Tag Archives: marketing

Name brand mattresses are a scam

It doesn’t really matter which mattress you buy, they are all the same

Here’s the lowdown: Mattress makers rename identical products for each different retail store. Different labels, exact same guts. Why? Obfuscation. It’s hard to shop for the lowest price when you can’t compare apples to apples. Lucky for you, they’re all subtle variations on the same apple—not only within each brand, but even among different brands.

The heart of an innerspring mattress is the coils. Otherwise it’s just foam, cotton, quilting, and stitches. But the big-name mattress makers (with some exceptions) all get their coils from a single company, Leggett and Platt, for their highest-end mattresses down to their lowest. This is akin to every single car on the market, Lamborghinis to Kias, using an engine made by Ford. Except that mattresses are far less complicated than cars. In fact, they’re so simple that there’s no real difference among them at all.

Good tip for social entrepreneurs as well.

From The Globe and Mail

Hot opportunities don’t appear in cold offices

One of the most critical lessons learned was how essential it is to create any opportunity to get into the market and meet with potential clients. No amount of planning, researching, writing, engaging in social media and developing marketing materials will do more for you than a face-to-face meeting. Anything else is a distraction.

Before you do anything else with your day, picking up the telephone and making appointments to meet people must become a far higher priority than sitting in your office and planning global domination. This experience, which is common sense but surprisingly not common action, enables me to better coach the professionals I work with to prioritize their response to business opportunities.

John Scully on Steve Jobs and What Makes Him Great

From the Cult of Mac

John Scully & Steve Jobs

One of the things that fascinated him: I described to him that there’s not much difference between a Pepsi and a Coke, but we were outsold 9 to 1. Our job was to convince people that Pepsi was a big enough decision that they ought to pay attention to it, and eventually switch. We decided that we had to treat Pepsi like a necktie. In that era people cared what necktie they wore. The necktie said: “Here’s how I want you to see me.” So we have to make Pepsi like a nice necktie. When you are holding a Pepsi in your hand, its says, “Here’s how I want you to see me.”

We did some research and we discovered that when people were going to serve soft drinks to a friend in their home, if they had Coca Cola in the fridge, they would go out to the kitchen, open the fridge, take out the Coke bottle, bring it out, put it on the table and pour a glass in front of their guests.

If it was a Pepsi, they would go out in to the kitchen, take it out of the fridge, open it, and pour it in a glass in the kitchen, and only bring the glass out. The point was people were embarrassed to have someone know that they were serving Pepsi. Maybe they would think it was Coke because Coke had a better perception. It was a better necktie. Steve was fascinated by that.

We talked a lot about how perception leads reality and how if you are going to create a reality you have to be able to create the perception. We did it with something called the Pepsi generation.

I had learned through a lecture that Dr. Margaret Mead had given, an anthropologist in the 60’s, that the most important fact for marketers was going to be the emergence of an affluent middle class — what we call the Baby Boomers, who are now turning 60. They were the first people to have discretionary income. They could go out and spend money for things other than what they had to have.

When we created Pepsi generation it was created with them in mind. It was always focusing on the user of the drink, never the drink.

Coke always focused on the drink. We focused on the person using it. We showed people riding dirt bikes, waterskiing, or kite flying, hang gliding — doing different things. And at the end of it there would always be a Pepsi as a reward. This all happened when color television was first coming in. We were the first company to do lifestyle marketing. The first and the longest-running lifestyle campaign was — and still is — Pepsi.

We did it was just as color television was coming in and when large-screen TVs were coming in, like 19-inch screens. We didn’t go to people who made TV commercials because they were making commercials for little tiny black-and-white screens. We went out to Hollywood and got the best movie directors and said we want you to make 60-second movies for us. They were lifestyle movies. The whole thing was to create the perception that Pepsi was number one because you couldn’t be number one unless you thought like number one. You had to appear like number one.

Steve loved those ideas. A lot of the stuff we were doing and our marketing was focused on when we bring the Mac to market. It has to be done at such a high level of perception of expectation that he will sort of tease people to want to find out what the product is capable of. The product couldn’t do very much in the beginning. Almost all of the technology was used for the user experience. In fact we did get a backlash where people said it’s a toy. It doesn’t do anything. But eventually it did as the technology got more powerful.

Who Won the World Cup? Nike or Adidas

Harvard Business School analyses the impact of both Nike and Adidas’ marketing approaches.

With approximately 2.6 billion people worldwide following the 2010 World Cup, the spectacle has been a field day for marketers, each trying to connect their brand with the strong emotions fans have for their favorite teams. But the stakes are particularly high for those brands that actually sell football gear. Two contenders, Adidas and Nike, each have a shot at becoming undisputed market leader when the whistle blows on July 11 and the final game concludes. Coming into 2010, their records show them evenly matched: each is estimated to have earned $1.5-1.7 billion in football merchandise sales in 2008 and 2009, and each controls about a third of the total market.

Adidas is playing its tried and tested strategy of being the official FIFA sponsor of the World Cup games. This means the referees wear Adidas uniforms, the footballs are Adidas-branded and televised ads for football apparel and equipment during matches can only be, you guessed it, for Adidas. Moreover, Adidas is the official sponsor for 12 of the 32 teams playing in the World Cup — so the uniforms of teams such as Germany, Argentina, and Spain (all of which advanced to the quarter finals) were emblazoned with the Adidas logo.

Nike meanwhile had to come up with a different approach…

Connecting with your customers

Letter from ThePod.ca

I got this email after I ordered a Camera Pod from ThePod.ca and I thought it was a great idea.  As I read the e-mail, I sent off a quick reply (I saw the Camera Pod while surfing the web and thought it would be a cool camera mount) about why I ordered myself one.  The email I sent back gives him an idea of how his marketing is working and it gave me a contact e-mail if I had any concerns with their company and it got me a little more excited about my camera pod.  Speaking of which, I can’t wait until it gets here.

Am I missing something

I was reading Scot McKnight’s post on the TNIV today and while I agree, he added a graphic that made me ask some questions about Bible marketing.

NIV 2011

What is Zondervan’s marketing department up to.  I can understand why Microsoft brands Microsoft Office by the year.  I still have a copy of Office 97 kicking around on an old computer.  If you don’t use Outlook 97 (a dog of a software program if there ever was one), it works pretty good but it’s 2009 now and every time I use it, I am reminded that I am not using the newest and the best.  In exchanging files with others, I am also stating that I am using old obsolete software (which it really isn’t).

Yet with a Bible, it seems like Zondervan is putting a shelf life on something that should not have a shelf life on it.  I know the NIV is being constantly revised but are we going to be seeing a NIV 2013 or maybe just a NIV 2011 Service Pack 1 come out.  Seeing Zondervan use the same kind of marketing as EA Sports on a timeless work seems to commoditize something that should be bigger than that.

Of course a quick trip inside any Christian bookstore will tell you that the commoditization boat has sailed long ago. 

Back to Church Sunday

I have never liked the idea that churches took the summer off and I like the idea of a Back to Church Sunday even less.  By doing this in September it communicates that it’s expected that you’re going to take the summer off from church and gives the wrong impressions about what a church community is (something you can disengage and reengage in at your leisure).  Then again I worked at a church where every Father’s Day the senior pastor would say, “See you in September” and take the summer off.  I guess it makes sense if you see church as a Sunday morning performance and the summer is for taking time off but it doesn’t make a lot of sense if church is a community of believers who gather together to worship and serve.  Even if you take the perspective that church is a performance, you are doing damage to the church (as an organization) by hurting giving.  From my experience it didn’t seem to do much good.

Marketing in the church

Spirit Farmer has the following rant over on his blog.  You can read the entire post there.

The marketing piece I’ve seen a number of times is the one I love to hate the most.  It’s the one that says, “You should check out our church, even though you think church sucks.  Because we’re not like those other churches you’ve been to.  We don’t suck.  We rock.  You’ll love our <insert musical style>, your kids will love our <insert program name>, and we promise our preacher won’t bore you.  We’re different than the rest!”  A variation on this theme is the ad that says “We’re a church for people that don’t like church.”

There are some real problems with this approach to marketing.  First, it’s lazy.  I’ve been getting the same “Our church doesn’t suck” postcards in my mailbox for a lot of years by now.  Try some originality, some creativity.  Especially the churches that try so stinking hard to convince you they’re relevant through their timely sermon topics.  If you’re creative enough to have a sermon series riffing on the latest reality TV craze, you’re creative enough to say something other than “those guys suck, and we don’t.”

Second, it shows the church’s hand – they know full well that church isn’t working for people.  In fact, that may be the precise reason they started their new church – so it wouldn’t suck.  But they’re trashing the other churches in their area by doing this – in a cowardly, backhanded way.  If they think other churches suck, they should say it straight up, instead of trying to sneak it in the back door by saying “We don’t suck.”  The subtext is there, that they think the other churches do.

Third, like I said above, it’s almost always false advertising.  O.k., I get it, there are boring, stiff, culturally stuck churches out there, and the people in our communities have had negative experiences there.  But if you’re going to be audacious enough to say that you’re different, you’d better deliver the goods.  I’ve been to a number of churches in which they’ve promised that they wouldn’t be what I’m expecting in a church.  You know where I’m going . . . but wait for it . . . Almost universally, I find exactly what I’m expecting: a church that meets in an elementary school auditorium, a band that plays the worship top 40 with skill, PowerPoint lyrics with snazzy video backgrounds, a white dude on stage preaching, and a lot of awesome programs for the kids and youth.  Hear me out, please – I don’t necessarily have a problem with any of those elements.  (In fact, there’s one near my home that has most of those elements, but they’re the real deal, and have their missional heads screwed on pretty darn well).  Just don’t try to convince me that you’re different than the other new churches in town that meet in elementary school auditoriums and do all the same stuff you do.  You’re really all very similar – again, not necessarily a horrible thing . . . just not a different thing.

Finally, a fairly blunt one.  When a church tries so hard to convince me they don’t suck, my instinctive first reaction is to think, “Wow, I bet they suck.”  It may not be true.  It’s just that when they try so hard to convince me of something, I have to wonder if they’re not really just trying to convince themselves.  I have a very similar reaction when I hear someone try to convince me of how “relevant” their ministry/magazine/podcast/worship service is.  It’s o.k., people.  I’m sure you’re warm, welcoming, caring, genuine, and love God.  Feel free to just leave it at that.  Just be who you are . . . and please, if you’re going to have photos of people in your marketing pieces, make sure they actually go to your church.

The Brand Called Obama

Good profile on the marketing of Barack Obama on Fast Company.


Obama has risen above what he calls a “funny” name, an unusual life story, and — contrary to the now popular (and mistaken) notion that nobody sees race anymore — a persistent racial divide to become a reflection of what America will be: a postboomer society. He has moved beyond traditional identity politics. And whether it’s now or a decade from now, the new reality he reflects will eventually win out. Any forward-thinking business would be wise to examine the implications of his ascent, from marketing strategies and leadership styles to the future of the American workplace.