Offline Marketing


Listen in as I join Chris Curtis for deep discussion about eCommerce 2008 – what to expect this year in online marketing, promotion and sales!

Chris is an extremely informed marketer, promoter, and a very adept interviewer.  On top of all of that she is an awesome person.

Use the player below to listen in on the interview.


There are some great nuggets of IM and general marketing wisdom in this interview.

You also get a further look inside the head of Sam Knoll.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll





The marketing world is realizing that playing in the Web 2.0 requires understanding a new set of rules in regards to honesty and disclosure.

Now, the term transparency is far from being a new one in marketing vocabulary.  It is a term that has been tossed around and used for decades.

What we are seeing in present day is that the new Social media and the communities upon which it is built are redefining how the term applies to companies AND their marketing.

In the marketing agency days of old the term was often used when referring to client:agency interactions.  This usually pertained to elements of strategy, branding, positioning… and billing.  Generally it was about the client, not their target market.  Beyond the Agency – client dealings, the consumer only needed to know what the marketers wanted them to.

Well, times have changed.

Times Have Changed

In the new frontier of Web 2.0, social media it is the consumer who demands transparency of the companies delivering marketing messages left and right all around them.

Blogs, forums and the rapidly increasing number of newer style community sites like top dogs, FaceBook, YouTube, MySpace, Ning based sites, Flickr, Squidoo, etc, are all powered by if not run by (the site owners will be the first to admit this) the end users.  These users are often intelligent, educated, tech savvy, and extremely openly opinionated.

Want to play on the 2.0 playground?

Want to be one of the businesses welcomed into their court?

You’d better be willing to be 100% forthright and transparent in your intentions and motives or at some point you will be found out.  When this happens, the very same, all important social influencers that can help make you a household name can also quite adeptly lead the charge to run you right out of town.

Now, besides the risk of being found out… you also must consider one other important element of the new, social consumers.

I mentioned earlier that these folks are now intelligent, educated and often very tech savvy.  On top of all of that, they are also becoming rapidly immune to may of the tried and true marketing techniques and frankly can see right through much of it even if it is completely opaque by design.  Again, once this is realized by the social consumers they will at the very least tune out your marketing message all together (that is the softest least damaging reaction).

Gotta Be Willing To Lay It All Out

Think about what consumers want… a merchant who is willing to be openly honest and share everything with them (even if it means telling them that ultimately you hope they’ll buy your product) or someone employing smoke and mirrors. 

The bottom line is — if you want to sell today, you have to put away the bag of tricks, put on your honesty hat and lay it all out there at the get go.

If your message is true and your motives good, there is still plenty of room at the top.  Just make sure you don’t have any dirt hiding under the carpet just waiting to be discovered.

This is pretty basic stuff yet, many larger traditional marketing groups seem to have a hard time grasping it let alone embracing it.

Do you agree or do you think the same game as ever can still be played in the social web?

What Do You Think?

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Offline Marketing, Online Marketing by  #


I just finished re-reading the minutes of a marketing meeting (I had to miss, so thank goodness for the minutes) that occurred just over a week ago.

In many regards it was a very ordinary meeting, discussing what assets need to be marketed followed by possible ways this can be done.

I am quite familiar with the fantastic depth of materials, talks and services requiring marketing that this group has got and have been spending some of my own time generating a master plan to cover all.  I also have to say that the list of marketing channels discussed was a pretty good one, covering most traditional mediums as well as a number of newer, social based methods as well.

Again, nothing entirely earthshaking in the minutes to this point.

The next section I read contained just four sentences, spoken by a man I consider a mentor, brother, friend, and the wisest person I know.

The question posed that prompted those four brief sentances was this

What is Marketing about?

Now, before I go on to share Joe Costa’s explanation I should touch on the fact that this is far from the first time this question has been asked.  The fact that you are reading this post at this very moment indicates that you have probably asked that very question a number of times yourself (maybe even out loud in frustration).

Shoot, it would be pretty hard to even count the number of ebooks, audios, videos newsletters etc. that near countless "gurus" have produced just to answer that question, and you know what… I’ve probably read most of them.

Now here’s the kicker.  I have no idea just how much money I’ve spent trying to figure out how to make more money.  It is a deadly cycle and let me tell you that the vast, vast majority of the answers out there are not even close to being THE ANSWER.

You see, like most aspiring Internet Marketers I have treated marketing as a way to make money.  I’d spend time figuring out exactly how many members or how many sales it would take to help me achieve a sum of money that I felt would be the answer to all of my problems.  It was always about the money.

Bad Move

I hope you didn’t mind my little rant of sorts there (I could have truly gotten rolling if I didn’t have a final message for you I wanted to get to) but I really do want to get your attention and make sure you get what I am going to share with you.

The gist of Joe’s message was that marketing is not squeezing, manipulating, and cajoling things so they will make you money.  Frankly it is not even so much the acts involved as the mind set.

Now I feel I must thank you for being so patient.  I’ve teased you and made you consider my own opinion while you waited to receive some true marketing wisdom.

Here are the four sentances: 


Marketing is creating sales that increase equity.

 Avoid getting caught up in looking for money, which is a hopeless task. 

 Marketing is creating circumstances around your product/service that make what you have desirable.  The sale is natural byproduct.

 My friend, those are only four sentances, 39 words that you need to read, re-read and then open up and take to heart.

What I heard from Joe was that I needed to stop trying to sell things.

Money is not green dollars but rather is your equity.  You need to create the best product possible and then go on the generously create the circumstances around that product that will make people all but ask if they can buy something from you.  The next step is to be truly grateful and to rejoice in the sales that come to you.

Like I said, not rocket science, but certainly different from what many folks are trying to teach us all.

Do you understand, agree, disagree (please open your eyes)?

Share you thoughts with us all.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Offline Marketing, Online Marketing by  #


Interesting question:

Is it Push or Pull?

I read an interesting post by Seth Godin (who does know a little something about marketing) in which he very briefly defines a push message verses a pull.

(On a side note, if you don’t subscribe to Seth’s blog you are really missing some great thought.)

The example of push marketing he uses is the current day classic, SPAM E-mail.  If one wants or needs a perfect example of push marketing you need look no further.  In Spam e-mailing the message is literally pushed out to millions of receipients who have not made any effort at acquiring the message through their own actions.

A pull message is by nature, one that elicits an action from the intended recipient whereby they actively seek out information from you. 

Now, where this becomes interesting is when he defines and provides examples of pull concepts.  Seth states that a blog is pull distribution in effect.  I agree with this.  Next he states that RSS is push as once you subscribe in one way shape or form to a blog, the content is then pushed to you via RSS.

Readers Have Total Control Over RSS Delivered Content

I have a slightly different take on this as when one adds an RSS feed to a feed reader/aggregator it pulls the message from the blog.  The reader actively reaches out and checks to see if there are any new posts to the blog.  One of the elements that people like about pulling in content via an RSS feed is that they have TOTAL control over it.  If they want to cease receiving a feed they simply delete it… end of story.

Seth also states that the Internet transforms TV from an offline push medium to an online pull machine.  What do you think?

These are the sort of issues I urge you to consider as you design products and all of the marketing communications and channels around them.

Take it even further and look closely at all of your existing marketing efforts.  See if you can twist the message and/or delivery of it to take it from a push to a pull.

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Offline Marketing, Online Marketing by  #



The rapid technological changes taking place today are opening up new horizons of marketing channels, while at the same time forcing some of most established advertising mediums to make radical changes themselves or go the way of the dinosaurs.

Case in point and one of the biggest budget, highest profile examples… Television Advertising – a typically PUSH oriented advertising channel!)

It is no secret now that with the advent of Tivo and other digital video recording solutions, consumers are now able to literally fast-forward past the ads that for years invaded their living rooms as they attempted to watch their favorite shows.

This new technology enables the consumer to choose whether they are going to sit through any ad or simply skip it and give their direct and indirect attention only to the show they are trying to watch.

This New Technology Enables The Consumer To Choose

This is a very troubling situation for the television networks who for so many years were able to charge exorbinant sums in exchange for companies securing a 30 to 60 second spot in the middle of their broadcasting.  In the past the target audience was close to being a captive, basically having to endure commercials in an effort to watch their favorite TV shows.

That has all changed now.

What is the solution for television advertisers and the networks selling ad time?

Well, the short-term "band aid" some networks are testing is to go way, way back to an earlier era when ads were comprised of live "plugs" for products during the feature show.  These ads were more a part of the show than an ad, making them all but completely unavoidable to the viewing audience.

One great example of this "back to the future" tactic being used are the ad spots soon to be running on late night talk show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live" as well as the Garmin spot recently aired on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno".  Initial data collected for the spot aired shows it to be much more effective than traditional spots run in recent days.

There is a Much Deeper Problem

Now, while this flashback marketing solution seems to make sense on the surface, I propose that there is actually a much deeper problem to be faced by advertisers and their marketing teams.

I believe the question to be asked is "Why are consumers fast-forwarding through ads to begin with?"

What cacophony of praise might we have heard if the collective cheers of all DVR users could have been voiced simultaneously when they realized commercials could be skipped?

Should there be that strong a reaction?

Could it be that the public has long been growing more and more tired, if not at times disgusted, with the constant and often blatant advertising that is shoved under their nose?

Do advertisers need to shift their efforts to even more, dare I say, "creative pull marketing" as opposed to the typical "push" efforts most use?

Technology is Forcing Advertisers to Change

It is obvious that technology is forcing advertisers to change the way they do things.  This is not going to stop.

What I ask you then is this:

Does the marketing industry as a whole need to step back and evaluate the effects their messages and methods have upon consumers before yet another advertising medium joins television ads on the endangered list?

What do you think?  Share YOUR comments with us…

Onward & Upward!


Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Offline Marketing by  #

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