Archive for August, 2009


Give Me a Break!

Most religions stress the concept of forgiveness, turning the other cheek and the idea of forget and forgive. For most, this ideology is hard to implement, especially if the guilty party hurt or harmed a family member or loved one. But what if, we extracted revenge and made sure the bad guy got what was coming to him/her. How does this change destiny?

I know, a rather deep topic for today, but with the passing of Edward “Ted” Kennedy, I had to think about his magnificent life, career and the thousands of people he touched and helped. So, how would the world have changed if he was sentenced in the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne, in the now infamous “Chappaquiddick incident?”


PR on the Interent Alive and Well

With the decline of marketing dollars comes the harsh reality that something has to go. In the world of media and public relations, it happens to be staff…writers and editors getting the axe.

It wasn’t too long ago, that when you submitted an article for review to an editor or reporter, they would have specific steps for review, interview and if lucky, they would write about your product, service or company. Those days are long gone, so what can you do to get the word out? Here are three quick ideas to get more out of your Internet publicity:

1. Old school thinking about PR is out, and start thinking out of the box. Gone are the days of road trips and analyst presentations. In are ways to reach millions of targets using the latest marketing analytic’s and as well as helping the media help you get the story published. Posts, blogs, white papers, webinars, email, e-newsletters are all forms of reaching out. But the tip on being successful, is tying all of them to lead generation, which turn into sales and ultimately help justify your marketing and pr spend.

2. Public Relations and the ultimate electronic survey. Knowing your audience, what they read, spend money on, concerns and needs are critical to getting your messaging right. Knowing the right information about your targets will get your material read. Three simple areas for surveying are the company website; email and e-newsletters; and banner ads. Keep in mind, not all surveys work…you need to put time and thought into asking the right questions.

3. Registering your campaign to gain effective exposure includes understanding the power of Spiders, Worms and Web Crawlers. Getting posted and page 1 listings on directories like Google, Yahoo and Bing can be done with software that allows for one-stop registration. Sure it takes time to do the posting, but well worth the additional exposure.

What’s your plan for the next announcement or press release? Think about using the Internet in ways that haven’t been tried yet. I’m positive you’ll be successful.


Technology barrier for Twitter

I have to admit I’m not a Twitter fan. Frankly, my ego isn’t big enough for that technology. Come on, do you really want to hear about me going shopping at Fry’s, driving in traffic, where I’m eating, or my lavish vacation in Milpitas, California?

Some of my marketing peers have rushed to embrace Twitter and Facebook as a “must” for their technology clients to be on, but I’m disagreeing with their recommendations on these two Internet marvels. Unless the technology company is selling to the consumer, this is a very expensive medium to put any marketing dollars, especially for the small return on their investment. Time, money, staff…someone has to manage this process, and I just don’t believe it is worth the investment.

On the other hand, YouTube has a number of merits for a technology company, with the biggest being FREE digital asset management for their product or educational video’s. Here are a couple of………
“Oh sorry, I got distracted as I just got Tweeted, my sister is at the pet groomers getting little Sammy trimmed.”

Let me know if you agree on Tweeter and Facebook?


If you lie to start with, where’s the trust?

I often wonder if telemarketers understand what they are reading when they call to solicit. I say that because recently I’ve had a number of telemarketers call me regarding my health, my car’s health, my choice of cable or satellite services, and today my business status with the Better Business Bureau.

My God, the Better Business Bureau calling me…gee I must be special. The young sounding woman on the other end of the phone called to tell me they received an inquiry about my business and was calling to get some updated information. I acknowledge her for reaching out and calling me, and gave her some of the basics…address, years in business…all the stuff that one could get via my website.

Feeling confident she had enough information, she soon moved in for the close. We’d like you to join etc. “Wait a minute I thought to myself,” I’ve just been hustled. I stopped the conversation and ask if she had the name of the company that made the inquiry. She politely said they don’t give that information out. I politely asked her “So, really there was no inquiry was there? Come on tell the truth!” With a small pause she admitted it was her script she was reading and most likely no inquiry.

After her admission of guilt I asked a simple question, “how can a company, like the Better Business Bureau, an organization known as a brand you turn to for trusted advice, use a telemarketing script which lies from the get go? “ Of course she couldn’t answer that.

It seems too obvious that if the company, who wants your business lies over the little things in the beginning, can’t be trusted in the relationship. What happens when you are doing business with them?

Great brands build trust. Trust and respect build customers. What’s your take on it?


When Ad Campaigns Go Horribly Wrong…

On today’s Yahoo News items, they had an article entitled “10 Promotional Stunts That Horribly Backfired“, which told of a number of major consumer advertising campaigns that didn’t end up the way the client or the agency had hoped. They named some top brands like Sony, Pepsi, KFC and McDonald’s, all of which paid BIG dollars for those creative minds, not to mention the media spend and other expenses.

My favorite of their stories was the Snapple soft drinks company attempt at a Guinness World Record for the largest ice pop, and in this case they went with the tasty “kiwi-strawberry drink.” The problem: The stunt took place mid-June. Immediately upon unloading, the melted juice poured from the truck, creating a syrupy tidal wave down Union Square and a massive headache for cleanup crews. The worst part — aside from the few minor injuries: The 25-foot-tall ice pop needed to be free-standing to be declared a record.

This reminded me of a hot summer day many years ago, when my then client a well known chip manufacturer was holding its 25th birthday party and circus event in their company parking lot. Simple task for us, organize rides, games, give-a-ways and a 25 foot long birthday cake. The problem: 108 degrees outside in what was a record-breaking heat wave for San Jose, and a 25 foot birthday cake that was melting faster than we could clean up the mess. Add to it, no one knew there was a Bee Keeper with over 1000 hives just a few blocks from the campus. Yep, you get the picture! I can laugh about it now, but then OMG, bees everywhere, people running, kids screaming and our client in a complete melt-down. Oh the horror! LOL.

My other memory of things that have gone wrong, was with a client we had just lost to another agency. The now defunct Valco Mall in Cupertino, California had selected an agency in San Francisco to handle their upcoming holiday campaign. Frankly, I was a bit miffed about losing the account, especially after having been with them for a number of years, but when a new marketing manager comes in, sometimes out goes the old vendors and in with the new.

The problem: The new agency decided to do a number of fashion ads, which featured the local San Jose Sheriff. The Sheriff by the way was running for re-election, so it was a smart move for him to get all that free publicity. Or not. In this case, the ads featured the Sheriff hand-cuffing young scantily-clad girls, and unfortunately for the Sheriff, the pictures almost looked X-rated. Women libbers from all around the Bay Area protested, wrote letters, and demonstrated at the Mall.

I can still remember the agency owner saying on TV when interviewed, “Even bad PR is good PR.” Not so good for the agency and the new marketing director, they got fired. As for the Sheriff, you guessed it, he lost the election. Ok, I feel a little bad about what happened…LOL. Glad it wasn’t me.

August 2009