Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mac vs PC Videos

Enjoy these videos of the TV ads that feature the "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC." guys.

Terrific examples of marketing by being different from the competition with your promotion and highlighting your product differences. It's creative, bold and memorable. And have you noticed that Mac is gaining marketing share?

George Torok


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barketing warning signs

Warning Signs of Barketing

As good as brand x
Clients speak of you in terms of being “as good as brand x”. That suggests that they see no noticeable difference between you. It’s a danger sign when your staff confides this to clients. Of course the death knoll is when you say it.

You choose to advertise where you competition is
The ad rep taunts you with the words, “Your competition will be there”. Your blood boils - you immediately take the bait and sign up.

Your marketing appears to be an echo of the competition
Do you design your ads while looking at the competition? Change a colour and the contact information? Might a prospect look or listen to your promotions and not distinguish between you – if not for the name?

Twins - people get you confused
Clients call you by the name of your competition. A colleague introduces you incorrectly by citing your competition’s product line. You receive prospect calls for the competition and find yourself saying “No, that’s not our program.”

Your brand is indistinguishable from the competition
Is your differentiation summarized in terms of colour? You’re the blue. They’re the gray. Do your slogans and tag lines sound similar to the competition?

You get locked in one-upmanship with your competition
They announce a 15% price reduction and you respond with an 18% reduction (and hold your breath). You hold a donut and coffee day and they volley back with a pancake breakfast. They give away an Ipod and you consider giving an Iphone.

The market is growing but not for you
New competitors are growing but in a different space of the market. They are avoiding your overcrowded customer space and harvesting more profitable specialized niches. You are so focused on your established but perhaps fuzzy target market that you ignore the newer opportunities and miss the rising threats. If you don’t watch out you might be blindsided.

The above is an excerpt from the next marketing article for Enterprise Magazine. Read the full article by subscribing to Enterprise magazine. George Torok has been contributing a marketing column to this magazine for over a decade.

George Torok
Marketing Myths
Marketing Speaker


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thank you for shopping

"Thank you for shopping"

Imagine how nice it feels to hear that phrase of appreciation while you are paying for your purchase. (Giving up your money.)

Do you remember the last time you heard that phrase?

I heard it just the other day. Isn't that nice? Maybe, because I heard it not from a person but from a machine. The self-check out machine thanked me for shopping at the store. Although the person who came over to help me when I ran into a problem only gave me a look of "How stupid can you be?"

I don't like using the self-check out machine for several reasons all related to how annoying I find them. I only use them because the lines are shorter. But at least it says thank you. And that is something few people are saying as I give them my money.

Isn't that interesting? Stores are programing their machines to say "Thank you" while neglecting to train their staff to say the same thing or to show appreciation for the customer period.

Didn't they hear about the recession?

It costs nothing to remind staff to treat customers like guests (the Disney model).

Repeat after me, "Thank you". How difficult is that. By the way when you give me my change back - that was already my money - I might thank you but I don't need to.

When I give you my money to buy from your store I am supporting your job.

A warm thank you would be appreciated.

Handling me back my change while saying "There you go" is a long way from "Thank you for shopping."

George Torok
Marketing Expert
Marketing Speaker
Canadian Business Speaker


Friday, September 11, 2009

Grand Parents Day

Sunday September 13 is Grand Parents day. Do something nice for your grandparents.

Here is a good example of filling the valleys in your business cycles.

In the flower business you probably have four main sources of income:
  • Mother's Day
  • Valentines Day
  • Weddings
  • Funnerals

What can you do to fill in the valleys between?

Find other days or events to leverage your business. Ken Bolt of Brant Florist in Burlington, ON is a savy online marketer. Check out his website at

He promoted Grand Parents Day on his website and sent colorful reminders by email to his list. Most likely Grand Parents Day won't come close to Mother's Day for flower sales but I bet that it will be better for Ken Bolt than most others.

What creative promotions can you do to fill in your valleys?

George Torok
Marketing Expert and Author
Marketing Speaker


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Power Marketing Tip 27: Be Unfair

Power Marketing Tip 27:
Be Unfair

Dominate your market by being unfair to your competition.

Make it tough for them to compete against you. Don't be unkind or mean. Just offer your clients so much value that your competition screams, "That's not fair!"

Your strongest competition these days might be the economy. My guess is that it's not treating you fairly. In my opinion the bailout of GM and Chrysler and the executive payouts are not fair. Don't believe that you need to play fair with your competition.

How can you be more unfair to your competition?
Offer more value than your competition. Add some extra piece of value that costs you little but might be perceived as offering incredible value to your clients. That might be including service that everyone else charges for. It might mean offering an unheardof guarantee.

Break some "unwritten" industry rule. Every industry has unwritten rules that have evolved over time that annoy clients. That might mean online ordering, around the clock access or a simplified process. Look to technology to help you with these enhancements.

Educate the clients about the industry. This could be a variation of the previous point. By educating clients about the industry secrets you help to develop a better educated and thus more discerning buyer. You could make a list of tough questions for buyers to ask when they shop around. Those questions might catch your competition off-balance. Naturally you and your team are well prepared to handle those questions.

Form alliances with sellers of related services. Partner with other suppliers to your clients. Together you can offer a more comprehensive service and get your foot in the door with your clients ahead of your competition.
You might even criticize your competition. Pepsi did this with their blind taste tests against Coke. That campaign was so successful that it firmly established Pepsi as the taste leader. The program even unnerved Coke to blunder into the mistake of launching New Coke.

Are you ready to dominate your market? Go ahead - be unfair!

George Torok
Power Marketing

PS: Tell me how this marketing tip helps you.
PPS: Forward this tip to your associates.

George Torok
Marketing Speaker
Marketing Expert and Author


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Offensive Roofers

Roofers: Why are they so obnoxious?
It’s happened more that once. A neighbor is getting their roof re-shingled. It’s normal to hear the sound of hammers or staple guns. I understand that.

Why do we need to hear the blaring sound of a radio station? The guys doing the shingle work seem to be twenty-something so their taste in music is very different from mine. They open the doors of the truck and blast the radio so they can listen while they are hammering on the roof.


Don’t they realize that they are marketing?

I make a mental note of the company name and resolved not to hire them.

If you and your staff don’t care about offending me and my neighbors – I don’t want to hire you.

When I meet with my clients I don’t walk in with a boom box and play my music while we discuss whether they will hire me.

If you are my neighbor you have the right to enjoy the music that you like. You don’t have the right to inflect your music on me.

If you are a contractor you have the right to do your job. You don’t have the right to assault me with unnecessary noise that I might find offensive.

If you are a contractor, you pay your workers to work – not to be entertained.

If you want to find any more business in this neighborhood you better be nice to the neighborhood.

George Torok