Friday, August 26

Me not so organized... 

"Disorganization is an issue for more people than it isn't."
—Barbara Hemphill, productivity consultant

"Grammar is an issue for more people than it isn't."
—David Newman, marketing and innovation consultant

She might not be a grammar queen, but she does have some good ideas about organization. Here are 5 myths that Hemphill debunks:

1. You're born organized or not. "I grew up on a farm in Nebraska where my family of four shared the second floor of a tenant farmhouse. I didn't have lots of space to collect junk. Being organized isn't innate to me -- I can make a mess fast, but I also know how to clean up."

2. The goal is to go paperless. "People who think they can avoid cleaning up by going paperless have missed the point. The problem is identifying how to manage information."

3. As long as you can find everything, you're okay. "Employees say, 'I know where everything is, so who cares if my office is a mess?' To which I say, 'What happens if you're not there?' "

4. When you're getting organized, go in order. "When people try to clean up their office, they start with the old stuff. But then new stuff comes in, and it looks more interesting. I start with what's new. Today's mail is tomorrow's pile."

5. Messiness is a moral issue. "My license plate used to say, 'I ORGNIZ.' But I got so tired of people saying, 'You'd die if you saw my house.' Organization simply means, Does it work for you?"

Tuesday, August 23

Brand new day 

I was going through my old files and came across some truly excellent thinking and writing about one of the most misunderstood and overhyped areas of my beloved marketing profession: branding.

Here, then, for your enjoyment is the real deal according to people that know a thing or two about the matter:

With 35 varieties of bagels, 66 subbrands of GM cars, and more than 13,000 mutual funds, American consumers are suffering a severe case of brand overload. Marketing guru Peter Sealey has a tough-love cure: "simplicity marketing."
Read more here.

Take the Brand Challenge: "Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are trying to get ideas." -- Paula Poundstone
Read more here.

Be the Brand: Creating a meaningful brand goes beyond mere product presentation. It requires vision, leadership, and communication.
Read more here.

(Re) Brand You: This marketing expert and author will help you reboot yourself after a layoff.
Read more here.

What Great Brands Do: Scott Bedbury knows brands. The man who gave the world 'Just Do It' and Frappuccino shares his eight-point program to turn anything -- from sneakers to coffee to You -- into a great brand.
Read more here.

Nine Ways to Fix a Broken Brand: The marketing excesses of the past few years left broken pieces scattered across the branding landscape. As a result, many companies are left with bogged-down, boring -- even dying and dead -- brands. Now take a look at your brand: Do you know what's broken? Do you know how to fix it?
Read more here.

Thursday, August 18

It's the Content, Stupid: Search Engine Optimization 

Gerry McGovern is simply brilliant - check this out from his website:

"The essence of what a search engine focuses on is the words that people search for. The words people use when searching are the ultimate distillation of what they care about. Search is an activity that strips things down to their essential meaning.

If you want to be successful at being found by people who search, you must use their carewords, not yours. The customer controls the message today. It is their language that dictates the communication. You must use their words, not yours, if you want to be found.

In a given month, thousands of people will search for 'low fares' but millions will search for 'cheap flights.' Low fares is airline industry language. Cheap flights is consumer language. If you want to get found, use the words of your customer."

Tuesday, August 16

Guerrilla Marketing Tactics 

From S&MM's Management Advisor:

The unconventionality of guerrilla techniques does make them riskier, but it significantly increases potential profitability. 'Done poorly, guerrilla marketing can make your company look like a nightmare,' says Erik Hauser, founder and creative director of Swivel Media, a San Francisco-based agency specializing in so-called experiential marketing. Done correctly, however, 'guerrilla marketing is almost the most powerful marketing tool.'
The following guidelines will maximize your chances of success:

'Business-to-business guerrilla marketing must be extremely targeted to be successful,' says Hauser, who runs b-to-b campaigns around trade shows. 'You can't do it across an entire city.'

Effective b-to-b guerrilla marketing should inspire action in potential clients, Marshall says. 'Your job is not to beat your chest over what a great company you are,' he says. 'It's to get your prospects to tell you who they are.'

Catch prospects' attention by focusing on what's important. 'No one wakes up in the morning thinking about your solution,' Marshall says. 'They wake up thinking about their problem.'"

Friday, August 12

Employee Discounts for Everyone! 

This is from a piece I put together for Smart Money magazine:

Why "Employee Discounts for Everyone" Doesn't Cut It in Retail

Shortly after GM invented 'Employee discounts for everyone,' Ford and DaimlerChrysler followed. Now all kinds of retailers are jumping on board.

During the last week of July, Staples came out with a national campaign, offering their 12% employee discount to everyone over the course of a 3-day weekend. CompUSA retail stores offered all customers its employee discounts on notebook and desktop computer purchases. Furniture stores are offering 'employee discounts' to everyone during 24- and 48-hour sales.

The difference between retailers using this strategy and automakers using it, is that retail customers are used to all kinds of different sale, promotion, and discount mechanisms. It's just not that big a deal, whether you call it an "employee discount" or something else. And, thus, it's not going to be nearly as effective as the GM campaign, which was a stellar success in gaining market share and boosting sales volume, if not profit.

[GM’s Employee Discounts For Everyone program improved sales volume to its highest level in 19 years, with the company gaining 41% in sales over the same period a year ago. GM also grabbed 32.8% of the new-car market. That's an amazing success in terms of market share.]

Other retailers and their employee discount strategies (NOT likely to be available to the rest of us anytime soon) include:

Starbucks - Each employee who works 20 or more hours a week gets one free pound of coffee per week.

Blockbuster Video - Free video and games rentals.

Best Buy - Everything at cost + 5%

Tuesday, August 9

Customer Service Still Stinks 

From a recent Sales & Marketing Management newsletter:

Customer Service Still Stinks

It's the top reason customers defect.

Forget product, price, and even prestige. The main reason customers leave their service providers is poor customer service. A new study by Accenture finds that despite adding elements such a live chat and automated phone systems, customers still think service stinks.

'These findings are troubling for any industry with heavy customer interaction, given that poor service was the predominant reason that nearly half the respondents gave for changing service providers in one industry or another last year,' says John Freeland, global managing partner of Accenture's Customer Relationship Management practice. 'Winning companies strike the right balance between using technology to help reduce costs and streamlining the customer experience with well-considered processes that contribute to more personalized service.'

The state of service:
* 49 percent said poor service had caused them to change providers.
* 34 percent said the key to good service is being able to get assistance without being forwarded to multiple representatives.
* More than half likened the current state of customer service to being stuck in slow moving traffic.
* Most irritating elements of customer service? Being left on hold, needing to repeat information to multiple service reps, having to speak to more than one person to get assistance."

Friday, August 5

Marketing is NOT the same as PR! 


A number of my clients are asking me, "so David, working with you replaces the need to pay my PR person his monthly retainer, right? Because I'm not really happy with the results that this PR guy is giving me."

Let me answer in 4 short words: No, No, NO, and NO!!!

Marketing and sales strategy is much broader than PR. PR is only a single tactic - and it's a tactic that most independent professionals and business owners get WRONG. They think that PR is about spreading press releases or media kits as wide as possible - giving them out like candy on Halloween - and hoping for some "hits" if they're picked up once in a while.

(This is about as stupid as relying on cold calling for most of your sales. In other words, FOR YOU it will not work. If you're a Fortune 100 corporation and have armies of call center professionals dialing hundreds of thousands of numbers, yes, it works and it works well.)

So, let me set the record straight. For effective PR, you only need one source - http://www.prleads.com Read over the website carefully, and if you decide to join, please tell owner Dan Janal you heard about it from me.

PRLEADS has worked great for me and for a lot of my clients and colleagues... and it will work great for you. How do I know? Because it positions you as the expert and reporters seek YOU out exactly when they need your expertise the most -- when they're writing a story that requires someone JUST LIKE YOU to provide commentary, analysis, and opinion. They need you. You do not need them. They come to you. You don't knock on doors hoping someone might answer.

As for working with me, and how that's different than PR, all I can say is take a look here.

I'll write more about PR goofs shortly - stay tuned for the story of the paperboy who was asked to do brain surgery -- and said YES!

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