Tag Archives: Marketing

Wine+Dogs. Music+Homeless. That’s Cause Marketing!

14 Oct

I love dogs. I love wine. Hey, there’s a wine that benefits dogs? Yeah. It’s called Pinot for Paws. What’s not to love about that?

A marketing campaign targeting wine lovers? Check. Targeting dog lovers? Check. Thus it got my attention. And of course, it made me smile. It also got me thinking about Cause Marketing. Because that is what this is.

Post.CauseMktg.Wine.10.9.13.braceletsAnd what is Cause Marketing? It’s a marketing strategy that creates awareness for your brand by partnering with a “cause” that your customers care about. It is a feel good solution for the marketer. A warm, fuzzy feeling that they want to impart so we feel good about them, the brand, and their product. In fact, consumers have a more positive image of a product or company when it supports a cause they care about.

CD.RoyOrbison&RCCola&HomelessI have done lots of Cause Marketing campaigns. For instance, RC Cola’s licensed music premium featuring Roy Orbison’s music that benefited the National Coalition for the Homeless. It was such a success that we even produced a landmark concert. Roy Orbison’s widow called saying that Tom Petty and Bob Dylan wanted in and would play a benefit concert. Well, yeah! Let’s do it! And we did.

We hear about a lot of such partnerships now. Back then it was still new. Not so prevalent. But there is one thing that remains true, then and now. That is, it must make sense. For all parties. The sponsor, the brand. The benefiting charity, the cause. The artist, the talent. And the consumer, the audience, the customer. All must care. All must work together seamlessly. And the campaign must be mutually beneficial for all the participants.

Does Cause Marketing work? Here are some facts. 54% of American consumers bought a product associated with a cause over the last 12 months; 89% would switch brands to one associated with a cause given comparable price and quality; and 91% wants even more of the products and services they use to support a cause. (2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study) Says a lot for the efficacy of Cause Marketing – what it can mean, what it can do, what it can promote. That it can do a lot of good, well, that’s what we marketers strive to achieve.

Post.CauseMktg.WinePetAdoptions.OneHope.10.8.13So back to the wine and the dogs. Here’s the deal. Buy a bottle of a Rob Mondavi, Jr. hand-crafted 2011 ONEHOPE California Pinot for Paws Pinot Noir and half of the profits from sales goes to supporting the ASPCA’s pet adoption efforts.

Match a wine with a cause.
Proceeds of sales go to that cause.
Wine brand gains awareness.
And it’s the dogs that benefit.

I can go for that. Cheers!


Pinot for Paws pic: ONEHOPE Wine Official Website

Yeah, It Works, But Is It Beautiful?

2 Oct

R. Buckminster Fuller was a designer, architect, poet, educator, engineer, philosopher, environmentalist, and, above all, humanitarian. Driven by the belief that humanity’s major problems were hunger and homelessness he dedicated his life to solving those problems through inexpensive and efficient design. So there’s no reason why solving a marketing assignment shouldn’t follow his lead and have an elegant and beautiful solution.

“When working on a problem, I never think about beauty; I only think of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know that it is wrong.”


Pic: R. Buckminster Fuller, cover art for Time Magazine/Hilary Mason

Diana Nyad Found A Way. Hey, That’s My Marketing Mantra

4 Sep

“Find a way.”

Diana Nyad’s mantra. It’s what got her through her successful swim from Cuba to Florida. Sure, she’s a swimmer. More like a super swimmer. She can also teach us marketers something about persevering, believing in yourself, and following your passion.

“Find a way.”

When I heard Diana Nyad say this, I thought, that’s what I do as a marketer. With each new day, I find a way to help a client reach a targeted audience, make a cost-effective marketing plan, build a business.

“It doesn’t matter what you come up against … find a way … you’ll make it through.”

As marketers, it’s what we do. Don’t we? Just like Diana Nyad had her challenge, every project we work on is a challenge. Regardless if we have done it before, once, twice, or twenty, thirty times. Or WWW.DianaNyad.9.4.13never before. I look at each new project as if it is for the first time. It’s a new client, a new goal, and it’s at a different point of time, too. Are there newer marketing venues? Newer technologies? Newer ways to do things? Each new challenge is an opportunity to learn, to try something new, to revise something old. We can get better. We can grow. It’s what makes marketing such a cool vocation. There’s always new things and at the same time you need to use all the skills and experience you have. It’s the only way that we can find a way. And as I’ve always believed, there is always a way.

Oh, and being me, yeah, there’s a musical spin, of course. She says that she has a playlist of 85 songs that she sings to herself. But the one that drove her to keep going, especially in the early mornings, was Neil Young’s The Needle and The Damage Done. Although its lyrics speak of woe, “… It’s that eerie falsetto voice,” that was her companion.

On my website, the headline is: Just do it. That’s always been my way. It’s just another way of saying find a way. And finding a way with some musical assistance is how I do things. It’s what works for me. And it’s my passion. How could Diana Nyad’s achievement, and even more, her earthiness, honesty, dedication, and her unwavering passion not speak to me? I think she can speak to you, too.


Quotes and pic: CBS News This Morning, September 3, 2013
Quote about Neil Young song: NBC ‘s Today Show, September 3, 2013


Seth Godin’s Got a Point. Doing Marketing? Get It Right!

12 Aug

A Seth Godin blog post about marketing – marketing gone bad – not only resonated with me at the time I read it, it stayed with me. I want to share it with you.

First, why did it resonate with me? It was because of two recent conversations. The first was with an actor who told me that he understands my challenges because he’s “been marketing [himself] his whole career.” Well, that’s not so. My retort left unsaid was, “No, what you’ve been doing is trying to sell yourself.” Using the tools of his profession in the way it’s always been done. Sending postcards and head shots, posting projects and appearances. And that’s just not the same thing. When you have strategy and planning – with the know-how! – well, that’s marketing.

The second example was with a new client. After I outlined such a marketing strategy – with the basics and supplemented with thoughtful ideas to generate new audiences – she told me that she had already done all those basics. Meaning, she was set. But that’s just the beginning. Those basics must then do the work they’re supposed to do. That will involve refining each of those tactics. Getting them right so that they will reach your target. Getting them right so that the target will know what action to take. Getting them right so that your message is delivered.

Marketing and strategyIn both these examples, they’re not getting the results they desire. Why? Because it’s not enough to do the basics, it’s not enough to go through the motions. Marketing is not just a word to bandy around. It’s not something anyone just knows how to do. It took me many years of working with colleagues and clients. Of doing it again and again. Many clients from diverse worlds – music, the arts, corporations, tech products, luxury brands, nonprofits. A gamut of interesting projects. Different targets, but with similar goals. Promote the product, bring in the audience, get new customers, make them loyal. I can do that. Effectively. The magic word. It’s what I do. I also know where my experience doesn’t live. That would be acting, for one, and running a school for another. I’ve honed my strengths and love to share them.

So, Seth Godin’s treatise resonated with me. Everyone isn’t a marketer. Notice what isn’t working. And get help – from a pro. Hey, I do!

Seth Godin’s Blog Post

More people are doing marketing badly…
than any other profession I can imagine. What an opportunity…

If we were building bridges this badly, the safety of our nation would be in doubt.

The local sub shop makes a fine sub, but has a dumb name, a typo in its sign, no attention paid to customer service and on and on. Same for the big hospital down the street and the politician you wish would get a clue.

There are three reasons for this:

1. Everyone is a marketer, so there’s a lot more of it being done.
2. Most people who do marketing are actually good at doing something else (like making subs) and they’re merely making this up as they go along.
3. There’s no standards manual, no easy way to check your work. Without a rule book, it’s hard to follow the rules. (For the innovators and creators out there, this is great news, of course.)

The cure? Noticing. Notice what is working in the real world and try to figure out why. Apply it to your work. Repeat. Learn to see, to discern the difference between good and bad, between useful and merely comfortable. And after you learn, speak up. Noticing doesn’t work if you don’t care and if you don’t take action.


Posted by Seth Godin on July 18, 2013

Show Your True Colors

2 Aug

“They call me Mellow Yellow, quite rightly, they call me Mellow Yellow …”  Well, we know how Donovan felt about yellow. How do you feel about the color yellow? Scientists say the human eye notices the color yellow first. In fact, marketers use a yellow background with black type because tests have shown that this combination is the most memorable and the easiest to read.

What makes a product stand out? Color. Visually, it’s how your brand will be recognized and easily remembered. Emotionally, it’s how it will make your customer feel. As the first observation that will be made about you, it is the foundation of your brand’s identity.

Colors affect us, they can trigger our feelings. Therefore, knowing the emotion a color emits is important to represent your brand effectively. It will convey your message instantly and reinforce its meaning. So when choosing a color for your company, brand, or product, make sure that it reflects your personality! Or as Cyndi Lauper says, “… show your true colors!”



Infographic: The Logo Company


Happy Birthday, MTV

1 Aug

Was video gonna kill the radio star? That was the question when MTV: Music Television premiered on August 1, 1981. The “first ever 24-hour video music channel.” Soon to be known simply as MTV, it modestly introduced itself with the words, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” The famous guitar riff – go ahead, you know it’s in your head now! – with the man in the moon planting the flag with the now also famous logo, heralded a new era for the music industry.

MTV.shockleewebpic.8.1.13The first video from an English band called The Buggles begged that question. But it ended up a moot point. MTV introduced an outlet for creativity. Visionaries such as Robert Palmer and Peter Gabriel saw its possibilities and made visual masterpieces, five-minute works of cinematography still remembered, still revered. Marrying music with that kind of creativity ended up to be a boon for musicians who now saw far-reaching ways to promote themselves. New outlets were open to them. And more and more would follow in the years to come.

That MTV proved to be influential is clear. Think about these milestones: Michael Jackson’s 14-minute Thriller, the Live Aid benefit concerts, YO! MTV Raps that introduced mainstream America to rap and hip-hop, and Unplugged, the acoustic music series (a premise, if I may be allowed a plug, that was predated by your humble blogger’s acoustic college radio series, Soho Natural Sessions). Its influence went on to fashion, movies, TV shows, and the definition of celebrity itself. And it made a huge impact in corporate marketing, branding, and advertising – new techniques and new motifs had endless promise. Pop culture would never be the same.

“I want my MTV.” It was all about the music. Although after 1992, MTV started to steer away from music video to pursue reality programming, it still leaves us with a rich legacy of music. Ultimately, that is the really cool thing to remember.


MTV logo: MTV

Monday Marketing Mojo: Dig This!

1 Jul

Start the week off with these thoughts to get your mojo juices flowing.

Why is Y sometimes a vowel?
OK, so with a name like Yvette you got me. I had to know. In school we learned “A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.” In yes, Y is a consonant and in gym, it’s a vowel. Y, I mean why, is that? Because writing and speech are different – the concepts of vowel and consonant properly belong to the domain of speech.

Sony-walkman.7.1.1334 years ago the first Sony Walkman walked the Earth
Sony’s chairman wanted a small device to listen to his music while travelling. And so on July 1, 1979, the Sony Walkman was introduced. The world’s first portable cassette player changed how we listen to music. It cost $200 and weighed 14 ounces (today’s iPod weighs 4 ounces). Sony promoted its portability and hi-tech qualities, touting it as the thing you wanted, that you needed, that you had to have!

Johnny Depp on Music
“Music is my life … It’s my natural habitat, to have a guitar strapped to me.” CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose asked Johnny Depp, “When you play, you didn’t want to be the vocalist, you wanted to be in the shadows?” Johnny’s reply, “… the idea of being the lead singer, of being the front man … I’d rather be Keith than Mick, no disrespect.”

Go to Twitter for Your News?
Here’s what Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein feels about getting your news from Twitter: “I really try not to get my news from Twitter, which has a reputation as a place where people go and find lots of great news. I find it a place you go to find, I guess, your barbecued potato chips … A lot of stuff that is kind of interesting, mostly not that good.”

Record Producer Rick Rubin Is Ruling the Charts
Asked about his working with Johnny Cash, Rick Rubin had this to say: “… there was a song he wrote, I can’t remember which one it was, but I listened to it and said, ‘Do you think you could take some of the I’s and me’s out of it?’ And he thought about it and he was like, “Yeah, I think I can do that.” And he did. So 10 years later, I’m visiting him in Nashville … I said, ‘What have you been working on lately?’ And he said, ‘I’ve been working on using I and me less.’ And I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yeah. Remember? You gave me that comment on the song? That’s what I’ve been working on.’ Incredible. He didn’t mean it in the context of songs. He meant it in the context of life.” 

Dylan Tribute Helped by a Kickstarter Campaign

10 Jun

A proud city wants to honor one of its own. The Dylan by Duluth campaign is hoping to raise $159,000 to build a statue to honor a favorite son. Bob Dylan was born in Duluth, MN in 1941, or as its mayor calls it, Bobland. The bronze statue will stand over 12 feet tall and hopefully sit somewhere near Highway 61.

MMM.KSDylanStatue. nice way to honor an admirable legend, this is actually a thoughtful way to market a city. As Duluth Mayor Don Ness says:

Bob Dylan is rightfully regarded as one of the world’s most important artists of the last 50 years. I support this project as a way for our city to recognize our most accomplished native son and to celebrate Duluth’s authentic arts and music ethos, inspired by the place we call home.”

MMM.duluth-mapYou know what? This marketing model has potential. It is a soft-pedal approach to generate awareness for a city. Although this seaport city on Lake Superior may not offer the flash of other tourist destinations, it does possess a place in our collective musical history. This soft-sell approach can reach a new audience besides the normal tourism route – Dylan’s fan base, music lovers who may not have ever considered visiting his city of birth.

Creativity, passion, and an honorable goal. By creating a campaign that honors an artist with another artist’s work (sculptor Tom Page), this is something that perhaps Mr. Dylan, too, can appreciate.

As of this post, the campaign which started on June 3, has received almost $7,000 from 50+ backers. If you would like to help make this tribute to Dylan a reality, go to the Dylan by Duluth Kickstarter Campaign page.

P.S. Oh, and Mr. Mayor? Here’s a marketing tip for you. You know your Homegrown Music Festival that happens the first week in May each year that features over 150 local musical acts performing across the city? Be sure to incorporate the festival and the artists into your marketing strategy when you promote the Statue’s installation next year!

Monday Marketing Mojo: Like Wow, TV!

3 Jun

Although this week’s Monday Marketing Mojo is geared towards my music followers, this advice is useful for any performing artists, techs, and small biz owners, too.

What if you could get national visibility on TV? Watching a band get the golden opportunity of a music appearance on a major national morning show this week, got me thinkin’. Are you ready? If you got that chance right now, are you ready? Whether your goal is to keep on keepin’ on or to reach the next level, be a pro in either case. If you act like a pro, you will be perceived as a pro. And being a pro means being your best and bringing your A game to the Big Show.

In promoting yourself to a national audience, consider these factors:

Your appearance: Please do consider how you look. It plays a big part in how you are received. And perceived. What you wear should be what you always wear as performers. Be you. After all, that is part of your look. Right? But please don’t forget about being clean, too. Guitar fingering close ups require clean fingernails. Nuff said.

PercussionYour sound: It’s all about delivering. You want to sound the best you can. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to do a soundcheck. But there may be space, electrical, or other constraints. So for example, if you can’t set up a drum kit, be flexible. Have your percussionist at a mike with a tom-tom, tambourine, conga, woodblock, or a scraper. Presenting your full sound is important.

What message do you want to send? Are you promoting a new record? Tell them when and where it’s available. Tell them where you’ll be appearing. And send them to your website.

Did you follow-up #1: Did you thank the show? A personal touch showing appreciation goes far. And shows them you’re a pro. You want them to like you. To remember you. And to ask you back.

Did you follow-up #2: Are you promoting your appearance after the fact? Reach out to your fans and make new ones. Tell them all about it in case they missed it. Include the link. Ask them to share it with their friends. And remind them about your new record, where they can get it, tour dates, and website.

Did you follow-up #3: Reach out to the media. Who knows? The more outlets that hear about you, the more exposure you might get. And the more information you give them about you, your product, and your shows, the more interesting you will be to them.

 Let ‘em all get to know you!

%d bloggers like this: