Friday, September 28, 2007

Simple Web Site Element Makes for Smart Marketing

Just came across the web site for Neu Dynamics Corporation, an industrial company that does encapsulation and insert molding, and found this helpful list of tips that they produced and decided to share with others.

Though the tips mean little to me, as an outsider of the industry, people who work with molds and dies may find them to be smart and useful. By posting these tips, Neu Dynamics is helping spread valuable information, while also showing they know what they're doing. Well done.

Unfortunately, not a lot of companies offer this kind of helpful information on their web sites, but instead opt to talking strictly about themselves. It can be a challenge to open up your vault of knowledge and share it with the world, but in today's "Information Age," if you don't, somebody else will.

What information can you provide to your prospects and clients? And why haven't you done so already?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When Ugly Can Be Good

In case you missed it, the Philadelphia Eagles (and perhaps more notably, their cheerleaders, as pictured at right) this past weekend (on September 23, 2007) took a dip into the past and resurrected the uniforms from the club's opening season in 1933. By many accounts, the powder blue and yellow uniforms were considered ugly.

But sometimes the ugly duckling does indeed mature into a beautiful swan. It just depends on how you look at it.

Many commentators absolutely panned the uniforms, Keith Olbermann in particular, but you know what's funny? Being at the game, I noticed a swarm of kids and a large contingency of adults were already proudly sporting these throwback uniforms, hats, t-shirts, and other memorabilia. Sometimes ugly sells.

What do you think-- are these throwback Eagles uniforms hideous? And if people are buying them does it matter? And if the Eagles blowout the Lions, should they subsequently sport their lightning-rod laundry again, out of superstition?

Time's yours!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Viral Marketing at Its Best

An uplifting story has been running rampant on the internet and in the media. It involves bullies, pink shirts, and e-mail. The rest is history.

Everyday people, supporting a great cause, using an efficient medium can spread a message a long way in short time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Has "Awareness" Become Big Business?

Wristbands, magnetic ribbons, metal stars – we've all seen them, and some of us have probably even purchased one or more of them. Naturally, the phenomenon starts with only a few sightings and quickly escalates into a ubiquitous trend that may or may not hold the same meaning as when it first began.

In the era of viral marketing, I'm reminded that visibility is the at the core of its strength, and online isn't the only way to get it done. Last year, a man was arrested for positioning a few Lite-brite™ figures around the city of Boston after his installations caused a civil stir of terror proportions. I'm not sure how it hurt or helped awareness of his personal cause, but for other causes deemed more socially appropriate such as the support of our troops or disease awareness, the results are quite clear – if a little fuzzy about how that awareness translates into "support" or "research and/or prevention". But if someone is making a tidy profit on these things, and clearly someone is, is there another more message-oriented cost at the other side of the equation?

Curious about what the metal stars I was seeing hung up on houses everywhere actually meant (if they meant anything at all), I did a little research. Apparently, according to who you ask and where you derive your information, they originated from the Amish barn makers who used them to signify edifices of their manufacture – or a copyright of sorts. Then, during WWII, gold and silver versions were erected in plain sight to signify a family member either currently serving or lost in service to the military respectively. Today, the color signifiers have changed from gold and silver to blue and a gold, with brown added to represent a war veteran. However, it doesn't stop there. Now referred to in some camps as "Amish Barn Stars", some folks simply like the looks of them and have taken to buying them for decoration. In fact, websites such as this one offer them in so many sizes and colors as to boggle the mind, with prices ranging from $12.95 to $139.95.

Good business, unfortunate product hysteria of what seemed a tasteful and traditional tribute, or something else entirely? I'm not really sure. What say you?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wal-Mart Shops for a New Look

After Wal-Mart's extended run of drowsy revenue results, the company's marketing team has decided to embark on a new marketing campaign, entitled, "Save Money. Live Better." This effectively ends the 19-year run of "Always Low Prices."

The campaign is based upon a recent report that Wal-Mart supposedly saves the average household a sum of $2,330 each year, thus allowing families to take that money saved and improve their lives in another way.

While I, personally, think it's a nice marketing slogan--because it's straightforward and because of its economy of words--I tend to agree with Rob Frankel, who is quoted in the article linked above. If Wal-Mart keeps focusing on price and price only, they shouldn't expect big changes in customers' attitudes towards their company.

From personal experience to stories I hear from friends to the jokes that comedians repeatedly tell, Wal-Mart stores are a mess, selling mostly cheaply made products, with average customer service at best. Now this perception may be completely wrong, but it is still a widespread percpetion... one that is strong enough to keep people from going to the stores, hence declining sales. A new slogan, particularly one that essentially conveys the same message as before, won't change any of that. Improve on the customers' experience in the store, like Target has done as Wal-Mart's competitor or like Wegman's has done for supermarket shoppers, and then Wal-Mart will see improvement. Until then, I'll gladly choose to "Spend MORE. Live BETTER than Better."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Your Guide on How to Reject Telemarketers

A while back in this space, I discussed the frustration of dealing with unruly telemarketers during the work day, most of whom tend to be stockbrokers trawling for new clients.

Since then, I've come across a couple of great ways to handle them:
  • looks into a report (which is incorrectly credited to being produced by Andy Rooney) that lists some ideas on how to fluster the telemarketers and credit card mailers of the world. Even though they discredit the tips, I found them to be funny, creative and still may be worth using, if for no other reason than to just try something silly for silly's sake.

  • Got someone bugging you for your phone number? Whether it's a telemarketer begging for an associate's cell phone number, or a person you met at a bar that you just want to shake off, or, well, I'll leave other scenarios up to your imagination, send them to the Rejection Hotline!

  • Or, simply do a Google search like this one and you'll find no shortage of suggestions on how to handle unwanted callers. (Shared knowledge is great, isn't it!)

Good luck and may all your incoming calls be productive ones!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"Green Marketing 2.0" Analysis

Joel Makower discusses his take on the re-birth of green marketing, after the first round essentially failed in the early-90s. His arguement states that there was a small surge in green marketing but the products that were being marketed as "green" were busts.

On the other hand, today's green products are better and more reliable, much to the delight of environmentalists the world over. Subsequently, the marketing of these products has taken on a new growth explosion. Companies are promoting green products, and consumers are now buying them and talking about them... a great formula for success.

But this now leaves us with the question of-- "What will Green Marketing 3.0 look like?"