subscribe to our RSS feeds.

We hope to see you again soon!

Connecting in My Market: Planes, Boats and Automobiles

November 6, 2006 06:15

My mad dash to the catch the ferry at 5pm started my 24 hour journey for a 2 hour meeting. I felt like Steve Martin in Planes, Trains & Automobiles as this connection to build a new business relationship began. An hour and a half on the ferry, red eye to Atlanta, change of planes to Nashville. I picked up my rental car, drove to the hotel, quick shower. Three hour drive to my meeting. A talk for 2 hours, 3 hour drive back - crash; ah sweet sleeper bed.

Do people really do this anymore? Wouldn't it be better just to send an e mail, video conference, web-ex? It's called one to one - we did all of the virtual stuff. But the opportunity wasn't "real" until the planes, boats and automobiles proved I was serious.

It never ceases to amaze me how little things have changed - yet how much. In our 2 hours talk, we discussed the use of the net to build connections and communities in industry specific Connected Market Spaces. "It's how we found out what you guys are up to" I said.

Of course, the typical conversation that always comes up with a President or CEO arose, "I'm just not sure how much our customers are really on the web looking in our market" as my new friend spoke his cell phone went off, he checked for an e mail, watched caller ID on his office line and visited a web page. I promise you they are - we are all connected I stated as I watched him move about between on line and our face to face "off line" connection.

I nodded off last night after watching a few minutes of an interview with Bill Gates at the end of this very long day. Bill was explaining that he decided to drop out of Harvard because he couldn't believe that the PC industry that was emerging would be there if he stayed in for another 3 years. So he quit to devote full time to Microsoft. He just couldn't believe that the whole world didn't see what was up. I know how you felt Bill, I know how it feels.

Summer's here!

May 27, 2006 06:12

I've not written for some time - over a month; in this blog anyway. I believe that to write something, anything, you should have something to say (see my latest 'favorite' quotes in the sidebar)! So, sporadic entries, which seem far between, are more a matter of my adherance to a rule, I believe, we should all respect. That goes for companies, individuals, and YES you spammers out there. Say what you have to say, to those, and ONLY to those, who want to hear what you have to say.

Hence the age of self discovery on the web, and the reason we are finding our information from blogs ... et. al.

So, what do I have to say today? A few things have hit me of recent - such as; I've been observing the way people tell stories at the pre-summer get togethers at friends houses. Have you noticed your friends wagging their fingers, typing in thin air, when they are engrossed in relating a story? What a commentary on the way we communicate today (of course some of us use our thumbs). Watch this summer as you are having a few cold ones, and you will discover how "plugged- in" we really are (we have been assimilated).

"Air Typing" to tell stories with passion is not the only nuance in our communication change. We've started to see those of us in our own world talking to no one. These are not simple conversations. Rather, they are long, in depth, animated conversations. Were these encounters, in another age, it would have encouraged onlookers to contact the nearest padded wagon; today we accept that they are less likely were an individual psychosis, and more likely "bluetooth-chosis" (some would argue otherwise saying this is the newest challenge - for the psychiatric community; but then again, they'd probably be typing in thin air or be talking into thin air as they were making this argument!).

With our tiny headsets now affixed to our ears, many of us hold conversations while being completely un-teathered so we can continue our multi-tasking lives. I'm not making a value judgment on how we are "connected" here, just an observation as to how we choose to connect! We communicate any where, any time, on our terms. And we are focused. So what's the point?

Markets, conversations and technology are connected forever. We have a growing network of devices and choices made possible by technology. As this summer progresses, I'll be sailing, kayaking, and thinking about this more and more; and our team will be inventing more and more ways to communicate, to share thoughts and "intelligence" through those platforms of technology we strive to deliver to the world. I'll be connected from places impossible to reach by air waves before. And yes, I'll be in my own space, on my terms, thinking about my thoughts at times unimaginable to night owls.

I'll be prepared with the technology to connect, if not the desire to post and plug in - I may or may not; it's all about FREE time in these summer months with no "R".

Perhaps that's why wise companies are serving up "ideas" that interest me, "just for me", when and where they know I'll be, based on what they now know about me (a bit of poetry in communication don't you think?).

For example, check out <a href="http://www.itunes.com/">www.itunes.com</a> - the new beta release of "Just for You" gives me ideas on MY music. They know what I prefer to hear in tunes and audio books (unfortunately, my tastes reveal my age as well as my bent on the written, or in this case, the "read" word). Amazon, iTunes, HP, and other "market wise giants" know this is where the world is at and headed more toward everyday. Personal, 1to1, private (oops there's that word that could start me on a tangent) conversation marketing.

Will smaller companies stop the flashing of generic gobbledygook and filibuster type "newsletter" (which is more like "whose letter?" and who cares) intrusive, irritating, information? My prediction? Well, summer's here - I'm in my space, I'll let you know later ...

PS: I've been told to keep it short - got it, no more rambling; just the odd rant now and again, OK?

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