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A Marketing Rule- Carved in Stone September 23, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Uncategorized.
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On a recent vacation trip to Maine I felt compelled to visit Freeport Maine, the world headquarters of L.L. Bean, the infamous outdoor gear, clothing and home goods store.

Part of my need to visit Bean was the long-term connection to their catalog. Growing up in the pre-Internet world of 1960’s and 70’s permitted me to experience the power of catalog marketing. When the L.L. Bean book arrived in the mailbox it was a big deal. My Dad enjoyed the outdoors, owned hunting and fishing gear, and often ordered their “old school” chamois shirts that literally lasted decades-or your money back. Years later, while teaching integrated marketing communications at Roosevelt University, I often brought L.L. Bean marketing materials in to my lectures (particularly the catalogs) to illustrate direct marketing best practices in use at that time.

Like many catalogs of the era, marketers, graphic designers, writers, proofreaders, photographers and printers created literal art. They captured the notion an “experience” long before modern use of the term “brand experience.” This was a different type of connection, in days when people did not travel as frequently by air due to the great expense, these catalogs provided a “travelogue;” using paintings, line drawings, copy, typography and graphic arts in combination to transport you to far away hunting and fishing destinations you could almost feel when you perused the book.

After spending hours looking at their advertising and product museum, and of course, shopping in their 100,000 square foot plus store, I was struck by an engraving on a stone outside the main entrance. The inscription read:

Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they’ll always come back for more.”

Leon Leonwood Bean’s

“Golden Rule,” 1912

This is a common sense business principle or “code” that L.L. Bean obviously lived by. The mere fact the town of Freeport was literally built around his company, one that has survived the Great Depression, two world wars, recessions and other challenges is a testimony to the long-term soundness of this very simple business foundation.

IMG_1665 IMG_1666If more of today’s businesses installed a similar stone by the employee door, we’d all spend less time on the telephone and online having people “apologize for the inconvenience.”

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“Old -Fashioned” Interactive Marketing July 5, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Event marketing, Image, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Sales.
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Old-fashioned Interaction

While attending Summerfest, the wonderful music festival staged on Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline, I happened upon a Dyson tent where they were demonstrating their new Air Multiplier bladeless fans. The displays were arranged so there was constant eye-catching movement, action including a beach ball being propelled from fan to fan without harm.

What struck me was the “old-fashioned” product demonstration and genuine interaction between the Dyson event staff and the fest attendees. When we talk about Interactive Marketing in today’s terminology, we’re of course referring to the exchange of information (usually online-but not always) about a customer’s preferences, comments or past purchases and sharing relevant  product information and hopefully achieving a brand connection.

Without a doubt online, database driven marketing communications tools are brilliant solutions for connecting people and establishing meaningful relationships; but when you are demonstrating a breakthrough product a little hands -on product interaction never hurts.

How are you interacting with clients or prospects? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Strategy First- then “drive” the Brand May 13, 2010

Posted by Jack Macholl in Marketing, Marketing Planning.
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On the Road

 

I had an excellent conversation today about brand strategy and the propensity of business people to drive straight to the tactical phase of the marketing program. Clearly you have to step back and examine the business strategy, value/perceptions your clients have of your company (research) and then set some firm (measurable) objectives. Once you have a sound strategy in place, the “fun stuff”-creative platform development and tactical planning begins. 

The take away– most of us don’t jump in the car and drive off with no plan of where we’re headed unless you are doing the Jack Kerouac thing…having a strategy direction and everyone on the same page (internal and external resources) is essential.