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Three things to add to recent posts:

1. In Small Is the New Big, I’m not saying that only small companies will thrive moving forward. Instead, I’m saying that any organization that acts small has an advantage over those that insist on acting big, regardless of size.

2. In response to my post on baby bottles, several readers pointed out that the writer has an Amazon affiliate account. So what? She’s not recommending Amazon, she’s recommending a product sold on Amazon… out of the millions to choose from. Amazon’s affiliate deal is brilliant precisely because it enables you to make strong recommendations without feeling like the commission has anything at all to do with it.

3. And finally, just because I note something on my blog (like a marketing program that might be a little scammy for example), it doesn’t mean I’m recommending it. Just noting it! Your mileage will certainly vary.

Shadows and Light

So, Bob Dylan’s new show on Broadway is getting panned by the critics. Probably because it’s terrible.

Terrible because it illuminates Dylan’s best work. And light is not always a good thing, especially if you’re a storyteller.

A ghost story in a dark cabin in the woods is very different from a ghost story on stage at the United Nations, under the harsh glare of fluorescent lights.

Sometimes, marketers try to tell people everything. Everything implies rational decisions by computers. Human beings don’t want to know everything–that’s why sausage factories don’t give tours. I don’t think you can expect to hide your unsavory secrets, but I also know that the shadows are just as important as the light.

The next million dollar home page

The thing to understand is that unlike TV and magazines, sites like this are going to keep changing the rules: mmmzr: double your traffic.

More or less of me?

I called Motorola for some tech help last week.

The first tech person did everything she could to get me off the phone as fast as possible. "You don’t have a Moto phone, so we can’t help you make it work with a Moto bluetooth headset. Call Nokia!" I persisted, to no avail. The only option seemed to be to return the headset to Amazon.

I called back. The second person spent exactly two minutes more on the phone with me and fixed the problem.

Which strategy is more profitable?

At some point, you need to make a decision about whether or not you want to interact with prospects and customers. Either you do or you don’t. If your goal is to reduce the cost, then get me off the phone (and stop advertising too, because advertising only leads to interactions). On the other hand, if your goal is to maximize the benefits, get me in the door and don’t let me leave. Play movies in your furniture store for impatient husbands. Hire talkative smart people for the phone. Support competitive products. Talk talk talk, listen listen listen.

Who wins?

Where did it all go?

According to a recent report, more than two-thirds of recent immigrants to the USA send money home regularly. The worst-paid, poorest people in the country manage to save enough to send some back to the old country. The US Ambassador from El Salvador says that the two million Salvadorians in the U.S. sent enough money home to account for 13 percent
of the GDP of his country.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of American households are in debt. Many of them in serious debt. If the housing market falters, all those triple mortgages and home equity loans go under water, which means that people will have to sell their houses to get the money to pay off the loans, and the cycle starts.

Several people have pointed us to the rich calculator, that reminds you just how insanely rich your indebted best customers are. There are millions of Americans who make more than $200,000 a year. That’s 2 million dollars a decade, five or ten million dollars over the course of a career. Add it up, then look at the number. All you can do is shake your head and say, "where did it all go…"

What it means to be remarkable

It’s not about hype. It’s about non-compensated third parties writing stuff like this: Cool Tool: Dr. Brown’s Baby Bottles. Could (would) someone say this about your stuff?


Neat slide show by the brilliant Rob Walker is here.

The two things that kill marketing creativity

The first is fear.

The fear that you’ll have to implement whatever you dream up.
The fear that you will fail.
The fear that you will do something stupid and be ridiculed by your peers for decades.
The fear that you’ll get fired.
The fear that there will be an unanticipated backlash associated with your idea.
The fear of change.
The fear of missing out on the thing you won’t be able to do if you do this.

The second is a lack of imagination.

I believe that every single person I’ve met in this profession is capable of astounding creativity. That you, and everyone else for that matter, is able to dream up something radical and viral and yes, remarkable. So why doesn’t it happen more often? Sure, fear is a big part, but it’s also a lack of imagination.

Basically, most people don’t believe something better can occur. They believe that the status quo is also the best they can do. So they don’t look. They don’t push. They don’t ask, "what else?" and "what now?" They settle.

Fear is an emotion and it’s impossible to counter an emotion with logic. So you need to mount emotional arguments for why your fear of the new is the thing you truly need to fear.

As for the second issue, just knowing it exists ought to be enough. Once you realize you’re settling, it may just be enough to get you wondering… wondering whether maybe, just maybe, something better is behind curtain number 2.

Five common cliches (done wrong)

The early adapters will use it. Actually, they’re adopters, not adapters. The mistake in wording represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how most markets work. People don’t adapt to what you make, they adopt it. They can’t be forced to adapt, so they won’t.

Half my advertising works, I just don’t know which half. Actually, it’s closer to 1% of your advertising that works, at the most. Your billboard reaches 100,000 people and if you’re lucky, it gets you a hundred customers…

Let’s do a focus group, they’ll decide. A focus group is supposed to focus you, not them. It’s supposed to lay out ideas and issues that mean little to the group and plenty to you. If you’re not prepared to focus, better to not go.

That’s a wacky idea. Actually, doing what you’re doing now is wacky. Because what you’re doing now is certain to become obsolete, possibly sooner rather than later. Just ask my old boss!

We need a bigger marketing department. Probably, you need everyone in the organization to do the marketing… from scratch. More brochures aren’t the answer.

22 vs. 66

So, Virgin Records put out a greatest hits record from a band called Cracker. A band they kicked off the label. The group saw it coming and recorded their own greatest hits album (same songs) and released it the same day.

The indie edition is ranked 22,000. That’s approximately 30 times the sell rate of the Virgin edition at 66,000. Read the reviews: Amazon.com: Greatest Hits Redux: Music: Cracker.

It’s hard to be big if you think big. It’s easy to beat the big-thinking competition if you focus on your loudest, proudest fans.

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