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Archive for May 2013

Do You Believe in Boomers? You Should!

Do You Believe in Boomers?  You Should!

Marketing to boomersIt’s no secret that corporate America is focused on millennials both in their marketing and in employment.  After all, we’re told, they are the future.  We’re supposed to follow the needs and wants of this sanctified group with the ridiculous assumption that their lifestyles and buying habits will never change.   As the infamous Mike Fleming would say, “that’s crazy talk!.”

Now, I have nothing against millennials.  I just can’t understand the blind love affair with them since it’s generally tossed the rest of the market into the ranks of 2nd class citizenship.  Oddly enough, it seems that the monotlith of big agencies can only sing the praises of one demographic at a time.

Well, the shoe’s on the other foot now.  Avenue A   is a relatively new agency that was started by not-so-new creative agency folks and one of their focus areas is marketing to the over 50 crowd.    The reason for their focus is not that they’re over 50.  It’s that it just makes sense to market to a large group of people with money to spend.  These Baby Boomers are the millennials of 30 to 40 years ago.  Oddly enough, they were the ‘me’ generation back then.  Here’s a taste of Avenue A’s perspective:

Since we all look to Hollywood to tell us what we should think, you should know that baby boomers are Hollywood’s new hot market.  “…films that cater to grown-up tastes are becoming a valuable commodity for studios looking to tap into a growing demographic: ticket-buyers age 50 and up who still adhere to the ritual of seeing the latest releases on the big screen rather than streaming via Netflix or renting from services such as Redbox.”  Here are a few of Hollywood’s favorite boomers.  Think about how much richer they make our lives.

Liam Neeson, 60

Meryl Streep, 63

Susan Sarandon, 66

Tommy Lee Jones,  66

Helen Mirren, 67

Diane Keaton, 67

Robert DiNiro, 69

Morgan Freeman, 75

Maggie Smith, 78

Judi Densch, 78

Marketing to the over 50 crowd is not a case study for adult diapers, wheel chairs and blood pressure medication.   They’re pioneering a new lifestyle as experienced, appreciative, gracious contributors to our quality of life … and avid purchasers of a vast range of products that are inadequately marketing to (and by) them.   But, age is not the only determinant of your designated demographic.  Check the Pew “How Millennial are You” Quiz.  I rated as a millennial in spite of my chronological baby boomer status.




Free Tools to Use (not abuse) Twitter

Free Tools to Use (not abuse) Twitter

hubspot twitter for biz

Social media was supposed to be about personal exchanges of information.  But, with no barriers to entry, it’s too easy to shout out your thoughts in 140 character tweets 10 or twenty times a day.  You send that message to 1,344 twitter accounts … and you get messages from 1,687 twitter accounts.  Those personalized lines of communication are clogged with meaningless banter and those meaningful messages are blurred with all of noise.

In the old days of broadcast media, we thought that our world was being overwhelmed with a consistent barage of advertising – television commercials, print ads, billboards, radio ads.  I think back on those days lovingly and laughingly.  Those were the good old days when media costs and production schedules kept the commercial messaging under control.

Hubspot thinks they have a better idea and are offering a free guide that outlines a few of the challenges that marketing, sales and support teams face along with the solutions that Twitter might offer.

With 200,000,000 tweets each day, Twitter is too big to just brush aside.  And, it’s too important to our customers.  73% of U.S. consumers trust the information they get from Twitter.

 Click here to download the brief e-book from Hubspot

Who Wins the Marketing Vs. Sales Battle

Who Wins the Marketing Vs. Sales Battle

The marketing vs. sales battle has been going on for ages.  And, there are no winners.

As part of the marketing department in a number of large corporations, we marketers consistently heard sales folks telling us that “nothing happens until it’s sold”.  On the other hand, marketers always felt that “if it doesn’t get sold, it’s marketing’s fault” and “if it does get sold, it’s because of the sales teams’ hard work”.   Forget about ‘holier than thou’ attitudes and ‘woe is me’ thinking.  It doesn’t help anyone.

So, who is more important?  I think the best answers are.

(a)    Neither

(b)   Both

(c)    All of the above

It does indeed take a village.  Marketing and Sales need to be working together.  If they are, the business will get the best of both worlds —  the longer time frame and broader market view of marketing combined with the shorter time frame and drilled down view of the market of sales.  Both marketing and sales should be working shoulder to shoulder to reach the highest sustainable top and bottom line while building a foundation that will support the organization down the road.  That’s a win-win.

That win-win village of collaborative marketing and sales teams uses information as currency.  If you’re going to have a solid alignment of sales and marketing objectives and a common understanding of where you’re driving the organization together… you’re going to need to keep those lines of communication open.   Marketers need to understand they they need to include sales before marketing objectives and programs are set.  They need to be willing to explain why they’re doing (or not doing) certain things.  And, sales teams need to be willing to explain their needs and challenges when they’re still mole hills.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”  Zig Ziglar



Silent Drama of Photography

Silent Drama of Photography

salgadoI’ve always been enchanted by the power of photography.  I came across this TED talk from Sebastio Salgado entitled “The silent drama of photography”.  Salgado has spent a majority of his photographic career focused on the forgotten and discarded people of the world.  In this talk, he shows how he’s transitioned to the discarded landscapes of our world, pointing out the contradiction that, in modern times, building has been accompanied by destruction.

Salgado is passionate about his ‘big picture’ view of the world.  He is presented with situations and uses the tools available to achieve his objective whether it is educating the masses about inhumane injustices or encouraging us to build a world that can sustain all of us and reverse the destruction we’ve caused.

His photography is anything but silent.  It speaks volumes without a word because it’s filled with the type of passion that makes good things great.  Whether you’re changing the world or just a small part of it – be passionate.  It stirs your creative spirit and speaks volumes.

More images from Salgado

Five Why’s to the Root

Five Why's to the Root

Five WhysEmployee: Our new client is unhappy.
Me: Why? (1)
Employee: Because we delivered the new brochure a week late
Me: Why? (2)
Employee: It took much longer to complete it than we originally thought.
Me: Why? (3)
Employee: We had to wait for data from the client.
Me: Why? (4)
Employee: Don’t know.  They didn’t answer our phone calls and they wouldn’t answer emails.
Me: Why? (5)
Employee: Well, it is their busy season so it’s understandable
Me: We should have realized our schedule wasn’t workable, given their busy season. [root cause]

The beauty of the five why’s. I’ve used the five why’s after a conversation with a 4 year old. Probed with his five why’s made me realize how useful that little 3-letter word really is. It gets you to the heart of things and helps to identify the root cause of a problem or situation.  Admittedly, the root cause can sometimes be identified in less than 5 why’s – and sometimes it takes more than 5.  But, 5 why’s is usually just right.

Now, I have to confess something.  I thought the five why’s was my idea.  It’s a good simple tool that works and I was proud to take ownership.  But, I didn’t realize that the five why’s have much more illustrious beginnings.   The technique was originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda and has been widely used within the Toyota Motor Corporation as part of their problem-solving training.  Additionally, Six Sigma claims the 5 why’s as their own but they usually refer to it as Root Cause Analysis Methodology.

All I can tell you is that the 5 why’s works.  Try it when you struggling to get at the root of a problem




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