thinglass /

In 1945, the author of my 10th grade English grammar book wrote, “A democracy needs citizens with skill in listening, reading, thinking, and the precise, forceful expression of their ideas.”

Nearly 70 years later, I’m told that grammar really isn’t important any more. They say that as long as you can understand what someone says, it’s not important if he or she can’t recognize a subject from an object of a preposition.


Every company in the world operates in the shadow of obsolescence. Its markets always are in a state of flux: they’re either growing, or they’re shrinking.

No product, much less any brand, enjoys expanding markets forever, and when markets cease growing, it is only a matter of time before they shrink. This undeniable pattern is why every company needs at least one person to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to apply his company’s assets to the creation of new, customer-satisfying uses.

From recent experiences, airline service can’t get much worse than Delta. Nevertheless, Delta also is the classic example of real, heads-up marketing at work.

It’s because Delta turned over its marketing to one of those rare guys who actually knows what marketing really is. His name is Tim Mapes, and listen to some of his marketing strategies and tactics.

Richard Alley

It’s Christmas in August. The temperature hovering close to 90 degrees doesn’t testify to this. But the ringing of the cash register does. Another telltale sign? The children’s palpable sense of diminished expectations. 

Back to school time is Christmas without the merry.

That’s how parents view it, of course. For children, the thought of being allowed to accompany us to the Wal-Marts and Targets as we hunt for school supplies is like being given a private tour of Santa’s workshop.

SAP is a multinational software corporation with annual revenue of over $15 billion. What kind of special person and background does it take to be CEO of such a giant, sophisticated company?

alexmak /

There’s always been a thin line between the definition of a shrewd business policy and an unethical policy.

It’s shrewd business from his perspective if a car salesman doesn’t disclose a problem with the car that he knows exists. Billions of dollars in derivatives were sold: it was a shrewd financial product. Was it unethical that most derivative sellers didn’t explain what customers really were buying? In many cases the sellers didn’t know themselves what they were selling.

I'm not sure everyone wants to be loved. But I'm certain everyone wants to feel important. To feel needed.

ivicaNS /

Whenever I hear of a real case of marketing, it inspires me. I want to tell everyone who thinks marketing is just a synonym for advertising and promotion.

Television network CNN ranked 23rd last year in advertising revenue among basic cable networks. Spending $379 million dollars placed it behind networks such as Syfy and Bravo. It turns out that most people tune into CNN only in the case of big news events.

tillkost /

You wonder why every car dealer TV ad is followed by an ambulance-chasing lawyer ad … is followed by a car dealer ad … is followed by an ambulance-chasing lawyer ad … is followed by . . . you get the point.

Business categories become commodities when consumers no longer identify a meaningful difference between brands. When that happens, the only difference a brand can create is in advertising. Better advertising than others, or, as in most cases, more advertising.

Every sales person knows that to make a sale, there must be a need, a perceived need, or a desire. If you’re selling a solution, there must be a problem, and the buyer must be aware of the problem.

The quickest way to make potential customers aware of a problem is to brand the problem. Turn the problem into a brand. That’s what Lifebuoy Soap did 75 years ago.