Points of View
There's no such thing as a free lunch, but our ideas are on the house.
- The sorry state of contemporary websites: A non-developer’s assessment
Your firm’s website should be viewed as the mother ship of your marketing program.October 15, 2019 Read More
- Digital marketing: Strategic solution or just another shiny object?
Digital marketing capabilities are often more seductive than they are effective.August 27, 2019 Read More
- My six personal pet peeves about marketing & advertising trends
Thom Villing shares six practices that diminish a marketer’s brand.July 02, 2019 Read More
- Advertising creativity: Light at the end of the tunnel or…
Villing & Company president, Thom Villing, shares recent examples of strong creative in advertising.June 18, 2019 Read More
- Boomers don’t get the buzz but they’re still paying the bills
When it comes to spending, the boomer generation is “where the action is.”June 07, 2019 Read More
- Five frequently missed marketing opportunities for professional services
Amid our day-to-day responsibilities, it is easy to temporarily lose sight of the fact that marketing needs to be a sustained and nurtured process.May 03, 2019 Read More
- What influencer marketing is and what it should be: The Contrarian strikes again.
Marketers frequently overlook opportunities to access third party referral sources as a means of extending their brand messaging.April 23, 2019 Read More
- The spring of our content: A compelling tool for professional services marketing
When you demonstrate that your organization has a high level of expertise, you are more likely to get referrals.March 22, 2019 Read More
- Disruption. A marketing executive’s view on the future of newspapers.
Readers and advertisers alike need to be given a reason to believe in the power of the local press.March 08, 2019 Read More
- If consumer attention spans are shrinking, who is to blame?
Bloated and uninteresting content is the reason consumers aren’t engaged in our marketing messages, not goldfish-like attention spans.February 26, 2019 Read More
- Strategic & memorable: Creativity’s missing ingredients
I have always believed truly creative marketing requires a unique blend of memorability and strategy.January 24, 2019 Read More
- “Still I look to find a reason to believe”
It is not reasonable to expect consistent success without providing the target audience with validation for the action you wish them to take.December 07, 2018 Read More
- Moneyball marketing
Data-driven tactics are great but they are no substitute for having a carefully constructed strategic plan.October 26, 2018 Read More
- The end is near: The impending death of TV advertising
Whatever happened to smart advertising?September 06, 2018 Read More
- Sometimes conventional marketing wisdom isn’t so wise.
As marketers (and consumers) we have an obligation to question conventional wisdom.July 27, 2018 Read More
- Stop the world, I want to get off.
There is a certain pleasure in finding the key to successfully unlock a particularly challenging KPI. And when you do, everyone is happy and inspired.June 15, 2018 Read More
- What’s love got to do with it? (The cold truth about branding)
We must engage the consumer in interesting and compelling new ways.April 06, 2018 Read More
- Co-branding: Choose your partners wisely
When it comes to picking a marketing partner, we would all do well to remember the advice our parents gave us. Choose our friends wisely.March 02, 2018 Read More
- Super Bowl Commercials: This Year the Fans Got It Right (Almost)
Villing & Company president Thom Villing breaks down the best and the worst from the ads that aired during Super Bowl LII.February 06, 2018 Read More
- Don't Concede The Branding Game To The Big Guys
How does a credit union or community bank create a strong brand?January 19, 2018 Read More
- Bullet Points Aren’t Always Silver: The Contrarian Strikes Again
From my experience, it’s rather difficult to be human, personable and engage in genuine relationship building with a series of bullet points and a formulaic approach to formatting.January 04, 2018 Read More
- If Every Day Could Be Christmas: Why Limit Feel-Good Advertising to the Holidays?
Maybe, just maybe, more feel good advertising can help consumers feel a little better. About themselves, their world – and, yes, the brands that help them feel that way.December 28, 2017 Read More
- The Brand You Save Could Be Your Own
It is human nature to “hope for the best” so we seldom “prepare for the worst.”November 03, 2017 Read More
- Why Professional Services Firms Need to Rethink Their Marketing Budgets
How a strategic adjustment can make a profound difference in the quality and impact of your future marketing success.October 04, 2017 Read More
- Taking the guesswork out of client relationships
Marketers are increasingly asking for accountability from their agencies – and appropriately so. Having solid information based on current and future ROI data makes everyone’s life easier.August 30, 2017 Read More
- The case for cause marketing
If you think cause marketing is just for large organizations, think again.August 23, 2017 Read More
- Confessions of a marketing contrarian: Strategy, tactics and paralysis by analysis
We, as marketers and as humans, have a battle on two fronts. One is to take the time necessary to make sound decisions. The other is not to allow ourselves to over-think a given situation.July 26, 2017 Read More
- Is branding still relevant in a digital marketing world?
AIDA. No matter how many ways we repackage the marketing funnel process; these four letters still speak to the essential steps required for effective marketing.June 30, 2017 Read More
- Only the name has changed: Financial branding takes strange turns.
Selecting a brand name should be a strategic undertaking.June 07, 2017 Read More
- Advertising creativity: The road less taken.
Neither marketers nor their marketing services providers are as willing to push the envelope as they once were. So playing it safe trumps taking risks.May 23, 2017 Read More
- "A whole lotta referral reliance"
Doing good work for current clients should be a strong driver of repeat business and leads from potential new clients. The problem is that dependence on referrals takes control of the firm’s destiny out of its own hands.May 02, 2017 Read More
- Why credit unions need to focus on member LTV
As you survey your current marketing initiatives, consider the lifetime value of your members. Having long-term goals in mind can help you optimize your marketing efforts today.April 18, 2017 Read More
- How to create effective advertising
Developing successful advertising starts with a deep understanding of one’s target audience and what motivates one’s primary customers during the decision making process.March 21, 2017 Read More
- “Alexa, help me promote my brand.”
The difference between voice search and traditional search is the same as between casual conversation and written narrative.February 21, 2017 Read More
- Four Bold (Or Not So Bold) Predictions About the Future of Advertising
In the spirit of looking ahead to the New Year, here are a few bold, and a few not so bold, predictions about the future of advertising.January 17, 2017 Read More
- A New Marketing Anthem For A New Year: The Times, They are A-changin’
As we close out 2016, it might be a good time to take some of the most famous lyrics of Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan to heart. “The times, indeed, are a-changin’”.December 22, 2016 Read More
- Scoring with event marketing
Being successful with event marketing requires practice and the experience to take advantage of an open shot when it presents itself.November 18, 2016 Read More
- Political advertising: The triple threat to democracy
Unfortunately, the combination of obscene sums of money available for political advertising and the conventional wisdom about the effectiveness of negativity paints every politician with the same cynical brush.November 07, 2016 Read More
- A Logo is Still a Logo
Logo design is fun. Designing new visuals is fun. Creating a tagline can be fun. But at the end of the day, these elements are simply tactics, nothing more. They may be a visual or verbal expression of the brand, but they are not the brand.October 05, 2016 Read More
- The A-TEAM guide to professional services marketing
I love it when a plan comes together!September 19, 2016 Read More
- Making Your 2017 Planning a Little Easier
For the rest of this month, we will be dedicating our social channels to helping you plan. Your strategy won’t plan itself. Take the time to plan for success.September 06, 2016 Read More
- Leveraging brand advocates: Smart marketing for banks and credit unions
If your customers have been loyal users of your services, they bring a passion and perspective that can be extremely powerful with their peers. So why not put them to work?August 09, 2016 Read More
- Why I have a love/hate relationship with advertising
As communications channels have evolved, grown and fragmented, traditional advertising has represented an increasingly smaller percentage of our total service mix. But advertising is still a relevant marketing discipline for many organizations and a part of me still loves it.August 05, 2016 Read More
- The brand name game
The right brand name can simplify delivery of marketing messages immensely. The wrong name can create untold obstacles to potential marketing success.July 08, 2016 Read More
- The ROI on risk-taking
Marketers would do well to remember the classic investor mantra that the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward.June 14, 2016 Read More
- Stand by your brand
I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw once that showed two people watching new signage being put on a restaurant. One said “New restaurant?” to which the other person responded, “No, new advertising agency.”May 17, 2016 Read More
- WWDDD: What would Don Draper do – in today’s mad marketing world?
Questionable decisions about personal morality aside, Mad Men’s Don Draper was one smart guy. But as smart as he was, I find myself wondering how he would survive in today’s Mad World of Marketing. May 04, 2016 Read More
- Whose CV is it anyway? Personal branding vs. institutional branding
The brand of a professional services firm is only as strong as the collective skills of the team. April 19, 2016 Read More
- Why is there so much bad design in outdoor advertising?
I believe outdoor can be very effective, but only when properly designed.April 12, 2016 Read More
- Cheering for the underdog: Opportunities for challenger brands in financial services
As I look across the business landscape, no industry holds greater opportunity for challenger brands than financial services.March 22, 2016 Read More
- March 1, 1982: A day that will live in alacrity
What was it like to open a new agency in 1982?March 01, 2016 Read More
- Piling on: Observations about the 2016 Super Bowl commercials
True creativity doesn’t get in the way of effective advertising. It enhances it.February 09, 2016 Read More
- Do You Believe in Music?
Great music can sometimes transcend the transition between commercial and popular music.February 02, 2016 Read More
- Resolutions are great, but don't forget the fundamentals
A new year is all about fresh starts and new ideas and attitudes. Spring training is based on remembering how to execute the fundamentals. I believe both are timely themes for marketing professionals as well.January 26, 2016 Read More
- No Brand Is An Island
I just can’t get this phrase and image out of my mind. I think I am intrigued by this turn of phrase because it highlights multiple facets of the branding process. January 20, 2016 Read More
- How Can Two Colors Both Be the 2016 "Color of the Year"?
For 2016, Pantone has doubled down on its bet as to the colors of our lives in the coming year. They are giving us not one, but two “Colors of the Year.”December 11, 2015 Read More
- A Tale of Two Retail Marketing Strategies
Before you build a house, you need a foundation. When it comes to retail marketing, that foundation is the retailer’s brand.December 04, 2015 Read More
- The Two Most Powerful Words in Marketing
The more I observe this profession, the more convinced I am that the simple act of saying “Thank You” is an incredibly powerful way to earn the loyalty of customers, industry partners and other stakeholders, far surpassing any clever turn of phrase or whiz bang new marketing fad. November 25, 2015 Read More
- What is the ROI on Obsessing About ROI?
It’s been said that marketing is both an art and a science. The science part can be measured and acted upon. But the art component requires a less empirical approach. November 09, 2015 Read More
- Above & Beyond: Delta Does Video Right
Too many marketers believe when it comes to communicating marketing messages in whatever medium, good enough is good enough.October 07, 2015 Read More
- Everything Old is New Again: Marketing Trends & Buzzwords
When you think about it, many of the hot topics in contemporary marketing are essentially reformulations or repackaging of earlier methodologies. September 24, 2015 Read More
- The Accidental Tourist Brand
Beginning just north of Manistee and ending in a circle around the peninsula is one of the most picturesque highways you will ever have the joy of navigating. It is Michigan State Route 22, or better known as M22. It is also a brand.September 02, 2015 Read More
- Don't Put Dirt on Advertising's Grave Just Yet
It is not my role to be an apologist for advertising in general or TV advertising specifically. But a couple of recent articles caught my attention and seem to warrant discussion.July 22, 2015 Read More
- Challenging the Idea of Repetitive TV Commercials
I have been amazed by a trend that has evolved in recent years - running identical TV spots twice in the same commercial break. To me this is not only an incredible waste of money; it also represents an annoying disregard for the interests of the viewer.July 07, 2015 Read More
- Cultural Awareness in Marketing
Marketing messages are not universal. When it comes to avoiding problems of perceived cultural insensitivity, it's better to be safe than sorry. June 23, 2015 Read More
- A Biased but Apolitical Commentary on Indiana
In the last month, Indiana has seen substantial fall-out from the enactment and then "clarification" of the religious freedom bill. Deservedly so. Not because of the content or intent behind the bill.April 29, 2015 Read More
- Marketing That Moves: The Power of Storytelling Revisited
Whether a story is part of a news article, a simple conversation, a good book or even in the context of marketing communications, a compelling narrative well presented has unique, yet universal power.April 02, 2015 Read More
- Thom Villing Talks About Cause Marketing on Economic Outlook
Thom Villing joins the panelists at WNIT-TV's "Economic Outlook" to discuss cause marketing.March 27, 2015 Read More
- Going Native With Your Digital Marketing: It's Effective. Is It Fair?
Clearly using native advertising is an effective thing for marketers to engage in. The question is, is it the right thing to do? In my opinion, the answer is, it depends.March 17, 2015 Read More
- Is Networking Making a Comeback?
This may be personal happenstance rather than any kind of documentable trend, but I get the sense that networking is making a bit of a comeback. Personally I believe that is a good thing.March 04, 2015 Read More
- Marketing Freeconomics
Is the the consumer the ultimate winner in this game of freeconomics?February 26, 2015 Read More
- The Future of the Marketing Agency/Client Relationship
I'd like to address what I perceive to be the appropriate role of today's agency. Our collective value proposition, if you will.February 06, 2015 Read More
- Does Anybody Really Know What A Tagline Is?
Does Anybody Really Care?
While both positioning statements and taglines should flow logically from your overall marketing communications strategy, the similarity of intent ends there.January 05, 2015 Read More
- T'is the Season: A Case for Cause Marketing
When orchestrated effectively, cause marketing can be a win-win for commercial marketers and specific charities.December 23, 2014 Read More
- Why Words Matter in Marketing
Words get a bad rap these days. If I hear one more person say nobody reads anymore, I may throw just throw a typewriter at someone.November 20, 2014 Read More
- Quoth the Maven Nevermore: Ten Terrifying Tales of Marketing Mayhem
All Hallows Eve seems a grotesquely appropriate day to reflect on the haunting tales of misguided marketing mad men.October 31, 2014 Read More
- Brand Storytelling. Duh!
"Brand storytelling" is all the rage these days. While the concept is one to which we have always subscribed, it seems strange that marketers are embracing this as something new.October 17, 2014 Read More
- To Rebrand Or Not To Rebrand, That Is The Question.
The idea of rebranding often leads to questionable decisions. Some organizations fail to rebrand when they possibly should while others rebrand when they probably shouldn't.October 01, 2014 Read More
- Customer Loyalty Is The End Game For You But What’s In It For Your Customers?
Loyalty programs are great tools with clear benefits for both marketers and customers.September 03, 2014 Read More
- Eleven Ways To Love LinkedIn
Here are just a few reasons why LinkedIn is the one social media channel to love.August 19, 2014 Read More
- To Blog or Not To Blog, That Is The Question
Like many bloggers, I occasionally wonder if anyone is really reading my blog posts or if they are just falling into some black hole in cyberspace.June 26, 2014 Read More
- What Say You?
It's said "the devil can quote scripture for his own purpose." Maybe the same is true for measuring marketing effectiveness. You be the judge.May 20, 2014 Read More
- The Four P's of Effective Event Marketing
As traditional advertising media outlets have become more and more fragmented, the rise of social media has enabled marketers to reach a highly engaged audience in a targeted and cost effective new way.April 24, 2014 Read More
- Tale of Two "List" Sites: Customer Service Done Well and Not So Well
Thousands of positive impressions can be made with effective customer relationship management. Thousands of negative impressions can likewise be made with poor customer relationship management.April 09, 2014 Read More
- Point/Counterpoint: The End of Advertising
Is the death of TV advertising near or just hype of the information age?March 19, 2014 Read More
- A Tale of Two States: IN v MI Tourism
When it comes to marketing tourism, Indiana and Michigan represent the ultimate tale of two states. One state consistently gets it right. The other has never figured it out.March 10, 2014 Read More
- Invention and Reinvention: How the Agency Business Has Changed!
I just had a chance to review Ad Age magazine’s annual Agency of the Year issue. If ever there were a poster child for an industry’s evolution, it is this issue.February 27, 2014 Read More
- Looking Back on the First Mac Attack
An effective marketing campaign will only hasten the demise of a weak product by creating negative trial experiences.February 04, 2014 Read More
- The Marketing of an Anchorman: How Much is 2 Much?
In traditional advertising, there is definitely what is called a "wear-out" factor when an advertiser repeats a commercial too frequently. But that is not the case with the marketing of Anchorman 2.December 10, 2013 Read More
- People View What Interests Them...and Sometimes, It's an Ad.
Many marketers seem to believe that it's more important to get their message out there than to take the time and apply the creativity necessary to make it interesting.November 18, 2013 Read More
- Marketing Horror Stories
Today is Halloween. So this seems an appropriate time to share our ghoulish views of the all-time scariest episodes in recent marketing historyOctober 31, 2013 Read More
- Stand By Your Brand (2013)
With the government shutdown and all the other news media noise going on, you may have missed an interesting piece of business news a few weeks ago. Coca-Cola was bumped by Apple as the most valuable brand in the world.October 18, 2013 Read More
- Five Amusing (Or Not So) Musings About Contemporary Marketing Communications
As another departure from my usual article style and presented in digest(ible) form, here are some totally random items for your consideration.September 17, 2013 Read More
- An Admittedly Self-Serving Guide to Better RFPs
Like most agencies, we get a fair amount of RFPs (Requests for Proposal). Some are short and to the point. Some, well, not so much. Here is my blatantly self-serving set of guidelines for anyone issuing an RFP.August 19, 2013 Read More
- Missed Opportunities with Social Media
When it comes to social media, some companies get it. Some don't. There really doesn't seem to be a middle ground.July 26, 2013 Read More
- Go Mobile or Go Home
Just about everyone has difficulty looking at a website designed for desktop or laptop computer screens, on a phone screen that is only two inches wide. And it's completely unnecessary.July 16, 2013 Read More
- What Do Millennials Know That The Rest Of Us Don't?
One might suspect there would be discrepancies between the views people have about themselves and those others have about them, but a recent study suggests there’s a significant difference for Millennials.June 10, 2013 Read More
- Five Impediments to Effective IMC
Integrated marketing communication often becomes like Mark Twain's quote about the weather. Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.May 14, 2013 Read More
- Winning Takes Care of Everything
Nike has released a new ad ostensibly congratulating Tiger Woods for regaining his ranking as the number one golfer in the world. Is that the right message?March 28, 2013 Read More
- Customer Service is the New ________
Why all this sudden fascination with customer service? Really, hasn't the mantra "the customer is always right" been with us since the dawn of retailing civilization? So why is customer service so topical now?March 06, 2013 Read More
- Vine For Twitter: A Hammer In Search of a Nail
The latest from Twitter is called Vine. Thom looked at the app and some of the reviews, and isn't impressed.February 11, 2013 Read More
- Almost Half of Marketers to Boost Budgets This Year
This is the verbatim headline from a newsletter that just came across Thom's desk. It was referring specifically to B2B marketers, but I'm sure B2C brands are feeling upbeat as well.January 25, 2013 Read More
- Manti, Lance & Chip: Cautionary Tales About the Fragility of Trust
This isn't a sports story; rather, this is a cautionary tale ripped from the current sports headlines.January 17, 2013 Read More
- It's About Time! Or Is It? Why It Makes More Sense to Pay for Solutions than Hours.
In the current climate of increased concern for accountability and return on investment, wouldn't it make more sense to pay for value received rather than hours incurred?December 20, 2012 Read More
- How Long Is Too Long? Reflections on the Duration of Video Content
Frequent readers of Villing Views are familiar with Thom's thoughts on the issue of long versus short relative to headlines, taglines and text. Now he turns his attention to length of video content.October 25, 2012 Read More
- Something Familiar, Something Peculiar: Reflections on Creativity in TV Advertising
We've all heard the expression, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." I suppose there is an element of truth there. Personally, I think that is being too kind.September 20, 2012 Read More
- Your Logo: Love It or Leave It
Thom discusses the controversial London Olympics logo, some recent articles about logo design and the effect that your logo has on your brand.August 17, 2012 Read More
- Surveying Your Brandscape
One's brand isn't a logo, tagline or elevator pitch. It is a strategic process by which an organization clearly articulates its essential qualities, core values, and how it is perceived externally and internally.June 28, 2012 Read More
- Sometimes, More IS More: Top 10 All-Time Long Taglines
Although we all acknowledge that people have shorter attention spans now than they used to, one debate never seems to go away - the impact of word counts on advertising effectiveness.June 05, 2012 Read More
- The Death of Advertising: A Contrarian's View
Maybe we've been too quick to accept the conventional narrative that claims mass marketing in the form of advertising is dead. May 15, 2012 Read More
- Video Killed the Radio Star. So What's the Life Expectancy of the Medium?
When you combine satellite radio with Pandora, Spotify and other online music streaming services, there are plenty of companies nibbling at the market share of traditional radio.April 16, 2012 Read More
- Rambling Reckonings
Thom Villing shares some quick thoughts on everything from college basketball to Buzz Lightyear.April 04, 2012 Read More
- QR Codes: Good, Bad or Just Ugly
If you think QR codes are just a fad, you may want to think again. I found all kinds of statistics about the growth of QR code usage.March 05, 2012 Read More
- If Frederick the Great Ran Your Marketing Department
One of the great challenges facing modern marketers is the proliferation of communication channels and outlets. Perhaps the famed King of Prussia has some worthwhile insight that still applies today.February 21, 2012 Read More
- Which Comes First, the Culture or the Brand?
When considering truly iconic brands, like Nordstrom, Zappos or Apple, a classic chicken-and-egg question arises: Which comes first, the culture or the brand?January 27, 2012 Read More
- The Fallacy of the Funnel: Revisiting Conventional Marketing Wisdom
The marketing funnel has been as sacred as the four P's of marketing for a century. But now some of the industry's foremost thought leaders are starting to question its relevance.January 13, 2012 Read More
- These Holiday Commercials Betray Spirit of Season
The headline of this article is the same one that appeared in the newspaper recently. Maybe it grabbed your attention as much as it got mine.December 14, 2011 Read More
- Doing Well By Doing Good Revisited: The New Generation of Socially Minded Businesses
This week, as we are reminded of how much we, as a society, have to be thankful for, we’re also reminded of the importance of being good citizens of the world community.November 23, 2011 Read More
- Leaving the Station-ary: The Rush to Mobile Marketing
By 2014, more people will access the Internet via mobile devices than with desktop computers. This has major implications for marketers.November 08, 2011 Read More
- The Genius of Steve Jobs: Understanding Marketing's 4 P's
According to Thom Villing, the attribute that set Steve Jobs apart was his innate sense of all facets of effective marketing - each of the four P's.October 10, 2011 Read More
- Have We Got a Deal for You: Couponing, Mobile Marketing & More
Deals and couponing, if not used strategically, can launch a death spiral from which full recovery is next to impossible to achieve.September 28, 2011 Read More
- The More Things Change, The More Things...Change
At times, the way the marketing profession is changing can be a bit scary. I'll admit. Sometimes technology makes me want to run for cover.September 06, 2011 Read More
- Facebook for Business: All Engagement is Local
How's this for a morning wake up call? Engagement on Facebook walls of leading brands is down 22%.* Surprised? I'm not. In fact, I would have expected worse.August 25, 2011 Read More
- Because the First Word in Cause Marketing is the "Cause"
I have always been a strong proponent of cause marketing and believe it to be a potentially powerful cog in the marketing mix. I still believe that but there is one big IF.July 21, 2011 Read More
- Marketing Muse-Ings: Men Don't Respond To Paid Media (As Much As Women)
I have a love/hate relationship with research. I love what it can tell us to make us more effective marketers. I hate dealing with a bunch of dry statistics. June 24, 2011 Read More
- How Travel and Tourism is Ahead of the Curve in Digital Marketing
Those in the travel and tourism industry better get on the mobile marketing train in a hurry or get left at the station. June 08, 2011 Read More
- Marketing Muse-ings
As a departure from my usual blogstyle and presented in digest(ible) form, here are some totally random items for your consideration.May 23, 2011 Read More
- Millennials Are Cool, Too
Much has been written about the good and bad characteristics of the Millennial Generation, but a recent student awards luncheon made me optimistic about the future of the marketing profession.April 25, 2011 Read More
- When Did I Fall Asleep and Baby Boomers Become Hip?
What can marketers learn from the recent fascination with hip Baby Boomers, which is most noticeable in the recent string of Saturday Night Live guests in their 50s and 60s?April 13, 2011 Read More
- Are You an App-aholic or Are You App-athetic?
While it would be easy to get annoyed by all the talk about an app for this and an app for that, many apps are impressive marketing tools. After all, good marketing begins with the customer experience. April 01, 2011 Read More
- Two Sides of the Social Buying Coin
Lately all the buzz has been about social buying websites like Groupon and LivingSocial. However, there are a few factors to consider before jumping on the social buying bandwagon.March 01, 2011 Read More
- Super Bowl XLV Commercials: Is it me or is it smart in here?
I believe that empty creativity, not strategy, has driven most Super Bowl advertising in recent years. As a result, we've had to suffer through an inordinate amount of dumb and dumber attempts at humor.February 11, 2011 Read More
- No Trump: Why Sports Celebrity Endorsers Seldom Make Sense
As a marketer, I often shake my head at the use of sports celebrity advertising endorsements for seemingly irrelevant products. What are they thinking?February 02, 2011 Read More
- Changing Lanes on the Marketing Autobahn: Drive Carefully in 2011
The more things change, the more they stay the same. You've heard that expression many times. It's an apt prediction about marketing in 2011. The big difference will be the speed of that change.January 05, 2011 Read More
- Forging a Brand: Do It Right or Watch the Sparks Fly
Forging a company or organizational brand is fraught with hazards. Executed properly, branding can pay remarkable dividends. But failing to do it right can cause some serious sparks to fly.December 14, 2010 Read More
- Getting Your Feet Wet With Social Media
The increased consciousness about social media isn't a bad thing. But like most things in life, the one size fits all approach is seldom effective.November 11, 2010 Read More
- The Autumn of My Discontent: The "Fall"-Out of Political Advertising
As I was driving into work, I heard another political attack ad. Will the overkill and lack of accountability hasten the fall of traditional advertising media? There are many reasons for concern.October 11, 2010 Read More
- What We've Got Here is a Failure to... Differentiate.
Differentiation is like the weather. Everyone in marketing talks about it, but no one does anything about it. And for good reason. It's hard. Brutally hard.September 24, 2010 Read More
- Pure Michigan: To Everything There is a Season – Including the Use of Broadcast Advertising
The Pure Michigan campaign is a compelling reminder of what broadcast advertising can do when the medium matches the message.August 16, 2010 Read More
- Don't Forget Those Boomers, Baby.
Boomers spend 40% of consumer packaged goods dollars, but only 5% of ad dollars are directed at them. What's wrong with this picture?August 04, 2010 Read More
- Copywriters in the Digital Age: Essential or Essentially Extinct?
In an era of short attention spans, high visual imagery, bullet points, scannable text and steadily declining use of traditional media, are copywriters about to become extinct?June 11, 2010 Read More
- Route 66 as a Metaphor for the Agency Business
The agency business is changing. It is tempting to wax nostalgic and yearn for the thrilling days of yesteryear. But I think that may be missing the point.May 19, 2010 Read More
- Utility is the New Persuasion: Why Apps Make More Sense Than Ads
Consumers are now the loudest voice in the media. Today's savvy marketers need to optimize how customers experience their brands by putting more effort toward helping rather than selling to customers.April 21, 2010 Read More
- Just Do It (Even If It Doesn't Feel Right): Nike & Domino's
I saw the new Tiger Woods Nike spot last night. From a marketing standpoint, it could be a stroke of genius. From a personal standpoint, it just doesn't feel right.April 12, 2010 Read More
- We Don't Need No Stinkin' Strategy
Creating tactics in response to a specific need or opportunity is easy. Creating a well-conceived strategy before developing tactical approaches... not so much.March 24, 2010 Read More
- Tackling the Question of the Best 2010 Super Bowl Ads
On Super Bowl Sunday, it's tough being in marketing and a sports nut at the same time. If I leave the room during commercial breaks, I might miss one of the year's iconic TV spots.February 09, 2010 Read More
- Free Speech or Free-For-All: Supreme Court Decision on Political Advertising Will Pose Challenges to
What are the marketing ramifications of the Supreme Court decision that lifted the political advertising restrictions on corporations, trade unions and similar organizations?January 26, 2010 Read More
- Sausage Strategies: Marketing Gambles by Dominos and Oscar Meyer
Both Domino's and Oscar Meyer have recently gained attention for some moves they've made in the advertising world. Will it be worth the risk?January 18, 2010 Read More
- When It Comes To Holiday Traditions, Baby Boomers Aren't So Different Than Their Own Babies.
In light of the holiday season, as well as our recent discussions in this space about generational issues, I thought I’d share with you some interesting statistics I recently came across.December 29, 2009 Read More
- Do You Have a Brand Cause?
Lately I've been very involved in several projects and discussions involving what we refer to as brand trust. Fortunately, there are ways to increase the value of your brand and they are as elementary as the golden rule.November 13, 2009 Read More
- Don't Fail to Plan Your Marketing Efforts. Seven Steps to Help You Plan... to Succeed.
As we approach the end of a year that many people would just as soon forget, it may be a good time to remember to work on your marketing plans for 2010.October 14, 2009 Read More
- Who Says 18-34 is the Most Coveted Marketing Demographic?
When I first got into the business, everyone said 18-34 was the most sought after demographic for advertisers. Does that still hold true today?September 25, 2009 Read More
- Social Media: Think Before You Drink the Kool-Aid
Social media is being touted as a magic elixir for marketers – providing incredible impact at little or no cost. Sorry, but that’s not reality.September 16, 2009 Read More
- Social Media: Hype or Hindrance?
All those who are sick and tired of all the hype about social media, raise your hands! It's not that the end game isn’t worthwhile. It just needs some perspective.August 28, 2009 Read More
- When Did Creativity Become a Commodity?
As the marketing services industry has changed due to media fragmentation and technological advances, my one solace has been that there would always be a market for ideas. Now I'm not so sure.August 10, 2009 Read More
- O-ver-ra-ted (clap, clap,...clap, clap, clap)
The relative success of McDonald's versus Burger King reignites the debate over the value of creativity.July 01, 2009 Read More
- Sometimes the Medium is the Message
Recently I've noticed full-page ads in local newspapers attempting to reinforce the medium's continuing relevance. I have to wonder if they are simply preaching to the choir.June 08, 2009 Read More
- Protect the Mothership: Everything you do in online marketing should orbit around your website.
An organization's website is truly its mothership on the Internet. And any online marketing initiatives are only as powerful as the mothership around which they orbit.May 15, 2009 Read More
- Catch the Wave: When a recovery comes, and it will, the companies that made smart marketing decision
History has proven that companies which continue marketing during a recession are usually rewarded by increased market share that translates to increased sales and profitability when the economy recovers.March 27, 2009 Read More
- March Marketing: When it comes to the four Ps of marketing, March Madness is the ultimate slam dunk.
Just for the heck of it, let's apply the classic four Ps to a marketing analysis of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.March 16, 2009 Read More
- When the Fish Get Finicky...
TV still works. It just works better with better creative.February 25, 2009 Read More
- If I Had a Million Dollars: Is Super Bowl Advertising a Good Investment?
So, who won the Super Bowl? Not the game. The game within the game. The advertising. It depends on whom you ask.February 06, 2009 Read More
- Split Vote
What have we learned from this historic presidential election? Simply this. When it comes to media effectiveness, there’s a place for young and old alike.November 06, 2008 Read More
- Attack with Caution
Marketers are taking a page from the political advertising playbook. It’s an interesting strategy, but not without risks.October 13, 2008 Read More
- Truth in Advertising
Truth in advertising laws are extremely strict and hold marketers to a high degree of accountability. So why can political advertising say just about anything?October 03, 2008 Read More
- Improve Your View
As a service to our professional community and our various partners and interested guests, Villing & Company has introduced a new selection of desktop wallpaper designs.September 30, 2008 Read More
- Flack Attack
“Show me a PR person who is ‘accurate’ and ‘truthful’ and I’ll show you a PR person who is unemployed.”
- Andrew Cohen (appearing on CBS Sunday Morning)
June 18, 2008 Read More
- No Good Deed...
A headline in the Wall Street Journal asks “Does Being Ethical Pay?” It’s a good question, but is it the right one?April 29, 2008 Read More
- Media overkill: Where has the wear-out factor gone?
In advertising's wonder years, there was an expression you don't hear much any more. The term was "wear-out factor". It referred to the point of repetition at which an ad has been seen so frequently, it no longer communicates effectively.April 17, 2008 Read More
- Budgeting for Business
How do you set a marketing budget? Most organizations, it seems, use what the textbooks call the "arbitrary and affordable" model. Some match their competitors. But maybe there's a better way.February 15, 2008 Read More
- Talking Ourselves Out of a Recession
I’m no economist. Far from it. But I have a theory about recessions. Most of the time we talk ourselves into them — usually with an ample amount of help from the news media.January 17, 2008 Read More
- Negativity works – or does it?
Conventional wisdom holds that negative political advertising works. At least, that's what we hear from the media and the self-appointed parsons of political strategy.November 09, 2007 Read More
- What's All the Shouting About?
One of the first things fishermen tell their kids is the importance of not scaring away the fish by talking too loud or making too much noise. A lot of local advertisers would do well to heed that advice.September 24, 2007 Read More
- All Branding is Local.
I believe it was Tip O'Neill who said "All politics is local" – the implication clearly being that people care most about what affects them directly. Seems to me, the same can be said about branding.July 10, 2007 Read More
- Nobody Reads Advertising.
Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear someone say something like, "That's too many words. Nobody will read it." Words are like calories. All too often, they are empty and just make us feel full.June 20, 2007 Read More
- People Don't Answer the Door for People They Don't Know.
There's this wonderful ad created by McGraw Hill back in the 30s. Perhaps you’ve seen it. (OK, maybe not in real life, but possibly in a marketing textbook.) The ad features this very stern looking man – your classic crusty CEO type.November 30, -0001 Read More