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Bob Bly

My theory has long been that the replacement of the telephone and face-to-face meetings by e-mail has increased the average American’s writing skills considerably, especially in business. But journalist Janet Malcolm thinks just the opposite is true.

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How to Lie With Statistics

by Bob Bly on January 19, 2010 2:30pm

in Business Management

You can manipulate statistics to prove just about any point you want to make in your copy.

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Couples we know here in Bergen County, NJ are absolutely frantic about getting their kids into a “good school,” i.e., an Ivy League college. I’m not, because I’m convinced that where you graduate from college and the grades you get don’t play much of a role in determining your success in life.

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A radio commercial for a financial services firm talked about how their investment advisors could help ensure financial security for “older senior citizen folks.”

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Pilates: 277% Better

by Bob Bly on January 7, 2010 2:30pm

in Business Management

A TV commercial for Zone Pilates said the product is “277% more effective.” This begs the question: 277% more effective than what?

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It seems to me that large corporations have a decided edge in optimizing their Web sites for search engines over small business in general and solo practitioners in particular.

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Marketing in a Recession

by Bob Bly on December 31, 2009 2:30pm

in Business Management

The business editor of our local daily newspaper e-mailed me about a story on marketing during a recession. Economists are divided as to whether we are officially in a recession, but most agree the economy is in a troubled state, to put it mildly. My advice was that, during a recession, companies should be more flexible and accommodating in matters of price, terms, delivery, service, and sales.

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The Death of Advertising

by Bob Bly on December 29, 2009 2:30pm

in Business Management

Many members of the new generation of online marketers — bloggers, SEO specialists, social networkers, viral video producers — loudly and frequently proclaim that old-fashioned advertising … derisively referred to as “disruption marketing” … is dead.

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Lord Kelvin, inventor of the Kelvin temperature scale, once said, “When you can measure something in numbers, then you know something about it.” Nowhere does his lesson have more meaning than in advertising.

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My late friend, the accomplished Michigan ad man James Alexander, once told me: “I can work with a client who is ignorant. I can work with a client who is arrogant. But I cannot work with one who is both.”

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