If you can’t sell right now, you may as well be generous

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Coronavirus has frozen your business in place. Nobody’s buying. Nobody’s even able to buy. What should you do? Be generous. Give stuff away to your customers. It’s simple. The only real asset you still have is customer relationships. You also have workers — unless you’ve let them go — and those workers are used to … Continued

Yes, you can market in these trying times #OpenWeStand

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TV spots and other advertising right now are mostly wasted. Consumers view your normal ads for normal products against a backdrop that is not remotely normal. People are shut up in their houses; people are dying. This is not a time to get people to test drive SUVs or open a new credit card or … Continued

The (only) three corporate messages that make sense right now

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My inbox is full of irrelevant messaging. There are the messages from everyone from my eye doctor to the bike shop about COVID-19. And then there are marketing pitches that were clearly created months ago and are totally irrelevant now. There’s only one thing on people’s minds: surviving the pandemic. If that’s all people are … Continued

This post smells like my navel

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Goop sells a $75 candle that smells like Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina. Paltrow and her perfumer came up with it. Look, I’m no prude. Bodies have smells, and smells generate emotions, some warm and touching. But that’s because the smell goes with the body. That’s why your girlfriend’s hands or your husband’s cuddle smell so good … Continued

The end of the No Name Restaurant

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There was once a seafood restaurant in Boston that had no name. It never marketed itself; the food did the talking. It lasted 102 years. Now it’s bankrupt and gone. When I first came to Boston in 1979, I lived in graduate student housing in Cambridge, a four-bedroom apartment with three other guys. The day … Continued

Beware marketing thought leaders bearing fashionable truths

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I just came back from a conference full of marketers. Marketing conferences challenge the mind — but not necessarily in the way that they should. There are the talks that are intended to inspire. They are about being true to yourself and your brand, or the power of outstanding customer experience to inspire people. They … Continued

You need Jay Baer’s “Talk Triggers” to make your business spread and grow

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There’s this book called Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin. It has alpacas on the cover. And you should buy it, because it’s really useful. If you’re in an agency, or in marketing, you’ve probably heard clients say “We want to create something viral.” It’s practically a meme. And it’s insipid. You cannot … Continued

The digital clutter tax: how taxing marketing impressions would improve everything

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We tax things that are bad for society, like tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. Unfettered, undifferentiated internet advertising and marketing impressions are bad for our souls. Let’s tax them, too. Spam. Clutter. Noise. There is just too much of it. Raise your hand if your inbox is full of stupid, pointless, and undifferentiated offers. Say “aye” … Continued