Sync & Swimm

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Archive for the tag “marketing”


superBrainIt’s been ten days since the Super Bowl. Ten days after millions spent in advertising at $5 million for a 30 second ad nationally and about $50k locally. Lots of REACH! In some cases, great CREATIVE (Tide, looking at you!… And who doesn’t want to go to Australia now?) But, what about the other ways to get brand equity? FREQUENCY and CONSISTENCY are nowhere to be found on that $5 million-dollar investment. Just like it takes a few times before a song gets stuck in your head and you’re singing along, a brand isn’t developed over 30 seconds.

Advertising is part science and part art. The science comes from the Reach, Frequency and consistency. The art is all the creative. Great creative can cover up ALOT of advertising sins, but in can’t create brand equity without consistency and frequency. Top of the mind brand awareness is built one ad at a time. Television, radio, digital, social, billboards, print, pens, t-shirts…. You get it.

Back to Super Bowl commercials. Surely at $5 million a pop everyone should get these easy questions correct. (Send me the answers…Honor system…Maybe a prize in it for you) See if your Super Brain recalls any of these…. Go now!

1.   What detergent is great at getting game stains out?

2.   Jason Bourne himself, Matt Damon, did an ad for a beer. What was the ad for?

3.   Steve Tyler starred in an ad. What was it for?

4.   Chis Pratt was in two separate ads? What were they?

5.   What ad featured a bunch babies?

There you go, over $30 million (just in ad time, not counting creative) was spent with just these five questions. Worth the money?

Perception is Reality…Woody The Internet Pecker

ImageWow…..I haven’t posted anything on WordPress for a long time. So, to get myself back in the saddle, I’ll throw the word “pecker” in the title..that should work.  

Perception problems are marketing problems. Don’t believe this?  Pop quiz…Who developed one of the first touch screen computers?  Well, the perception is that Apple started it all………and if that was your guess, you couldn’t be more wrong…But before you Google the answer,  the original touch screen was the most bizarre marketing blunder of all time and actually involves Panasonic naming it after a penis.

In 1996 Panasonic thought the mouse was too hard to use, and the internet was going to be the biggest development of the 20th century…They were right, but it didn’t  matter…The name of their touch screen computer was the Woody…Pretty bad right?  But  it gets a lot worse……They decided Woody Wood Pecker would be a great mascot to bring in the youth market  (In 1996??!) So before you connect the dots, yes,  the computer was named….Touch Woody……And if  it couldn’t get any worse,  Panasonic introduced  a new internet support feature called….wait for it…The internet pecker.

A touch screen in 1996!  Steve Jobs was just coming back to Apple and the IPad was over ten years away.  A touch screen was WAY ahead of its time.  But alas, you can have the best product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, (or laugh like 12 year old boys when they say the name) you will fail—-Just ask A. Wang, the creator of Wang Computer 

Mr. Sunshine

Rainy days are the best time to see clients. People seem to be a little less jubliant when mother nature turns on the waterworks. So if the sun won’t shine, you need to.

Stop by Dunkin Donuts, grab a dozen of the fancies and a few coffees, and drop them off at your best clients. For less than $10 you just lit up a room. Those are the things that separate the good reps from the great ones.  Don’t ask your company to reimburse you.  Just do it. Invest in your own growth

Do these type things  a few times and you will become someone people look forward to seeing. A rainmaker who brings the sunshine.

It’s A Daisy!—What’s In A Name?

I’ve been fascinated by advertising since I was a kid.  The colorful box of the Happy Meal, and even before that, the original toy that came with your hamburger from Burger Chef….brilliant.  My favorite advertising story came when I was eleven years old in the form of a bb gun….You see, A Christmas Story was about as true to life as it gets for a pre-teen boy.

Around the age of eleven every American boy wants only one thing (no, not that— girls aren’t for a few years), that thing is a bb gun.  If you really had parents that trusted you, or didn’t give a crap about you, that bb gun was the Crossman pump-action.  The Crossman could be pumped to the point of explosion, and actually could piece a soda can. (Or your little bother’s behind).  So the Crossman was completely out of the question for me.  I was neither  trusted or disregarded, so I had to beg for a gun that was designed to fool my mom…The lever action Daisy Pal.

How could a gun named a Daisy Pal ever cause any problems?  Well, it really couldn’t, the lever-action allowed one bb to be loaded in the chamber.  It spit each bb out at a pathetic velocity that you could  see come out of the gun.  If you wanted the bb to go more than 50 feet you had to shoot it with an arc.  Water pistols could probably inflict more injury. This didn’t matter to mothers, because the natural predator to the bb gun is a mom.

Daisy knew what it was up against.  They knew they had to trick the typical mom.  What better way than to name a rifle after a flower, and add the word pal, as the model number.  Well, this brilliant marketing trick worked, (along with two solid years of crying for a bb gun by me).

Even at eleven years old I knew it was worth the price to give up on the cool Crossman, and except my fate with my Daisy Pal. I instinctively knew it had a girly name so my mother would allow me to have one.  I also knew that perhaps it could be an entry-level weapon that would eventually lead to the coveted Crossman.  In the end I had to keep mine at my Grandmother’s house in Northern Maine, and was made fun of unmercifully because everyone else had pump-action rifles….Heck, they lived in Northern Maine for crying out loud–they had bears!

So I have kept the Daisy secret for all these years–That pact that Daisy made with every boy under the age of twelve.  The unwritten bond, the wink, the knowing that sometimes you have to accept harsh trade offs to experience everything that life has to offer….for an eleven year old boy anyway.




Selling A Better Mousetrap–(Or Butter Spray)

In the late 1800’s Ralph Waldo Emerson is given credit for the metaphor that has proceeded every great idea…”Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door”.    The first problem is Mr. Emerson didn’t actually say that quote.  The phrase is actually a misquotation of:

If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The second, and even more important problem with the mousetrap quote, is that it’s just not true.  It’s not enough to have a great idea.  That great idea has to be sold. There is no greater frustration than having a terrific idea shot down.

  In 1987 I had this idea for spray butter.  I was in the Air force at a base picnic and watched as Airman from every walk of life put butter on their ears of corn.  It was painful to watch. ..And kind of gross when they rolled an already bitten piece of corn back onto a stick of butter.  So pecking away at my 1965 Smith and Corona I fired off a bunch of letters to the leading  manufacturers of margarine and butter….My idea?  “Mista” Butter.  (Yes, a ridiculous play on “Mr. Butter”–but my original thought was the butter would spray in a cool mist–Hence, Mista Butter)  I received one letter back, and it politely  told me that they would  hand my letter off to their marketing department.  No grand rewards, no earth-shaking discovery. My little idea just shriveled up and died without the power of persuasion.

When I arrived back in the states several years later, every margarine company in the world had a spray butter.  Go check your refrigerator–I bet you have one in there right now–well, thank me! 

America  knows how to generate ideas.  What the average creative doesn’t know is how to sell them.  Everything has to be sold.  Apple computer’s first ideas came from Steve Wozniak, a brilliant programmer.  The name Apple would have never been a household name  if  the sales guy, Steve Jobs, didn’t pour in his marketing magic. 

Sales, advertising, and marketing are all skills that need to be honed like any other profession.  It takes years of mastery before a salesperson really knows how to motivate the person with the checkbook.  That is why just about every product or service has the sales side and the research/production side.  It takes both left and right brain thinking to get the public to embrace something new.  The number one thing for a company to realize is decision makers aren’t interested in you..They really aren’t.  All they are interested in is solving their own problems.

Even when you do find a way to solve their problems, they still have to be shown and told.  Trust needs to be established.  If your incredible new product scratches the itch and makes your prospects pain go away, you need to prove it.  Over and over again. 

The world doesn’t have an idea problems.  It has selling problems.  If everyone was put on some type of commission plan, the human race would advance 20 years overnight—-And  have plenty of “spray” options–maybe ketchup and mustard would work!?


Thou Shall Not Commit the 7 Deadly Advertising Sins In 2012

The New Year is here!  What are you going to do to make this a great year for your company?  At some point every business has to advertise  along the way just to stay even.  That could be Yellow Pages,  web listings or  just a free Facebook page.  If you want to grow and get your “unfair share” of the money being spent in your category, you really need to find creative and cost effective ways to make sure potential customers choose you over the competition.

Advertising is the way to separate your business from the pack.  As I have written about on several other blog posts, the four keys to advertising are: -Reach,  Frequency, Consistency, and Creative  (Copy).

Now we will take a second and talk about the 7 deadly sins of advertising.  Break them and you could be wasting money.  Money that could help  your business thrive in 2012.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Advertising

1. Failure to attract the customer’s attention: The world suffers from information overload–What are you doing to stand out? 

2. Failure to appeal to the listener’s self interest: Don’t kid yourself, most people don’t care about your product or service–They only car about what you can do for them.

3. Failure to use words that paint pictures: Tell stories, paint pictures, make what you have to sell connect with the potential customer on an emotional level.

4. Being so creative that you forget to sell: What do you remember about the most funny and creative commercials?  If it’s not the product being advertised, there is a major problem.

5. Failure to give someone a reason to act now: Allow someone to put off a decision, and chances are, they will!

6. Cliché ridden copy: Don’t say the same old crap we’ve all heard for the past 30 years..Be interesting, or don’t waste your money.

7. Too much copy: Stick to one or two points.  Laundry lists only work when you go to the laundry.  Stay on topic; don’t overwhelm the customer with too much information.

There you go,  easy right?  I will hit each of these topics in more depth in the upcoming weeks. Good luck and I hope your business has a great 2012!

The Hard Part Isn’t Making Money–It’s Investing It Wisely

All advertising mediums work if you use them the right way.  Businesses and agencies get caught up in the price-CPP-CPM-Ect. The only thing that matters is the return on investment  (ROI).  If a TV commercial brings you  $10,000 in revenue, why do you care if it cost $5,000 to produce and air? Put that same $5,000 in a money market account (the only way to really have it be”risk -free”) and in a year you will have about $5,050 in your account.  Advertising involves risk, but isn’t risk what made your company successful in the first place?

When you advertise you hit a target audience.  Your target audience has about 150  friends and relatives they talk to.  (More when you factor in social media). If you get just get a few people in the door and treat them right, you will get a tremendous amount of positive word of mouth.  So what is a brand new customer really worth to you for future business? 

Of course I’m a radio guy so I believe strongly in my medium, but  it doesn’t matter where you invest as long as it gets results.  I don’t care what advertising medium you use, if you do it properly, your investment will get an ROI.  The only way to really monitor results is by how much is in the cash register after the campaign.

Read everything you can on advertising, and find a sales representative that you trust.  Follow the four keys. (1)-Reach.  (2)-Frequency.  (3)-Consistency. (4)- Creative  (the message). 

 I included a chart below to show the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular ways to market your business.  Advertising is an investment, not an expense.  Know there is always some risk, but there is a far better risk/reward ratio than investing in the hottest IPO or shoving it under your mattress.

Everyone loves Polar Bears….Right?

Thanksgiving 2011.  My Mother asks  if we have any Coke.  I can’t do justice to just the way she phrased it, but  to paraphrase, it went something like….”And not any of that diet crap”…  So, my wife proudly retrieves a brand new can of Coca-Cola in the special can that helps the Polar Bears.  Everyone loves polar bears–White, furry, look great in a Santa hat.  The problem is, the special polar bear Coke can looks just like, you guess it, a Diet Coke.  Granted, one is white and one is silver, but at a glance, they look identical.   No one at Coke thought this could be an issue?  Where is my Jolly 1930’s Santa Claus can?  Global warming has really become inconvenient when they take away my red holiday cans!

As everyone discussed (argued) about the validity of the white can, I cleared my throat and gave my famous speech on why this would fail.  Consequently,  it’s the same speech I gave my sales team when Netflix went temporarily insane and tried to rebrand  to the name “Quickster”.  The take away from my loud proclamations was that Coke would drop this new can by Christmas.

So as I awoke this morning my Yahoo news hit me with the big news—

America is confused by the white Coke can–It looks too much like a Diet Coke–It will be pulled from the shelves ahead of the time.  Some folks even said it tastes different! (Bread does taste better to me when it is cut diagonal!)

Now, some conspiracy theorists may say this was done to just drum up publicity—That I’m talking about Coke way more because of this stunt…Just like “New” Coke.  Maybe, but maybe not.  Coca-Cola is one of the biggest brands in the world–They have  the resources to market test better than any other company–So what went wrong?  My nine year old daughter thought the can looked like a Diet Coke, but Coca-Cola didn’t anticipate this?  Something’s  fishy.  (Don’t polar bear love fish?..hmmm)

So you decide–Are we talking about Polar Bears  and Coke more because of the campaign?  Will more money find its way to Atlanta and Antarctica because of the controversy?   Some of the best advertising campaigns don’t seem like advertising at all–The point is to make people talk, although it didn’t work for Netflix–That was just a major miscalculation–But then again, Netflix is no Coke.

Either way,  Al Gore has now switched from Pepsi to Coke–All is right with the world.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

I watched the Muppet movie with my daughter this weekend.  Those Disney folks are brilliant at combining adult emotional cues in with the entertainment of kids.  Most of the shows on the Disney channel capture both audiences extremely well..The result? Parents actually don’t mind watching shows with their kids—Brilliant.

The Muppet movie really made you relive the 80’s, while introducing a whole new generation to Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the gang.  Most of our memories are linked together by the glue of sound.  Sound and smell are the two driving forces of long term memories that evoke emotions–

Let’s go back 15 years.. Click on this link…Close your eyes…And remember everything that was going on in your world..

Click Here

Did you try it?  The movie actually used this sound bite while introducing the 80’s robot. The real year you remember this from though is  1996–Everywhere you went you got a free America online disk.  You and your friends were  on America Online, CompuServe or Prodigy.  Bill Clinton was bidding for a second term.  9/11 was still five years away. 

 Yes the power of sound.  A certain song can make you relieve the first day of school, the entire 7th grade or  remember your first kiss.   Yes I’m a radio guy, so maybe you think I’m not partial.  I’m also a marketing guy, so I know the way to get someone to trust you, and perhaps buy from you, is to invoke emotions.  People like to pretend they are logical, but they are not..

Find a way to pierce the heart, and trust will follow– Just like Disney did with the Muppet Movie..Now go out and relive a little of the magic of your youth

Create a S.P.L.A.S.H—(Part I)

Does  your message make  a  S.P.L.A.S.H?  Ok..My last name is Swimm, so you know my copywriting philosophy has to revolve around some type of water reference–So I will not disappoint…Does your message make a Splash?–I will get into these in much more depth in the upcoming weeks, but for now I will keep it real simple—Your copy should:



L— Can you use LAUGHTER?


S— Do you have a  SLOGAN?

H–Do you hit HOT  Buttons/invoke emotions?

Aren’t acronyms fun?  Lot more where this came from—Stay tuned and we will dissect these and have some fun in the process….In the meantime concentrate on the most important—Tell stories and paint pictures.  Do you remember learning to drive?  Close your eyes and re live it.  Do you remember how you felt?  Were you scared? Excited? Did your teacher (Probably your Dad) have patience?–Are you back there now?  How about Your Grandmother making a pie before Thanksgiving. Can you smell it?  Can you here her voice?—Or how about your first kiss?  Paint pictures, tell stories, use emotions–make  it interesting–Tap into the theater of the mind..Words mean things–Make them work for you

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