Mike Slover, of Carterville, is in the business of helping businesses. More specifically, he aims to help businesses grow through carefully crafted marketing and advertising strategies. Known as “The Strategy Wizard,” Slover travels the country studying and assisting businesses.
Slover’s been The Strategy Wizard for nearly 10 years, following tenure in marketing for a camera retailer. He is a partner in the Austin-based Wizard of Ads organization, a global group of marketing specialists, each with their own company.
He says his work often is as much discovery as it is development.
“My first initial consultation is always at the client’s business,” he said. “I’ll fly to wherever they are and spend a couple of days with them. I call it ‘uncovery,’ and that is really finding out everything that I need to know by experiencing the business, finding out what the culture is like and how they do things.”
He said the "uncovery" takes several days before he will begin developing a strategy for the company culture, marketing and promotion. From there, he oversees the creation of marketing materials, advertisements and more.
Slover’s work even includes helping businesses find and hire the right employees, including crafting “help wanted” advertisements.
“That’s such a big thing right now,” he said. “A lot of service companies — plumbers, heating and air contractors and such are really struggling to find the right people.”
He says one key is creating a great work culture which will reduce employee turnover. He shares Salem-based Security Alarm as one example of a business client of his with minimal turnover.
“They’ve only let one technician go since 1977. That’s impressive. They are that good at getting the right people.”
Slover shares many of his techniques in a book released earlier this month: “The Strategy Wizard: How to Make Lovable Local Marketing for Bonk’n Good Business.”
“The book is made for local business owners because it is harder than ever for those businesses to survive,” he said. “What these businesses don’t realize is that they have a local advantage over the internet and the huge retailers. In the book, I map out how to give businesses a likable persona and take advantage of that likability and being local.”
Becoming more liked before clients even do business with a company is something Slover calls a “secret ingredient.” He said one of his clients, a Denver financial consultant, saw 100 percent growth by becoming more likable through some unique packaging.
“I positioned him simply as Denver’s harmonica-playing finance guy. He was already doing advertising and he had his own radio show and hi was getting hardly anything from it,” Slover said. “I just made a compelling message and made him a local celebrity.”
Slover said new leads for the client’s business grew from three to five a month to as many as 50.
“What we’re really trying to do is to get people to like your company before they ever have a need for your product or service,” he said. “Then, when that need comes around, they think of you first. If you can get people to fall in love with you, it’s so much easier to make the sale.”
He says the goal is to work within a business’s budget to get the best message to potential customers.
“We always try to figure out what’s going to be the best and highest use of our time and money, but before that, we’re trying to determine the best message we could possibly create,” he said. “Without a great message, no amount of media is going to work, but when you have a very compelling message, it doesn’t matter where you put it.”