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It’s trendy today to say that traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore. The “new marketing” gurus tell us that, instead of “marketing speak” (traditional sales materials), we should use one of two things to do our selling. But … isn’t there some point where you have to leave the cozy world of publishing free content and chatting — and actually get down to some selling?

Professionals vs. Amateurs

by on February 23, 2010 2:30pm
in Business Management

Novelist Ian McEwan doesn’t like the fact that you can post your opinion of his books on Amazon.com. “I don’t have much time for the kind of site where readers do all the reviewing,” says McEwan in an interview with Time magazine (6/18/07, p. 6).
The voice-over in a recent KFC commercial for their thighs and drumstick bucket says the chicken now contains “less” transfat. Less than what? Less doesn’t mean anything unless you say what it has less fat than.

Content vs. Branding

by on February 16, 2010 2:30pm
in Business Management

My colleagues Michael Stelzner and David Scott Meerman are, like me, advocates of marketing with content. But a recent article suggests that our approach is all wrong.
The hidden danger in political advertising centered on a candidate’s ideology is that voters will misinterpret it, disagree with it, or both.
The cover story in this month’s issue of Training & Development magazine is “Metrics and Measurement: Do They Matter?” The article argues in favor of measuring success in sales training and performance … vs. (I would guess) NOT measuring it. The fact that the headline is phrased as a question implies that there are people who are AGAINST measuring the results generated through sales training.
After nearly 3 decades in marketing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest job in marketing is market research.

Starbucks and Internet Piracy

by on January 28, 2010 2:30pm
in Business Management

A woman on a talk radio show admitted to stealing sugar packets from her local Starbucks. But she expressed no shame. Indeed, she felt the theft was justified by the outrageous prices Starbucks charges for a cup of coffee, calling her pilfering a “condiment subsidy.”
I am obsessed with not wasting time and being as productive as I can. After all, my income is directly linked to my ability to produce quality work at a rapid rate.
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.

How to Lie With Statistics

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

Pilates: 277% Better

by 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?
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.

Marketing in a Recession

by 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.

The Death of Advertising

by 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.
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.
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.”
One of my greatest pleasures is to read trade journals, newsletters, and business magazines at home or during lunch (like many of you, I don’t have time to read them during working hours). But according to an article in BtoB (3/10/08, p. 28), I may soon be denied that privilege, as magazines discontinue their print editions and make their content available on the Web only.
Decades ago, there was a terrific restaurant in NYC with no waiters: the Horn & Hardart Automat. All the food was displayed behind glass windows. To order, you inserted your bills and coins in a slot, pushed a button, removed your sandwich or pie, and put it on your tray — no waiting, no being ignored by busy wait staff, no tipping.
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