Archive for August, 2011

  • Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

  • New format for trade shows

    I just returned from the Central Veterinary Conference (CVC) hosted by Advanstar publishing in Kansas City.

    I’ve been attending this conference for many years and had grown accustomed to the floor plan and where our clients and prospects were traditionally located.  Last year, Terry Reilly of Advanstar announced to me they were going to re-format the show by grouping like exhibitors within common areas on the floor.  Terry explained how many trade show organizers were beginning to employ this strategy in recent years, and how this was the first attempt in the animal health industry.  I was intrigued and looked forward to this year’s event. (more…)

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  • Monday, August 29th, 2011

  • I don’t want what you’re offering

    I’m in my office, the phone rings and I take the call. It’s someone I don’t know calling from a publication that I don’t know. I read my fair share of B2B publications in the animal health, pest control and material handling business to stay on top of our client’s industries. But this was a publication that had nothing to do with any of our client’s businesses, or was of interest to our marketing communications agency. The caller insisted that I wanted this complementary publication and just needed to verify my address – I’ve heard that one many times before. One thing was clear to me – valuable resources were being wasted on getting a magazine into the hands of somebody…anybody…even though I wasn’t a good fit. Why did the caller assume I wanted what he/she was offering? (more…)



  • Thursday, August 25th, 2011

  • Overthrowing a King

    Really, is anyone upset by Burger King’s announcement last week that it was retiring the “King” from its ongoing advertising campaign? The King, a mascot that featured an oversize head with a creepy grin, to me was…well, creepy.   (more…)



  • Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

  • Back in the saddle

    Recently, I’ve started training to ride the Door County Century bike ride. For those unfamiliar with biking lingo, a century is 100 miles. I’ll be honest with you, it’s been five years since I have trained to ride that distance (I once did Ironman Wisconsin back in 2005, but that is a long time behind me). But a new challenge sounds fun! Albeit a bit crazy, right? I found a plan, developed a strategy, and started training.

    A few weeks in and it was time for my first 50 mile ride. Twenty-five miles each way out and back, totally do-able. Well, the “out” was great but at the turnaround, my seat clamp broke beyond repair and I had to ride the 25 miles back on a saddle that resembled the Tilt-A-Whirl at the Wisconsin State Fair.

    With a bike now not fitting properly and a seat that was misbehaving, it made for a challenging ride home (and a few choice words to communicate my displeasure)!

    The next day I was discussing the ride’s misfortune with a cycling friend of mine, who offered some very wise advice:

    “That misfortune made you a stronger rider.”

    His comment hit me hard, and made me realize that at first glance what may seem a failure is indeed a lesson in what it takes to not only grow, but eventually succeed.

    This same sentiment certainly applies to marketing as well. Not every strategy or tactic is going to meet your expectations. The key is to learn from those missteps by evaluating where they fell short, making the proper adjustments and moving forward.   

    So, I will leave you with this thought: when things go sideways, remember to keep focus and pedal on!

    Ride Strong. Ride Safe.


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  • Thursday, August 18th, 2011

  • Let’s do the Marshmallow Challenge!

    I facilitated The Marshmallow Challenge with our team last week as part of our agency’s monthly lunch and learn meetings. The Challenge is a good team-building exercise that encourages collaboration and creativity, at the same time teaching the importance of prototyping and not making false assumptions. It doesn’t take much time or too many resources. In fact, all you need are:

    • 20 uncooked spaghetti sticks

    • 1 marshmallow

    • 1 meter of string

    • 1 meter of tape

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  • Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

  • Marketing in the digital age

    Seems most everyone I know is dealing with the same thing: people want everything right now! We practically demand immediate responses to e-mails and for the most part demand immediate action from ourselves. We see that alert window and rush to check to see what it is and what needs to be done. Speed has become the primary driver behind what we do.

    The shift to more and more digital marketing communications has also, I believe, changed how we feel about the importance of accuracy. Digital communications lack the perception of permanence. Print 10,000 copies of a 12-page brochure and a mistake has a significant and obvious cost, but bad grammar and spelling are practically expected in text messages and at least tolerated in e-mails. If something is wrong, just delete it. And who cares if something is wrong on an electronic proof?! We’ll just fix it and send version #2. And version #3. And version #4. You get the idea.

    The problem with all of this is that a bad reputation can be very long lasting and truly costly. I know I get nailed every time I start to care more about the timeline than taking that extra time to really think about what I’m doing. The primary goal always needs to be to get things “right” not “right now.” People will remember a mistake far longer than if they got something an hour later than what is often an arbitrary deadline.

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  • Thursday, August 4th, 2011

  • The marketing power of chicken

    A new house, a new hope and 2,000 chicken sandwiches – how can you beat that?

    Two weeks ago, the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was in Fayetteville building a new house that will be used as a shelter for women veterans and their children. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest U.S. Army bases in the country, as well as the adjacent Pope Field. Suffice to say Fayetteville is a military town.   (more…)