Friday, May 02, 2008

Love what you do. Do that. Hire people who love what they do to make you money.

Update: I'm not actually getting paid for this post unless the good people at Pepperjam send me a tip. Apparently I forgot to click the "reserve this post" button. Well, I can hope for tips. Meanwhile, this post says exactly what I had in mind, so I'm stickin' to it.

I was unable to clip the vid at Pepperjam, so I really want to twist your arm to do that. Hint to folks at PepperJam. Never preclude the possibility of viral publicity. This vid should be as accessible as anything on Google or YouTube.

clipped from

Unlike most agencies that offer expertise limited to one vertical, Pepperjam offers extensive professional consultation and management services across multiple areas of search-engine marketing (Pay-Per-Click / SEO), affiliate marketing, and online media planning and management.

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We have all seen the offenses committed by people who don't believe they need marketing expertise; an offense often committed by a person who would not be fool enough to think that a receptionist existed just to answer the phones. Your marketing strategy, techniques and chosen markets tell people what sort of person you are. From that first introduction, they will or will not consider doing business with you. EVER!

I often shop at a store that sells overstock and the inventory of businesses that, alas, are no longer, and I often see blatant examples of this sort of thing. For instance - tuna in a can, crackers, a knife and a napkin - nice little instant lunch, right?

And so they said - with graphics and packaging that strongly suggested a personal hygene product. Any decent marketing consultant could have saved this product to successfully compete with Star-Kist along with asking the obvious question - who are you to try and compete with Star-Kist with the exact same product?

But this product didn't get that far - at least, not within my demographic. I probably would have noticed.

The fact is that, for all the books and advice written about marketing, it is an intuitive art; one that takes a certain sort of mind to begin with, and then a great deal of time and education making expensive mistakes on other people's dime. The more volatile the market is, the more this is true, except for the exceptions.

Do you know what the exceptions are? I can give you examples of exceptions - like Coke, like Tootsie Roll, like Gold Bond Powder.

Coke, of course, is the poster child for not screwing with an established brand identity, with it's "New Coke," although I happen to think that Pepsi Clear was a runner-up in the "dumb marketing ideas." I call it a near runner up because that's the sort of product that might actually have paid off - with a little better marketing. Clear Pepsi is weird, and it doesn't taste any different than Pepsi. Clear Pepsi with Rum is a clear Cuba Libre - which could have taken the umbrella bars by storm.

New Coke? Well, a good friend of mine, a professional dominatrix and former prostitute had a pithy phrase for this exact thing, which is worthy of it's own acronym.

DFWTM. "Don't [Screw] With The Money."

She was speaking of moving in with a base player, developing a coke habit, or risking your capital. It's funny how people on the edge of being poor have values that are starkly similar to those of very rich people. Neither believe in screwing with their capital assets. In her case, the "assets" were literally the left cheek and the right. She took the ideal extremely personally.

Which is exactly what Coke did, in trying to replace it's formula with "New Coke."

Now, if you are a marketer, these are probably pretty lame, prosaic or even inaccurate examples. You see, I'm a really good example of the sort of person who absolutely SHOULD hire a marketer. I know just enough to be dangerous.

In fact, it's probably true that if I did not love what I actually do more, I could learn to be really good at marketing. It's SO tempting to think that means "I could become good enough to do this myself."

But the fact is, really successful people and really successful companies have gotten that way not because they are "adequte," but because they focus on exellence in their core area of expertiese, and then seek out, track down and if needful, tranqillize and kidnap the flavor of obsessive geek that they need.

See video: Is it not true that the CEO of Pepperjam is the sine qua non of the well-fed, smugly successful geek? Well, that's precisely the sort of marketing geek you want. If he's as geeky as I suspect, he WILL annoy the crap out of you, but if he's as smart as I suspect, he will hire people to interface for him. People, whom I suspect, who understand that having blonde streaks and a smile adds 10% to their bottom line.

That is the sort of expertise you want on your side.

You may have noticed that I have said very little about Pepperjam, the company. Well, that's because I don't have to. At most, I would have needed 100 words plus a link to their video - and that would have been more than they had asked ME for.

But then, I don't take paid posts unless they can become one of MY posts.

The next post in this series will be a general unpaid post about the economics, ethics and reasons for monetizing a website in the first place, based on my experience in print and online journalism.

In order to make all these posts appear in the proper, top-down order, I'm backdating all the posts I make today, so that they appear below the first, explanatory post. I mention this because I do not ordinarly do this, but for today, I'm going to consider today's posting to be a whole which will be linked and promoted as such. In other words, if you are reading as I'm writing, the next post will be below THIS post.

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