Thursday, December 17, 2009

REMIX: Brats up!

My workload is over-the-top this week -- but I don't want you to miss me. So, here's a REMIX of a 2006 marketing tip...

"Have you had lunch yet?" Beth called to ask me from her cell phone.

"No. Why?" I responded.

"You've got to see this," she said. "Johnsonville has their 'World's
Largest Grill' parked in Tony's parking lot. It's a whole semi-truck
with grills from end to end."

"Sounds nice, but I'm a little busy," I retorted, not sure I really needed
to see the World's Largest Grill.

"They're selling a brat or Italian sausage, chips and a drink for two
dollars," she continued.

So, purely in the name of research, I took my stomach to the nearby
independent grocer to study event marketing (also known as experiential
marketing) first hand.

It was a fun, well-planned event. The boldly branded trailer-turned-
grill was visibly parked near the busiest street. Proceeds benefited a
local church whose volunteers staffed the event. Full-color handouts
offered grilling tips and a $1 off coupon. And everyone was having fun.

It definitely created a memorable brand experience for me -- much
more memorable than the blue-haired sample lady in aisle 8. At a much
higher cost, too.

But Johnsonville's Grill transcends event marketing. Much like the
iconic Oscar Meyer Weinermobile or Goodyear Blimp of my youth,
it's non-traditional marketing at it's best.

As traditional advertising spending continues a slow decline,
non-traditional methods, like event marketing, is growing -- up 12%
from 2005 to 2006 according to a study by BlackFriar Communications
reported in August 2006 Entrepreneur magazine. [Note: In 2009 all ad
spending nosedived, but budgets are still shifting towards non-traditional advertising.)

And good event marketing stimulates a buzz beyond the event. Like
inspiring Beth to call me. Or me to write this tip.

Takeaway: Are you exploring experiential marketing and non-traditional
advertising? Or are you still doing what you've always done and expecting
different results? Make it a point to try something new in 2010. The
results may surprise you.

Friday, December 04, 2009


A long time ago my dad did something I'll never forget.

He felt the owner of a small auto repair shop had ripped him off by charging him hundreds of dollars for unneeded parts. My dad took the shop owner to small claims court, and won.

Dad invited me to the payoff in a restaurant parking lot. The owner wrote the check and handed it to my dad.

"I don't want your check," my dad said.

"Huh?" the owner responded. "I'm not paying you one red cent more!"

"I don't want your check," my dad repeated, "I want your apology."

After some hemming and hawing the owner apologized. And my dad tore up the check.

"I never want to hear you've done that to anyone else," my dad said handing him the pieces. The owner was dumbstruck.

That shop is no longer in business.

News reports abound lately about the lack of business and personal integrity. It's sad.

Mistakes happen. People fail. But it's how a person takes responsibility that defines them, not the failures.

Takeaway: What's your business policy on apologies? Sometimes taking responsibility and saying your sorry can go a long way to maintaining a business relationship. And your integrity.