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Are you making deposits into your brand bank account?

2 Jan

Which have more value: ads packed with an emotional punch, or ads packed with special offers and discounts? Here’s a short video to help you decide.

From the book The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson




A great speech started with these two laws

20 Apr

Wow. They actually worked.

Two of Jeffrey Gitomer’s 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling helped me nail my presentation this past week: Law #4 Employ Humor and Law #19 Perform Dynamically.

I present every other month to a group of 150 sales and marketing colleagues. The audience always includes my boss and the CEO: two incredibly dynamic presenters.

I usually rely on an interesting (at least to me) marketing story as the anchor of my speech, but this time I took a leap: I tried humor.

Here are a few of the guidelines I followed from Gitomer’s book that helped me succeed:
* Make sure the laugh is at your expense
* Study humor (thank you Stephen Colbert)
* Test your humor on a friend or family (Thank you Linda Kay O’Reilly)
* Know your material
* Speak from the heart, not a script
* Have a compelling, transferable message

I’ll add one more: gauge the energy in the room. This group is very upbeat and was ready to laugh.

Gitomer issued a challenge that gave me the courage to take the leap: If you’re a leader in front of your people, ask yourself this: Do they WANT to listen to me, or do they HAVE to listen to me?

I think next time they’ll WANT to listen to me.

The first step to excellence

30 Mar

Sitting at the mall waiting for my daughters and wife to shop…no, this is not the step.

This is:

List the qualities you perceive in yourself as excellent. Then list the qualities your customer expects from you. Compare lists. Your plan to achieve excellence is now self-evident.

Thank you Jeffrey Gitomer for another bit of inspiration from 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, and for giving me something constructive to do at the mall!

Creative discovery begins with Scrambled Eggs

25 Dec


The song that MTV and Rolling Stone magazine deemed the number 1 pop song of all time was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs.”

It was months after Sir Paul McCartney wrote the melody, that he replaced the working title “Scrambled Eggs” for the name of the song we all know so well. After landing on the name, McCartney said, the lyrics fell quickly into place.

The creative path rarely follows a straight line. Whether you’re writing a song, creating a new work flow system or designing an advertisement, sometimes you need to start with “Scrambled eggs/Oh my baby how I love your legs.” before you get to “Yesterday/All my troubles seemed so far away.”

Am I supposed to like this?

25 Dec

Seth Godin has come up with another keen marketing insight. Or at least it seems so since I’m reading a blog which is inherently the source of all modern-day keen insights. Isn’t it?

Check out this post and see if you agree.

I can think of a few more examples where my surroundings have influenced my thinking as Seth describes.

1. The indie record store: Back in the day when these existed in just about every mid-sized city or college town, I loved to hang out among the musty warrens of crates and shelves. Specifically, The funky, creative vibe made me want to buy old blues albums.


2. Starbucks: Why else would you spend $4 on a cup of coffee if it weren’t for the cool decor and elegantly hip music?

3.  Creative office spaces: We recently re-organized the marketing department at the Tampa Bay Times where I work and redesigned our surroundings at the same time. We broke from the color (or lack of) scheme found throughout the building and painted posts orange, purple and green. It added energy and freshness to the floor that made us all feel more creative, and other departments believe we were.

Any one else been seduced by his or her surroundings?

Bruce Springsteen and The Essence of Marketing

2 Sep
The Boss

The Boss

I’m a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I love his music not because I know the notes he’s singing or the chords he’s playing. I love it because of its essence: the raw emotion that comes pouring out. The powerful rhythms and the mixture of instruments.

To become a better marketer, I’ve been reading up on the subject. Today, however, I realized that the essence of marketing isn’t in the theory; niche vs. mass, b2b vs. b2c, bait vs. switch. It’s about one thing: ideas.

Here’s how the epiphany came to me.

I was at a meeting at church today and we were discussing how to get people to come to our connection group. The connection group is called Café Connection since we drink coffee, eat donuts and sit around talking about God and our challenges. We were brainstorming how to get others to attend and one woman said: “Why don’t we hand out empty coffee cups after church with ‘Join us at Café Connection in Room 300 at 11 a.m. for a free cup of coffee.’ written on the side.”

What a great idea!

And I bet she had never cracked a marketing textbook.