Dave Martin, Founder Of The Martin Agency

Dave Martin's portrait by Luis BrielAs a young copywriter, I was lucky to fall in with a good crowd: The Martin Agency, founded by Dave Martin in 1965. 

Dave passed away Tuesday. I didn’t know him well, other than he was a gentleman, a good father, humble and respected by all.

But I want to share some observations about how he set his small ad agency in Richmond, Virginia, on a course to become one of the world’s greats. (You know their work for Geico, Walmart, Discover Card, FreeCreditReport.com and the “What Can Brown Do For You Campaign” for UPS.)

I was hired as a rookie copywriter at The Martin Agency a few years after college, just before Christmas 1981. It felt like the big time, though the agency only had about 25 employees.  Continue reading

Taking Social Media By The Horns, Where You Live

Josh Wade of Nectar MediaThis post is about a social media conference, in Spokane, Washington.

And the guy who’s presenting it.

And a conference where you live.

And you.

Please read on.

This Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at Spokane’s Red Lion Hotel Convention Center, if you’re lucky enough to have a full day and $149 to invest in your vital continuing business education, you can attend Go Social,  hosted by Nectar MediaContinue reading

For Marketing: Dump The “We” Questions; Ask About “Them”

Marketing must be customer-centered

For questions of marketing strategy, the answers usually begin with the customer.

But what if you’re asking the wrong questions?

Sometimes we’re forced to focus like a laser – on our own problems, objectives and processes. It’s understandable. But it can turn our point of view inward, when we should be focused on the customer.

Here are some inward-looking “we” questions that can lead to the wrong answers, followed by the kinds of questions – about “them,” the customers – that businesses ought to be asking.

Continue reading

5 For The Weekend, Vol. 7

How To Create Advertising That Sells, by David Ogilvy

David Ogilvy can still teach us a thing or two

It was a strange week. I read a lot of very good blog posts, but not many of the type that fit the profile for this weekly collection. 

To be precise: They should be at least somewhat related to marketing. You should be able to appreciate them whether or not you’re a marketing pro. They should be inspiring and/or educational. 

In other words, they should be just right for the weekend.

So for this week’s 5,  in addition to a couple of current articles about modern marketing, I looked back in time for inspiration.  There’s wisdom from the late advertising great David Ogilvy, soul bearing from a grieving 16th-Century widow, and inspiration from one of my first bosses.

Now that really is looking back in time. Continue reading

I Need Some WordPress Advice

Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

It’s time for a new WordPress theme, and I need your help.

Maybe just some pointers will do.

This old theme has served me well for three years. It was free­ – and worth the price. But I’m taking my blogging a little more seriously now, and want an upgrade.

So I’m asking for your thoughts and advice, both general and specific. Continue reading

Why We Don’t Plagiarize

Vice President Joe Biden takes the oath of off...

Joe Biden, plagiarist, swearing to uphold the law. Photo credit Wikipedia.

Is plagiarism suddenly all the rage?

Articles about it popping are up everywhere. My new pal Tim Bonner posted about it, as did Content Marketing World speaker Rachel Foster. Craig Silverman writes about it at Poynter.org.  Then I read a post from a marketing student at the University of South Florida, Murewa Olubela.

Murewa focuses on the kind of trouble students can get into for plagiarism. Because she’s a student, and president of her PR club, I can see where she’s coming from.

But I wanted to offer another point of view.

Continue reading

5 For The Weekend, Vol. 6

The All-Inbound Blog "5 For The Weekend" is late this week. Sorry.

My Rolex-Submariner took a licking, then stopped ticking

Sorry to be so late.

Here’s your weekend, almost half over, and I’m just getting around to posting this week’s 5.

I come with lame excuses. First, my knock-off Rolex stopped. Then the nice folks at Arment-Dietrich’s Spin Sucks blog kept me tied up much of Friday. Thanks again to them, and their whole blog community.

Back to the matter at hand: This is unofficially Lady’s Weekend. Our first two links celebrate women pioneers in advertising. Not because they’re women, but because of what they accomplished.

And now, without further ado, the envelope please: Continue reading

Avis: A Vague New Slogan

Avis Tries Harder adI first heard that Avis had dumped its classic tag line when I read Mickey Lonchar’s perfectly titled post, Avis Quits Trying Harder.

Who didn’t love We Try Harder, and the case study that goes with it? The early ads said “We’re Number 2. We have to try harder.” In fact, they were only #2 in a technical sense. As of 1962, they had not made a profit in years. But Avis’ market share and profits shot up dramatically with that brilliant campaign.

Why did Avis abandon the iconic line in favor of the less compelling “It’s Your Space”?

Was it a mistake?

Here’s some pointed insight from a former Avis advertising and marketing specialist. I found Donna Cusano at LinkedIn’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network Group. She has generously allowed me to quote her post liberally. (Thanks Donna!)  Continue reading

Why Marketing Fails In Small and Midsize Businesses

Why does marketing fail? The E Myth Revisited, the classic on entrepreneurism by Michael Gerber, talks about the needless management failures of small businesses. I’m reading it for the first time (thanks Kaarina Dillabough for suggesting it). It reminds me of the needless, all-too-familiar small and midsize business marketing failures I’ve seen over and over again.

So here are the top five causes for marketing failure that make me wonder: “What are these people thinking?”   Continue reading

5 For The (Long) Weekend, Vol. 5

Five Great Marketing Links For The (Long) Weekend

No turkeys in this week’s “5”

Here in beautiful Spokane, our two-month summer unofficially ends with the approach of Labor Day. I saw a guy this morning in line for a cheese and sausage biscuit dressed in full ski regalia. The good times never last, do they?

(To you Virginians and North Carolinians: You’re jealous of our 75° days and 42° nights now… but you won’t be by October, believe me.)

With no further ado, here are five great marketing links for your long weekend reading pleasure.

So: Summer interns, for the last time, the envelope, please:  Continue reading