Thursday, May 27, 2004

Writer's Block

I am experiencing a writer's block as well as busy as hell. Please stand by. Thanks. Alain

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Must Reads

Just completed Free Prize Inside, by Seth Godin. Another well written marketing book that validates the Marketing Driven Philosophy and asserts---rightly---that the old ways of marketing and thinking are wrong. A must read.

Another book that is a must read is The Visionary's Handbook: Nine Paradoxes That Will Shape The Future of Your Business, byt Jim Taylor, Watts Wacker and Howard Means. A great discourse on the paradoxes that drive business realities and what we don't understand about them...thus we make the same mistakes over and over again. Highly recommended.

Why Marketers Should Be More Like The Late Tony Randall

Those of us who are getting longer in the tooth know Tony Randall as an icon of our times. Randall, who died yesterday, was an extraordinary man who lived life to the fullest, including fathering children at age 77 (and I thought I was doing good at 51!) In reading about his death, one comment he made about his life struck me as something we marketers need to emulate, mainly that telling it like it is, as we see it from our vantage point is crucial to creating honest marketing and serving our organizations and clients well. Here's his quote: "There's only one thing worse than a man who doesn't have strong likes and dislikes, and that's the man who has strong likes and dislikes without the courage to voice them." Well said. Godspeed, Tony, now that you've uncoupled from us.

Chief Courage Officer

Last evening I had a deeply philosophical conversation with a CEO I'm working with and we discussed the courage to stay the course and to make difficult decisions. Courage is such a relative thing and is so situational. After getting beat up all the time, it may seem better to simply back off at times, but the ones who achieve the most are those that are focused and never stray from the end game strategy. I saw an ad not long ago that talked about the Chief Courage Officer and I shared that with the CEO, saying that this is essentially what people in the organization are looking for....a leader who is courageous enough to make the tough calls while still giving hope and direction. A not so easy place to be. How many Chief Courage Officers do you know?

Hiatus Yet Again

Too much going on, but wanted to share how a Mona Lisa Extreme Makeover would look like. Enjoy.
Mona Lisa Change Over

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Why Marketing Should Be Like Uncle Bill's Pancake House

There's nothing more enjoyable than a leisurely breakfast with abundant, good tasting food and excellent service on a Sunday morning. Such was the's experience two weekends ago in Manhattan Beach. Apparently Uncle Bill's is a landmark that is endeared by many, guessing by the wait list. Yet the atmosphere was one of relaxed chaos and friendliness. Each of us knew that we were going to be well taken care of and that created a sense of calm and anticipation....That's why I say that marketing should be like Uncle Bill's.

So what made that experience unique? Communications. From the moment we put our name on the list, which is simply a sign in sheet on a clipboard hanging on a nail inside the door, we were greeted by wait people and bus people who made eye contact, took an interest in Jr. and kept us informed as to potential tables soon to be available. It felt like we were part of a club, insiders on a well kept secret that everyone around knows about. Granted Uncle Bill's is a unique and small restaurant, an icon in a unique and very upscale environment, but the experience is what we all wish we could have at other businesses we frequent. The lesson here is that it's not just location, but the people who do the work. Compatibility is crucial as is the concern of the owners towards satisfying their customers. Those two variables is what can make a difference between an okay experience to a stellar one.

Do You Have One Yet?

A Walgreens that is. The company is finally here in our part of California's paradise and no wonder since we're in one of the fastest growing counties in the US. Apparently, we boomers are driving this growth as the company expects us to increase the demand for prescription drugs as we move into our "golden" years. The company is opening a new Walgreens every 19 hours. Amazing. Talk about a Butterfly Effect!

Do You Have One Yet?

A logo that is. In the May issue of Wired, page 36, a short blurb about celebrities who have their own personal logos. It's the branding craze du jour and, as the article points out, as more and more celebrities want one the logos being developed are more obscure and hard to understand. Just what we need more, more logos to clutter our already cluttered world.

Trader Joe's

If you don't know TJ's, you are missing a cultural experience that we Californians have enjoyed for quite a while. It's a select, small grocery chain noted for moving into second-rate and abandoned retail areas and offering an amazing selection of wine, gourmet items, breads, cheeses, etc., many under it's own brand at down-to-earth prices. With a place like TJs you can be a gourmand and a gourmet! An article in the April 26 issue of BusinessWeek talks about TJ's ability to generate sales at twice those of traditional grocery stores. And the loyalty to this store is amazing. When the marketingdriven.coms first moved to our world headquarters, we used to replenish our stock of cheap wines and sundry other items at a TJs an hour's drive away. We used to tell the store manager that they had a ready market in our little valley. And finally a couple of years ago we got one and the rest is history. There is virtually no parking and the store is always busy. The folks dress in Hawaiian shirts and shorts, are friendly, know their products and give out freebies to your kids like stickers and cookies.

The lesson of TJs is that they pay their employees well, make them a part of the team instead of "associates" and scour the world for excellent products at close out prices, with the savings passed on to the customers. Trader Joe's is an oasis in an otherwise standardized and undistinguishable world. It's a fun place to go to. So, do you have one yet?

It's True: Your Emotions Drive Your Purchasing Behavior!

If you think you're rationale when you buy something, think again. Marketers know that if they can create an emotional bond with you that there is a high likelihood that you'll buy their products. Think Trader Joe''s for one. In this past Sunday's LA Times Magazine a fascinating article about the brain research at UCLA using MRIs to predict our decisions before they're made. Scary, 1984 sorts of thing, when you think about it. Understanding how people think and make decisions is something that we marketers attempt to understand as we move a product or service forward in the marketplace...But if we were able to know how your emotional part of your brain worked we could basically own you, and in some ways we do with all our databases.

The article centers around economist Colin Camerer's research and I recommend you read it. This quote keys on the premise he espouses: "In decision-making, 'a lot of traditional economists would say that feelings are the tip of the iceberg, but rational thought is what lies below, determining your choice,' says economist Colin Camerer. 'Neuroscience would say that the huge part of the iceberg is the feeling.'" Look at the decisions you make and see how much emotion and feelings played into your decision. Now think about your customers, and look at the messages you are sending out with your service, advertising, etc. It's certainly food for thought.

I Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star

The Sunday LA Times Magazine of April 25th had an interesting article about Tish Ciravolo, president of Daisy Rock Girl Guitars and another example of how marketing is about opportunities gleaned from keen observations about the marketplace. Tish has been playing bass guitar in bands since the 80s and noticed that the usual guitars were too heavy and cumbersome for girls and women to play, thus discouraging those who dreamed of playing. So three years ago she formed Daisy Rock Girl Guitars in Van Nuys and with more than $1 million in sales last year and and about 200,000 hits on her website each month, she's got a good gig going. Her website is The lesson here is that entrepeneurs and marketers find opportunities sometimes right under their noses or in their hands