Thursday, June 29, 2006

Seth Godin and point number 6 (of 9)

Seth Godin wrote an interesting piece titled Nine things marketers ought to know about salespeople (and two bonuses) . Point number six made me think of a rewrite from a client's point of view.

The context of Seth's post surrounds what salespeople would say to marketers about the process and passion of selling. It could apply to the relationship between sales and marketing in any company, large or small, within any industry. I am not contesting any of Seth's points. I think they are great and he always amazes me with his thoughts.

Here is his point number 6 of 9:
6. I have no earthly idea what really works. I don't know if it's lunch or that powerpoint or the Christmas card I sent last year. But you know what? You have no clue what works either. I'll keep experimenting if you will.

I wanted to take the exact same quote and insert some additional words to reflect what buyers think of salespeople. In terms of my context, I rewrote it from a client side perspective to illustrate what salespeople are really up against.

As a prospective buyer of a business service, product or a piece of hardware/software - be it a widget or an application - I am trying to point out a systemic problem in business to business sales. The problem is the jaded buyer. Why jaded? Well, because they have likely dealt with a past letdown that began with a bloated promise from a salesperson or sales team.

So please read what I have changed below in with that frame of mind:

"I have no earthly idea what really works. I don't know if what I sold you is going to work as long as lunch or that powerpoint or the Christmas card I sent last year gets me the sale. But you know what? You have no clue if it will work either. I'll keep experimenting if you will, but you will be experimenting on your own dime figuring out if I actually knew what you needed and sold you the right solution. But what I do know is that if quarter-end is near and I may be able to close, I will write, call or sell my first born child to meet that quota."

Yeah, that's more like it. Let the account people or client services handle it after I'm done my sellin'. Those folks have the right skill set to clean up a mess. Me? Nah, I just sell the stuff and move right along.

Now, I am not trying to be hard on sales people here. There are some truly great ones out there with great products. I know of great ones who have stayed the course and helped fix problems and resolve situations along side the account team. My point is that they are hurdles that Seth could probably write at least 9 more points on when it comes to what salespeople ought to know about the jaded buyer's mindset.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Across the Sound wins best Podcast - MarketingSherpa Readers Choice Award

Congratulations go out to Joseph Jaffe for winning the MarketingSherpa Readers Choice Award. Here is a description from the site:

Best Podcast on the topic of Marketing

Across the Sound by Joseph Jaffe

Sherpa Note: This is the first year for the podcasting category. We asked that only readers who actually listened at least a snippet of the nominated podcasts would vote for them. (Yes, we included a hotlink on the voting form to make listening easier.) Congratulations to Joseph for his first-year victory!

I was lucky enough to become an Across the Sound correspondent recently. Wow, the bar is really being held high on this news. If you have not listened to Across the Sound yet, what are you waiting for?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Volkswagen - Word of Mouth value from a very smart print execution - Backseat Driver's Manual

I opened up the July edition of Wired and glued in the middle was a little booklet (well not really that little at 13 pages). I almost dismissed it but it was too big to ignore, which I’m sure was part of the plan. This far from ordinary booklet was titled “Backseat Driver’s Manual” from Volkswagen Jetta.

It addresses such pivotal items as “Radio Station Selection”, “Car to Car Communication”, “Food Distribution”, “Venting of the Rear Cabin” and “Monitoring Fluid Intake” i.e. so unnecessary bathroom breaks are avoided.

I think this is one brilliant print piece in a world where print is arguably lesser and lesser of an engaging medium.

Here’s why:
- It looks like a real manual, authentically poking fun at themselves
- It is based on the realities of annoying passengers and is rather funny
- It contains an “Official Backseat Driver” card you can remove and affix a picture.
- The card is sans logo and/or mention of VW or Jetta brand

But wait, there is no logo? No mention of VW or the Jetta brand on the part you remove and can keep or giveaway? Yes, exactly. They have gotten over themselves. That is where I believe they did the job even better. By managing to avoid slapping themselves all over it really maintains the integrity of the piece as a joke. It has greater pass along value and WOM – word of mouth potential as a result.

I have to assume the clients at Volkswagen are thrilled with the stellar creative ideas from their agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky . These are the same client folks who allowed their product to be smashed with people inside; a gutsy move many clients would have never even though about takin to air.

What could have made this better? Well, there does not seem to be any online component. I did a search and did not come up with much. Thanks to the folks at EMP for the jpg of the booklet I found on their site.

This is just smart. I like.

Friday, June 23, 2006

When I grow up

The allure of a nice gig in marketing and advertisng. Study hard kids, you'll make it one day.

When I grow up .....

Thanks D.O.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Client Cast

The guys at American Copywriter focused on clients for Episode 39 of their podcast. It was insightful to hear how clients are viewed from the other side of the table. It is titled "The suck up edition" (it is a few weeks old already - I've been playing a bit of catch up on my podcasts)

I never expected to laugh out loud when I began listening to American Copywriter. Ricky Gervais has nothing to worry about, but Tug and John are hilarious with their no holds barred commentary. Check it out at and beware of the cold open.

I have enlarged the fine print on the site so you'll know what you are getting into:
"DISCLAIMER: The narrow-minded views and half-baked opinions expressed within these digital files belong exclusively to John and Tug and, occasionally, Jerome or a special guest. The management of Sullivan Higdon & Sink and the agency’s valued clients have, intelligently, divorced themselves from the content of this show and have absolutely no editorial control or input. In fact, they’d likely be horrified by what we actually say here. So, 1.) Please don’t tell them and 2.) If you have a beef, take it up with the person who uttered the nonsense in the first place. Oh, and you know, it’s just a podcast. Just relax and take it all with a several thousand grains of salt.."
BTW - Client Cast? Hmmm , that sounds like a good title for a podcast.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Click Fraud - a primer at iMedia Connection

Do you need to know more about click fraud? iMedia Connection has a decent primer to begin understanding some of the issues marketers face with pay per click advertising and fraud.

It seems like Search Engine Marketing is on everyone's mind these days. It is great to see it being embraced so widely. However, it is hard to determine if there is a deep enough understanding to navigate through the space and avoid some of the potential pitfalls. It would be horrible if the potential for using SEM and allocating the right budget dollars were to dwindle based on rumors that it does not work or it is laden with fraud.

The info is out there arm ourselves. Asking the right questions and understanding your results are only a few clicks away.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Across the Sound - I'm a correspondent

I'm very happy to report that I will be an "official" correspondent for Joseph Jaffe on his marketing podcast, Across the Sound. (Btw - if you have heard it and enjoy it, go vote at Click to Vote: MarketingSherpa Reader's Choice Blog & Podcasting Awards 2006 )

Joseph is the author of Life After the 30-Second Spot . This is really an honour as I have drank the kool-aid. I am a big fan and have nothing but respect for him. He ranks in my "top two" of new marketing thought leaders (the other "top two" individual is someone I am lucky enough to work with. That guy has a blog you can vote for under the "Blogs on general marketing" section at MarketingSherpa).

The correspondent opportunity came about after a dinner with Joseph at the CMA - Canadian Marketing Association National Convention last month in Montreal. Over appetizers, he challenged me to leave an audio comment and get in on the conversation at ATS. So I did, right there while he was sitting ATT (Across the Table).

I have not taken on this gig lightly. Joseph has grown a very large audience of smart people. I will try to stay true to client side issues and perspectives and hope to add some value to the conversation with this unique opportunity.

My call to action for readers of this blog is to let me know what client side insights you would like me to report on. What's on your mind? Leave a comment.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The art of advertising and Bewitched

Kate found this neat site called Ad Access. The fine art of advertising going back to the early days of the trade. Thanks Kate. Quick description:

"Images for over 7,000 ads printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. Focus on: Beauty, TV, Radio, WWII & Transportation."

Remember when all a young ad exec needed to do was dream up a darn good campaign for print then have an artist draft it up to pass it along for typesetting. Then, wait a few days until the client recieved it by post or perhaps have the ad team run it by the client offices. All that just to be told the logo was not big enough!

It always seemed that way on Bewitched with Darrin Stevens and Larry Tate, of McMann & Tate (it never did get changed to McMann, Tate & Stevens - poor Derwood). I never cared much for Larry Tate, he always seemed so fake and "put on" for his clients. Was he the Eddie Haskel of advertising?

He always seemed so scared of his clients. Are we client-siders responsible for creating that kind of fear? Or, was it just that he felt his work was always one step away from a review?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lots of snickers at the Snickers site - and a candy blog too!

Got the munchies?

Candy bar brand Snickers has a very cute site being updated daily. Check out Snickers Satisfies. Thanks to Tug and John at American Copywriter for pointing this one out.

Snickers has also hired a blogger to reach the skater boi segment. That story comes from Adrants, here is a quick excerpt.

"It's an effort by Snickers to smartly reach an audience immune to traditional media. Called The Rover, Jake will traverse the country for a year leading every sk8ter boi's dream; an all expenses paid position as board sports ambassador, hanging with riders and boarders, attending events and drooling over Gretchen Bleiler. Oh, and he'll be blogging the whole thing too. Unsupervised and Unedited we're told. They're will also be podcasts. "

Bong and a Blintz? Uh..., I mean Snickers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tennis anyone? My first One Degree post.

I posted over at One Degree (finally). The thought for this post came to me on my way to CaseCamp on Tuesday. The analogy just made sense.

I committed to Ken Schafer that I would join the conversation over at One Degree and thought this one would be a good kick-off. I look forward to contributing more.

Check out How Tennis Can Improve Your Marketing.

Alexander Keith's could do better

I've never been in the beverage or beer business, but if I were client-side over at Alexander Keith's brand, I may have challenged the thinking behind a recently launched contest. Here is how Marketing Magazine describes the new promo:

"Keith's is asking customers to "Turn Over The Tartan" as part of its first national integrated promotion. Customers can peel away a specially-designed tartan label on Keith's bottles to win Roots apparel and HMV Gift Certificates" along with other prizes.

I wonder if the Keith's client considered any of the items below which, for myself, seemed out of step:

· Turn Over the Tartan seems to be the alcoholic equivalent to Tim Hortons Roll-Up the Rim to Win. Nothing new or exciting here.
· Given the recent publicity surrounding the arrest of Keith's spokesperson who is accused of possessing child pornography, it is a questionable image to put out to the public (i.e. to look under anyone's tartan) given the timing since this news broke.
· Aside from the above point, is this the right message to communicate assuming that the target audience is likely heterosexual twenty something guys? Are they really keen to look under any tartan? Or, am I missing the point here when I assume that the tartan they are referring to is supposed to be on a Scotsman, or is it on Britney Spears?

I like Keith's, I think it is a good beer. For all I know this promo may work well. The site is ok but, I don't see anything breakthrough here.

On another note, I was at a party recently and Heineken was all the rage. Why? The new aluminum bottle packaging. Very cool. The sexiness and appeal of the packaging is working overtime for the brand image. Everyone was talking about it and the chatter was all good for Heineken.

I'd really love to know your comments on this one. Do you think Keith's is on or off with "Turn over the Tartan?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

BarCamp - the T-shirt

An inside joke I want to share is from back in April. Around the same time as Search Engine Strategies Toronto, I missed out on attending BarCamp put on by David Crow. I was quite disappointed that I was unable to make it.

The evening of Barcamp, I sent a Blackberry IM to a good friend who was there with this line:

“This one time, at BarCamp…”

and gained some chuckles for my instant message comic relief.

I relayed the story to David Crow at CaseCamp Toronto tonite and there may be a movement sometime soon to print up “This one time, at Barcamp…” t-shirts in order to help fund future BarCamp events. You heard it here first folks.

Let it be know that I may have just crossed the divide and entered the realm of fashion design. God help us all.

CaseCamp Toronto

Let me be one of the first to congratulate Eli Singer on a job well done. I just got home from CaseCamp Toronto and it was great. It was a gathering of those with a passion for what they do in an open forum to share, learn and network. It was a good vibe all around.

Presenters included Kate Trgovac, of Petro-Canada who shared the 2006 Online Olympic Promotion; Nicole Mondville of RBC Direct Marketing who showed how RBC is transitioning the student segment into an early adult consumers; Eli Singer of Cundari SFP and Susasn Bloch-Nevitte who spelled out how the AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario embraced bloggers as full fledged media representatives and got fabulous results; and Aaron Rothschild and Ethan Henry from Eloqua who presented how automated sales leads were implemented for their client JBOSS.

It was good to see that there were even a few people in attendance from the client side of marketing to participate and learn. However, there were not as many as there should have been.

Check out the CaseCamp wiki. Come out to the next event and check it out for yourself.

CaseCamp Montreal is being put on on July 4 2006 hosted at Twist Image.

Life after The 30 Second Spot author - Joseph Jaffe to keynote 2006 Digital Marketing Conference

I promised I would never double-post (i.e. the exact same post on two blogs). However, I wanted to share this news here as well as on the CMA - Canadian Marketing Association - Canadian Marketing Blog.

So, this little introduction and acknowledgement is enough for me to say I didn’t officially break my doubling-up rule. I will simply point you here: Joseph Jaffe confirmed as keynote for Canadian Marketing Association 2006 Digital Marketing Conference.

Mark your calendars for October 19 & 20th.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hub and spokes

At the centre of anything is an idea. Let’s call an idea the hub.

Directly connected to the hub are spokes. They support the frame ensuring the wheel spins right and true. If we consider our tactics and channels to be the spokes, then special attention must be paid to balancing them.

From a campaign planning and execution perspective, a good idea becomes a successful initiative when the hub spins and the spokes are finely tuned. I’m not saying anything new here; we all know this.

A lot of discussion has been going on around media neutral or agnostic campaign and creative development. I wonder how much has broken through on the client side? It is well worth looking into, debating and exploring, because reliance on only a few spokes may end up warping the whole wheel.

New media and marketing presents challenges and opportunities to rethink things. What has not changed is that a good idea and great execution are the keys.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bill Sweetman of MacLaren McCann Direct & Interactive provides tips and advice on Domain Name Variations

Bill Sweetman, V.P. MacLaren McCann Direct & Interactive has a great post regarding Domain Name Variations on his blog Sweetmantra. Domain Name Variations is also posted at One Degree.

Ken Shaffer of One Degree ( who is now at Tucows ) invited me to join in on a panel discussion with Bill and a few other industry people for his CMA - Canadian Marketing Association eMarkeitng Professional Certificate Course about a year or so ago. Most recently, I heard Bill present at the CMA - Canadian Marketing Association National Conference in Montreal last month. He knows a lot about which he speaks.

For all client side marketers (and agencies aside from MacLarn McCann) thinking about a unique domain or URL for an upcoming initiative, Bill provides the skinny on Domain Name Variations that you should address in the planning phase of campaigns, not after you launch.

Did you hear about the Gordon and Frank affair?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Forget about shaveeverywhere by Philips, Tractor Supply Co. gets my vote

I came across this very cool little site for Tractor Supply Co. after a stop by Adrants.

You can do many things on the site like Get your Mow on with John, or Drop by the Joke Porch (sorry, the jokes are not that funny). Unlike there are no "hedges" to shave/shape - that is a good thing.

Carmichael Lynch and Bent Image Lab are behind the site.

I'd love to know more of the story here. Was the client (Tractor Supply Co.) driving the insight that people in the country need stuff too? Did they purposefully create the appeal to non-urban dwellers by characterizing country folks as they have? Or were they really trying to get more city folk into the stores? Am I too much of a city boy client to nail down the real target audience here? Either way, it's cute and it works.

From a brand perspective, it does a great job helping TSC stand-out from the crowd. If I forget that Philips brought us, I won't likely forget about TSC after "Martin-izing my cell phone" (yes, downloadable country ringtones are available from Martin).

Check out the commercials too. Good job all around.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Seth Godin does not like converstaions

Seth Godin posted "How to get traffic to your blog" yesterday and for the first time turned on the comments option. Then as fast as it went on, he turned it off. He explains his rationale here.

I saw Seth's list of 53 ways to build your blog traffic and did not even look to see if the comments option was on. He had set the tone a long time ago for not accepting comments from readers.

Joseph Jafee has taken a big issue with Seth's "no comments rule"(not to mention his take on Squidoo). I must say I agree with Joseph's opinion on this.

The reason given by Seth is, for myself at least, kind of lame and insulting. He says the following:
"First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them. And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters."

Huh? Aside from insinuating that those who leave comments are more flawed than himself, he just might spend too much time thinking about what others are saying as a result of his thinking. Does Seth refrain from talking with people who have comments on his work? For his own sake, I hope he does not read this!

Seth, you are still a huge hero of mine. But, now I've seen you without your mask on. At least you did not lie about why you don't like comments... or did you?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Do you ask your customers to do as you say, not as you do?

I have been speaking at a variety of conferences in Canada and U.S. recently and it has become customary for me to ask if those in attendance practice what they preach (or what I preach). Have they read a blog, posted comments, listened to a podcast, clicked on banners, used RSS, seen and formed an opinion on user generated content?

Typically less than five or ten percent raises a hand to any of the above.

I always close my sessions with an audience call-to-action. In the past, I have challenged listeners to use their marketing & communication channels in greater harmony. Lately, I have switched to a new call-to-action; get online and do the things that you currently ask, and will in future ask, of your customers and prospects. You can’t expect participation in something that you yourself have no experience with.

Remember back in 1992 when George Bush Sr. seemed amazed with supermarket scanner technology? Everyone was wondering how he could be so out of touch with the average American shopping experience? The context of this story has since been clarified a bit, but the point remains.

The idea to ask these questions to marketers is not mine alone. I can cite two influential sources: First, a lesson I learned very early in my career (thanks to Dan Plashkes - formerly of S&P Data Corp., currently President of SP Data LLC ) is that if you run a team of sales people, you better know how to roll up your sleeves and do some selling yourself.

More recently and directly, this post from Mitch Joel drove me to my new call-to-action.

As an ambassador of your brand, whatever it is, you have to know what you ask of others. Start by calling your own 800 number, navigating your own website, walking into your retail location and seeing it though the eyes of the average citizen. It is really that simple.


Article in today's Globe & Mail by Simon Avery speculates on what a "partnership between Research In Motion Ltd. and Apple Computer Inc." would produce.

The Kreskin-like prediction in the article "was floated yesterday by Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Capital Inc., who last year accurately predicted a partnership with RIM and Intel Corp."

As a recent BlackBerry addict, I'm not sure that I need to spend any more time using my thumbs and ignoring the rest of the world. One fruit flavor per device seems to be enough for now.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Client voice absent in MarketingSherpa report

By the very name of this blog, you had to know I might take issue with MarketingSherpa's - SPECIAL REPORT: How to Market to Canadians Online - Advice, Data, Legal Info and Useful Hotlinks. All of the interviews and quotes were from agencies and suppliers. Not a client voice to be heard in the bunch.

The saving grace was that all those interviewed were outstanding choices. A wide range of industry leaders were represented. It was an interesting read. However, the report may have been a bit more rounded with examples and opinions from the client side.