Category Archives: Marketing

We’re Moving:

I guess I’m all grownsed up.

I’ve moved Brett’s Blog over to a new location, So, for those of you that visit regularly, I encourage you to subscribe to the posts at this location and don’t worry about those here at much longer. This also accounts for my recent lack of posting, which I offer all apologies for.

For those of you scoring at home, I’m moving from a blog platform to a platform.

I can’t say I’m over-the-top crazy about the way MarketingInProgress is currently looking, but I’m also no designer. Be patient, as I’m sure there will be many changes to the site in the coming months.

Still, here’s what you’ll get – the same great marketing rants and obversvations with a twist for small business. Just now, it will be a little bit more professional with more robust features.

So, do this –

  1. Go here.
  2. Hit the orange “subscribe” link.
  3. Tell all your friends.
  4. Tell me what you think of the blog.

In the meantime, I’ll keep this site going for about another month or so, simply copying the posts from here. So don’t linger – change your feed settings, etc. And, thanks for checking it out.

Yes, Please (The FireFox Tablet)

Read about the Firefox Tablet at Brett’s new site,

Chris at the Raw Stylus opened my eyes to this bit of simple genius.

Introducing the Firefox tablet – read all about it at Tech Crunch.

Isn't this worth $200?

Isn't this worth $200?

No, you can’t get it yet. That’s what makes it even more exciting. The spark has caught on, and thanks to the openness of our new culture, anyone can help fan the flame. And we’ll all be better off because of it.

What idea have you got that is sitting in some dusty corner of your brain that couldn’t use the help of a couple hundred experts?

26 Reasons to be a Marketing Lover

This site has moved. Read the 26 Reasons to Be a Marketing Lover at Brett’s new site.

Bill has posted his Luther-esque thesis on the doors of the blogosphere with this post on 26 reasons why I love marketing. My three favorites:

  1. The best people I know are marketers
  2. I understand the phrase “Having a Purple Cow who Zags in a Blue Ocean”
  3. It’s better then being beat with a bag of oranges

Check out it out share your favorites.


What if Led Zeppelin IV was called “Stairway to Heaven” instead?

What if the Beatles’ White Album was actually called “Dear Prudence?”

What if Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill was called “You Oughtta Know?”

And what if For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was better known as “Right Now?”

Because none of these albums would be as cool.

What seems so apparent with names of classic albums should be more apparent in marketing and product management. Yes, most people are buying Led Zeppelin IV because it contains one of the most enjoyed rock songs in history. But that doesn’t mean you name the album after it. It’s just not as cool. It’s not to say that an album named after a song on the album sucks; it just means it could’ve been made a lot better with a different name.

Marketing forces us to try to communicate clearly and simply to consumers. In the case of the albums above, you could make a strong case for naming Zeppelin IV “Stairway to Heaven.” But what are you communicating? “Here’s a great tune surrounded by 8 other tracks that are also OK.”

You’re missing out, and you’re only communicating a part of your product, not the whole thing.

I’m rambling, but here’s the deal: don’t let “traditional” marketing tactics and philosphies make you strip a really cool product of what truly attracts consumers longterm. Something just feels good when you can talk to someone who knows the Rumours album well, or when someone knows that “Jagged Little Pill” is just a part of a single line in a song on the album.

Take a chance at making your product cooler, even if it breaks a few rules.

Skeeter Defeater: My Newest Project

Skeeter Defeater kills mosquitoes on contact

Since starting my new job with NCH Corp. back in July, I’ve primarily had one major responsibility: The Skeeter Defeater Mosquito Defense Unit. I haven’t been able to fill any of you readers in on it until now, so I wanted to take the first opportunity I had to introduce you to the best mosquito killer on the market (yes, I’m biased).

The launch has had more obstacles than the Eliminator on American Gladiator, and there have been more lessons learned than Bill Nye the Science Guy could’ve ever conjured up. And there’s still a lot more to go. For one, I’ve never done much work with retail before, so interacting with buyers and manufacturer’s reps has been amazingly tedious and occasionally difficult. But we’re getting there.

Quickly, here are the main points about the Skeeter Defeater:

  1. It’s a mosquito killer, not a mosquito repellent. There’s a big difference there, as you can read here at
  2. It sprays automatically at dusk and dawn. The Dispenser incorporates a DUSK/DAWN sensor to actually measure the sunlight every day, spraying when mosquitoes are the most exposed – at dusk and dawn.
  3. It kills mosquitoes on contact using pyrethrin, a botanical insecticide.
  4. It covers up to 300 square feet, perfect for porches, patios, decks, etc.
  5. It’s portable and battery-powered. You can take it just about anywhere – can’t say that about the big systems.

Obviously, you can read all about it on the website, and contact me or leave a comment with any questions. This year will be a limited launch, with most of our focus being in Texas, learning what we can so we can really launch nationwide next year. However, you’ll find it in random hardware stores all over the country currently, and in SkyMall magazine (if you ride American, you’ll see it on the cover for another month).

While I’m definitely proud of the work that’s been done on it so far, there’s still a long way to go. If you’ve got feedback or ideas, you know I’d love to get it. Drop me a line, tell me what you like, what you hate, and what you don’t understand.

Ancillary Products

Crystal Pepsi - A short-lived ancillary product?Here’s the thing with ancillary products: Every company has them; every company has trouble knowing what to do with them.

The common logic goes something like this:
A product needs complete marketing focus to succeed.
Ancillary products don’t get complete marketing focus (or else they wouldn’t be considered ancillary).
Therefore, ancillary products can’t succeed.

If you’re trying to compare your ancillary stuff to your bread and butter, then you’re probably right – they won’t succeed. But I think you have to accept ancillary stuff for what it is – it’s low hanging fruit, a by-product, that you might as well make a few dollars on if it provides some added value to a customer. When you look at it this way, then it makes sense. However, if you start looking to an ancillary line of products to start producing bigger bottom-line figures, then you’ve got the wrong idea.

When I worked at AdvoCare, we struggled severely with selling a pretty amazing skincare line, Definite Difference. The product works great, the market was open to it, and women were ready for something that they could especially sell. But it never really took off – for various reasons – most important of which was the fact that consumers didn’t want an AdvoCare Distributor selling them skincare (usually). They wanted the AdvoCare Distributor to keep selling them what they were good at – weight loss, energy and performance.

The temptation when you have a really good product filling an ancillary role is that you think you can break it into stardom, out of the ranks of ancillary and into the ranks of major product line. This will rarely, RARELY happen, and going down that path will only weaken those areas of strength where you do excel.

Keep the main thing the main thing, and take ancillary products for what they are: extras that don’t deserve much attention. But don’t always get rid of them – they have their place.

Marketing is . . . About Value

Don’t know why I’m stuck on definitions of marketing right now, but I am, so we must deal with. The fundamental issue might be that it is such an inconsistently defined term that finding new, fresh definitions is almost fascinating.

In her article “How Marketing Can Go Beyond the ‘Make It Pretty’ Syndrome,” Laura Patterson defines marketing as it relates to value, namely:

  1. Creating value: In this capacity, the marketing organization serves as a driver of an organization’s value chain by insuring products and services are shaped by customer expectations and demands.
  2. Communicating value: Every customer touch point affects the customer’s decision and action; therefore, every touch point needs to tied to and communicate the value proposition.
  3. Delivering value: Through constant monitoring, Marketing can help determine whether it is delivering on its value promise and whether the value proposition needs modification.
  4. Sustaining value (or, Managing Customer Relationships): {Brett’s note – I just had to keep the ‘value’ pedalpoint going, though ‘Managing Customer Relationships” might be clearer} This ability to create a single view of the customer comes with responsibility—to take a leadership role in the creating and managing the processes associated with the company’s customer relationships.

It might not be the most complete definition, but I definitely think it’s the easiest to apply and to clarify marketing’s role within any organization.

The key is remembering that value is in the eye of the beholder, or, in this case, the customer. Pinching pennies to help the bottom line means nothing if it doesn’t create, communicate, deliver and sustain value for the customer.

Marketing Is . . . .

Seth Godin has been on a roll lately (which is a big deal, relatively speaking). But his recent revisit of a list he wrote 3 years ago that lists quick snippets that encapture marketing is a must-read.

Here’s a to-do for all of us marketers: Set an appointment each month to read this list and write down at least 20 things that come to mind in response specific to what you do. It’s bound to make a difference.

Words, Links, Innovations and Giant Leaps in Wine Labeling

A few noteworthy posts I’ve stumbled on over the past few weeks . . . .

  1. Yes, Words Matter: So when do you use “more than” instead of “over?” Better yet, when does it matter? CommonSense PR has a take on it.
  2. Link/Comment Baiting: Ed’s listed his favorite marketing-ish blogs. I’ve hit a few links, but plan on digging in over the next couple weeks.
  3. 5 Steps to Becoming a Buff: You just can’t go wrong with the ‘Seinfeld on Marketing’ series, but this is one of my favorites. I wanna be a buff!
  4. What Corporations Need from PR in a Web 2.0 world: Lee summarizes a keynote by Mike Moran that makes me feel better about not knowing everything that’s going on in the Web 2.0 world. My favorite Moran quote: “You have permission to sip from the new web 2.0 world, rather than drink from it like a fire hose.
  5. 10 Signs You Should Be Charging More as a Freelancer: A lighthearted but practical guide into making more out of making it on your own.
  6. 7 Things Innovators Do That You Don’t: My favorite one is that innovators aren’t afraid to communicate their crazy ideas.
  7. Peel-off Wine Label: Now this is too simple to be as smart as it is. Why hasn’t this been thought of before?
  8. Why Does Big Mean Bad?: Paul Williams details the process of moving from small to big, and that parts that may be inevitable. Why are people shifting away from Whole Foods now?

Making It Harder

Spike Jones clarifies an often timidly believed principle in marketing: to get someone to want what you’ve got, it helps to make them think they might not get it. It creates a sense of urgency.

In his post, Spike has this to say about barriers of entry:

Barriers bring with them a sense of exclusivity. Everyone wants in the party that hardly anyone gets into. I’m not saying this is right for all social networks, but before you throw open the doors to the entire world, why not invite those true kindred spirits – those biggest fans – to the party first. Hell, let them be the gatekeepers even. And then watch how the barriers can become assets.

In reading through this, I started thinking through random situations where this works. Please add your own ideas in the comments:

  1. Traffic going in and out of a sports arena or concert.
  2. The ride with the longest line at the fair.
  3. Blogging consistently for more than a year (or more) before the studs of the blogosphere acknowledge you as legit.
  4. Sam’s Club and Costco – becoming a member before you can take advantage of their discounts.
  5. Waiting a little longer for the sou flee to cook at a top restaurant.
  6. A doctor who’s first opening for an appointment is in 5 weeks.
  7. The Red Sox having to pay $51 mil. just to make an offer to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
  8. Waiting 3 months for your Nintendo Wii to arrive.
  9. Paying high annual fees to the home owner’s association of your ritzy neighborhood.
  10. Getting asked to a friend’s poker game.

Making it harder sometimes makes it better.