All posts by tnewhard

Marketing’s Role in the C-Suite

An Interesting Problem

Recently, we met with a client to discuss marketing strategy. This client has a long history of doing business in Utah and is one of the largest private companies in the state. However, when we met with them we met with a marketing committee composed of a public information director, graphic designer, corporate strategist, and the corporate pilot. No marketing director and no CMO.

Needless to say, this company has not devoted a lot of resources to strategic marketing. Just in case you missed it before- the corporate pilot is on the marketing committee. In the pilot’s defense, he is a perfectly intelligent person—he was just being allocated in an odd way.

After the meeting it became clear that this committee wanted to have a seat in the board room with the rest of the senior management team. Functions represented on this team were finance, operations, safety, and HR. All of these functions provide inputs that help the executive team make profitable decisions for the entire organization. Marketing was occasionally called upon to talk about the company website or the design of a tradeshow booth, but had no say in the strategic direction of the company’s marketing efforts. Why? It is because no one on the committee knew how to give the senior management team useful information or input. Continue reading

Marketing De-Mystified Workshop w/ SLCC

De-Mystifying Marketing

By many, marketing seems like a mystic art form full of ambiguous and unvalidated metrics; creative gurus; and flavor-of-the-month tactics. Marketing should be no different than any other business function and held to the same levels of accountability and profitability. To think of marketing any other way is a less effective and negligent business practice.

Sophisticated marketers are able to de-mystify marketing by using research, statistical analysis, effective strategy, efficient tactical mixes, and continuous refinement in an effort to create marketing campaigns that provide measureble and attributable positive return on marketing investment. De-Mystifying Marketing will help you become a sophisticated, analytical, innovative, and effective marketer.

Join us for the De-Mystifying Marketing Workshop
Date: April 7th
Time: 9am to 1pm
Location: Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus (9750 So. 300 West, Suite 330) in Sandy, UT.

Your business may qualify for a discounted rate to this event and other Custom Fit events. Custom Fit is a state operated provider of training services for small businesses. Full priced admission is $126 per person. For more information regarding Custom Fit qualification and/or to sign-up for this event contact:

Custom Fit Salt Lake County

Shannon Strickland

801.957.5293 or

Register here.

What Went Wrong at Blockbuster?

When my family first started renting movies back in the 80’s we went to a small mom-and-pop establishment called Carmen Video in Camarillo, CA. It was decked out like a movie theatre complete with a popcorn machine – something modern movie rental establishments look nothing like.

Sometime in the mid-80’s the first Blockbuster video opened up in town and within 18 months Carmen Video closed its doors forever. Between you and me- I think the only reason it stayed in business as long as it did is due to a selection of adult videos that they kept locked up in an adults only section (more like a cellar) of the store, which I never went into.

Blockbuster put Carmen Video out of business, and dominated the home movie rental business for years, because it had the lots of copies of the latest movies. They also had a huge selection of video games.

In September 2010 Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In early 2011 they approached their creditors for more money- more debt, which is bad when you are already bankrupt.

What happened? Karma? Poor management? Bad investments? Antiquated business model? Competition? A combination of all these things? Continue reading

AT&T’s New Stance After iPhone Exclusivity

For over 3  ½ years AT&T was the sole mobile phone network to carry the most iconic phone in the history of mobile phones, the iPhone.

All of that has now changed as Verizon executives have officially announced that they will begin carrying the iPhone 4 on their CDMA network. A quick visit to Verizon’s website revealed a huge banner featuring the iPhone 4 with the copy reading “iPhone 4. Verizon. It begins.” Sales start 2.10.11.

The move has been rumored for months and AT&T has spent millions of dollars during this time to beef up its network and tout other smart phones like the Blackberry Torch from mobile phone manufacturer RIM, as well as other phones based on Android and Windows mobile operating systems. In addition, AT&T pushed early upgrades in an effort to lock those craving an iPhone 4 into 2-year contracts. Smart, but short-term. Continue reading

36.4B Reasons to Like eCommerce

According to an article by Ann Zimmerman of, people bought $36.4B of stuff from online retailers this holiday season (between October 31and December 23).

This represents an increase of 15.4% over the same period last year. Online retail sales now account for about 10% of all retail sales – excluding gas and automobile purchases. 1 in 10 dollars made in retail this holiday season was made over the internet via ecommerce enabled websites.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that the sector that experienced the largest growth was specialty clothing retailers –up 25% over last year. This is interesting because most of us like to try stuff out – especially things we need to wear.

What does this say about our perceptions of the buying experience? Continue reading

5 Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

People like to use January 1st as the starting line for new goals or resolutions. What better time of the year to resolve to do a better job at marketing your own business, your employer, or yourself.

Here is a list of Marketing Resolutions we think that every small business owner or marketing professional should at least consider and possibly adopt:

1. I’m going start understanding how things really work

In our experience, lots of smart business people do a poor job at tracking key performance metrics. This is not only poor business, it is poor marketing. This is because your key performance metrics, like sales revenue, gross profit margin, asset turnover ratio, etc, can be your friends in marketing your business. They help you understand how things really work. By identifying significantly high or low periods of time, your key performance metrics can tell you how well your marketing is or isn’t doing.

By resolving to understand how things really work you resolve to identify your key performance metrics. You then resolve to evaluate those metrics to see how well your marketing is working. Continue reading

The End of Retail (as we know it)

On my smart phone I have two apps called TheFind and Red Laser. They allow me to effortlessly comparison shop wherever I happen to have 3G. This means I can comparison shop within the walls of any brick-and-mortar retail establishment. I have become what some have coined an “empowered shopper.”

In a article by Miguel Bustillo and Ann Zimmerman state that on Black Friday of 2009 empowered shoppers represented .1% of all shoppers that patronized brick-and-mortar retail stores. On Black Friday 2010 empowered shoppers represented 5.6% according to data gathered by Coremetrics.

How worried you are about this trend is dependent upon what type of business you are. If you are a provider of unique or vital services or utilities this trend may be interesting, but not alarming. If you are a seller of things online, this problem is not really new to you as online retailers have always been susceptible to instantaneous price comparison. But, for brick-and-mortar retailers this trend may be alarming. To some it may, like so many other technologies, represent the end of retail as we know it.

This trend may be alarming, but it does not represent the end of brick-and-mortar retail – just the end of it as we know it. These apps like so many other technologies will not ruin retail. The internet has not ruined newspapers or magazines (although it has certainly strained things) and Facebook has not completely ruined face-to-face interaction with your friends.

Here are some suggestions, from the marketing professional perspective, we have for our friends in brick-and-mortar retail: Continue reading

Make it Personal, Make it Profitable

If your business is like most businesses, you enjoy making a profit. One idea for making your business more profitable is by creating a more personal experience for your customers.

This is actually more than just a novel idea. There are several research projects that back  it up. A study by Garrity and Degelman, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, indicated that restaurant servers who introduced themselves by name and then personalized the experience for their patrons received an average tip of 23% compared to 15% for those that made no effort at all. That’s a difference of 53%.

You may not own a restaurant, but the concept of personalizing the customer’s experience still applies and can make your business more profitable. Here are a few suggestions on how you can better personalize things for your customers: Continue reading

Marketing-philes Unite

Serfwerks is committed to changing the way businesses market themselves and how professional marketers do marketing. Over the past few years we have done this by providing our clients with outsourced marketing services, market research and marketing consulting services. By doing these things we have helped our clients recognize significantly high returns on their marketing investments.

Over the past few months we have been packing our proprietary processes, experience, knowledge, and skills into training courses that can be taken in-person or over the internet. These courses have been designed by a team of marketing and instructional design professionals with dozens of years of experience. Our objective is to create a training product that bridges the gap between knowing and doing — helping our training clients realize a high return on their training investment.

Now we reckon we are on the right path, but we’d like to gather some market data to help us fine tune things before releasing a live version of our courses later this year.

The link provided below will take you to a “5-min or less” survey, please help us help you by filling it out. We’ll make it worth your while by producing the best marketing training you’ll ever encounter on the planet earth and entering your name in a raffle for a $50 iTunes gift card.


The Importance of Knowing Your Position

Please use your imagination as you look at the bullet list below. The list is describing a car; try to imagine what it looks like, how much it would cost, and who would make it:

  • Large-sized luxury sedan
  • 4.6 liter V-8 engine
  • Adjustable air suspension
  • Reclining, heated, cooled, and messaging rear seats
  • Adaptive HID headlights (projector lights that turn as your turn)
  • Standard 19″ wheels
  • Back-up camera
  • Rear seat entertainment system plus mini-fridge
  • iPad pre-loaded with owner’s manual in every car
  • Personal salesperson who will stop by your house at your convenience for a test drive
  • Dedicated service personnel that will pick up your car for scheduled maintenance

How much would you pay for a car like this? How much do you want a car like this? Who would make such a vehicle? Continue reading