Thursday, December 29, 2011

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You pay enough money and any SEO guru can get you ranked at the top of Bing, Google or Yahoo.

It's a big waste of money when I get there an your website sucks and it doesn't move me along the selling process.

Spend the money on building a great website that will convert visitors to buyers. Don't put the cart before the horse.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The art of schleping is a fashion store known for carrying name brands at discount prices.

Their current radio ads are for Christmas shopping and use of the word, "schlep".

Now schlep is a Yiddish word and used as a noun means, awkward and stupid person. It can also mean simple, simpleton and a person lacking intelligence or common sense. For example, "My brother in law is such a schlep!"

Schlep can also mean a a tedious or difficult journey. "Driving from Winnipeg to Florida is such a schlep".

Schlep as a verb means to pull along heavily, like a heavy load against a resistance. For example, "Oh Vey the thought of schlepping your parents to Florida!

The word doesn't work in this ad nor did it make the ad funny.

As for the schlep who came up with the idea, it's a Christmas shopping ad!

Tony Mariani

Monday, November 28, 2011

Your biggest expense

Labor? Rent? Cost of Goods?

All right answers but not the biggest.

Biggest is an empty restaurant. Empty bays at an oil and lube joint. Empty show room at a car lot. Get the picture.

If empty describes your business, you may want to look at your advertising or lack of it.

Tony Mariani

Monday, November 7, 2011

Facebook And Advertisers

Brilliant blog from Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian.

Share it with your colleagues and anyone else who thinks facebook and social marketing et al, is the be all and end all.

It will save you a pile of money or it will turn you into the next Dippin' Dots,

Facebook And Advertisers

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Future of Social Media

Is the Ad Contrarian just an old "mad man" who has lost touch with the advertising world? You decide in his latest blog on social media and its future.

The Future of Social Media

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Social confusion or turnkey solutions

Wayne Ens has written a great piece on the internet and social media.

Here is Wayne on Social Confusion or Turnkey Solutions

Your clients and prospects have never been so overwhelmed by media choices!

As of December 2010, there were more than 266 million websites fighting for the attention of internet users in your market! It makes the half dozen or so radio stations vying for your target audience seem pretty impressive.

And who knows what the social media flavor of the week will be next week? In a few short months it’s changed from MySpace to Twitter, and from YouTube to Facebook. By the time you read this, the darling might be Foursquare, Flickr or Friendster.

In the August 9 issue of Social Media Today; touted as publishing ‘the world’s best thinkers in social media’, the author said, “social media is a complex and evolving medium that many businesses struggle to figure out. Few find quantifiable success with it, many have failed, and most have yet to truly form a social media strategy”.
When a local business owner gets caught up in the hype of social media, they have more questions than answers;
Which social media do I participate in?

Where do I find the time?

Why would a follower find our post valuable?

Content is king, where do I get content?

Who will be our social media steward/evangelist?

How will I train them to handle the dialogue appropriately?

How often do I have to update my post?

What should I have on my profile page?

Print is being killed by the internet and digital media platforms are evolving so rapidly that even the ‘experts’ can’t keep up.

Familiar, proven and comfortable radio can be a safe haven for local advertisers who want to minimize risk and grow their business. Seriously, is there any web page or social media post that can influence as many local consumers in a single day as a 30 second commercial adjacent to your prime time news?

Broadcast account executives who present turnkey 52-week solutions to shell shocked advertisers can make some serious dough.

When you present a 52-week marketing plan complete with a well crafted strategy, schedule and regular creative changes, all the busy bewildered advertiser has to do is say “Book ‘em Danno”.

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

How one company is using QR codes to be number one in their field

Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads, shared a you tube video on how a Korean supermarket chain is using QR codes.

Now think of how you are using a QR code. Do you see how it is a waste of time to simply put it in your newspaper ads or any print ads when all its doing is taking you to your website?

Tony Mariani

Saturday, June 4, 2011

QR Codes

QR codes have been around for a number of years.

They are beginning to pop up a lot more in advertising pieces. I am not sure they are being used properly. This morning I saw at least three newspaper ads with a QR code.

The images tend to be very small and almost crammed into the ad.

Each one of those QR codes I clicked on took me to the home website. "But we did get them to our webpage". Yes but your sites weren't set up for a mobile device and that's another story.

QR codes should have some sort of call to action. How about a QR code showing a menu and an offer like free appetizers (yes you can store the QR code in your mobile device).

Or how about a video of a couple of your used vehicles you want to move that weekend.

Create QR codes that are different.

Otherwise drop the QR code when your website address will do.

Tony Mariani

Monday, May 30, 2011

How much time do you spend on social media

Put a clock on it this week.

Don't be shocked if it was a lot of hours.

What might shock you though is how much money did you make from it?

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Does Groupon cheapen your product

A photo company offered a 74% discount. $305 certificate for $79

They sold all 95.

95 x $79= $7505

Half to Groupon and the photographer's take is $3752.50 less the credit card charges Groupon passes on to them. Lets assume 2-2.5%. $3658.68 left for the photographer.

Let's assume in a perfect world that each session is one hour. $3658.68 /95= $38.51 per hour session.

Hardly worth the effort. But the photographer is trying to stimulate business. Why else discount a $305 value for $79.

This type of deep discounting spells trouble.

So what is the true value of this offer? $305 or the $38.51 the photographer netted?

Is the photographer inflating costs?

You decide.

Tony Mariani

Monday, April 4, 2011

How satisfied are you

Any marketing that conducts a survey and asks you for a laundry list to choose from to answer their question is really not interested in your answer.

Will any of these answers give, say, your cell phone provider a clear cut vision?

1. Most likely
2. Moderately likely
3. Less moderately likely
4. Least moderately likely
5. Not likely

Not likely. These are called grey surveys and yes I just made that up. No possible strategy can come out of them. And while we are at it, asking me to rate a service on a scale of 1 to 10 with one least likely is no better.

Nothing beats a yes or no survey with the ability to state why you are less likely or most likely to recommend your cell phone provider.

Those answers fix your customer service issues and make for some great creative.

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does Groupon Erode Price And Is Groupon Right For Your Small Business? - Marketing - The Bold Approach Method

Dave Lakhani has been described as a "Marketing Genius","Business Acceleration Strategist" and "Multipreneur" by his peers and the media. He has been responsible for developing dynamic strategies driving record breaking growth and increases in sales in more than 500 businesses in the past 10 years. Dave is an in demand speaker, author and trainer.

And this is probably the best post you will read about whether Groupon is good for your business.

Does Groupon Erode Price And Is Groupon Right For Your Small Business? - Marketing - The Bold Approach Method

Tony Mariani

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pepsi and the social media experiment that bombed

Social media is the new black.

Does it work? Of course.

But not always. And before you think of abandoning mainstream media for social media, here is The Ad Contrarian's blog on Pepsi wiping the blood from their nose.

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Billboard advertising at its best

The biggest mistake on billboard advertising is clutter. Trying to get to much information on and it becomes busy.

Another mistake is street site of the board. That is when you can't make out the print while driving.

Here is an article and samples of great billboard advertising brought to you by Bestdesigntuts .

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who is your customer

My colleague Trevor Finch has an interesting take on demographics.

If you are a media sales rep and deal with advertising agencies, have you ever asked yourself this question? How is it that almost everyone targets 25-54 year olds or 18-49 year olds?

Trevor's latest blog post about demographics and pychographics will hopefully help you look at your strategy in a different light.

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ads That Look Like Super Bowl Ads

The Ad Contrarian is Bob Hoffman, ceo of Hoffman/Lewis advertising in San Francisco and St. Louis.

I couldn't agree with him more in this post.

Ads That Look Like Super Bowl Ads

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super bowl tv ads

It will cost 3 million for a 30 second ad this year.

Money well spent?

For who?

The ad agencies who get to create the ads?

Tom Asacker has been teaching and inspiring organizations and entrepreneurs for over 20 years. World-class brands including Procter & Gamble, UPS, and G.E. have called on Tom, a renowned speaker and strategic advisor.

One of his recent post asks the question, What is the Purpose of Advertising and what he may spend the 3 million on.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, February 3, 2011

To Groupon or not

Or any other social couponing sites.

Groupon sells your $100 gift certificate on-line for $50. Out of the $50 dollar sale, your business and Groupon split the $50 less any service charges, ie credit card charges you pay for. At 2.5% credit card charge and you take away another $1.25 and you have now netted $23.75.

$23.75 for offering a $100 gift certificate.

The theory is that you are getting new customers to try your product and hopefully convert them to repeat customers. But then you are starting a relationship with new customers who may always expect discounts.

Or are you falling in the same marketing plan that cellular and cable companies offer? Where new customers get special pricing at the expense of the loyal customers who have paid the freight along the way.

Why not take $25 and reward your loyal customers.

Tony Mariani

Friday, January 28, 2011

A TV ad that works

It might just be me but when I see TV ads for restaurants that have all these shots of their food, I think, so what.

I know what a steak looks like, that pizza has toppings and spaghetti has different sauces.

A & W have a series of great TV ads.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bob Hoffman's brilliant look at the culture lag

Bob Hoffman is the CEO of Hoffman/Lewis advertising in San Francisco and St. Louis.

Bob has created advertising for McDonald's, Toyota, Shell, Nestle, Blue Cross, Chevrolet, Pepsico, Bank of America, Seagrams, and more companies than he cares to remember.

Bob is author of the book, The Ad Contrarian, and the blog of the same name.

His latest post, Culture Lag is an eye opener if you struggle with your advertising and marketing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Comedy not working

I heard an ad this morning where the woman was talking about finding someone else. As it turns out the ad was for her affair with a Drug Store.

The comedy just didn't work.

"I came home and the dog was bald". That is a line in an ad for a plumbing company. Did the comedy work?

You be the judge.Read or listen to this week's Monday Morning Memo from the Wizard, Roy Williams.

Tony Mariani

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Social coupon sites

The three popular sites are Groupon, LivingSocial and SocialBuy.

Before you jump in with both feet, do the math. Look at your margins and see if the deep discounts are worth it.

If you are a new business, do you want to start building your brand as a discounter?

If business is hurting you might be tempted to discount but its likely a short term fix for whats ailing.

There are pros and cons to coupons.

Know why it should be part your marketing mix and not because its the flavor of the day.

Tony Mariani

Saturday, January 22, 2011

QR code done well and not so well

This is how QR codes are supposed to work.

The code is visible and and when I clicked on it, I was directed to Peak's cause.

On the other hand, here is a movie pass for The Mechanic that has a QR code so small it was impossible to click and see what was embedded in the code. Just a hunch but the code was likely the trailer for the movie.

Oops on the proof reading and press check.

Tony Mariani

Monday, January 17, 2011

Autotrader should be paying me

Adam D. Lee is Chairman of Lee Auto Malls in Maine. This was his guest commentary in Automotive News January 4th, 2011 edition.

Some pretty strong words for Autotrader and a very bold move by Lee. Only time will tell if he is brilliant or cuckoo.

Lee writes:

"As crazy as this sounds, Autotrader, and all of their cousins should be paying me to list my cars on their sites, instead of me paying them.

I have told my reps this many times, to which they all smile politely and confess that they see my point, but that I am basically -- well, wrong, to be nice about it.

Here is my logic. When you watch the news you doso to watch the actual news broadcast. You are not watching for the commercials. TV news and newspapers sell a product, which is the news. They have entire news departments with reporters and editors and anchors, all reporting the news. Having a good news show allows them to have high ratings. High ratings allow them to sell advertising for a lot of money. We all buy the news when we do car ads.

What product do the Web sites sell? They sell my inventory. They put my cars on their site and then they sell tons of advertising on top of that. All of the major manufacturers advertise on these sites.

Here is the rub: without my inventory to show people, (your inventory, too) no one would go their sites and they would not be able to sell advertising. Somehow they have convinced us to pay them to show our cars. It is not enough that we have to buy the cars, floorplan them and maintain them. Then they are able to sell advertising on top of that.

Really, sites like Autotrader don't have a product to sell. They just have my cars. Since I have the product and they have none, shouldn't they be paying me to use my cars? My cars attract people to their site and they can sell additional advertising? I think they should.

I am not even addressing the whole science they have developed of selling packages, premium packages, super deluxe premium packages and so on. It never ends.

I have just canceled my contract with Autotrader and

Am I a little worried about it? Yes, I am.

Is it the right thing to do? Ask me in a couple of months.

I am going to take the money I save to beef up Google ad words and my Internet department, and to promote my own Web site.

If I had more energy -- and if the other dealers in Maine didn't think I was crazy -- I would try to organize all of them to create a Web site for Maine dealers and we could sell advertising to the manufacturers and insurance companies and banks and stop paying Autotrader, and their cousins.

I can see dealers in every state doing this -- maybe even NADA doing it for us. Think of the millions of dollars we could save. But, I believe our naturally competitive nature will prevent us from doing this. So I am going to give it a shot and keep my fingers crossed."

Tony Mariani

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Words that make you go hmm




Heard the 3 words together in the same line of a radio ad for a yearly home improvement show.

Do those words really work?

Tony Mariani

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How do you treat your customers

Whenever I see this ad, it reminds me of phone and cable companies.

They are marketing short term. Get the business now at any cost.

"Newer" customers get the perks while the tried and true long term customers get passed over for their loyalty.

How are you treating loyal customers? You trying to buy new customers?

Word of caution. Those customers that come today, will leave tomorrow when your competitor has a different flavor of ice cream!

Tony Mariani

Monday, January 10, 2011

2 answers you will need in determining your advertising and marketing budget

What is your cost to acquire a new customer?

What is the lifetime value of a customer?

When you can answer these two questions, it will help you find the balance in your advertising and marketing strategy of rewarding loyalty and repeat business and chasing transactional business.

Tony Mariani

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Customer Service the new marketing

I believe I heard the phrase, "All the advertising and marketing in the world will correct the problems inside your business", from the Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams.

Customer service is the new marketing.

That bad customer experience is now through a click of a mouse sent to thousands of people right now.

Just like Robert Doner and his company,

Tony Mariani

Friday, January 7, 2011

QR Codes

Quick Response Codes.

Wikipedia describes it as a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR Barcode reader and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data. Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

QR codes can be a great coupon alternative.

Think cross promotions. Say you own a number of restaurants, you can use the QR code on table tops to promote your other restaurant specials.

The opportunities are endless. You will need a QR code scanner. Blackberry has its own scanner and you can find others at, or

Download and have some fun.

Check this page out and see them in action.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another thought on your yellow pages advertising

On the heels of an earlier post regarding the yellow pages, Murray Hill ads another interesting observation.

On his blogpost, Wondering Around Hill writes that "A” Isn’t First Anymore.

"Some businesses are slow to adapt. Or, they just don’t get it. Not too many years ago the trick often used to get your name to show up first in a Yellow Pages directory was to use “AAA” or “A AAA” in the name of the business. But when the use of the directory is in free fall, why bother.

A real local example is “A Aaron Roofing”. Their name places them first under Roofing in the directory but when Google is used to search for “roofers Winnipeg”, they don’t show up on any page of the search. “A Aaron Roofing” could be on the first page of a Google search just by signing up for Google Places. They don’t even have to change their name and, it’s FREE!"

Tony Mariani

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the internet

Your brand can compete with the big boys.

That is providing you have let those in the know build your website. Don't cave to the cheapest price.

Just a some of the many questions you need answers for.

What do you want your site to do?
Will you need e-commerce?
Are you capturing email addresses?
Who will manage the website?
Will you need a photographer or buy stock footage?
Will you want pay per click, search engine optimization?



Spend the extra money and hire someone who does this for a living.

Or you won't stand a chance with your brand against the big boys.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

10 reasons why we won't do business with you

Any new year resolutions?

Have you broken any yet?

John Morgan has a branding strategy that has helped his clients generate buzz about their business while increasing sales. John has worked with some of the largest brands in the world and has worked with Fortune 500 companies, TV stars, and entrepreneurs just starting out to those making $150 million a year in sales.

John has written a great piece on the 10 reasons why we won't do business with you.

Check list time. How many are you breaking?

Tony Mariani

Monday, January 3, 2011

Are you still in the yellow pages

2011 should be the year you revisit your yellow pages advertising.

Don't get scared away from the sales pressure that if you are not in the book and your competitor is, you will lose out on business.

Bigger ads, color in your ads, being at the front of the listing, multi listing, all strategies that may have worked, once. Even the yellow pages is doing everything THEY can possibly do capitalize in the online world.

Take those yellow page dollars and invest it back into your business in an area you can measure your results. After all if you can't measure your advertising, it's worthless.

Tony Mariani

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whats your demo?

Usually the second thing a sales rep says when talking to an ad agency. (The first is "order desk"!)

And for about 25 years working in media sales the demographics that agencies would usually ask for is adults 25-54. As Sam Cooke sang, "A change is gonna come".

While the focus in the marketplace has been young, mature adults cannot be ignored any longer. Baby boomers make up the biggest portion of the population. (Boomers considered to be born between 1946-1964)

Notice how the median age. In 1970 it was 27.9 and today its 39.

Chuck Nyren is an international creative strategist, consultant, copywriter, columnist, author, and speaker and his presentation on marketing to baby boomers.

His presentation on marketing to baby boomers is a great eye opener.

Tony Mariani

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What are you googling?

Searching from a smartphones, iphones, androids and all hand held devices is snowballing. You are going to need a web page for the desktop and one for hand held devices.

Its one thing using a desktop or laptop where there is likely more time and patience to find what you are looking for.

But with wireless devices, searchers want the information now.

Rethink your website for 2011.

Tony Mariani