Category Archives: Announcements


Second LEADS Group Starts February 17

Several weeks ago, we announced the formation of a second Chamber LEADS group.  It is my pleasure to announce that the first meeting of that group will take place at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce on February 17.  If you were not able to join the Wednesday LEADS group because a competing business was already attending or due to a conflict of schedule (or even if Tuesdays just work better for you), the Tuesday LEADS group might be for you!

Tuesday Chamber LEADS Group

Every Tuesday at noon (starting February 17)

at the 

Lakeland Chamber Briefing Room (downstairs on the right-hand side)

35 Lake Morton Dr.

Brown-bag Lunch


If you are interested in joining this LEADS group, please comment below or email Matthew Wengerd.  Membership is limited to one representative company per industry and is on a first-come, first-served basis.


Marketing Mondays – Getting to Know You

Seth Godin is a bit of an expert when it comes to communicating.  In our first Marketing Mondays post, he taught us how to add friction back in to emails.  This is a good thing; it reminds us not to take advantage of the fact that we have easy, immediate access to a broad base of potential customers.  Anatomy of a Campaign is a reminder that we need to earn the attention of those with whom we wish to speak.  

The box just said “Scharffen Berger” on the return label.

I opened it up and there was a simple hand-written note. It said, “Seth, have you ever tasted a chocolate bar like this before? Regards, Raymond Major.” His business card was stapled to the note. His title? Senior Staff Scientist.

Attached: exactly one three-ounce chocolate bar, in grey cardboard. The bar itself was wrapped in a waxed-paper like substance, hand folded with a label.

And the chocolate (Tome-Acu 68%) was mind-blowingly good.

Handmade, anticipated and wonderful. From a division of Hershey!

So, what exactly happened here?

  1. They know me. I met John, the founder, years and years ago, and he gave me a plant tour and the story of his product blew me away.
  2. I read John’s book. He was true and authentic and inspiring.
  3. I wrote something negative about an engagement with their customer service folks on my blog and they reached out and we had a great conversation on the phone.
  4. The note they sent was hand written.
  5. It was from not just a scientist, but from the senior scientist.
  6. The chocolate was clearly a limited, special item.
  7. And, yes, the chocolate was terrific. Better than terrific.

So, you ask, what if I (the marketer) don’t know the blogger or the reporter? What if I don’t have permission? What if they don’t care about me? What if my product is mediocre?

Alas, the answer isn’t good. The answer is: tough. Is this an unreasonable expectation? Lengths too great to have to go to? Well, it’s cheaper than buying an ad on the Super Bowl or even buying shelf space at the Safeway.

The way to win is to make things that tiny (or large!) groups want to talk about, or care about, or engage in. That’s the story that spreads.

PS as I finished writing this, I got a letter in the mail at home from the local Mexican restaurant. They probably purchased the address of every single person in town from a mailing list broker. It’s cheap. Add a stamp and a return address that’s interesting (why are they writing to me) and I’ll open it.

It was a letter apologizing to the town for how lousy the restaurant had been since it opened three months ago and how hard they were working to fix it and how much they appreciated everyone’s feedback. It had a real name at the bottom, a phone number and a $10 gift certificate attached. Wow.

I’ve recently been spending time with members, helping them get set up with social media and expressing what I see as the key point in this post: transparency.  In order to get people to open up to you (open up their time, their attention, their wallets), you need to invest yourself in them.  When you offer advice without the expectation of a sale (maybe your competitor is truly the best fit for their unique situation) or blog about your company, you invite them to get to know you and increase the chance that they will listen when you really want them to.



Lakeland Chamber Logo

You won’t want to miss this year’s Annual Meeting event, set for Tuesday, February 3, at 5:30 pm, at The Lakeland Center! 

This popular event draws more than 1,000 members and guests together for a uplifting evening of networking and celebrating Lakeland’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Come hear international speaker and New York Times best-selling author, Andy Andrews, as he presents “Sailing above Rough Seas:  How to Prosper During an Economic Downturn.”  

This event sells out, so make your reservations today!  Tickets:  $60 individual, $650 corporate table (10).   For reservations by credit card or e-check, please visit

For further information about the 2008 Chamber Annual Meeting, please call Barbara Bennett at 863/688-8551 ext 233.


63rd Annual Tiger BBQ


Tiger BBQ Logo

Join us in welcoming our 2006 American League Champion Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium, Florida’s most magnificent spring training facility!



Joker Marchant Stadium


Thursday, February 19, 2009
Gates Open at 6 PM
Steaks Served 7 PM – 8 PM Only
No Take Out Orders – One Steak Per Person
Adults: $50.00 Children 12 & Under: $25.00
(We host the Tiger Organization)


Joker Marchant Sign


Enjoy “The Famous Menu” which begins serving from 6 PM – 8 PM.

Roast Corn, Shrimp, BBQ Ribs, Char-Broiled Steaks, Italian Sausage and Baked Beans!


Purchase Your Tickets Online Now!