Business Growth Strategy

OK, so my business (or yours) is based in Pittsburgh and not in one of the following Top 10 Metros Poised For Growth (ranked by projected strength of their retail markets) and you want to build your business.  What can you do? How about consider direct/online marketing to prospects in these markets or create licensee, franchisee or satellite offices there? It’s a great time to plan a new sales growth strategy. And, what about Europe – with all the Web has to offer your business, you can compete with the big guys.

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Dallas/Fort Worth
  4. Atlanta
  5. Houston
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Orange County, Calif.
  8. San Diego
  9. Chicago
  10. Portland, Ore.

Source: Grubb & Ellis’ "2008 Global Real Estate Forecast"


America’s Most Visited Memorials


As a marketer, I encourage my clients to tie into natural sales building events and time periods such as holidays, but as an American and Christian I struggle with the amount of commercialism on Memorial Day Weekend and throughout the Christmas and Easter seasons.

As you know, the purpose of Memorial Day is to honor America’s war dead. The intent of this holiday that originated in
the U.S. after the Civil War as “Decoration Day,” was to be a time for grateful
citizens to lay flowers at the graves of those killed in battle.

These memorials and monuments act as symbols of our respect and reverence,

Here is a list and brief review of the America’s 15 most visited memorials as reported by Forbes Traveler.

The first memorial I ever visited was the American Cemetery in Normandy.

Normandy impacted me – the pain I felt was overwhelming – thinking about all of those young lives sacrificed for my freedom – I was and still am so honored. I took a large pine cone from the cemetery which is still in my office after eight years and see it practically everyday and say a prayer for those heroes of mine.

What you find throughout Europe (stated in article too) is that you see more of the bad things of war – the destruction, the pain, the brutality – whereas is America you don’t. And, we should because I think American Memorials (with all due respect to our heroes) do not shed enough light of the horrors of war. If they did, maybe we’d think twice or maybe 20, 50, 100 times more before we consider sending our kids to war.

This Memorial Day instead of buying something you don’t really need, buy a wreath and lay it on a grave of a veteran you know or do not know.  Or simply visit and share a prayer. In your travels, do yourself and your family a big favor and honor those who bought our freedom with their lives and visit and pay homage.

America’s Most Visited Memorials (source, Forbes Traveler)

1. Arlington Cemetery, Monuments and Memorials, Washington, D.C., 4 million visitors

2. World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C., 3,547,583 visitors

3. Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C., 3,538,479 visitors

4. Korean War Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C., 3,208,690 visitors

5. Gettysburg National Military Park, Penn., 1,702,764 visitors

6. USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 1,539,986 visitors

7. Valley Forge National Historic Park, Penn., 1,230,618 visitors

8. Minute Man National Historic Park, Concord, Mass., 1,093,352 visitors

9. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Ga. & Tenn., 923,061 visitors

10. Fort Sumter National Monument, S.C., 792,933 visitors
11. Vicksburg National Military Park, Miss., 787,831 visitors

12. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Md., 610,599 visitors

13. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Va., 478,109 visitors

14. Guilford Courthouse, National Military Park, N.C., 447,469 visitors

15. Shiloh National Military Park, Tenn. & Miss., 344,438 visitors


15 New Beer Brands – Ugh

As I look forward to rooting for the Pittsburgh Penguins to bring the Stanley Cup back home, I’m sure I’ll be having a few beers to celebrate. However, I’m pretty darn sure I won’t be touching any of the following from this list of the Top 15 New Beer Brands In 2007 (don’t even know why they’re all called beer either).

1| Miller Chill

2 | Bacardi Silver Mojito

3 | Landshark Lager

4 | Bud Light Chelada

5 |Smirnoff Ice Pomegranate Fusion

6 |Mike’s Hard Light Cranberry Lemonade

7 |Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus

8| CM Parrot Bay Pineapple Colada

9 | Budweiser Chelada

10 |Michelob Ultra Tuscan Orange Grapefruit

#5 and #6 in my opinion by name alone have a chance of surviving. I rest my 25+ year case of the fact that 99% of brand extensions stink and have no chance of success.

While it doesn’t make sense for all brands to have reviews on their web sites, consider how you can implement one as you check out this review of the soon to die (my opinion) Budweiser Chelada.

Source of list: Information Resources, Inc.   


Your Name on Toast


Over the years, I’ve been involved and blessed to help in the marketing special non profits such as the Ronald McDonald House, American Cancer Society and several more and have always been impressed with the people who make a career of it and volunteers alike. I
have also seen a wide variety of creative ways to raise funds, but here’s a tactic that takes the cake – or rather toast!

Your Name on Toast benefits Oxfam Ireland which works with people around the world to end the
injustice of poverty. Oxfam Ireland is a member of Oxfam International,
a confederation of thirteen independent members. The members work
together to achieve greater impact by their collective efforts.

Slainte!  Brilliant!


Pittsburgh Penguins Mobile Into Stanley Cup Finals

180pxiceburgh As the Penguins smacked the Fliers into submission today with a 6-0 victory, and are moving onto the Stanley Cup finals, I thought you’d find interesting how they’re scoring with mobile marketing off the ice.

I couldn’t link to the AdAge story (buy a subscription here- hint), so here it is in its entirety.

Penguins Sell Tickets via Cellphone Alerts
Team Scores With Effort to Sell Empty Seats, Now Trying Contests, Updates

Jeremy Mullman

Published: April 21, 2008

CHICAGO ( — Several major marketers have found themselves
stonewalled when it comes to measurable and effective uses for mobile
technology, but a National Hockey League team is scoring big with a
text-messaging program.

Hot ticket:
Fans of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins form around-the-block lines when
discounted seats are advertised via text message.

Faced with persistently unsold tickets and a bevy of would-be attendees
priced out of the action at area colleges, the Pittsburgh Penguins in
2006 started sending news of available, severely discounted seats to
college kids on the mornings of home games. The messages noted how many
tickets were unsold, letting students know if they needed to camp out
all day to get one of a few available, or if tickets were ample enough
that they’d be available at the booth just before the puck was dropped.

Get ’em while they’re young
Jeremy Zimmer, the team’s
director of new media, said the promotion helped fill otherwise empty
seats and strengthened the Penguins’ bond with students it hopes will
grow up to become season-ticket holders. "We want to engage them while
they’re young, and get them excited about the team early," he said.
"This was a great way to do that."

The around-the-block lines of students waiting to buy $100
tickets for $20 on some days proved as much, but the Penguins — who
feature two of the NHL’s top young stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni
Malkin — improved enough this season that every game sold out on its
own, leaving the division-leading team searching for a new way to reach
out to younger fans.

So the team tapped mobile agency Vibes Media to run a series
of contests and giveaways via cellphone. In one, it promised to give
away a puck autographed by Mr. Crosby on the young star’s 21st

Messages went out to 2,000 subscribers, and 1,800 replied for a shot at
the signed puck within the first hour. "That response shows that we’re
tapping a fan base that’s just rabid," said Michael Cahan, Vibes’
director-sports and media.

The Penguins also offered a mobile program aimed at its
general fan base, sending team news alerts, including game recaps and
each game’s three stars (a nightly hockey honor awarded after most TV
broadcasts end) to 20,000 fans this year, compared with 8,000 a year

The team has yet to tap the channel as a major new source of
sponsorship revenue just yet, but that may be coming. Pizza Hut has
sponsored some of the alerts and has also delivered free pizzas to fans
camping out for a shot at text-promoted tickets.


Borders Faces the Music

Borders_booksThe Borders Group has endeared itself to me again by deciding to display the majority of its books by its face – not the traditional way by the book’s spine.

Did you know that this was one of the initial merchandising strategies of Blockbuster video too.

Border’s needs to radically improve sales, but this effort will reduce its inventories by 5-10%, so it might pose to be a gamble of sorts, but is it really?

How many times do you see a book in a store that a few days earlier was $40, only to be sold at $4.99.


Nissan Electric Car in 2010

The New York Times reported that Nissan Racing will have an Electric Car on the market in 2010. Nissan said that they’re ramping up development because of high gas prices, environmental concerns, and to meet stricter fuel-economy standards.

Nissan?  Hello Detroit anybody there? You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Back in the late ’70s during the Carter administration with oil shortages, long gas lines and when gas was about 60 cents a gallon where was the innovation? Where was the political and business leadership?  Where were our modern day Edisons or Westinghouses and Kennedys? Where are they now?

How many priceless lives have been lost due to oil and how much of our blessed environment have we killed – it’s shameful and sinful. If you calculate the cost of wars, lives, defense etc., into the future – which American leaders could have easily done (a very easy business case), they could have simply incentivized the Big 3 to come up with an electric car and supportive system in 10 years – I’m sure of it.

I’d bet that Edison and Ford would have accomplished built an effective electric car over a long weekend while vacationing in Ft. Myers.

I blame corporate America too for the lack of ingenuity.

Innovation is lacking in so many businesses – fast fail risk taking is key to rising above your competition and leaving the world a better place.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, check out Dean Kamen – love this guy!

Here’s a quick video of Kamen’s Miracle Water Distiller!

Note: Famous picture of Edison above sleeping in his Laboratory.


PapaJohn’ Over $1 Billion

Mama Mia!

In early May, reported that it blew by the one billion mark and expects to hit two billion in less than three years!  Since 2001 online sales have grown more than 50% each year hitting nearly $400 million in 2007.  Over 20% of its sales come online or through a text.  One day they feel that combined they will surpass phone sales.

Check out the CNN.Com story here!

If you’re in the Pizza business, are you an oline category killer or do you simply send weekly fliers like 98% of everyone else?

I’m pretty sure Papa John’s was the first Pizza Chain to offer text ordering last year – Great Job PJ!