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What happened to Ford

Thousands of little cuts.

Today’s Globe and Mail reports that Ford Explorer sales are down about 250,000 units a year in just five years. At $4,000 a unit, that’s about a billion dollars in profit. Every year.

This chart is just part of the problem. Another slow death because it was easier to do nothing.

Peep Surgery

Inspired by the marshmallow post, Laurie Kalmonson points us to: Peep Surgery.

Kathy gets it (with pictures, even)




Fact: about half the visitors to your website leave after less than five seconds.

Fact: the percentage that spend less than that on your ad or your packaging is even greater.

Two choices:
grab the quickie browsers FAST and turn them into interested prospects (somehow)
ignore them and realize that you only get a chance to talk to the people who are going to stay for more than five seconds anyway. The rest of the population is ignoring you… don’t them distract you from your real mission, which is to amplify interest, not create it.

If you can do the first, more power to you. Please let the rest of us know what you come up with.

ABC (and D)

Today’s quote from Hugh: gapingvoid: lift notes.

[NOTE TO SELF:] A lot of marketing people seem to be hoping for a proven blogging method that is (A) invented by somebody else, (B) easy to replicate, (C) easy to implement, and (D) easy to sell to their boss. Good luck.

It’s national hype week.

The New York Times features a half page article, complete with neat illustration, about the Oscar nominations. National Public Radio makes it a headline: "The nominations will be announced tomorrow." This is news?

Same day, the Times also features not one but two food articles about what to serve while watching the big game. Add to that an insightful article about roman numerals and what will happen to the NFL when it’s time for Super Bowl LXXXVIII.

And we’re all jealous.

We’re all jealous that we’re not the focus of hype week. If I could just get on Letterman, the Today Show (not Oprah, she’s too mean), the front page of the Times, the radio, the local news… all on the same day… if I could just do that, then our marketing problems would disappear.


But in order for there to be a long tail, there needs to be a short head. And last time I checked, the line for tickets to the short head was closed.

Better, I think, to empower your fans and do an end around than to sit around waiting for Degeneres to call…

A million little cuts

Most businesses don’t fail dramatically.

They do it slowly.

But you wouldn’t know that for sitting in at meetings or listening to speeches. Same is true, of course, for countries, non-profits and other organizations.

Human beings respond to emergencies. It’s easy to get everyone to take action if we’re in the middle of some sort of security crisis… but fixing the educational system isn’t going to happen.

Faced with the gradual, inexorable decline that faces most organizations, it’s just natural to try to fix the problem with a broad stroke. A big ad campaign or a new slogan or a totally redesigned website.

The answer, more likely than not, is to consistently and regularly stop the bleeding. To improve the boring stuff.

Organizations fail slowly. They often succeed fast, though. That’s where the remarkable comes in. So, if I had to summarize it: You take a big step up… by being bold. But you avoid a slow death by getting every little thing right.

Today’s Metaphor: marshmallows

John Richardson has an interesting riff about a Stanford study about marshmallow consumption: Success Begins Today � Marshmallow Musings. I don’t know what to make of the very last paragraph, but the rest is certain to get you thinking.

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