Posts Tagged ‘great marketing’



October 7, 2013

I used to read Time Magazine every week. But like many of you, I stopped subscribing to it a decade ago. Now, I am one of the “lobby readers” trying to find it when I am in various waiting rooms. With the failure of US News and World Report as a print and as a digital magazine, I was wondering what is happening with Time?

It looks like it is still growing. Nancy Gibbs was just named the magazine’s new managing editor. She is a long-time veteran of the magazine, joining as a fact checker back in 1985. In various media interviews Gibbs has revealed that Time’s total readership is bigger than at any point in its history as a result of digital readership. Gibbs recently told Ad Age she doesn’t foresee the title going digital-only.

The question remains, however, who is paying for it, as advertisers continue to ditch print. This is the core question facing every magazine and newspaper in the next 12-months. Can a business model be developed that allows digital and print to survive as partners? I just got back from Portland and the Oregonian has launched one of the most innovative approaches by eliminating home delivery on selected days and trying to move more people online.

This week ask yourself what challenges are you facing in the next 12-months and what plans do you have to solve them?



October 1, 2013

This post is aimed at tourism businesses or DMO (Destination Marketing Organizations). I am pleased to announce that my firm will begin publishing a monthly research review, DCG TRAVEL REFLECTIONS in October.

The goal of this new monthly publication is to provide a “Readers Digest” review of research that could help tourism related businesses/destinations do a better job of marketing. It will be short and sweet, including findings from my company’s research (DCG Research), but also findings from other research studies. The goal is to provide information that will make a difference in your marketing. If you would like a free subscription, simply email me:



September 16, 2013

Don’t think you have to have a mobile marketing strategy? Take a look at this research. According to a comScore MobiLens study (March 2013) mobile penetration is nearing 100% of the world’s population with more devices than people. Think about that for a minute. There are now more tablets and cellphones than people!

Of mobile users, 91% own smartphones. Apple (45%) and Android (48%) make up the majority. And 47% of tablet owners access retail content, and over 50% of this audience has a household income greater than $75,000 a year.

These mobile consumers (core market is 18-44 male), are increasingly comfortable with shopping and spending on their mobile devices. This research suggests that mobile extends the desktop retail audience (people that shop online at home via computer) by 45%; therefore, consumers continue their shopping experience across devices, and ultimately driving purchase, by any method.

Interestingly, when in-store, men and women use their smartphones differently. Women are a third more likely to engage in social behaviors, such as texting a friend or family member about a product, while men are two-thirds more likely to scan a barcode or compare product prices.

The two major factors that influence consumers making a retail purchase? Price and social factors. Price is the overwhelming influencer on its own, but price is also the motivation when consumers are looking for or using mobile coupons or signing up for store rewards. Social is the second most influential factor overall. Reading customer reviews, social media, and recommendations are all forms of social influence when purchasing a product on a smartphone.

This week you need to meet to discuss your mobile marketing strategy for the next 12 months. It is critical.



August 21, 2013

As reported by various media, Apple will introduce two new iPhones in September, and it is also gearing up production of a new iPad mini. Apple has decided to shift its iPad screen production to Samsung (a chief competitor) from AU Optronics. I  was curious why AU Optronics, the current maker of iPad mini screens, would be willing to give up this business.

“We cannot take orders because our rate of output efficiency is too low to be profitable,” said a manager at AU Optronics. He noted the company doesn’t make a profit from manufacturing current iPad mini screens. You can’t make money with volume when you lose money on every item.

Now, we all know this, but how often do you keep doing something because you simply won’t admit to yourself that it is not working? Ego, it might be the biggest marketing issue many businesses have today.



August 19, 2013

How do we find the “big win?” That’s a question I am often asked when helping with a company’s marketing. While a big win is great, I tell clients that big marketing bets can turn into big losers. Just take a look at the film industry this summer.

Disney recently warned Wall Street that it will lose $190 million on Johnny Depp’s “The Lone Ranger,” according to Variety. Last year, Disney booked a $200 million write down on “John Carter.” Disney CEO Bob Iger continues to bet big on his “tentpole” strategy, spending more than almost any other studio on movies aimed at creating a blockbuster.

Yes, some bets pay off. “Iron Man 3,” the top grossing film this year ($407 million), was a blockbuster. While I encourage companies to look for the big win, I also tell them they need to continue their investments in doing the little things right in marketing. That’s how you build a company for the future. What are you doing this week to invest in the little things that will make your marketing more powerful?



August 14, 2013

Following up on my two posts discussing the differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials, Nielsen NeuroFocus research concluded their report by describing some characteristics of each group.

Boomers – They prefer clever, light-hearted humor (rather than mean-spirited) and relatable characters who are Boomers themselves or not much younger. The tone should be positive, avoiding words like “don’t.” For Boomer males, clever wit and calm dialogue-driven storylines work. For Boomer females, family friendly humor and sentimental themes resonate best.

Millennials – They prefer off-beat, sarcastic and slapstick humor. Like Boomers, they respond to characters that are relatable to them and their life stage. Highly arresting visuals (special effects, unexpected visual elements) will best capture their attention. For Millennial males, extreme, off-beat and sports-related situations really work. For Millennial females, aspirational themes (female celebs, having fun) are strong.



August 2, 2013

Yesterday, August 1st, was the official 60 year anniversary of locally owned KOBI television in Southern Oregon. Congratulations. If you haven’t noticed, locally owned businesses are a vanishing breed.

I first met owner Patsy Smullin when I arrived in the area looking for a job to supplement my life as a B&B owner in Jacksonville. While I didn’t take a KOBI job, over the years, I’ve become a big fan of everyone on the KOBI team. Bob, Mike, Pete, Scott, Judy, Donna, Connie, Alicia, Jeff, I simply couldn’t mention all the quality people I have had the pleasure of working with in thirty years. Some left KOBI and are now respected competitors.

The most impressive thing about Patsy is her personal and honest commitment to serving viewers (the customer). Dealing with change has also impressed me. Pasty is working in a world that looks far different from when her dad, William B, started KOBI in 1953. Patsy didn’t seek a leadership role in the family business. But like most great people, when asked to serve, she responded with vision and leadership (and I am sure personal sacrifices).

If you read my blog, you know that the future of local broadcast is far from certain. It will take Powershift Marketing – embracing change and staying ahead of customers – if KOBI is to celebrate future milestones as a locally owned business. I believe Patsy and her team are up to the challenge!



August 1, 2013

Are you a small business that is overwhelmed with social media? You are not alone. A recent report shows that even giant Fortune 500 Corporations (F500) are struggling to use social media tools. As reported by various media, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research has studied social media use in F500 firms since 2008. Their most current study reveals:

Blog Use – Only 34% of F500 firms host public blogs. Fortunately, 79% are kept current, take comments, have RSS feeds and take subscriptions. How are you doing with your blog or do you need one?

Twitter Use – Most (77%) have accounts with a tweet in the past thirty days. Only 8 of the top 10 companies (WalMart, Exxon, Chevron, Phillips 66, Apple, General Motors, General Electric and Ford Motors) consistently post on their account.

Facebook Use – Again, most (66%) are on Facebook. Coca-Cola has the biggest fan base, 42,226,297. How many fans do you have?

YouTube Use – Sixty two percent (62%) have corporate YouTube accounts. There were four “Specialty YouTube” accounts focused on fundraising and education.

Pinterest Use – Only 2% use Pinterest. Companies include: Lowe’s, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Whole Foods Market, Dollar Tree, Dillard’s, Eastman Kodak and Live Nation.

Bottom-line: You can’t afford F500 corporations to take over social media with their vast budgets and staffs. They have the potential for dominating this media. If you need help, let’s talk. My firm is now writing and developing online content and would be happy to help you explore low-cost ways to compete.



July 11, 2013

Affordability is the prime marketing challenge facing most colleges today, especially in Oregon. Public funding has plunged, tuitions have surged and the total student-loan debt in America now exceeds $1 trillion. And now interest rates on government tuition loans have doubled. The core marketing challenge is helping people afford college.

That’s why one of the best marketing ideas for higher education I’ve heard of is Oregon’s proposed “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back” plan, which would create a “no money down” fund that students would draw from and eventually pay back (3% of their salary for 24 years). The plan is only in the study committee phase now, and Oregon won’t decide until 2015 whether to implement the program.

A state senator from Beaverton, Mark Hass, stated in a Wall St. Journal story, “We have to get way out of the box if we’re going to get serious about getting young people into college and out of college without burdening them with a lifetime of debt.”

Oregon’s plan has parallels to income-based repayment models used for decades in the U.K. and Australia, and more recently in the U.S. Under the Oregon plan, students who don’t graduate would still pay a fraction of their incomes into the fund; the amount would depend on how long they were in school. What new ideas are you bringing to the table in your business?



March 19, 2013

I just finished a new e-book for nonprofit marketing, based on my POWERSHIFT MARKETING book. It gave me a chance to re-read and continue to update my book, and guess what? The fundamental idea behind my POWERSHIFT MARKETING approach is still very relevant. Need proof? Just take a look at McDonald’s.

A year ago, their February 2012 U.S. sales were up 11.1%. This February, they are down 1.5%, the third decline in five months. McDonald’s is just another firm facing a rapidly changing world, with smaller chains such as Chipotle and Panera taking the lead in reshaping customers’ expectations about fast food. Long-time competitors such as Burger King, Taco Bell and Wendy’s are also revamping their menus and stepping up advertising.

As I state in my book: POWERSHIFT MARKETING requires a company to embrace change, understand where their customers are heading, and respond to these needs immediately. Small actions, taken every day, can dramatically improve your marketing. Don’t take your foot off the gas and you will move ahead of your competition!”

I thought my book offered good advice in 2010, but it might be even better advice in 2013.