You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘marketing’ tag.

Gary Vaynerchuk – People, Wake Up!

By Shlomo Maital

Gary Vaynerchuk

   I am attending, and speaking at, an entrepreneurship conference in Monterrey, Mexico, sponsored by Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico’s leading science and engineering university.   The opening keynote speaker of the conference, known as INCmty, was Gary Vaynerchuk.  

   Here is Vaynerchuk’s story, and a short version of his powerful message. Happy birthday, Gary – he will be 44 years old on Nov. 14.

   He was born in Babruysk in the former Soviet Union – Belarus today — and immigrated to the US in 1978 as a child. Vaynerchuk’s family was very poor – he lived in a studio-apartment in Queens, New York, with eight other family members.     Vaynerchuk was a child entrepreneur – he operated a lemonade-stand and earned money on weekends trading baseball cards. At age 14, he joined his family’s retail-wine business, and became known as a wine critic who expanded his family’s wine business – he did it, some 20 years ago, by moving part of it online, long before such a strategy was known and implemented.   I first noticed him, when I watched his viral YouTube video, Do What You Love!

Here is the crux of his message to all of us. It’s only 500 words.

   “Everyone in this room underestimates the power of the Internet. Everyone! Once economic power resided with those in the middle – the distributors, retail stores, etc. Today, the value chain is different. The ‘middle’ is gone. YOU have the power and ability to leverage the Internet. YOU need to become a communication media expert. Every single person can be their own communicator. Audio, video, text. If you are not creating 50-100 pieces of content daily – you are missing the boat.   YOU need to start a podcast! The key – it’s free. You do not have to pay for distribution (of information), you don’t have to pay to make contact with people.

   “Everyone in this room needs to create an online journal. This is REQUIRED. It is not a luxury. Today, those aged 13-22 have remarkable online talent and create amazing content.   Unless you produce content you (and your business) will be outmaneuvered!   Are you a salesperson? Or a marketer?  

     “Raising capital – the idea that you DESERVE investment capital is laughable. You can build a business without raising capital.

     “Responsibility — the best part of being an employee is, you can always blame someone else. And it is done all the time. But as a founder, an entrepreneur?   100% of your problems are YOUR fault. When those you hire screw up – it’s your fault, YOU hired them.   As parents, we blame everyone else for our kid’s problems – social media, government. IT is OUR FAULT. We must take responsibility. WE are the parents, not they.

   “There has never been a better time to be alive, despite all the pessimism. No world wars, no black plague…   so we need to eliminate excuses and take responsibility.   …. My career is based on ‘underpriced attention’.   Be “in the dirt” not “in the clouds”…. Be in the world….

   “I “day trade” attention (see his best-selling book Crushing It!). You need to understand where attention is!     There are two key issues. A. your product. B. your ability to tell people about it. Which is more important?   B is!!   Your ability to tell people about it!

   “Artificial intelligence poses a danger. Alexa, Google Assistant, etc. are powerful. In the next 10 years, when Alexa tells us what to buy, your brand will be all you have — will Amazon’s Alexa be objective, or advise you based on what’s best for Amazon and its clients?   Everything we talk about today did not exist 10-15 years ago. This will be true in the future as well. “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”.

   So – stop thinking. Start doing. Think about what you want to say [about your product or service or business]. Then say it. Say it well! Learn to say it well. You are not effective in video? Get better!

Harvard Business School Reveals: Why Trump Won

By Shlomo Maital


Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge on-line magazine reveals: “6 Lessons from Donald Trump’s Winning Marketing Manual”      

     Donald Trump’s upset election win offers six lessons for marketers looking to beat the odds and overcome powerful competitors, says John A. Quelch.   Here they are, in case you wondered.

Here are six important lessons from Trump’s brand marketing playbook:

  • Give consumers a job. The best marketing campaigns always call on consumers to do something. For example, United invites you to “Fly The Friendly Skies.” Nike insists that you “Just Do It.” The most successful brands also allow their consumers to co-create brand meaning. “Let’s Make America Great Again” is an inclusive call to arms with a powerful goal that each voter can interpret for himself. It embraces passion and purpose. Clinton’s “Stronger Together” is also inclusive but it evokes process, not that process isn’t important, but the desired outcome is much less clear. Good marketers know that, if you don’t position your brand clearly, your competitors will do it for you.
  • Show the past as prologue. Offering consumers the adventure of voting for an uncertain future never works with the majority, especially if your brand is new to the game. Trump, the political neophyte, won by recalling a better yesterday and promising to recreate it as the better tomorrow. The word “Again” is no accidental addition to the Make America Great slogan. Remember the famous Kellogg’s Corn Flakes campaign to recover lost consumers: “Try Us Again for the First Time.’ For millions of Americans in the rust belt, the good old days really existed and they voted to bring them back.


  • Pursue forgotten consumers. Most financial firms chase the same high net worth prospects, ignoring or at best taking for granted millions of modestly prosperous people. Trump turned the Democrats’ commendable embrace of diversity on its head to invoke the “Forgotten Man,” winning over lunch-bucket Democrats overlooked by their party as well as bringing in new voters and energizing lapsed ones. At the same time, almost all Republicans came home to vote for their nominee. Good marketers always know how to balance new customer acquisition with customer retention.
  • Sizzle beats steak. Clinton was always going to beat Trump on the steak of experience and policy knowledge. A new brand can’t afford to get lost in the policy weeds. Hence, Trump’s campaign persona and his contract with the American voter offered more sizzle. Painted in broad brush strokes, the contract emphasizes goals and outcomes, and is light on policy and implementation details.
  • Build enthusiasm. Good marketers know the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. In the era of social media, better organization (the old ground war) and outspending on television advertising (the air war) weren’t enough for Clinton. Trump’s determination and stamina–five speeches a day–and the size of his crowds impressed ordinary voters watching on television much more than Clinton’s barrage of paid ads. The pundits questioned whether enthusiasm would convert into votes. Good marketers know that brand enthusiasm rings the cash register. It did for Trump, but not for Clinton.
  • Close the sale. Political marketing requires you win a plurality of votes not every day but on a single day once in four years. Timing is everything. Trump learned what worked and what didn’t work as the campaign progressed. He refined his message, suppressed the ad hominem insults, and peaked at the right time, confounding the pollsters and media pundits. In every recent speech, he repeated the same messages, inviting voters to imagine the future if they bought into the promises of a Trump administration. He confidently asserted “we are going to win” this state, “we’re leading in” that state. Consumers not only want to back a winner, they want to back a brand that sees itself as a winner. And they want to back a brand that other people similar to themselves see as a winner. That’s when a brand becomes a movement. In the last week, brand Clinton promised a bright future but looked like the candidate of yesterday, a little tired and overly reliant on a supporting cast of Obamas and Bon Jovis. By contrast, Brand Trump promised a future that looks like yesterday, Everyman’s high-energy underdog and outsider, disruptive yet decisive, standing alone at the podium, mane flowing, ready to step up to Pride Rock.


     Quelch concludes: “Brand Trump is today’s bright new thing. But new is easy. Good is hard. Time will tell whether Brand Trump can deliver on its promises.”

What’s In a Name? Holy Crap! Almost Everything

By Shlomo   Maital

 Holy Crap

  In teaching innovation, and in guiding my students’ wet/dry simulations of launching new startups, I always stress the crucial importance of names – what you call your new product or service.  A strong catchy name can mean the difference between success and failure.  Shakespeare’s rhetorical, “what’s in a name? A rose is a rose by any other name” is just wrong.  Rainbow rose (see my blog, April 9, 2012), for instance, is far better than “multi-colored rose”.   

    John Grossman confirms this view in his New York Times article (April 25), “Risqué, funny  …and flying off shelves”.  He tells a wonderful story about Corin and Brian Mullins, whose debut product was a non-allergenic high-fiber breakfast cereal.  They called it Hapi Food.    Really bad name.  But an ecstatic client called up to praise the product’s effectiveness.   “Holy crap!” the client said, on the phone.

    The Mullins laughed…and cooked up a new batch.  Brian had worked in marketing communications.  He knew he needed a new name for his product.

    Why not call it Holy Crap?

    Sales grew to $5.5 m. in the first four years, partly because of the name.

    More and more products are choosing sassy, risqué, even pornographic names.  You can buy wines called Sassy Bitch and Fat Bastard.  You can buy a Kickass Cupcake.  You can have breakfast at an LA restaurant called Eggslut.   According to Eli Altman, author of “Don’t Call It That”,  “it’s significantly more risky to have a boring name than to have a risqué one”. 

    Carey Smith began making industrial fans. He called his firm HVLS Fan Co., for High Volume Low Speed.  Dull.  His clients began asking about his oversize Big Ass fans.  Eventually he changed the name of the company to Big Ass Fans.  But the City Council in Lexington KY., a bible belt city, thought about forcing Smith to remove its name from the side of its building.  The resulting PR was worth a fortune.   True, Big Ass Fans got blocked by anti-spam…but lately, anti-spam is based more on reputation-filters and less on offensive words.

    So – innovator!  Choose a memorable, cheeky name!   You may have a fantastic product.  But how will people know about it?  To get your product talked about, a risqué name can help.  Like, the name of a Tampa Fla. Shop called Master Bait & Tackle.    Get it?  Or the Toronto construction company, newly named Mammoth Erection, which came with a picture of a woolly mammoth.  The phones rang off the hook. 

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital