Is Your Content Radio Worthy?

Business Talks, Spokane Washington's live business radio program, is on the air

Photo credit: Andy Cook

A few months ago, I was invited to join a new business radio program as the producer.

In this case, “producer” meant lining up guests, and practically anything else I want or have time to do—only three of us were involved initially.

The idea from the outset was to spread positive stories from the local business community (the Spokane, Washington area). Like a lot of you, I’ve learned that a company’s ability to tell its story is vital, so accepting the invitation to produce the program —Business Talks—was irresistible.

It’s turned out to be so much fun, I wanted to tell you about it. Continue reading

A Marketing Lesson From Farmer Fred


Isn’t it great to meet new people, and find yourself unexpectedly inspired?

Fred Flemming of Shepherd's Grain

Fred Fleming of Shepherd’s Grain

My friend Tom McArthur is co-host of Business Talks, a radio program I “produce” here in Spokane. (Scare quotes intentional; more on Business Talks in a future post.)

A few days ago, Tom invited me to join him for coffee with his friend Fred Fleming. Farmer Fred, as Tom calls him, is one of a nearly disappearing breed: the family farmer. Nearly, because they’ll never disappear if Fred has anything to do with it. Continue reading

How Clear Is Your Brand’s Voice?

This man had a distinctive voice. Does your brand? That voice. I heard it, softly, from a table 10 feet away.

It was 1990. We were in a quiet, trendy Hollywood restaurant whose name I never knew and I doubt still exists.

I was with an agency producer, working on a TV job for a large telecom client.

It was the unmistakable voice of an old friend. I wanted to jump up, hug him and tell him my whole family and all our friends missed him.

But I didn’t because he was speaking softly, it sounded private, and I didn’t want to interrupt.

Besides, we had never met, and I didn’t want to scare the hell out of him. Continue reading

Marketing Your Startup Business: A Quick Guide

Building a new business can be scary. Here are some marketing tips.

Marketing doesn’t have to be as scary as other parts of building a new business

One of my favorite marketing blog posts was written in April 2009 by HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah. He called it Startup Marketing: Tactical Tips From The Trenches. 

“If I were starting a company today,” Dharmesh wrote, “here’s what I would do in the first ten days.”

In that same spirit, here’s a rough outline of steps I’d recommend for businesses just getting started. I hope someone who’s starting a business finds it useful. Credit where credit is due, some of these suggestions are pretty similar to what Dharmesh wrote nearly four years ago.

Continue reading

From Sales, A Marketing Lesson

Sunrise on the Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, C...

Santa Barbara. A great place to figure out how little you really know about life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite marketing thought leaders doesn’t have a background in advertising, or PR or social media.

 Jill Konrath is a salesperson deluxe. You may know her as an author, blogger, strategist or as a featured guest on HubSpot’s blogs and webinars. I love her strategic approach to sales.

In this post, she writes about how she learned to ask questions. For her it was a social tool, as in how-to-date-boys social. (Cute post!) 

As marketers, we must constantly ask questions. Curiosity about your customer and your community drives you to understand who they are, how they think and feel, how you can bring them value and how you might develop meaningful relationships.

Jill reminded me of an incident that made me see sales in a new light. Continue reading

Are You Smart Enough For Marketing?

Marketing intelligenceMaybe you’re overly proud of your towering intellect.

Maybe you’re a little insecure about it.

Don’t be either, if you want to succeed in marketing.

My completely unscientific analysis, after 30 years on the job, shows that people who act like the smartest one in the room usually aren’t quite as bright as they think.  Continue 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

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  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

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