Monday, 28 June 2010

Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak!

It's summer and everyone has the grill fired up. My husband is a vegetarian and I rarely cook meat, so I have to live vicariously through the intoxicating fragrances emanating from the yards around me. Some nights it’s all I can do not to walk up and down the street with my plate and a steak knife in hand.

Veggie burgers on the grill, while a completely satisfying meal, just don’t provide the same olfactory sensations. And these nightly temptations have prompted me to think again about the old saw “Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak.”

Whether you are selling products or services, it can be easy to forget that customers aren’t interested in the details of what you are offering; they are interested in what it means to them.

People are not interested in insurance; they are interested in the peace of mind that comes from having insurance when they need it. People aren’t interested in consulting services; they are interested in a competitive edge that comes from an expert’s advice and support. And they aren’t interested in a piece of cold raw meat, sitting on a Styrofoam plate, wrapped in plastic.

What appeals to people is the primal satisfaction of a perfectly-cooked choice cut of beef, washed down with a nice Cabernet, a beer or an iced tea, plated with a baked potato and some grilled asparagus, enjoyed with family and friends, to celebrate a special occasion or no occasion at all, in the backyard, the neighborhood dive or a fancy steakhouse.

In my neighborhood, it’s not the steak that’s driving me crazy, it’s the sizzle.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Accidental Marketing Campaign shows a ray of hope for the Gulf

With two cats, three lizards and one dog under our roof (and another dog most likely to join the family this summer) you can most definitely say that I am an avid animal lover. I don’t like to see animals in pain or without a home. We found our dog at the pound and one of our lizards was originally going to be used as a live kitty toy by our cat. Rescued just in time, “Bob” now hangs out a lot on a branch in our lizard cage and waits to be hydrated with a spray water bottle.

With my love for all animals, it’s been hard for me to turn on the TV lately due to the recent devastating oil spill in the Gulf. With it came the inevitable: video of thousands of native wildlife covered in muck. It makes my heart break and I wish I had the means to hop on a plane, go down there and help wash them one by one. As I am not able to do that with my current obligations here at home, I did what I could and donated to the National Audubon Society.

This leads me to why I am writing this blog today. I recently saw a commercial about a company whose product is helping wildlife affected by oil spills, and for once it was not hard to keep watching television. The commercial shows ducklings and otters being cleaned by volunteers using Dawn liquid dish detergent. Apparently, just like it has always been advertised, the product is tough on grease but still gentle enough to use, even on live creatures.

What’s interesting is that the company started running the ads last summer. As Leslie Kaufman of the New York Times points out, “The timing was an odd twist for the marketers of Dawn, who are watching their commercials recreated in TV news reports about hapless birds covered in oil, creating an accidental — and uneasy — bit of product placement.”

The company is being very low key about the campaign and has not decided if it will continue after its scheduled end date this month, most likely because they don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of a horrible situation to increase revenues.

Dawn has donated 7,000 bottles to the Gulf and plans on sending 5,000 more.

If I were a marketer at Dawn, I would be feeling good about the accidental marketing campaign. To be able to see progress in the Gulf cleanup can only be a good thing.

Click here for the complete New York Times article quoted above.

BrightBlue Marketing would like to hear from you. Do you have examples of accidental marketing campaigns? If so, what was the outcome?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

BrightBlue Marketing Recommends

We recommend that you check out speaker and author Don Schmincke. He spoke with Candace's Vistage group recently (see Candace's upcoming blog on his topic at the meeting, as well as what Vistage is).

Check out Don's site - - and read his bio below.

"Audiences find Don Schmincke’s irreverent humor and unconventional methods a refreshing change from other speakers, and leave with the most remarkable and entertaining insights ever experienced on stage. Schmincke’s revolutionary scientific research established him as a consultant renegade and top speaker for the world’s largest CEO member organization.

This is no accident. Schmincke began his career as a scientist and engineer. After graduating from MIT and Johns Hopkins University he became fascinated with how people perform in groups, and even more intrigued by the high failure rate of popular management theories. With more than two decades of research using anthropology, evolutionary genetics and studies of human performance in extreme environments, he discovered that most management theories fail due to biological factors. He admits, “my work is politically incorrect, but scientifically accurate.” Audiences love it.

Schmincke is the author of the bestselling books The Code Of The Executive and High Altitude Leadership (with NBC Emmy-nominated climber Chris Warner). He’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Industry Week, USA Today, and over 60 industry publications annually; appearing on CNN and with G. Gordon Liddy in addition to hundreds of other radio and television programs worldwide. In 1990, he founded The SAGA Leadership Institute to offer corporate training programs and help CEOs accelerate business performance in the areas of strategy, leadership, sales, and cultural alignment.

Today, Schmincke flies 200,000 miles annually keynote speaking at conferences, training CEOs in his workshops, and working with clients in every industry from the Department of Defense (once being shot off an aircraft carrier – he’s still recovering) to large and small corporations across every industry including the healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, information, communications, finance, and insurance sectors. Occasionally he can be found at universities inflicting his unconventional techniques on innocent graduate students."

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Freedom of Speech: Use it Wisely

Memorial Day was this past weekend. In the U.S., we set aside one day a year in respect of the men and women of our military. Regardless of political beliefs, on this day we can come together as a nation to honor the sacrifices made for our freedom. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our fighting men and women for their service and their families’ sacrifice.

As I sat down to write this blog, many different topics cross my mind and because of what Memorial Day stands for, I can write about any of them. As I thought a little more, the thought occurred to me that if I can say anything I want, am I saying something that matters? All of a sudden writing takes on a new responsibility. Every time I communicate, what am I saying? Am I offering value to the audience I am communicating to?

As I was considering this, I was reviewing more of my personal interactions than I was professional ones, but the same questions are just as applicable, if not more so.

Every time you touch your audience, regardless of if it’s a marketing campaign, event, email or even a simple conversation, you should be saying something that matters. By continually offering value, you are positioning yourself for your clients and prospects to think of you first when they have a need.

So in business or personal exchanges, with the choice to say anything you wish, say something that matters.