Zappo’s Excels At Customer Service

The other night my husband ordered me a Lacoste polo shirt for Christmas, on Zappo’s. He was blown away by the customer service experience.

And apparently, he discovered something that the rest of the world has known for a long time: That Zappo’s has AMAZING customer service.  You all thought that Nordstrom was the stuff of magic?  Try Zappo’s.  In fact, click here to read an article about some of the Top 10 BEST Zappo’s customer service stories.

Not only does Zappo’s deserve kudos for their customer service, they also should win a prize for what happens when you call and are placed on hold.  You get a joke of the day.

My husband Bill was so impressed that he called me into his office to listen to the exchange.

Now, as a   Boston marketing content creator and a  Dedham marketing blogger, I am always thrilled to hear this kind of information.  I hate when I am put on hold by a business, and simply forced to listen to Muzak.  Zappo’s definitely goes the extra mile, and they also offered my husband FREE shipping. This is all smart marketing, and marketing that gets results.

What a pleasure!

What a novelty!

What a great way to buy for Christmas or any holiday!

I’m impressed – and the next time, especially, when I want a pair of shoes, you know where I’m going.

Toilet Paper Advertising Hits New Low: Bad Marketing

I’m here to discuss something not very polite.

Toilet-paper advertising.

An example of a company that does it right is Charmin. They hold a contest every year in which they invite women to create a wedding dress out of TP, and it has been a huge success for them. It’s clever and creative, and an example of smart marketing.

Not such a good idea is what I want to discuss in this blog post.

Another toilet-paper company is urging people to “Go Commando.”


Yes. They want you to feel so fresh after using their toilet paper that they dare you to go without underpants. And even, on Facebook, dare your friends to do the same. Can you believe it?

Gross. If I got an invite like that on Facebook, I would be completely grossed out and disgusted. Who are you supposed to invite, to forego their underwear? Your Mom? How about your aunt, or your financial planner or dentist? Or the guy who makes pizza deliveries? This is INAPPROPRIATE all the way around, any way you slice it. I say this as a normal every day person, and also as a marketing expert and marketing author of a best-selling book on wacky marketing: Off The Wall Marketing Ideas.

I wouldn’t invite people to do this in polite company — never mind on the internet, where it’s viewed by millions of people.

Do we really want to live in a society where people don’t wear underwear? It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Kramer goes without, and reminds Jerry that the only thing between the two of them was “a thin layer of gabardine” in his trousers.


Years ago, I remember a photo of Demi Moore, wearing a mini dress – and no underwear. And who can forget Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct?

Stupid, bad marketing. Put a lid on it, would ya please?

Smart Marketing Strategy: Coin Your Own Words

Remember the movie Mary Poppins? That was the film that put the word “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” on the map. It was a marketing gimmick that worked. That word is still in our lexicon.

If you’re a smart marketer, you’d be wise to follow that example and make up your own new words to advertise and market your product or service. For instance, Apple has just started to advertise its new iPod Touch, claiming that it is “Engineered for Maximum Funness.”

Funness? It seems that the word “fun” has been extrapolated, and marketers are working overtime to find words and ideas that will be remembered. And I must say, more often than not, those gimmicky new words succeed in getting the marketer’s point across to new and potential customers.

As a Boston marketing consultant and copywriter, I tell everyone that marketing is the art of making yourself memorable. Coining your own words can be very successful.

Advertisers and marketers have been playing with words for a long time. I remember a milk campaign with tennis Star Chrissy Evert, in which she proclaimed the milk’s inherent “goodness.” Here, the word “good” was used in a way that would have typically been used for a Catholic saint.

Do you remember the Snickers ad campaign from 2009? They launched a successful ad campaign, with made-up words, and advertised just one of these words per taxicab in New York City, in a sign affixed to the cab’s roof. I thought it was brilliant. You would have discovered that Snickers was the cure for “hungerectomy,” and that the snack was “satisfectellent.”

I myself coined a special word when I debuted my bestselling book, The Globetrotter’s Get-Gorgeous Guide. Taking my cue from the word “fashionista,” I wanted to address all women who were beauty junkies. Hence my own new word: “beauty-ista.”

Here’s my favorite headline, which gets right to the point. The Onion used it in a story about Frito-Lay: “Fritolaysia Cuts Off Chiplomatic Relations with Snakistan.”

Smart Marketing: Christian Louboutin’s Red-Soled Shoes

I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s absolute genius that French shoe designer Christian Louboutin had the brainstorm to paint the soles of his shoe designs in a bright red color, to set them apart and to advertise them in a subtle way — without even any wording or message. If you ever watched Oprah before she took her show off the air, many times you would have noticed the soles of her expensive Louboutin shoes in the wide shots shown on TV. Before Louboutin and his smart marketing, everyone’s shoe soles were simply black or beige. But Louboutin took his shoes one step further, and was able to trademark the red soles as his brand – and his brand alone. Watch any of the late-night talk shows, and chances are, you will see a wealth of celebrity women wearing these famous scarlet-soled shoes that cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The red soles became his trademark, his gimmick, his logo, if you will. While I believe that such expensive shoes are yet another sign of wretched excess in this country, I do applaud this marketing. As a marketing expert who specializes in marketing for small business, and marketing solutions and marketing strategies, the use of color is smart indeed. After all, smart marketing and advertising is finding a new niche – and filling it.

Recently, the U. S. Appeals Court in Manhattan overturned a lower-court decision, and they ruled that Louboutin’s red sole is in fact entitled to trademark protection. That means that no other shoe manufacturer can use the red sole as its marketing gimmick.
But how about someone else coming up with a trademark blue or canary-yellow sole? Or etching their product name on the sole itself? It reminds me of one of my favorite marketing techniques. It involved etching their name on the soles of flip-flop sandals, so that when people wore these sandals in the sand, the name was footprinted in the sand at beach resorts. Brilliant!

Want Fame? Market Yourself Like A Celebrity.

Need a good publicity stunt? Want to be treated like a celebrity? Maybe all you need to do is act just like a celebrity if you want to get the celebrity VIP treatment. It’s an off the wall marketing idea, but one that really works.

Brett Cohen, a 21-year old student at the State University of New York at NewPaltz, put that theory to the test on July 27, 2012, in New York City, right outside NBC’s Rockefeller Center Studios, and got some surprising results, which say a lot about our culture. Namely, that the cult of celebrity and fame drive our society, and drive our society wild with desire.

Here’s what Mr. Cohen did. He dressed in sharp clothes, got his hair done, wore sunglasses, and strolled out of the NBC Studios at 49th Street. He was greeted by “bodyguards” and “assistants” who he had hired to be his entourage. He also had hired photographers who pretended to be paparazzi. A crowd amassed, informed by the hired “assistants” and “paparazzi” that a “big star” was about to come out of the TV studios — but onlookers were never told who Mr. Cohen really was. That he wasn’t a celebrity, but was just a “poseur.”

People flocked to him in droves.

Said Cohen to The New York Daily News, “The idea was, ‘I bet if we walked through with bodyguards and photographers, people would go nuts.'” “And that’s exactly what happened.”

Crowds grew as Mr. Cohen continued on to Times Square, accompanied by his entourage; by the time the whole escapade was over, he had taken almost 300 photos with the onlookers.

What did it all prove? That people just love a celebrity — even if they don’t know or understand why he’s famous.

He added — “I got a taste of fame, and it was good, but it’s not something I would want as part of my everyday life.”

He also landed an interview on the TODAY Show.

As a Boston marketing consultant, I believe that his publicity stunt was an innovative idea, an off-the-wall marketing idea — and certainly one that someone — with a product or service to sell — could implement.

Marketers Tout Toilet-Paper Advertising as Low-Cost Marketing Solution

Are you sitting down? Soon there may be advertising in the most private of places: The bathroom. Yes, I’m sure we have all experienced ads placed on the backs of stall doors, in public bathrooms, in order to get out attention. But advertising may soon be on your roll of squeezable Charmin. Here’s a company that hopes to be flush with cash, thanks to this low-cost marketing strategy that is definitely off the wall — or should I say, off the roll.

Bryan and Jordan Silverman are creators of toilet tissue printed with ads, and some even come with coupon codes that can be read by cellphones. Twenty-two-year-old Jordan Silverman created the idea for Star Toilet Paper in 2010. His 18-year-old brother says he was initially skeptical but came to see it as advertising to “a really captive audience.”

The brothers from Rye Brook, New York, have entered their concept in a contest run by Entrepreneur magazine.

Their website is

The Star Toilet Paper executives say that they use the highest quality of toilet paper. They also say that it is

– Comfortable to use
– 100% recycled, environmentally friendly
– Made with non-abrasive ink (soybean-based)
– Septic safe
– Easy to read
– Custom printed to feature great coupons from local companies

They claim that the benefits and advantages of their toilet paper advertising, include the fact that it costs you just half a cent per ad, and that this “guerilla marketing” sets you apart from other vendors, especially in coupon books, Yellow Pages, and in the newspaper.

I’ll tell you this, as a Boston marketing expert and business writer – it’s creative. But the next thing you know, advertising is going to pop up in many more unexpected places – such as jail cells and coffins.

Dollar Stores Offer Smart Marketing

Who doesn’t love great stuff for a buck? This post is all about how dollar stores have reinvented themselves — and how they can help you in your marketing.

A long time ago, dollar stores had a bad reputation for selling cheap products and shoddy merchandise. Not so anymore. Now they have gone somewhat mainstream, and you can find lots of great items for a dollar, and other items for a little more than $1. In this economy, dollar stores are a real recession-buster. Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are just a few examples. You won’t find weird merchandise there — in fact, you will find an array of all kinds of goods, even makeup and nail polish that are a steal for a buck. If you’re a woman who likes to experiment with cosmetics — for short change — a dollar store is for you. I’m not sure about this, but if they take manufacturer’s coupons, you can get the items even cheaper, which is always a good thing. You’ll find everything from Bic pens to Folger’s coffee, to Tide detergent to Kellogg’s cereals and Rubbermaid plastics.

And if you’re a business, a dollar store can be your best friend. Why? Because items that cost just $1 each can be used in your marketing as wildly inexpensive promotional items. For example, you could purchase 50 pairs of sunglasses, and send them to new and prospective customers, with the message, “When you do business with us, your future is bright and sunny.” If you are a financial planner who works for himself, this could be a smart marketing strategy for less than $100, which will get yourself remembered. And that’s a good thing — as I always tell my readers of Off The Wall Marketing Ideas, and the people who attend my lectures, Marketing Is The Art Of Making Yourself Memorable.

Scour the aisles of dollar stores and who knows? You just might find that million-dollar idea to put your business on the map.

Clever Marketing From The Little Company That Could

Here’s a marketing success story about the little company that could. Have you heard of the Orabrush? This company spent $28 – that’s right, $28 – to purchase Facebook ads targeted at Walmart employees in Arkansas. They said, “Walmart employees have bad breath. Walmart needs to carry Orabrush. It will sell better than anything in your store.” What’s fascinating is that these $28 ads sold BETTER than the typical $20,000 print ads placed in retail trade magazines. Within 48 hours of launching the Facebook ad, a Walmart manager got an email from the Walmart buyer, and before you know it, Walmart placed an order for 735,000 of the Orabrush tongue cleaners. Before this, Orabrush was known for its 39 million views of its funny YouTube videos. In fact, consumers who saw the character of Morgan The Tongue on YouTube led the company Boots in the United Kingdom to place an Orabrush order. The moral of the story? Use Facebook and YouTube to your advantage. It’s a brave new world out there for marketers. I say this as a Boston-based marketing and public relations consultant for plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, and hair and skincare salons. Contact me at Maxima Marketing at (781) 407-9305 for a free consultation.

Get Creative With Your Editorial Calendar

Here’s today’s marketing tip. Every marketer knows that magazines and newspapers have an editorial calendar listing their timely stories. What’s new is that now, companies such as Weight Watchers, Mercedes-Benz and Nestle’s Purina are borrowing from the world of publishing, and creating their own editorial calendars, to determine where and how they distribute content in social media. For example, the Mercedes-Benz calendar has three sections. One is related to car launch dates, innovations, safety and design; another that shows dates of all of its various events, and a third that showcases important dates in Mercedes-Benz’s history. This way, companies such as Mercedes-Benz can keep their fan base – and their Facebook fans – fully engaged and informed. For the small business person, it means that you, too should organize your information into seasonal and monthly calendars where you can divulge your information to new and prospective customers. This is a no-cost, low-cost marketing strategy that only requires creativity, not cash. Don’t miss out on opportunities to engage with consumers about limited-time sales, new products, and news about your company! I say this as a Boston-based marketing and public relations consultant. Contact me at Maxima Marketing at (781) 407-9305 for a free consultation by visiting my website.

Ben Stiller’s Clever Naked Marketing Strategy

Here’s today’s marketing tip from the Queen of Creativity at Maxima Marketing. What’s in a name? Shakespeare said even a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. But there’s much to be said for the name of your product or service, and product naming companies across the country would tell you that. The actor Ben Stiller has a new foundation, whose goal is to support children around the globe with educational initiatives. Mr. Stiller wanted a catchy name for it. He thought of all kinds of options including So You Think You Can Donate, and The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn To Do Other Good Stuff. Those are terrible names. And he knew it. So, like any good marketer, he tried to think of a name that would entice and attract people to his website. A name like…..well, actress Jennifer Aniston. But he didn’t leave it at that. The new name of his foundation is – are you ready? — Check it out and you’ll wind up on the real Stiller Foundation Facebook page. Clever. I say this as a Boston marketing consultant and publicist. I work with businesses in all industries but specialize in marketing and PR for plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, hair salons and skincare salons. Call me at (781) 407-9305 for a free 15-minute consultation. Ask me for some Off The Wall Marketing Ideas, which also happens to be the title of my bestselling book available on