Showtime’s New Series is Built on Deception and Bad for America

Writing about marketing and business is more fun when sharing excellent examples and great creativity.

However, just as important, sometimes we have to learn from what’s not excellent. A new “comedy” series from Showtime is a glaring example.

Authenticity and transparency are important go-to-market levers. Consumers want that in their products and services. Citizens want that in their government. We don’t always get it.

Part of the reason is that we all, even implicitly, allow it to happen.

Credit: Showtime (sho.com)

Take Showtime’s new series with Sacha Baron Cohen, Who Is America? According to the network, the series “features his first new characters in 15 years, which are so believably performed that they can exist in the real world.”

Let me translate: these “believable new characters” are fraudulent impersonations of purportedly real people, designed to trick targets into participating in on-camera interviews.

With all the challenges we face as a society, why does Showtime feel the need to pay for and promote “gotcha” deception? Continue reading

Take Net Promoter to the Next Level. Ask For the Recommendation.

Think about this sales growth opportunity. Companies may calculate their Net Promoter Score, but how many actually ask the customer to take any action?

Rhino Shelf does. The North Carolina company sells DIY garage storage kits. I learned about them recently when assisting my brother install his system.

The product is excellent, and if you’re considering garage storage options and are handy with tools, it might be a good solution for you. (They also offer an installation option.)

This isn’t a product review, so let’s continue with the marketing commentary. Continue reading

This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business

A new corporate brand campaign for MGM Resorts International has a hidden benefit.

It helps translate and demonstrate what some business leaders consider “mumbo jumbo.” That would be marketing cornerstones such as branding, positioning and customer experience.

These critical building blocks, and others, are like oxygen to marketers and business leaders who believe in the power of smart, disciplined marketing to help build and grow profitable businesses, and keep them relevant.

But, not everyone is a believer, and not all practitioners have instilled confidence.

Credit: MGM Resorts International.

So, particularly for the marketing skeptics, this new MGM marketing is instructive. It’s strong, bold marketing that grabs attention. And seemingly has a chance to be effective.* Continue reading

Wegmans Supermarket Entices Shoppers with Impressive Magazine

Print is still powerful – if used correctly.

Want proof? Check out the latest issue of Wegmans Menu Magazine.

The well-regarded Rochester, NY grocer publishes an attention-getting, glossy magazine chock full of beautiful photography and enticing recipes. Even non-cooks may be motivated to shop and then head to their kitchens.

Menu Magazine came to my attention via a family member, who recently signed-up for a Shoppers Club loyalty card in advance of a new store opening next week. The magazine was mailed to the home.

After perusing the magazine, I can share three marketing observations:

▶  Make content for the customer. The value and utility of Menu Magazine – products and recipes that make you want to buy – is what hooks the shopper. Of course Wegmans is selling (they are entitled), yet they achieve a business objective by putting the customer first. The magazine’s content makes the reader want to shop, cook and eat.  Continue reading

Unexpected Sources Can Power Content Marketing

It’s an increasing challenge. Where do business teams get the content to fuel their content-driven marketing?

Part of the answer is that great content can come from unexpected places.

To begin, ensure that your content fits your overall marketing and specific content strategies. That requires you to do your homework.

From there, keep these five guide rails in mind. They’ll help you to be meaningful to, and resonate with, customers and key constituents:

  1. Be genuine
  2. Be authentic
  3. Be relatable
  4. Place your content in the right context
  5. Communicate at the appropriate time

Credit: Allen Edmonds. Father’s Day 2017 catalog.

As an example, consider the CEO who wrote about walking his daughter down the marriage aisle, and even posted a picture, in a Father’s Day product catalog. Continue reading