Presidential Marketing

I'm on the email list for the Nixon Library. It is a neat place and sometimes they have speakers I like to go see and the email keeps me updated. I just got this email filled with President's Day gift ideas. Maybe I am not as sentimental as most, but I don't typically celebrate, much less exchange gifts for President's Day.


If you are fortunate enough to have people that subscribe to your newsletter, be sure to respect their time and intelligence. Sure I promote myself, but I make sure every message I send is potentially valuable and informative for my very intelligent subscribers.

Come to think of it, the Nixon Library is in California, I should have unsubsribed years ago when I moved back to St. Louis. On the other hand it did give me a great idea for a blog post 8)

Bad Marketing Equals Cavernous Feel at BLUES Games

I went to a BLUES hockey game with a friend the other night and he remarked how we could hear the players yelling at each other. We had moved to better seats since there were only about 5,000 fans total. He attributed the ability to hear the players (which is kind of cool) to our upgraded seating position. I said it was because there were was no other noise in the building- like people cheering, talking or breathing.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch just did a story where they quote fan Jeff Fitzgerald as saying "It's empty in here." The article focuses on a few factors keeping fans away, one of which is increased ticket prices:

'Checketts said he does not regret raising tickets.

"No, I don't," he said. "Because I just believe that we will earn their respect and they will come back. Any negativity about the prices will go away. ... That's how it's always worked wherever I've been. There's always going to be complaining about ticket prices. It's part of the game."'

Economics 101 tells you that prices are a function of supply and demand. In what other business would people raise prices for an inferior product (last place in the league) or that had declining popularity (plummeting attendance last year)? The BLUES are saying if the customers (fans) pay more, then they will improve the product (team).

This would be like Ford coming out with a terrible car, losing sales, then increasing prices expecting people to pay more for them to correct their mistakes.

Don't think there is no competition. There are more entertainment choices than ever. Did you notice how poker replaced hockey on ESPN?

There are a lot of suggestions I have for the BLUES, and the NHL in general on how to win back some fans, but let's start simple. Put a winning team on the ice- or at least appear like you are trying to win, before you raise ticket prices.

I am a huge hockey and BLUES fan, but if you are lame enough to alienate even die hard fans like me then maybe you should try another business.

Go BLUES!

PS- Keep an eye out for my online petition to shorten the time between periods. They can do the ice in 6 minutes yet they are taking 17. We can shorten the dead time in games by 22 minutes!

Ugly Ducklings Get New Clothes

The Anaheim Ducks have a new jersey! Finally after over a decade of wearing a childish logo they have new owners and a new look. But there is a design flaw- the logo is the word Ducks written out across the chest of the jersey. The problem is to fit all of the letters they have to write it smaller (look at all that white space).

If you think about it, jerseys need a round or square proportioned logo to fit on the chest. The Ducks are using a rectangle. The D looks like a webbed duck foot- why not use that as the logo? I guess it gives them an excuse to update or offer a turd jersey later and make some more money.

In any case this jersey is not as bad as arguably the worst jersey ever- the Wild Wing. Who was the 12 year old that created that monstrosity? (Yes this picture of Wild Wing crashing through the ice was actually the 'logo' on the jersey!)

Maybe I am just bitter because the Ducks beat my BLUES last night and they are favored to win the cup. I wouldn't care if the BLUES were wearing burlap if they could finally bring Lord Stanley's chalice to the city. In hockey, and in sports, the best marketing is winning.

The Bigger They are the Harder They Learn

Columnist David Sheets of STLtoday reported a frustrating experience with Charter Communications and how bad their customer service is. The response was agreement from dozens of angry customers. I get at least 2 pieces of full color advertising pieces from Charter every week. If you really want people to sign up then you need to provide better service and build good relationships (key 5) with your customers. Why don't you use the money you are wasting on mass mailings to provide better service?

As Seen on TV- World Trade Center Commemorative Set 2001-2006

I've noticed this commercial on TV lately for the World Trade Center Commemorative Set 2001-2006. I looked on the site and here's what they have to say:

"The World Trade Center skyline is lavishly clad in gleaming silver miraculously recovered from a bank vault found under tons of debris at Ground Zero. The stunning design of this magnificent September 11th memorial is a 15 mg. of 24 KT gold and 15 mg. of .999 Pure silver clad tribute to all who were lost on that fateful day."

Am I the only one who feels sickened by this? What next, cuff links from the silver in my Grandpa's coffin? How is that a tribute?

Coke Rocks Out- Time Will Tell

Motley Fool reports on how Coke Rocks Out by inking a deal with Apple to give away iTunes. I think it is too soon to say that Coke is rocking, and this actually shows their reluctance to embrace new media (hence posting on the Marketing that Sucks site).

The article goes on to describe how this was done a few years ago by Pepsi, and it did not do well, and that this is only being offered in Britain and Germany. These do not appear to be signs of a company that is waking up and getting marketing 2.0 or even web 2.0. The way marketing messages are distributed has changed. Not only is Coke focusing on an old and tried promotion, they are still going for the mega markets with a message controlled by big players instead of the micro markets with an empowered consumer interacting and sometimes controlling the message. A good opportunity for this came with the Mentos phenomenon:

"Even more recently, Coke showed geezer-like tendencies in shunning a popular Internet video showcasing the explosive, spectacular effects of combining Diet Coke and Mentos candies. (Fool Rich Smith believed it was an idiotic move, considering that most companies dream of free word-of-mouth advertising.) It was troubling to think that Coke just didn't get the brave new world of modern advertising, so its iTunes deal is a bit heartening."

I disagree. I think Coke still does not get it. They showed their true colors by ignoring the Mentos opportunity. They are being dragged into doing something different. They are trying to do something with new media, but are still afraid to do something new or to allow customers to have the voice. It is understandable coming from a product that has built it's business on mass advertising. For years the only difference in the brown sugar waters on the market was the advertising. Perhaps they think consumers might learn the secret that cola is but a soft drink.

Exterminator's Billboard Kills Marketing Dollars Dead

I saw this billboard while stuck in traffic. It is hard to figure out what the product is. If you look closely (which is hard to do in this picture, and even harder to do when going the normal 70mph) you can see some dead bugs on the bottom. Aha, this is an exterminator! OK, so now I have solved the mystery of what the company is, but there is no phone # and no web address so how would I contact them?

Will this get them some customers? Probably. A better question is how many more customers could they get with a sign that explains what they do and a way to contact them? An even better question is how many more could they get by using the thousands of dollars they blew on the sign with targeted promotions.

St. Louis BLUES Hockey Team Uses Paid Guerilla Marketing


Have you heard the phrase "you know just enough to be dangerous?" I think this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a good example. Earlier in the year the advertising firm Schupp created a buzz by having the Cardinals stolen from billboards to get publicity for the baseball team. I mentioned this on my Marketing that Rocks Blog earlier in the year, with the caveat that I may need to change it to the Marketing that Sucks blog if they tick people off. Well, that day is here. It seems like the mainstream media are a little gruff over these episodes. I think the headline is a clue: "Web site for Blues fans is ad firm's latest hoax." Fool me once I guess. The Post does not sound amused by this latest campaign. They report:

"I'm just one Blues fan and the idea of The Blue Revolution is to include all fans," declares a blogger on www.thebluerevolution.com. But the site and its blogger are nothing more than a marketing tool for the hockey team, a fact hidden on the Web site and in Schupp's campaign so far."

The reason blogs are so popular is because they are created by real people. It is an alternative to the mainstream media AND advertising. There have been some others who have tried this in the past and been persecuted off the net (see Scoble's book Naked Conversations for examples).

I have mixed feelings because I admire Schupp for trying something bold and different, but it is at the expense of unsuspecting viewers. Perhaps the blogosphere will be kind to Schupp for their efforts, but if it is then the blogosphere will lose its credibility, and power.

Watching Your Global Manners

Valerie Roberts shares Global Manners: Hilarious Etiquette Goofs:

" In business, language errors occur very often. For instance, when General Motors was marketing the Nova. In Latin America, Nova literally means, doesn't go. When the Swedish product, the Electrolux vacuum cleaner, came out in the US they advertised that their product, 'sucks', not knowing that the word also had a slang meaning. The Perdue chicken slogan, 'It takes a tough guy to make a tender chicken' came out in Spanish as, 'It takes a macho guy to make a chicken affectionate'. Last but not least, the slogan, 'Come alive with Pepsi' appeared in South East Asia as 'Pepsi brings your ancestors back to life.'"

You are reaching more people than you think through the web. This is another reason why a good logo is so important- it is global. You do not need to translate a logo like you do a company name or slogan. What are you telling your global customers?

Rebates Suck

Why can't companies just give you the discounted price instead of making you jump through hoops?

The usual response I hear is "companies know people won't fill rebates out and it saves them money." If companies are using a promotion to gain customers and build relationships (keys 4 and 5 of The Seven Keys to Marketing Genius) then pissing people off is not a good idea.

Look at this pile of crap my wife was trying to fill out. She was scurrying around a pile of boxes and nearly cut her pinky off with an exacto knife trying to remove a bar code. All the while thinking bad things about the people that were making her do this.

Even if you can not give as much of a discount- people would prefer the promotional discount up front over these cat and mouse shenanigans.

Rebates suck!

Marketing that Sucks for all to See

The Web Coach: Donna Payne shares a funny sight:

"I was driving home last Friday and out of the corner of my eye, I saw this sign that said "My boss told me to change this sign so I did."

Have you been tempted to do the same thing to your boss? I know I have. In fact sabotage is very common in the workplace. Usually it takes the form of apathy, poor customer service, or stealing. The funniest part is that the sign has not been changed. Maybe the owner believes that all publicity is good publicity- I disagree. Ask Britney if pictures of her endangering her baby have been good for her career.

Are you giving your employees a reason to sabotage you? Are you sabotaging your boss? If so, why not figure out a way to do your job to your own satisfaction or go somewhere else? In the end the guy that made the sign is hurting himself the most.

Your Domain Sucks

Stoney deGeyter shares some reasons why you should
Secure Multiple Domains. Here's a good one:

"If you are in a highly visible industry you might want to consider getting yourdomainsucks.com. Several years ago someone put up an anti AOL website at aolsucks.com"

I am working on my AAbrokemystroller.com site (because AA broke my stroller and they say it is OK). Maybe I will see if AASucks.com is available. Nah, stoller is more specific.