Friday, August 19, 2011


Ideas without action are worthless.

Don't wait for permission. Don't assume someone else will take care of it. Don't let the enormity of the task prevent you from taking the first step.

The only way to add value is to do something.

What are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The web isn't clicking

Here's a little secret for the folks at Google and marketers everywhere:

People don't come to the internet for the ads.

You can stop scratching your head over why only .09% of people actually click on your rich media creation and try to figure out a way to be relevant online.

Unlike TV, the internet is an active media. People are doing things while they're here. They're connecting with friends, researching a new car, spreading conspiracy theories, searching for recipes, and lying about the size of their body parts.

What they're not doing is waiting for your cool new ad to show up so they can stop what they're doing, click on it and go to your irrelevant microsite.

I'm not saying advertising online is worthless. Your presence builds awareness, and sponsorship of content that people want to interact with will build your credibility, likeability or whatever -ility you're hoping to achieve. 

Just don't go online expecting people to click on things that don't really matter to them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

20 years of stuff

It's hard to understate the importance of the web in both society and business. So much so that it feels like it's been around for generations, when in reality the world wide interweb is just 20 years old.

Invented in 1991 by a scientist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research – not Al Gore – as a way to share scholarly research, it's amazing how how quickly it has come to be essential to our lives.

Imagine what the world would be like had it never been invented...
  • Would we have ever heard the terms e-commerce, disintermediation, and ROTFLMFAO?
  • Where would we get all of our coupons, news, and hollywood gossip?
  • Where would we be without those companies that transformed business like, and AOL?
  • How would we meet our soul mates?
  • Where would we go to watch videos of cats?
  • How would we learn about lowering our mortgage rates?
  • Who would deliver our letters from deposed Nigerian princes?
  • What would we do with all our free time?
And most importantly who would we turn to for advice on all manner of topics, including marketing?

Happy 20th birthday, www. Thanks for giving me this forum along with a lot of other useful stuff. Just think, next year you'll be old enough to drink and then the fun really begins.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The apple of GM's eye

This statement from Joel Ewanick probably didn't make it into the mainstream press, but I found it interesting.

"'s time to clearly differentiate our brand and align closer to a true global brand like an Apple. It's time for an automotive company to step out and address consumers and their needs in a way that's never been done before."

I know, every company wants to be Apple, and having a stretch goal is a good thing. But there are significant challenges ahead if that's their path.

First, GM is four brands – Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC – not one, and these brands need to be differentiated. They can't all be the Apple of automobiles.

Second, Apple controls the retail environment from pricing to staffing to training to design to POP to advertising. GM's dealers have a little more say in which products will be pushed, how they'll be displayed and serviced. That has an incredible impact on the brand, and the fact that the manufacturer has little to no control over most of the sale and after-sale experience will continue to pose problems for their brands.

Finally, Apple is only Apple because of Steve Jobs. He's the visionary who led the development of not just the products but the ecosystems that made those products indispensable. The iPod would be just another mp3 player without iTunes. The iPad would be just another tablet without the App Store, iChat and other utilities.

Who is GM's Steve Jobs? Who's the visionary who's going to lift the company from one that makes excellent products (and they still have some way to go to get there) to a company that becomes woven into the very fabric of our lives.

It's one thing to say you want to be Apple. Making it happen is a whole other matter. Given the realities of 10-day sales reports, quarterly analyst calls, and the constant pressure to offer financial incentives because that's all dealers know how to sell,  it's not going to be easy.