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2014 in review December 30, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Uncategorized.

The kind folks at Word Press prepare a year in review for clients. If you missed any of the posts, please swing by and check them out. Thanks for reading, looking forward to sharing more material in 2015. Happy New Year!


Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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.”

What Money Can’t Buy December 28, 2013

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I just finished reading What Money Can’t Buy, a thought provoking book by Michael Sandel, a Government Professor at Harvard University. His recent work discusses how pretty much everything in our world now has a market value. Many of the things that can be bought and sold may astound you – it did me.

Today we see everything from “branded” police cars, stadiums and subway stations to “purchased friends” that raise one’s popularity on Facebook. Are there certain things in life that should have no price?

Dr. Sandel does a fantastic job of providing pro/con arguments about some of the most pressing moral arguments in our time.

Is everything for sale? Why not pick up a copy and share your opinions.

Keeping the Small Business Saturday Momentum Going December 2, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Sales, Uncategorized.
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It was good to see many people making cash registers ring on Small Business Saturday. Merchants in my little corner of the world set up window and street displays, going all out to make shoppers feel welcome in their stores.

We’re now in the midst of all the Cyber Monday clamor, but I’m hopeful the momentum will continue and small business owners who put so much at stake to be there for us realize the benefit of our patronage in spite of the media barrage by the big box players.

Please share your local small business story…Image


Small Business Saturday November 26, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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The barrage of media advertising is in full-tilt, some of the TV spots are already worn out and it’s not even Thanksgiving.

Amidst all the clutter it’s time to consider shopping at a small, locally-owned business this holiday season. On Saturday businesses around the globe will be seeking to have their voices heard when Small Business Saturday provides a momentary opportunity to stand out.

I’ll be doing some shopping in my Chicago neighborhood, how about you?Image

The Business of Belief November 16, 2013

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I just finished reading Tom Asacker’s book The Business of Belief. Clearly this is more than a marketing book, it covers spiritual beliefs, history and the importance of change and building new models that work. Many of our Congressional members that continually cling to the past may want to pick up a copy.

A short book with a great deal of impact- great for a plane ride read.

Making the Customer “Top Dog” May 21, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Uncategorized.
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After literally wearing my current walking shoes to threadbare level I visited Road Runner Sports in Wilmette Illinois, one of 26 U.S. locations of this predominately online marketer.

The customer experience is truly personal with the Shoe Dog computer analysis of your gait, balance and impact points on the feet. Their sales staff was comprised of energetic, articulate 20 something’s who exceeded my customer expectations by yards.

They are on to something that many businesses can learn from in this self-service efficiency model era. This is a true 1:1 experience backed by a 90- day guarantee.

Are you making your customer or constituent feel like “top dog?”

Connecting with “My Local Guys” April 18, 2012

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A quick tip of the hat to Chris Brogan as the idea spark for today’s post. In February Chris did a post on his blog about on-line purchasing and the need for local (human) service. In recent years more people are purchasing cars Image

on-line which works very well and has become part of “the norm.”

Fast forward to the day when your iPod and Ford Synch are no longer on friendly terms and the Synch chat room assistant says “reset the system” only to find your iPhone no longer works and must be reconnected. Enter Scott a real-live human being at Napelton Lincoln Mercury in Park Ridge Illinois (the local dealer where I purchased my car). With calm resolve and a few clicks on the dashboard and iPhone, synchronized, back in business.

I’d say there has to be a way to connect “local guys” real people with the useful online tools we have before us.  I don’t know about you but burning time on technology glitches is a major irritant with me.

Brick and mortar may be fading, but in the interim “reality” served a big, time-saving purpose in my day.

Now it’s your turn- please weigh-in when you can.

People Buy Benefits March 30, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Uncategorized.
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When you work on marketing pieces in a variety of fields as I have over the years, you hear similar debate about what is “meaningful to the client.”  Although “meaningful” is a very subjective thing, I try to lead clients back to utility or how the service/ product solves a problem or eases the end users daily burden.

We’re living in an amazing era of so much information at our disposal it boggles the mind. Since marketing professionals are working to secure a few moments of attention within those “boggled minds” your communications must quickly convey just how these “exciting new features”  add a clear benefit their lives.Image