Marketing

Jazz in Marketing (La La Land and the Brand of Jazz)

Jazz in Marketing (La La Land and the Brand of Jazz)

Why are marketers and advertisers keen to slap the word "jazz" on unrelated things from movies like La La Land to cologne and fruit? Let's examine the use of jazz in marketing.read more
What is marketing discovery?

What is marketing discovery?

Our marketing discovery process is aided by a set of tools outlined here. We believe that they are some of the best available.read more
"She Who Tells a Story" at National Museum of Women in the Arts

"She Who Tells a Story" at National Museum of Women in the Arts

While the popularity of She Who Tells a Story is undoubtedly affected by the curiosity and national climate of oversimplification and stereotyping that surrounds the Arab world and Iran, the real engine for attendance is the quality of the exhibition itself. (Also, we're proud of our advertising campaign.)read more
What business are you in?

What business are you in?

What business are you in? I have found this question poses a challenge in almost every engagement, surprising participants. It wakes people up as they realize that they cannot answer or cannot agree on the answer. "If we cannot agree on who we are or what business we are in, how is anyone on the outside going to understand or guess right?"read more
The Apple You Eat

The Apple You Eat

Reason indicates that an apple and a sliced apple are equally good, but if examined through the lens of which version of an apple has greater appeal to a specific consumer group, then they are actually very different.read more
A Look into Tronvig Group: Honesty in Marketing

A Look into Tronvig Group: Honesty in Marketing

With essentially no real experience in the actual marketing business, I came to Tronvig Group with an open mind and ready to learn. My mind is stuffed now and I have learned some surprising things.read more
What is the downside of free?

What is the downside of free?

If you are a free institution you have both a blessing and a curse. The blessing part is easy to understand—less barrier to entry. The benefits are many. Let’s look though at the curse.read more
What is your story?

What is your story?

I’ve never felt moved to support an institution like American Ballet Theatre, even at a level as basic as buying a ticket to a show. But once I heard this story and saw the face of one person in the company, it made me think that I must go.read more
Price and Pleasure

Price and Pleasure

Does it feel better to pay a lot for something? If we pay a lot for something we need it to be good.read more
Strategy Primer

Strategy Primer

Strategy is a very misused word. Marketing strategies are—if you look at how the word is used—any marketing activity that might possibly work. People talk about "strategies" such as "posting to Facebook more."read more
Bigger is better ... right?

Bigger is better ... right?

Hiring a big and flashy agency may seem "safe." But think about what they stand to gain by working with an organization of your size and budget. You may find that you're actually sacrificing the responsiveness, energy and focus on quality of smaller firms for the false sense of security that comes from going big.read more
Empathy in Advertising (and the Need for Differentiation)

Empathy in Advertising (and the Need for Differentiation)

Empathy in advertising is essential but its expression should not be reduced to a formula. Think of it as a baseline requirement, but differentiation is even more important.read more
Nonprofit Marketing Return on Investment

Nonprofit Marketing Return on Investment

Return on investment in a brand initiative is very important. Measuring the results of any initiative and doing proper goal-setting for a project is an essential part of good governance, of good strategic behavior. But how do you measure the return when you are not really selling widgets?read more
Marketing, Half-truths, and USDA Organic (A Follow-up to "Tell Them the Truth")

Marketing, Half-truths, and USDA Organic (A Follow-up to "Tell Them the Truth")

Examining the trend of marketing half-truths to the consumer. The USDA's Organic labeling provokes the question: Has the government jumped on this bandwagon?read more
Zoo Brands, Conservation and the Future of Zoos

Zoo Brands, Conservation and the Future of Zoos

I asked my 11-year-old son if he thought zoos were good or bad. His answer was immediate and unequivocal: "Bad," he said, "I don't like the idea of animals being held in cages." If there is another side to this story, and there is, zoos need to get busy telling it.read more
Millennials and Museums: Oil and Water?

Millennials and Museums: Oil and Water?

What chance does the museum world have with millennials? Are millennials and museums really oil and water? Let's hear the story from the horse's mouth.read more
Om Marketing (Yoga and Marketing)

Om Marketing (Yoga and Marketing)

Yoga is about controlling your mind. Marketing is about trying to control other's minds. End of story, right? Not exactly.read more
Brand Strategy Basics

Brand Strategy Basics

Brand strategy gives McDonald's a 27 billion dollar advantage over Burger King. It's important that you understand how this happened, and how it applies to your organization.read more
Find the Pain: Business-to-Business Marketing

Find the Pain: Business-to-Business Marketing

Pain, fear, anxiety … these are strong emotions that drive behavior. This is true of life. Life is also, it turns out, the very stuff of marketing, even that most rarified and peculiar kind—business-to-business marketing.read more
The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

Sales has the power to change conditions, to transform a situation through the skills of the sales person. Marketing however, generally does not possess such transformative power. Marketing needs to work with conditions as they are.read more
You need a target: What makes a marketing plan strategic?

You need a target: What makes a marketing plan strategic?

Finding out what you need to know in order to have a proper marketing strategy is not easy or cheap, but I can pretty much guarantee that what's far more costly is executing a marketing plan without a strategy to guide it.read more
Museums and Race

Museums and Race

Does thinking about race make you racist? No. Does not thinking about race make you racist? Unfortunately sometimes yes. These are uncomfortable issues and hard to look squarely in the eye, but they are standing right in front of you. Time to say hello.read more
Goals & Goats (How do you set strategic SMART goals?)

Goals & Goats (How do you set strategic SMART goals?)

Strategy is born from deep inspection of the question Why? Why is this goal important? If I cannot get to a good answer to why this goal makes sense in the context of my strategic vision, then the goal is suspect (or the strategy is suspect).read more
Your Brand Idea: Who but Horton can hear it?

Your Brand Idea: Who but Horton can hear it?

If your Brand Idea is succinct, meaningful and consistently and coherently expressed, it will be able to break free. It will be hearable outside of your brand bubble, outside of Whoville.read more
Marketing and Desire: What can we learn from Buddhists?

Marketing and Desire: What can we learn from Buddhists?

The cessation of desire leads to the cessation of suffering. —Gautama Buddha (paraphrased). The implication of this, the second of the Four Noble Truths, is that the enlightened are generally not good marketing targets. Fortunately for most marketers this is a very small group.read more
What is marketing strategy?

What is marketing strategy?

Marketing strategy allows you to use pathways and footholds that apply your limited marketing budget more effectively (everyone's marketing budget is limited). Marketing strategy facilitates your ability to apply marketing money to the correct half of the Wanamaker equation—the half you are not wasting on audiences who do not value your message.read more
Focus Group Testing Ban (and Some Better Alternatives)

Focus Group Testing Ban (and Some Better Alternatives)

Focus group testing is appealing. I really do get it. In theory, it's a quick and efficient way to find out what you need to know about what people think or how they use your product or service, but in fact it isn't quick or efficient, and it has a dangerous inclination to lead you down false pathways.read more
Is the museum brand god dead?

Is the museum brand god dead?

In a postmodern world—the one we live in now—the AUTHORITY, the curator, the author, the expert—anyone whose charge it is to create grand classifications and assign meaning—has been demoted. This is our Internet paradigm, is it not? The authority is now just one voice among many. What does this mean for museum branding?read more
When FedEx Slew the Giant: Sell Value Not Price

When FedEx Slew the Giant: Sell Value Not Price

When you think overnight courier, what comes to mind? I'm guessing FedEx is probably at the top of the list. This was not always the case. Let me take you back to the moment when a budding company called Federal Express slew the Goliath of its industry—Emery. Let's take a look at what happened and what you should learn from Emery's horrible death.read more
What if museums were run like successful companies?

What if museums were run like successful companies?

If you are not marketing and innovating, you will be eliminated from the market place. In business this happens all the time. More than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies from 1955 no longer exist. Maybe this sounds like an entirely different world from yours. I'd suggest that it is not.read more
Brain Science and Marketing: Role of the Limbic & Reptilian Brains

Brain Science and Marketing: Role of the Limbic & Reptilian Brains

You think you are in control. "You"—your sense of self—your highly developed, amazingly capable conscious mind, housed in the big wrinkly hemispheric thing that we most often associate with the brain: the neocortex—is not really in control as much as it thinks. It's just easier for all of us to carry on with this delusion.read more
Marketing of the Bronx Museum

Marketing of the Bronx Museum

Museums exist in particular places. The Bronx Museum exists in the South Bronx; it's a contemporary art museum located right in the middle of the poorest community in the continental United States, a community that could not be more distant from the stereotype of the whitewall, high art tradition underpinning much of the aesthetics and behaviors that permeate the world of contemporary art.read more
Marketing is Not Optional

Marketing is Not Optional

"There are only two things in a business that make money – innovation and marketing, everything else is cost." —Peter Druckerread more
"I don't need a brand. I need a product."

"I don't need a brand. I need a product."

When saying "I don't need a brand. I need a product." the speaker was saying she doesn’t need McDonalds, she just needs fries—any fries for that matter. She doesn’t need HP, she just needs a computer or printer—any computer or printer will do. She's assuming her consumers will behave this way. I think they will not.read more
Museums and Motivation (Trouble with Gamification)

Museums and Motivation (Trouble with Gamification)

How can museums use motivation more effectively to engage visitors and other constituents? What are the dangers and opportunities of the "gamification" trend, and what can museums do with insights obtainable from the motivational factors within games?read more
Mixing Motivation: Danger of Extrinsic Motivation

Mixing Motivation: Danger of Extrinsic Motivation

"Virtually every type of expected tangible reward made contingent on task performance does, in fact, undermines intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, not only tangible rewards, but also threats, deadlines, directives, and competition pressure diminish intrinsic motivation because, according to cognitive evaluation theory, people experience them as controllers of their behavior." —Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deciread more
Tell them the truth.

Tell them the truth.

"Tell them the truth. First, because it is the right thing to do, and second, they'll find out anyway." —Paul Galvin. Ahh the truth. That thing to be finessed if you want to succeed in marketing ... NOT.read more
Consumer Insight: Singles (Family Life Cycle for Museums)

Consumer Insight: Singles (Family Life Cycle for Museums)

Singles, age 18-35, are a very large and growing population, particularly in metropolitan areas, even relatively small ones. This makes them a very desirable consumer target. They are also important because the habits formed during one's single life are tenacious and strong.read more
SEO and the Art of Internet Dating

SEO and the Art of Internet Dating

Is your content useful, timely, relevant, needed? Is it adding something valuable to the MASSIVE conversation that is the contemporary internet? It should be.read more
We make mistakes.

We make mistakes.

"To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas." —Leo Burnett. We make mistakes. The trick, of course, is to learn—and to make process changes from that learning—so that on our next pass through that same or a similar gauntlet we exhibit more finesse.read more
Customer Personas: What Sally Can Show You

Customer Personas: What Sally Can Show You

A persona is a kind of mental model—an imaginary person with a name, history and story who has a way of doing things. A persona should have enough psychological detail to allow you to conveniently step over to the persona's view, and see your products and services from her perspective.read more
The Science and Art of Marketing

The Science and Art of Marketing

As marketers we must never be in a position where we are just throwing shit up on the wall to see what sticks. We should be applying our creativity and artistry in execution of a strategic hypothesis that is based on research and genuine insight.read more
Can You Hear Me? Consistency and a Hearable Message

Can You Hear Me? Consistency and a Hearable Message

I came upon the Jerry Seinfeld "Don't break the chain." reference twice in two days this week. If you have not heard it, it's a recollection from Brad Isaac of some useful and practical advice he was given by a then up-and-coming Jerry Seinfeld.read more
I want a new website.

I want a new website.

"I want a new website." There is a certainty in the eyes and voice that pushes back my objections. "That's what we need. Here is what we want it to do. How much will it be?" This desire and clarity of purpose is supported by the belief that a new website will make things all better, like a mommy's kiss.read more
Consumer Insight: Find Your Trim Tab

Consumer Insight: Find Your Trim Tab

What can you do that will be effective at getting the word out, but will not break the bank? Is there a relatively inexpensive tactical shift can you make right now that will yield significant long term results? The answer is yes. It's just a matter of finding it. It will not be obvious or easy.read more
Marketing Mindset: Not to Market is a Crime

Marketing Mindset: Not to Market is a Crime

If your mission, your reason for being in the world—regardless of weather you are a nonprofit, a for-profit, a museum or an educational institution—is good, then you have no excuse not to market yourself.read more
Optimism Bias in Marketing

Optimism Bias in Marketing

The warning label which works contrary to our tendency toward optimism and self-indulgence misses the potential leverage point because the possible event of a future consequence can be set aside, rationalized away, and, most importantly, simply ignored because we (most of us) are biologically wired to pay little attention to such warnings.read more
Google Makes You Stupid

Google Makes You Stupid

Always knowing that you can easily find out anything you might want to know without actually having to recall it is really quite new. It strongly undercuts the drive to try and store a lot of different things in your head.read more
Museum Marketing: Think Like a Consumer

Museum Marketing: Think Like a Consumer

Odds are you already deliver on what people need. The trick in museum marketing, as in any kind of consumer marketing, is to think beyond what you do or how you do it, and focus on why your target would want it.read more
Call me trim tab.

Call me trim tab.

So what do you call this thing that does NOT take massive effort, but has the potential for great positive effect far beyond its seeming capacity? I think one very good answer to this question was was provided in 1972 by Buckminster Fuller when he said the following in an interview ...read more
Museum Marketing for Non-Marketers

Museum Marketing for Non-Marketers

Marketing is a big term. What is it in the context of a public-facing institution like a museum? What is it when you do not have a large or consistent marketing budget or even a dedicated marketing department?read more
The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

What is the difference between marketing and branding? In a recent conversation with a very senior person at a financial institution my colleague was told, "I think private wealth managers will have a hard time seeing the value of branding—they see marketing as a cost center, not a driver of sales." Hold it. How did we go from branding to marketing in one sentence like that?read more
Value of Truth in Photography

Value of Truth in Photography

“Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” (Ansel Adams) Our initial reaction to photographic images often leans towards belief or trust that the picture tells a true, unbiased story. By following these gut reactions, we are often led by the hand toward manipulation by advertisers, marketers, and product designers. But if we aren’t going to get the thing that we are shown, why even bother?read more
Design and Price Point

Design and Price Point

We recently had a small web project for a client that sells a very expensive service. Over many years they had built up a successful business, and they had done this without ever having had a website. They came to us somewhat reluctantly pushed into the wading pool, as it were, by their sales manager, who felt insufficiently supported by the brand. He needed online credentialing and support for his sale activities.read more
Addressing Objections: Web Conversion

Addressing Objections: Web Conversion

Objections are always there. Dealing with them is basic to the sales process.read more
The Business of Demand Creation

The Business of Demand Creation

I was asked to explain what I mean when I say, as I often do, "We are not in the business of demand creation." I usually go on to say, "We leave that job up to the big agencies" who seem on occasion to quite successfully create demand for products regardless of their actual quality.read more
Life and Pecans: Why Truth Matters

Life and Pecans: Why Truth Matters

Last weekend I was reading the Sunday Times and snacking. I was looking at the paper and not my food, which was pecans from a glass jar. As I arrived at the bottom of the jar, I looked down and noticed little cobwebs all around the edges of the glass. Most of the remaining pecans had clearly been munched on already, and not by me.read more