Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Joe Calloway on branding

When all the hard work of advertising and branding can go awry.

Joe Calloway on customer service.

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How would you take this ad

Ads for alcohol seem to have a comedic slant to them.

But I am not sure about this one for Canadian Club.

I would assume that this guy almost got caught by the woman's husband.


Lived to re-tell it?

That is so far out there, the person who thought this up and better yet the person from Canadian Club who approved the ad, should be out on the ledge.

Tony Mariani

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do you believe newspapers are at death's doors?

Interesting Ted talk from a newspaper guy? Media guru? No, Jace Kutko is an architect turned art designer and he has done some interesting things with newspapers in Europe.

Tony Mariani

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What are you hiding

When your phone number is not easily found on your website.

It screams DON'T CALL ME! A missed opportunity for acquiring a new customer, fixing a problem or what you are in business for, to make a sale.

Here is a website example you should follow. Zappos does over a billion dollar in sales. I bet you didn't have any problem finding the number.

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

When your advertising campaign is to get your name out there

Check the supermarket aisle for it. RC Cola spent a lot of advertising dollars "to get their name out there".

Sadly, that part of the advertising worked. There name is out there.

But when was the last time you bought RC Cola.

What does your advertising do? Get the name out? Or ring the cash register?

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How you'd impress your date

If your date where you.

Last line in the latest Burger King TV ad for the "New Steak House XT".

Someone connect the dots for me because I just don't get this ad or the relevance of a (you fill in the descriptor)guy and a (you fill in the descriptor) dressed in drag have and a burger!

Does it make you want to try it, the New Steak House XT or go home and put your sister's dress on?

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You choose

Would you rather call a supplier and hear,

"that due to higher than normal call volumes we cannot take your call at this time, please call back later" or

a busy signal?

Tony Mariani

Thursday, July 29, 2010

To Laura Ramsay, Director of Marketing, Primus

Just curious about this mailer you sent me. Judging from paper stock and addressed envelope, this mailer was expensive.

Ms Ramsay, I am a Primus customer and you send me my bill electronically. I am not sure why you wouldn't have sent me an email telling me of this offer.

There are some tremendous email marketing programs that would have saved you a lot of trees. And I am betting your redemption for the 25 AIR MILES via email is probably 10 times the industry standard of 2-3% on direct mail.

And regarding the call to action, the phone number should go directly to what you want me to do, not to your main number that I have to now press 1, press 2, press 3. The frustration level rises with each number one has to push.

Tony Mariani

Friday, July 2, 2010

Which means

What you should always ask when writing an ad.

To often, sales reps cave to what the owner wants in the ads which is usually a list of platitudes. This is where the line "which means" should come into play.

Michele Miller of shares how she used these two words for a client in her blog post, "Ad Copywriting: The One Question You’re Probably Not Answering".

Tony Mariani

Friday, June 18, 2010

To social media or not

I was asked by a potential small business client to explain what this twittering and social media is all about and how it can help his business.

He has a number of corporate retail stores in the health industry.

He also has no website.

To explain social media is putting the cart before the horse.

Social media is work and time consuming.

Chris Brogan is an eleven year veteran of using social media and both web and mobile technologies to build digital relationships for businesses, organizations, and individuals. His take on social media is worth repeating.

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Before you go for the free email marketing program

Here is a list of points to consider:

1. Does the program allow you to customize your newsletter?
2. Because its free, is there 3rd party advertising on your newsletter?
3. Are you limited in the number of subscribers you can send out or is it unlimited?
4. Will you be able to measure all the analytics? Some questions to ask are:
how many emails were opened, not opened, how many forwarded the email, how
many didn't make it through firewalls, were emails no longer valid addresses
removed from the list? Click-thru rates. This information is crucial to your
5. If your email list is growing make sure the free program can handle expansion.
6. And if something is going wrong, will you have the ability for tech support?

Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Tony Mariani

Monday, June 7, 2010

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

Is the title of Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh's book out today.

You have to admire the entrepreneur mind of Hsieh who at a young age was making money from his business ventures. Barely out of Harvard and at his first job, Hsieh is bored working for someone else. So he quits and not long after he would sell his company, LinkExchange,to Yahoo for $265 million dollars.

So what does a guy in his mid twenties with a pocket full of cash do? Whatever he wants! He dabbles in day trading, invests in a movie and sets up a company to provide financing to start up companies. He soon finds himself spending more time with one of those investment companies, Zappos, an online company that sells shoes. Not the greatest model for a business. People need to try shoes on!

And the early years are tough on Zappos and Hsieh finds his nest egg quickly dwindling and Zappos needs a cash infusion. So Hsieh sells his condo at a loss to keep Zappos going. Blind faith perhaps.

Zappos is an unorthodox company. Where else do they offer new hires a $2000 bonus to quit if they haven't bought into the Zappos culture. Hsieh put company culture above all else. He invested in the personal development of his employees and gave his customer service reps more freedom than at a typical call center.

As Hseih puts it, "they are not in the shoe and accessory business, they are in the customer service business". And better service would translate into lots of repeat customers, which would mean low marketing expenses, long-term profits, and fast growth.

The proof is in the pudding. Zappos was sold to Amazon this year for a billion dollars.

And when you read the 10 core values that make up the Zappos culture, you know they practice what they preach.

1. Deliver WOW through service
2. Embrace and drive change
3. Create Fun and a little weirdness
4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
5. Pursue growth and learning
6. Build open and honest relationships with communication
7. Build a positive team and family spirit
8. Be more with less
9. Be passionate and determined
10. Be humble

What would your business look like if you embraced those 10 principals? Click here to learn more about Delivering Happiness.

Tony Mariani

Friday, June 4, 2010

Free or is there a hook

You see them on websites. Enter your name and email and you can download a white paper.

Is it the best way to capture emails to build your data base? I am not a fan and agree with David Meerman Scott. Scott prefers ebooks. And he knows what he is talking about. He figures his ebook, "What Matters Now", has been downloaded a million times.

Tony Mariani

Friday, May 28, 2010

Advertising phrases I wish would die

1. Everything must go.
2. We will not be undersold.
3. If you don't find it here they don't make it.
4. Your chance to win $50,000 if you buy a car this weekend.
5. I had to buy 400 of them so I could offer them to you at this price.

That was just this morning on my ride to work.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Social media bandwagon

It is the new black of advertising.

And it's not going anywhere soon. The social media list is growing everyday and you may be struggling with, "do I or don't" get on board.

Social media is work. You just don't jump on the bandwagon and the money comes rolling in. Social media is real time. It's now.

The Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams says, "all the amount of advertising in the world will not fix the problems you have inside your place of business".

So no matter what you decide about social media, somebody still has to buy something. Will you give them an okay buying experience or a wow buying experience.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Billboard faux pas

The rule of thumb for billboard messages is clean and very few words.

You be the judge on this.

Don't buy the idea that next time you see the ad you will pay more attention. You would need superman vision to make out the text.

This board is just to busy. Billboards should be one thought, theme or call to action.

Tony Mariani

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trust me

That line was followed by, "there has never been a better time to buy". The radio ad for a Chrysler dealer running all weekend on more than one radio station.

Image that, a car dealer voicing his own radio ads and coming off like..a car salesman.

This car dealer should be asking his buying customers why they bought from him and consider using that as his message. All things being equal in the new car buying business, promises and statements like that don't resonate.

You might as well tell me you have a bridge to sell me too.

Tony Mariani

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Slap chop or the blitzhacker

Before there was Vince Shlomi with the slap chop,

there was the blitzhacker from K-Tel.

There are a lot of imitators but nobody beats K-tel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to buy radio advertising

Tim Miles has a great blog, The Daily Blur.

Tim is known as one of the Wizards, an associate of the original Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams.

Tim is a copywriter and he helps small businesses do more with less. If you are considering radio advertising, start here with Tim's articles on Buying Radio. It is well worth the read.

Tony Mariani

Monday, April 26, 2010

When direct mail is sloppy

I received this from department store HBC (Hudson Bay Company). What you see here is actually 2 mailers.

Bay Mailer

My business card displays both radio stations. Here they have obviously missed that fact and decided to add me for each station.

Bay Mailer 2

Same offer in each envelope. But here is where they lost me and really wasted their money.

Bay Mailer 3

I have never bought their HBC cards for employees. Heck I have never bought an HBC card.

Someone didn't do their homework and I wonder how many more on their mailing list are like me. How much did those mistakes really cost.

Tony Mariani

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Would you have paid for this tv ad

This is very surprising that Coors who has some good ads, would have settled for this for Keystone Light.

This isn't funny or believeable.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Social media creating evangelists

Reading a post on building customer loyalty and evangelism with social media
on American Express Forum, the article talked about the rewards of engaging and strengthen those relationships and creating true advocates.

A word of caution. Your business needs to be firing on all engines from front to back.

Remember the social media knife cuts both ways.

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Increase your direct mail response

The age of interruption marketing has seen its better days. It doesn't spell the death of the traditional medias but splinters them.

It's hopefully created a more focused approach to your advertising and marketing.

Take direct mail. A 2% return is considered good.

You can easily double, triple and even quadruple that return with a couple of tweeks.

First off do not send out your entire mailer in one sitting. You won't blow your whole budget and you also will be able to pace yourself to accommodate the work.

Secondly and probably more important, make sure you do your homework on acquiring your mailing list. Outdated lists end up costing you a fortune. Do the math. If your return goes from 2-6%, is it worth it to pay more for your lists?

Tony Mariani

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brand You: First Impressions

The Little Big Things, 163 Ways To Pursue Excellence is Tom Peter's new book. You can check Tom's videos on the book's content on You Tube.

In this video its all about first impressions. As you watch the video think about your radio, newspaper, TV, direct mail or website. Is your message enough to keep your potential customer's attention for seven seconds?

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The problem with stock ads

If the fours seasons are significant where you live, then its really important to pay particular attention to your advertising message.

Car manufacturers are probably the worst offender. TV ads are shot where it looks like its summer and the ads run in the midwest where there is two feet of snow.

It's really hard to engage an audience, viewer, reader or listener when you your ad is saying one thing and the weather outside says different.

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Went to a dentists office and it turned into a auto body shop


Are you really thinking?

Your ad says "we fix all auto body needs" and you ARE an auto body shop.

Here I thought you were a dentists office.


Tony Mariani

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Value of a customer

When you deliver what you promise, the result is loyal customers. Loyal customers who love spending money with you and in turn word of mouth advertising you can't buy.

Loyal customers allows you to spend a lot less on marketing and instead allows you to use those dollars to continually improve customer service.

It's a great cycle.

Where is your cycle?

Tony Mariani

Friday, April 2, 2010

Your brand will leave a mark

As I entered the coffee shop and got in line, I couldn't help but notice the tattoos on the guy's arms just above the back part of his elbows. Odd place for tattoos. Tim was on the right side and on the left was Sarah.

As he turned sideways I then noticed the tattoo of a girl's face beside the name Sarah and suddenly there was Sarah I guess coming back from the bathroom. I don't get the whole tattoo thing but to each his own. Getting rid of the tattoo still leaves a trace.

You still have to admire Tim's commitment. His whole life is going to revolve around protecting that brand despite the fact there is a better than 50-50 chance that brand is going to fail.

Knowing those odds, what are you doing to protect your brand? Do you really have the largest selection in the city?

You can buy all the advertising in the world but if you can't deliver what you say you do, its going to leave an ugly mark.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, March 25, 2010

5 lines you should avoid using in your ads

5. Conveniently located
4. Lots of free parking
3. The sale has been held over
2. Friendly and knowledgeable staff
1. There has never been a better time to buy

All five are about you and not what you or your product can do for the customer.

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tell your staff you bought a big advertising campaign

The store employee looks like a deer in headlights.

They have no idea what you are talking about because management neglected to tell their staff they were blowing out all the unsold inventory to get ready for the spring arrivals.

Run the advertising campaign by your employees before the public sees its so your foot soldiers are ready.

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Your still need a marketing plan

Its easy to get caught up in the whole social media, digital media and new advertising world.

You hear it a lot and it's today's version of "I need to be in the yellow pages because all my competitors are".

The digital world is in a constant change. Before you spend the kids college fund on redesigning a web page, step back a moment and review the way you do business. Putting up a new website without a plan to monetize it is just another website offering free stays at your hotel with multiple night bookings.

It doesn't matter the break neck speed the world is going at today in this new internet age. Check that marketing plan. You still have to give the consumer a compelling reason to do business with you.

Tony Mariani

Monday, March 15, 2010

Are you trying to win back the business

When you have messed up, are you really trying to fix the problem or take the cheap route out?

You are living in the past, if you are asking a customer to give you one more chance by offering to discount their next visit, or to charge a 20% re-stocking fee.

Word of mouth advertising is growing exponentially thanks to social media. That bad meal just got reviewed on the local restaurant review website and the the restocking fee gouge just got posted on a blog that or worse, the whole exchange was recorded and is on You Tube.

Free is the new monetary exchange and you will be amazed how much free will ring your cash register.

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Have you seen your yellow pages lately

It was likely banging your head against the wall. No amount of information, data and figures we would bring out to clients helped us to wrestle some of the yellow pages budget.

Businesses and primarily small businesses (you don't see national companies with big ads in the yellow pages. Its usually just a listing) built the yellow pages empire. But like most things, the time comes when you have outlived your usefullness.

You no longer have to add color to make your ad stand out or increase your ad because your competitor's ad is bigger.

Yellow pages, the passive media, a go to at last resort, the emergency medium has met its match.

Hello Google and Google 411.

Now that $1000 a month you were paying for a yellow pages ad looks a whole lot better on your P & L.

Here is the challenge if you choose to accept it. Lets meet here next year, March 3,2011 and lets compare how many times you used the yellow pages compared to Google.

Tony Mariani

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How do you rate your customer service

Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads, says that all the advertising in the world can't fix the problems inside a business.

"It's not my job", seems to be soup du jour. If that's the problem in your place of business, I suggest Check out the culture of Zappos. It's everybody's job to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy.

A $400 voucher of your next flight or no charge for the bad entree doesn't do anything to win customers or create positive word of mouth in today's digital age.

You want to win friends and influence people? No charge for dinner and the next time you come is on the house and your next flight is on the house and in first class, that is customer service.

Never ask someone to come back and pay money to try you again even if you are discounting their next experience. What do you think will get you more positive word of mouth? If I come back to take advantage of say a $400 voucher and the service sucks again?

The only way to right a bad experience is NO CHARGE the next time you dine or fly with us.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ads that are a numbers game

Newspaper ads that are a laundry list of weekly specials do not work on radio.

A sofa, chair and love seat for 999.99 or a queen size 792 pocket coil for 499.99 and with the 100 dollar rebate is only 399.99 but only until 6 pm Saturday the 15th at 1234 Main street. Call Acme Furniture 555-1212 for more info. Open 7 days a week 9 to 6.

That ad is a tune out.

The explosion of media choices has shortened attention spans. And price point advertising on radio is so 70's and 80's.

If its all about price point in your advertising, remember you are at the mercy of the competitor who can always sell it cheaper.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, February 18, 2010

And the award goes to

Motor trend car of the year. Award winning car of the year. This year's top homebuilder.

You get the drift. The line is old and overused in ads.

Awards are won and lost each year. What do you use for copy next year when you aren't the cock of the walk?

Nobody is buying that award winning stuff and it doesn't build brands.

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do you deliver what your ads promise

Here is an ad for DoubleTree Hotels.

Wish I could say my stay was all of that.

United Airlines put 8 of us up at the Double Tree on Ilaff in Denver because the airline caused us to miss our connectors. Airlines have arrangements with hotels so it shouldn't be a surprise when you show up with vouchers.

Sadly it was. Instead of, "Hi and welcome to the DoubleTree Hotel. We are so sorry you missed your flight home but not to worry, we are going to do everything possible to make you feel at home. Can I get you a bottle water or juice while we get you checked in?"

No it was, "credit card and license please. Sign here and the elevator is on the other side of the pillar!"

Calm cool relaxed. Nice positioning statement and claim. You don't deliver the goods.

Tony Mariani

Monday, February 15, 2010

Location, location, location

This is Mario. He has been repairing watches for 15 years in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.

This is his business location.

Mario's business is on a bridge that is at the foot of one of the big market areas. While I wandered by he had a couple of customers waiting to have batteries replaced for 40 peso or about 3 and half bucks.

No rent, no staff and your advertising consists of a buck and half to buy the paper and marker to make his store signs.

Now that's priceless.

Tony Mariani

Monday, February 1, 2010

When comedy works in your ads

A & W Restaurants have hit a winner in the entertainment department with their latest TV campaign.

Really, how many ways can you show food to get excited about or to talk about how long you have been serving mama burgers.

The ads are refreshing. Rethink Communications from Vancouver, Canada created these ads. (You will have to click on the links to view the ads)

Tell me you wouldn't want to be the guy in the car.

Drive Thru |

These two characters have a great chemistry as good if not better than the mac and pc guy.

2 for $4 Mama Burger |

These ads work for me but then again I have always preferred A & W to McDonald's and Burger King.

Tony Mariani

Monday, January 11, 2010

The noise is deafening

The number of advertising messages we are exposed to everyday is around 3000 and growing fast.

Its getting harder and harder to reach people and now with digital and social media platforms the playground has just added some new bullhorns. The noise is deafening.

There is no doubt about it, social media is the new black.

While you figure out how social media is going to fit into your business, consider the old Faberge TV ads. At the end of the day if your business delivers what it promises and treats their customer like gold, the new black will ring nothing but greenbacks.

Tony Mariani

Monday, January 4, 2010

The number one no-no in tv advertising

You can usually tell when a sales rep has resorted to the number one no-no in advertising; having the owner star in his own tv ad.

They have the same message, how they are a family owned business and serving the community for 25 years, yada yada yada.

And its very rare that the owner comes across natural. Its usually stiff and evident they are reading from cue cards.

As an owner avoid the temptation to be your own spokesperson. Chances are you bought a short term campaign or a package with not enough frequency to make an impact against your competitor who has bought 3 ads for everyone you bought.

Don't let the glamour of being on tv or your ego make this decision for you. I will give you my first prediction of 2010. When this campaign is over you will be sitting across from your tv rep telling him that some family and friends saw you on tv but you don't think it really worked.

Al and Laura Ries write in their latest book, War In The Boardroom, "...what the best advertising does is to establish and reinforce a position in the prospects mind".

I doubt this type of a campaign you bought will.

Tony Mariani