Online Marketing


It is an awesome thing to watch a company make a change that leaves you thinking (if not saying out loud), "Damn… now that is a stroke of genius!"

Paypal did just that when they just recently released The Paypal Plugin.

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Here is an already successful company who, in my humble opinion, has just made an amazingly cleaver move that has the potential to seat them as the true "King of The Hill" for consumer payment submissions across then entire Internet.

Yes, they are already one of the dominant forces in payment gateways but not number one.  What they’ve done here is just about a stroke of genius.

Here’s the deal…

Up until now, the only way to use Paypal to make a payment for goods or services online was for the merchant from whom you were buying to accept Paypal payments.  There are a tremendous number of merchants using Paypal as either their sole payment option or at least offering it as an option, but by no means everyone.  Most of the largest Internet retailers do not accept Paypal as a payment option.

Why should this matter?

Paypal is truly a wonderful payment concept, because you really cannot buy anything unless you’ve got the money.  When you make a purchase via Paypal it either draws off of your Paypal balance or it deducts money from the bank account associated with your Paypal account.  Given the state of the avg. American’s credit card debt level, I see this as a much better way for consumers to shop.

It is also very convenient to make a payment via Paypal as all you have to do is login and the rest just happens.  There is no lengthy entering of credit card numbers, names,  and addresses.  It is fast, easy and very convenient.

What has Paypal done then that has me so excited?

They have created browser plugin (sorry Mac users… it only works on a PC, but you can generate a card number by visiting the secure cards page) that once installed, enables you to make a debit card payment with Paypal, in any system that accepts Mastercard.  This means that now a Paypal payment can be made on virtually ANY major retailer’s site as well as the little guys who do not currently accept Paypal.

The way this works is Paypal generates a single use Mastercard debit number that will draw off of your Paypal account.  Once generated, it remains valid for up to two months. 

There is also a second option that enables you to create a Mastercard number that will remain valid indefinitely for repeated use on a single website (say for instance).

In short, Paypal has just increased their reach by a percentage I can’t even begin to try to calculate.


This is the exact sort of thing that takes a company from Good to Great.

Yes, we all needed just one more way to spend our money right?

So what next?

Share your opinion on this new way to spend your money?  Leave a comment and let us all know.

Onward & Upward!


Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, 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  #



Before we start examining pull marketing from the different perspectives (marketing executive, Internet Marketer, consumer, and psychologist) I listed in part one, I feel we must more clearly look at what exactly pull marketing is, how it works, where it is being used and how you can use it.

 Today let’s start with more clearly defining what exactly push marketing and pull marketing are, how they work and why you must understand this.

Based on comments I’ve received here, discussions with other Internet Marketers as well as lengthy strategy sessions in anagencyy setting, it has become quite clear to me that most everyone has a firm grasp on what "push marketing" is and how it works. 

Push marketing at it’s roots is pretty straightforward… start with a product, create a message designed to push emotional buttons and create desire for the product, and then push that message in front of people.  The vehicles used to push a message vary wildly in appearance (TV, radio, banners, billboards, magazine ads, on and on) but the mechanism is the same.  You are basicallyinterruptingg whatever else the target is doing and trying to get them to shift gears and listen to your message.

Push usually = Interruption

Just about anyone can work with push or interruption marketing.  There have been many, many very successful push campaigns over the years as well as many more failures.

The difficulty with push is that over time (often a very short time) people will become more adept at recognizing that push message and will become immune if not averse to it.

Now consider how the marketinglandscapee has changed with the emergence of the social web.

No longer do consumers simply ignore marketing they no longer want pushed in front of them.  Now they stop responding to the message AND they openly tell everyoneelses in the "network" to do the same.  They talk about it and discuss it, they pick it apart and in extreme instances even turn it against the company issuing the message.

This is reminiscent of astatementt made by NEO in the Matrix (sorry, I love the underlying themes inthatt movie so it often comes up as I explain things).  This comes at the very end of part one, where Neo is on the payphone speaking to those of the matrix who are manipulatingcontrollingg what people see:

"I know now what you’re trying to do and I’m going to let them all know"

 Now consider the fact that in the new social media world in which we live, there are hundreds of millions of potential Neo’s each willing and able to passionately contribute to the direction of the "conversation" going on about any one topic.  We are far beyond a single individual making the choice to take either the red pill of the blue pill.

The power of today’s social media and the rapidity with which it grows is all but terrifying to many traditional advertising channels and the institutions that have been built upon them (the first example that should come to mind is television advertising!).

The new socialmediai and it legions of participants have become theferventt gatekeepers of their own communities.  They are quick to speak their mind and will defend their "world" against pushy marketing messages at all costs.

So what do you do?

I think it needs to be looked at in very simple terms.

The book On War was written and published in the early 19th century by a Prussian general named Carl Von Clausewitz. 


One of the more poignant statements he makes in his manuscript is as follows:

"Never engage the same enemy for too long, or he will adapt to your tactics."

Now think about that statement and how it applies to the current marketing world.

It will no longer be good enough to use the traditional marketing media on which most companies have relied for so long.  It has been done for too long and beyond that, the "soldiers" are no longer working in the terrain for which it was developed.

If you continue to use the same marketing tactics upon which everyone has relied for so many decades, you will start to realize rapidly diminishing levels of success.

Here is where your opportunity opens wide before you.

You can take steps to understand the new, social media landscape and start taking steps to work WITH it and in it as opposed to ON it.

To do this, you must understand pull marketing since pushing your message at folks is a dying way of going.

Pull Marketing at its simplest is comprised of first giving something that people want, which results in the building of trust and relationship. 

What follows next is their wanting more from the giver, especially if what they were given the first time carried a very high perceived level of quality.  There are elements ofreciprocityy at work here although they are subtle.  What is really taking place is theopeningg of a communication.  The recipient is in complete control over whether or not the communication continues.  If what they are receiving is sustaining them in some fashion where there was previously a void then they will let more communications flow in.

Eventually astrongg trust bond is formed and the result is the recipient looking for is not demanding more form the source. Thiss can be manifest in their all but asking if there is something they can buy from you.

Marketing scientist extraordinaire Mark Joyner also takes this a step further, proposing that marketers provide full disclosure of what they are doing in their interactions with their target audience.  The idea (which he discloses to the target) is for the prospect to feel you have been 100% up-front with them and have given them all of the facts so they are able to make a properly informed decision.

In this case, they have been given not just that, that they want but also the details on why it is being given.  There is a level of transparency that actually serves to draw them even further in.  This gets into some rather advanced selling psychology which is really anotherdiscussionn altogether.

Now let’s look at a few examples that have been quite effective, particularly as they have used the new social media as they message vehicle.

One of our agency’s clients is a company named Triumph boats.

Triumph boats are made out of a material called Ropelene which is purported ( and is) to be much tougher and moreindestructiblee than fiberglass.

Now, the old method of marketing these boats would have been to create a two-page magazine spread that illustrates the boats, talks about them being tough and tells the reader why they should buy one.

Here is the new method of delivering the message:

The video demonstrates the the most important aspect of the boats… that they are indestructible. It does so though in a humorous way and never once asks you to buy a Triumph.

This first video was so successful in generating interest in the brand that they followed it with another video the next year and even created a site dedicated to the "Testing" of just how tough  Triumph boats are

The ads never ask you to buy a Triumph but rather use fantastic humor to display one of the strongest reasonsanyonee should want a Triumph.

 This video and the one that followed it were, among some other very creative branding,implementall pieces in the Triumph brand seeing sales figures more than triple over a few years.

Now please note that never in that piece did anyone say "Please buy a Triumph because…". Theyy didn’t have to.  The video beautifully displayed the strongest attributes of the boat but in such a creative, humorous, non "pushy" way that people wanted more, ranging from more videos to buying the boats.

The humorouselementss of the video also served to get people to share it and pass it around gaining more exposure from creditable sources (a friend’s recommendation is one of the most powerful sales tools in the world) than any normal paid ad campaign could afford.

That is beautiful PULL.

The humor and creativity of the ad so beautifully exhibits the strongest attributes of the brand without ever having to say "Here is why we’re great and why you should want one of our boats!"

The humor motivates people to share the video with others which in turn helps build brand awareness… in a very positive vein.

Now that is just one example of pull marketing.  In our next discussion I will delve into a variety of other examples aswelll as discuss Pull Marketing from the perspective of the Marketing Professional.

Until then, I urge you to share any examples you’ve seen ofpulll marketing as well as share your overall feelings about this style of marketing with the rest of us here on this blog.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing by  #


The following is a fantastic ad demostrating the ability to manipulate what we see and perceive.

I love ads like this as they are beautifully outside the box.

This is also (IMHO) a great example of pull advertising.

Just watch the video below and see what your reaction is then let me know what you think:


Filed under Blog, General Musings, Internet Video, Online Marketing by  #

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