Monthly Archives: July 2006

Dr. Z flops

I blogged a few weeks ago that the “Dr. Z” commercials featuring DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche were so bad that they were good. In reality, they were just bad.

Ad Age reports that Dr. Z is a flop. Here’s what $225 million of ads bought:
80% of consumers believed Dr. Z was a fictional character, rather than DaimlerChrysler’s living/breathing top executive.
–50% of consumers said they had trouble understanding Dr. Zetsche’s German accent.
–Most consumers didn’t notice the employee-discounting message that accompanied most of the commercials.
–Chrysler sales are expected to be down 17 percent in July compared with last year


Today’s Stupid Marketer

Here’s the text of an email I got today…(name has been changed to XXX to protect the stupid)

The Indianapolis RV Show is just around the corner and if you are going to be an exhibitor you will need something to hand out to your prospective customers. XXX Press wants to help you do that by offering great prices on quality print collateral.

Here are a few examples:
1,000 Business Cards for $55 – Full color, UV coated with 14 pt. Paper Stock
1,000 Postcards for $150 – Full color, UV coated with 14 pt. Paper Stock
1,000 Brochures for $335 – Full color, two sided 100# Gloss Text

If you are interested in any of these offers or if you are looking for something a little different please contact us through one of the methods below.
XXX’s address in Dallas TX
XXX’s phone and fax and email
Note: This is the first and last time XXX Press will ever send you an email. However, If you would like to opt out please reply to this email with REMOVE ME in the subject line.
(emphasis added)

Couple of thoughts:

1) The Indy RV Show? To be frank, it hadn’t crossed my mind to attend. In fact, I’ve never heard of it. Good job randomly picking me out of the 6 billion people on the planet to send the email to.

2) My favorite part (as evidenced by the bold) is the fact that even though this is the FIRST and the LAST email I will receive from this bright printing company….I will need to opt-out of this list I never opt-ed into.

This isn’t just spam…it showcases the entire problem of why businesses fail when it comes to e-marketing. Here is a business who has absolutely no idea how to market on the internet….but apparently does know how to buy useless lists, type an email, and hit send. In a few days, the owner of the printer will scoff and say that email marketing doesn’t work.

Mmmm…I wonder why.


Marketing Big Idea

From Doc Searls…

“….far too much of what we call “Marketing” is about capturing and holding customers, rather than finding and satisfying customer needs…”


Doc’s entire article is here. Although I don’t agree with all of it as much as the above quote. Tara and Hugh do a good job talking from the marketing side of the equation.


The Wrong Tail

People love the bandwagon. They hop on it whenever they can. For the public, it’s the latest reality show. For business, it’s the latest book. If fact, I’ve thought of writing a business book entitled “Raving Guerilla Cheese Movers” It’d be a hit.

I’ve said some things about marketing books that I still believe. “X”..whatever it is…is not going to be the solution to all your problems. People need to stop hopping on the latest business trend that’s being promoted down at Borders and need to start looking holistically at their business and marketing.

That’s why I thought this Slate article from Tim Wu was great. He reviews Chris Anderson’s new book, The Long Tail. Of course, the Long Tail is a concept that most of the blogosphere and forward thinking people already know about. But beware, the masses are about to grab hold of it…a sure sign that the idea is about to be corrupted.

Wu brings up some of the shortcomings of the long tail theory which might be good for some bloggers to read. After reading some blogs, you’d think the long tail could go pick up your dry cleaning. We’ve been corrupted already. It’s a good idea that we’ve tried to apply too broadly.

I still think you should buy Chris’ new book…and encourage others to buy. I think the long tail is an essential concept for the new times. And it does work for many things. But, just don’t expect it to solve all your problems.


Marketing under HIPAA

If you’re even close to the healthcare industry, you’ve at least heard about the 800-lb gorilla that is called HIPAA. In some cases, some healthcare practitioners have been leery of database marketing in fear of violating HIPAA.

Fear not. Just sign up for a great webcast presented by Health Leaders Media called Marketing under HIPAA: Patient data and the law. Learn how to use patient data in healthcare marketing without violating HIPAA privacy laws. Join us on August 9, 2006 for this 90-minute interactive program. Kate Borten and I will equip you with the essential facts on how HIPAA and patient privacy impacts your healthcare organization’s marketing efforts.

Of course, my portion of the webinar will be about the healthcare marketing side. But, one of the real reasons to sign up for the webcast is my co-presenter, Kate Borten. I’ve been in the healthcare marketing arena for a long time….and after working with Kate, I’m convinced she knows more about HIPAA than anyone I’ve ever met.

Click here for more information about the webinar and to register. I think you’ll get alot out of it.


Wanamaker finally gets it

–In stocks, it’s “Buy Low. Sell High”.
–In weather, it’s “not the heat, it’s the humidity”.
–In advertising, it’s “I know half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.” It’s a quote attributed to John Wanamaker who owned a department store in Philadelphia in the early 20th century. In one of my marketing keynotes, I throw his quote up on the screen and tell my audience if they don’t know which half is working, they’d better stop advertising because they’re wasting their money, time, consumer attention, brand equity, etc, etc.

Marketing is sometimes seen as an art, (which it is to an extent), but businesses take that too far. Are you too far? Apply your marketing philosophies to another aspect of the business…
–“I know half my customers are not paying me, but I don’t know which half!”
–“I know half my employees are stealing from me, but I don’t know which half!
If it doesn’t make sense in the other parts of the business, it doesn’t make sense in marketing either.

The trouble is tracking. Most companies (especially smaller ones) don’t track their marketing investment at all. Most that do track are doing it wrong. It’s no wonder that half (or more) of the marketing doesn’t work.

That’s why I’m encouraged by this news from Nielsen. Beginning this November, they will not only report TV program viewership, but also advertising viewership.

People have been preaching the death of the 30-second ad for some time now…(some better than others). I have always agreed that the change was on the horizon, but knew that old habits die hard for business. We’re now at the tipping point.

Today in the early 21st century, you have more tools and more opportunity than ever (and it’s growing everyday) to find out “what half of your marketing is working”. Why does your marketing still reflect a quote about a department store in 1912?


Marketing with Blogs in Bowling Green KY this Tuesday

A reminder…

Corporate / Business Blogs (Marketing as Conversation) is a topic built for companies who currently don’t blog and are not taking an active part in the blog conversation. It’s part blog-primer and part blog-evangelism.I’ll be presenting it this Tuesday in an open public appearance at the Professional Marketing Association meeting in Bowling Green, KY at 11:30a. The program is free and you can have lunch for a nominal fee. Directions to the location and other info can be found on the PMA website.


Look at me

Ad campaigns that feature the owner of a business are like a horrific car accident. You want to look away, but your primal nature wants to see the carnage.

It happens a lot in local ads. When I worked in radio, there was a constant stream of small business owners coming in to read their copy…which, on the air, sounded like they were reading their copy. TV is even worse. Some of these people don’t know any better. And some are just doing it because they like the attention.

Local ads like this usually last a long time because the owner personally sees the results. People come up to them and say “I saw you on TV!” The owner is constantly reassured that people are seeing the commercial…so they buy more. This is one reason these types of ads are so prevalent…media salespeople know that vanity spots are usually good for an extended run. An ad that doesn’t feature the owner (or heaven forbid – his kids/grandkids/etc) is probably just as effective. But since most businesses have no marketing tracking whatsoever, vanity spots are seen as “effective” by the gut check of the owner.

OK. Small businesses don’t know any better. What about larger companies?

Well, when there was a fungus among us in contact lens solution, Bausch & Lomb trotted out their CEO who looked like he was making a hostage tape.

Bill “I’m related to Henry” Ford has all the personality of Al Gore when talking about the innovation and “exciting things” happening at Ford.

Sometimes the owner is so non-camera-compatible that it becomes a hallmark of the ads…and becomes good. Case-in-point: The late Dave Thomas at Wendy’s.

And we’re about to have another instance of “bad becomes good” with the current “Dr. Z” commercials featuring DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche. (I’m actually appalled at one of these spots where Dr. Z and another guy crash…and walk away. The disclaimer is not big enough here.)

The point is that sticking the CEO out front in an ad is not always the best option. Actually, it rarely is. And a good leader/manager/owner will be intelligent enough to realize their own limitations…and decline.