Blog Archive

Marketing During the National Day of Unplugging

Could your organization continue marketing its products or services during the annual 24-hour “Digital Detox” known as The National Day of Unplugging? Maybe the question is “Should you?” Would your efforts be effective without electronic and digital media? This year’s event started Friday, March 7 at sundown and ended at …

Read More


Come on Baby, Do Social Media Marketing With Me

OK, everybody sing along with me to the tune of “The Locomotion.” (Check YouTube if you want to hear it.) Everybody’s doing a brand new thing now Come on baby, do some Social Media I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance now Come on …

Read More


SuperBowl Ads — Mistakes or Money Makers?

Were the 2014 SuperBowl mistakes or money makers? There were plenty of both. None of the spots hit it out of the ballpark like the first E-Trade baby spots, but everyone had favorites. A good TV spot should stand out, connect with the audience and have some call to action …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


Mooney Indoor Billboards

This is a series of “indoor billboards” we developed for Cardinal Mooney High School. They are displayed in hallways throughout the school. The goal is to inspire students and teachers every day. They also appeal to prospective students and parents who tour the school. Note these are draft mock ups. …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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. …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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: …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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. …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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. …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More


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 …

Read More



Zig Ziglar, Master of Marketing

I wanted to be in marketing before I even knew what the word meant. I just knew that the “right” words and images could sell products and services, change opinions and even get people to vote or make donations. I wanted to help companies find those words and images, put …

Read More


The Importance of Mission-Driven Marketing

It’s 4:26 a.m. and my alarm goes off for the first time. I hit the snooze and doze off. It buzzes again at 4:31 and the war of voices in my head begins. “Get up and get to the gym,” says one voice. “Stay in bed,” says another. “You ate …

Read More


The Ultimate Positioning – Being Known as “My Guy”

My wife is crazy about another man. I’d be jealous, but I’m crazy about him too. He’s my lawn guy Brian. Brian has a small landscaping and lawn maintenance company. His was the third lawn service we tried this past summer. The first two didn’t cut it (pun intended). My …

Read More


Marketing Mysteries — The Lost Sales Pitch

Janice Prion and Tim Smith were veteran sales people from Acme Fasteners. Acme was invited to make a sales pitch to Banner Manufacturing for the opportunity to supply fasteners for a huge new product line. Banner also invited Acme’s competitor, Carlyle Fasteners, to make a pitch. Carlyle and Acme went …

Read More


What’s Your Brand Personality?

You may have heard the term brand personality being used lately. But what is it, and is it useful as a marketing tool for you? Or just another useless buzzword? What Is It Brand personality is really a set of human characteristics that is associated with a brand. Harley-Davidson might …

Read More


The Brand Name Game

Do you know all you need to win? The Brand Name Game… NIKE! Nike, Nike bo Bikey Bonana fanna fo Fike Fee fi mo Mikey, Nike! APPLE! Apple, Apple bo Bapple Bonana fanna fo Fapple Fee fi mo Mapple, Apple! Come on everybody! I say now let’s play a game …

Read More


Shale Gas Boom Has Big Impact on Small Business

Everybody wants their share of the shale energy boom. And there’s nothing wrong with that — it’s as American as apple pie. The enormous checks for mineral rights leases that were given out recently in northeastern Ohio have gotten a lot of people excited and talking about a midwest version …

Read More


Marketing: Is It Art? Or Is It Science?

Everyone wants to be good at marketing. But few of us truly understand what marketing is, and few can describe it easily. The official definition seems to change each year. All I can do is tell you what it means to me. Marketing Is Power I was drawn to marketing …

Read More


Famous Ribs — and Other Marketing Lies

“Your menu says your ribs are famous,” I remark to my waitress. “Do you think I can get their autographs?” She sighs at the lame joke and looks at my wife as if to say “Can’t you control this idiot?” My wife looks back as if she’s saying, “See what I …

Read More


The $9 Billion President

The President of the United States of America (acronym: POTUS) makes an annual salary of $400,000 along with a $50,000 annual expense account. So I find it interesting that about $9 billion* will be spent on campaigns this year to get the job. That’s $9 BILLION with a “B” and a …

Read More