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Archive for July, 2005

The Internet Marketer?s Hall of Fame

July 29th, 2005 by Bob Bly

Readers of this blog liked The Copywriter?s Hall of Fame so much, let?s do another.

Below, in no particular order, are my picks for today?s most influential and successful Internet marketers:

1. Corey Rudl (deceased).
2. Yanik Silver.
3. Terry Dean.
4. Jim Edwards.
5. Joe Vitale.
6. Rich Scheffren.
7. Marlon Sanders.
6. Yanik Silver.
7. David Garfinkle.
8. Maria Veloso.
9. Alex Mandossian.
10. Joel Christopher.
11. Marc Stockman.
12. Tom Antion.
13. Fred Gleeck.
14. Peter Schaible.
15. Don Nicholas.

Do you agree? Any you would add to the list or delete from the list?


Category: Online Marketing | 117 Comments »

Are Customer Surveys a Waste of Time?

July 26th, 2005 by Bob Bly

It sounds like a good idea: survey customers to find out what they want, and then let their answers shape your product development and marketing.

But in reality, it?s often a bust.

A case in point: according to an article in BusinessWeek (8/1/05, p. 38), in 2002 the Gap began an intensive program of focus groups, surveys, and other market research.

But in the fiscal quarter ending 4/30/05, sales fell 4% ? and analysts expect them to drop another 2% for the quarter ending on 7/30/05.

The reason: eight former employees and two analysts say the Gap ?has shifted too far toward research and away from the instinct and emotion favored by many successful clothing merchandisers.?

My question is: how much time and money do YOU spend on customer surveys and other market research? And how strongly do the answers influence your product development and marketing?


Category: General | 220 Comments »

The Copywriter?s Hall of Fame

July 21st, 2005 by Bob Bly

I am frequently asked, ?Who do you think is the best copywriter working today??

So what better place than my blog to answer that question?

Here, in no particular order, are the copywriters I think are the best in the business today:

1. Clayton Makepeace.
2. Jim Reutz.
3. Parris Lampropolous.
4. David Deutsch.
5. Gary Bencivenga.
6. Dick Sanders.
7. Arthur Johnson.
8. Don Mahoney.
9. Paul Hollingshead.
10. Jim Punkre.

To be included on the list, you have to be a copywriter as your primary job function.

Therefore, there are some great copywriters who didn?t make the list because they focus on other tasks, such as running successful businesses.

These include Michael Masterson and Bill Bonner, both of whom would top the list if they became full-time copywriters tomorrow.

But please jump in ? and give me YOUR opinion.

Which names on the list do you agree with?

Who do you think should be added?


Category: General | 117 Comments »

Why I Never Enter Advertising Competitions

July 20th, 2005 by Bob Bly

Today I received an e-mail from American Business Media inviting me to submit (for a $135 fee) an ad I had written for an awards competition.

The prize? A ?Creative Excellence in Business Advertising? (CEBA) award.

A panel of eight judges ? seven ad agency types and one ?creative consultant? (note: not an advertiser among them) ? would pick a winner based on ? you guessed it ? which ad they thought was most ?creative.?

I have news for you CEBA committee members?.

We direct marketers submit our ads ? and mailings, and online marketing campaigns ? in a contest every day.

It?s called ?commerce.? The judges are the consumers who buy (or don?t buy) our products based on our ads. And the prize they award is their hard-earned cash.

So, CEBA, you can keep your plaque, or trophy, or whatever. Or give it to the branding guys who enter your hokey competition.

We direct marketers will settle for making the cash register ring ? a much better sound than the applause of ad agency ?creatives? ? don?t you agree?


Category: Advertising | 78 Comments »

Are Magazines Obsolete?

July 19th, 2005 by Bob Bly

No, says Richard Notorianni, Executive Creative Director of Media, Euro RSCG, MVBMS Partners in an interview with Circulation Management (8/05, 0. 10).

?Worldwide, information is ubiquitous,? says Notorianni. ?You can access it any time, any where. Magazines create perspective and knowledge and are enhanced by the chaos around them. The well-edited magazine is a force [in the market].?

What about you? Do you think the Internet makes magazines redundant? Do you turn to the Internet for all or most of your information needs?

Or do you still read magazines ? and find that they indeed add a perspective and knowledge that?s lacking in Web content?


Category: General, Writing and the Internet | 125 Comments »

Want to Get Rich Writing?

July 13th, 2005 by Bob Bly

By now almost everyone knows how Stephen King wrote his stories and novels while living in poverty in a trailer on a hill in Maine, with a typewriter propped up on his knees as he sat in the space next to the boiler.

According to Parade magazine, King earned $52.4 million last year.

But before you decide to get rich writing novels, talk to Lance Marcum, whose first novel, ?The Cottonmouth Club,? was recently published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

In an interview with Writer?s Digest (August 2005, p. 17), Marcum said: ?For nearly four years, I spent every available moment writing, sacrificing more than 4,000 hours of free time.?

Based on that labor, his earnings on the book so far come to a measly $1.50 per hour — far below minimum wage.

Only a few folks get rich writing novels. Most novelists can?t even make a living.


Category: General | 64 Comments »

HP, Stop Sending Bad Messages to My Kids!

July 12th, 2005 by Bob Bly

My kids are impressionable video game addicts and tech junkies, so you can imagine my dismay at the latest TV commercial from Hewlett Packard.

The spot shows college students in a classroom listening to a professor giving a science lecture.

Voice-over narration suggests that with an HP Pavillion Notebook, you can sit in class, but instead of paying attention to the teacher, listen to music or watch DVDs.

That?s good for HP, who will sell more notebooks to kids motivated to get them for this reason; not so good for the students or the parents footing the tuition bill.

Do any of you have a similar reaction to the HP commercial and its negative message? Or am I being too much of a crank here?


Category: General | 99 Comments »

Direct Marketing vs. Branding: Round 2

July 1st, 2005 by Bob Bly

In my last post, several branding types argued that direct marketers should listen more to branding folks and follow their lead.

May I humbly suggest that maybe it should be the other way around ? because we direct marketers know how to sell ? and branding types don?t?

A case in point: General Motors.

You know all the trouble GM has been in lately; it?s made front page headlines for weeks.

But according to an article in The Week (7/1/05, p. 38), GM?s new marketing campaign is turning things around for the company ? raising market share from 25.8% to over 30%.

Did they do this by leveraging the power of the GM brand, built with decades of expensive branding type advertising?


They did it, like a direct marketer, with an OFFER ? an “employee’s discount offer” … giving car buyers the same discounted prices that GM employees receive.

And that?s why I?m a direct marketer and not a branding guy.


Category: Branding, Direct Marketing | 169 Comments »