Friday, November 30, 2007

Better Pizza.....Better Marketing

I am asked all the time "what brands do you admire the most" and at the top of my list is
PAPA JOHN'S. Below is another example of why they are at the top of my list.

Papa John's Pizza Goes Digital.
Papa John’s Pizza is offering its phone-shy customers a new alternative: ordering via text message, The Wall Street Journal reports today. Customers will be able to create an online account that holds up to four customized orders of pizza, drinks and extras—tagged as “FAV1,” “FAV2,” “FAV3,” and “FAV4”—that are pegged to a delivery address and payment info. When hunger strikes, patrons zap over a text message with the desired “FAV” and the order is placed. It’s an innovative step that might help boost the Louisville, Ky.-based company’s sales, and also will allow for more direct-to-consumer mobile marketing, including coupons and menu updates sent to users’ phones.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Let's increase your sales...TODAY!

6 quick examples that will start to increase your sales!

1. A strategy and a plan: Marketing must be planned, consistent and repetitive to be effective. Many entrepreneurs take a scatter-shot approach, trying one thing then another. Instead, develop a marketing plan and budget that you can execute.

2. Defined target market: Focusing in on a particular market segment — or niche — gives focus and direction to your marketing efforts. For instance, if you’re an accountant, there may be dozens of CPAs in your community. If you decided to target a specific niche market — let’s say dental clinics — you could join the local dental society, advertise in industry journals for dentists, exhibit at dental association trade shows.

3. Clear message: Let your prospects know exactly what you do and why you’re the right choice for them. Develop an elevator pitch or tagline that sums up your business in a short phrase or sentence. For instance, if you’re a real estate agent, it’s hard to distinguish yourself from the thousands of other Realtors. If, instead, you say, “I’m a real estate agent specializing in first-time home buyers,” that immediately identifies why you might be the best choice for a client.

4. Call to action: Let your target audience know what you want them to do. In your marketing materials, give them a specific directive. It can be something as simple as “See our Web site at” or make them an offer, “Purchase this week and get 20 percent off.”

5. Appropriate marketing vehicles: Think about the right way to reach your target audience. Do they read the morning newspaper? Are they members of the Chamber of Commerce or trade associations? Try to reach your target audience through a number of marketing and advertising vehicles that they interact with regularly.

6. Repeat exposures: People don’t process information the first time they see it. Make sure your marketing campaign — whether it’s networking with a trade association or advertising in the newspaper — is repeated over and over and over again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Brand on Board

Cookie maker Pepperidge Farms has launched a new website,, aimed at helping women amp up their social networks and connect with one another. Sally Horchow, co-author of "The Art of Friendship: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections," is the campaign's spokesperson, and the website includes video clips from a cross-country trip that features Horchow speaking with women around the country about making and maintaining friendships.

Just another company using Word of Mouth Marketing and Social networking to reach there clients. If your brand is not on the train...hurry up because it is leaving the station.

Re-Branding a VP

I wanted to share this great Branding article with you from this months Deliver Magazine. It talks about the amazing re-branding of former VP Al Gore. From politics to green; Al Gore has completely re-branded himself and has people talking and believing in him and his cause.̢۪-brands/

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Don't forget about the other 364 days

Black Friday= The term is used by retail stores referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving. Its the one shopping day that puts the retailers in the "Black" for the year.

Every year brave consumers will shop till they drop. The recent trend is to open the doors early (Kohls will open at 4 am) and stay open late. But opening early is the key, get them in early and offer special savings only between early hours. This strategy gets the consumer committed to coming early so they are not out all day. Does it work? The answer is yes, consumers will get up early to save an extra 25% or to get free things.

This hole "early morning door buster" sales event got me thinking. Why just on "Black Friday" why not have an event like this say once a month? Open early and close late one Saturday a month. Even a restaurant could get in on this action. Come early and receive free movie passes...25% of

Always have a call to action..Free is always good. The PR you would get from staying open till 2am to let consumers shop is outstanding. Bring in the local marching band..drum line...make it a party.

Remember its all about getting into the black and out of the red..don't wait until November to create a splash....their are 364 other days that are important also.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Keeping in Real

What are you measuring?

The Internet is so infinitely measurable, many marketers have focused on measuring the wrong things, metrics that are interesting but not helping a company achieve its goals.

Make sure what you are measuring has meaning.

Leadership book from one of the best ever

If you get a chance please read this book about the life of one of the athletes I really look up to. And the key thing is LEADERSHIP!

I highly reccomend it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Quote of the day

"Nothing happens until somebody sells something" is being replaced by........
"Nothing happens until somebody Brands something"

-The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What's your Mission??

One of the first things I do when I am consulting with a client is take down the mission statement! Mission statements, just writing those words are painful. Have you ever seen a mission statement that wasn't full of fluff? "We strive to have superior customer service". Would you strive to have the worst customer service? Customers are smarter than you think they are. And if you are not exceding there expectations the plaque on the wall is not going to save your brand.
Your mission statement is not words on a piece of paper its your brands culture...its how you do business everyday from in-side the walls of your brand. So keep your mission statments short and sweet and keep them internal and concentrate on building your brand and your people.... and your superior customer service will show all on it's own.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How much for the Oreo?

"Maybe the reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is...that you haven't given them anything else to care about."
-Seth Godins

Take an example of Target and there pricing on produce and grocery items. For the most part same items as Wal-Mart...grapes, lettuce,celery and Oreo cookies,Coke,Pepsi..but present them in a very clean atmosphere, neatly arraigned and you can charge more and people will buy. And why?Again it goes back to the experience, same grapes different experience buying them. Going into Target and paying more for the Oreo's is not such a big deal when you feel like you are getting so much more in the way of the experience. Whole Foods same thing..Starbucks same thing. Give them more to think about then price and price will not become an issue..and your bottom line will show you the experience.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


How confident are you in your abilities? I believe the painters of the Brooklyn Bridge back in 1914 were really confident in there skills! Don't be afraid to work without a may surprise yourself on how confident you are.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall Line-up's using Word of Mouth

Even the "big" four Networks are using word of mouth to promote the upcoming fall season. Check out this article and see how Fox is using WOM and Social Web Sites to attract new viewers.

Friday, August 31, 2007

He is the most interesting man in the world

Its Friday and I usually take it easy on Friday...try not to give you to much to think about over the weekend, but leave you with a smile. So from time to time you will get my In-Out List and my favorite brand themed web sites. Enjoy them and please as always pass along to friends and family.

Thanks for your support!

Today's web site comes from "The Most Interesting Man in the World" a new campaign from Dos Equis Cerveza. You must check out the "Get to know me" and "Test your Skills" tabs.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Sorry I have been away...vacation to Upstate NY with no Internet. So nice to get away but fell behind in my writing. I have plenty to say and have a back log of blogs on paper...check back I will have new post starting Thursday!

Thanks for all the support!

Don't let them leave without a reason to come back. As a business you work so hard and spend lots of money trying to find new customers. And once you get that customer most business think marketing to that customer stops with that effort! Wrong you have to keep that client and continue working that client. Give them a reason to come back. I was having lunch with a very successful CEO of a local tech company last week and I went through an exercise with him. I asked him "do you think this restaurant has any idea who we are?" Will they have any idea who we are when we leave? Will they know if we liked the experience? And will they know if we will come back or if this was our first time in the restaurant? The answer was no to all the above. We walked in had lunch and they have no clue to any of the questions above. Should bet they should! Here are a few examples of how they could achieve gathering all the info they would need about us.

1. Welcome to "xyz restaurant" you have been here before haven't you? No well welcome and let me tell you about us.

2. I want to point out a comment card we have on the table. After your meal if you would take just a minute to fill it out and tell us about your experience and also if you like your name and email address so we can send you email specials a few times a month.

3.Also here are six discount cards for you and five of your friends or family members. We look forward to seeing you again very soon.

Do you know who your clients are?

Friday, August 17, 2007

A smarter way?

"In my life I have found it's great to be the early bird and get the worm.....but I have found that the second mouse always gets the cheese."

-Music Star Hal Ketchum

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Passing of a childhood voice

The passing of a legend. Sorry to get a little of topic today but yesterday was probably the first time in my life(early 30's) that one of the biggest voices of my childhood was silenced with the passing of Phil Rizzuto. For my non-sports fan readers Phil Rizzuto was a Hall of Fame player for the New York Yankees in the 50' s and a Yankee broadcaster for 40 years and that's where my generation came to know him Living in New York most games were on WPIX and the voice was Phil Rizzuto, he was not the best broadcaster he was just the most entertaining and made you feel like he was sitting in your living room talking about the Yankees. I learned the phrase "Howly Cow" and "what a Huckelberry" and learned how to play the game. With his passing yesterday it had me thinking about who that broadcaster would be for my children? And I am not sure in this day in age if there will be one...but I will pass my memories of hot summers in New York listening to the voice of the Yankees...part of my childhood that will live on forever.

"God bless the great game of Baseball"
-Phil Rizzuto

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Clean up inside before you go outside

Clean up the inside before you go outside... simple right? But why do most brands go outside before they clean up there's easier! Throwing money at it is easier for most companies, if sales are down they spend lots of money on a new ad campaign, new logos, new message. And the result..a slight bump in sales for a few months and then the process repeats itself. Great for the Agency...bad for the brand. Will they come back?

Work from inside-out. Do not go outside and market your business/brand until you have the operations/inside the walls marketing operating at a very high level. Do not go out and recruit new clients if you are having trouble taking care of the ones you have.

Simple right????

"If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn't have to advertise them.
-Will Rogers

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Be Clean

If you get a chance to check out the CNBC special on McDonalds; "Inside the Golden Arches" I recommend talking an hour to watch it. I came away with a few interesting items but the one thing that struck me was a quote from an Owner/Operator from Connecticut who was asked his secret for success....his answer was not that the fries are so good, or the huge marketing campaigns or the secret was keeping the bathrooms clean! What a great answer...he said if you have a clean bathroom people will come back and respect your location. And you know what he is right, as an owner or manager of a retail establishment what does the bathroom say about you? If its clean it says we respect you as a client and take pride in making sure our facility is clean...but if you have a bathroom that is dirty (and we have all been in many of them) it says you don't respect your clients enough to give them a clean facility.

Taking the extra steps to insure your clients feel appreciated can make the difference between being successful and flushing your business down the drain.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ask the average Joe.


Ask you clients what they think. Most brands are afraid to ask there clients what they think about there experience or brand. Why, they may not like what they hear. It is very easy to sit in a conference room and talk about strategies, but you live the brand everyday..your clients more than likely don't and they may see your brand in a different light.

There are many different ways to find out what your clients think of you. Phone surveys, direct mail, but the most effective way is Inside-Out Exit Polling. "IOEP" is one of the most effective ways to find information on your brand. The cost is minimal and the information you find out is invaluable. When I was working in senior management for a franchisee system we had no real idea what our clients felt about us..sure the numbers where good and client retention was good but what did the average Joe think about our brand. Well, we found out some very interesting things by doing the exit polling. They liked the brand and the overall experience, but there was a high number of complaints and things clients wanted added or dropped. Without taking the time to ask... you will never know what your brand looks like from inside-out.

"If you don't ask... they will not tell you."

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Power of the Experience

Consumers Notice When You Over-Hype, Under-Deliver

People pay attention when they feel worse than they expected, reports a recent University of Georgia study. The research, which was published in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, found that while people are keenly aware when an experience under-delivers, they are less likely to notice when a product is better than expected. According to analysis of the research, too much hype can hurt a company if consumers' expectations aren't met.
The study's authors contend that satisfaction, repeat-purchases, and positive word of mouth are more impactful than brand hype, which can prove detrimental. The authors also assert that companies can help themselves by encouraging consumers to pay attention when they do feel better than expected -- something consumers are not naturally inclined to do, but can be prompted into doing.

source WOMMA Editor on May 4, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Second Life?

A friend of mine was telling me about this web site the other day is an Internet-based virtual world with a downloadable client program enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through motion avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another.

And look what the staffing company Manpower is doing with Second Life.

Manpower Inc. Launches Island in Second Life With Live Panel Discussion on the Evolving World of Virtual Work

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) announced today the launch of the Manpower Island in Second Life (, the online virtual community where residents, known as avatars, live and work in a variety of 3D environments. Manpower Island is a place where job seekers, employers and entrepreneurs can come together in an interactive forum to learn about and explore the World of Virtual Work, share ideas and identify new opportunities in traditional and non-traditional meeting spaces ranging from an amphitheater to a relaxing spot on the virtual beach. Built as a learning community, Manpower Island features a variety of virtual work resources, including an orientation trail to teach "newbies" how to move around, interact and teleport around Second Life; and a series of work-related stations offering advice on creating a virtual resume, preparing for both Real Life and Second Life job interviews, obtaining appropriate attire and finding a job in the virtual world.

Manpower's presence in Second Life will be launched with a live virtual event where an expert panel of Second Life avatars will discuss the range of employment issues arising in the World of Virtual Work, from recruiting and job-seeking to virtual collaboration and cultural rules of engagement in virtual worlds such as Second Life. Hosted by Manpower chairman and CEO Jeffrey A. Joerres and moderated by CNET's Daniel Terdiman. "Manpower's mission is to help people, companies and governments understand what's coming next in the changing world of work. The virtualization of the labor market is a key issue for all of these groups and our presence in Second Life will enable us to further define the next stages of virtual work, which are emerging in 3D worlds," said Johns.Virtual working is defined as work done outside of the traditional physical office or work space, where individual workers or teams are based physically away from each other, either at home, in different departments or countries, or in a virtual environment like Second Life. Telecommuting and outsourcing are currently two of the most common forms of virtual work."The virtual labor market is similar to emerging labor markets in many countries of the world, facing many of the same infrastructure challenges as it develops and matures," said Joerres. "Manpower's decades of experience in helping employers and employees navigate the ever-changing world of work means we are ideally placed to help them make the transition beyond current definitions of virtual work to take full advantage of Web 2.0 opportunities."Manpower has developed a short informational video about the World of Virtual Work, which is available at The video examines how, in an environment of global competition, virtual work has become a powerful way to connect skills and demand, regardless of the distance between them. Today's challenging labor market demands these contemporary forms of working, which will define the workplace of the future.More than five million individuals now have a presence in Second Life alongside the more than 7,000 businesses operating in this virtual world, which include some of the largest organizations in the world as well as thousands of small businesses that exist only in the virtual world. Manpower has helped individuals and organizations large and small understand and benefit from practices such as telecommuting and outsourcing, and will bring the lessons learned from these experiences to bear in the virtual world in this next phase of virtual work.

Wow with all this who needs a "First Life"??

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Get People Talking

Get people talking. How do you get people to talk about you and your brand?

1. Do something the competition would never do

Ex. Free dessert Tuesday's. Open 24hrs on Friday and Saturday. Send you Mascot to the busiest place within the 3 mile radius of your store and hand out coupons.

2. Have the best customer service

Ex. Do what ever it takes to retain your clients.

3. Brand Evangelist

Ex. Start building up your list of "certified brand evangelist" theses are the clients you know love your product/service and will tell everyone about it. Reward them with free meals, trips, sporting event tickets. Just keep them more than happy and they will do all the work for you.

4. Direct Mail

Ex. Do not forget you need to always be recruiting new clients. Send out a free offer in the mail and run an FSI in the local newspaper. Make the offer worth looking at and make sure the piece is professional done. Lots of clutter in direct mail you need to make it stand out. Also be consistent and clients will be looking for you every time they open the mail.

5. a part

Ex. Sponsor your local teams and community. Be part of the community. when people think of Pizza they think of only one pizza place...Yours. Because you sponsor everything. Sponsorship can be just giving a away a free service....your time. So don't ever rule out a sponsorship because you think it will cost to much. Most organizations will let you do what you want to get you involved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rent a DVD at McDonalds?

Last week I talked about how Netflix is using a mix of direct mail and word of mouth to get to its customers. Now Redbox is throwing there hat in the DVD rental game. but they are coming to market with a strategic partner..McDonalds. Yes that's right the you can now rent DVDs at the golden arches! Very smart move on the part of Redbox to partner with McDonalds...right? But I am not sure the consumer is going to think "hey lets go to McDonald's and get a big mac and a movie" I hope Redbox has a word of mouth and direct mail campaign to let the consumer know about renting Redbox movies at McDonalds...because they may run the risk of there brand being swallowed up by Ronald and friends.
Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Power of a 4 year old

As the week has gone on my 4 year old daughter has not stopped talking about our Sea World trip this past weekend. It got me to thinking that Word of Mouth marketing is not only for "adults" but, what an impact even a 4 year old can have on your brand. Example: she went to school today and told all her friends about her trip to Sea World..they in-return will be going home to tell there parents about the the parents will tell there friends and so on and so on. She told her neighbor friend and parents..her Aunt in New York..and off it goes.
But what a powerful experience a child can have on your brand. In this day in age when you cannot mass market toward children, I believe that WOM and Social Marketing will save many brands. Also for a place like Sea World...never underestimate the power of the experience, take care of the people who come and experience your brand. Retain those customers and send out thousands of little "Brand Evangelist" into the world to spread the good news......AMEN!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Austin Music...

Being in Austin we have the privilege of having so many great live bands. Its Friday and I wanted to share one of my favorites.... Social networking works so well for bands..can you imagine just 5 years ago how hard it was to find out about bands that were not in you city...or even in your city. So all of my Austin friends...get out a see South Austin Jug will enjoy yourself..and pass it on!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sprint Ahead?

One of my major lessons in talking about Word of Mouth Marketing is to create happy clients (Brand Evangelist) I am not sure if Sprint got the memo. In this article you will read about Sprint cutting of some of there clients due to excessive customer service calls. I would assume the reason they are calling is to have a problem solved and it has not been solved so...they have to call back. Here is a part of the letter they sent to there clients.

"Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information, While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs."

They are throwing away clients they worked so hard and spent so much money trying to get and why...because they call to much? I think a better way to solve the issue would have been a letter asking if a senior level manager at Sprint could call them and talk to them about there issues and lets see if we can resolve the issues. Win for Sprint as they look like they are taking a huge step in fixing there client service and showing the really care. And Win for the client as the problem will be solved by someone who can make the decision. And instead of the client being cut of and spreading negitive Word of Mouth to all of the people they know...positive Word of Mouth would be spread to all the people they know! A Win..Win

I hope sprint learns from this and takes a hard look at the client services and what negative Word of Mouth can do to the bottom line.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ask Your Front Line People....

Ask your front line people and you may find the answer to your problems.

I was on the phone today with my insurance company....I have been putting it of because of the usual response I receive from them..lots of Customer No Service! But this time, April the very nice CSR was polite and solved my problems right away. So seeing we were having a nice conversation I asked her a few questions. Earlier in the conversation she was complaining that the problem I was having with billing has been happening for years and her company will not listen to her and the other CSR's and fix the problem. I asked her if they have a system in place to report such problems to upper management? Her answer was no and went on to say she did not think they cared to hear it from CSR's. Know she was not bad mouthing her company, she told me in a sincere way that she really enjoys the job. My advice to her was to come up with a standard form, one that will allow for suggestions and solutions to the problems and forward it on to her immediate supervisor. Also in the email ask for a meeting date and time..give she/he two different times to choose from and a time frame on your follow-up. I gave her my cell number to call me and give me an update on her progress...

As a business owner your greatest asset are your people..ask them to be proactive and put process in place for them and your brand to succeed!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Retro is King

What is old is new again...right? Check out this great Retro Sports retailer out of Atlanta.

I found this place a few years back on my journeys to the Atlanta area on business. I could not believe people would pay $45 for a classic logo t-shirt...but there I was flashing back to my younger days and buying a classic Houston Oilers hat for $30. I usually wear it on my flights home and I get so many people saying "great hat; where did you get it?" So the next time I went into the store I asked for some business cards so I could pass them out to people that ask me in the airports...the store associate looked at me like I was crazy, but gave me a stack of info cards and I continue to pass them out. Word of Mouth at work again.

Retro is the new start growing those side burns and shop at Distant Replays for that classic shirt that will bring you back to your childhood.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Bithday!!

Happy Bithday to the biggest BRAND of them all...The United States of America!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Word of Mouth gets it done for NETFLIX

NETFLIX is a brand I have admired for sometime and I was very happy to see an article about there marketing in Deliver Magazine titled "NETFLIX IS EVERYWHERE" Below is a great quote from the company who uses my two favorite marketing mediums..Word of Mouth and Direct Mail.

The most effective channel, according to Swasey, has been word of mouth. “We poll members all the time,” he explains, “and more than 90 percent say they talk about us with friends.” Moreover, based on the company’s polling, more than 85 percent of new Netflix members say they joined because of a friend’s recommendation. The company occasionally nudges its members with an e-mail gently asking them to spread the Netflix word — what the company calls its “tell-a-friend” campaign.
One of the company’s most effective marketing avenues has been direct mail. According to Swasey, Netflix has employed direct-mail marketing since early 2000 — relying primarily on two pieces of mail: a bright red 5×7 or 6×9 postcard shaped like a movie ticket, and an envelope with a three-to four-page letter from the marketing department, explaining the service and showcasing Netflix’s inventory of DVDs. Swasey describes the items as “standout, attention-grabbing, and response-initiating.”

Saturday, June 30, 2007


What do you think when you think of, more coffee and a relaxed atmosphere or do you think salads? Well get ready to have a side salad with that moca Frapachino!Wow maybe maybe Mr. Shultz was right.. they have lost their way? Check out this story and let me know what you think!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Inside a Consulting Session part 2

After going through the process of collecting names and the different was to do that and the different methods on how to effectively use those names. We went on to other methods of increasing business right away. Local Store Marketing or LSM is a great way to see a quick return and and also begin to build your business. This company had just signed a sponsorship deal with a local minor league sports team. As part of the deal they were given 500 tickets to give out to the next home 4 days! They had them on the table and could not figure out how they could get all 500 out. So we did the following...we took the tickets along with a buy one get one free offer and business cards to all the local businesses in the trade area..all within 1-5 miles around the location. We were able to go into other business introduce ourselves...give out trail coupons for there customers and themselves and look like heroes by giving each business a handful of tickets. It took a few days to get them out but they did and reported a 40% redemption rate on the buy one get one offer!!! That's a huge return for marketing your local trade area. Just imagine how many "Brand Evangelist" came out of taking the time to go in a say hello to your local merchants.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It really works!

Being an avid runner I could not believe this story when I read it. So note to all my running friends be careful with the Bengay!
And for my brand building friends...should the makers of Bengay be doing some damage control? Do they need to put a warning label on the package?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Inside a Consulting Session part 1

Last week I was meeting with a new retail business for the first time. After taking a tour of the area locations I sat down with three of the key executives in the company for a Q&A session. They had one common theme..we want to increase business so we can expand to0 other parts of the country and the world. In the next few entries I will take you through the meeting and give you some in site on the ideas/concepts I brought to this business.

One of the first things that caught my eye when I walk into a location was this really large "fish bowl" on the front counter. You know "please put your business card in for a free...." My first thought was that it really needed to be replaced with a custom box, but more important to me was what was happening to the cards once the winner was picked? The answer I received from the manager was I have most of them on my desk, but not to long ago I through most of them out. So back at the corp office I started asking questions about do you know who your customers are..I mean do you have there Names,Addresses and Day/Night phone numbers. The answer was not really. So that's were we need to start.

First lets take all the business cards (and standard forms they will have going forward) and send them a hand written letter thanking them for coming in and inviting them back with a special offer. This will increase the number of times they visit the location and encourage them to bring a friend, maybe the offer is buy one get one free? Also this begins to build your data base of peoples names,addresses and Day/Night phone numbers.

My aggressive plan for them is to know every single persons name/address, day/night phone numbers that have come into there locations. Aggressive yes..but so important to the success and expansion of the brand. How are they going to do this..come back to find out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Progress 101

A few blogs back I told a story of a national pizza brand with a "red" roof and how bad there service was. And after having lunch with a company executive friend of mine her story was the same. Well I went back to said red roof place for dinner with my family last week...and what a difference one team member can make. She single handily elevated my experience 100%. First we were personally seated right away and the table was clean and ready. As we were about to get our pizza she comes over and says..sorry for the delay(compared to last time this was at lightning speed) we dropped a piece of your pizza and we are remaking it and it should be right out...would you like me to bring you the rest of the pizza minus the one piece? And I can box the other pizza for you you to take home. That's thinking on your feet..turning a negative into a positive right away..great job Cindy and I hope you make it up the corporate ladder and make a difference under the red roof!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Does Product Placement Work?

Ocean's Thirteen Returning to the scene of the crime, Ocean's Thirteen rolls out over a glittery Las Vegas landscape where Danny Ocean and his band of thieves pulled their first heist together. Dropping everything (including walking out in the middle of cracking a safe), they reunite to pull one more job. This time the target is The Bank, a fake casino set among real casinos from the first Ocean's film. Tools of their trade include Dell XPS notebooks and Apple MacBooks used by the hacker members of the group. However their more memorable and unusual tools include a magnatron disguised as a gold-plated Samsung cell phone and a Zippo lighter, which controls the movement of dice with a flip of its cap. Featured Brands: adidas, Apple, Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Bentley, Bose, Chevrolet, Cirque du Soleil, Dell, Dos Equis, Ford, Harley-Davidson, Isuzu, K•B Toys, Knob Creek, Maxim, Mirage Casino, New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Oprah Winfrey, Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, PUMA, Samsung, Southwest Airlines, Trail-Eze, Zapata Tequila, Zippo

My question is..will you remember seeing the Dell computer or the Dos Equis in the movie and be more likely to buy those brands because George and the boys used them? Will you stay at the Bellagio because the boys did?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In with the new..out with the old?

How do you write a marketing plan for an established business that has outgrown it's initial business plan?
A good friend of mine who is a Creative Marketing Director brought this question to me last week. After thinking about it and talking to him we decided to bring the question to my blog.

This brand has outgrown there original business plan and need a new plan without its roots and what got them to where they are today. Sounds easy...but when you get to thinking about it...maybe not so easy.

Is it worth writing a new one? Or forging ahead with the old one?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Love The King!

Take a look at the newest web site from the very creative people at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky..Burger King's agency of record. Have fun making your own facial hair!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Just stop by Maine next summer

L.L. Bean is going to build a "theme park" around a new retail store in the home state of Maine. Will this "line extension" work, will you go to Maine to shop and stand in line for the Log Water Ride? Will this increase there sales..or is it more of a branding effort? With pressure from Cabela's and Bass Pro Shop, I guess the next best/biggest thing to do is build your own theme park.
One of the questions I have is that the theme park industry has been really down and most of them are built in vacation destination area..Florida, California, Texas..not the great state of Maine.

Will you go to Maine to try it out..and buy a few flannel shirts and maybe a tent?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Progress...not so much

I had lunch today with a friend of mine who is a marketing executive with a Mega Brand....(think Pizza with a red roof) We were talking about her brand and how things still shock her when she visits some of her locations. She went on to explain how she was in one of her Mega Brand locations and it took over four minutes for an associate to say hello to a client as they stood in line unsure of what they were supposed to do next. I asked her if there was a smile and a handshake...she laughed at me and said she was just hoping for a hello.

After lunch I was thinking that I was not surprised that this mega brand had "customer no service" issues, although it does amaze me that that a brand can get so big it forgets how to treat the client..the client built the brand because they came back and came back again....but how many clients have not come back? How much money does a Mega Brand spend in trying to get new clients; only to get them and then lose them because of poor execution inside the business. Mega brands need to remember when they were small and return to there roots..when customer service built there Mega Brand!

So I decided to bring my family into the Mega Pizza location last week and even though I had talked to her about the situation I still could not believe what I was seeing. A family of four walks in and takes a seat at a table..because the sign told them to do so..not an associate. After hanging out at there table for more than 10 minutes without being acknowledged that they were even in the restaurant..they got up and left! I wonder how much the Pizza giant spent on trying to get that family of four to come into the restaurant? And if the family of four never comes back how much money will the Pizza giant loose over five years. When you start to add it up its enough to make a corporate executive lose his or her would think.

What do you think..have you had an experience like this before at a chain restaurant?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Classics at the Paramount Theatre

Just a PSA to all my friends in Austin the Paramount Theatre. They have the best Classic Summer Movie Series. Please check out the schedule here I had the opportunity to check out STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN a few weeks back and my wife and I had a great time watching it on the Big Screen!

So get out of the heat and head to the Paramount Theatre this summer and have fun watching some classic movies again on the big screen.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Urban Chicken

A phrase I am not sure I thought I would ever say..."The Urban Chicken Movement" but after reading this article
on WikiHow I think I may start building my Chicken coop this weekend! But is raising chickens in an urban setting really a movement? The power of viral media again at play. If you need to know can find it..and usually from more than one source.
Look out downtown comes the farm!
What maybe I am on to something, forget the day job...start marketing the "Urban Chicken" I can see it now...T-shirts...Whole Foods..."Yes I would like a Urban Chicken combo w/ a Coke please"
Who is with me....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Great Experience = High Quality

This survey done by GSD&M advertising agency when they had the Wal-Mart account backs up what I was talking about yesterday. "The Experience" This survey shows the perception of cheap goods = low quality.

Perception... great experience = high quality.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Gift Cards IN or Out?

Do gift cards increase Brand loyalty? This article says yes and I believe that gift cards are a great retention tool. If you bring an item back to the store..they give you store credit on their gift card. That insures they will have to spend that money at your place. Also you cant put a price tag on the consumer having a card with your logo on it...its like a small billboard in the wallet/pocket. Also I have noticed that people are proud to show they have a gift card. They feel like they are getting something for free. The best cards I have seen are the ones sold in Super Markets..what a great idea, my brand in your store and you sell it for me! Thanks I will give you a small cut; no problem. Standing at the cash register in a supermarket you can get a card from Starbucks...1-800-Flowers....Target...
What are your thought about gift you like them and do they influence you when you are choosing a brand? Or is it more of a forced brand retention?

Direct mail works! Read all about it

As an avid reader of Deliver Magazine, a marketing publication produced by the USPS. I truly enjoy reading the magazine and wanted to share it with all of you. Lots of great articles and case studies. And as a big believer in using Direct Mail this is a great place to read about the medium. And there is a new web site

Keep up the good work Deliver!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New Study

An interesting study on the state of Brands in the marketplace I wanted to share with everyone. I look forward to your comments on it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Join a Chamber of Commerce

The following is a PSA..(Public Service Announcement): Join a Chamber of Commerce.

Joining your local Chamber of Commerce could be one of the easiest ways to help build your brand. For big companies and small the opportunity to come together with other companies in your local area is an outstanding way to increase sales, help to increase your employee pool, lets you share best practices and allow you to network.

Some other key tips on maximizing your chamber experience:

-Be consistent with your attendance
-Join as many committees as you can handle, but do not over extend yourself and not fulfill your commitments
-Ask to speak at chamber events. Will help you network but also helps you brush up on your public speaking skills
-Talk to as many people as you can, even if you don't think they maybe your target audience..they may know someone who is.
-Be on time
-Offer to host an open house..networking tasting at your business. Get people in your place of business to experience what you have to offer.
-Have information/printed materials to share with other members about your business

A chamber as like any networking group is only as good as you make it. Do not be afraid to talk to people...your brand needs to touch as many people as possible. Use the chamber as a tool to touch those people and gain valuable Brand Evangelist!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Brand vs Brand...I think?

Can anyone tell the difference between Cold Stone Creamery and Marble Slab? I am having trouble distinguishing between the two. And I am not sure there message if any is getting through. They both offer Ice Cream and Shakes and dipped Waffle cones..but what is the difference?

Today Cold Stone launches a new $15 Million Dollar campaign with a tag line of "Do you love it, or do you love it love it?" Love what exactly? What do you do different than Marble Slab..or are you the same brand? Are there other examples of Brands that get lumped together? Is there a difference between Crest and Aim? How about Bounty Paper Towels and Brawny. And is there really a difference between Sprite and 7up? All those brands have there unique challenges but when two retail establishments that are the same, and are competing for the same dollar how can they build enough brand loyalty to survive. One will need to distinguish themselves in the category and tell us what makes them different.

I believe the these two brands have a identity problem that I don't think "Do you love it, or do you love it love it?" will fix. It will be interesting to see if both can survive in the market place. I say no.

Please share your thoughts as maybe I am just missing something....

Friday, May 18, 2007

Out of site...Please!

Yesterday I was out visiting with some clients around Austin. I was going into one of the Big Box stores that sells music and movies and computers..and to my surprise there were two employees standing outside the front doors smoking! Right in front of the store blowing smoke at the people walking in the store. Than as I was driving to my next appointment that took me by a well established fast food chain, and what do I see again? Two employees and two of there friends standing outside the front door smoking!
I could not believe my eyes, Please as a consumer and a Marketing Consultant... companies of all sizes please instruct your employees to go outside to the back of the store, out of sight of any customers or potential customers. this should be in all operations manuals and each employee should know the designated area and its not in front of the store. Better yet offer them a quiting program that will improve there health along with there productivity.

Could you imagine if I just went through a Inside Out Brand Marketing strategy session with the corporate people at the QSR and we then went on a store tour and that's what we saw? But that kind of situation would have backed up everything I just talked to them about. Take care of the Inside/Outside of your business before you bring more customers to it as every little thing matters in the eye of a consumer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Energy Drink naming gone wild

The Redux Beverage Company announced this week that they will rename it's Cocaine Energy Drink, following a declaration from the FDA that the energy drinks marketing campaign in illegal.

It's obvious that a name like Cocaine was not a unanimous pick for the Redux Soft Drink Company. I believe they had several rounds of internal debate on that one. But, maybe the marketing department wanted to:

A. Create a buzz and plenty of WOM exposure

B. Instill a 'macho' sense in the drink to pull in the target audience (teenagers) who would say - Go get a Cocaine dude!

But whatever their noble objective was ....I am astonished to learn that the drink doesn't contain any trace of Cocaine in it(ha,ha) So what remains to be seen is how Redux could get the similar brand personality back into a new name and it's certainly not possible by renaming the drink maybe... LSD - Legalized Soft Drink.

The bottom-line is - Cocaine as a brand name associates negativity and no brand name that associates negativity with it can ever succeed, particularly in a long term perspective. All these energy drink marketers are quite envious of the success of Red Bull and they try to replicate it often without a consistent branding strategy.

What do you think...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why do you shop at...

Q. What grocery store do you shop at?

Q.Why do you shop there?


-Close to your work/home

-Customer Service

-Specialty foods, organic, beers of the world

-Store appearance

Monday, May 14, 2007

Recap on Dunkin

Dunkin Donuts Marketing Plan Recap.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my call to work on DD marketing plan for the upcoming Austin expansion. Below is what we came up with.

-Local event sponsorships,community activities, word of mouth
-Making a visit to DD an "experience" and a destination.
-Using "Hands on the Street" marketing within a 5-6 mile radius around each store.
-Quality of coffee and just a plan cup of coffee must be excellent.
-Service must be fast and Austin friendly
-Layout must be cozy,free WIFI
-Quality bake good
-Price less than Starbucks
All the responses and not one was a call for mass media, TV commercials w/ Rachael Ray are not going to bring people into DD. But $40 a day goes a long way at DD
I will be following the progress of Dunkin Donuts in Austin and will follow up with blogs as they expansion starts...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Brand they work?

This is my new favorite web site(see below). Check it out when you get a chance, it goes back to viral marketing... when you can create a brand icon....put it into real life situations and build a world around the icon. If we would have had the technology imagine what we could have done with the Jolly Green Giant. But this also raises a bigger question?

Q. Do you remember what brand/product the Jolly Green Giant pitched

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Back by popular demand...The nearly world famous Inside-Out Brand Marketing IN-OUT LIST

IN-Oceans 13
Out-any other 3 sequel

IN-Mass transit
Out-$3/gallon gas

IN-80's cartoons
Out-2007 cartoons

IN-Heroes and House (TV Shows)
Out-Reality TV

IN-NHL Playoffs
Out-NBA Playoffs

IN-NY style Pizza
Out-Other Pizza

IN-Free ATM fees
Out-Paying a fee to get your money

IN-My amazing Wife
Out-The boys


IN-A lawn-mower that last more than 1 summer
Out-The 3 lawn-mowers that lasted less the one summer each

Out-Home Depot

IN- San Diego Chargers new Uniforms
Out- The old colors

Out-Any other city not called Austin

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Monday, May 7, 2007

Dunkin's Girl

Does Racheal Ray make you want to go to Dunkin Donuts? Can she deliver the Austin Market?

Dunkin Donuts marketing plan?

What should Dunking Donuts marketing plan look like for the Austin Market? Lets see if we as a group can write a plan for them....

-How much mass advertising should they do?
-What roll will social marketing play in there mix?
-What should the creative look like? Remember this is Austin not Boston
-Should we be talking more about there coffee than there donuts?
-What is the Message? Quality..Customer Service...Fast?? Do they have a message already?

Lets get started..

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Where are the customers going to come from?

Dunkin Donuts is coming! Austin is now going to have 26 new locations in the next two years.

Question: Where are the customers going to come from? Will they take customers from Starbucks? KrispyKream? Or are there thousands of customers out there waiting for Dunkin Donuts to open? Is the brand relevant in Austin?

Monday, April 30, 2007

I found it!!

I found great customer service yesterday at a place I did not expect to find it! Let me repeat that I found great customer service!! The place....drum roll please....Sea World San Antonio! Right out of the Walt Disney play book..well maybe not that great, but still outstanding. Checking in at the front entrance with our newly purchased season pass (bought easily on-line) was a very nice young lady who smiled at me and said "thank you Mr. Hale and enjoy your day at Sea World". Wow for the first time in my life I didn't know what to say. She must have thought she said something wrong because I think I gave her a look of astonishment. Continuing into the park we encountered more "random acts of kindness" a few more "thank yous" and an invitation to come back and to top it all off "thank you and have a safe drive home" from the associates at the exit.

Very nicely done Sea World..I will be back; and I will begin to spread the the good word.

Friday, April 27, 2007


"I don't need a marketing plan..I am to small"

My response is you are just the right size..but you wont be if you don't get one. A marketing plan needs to be an actionable document not one written on a piece of paper and never followed through on. Having a marketing plan does not have to include spending a $100,000 on media and other mass media deals. Marketing from in-side-out will show you how to maximize your dollars and gain and retain clients.

The reason why so many brands are using social marketing is because it works..facebook, utube, MySpace and other blogs are taking over they way marketers think. Gone are the days of throwing money at ad/print campaigns. But you still need to have a marketing plan..this one may need to be called your "social marketing plan" and please do not fear change..times are changing and if you let it go by your brand will be left behind. If you do fear it...let me know and I will guide your brand through the change.

"Your success in life isn't based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business."
— Mark Sanborn

Design you own Mega Brand.. soda can

Something fun for all of you designers out there..and if you are like me and designed-challenged this is an easy one.

Have fun...if you win you must give props to Inside-Out Marketing blog.....


Monday, April 23, 2007

Your People..Your Brand

Ask your people. Would you like to find out what your customers think about your brand? Like to find out what your people think of your brand? Most executives are afraid to ask there people for fear they may tell them something they do not want to hear..that's a brand killer!

Your people are your brand and if you are in the service industry and 99% of us are...your people are the face of your brand and are the most important asset a brand has.

Here are some questions you need to ask your people...

-What do you think about our brand/products/service
-Make sure your people understand you are asking them as partners and that they should always feel they can speak there mind.

-What are the clients saying about our brand/product/service

-How many new people a day are coming in

-Have there been any unhappy clients..please go into detail on how problem was solved

As with any question/suggestion you need to make sure you have follow-up and a action plan. You have to show your people there in-put counts. Ask them to come up with a solution or a new program. And give them incentive to do so (money talks) Give them power and they will go the extra them there ideas are important and they will go the extra two miles..and show them you care they will go for miles and miles.

Taking care of your people...just another way the Inside-Out Marketing program will work for you and your brand.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is your brand relevant everywhere?

Is your brand relevant everywhere...and to everybody? Does it need to be relevant to everyone? Is AstoTurf relevant to everyone? Is a brand that is only marketed in the East Coast relevant to someone in Austin TX?

Working as a senior brand manager for AstroTurf we had it easy as the AstroTurf brand name ranked in the top ten most recognizable brands in the world. But was it relevant to we found out the answer is no and did we try to make it relevant to!

Is your brand relevant to everyone or maybe the better question is does it need to be?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Can your brand stand out?

Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out.

I wanted to share this story from the Washington Post written by Gene Weingarten

Its a fascinating account of how people only let in what they want to. This can come back full circle to building your brand. No matter how much money you spend on mass media telling consumers how great your product or service is...if people do not want it they will tune you out and you have wasted lots of money..ask Coke about "New Coke"

Interesting reading...please let me know what you think?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I wanted to share a web site with everyone, its a site I have to check everyday. The reason I have to check the site is because its something I believe in and its content is always changing. The site is

Let me know what you think...word of mouth marketing is a medium that is growing and will continue to grow and I and other Inside-Out Marketers will grow with it....will you and your brand?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Get out there...but only 8 miles out

Hands on the Street Marketing is the discipline of reaching out to your local business community (within a 8 mile radius of your business.) to build your brand. How do you go about doing Hands on the Street Marketing, its just how it sounds..getting out of your business and putting your hands to work. Visiting all of the businesses in an 8 mile area around your locations..those are the customers you do business with and need to reach out to. Extend your hand...introduce yourself...form a friendship...induce trail. Why would you try to reach out to a whole city of people when the clients you really want are in your backyard!
Training your staff to do Hands on the Street Marketing is a skill and one that takes patients and experience...but when they have it down and believe in the system your brand will grow and grow.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Opening Day is everyday for your brand

It's opening day for Major League Baseball, a time when every team believes it has a chance to win the pennant, is that but on opening day it is!
For your brand everyday should be opening day, you have a chance to become a Coke, Dell or Starbucks. But what is it going to take to win the brand pennant? Time, patients, hard work...sure all are part of it but that alone will not insure your brand success. Your people are the most important part of your will not build it alone..Get them and Train them and Retain them.


1. Get: Recruiting is the hardest part of the 3 steps. Sure you can go it the easy way and bring someone in and attempt to train them to think like you, act like you and be you....but all people are different and trust me you do not want all your people thinking like you. No matter what stage your brand is in you have to pin point what kind of people you are looking for in certain positions.

2. Train: Most companies will say they have a great training program, but in reality a very thick training manual is not training. Hands on and on-going training is the only way to create your brand culture. And a culture is something that is from inside and not stated on a mission statement.

3. Retain: Do what ever it takes to make your people happy and successful. Reward the people inside your organization(just like you reward clients you already have) your people are your brand at heart and never let the go away mad...reward them and treat them like family.

GTR =Get...Train... Retain

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ask them to come back!

Clients ask me all the time "we have a great product and great service why are we having trouble retaining clients"? My first question is ....did you ask them to come back? Sounds simple doesn't it? But most establishments are so worried about getting the next client they forget the ones they have. Retention starts from the inside and not with mass media.
I also have clients who want to offer speacial packages through mass media targeting new clients and not rewarding there existing client base...bad move; sure you are always needing to add additional clients to the pipeline but you always need to make the ones you have feel special for being so. Thats were In -side-Out Marketing starts...maybe it's a bounce back card with a discount, maybe its a % off next time you vist or a free appitizer, but to let a client walk out on the belief they will return because of the experience is brand killing at its best.

In the next couple of weeks I will be talking about "In-side-out Marketing" as it pertains to training staff and clients and brand building using "Hands on the Street" and other topics. If you have any questions or opinions please feel free to post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What Brand are you in?

As I travel around from airport to airport you meet and see lots of interesting people. But what does an airport tell you? It should give you the feel of the brand; the city. But most fall way short of that, some are right on the brand building train and some are stumbling on it without trying. Newark falls into it just with being busy, the buzz is all over the place just like the city of NY. Austin has a local feel, live music and food that is Austin. ln Vegas the slot machines and baggage area tell you all you need to know about Sin City. But next time you fly into Baltimore, Atlanta, Buffalo close your eyes and ask yourself what brand is being represented? It will be hard...

The same principals apply to a retail business, close your eyes next time you are in a Mc Donalds or any other retail establishment and just listen to the buzz and employees..can you tell what brand you are about to eat or drink?

What are the walls telling you?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If 4 walls could talk....

Four walls can talk...did you here that? What is your business telling you? Have you listened lately. When was the last time you stood in a Starbucks and really listened to what was being said? Of course the buzz is always there, but what are the walls telling you.

In my blog I will talk about "the walls" also "hands on the street marketing" and WOMM...(word of mouth marketing). After spending years banging my head against the traditional advertising and marketing world...I came over to this way of thinking after working in a franchise system, with one of the most recognizable brands in the world and finally in the sports business. And it always comes back to one thing..if these four walls could talk...

Off we go.....