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Friday Fun


Cartoons Are Not Just For Kids
Okay..I admit it...I frequently read the New Yorker just for the fun of the cartoons. It's something I'm not necessarily proud of...but since coming clean, I've found a support group of people who are closet cartoon readers.

If "a picture is worth a thousand words" than what is the value of a mini-story that includes pictures (a la the form of a cartoon) worth? Ever wondered how political cartoons can zing home a point in a frame or two? Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Borgman gives you the scoop.

ann_telnaes_pultizer_cartoonLibrary Of Congress is currently exhibiting the works of Ann Telnaes. Ms Telnaes was the second woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, a highly competitive field in which fewer than 5% of the practitioners are women.

Marketers have leveraged "comic ads" for many years as a tactic to cut through clutter and standout from the competition. This ad for Scotch Tape from The Saturday Evening Post, September 11, 1948, combines both satire and advertising. I wonder if it would be PC to run during the elections of 2004. scotch_tape_ad_the_sat_eve_post_91148

"Using humor in the form of cartoons is a powerful way to brand your marketing and drive home important messages to your prospects and clients," Roger C. Parker. I would add that to use humor effectively you must understand your target audience and ensure that the communication is aligned with the values of your brand.

From Mr. Parker's article, How to Use Humor to Increase Sales
Suggestions For Marketing with Cartoons

1. When in doubt, leave it out. If the cartoon does not perfectly support your point, leave it out.
2. Always add the copyright information described in the licensing agreement.
3. Never run a cartoon without first obtaining a license to reproduce it.
4. Optimization. After downloading, resize and sharpen the cartoon in an image-editing program like photoshop and export it in the proper file format.

Read More About Humor in Marketing
-Marketing Prof's Know How Exchange ran a thread on "How Effective Is the Use Of Humor In Marketing Products and Services More Successfully?"
-How To Use Humour Successfully In Your E-communications an article by Suzan St Maur
-Super Marketing: Ads From The Comics

Thinking about cartoons brings to mind the WSJ's fabulous illustrations...although not quite "cartoons"...I wonder why the WSJ Online doesn't include them. One more secret....I'd love a WSJ illustration of moi!

NonProfits Must Be Strategically Savvy


trapezeRecently I've found myself involved with the nonprofit sector once again. In today's environment the management team and board are learning to perform a difficult trapeze act...balancing the mission of the organization while coordinating business and marketing challenges. Often those not intimately involved in not-for-profits are surprised to learn the nonprofit world can be more competitive than what their corporate cousins face.

However, nonprofit directors are taking their cues from the for-profit sector and developing sophisticated marketing plans that often include strategies such as: branding, positioning, fund raising, patron and competitor research. A few innovative organizations are even blogging! Want to know what young adults are thinking about American politics? Checkout the blog at Music for America - and click onto their wiki.

Though not quite a nonprofit, the City of Eden Prairie, MN has 2 blogs! I must admit I’ve never been to Eden Prairie but after reading Police Chief Dan Carlson’s delightful posts and those of City Manger Scott Neal (Mr. Neal has been blogging since March 2003!) I’m ready to visit their fair city. The city’s website states that “Eden Prairie is headed for the 21st century.” I’d say they were leading the way!

Thanks to Laura Caligan, Communications Manager, Georgia Center for Nonprofit, for the link to Len Witt's article about nonprofit blogging.

From Paula Oyer Berezin, President, Social Capital Partnerships, here are a few ideas from the recent AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference that will help build your marketing plan...great ideas for any sector!

On Branding:
-Brian Gallagher, United Way of America
"Be. Do. Say." Whether you have a big budget or no budget to invest in your brand, it is more important that you define it and live your brand more than spend money on designing and advertising it.

Internal marketing is a pre-requisite. Focus and alignment is both key to managing your brand.

-Darell Hammond, KaBOOM!
Two key questions: What do we stand for? And, how do we stand out? Most people have a recipe and a model. The hard part is following it. Organizational buy-in takes time. Resist going big fast. Build equity.

-Bill Novelli, AARP
"We want be a badge brand. We want to increase our members' vestedness in our organization."

-Pat Mitchell, PBS
"Be sure about where you want people to go. Communicate it clearly. Lead with optimism and personal empowerment."

-Kurt Ascherman, Boys & Girls Club of America
Your mission/brand statement should pass the elevator test. You should be able to articulate it in 30 seconds. Figure out your "Unique Service Proposition." Make marketing a standing committee of the board, ensuring it is written into the bylaws. Most important part of your marketing strategy is the call to action.

-David Zucker, Porter Novelli
Invest more time and energy on behavior than your ad campaign.

On Membership
-Bill Lamar, McDonald's
Focus on target customer. If you get good at delivering value for your best customers, you do well for all customers.

On Sponsorship
-Darell Hammond, KaBOOM!
Commit to big citizenship vs. transactional-based partnerships.

-Kurt Ascherman, Boys & Girls Club of America
We are moving away from "partnership" to "collaboration." Make cross-functional account teams formal.

On Hiring Practices
-Darell Hammond, KaBOOM!
We look for: "Can do. Will do. Team fit. Dam quick. Damn smart."

-Kurt Ascherman, Boys & Girls Club of America
"If development and marketing don't get along, fire one of them."
Development and marketing should be coordinated under one umbrella.

On Maintaining a Vibrant Board
-Sam Pettway, BoardWalk Consulting LLC
Require board members to sign a commitment letter outlining your expectations.

Survey your board members. Ask:
1) How many other board commitments
2) Rank level of commitment
3) Rank financial commitment
4) What are the three biggest strategic challenges for the organization?
5) What is the brand of the organization's mission, e.g., what do we mean by "solving hunger?"
6) How can we make better use of your time?
7) Ask board members to evaluate the productiveness of each board meeting.

-Diane Linen Powell, Des Plaines Publishing Company
Inventory your board for complementary skills. Recruit board members who:
1) Have a facility and ability to give or get
2) Embrace and spread the mission through civic and corporate relationships
3) Possess governance skills

-Kurt Ascherman, Boys & Girls Club of America
Create a board people want to be on.

On Leadership
-Kurt Ascherman, Boys & Girls Club of America
"Carry the water of get out."If you are not happy with the leadership, try to change it...rather than staying in obscurity, complaining.

BizBlog Directory


A Penny For is developing a bizblog directory wiki. At the moment there are over 80 blogs listed. This type of resource is needed. Hope it builds into a meaningful list that will help increase the credibilty of business blogs. Check it out if you're looking for smart blogs or add yours to the list.

Women Fill The Shopping Bags


shopping_divaMy good friend Kate Spencer, Director of University Marketing University Relationships at American University and The Diva Marketer of Higher Education,(throw that boa high Kate!) sent me a clip from an American Demographics article - The Influential Female Shopper (subscription needed).

The article that reconfirmed previous, current research indicated...female shoppers are becoming more persuasive in household purchasing decisions including what was thought to be a guy thing...electronics.

What was interesting to me was the emphasis on segmentation. How strange that researchers and yes, smart marketers/"clients" (who should know better), are finally beginning to understand that the “female market” is not one giant blob. A little good research can help create targeted strategies that fill those jazzy shopping bags.

"Gen X women are empowered, they have a different psychological makeup than previous generations. [So as a marketer,] you want to use a different tone of voice or language to effectively market to them. For example, Gen X women have a thrilling side, which speaks more to the mindset of the single woman getting married later in life." Scott Marden, director of marketing research at Vertis, a marketing services firm.

Read more … -Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online by Yvonne Divita and also Don't Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy -- and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market by Lisa Johnson and Andrea Learned.

Speaking of segmentation...dahlings, other blogs may talk about the politics of the Democratic Convention but here's the scoop on Fashion Boston Style! Since we've somehow managed to segue into politics, here's a very creative look at both sides of the political fence from the guys at JibJab...this one is a must see.

How Does One Blog Well?


Bob Beaulaurier, Market Decisions Research, posed a great question on the AMA Brand list.  Following is edited from Bob's post.

"It is one thing to Blog and another thing to Blog well. Execution of the idea is difficult.  The concept is powerful.  Often the research techniques used to filter what's displayed can be so obviously censored that it has a measurably negative impact.  Does it build honest and trust to show negative blogging associated with your brand?   How does one blog well?"

What does it mean to "blog well?" Great discussion for over java or as Jeff Perkins, OMD, told me is the trend in NYC - a POM. (Can't wait to try it!) Came across an interesting list about what makes a good blog on A Klog Apart

Phil Wolff's Short List Suggestions
-Persistence and frequency
-Stringing ideas together using words
-Writing in a way that engages
-Context, lots of context
-Authority / Sincerity
-Updated frequently

Which leads to another issue I've been thinking about recently - the ethical side of blogging. The Green Lake Library, posted a link to an article in the Washington Post about a journalist blogger who did not credit his source.  I wonder... what are the obligations of  “regular” bloggers?  Do we need a code of ethics for bloggers? Question: who do you credit? With so many bloggers talking about the same or similar topics, if you play follow-the-link who do you link back to if you want to credit a source? How do you know who got there first?

Getting back to Bob’s question, "How does one blog well?", bottom line...seems to me that a good blog makes you think, provides additional information, is well-written and researched with lots of links, keeps you coming back for more…and if it brings a smile or a chuckle that helps you as go about your day, well .. that's not a bad thing either.


Friday Fun


icecreamI Scream! You Scream! We All Scream For Ice Cream!

Summer time is for swimming, fishing, overnight camp, not going in until the street lights go on, and making ice cream on grandma's porch. Whether freshly churned, bought at your neighborhood store or purchased at the little stand at the beach, summertime and ice cream seemed to be made for each other.

In another post (sounds like a fairy tale…once upon a time) I wrote about “Marketing Holidays.” Here’s one more….July is National Ice Cream Month. How nice of the government to create a holiday that celebrates a fun treat and provides marketers with one more opportunity to help the economy. By the way did you know U.S. ice cream industry generates about $20 billion in annual sales?

Ice cream is just plain fun and that’s what Friday Fun is all about…a way to chill into the weekend. We bow to other blogs to provide more thought provoking posts today while we indulge summertime happy thoughts...your favorite ice cream cone!

Lighthearted Ice Cream Thoughts

"Eighteen Flavors" By Shel Silverstein
Eighteen luscious, scrumptious flavors
Chocolate, lime and cherry,
Coffee, pumpkin, fudge banana
Caramel cream and boysenberry.
Rocky road and toasted almond,
Butterscotch, vanilla dip,
Butter brickle, apple ripple,
Coconut and mocha chip,
Brandy peach and lemon custard,
Each scoop lovely, smooth and round,
Tallest ice cream cone in town,
Lying there (sniff) on the ground.

*If you haven’t discovered Shel Silverstein [Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, A Light in The Attic], you’re in for a treat as yummy as a double ice cream cone on a hot summer afternoon. “Shel invited children to dream and dare to imagine the impossible. Let the magic of Shel Silverstein open your eyes, tickle your mind and show you a new world.” Although written for children, his work is an inspiration for adults as well. I’ve used his poems in brainstorming/ideology workshops.

(Flavor, percent preferring)
1. Vanilla, 29%
2. Chocolate, 8.9%
3. Butter pecan, 5.3%
4. Strawberry, 5.3%
5. Neapolitan, 4.2%
6. Chocolate chip, 3.9%
7. French vanilla, 3.8%
8. Cookies and cream, 3.6%
9. Vanilla fudge ripple, 2.6%
10. Praline pecan, 1.7%
11. Cherry, 1.6%
12. Chocolate almond, 1.6%
13. Coffee, 1.6%
14. Rocky road, 1.5%
15. Chocolate marshmallow, 1.3%
All others, 23.7%
Source: International Ice Cream Association

Do you have the talented taste buds it takes to be an Official Ice Cream Taster? Yes, it is a real job. John, Edy’s Official Taster, tells how. Wonder if benefits include membership to a gym?

Ice Cream Ice Cream and More Ice Cream
Each site has lots of information about ice cream, games and goodies.
-Ben and Jerry
-Edy's Grand Ice Cream
-H.P. Hood

All You Can Eat Ice Cream For A Good Cause! At the Jimmy Fund’s Scooper Bowl, a cause marketing event to help fight cancer, you can eat all the ice cream your little heart desires with no cause for guilt since you’re helping cancer research. Attendees sampled more than 50 flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbert. Works for me.

You’ve tried Online dating, Minute Dating and Blinding Dating but have you tried Ice Cream Dating?
Ice Cream Flavorology – Complements of Edy's Grand Ice Cream

What does your favorite ice cream flavor say about you? Choose it from the list below to find out!

-Butter Pecan - you might be characterized as the perfect worker. You are devoted, conscientious, respectful and fiscally conservative. Romantic Compatibility: You are most romantically compatible with those who prefer Mint Chocolate Chip.
-Chocolate Chip - you are competitive and accomplished; no victory is sweet without a little hard work. Romantic Compatibility: You are most romantically compatible with those who prefer Butter Pecan or Double Chocolate Chunk.
-Coffee - you are lively, dramatic and flirtatious – thriving on the passion of the moment. Romantic Compatibility: You are most compatible with those who prefer Strawberry.
-Double Chocolate Chunk – you tend to be lively, creative and dramatic and are always the life of the party. Romantic Compatibility: You are most romantically compatible with those who prefer Butter Pecan or Chocolate Chip.
-Mint Chocolate Chip - you tend to be ambitious and confident… yet a little skeptical about life. Romantic Compatibility: You are most compatible with other Mint Chocolate Chip lovers.
-Rocky Road - you tend to be a balanced mixture of charm and practicality. While you are outgoing and engaging in social situations, in the business world you tend to be more aggressive and goal-oriented. Romantic Compatibility: You are most compatible with other Mint Chocolate Chip lovers.
-Strawberry – you are a thoughtful, logical person who carefully weighs each option before making decisions. More a follower than a leader, you are content and effective working behind the scenes and out of the limelight. Romantic Compatibility: You are most compatible with those who prefer Strawberry, Rocky Road, Mint Chocolate Chip and Vanilla.
-Vanilla – you are a colorful, dramatic risk taker who relies more on intuition than logic. Emotionally expressive and idealistic, you tend to set high goals for yourself, and push yourself to meet and exceed them. On the romantic front, you tend to rely on secure romantic relationships that fulfill your emotional needs while working toward future objectives. Romantic Compatibility: You are most romantically compatible with those who prefer Rocky Road.

My summertime activity this year has been making homemade ice cream. Found the best recipe for peach ice cream on The Amateur Gourmet blog…one more reason why you gotta love the blogs!

Screw-off ... caps that is!


wine_screw_top_2Interesting article about screw-caps on Wine Spectator. Seems that wineries have been experimenting with screw-caps as a way to reduce the incidence of cork taint in their wines

Hogue Cellars, one of the largest producers in Washington, has joined the rising tide of wineries that are switching to screw-caps, after completing an in-house study examining closure alternatives.

I don’t know about you, but for me, one of the mystiques of enjoying wine is the ceremonial aspects of uncorking the bottle. Of course there are times when I want just-a-drink but there are moments when the tradition of uncorking a bottle of wine adds to the anticipation of the first sip. Anticipation! Ah... Slowly but with finesses and elegance the cork is removed. It is presented for inspection. And then and only then is the first taste poured. Divas, this could be the start of a magical, romantic moment.

Okay, enough of the romance. Let's get down to marketing. After listening to Jack Trout last week, couldn't help but wonder what his take would be regarding this change in traditional packaging. What does a screw-off wine cap say to you? College days? Street people? Airline wine? Does it change your perception about the product?

Does something as simple as how you open a bottle of wine impact your perception of the value of the vino? Now think...same product. Would you expect to pay the same for a bottle with a screw-top as you would for the wine with a cork closure? Or would you anticipate it would cost less? Would twisting off a metal cap influence your experience with the brand?

Remember the Coke fiasco in the '80's? After millions of dollars spent on research, it was determined that consumers liked the taste of "new coke" better than the taste of original coke. What's a company to do? Out with the old and in with the new? You betcha. However, the Coca Cola Company, for all it's marketing brilliance, forgot one teeny, tiny aspect of branding. The emotional attachment of consumers to the brand. Consumers' passionate out cry is what makes case studies and marketing professors had material for how not to do it.

"The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people . . . " Donald Keough (then the company's President and Chief Operating Officer).

The wine industry has information about consumers' reaction to the new type of closure. Research conducted by Wine Intelligence reveals that about 52% of American wine drinkers reject screw-caps. Are wineries playing Russian roulette with their brands?

"Uncorking wine is a bit like applying lipstick, I decided. It's sort of inconvenient, but I sort of like it." Carol Emert, San Francisco Chronicle. Damn...wish I said that!

Perhaps I'm just a bit of a snob, but wine makers please don't take my corks away!

A Diva Cue from General Colin Powell - "If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in the little matters." What "little things" have you changed, thought were insignificant, but impacted your customers' experience with your brand?

Strategy = Survival


Last week over 800 AMA members attended a web seminar presented by Jack Trout on "The Battle For The Mind: Brilliant Positioning." Trout discussed his concept of Strategy is All about Perception (Chapter 2 in his book Trout on Strategy). Bottom line according to Trout, "Strategy, it's all about survial."

The presentation, including slides and audio, are available on AMA's website, MarketingPower.

Diva's Deal: Viewing web seminars are a good way to feel productive when you're on hold.

Friday Fun


Going to the Dogs!
max_and_doreydoggieDon't where or how he does it, but Michael Tchong's eLetter, Trendsetter.com, is always an adventure in follow-the-link. This issue led me to Ziff Davis’ digital lifestyle magazine, Sync which in turn led me to ISeePet. Since Max (my Westie pup) has a weekend guest, Dorey-Dog, today's Friday Fun seems most appropriate!

Take a look at ISeePet, an electronic-pet-feeder-slash-webcam. You control it via your computer or moble phone. Positioning: for the "new generation of pet owners." Oh and make sure you view the video! But don't laugh too loud. According to a study from Unity Marketing, Why People Buy Things For Their Pets, in 2002 Americans spent nearly $30 billion on pet related products and services.

Diva's know that a little pampering (for themselves or their furry friend) is sometimes in order. Dahling, if you're looking for something special to make your your pooche's tail wag the Pink Puppy is just a click away.

Summer "Marketing" Holidays


summer_pursesDiva's...it's summertime and the livin' is easy. How are you enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer? If the research about women controlling almost 80% of purchases is true, many Divas are kickin' back, perhaps with an icy apple martini, instead of opening those cute purses. Thoughts of shopping are taking second or third or fourth place. June sales were down. The WSJ reports that retail sales decreased 1.1% the largest fall in 16 months.

What's a savvy marketer to do? Make up a holiday!
From the flower people (1-800-Flowers.com) - National Get Out of the Doghouse Day is July 16th! You forgot her birthday. You shrunk his favorite T-shirt. The car you borrowed from your best friend now has a ding in the fender. When you're in the doghouse, it doesn't matter how you got there, all that matters is to get out fast! [Notes to the flower people: Great concept but a big marketing ooops...although the eLetter was fun, you missed the boat by not creating a landing page.]

What's a savvy marketer to do? Capitalize on an existing holiday!
Can't make it to Paris this summer? GourmetStation, an online company that provides chef-quality, elegant, gourmet experiences, is celebrating French Bastille Day with a special offer of their Parisian cusine line. Cheers to GourmetStation for developing a consistent eMail/website campaign.

Celebrate your best girl friends! August 1 is Friendship Day and the dahling of the upscale shopping mall, Red Envelope, is capitalizing on that holiday, in their elegant style, with a non sale promotion. Red Envelope reminds us to "Thank them for all they do" ... and by the way - a little bling might be a nice way to do that.

From roses that will get you out of the doggie house to a romantic French dinner and upscale special presents, each of these summer marketing holiday strategies is consistent with their brand. Can your company leverage a "marketing" holiday strategy to help survive the summertime blues? If you come up with a new holiday please let us know. And if you include an eLetter to your opt-in list, don't forget the landing page!