Blog Archive

17 Things to Think About Before the New Year

The new year is right around the corner. What changes are you going to make in your marketing in 2014? What changes are you going to make in your life? Everyone believes they need to make big changes but the only big change you need is the change to your …

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Good Sales Messages Start With a Good Value Proposition

Every once in a while, the CEO of an organization should have to make a few new business sales calls. Yes, cold calls (gasp!). The CEO should not imitate an episode of “Undercover Boss” by making the call anonymously. And he or she should not be calling friends, associates and …

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Can You Package Your Passion and Sell It?

In the early years of Farris Marketing, we had a lot of retailers as clients. That’s because — before the age of international retail giants — the Valley had quite a few large department stores, and multi-location clothing, hardware and drug stores that were locally owned. We produced tons and …

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The UnSlept — an Untapped Market

Most nights, I hit the sack around midnight and fall asleep within a half hour. I wake up refreshed and raring to go. Then I look at the clock and see it’s 2:15 a.m. Oh, oh. Here we go again. I look over at my spouse. She is sleeping soundly. …

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The Best Reality TV Shows Sell Hope and Happiness

Most reality TV shows make me cringe. I’m not sure why anyone would find the lives of Beverly Hills housewives and bearded duck-hunters so fascinating that they tune in to watch in record numbers. But when a friend asked me to name my favorite TV shows, I realized that my …

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Is Your Marketing Blending In or Standing Out?

It was the spring of 1966 and we were almost teenagers. Me and my buddies from the sixth grade at St. Nicholas Grade School were pretty excited about going to our first mixed party of boys and girls. We wanted to stand out…show the girls how we were different. We …

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Why is there so much lying in marketing?

Want a fast car? The Isuzu Impulse was faster than a speeding bullet. Want a roomier car? The Isuzu Impulse had more seats than the Astrodome. On a budget? The Isuzu Impulse cost just one dollar. Why do you find those statements hard to believe? Is it because they were …

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Real-Life “Linked In” Lessons in High School

On my first day as a freshman in high school, I spent a lot of time picking up books that seniors and juniors knocked out of my hands. The perpetrators would be laughing 20 feet down the crowded hallway before I could even react. I had to scramble to pick …

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Keep Your Eyes (and Your Marketing Message) on the Prize

A few years ago, I heard Sam Rutigliano, the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, use a story about his dog to explain why his Kardiac Kids were one of the most successful Browns teams ever — even though they didn’t have the most skilled players. Coach Rutigliano told …

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Incentives — How We Are Inspired to Take Action

“Papa! Papaaaa!” pleads my two-year-old grandson Nico. He’s standing on the edge of the pool. I’m in the pool, treading water. He’s getting ready to jump in but he wants me to climb out of the pool and jump with him — as we’ve already done 23 times in the last 24 …

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Marketing Lessons from Our Mothers

Think of all the marketing lessons we learned from our mothers. Naturally. Free. With no college tuition. All we had to pay was attention.  Here are a few lessons I learned from my marketing teacher (my mom): Incentives: “You better clean up your room before your father gets home.” Sampling: …

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Can You See Your Position Clearly?

Just a couple weeks ago, I went to see the 3D version of the Superman movie “Man of Steel” with one of my adult sons. About a half-hour into the movie, I got up and went to the concession stand for popcorn. Within a few minutes I returned to the …

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First and Last Impressions Are the Most Important

The worst pitch of my life took place during August of 2006 in Tampa, Florida. August in Tampa is characterized by essentially constant daily high temperatures — around 90°F or higher throughout the month. Humidity ranges from 58% (mildly humid) to 93% (very humid). That’s great if you’re going to the beach. But it’s brutal if …

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Beeps and Bounces: How Important Are They?

Beep. Beep. Beep. There it is again. That faint, tinny-sounding noise. Beep. Beep. Beep. It’s difficult to hear because oxygen deficit is causing my ears to ring. I’m “sucking wind,” and my labored breathing is the sound I hear the loudest. Beep. Beep. Beep. It’s my heart rate monitor telling …

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Video Killed the Radio Star… But Brings Marketing to Life

It was a Friday night (technically, Saturday morning) at one minute past midnight on August 1st, 1981 when MTV (Music Television), a new cable channel, debuted its first music video. The first video featured the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by a British New Wave duo called The Buggles. …

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How to Write Like Lincoln

This column contains about 600 words. I would prefer it was only about 350 words. That’s because I can cover most of the relevant points I have to make on just about any subject in about 350 words. After that, my concentration and my writing gets kind of weak. Don’t …

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Healthcare Learns Customer Service Is Good Marketing

The first time I was behind bars I was terrified. I didn’t believe I belonged there. I wanted out. “Wait, wait! Come back!” I yelled as I watched my loved ones walk away. Pretty tough situation for a five-year-old. No, I wasn’t some pint-sized Mafia kingpin. I had rheumatic fever …

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The Spy, The Barista, T-Mobile Girl and Me

Get Your Point Across with Creativity FADE IN: INTERIOR, COFFEE CAFE — DAY The cafe, located inside the bookstore in a suburb of Ohio, called Boardman, is nearly empty.  GEORGE, a professional marketing consultant, is the only customer. He’s sitting at a table by the window. Laptop open. Staring at a blank screen. …

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Carmstrong: You can have Lance… I’ll take Carmine

Until recently, millions of us held a guy who wore yellow Spandex in high esteem. He beat the odds and won the Tour de France a record seven times. He rode his custom-built bicycle to championships in exotic locations all over the world. But consider Carmine Cassese, owner of Cassese’s …

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An Image. A Story. A Connection

I looked across the dance floor of the typical large Youngstown-style wedding reception. Past the cookie table that is so unique to our area. Among the men and women in suits and gowns is a young male Marine, maybe 27 or 28 years old. About the same age as one …

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Want to Sell More? Smile More

The Science of Smiling and Sales “I don’t really enjoy coming here.” said the bank customer. “What makes you feel that way?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she replied. “I guess it’s because the people never smile.” The customer I was speaking with was one of many we were interviewing …

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