Monday, November 24

I Miss Black Friday




(this post also appears at Huffington Post, click here to read it there

I know I'm going to date myself here, but I remember a day when "Black Friday" meant something.

I was in high school, working at the local JCPenney ... first in the Catalog Department and then in Men's.  This was a time when we were taught at work; a time when we had mentors and we learned the trade.  It was an amazing experience because I was schooled in all things retail and customer service, and I learned how to navigate the choppy waters of dealing with "the public."  I also learned about the financials of retail, including sales, markdowns, and returns.

Back then, "Black Friday" was typically the calendar day that most retailers finally turned a profit for the year.  Since most retail sales, at least back then, happened during the holidays and at back to school, this was a pivotal turning point for retail financials.  Plus it was a huge volume/traffic day because everyone was home from school/college and families would start their Christmas shopping, together.  I know every year I went out with my parents which always included a fun lunch out, together.

"Black Friday" was organic back then.  Retailers didn't fabricate the day, shoppers turned it into a retail holiday and retailers embraced them.  It was driven by the shoppers, nothing else.

Then somewhere along the say, it turned into a fiasco. Competing sales, shifting store hours, fights at displays ... "Black Friday" got really messed up.  And now of course, it's no longer even Friday.  For the last few years it's trickled into Thanksgiving Thursday, and now this year the trend seems to be "Black Friday" all week long.  I swear I saw sales starting last week even!

It makes this professional shopper and retail lover want to stay home.  In fact I will stay home, or shop online, which is why Cyber Monday has become such a hit.  Sorry, correction ... Cyber Week because that too has become a
week long event that's not even waiting for Monday anymore.

It's all so .... exhausting.  Can't we just celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, and then go shopping on the next day for a nice day out together?  I miss that.  I miss the old "Black Friday."

What's your experience?  JIM

Sunday, November 23

What's the Price?


No matter what business you're in, it's assumed that you're the expert.  Particularly if you're a small business owner.

Are there minimum requirements?  I'd say so ... I explored the topic for Entrepreneur.

Give a click here if you'd like to read it.

What's your experience?  JIM

Thursday, November 20

A Meet-Up with NYC Dads Group

I had the immense pleasure of meeting up with the NYC Dads Group ... truly eye opening.

I expressed my feelings on Huffington Post.  Click here to give it a read.

All I'm going to say is that we've/I've come a long way!  What's your experience?  JIM

Tuesday, November 18

Together!

Now this is a brand experience!

This has to be, IMHO, one of the most inspiring pieces of sports film I have seen.

The sense of community, the feeling of commitment, the ownership of responsibility, and the not so subtle notion of giving back is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Proof that sports can build a community, and that one man can make a difference.

This puts sports marketing on an entirely different level for me.

Take a look at let me know ...


... what's your experience?  JIM

Monday, November 17

Data is Not an Insight

I have a little pet peeve when it comes to developing marketing programs.  It's been bugging me, so I decided to write about it for Entrepreneur.

Data is not an insight, nor is an insight a strategy.

Give a click here to give it a read.

Tell me, what's your experience?  JIM.

Thursday, November 13

#HolidayBuds

Well the holiday season is upon us.  In case you wouldn't have known otherwise, the quick ramp up of holiday marketing certainly has certainly kicked in.

All the major retailers are picking up the pace, in anticipation of Black Friday.  Or in Walmart's case, the gradual spreading out of Black Friday.  They announced this week that their big deals won't be exclusive to that one day, but rather spread out over the week.  Good call.

So far my favorite campaign, and it is still early in the season, is the new #HolidayBuds effort from Budweiser.

They've launched a vintage wooden crates timed to the holiday season.  There are only 10,000 of them, so if you are lucky enough to be able to pick one up, the brand is encouraging you to snap a shot and post it on social media.  But of course.

The limited edition crates are just one decoration on this holiday campaign, as the brand is looking to reunite old friends to spend the holiday together.

#HolidayBuds

Get it?  This kind of sentimentality is traditional for this brand, we've come to love and expect it.

A new video/advertising intros the concept with real folks looking to get reacquainted with their friends, encouraging others to do the same.  The brand will fund a number of "reunions" as part of the gig ... sure to generate lots of content that will bring holiday smiles to our faces.



This is the stuff of great holiday marketing.

What's your experience?  JIM

Tuesday, November 11

A Tribute to Sophie, My Fur Kid


I wrote a tribute to our beloved French Bulldog, Sophie, who passed away on 10/28/14.  I felt like she deserved a fitting goodbye from me.

Click here to give it a read.

Forever Sophie.  December 2002 - October 2014

Victoria's Secret, Perfect


I literally just wrote an article for Huffington Post about the incredible shopping experience at Victoria's Secret.   You can read about it here, if you'd like ... and then bam, the brand is in the news.

Despite my sincere respect for the company's in-store environment and services, I have struggled for years with their branding and marketing.  Not so much as a marketer, but as a consumer.  Or should I say the father of a consumer.

But my daughter and I have been able to put that aside given how much the sales associates help their clientele, including both of us, in store.  We don't relate to the imagery, just to the customer service and the strength of the product lines.

Which is why I wasn't surprised to hear about the latest upset over the brand's new campaign touting "the perfect body."  The brand is nothing if it's not consistent.

But this time around the brand responded to its critics, its very vocal critics, and changed the messaging.
Now the campaign reads "a body for every body."

Well played, and probably where the brand should be sitting anyway.  Interesting, the brand didn't outwardly say that they made the change, they just quietly made it online.  To me, they should take some credit for listening to their consumers.

Now some are upset that not everything has changed yet, including the in-store displays that still say "the perfect body."  But I say, "all in due time."  Let's hope anyway.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Monday, November 10

Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Terms

We tend to toss around business terms like they don't mean much ... just a buzzword here and there.

But the truth is that some of them are very important for defining your business and marketing to your customers.

So I wrote this quick little guide for Entrepreneur Magazine.

Give it a click here if you'd like to read it.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Thursday, November 6

#technologyandstuff


This is already old news, given that it's been a week since the story first broke.  That's dog years in social media.

But the point isn't lost on me at all, and in fact there's a lesson to be learned in here that is timeless.

Back people up!

Click here to read an article if wrote for Huffington Post about #technologyandstuff.  Let me know what you think.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Wednesday, November 5

A Senior Parents' Weekend

I went to my fourth and final Parents' Weekend this Fall to visit my daughter at Penn State.  She's now a senior and already planning for what's next.

I expected the usual orientations, sporting events, and College Ave shopping ... but I got a lot more.

So I wrote about it on Huffington Post.  Give it a click here to read.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Monday, November 3

A Study on Authentic Brands


My agency, Cohn & Wolfe, just launched its third annual study on Authentic Brands.

Entrepreneur Magazine was kind enough to let me write an article about it.  I highlighted a couple points that I found most interesting to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Click here if you'd like to give it a read.

What's your experience?  JIM.