Friday, February 29, 2008

Lottery - finally gets it!

All politcial views aside, the marketing campaigns for the lottery have been awful. The past few years there has been no clear "campaign" or identity to their message. It was kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall and looking back to see what was sticking.

That seems to have changed, at least for now. I must give two thumbs up for the Mega Millions campaign. The creative may not be 100% there yet, but the campaign is cohesvie and coherent with each spot (radio and tv) backing the other up.

I can actually recite off the top of my that it is the Mega Millions game that they want me to play, where as before as soon as the spot was done - I was left scratching my head wondering, what was that?!?!?!? What did they just say?!?!?

Now that I've made my nice comment for the week, enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Relish is Green...

Relish is green, an obvious statement. Mustard N Relish is going green... now that's news! The MNR team designs prints, and when necessary mails many projects for clients. How many trees does each one of those projects usually use? I hate to even do the research and come up with a number.

I have been fortunate to partner with Jim Sheets and his company, Printmasters in Greenville SC to make our printing projects better for the enviroment. When we use Printmasters for your print project, your pieces will be printed on recycled paper! Printmasters is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and implements a rigorous chain of custody paper practices that meets the demanding, audited, best practices standards of the most credible, internationally recognized paper certifying body in the printing industry. Printmasters is also certified by FSC, SFI and PEFC.

To personally show my support for socially responsible practices, I have joined Trees Greenville to buy and plant new trees in the Greenville area. If you're interested in learning more about the organization visit

Other steps we're taking at the Greenville office to be more socially responsible is using florescent lighting technology as well as implementing a strict recycling program with frequent trips to the Greenville County Recycling Center to make sure that the recycleables are properly discarded.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Exceed my expectations!

I'm a customer service nut. It's sad that sometimes when I make a purchase and I get exactly what I was promised I get excited. If I order a cheeseburger with no pickles, and they actually don't put any pickles on it I get excited. I really shouldn't... after all, if I'm paying someone for a product or service, shouldn't I get it as expected?

Now, what happened last night really was a true story of customer service! Scratch that... GREAT customer service! A late meeting here at the office resulted in having dinner out last night. After ordering at Outback (in Easley) our dinner arrives. My prime rib has a little more fat on it than usual, but you expect some fat on prime rib. Before I could even dig into it the manager was at the table with the news that another prime rib was ready for me in addition to the one that I already had. WOW! I hadn't said a word! That, is great customer service.

Now, when you're dealing with your clients - always make sure that a second hunk of prime rib is ready to be served, without being asked.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vulgar Commercials... my thoughts

By vulgar, I don't mean obscene. I mean a commercial that almost makes me sick to my stomach. There are more flashing lights than a disco and the music (loud obnoxious version of Hailt to the Chief) sounds like a Marilyn Manson concert. That's what I bring back from the GM Presidents Day televison spots. They run the same creative for Pontiac Buick and GMC, and for some reason the spots don't sit well with me. It's very harsh on my ears and the colors and flashing lights make me feel like I'm watching the Blair Witch Project. Apparently I'm not the only one, here are several links to message boards I've found with people who have no connection to the ad world that get the same feeling:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Something new...

I compare many business owners to a baby sitting in a dirty diaper. Babys don't necessarily mind sitting in a soiled nappy. It's comfortable to them, it's what they know. Business owners many times are very happy sitting in a soiled nappy because, after all - it's familair... and the answer to every question that challenges the status quo is "THATS THE WAY WE'VE ALWAYS DONE IT". I was excited about having a post up here tonight that would rival yestedays little ditty about changing up your marketing campaign with internet advertising.

Be patient, you'll have the goods tomorrow. Not from me, but from someone in the marketing industry that we all know and love.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Something Exciting!

Since Q4 of last year, I have been searching for new avenues to replace my clients dollars that have traditionally gone to print. Many of the monthly and trade pubs continue to bring great results for our client because of their targeted distribution. Newspapers however are becoming incresingly useless. It is my understanding that many of the larger news corporations are laying off local employees in favour of outsourcing jobs to India. So now, that news report you read, compiled by a person in India. That ad that you see that was designed by the newspaper, that might have been designed in India too. Who'da thunk it?!? My newspaper reps continue to come to me, not on a yearly basis but on a quarterly basis with rate increases. Yet the studies show that newspaper readership is down. Pay more for an ad that less people are going to see? So now, I digress. You'll find an entire post about my dislike of newspapers in a few days.

What are we advising our clients who have traditionally spent a portion of their ad budget in print? NEW media. WHO? New media... internet, texting viral etc. It's not for everyone, but it is pretty neat stuff. Let's take a client for example who wants to reach a 32 year old professional (male or female). How many 32 year olds have time to flip open their newspaper every morning and leisurely sip a piping hot cup of coffee? Not many. Studies show that the 32 year old professional we're talking about is logging online at work to read the headlines. Now here comes the "cool" part.

To reach this 32 year old professional we would purchase an ad on the website of the local media (maybe a tv station?) We can purcahse the ad for $X AMOUNT per thousand clicks. At the end of each week we can report back to our client exactly how many times their ad was viewed, and exactly how many people were interested enough to click on it and visit their website. Now there is something we could never offer our clients. Measureable results of how effective their message is!

Has this left you confused, with many questions about this could work for you? Maybe you're intrigued and want to find out a little more. Call me. Just like the government, we're here to help. Visit our website
864-230-1923 or 803-465-1637

Tomorrow, I'll give you another exciting media strategy we've scueesfully implemented for our clients!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Working With Your Agency 101

So you've never worked with an ad agency? Or maybe you have and your experience was less than desireable. This is an awesome article I read a few months back and shared with our clients. I'd love to hear your feedback or additional suggestions on how you get the most from your agency!

When you outsource marketing to an agency, you expect them to handle most of the work. But that doesn’t let you off the hook in your marketing, far from it.You remain a key partner with the agency, which means you have to be a great communicator … and that takes effort. See what the head of one marketing agency says they need from their clients to work effectively. Plus, tips on how to help your marketing by helping your agency.
Communication between your company and your marketing agency is critical. You need to tell them what’s working, what’s not and how your customers react so they can create the best possible marketing plan for you. And you need to heed your agency’s counsel.You might say: “Why wouldn’t I listen to my agency’s advice? After all, I hired them.” You would think that’s always the case, but ego and stubbornness often interfere. Rich Carr, Founder and CEO, Carr Knowledge, for instance, has had clients refuse his advice on many occasions. “You know, it’s almost as obvious as you know you have to drive on the right-hand side of the road and when the lights are red you need to stop. They were saying, ‘Well, you don’t necessarily have to drive on the right, and we don’t see lights.’ And it’s like, do you want to be in the car with them? Well, hell no. Go crash.” To avoid accidents, Carr has 10 strategies and suggestions on how clients can communicate better with their agencies:Give Your Agency Lots of InformationWhen you first hire a marketing agency, you must provide a great deal information. The more you provide, the more the agency can help you:->Tip #1. Have a goalThe first question Carr asks every new client is: “What are we celebrating this time next year?” This goal serves as the focal point around which an agency builds a marketing effort. It could be anything, including:o Increase sales o Boost market shareo Sell a certain producto Sell through a certain channelo OtherIf your goal is one of the above, make sure it’s tied to an exact percentage. Without that benchmark, your goal will be too vague to be targeted and met. “If you have no idea of where you’re going, you’re not going to get there. And if all the people that work for you don’t know what that goal is, then they’re just showing up at work and waiting until 5 o’clock to go home. Everybody has to be working for this goal,” Carr says.-> Tip #2. Hand over all your sales and marketing informationBefore you meet with the agency, have enough information to answer any questions they might have; it needs it to give you a thorough investigation. “To use an analogy, it’s as if you’re a high school athlete and I’m going to give you a physical,” Carr says. “I mean I’m going to know everything about your business.”This includes:o Prior marketing efforts, including duration, cost and ROIo Sales information broken down by source, location and itemo Know what types of marketing work for you and what don’t“Most businesses have their P&L [profit and loss statement], they live by their P&L,” Carr says. “And we can go through that and ask questions like, ‘What happened when you did this?’ ‘What are your best sales months?’ ‘What do you do during those months?’ ‘What do you say you’re doing during those months?’ I mean literally dissect everything that works.”When asking these questions, Carr and his clients often stumble into things that work better.->Tip #3. Leave your ego at homeBy hiring an agency, you’ve admitted that your marketing needs help. Keep your ego out of the relationship. Don’t withhold information that makes your earlier marketing look better or stronger. Provide accurate information and numbers. The more honest information you can provide, the more the agency can help.Offer FeedbackAfter your marketing plan is up and running, continue to provide feedback. This will help the agency discover new tactics and learn which campaigns are working and which aren’t.“Generally, they’re just discussions. Think of your doctor. You go in there, ‘How are you feeling.’ ‘Well, everything’s great, except when I do this, it hurts.’ It’s the same thing with marketing. We talk a lot, just like, ‘How are things going? How are you feeling about stuff? How’s this location?’ ” says Carr.Types of information an agency wants includes:- SalesYour sales figures are usually the first numbers most agencies want after your new marketing campaigns begin, Carr says. “We want to see what happens right away with the till, because, again, what we’re here to do is sell more stuff.”Keep track of your change in sales. Whether the change is positive, negative or flat, provide the information so the agency can adjust your marketing plan accordingly.- Company and customer buzzMany agencies involve every type of employee in a marketing campaign. For example, some of Carr’s restaurant clients have their wait staff collecting email addresses from customers. That’s a change in the customers’ and the employees’ experience, and it will cause a reaction.Whatever the reactions, pass them along to the agency. The information will help it implement future campaigns.- IdeasTypically, an agency is not in your office or in your stores, so it’s not in your environment. You have to be the eyes and ears for the agency. If there’s an event in your area that could be incorporated into marketing, for instance, pass the idea along. Is your competition doing something that you’re interested in? Send a quick email. Tell the agency about any ideas you have.“For example, Seattle is putting in this new street car, it’s like a trolley. It’s a big deal for Seattle, it’s nice. It ends up, one of our [restaurant] clients happens to be right toward the end of the line of the proposed street car route. He originally pinged us saying, ‘Hey, did you know they’re putting in a street car, and, you know, we should find out some information about it,’ because he’s in touch with that … [Now,] when the street car makes its first run here next week, it does not only end up right in front of his particular business, but he’s advertising in the street car, he’s on the street car maps, which are all over Seattle, and there’s an offer that once they get off the street car and come and eat at his place … they get a free appetizer. It’s little, but it just started with a ‘Hey, did you know.’ ”Send Ideas & ConcernsTo get into quick contact with your agency, the best way is to send an email.“I would say email is probably our primary communication tool. Clients say ‘Hey, I was thinking about this. … Take a look at this. … I think we should do this.’ ” Get some interchanges going back and forth. Schedule a conference call. If the conference call goes well, schedule a meeting. If the meeting goes well, implement the strategy and make it happen.“If you’re driving home and you’re stuck in rush-hour traffic, you look at a billboard for root beer -- and all of a sudden you’re thinking of a great way to sell. The greatest thing you can do with that little flash is call or email me what just happened and say, ‘You know, is there anything we can do with that?’ ”Listen to Your AgencyAgencies are hired usually because they know more about marketing than their clients – so, listen to your agency’s advice. Many marketers ignore common sense; they have a hard time letting go of favorite tactics.With one client, “it was one element of their email marketing campaign, where they wanted emails to go out [in a certain way]. Well, we know how to get an email delivered to an inbox. There are certain things you have to do. There are best practices. … [They started] getting bad flags from IPs because they’re sending out these giant images and PDFs … and their opt-out rates would increase every time an email went out. Eventually, we just said we’re done,” says Carr.“We found it much easier to, rather than fight with a client like that ... just get rid of them and spend that time and resource on somebody who does want to improve.”

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Advertising, Marketing, Food & Music

Over the past two years Mustard N Relish has published a monthly newsletter, The Mustard N Relish "Catch-Up" sent out to our clients, vendors and friends. There is always something exciting happening with our team and with our clients and we love sharing that. However, the MNR team has been taking a strong look at being a better steward of our enviroment. Rather than printing and mailing over 200 newsletters every month, welcome to my blog. We're saving a few trees and saving a couple bucks on postage too! Be sure to check in at least once a day for a post, sometimes more than once if we deem something too exciting to wait! Our daily posts will include thoughts on local and national ad campaigns, important marketing and public relations news you can use as well as personal thoughts and reviews on restaurants, music and businesses.

Please make sure to post comments, add information, ask questions or just say hi. Again, welcome to the blog of Bo McDonald, the "grumpy ad man" from Mustard N Relish.