Waste Ad Space, Lose Customers!

Today, there is a vast landscape out there of real estate for marketers to try and sell us on their products.

Billboards, newspaper ads, TV, banner ads, those little, annoyingly persistent popup ads that swallow up your screen and hide the “X” so you don’t know how to get rid of them (what are those CALLED, anyway?), and more. The Internet has made it inifinitely easier for marketers to reach their target.

With the explosion of ways to reach your customer, wouldn’t you want to make sure you have the most effective message you can have, thereby maximizing your return on investment in whatever your chosen marketing media (what I’m referring to here as marketing real estate) is?

What about your return on investment in your target customer’s attention span? That’s even more precious (and hard to come by) than space on a billboard, or an email campaign.

It hurts to see companies waste resources (time, money, ad space, HIGHWAY CLUTTER) by creating marketing that is just wasteful. Think of the environment, people! Do we need even more useless, empty words an images polluting our roads, newspapers, and online journeys through cyberia?


Discount Tire is a great company. We have been buying tires from them for years. The thing that keeps us coming back is their customer service.

They fix our flat tires free of charge.
They rotate our tires free of charge.
They put air in my tires and calibrate the pressure free of charge.
They have a great system that keeps track of us as customers and they can quickly look us up and provide the service we need, even across different states.
They treat people like PEOPLE.

Driving on the highway today, I saw a billboard for Discount Tire that just made me sad. All it said was:


There are SO many things that make Discount Tire stand out from its competition that could have been highlighted in that space above the road.

Also, isn’t the price point advantage (i.e. cheap prices) already built into the company’s name????
Hello, it’s called DISCOUNT Tires.

Price advantage, in my opinion, is no longer a competitive edge that companies should rely on in their marketing.
These days, you need a more human edge. 

On the other hand, the first time I saw Chik fil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” billboard (see below), I probably laughed for a full 15 minutes (and then many many other minutes later when thinking about the billboard).

Part of it was just the absurdity in seeing cows look like they were painting a billboard and trying to convince people to eat chicken instead of beef, but mostly, it was the genius in the framing of their core message:

Chik Fil-A really just wants you to eat more chicken. (At their restaurants, preferably).

The company has come up with a number of other campaigns that are offshoots of the above message, but again, I think most of them are just a waste of marketing real estate and trying to copy/mimic the success of the billboard above.

As Seth Godin says in his book Purple Cow, sometimes, doing nothing is better than doing too much, or doing something that is not effective. (More on Purple Cow here).

Marketers – please stop wasting your precious marketing real estate!
As the world gets more and more connected, online, and distracted, you need to think harder about how to get and keep our attention and interest.


Just Read: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

This past week, I had some alone time that I spent devouring a number of books, blogs, and videos (and trying to up my ranking in search results!).
All of the above taught me stuff that lit my fire – words and advice that caused an internal revolution that’s itching to make its way out.

One of the books I read, which I encourage you to pick up and read RIGHT NOW, was Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Think about the tagline to this book.


Are you? Do you think that you are giving enough of yourself at whatever it is that you do to render you indispensable to those around you?

You might think that the answer to the above question requires you to be The Expert in your field, or the most technical, or most educated, etc etc.

Read this book and you will realize that it’s much more than having the highest level of education or skill.

Those things contribute, without a doubt. But there is a more human aspect to being indispensable, and it involves being different, standing out, being true to your own voice, and realizing that being ‘very good’ is not good enough anymore.

Reading this book, you will squirm.
You will become uncomfortable at points, and want to give in to the resistance. You will also feel a little (or big, in my case) part of you agreeing with the core message of the book, and knowing that actually, you can do and give so. much. more.

And now I will stop talking so you can start reading!

Recap of What Motivates You

A few posts ago, I asked you What Motivates You.

This was your answer.

Overall, the most votes went to Contribution and making a difference, which indicates that about two-thirds of you (67%) are out there doing what you’re doing in order to make the world a better place!

Are you?

If not, why aren’t you?

Is it because you “don’t have enough time”, or you “don’t know where to start”, or you “just don’t know enough” about something to make a difference?

Because all of that, all of the above, is untrue.

You are remarkable, you do have what it takes, and you can make a difference. Start by being true to who you are, and letting your true self shine through in everything that you do. That, in and of itself, will make a difference.

Set a goal, and achieve it. Do you find it hard to make time to achieve your personal goals after setting them? Then tell someone else about them. Be accountable.

Do you know who Bassam Tarazi is? He is the creator of a movement that has, at its core, accountability to others as the driver to achieving your goals. A fabulous concept that I highly recommend learning more about.

Read more about it here. It’s a fast read, I PROMISE.

Currently Reading: Purple Cow

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, by Seth Godin.

Read this book.

 Even if you don’t currently have your own business.

 Even if you don’t think you will have your own business, this book will change the  way you think about being remarkable in your daily life.







Because don’t we all deserve that? To be remarkable? To be the best version of  ourselves we can possibly be? To reach for the stars?

Read it.

Motivation, animated

You guys have to watch this video. I read Dan Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us a few months ago, and recently was directed to this animation that summarizes the main concepts discussed in his book.
I’d never seen anything by RSA Animate before today, but I’m definitely going to be watching some more of these videos – what an innovative way to spread thoughts, ideas, and information!

What do you think? What’s your main motivator when doing the things you do?

Currently Reading: Revolution 2.0

A couple of weeks ago I was out for a run, listening to a podcast of NPR’s Fresh Air where the host (Terry Gross) was interviewing Wael Ghonim, the face of the Egyptian revolution and uprising.
(You can listen to the interview, download it, and/or get a transcript here.)

During the interview, Ghonim spoke about his book, Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir.


I found the interview to be refreshing, and was captivated by this young man who believed so much in the need for change in his country that he was willing to risk his life for it.

The ability to mobilize hundreds and thousands of people for a common cause is awe-inspiring, and I am amazed by people who can get past the potentially crippling effect of fear and be leaders and game-changers.

I’ve never known too much about Egyptian internal politics, so reading this book is also a step for me in building my knowledge of Middle East politics that extends beyond the headlines and sound bites obtained through mass media.  

I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to get a view into the circumstances behind the courageous revolution of the Egyptian people against an oppressive regime.

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