Coffee, Flowers and Moxie

Friday is a good day to meet someone for coffee. And by spending a few dollars at a Blacksburg, Virginia, coffee shop, I did a small bit to help the struggling economy.

The person I met — Jim Flowers — is also doing his part to help companies and the wider economy.

Continue reading “Coffee, Flowers and Moxie”

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Sneaky Big Marketing

The choices in marketing communications are overwhelming. What audiences do you need to reach? With what messages? And with what media?

An opinion piece I read by Seiter & Miller Advertising CEO Livingston Miller made a lot of sense. Miller wrote “find a place you can dominate and a space you can control. The results will make you look bigger. Call it ‘sneaky big.’”

Miller explained that sneaky big requires sacrifice. “Decide what not to say, who not to talk to and where not to advertise.”

Instead, simplify your messages and “give up the market you aspire to for the market you can achieve.” It’s a smart, nimble strategy for non-titans who nonetheless are looking for big results.

(Source: BtoB)

How to (Not) Deal with Bad News

It’s there everywhere I turn. I’m talking about bad news. Very bad news.

When I scan my usual list of sources for blog and e-newsletter material, what I see is many versions of “The sky is falling.” When I open those quarterly statements that come in the mail (or are sent via email), the numbers are a downer, literally and figuratively.

So, on most days, I choose to ignore (or immediately forget) the bad news. I choose to not open the quarterly statements. Not in a head-in-the-sand kind of way, but simply for self-preservation.

I know I can’t do anything about marketing budgets, advertising spending, the stock market and unemployment. I am content to keep my head down and work my plan. I have to believe my own small efforts will bear fruit and we’ll all come out the other side of this economic calamity.

English poet Thomas Gray wrote, “Ignorance is bliss.” Maybe so. It at least keeps one from focusing too intently on a highly disagreeable business situation.

Avoid Panic Marketing

“Panic marketing” is a term I read in The 10 Commandments of B-to-B Direct Marketing, a white paper by The Hacker Group. It’s based on the misguided belief that direct marketing (or marketing) can somehow create faster or increased sales for products that have built-in sales cycles.

“Panic marketing almost never works,” the Hacker Group writes. “If the customer needs nine months to make a decision, direct marketing can’t affect sales this quarter. If the customer needs 18 months to make a decision, direct marketing can’t affect sales this year.

“The proper way to use direct marketing is to generate qualified leads on an ongoing basis.”

All true, but often ignored in our hyped-up, competitive economy. If you’re a marketer and an agency promises you the world, be wary. If you’re an agency and to get the account the marketer expects the world, educate them or simply run.

A Sense of Online Urgency

I read this in today’s BtoB Daily News Alert.

A new survey found that nearly half of B2B marketing budgets are spent on online tactics such as website development, online advertising, search marketing, webcasts and social media.

The survey was conducted by Hearst Electronics Group and Goldstein Group.

“The sense of urgency to move to online marketing has been felt by leading marketing organizations for some time now, but the extent to which budgets have been redefined is dramatic,” Joel Goldstein, president of Goldstein Group, was quoted as saying.

It’s a bit like the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. More and more are staking their claim in the vast online world.

12 Famous Companies That Started During a Recession

Consider this a pep talk. Recessions are bad, but success is possible.

Following are 12 businesses that began when the economy was in the toilet. (Well, well — look at them now.)

Hyatt
CNN
Burger King
IHOP
FedEx
Microsoft
Trader Joe’s
Sports Illustrated
GE
The Jim Henson Company
MTV Networks
Hewlett-Packard

Go here for the full scoop.

A Marketing Lesson from a Hot Dog Man

A man who lived by the roadside and sold hot dogs had trouble hearing, so he didn’t have a radio. His eyesight was poor, so he didn’t read newspapers.

But he sold hot dogs in bunches along the highway. He put up signs to advertise and solicited passersby with cries of “Buy a hot dog? Buy a hot dog?”

And people bought the man’s hot dogs. So many, in fact, that he increased his orders for hot dogs and buns. Then he got his son to return home from another city to help out.

“Haven’t you been listening to the news?” the son asked his father. “Haven’t you read the newspapers?”

There’s a world recession, the son told his father. There’s a war. People are losing their jobs.

So the father decreased his orders. He took down his signs. Sales immediately dropped.

“You’re right, son. We’re in a recession,” said the hot dog man.

(A version of this story was posted by Tony Gattari of Achievers Group on LinkedIn.)