Consumer Buying Habits Still Challenge Retailers

ALT="Jayme Soulati Christmas Tree 2015"Consumer buying habits remain a mystery to retailers, apparently.

Yesterday, I was at a holiday party with my tennis groupies in an affluent home with several Christmas trees and many lovely decorations admired by all. The conversation launched into the fact that there were no more cool ornaments in stores, and the selection of holiday decorating accessories is limited.

We talked about Target and Pier One as places to go on the hunt while others preferred to wait until after Christmas for the deals. Wait! We all agreed there are no more after-Christmas deals for decorating goodies; if you see them before Christmas, you have to snap them up. That is so sad. We used to be able to get really cool ornaments and now retailers are not stocking shelves. Who wants to buy ornaments online, anyway? You have to touch them already.
The fact that retailers began to limit holiday selections is not new. I noticed this trend about 2009-2010 during the last recession when no one was buying that stuff. [Read more…]

5 Reasons Why I Was The Victim Of Fraud

ALT="Duh Road sign on Soulati.com"Being the victim of fraud is one of the most excruciating pains for the psyche. There’s not a moment that passes when you don’t think of yourself as stupid and dumb (probably the very same thing) for falling for it. Especially when the tells were there.

I am a marketing professional. I like to think I’m pretty keen on knowing when something smells rotten. But it was the perfect storm, so let me tell you about it so perhaps you’ll recognize the signs a lot faster than I did. [Read more…]

Marketing Predictions In The Year Of Fear 2016

ALT="Trump Tower by Jayme Soulati"

Credit: Jayme Soulati via iPhone 4S to Instagram

What will 2016 hold for you? Will you have a chance to be authentic? Or will you keep the same old business practice and just manage in the Year of Fear 2016?

I have a bunch of marketing predictions, and they are based on the following factors. [Read more…]

Live With A Loving Heart

ALT="Heart Candy, Loving Heart, Soulati"It’s what I teach my child every day—live with a loving heart.

I had to write about that and remind people to do so because where I walk, live, read, breathe, eat, and play, love is absent. There is so much anger amongst people right now; there is so much animosity and inability to smile or be friendly.

Most of all there’s no compassion.

Is it because I’m older now, and I can see through the angry façade of folks who might be protecting something inside or who are envious or suspicious of loving kindness? [Read more…]

BASF Love In Business Campaign

ALT="BASF Ad for Create Chemistry"Is there love in business? BASF, the 150-year-old conglomerate, thinks so.

In my hunt for good podcasting fodder, I was leafing through Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s The Year Ahead 2016 issue. When I landed on a full-page spread by BASF, which I thought made audio and stereo equipment, I came across this tagline:

We create chemistry that makes more power love a cleaner drive.

Eh? I read it again and again and still could not decipher whether it was referring to computer hard drives (as the left vertical image was of a super highway often depicted as the speeding Ethernet), or whether it was the clean fuel as depicted on the right vertical image in the ad. The blue heart conjoining the two images then made me wonder if ‘chemistry’ was the entendre for ‘love.’ [Read more…]

Nurturing Dementia In Friendly Communities

ALT="nurturing dementia, Soulati.com"There are too many stories of friends, family and neighbors with dementia getting scammed by a crook who wants their money or valuables. It saddens me immensely. That’s why I immediately sat down to write after reading this Wall Street Journal article, ‘Dementia-Friendly’ Cities.

Turns out that Paynesville, Minn., a town of 2,400 friendlies, is ‘dementia friendly’ and they nurture dementia.

That means the folks who live, work, sleep and eat in this small Midwestern community are nurturing their elders and being kind to a aging disease no one wants, everyone fears, and for which there’s no cure.

I applaud and admire the elders of Paynesville who created this nurturing dementia mentality.

The article states, “The number of Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is projected to rise 40 percent over the next 10 years, to 7.1 million from 5.1 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, a national nonprofit group.”

Apparently, the movement to nurture dementia is taking off in Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arizona, and West Virginia, to name a few. There is a national pilot program called Dementia Friendly America modeled on the work in Paynesville and Minnesota’s 36 dementia-friendly communities that is turnkey for other locations to help those 65+ manage this age-intensifying condition.

Cross-disciplinary organizations often collaborate to put such programs in place. In Paynesville, there are volunteers who help with caregiving, buying the groceries, with yard work, and more. Foundations and healthcare companies also help implement the community-wide programming so that people with dementia and their loved ones can receive some comfort on their path.

Nurturing Dementia Is About Changing Mindset, Like Good PR

The public relations aspect of this national program provides great opportunity for collaborative community relations with the goal of helping humanity. It’s heart marketing at its finest, and you all know by now I have a podcast called, The Heart Of Marketing.

Before the disruption in technology began to turn entire sectors on their heads, we did grassroots public relations. We built relationships in communities with influencers and leaders. We listened to the community to understand problems they wanted solved. We heard from businesses about their resources they wanted to put into play in the communities. We approached foundations and non-profits to see what role they wanted to be accountable for. We set out to change mindset and cultural shift.

Plans were drawn up. Everyone got marching orders. Action happened, and goals were reached with good-old community relations and relationship building. This was all before the time of social media; it was called traditional public relations.

For a national program like this, more people can be reached. There are more ways to engage families of people with dementia and to nurture dementia with technology.

I’m so happy the Wall Street Journal covered this PR story. It’s a good thing when we get to read news of collaboration and the principles of heart marketing that I tout on my podcast with John Gregory Olson. When your role is oriented to caring for a community, you need to constantly adapt with the needs of the people.

Why I Will Cancel Advertising Age

ALT="dinosaur"No offense Rance Crain. In my book anything the Crains do is golden, coming from a Chicago girl (no I’m not native, but my child IS, so there). I will cancel Advertising Age after subscribing for many years as a loyal customer of the print edition.

  • I was around when B2B was its own magazine and then it merged inside its sister publication, Ad Age, and then it disappeared completely.
  • I was around when there was at least a smattering of public relations news somewhere in the publication, and then there was none.
  • I’ve been around since the campaigns like ‘how many licks does it take to reach the center of a Tootsie Roll pop’ were the norm and there was more dispersed coverage of all campaigns than just those that cater to the big advertising guns.

Alas, we ‘fair to middlin’ (what my grampa used to say)’ marketers no longer compute. We don’t have the advertising dollars to play in the same sandbox as the big guns, and the reporting shows.

[Read more…]

The Return of Social Media Engagement

ALT="Soulati Media, Future and Past"We’ve come full circle. We’re returning to social media engagement. As I daily peruse the social media sphere and the lists of bloggers who still write daily, good for you, I am conscious of one thing in this chaos of disruption.

Human engagement with connectivity remains the number one most important metric of social media.

Says Social Media Explorer today (exact quotes) by Peter Friedman: [Read more…]

Full-Service Marketing Is Extinct Like A Dinosaur

ALT="dinosaur"Used to be, back in the day, that everyone offered full-service marketing. I offer it, and so do you. Anyone hailing from the agency world knows that it’s full service or no service. Whether or not we had the competency to say we offered full-service marketing, we went and got it to compete for the coveted client retainer.

Nothing much has changed since then; except, well, technology. Technology has fully disrupted the marketing blend, or rather it has ‘interrupted’ it as per the op-ed in Advertising Age, “Instead of Focusing So Much on Disruption, Maybe Just Get Better at Interruption,” by Ken Wheaton on July 13, 2015.

Regardless of how you view technology and whether it has disrupted or interrupted your daily grind, one thing is clear. The chaotic complexity is here to stay, and it has made full-service marketing extinct, like a dinosaur. [Read more…]

Direct Marketing As Strategy, Not Tactic

ALT="Opt-in Marketing book cover by Scott Hornstein on Soulati.com"Direct marketing could be called dead like so many other things since the disruption in technology, but it’s not. In fact, direct marketing as strategy, not tactic is also smart marketing. That keen statement comes from one of the most influential marketers in integrated today, Scott Hornstein. The reason I know this to be true is due to the fact that Mr. Hornstein is our very first featured guest on The Heart Of Marketing podcast with John Gregory Olson and me. You do remember I launched at podcast in February, right? We’ve taped about 34 episodes already, and it’s tons of fun. Thank goodness John does the editing because, well, just because.

What are your views about direct marketing as strategy? [Read more…]