Media isn’t changing, it has already changed

By: > August 11th, 2008

Rolling Stone cover

Rolling Stone Magazine just annouced that they are reducing the size of its magazine to better accommodate newsstands. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that people aren’t reading magazines like they used to or the fact that postage and printing prices are on the rise.

If you look across the landcape of the old media (TV, radio, newspapers) they all have had trouble gaining traction with modern technology. Broadcast TV has had to deal with declining eyeballs since the 80s when cable has diluted its stranglehold on TV advertising. With the introduction of the Tivo and other DVRs, networks aren’t sure what to do. Local TV is also scrambling.

Local radio have to deal with iPods and satellite radio and the Herald-Leader, who used to be the only print game in town, is scrambling to catch up to groups such as Smiley Pete with niche products like Skirt and web portals covering every niche possible.

If you haven’t already, upgrade your company web site. Let customers create a dialog with you. Communicate to them with a mutli-channel strategy including a mix of the old media and a healthy dose of the new media.

Image IS everything

By: > August 15th, 2008

A New York Times blogger (Errol Morris) just wrote an interesting article on images and the power they have. In his article/blog he interviews Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor who is an expert on digital photography and said this about the Iranian missile photo (without Godzilla) published almost everywhere on July 10th.

“Oh look, this picture? It’s a fake. This picture? It’s a fake.” But you know what people remember? They don’t remember, “It’s a fake.” They remember the picture. And there are psychology studies, when you tell people that information is incorrect, they forget that it is incorrect. They only remember the misinformation. They forget the tag associated with it.

I remember when my youngest son was a few months over 2. He didn’t even know his alphabet yet, but he knew when he saw a McDonald’s logo. He even would watch American Idol with us and while driving through Atlanta one time we passed a Ford production plant and he screamed: “Hey Mommy and Daddy, American Idol!” It took us a minute to figure out what he was talking about, but after was saw him pointing to the Ford logo, we realized he associated Ford with American Idol.

Now if we all had the advertising budgets of Ford and McDonald’s we might not have a problem. One of my favorite marketing authors is Harry Beckwith and in his book Selling the Invisible, he articulates how smaller business or even independent professionals can take advantage of this same principle:

Prospects do not buy how good you are at what you do. They buy how good you are at who you are. People deal with you because the feel comfortable with you. Convey that you are “positively good.” It is better to say too little than too much. Watch what you show – lobby, clothes, business card, etc. Make sure people see who you are. Make the invisible visible. There is no correlation between the orangeness of an orange and its flavour. Growers pick oranges when they are green. They never get any riper or juicier. The oranges are coloured artificially. Seeing is believing, so check your peel. 

Have you checked your peel? If not, redo your web site, get a new brochure or maybe update your logo. Your image communicates a lot more than you think.

Does your service have credibility?

By: > August 18th, 2008

Marketing author Tom Peters once said: “Coffee stains on airline seat trays make you wonder about airplane engine maintenance.”

Everything your customer experiences, directly and indirectly, affects the way you are perceived.

You spend thousands of dollars on buying the right advertising, noodling over every single detail of copy and artwork, but if your employees take their smoke break right outside your front door where customers can see them, doesn’t that say more than any ad copy?

Are your companies delivery trucks clean? Is the person who answers your phones courteous and friendly? If your ads promise a great experience or great service, every part of your company needs to sell that idea, not just the commissioned staff.

Small businesses often have many disadvantages going against larger ones, but one advantage a small business has is the ability to control these “minor’ details more effectively. Make sure your customers expectations are met with EVERY experience they have with your company. Your brand, is your promise to your customers. Give your company’s brand credibility–in everything you do.

(Special thanks to Tom Fishburne for letting me use his cartoon).

Nacho average campaign

By: > October 9th, 2008

Barack Obama is a taco salad. Oh Yeah, well … John McCain is a nacho.

This according to a new web strategy by Qdoba. Tastebud politics is a great new viral tool by the folks at Qdoba. After seeing this, I wanted to send it to all my friends, because after all if you can talk to your friends about what’s going on in politics and not end up debating about healthcare or the economy its a good thing, right? Now Qdoba turns that debate into nachos and quesadillas.

Remember back in the day (1997) when we were all a little less net savvy and we would get the email telling us about how Bill Gates would give you $1000 for sending that email to as many people as possible. Even though I am proud to say that I didn’t bite on that one, enough people did to make it a classic example of how a message can spread virally.

Many people took notice of how effective this strategy would work in the land of the internet. Many others trying to duplicate this viral strategy sent out all sorts of bogus messages telling of great news or tall tales, and luckily today we have to determine which of these is true.

Web powerhouses such as, myspace and facebook have grown dramatically from viral methods. Much like a virus spreads, one person tells two, those two tell two or three more and so on, before long without an FCC regulated medium, hundreds if not thousands (or millions in some cases) have heard the message.

What’s next, text spam?

By: > January 15th, 2009 > One comment

I’m not a big text person, so when I received one the other day I was curious to find out who it was. It was AT&T texting me about American Idol Season 8. Funny, I didn’t ever remember signing up to receive text alerts from American Idol or AT&T. With economic pressures mounting look out for companies Spamming via text. Although some would argue that the AT&T message was not Spam because it was free, it did ruffle some feathers.

As an email marketer, I fight the uphill perception battle that Email marketing is Spam. I figured the best way to combat this perception is to learn about SPAM and try to help others understand what they can do to fight it.

What do we do with all of the junk we get? If your Spam filter isn’t catching everything these sites may help:

Spam information resources:

Federal Trade Commission

The Spamhaus Project

Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group

Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email

International Mail Consortium

Email Sender Provider Coalition

Conference on Email and Anti-Spam

Get Net Wise

Melon Stork

Spam Blockers or Services

Spam Assassin


Blue Bottle