Saturday, February 27, 2010

Career Switching?

This evening, our Fort Wayne Advertising Federation is having our 48th Addy Awards.

But I'm not there. Instead I'm at the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Cirque de la Symphonie.

So, since I'm switching things up tonight in person, I thought I'd switch things up for you on Collective Wisdom.

Perhaps you've wondered about what those writers do. Maybe you have thought about becoming one yourself. Check out this from the AOM Blog:

So You Want My Job: Freelance Writer

Posted: 24 Feb 2010 03:50 PM PST

Once again we return to our So You Want My Job series, in which we interview men who are employed in desirable jobs and ask them about the reality of their work and for advice on how men can live their dream.

Today we have an awesome interview with Edward Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell’s job has two incredibly desirable elements-1) He’s a freelance writer, and 2) He writes about guitars and rock n’ roll. Edward writes for Total Guitar Magazine and runs the blog, Fix Your Own Damn Guitar. In this thoroughly enjoyable interview, Edward shares interesting anecdotes on how he got to where he is and some excellent tips for other aspiring writers. Thanks, Edward!

1. Tell us a little about yourself (Where are you from? How old are you? Where did you go to school? Describe your job and how long you’ve been at it, etc).

I live in a small town in Scotland called Linlithgow. It’s located about halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. If you’re already imagining a Mel Gibson look-a-like cowering on a windswept hillside, wrapped in a sheep carcass… you’ve seen Braveheart one too many times. I’m 39, married to Julie and I don’t look anything like Mel Gibson.

I’ve been writing professionally for eight years. File me under ‘late starter.’ I mainly freelance for guitar magazines, writing features on artists and instrument manufacturers. I also have a monthly guitar maintenance column called Ed’s Shed in UK magazine, Total Guitar.

As for education, my family moved around a lot when I was a kid thanks to my father’s job as a soldier in the British Army. As a result I attended a bunch of different schools in Germany, England and Scotland. The only subject I was good at was English. I loved to write from an early age. If there was a project that involved writing a story or poem on behalf of the whole class, it always fell to me to do the job.

I eventually left school without any formal qualifications. I suppose I would be more embarrassed about that if things hadn’t worked out so well. I’d never enjoyed school life but I lost interest completely when I discovered music in my early teens. I was just biding my time until I could leave. When my father spotted a job for an apprentice at a music store in Glasgow, I aced the interview and school was history for this laddie.

2. Why did you want to become a freelance writer? When did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I got married. Not only was tying the knot the best day of my life, it forced me to take a long hard look at myself. I’d been working in the music store for 17 years. I had worked my way up from tea boy and general dogsbody to the big cheese’s second in command. I was earning damn good money, but I wasn’t happy. My better half, Julie, was building a great career in marketing, and I felt like I was letting the side down a bit. Did I really want to be stuck behind a shop counter for the rest of my working life? It was a rhetorical question, easily answered…

While walking one Sunday afternoon with Julie, I told her how unhappy at work I had become. I felt I was wasting my potential and if I was going to make a career change, I had to do it soon. I’d wanted to be a rock star but got realistic about that when I hit my 30s. She asked me what I wanted to do. I said I’d always wanted to be a writer. Julie said ‘go for it.’ She would support any decision I made. She always has, bless her.

I saw a position advertised in a music trade magazine. The job was for a staff writer in that same magazine. Taking it would mean giving up a steady job, moving 500 miles to England and taking a big cut in pay. It would also mean living apart from Julie for three months while she organised the sale of our house in Scotland. We talked it through. It was a great opportunity to learn my craft. I would be a professional writer. More importantly, I would be surrounded by seasoned journalists. These guys would soon let me know if I had what it took to cut it in their world. It was a bold move.

The job was a baptism of fire. Expecting a plush office, I instead found myself crammed into a tiny attic space with two other journalists, both heavy smokers. Great… I don’t smoke. There was also no air conditioning. The heat in the summer was unbearable. I went home each night drenched in sweat, reeking of cigarettes.

I was beginning to think that I’d made a big mistake when something interesting happened. The magazine’s editor liked my work. Without any prior experience or training, I was cutting it. I learned to write copy fast; to chase down juicy news stories; I nailed the art of turning a two paragraph press release into an 800 word feature. I became part of a team that often had to put an issue together in nine days. I regularly worked from 8am to 4am the following day… and would have to turn up for work at 8am that same day. Fun. But I learned from the best in the most intense six months of my life.

After those first six months I got an opportunity to work as a reviews editor on Total Guitar magazine. It was, and remains, the biggest selling guitar title in the UK and Europe. It sells well in the US too. I took over the reviews section and set about improving it. I got rid of some existing freelance reviewers, some because they didn’t ‘get’ the magazine’s demographic, others simply because their writing wasn’t up to scratch. I took on some new contributors, great writers that raised the bar for musical instrument reviews. I became part of a great team. Total Guitar is about to celebrate its 200th issue. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve contributed to the last 85 of those issues.

It was while at Total Guitar that I began the Ed’s Shed guitar maintenance column to teach novices how to maintain, service and repair their own equipment. I wanted to save them money and allow them to fix problems fast instead of relying on someone else. The column has been a huge success. I also write cover features and ‘how to’ guides for the magazine.

3. If a man wishes to become a freelance writer, how should he best prepare? Is getting a degree in journalism or writing worthwhile? How do you go about breaking into the business and getting your work published?

Although I haven’t gone down that road myself, I think a degree in writing or journalism is absolutely worthwhile. I doubted my own abilities for so long because I had no formal training or qualifications to back up my work. Perhaps I’ll look at getting a degree in the future. Even now, I torture myself a little when I’m putting some copy together. I’ll write a feature a few times over before I’ll admit to being happy with it. Sometimes I think about it for days, then write through the night when the inspiration finally hits. Some stories are easier to write than others. That’s part of the deal with this job. You have to put the work in to produce something you can be proud of. If I’m honest, I still doubt my abilities these days. I temper that with this golden rule: If no one says that you’re messing things up… then you’re not messing things up.

Breaking into the business is the tough part. There are a lot of writers out there. That said, if you’re good at what you do, you’ll make it. Target those publications that deal with subjects that you are interested in; subjects that you actually know something about. Don’t try to fake it. A good editor will spot a bogus writer straight away. My main expertise is in the history of rock ‘n’ roll and guitars. I’m also good on vintage cars. I’ll leave landscape gardening tips and motorcycle maintenance to writers that know about that stuff.

4. How do you market yourself? Do you have any tips on consistently getting your writing published?

Inspired by the positive response from readers to my monthly Ed’s Shed column in Total Guitar, I’ve just started my own blog. Called Fix Your Own Damn Guitar, it’s a showcase for my magazine work and a journal of the development of my guitar maintenance website. It will also have some stories about my life as a music store worker, some of which are quite bizarre. Ed’s Shed is about to run in US magazine Guitar World which has a monthly readership of about 250,000. I’m hoping the blog will lead to a successful website and more writing opportunities.

Aspiring writers should consider writing some copy for free. You have to get your name out there. A few years ago I emailed the editor at an American publication called Rockabilly Magazine. The guy was interested in my work but couldn’t pay for any copy. I decided the exposure was worth my time and effort, and I began submitting articles. Rockabilly music is a passion of mine so I enjoyed putting the features together. Writing for fun keeps your work fresh… and you’ll be exposed to a whole new set of readers. It doesn’t always have to be about the Benjamin’s…

If you give the magazine what they want, if your copy is consistently good, they will keep giving you work. Simple as that. Once you’re in, don’t be afraid to suggest feature ideas. Most editors will appreciate your enthusiasm.

5. How difficult is it to make a living as a freelance writer? Do many writers have other jobs or sources of income on the side?

It can be a tough way to make a living. Some people do get enough work to make it their only job, but most of the freelance writers I know have other sources of income. I run a business importing electric guitars, now that I am back living in Scotland. I still call myself a writer because in my heart that is what I am. With a bit more hustling, I hope to be a full-time freelancer, writing interesting articles for magazines like Esquire. I’m also working on some ideas for television with a writing partner. That’s the dream.

The great thing about freelance writing is that you can do it even if you have a day job. That way you can learn your craft without compromising your living standards. If that sounds like a cop out, it’s not. It’s called being smart.

6. What is the best part of your job?

I still get excited when I see my name in print! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that. I’ve also ‘met’ most of my heroes. My job often involves chatting with rock stars, sometimes face to face, sometimes on the phone. I’ve interviewed over 70 guitarists over the past five years from the likes of Joe Perry of Aerosmith to pioneers like the late, great Les Paul.

I’ve downed a few Budweisers with the Dropkick Murphys, tried (and failed) to get a word in edgewise with George Thorogood and chatted to Sonny Curtis of The Crickets about the day he wrote “I Fought The Law.” I’ve had a laugh with Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora (his definition of the word ‘wanking’ was very different from the British interpretation). I’ll also never forget my conversation with Bob Wootton, the man who played guitar for Johnny Cash. That was a real career highlight… for me I mean. Perhaps not so much for Bob!

The job can also involve a bit of travel. On one occasion I was asked to fly to LA to interview Ozzy Osbourne and his guitarist Zakk Wylde. A two-day visit turned into six when Ozzy missed his flight. While I waited for confirmation of the time and location of the interview I blasted round Hollywood in a rented Dodge Charger and ran up a bill at the Beverly Hilton. My wife and I vacation in the States twice a year so I wasn’t too put out by Ozzy’s tardiness. When the interview finally happened the first thing Zakk Wylde said to me was ‘Hey man, have you still got that 14-inch cock?’ I’d never met him before. I just nodded my head and said ‘ah, my reputation precedes me’. What was I supposed to say? No? I knew the feature was going to be great from that point on. It practically wrote itself.

I still get a tingle of excitement before I do an interview. If you ever get complacent about picking up a phone and hearing a voice say, ‘Hi, this is Jimmy Page,’ well, this job isn’t for you…

7. What is the worst part of your job?

Writer’s block is a bitch. Most writers experience it at some point. I’ve had my fair share. There’s nothing more terrifying to a writer on a deadline than staring at a blank computer screen waiting for inspiration to strike. It’s mental constipation. In my experience there are two ways to deal with it: write down anything you can think of relating to your subject, then look for that killer first or last line. The rest of the piece will follow. The second method is to simply walk away and come back to it later. That does help. A looming deadline is also a good motivator.

The other worst part of the job is that, in a sense, real rock ‘n’ roll journalism is dead. There’s so much money tied up in the music industry these days that record companies and PR people won’t risk their artist’s public image. Positive spin is the name of the game. The days when rock writers like Lester Bangs and Steven Rosen would go on the road with a band, and live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle themselves, are pretty much over. These days you’re more likely to get a 30 minute ‘phoner’ with an artist. I’ve had anything from a 13-minute chat with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx – I had to turn that into a 1,400 word feature – to an hour and a half with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. The time you’re alloted can vary a lot.

8. What’s the work/family/life balance like?

Unless you’re doing a lot of travelling, freelance writing shouldn’t negatively affect your family life. If you’re on a tight deadline you might find yourself typing through a few late nights but that’s about it. I find that I need total peace and quiet to write, so late nights work best.

My wife Julie encourages my writing. I read most of my work to her to make sure that it flows well and makes sense. Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely profession!

9. What is the biggest misconception people have about your job?

That it’s highly paid! Unless you’re a big name columnist or a novelist living off a fat advance, freelance writing is not a get rich quick scheme. Do it because you love it. There are easier ways to make money, but few are so satisfying.

10. Any other advice, tips, or anecdotes you’d like to share?

Develop your own voice and learn how to make it work on the page. There are rules that you must follow: good grammar is essential; your spelling better be spot on. Allowing your personality to shine through in a written piece is important too. We can’t all be Hunter S. Thompson or James Ellroy, but you can try to make your writing recognisably yours. That’s the element that makes people want to read what you’ve written… and look forward to reading your work again.

Know your subject inside out. Do your research. If you’re not sure about something, look it up. There’s no excuse for silly mistakes like misspelling someone’s name or getting an album title wrong.

When you approach an editor looking for work, don’t send any unsolicited material. Only send examples of your work when specifically requested to do so. Consider setting up a blog or website to showcase your work. It’s then ok to direct an editor to your site through an introductory email. If you are asked to submit copy, study the publication in detail. You want your work to fit the ‘style’ of the magazine. Every magazine is different so don’t assume that the way you write will work for every publisher. Put the time in and get it right.

Finally, and in many ways most importantly, there are a couple of things that I always consider when I write. I keep it simple and I always think about the reader.

In my opinion, bad writers try to show off with big words. If you don’t use a word in everyday life, don’t write it down. It’s that simple. Letting your ego get in the way of a good story will get you canned from any decent magazine. I’ve seen too many CD reviews where the writer had spent so much time showing off that it was impossible to tell whether they had actually enjoyed the music or not. That’s unforgivable. Simplify your work. Go through it and take out unnecessary words or whole sentences. The final draft will flow better.

Remember that someone is going to be reading your work. Think about them. Who are they? What knowledge will they have of your subject matter? If you’re writing about The Beatles, The Munsters or 50s ‘Lead Sleds’ and your readership is predominantly young, don’t assume they know everything that you do. You have a responsibility to guide them through the story. If you don’t, they’ll lose interest in what you’re trying to say. Speaking of which, I hope I’ve done my job well here… and you’ve made it to the end of this interview!

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Customers or Crusaders?

From my email archives is this piece from Seth Godin:

The fan chasm

How big is the gap between customer and die-hard fan? In other words, between engaging and loving, between attending and craving?

For World of Warcraft, it's huge. It's very difficult to spend just an hour or two. There's a chasm between encounter and enjoyable experience. Tetris was oriented in precisely the other way--everyone who tried it instantly became almost as smart as an expert.

If you want to be an insider at the Four Seasons restaurant, you might have to go thirty times and spend $3,000 over time. There's a barrier to becoming an insider.

For Star Trek, not so much. After one TV episode, you might not know a Tribble from a Romulan, but you've probably figured out the whole Vulcan thing. Much more approachable, much easier to fake your fanhood.

There are very few products, services or organizations that are simultaneously easily approachable and quite deep. That's an opportunity for you if you can figure out how to be both, but choosing just one is a more likely scenario. So, which are you?

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Raise Your Prices

from my email:

Hi Scott,

As you know, there are only three ways to make more money in
your business.

One of them is to increase your prices, and frankly, with a
few exceptions, it's actually the easiest way. And here's
why: see, most people see themselves inside a vacuum.

They think "If I increase my prices, I'll lose customers and
people won't want to do business with me."

But that's not correct.

Basically, it all depends on the kinds of customers you want
and the kinds of customers and clients you have right now.
If you fill your pipeline with customers who are loyal to
low pricing, then yes, you will lose customers when you try
and charge them more.

But if you want customers who are motivated by things other
than price, then high prices won't cost you anything. In
fact, it will make you a LOT more money.

Pricing is only one of the many things people consider when
making a purchase. And it's usually several notches down
the list. If it wasn't, BMW and Mercedes would be in
trouble, and candidly, so would I.

The truth is, the lion's share of consumers are far more
"value" oriented than "price" oriented. So what you want
to focus on is creating massive value, and then your
pricing becomes a non-issue.

The other thing you need to know, is that with one exception
(selling a commodity item), it is JUST as difficult to sell
something for $50 dollars, as it is to sell something for
$250 or $500 dollars.

Don't kid yourself -- in spite of what sales gurus would
like you to believe -- getting someone to buy something
from you, isn't easy. So if you've gotta work hard anyway…
then you might as well get paid as much as possible for it,

Or not. Either way, it's your call.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S. Discover the ONLY three ways to make money in
business, and how to rapidly escalate them for you,
starting on page 159 inside "How To Make Maximum Money With
Minimum Customers."
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just leave them here on my blog

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read, you know how it works...

by David Goetzl
Starz won't order a third season of "Crash," the TV drama. The decision comes as the pay-TV operator is trying to add original series to its traditional movie line-up. Parent company Liberty said it had a strong fourth quarter and ended 2009 slightly ahead. ...Read the whole story
by Wayne Friedman
Cablevision Systems Corp.'s cable networks showed a big 20% gain in advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2009. The chief reason was more pricey advertising commercial time sold at its AMC channel, which features top shows "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad." ...Read the whole story
by David Goetzl
Univision's TV segment posted growth in 2009's October-December period as revenues were up 7% to $420 million. Univision has high expectations for this year's second and third quarters, due to its coverage of the World Cup. ...Read the whole story
by Erik Sass
In a first for digital magazines, Zinio's new Publisher Advertising Network is executing its first network advertising campaign, with ads for carmaker Kia Motors America's new 2011 Sorento CUV appearing in multiple magazines from different publishers. ...Read the whole story
by Wayne Friedman
Nielsen says ratings for the Olympics are indexing the highest among older viewers -- 82% more than the total viewership average of the Olympics. The same trends are seen in prime time. ...Read the whole story
by David Goetzl
ESPN promises to launch a 3D network in time to carry World Cup games this summer. The company said it will use a Florida facility for 3D research going forward. ...Read the whole story

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Teens Text

A marketing prediction I made at the end of 2008 is becoming a reality. That prediction was that Smart Marketers will use text messaging to send offers to the teens and young adults to build their brand and become the next "Cool" item. Click here to read what I originally wrote.

This week Mediapost had this update on my prediction:

What's In It For Me?
Have you ever run into a teen without a phone or, better yet, one who isn't asking, "What's in it for me?" Rarely, right? So, when looking at marketing strategies targeting teens, you can't ignore mobile. You should even consider it as a primary media channel.
We've all heard the phrase "the medium is the message." In the case of teens, this is even more relevant. Teens will judge your brand in an instant. But by communicating in a first-person voice in channels in which they "live," you put your brand on a level playing field. You can grab their attention more easily than with a TV ad or other traditional medium and effectively drive them to take action.
SMS is just one of the many dimensions of the mobile channel that creates results. To harness its power, you have to grab young consumers' attention with a simple, yet strong call-to-action. An SMS program's rate of participation -- regardless of its targeted demographic -- is the result of media exposure coupled with a compelling call-to-action and offer. The equation looks something like this:
SMS Call-to-Action Response = Media Exposure x Call-to-Action Strength x The Offer Value
If you follow the five rules below while keeping this in mind, you'll be on the way to creating a powerful SMS call-to-action and offer.
1. Your shortcode is your new URL. For teens, mobile is the first place they want to go. Be bold, and make the shortcode BIG. It is part of the primary message. A simple SMS call-to-action will work with any advertisement and, while their parents may not, your teen consumers know what to do with those five numbers and keyword. Put it in every piece of printed and outdoor material you have. Your Website is the only possible exception; see point 5 to learn why. When looking at the specific call-to-action, focus on making the keyword and shortcode the strong elements, as these are the keys to open the door. For example: "Text the keyword DUNK to 777483."
2. Don't forget about the value proposition! Your young consumers are not going to join just because you are a brand they know. Offer something fun, engaging, useful and valuable. What teen wouldn't love a PlayStation or a retail voucher? People love the chance to win something. We've had clients build mobile databases three times faster than other clients simply by adding a sweepstakes element.
3. Out with vanity codes. Smartphones are here to stay. Vanity codes worked well, just like those catchy customer support phone numbers that spell out the company's name (SPRITE=777483), when all phones came equipped only with the standard 12 buttons. But what teen remembers that? BlackBerries, Palms and even iPhones now have full QWERTY keyboards. If you have a vanity code, then always include the digits; it's very hard to work out the numbers from the letters on a smartphone.
4. When in-venue, remember the rule of three. The call-to-action must be announced three times and supported with a visual reminder like video on a JumboTron. Ideally, have the announcer also do a shout-out asking people to grab their phones and TXT in. Announce the keyword and short code at the beginning, middle and end of the event. You are trying to get an entire venue's attention, to borrow some of their memory, and get them to act. Also, be sure you're advertising where they can get mobile reception.
5. If online, stay online. Asking people to grab their phone to send you an SMS when they are on their computer is a fail. Instead, offer them a field to enter their mobile phone number. Time and again, we see higher response rates to this mechanic than asking them to TXT in.
Remember, mobile is a teen's remote control for their world. It holds the key to their friends, family, social networks, and it goes with them everywhere. So respect the unique perspective and needs of teens, and you'll get them engaged in your mobile program.

Steen Andersson is co-founder and Vice President of 5th Finger (, a progressive mobile agency that designs and implements engaging brand interactions for on-the-go consumers. 5th Finger has produced 5,000+ campaigns and 300 million interactions for such brands as Microsoft, LG and the U.S. Army. To find out more about 5th Finger and Steen's thoughts on the industry, go to

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Marketing YOUR Niche

From my other blog:

Pleasing Everybody

Every once in awhile, I come across a business owner and the conversation begins with this:

Me, "So, who are your customers?"

Them, "Everyone."

To which I mutter under my breath, "Uh, Oh".

Please, Please, Please understand that you can't get everyone to your store, shop, or website.

And don't fool yourself into thinking that you need to reach everyone with your marketing efforts either.

A couple of the biggest companies, Walmart & McDonalds do not do business with everyone.

When Walmart comes to a new town, the natives used to tremble in their boots, thinking they would soon be out of business because Walmart would beat them up on price.

Yes, you can get a giant jar of pickles for a couple of bucks, but not everyone cares about price over value.

And just as there are some people who never set foot in a Walmart, there are some people who have never tasted a McDonalds french fry.

Focus on what you do best.

Focus on what you can offer that others can't or won't.

It's not the lowest price.

And the lowest price won't please everybody anyway.

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Go Higher

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Selling Up the Ladder

Companies are still buying, but more and more of those buying decisions are being made higher up the executive ladder.

Selling at the executive level requires a different set of skills and strategies from selling at the more traditional level. CEOs, CFOs and other C-level executives are more demanding and see things from a larger business perspective.

To succeed, salespeople must re-orient themselves to understand the top executive mindset. Executives are clear in what they want: Understand what drives my business and how you, your products and services can impact my business.

Source: Sales/marketing consultant John R. Graham (

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Guess my neighbors Hummer will become a collectors item....

by Karl Greenberg
Hummer was set to be sold off to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, but General Motors on Wednesday said that won't be happening. Like its Pontiac and Saturn brands, Hummer is going away. Ironically, the GM marque gets the highest scores for a mass-market brand in the latest J.D. Power & Associates Consumer Service Index. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
The rise of smartphones will likely mean an increase in mobile strategies, even among the older demographics for whom the phone is primarily a voice communications device, says Bill Tancer. "We're starting to be more and more amenable to marketing that comes through our phone. Just as in the social network world, we'll begin to see that cross age groups and demographics." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
In short, Del Taco's goals of harnessing social/traditional media integration to cost-effectively increase exposure and interaction with customers and prospects, particularly in newer markets, are being realized to a degree even the QSR had not anticipated. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
In a test for Best Western, council member Sandra Zoratti reports, "revenue gained 30%, the number of nights stayed gained 34%, and the ROI on the project was 278%. There was even a green advantage, since we got rid of some of the more static inserts -- it generated a 40% savings on paper costs." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Snapple underwrites the show as part of its media buy and partnership with Yahoo, per the latter's Erika Nardini, who says the show was built on the insight that Yahoo audiences enjoy recap programming. "We know they are also passionate sports fans, and there's a comedic angle [in sports programming] we saw as underserved." ...Read the whole story >>
Quiznos Launches 'Greener' Packaging

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What's Your Niche?

Here's some good words to contemplate from Seth Godin:

Once in a lifetime

This is perhaps the greatest marketing strategy struggle of our time:

Should your product or service be very good, meet spec and be beyond reproach or...

should it be a remarkable, memorable, over the top, a tell-your-friends event?

The answer isn't obvious, and many organizations are really conflicted about this.

Delta Airlines isn't trying to make your day. They're trying to get you from Atlanta to Salt Lake City, close to on time, less expensive the other guy and hopefully without hassle. That's a win for them.

On the other hand, when I was growing up, we used to stop in a diner in Deposit, New York to break up the long drive from Buffalo to New York City. This diner had a really engaged staff and always one practical joke or another subtly present. (I still remember the little notice on the bulletin board once, "Henway for sale, $45. Ask cashier.") It was enough reason to drive three miles out of our way, a few times a year. My guess is that a busy traveler wouldn't be happy with the extra six minutes it took to eat there.

Most of the consumer businesses (restaurants, services, etc.) and virtually all of the business to business ventures I encounter shoot for the first (meeting spec). They define spec and they work to achieve it. A few, from event organizers to investment advisors, work every single day to create over-the-top remarkable experiences. It's a lot of work, and it requires passion.

If you ran a spa at a ski resort, which would you shoot for?

Most of the people who come aren't regulars, and most of them just want a massage, a good one, one that makes the trip a little special. I don't think most people coming by expect anything more than that.

On the other hand, you could invest in staff and training and services that would be so connected to each other and the guests, so willing to engage and to change people that it might become the sort of transcendent experience that people talk about for months.

But you can't do both at the same time. That customer who came for the on-spec service isn't going to be happy with the over the top hoopla. And so you try to compromise and do both, to please everyone. Sorry, but you can't.

Your turn... Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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New Ad Campaigns

Amy's Update for the week:

Vampires, skiing and snow monkeys, oh my! Let's launch!

GE launched a trio of ads during the Winter Olympic supporting its "healthymagination" initiative. "Beautiful" is a set of home movies chronicling a couple's courtship, marriage and children. "But the most beautiful thing I've ever seen was the image on a screen that helped our doctor see my wife's cancer was treatable," says the husband. Powerful stuff. See it here. A man undergoes a physical in "Doctors." His primary physician receives feedback from past doctors who are sitting in a lecture hall detailing his past medical procedures. GE is creating electronic medical records, making it easier for doctors to collaborate on a patient's diagnosis. Watch it here. Patients "Say Ahhh" to the tune of "Joyful, joyful" when doctors ready the tongue depressors. See it here. GE is also running an ad promoting its eco-friendly water heater. Cue the adorable snow monkeys relaxing in hot springs. "Heating the water in your home any other way is just going to seem primitive," ends the ad, shown here. BBDO New York created the campaign, edited by Crew Cuts.

Copper Mountain in Colorado wants you to cheat on your mountain. "Swinger's Pass" encourages season pass holders from any mountain in the world to ski Copper Mountain for $39. A TV spot shows a skier sitting with the mountain he's attached to for the season. Playing the role of clingy girlfriend, mountain demands attention from her skier, who's tempted by the fruit of another voluptuous mountain sitting at the bar. "Ride Something New," reads her bar napkin. Watch the ad here. There's also a print ad that's essentially a screen grab from the TV spot, and a Craigslist ad that reads like a personal ad. See them here and here. Wexley School for Girls created the campaign.

Old Spice unveiled a spokesman for its body washes who's charismatic, good-looking and capable of riding a horse backwards. In "Did You Know," our shirtless spokesman, while riding a horse backwards, tells his audience that women prefer their men to smell of Old Spice wash rather than a girly scent. See it here. The next ad jumps from one scenario to another. The spokesman is in the shower, on a boat, giving you diamonds, riding a horse. It's quite funny. "Anything is possible when you man smells like Old Spice and not a lady," closes the ad, seen here. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign.

Too bad this spoof didn't launch sooner, when "New Moon" was playing in theatres. Verizon Wireless launched "Vampire," an amusing spoof on the popular "Twilight" series. Vampire Sebastian is thisclose to making his beloved a vampire until he sees her network: AT&T. "Forever is a really long time to be struggling with music downloads and emails..." Sebastian says before he bolts for a trio of ladies with Verizon coverage. See the ad here, created by McCann Erickson New York.

Boost Mobile launched "Pet Carrier," the latest ad in its "Unwrong'd" campaign. Previous ads can be found here. "Pet Carrier" features a money-conscious mother who dresses her child up like a dog and places him inside a travel carrier to save money on airline costs. "Unwrong'd" is losing its mojo. This spot wasn't as appalling as previous ads that made my stomach turn. Watch the ad here, created by 180LA.

AT&T launched a great Olympic ad entitled "Up & Up." Starring the snowboarding talents of Gretchen Bleiler and the sound of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day," the ad watches Bleiler soar to new heights. Outer space, to be precise. "Here's to possibilities," says the ad, as Bleiler breaks through a black hole. This is my favorite Olympic ad so far. See it here, created by BBDO New York.

Ok, this Olympic ad is sure to tug on your heartstrings. Aside from Tide, Pampers, Crest, Charmin and Bounty, Proctor & Gamble sponsors Moms. "You'll Never Walk Alone" features Olympic Moms in unglamorous child-rearing situations, from changing a flat tire, vacuuming, visiting the principal's office to chauffeuring kids to early-morning practice -- until the hard work and dedication is rewarded with a stellar performance, with Mom in the audience. See the ad here, created by Wieden+Kennedy Portland.

Durex created a print and online campaign to support the launch of its Avanti Bare condom. Print ads, running in Sports Illustrated, Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maxim and Details, among others, feature a new tagline, "That's My Pleasure," and direct consumers to a microsite where users can create and send user-generated postcards to significant others. Select a picture (think banana or miner's hat), describe your pleasure, (but keep it clean, says the site), and send. See ads here, here and here, created by Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness.

Random iPhone App of the week: Junaio, an augmented reality platform, has created an app that allows users to insert an animated 3D object into a photo taken with their iPhone, or augment images that friends have posted on social networking sites. For example, you can take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge and place an animated, 3D T-Rex eating cars. Users can also search for restaurants, cafes, museums and bars via Google local search and see the results in a 360 live-view. The free app can be found in the App Store.

Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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3 Words from Jim

From my Email:

The 3 Most Powerful Words In Sales

The 3 most powerful words in sales. They are probably not what you think they are.

You see, it's not something most entrepreneurs and professional salespeople give much thought to.

Day in and day out salespeople are focused on making sales and I guess that's the way it should be.

But what if you could make one change in your daily routine, just one minor adjustment that would enable you to run circles around your competition. Would you be interested in that?

The 3 most powerful words in sales are really derived from a contrarian point of view. It has to be contrarian because so many salespeople just don't think about it.

But if you did - your selling results would take off, like a US Shuttle Mission.

Okay - it's time for a confession. I didn't think of these 3 words. Well, actually I did but it was because of something I read.

In one of my recent newsletters I talked about a fabulous golf book I was reading titled, "Fearless Golf."

The 3 key words in this book are, "What's my target?"

Well, that got me thinking, I do a lot of that 'ya know.

How can I apply these 3 golf words to the professional selling environment?

If "What's my target" are the 3 most powerful words for every golfer, especially amateurs like me, how can I transform these words to work for entrepreneurs and professional salespeople?

After thinking about this for 5 nanoseconds, it suddenly dawned on me what the 3 most powerful words in sales would be.

Are you ready?

These 3 words can literally transform your selling effort and take your selling results to the next level - regardless what that is.

So - here they are for you.

The 3 most powerful words in sales are "What's my objective?"

Every day, salespeople get flustered and lose their focus because they are bombarded with interruptions and distractions.

Asking yourself repeatedly throughout the day, "What's my objective," will keep you focused on what you need to be focused on.

For example - what's my objective . . . when . . .

==> Calling for an appointment

==> During my first sales call

==> Asking the right questions

==> Handling the price objection

==> Preparing sales proposals

==> Closing the sale

==> Getting referrals

. . . you get the picture.

Trying to stay focused on "What's my target" when playing golf is like trying to stay focused on "What's my objective" when you're making sales calls.

Of course, it's easy to say and very hard to do.

During every selling day, when you stay focused on "What's my objective," you'll avoid appearing and becoming discombobulated.

Instead your sales prospects and customers will see you as an extraordinary and focused sales professional.

The 3 most powerful words in sales are "What's my objective?"

Now you know them, I hope you'll use them every selling day.

Remember - the 3 most powerful words in sales are, "What's my objective?"


3 More Sales Trailblazers

Last week, 3 more salespeople signed up to become Sales Trailblazers in their respective companies.

Here's what one Sales Trailblazer had to say . . .

Your “Sales Trail Blazer” lessons are the BEST investment I have ever made in all my years of selling! I was an average sales person promoted to director of sales of my area and was overwhelmed. I have tried a lot of things but this one has really made a difference in all aspects of my life. Thanks and keep ‘em coming! S. Blanton

You know why most salespeople are reluctant to signup? The simple truth is, because they can't get their company to reimburse them.

I'm sitting here scratching my head and thinking, "It gives a whole new meaning to the words self-development."

Here's something I'll never forget. I was doing a sales training program for the Scientific Products Division of VWR several years ago.

During the break, I passed out evaluation forms and order forms for my products - I like to think of these as Learning Tools.

At the end of sales training program, Mike Sterbenz literally ran up, like a gazelle, to the front of the room with his order form.

At the time, he was the #1 sales rep in his company.

I guess he understands the meaning of the words self-development.

There's only one person in charge of your self-development!


Become a Sales Trailblazer today:

You can cut and paste this into your web browser.ser.


New . . . From Jim Meisenheimer

What I have is a NEW service for entrepreneurs and professional salespeople.

It's not FREE!

And it's not for everyone!

In fact, I can only make this available for the first 25 people who signup.

There's one sure way you can increase your sales and your personal income.

Learn how to do it right here!


Do you know someone else who could benefitfrom these sales tips and selling strategies? Please forward this email to them - they'll thank you for it and of course I'll appreciate it too!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Nothing mentioning the Olympics tonight...

by Karl Greenberg
"We are investing much more with our online activities. For 2010, we will have some print, but it will be very, very micro-targeted. What we are not doing, which we have done in years past, is out-of-home. You are not going to see lots of tier-one dollars going toward out-of-home. It's TV, Web, and secondarily, print." ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
While there still aren't any rainbows forming over America's shopping centers, a handful of retailers including Macy's, Target and Sears, posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday. Executives at those chains -- and industry observers -- think that while consumers are still cautiously measuring out their cash, retailers can finally exhale. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
According to new Mintel study, 30% of U.S. adults said they visited a casino in the past year, and attendance has been declining steadily since 2001, when 35% of adults went to the casinos. The steady decline suggests it's less one event -- such as the recession -- causing people to stay away, than it is the option of increasingly compelling entertainment offerings elsewhere. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit farm policy research group, issued a press release slamming the brand's campaign, which focuses on EarthGrains' use of a new "Eco-Grain" as a flour ingredient, with the tagline, "The Plot to Save the Earth, One Field at a Time." Sara Lee says there's been a misunderstanding. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The magazine says the Honda Fit and the Toyota Prius topped the best-value vehicle list, beating out more than 280 cars in eight categories. The two cars each earned a value score of 2.08 on a scale where average is arbitrarily given a "1.00" score meaning 2.00 is twice the value of the average model. ...Read the whole story >>
Sara Lee Deli Expands 'Mama' Social Media Videos

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