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