weakest link

An eager entrepreneur is passionate about food. He scrimps and saves with the dream of opening his own restaurant.

Why invest in other restaurant startup costs if you're going to butcher your restaurant menu in Microsoft WordOne day, the opportunity presents itself. He sinks all of his financial resources into the building, fit-up, and other start-up costs. His success hinges on the success of that restaurant. He has spared no expense to make it the best it can be.

Opening day approaches.

He cranks up Microsoft Word and makes the menu complete with typos and freakish justification.

The end.

***************

While I’m on a rant about restaurant menus…

  • If I’m eating something in a restaurant, then logically it CANNOT be “homemade” (unless you’re in trouble with the health dept). The word you’re looking for is “homestyle”.
  • Do you sell salads? Most people eat salad dressing on those. How about a listing of your salad dressing choices?
  • Own a restaurant? Have a website for it? Do you know why people come to a restaurant website? The menu. Why have you hidden it, strung it out on 8 different pages, and made it a 25MB PDF?
  • Dear Fast Food Behemoth: How about listing what you have and the prices on the menu boards instead of blinky-flashy tv screens that change about the time I start reading them?
  • And to the original point of this post – If you own a restaurant, please hire a graphic designer to design a menu that works. Proofread it. Pass it around to people who are not your friends to see if it makes sense to them. It’s amazing that the single most important marketing piece for a restaurant is so badly butchered by so many restaurateurs.
Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in marketing, other

read your veggies

After many late nights of eating ramen noodles, rolling my eyes at a publisher’s style guides, and general frustration with the book retail system while publishing Brand Zeitgeist, I swore I would never write another book.

I have written another book. And to borrow the line from Monty Python, it’s something completely different. It’s not about marketing. It’s not about business. It’s not about media.

It’s about vegetable gardening.

Back up. How did we get here?

I’ve been aware for a few years of the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program at Amazon. Even though it’s platform exclusive, it’s an egalitarian idea that puts content creators closer to book consumers in the same disruptive fashion we’ve seen in things like music and media publishing. It eliminates many of the frustrations and problems with traditional, self, or POD publishing.

I had a few ideas of short e-books for marketing topics I wanted to publish in the Amazon program. Before putting a massive amount of work into those projects, I wanted a guinea pig project to learn more about the program firsthand and just for fun.

I also needed to step away from writing about marketing for a bit. As I’ve said before, I’ve exhausted my commentary on traditional marketing and there‘s too much being said about digital.

I had written a column for a local alt-monthly newspaper for a few months about vegetable gardening. I used those columns as a nucleus and wrote an e-book around them.

Kentucky Dirt - A practical guide to vegetable gardeningThat short e-book (about 6500 words) is now available on Amazon as “Kentucky Dirt: A practical guide to vegetable gardening”. The book takes you through a year in the garden with tips and common sense advice on how to grow a garden and why the effort is worth it.

It’s written in a very laid-back first-person style. It’s like Lewis Grizzard, P. Allen Smith, and Justin Wilson got together and wrote something. Kentucky Dirt offers an eclectic mix of folksy humor, recipes, and stories.

It is available exclusively through the Amazon Kindle platform. The download is priced at 99 cents. The book has also been accepted into the Amazon KDP Select program which means, among other things, that Amazon Prime members can borrow the book for free from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

So won’t you buy a copy? It’s only 99 cents!

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in book reviews, other

living by the sword

A little over two years ago, Morton’s steakhouse pulled off a promotional stunt that generated tons of publicity by meeting a rabid Morton’s fan (who is also a social media celebrity) at the airport with a steak dinner after he tweeted he was hungry. It was talked about on social media for weeks and the story got picked up by national traditional media outlets.

This past weekend, the Morton’s in Nashville threw a cancer patient out of the restaurant for wearing a cap to cover his hair loss from chemotherapy. They are getting destroyed across all social media platforms and are in major crisis management control mode.

If you live by the sword, you’ll die by the sword.

I’ve said several times that the underlying key to social media success is simple. Invest less in the social media message and invest more in your people who are on the ground providing customer service. Customers will post both the good and the bad experiences they have. (TIP: You want the good to outnumber the bad.)

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in online, strategy

cords

Last week, every hipster and useless list website on the web were raving on how you could wrap cords around a MacBook brick. As the kids say, the meme went viral. This week, the damage control has started.

Let’s look past the first obvious thought of, “Are we really out of things to get excited about?” and focus on those cords.

Everytime I saw that cord wrapped so tight around that brick, I cringed. I had flashbacks of radio remotes and proper care of audio equipment. I would have gotten caned by the PD if I had packed up a mic cord or even a power cord up so tightly. (not a typo for canned as in fired. I do mean caned as in beaten with a reed) There were other people who did pack up tightly and it meant that the next time you were out on the road with only one mic cord and a tight wrap had shorted the connected in the XLR connector, you were out of luck.

BTW – as we’re here in the Christmas season, the need to pack up tightly is also the reason you have problems with your lights each year.

Which in a longabout way brings me to my point – please stop listening to these people.

Junk content sites have hired a bunch of college-fresh punks (or monkeys at typewriters) to continuously churn out content to feed the never-ending web beast. It’s the same problem with 24-hour cable news. There’s not enough real content to fill the hole so you get stupid editorial pitches for “business articles” that offer great tips such as you shouldn’t eat a whole lobster at the office for your lunch.

There’s no journalistic ethos on the web, if there was any to start with. There’s very little research done except to poll the writer’s Facebook friends. People can be duped like idiots by presenting non-content in an infographic. Bad information is passed along like Typhoid Mary.

What to do? Do the same thing you do when your crazy aunt emails you some crazy rumour that was debunked on Snopes years ago. Stop spreading bad content. While I despise the writers and the platforms that encourage them, the real trouble lies in you.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in media, online

department of common sense

You would think SOMEONE at the Hungry Jack organization would have spoken up and said,
“If Step #2 of the directions say to let the product sit for 12 minutes, is it really a good idea to promote the 5 minute wording on the front of the package? I realize that legal has covered our butts with the use of the word grill on the front, but don’t you think our reputation and long term relationship with customers is worth something? If we trick them once, will they buy again?”12 minutes is not 5 minutes

Tagged with:
Posted in marketing, strategy

making the old work with the new

NBC’s Million Second Quiz was a flop.

I can hear the pitch meeting now…

It’s a way to combine TV watching and online participation! It’s got an online element! It’s got an app! It’s like Words with Friends! It’s the new #hashtag buzzword synergy blockbuster!! We’ll promote it until people are sick of hearing about it!

And without all the hyperbole, I agree. On paper, it should have worked.

However, I’m a trivia game show buff and I’m fairly well plugged in. I’m smack dab in the target market. But I watched about 15 minutes of it and thought, ‘Meh’.

Why didn’t it connect?

On first glance, I suspect it’s because the nation has achieved Ryan Seacrest over saturation.

But realistically, I think it’s because just like gathering together some eggs, flour and sugar doesn’t make a cake, putting trendy elements together doesn’t make a hit. There has to be something greater there. It has to be something people want to invest in.

I think the over promotion of it hurt as well. The promos felt like a mother standing in JC Penny trying to convince her son that the husky pants were cool.

And a reason that continues to pop up is that media still have no idea how to adapt. Trying to stick real time competition and app play into a TV show is like the newspaper or magazine promoting that you can flip through ‘pages’ on their site or app. It’s the old “try to wedge the old thing we know how to do into that new thing the kids are talking about”.

It’s a good lesson for all media. Stop trying to build new things on old foundations. Take your existing equity to develop a new base and build from there.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in media

it’s in bad form

this is a bad paper form. No room for e-mail address
Paper still exists. This distresses the digerati, but it’s true.
There is an unfortunate instance between the digital and paper realms that drives me crazy.
Do me a favor. If you’re whipping up a paper form that asks for someone’s email address, use the entire width of the page just for that line.
There is no way someone with big clunky penmanship will be able to write john.doe@superlongcorporation.com on a line that you’ve allotted the same space for a phone or a fax number.
Speaking of which, why are you still including a fax line on that form?

Tagged with: ,
Posted in marketing

Subscribe

Archives: 2005 – present