Maple Marketing Blog

Drawing names out of a virtual hat

Do you do prize draws, raffles or other competitions for your business where you need to pick a name out of a hat … but in a virtual or online way?

I’ve found a few tools that enable you to do this, but I am curious – what is everyone using for this type of thing? Let me know in the comments below please.

Some require you to register and log in.

These include and .

Some allow you to simply draw a name on the spot, without registering. There are a lot, but a few that came up first in my search results include:

And then there are even more available to download as apps on to your phone. Again, the ones that came up first in my search were “Draw Names From a Hat" and “Names in a Hat”.

Have you used any of these? Or any others? I'd love to know what everyone is using ... feel free to comment below.

Posted 4 August 2015 | 0 comments

The amazing powers of the triple D

How often do you find yourself saying "I'm too busy"? Or, when someone asks how you are, you reply with something along the lines of, "Good, thanks, just busy"?

I had an interesting conversation with a business strategist recently about "being busy" and what this means for many of us.

Many people make the mistake of confusing being busy with being stressed. To me, there's a huge difference. Being busy is simply having a lot to do. Being stressed is about getting anxious or even bad-tempered because of all the things you have to do. To me, stress is the combination of having a lot to do along with negative feelings and emotions that accompany that to-do list.

So what do we do so we're not so busy?

First, decide whether it really is stress or merely busy-ness. If it's stress, then work on the feelings and emotions that having a lot to do creates for you. And take measures to get rid of the anxiety and moods that occur. I'm not a health and wellness coach, so this blog isn't about me making recommendations around diet, breathing, exercise, yoga, etc. Although, even I can tell you, these all do help combat feelings of stress.

And that's the important thing to recognise. Stress is a combination of feelings - feelings that you can control. It's not a state of being. Or at least it shouldn't be.

So back to the topic of how we can become less busy.

This is how I deal with my busy-ness. I consider it simply as a matter of addition and subtraction. Yes, it's that simple. When I add something to my to-do list, I make sure I subtract something. And I work hard at subtracting more than adding. How do I subtract, or delete, things from my to-do list? I follow the rule of the triple D (and no, that has nothing to do with what you're thinking).

The triple D rule is this - either DO, DELEGATE or DITCH.

Go through your to-do list and assign one of these three.

Make sure you're DOING something every day. Tiny steps continuously, steadily lead to great adventures.

If you don't enjoy or excel at something, then DELEGATE it.

And lastly, if something's been on your to-do list for far too long (be honest, you know how long is too long), then chances are you can DITCH it.


Posted 1 July 2015 | 0 comments

Are bikini-clad girls in advertising ever appropriate (if you’re not selling bikinis)?

Air New Zealand’s latest in-flight safety video has sparked some interesting controversy.

If you haven’t seen it yet you can view it on the Maple Marketing Facebook page.

Some people believe that the humourous approach used, featuring bikini-clad Sports Illustrated swimsuit models to coincide with the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue, is an unnecessary sexualisation of women. (Not many people are complaining about the part showing the shirtless pool boy, I see.)

Others applaud the airline for taking an original approach to what used to be a dry and boring subject.

Admit it, you probably watch the Air New Zealand safety videos more now, looking for famous celebrities, professional athletes, or even the gratuitous shot of a scantily clad fit body.

Personally, I was more distracted (and I suppose impressed) by how Christie Brinkley looks in the video.

Whatever your stance on it, Air New Zealand has succeeded in generating a great amount of publicity and getting people talking about the brand. Whether any of us now know the correct brace position is another matter.

Posted 16 February 2014 | 0 comments

Marketing – is it an art or a science?

Both, really. There are elements of art and creativity to it, of course – knowing how to put a creative campaign together; being able to write compelling copy; knowing what design and text elements will cut through the clutter; finding unique market opportunities for a product or service.

But there is also a great amount of science to it – analysis that goes beyond a subjective opinion. The Latin word scientia has many meanings, mainly knowledge, science, skill. Science can be defined as the knowledge of something acquired by study.

Much of marketing is based on science – knowledge acquired by study. When we run a marketing campaign, we study the results. We compare results with a previous state, we analyse responses, we use benchmarks to identify changes. Market research is based on statistics and quantitative analysis. Marketing plans are driven by return on investment (ROI) and making sure that efforts help drive revenue and, in most cases, profit. Reading the marketplace involves looking at sales strategies, consumer trends, and the economy.

So a good marketing director is someone who has solid business experience and an ability to understand the numbers. Save the artistic work for the creative directors and designers.

Posted 26 June 2013 | 0 comments

How to make your POD more interesting

Identifying your point of difference (POD) is a fundamental marketing practice. Can you clearly tell prospects what makes your product or service different?

The trouble with talking about your difference is that this approach focuses on how you compare to your competitors. Shouldn't you instead be focussing on customers? Shouldn't you be talking to your clients about your points of interest?

What makes you interesting? What makes you relevant? What makes prospects engage with you?

Have you ever been told “oh, that’s different” about a new haircut or outfit? Have you ever described someone by saying “well, she’s different”? If so, you know that different isn’t always good.

So don’t strive just to be different. Don’t focus just on competitors. Think first about your prospects and customers and how you can interest and excite them. Focus on your point of interest (POI).

Posted 26 September 2012 | 0 comments

The best business advice ever shared

I’ll get straight to the point here. The best advice I’ve ever come across is this: when you write things down you significantly improve – in fact you almost guarantee – the chances that they’ll get done.

I’ve always been a list maker. It’s genetic. My sisters and I used to tease my mom for always having lists. Turns out, she was onto something.

This message has been reinforced over and over again in my business career.

The Buried Life

Most recently I heard it from the guys from the Buried Life. If you don’t know who they are, check them out at or read about them at, the blog of Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week.

Basically, they’re a group of four university friends who set about accomplishing their list of 100 things to do before they die – before the concept of having a bucket list was on everyone’s bucket list.

So back to the advice... As soon as you write an idea down, something amazing happens. It becomes a project. A project! It takes on a different sense of importance, doesn’t it? All of a sudden you give it more time, more energy, more organisation, and therefore, more chance of success. As the guys say, “Dreams have a funny way of staying dreams. But a project is something that needs to be done.”

And the same is true for your business marketing. We all have ideas. But they don’t get done until first we write them down and, second, we plan how they’re going to get done, when and by whom.

Plans lead to actions; actions lead to results.

So if you don't yet have a written marketing plan, start with a list. Marketing is all about ideas. So write them down and start improving the chances those ideas will get turned into results.


Posted 30 July 2012 | 0 comments

How to win a new client in 5 simple steps

When you meet with a prospect, how much do you tell them about your company, products or services? Alternatively, how much of that first conversation or meeting do you spend asking them questions about themselves?

The sure-fire way to win them over is to spend more time getting them to talk about themselves and their needs.

Here in a nutshell is what that first conversation should include:

  1. Ask your prospect what problem(s) they need solved.
  2. Help them identify why they still have the problem.
  3. Help them imagine how life would be different if the problem was solved.
  4. Offer your solution.
  5. Tell them what to do next; provide a call to action.

So the next time you’re talking to a prospect or a potential new client, ask them what their biggest problems are, what keeps them up at night. Listen to their complaints. If you focus on that, and are able to provide a cost-effective solution, chances are you’ll get the sale.

Read the full length article here.

Posted 30 June 2012 | 0 comments

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