Monday, September 25, 2017

NFL Facing A Tremendous Marketing Dilemma

With the situation involving players kneeling during the national anthem, NFL owners were faced with the choice of siding with their employees or their customers. They chose their employees. This could be a huge risk for the future of the league.

You have to wonder if this decision is based on research on NFL ticket holders. If this market is basically a conservative, middle class group, it could be a problem. If the market breaks down like the political landscape of the country, southern and middle America teams (including the Jacksonville Jaguars) may experience a loss of support while those teams in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, New York and New England may not feel any affects. And considering that support and ratings have already declined, can the NFL afford to mishandle this issue? Time will tell.

The point is if your business has to make a decision to side with your employees over your customers, you better know how it will affect your customers and be prepared for the consequences. Now this doesn’t include issues such as employee abuse by a customer. That will never get traction. But unpopular customer policies will.

I have a client that advertises his business from time to time. When he promotes his business, sales pick up considerably. But it also puts additional pressure on his staff to keep up with sales and service. So they complain, and as a result, he backs off on advertising. This is an incredible case where he loses income by siding with his employees.

Every type of business needs to understand what their customers want and they need to ensure that their employees are on board to deliver on the business promise. Otherwise, they may just need to punt!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What Northeast Florida Businesses Can Do With Their Marketing To Help Survive Hurricane Irma

As is witnessed by the tragedy of hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, no one wants to endure a horrible disaster as a hurricane. And while people in Northeast Florida are preparing for the safety of their families and homes, it is important to also prepare to protect your business.
Even with such a critical event as a hurricane, there are distinct marketing advantages for businesses. First, it is a very focused event, one that affects everyone. Second, people want updated information about the storm. So they are watching, listening and searching in large numbers.
To begin with, in Northeast Florida, it never hurts to start promoting your business services and products before a major storm hits. Hurricane preparation marketing should begin in June and continue through October. For retailers, this is an opportunity to conduct “hurricane sales events” to boost summer sales.
But what should you do now that you know hurricane Irma could be bearing down on us by next week?
The following is a brief, general marketing outline to help you take advantage of capturing a large audience focused on a specific event and through specific advertising channels:
TV Advertising - Contact your TV and Comcast rep immediately to place your TV commercials in weather-related programming. For cable, you should buy the Weather channel and news networks. For broadcast stations, buy around the weather reports in the news and buy rotations into the on-going local news/weather coverage.
Radio Advertising - WOKV news station is where you want to be with your radio spots. But also include news and traffic updates on iHEART and Cox stations.
ON-LINE Advertising Strategy - Start by putting your message on your website’s home page. Then consider Google ads utilizing keywords such as “hurricane,”  “storm,” or “Irma.”  Use messages on online weather sources. These can range from to weather notices on any of the local news media sites such as In using these sources, you can utilize geographic and behavioral targeting to reach the Northeast Florida audience. You can use a similar strategy with Facebook ads.
Social Media - Keep your customers updated through a current Facebook page and blog, plus posting messages on LinkedIn. And reach your existing customers through email blasts.

Public Relations - Particularly if you have a unique product or service relating to storms, write up a news release about what you do, how you can help customers and how customers can find you. In addition to posting this on your social sites, send it to the local media. Be sure to include your name, title and after hours contact information to let the media know you are available for interviews.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Small Business Marketing News Update - JacksonvilleManufacturer Launches On-line Marketing Program For New Clamp Products

With the addition of a new group of industrial lifting clamps to its extensive product line, J.C. Renfroe & Sons, Inc., an international manufacturer and marketer of lifting products based in Jacksonville, Florida, has launched a comprehensive on-line marketing campaign to introduce its new clamps.

Renfroe, a company that began and continues to be a developer and manufacturer of customized clamps, is offering new products designed for the vertical + 180 degrees category (the PCK clamp); for the beam category (the BC clamp); and a non-marring grouping (the NM, NMA, NMBC and NMRSC clamps).

To introduce these new products and to generate more exposure for its full product line, Renfroe has created new on-line tools to demonstrate product applications, provide product schematics and specifications and to make it easier to contact rep companies for inquiries and orders.

The company has revamped its website at to provide updated product information that includes clamps, sheaves, crane blocks and swivels. In addition, the site has two demonstration videos – one for the clamp line and one for sheaves and blocks.

The site, which will constantly be updated and supplied with new offerings and industry alerts, will provide information regarding Renfroe’s extensive training program and detailed repair and assembly instruction.

To enhance the use of the website, Renfroe has entered into an agreement with to provide online information and links to Renfroe to provide specific product data to industries looking for superior durable clamps.

And the company plans to use email blast to key prospects, distributors and past customers wanting the latest product information and industry changes.

“Our company has been on the forefront of manufacturing clamps to meet the challenges facing today’s industrial markets,” explained Joe Pless, marketing manager for J.C. Renfroe & Sons. “So we decided to ratchet up the technological communications to help connect with the market through these on-line tools.

“Renfroe has built a reputation over 70 plus years for high quality clamps. We just need to let more of the market see what we have to offer and how our products work,” Pless said. “ We wanted our communications set and in place in order to, not only introduce these new clamp products, but to let customers know that if there isn’t a clamp existing that does the job they need, we will design and build one.”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Small Business Marketing News Update - Jacksonville Jaguars' New GM Makes PR Blunder

As the saying goes “You only have one time to make a good first impression.” And the new general manager for the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars missed his.

On Thursday, the Jacksonville public was introduced to Dave Caldwell for the first time at a news conference at Everbank Field. Going into the presser, he knew he was going to be asked some sensitive questions, including one about his feeling on acquiring Tim Tebow.

He should have handled it like he did when asked about other NFL personnel, specifically about potential coaches. He said the season was not over and it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment at this time.

But when asked about Tebow he didn’t hesitate to say, “I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar.”

Whether you are a fan of Tim Tebow or not, I speculate that at least half of the North Florida market, the home of Tim Tebow, really likes the former Gator quarterback. So why would you start out your tenure as general manager offending half of your audience?

We just had a general manager who for years upset Jaguar fans with his unusual draft and free agent selections.

Some people are saying Caldwell did the right thing by putting an end to the Tebow situation in Jacksonville. But most of those people are anti-Tebow anyway. It may put the issue to bed for them, but not for the many who follow and support Tebow.

Instead of outwardly dismissing Tebow in what was a fairly blunt statement, Caldwell should have left it that he would evaluate the best available players, along with input from the new coach and then make the most appropriate decision for the Jaguars’ future. This approach would have shown that he is open to ideas, where his predecessor wasn’t, and he would make a decision at the right time.

But what has been done is done. Regardless of the Tebow haters, there are people who are upset. WTLV reported a statement by a fan the night of the news conference that said “I can’t imagine a scenario where I would renew my season tickets.”

That is not a very good way to start off a new Jaguar administration. Hopefully Caldwell will be better at selecting coaches and players than he is handling public relations.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Small Business Marketing News Update - Most Effective Political TV Commercial In Jacksonville Market Isn't For Politics

There is a “political attack” ad on the air in Jacksonville but it doesn’t promote a candidate and nor does it advocate a political issue. And it is one of the most effective commercials you’ll ever see.

The commercial promotes banners, signs and brochures. The spot is for FedEx Office. The scene is set on a spoof of two opposing city council candidates waiting be served at a FedEx Office retail center. While they appear to be civil to each other, they are actually attacking one another.

FedEx does a great job in using a very creative, humorous and timely commercial to effectively convey the various services its retail centers offer to customers, including candidates. Unlike the real political attack ads we have endured for over a year, this one makes dirty tricks funny.

This political season, I vote FedEx Office as the best political, and best overall, television commercial of the year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Small Business Marketing Update - Scary TV Spot Appearing In Jacksonville Market Is Appropriate For Halloween

One of the scariest things I have seen is the television commercial for Cars.Com. Not only does it look creepy, I am mystified by what it is supposed to say. While the graphic attracts your attention, you tend to miss the message, which is actually sung by the face in the woman’s hair. I rate it high for Halloween but low for effectiveness. 

Small Business Marketing Update - First Coast Manufacturers Association To Hold Strategy & Finance Summit

Jacksonville’s First Coast Manufacturing Association (FCMA) will be conducting a half day forum November 5th to discuss the financial and strategic issues facing manufacturing firms, locally, nationally and globally, in the current economic environment.

The forum will be a valuable opportunity for those small businesses that either market for or market to area manufacturers, logistics companies and various businesses that support the manufacturing industry.

Topics to be covered include…
  • Transformations: How To Capitalize On Accelerating Change And Innovation;
  • America’s Coming Energy Surplus And What It Means For Manufacturing;
  • Europe’s Debt Crisis: Threats And Opportunities For U.S. Manufacturing;
  • The U.S. Economy – Debt, Deficits, And Your Cost Of Capital;
  • Quick-hit references and resources that will address the US “fiscal cliff,” the changing pricing and risk management tools of the insurance markets, and capital sources from Miami to Atlanta.
Speakers include representatives from large and small manufacturers, the energy sector, financing specialists, and the Federal Reserve. Those participating include:
Ø    Matt Badiali, a geologist and natural resource specialist who has traveled the globe to evaluate energy sources;
Ø    Gregg Quick and Steven McInall, from JEA, to discuss what power options are available locally – or coming in the near future;
Ø    Chris Oakley, Regional Executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta;
Ø    Carleton Knotts, Trane Commercial Systems, to talk about how manufacturers can be sure they lowered their energy demand as much as possible, without compromising operations.
Ø    Greg Johnson, Director Manufacturing, Soler-Palau Inc., and Cindy Hildebrand, CEO, CF Machine, to share their experiences in capitalizing on accelerating change.

“There are so many questions circling the manufacturing industry, from the U.S. presidential outcome to the Middle-East unrest to taxes to the economic collapse of European nations, it is difficult for business owners, presidents and CEOs to navigate,” explained Lake Ray, president of FCMA. “So this is a forum that is certainly timely and could prove to be extremely helpful for developing future strategies for manufacturers.”

The Summit will be held Monday, November 5th at the University Center (building 43 – 12000 Alumni Drive) at the University of North Florida, from 7:30 AM to noon. The cost is $99 for FCMA members and $199 for the general public. Reservation details are available at