Welcome back.

Have you thought about subscribing? It's free.

It’s not a cow if I don’t think it’s a cow

So I just read about the Whirlpool Polara Refrigerated Range. An oven with a refrigerator built in (or is it a refrigerator with an oven built in?

Reminded me that I need to clarify what remarkable is.

You don’t make a Purple Cow by doing something that you think is remarkable.

You make a Purple Cow by doing something that your PROSPECTS and CUSTOMERS think is remarkable.

Say it ain’t so, Jerry!

Well, now it’s official. Bad marketing, disrespectful marketing, organizational deadend marketing is officially entrenched, probably never to be extracted.

I just got my mailed copy of the Grateful Dead Almanac, a catalog of the best and greatest new Dead stuff. This is always an expensive moment for me. As always, I followed the links and took out the credit card.

First stop was THE DEAD – Official Concert Recording Series. Neat idea. After buying a few, I get to the checkout, and the little tiny fine print says, “Click here to opt out of mailings from OCRS”. Huh? Opt out, guys, is spam. The notice is designed to be missed. The goal is to trick people into getting mail they don’t want to get. Sigh.

Then, it’s over to gdstore.com to buy the new Dicks Picks album, which is raved about in the Almanac. It’s not there.

So I call.

Then I get the recording that, “Due to heavy call volume…” Have you ever called a company and heard the truth? “Due to budget priorities, we decided it was cheaper to have you wait on hold for a few minutes than it was to hire more operators…”

Anyway, after a few minutes, a nice guy answered and said, “Are you calling to buy Dicks Picks #30?” I responded in the affirmative. And then he said this (I’m not making this up):

“We won’t have it until tomorrow, and until we have it, I can’t take your order.”

Yes, that’s what he meant. I checked.

Does this sound like your organization? Are the systems so out of control that we’ve forgotten how to let one person do business with another person? This poor guy is spending his whole day telling thousands of people with money to spend to go away. This organization spent a fortune on stamps and printing for the Almanac, designed (in part) to sell Dicks Picks 30, but they can’t figure out how to take the orders that come in.


Well, (at least for now) they’re not trying to sell me Vi*gra, debt reduction services or mini RC race cars.

Smart entrepreneurial advice

“I don’t like to go places that don’t let me have my gun,” said Ms. Casey, 33, who sells memberships to a Las Vegas survivalist training institute and models for comic books (her likeness has graced the cover of one called Reload). Her New Hampshire plans include starting eight businesses “because nine out of every 10 fail, and I’ve already started two, so I need to do eight more.”

Libertarians Pursue New Goal: State of Their Own

Yet another idea worth stealing

Alas, it’s not mine.

Howie Jacobson is awfully smart. And sometimes, he hits a home run.

The short version:

“When I start marketing a product, I naturally start by talking to myself.  I write sales copy that appeals to my values. I argue the price/value question in ways that I find convincing.  I use layouts and pictures that affect me. 

Bad Howie.

Unless my market is very much like me (which rarely happens, believe me), I’m going to fail.  

I’m speaking Gorilla-ish to Dogs.  To me, I’m saying “Buy my stuff,” but they hear, “Run away! I’m a Dork.”

I’m not going to succeed in teaching my prospects Howie-lish.  If I want to communicate with them, I have to learn their language. “

The whole thing: The Motivated Marketing Letter

Today’s Free Idea

What I want is a service ($10 a month seems fair) that hooks up to a small box in my bedroom. It would have a wi-fi hookup to the Net, a speaker and a clock display.

I tell it what time I want to wake up in the morning. I use the web to teach it which information I’m interested in.

Then, every morning, it starts my day with a perfectly selected piece of music (picked by a program director, not me, based on my preferences). Maybe it wakes me up with Hannah Barbera sound effects on Tuesdays… Then it follows it up with the information I want to start my day–custom weather, or pollen count, or school closings or the Google news reports on the ten things I’m covering. Hey, if there’s bad traffic or weather, it could even wake me up earlier.

If there’s a power blackout, it reboots and has the right time. It doesn’t worry about Daylight Savings (did you remember?) If I forget to press the “I’m up” button, it calls me on the telephone…

By the time I’m done shaving, I’ve heard what I want to hear, even if it’s just the right music for today.

Wouldn’t that be better than Casey Kasem or some shock jock?

If you build one, let me know. Thanks.

Pom Wonderful

Just finished my first bottle of Pom Wonderful. I love all the little things the company did to make the product remarkable.

It’s even purple.


Astonishing new functionality from Amazon

Do a search on Amazon and it now searches the CONTENTS of the books, not just the titles. Amazon.com: Books Search Results: “permission marketing”

Functionality is the new marketing.

Free hot spots are a Purple Cow.

Free hot spots pay dividends – Computerworld

“That means Wi-Fi service brings in more than $100,000 per year per outlet in return for an investment of about $8,000 per restaurant for wireless infrastructure, Wooley says. The largest continuing cost is backhaul to the Internet over 1.54Mbit/sec. T1 circuits, Wooley says. Since the cost of a T1 circuit varies from $300 to $700, depending on what part of the country you’re in, he says Schlotzsky’s would average those costs to induce existing franchisees to offer the service. (New franchisees will be required to offer free Wi-Fi, Wooley notes.)”

My note to Susan

I ran into an old colleague (old as in we worked together on Guts in 1990, so don’t tell me you’ve been online a long time, okay?). Susan is a very talented web designer, and like most web designers, she’s sort of in between the “oh boy, we need a website, let’s hire someone!” stage and the “oh no, the economy is in the tank, let’s cut costs!” stage.

I promised to drop her a note about the burgeoning niche I see for web designers, and here it is:


Within two years, companies are going to spend about $5 billion a year on search engine advertising, adwords, keywords and other smart ways to get strangers to click on over to their sites.

Further proof that the web is now officially a direct marketing business.

YET, at the same time that all these companies are aggressively spending to build the right kind of traffic (not the, “hey, I tricked you with a popunder or seduced you with a bikini” ads) they’re dropping the ball.

Less than 10% of these advertisers regularly measure results.

Far fewer than that are changing their offer pages hourly.

What a waste.

People like Andrew Goodman (his site is Traffick | Minding the Internet Search Engines’ Business) understand this. They realize that test and measure and evolve is the secret to direct marketing. There are no once-and-for-all secrets. It’s a process, not an event.

So who’s going to do this work?

I think it’s going to be the next generation of web designer.

I think it goes like this:

You say to the prospect: I will work with you to build a four-page engine of revenue. The idea: the client loads it up with targeted traffic that he buys by regularly trying and testing adwords and other relevant, measurable media. Then, I will regularly, constantly tweak (or redesign) the four page site to turn those strangers into friends (and maybe, if your product is great and your followup is appropriate, you can turn those friends into customers).

The thing is, it’s probably cheaper to constantly measure and evolve and redesign a four page offer site than it is to build the annual 400 page website overhaul. And there’s no question it’s more effective.

It takes patience. It takes a lack of ego. It takes a willingness to be creative and to try new stuff, to measure what works and to do it more.

The great news about direct marketing is that when it works, you know it worked. That makes it easy to get new clients.

The future belongs to disciplined designers, talented copywriters and patient, honest and respectful clients/marketers.

Have fun with it!

Windham mountain and sharp-eyed readers

I had no idea so many of you read this stuff so closely! Yes, Windham Mountain has a website that doesn’t tell you where they are. Yikes!

I’ve pointed it out to the folks there. I bet they’ll fix it soon.

PS Yesterday on the Shuttle, I found an entire magazine devoted to online gambling.