Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Emotional Branding Impact of Real Values; How You Can Help Victims of the Tsunami Disaster

First and foremost, I would like to begin this post by urging everyone who reads it to do his or her best to influence corporate giving towards Tsunami relief funds and strongly consider a personal contribution. Contributions can be sent to the Americares Foundation and American Red Cross International Response Fund. The tragedy is enormous and the help needed is immense. Please provide whatever help you can. Now on to my post.

I recently learned about the President and founder of a leading domain registrar (the companies that one uses to register web site domains) called Go Daddy being so moved by the recent Tsunami disaster in Southern Asia and Eastern Africa that he had his organization, a small business, donate $25,000 to relief efforts. He later decided he needed to up the amount to $250,000 and is attempting to influence other companies to act similarly.

The man’s name is Bob Parsons. He publishes a blog
, that I learned about only minutes before writing this post, which I find refreshingly straight-shooting.

Corporate giving, in my experience, is rarely a truly altruistic act, regardless of spin. Big business often donates to high-profile causes for the PR impact and brand benefits – and I am not saying that is necessarily bad, but it certainly doesn’t inspire the emotional bond that a surprisingly and believably altruistic act would. After all, it’s easy for a Fortune 500 to give $1 million to a high-profile cause and reap the resulting publicity rewards. But, to see a small business give $250,000 out of the conviction and compassion of the business leader is nothing short of inspiring and, frankly, is far too rare an event. And while Bob might not get the same media coverage as a big brand like Citigroup, I think there is strong brand benefit, as this act results in his company’s customers developing an emotional bond with the company. In fact, with this act, in the eyes of many customers, Bob's small company with a silly name has transcended simply being viewed as another competitor within a marketplace that has fairly generic offerings and will now be perceived as
a company with values and a heart.

On a personal level, while I have used Bob's company for a few years and had good experiences, I have also had good experiences with some of his competitors and never had much brand loyalty. Now, as a result of what I know about Bob and his company, I
will give much stronger consideration to his company with my own business. I now want to swing all of my domain business Go Daddy's way. I’m also more likely to recommend Bob’s company than I was before this event. To me, Bob’s actions have a spiritual and a business benefit. I believe that Bob’s actions were taken as the result of a passionate commitment to be a responsible and caring corporate citizen.

In an age where big company greed, bad ethics and the resulting scandals fill the headlines and the court rooms, seeing a business with a conscience needs to be celebrated and, I believe, held up as an inspirational example. I also believe there will be a longer-term positive impact for Bob’s company, as many customers are likely to develop deeper, emotional bonds with the Go Daddy brand that will result in increased customer loyalty/retention rates, referrals and sales.

Call it goodwill or good values. I only hope it spreads.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

At the end of the day, the synergistic new paradigm of this out of the box thinking is a win-win, if you have the bandwidth to get on the same page.

A new study reveals the most overused, annoying buzzwords and it is pretty much spot on, in my book (hmm…those phrases didn’t make the list; last year’s list, perhaps?).

Of course, the research process for this could have been much easier than contacting hundreds of companies. All they had to do was have someone pick up the phone and listen to a few management consultants for a couple of minutes. Okay, that list would have been far too long.

Here are the buzzwords voted most annoying (you can find the full article

“At the end of the day”
“Thinking outside the box”
“Take it offline”
“Redeployed people”
“On the runway”
“Get on the same page”
“Customer centric”
“Generation X”
“Accountability management”
“Core competency”
“Alignment” “Incremental”

Have any to add?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Marketing Accountability: The Bottom Line

The number of self-professed experts on marketing ROI is astounding. Ask one of them for greater detail and the number quickly and dramatically decreases.

I recently wrote an article entitled "The Bottom Line on Marketing Accountability" that suggests a real-world solution for marketing accountability. Just in case you don't feel like reading the article, I'll provide a short summary. The idea that there is a "one size fits all" solution is incorrect. Even some of the marketing-world's most respected marketing ROI calculations may not be accepted by the CFO. Consequently, the most effective solution is for the top marketing executive to forge a relationship with the CFO -- and possibly the head of sales, depending on organizational structure -- whereby they together determine the key marketing measures, how they will be monitored and who will monitor them. This solves two problems, employing measures that matter to the organization and gaining buy-in from the CFO.

Think this is too obvious? Consider that the majority of top marketers don't do it. A couple of years ago, I was speaking to a senior consultant for one of the largest and most prestigious branding consultations. I asked him the percentage of brand valuations his firm does where the CFO is at the table and buys-in to the valuation. He said CFOs are only there 10% or less of the time, and they are often very skeptical. For a process that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and is a financial valuation, I am astounded that any marketing executive would go through this without the CFO's buy in. In fact, I wouldn't invest a dollar in it until the CFO bought into it. After all, when your the CFO presenting to the C-level, who do you think the CEO is going to turn to and ask, "What do you think of this?" Too often, the charge for marketing accountability comes as a criticism from the CFO or CEO. With budgets being more scrutinized than ever, marketing must lead the charge for marketing accountability within the organization, as well as the charge for internal collaboration and sell-in that it will take for marketing to gain the respect marketing deserves.

Friday, December 10, 2004

U.S. Marketing Salary and Satisfaction Study Results

The American Marketing Association and Aquent recently released the results of a salary and job satisfaction survey of marketing professionals (AMA members) across the US. In addition to the salary information, the study included psychographic and workplace dynamic related questions. Some of the findings:

  • More than 80% of marketers surveyed regarded marketing ROI and new technology initiatives as very important.
  • 60% believe understaffing is a severe problem at their origination. These marketers feel overextended.
  • More than half feel firefighting and time management are problematic.
  • 87% work more than 40 hours.
  • 80% of marketers from smaller companies rated the caliber of their work as exceptional. The percentage rating their work exceptional decreased dramatically as company size increased.
  • Middle managers are more inclined to feel their projects are rushed.
  • Job satisfaction means much more than a paycheck; work/life balance, the level he or she is trusted, corporate culture, the fit between job responsibilities and skills and business ethics are all important components.
One question/response I found particularly interesting was a correlation between companies marketers see as socially responsible or ethical and increased business. Marketing ROI continues to be the subject of a lot of talk and little action. Most studies indicate marketers are not even systematically using marketing performance measures, so serious marketing ROI processes are far beyond the reach of most.

The AMA and Aquent have created a website with a salary comparison tool and the research study in a downloadable PDF at no charge. There is a link to the site from the story at Marketing Today.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Job Posting - Marketing Specialist in Chicago Area

I just received a call from a recruiter asking if I could help find a Marketing Specialist for a B2B company in the Chicago suburbs. If you are interested, check this link for a full description: . Also, a Marketing Today Job Board is in the works and is expected to launch in January 2005.

- Peter

According to BT, by 2008, 71% of all e-mail sent worldwide will be spam.

A recent Yahoo! Mail survey of 37,000 Internet users in 11 countries on five continents, found that people all over the world hate spam. Surprising? It shouldn't be.

I'm amazed that after so many years, that anyone still needs to make arguments against spamming. If you want to know what are the biggest threats to legitimate (which means permission-based) email marketing effectiveness, they are spammers and people who buy from spammers. I'll forgive the latter for their own ignorance and move on to the former.

To keep it short. Spammers are irresponsible, short-sighted, unethical, stupid and greedy individuals. I don't even like to refer to them as marketers -- it's kind of like calling snake oil salesman, drug dealers or pimps "marketers." Unfortunately, the truth is, spammers are not merely the fly-by-night no-name companies and "brands" selling Viagra and breast enlargement creams, but also consist of a number of well-known corporations. Especially in the direct marketing world.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), whose members are primarily direct marketers, strongly backed the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. I think they missed an opportunity to have taken a stronger stance. This law was reported, correctly, by much of the world community as the U.S. being the first nation to legalize spam. While CAN-SPAM does put rules around spam and makes the worst offenses illegal, it does not legitimize legally compliant spam in the minds of email users or stop the significant problem caused by what may end up being a huge amount of legally compliant spam (a lot of spam today is non-compliant with this law). Consequently, U.S.-based spam monitoring groups will still blacklist a legally compliant spammer, resulting in ISPs and organizations blocking emails from the sender from reaching their clients or employees (respectively), as this legal spam still causes a lot of headaches.

Often, CAN-SPAM compliant spam will still violate the laws of smart marketing and branding. Getting a small percentage of short-term sales at the expense of annoying, alienating or harming your brand image with the vast majority of recipients remains a stupid offense -- regardless of laws -- putting brand image, reputation, relationships and long-term profitability at risk. Smart marketers still operate using best practice permission email marketing standards: only email to people who have specifically requested you to send them email with the frequency they expect and allow them to easily unsubcribe whenever they choose.

- Peter DeLegge

Marketing Today starts a blog for marketers.

Okay, it took a while to jump on the blog bandwagon, but here it is. No editing, just informal, shoot from the hip insights and opinions on marketing with an occasional typo, grammatical error and, hopefully, a sense of humor.

I will be covering marketing strategies, marketing communications, emarketing, trends, technologies, products, companies, campaigns...with a special emphasis on online marketing and business-to-business marketing, my areas of specialty. Whether it is an article on Marketing Today or somewhere else, if it relates to marketing, and in particular, if it relates to online marketing (AKA e-marketing) or business-to-business marketing, it is within scope. I will also try to pass on marketing job opportunities (where I am given permission) I hear about from marketing recruiters. Recruiters, please feel free to email me opportunities, I will publish legitimate marketing opportunities at no cost.

I will attempt to inform, share and even entertain with Marketing Today Blog. I hope you will join me.

- Peter DeLegge