Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hype - The Greatest Blog Entry Of All Time


Here on the east coast, I'm supposed to be under a foot of snow by now(7:30 pm Saturday December 19th) and there's not a snowflake in sight. It's now barely gotten started way downstate, so it'll be a while before it even gets here at all.

This got me thinking about hype, since they've been pushing what's not here as 15-20 inches, the storm that defines storms for the next however many years. We may get that much yet, but the last several hours have been fun to watch.

Did this storm really need the hype? People around here freaked out like we were getting ten times what the estimate was. Storms seem to get overhyped a lot, but they're not the only things.

There has been overhyped events since the first time someone realized that more people would come to something if it was promoted. Hype doesn't give an event more if it doesn't live up to it. Overhype makes people more apt to think twice next time.

How many fights of the century have there been? Game of the decade, the biggest gathering of some sort in the last X years, it's all the same.

Next time, just say it's an event, let the quality speak for itself. Prebranding yourself as the best or the most or the least, or whatever - just makes you look foolish in the end.

What kind of overhyped balogna did you fall for? We've all done it, admit to it below, it'll make you feel better, I promise.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

AntiSocial Media

No, this post is not against social media. In fact, it's in favor of it.

Here's the deal...

I LOVE social media. You never know who you may run in to, talk to, what you might learn. It instantly connects me with whomever is out there, from a friend in high school on facebook, to the CEO of a worldwide company on Twitter...and everything in between.

There's a lot out there, just waiting for you to find it. Therein lies the rub. It's all there.

See, when I was younger, I always had trouble meeting new people. I got nervous and quiet, and would often keep to myself. As it turns out, I would later find that I had/have a slight case of generalized anxiety, and my big trigger was new people and such.

Needless to say, I wasn't too enthusiastic about social media at first, figuring that it would be just as awkward as meeting new people or going new places had been in the past.

But it wasn't. I am the same person online and offline, no more true to myself or less true to myself either place. I have actually found that the people that are the best in taking to social media ARE the people who are like me. A little awkward, maybe just nervous.

We know what it's like. Not to be reached out to, not to be friends with everyone. We understand social media. It's for learning and growing and understanding.

It's what we've been trying to do all along.

Go talk to the quiet kid in the corner. Give the slightly nervous kid a moment to collect himself. You never know who they may become, or who they might know someday...or today, even.

Everybody knows something...and social media makes a person able to teach the world....

What have you taught someone lately?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Charity As A Popularity Contest?

In 1989, there was an earthquake in San Francisco. I was 10 years old. I was and still am an Oakland A's fan, so I saw the whole thing happen on tv.

I sent two weeks allowance to the Red Cross, who had set up a fund for donations to help the relief efforts in the area.

To this day, I'm still not quite sure why I sent $10 to help the earthquake victims. But I know what didn't inspire me.

It wasn't Ashton Kutcher racing Oprah to a million followers and donating what he would have anyway. It's not Drew Carey inflating his follower numbers to donate to LiveStrong.

We get it, you're famous. Donate and we'd find out. We seem to find out everything you folks do.

Since when did donating to charity become a popularity contest?

Until now, two people knew that I donated what I did. Mom and Dad. I didn't go around starting a list and telling people I'd donate more if they signed up.

I donated because I wanted to. No matter who else knew, or cared. It felt good to do so, and that's why I did it.

This is charity, not high school. Helping people who are less fortunate is the one thing that does not need all the extra bullshit. Do it for yourself, not anyone or anything else.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Change Happens.

Things change. There's no way around it. Its life.

Sometimes change is good, sometimes change is bad. But there's no way to stop it. Sometimes its big. Sometimes its small. People thrive on change. People hate change. People want good changes, and want to stay away from bad changes. I could go on forever, but I won't.

Recently, Twitter made a big change. The retweet function was added as an option along with favorite and reply. When this was announced, almost everyone thought it would be a great change. Then the code went up as a random chance beta. People disliked it, and it was pretty buggy, and only those who had the new feature could see it. It was taken down in short order.

Then a few days later, it was back, going out to more random people, and apparently everyone has it now, sans bugs. People hate it. People like it. Its typical change. There are good arguements for both sides, which I will not get into, because this isn't about the validity of the change itself. Form your own opinions on it.

Twitter execs have included a link to send feedback on the new feature, which many people have used. Will it make a difference? Time will tell, as there has been no notice from either @ev or @biz or anyone else involved with Twitter in regards to anything.

So its up to time now. Will the new format for retweets on the Twitter website be New Coke? Or will it be Google?

I'll leave it up to you to make your decision... (hopefully below...*hint hint*)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bring Up The Past, Or Move Forward?

Almost every time I write, I have opportunities to mention past blog posts, past tweets, questions...whatever it may be. Sometimes I do, most times I d not.

Why is that?

I'm really not sure. But I think I have a good idea...

Have you ever seen a current advertisement mention one from the past? It happens very rarely, mostly because companies always want to move forward. When it does happen, it is always a company referencing or bringing back a great moment in their history.

Nobody wants to be reminded of what they did in the past that wasn't up to par, no matter who they are, no matter what they've done.

On the other hand, showing off your past let's people see that what you do has gotten better...or IF it's gotten better. It may open someone up to something they didn't know.

Is that worth the risk? What do you think?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Tipping Point vs Jumping The Shark

The Tipping Point, and Jumping The Shark. Gotta love pop culture, don't you. Explaining why things turn good or go bad is the oldest thing in the book, but its often such an interesting topic. I find The Tipping Point to be Malcolm Gladwell's best work, a thought that I know many people share. Plus, who doesn't jokingly know the exact moment when their favorite tv show or movie series jumped the shark?

The interesting thing is that as different as these ideas are, they're both the same. They're both created to show the exact point when a specific instance happens. Yeah, Tipping Point is a good instance, and for the most part Jumping The Shark is a bad instance, but they really do come about the same way. Often times, these two things can be indentical, or very close in timing. Some people have said that they are one in the same - the instant something tips and becomes popular, it has jumped the shark, and will never be better than it was previous to that moment.

The thing that links these two ideas is unpredictability. The examples given in The Tipping Point are some of the most random things I have ever seen, and there is no way I could have, or just about anyone could have predicted it. Jumping The Shark is rather unpredictable as well. Maybe you can see it coming, for instance if your television show hired Ted McGinley, but I digress.

Unpredictability. Its the bane of many a businessman's existence. How else can you explain the Pet Rock? Beanie Babies? Real Men Of Genius? Reality Television? Its a wonder all people who work in marketing or advertising haven't gone insane by now!

To do this kind of thing, you need to thrive on the unpredictable. Take everything you do as the biggest damn thing in the world, because you know what? It might be. You won't know unless you go for it.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why'd you name it that?

What's in a name? Everything. But sometimes nothing.

Microsoft. Caesar's Palace. Escaping Mediocrity. Burger King. Staples.

Hear or see those names, you know what they are, you know their success, you know their quality. Imagine any of them with a different name. Would they be doing as well? Would they even be? What if Bill Gates was drunk one early day when microsoft was young, and he changed the name to something else....GatesCo for example.

Would that company be here today in the same position? Probably not. But maybe, it's possible that a product is good enough to overcome a bad name.

I've been thinking a lot about names. As things change at The Marketing Mark, the name could be one of them. Will that destroy what I have already built? I don't know. Will it propel me into new heights and beyond? I don't know.

Change is scary, isn't it. Hmmm...that sounds familiar...

How do you know when the fear is worth it?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Business as usual? Nope.

Another Sunday at work. It's business as usual for the company I work for. Customers come in and out, just like they do every day. When you find something that works, why not stick with it?

It's a good thing that I am not my company. Not for any bad reasons, I've just noticed a few things that don't work around here. I meant what I said the other day, things are changing around here, and I want you all to come along with me. Business as usual often leads to complacency and taking things for granted. That's not me. Not to say that business as usual is a bad thing, because sometimes it works very well, it's just not for me personally when it comes to marketing, social media, etc.

I'm not 100% sure exactly how many changes are going to happen, or in what order...but they are happening. I'll ask again, any tips, stories or any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading and taking my voyage with me...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Change is scary. Change is inspirational.

Change is feared. At the same time, change is welcomed, anticipated, even sought after. How can something inspire feelings from all over the map? Change comes in about as many forms as emotions or thoughts it inspires. I don't think there is anything that evokes as varied a response as change.

I've gone through many changes in has just about everyone. I have been lucky in that most if not all of the changes I have been through were positive in the end. Not everyone is that fortunate. However, I would have to say that with the exception of getting married and buying a house, my changes have been fairly tame. I've never really had to stick my neck out before. That is both good and bad, safety is nice, but a good failure now and again is good for the soul.

I've seen many people around me, new friends and old go through some inspiring changes and I have come to think, why not me?

Why not me? I don't fear change...I do have a healthy respect for it. But still, why not me?

To quote Owen Hart "enough is enough, and it's time for some change!"

Wanna come along and see what I do? I'd love to have you.

What are some of your changes, and what feelings did/do they inspire?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Twitter & Blogging - A Self Perpetuating Circle?

Little guy starts a blog and a Twitter account. Little guy follows the big guys (yes, girls too. Using guys is easier to write.). Little guy sees big guys doing their thing, and knows he is not yet there. Little guy asks questions of everyone, big, little, whomever. Little guy not big guy, so many big guys aren't following him back or reading his blog. Little guy can't get advice from big guy because he isn't big guy. Little guy stuck, because to be big guy you need advice from big guy. Big guy generally only helps out fellow big guys, leaving little guy on the outside, trying to climb a mountain he can't climb by himself.

Seem like an absurd story? It happens everyday, and not just online. You know that guy in your office trying everything he can to get ahead, but he can't catch a break? Little guy. The guy from math class that can't get it right but the teacher won't help him? Little guy.

If there's nobody behind you pushing you, ready to take over for you when you're done, where is he? He's the little guy, and he's been stuck with the other little guys using little guy advice on how to be a big guy.

Do you want your hard work to be useless once you're gone because you didn't help get people ready to take your place? I hope not.

Be nice to the little guy. He just wants to be like you. You were there once, someone helped you. What's stopping you from doing the same?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

When To Change Everything Or Nothing

Sometimes a blog runs its course. Sometimes a marketing campaign runs too long. Occasionally an individual advertisement dissapears too quickly. We've all seen it happen, maybe even been part of it. Why does this happen?

Any ideas?

Dumb luck? Fickle audience? Bad product?

Probably, but generally no.

Much like in sales, everything has a break even point. Stop too early, and you miss it. Stop too late, and you run the risk of losing it all. Finding that point is a skill that not very many people have, and even those people aren't always perfect at finding it. For every time the break even point is hit, and you cut and run at the right time, there are untold numbers of people who stayed too long, or left too early.

The thing about it is, there's no generalization on how to find the spot. It could be years, months, weeks, days, hours, or any other time measurement. A blog could reach that point in three years, whereas a commercial may hit it within weeks or months, and that's with a quality product. The break even point for a subpar idea is likely to be even shorter.

What break even points have you come across?

Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why My Blog Reminds Me Of Spam

I suppose that's not the greatest title for a blog post, but it's true. My blog reminds me of spam.

It doesn't seem to get to the right target, it's all over the place contentwise, and post tend to come in bunches, much like spam does.

I promise you, my loyal (I figure if you read THIS post especially, you're a loyal reader) readers, that I will be fine tuning things around here quite a bit in the coming days and weeks and so on.

The only thing that makes this blog NOT like spam, is that you all know where the posts are coming from, and I am actually a real person who's not trying to sell you anything. I don't have a product or service for sale - I just voice my opinions.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Are Blog Comments Really Comments?

Blogging: You Need To Pay Attention To Your Comments

The above is an interesting blog entry by Ron Miller on the site Social Media 101. Yes, those are my comments left on the entry - I like to leave comments there, because Ron, Julie and the other writers use the comment section to interact with their readers.

This brings me to my titular question. My answer is yes....and no. One blog comment left alone is simply that, a comment. But one blog comment answered by someone else, and seen by dozens (or more) of others can start a conversation, whether it be in the comments section, or via email, or even offline conversation (hey, it could happen)

Yet there are many blogs, both famous and unknown that do not have comment sections. Seth Godin, for instance, has no comment area on his blog, and hasn't since about 2006. I'm sure there are many reasons to why, but I cannot leave him a comment or message to find out about it, because he has no comments. He knows that people will talk about him regardless of the ability to leave a useful, or more than likely a useless snarky comment. He's not controversial, he's not anything really all that special - but he knows how to get people to talk, without having to do much. He wants people talking ABOUT him, he doesnt wan't to talk WITH them.

Some others prefer to use email, or ask you to use Twitter to contact them to leave your comments. That's cool, because you know that it is at least seen, rather than just approved by a random computer program that goes off when comments are made on a website. It's also a great use of social media...well, not so much the email part, but its still neat. But that limits social media, simply because the responses are either individual, or are lost in the mad shuffle of a heavily followed/follower count Twitter account.

I must admit, I've considered turning off comments several times. I love hearing what people have to say about anything I've written, and to constantly stare at the zeros gets daunting after a while. But then someone comes along and leaves me a comment and 99% of the time, it is a useful comment, whether it be critical, appreciative, or what have you. Could I still have that interaction without a comment section? I have no idea...that's why I keep it up.

For an example of how comment sections can take off and spur conversation, go back to LiveJournal (yes, they're still around, and you know you have an account, don't lie) and look at many of the communities, or even some of the individual journals. Many of those have entire conversations carried out in the comment threads, and many of the branch out into completely different topics. Will it happen every time? Shit, no. Can you predict when? Well, kinda, I guess if you know your readers well enough, but more than likely you have no idea that the post you are about to make about what happened at work today will turn into a discussion about what frog looks the coolest or something.

Are blog comments really comments? Literally, yes. But we all know how wrong literal translation can be.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Unbroken Chain

This post's title shares its title with a great song by Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. Hopefully this post will not be as out there as a 69 Dark Star...

Anyhow - the title fits a lot of things, but being a marketing geek, I see an unbroken chain as a perfect metaphor for a company that has every department working all at once, and in the same mindset - and creating a product and marketing plan that blow the public away.

Something that enters pop culture, or alters the way future ads are done would be a great unbroken chain...comment about your favorites...

Thanks for reading!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On The Go

So...I recently got with the times and got an iPhone. It's an awesome phone, apps nonwithstanding. Social media and marketing definitely benefits from being on the go, and being able to check all of your pages and other places. I'm currently posting from the free version of the blogger/blogspot app, and I love it now that I'm used to the touch keyboard.

This, along with Twitterific - are becoming very important tools, and I'm assuming not just to an amateur player such as myself.

What are your favorite portable social media tools?

Thanks for reading!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Return! Business Cards

I've been gone for way too long. I have plenty of ideas to write about, since I was thinking things up the entire time I wasn't writing. But for my first post back after such a break, I thought I would talk about business cards.

Business cards have become another very important tool in marketing and promotion. In many cases, gone are the days of plain white cardstock with black printing and a logo in the top left corner. Business cards are no longer an afterthought only used as a simple way to leave your contact information with a client or friend. For many freelancers, artists, and other types of designers, a business card is more like a small advertisement. There are dozens of blogs and individual articles on the web about innovative and interesting business cards, everything from die cut cards in hundreds of different shapes, to cards on clear plastic, wood, even beef jerky.

Even non design based industries can benefit from a unique business card - a dentist's office with cards shaped like a tooth, or with dental floss embedded in the card, for instance. I've seen divorce lawyers with cards that are perforated in the middle and have the information on both halves of the card. Just about anyone can be creative with their business cards these days.

Of course, being creative just to be creative will shine through - overly gaudy or complicated cards will be ignored or discarded without a second thought. A neon green business card with purple lettering for anyone other than a graphic designer would probably be a bad idea. A business card that looks like a child designed and wrote it would be a bad idea for anyone other than a daycare provider.

With all of the blogs out there about business cards, good cards, bad cards, interesting cards, and everything else, its easy to get caught up in the storm of having unnecessarily customized cards. A font color change, or something as simple as a new graphic or text rewrite may be all that you needed. Especially if you're starting to follow the trend of using your email signature as a business card, or doing it any other electronic way.

Simple can be just as eye catching as complicated, provided either one is done right.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Growing Social Media Presence By Not Using It

I've been interviewing a lot of places lately, and I know a lot of people working in corporate marketing positions of all kinds.

Many of these people, and some of the places I have interviewed at, have fairly aggressive blocking software on the employee work computers. This I understand, as you need to be able to make sure your employees are actually doing their work, and not farting around on Google or checking their fantasy teams, etc.

But the new trend seems to be blocking social networking sites. Yes, these can be addicting to some types of people, so in a way, I can understand it. But on the other hand, the people addicted to social media are usually the ones USING IT CORRECTLY. They're constantly updating their status on FaceBook, leaving comments on friend's pages, and probably updating Twitter along the way.

To my surprise, many of the companies who are claiming to be all about social media, or are attempting to grow their online presence and connect with people are blocking their employees, and that includes everyone from sales and marketing to the president,etc from using social media on the clock. Yeah, some of them have a person who sits and does update Twitter or put news on their Facebook fan pages...they damn well better have that person.

But is that one person really enough? Not when that person has no clue what they are doing. It seems like they just take someone from the marketing department and say "You're the Twitter person now. You also maintain our FaceBook fans page" and just let them do it, no matter how good or bad they may be at it.

You can learn social media as you go along, and in fact, that's pretty much how most of us have done so...but someone like me who doesn't have a corporate reputation behind him can fuck something up and be able to fix it and leave it behind...but if someone screws up the social media reputation of a major company in ANY industry, its possible that they may NEVER recover. They may hit the jackpot like Skittles, and get tons of publicity - or it could fizzle out and pop with a whimper like the dot com bubble back a few short years ago.

Do what you have to do to avoid the latest trend of developing social media by ignoring it. Social media is not the pet media is the hula hoop, the frisbee, the yo yo. Something that comes in as a fad, but rather than going away in spectacular fashion, it stays around, and will always be there. Maybe a different form sometime down the line, but still there.

Where do you work, and what is their social media policy?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is Fake Word Of Mouth Still Word Of Mouth?

I was reading a book about word of mouth the other day, and there was a chapter about underground/guerilla style marketing and how its no longer as effective as it was. The big reason is because there are mainstream marketing companies designing faux underground campaigns that use paid scripted actors who shill products in situations that seem more organic, like they happened naturally.

Is this really the death of word of mouth? I don't think so. No matter how it starts, word of mouth is word of mouth. Just because it may have been originated by an actor memorizing a script, instead of a random happenstance, the resulting communications by those who were affected is still word of mouth. Its still organically grown as time goes on, whether it started accidentally or on purpose.

Yeah, its probably not what some of the first word of mouth people had in mind, but in marketing and related things, I don't think there's ANYTHING that has evolved exactly the way that the originators have planned. Sometimes the natural evolution of a strategy is completely against the original thought, but it still works.

As much as people who utilize underground tactics dislike it, things that happen in the underground that work very well, often are adopted by the mainstream. It happens in music, it happens in art, and it happens in business. It doesn't mean that the tactic no longer works, it just means it will probably be changed a little bit to make it more accessible.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Looking For A Blog Sponsor? Try

A little while ago, I was able to run a contest on my blog for a custom poster print. I became aware of because I myself won a contest on someone else's blog that was also sponsored by uprinting. I decided to join the team after checking out their products and seeing some of the things they do for the blogging community, regardless of who the blogger is, or the content of their blog.

Not only do bloggers get to give away things like posters, business cards, brochures and other printed items, but the bloggers themselves are often entered into contests for cash, free printed items, or other things. I have seen some of the finished products that Uprinting produces, and I am happy to have them as a sponsor of my blog. I am pleased to be able to give away products that meet my personal quality standards for use.

Uprinting itself can describe some of the things it does a lot better than I can, so they have produced the message below.

Why isn't your average printing company:

Blog Sponsorships:
If you are looking to find a sponsor for your blog, is definitely interested. We offer giveaways, advertising and more for qualified bloggers.

Non-Profit Sponsorships:
The U-Community Program sponsors hundreds of non-profits and education to improve our local communities.

Social Justice Projects:
The UPrinting Kiva account promotes small business growth in developing countries.

Green Printing:
UPrinting supports a sustainable future by recycling, using non-toxic inks, and offering eco-friendly recycled paper stocks for business cards and postcard printing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Instant Marketing - Just Add Water...Oops, Twitter.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog, since chances are that you found out about it via Twitter to begin with...

But, Twitter has and continues to show itself to be a trendsetter in marketing. Not the service itself, but the users. Thanks to the trending topics slot now in everyone's sidebar by default on the web based client, certain trends can be tracked. In recent times, obviously Michael Jackson, Iran, AT&T, and several other topics have come, stayed and gone, and maybe come again. But the major stuff isn't what I'm actually talking about.

Every once in a while, you get something completely random. Sometimes a meme will crack the list, or sometimes a pro athlete, or whatever. They don't always stay for very long, such is the nature of motion, and a fickle public.

But, if you were good enough about crafting the right kind of message with your 140 characters, imagine the number of people who would possibly see your name, your product, your whatever. Even if you were only on the list for a short time, a rediculous amount of people would possibly see your topic.

I'm definitely not calling for tweets being advertising or anything like that, NOBODY wants that. EVER. What I mean, is there are larger companies (Zappos, Ford, etc) who have enough clout to wrangle a trending topic if they do something big. What's stopping you from crafting something good enough to be picked up by Robert Scoble, or Chris Brogan, or Leo Laporte, guys who have tremendous reach in the Twitter sphere? NOTHING. You just have to do it. If you get the right people or enough people talking, just imagine the possibilities...

What do you see?

Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Follow Friday - Its A Twitter Thing

With Follow Friday becoming bigger and bigger every week, it becomes bothersome to do several posts about people who I think are awesome. Its becoming more and more popular, and more useful for that matter to do a weekly blog post going into better detail.

Sarah Robinson - Sarah is one of the people who have taken me under their wing. She is one of the reasons I am who I am on Twitter, because when I don't know who I am, she somehow does. She has a great mind for business, and is well worth the follow, if just to hear about the young turk. You'll have to follow her for an explanation - consider it an extra credit assignment of sorts.

Shelly Kramer - Every time I talk to Shelly, I learn something new. Sometimes it's about me, sometimes it's about her, sometimes it's about the randomest thing you can think of that would still make sense in your life. Shelly seems to have perfected the balance between work and fun, and it shows.

Zappos CEO Tony - Yes, the CEO of Zappos is on Twitter. You expected otherwise from a company that got its start selling shoes over the internet? This guy shares EVERYTHING, and he tweets back and retweets interesting stuff. He is pretty much the prototype for what a big business needs to do with social media.

Scott Monty - Head of Social Media for Ford Motor Company. Yep, that's right. Ford. Much like Tony above, there's almost nothing that he will not share, and conversate about. He has even been on the Adam Carolla Podcast ( talking about the role of social media in business.

John Jantsch - The author of Duct Tape Marketing. Shares great information, and is very approachable. I became more aware of just how good he is at what he does, when I had the opportunity to hear one of his Duct Tape Marketing coaches speak to a networking group that I belong to.

7/3 edition

WritingRoads - Julie is one of those people who ALWAYS has good advice to offer, and is a great, smart conversationalist. She is also behind one of my favorite blogs, Social Media 101, linked on the right side of my blog.

Nicole Harrison - Always has great info on non profit organizations, and a lot of conferences that she attends as well. One of the first people to really introduce me to the social parts of Twitter, rather than just posting links, quotes and information. She also has just founded and put together, her new blog.

Ron Miller - Another great advisor, and a great guy to boot. Ron is the other face of Social Media 101, alone with Julie.

Scott - Yeah, Scott. Its the guy who wears a nametag everywhere everyday. He is the go to guy on differentiation.

Sean Loyless - Sean is a great guy, always has great info to share, and is also involved with the Blellow project from last week

Tina - Want some awesome salsa? You in Canada? No problem. Tina's got you covered. She's cool to talk with as well.

and this last one is extra special

Meg Porter - Meg was killed in an automobile accident last week, and the entire Twitter community misses her. Take a look back at her tweets, and you will be able to see why.

7/10 edition

Chris Brogan - One of the most known and quoted people in social media today. President of New Marketing Labs, and has many projects ongoing at any time. Engages with many many people despite having over eighty thousand followers

Amber Naslund - Another one of my social media allstars. Never fails to educate, and loves to connect personally with her followers.

Carrie Wilkerson - Full of great information that can help you in life as well as in business. Another one of those people who makes you smile when you see her icon pop up.

You Gotta Call - Tim runs a reccomendation engine for nonprofit organizations and other small businesses in the Connecticut area.

The Return, 11/5 edition

I got burned out on Follow Friday, and I wasn't meeting as many new people as I should, so I stopped doing it for quite some time, but I'm back at it.

Tekee - Ted rocks. I met him through an earlier recommendation I made, and I'm glad I did. Need a laugh? He's got it. Need some kind of geekery? He's got it. Need anything? He's got it.

Morriss Partee - Met him during a discussion at Social Media 101, also an earlier recommendation. Always manages to say the right thing at the right time. Writes a great blog, too.

Susan Boggs - I've been retweeting her and stealing random tweets from her more often than anyone else lately, and there's good reason for it.

Cousin Slowpoke - No, not MY cousin, that's her twitter handle. Jemma rocks. She's an inspiration just by being herself, and everyone needs to know that.

Kevin Smith - yeah, that Kevin Smith. Clerks. Mallrats, Dogma, etc. He's like the friend everyone has that is always sharing too much information...but in a funny way. Seriously, he's just as candid on Twitter as he is anywhere else. Plus, unlike most celebs, he interacts with followers.

11/27 post Thanksgiving edition

Calvin Lee - I have been following Calvin for a long time, and only recently really started talking to him, and he is as gracious and fun as he seems to be by reading his tweets. Great information, and he loves to talk about what he posts.

April Baird - a freelancer I met through @Blellow, and a great one at that. Wonderful artist, full of good things to say and to show.

Dave Van de Walle - a great new friend, and a great social media contact to have. Leaves comments on my blog, and for that, he's a permanent favorite

Lolly Daskal - one of the most motivational people I have ever met. A well placed quote here, and a nice word there, and some great friendly conversation.

12/18 edition

Scott Hokunson and Kathy Hokunson - These two go together. Appropriate, because they ARE together. Two great people who always have good stuff to share, whether it be marketing or landscaping, and sometimes both and neither.

Amanda Mueller - by happy accident, I discovered my employer is a client of the company she works for, and we had a great conversation about it. She also has lots of good things to say about social media and marketing in general.

Weird Al Yankovic - Do I really need to explain it? I hope not. As engaging as he is talented, a great follow.

Pocket Wireless - my employer. Still an emerging presence in the social media world, and a massive hit in the prepaid cellular market.

2/12/2010 Edition

Ahh, the first edition of the new year - I've been lazy and not doing follow friday.

Elizabeth Potts-Weinstein and Allison Nazarian - two of a growing group introducted to me by Sarah Robinson. They are who they are, and they will always be. Two amazing women I am glad to just be getting to watch. Great minds, great writers, amazing people.

Reverend Run - Yeah, that guy. Run from Run DMC. As you should also know, he's a minister, and a great mind. Always has great, inspiring things to say and talk about.

Marketing Douchebag - Don't let the name fool ya, actually a great guy. Lots of good tweets about marketing.

Mark Sherrick - Me, dangit! I'm cool, follow me! Just kidding, but I would love it if you would follow me, I'm always looking for good people with good info and who like to interact.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is There Anything Left? there any real world space left untouched by now?

As advertising companies and their clients are getting more and more creative, or perhaps desperate, more and more physical, and even intangible areas are being mined for advertising space. I can't say that I blame either one of them, to be honest. I love the look of a minor league ballpark outfield wall covered in advertisements. Some of the major league parks were able to do it and still keep the integrity of the park intact, as well.

Even NASCAR now, its not enough to have one car with one paint scheme, you have several, more than likely each with a different major sponsor. Plus, I know most of the sponsors that have the business card size ads on the cars are actually NASCAR sponsors, but are they even worth it? They're impossible to read.

I was fine with still shot ads at my movie theatre, but who's idea was it to put actual moving commercials before movies a few years back? Again, did anyone join the National Guard because they saw the commercial before watching the latest fart and dick joke masterpiece? Doubt it.

As for the intangible, you've got stadium and concert hall names, tour names, bowl games, golf tournaments and such. Sporting events themselves, I can understand, because more often than not, that particular company has something to do with the actual presence of said event. But can anyone honestly say they bought a F150 because they went to a Detroit Lions game at Ford Field? Were you unaware of Ford before going there? Kind of useless, but understandable.

What's next, actual commercials spoken between songs by artists onstage? Infomercials between sets at Phish concerts? They've already got football and baseball announcers doing plugs at just about any moment, what's stopping Herbal Essences from paying Trey Anastasio to tell the unwashed masses about shampoo?

I think they're actually getting advertising RIGHT on the internet. There's been a fairly good paced evolution in what we've been seeing, and the annoying crap like popups or those flash game "kick the guy in the face/shoot the thingy" ads, do go away relatively quickly. Most social media sites have been able to monetize without tremendously affect the site as a whole.

Will offline advertising ever take a cue from online advertising and actually improve itself? I dunno. I hope it will, although the internet will probably take over everything at some point in the near future anyhow.

Thanks for reading....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Planned Obsolescense Is Not A Marketing Technique!

I've never really been inspired to write a blog entry so quickly after I hear something, but the newly released info on the new iPhone has inspired the heck out of me.

When I was in computer sales, I really was at a disadvantage - I knew too much. I knew that the printer that I sold that customer wouldn't be around in a couple years and stuff would have changed so much they would need to buy another one. I knew that the laptop that I sold the other customer would be in need of several upgrades, both internal and external within the next year or so. Mind you, I'm not stupid, I didn't turn any customers away, but I was honest with them, and many of them appreciated it.

What's that got to do with the iPhone? Technically, nothing. But a lot, at the same time. Its nothing in relation to the products themselves, even though an iphone is pretty much a computer in itself.

I hate that companies will make a product, knowing full well that within 6 months to a year or so, they'll be putting out another one that's bigger, smaller, faster, lighter, whatever, as long as its better. I hate that they'll make a huge deal out of it, like they made some sort of gigantor discovery that made the new one necessary. Its like you're calling your current customers suckers for daring to buy your product. "hey, remember that cool thingy you paid $499 for six months ago? You can now get it for $99, and this new one that's so much better than yours is now $399!!!! Don't you want to buy it? You know you do! Come buy it!!"

And people do. Just like people pay all the overcharges for concert tickets, and every other thing that the market will put out.

Look - I'm all for making money, shit, its what I do, I'm in sales. But the joy over making something new so quickly after making it in the first place has got to go. I'm all for letting me know that this or that product now does something else, or does what it did but better. But its not worth a major event.

I'm not going to tell you not to buy anything new, because that's not my point, and I'm not here to tell you what to do. Unless I end up working for AT&T, Cingular, or Apple, I'm not gonna fall for it. If you want to buy the new one, cool, do that. If you want to buy the new one and you just got the last one, just think about it, that's all.


Comment, too...I like comments.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Know When Not To

I'm definitely not breaking any new ground here...but this is something that needs to be said every so often.

Everything you're taught when you are learning ANYTHING, not just marketing or advertising, is to help you figure out what and when things need to be done.

What you aren't taught is NOT doing. These days too much emphasis is placed on putting out as much as possible as often as possible, no matter what.

Sometimes its better to not do something. I've been living that idea with this blog lately, because I've been trying to post something for weeks now, and I hate almost everything I come up with - therefore I don't post it, because I know not to - I have standards and a quality level in mind in regards to this blog, and I haven't been meeting it lately.

If you don't hear from me as often as you should - its because I know when NOT to talk. I do know when TO talk, but knowing NOT to talk is just as important.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 16x20 Poster Print Contest RESULTS!!!

Thanks again to for helping me with this giveaway. They are your source for the following, and so much more;

Online Poster Printing
Poster Printing

Without further delay, especially since the post is late, the winner of my contest drawing, drawing done courtesy a web based RNG - The winner is, GUY CROSS! Congrats Guy, make sure to leave me your email address so will be able to contact you to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered, hopefully I'll be doing more contests, and get more competitors.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In The Palm Of Your Hands

side note - the winner of the contest in my previous post will be revealed tomorrow.

Now, onto the main attraction. As a music fan, and a guy who will hit a live concert at just about any opportunity, I am fascinated by the rare breed of artist that can take the audience and put it in the palm of their hand, and basically play with it because they can. It really is a very small percentage of people that have that level of charisma and talent. It's scarily small when you take into consideration the millions of musicians and singers and such out there.

Is the same true for marketing/advertising, etc? Are there a very very small percentage of people that can take control of their audience and pretty much make them do as they please?


The same kind of person that is a rarity in the entertainment world is just as rare in the marketing/advertising world. Sure, there are plenty of people who can do it good enough to get the job done, and people that are good enough at it to be among the top in the industry. But just like in the music industry, there is that extremely small percentage that transcend the marketing industry.

Is there an exact formula to it? I have no idea, if I did, I'd be rich as shit from selling said formula, and I'd be among the elite myself.

What do YOU think?

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 16x20 Poster Print Contest!

Howdy folks!

I am giving away a prize, just because people read my blog! Everyone who reads my blog will have a chance (maybe even two!) to win a 16 x 20 Poster Print from!!!

There are 2 ways to enter the contest. You may do both if you desire. Two entries is the maximum, and you have to do each way, you cannot do two comments or two blog posts. The first of either or both ways will be the one counted.

The contest runs from right now until noon on Sunday. Today is Wednesday April 13th, Sunday is April 17th. Here's how to enter:

a. Leave a comment explaining how you would creatively use their print

b. Write a post on your blog linking to this post and linking back to

The entire world is eligible for this contest, however only the United States and Canada receive free shipping of the contest prize. Other countries must only pay for postage. I will post the winner within 24 hours of the end of the contest, and also email the winner. You MUST provide an email address. It is how I and/or will be contacting everyone.

Online Poster Printing
Poster Printing

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Many Angles Of Truth

How is it that two companies that sell the same product can tell you the exact opposite things, and still both be telling the truth?

They can't...but they also can, often both at the same time.

This all goes along with a two part blog series I wrote on Blellow, about your personal story. Products have a story too. Everything in the business world has a story. Otherwise it wouldn't be where it is.

Many products or services can do more than one thing. I'd wager that nearly every single one can, actually. The thing is, most of them only tell you what they want you to know. Is that dishonest? No, not really - they're not lying (well, some might be, but thats a whole separate post for another time) and they want you to use their product for their intended purpose. Their intended purpose may be vastly different from some other product that does some or most of the same thing, but if the people behind it have different ideas on what you should do with it, they'll present different stories. They're both telling you the truth; but its the truth they want you to hear, not necessarily the full truth.

Some people would say that is dishonest. I wouldn't. Why shouldn't I be able to tell you that my product, while similar to yours, does some different things? Why would I put out a product that does the same stuff as someone else and say exactly that? I wouldn't - because I would fail, damn near immediately.

From a business perspecive, telling you what someone wants you to know is the way that it's done. Some people on the outside don't like it, and do think of it as misleading or distrustful, but many of them can't really tell you a coherent reason why they don't like it.

Most of what seems to be the problem is the whole concept of "story" because when people hear story, they immediately jump to fiction. Your story within business MUST NOT be fiction, otherwise you're going to be found out, and you'll be done. Probably out a lot of money, too.

Crafting your story, while still telling the truth and not being misleading isn't exactly easy. What are some of your favorite product stories? What are some of your favorite product stories that differentiate very similar products?

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oddball Or Interesting Places For Promotional Material

I've always been a fan of finding new and interesting places to put advertising or marketing materials or logos and such. In fact, it was one of my duties when I interned for my local ampitheatre several years back - to assist the corporate sales team in coming up with ways to take advantage of unused space for advertising purposes.

I haven't seen much that really caught my eye or surprised me in quite some time, other than those that you see in articles around the internet that were for contests or what have you. Until this morning. I was depositing my unemployment check (yes, I'm unemployed. I'm not the only one) at my Webster Bank near my house. On the back of my receipt was an advertisement for discount tickets to a professional golf tournament that has been in Cromwell, CT for decades now, the former Greater Hartford Open, formerly sponsored by Canon, and most recently Buick.

All the needed information was present...the tournament name, dates and location, and the website to buy the tickets, along with the discount code, and a short bit of advertising copy.

Why had noone (that I am aware of) thought of this yet? Its freakin' brilliant! You have a captive audience, because everyone needs to use a bank for something or other fairly often these days. Why is it that only banks seem to advertise on their ATM slips? There's got to be plenty of related things that could be on the backs of those....fer chrissakes, grocery stores have advertisements on their receipts, that probably one person has ever used, especially since they have the seperate coupon printers nowadays.

What's your favorite random place you have ever seen an advertisement?

Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Advertising within java/flash games

No, not product placement, that would be a huge waste of time. Nobody needs to see the Bloons monkey drinking a Coca Cola, or the tilty motorcycle actually be a Harley Davidson. I mean companies actually producing java games with their stuff in them.

I know a while back that Nabisco did a whole lot of childrens' style games with very little going on in any of them, and a large amount of product placement. This is a really unexplored thing, I believe. We're so concerned with viral videos, and getting our customer service departments on Twitter, that something like this is being left behind, for the most part.

With the one possible exception of Comedy Central, I suppose. Take a look at their website sometime. If you're at all familiar with any of their programming beyond the standup comedy specials, you will recognize a ton of stuff if you wander into their game section of their website.

Small companies...find a game developer that can do a java/flash game for you....even something as simple as a choose your own adventure or a madlib, if done well will bring you lots of traffic, and people will have fun, and remember you.

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Give Me Back My Five Bucks

I've just entered a contest to win either 1000 business cards or 500 brochures, the details are on this blog post on Give Me Back My Five Bucks, a great blog with some interesting readers.

You readers of mine don't actually get to help me win the contest, but I'll bet any one of you wouldn't mind winning, either. Go on over and check out the contest....tell them I sent you. :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Trust Only In Yourself

Especially in freelance work.

But, in general as well. Don't take someone's word over yours about something you've created just because they're more experienced than you, or a higher level than you, or any reason. If you have to strike out on your own, then do it, if its feasible. You are the one that knows what's best for you, what's best for your projects, and so on.

You are responsible for what goes out with your name on it, not anyone else...YOU. If you weren't, your name wouldn't be on the project. If you aren't happy with it, nobody is. Be prepared to defend yourself, even over the smallest things if necessary. If you develop a reputation as a pushover, you'll never make it where you want to make it to. You've got to be the one that's comfortable at the plate if you're going to get anywhere.

If this seems like obvious advice, it is. But so many people overlook the obvious, looking for the little things.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 20, 2009


You're not good enough.

There, I said it. I'm not saying it to myself, I'm saying it to YOU. Hearing the word "no" sucks, because that's exactly what it means, in just about any situation in our marketing and advertising world...heck, in most of the world in general.

Does it make you mad that I just told you you aren't good enough? Yes? Good, now calm down and prove me wrong. No? Both good and bad; Good, because you don't take things that may be out of your control personally. Bad, because you may just not care. I'm going to assume you care for the rest of this post. You're welcome to stop reading if you don't care about hearing no, because chances are that you don't particularly want to hear what I have to say to begin with. Lets take a moment and let those people take off.



Okay, everybody that wants to be here, are you still reading? Good.

Let me start by taking what I said earlier back. You are good enough. You wouldn't be doing what you are doing if you weren't. Hearing "no" from a client you're trying to sell to, or from a client that asked you to design something, or from your boss who asked you to do a task for them is not the end of the world. Hearing "no" basically means "try again, do it better" for the most part. If you learn to not take "no" personally or learn how to harness your anger into productivity when you hear "no", you will be much better off than most.

The biggest effect that "no" can have on a person will actually extend OUT of the current project. If you only ever learn one thing from reading my blog, this is what you need to learn. A "no" on project 1 CANNOT affect project 2. You cannot let yourself be gun shy, or be hesitant to step out of the box on a separate project or idea because you were told "no" on something else. Separate projects may as well be in separate worlds, even if they are both to be presented to the same person! Someone who would hold something from one project over you during a completely separate project doesn't deserve to be in the place they are in, in the first place.

I'll admit it...sometimes a "no" can really hurt. There is not a universal cure or workaround for a "no". I wish there was, and I honestly wish someone was making a crapload of money selling that cure, because never having to even consider fearing rejection would be amazing.

Please don't attempt to avoid "no", because that will be even worse for you. Do what you have to do to be able to UNDERSTAND "no" and you're on your way to greatness, I promise.

Anyone have a good story about overcoming a "no"??

Thanks for reading...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Web 2.0 = Marketing 2.0??

For some reason, lately the need to classify things has been bouncing around in my head. Not trying to classify my own stuff in my house, but why its done. Of course, general classification is obviously and correctly used to differentiate things that for the most part are blatantly different, with small variation.

Animal. Vegetable. Mineral. Mammal. Fish. Arachnid. Whatever, they're for the most part useful.

But what is Web 2.0? What is new marketing? For that matter, what compromised Web 1.0? What exactly is included within traditional marketing? Who's traditions? Mine? Yours? Nostradamus? Bill Clinton? Dave Chappelle? Where do you draw the it really necessary to draw them?


To concentrate on marketing for a do you know when to draw the line? Was it when the first spam email went out? Was it when the first banner ad was clicked on? Was it the first television commercial? Was it the first magazine ad? The line is is marketing is marketing. The music industry is full of the same bullshit...everything has to have a label to make it digestable to the latest and the greatest of whatever. Fuck it. Music is music is music. Its all music....leave it at the general classifications that you see in a record store. I don't need new this, or post that, or cross genre classifications. Its music. Get over it. Its marketing. ITS ALL THE SAME! The method of delivery is the difference. Since day one, marketing has been about getting your product or service in front of as many of the right people as often and as cheaply as possible without pissing them off. Thats what it is, thats what its been, and thats what it will always be.

Same with the internet. If you really want to get technical, Web 1.0 was the millitary defense network before any of the concepts of the internet beyond BBSs was even a thought in Al Gore's mind. Which would mean by classification of evolutionary ideas, we'd be on like Web 9.2 at this point. So why aren't we? Because the classification doesn't mean a damn thing. Its subjective, its made up to pigeonhole stuff, much like what I spoke about above. Its the internet. It has a wide variety of uses and has gone through a wide variety of generations...but its still the internet. No need to call it anything more classifications needed. Just leave it alone.

What are your favorite useless classifications?

Thanks for reading...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Do What Nobody Else Is Doing

The other day I wrote about not doing something just because you have the opportunity, just so you can get your name out there, just so you can have the experience.

Today, I'm very nearly going to contradict myself, but I promise it will make sense.

If you can take a look at what you want to be doing, and everyone within that field is doing it the same way, the time is ripe for someone to come in and be different. Take a look at how everyone else is going from point A to point B...there's probably another way to do it. Maybe it's been thought of, maybe its been tried, maybe it blew. But sometimes the best way from point A to point B is actually backwards, by going from point B to point A. Be the one doing it differently.

Yeah, I realize those of you familar with Seth Godin will recognize that idea, its pretty much what he's built his career on. Doing it differently. Doing it how nobody else is doing it. He's right, though. Why be just another person when you can be the only yourself? If everyone is wearing blue, why aren't you wearing red?

There are plenty of companies and individuals out there who have taken advice from Seth Godin and ran with it...and there are plenty who have not. But that doesn't matter...the way most companies flourish these days is because they're different. Zappos started selling SHOES on the internet. Who would have thought that would work? Now look at them.

This is no new phenomenon either. Since the massive commercialization of the United States, and a large portion of the world, really...very few companies or people have made money by being the same. It happens, of course, but it's not likely. Be different. Be you.

What are your favorite companies or individuals that were successful by being themselves or by doing something different from everyone else?

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Here Comes The Money

I belong to a networking group of unemployed folks, and every week, we have a speaker come in and talk about whatever it is they do, or something we can do to help ourselves, etc. For instance, recently we had a guy from our local chamber of commerce come in and talk about starting small businesses, an account executive from an employment placement agency, and things like that. Generally, they have good advice, because they have been able to do something that those of us in the group are in, and find a job that the economy didn't eliminate.

There's a great mix of people, some old, some young, some with experiences you wouldn't believe, and some with none whatsoever. I've been noticing one particular attendee asks every presenter about how much they make, or what the money is like in their particular industry. This person has also been somewhat of a career hopper, not suprisingly.

I think that person is going about it all wrong. Even in today's economy, don't do something just because it's where the money is. Don't do something you don't know how to do, or something that would compromise you just because its where the money is.

Its not just advice for the unemployed, either. Following the money is not a good way to do things. Freelancers and Consultants know this firsthand. Just because someone offers you a project that's going to give you a lot of money, doesn't mean you should take it. If you don't know how to do it, or can't do it, because of time or whatever, in the end, you won't get the money anyways, because you will more than likely have to halfass it just because you need to finish it. Don't do it that way. Take the stuff that comes along that makes sense for you to take. Things may get a little tight in the meantime, but in the long run, it will be worth it.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Guest Blog Post on Blellow

Today I did a guest posting on Click the link below and show me your support, as well as supporting Blellow, it's a great community to belong to.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keep EVERYTHING...I mean it

Its pretty sad when not having anything to write about actually reminds me of something to write about.

That said...if you've designed it, written it, drew it, thought of it, whatever...KEEP IT...especially if you couldn't do it. You never know when stuff may come in handy. You may need inspiration, for a blog post...or a design layout, or a new kind of muffin. Whatever. When I was younger and used to write poetry, I kept it all. Even the horrible crap. I had folders and notebooks full of all kinds of stuff, gems and garbage alike...because I never knew when a good idea might strike. I wasn't one of those guys who kept a notebook by the bed and would wake up in the middle of the night to write something down, but after several things were lost because of missing earlier material, I resolved to keep everything from then on.

I still have outlines of stuff I did in Marketing 101 in college. I still have completed assignments from Audio Production on tape. Why? Because you never know. Something I said on air once back in 2001 may be the perfect slogan for something next year...but I won't know if I didn't still have that tape so I knew exactly what I said.

Will I ever need any of it? I have no idea. But it's there...and I'm happy it is.

What's some random stuff you've kept over the years that's helped you do whatever it is you do?

Thanks for reading...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Depression and Social Marketing

I often wonder how different my views on social networking and social marketing would be if I wasn't on anti depression medication. There are times when I curse social networking, when I really kind of need to talk to someone but nobody's around to chat with....but when people are around and sharing thier ideas, experiences and such, its invauluable.

I'm sure there are times when I hesitate and miss making a connection or replying to a twitter post or a facebook group message...but I'm thinking everyone is like that. Because with social networking and marketing, the whole idea is that there are connections everywhere and if you miss one, you will be able to make another one.

Has anyone else wondered if their social networking or marketing experiences are clouded or heightened by anything??

Thanks for reading...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blast From The Past - Local Advertising

When I was younger, my favorite commercials were the local ones. You know, the ones with horrible production values, lousy scripts, and the store owner from down the street making an ass out of himself on camera in the name of another dollar. As a kid, I had a really odd sense of humor, and stuff like everyone's favorite liquor store owner, Connecticut's own Crazy Bruce, made me laugh my little head off. How can you not find this funny?

and we cannot forget the Tires Plus Wheels guy, another local legend.

There's always Bob of Bob's Discount Furniture, the guy that did the Ruby Vine Railroad Discount warehouse, or something like that...even today, Connecticut has Stephen Barbarino car dealers doing the low budget thing.

When I was little, they would make me laugh, and not knowing anything at all about advertising or marketing, had no idea that over twenty years later, I would still remember them and be writing a blog post about them. Looking back on them, it was very obvious that local businesses were willing to do just about anything they could to stand out from the national advertisers that got 99% of the advertising time on television. If they had to sing a stupid song, or a funny dance, or just make an idiot of themselves on TV to get noticed, they would do it.

There's really nothing like those ads on TV these days. There are very few businesses willing to do what it takes anymore, and that's a huge problem.

Where are you from and what were your favorite old horrible local commercials? I know you have some.

Thanks for reading...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good Message vs Big Message

Today I learned that bigger is not always better.

Specifically this particular lesson was in social marketing. There are so many different aspects to social marketing that it is really hard to be in the right mindset for every part of it. I was talking with @unmarketing and @jasontryfon and a few others, and I had expressed about inequality in different circles of twitter. Then both of the guys told me that they viewed things differently....on Twitter, everyone has the same chance to say what they want to say, and people will listen. If you have something worthwhile to say, it will be heard. It doesn't matter if you say it to 100 people, or 10000. If what you have to say is right or good, people will hear it. Quality statements and contributions win over quantity.

I still feel like the little brother that gets stuck playing deep left field, but little brother grows up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Step Outside The Box - Literally

Going along with my previous post about coloring, is this one, that was slightly inspired by it.

Why stop at coloring outside the lines? That is a figurative excercise, which is indeed important, but sometimes you need to be literal. Step outside the box.

Why should you do something the same way it's always been done? Tradition? Bullshit. Because you know it'll work? Bingo. Try something different. Take a look around where you are now...chances are a lot of the stuff is there because someone took a literal step outside the box. Putting your product in an unusual place...changing its form factor....changing what it's used for. Selling music at Starbucks. Selling food at a bookstore. Writing a diary on the internet. Email.

Each of those was done because someone thought outside the box. Most of those we take for granted today...what will we take for granted tomorrow?

Thanks for reading...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Outside The Lines

Remember when you were little and started learning how to color? Take one crayon, and just go all over the paper without even realizing that the lines were there for a reason. I am getting to witness this kind of thing firsthand, because my nephew is starting to flex his creative muscles with scribbles and such. It looks like such a joyous experience, I wish I could remember that time in my life.

Why do we stay in the lines now? Isn't marketing and advertising about drawing outside the lines? How else would we come up with anything new? Please remember that time in your life when it was a joy just to scribble purple over Santa Claus, or make a black Easter Bunny...and put that into your work.

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When You Fail

It will happen. Everyone fails. Everyone drops the ball.

Obviously recovering will depend on what exactly failed, whether it was an entire campaign, or just a particular part of one. It may not even be your fault, or even your company or your product's fault. That failure may even lead to something good....revolutionary, even.

Think of how many things in marketing, advertising and even product packaging have evolved over the past.

The saying goes, that for every warning label you see, some idiot did what it says not to do. I hope you're not that idiot, but maybe we should thank those idiots.

What are your favorite failures and/or recoveries in marketing or advertising?

Thanks for reading...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Self Marketing

Regardless of job status, age, gender, whatever classification you want to go by, one of the most important things about you is your image according to other people. Not yourself, other people. We all know how to do things and make things and whatever else that gives off the image that you want to project. Unfortunately there are very few jobs right now where what you want to show or to be is not what everyone else wants to see. Self Marketing, putting forth the best image of yourself for OTHER PEOPLE is one of the hardest skills to learn, yet you are expected to know how to do so before you know how to do anything else.

The difficult thing about Self Marketing is that almost everyone that can see your personal brand isn't looking for the same thing. Adapting yourself to conform to the widest set of opinions possible without compromising your own ideas and opinions is again, probably the hardest thing a person has to do. Most people have trouble thinking from the perspective of someone looking at them, rather than projecting out from themselves.

It's weird, because when you are young you're trained to care about your own image for the most part, and learning how to see yourself in the minds of others is pretty much shuffled to the backseat...and then you hit the real world, and are surprised to learn that you've been doing everything ass backwards your entire life.

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Consumer Reaction


I just saw the new commercial starring the Sham-Wow guy. The slap-chop.

I know the goal in advertising and marketing is to get a reaction from the customer and get them to remember your product. Sometimes it does seem like we remember the stupid commercials more than good ones, though. Commercials by their mere existance are annoying and interrupting what we tuned in for, but why is it that purposely annoying commercials get more of a reaction from consumers?

Although, if the commercial is so horrible that so many people remember how horrible it was and what product it was for...was it really a horrible commercial?

Thanks for reading...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What Do You Want?

That's what it's all about.

What do you want? It's that simple. There's too much emphasis these days on the opposite. I don't need to be told what I want, I know what it is. More marketing firms or individual advertisers would be doing a lot better if they took even a moment and asked their customers what they wanted.

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Skill Of Luck

Do you think that every successful marketing or advertising campaign was the result of skill?

I don't. It's not possible.

Luck is a huge factor. HUGE. As an example, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie...promotion went fine for months, and was relatively quiet...then they got lucky, and one town thought their blinking ads were bombs...and then EVERYONE knew about it.

Viral marketing...completely based on luck. Well, maybe not completely. Think about it. How stupid was Subservient Chicken? Completely. But by luck or by some other random factor, it caught on.

Got Milk? Lucky again. In the beginning it failed, miserably. But one endorser caught on, and they're still going today.

Luck is a huge factor in everything. Can you learn to be lucky? No. You can learn all kinds of things, but you cannot learn luck.

Think about your favorite commercial, or advertisement. Then take a moment and ask yourself if you honestly think that everybody that worked on it thought it was a good idea.

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Do The Opposite

An alternate title for this was "Do Your Worst", but it didn't really seem right to make it seem like I was going to deliberately tell you that sucking is a good idea.

Do the opposite, start from the end, reverse engineer...these all mean the same thing. These ideas are usually used in cases of failure, so you can see what it was in the chain that caused the failure. Its also a good way to figure out your competitors and how they do what they do. Have you ever seen something that's made you say "How'd they do that?" That is a case that you should take on in reverse, see what they did that got them to the end.

Another way to use reverse engineering is to start at the end of a project you haven't even started yet.

Wait, what? Start at the end, when I don't even have a beginning?

Yes. You already have an end...your client has told you what they want. Take what they want and work backwards. You know how things are supposed to turn out in the end...see how you can take the end and trace backwards to the beginning. It will help you gain a fresh perspective on everything.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I've Got Nothing

Sometimes it's okay to not have anything you can do. Sometimes you just need to recharge. As much as you want to try, you cannot go at top speed forever. Sometimes you need to slow down, sometimes you need to take it easy. Other than sleeping, sometimes you need time to do nothing, to have nothing.

Even the most creative, innovative, dynamic people have times when they've got nothing. It may be because they're stumped, it may be because they don't have a current project, or maybe they CHOSE to take the time to do nothing, to have nothing.

I'm not proposing something out of the ordinary here, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person to ever say "hey, maybe taking a little bit of time for yourself is a good idea." But as many people talk it up or mention it...very few of them actually practice it.

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, February 12, 2009


One of the hardest things to do in marketing is to remain objective. You cannot only have projects that are targeted to people who are the same as you. You will have to create campaigns or individual advertisements that you do not personally like. Chances are you aren't supposed to like them, because they aren't aimed towards you. You can and should be proud that you created it, but that doesn't mean the advertisement will work on you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pushing Your Marketing/Advertising Comfort

Don't be afraid to push yourself. If you've been offered two campaigns, one you know is easy and another that you know will take extra effort and give a greater reward, take the extra work. It will feel much better when you are done.

Getting out of your comfort zone is of course easier said than done, nobody likes to dance on the razor's edge all the time, but a little push never hurt anyone. If all you do is take on projects you know you can do, you will never get anywhere, and probably burn out much faster than someone who is constantly pushing to take on more projects and better their abilities.

If you find yourself as a big fish in a small pond, the step you will be taking will be different if you were the small fish in the big pond. Being the small fish makes it much easier to have to fight for advancement and for projects that are out of your general reach. If you prefer to be the big fish, so be it, have fun staying where you are at. The small fish will continue to take on projects and gain more experience and more knowledge will know that once they become the big fish, that it is time to find another pond.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Social Networking vs Business Networking

Over the past couple of days, the topic of Social Networking as a business, or being able to USE Social Networking as a business model from the user side, nor the owner side has been emerging. The question that is being raised is if Social Networking as it is set up right now can support or would welcome business integration beyond banner or clicker advertisements.

Social Networking as it stands right now cannot support business. People are too suspicious of spam or mass marketing and similar things to really get into adding a business side to a social network. What needs to be done is there needs to be a business network developed SPECIFICALLY for the business side of things. LinkedIn is part of the way there, because it allows people to communicate on a business level on things they have in common or want to have in common, whether that be a person or a particular characteristic of business.

However, adding a sales side to LinkedIn would be incredibly difficult as things are at the moment. I'm not sure that the internet community as a whole can truly support a social network built for business purposes other than networking. I don't even think it is because of security measures, because things can be done to combat most of the questions. I just don't think that the internet community, or the world at large even is ready to support a full on social business network.

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Don't Be Afraid Of The Unknown

Last time I wrote, I wrote about making sure to use what you know. Use what you have, you never know what may work until you try.

However, there is definitely something to be said for what you don't know. In this day and age, you cannot be afraid of learning new things, of going out on a limb and trying something different. You just have to make sure that the base you are stepping out from is strong enough to support you.

As much as we all love all of this new technology and all of these crazy new advancements that are coming along at an alarming pace these days, we cannot forget the past. We cannot forget where we came from, and what we learned while we were there. Use what you know, but don't be afraid to take a step or two out of your comfort zone.

Thanks for reading...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Take Advantage Of What You Have

With so many advances coming so quickly these days, there is way too much emphasis on keeping up with EVERYTHING. The thing is, not everyone can do that. Not everyone will ever do that. Of course continuous education is very important, but you cannot forget what you learned before. You cannot forget where you came from.

You may not like where you were, but that's the foundation that where you are was built upon. Keep track of what you know, so you can take advantage of it. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, you cannot afford having more weaknesses than strengths, especially in the business world. You can't make it to the top of the mountain without climbing...just remember what got you up each successive steep face, because if you forget something, you just might fall.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Can Marketing Really Be Taught In School?

Oddly enough, as a person with a bachelors degree in Marketing, I'd have to say I'm not sure.

There's only so much that can be taught. Obviously you've got to learn the basics, and when you learn the basics of a lot of different concepts, it helps you refine what you are actually interested in. But so many things that are needed to be successful in marketing, advertising and such cannot truly be taught. Imagination and creativity for one, would be hard to learn. Every person has a different view on what is creative and/or imaginative, its too subjective of an idea to really be taught. Unfortunately, you need both to really be good. You can take a class in ad design, or ad writing, or what have you, but that only shows you what to do, not how to do it. I'm honestly proud that I can say that I have a bachelors in Marketing, but it doesn't automatically get you somewhere like it used to. Not to say that its worthless, because in no way is it. You need to get the basics. But with how fast things are changing in our industry, are those basics from long ago still the same? Hell, are the basics from LAST YEAR still the same as you need today? I don't know.

The one thing that truly leads to education is experience. Its a shame that its so hard to get experience these days, unless you're working with very unconventional means. To get a job, you need experience. To get experience, you need a job. To get a job, you need experience. To get experience, you need a job. How are you supposed to break that?

Marketing and advertising is too important to a company to trust to some kid right out of college...which is harsh, because these days, more often than not its the kid just out of school that has a handle on what's going on, especially with all the new stuff coming around on the internet and such.

Experience cannot be taught, only gained and used. Maybe its time that all of us younger folks who are struggling to get a foot in the door somewhere to make our own doors...or start kicking out windows instead. Maybe the good way in isn't through the door, its over the back fence. I'll bring the bolt cutters if you bring the shovel.

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


So. I've been seeing movie previews for the upcoming reboot/remake of the Friday the 13th series. This kind of thing is becoming a lot more popular these days, it seems like original ideas are out the window again. Its another one of those cycles, I guess.

The interesting thing is, the industry will reboot just about anything, even movies that were amazing! The marketing/advertising industry rarely uses this kind of terminology..."we need to reboot the Coca Cola marketing campaign" Okay, that's a bad example, because they kinda did need to reboot when Coke II turned out to be a disaster. The advertising world has little patience for redoing anything.If something's been done, it's more than likely not going to be done again. The industry evolves on what seems to be a daily basis. Yeah, every so often someone will come along and borrow something that was successful in the past, but almost never for the same product.

To me, remaking or rebooting just shows a lack of ambition, creativity and originality. There has to be periods of time when one or more of those three things is lacking, but hopefully the other two can make up for it. Right now, it seems like the movie industry is lacking in all three concepts, which is steadily causing behind the scenes issues and other problems. I don't believe there has been a recent period in our marketing or advertising when a lack of one of the three concepts wasn't covered by an abundance of the other two. I can't recall a time where the industry as a whole was so ass backwards that it almost hurt to watch.

Sure, there have been badly done commercials, just as there have been badly done movies. An oopsie here and there doesn't define the whole era, an era is defined by everything that surrounds it within its industry. If the recession we are in continues, money will be tighter and tighter, and cheap easy ideas (remakes) will prevail because they take the least effort. I can only hope that what looms ahead in our economy will not destroy the industry that I love. I can only hope that it will be there on the other side. Many people believe that our industry is immune, but it isn't. Budgets shrink, and ideas are stretched thin...but they're still there, and they will continue to be there. They have to be. Not just for me, not just for you, but for everyone.

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Purple Cows and Outliers

Are all these authors and bloggers that write about being innovative, and the how and why of certain people becoming sucessful all writing about the same thing? Do they all have the same ideas, but explain them in different ways?

Yes. But that's not a bad thing, and let me tell you why.

Not all people learn the same way. Some people are visual, some are aural, and some learn by doing...I could go on. In the same vein, not all people respond to advertising or marketing the same way. That's why there are so many companies that need to find more than one way to say what they mean - to attract as many people as possible.

The obvious example of people coming at the same idea from two completely different directions are ones that I referenced in the title of this entry. Seth Godin's Purple Cows, and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. Seth uses the term purple cow to describe that one thing about an entity that makes it special. It can be almost anything, tangible or intangible. Malcolm uses the mathematical term outlier to put more of an analytic spin on the same idea, but by being a bit more specific. Seth relies on thought and creativity and using the mind to think for himself. Malcolm relies on mathematical calulation and statistical analysis from many different angles.

Yet, they're both coming to the same conclusion. What makes you stand out is not what makes you the same as everyone or everything else, it's what makes you different. That seems pretty obvious, but in reality finding what makes you different is very difficult, no matter which angle you come at it from. Why would you want to be the same as something else? Why not? If that something is successful, why not try to be as much like it as possible? That's now things work these days...find a similarity, use it, but exploit your differences, provided they're positive. If your differences aren't positive, find the similarity and fix it.

Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell set out to put to words the way that they do things. Did they intend to provide the same message in entirely different ways? Probably not, but as we all know, eventually, the quickest way between points is a straight line. There is no one way to accomplish something, but to be done correctly and successfully, there must be a legitimate base, and both gentlemen had the idea to write about their thoughts on what goes into making something unique. Both men have written on many topics, but intentional or not, they both wrote great explanations of the same topic, by coming at it from completely different directions.

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Importance Of Being First

In athletics and in other kinds of competitions, when something is first, it is generally declared "best". Gold Medal winners, Super Bowl Champions, World Series Champions, etc. They did what they do better than anyone else, came in first, and were declared best.

The business world is nothing like that. First does not automatically mean best. Honestly, it rarely means best. Being first can get you the notoriety, but it won't necessarily be because you are the best. In our world, first and best are mutually exclusive. In fact, since people have no attention span anymore, the best is constantly changing, and needs to be quantified any number of ways at any given time.

I'm not even sure that marketers or advertisers really care about being "first". R&D or Product Management obviously has a different idea, and in the mind of positions like that, first on the market (possibly even ONLY) can automatically determine "best". Marketing strategy rarely takes into account being "first" unless the person creating the strategy is instructed that they must do so. This is really more relevant in packaging design, in my opinion.

Why not publicize or be proud of being first. When I interned for the head of Corporate Sales for a Clear Channel concert venue, one of the things she was responsible for was coming up with new ideas for advertising space in or around the venue. When she/I/we/anyone came up with a new idea, we were proud of that idea, even if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Why aren't the first people to come up with a new way of marketing or advertising something blatantly proud of that? Why don't I know the name of the guy who perfected banner ads...or the guy at Google who perfected googleads...or something like that. If I wanted to, I could probably find the first person to do just about anything, and maybe even the person who is best at that same activity. Why not marketing or advertising?

Thanks for listening...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Failed Ideas In Blogging

Every new blog has bad ideas every so often...granted, so do longstanding blogs. Bad ideas are a part of everything, especially marketing and advertising.

I wanted to start doing a weekly marketing/business podcast review, most likely posting every Friday. Looking through iTunes, it is true that there are quite a few marketing style podcasts, but other than a few, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing reviews of them. I'm not going to name any names, but most of them were not even close to on topic to what the podcast claimed it was.

Of course there are podcasts from commercial entities like Business Weekly, New York Times, etc, those are pretty much going to be on topic. I realize that marketing and advertising are a tremendously broad genre, but then again, so is music, or computers, or most of what podcasts are created about. Why does the business community have to be so fragmented in regards to podcasting? There are hundreds of awesome blogs or newsletter sites about these topics, but podcasting seems to be elusive, at least from what I was able to find. I realize that iTunes is no longer the be all end all of the podcasting community, but poking around anywhere else isn't likely to get me much other information with such broad search terms.

I suppose that having a failed idea is going to happen occasionally. I've had them happen in many other parts of my life, and I'm sure you have too. The key is to pick yourself up and keep going, and maybe coming at the failed idea from another angle will one day result in success. Maybe one day there will be some podcast reviews in my fact, I'll pretty much say there WILL be at some point. In the meantime, I'll be going back to doing what many of the above podcasters were/are doing...having a forum for talking about a particular subject, and then only really half paying attention to said subject. If you can't beat em, join em, right?

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Traditional Marketing" Gone Forever?

I think not. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who's ever thought so, either. Hell, I'm probably late to jump on the bandwagon as it is.

The world we live in is to cyclical for traditional, or older style marketing to disappear. Clothing styles go in and out with astonishing regularity, and tend to circle back on a generational term. Music does the same thing. Look at the ska, swing, and psychedelic periods that the music industry went through. Popularity comes and goes, and yet there are things that are always there. Good old standbys, if you want to think of them that way. Jeans and tshirts. Manufactured pop music. Even the movie and television industry falls into cycles on occasion.

Why would marketing and advertising be any different? Word of mouth, viral marketing, and banner advertisements are great, and have many plenty of people tons of money...but so have traditional advertising means. There was a point in time as all of this next generation stuff was coming along, that Yahoo! was running television commercials. They aren't anymore. Yeah, probably because everyone who uses the internet knows what Yahoo! is. Now people are all excited about Google. With good reason, of course, because Google is growing into a category and an industry all to its own. I can't for the life of me remember a tv commercial or a magazine ad, or any kind of other "traditional" advertisement for Google. Or Blogger. Or Twitter. Or MySpace. Facebook. Sure, they got written up in technology magazines or computer magazine or stuff like that...and it probably did them a world of good. But abandoning what was once traditional advertising is a bad idea.

Why? Because sooner or later, the cycle will come around again, and for some it will be too late. Maybe they just sunk a ton into whatever newfangled promotional thing that just came down the pike, and they have nothing left for print or television. Maybe they just didn't think the cycle would come around again.

I've yet to see a company that does more than a slightly passable job (if they even attempt it) at balancing new and traditional marketing and advertising concepts. At least not to the point where it's all that noticeable. Is it being done? I hope so, but I'm not really sure. Will it be done? That's for time to show.

Thanks for reading.