15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day

As a 50 percenter of Irish blood and a serial marketing professional, I thought I’d offer you dear reader, my 15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day to help you find your little pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow!

And, I’ll offer them quickly because I shouldn’t even be working this hard today as I’m 17 days away from – and preparing for – St. Patrick’s Day which is one of my many “high holy days” – and there’s a Guinness pint with my name of it at my favorite Pittsburgh Irish pub (Riley’s Pour House) and it’s getting warm! So here you go!

1. Green Marketing Lesson One – Making Money. Always keep money (making it or saving it) front and center of any marketing campaign. If you know anything about the Irish (and I do growing up in a large extended family), the majority have experienced challenging economic times and know the value of a dollar. So, incorporating zero based budgeting into your marketing processes will help you become more creative and help you do a lot more for less. 

2. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Sustainability. These days when you hear brands talk about sustainability, it’s related to the environment, but the basic pure definition of sustainability is “the capacity to endure.” Using the same color in your marketing communications reinforces your brand, makes your marketing work harder for you and enables your marketing to endure.

3. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Color. Design and color can help you communicate a great deal. Red – hot, stop; Blue – cool. etc., Keep in mind that all colors also come in a great deal of shades so don’t be boring and predictable.  Green has about 50 unique shades.

4. Create Multi-Sensory Emotional Appeals (e.g., appeal to people’s five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). In a prior post about, “Marketing with Sound,” I discussed the awesome power of sound, but you should also consider all of the ways you can appeal to your customer’s five senses. St. Patrick’s Day appeals them all with color, strong visuals of parades, people having fun; taste of ethnic foods like corned beef and cabbage and drink (pints of Guinness and shots of Jameson) etc.,

5. Appeal to One’s Ethnic Heritage. There’s nothing wrong with appealing to people’s ethnic heritage – net, different strokes for different folks.  In fact, it’s a growing and popular strategy due to our mobile society, immigration, single parent households etc.

Some of this strategy’s keys to success include knowing your market well, being aware of unique cultural nuances, being respectful etc.  Disney’s Epcot Theme Park’s World Showcase is a great example of ethnic marketing, but Denny’s Restaurants’ old Pancake promotion is not.

6. Be Inclusive with Your Marketing. As much of an Irish heritage appeal the holiday provides, St. Patrick’s Day is all-inclusive and welcomes everyone to celebrate – everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

7. Special Event/Thematic/Celebration/Holiday Marketing. Giving a unique thematic association to your marketing messages makes it easier for your customers to understand you and more immediately recognize you too. Tie-ing in to a major holiday celebration gives your promotion authenticity and a “reason why” you’re holding a sales event.

8. Limited Time Appeal.
Having a hard date against a campaign creates urgency, excitement and traffic. Pretty obvious statement, but many marketers leave far too many campaigns without a clear end date and a sense of urgent appeal.

9. Spokesperson/figurehead/celebrity/image appeal. Having a Saint as your celebrity figurehead ain’t too shabby, but it’s the consistency of using the same appealing celebrity with a unique story is what works.

10. Iconic Marketing – Shamrock – brand, sell, profit. Mickey Mouse’s Ears, Ronald McDonald’s big red shoes, McDonald’s Arches and more.

Shamrocks do the same for today’s holiday – it’s the day’s badge of honor and identification. What’s your badge ID?

11. Rule of Threes. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the common Shamrock to teach the Celtic Pagans about the unique Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – 3 in 1 Godhead.

However, the “rule of three” symbolism in the good man’s teaching is relevant today as well because people’s minds are noisy and limited. Using the rule of three enables you to get them to remember you and buy-in a presentation or product mix selection. Small, medium, large; gold, silver, bronze; 3 bears; 3 blind mice; 3 Stooges (see more examples/proof here) – trust me – the rule of three rocks.

12. Be Positive. You won’t find a more positive group of people that the Irish. Despite all of their “Troubles” who else tells you that you can find a pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow? At Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this past Saturday, people throughout the day referred to the cold constant rain as nothing more, “a little Irish mist!”

13. Be Nice. You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer bunch of people than the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day too.

14. Have fun and don’t take yourself so seriously. In this age of “political correctness” the Irish are for the most part a happy and fun bunch and most Irish demeaning jokes bounce of them like water on a duck.

15. Plan Your Luck by Working Hard. In my opinion, “the luck of the Irish” is based on hard work – simple as that. You’ve probably heard the saying, the harder you work the luckier you get!” Well, its true. The majority of Irish are no strangers to hard work and I believe – all things being equal – people that work harder and smarter than their peers will meet with more profitable success in a shorter period of time.

Got to run, my pint is getting warm.

Slan (Gaelic for “farewell for now”)!

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A Great Demo of How to Wow

In our client strategy sessions, we always discuss “How to deliver a ‘WOW'” because most brands don’t take the time to think how they can create brand buzz – or, believe they can!

Every brand has a ‘WOW” within them – cost effective ones to be nurtured with thought and care – that will effectively separate themselves from their competitors and carve out a unique branded value proposition, awareness etc.

For example, here’s a ‘WOW’ case study right in our own backyard by a small family owned window cleaning company based in Pittsburgh.

Their idea is a cool and commendable story. The idea was a simple lift of one that a firm executed  in another country.

This simple ‘WOW’ paid off big time too. The brand made a more favorable impression with clients, prospects, employees and for its potential little customers that will last a lifetime. In addition, this ‘WOW’ landed the company and its owners on the front page of Pittsburgh’s major daily papers, 6PM and 11PM TV news and more. Do you have a ‘WOW’ cooking NOW?  If not, why not? You can do it and get people buzzing about your brand!
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10 Ps of Marketing

Throughout my career, I’ve used the original four (4) Ps (Product, Price, Place (Distribution), Promotion) with great success and the formula works quite well to this day.

However, over the last 10 years, I’ve added a few more Ps to my list.  These additional Ps have helped me provide a more thorough Marketing Audit and effective marketing mix. The 10 Ps have uncovered additional sales building opportunities and cost savings for our brands.

Here is my entire list of 10 Ps and a few related questions (certainly not an exhaustive list) to ask of your brand. Good luck with your answers!

10 Ps of Marketing

  1. Product – Discuss and review needs and opportunities pertaining to design, technology, usefulness, convenience, value, quality, packaging, branding, sizing etc.
  2. Price – Discuss price strategies such as cost-plus, loss leader and more. See ‘How to Get Your Pricing Right.’ And, discuss potential cost increases (cost of goods, labor, insurance, taxes) and sales impact.
  3. Place – Discuss and review needs and opportunities with regard to retail operations, wholesale, mail order, internet, direct sales, multi-channel, USA vs. Europe, headquarters etc.
  4. Promotion – Review special offers, BOGOs, advertising, endorsements, direct marketing, free gifts, Groupon etc. See ‘Think and Plan for Christmas in July.’
  5. Promise – Discuss and review whether or not you’re truly delivering on a unique brand promise.  And, if you don’t even have one – get one.
  6. Positioning – Discuss and review ways in which your customers position you (it’s all about them and their beliefs not yours), where you want to be positioned (e.g., low cost provider) and plans to get there.
  7. People – Review needs and opportunities regarding culture, employees, interns, management, customer service etc.
  8. Performance (Proof) – Discuss and review ways you can prove your brand promise. Are you using testimonials, have you won meaningful awards. Success begs Trust – how to you prove your trustworthiness?
  9. Process – Discuss and review checklists and critical paths of making things, delivering things, hiring people.  Look for ways to speed up processes and decrease error rates.
  10. POW – Discuss and review unique ways to surprise and delight customers that make you special in their eyes. Work to bulletproof your dramatic difference.

I hope you find this exercise helpful in building your brand and helping you to uncover sales building and cost savings opportunities!

Good luck!

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60 Free Local Business Online Directories

A great profitable step to take on your way to total local market domination is to take advantage of all of the FREE and EASY ways to help customers find you.

Forget the old days of advertising in the Yellow Pages with a ‘big ad is better’ mentality. If you’re still a believer in that strategy, you’re just going to lose your hard earned money – maybe even your business – a little bit faster.

As a local business – small or large – attracting new customers will always be a challenge so you need to work hard to keep your name profitably visible.

For the majority of people today, opening up a local Yellow Pages book to find a business is an outdated, antiquated – if not non-existent – method for of search!

Today, we simply Google to find your business – and you better be there at the top of the page!

Today, there’s a great, free and easy way for local businesses to get found on the Web and that is, by completing their profiles in online directories  and claiming their turf. And, it seems these directories continue to pop up online.

It’s pretty simple to add a listing, but if you’re only listing with Google – as powerful as it is – you’re missing out on lots of opportunities to get found by people who are interested NOW in what you’re selling.

Did you know that 82% of local internet searches follow-up offline with an in-store visit, phone call or purchase? Well, it’s true.  In fact, check out this Local Web Infographic for more insights.

Every online directory you submit your Business to gives you one more chance to step up to the plate and hit a home run with your customers.

Over the past few year or so, we’ve come across over 60 free online directories to date (see below), and wish you much success in using the list to help you get found.  If you come across any others, please let us know so we can add to our list.

60 A to Z and Free Local Business Online Directories

AOL Patch SitesAmerican TownsAxciomBest Deals onBest of the Web
BingBizJournals.comBiznikBrownbookChoiceVendor.com (TBD – bought by LinkedIn)
CitySearchCitySlickCitySquaresCityVoterDex
Discover our TownFoursquareGenieknowsGoogle PlacesHopStop
HotfrogInfignosInfoUSAJudysbookJustclicklocal
 Kudzu LinkedInLocal.comLocalCompanySearchLocalEze
Localndex.comLocal Pages Local Site SubmitMagic YellowMapquest
 Manta MatchPoint Merchant CircleMetrobotMojoPages
 MyhuckleberryNavteq GPSOutside.inRelyLocalShowMeLocal
Supermedia
(Yellow Pages)
TeleAtlasThinkLocalTopixTwibs
UsCity.netUSYellowPagesWhitepagesYahoo!Yellowassistance
 YellowbookYellowbotYellowPages.comYelpZiplocal
ZipwebTravelocity*UrbanSpoon**Note:HospitalityAngies List – Service Providers

Here are three final key points.

First, to see where you rank now, go to this GetListed.Org link.

Second, you might get tired filling in all of these online directory forms, so check out Firefox’s Auto-Fill add-on link to help save you some time.

Third, if you still don’t have the time to complete online directories for your business/es and keep them up-to-date,  check out companies like BrandMill or others such as Yext.Com who will charge you a small fee to keep you updated in online directories.

Good luck in getting found more often!

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How to Think and Plan for Christmas in July

Did you notice the number of brands that celebrated promotions this month with a “Christmas in July’ theme?

Do you wish you planned earlier to tie-in to the Olympics in some way (e.g., hold an Olympic Sales Contest for your team) after seeing the barrage of Olympian marketing to date?

If you didn’t take advantage of seasonal sales building opportunities like these, you lack a marketing plan that fails to take advantage of high impact sales events that give customers a reason to buy from you today! And, you’re leaving a lot of sales for your competitors to easily grab.

Seasonal, holiday and special occasion marketing is a profitable marketing strategy. And, here are just a few of the reasons why it’s so successful.

10 Reasons Why Seasonal, Holiday and Special Occasion Marketing is a Profitable Strategy

  1. It Generates Awareness & Excitement. There’s more awareness around these key days/months and generates more excitement.
  2. It’s Message is Urgent, Limited and Motivating. There’s a bigger sense of urgency with limited time offers.
  3. It’s Creates Fond Emotional Connections. Holiday events are emotional for customers as they think of family and younger days and their emotions trigger sales opportunities.
  4. Everyone’s Ready for It – It’s Expected. People are more ‘ready-to-buy’ at these times, they tend spend more too.
  5. It Takes Full Advantage of Gift Giving Time Periods. Lots of people buy gifts at these times, they’re more concerned about quality vs. price.
  6. It’s Easier to Persuade People to Buy. In some cases, customers NEED to buy, so they’re easier to persuade.
  7. It’s Familiar Old School Marketing. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Traditional holiday celebration marketing techniques work great.
  8. It Provides Ample Opportunities to Showcase and Sell Variety.  You don’t have to sell just holiday or seasonal themed merchandise.  You can sell anything.
  9. It Gives Brands a Perfectly Good Reason ‘Why’ to Promote and for Customers to Buy. Theming promotional offers gives a ‘reason why’ for you deal and is not as harsh to your brand as non-themed discounted offers. Holiday and seasonal deals are expected.
  10. It’s So Darn Easy to Plan & Budget. Seasonal sales opportunities and Holidays occur nearly the same time every year which makes it easy to plan and budget. Mother’s Day is always on Mother’s Day right? Don’t forget to schedule an anniversary or birthday event for your business!

Not to rub salt in your marketing wound (but just to accentuate the point), but here are potentially a few more July sales building opportunities you probably missed such as Canada Day on the 2nd,  America’s Independence Day on the 4th, Bastille Day on the 14th, Get to Know Your Customers Day on the 19th, Parent’s Day on the 22nd, or these special occasions American Freedom Week – July 4 – 10, Black Family Month, Make a Difference to Children Month, Social Wellness Month, Family Reunion Month, National Black Family Month and National Independent Retailers Month.

However, there are a lot more you can consider throughout year-end and into 2013. My favorite reference book is Chase’s Calendar of Events – I get a new one every year in 4th quarter.

Plus, there are several other good services – especially online such as Holiday Insights, Brownie Locks and several more to satisfy the needs of niche markets and industries. And, here are 70 sales building ideas (holiday marketing tie-in opportunities) to consider through year-end.

70 Sales Building Ideas to Consider Through Year-End

August
1 – Girlfriend’s Day
1 – US Air Force Day
4 – Single Working Women’s Day
5 – Friendship Day
5 – National Kids’ Day
15 – Best Friends Day
19 – National Aviation Day
21 – Senior Citizen’s Day
Simplify Your Life Week – 1-7
Rock For Life Week – 4-7
Family Fun Month
Romance Awareness Month
Black Business Month
What Will Be Your Legacy Month

September
3 – Labor Day
9 – National Grandparent’s Day
11 – Patriot Day
17 – Rosh Hashanah
21 – International Day of Peace
22 – First Day of Autumn
22 – Business Women’s Day
25 – Yom Kippur
25 – World Pasta Day
28 – National Good Neighbor Day
29 – National Coffee Day
Baby Safety Month
College Savings Month
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. – Oct.)
People Skills Month
Self-Awareness Month
Self-Improvement Month

October
1 – Child Health Day
4 – Improve Your Office Day
5 – National Diversity Day
8 – National Children’s Day
8 – Columbus Day
16 – National Boss Day
20 – Sweetest Day
25 – World Pasta Day
28 – Mother-in-Law Day
31 – Halloween
Financial Planning Week – 1-7
National Customer Service Week – 1-5
Crime Prevention Month
German-American Heritage Month (Oktoberfest)
Polish-American Heritage Month
Positive Attitude Month
Strategic Planning Month
Work & Family Month
Financial Planning Month
Italian-American Heritage Month
Tackling Hunger Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month

November
1 – All Saints’ Day
8 – Election Day
11 – Veteran’s Day
13 – World Kindness Day
17 – World Peace Day
22 – Thanksgiving
23 – Black Friday
24 – Small Business Saturday
26 – Cyber Monday
National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week – 11-17
National Family Week – 18-24
National Write A Business Plan Month
National Adoption Month
Military Family Appreciation Month

December
9 – Hanukkah Begins
21- Humbug Day
22 – First Day of Winter
25 – Christmas

As a small businessman, I know how overwhelmed small business owners are with daily activities.

So, what’s the old saying about, “How do you eat an elephant?’ One bite at a time!

With a myriad of marketing activities to consider, your best first step is to create a marketing calendar with a foundation that is holiday and seasonally based.

Believe me, it’s always easier and more profitable to drive natural, seasonal sales peaks higher than it is to lift a valley. bet your hard earned money on it. I guarantee it.

Please note: When you research the marketing resources noted above, you’ll see that there are a ton of promotional themes you can choose from, but don’t get overwhelmed by the huge selection. Plan far in advance, select a few (net – a majority of ideas from a source like Chase’s won’t apply to your business), but execute them well.

In addition, there are lots of ways you can celebrate and drive consumer excitement such as:

  • Offering product discounts
  • Offering a BOGO – Buy one get one free or at half price
  • Buy something and get a free gift
  • Offer holiday themed merchandise or services at full price or promotional price
  • And more…

Please use the remaining days of July NOW to plan for Christmas – you’ll start seeing merchandise in stores in September – and get started now to plan the rest of your 2012 seasonal and holiday marketing calendar and 2013 too.

You’ll be happy you did.

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Every Day Should Be Checklist Day

For the past few months, I’ve been reviewing our work processes to evaluate why, where and when we’ve hit our mark and missed.

Time and again, I’ve come to the conclusion that our processes would greatly improve with new, improved, and more checklists.

And, strict adherence to them.

We use checklists throughout our marketing engagements such as “Countdown-to-Go” checklists for new store, new product and new campaign launches, but sometimes we move too fast to please our clients and fail to either take the time to create or use a checklist. Simply put – to quote the old adage – “When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” Simple as that!

We usually deliver high results, but with better processes the question is, “How high is up?”

How much better , faster, cheaper could we have executed a campaign if we flawlessly executed our plan leaving no stone unturned?

Well, today is National Checklist Day (sound the trumpets) and I’ve been preparing for it by reading Dr. Atul Gawande’s, The Checklist Manifesto.

Gawande makes a great case why even experts need checklists – the complexity and speed of things today make simple checklists necessary.

His belief is that the smarter we get, the more we take things for granted.  And, checklists can close these gaps in flawless execution.

Throughout his book he offers case after case examples with pilots, surgeons and a myriad of other professions.

We need checklists because we all communicate poorly. For example, the majority of us often make these three serious errors:

  • We leave out important information assuming that others know it
  • We’re not specific in our directions again assuming that others understand us
  • And, sometimes we fail to be clear and concise in our directions because we don’t want to insult others

Checklists can compensate for these failings.

Moreover, if you want to extend your intelligence and train others to do the right thing at the right time, you need checklists for everyone to follow – to keep everyone on the same page.

So, we’ve been working on detailed checklists for Website launches, email campaigns, public relations campaigns, creative briefs and more.

How about you? Do you use checklists in your profession? Are you sold on using them more frequently?

I’m sold once again. Check that!

P.S.: Here’s a checklist for checklists!

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Pittsburgh’s Priory Hotel New Wing Celebration

We love working on Grand Openings, Grand Re-Openings, New Product Launches and more!

Next to having your own baby, it’s got to be right up there in terms of great days if you love marketing and public relations like we do!

There’s just nothing like holding a special exciting event to kickoff a brand’s ‘NEW NEWS!”

And, it truly comes down to what YOU make of it.

Public Relations is an art that’s not practiced enough in our opinion for lots of reasons.

The biggest reason is because it’s hard work and most people don’t like to “bring it” and put the time in that’s necessary to do an exceptional job.

The second big reason is that the majority of brands are simply boring and adequate and have no interesting stories to tell.  What a shame.

We’re honored to work with lots of great brands such as our good friends at the Priory Hospitality Group.

And, when they asked us to help them kick off the grand opening of their new wing we jumped at the opportunity.

In the picture above, we had all of the key people responsible for getting the Priory Hotel’s new wing open for business such as co-owners and operators John and Suzanne Graf, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, key employees and the architect, builder and interior designer.

The $2.7 million expansion of The Priory added 17 rooms, a 70 percent expansion of the hotel’s capacity. Located in the Deutschtown section of the North Side, the hotel expanded into a building leveled by fire two years earlier.

This picture is a great representation of a Grand Opening done right.

We kept all of these key figures and media appraised of the opening event far in advance with our custom “Countdown to Go” grand opening list and started months ahead of the event to make sure we didn’t miss a detail and to ensure that our execution was flawless.

The result?

We achieved widespread media coverage in Pittsburgh’s major daily and community newspapers and all television networks.

And, as important, we earned the continued respect, endorsement and marketing partnership from the Priory and the Graf family.

Here’s a link to an online story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It appeared on the front page of the Local News Section of the paper and is just one of several pieces of media coverage we earned.

As you prepare for 2012, think about the meaningful stories you can share with your local media and customers.

If you don’t have any, get to work on some. If you do, start planning – well in advance – to show and tell them!

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Thanks for Making a Dent in Our Universe

Our world lost a great man yesterday – Steve Jobs.

Jobs impacted my life in numerous ways through not only his great innovations and style, but also in his words.

Here’s my top 10 list of Steve Job quotes that have resonated with me over the years.

God bless you Steve and many thanks.  You’ll be missed.

Steve Jobs Top 10 Best Quotes

  1. “We’re here to put a dent in the universe, otherwise why else even be here?”
  2. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
  3. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
  4. “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.  Simple can be harder than complex. You need to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple, but it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
  5. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
  6. Remembering that you’re going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
  7. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
  8. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
  9. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone elses life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
  10. We don’t get a chance to do that many things and every one should be really excellent because this is our life.”

…And, one more thing!

10+.    “You know a design is good when you want to lick it.” … And, “Design is not what it looks like.  Design is how it works.”

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Be Wary of Vulgar Marketing

Back in December of 2009, Nicorette launched a $15 million integrated marketing campaign complete with a fictitious ‘Suckometer’ around the bold statement that, Nicorette makes quitting smoking suck less. In addition, it was the GlaxoSmithKline brand’s first foray into social media.

Nicorette Makes Quitting Suck Less Campaign

As a quick backgrounder, here are a few select statements from the Nicorette Website.

There’s no way around it, quitting sucks. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do in life. That’s why quitting can be a challenge. To be successful, you need to overcome both your physical addiction to nicotine and your psychological addiction — the urge to repeat the same smoking routines every day, like smoking in the car and after meals. …Sure, quitting will always suck, but Nicorette makes quitting suck less.

Does Vulgar Marketing Work?

When the campaign launched, I thought it was a cheap, vulgar marketing effort and still do. The campaign is still running so, I wanted to see if it’s working. In short, I’m not exactly sure how the campaign is doing, but here are a few things I discovered.

There was a HCD Research/Mediacurves survey conducted in 2010 among 300 viewers of a new Nicorette gum ad and showed that nearly half of smokers (49%) were more likely to try to quit smoking after viewing the ad.  The majority of viewers (80%) felt the ad was extremely or somewhat effective, and more than one-third of smokers (34%) said that they would be more likely to use Nicorette gum to help them quit their smoking addiction.

The numbers are fine, but we all know that people don’t always do what they say they’re going to do. So, I’m not convinced of the strategy.

Does Nicotine Replacement Gum Work?

I’m not sure if the gum works, but I’d bet that they sold a ton of it. The thing is, even if you sell a ton of product, if it doesn’t work, what does that say about you and your brand long term? Without brand trust and integrity based on a positive experience what does the future hold for your brand?

This eHow article reports that…‘normally, there is only a 5 percent success rate of smokers quitting their habit for a full year (without the use of replacement products), which makes the success rate of Nicorette Gum between 7 and 8 percent. Not the best odds. …Of the top five “quit smoking methods,” not a single nicotine replacement gum made the list, including Nicorette Gum.’

Great Products Lead to Positive Word of Mouth Advertising

After 1.5 years and spending $15 million, Nicorette’s own Website only has one success story! Are you kidding me? If Nicorette Gum is such a great product, why aren’t there a ton of people in TV ads, on YouTube and Facebook raving about the product?

I’m always a bit leery of brands that spend a ton of money on marketing (and vulgar, uncivil advertising to boot) because let’s face it, if the product was so great, people would be spreading the word on their own. My advice would have been to take the $15 million and build a better product or service – one that truly works and adds value – customers will come, rave about you and spread your good word.

P.S.: Full disclosure: I’m in my late 40s, a nonsmoker and far from being a prude, however I am offended, not impressed or motivated to purchase by cheap, vulgar, uncivil and classless marketing. And, I firmly believe that if in fact Nicorette’s product is a super terrific one, they would have sold as much if not more product with raving customers who quit smoking once and for all. Net…they wouldn’t have had to ‘go there.’ Nor should you…ever!

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How High is Up

True nobility is not about being better than anyone else, it’s about being better than you used to be.”

The halfway point of the 2011, was at noon on July 1st, exactly 182 1/2 days left before we ring in 2012.

So how are you doing on your New Year resolutions?

Personally, did you lose the weight you were trying to lose?

Professionally, are you hitting your sales goals?

Have you taken a hard look at your results to date and put a plan in place to finish what you started or are your goals out of whack, meaningless and unimportant?

It’s never too late to late, to improve, to succeed.

You have plenty of time, it’s just that you’re not using it properly and majoring in minor things.

Think (and do) about setting clearer goals for the rest of your year and think about (and do) easier ways to achieve them.

For example, if you’re like me and don’t always have time to go to a gym to workout, do you just give up?

Or, do you find an easier way to accomplish your fitness goals by working out at home using your own body weight, doing pushups, situps, skipping rope etc.?

If you’re not hitting your sales goals, do you know why? Do you know your sales ratios (e.g., how many calls/communiques lead to appointments to contracts)? Is it a simple matter of just making more contacts?

My goals are quite simple and they’re based on improving my own situation and being better than I used to be, not better than someone else.

“IT” should always be about you!

In short, my overarching simple goal is to improve my states of peace, love and happiness and I look at making plans for each many roles as a small business owner, marketing professional, husband, son, brother, uncle, friend, community member and most important ME (spirit, soul, being) and craft simple strategies, objectives and tactics to follow to improve my states of peace, love and happiness.

And, how to I get there?

I work on ‘getting there’ via several ways such as:

  1. Being in the moment and focusing on being fully engaged
  2. Delegating to great people
  3. Working in process improvement (checklists – group similar activities together)
  4. Waking up early (not watching much TV etc.)
  5. Saying ‘no’ to things that don’t help me achieve my goals (like lots of meetings when a phone call would do)

And lots more, because this is a journey!

And, hey I don’t always get there, but my batting average has increased over time with practice.

Focus on your being better than YOU used to be and your happiness because when you’re happy you’ll find that it’s contagious.

Don’t waste your time.

Learn to let go of – and don’t sweat – the minor things and focus on what’s really important to you, to your business etc., and see your happiness soar!

How high is up? As high as YOU want to make it! It’s always been about YOU and no one else.

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