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Blog Archive

The Marketing Plan That Kept WRTA Rolling in 2020

2020 was a challenging year, but WRTA had to keep rolling to serve the people of the Mahoning Valley. This video highlights the various marketing projects and campaigns that Farris carried out on behalf of WRTA. Despite the challenges this past year, WRTA’s messaging, service announcements and new initiatives were …

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Meridian HealthCare: from Unknown to Market Leader

Ten years ago, when they were known as Meridian Services and faced numerous challenges that were preventing growth, Meridian’s marketing-savvy CEO knew they needed some expert assistance. So Meridian retained Farris Marketing. Research conducted by Farris showed that one of Meridian’s biggest challenges was low brand awareness. In fact, most …

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Jeans Makers Turn Blue as Athleisure Goes for Gold

What drives changes in fashion? Is it changing tastes, art, environment or functionality? Nope. Those are the consumer excuses for purchasing the new items. Most changes in fashion are generated by entrepreneurs who envision an opportunity. Looking back, the women and men who are the founders of some of these …

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Did the Pandemic Destroy Customer Loyalty?

Who do you picture when you hear the word “disloyal?” Benedict Arnold? He accepted 10,000 pounds sterling ($2.6 million in today’s dollars) and a commission in the British army to betray the U.S.A. How about mob boss Lenny Strollo? He broke the Omertà— the Mafia code of silence — when he turned …

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Marketing Success With Little or No Paid Media

Marketers— whether working in-house or for an agency — rarely get to determine the marketing budget for their employer or client. Oh, we suggest, we recommend, we even put together elaborate presentations to explain why paid media are necessary to achieve the strategic goals. But in the end, the amount …

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How Brand Marketing Supercharges Growth

Before Steve Jobs, there was George Westinghouse.  Westinghouse, who was from Pittsburgh, became a popular figure in the U.S. when his company was among the first to provide long-distance transmission of electricity. His firm demonstrated its expertise by lighting up an entire city — Great Barrington, Massachusetts — for the …

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Pumped Up By The Pandemic, TeleHealth is Huge/Here to Stay

In the 2002 movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the bride’s father, Gus Portokalos, would choose a word from just about every conversation and point out its Greek origin — even if it didn’t have one. “Kimono is come from Greek word himona, is mean winter. What do you wear …

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Has Marketing Gone Too Mainstream to Be Effective?

Magicians have an unofficial code that prevents them from telling the public how a trick works. But the prestidigitators who stick to the code are not doing so out of some sense of honor or duty. They keep “how it’s done” under wraps because it makes good economic sense. After …

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Some People Hate Advertising, But Don’t Let That Stop You

Remember waiting for a commercial break in a TV show? You could count on it hitting at a certain time in your favorite show every week. When it did, you sprinted for that snack or drink or bathroom. Sure, Clara asking “Where’s the beef?” was funny the first dozen times …

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Why Business Owners Hate Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing — one more marketing panacea that isn’t. Ask most small-business owners what they really think about handling their social media marketing themselves, and most will tell you they would rather do something else — anything else. Social media takes tons of time. It’s aggravating when customers complain …

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The Overvalued, Misunderstood and Misused TAGLINE

“I took a marketing class when I was in college,” said the newly promoted CEO of a small Ohio-based bank. “Uh-oh,” I think, “here it comes.” He’s spent the last 21 years working on spreadsheets, payroll and policy — but he believes that one marketing class made him an expert. …

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Increase Online Reviews to Boost Business

It’s time to deal with that monster hiding under your bed — online reviews. It seems like a monster because it’s powerful, unpredictable and can occasionally attack. But according to BrightLocal.com: Reviews will happen whether or not you make them a priority for your business. We live in an age …

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Only the Strong, Smart and Lucky Win the Business Wars

Political divisiveness is sure getting nasty, isn’t it? American political parties punch it out on every issue — lying, cheating and seeking to cripple the competition. Well let me tell you, American politics are child’s play compared to American business. Some of America’s most recognized companies have surprising back stories. …

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Marketing Sends $31 Billion of TP Down the Drain

The recent pandemic stirred a surge of panic buying of toilet paper, resulting in empty store shelves and even a few fistfights over the few rolls that were available immediately after that. Some people called it a “shortage,” but that’s a misnomer. Americans use about three rolls a week, and …

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I Screen, You Screen…We All Watch TV Screens

Have you ever known someone who appeared to be very normal, but was involved in a very serious criminal activity? I can tell you, it’s shocking and upsetting. At least that’s how I felt when my friend Marty got involved with laundering money for a drug cartel. It seemed so …

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What Will Your Message Be When You Reopen?

Are you ready to watch a movie and eat some popcorn someplace other than your couch? Believe it or not, under the guidelines recently released by the White House, cinemas would be allowed to reopen in the first of three phases. As expected, it will be left largely up to governors to …

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Be Happy for Businesses Thriving During Coronavirus

When I was 10 or 11 years old, my cousin won a local radio contest and was chosen to take a coveted ride on an elephant during the Ringling Brothers circus show at a local venue. “Why can’t I ever win a contest like that?” I complained to my mother. …

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Don’t let your competitors get ahead of you — ACT NOW!

When the COVID-19 crisis winds down and you reopen, it’s not going to be “business as usual.” You’ll be starting over. Customer loyalty levels will be lower, because your customers weren’t being served. No relationships were being built or strengthened. No branding was reinforced. But if you’re ready, you can make up …

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New Farris-Created TV Spot Highlights Service Changes for WRTA

Farris Marketing produced an upbeat TV spot on a short deadline to help WRTA get critical service information out to riders and the public about their upcoming switch to offering only Countywide bus service. With a very short turnaround time, Farris had to think and work quickly while still maintaining …

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Marketers Must Keep Moving During Covid-19

What can marketers do during the COVID-19 health emergency? That’s what every marketing consultant, every member of a marketing department, and every owner, CEO or manager who directs and/or creates marketing for her organization is asking. There is no playbook for this situation, because this specific situation has never been …

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Mike Bloomberg’s $500 Million Marketing Lesson

Lay’s Potato Chips, part of PepsiCo, spent about $100 million on advertising in digital and national TV last year. In return, they received $1.7 billion in sales of the salty snack — making it the top player in the $8 billion potato chip market. Democrat Mike Bloomberg spent about $500 million on advertising his …

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Marketing for Double Invisible Services

I first read Selling The Invisible, a best-selling book by marketing consultant Harry Beckwith, 20 years ago. His book illuminated the difference between selling a product and selling a service. Selling a service can be more of a challenge because you are selling the invisible. The book has become a …

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Farris Helps Whistle & Keg Brand Make Some Noise

Clients Joe and Mike Thomas, owners of Whistle & Keg Brewery and Beer Hall, pose with life-size cutouts created by Farris Marketing for the Youngstown, Cleveland and Columbus locations. The plaques on the cutouts explain how to access Whistle & Keg’s Mile-Long Wall of 50 Taps with WK wristbands and …

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Super Bowl TV Spots — Some Score, Some Fail

26-year old Vanessa watched the TV commercials during the 2020 Super Bowl game so she didn’t have to listen to her boyfriend complain about the lousy officiating. Many viewers watched the spots hoping to be entertained. However, most of the approximately 100 million viewers watched the spots because they didn’t …

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Using Fun and Technology For Success In An Age-Old Industry

There are few types of businesses that can trace their beginnings back as far as breweries, pubs, and taverns. Brewing beer or ale is a process that is 4-5,000 years old, according to most references. Wikipedia says: “Ale was an important source of nutrition in the medieval world. Table beer …

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Gender Roles Have Changed. Has Your Marketing?

As a reader of this blog, you’re interested in marketing and pay attention to what’s going on in our industry. You have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. One thing you would never, ever do is overtly stereotype gender roles in marketing you create. Your ads wouldn’t …

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Has Creativity in Marketing Been Replaced by Effectivity?

There are always situations when creativity isn’t needed to sell something. Maybe you own the only gas station on a 100-mile stretch of desert between Las Vegas and L.A. Perhaps you’re selling beachfront property in Florida after Brad Pitt moves in next door. Or maybe you decide to dump your …

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Marketing to Kids: Not Exactly Child’s Play

“Kid Influencer” is a new term. But asking children to urge other children to convince their parents to buy something is nothing new. It’s been used to hawk toys, toy stores and cereals for just about as long as advertising existed in the U.S. I remember hearing about “secret decoder” …

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Weddings Still Provide Big Paydays for Small Businesses

“Poor Dan,” I said to my wife as I cut into my filet. “This wedding must have cost him a bundle.” Dan is my neighbor. We were attending his daughter’s wedding reception at the historic Renaissance Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. Dan and his wife have been our neighbors  for a long …

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The Secrets of the Marketing Wizards

My Uncle Fred was the first true marketing wizard I ever met. As the proprietor of Farris Food Market on the east side of Youngstown, he knew how to cast a spell. I was seven years old, but I noticed his craft and I had lots of questions. “Why does …

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Ownership Makes Celebrity Endorsements Stronger

Celebrity endorsements have been on the rise since Hall of Fame baseball player Babe Ruth began promoting “Babe Ruth Underwear” and “Ruth’s Home Run” chocolate in 1927. In the last 10 years or so, TV and movie stars have jumped on the bandwagon that used to be reserved only for …

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So, You Want to Star in Your TV Spots and YouTube Videos

You have a great idea for the content of a YouTube series that could boost your business. Or maybe your business and budget are suited for the mass market and you’re planning a TV advertising campaign. Who better to get across your message than you? Your spouse and kids think …

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Same Marketing Mistakes Made with Big and Small Budgets

Marketing is marketing. The same principles apply no matter what the budget. You need to understand your audience, target the most likely prospects, use the right media to do so, and develop a message that will stand out and connect with prospects. If you’re using direct marketing, you’re trying to …

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