Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Blog Is The #1 Word

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- A four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year's presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 words of the year. Read all about it. Enjoy!

Community

We talk a lot about the Internet creating community and in the past couple of days, I've been the lucky recipient of marketing professionals whom I've met online and who have been gracious to volunteer information as well as their time to my UCLA class. Isn't that what's it's all about? Who knew that at age 58 I could manage a business a few feet from my bedroom, wear shorts and a t-shirt and consult everywhere all because of technology. I can just imagine what the world will be like for marketingdriven.com jr., he of only 7 short but wise years.

If you haven't yet done so, build a community for yourself and your business. You'll reap far more rewards than just money, you'll build a sense of self that will propel you to your highest goals.

The Secret of Success

Mrs. marketingdriven.com is a the quintessential sales person. Always on her game, always thinking about the client and how to best help them realize their goals through her products. In discussing this with several friends last weekend, one successful person said people are always asking him the secret of his success in sales. He is a martial arts expert and very focused. He laughed because he always tells people it's something that is inside you: respect for each person you meet.

Mrs. marketingdriven.com (Also known as She Who Must Be Obeyed) agrees. It's amazing, she tells me, how many sales persons in her office don't recognize that simple truism. I bring this up because in this blog I've talked about a lot of marketing issues and challenges, and the conclusion I have from my experiences is that marketing should be about respect for all. It's not the intrusive crap we get online or the seemingly gazillion mailings from Capital One, it's about extending a helping hand to someone needing to solve a problem. In healthcare, where I mostly work, it's sad that this is not necessarily the case. So going back to the issues of marketing, it's always operational, it's often beyond the marketer's control, and what doesn't change is that it's always about caring and respecting people.

I'm off my soap box. Thanks for dropping by.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Professional Courtesy

In my research for materials for my UCLA class, I contact lots of people looking for freebies. It's also how I learn. I contacted RynneBuckley.com a marketing and advertising firm in Chicago via email from their site a couple of weeks ago and got a call from the CEO, Patrick Buckley. What a delightful person. He is sending me the Best Practices booklet I requested. We had a chance to talk since I am a one-man band here at marketingdriven.com hq and feel like the lonely Maytag repairman so any chance I get to talk with one of "my kind" I take it.

Thanks, Patrick. It meant a lot.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I Have Not Dropped Off The Face of the Earth

Although it feels like it. I am totally redesigning the class I've taught for 7 years to make it more interactive and in a workshop setting. I want a more hands-on approach. Also, redesigning my website and weblog while working on two major projects.

So, yes, I have been remiss in blogging and, no, I am not giving up. Once I get these things arranged I will be back and will let everyone know. Please don't give up on me. Peace. Alain

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Price of Counsel

Arrogance and deceit are just a few words that seem to begin to describe the ongoing story out of "Lost Angeles" these days in the case of Fleishman-Hillard PR over charging for alleged services to the Department of Water and Power. Seems like a $4.3 millin over charge and doing favors for the current mayor Jim Hahn continue to darken the PR firm's door. Now comes word that the special political favors were de rigeur for a variety of events that Slim Jim attended to boost his image.

Ah, image! How often it's the only thing that a company or person really has going and once found out, the house of cards tumbles down. It's a good lesson on ethics and the basic tenets of customer relationships based on trust and honesty. Can any PR practitioner really defend charging thousands of dollars to write a press release? One could say that it took special insights to do so and that knowing how to get a story placed is worth something, but as this case unfolds it's definitely clear that companies and regulatory agencies need to learn from their vendors so that they know when someone is blowing smoke rings up their skirts.


PR is a vital component of the marketing mix and managing image---a true image---is also valid, but the coziness of PR firms with leaders is apparently letting people lose sight of the PR creed: to help customers at a fair price and with only the customer's interest at heart. Anything else is simply stealing.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Spam

I thought I had a spam problem with about 200 per day but think about Bill Gates who gets 4 million per day! He's got an entire department just sorting out his email and filtering the spam. It really is big pain in the derriere and points out how invasive new technology can be especially for marketing, and why it's getting more difficult to break through the defenses to reach someone with something interesting to share with them and that they've invited us to do. I wonder if Bill's spam is as interesting and as focused on body enlargements and getting a degree online?

Creativity
I am reading two books simultaneously on creativity and business problem solving. The first is my favorite: Welcome To The Creative Age: Bananas, Business and the Death of Marketing by Mark Earls. An absolute must read that strikes so close to what I am feeling about marketing these days.

The other book that keys into the creativity discussion is businessThink: Rules for Getting It Right---Now and No Matter What! by Dave Marcum, Steve Smith and Mahan Khalsa. All about thinking the right way to solve problems and letting go of the old mental models and the "We've always done it that way" mode of thinking.
These books reinforce what I've been focusing on lately, mainly that marketing shouldn't be all that hard or so maligned and misunderstood. It takes seeing things differently and with the "right" people who are willing to challenge, ask why ad nauseum and then forge a creative approach to the problems. It's about eliminating barriers, folks, not throwing barricades in front of the problems!


Thanks, Tivo!
Like we really needed Tivo to figure out a way to make sure those of us who use it can still relish in delight at the commercials we've been so blessedly missing. Now Tivo has found a way to have that pleasure again in the new gadgets they're working on. I cannot wait. Goes to show you how far marketers and advertisers will go to interrupt your day to get their point across. So it goes in marketing land.

We're The Good Guys, Buy From Us
Great article in the November 22 issue of BusinessWeek on how companies are sponsoring and supporting charities and then helping themselves. It's called being a good corporate citizen. But if it helps bring us closer to curing some of the dreadful diseases, then at least someone is doing something, even if it's good for business. Read the article.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sorry Men

No, I'm not beating up on the man tribe, just relating an article I saw in this morning's local bugle about the game Sorry and a study Parker Brothers did to herald the 70th birthday of the board game. In fact, this week is National Sorry Week.
According to the study that consisted of calling 1,020 men and women and asking ground breaking questions, here's how we look guys:
  • Men are 15 % more likely than women to say they're sorry to a spouse or significant other
  • Men are "particularly adept at begging forgiveness for such slights as leaving dirty socks on the floor (30% of men vs. 16% of women)
  • An not replacing the toilet paper roll (A heinous crime to say the least), men are 24% more likely to say "sorry" vs. 18% for women
  • So what does this study say to us from a marketing trend? That you can do a study on just about anything and you'll get press which gives you credibility and, of course, free editorial space.

Manifesto(s)

No, I don't have one unless you consider what I write here an extended one. But just wanted to comment on the increasing rise of these in terms of PROFOUND STATEMENTS OF INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE! Aren't you just getting a little tired of all these, especially the ones on branding and the advertising gobblygook that spews forth? I read these things and many business books and while I relate to much of it, how much of it is really relevant to the clients you work with? So we go to workshops and presentations given by the latest "Thought Leader" and we nod our heads and buy the books and CDs and go back to our old ways because they don't have context to what we do, how our business works, how the industry is. That's not to mean that you can't learn from this stuff, it's just that it's out of synch with the real world I deal with. And how a business works is really dependent on how the people in the business work. It's all about relationships and a willingness to change our minds about the assumptions we all bring to the work world. Marketing is as much about how an organization is stitched together, e.g. culture as it is about branding profoundness that come from the mountaintop and mean nothing to those who hear it way down in the valley. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.

As my good friend Jim says, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it."


Thursday, November 11, 2004


Remembering


86 years ago the guns fell silent in Europe, marking the end of WWI...but for the soldiers, sailors and airmen on all sides the war fragmented their lives forever. So it goes with WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, etc. Today I remember my comrades from the 903rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Vietnam 1967-68, and all the wounded we moved out of harm's way. Peace.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Apologies

I am not up to writing much these days, very tired from all the traveling and my honey-do list. Back soon once my spirits pick up. Thanks for your patience. Alain

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'm Back...but writing a huge report for a client. And Blogger is not working well. I'll be back online in a day. Thanks for your patience. Alain