Friday, January 31, 2014

Failure Coach XIX

St. Louis – Regrouping

Tony and Alan decided to meet at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton on Tuesday afternoon so they could recap the mini tour so far. Tony was anxious to get back to New York but he knew he needed to make sure Alan was comfortable with how things were going with the Ambrosia agency. He and Alan flew back from Detroit together. Alan managed to schedule flights in and out of Detroit on Monday. Tony spent Sunday night in Cleveland and managed to catch up with Alan in Detroit. After the Rock and Roll and Football Hall of Fame events, the local library talk and bookstore book signings seemed pretty light duty. There were live remote broadcasts on some public ration station and some interviews. The folks at Ambrosia had hoped to get an audience at General Motors but that deal fell through. The executives at GM were not fully convinced the message behind You can’t give 110% would resonate with their monthly managers meeting.

So here in Tony’s hotel suite at the Ritz the two had coffee and discussed the state of the union. “Alan, I know working with an agency like ours is a new experience for you and you have some concerns about expenses. While I’m not fully prepared to give you a full accounting of our expenses in Cleveland, Canton and Detroit I can tell you we seem to be well within our estimated expenses. I have been talking to Julie Chase who is pulling together an update, and will do so in a timely manner through the entire run of 30 days. I gotta tell you though, we really made a splash with these first three stops. We reached more than 500 people with live presentations. We managed to get placements on local TV and Radio that would have cost more than $100,000 to buy in those markets. And the Ambrosia team is generating significant social media engagement too. The only unexpected expenses are the overages in Cleveland. I’ll be the first to admit we went a little overboard staffing-wise. But don’t worry, we’re going to eat some of that and chalk it up to start up costs.”

Alan enjoyed Tony’s company. It was a very relaxed meeting as the two men were taking advantage of the hotel WiFi internet access and room service. The TV was on CNN and adjusted to a low volume almost as background noise. “You know I am not getting much from the publisher to promote this book. You know my end game has always been to get plugged into the speaker circuit as a keynoter where you can pick up fees of $20,000-$50,000 a shot. I ain’t there yet.”

“I know, I know Alan but the venues you are starting to get and the audiences you’ve been able to play too while smaller crowds are proof positive that you have the right stuff for big conference centers and ballrooms. The video we have from the last book launch, especially the Orlando and the meetings in New Orleans with the more recent stuff allows us to really package you as someone to feature.”

“Okay, let’s look at Cleveland and Canton. Humor me will you? We got about 125 people at the Rock and Roll Hall event but fewer than 100 were paying customers. And almost no-one bought a ticket to the open bar and appetizers at Canton. Both were a blast. I will be the first to admit it. But where is the return on these expenses. No sponsors. Damn few books sold. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discouraged, yet.”

“Again, we are within our budget plus or minus 15% so far.”

“Dammit Tony the budget is a made up number and has nothing to do with return on investment and I’m footing the bill.”

“I hear ya Alan . Let’s try to stay the course as we fortify your fan base with social media fueled by SEO and will get our team thinking more about revenue like keynote opportunities. Don’t forget, this mini tour was never about getting keynote gigs. It was always about getting you some momentum.”

The phone rings and Tony picks up. “Yes, a taxi to the airport in an hour should be fine. No, I won’t need any help with my bags.” He covers the receiver a moment and asks Alan “Do you want anything from room service? No, we’re fine. Thanks.”       

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