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A while back a little crisis erupted when a local fuel vendor announced that a few batches of its gasoline had too high an ethanol content. High enough to potentially cause engine damage. Several Oklahoma City metro convenience store locations were affected, and they of course had to notify the public of the unfortunate news.

Fortunately for OnCue and its customers, the recall didn’t affect them. Or, more accurately, as a loyal On-Cue customer, I should say it didn’t affect us. OnCue made a point of making sure their customers knew it, too, by placing signs that prominently shared that important message on the front doors of its Oklahoma City locations.

If your value offers a competitive advantage, even if it’s a short-term advantage, showcase it. Let the world know about it.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it, baby!

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If there is an opportunity to get in front of an audience, you can bet marketers will find it. The picture to the left illustrates one such example.

The good folks at Coca Cola determined that those concrete poles that serve as safety/security barriers to the entrance to such places as Wal-Mart were not being used to their full potential. So they came up with a cardboard overlay that featured their latest promotion. Hard to miss as you walk through the main entrance, and I offer them a tip of my marketing hat for their creativity.

A while back we talked about how Amazon did something similar.

A good idea is to look for “underutlized real estate” where you might be able to get your message out there. The more unique, and the more clever, the better.

Doing business without advertising is like winking in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” – Unknown

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I’ll get right to two important points:

1 – Super classy golf tournament at Coffee Creek.

2 – Support of the tournament helps fund Max Dobson’s “Teaching the Disabled Child” class and the Oklahoma Christian University chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Here’s a link to the registration form: AMA Golf Brochure 2016.

Find me at the tournament and I’ll treat you to an ice cream sandwich!

 

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The great investing website, Seeking Alpha, ran this article about a lawsuit Procter and Gamble  has filed against a competitor in the razor category for patent infringement, deceptive practices, and a whole bunch of other stuff. You can read the article here if you like. 

What struck me as interesting was how they phrased their rationale for the lawsuit.

P&G’s chief legal officer, Deborah Mojoras, had this to say:

We invest heavily in innovation – and our scientists work tirelessly to provide men with one of the best, most reliable shaving experiences in the world. When a competitor makes false and misleading claims against one of our products and infringes our patents, it’s unfair to consumers, and to our employees and shareholders, and we will challenge those violations.”

 

I think some of this wording may be P&G’s attempt to avoid looking like Goliath picking on David. We all like to root for the underdog, after all, and competition is the thing that makes our beloved free market system work. But all that emotion aside, their point is logical and accurate. And justified. Companies of all size invest  lots of resources working to give their customers (that’s you and me!)  value, and they are rewarded with something of value in return. If companies can’t profitably serve customers, customers can’t be served for very long. The “win-win” of “value-for-value” turns to “lose-lose” pretty quickly. As Dr. Steven Covey liked to say, “No margin, no mission.” 

So in a way, P&G is just looking out for the customer. And no, I’m not being sarcastic!

 

 

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Spoiler Alert: This HUGE movie comes out Friday and everyone is speculating about who the  “Winner” will be. Well, I’ve got the answer: You!

That’s right, if you’re a fan, you’ve already won! The writers, producers, director, cast and crew of this epic undertaking (which cost close to $411 million to make) put their blood, sweat, and tears into making this movie with the ultimate goal of making YOU happy.

So congratulations, you’re the big winner!

That’s how the free market works, after all. Somebody takes a risk (sometimes an incredible risk) to create something of value for a customer, and if the customer agrees it’s valuable then the provider of that value ends up getting value in return, most likely in the form of what we call PROFITS! All that focused effort with YOUR satisfaction in mind.

Isn’t that a rather exciting story of its own?

Any time you build a new business, any time there’s an end-use customer getting a product and enjoying it better than a competitor might be able to offer them, you’ve created wealth for our society. So, the best way for you to make money is to create wealth!” – Paul Zane Pilzer, The Fountain of Wealth

 

 

 

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The Digital Doc Team!

You may recall that over the years I’ve noted my love/hate relationship with my cell phone and many things electronic. Thanks to a newly found, newly-formed relationship with the newly-located team at DitigalDoc.com (178th and Western, right next door to the Family Video), I’m now back in love with my electronics.

I had an blog-worthy customer service experience that I just had to share with you back in December. My son & I ran across Heath and his excellent DigitalDoc.com team as we were renting some Christmas movies for our family. They dazzled me with how promptly they fixed his iPad screen, then absolutely astounded me with how they went above and beyond. You see, he was having an issue with one of the apps on the iPad and they had kindly agreed to see if they could help him get it working promptly as part of the repair.

But it didn’t end there, either…

They ended up spending about an additional hour working to get the thing working for him, 30 minutes of which was after closing time. Simply amazing! Yes, we will be back. Yes we will be referring others. Yes, I highly recommend them to you right here and now. Heck, I honestly can’t wait until my next electronic breakdown just so I can send them some more business!

All joking aside, their whole team seriously impressed me and they are a superb example of what we’ve talked about here often, which is that to have MORE business, simply do GOOD business.

Thanks for the great example, guys!

Profit in business comes from repeat customers; customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them.”W. Edwards Deming

 

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Nine years ago this month my son was born. I won’t get all mushy and go on and on about how much I love him and my wife, or how it does indeed change your life (in good ways!) the way everybody says it will, or any of that.

What I will do is give a long overdue “Thanks” to the professional team on the maternity floor at Mercy Hospital who did such a swell job of helping our family navigate that joyous, exciting, and terrifying time. Joyous and exciting to be new parents of a perfectly healthy son, and terrifying to be signing lifetime contracts as new parents! We often think back fondly on that experience thanks to what great care they gave us all.

So even if it’s long overdue, I hope you professionals, you angels of Mercy, know how appreciated you still are!

 

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I grabbed this article from BizJournals.com. It originally appeared last year, and here’s a direct link if you’d like to read the original post. Good article and a good site!

Harvey Mackay: 10 valuable business lessons from Santa

Santa brings merriment to the season, but he also teaches us many valuable business lessons.

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, or even which holidays you celebrate, chances are you know about Santa Claus.

The jolly old elf brings merriment to the season, but he also teaches us many valuable lessons.

Here are 10 worth considering:

1. The value of giving

Aside from milk and cookies, Santa doesn’t get anything in return for all the gifts he shares with others. That is the real spirit of giving: not expecting anything in return. The joy of giving is reward enough.

2. Marketing and public relations

Santa’s image is everywhere, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t pay a dime for the exposure. He attracts crowds wherever he goes. Businesses put him front and center in ads, decorations, even in big comfy chairs in prime locations in shopping malls. They practically beg him to show up!

3. He hasn’t changed his basic look

More people can identify Santa than the president. His distinctive style of dress will never get him on a best-dressed list. But he doesn’t concern himself with that. His message has remained the same: a simple “Ho, ho, ho.” He doesn’t drive the latest model car. He is who he is and is content with that. What he does is more important than fad or fashion.

4. His attitude is contagious

He is always positive, reminding young and old alike to be good for goodness’ sake. How he keeps track of who is naughty or nice doesn’t really matter — he encourages people to be their best. He rewards good behavior. And who doesn’t like to be recognized for trying?

5. Santa respects deadlines

He knows from one December 25th to the next that he has customers to satisfy. He is beholden to the calendar. It wouldn’t work to try to stretch it into January or February. Reliability is an important trait.

6. Santa understands the value of tradition

Most of us have family or cultural traditions that bind us together. Businesses have traditions that customers anticipate. But have you ever noticed what happens when someone tries to change a long-held tradition? Santa knows better.

7. Customer service is high on his priority list

He aims to please, and he rarely disappoints. I’m guessing he reads every letter written in a childish scrawl before he makes his list. If you happen to overhear a conversation between Santa and a child asking for the hottest toy of the year, you will likely hear a promise to do his best, but he has some other great ideas, too. He won’t promise what he can’t deliver.

8. Teamwork is central to his operation

The demands on him are enormous. He understands that he can’t do it alone. A workshop full of elves and a team of nine little reindeer help him accomplish an impossible task year after year. I’ve heard there is magic involved, but I have no evidence to support it.

9. He epitomizes leadership

He leads his team, but he also guides the rest of believers toward the right path. He is consistent with his values. He is patient. He works hard. He is forgiving of mistakes and loves what he does. And that brings me to my next point.

10. He lives the wisdom of “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”

There can be no question that this guy wouldn’t want to do anything else. Santa couldn’t do what he has done for centuries without real enthusiasm for his efforts. Santa takes his work very seriously, but he doesn’t take himself seriously. He loves to laugh, make people happy, bring surprises, and spread good cheer. Santa understands that fun is good. a world full of serious problems, bringing a little happiness is a welcome relief. We can all do something to brighten someone else’s day.

Here is a shameless plug for getting on Santa’s “nice” list: This month, I will once again be donning a Santa hat and taking a shift ringing bells for the Salvation Army. For 12 years I have had this pleasure, and I hope to continue this tradition for many more holiday seasons. I encourage you to toss a few coins or dollars into the red kettle, or help whatever charity you can. Even if Santa doesn’t see you, you can be sure you have embodied his spirit.

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Good copy, Home Depot!

By Dr. Burt Smith December 14th, 2015

2015-12-11 11.20.38Pop quiz: Is this good marketing? The answer in a moment (like you didn’t already know what the answer is!). (Psst… you can find a hint here if need be.

Anyhow, on with the story.

I spied this display right outside the main entrance to Home Depot. They had an immaculately trimmed Christmas tree with a sign that read “Visit our Garden Center for your fresh cut tree,” and an arrow directed prospects to the entrance to the Garden Center.

Loved it! I thought the copy was well done. “Visit” is always a pleasant word, and the “for your fresh cut tree” verbiage really resonated with me. Just very well done.

So back to the to the original question:”Is this good marketing?” The answer is, “Does it get results?” Here’s where I have to say, in my case it didn’t.

I thought it was clever, well placed, well done, and so forth, it just didn’t move me to want to purchase a live tree. We’re an artificial, pre-lit tree kind of family.

To be fair, though, am I really their target market? If we’re not a live tree kind of family, my answer may not count. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this message did in fact resonate with its intended target market, that prospect who actually wants a fresh-cut tree. For that matter, it might even spur a purchase from someone who has thought about trying a fresh cut tree but just hadn’t yet made the plunge.  Were those things to occur, then indeed it would have to be considered “good marketing” because it did indeed get results!

All that aside, I still just really liked it, doggone it! Someone once said that advertising is “Art for the masses,” and I’d have to agree. A worthwhile attempt needs to be appreciated!

I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.” – John Wanamaker

 

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text mobile phoneI know a lot of today’s generation tends to communicate via text. Many have said that’s their preferred means of receiving messages, which has led a lot of marketers to adopt this as the next big way to disseminate information. To be fair, usually such information is requested via subscription or something, so it is indeed something the customer did ask for.

But I wonder if the possible brand damage that tactic could inflict has really been considered.

Here’s what I mean…

Let’s imagine you’ve subscribed to receive short little Burtisms, similar to these blog entries, via text here and there. One would hope we’d have the same great experience we have here, me sharing ideas from time to time and you getting a little something useful. Once a week a little Burtism text pops up in your text inbox, you read it at your convenience, it brightens your day, you happily go on about your life.

But what if my happy little Burtism text pops up right in the middle of an important conversation you’re trying to have? What if I’m interrupting good news? Wouldn’t that be rather an aggravation? What if my happy little Burtism pops up during bad/sad news? In addition to being an aggravation, might that be  considered inappropriate, even it it’s not intentionally so? Even if you could forgive such an intrusion, might my brand then carry that negative association with it from then on?

As my friend –  and quite the marketer himself – Nic Bittle said, “What we sign up for today might be a nuisance tomorrow.”

Indeed, and that’s not the kind of brand association you want.

The answer remains to be seen, but a it’s not a bad idea to ask these kinds of “then what” questions as you go.

 

 

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