Today, I spoke to Jeffrey Hayzlett, who is the author of The Mirror Test, and the former Chief Marketing Officer at Kodak. In this interview, Jeffrey talks about his experience with Kodak, what it was like to be on The Apprentice with Donald Trump, what the “mirror test” is and how it can help your business, and more.
How did you get your original job with Kodak? How did using social media differentiate you from other CMO’s?
I got my job by having a long-term relationship with Kodak over the years. I was involved with Kodak off an on for about 15 years. More recently, I was involved with Scitex digital printing; a company that Kodak acquired about 5 years ago. From that acquisition and alignment, it led to them asking me if I would be interested in joining the company.
I thought it was a valuable tool for raising Kodak’s profile. I raised myself on a means to do that to expand Kodak’s reach, and be a leader in the Kodak community. Leading by example, it provided a way for all of our employees to be involved on a daily basis.
It was a great experience. I learned a great deal about television, how to promote your products, and use shows like the apprentice and other mediums to promote my own company’s brand.
In this case, he was working on our behalf, so I was the customer, which changes the dynamics of the interaction between him and the other guest, or the judge (like myself). But I would imagine that in his own company, he is a very tough boss.
There are three “mirror tests” that start the book that you must pass on “proof of life,” leadership, and the bottom and doing three things right: focusing on what you do, delivering the value people demand, and selling and leveraging what you have and do like crazy to grow your business. But it starts with that first most basic of mirror tests, which in life is so simple elementary school kids learn it: Hold a mirror near your mouth and nose. When you exhale, the mirror fogs. That mirror test is proof of life: You’re breathing; you’re alive. In business, the basic mirror test is equally simple. If you’re making money and growing – you’re breathing; you’re alive. If you’re not making money and growing, you’re dead. And if you’re not growing faster than your competitors (i.e., breathing comfortably), you’re dying. Unfortunately, too many businesses fall into this last category and, to borrow Billy Crystal’s line from The Princess Bride, are “mostly dead.” So, are you really alive? Looking good is no measurement of health. You’ll look great in your coffin too.
Can you give us some business tips on how people can succeed in tough times?
They say in good times advertise and in bad times advertise more – that couldn’t be more true today. You must get in front of customers who want to buy your products again and again and again. Hustle more than the guy down the street and be a winner, because winners always win. And never, ever forget what the conditions of satisfaction for your brand and yourself — understand what the value of what you are doing is to yourself and your customers!
How can people create an elevator pitch that works?
First of all, stop calling it an elevator pitch — you don’t have that much time anymore. I call it a 118. An elevator pitch used to mean three to five minutes. Now, an average elevator ride is about two minutes. And the chance to hook me? You have seconds before I tune you out and maybe two minutes after that to completely sell me with your initial pitch. So, I call it a 118: the 118 seconds you actually have to pitch — 8 compelling seconds to hook me and if you do make it those 8 seconds, I’ll give you 110 more to drive your message home. In that time, my best piece of advice is convey the core of who you are and be clear about the value proposition you offer. You shouldn’t need a 30-page PowerPoint presentation for that. If Moses could present the commandments in two slides, five bullet points each, so can you.
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a change agent, thought leader, and sometimes cowboy. He is a social media and marketing expert and Kodak’s former Chief Marketing Officer. He is the author of The Mirror Test. Hailed a “Celebrity CMO” by Forbes Magazine, and famous for his outspoken appearances on numerous television networks, Jeffrey is widely recognized as one of the most influential marketers of our time. As Chief Marketing Officer of the iconic Eastman Kodak Company, Hayzlett was responsible for the company’s worldwide marketing operations including the design and execution of all marketing strategies, branding and corporate communications. With Hayzlett at the helm of Kodak’s marketing and business development initiatives, the company experienced record growth, unveiled revolutionary new products and has established a global brand as a leader in cutting-edge research and product development.