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Shifting from reactive to proactive customer service that sells

Recently, Software Advice hosted an online debate called: “Is Customer Service the New Marketing?” The discussion highlighted customers’ increasing disillusionment with traditional advertising; and as a result, the importance of customer service as a market differentiator. The average consumer is bombarded with thousands of commercial messages per day. That’s a lot of clutter to cut […]

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Acumen Fund

Nonprofits must differentiate or die

It’s not a fear tactic deployed by marketing agencies to scare the bejesus out of nonprofits. It is, in fact, a hard truth about the nature of the nonprofit sector. Dissimilar, indistinctive and alike will get you killed in any fiercely competitive, over-saturated market – let alone the nonprofit sector. In today’s market, nonprofits (and […]

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Business Cards: The Forgotten Powerhouse of Marketing

In our digital age most people forget that a business card is still a significant marketing tool. Why spend money on a business card if you can exchange contact info on your iPhone? Because your business card is tangible. It conveys your brand personality. It may be the first impression your customer sees of your […]

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Marketing lingerie to tweens: Responsible or not?

Au Revoir Fruit of the Loom. Your plain cotton briefs and boring training bras are of the past. Welcome to a new generation of tween and teen undergarments. Sorry, faux pas. I meant to say, lingerie. Yes, lingerie geared towards teens and tweens is on your store shelves. It’s a $1.5 billion a year and […]

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Add positioning to your menu—and hold the carbs

I wrote this years ago. While my eating habits have changed, my opinion on the subject has not. Enjoy. – – – I miss lunch most days. When I do, I usually end up gnawing on a low-carb Atkins bar—much to the amusement of my colleagues (yes, I’m one of those people). So, when I […]

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15 things we learned in 15 years – the hard way

  To commemorate Outsource Marketing’s 15th Anniversary, last fall we decided it might be fun—and a little cathartic—to think about the things we’ve learned since 1997. We’ve learned a lot, but narrowed it to the following list, in no particular order: “Safe” is dangerous. Safe is invisible amid info glut. Safe fails. Creative must be […]

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Coke vs. Pepsi

The Pepsi vs. Coke social good smackdown

When Coke and Pepsi start being judged by their social responsibility as much as their taste (and their ads), you’ll know Responsible Marketing has arrived, right? Well, that time has come. The Huffington Post recently ran an online poll pitting Pepsi’s Refresh Project Vs. Coke’s Live Positively campaigns. The associated article does a great job […]

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How Ford made me reconsider my auto buying habits

I’ve owned dozens of cars, and like a lot of people, most have been Japanese or German. So when I turned in my leased Honda and started the hunt for a new hybrid, I drove the Toyota Prius, Camry and Highlander Hybrids, the new Honda Insight and a Lexus RX 400h. The Prius felt underpowered […]

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Skittles Twitter homepage: Responsible or not?

Skittles, the chewy, fruit-flavored candy from Mars, Inc. has jumped into social media in an innovative new way: They have coded their website so their navigation now floats over three of the most popular social media websites. Skittles.com is now nothing more than a navigation box floating over the Twitter search results for the term […]

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A-Rod deals another blow to the MLB brand

Few professional athletes have ever been bigger than George Herman “Babe” Ruth. His achievements on the baseball field were epic, garnering him the nicknames “The Sultan of Swat,” “The Colossus of Clout,” “The Titan of Terror,” “The King of Crash,” and of course, “The Great Bambino.” Arguably, the greatest player in the game today is […]

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Is smoking bad for your business?

We all know smoking is bad for your health, but is it bad for your business, too? Here are three examples where, at the very least, the customer experience was damaged by a company’s lackadaisical smoking policies: Yesterday, two of my co-workers saw a cool bakery truck that caught their attention. The driver had on […]

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Marketing, advertising and PR are not equals

I love and hate this: I love it because of it’s simple, it’s funny and it’s true. But I hate it because it perpetuates the myth that marketing, advertising and PR are all in some way equals. They aren’t. Let me explain: You meet two people at a holiday party: Beth works in the marketing […]

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Burger King Flame: Body spray of seduction

Burger King—fresh from a beating in the blogosphere for their Whopper Virgins campaign—has snapped back. They’re back on brand with the King and Burger King Flame, the “body spray of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” Yes, it’s real, but it’s sold out. Of course, it’s not about the body spray, it’s about creating […]

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I want a 404 goat. You should too.

The dreaded 404 Not Found message. Not quite the blue screen of death, but definitely unwelcome when you are trying to find something on the Internet. The 404 page isn’t something you are looking for—it’s a web page you typically receive when you land on a page that’s been deleted or removed. From a marketing […]

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Is Whistler-Blackcomb email marketing responsible?

On Monday, I received a message from Whistler Blackcomb to inform me of the open dates for each of the mountains. I don’t recall signing up to receive these notifications, but I was there last season and might have provided my email address somewhere to someone. No matter. I didn’t mind receiving the message, and […]

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McDonald’s zags with new concept store

At a time when most companies are looking for ways to extend their brand to gain a greater share of the customer’s wallet, McDonalds has “secretly” introduced Quarter Pounder, a new concept store in Japan that sells only Quarter Pounders. That’s right, you can get a Quarter Pounder, or a Double Quarter Pounder, fries and […]

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Will the economy kill creativity?

Breaking through the clutter amid consumer cynicism and information overload requires creativity. Creativity comes in all forms. It can be beautiful, disturbing, fascinating, shocking, heartwarming, awe-inspiring, scary, fun—you get the point. We all know that creativity isn’t always easy to sell. Sometimes it’s the budget. Other times it’s inertia. But whatever it is, experiencing something […]

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