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Call in the dogs?

By Dr. Burt Smith January 27th, 2012

Volkswagen is running this very eye-catching, conversation-piece of a commercial.

The commercial is indeed cool, clever, original and well done. It is hard not to watch it multiple times. It’s difficult to not share it with everyone you know and to contribute to the “How did they do that, anyway?” buzz that it is generating. And to see my preschool son laugh like he does when it comes on is very rewarding. It’s a well produced piece of work and will likely win several awards in 2012.

But NONE of that matters if ultimately it doesn’t help sell more Volkswagens. If this campaign doesn’t pay for itself, it’s not GOOD marketing.

Granted, it may be a component part of an overall strategy that leads Volkswagen into a whole new era. The first step in the marketing communication is, after all, to grab the ATTENTION of the target market, and if those are the intended results of this stage of the campaign, then they may indeed be barking up the right tree…Sorry, just had to give that one a try!

Anyhow, Volkswagen promises an explanation during the upcoming Super Bowl, so we’ll see…

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Well, here we are…

By Dr. Burt Smith January 23rd, 2012

Crossroads_Trail.jpgI have found myself being overly reflective of late. Maybe it’s because I’ve made some headway in finding a comfortable level of balance in my life by focusing on what’s most important and of letting go of what isn’t. Who knows, but it’s a good place and if you’ll indulge me I’ll be sharing a little more about that in future entries just because I think it’s something we’re all looking for. When I get my findings down to the kinds of brief, actionable ideas that you can use, which is the kind of value it is my great joy and honor to try to bring you with each entry, I’ll be eagerly sharing them.

One thing I think we’re all looking for is some kind of perspective. As I’ve written before, it’s a zany, crazy, mad, slap-happy, sometimes unforgiving world out there. I ran across this quote from “the great one” himself, (click here for one example of why I’m such a fan)  Dr. Peter F. Drucker, who said that every so many years, we cross a “divide.”

Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself – its worldview, its basic values, its social and political structure, its arts, its key institutions. Fifty years later, there is a new world. The people born after the transformation cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born.” –

Have your kids asked you what kind of cell phone you had when you were in junior high? For that matter, have you ever stopped and wondered how in the world we ever dared leave the house without our the security of having a cell phone handy? Or how we could have possibly done our Christmas shopping in the days before the Internet? Or what kind of psychotic episode would undoubtedly result if we failed to check e-mail for a whole week?

I wish I could conclude this entry with “THE” answers, but that’s above my pay grade. I have no idea what’s next, but as far as us determining what direction to take, one simple answer is VALUE. Think constantly about your customer and what they value most, and do more of that. Think about how what they currently value could be improved, then work to improve on that. None of us may be able to see the future, but if we really think about it, we can all imagine a better future and the winners of tomorrow will be those who can deliver that “better future” to the marketplace. So go get ’em!

When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’” – Sydney J. Harris

You’re probably too young to remember this, but back when I was a boy, obtaining market dominance meant you could be pretty optimistic about your future. At least for a little while! Now it just means you’re a bigger target for an emerging technology or business model to attack.

Consider, for example, how Blockbuster vanquished all the mom-and-pop video rental stores, then Netflix came in and almost put them out of business, and it looks like Amazon may now have Netflix in its sights with the addition of video streaming to its Prime membership package.

And now Best Buy is facing a similar fate. I’m anxious to see this special program CNBC is airing. It’ll be rebroadcast several times in the next few days and there are some clips from the program here, too.


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