Blog Archive

Features B2B Websites Need (and Ones They Don’t)

Does a manufacturer need video? Does a service company need to be on Facebook?  We work with many business-to-business firms (B2B) that struggle with what to do with their websites. One thing is for sure: B2B websites are sales magnets. Nearly eight out of ten prospects visit your website before …

Read More


A Profile of Your Customer*

“I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been uplinked and downloaded, inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low life. A …

Read More


Practice What You Preach or Change the Speech

A local hospital, a state rep and an oil company need to learn this DO AS I SAY The worst direction a parent can ever give a child is “Do as I say, not as I do.” In other words, if Dad tells the teenagers not to drink or smoke, …

Read More


Nine Rules for a Successful Trade Show

THEY’RE BACK Trade shows are making a comeback. Companies are starting to get back out there and display their products and services. Others are sending people to go and learn about what is offered. As much as trade shows have been maligned in recent years (due in part to the …

Read More


Successful Marketing: Know What You Can’t Do

You’ve probably heard the famous Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” GOOD MARKETING ADVICE While this prayer brings peace of mind to many suffering souls including me, …

Read More


Adapt…or Die Not Trying

Business models that seemed ideal just a decade ago are obsolete. Don’t wait until it’s too late to make a change. Not many people like change. Most naturally resist it until there is no choice — and then only change as much as they need to in order to survive. …

Read More


Presidential-Style PR

I attended President Obama’s visit to V&M Star Steel last week as part of a project we’re working on for the expanding plant. Although the President was, as usual, a terrific orator — it was the White House organization and “travel team” that impressed me from a marketing perspective.  IT’S …

Read More


What’s So Special About FREE?

IT GETS YOUR ATTENTION It’s kind of like being on vacation with your wife and stumbling upon a topless beach. Even if you have no interest, you gotta look when you see the word FREE. WHY DOES FREE STILL WORK? Nothing has been more overused in ads than the word …

Read More


20 Things Research Will Tell You. Two Things It Won’t.

If you don’t conduct research, if you don’t ask the “dumb” questions…YOU are dumb.  Ordinary organizations don’t ask the questions they should be asking. Why? Because they believe they already know the answers, or  the answers are not important, or it’s too difficult to get answers, or it’s too expensive. …

Read More


The Clendenin Combination Theory

I was on the therapy table of my favorite chiropractor, Dr. John Clendenin. He was helping me with an injury I sustained during one of my athletic “misadventures.”  This kind of injury is common among males who get older but never actually grow up. One of my vertebrae was out of …

Read More


The Message Is Still the Master

MEDIA SCHMEDIAI’m as guilty as any communicator out there. Everyone is all lathered up about Social Media, WOM (Word of Mouth) and other buzz-word/new techie tools of the day. All the focus is on MEDIA. Somewhere along the line, marketers have forgotten that the MOST IMPORTANT element in a campaign …

Read More


Your Website Will Rock, Your Business Will Roll

Big Shot Beat Down So I’m showing a prospective client some streaming video on a website we built. “That’s cool,” she says. “Who built the website?” Ha ha…we did, of course. “You build websites?” she asks. I stare. I’m shocked. For once in my life, I’m speechless. She beat down …

Read More


A Marketing Man’s Perfect Day

Someone asked what I wanted for my birthday. “One perfect day,” I replied. 5:00 a.m. Alarm radio comes on playing my favorite jingle. I smile, then I smash the alarm and go back to sleep softly singing, “If I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be in love with …

Read More


What Are We Doing?

So we’re heading toward the office of a client for a meeting. We were in the historic Halle building in Cleveland. It was a beautiful fall day, and Jeff Mamula, our Director of Business Development and I had just walked up to the third floor on the open sweeping staircase …

Read More


I was thinking….“What If?”

Maybe the time for these ideas has come. Or maybe not. What if we had no limits? I was watching the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebrations on TV. Everyone was wearing top hats that had a huge NIVEA logo on them. They were being interviewed under a NIVEA banner …

Read More


The Biggest Trends of the Past Decade and One to Watch in the Next

2000–2009 BROUGHT BIG CHANGES Every decade has events and developments that have significant impact on society in general and business specifically. Who would have thought that after the “dot-com” boom of the ’90s, this decade would bring even bigger changes? DECLINE OF NEWSPAPERS Rarely has an industry seen such a …

Read More



The Power of Negative Thinking

Show ’em the down side — and sell more WE DON’T LIKE CHANGE Most humans avoid change. We only change when we must. When we do change, we change as little as possible.For example, let’s say you love pizza and wings. But every pair of pants you own is so …

Read More


Which Dog Catches the Rabbit?

FOCUS can be your most effective marketing tool Former head coach Sam Rutigliano was asked why his Kardiac Kids were one of the most successful Browns teams ever — even though they didn’t have the most skilled players. I heard him tell this story at the Valley Impact Awards. BLUE …

Read More


Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance

TO FIND ANSWERS, SEEK ACTION In the past few weeks, we’ve worked on some challenging projects at Farris — helping people make tough decisions and get their messages out.An Austintown healthcare pioneer retired from a business he had built and loved. In doing so, six beloved employees had to be …

Read More


Can a Community Create a New Brand?

BOARDMAN RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO TRY“A Nice Place to Call Home” proclaim the signs entering Boardman Township. “A traffic nightmare,” proclaim some holiday shoppers. “You must have a location there,” say most retailers. “The Valley’s new center of healthcare,” say medical experts. So which is it? What captures …

Read More


Marketing During the Meltdown

It’s quiet. Chilly. And still kind of dark. Most of the Valley is still asleep. But I’m at Mill Creek Park sipping the last of my wonderful hot coffee and getting ready to run one of the trails around the lake. I know the next 10 or 12 hours will …

Read More



Accelerate Your Business with Ultimate eMarketing

YOU NEED SOMETHING NEW Let’s face it, we all do. You have the same website for years and even if you update it, so what? If you want people coming back and buying pro-ducts or services from you, you have to give them a reason to come back. You also …

Read More


Partnership Marketing Minimizes Risk, Maximizes Reward

MARKETING TO SIMILAR MARKETS? Go to a home and garden show, and you’ll see landscaping firms right next to window replacement companies. Go to a church festival and you’ll see sausage sandwich trailers next to ice cream trailers. Go to the mall and…well, you get the idea. These are examples …

Read More


Should You “Go Green” With Your Marketing?

Green, like hope, is not a good marketing strategy (yet).Joe Bananas and I were staying at a hotel near Chicago. We’d just come back from a golf outing reunion with our high school football team. Neither of us golf, so we played demolition derby with the golf carts while our …

Read More


How to Sell Snowballs to Eskimos

It was 1985. My sales territory was the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta in western Alaska, along the Kuskokwim River. The Yupik people — commonly referred to as Eskimos — were my prospects. For centuries, they had built igloos with square blocks of ice, formed with crude wooden boxes. I was selling a …

Read More


100 Million Idol Votes = 1 Marketing Champion

American Idol uses the proven strategy of getting customers.Me and Joe Bananas were sitting in a booth at the MVR restaurant, eating some stuffed hot peppers and waiting for our pasta dinners. The TVs on the walls usually carry sports only, but this night, American Idol was on about half …

Read More


Marketing: What Works for You

OUR CUSTOMERS ARE DIFFERENT “They don’t respond to the same things other people do,” said my new client Henry. Henry’s firm sells maintenance services to malls and industrial plants. “How are they different?” I asked. “They’re a different breed,” he replied, as if mall managers were misunderstood loners. To be …

Read More


The Best Media for Your Message: You

I was in the office on a cold February afternoon. My mind was mush. That’s worse than the oatmeal consistency it usually has. I needed inspiration and motivation. So as usual, I made popcorn. No, not that microwave bag crap. REAL popcorn, MAN-style popcorn with oil and salt (but no …

Read More


Marketing for Non-Profit Organizations

…and what can businesses learn from them.Marketing is the art and science of selling. So why does a non-profit organization need marketing? After all, in many cases a non-profit is giving away its services, not charging for them.Non-profits use marketing to:…INFORM THE USER of their services. Many times the target …

Read More


Letter to a First-Time Business Owner

FOREWORD: Recently, my eldest son, George Phillip Farris went into business for himself. George and his new bride Jennifer returned from their honeymoon and used their wedding gift funds to buy a used septic tank truck and start an environmentally-friendly portable bathroom business. I’m sure that my wife and Jennifer’s …

Read More


If Trump Blogs, You Can Blog

Yes, the Donald Blogs. So how hard can it be? One of my guilty pleasures is watching Celebrity Apprentice. During the first show this season, Trump’s blog (aka web log) was promoted. One entry was titled “Trump’s Economic Survival Tips.” Some of The Donald’s “valuable” tips: Pay attention to…news and …

Read More




THE CUSTOMER DOESN’T "UNDERSTAND"

Business owners and sales managers often use one or more of the following phrases to explain poor sales:“They customers don’t understand what we offer.”” They don’t get it.”” They don’t see how much we can help them.”I ask the owners and sales managers: “Do you truly offer a distinct VALUE …

Read More