Monthly Archives: June 2007

Brioche Eaters

So I’m working with a web designer on a project for a client and I notice there are several glitches on the website when I view it in my browser.

The web designer emails –
“Yes. I’m building and optimizing for “Elite Tech Browser” and I’ll work out the glitches/bugs for the “Browser of the Masses” when I’m finished”

I respond –
“I’ve looked at the webstats of the client’s current site and over 70% of their visitors are using “Browser of the Masses” and over 40% of those people are using an older version of “Browser of the Masses”. While I’m a big fan of “Elite Tech Browser” and use it myself, we need to build and optimize the site for “Browser of the Masses”.

Web Designer comes back with –
“I’ll build it correctly first for “Elite Tech Browser” and then go back to correct the mistakes.” (emphasis added)


So many times we are hung up on what the market is supposed to do and how people are supposed to act. And we produce products and develop marketing to match those expectations.

That’s a good way to fail.

There are lots of start-up businesses that don’t make it past the first year. Some of that is because they failed to think about marketing early enough. But many of them go out of business because they think that their customers are just like them. And they try to sell what they think the masses need – rather than what the masses want.

I’ve always been on the fence about the old “customer is always right” mantra because in my experience I have found that the customer is wrong quite a bit.

But they do pay the bills. Do what they want and make it easy for them. Don’t try to herd the cattle. Pave the cowpaths.

And don’t be elitist with your marketing and your customer base.

Yes. They’re using an inferior browser. They’re shopping at big box stores. They buy crap to eat.
So build your website so it’s at least functional in a crappy browser on dial-up, stock your stuff at Wally-World, and put out a plate of Slim Jims and Twinkies.

And never think – “S’ils n’ont plus de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”

You’ll never get a-head that way.

I need your help

I’m very excited about my latest iron in the fire.

I will be teaching a class at Western Kentucky University this fall that explores interactive online technologies and methods used in journalism and media.

My big idea for the class revolves around two platforms:
1) discussion/reaction of online journalistic concepts presented to them in online sources, textbooks, and other books. There would be class discussion and each student would react on their personal blog developed for the class (Example: Read X blog, write a reaction on your blog, and be prepared to discuss in class on Monday.)
2) Students doing hands-on projects (website, online video/multimedia, and audio podcast).

I’m currently in the process of developing the syllabus / outline for the course. And in the vein of online content, I am developing it open source in blog form. It’s still in a very rough form and will be edited heavily before the semester begins. And there are large chunks that are missing. You can view it here –

What do you think is missing? What do you think needs to be added? I would deeply appreciate your comments/suggestions and for you to forward the link to people you think might have helpful input.

Jump Ideas

I just returned from delivering a marketing talk at the World Tea Expo in Atlanta. Hats off to Stacy and all the event staff. It was one of the best organized conferences I’ve attended in a long while.

Being a marketing speaker is one of the things I most enjoy doing. One of the many reasons I enjoy it is — that for a few days — I get to be involved in drastically different industries and worlds of thought. In the past year, I have delivered seminars and keynotes to groups ranging from hospitals and medical facilities to orthotics and non-profits.

You’d be surprised how many new ideas and methods you can come up with for your own industry when you delve into a completely different worldview.

One of my favorite business stories is the bank manager who borrowed/stole operations and marketing ideas from the fast food industry to make his branches operate more quickly and efficiently. It’s these “jump ideas” that cause your business to differentiate and stand out from the competition.

While you may not be speaking at conferences and corporate events, you can do this. Pick up a trade journal or surf the web for information about a business or industry that you know nothing about and is not even remotely related to what you do.

You might find a “jump idea” that you can implement.

No Go Logo

There’s been quite a bit of online conversation and critique about the 2012 Olympic logo.

Great comments from Hugh who was actually there when it was unveiled.

And Seth had some great advice for people who speak jargon-ese to detract from the fact that they just ripped you off. And he really hit the nail on the head with a post about logos in general.

Here’s the thing — Advertising and graphic design are subjective. I personally don’t like this logo. Maybe you do. And criticism like this is going to happen all day in these fields.

But what does need to be considered is the big picture. So maybe you don’t like the color or the font, but will it help gain market share?

I had a client a few years ago who hired me to develop a marketing plan for his company. I discovered that while he was balking at my plans and my fees, he had paid a branding company an outlandish fee to come up with a logo and name for the company. And this happens all the time. Too many times, business strains at the gnat and swallows the camel when it comes to marketing. Spend your marketing dollars on the tires and engine of marketing — not on the upholstery and the radio.

It’s true that you need a good logo. And you don’t need to go the cheap route with it or try to do it yourself with clipart and MS Word. But you also don’t need to shell out $800,000 for anything that could easily be emailed to you.

The truest test is that if your graphic identity is giving people epileptic seizures as the 2012 Olympic one apparently is, perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

BONUS::It seems the British people could have done a better job. If you take out the photo-based ones, 2012 logos done by BBC News readers here and here are pretty good. (of course, that’s my subjective opinion)

Salespeople types

Lots of people confuse sales with marketing and vice versa.

Sales is an important function of marketing and sometimes that function is carried out by salespeople. Unfortunately, good salespeople are hard to find. I’m sure you’ve run across one or two of these sales types in your life…

Psycho Sales
–A little too happy with tracking sales on spreadsheets
–Own way too many Successories and motivational books.
–They “network” way too much.
–Arm-wrestle clients into a purchase.
–Over-promise and under-deliver (also called lying)

–They got out of college and had no plan. They think they’ll “they’ll try sales for awhile” and 20 years later they’re still trying to sell you copier toner.
–Have absolutely no knowledge about what they’re selling you
–Typically promoted to Sales Manager.

Stable Horses
–Have little knowledge of the product/service they’re selling.
–Sales mostly occur through long relationships with clients, sales promotion (gimmicks), and luck.
–The majority of all salespeople fall under this category

Order Takers
–Pick up the phone, write down the order, turn it in.

Eye Candy
–Can be male or female
–Clients tend to buy just so the salesperson keeps coming by.

Good Salesperson
–They’re concerned about what the customer needs versus what they can be sold. They understand that this sometimes means no sale.
–They know what they’re selling inside and out. That means both the advantages and disadvantages.
–Using this philosophy, they are always very successful and very well compensated.
–Sadly, I can count on one hand the number of these salespeople I’ve ever met.

I’m sure I’ve missed some sales characters. Leave your thoughts in the comments.