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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




Parents and Pop Songs: 3 Striking Similarities

25 Jul


The Washington Post recently reported on a study that simple lyrics and repetition are the two key ingredients to a wildly successful pop song. In Meghan Trainor’s hit “All About That Bass.” She repeats “that bass” 44 times in three minutes and eight seconds.

Us marketers have known for years that repetition and simplicity works. Us parents know that it takes the same strategy to get through to our kids.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said “Pick up your clothes!” to my kids 44 times in 3:08 before they responded.

Complex instructions like “Pick up your clothes and then empty the dishwasher.” do not work.

Striking Similarity #1: Keep your message simple. Repeat at least 44 times in 3 minutes.

A lot of successful pop songs lately feature a guest artist.

If you can complete the lyrics “Uptown funk you up. Uptown….” then you’re familiar with the smash hit by Marc Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.

It catches our ears when we hear someone else’s voice, even if they’re saying the same thing. Hmmmm. Parents, sound familiar? I’m sure we’ve all told our kids to study, study, study, STUDY! with no avail. It isn’t until the words come out of the mouth of a coach, You Tube star or complete stranger that they realize we’re not insane.

Striking Similarity #2: Cut through the clutter by changing the messenger.

Striking Similarity #3: A big hook always helps.

“Don’t tell my heart, my achy-breaky heart. I just don’t think it’d understand.”

– Billy Ray Cyrus

“If you get all As and Bs on your report card we’ll take you to Disneyland.”

– Most every parent everywhere

The bigger the hook, the fewer times you need to repeat it or change the messenger.

In an earlier study, The Washington Post also reported that sex is a common topic of hit pop songs.

And so ends the similarities.

Marketing – providing beacons for life’s journey.

13 Jul

Wow. There’s a heady statement.

In the book The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes, authors Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson, state that since we no longer have tribal elders to guide us, and fewer of us read the Bible, cultural guideposts that once helped our ancestors are now in some cases gone or dismissed.

However we still seek fulfilment at home and at work. So where do we find the beacons to guide us? Parents, siblings, friends and neighbors: sure. But how many of us look more to musicians and movie stars? Bruce Springsteen represents the archetype of the Explorer so well, that I resist playing the CD Born to Run for fear that I might just pack my bags, drive off into the sunset and not return home. I learned my sense of humor from Bill Murray in his role as Carl the Groundskeeper in Caddyshack. What self-respecting dude between the ages of 40 and 55 can’t quote most of his lines from that movie?

For better or worse, marketing can provide those beacons too. Nike’s Just Do It campaign resonated because we envisioned ourselves as the Hero archetype. How did the Marlboro man get millions of people to choose that brand of cigarette? Because many of us long to be Outlaws.

Imagine if all products that can help us achieve our best were marketed in ways that found wandering souls like beacons in the night.

Wow. A heady goal. But I’m going to try. And if I fail? Well as Judge Smails reminded us in Caddyshack, “The world needs ditch diggers, too!”

Judge Smails from Caddyshack

Judge Smails from Caddyshack


Addicted to checking Facebook or Twitter? You might be a socialholic.

22 Sep


You’re sitting in your car at a red light. Naturally, you check your phone to see if you’ve received any new email from work, interesting Facebook posts or if you have any new followers on Twitter. You drive half a mile and are stopped at another red light. You are not anticipating any urgent messages so of course you wait patiently for the light to change. Yeah right. You check your phone again.

Nothing new.

What did you expect?! You checked less than 2 minutes ago?

You my friend, just may be a socialholic: Addicted to social media.

Is that possible?

In his book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek explains that your brain releases dopamine when you get an email, text, or post on Facebook. You like the sensation of someone liking the picture you posted, caring enough to send an email or favorite your tweet.

Social media, along with more sinister substances like cocaine, nicotine and alcohol, is actually hijacking the dopamine reward system in your body.

Dopamine is intended to reward you for an activity that helps you survive, like eating or achieving a goal.

Think you’re not a socialholic? Ok. Here’s a test: Have you ever checked social media while driving?

If you said yes, then you put the dope in dopamine.

Now step away from the smartphone and go release some endorphins with a good work out.

Inbound Marketing vs. Interruption Marketing

15 Sep

What is inbound marketing?

In 2006, HubSpot coined the term to describe optimized text, audio or video that appears in Google, YouTube or Bing search.

Interruption marketing has been around quite a bit longer and everyone is familiar with it. It’s the commercial that stops the show, the email that fills up your inbox, the post on Facebook between Ice Bucket Challenge videos.

Both inbound and interruption marketing can be helpful to consumers. Both can inform you of a sale or a deal on something you’d like to own.

But which one is more effective? It depends on your message, your budget and your product or service.

Interruption marketing must be done regularly to catch the thin market at just the right time. It can create a need in the mind of the consumer where one didn’t exist. Apple sold thousands of iPods to people who didn’t know they had to have one until they saw the ad on TV.

Inbound marketing is present at the EXACT time and ONLY when someone is looking for a product or service. It’s the video on YouTube from Pete the Plumber that you find when you search “How to unclog a toilet?”


If you put it in basketball terms, when you’re in bounds, you’re on the court making things happen. When you’re out-of-bounds, you’re waiting for the call.

Inbound and interruption marketing are both effective. Combine the two and you’ll have the power of a play-maker on the court, and a rested bench ready to come in when the need arises.

Leadership lessons from Phil Jackson and the Lakota Indians

2 Sep



How do the best leaders build it?

Break out the guitar and sing Kum-ba-yah?

Not unless you’re leading a church campfire sing-along.

In his book Eleven Rings, legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson suggests using the symbolism of the circle.

While coach of the Chicago Bulls, Jackson started each practice by gathering the players and coaches in a circle at the center of the court to discuss goals for the day. He ended practices the same way.

Jackson got the idea from the Lakota Indian warriors who always gathered in a circle because they believed it was within a circle that power flowed.

Life is a circle. The Earth is a circle. You get the idea…

Even if you’re not planning a horseback raid, try harnessing the power of the circle to build unity on your team.

Online vs Traditional Advertising: Who wins?

29 Aug


Imagine you’re an ad agency and you just picked up a client who sells custom belt buckles online and in a small store downtown Denver.

What type of media mix do you advise?

In one corner stands the up-and-comer — Online!

In the other corner is reigning champ — Traditional! (Aka: print and broadcast) 

According to a study conducted in 2011 by an international team of college marketing professors, online ads are more effective at moving people online. So if your focus is e-commerce, you’ll get the knock out punch from online ads.

No big surprise.

How about if your focus is your brick and mortar store?

The study shows that display ads online had more effect on offline buyer behavior than traditional ads.

A surprising finding since recent eye-trackers studies show that people are “blind” to online display ads.

Perhaps that change has taken place since the initial study was conducted.

This fight may not be over just yet! 









Why leadership is like skiing.

25 Aug


Leadership is like skiing. From the bottom of the hill it looks easy.

However, like skiing if you try and figure it out as you go, you can take out a lot of people on your way down.


Here are two leadership ideas that I find helpful, and some questions to help you evaluate if you’re going to make it to the bottom of the hill gracefully or if your snow-plowing could use more practice.


1. Employees are customers of the service called leadership.

Are you providing a good service? Do your employees brag about your leadership to their family and friends? Do they remain loyal to your company even though they could get more money at another job?


2. How you treat your employees is how they treat your customers.

Do you show your employees you care or are they just “worker bees”? Do you do what’s right for them or only what you have to? Do you bend over backwards to give them the best tools and training to do their job?


If you answered “no” or “kind-of” to any of these questions, you’re probably like most leaders and skiers, always a work in progress.


Why didn’t I think of that? Or that?

1 Jun

I’m a big believer that the right name can be the difference between stardom or mediocrity.

Be it a product, person or a web site.

In March we launched a new feature on called Lunchtime Live with the Rays.

The way it works is we stream an interview live on the site and viewers can email in a question for one of the Rays baseball players.

We liked the name because it conveyed the most important information: time, content, benefit.

I’m sorry to say i just heard two names that I think I like better: Chatting Cage and Intentional Talk. These are live interviews where fans can send in a question to a baseball player.

These names are clever, fun and memorable.

Dang it, why didn’t we think of either!

Here are a few possible reasons:
* We didn’t try enough options
* We didn’t involve enough people with various perspectives
* We put too many fences around our thinking

Finding the right name is like digging for gold only you’ve never seen it, you have no idea if you’ll ever find it, and once you do find it, others may say “That’s not gold!”

Next time I need to create a name, I’m not going to stop digging until I get to Chatting Cage.

The saga of sliced bread

26 Apr

Otto Rohwedder

A friend of mine sent me a video of my favorite author, Seth Godin, giving a presentation at a tech conference in 2008. In his speech entitled: “Why marketing is too important to leave to the marketing department” Godin explains the importance of integrating marketable features into the products. However, the news about the great feature needs to be spread: that’s where marketing comes in.

One of the examples he used in his speech was about Otto Rohwedder (pictured above): the man who invented sliced bread. Otto held the patents for the automatic breadslicer and had the factories all ready to receive the orders. However from 1913 until his patent ran out in 1930, sliced bread was a complete failure. No one cared.

It wasn’t until 1931, when Wonder Bread came along and packaged and marketed that it built strong bodies 12 ways, that sliced bread became The Greatest Thing.

I wonder what product is out there now just needs to be marketed for it to take off?

Any ideas? Let’s hear ’em.