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Blogs & Condos


Was talking to some friends who told me they liked my new "website." "It's a blog," said I. They nodded politely and went on with the conversation. Now I know how people who own condos feel when people refer to their homes as apartments.

Friday Fun


Fridays are waiting for the weekend to start days. This is our space to create a virtual Happy Hour...from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A time to be sophisticated-silly. Or perhaps just plain silly.

What do you think is funny? Check out Laugh Lab - a real scientific experiment to discover the world's funniest joke. The international study of humour involved over 350,000 people from 70 countries. While you're there take the Smile Study - a unique experiment to discover whether people can spot the difference between a genuine and fake smile. Here's the top American joke from the study. Do you think it's funny? What's your favorite joke?

A man and a friend are playing golf one day at their local golf course. One of the guys is about to chip onto the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course. He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows down in prayer. His friend says: “Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man.” The man then replies: “Yeah, well we were married 35 years.”

Some people say you make your own luck. Prof. Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire), who conducted the Laugh Lab research, says that learning to be lucky is central to business success. Are you lucky in love, work or play? Take a test or two at the Luck Project.



SHRM Online, a pub for the HR crowd, reports that a Chapel Hill, NC-based consulting firm, Best Practices LLC recently conducted a benchmarketing study of the business practices of 10 top US companies: Coca-Cola Corp., Congentrix Inc., Constellation Energy, Dow Agro Sciences Corp., Entergy Inc., the FPL Group, Hayes Lemmerz Inc., Mirant Inc., Orion Energy Inc. and Progress Energy Inc. The report Optimizing Human Resources Organizations: Managing Staffing, Roles and Budgets found that the most successful companies follow the credo of “people, service and profitability."

"The thinking is, if you place people first, then good customer service and profitability will follow. This philosophy has definitely worked for companies such as Southwest Airlines and the other highly successful organizations that were examined." Keith Symmers, vice president, Best Practices LLC.

While I applaud the efforts of these companies, and the research, I can't help but think ... what would happen if an Internal Branding strategy were added to the mix? What would happen to ROI if companies let employees in on the "secrets of the brand?" Diva Marketers, here's a radical thought.... next time you have a meeting about branding how about inviting HR?

Theme Song For Blogs


yfs_lisa_bastinaI was invited to hear a new folk singer last night…yes, Virginia, there still are folk singers. Lisa Bastoni. Bastoni is an elegant talent.

As far as I could tell, very little marketing efforts went into promoting her gig at the Red Light Cafe in Atlanta's Highland area. A mostly word-of-mouth effort filled the club. Diva and divors in keeping with our friends the Laser Monks and Cirque Du Soleil (see prior posts) the quality of the product drove the buzz.

It was her song, Bird By Bird, that sang to me about what many are trying to accomplish in the blogsphere. Is there a theme song for bloggers? Perhaps this might be it. Anyone up for creating a buzz?

Bird By Bird

Brick by brick
Bird by bird
Tell your story
Word by word
Take it easy
Take it in
If you fall
You can start again

Storm by storm
Drenched in sweat
Don't give up
Don't forget
Silver shines
Gold shines, too
Nothing's brighter
Than what's true

Song by song
Town by town
I know someone
Hears the sound
Of one heart trying
To be heard
Brick by brick
Bird by bird

Ad:Tech 2004 Man-on-The Street: Relevancy Reigns


More from Jay Berkowitz, CEO, Ten Golden Rules, who is playing the role of Man-on-The-Street reporter at Ad:Tech 2004 for the American Marketing Association's Internet SIG. By the way, many of the Ad:Tech 2004 presentations are posted and are being blogged. Thanks to MarketingVOX for generously providing much of the conference content online. Now if only they could find a way to create a virtual party!

One of the major buzzwords here at Ad-Tech is relevance.

The search engine marketers are talking about relevance with respect to
search results. If you do a Yahoo! search and get a link to exactly what
you're looking for there is a great chance you'll come back to Yahoo! for
your next search.

Web developers and marketers are talking about relevant content on websites.
If the consumer finds what she is looking for, right away, she will stay on
the site. If she doesn't see it right away she'll be gone.

Lastly, a really hot new category of online marketing is 'Behavioral
Marketing'. This is a marketing and advertising that targets users based on
their actions online. If you are reading a page that includes the term new
cars, one of several behavioral marketing firms (also called contextual or
content marketing) will run a 'relevant' car ad triggered by this keyword.
Google has a new product called AdSense that serves Google ads (and brand
new in the last two weeks banner ads) based on relevant keywords that appear
on sites they have partnered with.

Ad Tech Man-On-The-Street: WOM


Couldn't make it to Ad-Tech in San Francisco this year? Jay Berkowitz, , CEO of Ten Golden Rules, is Man-On-The-Street reporter for the American Marketing Association's Internet/eCom SIG this week. Although we can't enjoy the fabulous parties, with complements of Jay, here's a look at what's hot in Interactive.

The show is packed! Over 5,000 have registered, way above previous highs. People are sitting and standing in the aisles in all of the sessions and the trade show floor is mobbed.

One trend that was on the lips of a number of presenters today was WOM or Word-of-Mouth Marketing. This is exemplified by Blogging, Social Networking and The Subservient Chicken.

Blogs are web logs, daily entries made by "bloggers" low tech webmasters who post their thoughts, pictures and links to other websites or blogs.

Social Networking is really hot, sites like,, and People are trading leads, chatting, and talking about companies, products and services. Upset a customer and look out - delight someone and he/she will let the world know.

Lastly, everyone is buzzing about The Subservient Chicken. This character does whatever you ask him (well almost everything) on command, ask him to build a fort, he does it, ask him to do the splits and he does his best attempt. Click on the BK link and you find out that Burger King, who have re-launched the "Have it Your Way" campaign created this little web marketing gem. The amazing part, this website has rocketed into the top 20,000 most trafficked sites on the internet through WOM or Word-of-Mouth marketing.

Girlfriends in High Places


Our British cousins are one step ahead of us when it comes to better understanding the dynamics of women in the work place. A very interesting and important study was released by Demos, a UK think tank that calls its self a greenhouse for new idea, about women and the benefits of establishing “networks.” Girlfriends in High Places (what a great name!) proposes that professional networking can help women enhance career opportunities and build confidence. Too often women are left out of good ol' boy networks. The study mentions several reasons including:

-Missing out on after-hours pub outings because of childcare commitments
-Sexual politics of the office

“It’s OK to want to get ahead and be successful. But equally, women want to help each other and they want a fairer deal as a group. Networked feminists recognise that ‘having it all’ means acting to advance women collectively as well as realising their own personal goals.” Author Helen McCarthy

Now I appreciate the Marketing GNO women even more!

The 10 Commandments Could Be 79!


That’s in Service Management. Customer service is one of the more challenging aspects of marketing and branding. If an organization doesn’t have Customer Service reporting to Marketing there is almost always a huge disconnect between the company brand vision and the customer brand perception.

An international group of academics calling themselves, The Ten Commandments Group of Service Management, recently posted initial findings of Round One of a study on service dimensions.

You’re invited to participate in Round Two of the study.

Marketing Lessons From Laser Monks


Have I been living under a rock? How could I have missed one of the most unusual and successful online companies? Just read about Laser Monks on the WonderBrand blog. One more reason to blog – keeps one up-to-date!

Father Chuck O'Malley, played by Bing Crosby in the 1944 classic movie Going My Way, (okay so he was a priest and not a monk!) would find a kindred spirit in Fr. Bernard McCoy of Laser Monks. Father Chuck introduced the old parish priets to modernistic methods and changed the way things were done at St. Dominic's Church. In 2004, Rev. Bernard McCoy is changing the way people are buying ink cartridges.

That's right. Ink Cartridges. 2001, Laser Monks launched their eCommerce site. Two years later sales had increased by 700%! Could this amazing success be attributed to the power of prayer or savvy marketing? I’m betting Rev. McCoy would say a little of both! A fascinating story that is a must read for any marketer.

A few lessons from the good brothers on how to do it right…and make a profit. Beginning with what the monks' term people benefits (love that phrase), their strategy focuses on quality products, customer service, added-value, relationship development and fun.

Building Relationships & Making e-commerce More Human

LaserMonks consciously markets our products and molds our business and website with a focus on “people benefits.” We endeavor to bring our 900 years of monastic tradition to bear on all aspects of LaserMonks. Through these efforts we hope to build long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with all our visitors and customers.

-We try to make e-commerce more human through personal and truly caring customer service, that reflects our 900-year tradition of hospitality.

-The LaserMonks website offers an invitation for Prayer Requests.

-Thoughtful phrases and quotations are provided that encourage a moment of reflection and growth in the midst of a busy day.

-Our weblog provides reflections on both monastic and business topics of interest.

-Laughter is good for the soul. Luxor & Ludwig, a feature cartoon produced by Fr. Robert, our superior, provides a humorous view of the monks’ life through the eyes of the Abbey mascots, our Egyptian Pharoah Hound and Doberman Pinscher.

-Our charitable works page highlights the various ways that LaserMonks and the monks of the Abbey endeavor to help others throughout the world.

-The LaserMonks Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter that provides useful articles and hints relating to efficient management of printing and printers. This newsletter also provides an interest feature on the monks, which shares a little of our life with our LaserMonks customers.

-Handwritten notes of thanks and encouragement from the monks are included in some of our shipments and in occasional correspondence with our customers.

-Our telephone service and auto-attendant are designed to be cheerful, encouraging and thankful, even including our own Cistercian Gregorian Chant for any moments that one must be on Hold.

What would a Bing Crosby movie be without a tune? The lyrics from the Going My Way's Oscar winning song, Swinging on a Star, are what it's all about...

So you see it's all up to you. You can be better than you are. You could be swingin' on a star.

Quick Thoughts


Quick thoughts from the Sunday Times. In Gina Bellafante's column Ben Mezrich, Bringing Down The House, says, "I write for people who don't read." Got to thinking...isn't that who most marcom material is written for...people who don't want to read for the sake of reading...but people who want information?

Bring that home dear marketers. Have you fallen in love with the words or are you providing what customers need to move them along in sales process? I challenge you to review your sales and marketing materials including websites (do blogs count?).

Back to my java now!