October 2, 2014

Totally Tubular

An Empire State Building made from discarded toilet paper tubes and a stream of these tubes leading to a package of Scott Paper Tubeless Toilet Tissue

I never knew toilet paper could be exciting until I met Dave.

Dave joined me in the Veryfine Marketing Research Department in the early days of 1993 after a two-year stint at James River, maker of Quilted Northern bathroom tissue. He entertained us with stories of the brand’s relaunch the year before. Segmentation studies had characterized different types of toilet-tissue users. Press releases detailing the segments had persuaded radio personalities to talk about the product.

Clearly James River employees and their marketing agencies had both great creativity and a good sense of humor.

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Driving Miss Millennial

1969 Buick LeSabre

Last Wednesday, my husband Dan and I took a two-hour course on the Massachusetts junior operator driving laws with hints on how to teach our son AJ to drive.

Like every other childhood milestone, approaching this one for my son conjures memories of my own experience. Being the eldest child in my family, I believe it was my driving education that caused my father’s first gray hairs.

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Picture of a computer screen with a question mark on it

Would you hire an ambulance driver to repave your driveway?

My parents did.

Two days before Thanksgiving in 1980, my mother broke her ankle. She tripped on something left on the stairs while she was descending and carrying a laundry basket that blocked her view.

My mother is an overachiever and this was no simple break. A neighbor called for an ambulance which came and took her to the hospital where she had surgery soon thereafter.

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What Barbara Walters Can Teach You About Marketing

Photo from The Barbara Walters Special

To say that I was a curious child is an understatement. I asked questions relentlessly. I was always trying to figure out how things worked and to understand why people did what they did. My parents patiently answered my questions, probably hoping I would outgrow the phase.

It never happened.

When I landed in the field of marketing research, my mother was not surprised. Now I got to ask questions for a living. I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews and scores of focus groups.

But I have nothing on Barbara Walters.

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How to Score Big on the Small Stuff

Sirius XM Radio Spring Training Announcement with Typo - Reflection on Brand

On March 18 of this year, I was signing into Sirius XM Radio online when the graphic above caught my eye.

It wasn’t the flying baseballs. Or the blue sky.

It was the spring traning. T-r-a-n-i-n-g.

I was born with an observant nature and a proofreading eye. Most of the time, my observations have been welcome and have served me well.

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When Brands Go Too Far

An Example of When Brands Go Too Far:  Claritin Mattress Protector

My husband Dan is a champion shopper. 

When we identify a need in the household, it goes on Dan’s mental list.  He doesn’t like to let his list stagnate.  He begins to keep an eye out for the item and to research it.  Before long, he’s able to give you an outline of the choices available and each choice’s defining features.

Having Dan’s shopping prowess in the family is a huge advantage.  It makes the difference between thinking about a potential purchase to improve the house and actually making it.  One of Dan’s recent quests resulted in a fabulous new refrigerator.

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Breakaway Branding

Dave Stoller on his bicycle, from Breaking Away.

As a parent, I have enjoyed introducing my kids to some of the TV shows and movies from my childhood. 

When my kids were preschool age, we laughed together at Mel Brooks’ confusion over whether he was a boy or a girl in Free to Be…You and Me.  As they entered school, I shared my 30th anniversary copy of Schoolhouse Rock with them so that they could learn about conjunctions and how a bill becomes a law the way I did.

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Get Personal

Fidelity Investments personalized email to Evelyn Starr

Like you, I play many different roles in life.  And I have different names depending on the role I am playing.

You know me as Evelyn.  My kids call me Mom.  New acquaintances initially address me as Ms. Starr.  And when my kids and husband are searching for something around the house, they refer to me as “finder of things.”

Those are names I enjoy.

But apparently I have a whole bunch of aliases.

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In the Spotlight…Tempo Financial Advisors!

Tempo Financial Advisors Website Home Page

Congratulations to client Dan Traub and his firm Tempo Financial Advisors on the launch of their new website!  Tempo Financial Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor located in Metrowest Boston providing investment management services to individuals and small businesses.Dan launched the firm in 2008 just as the recession hit.  Tempo weathered the tough economic conditions well and celebrated its fifth anniversary last June.

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Marketing Lessons from a Groundhog

Groundhog Day teaches Event Marketing Lessons

As I write to you this morning it is 24 degrees Fahrenheit and snowing. 

When I moved to New England, I knew what I was getting into weather-wise.  I chose to go north.  Fall foliage might be spectacular, but winters would be long.

With the name ‘England’ in the region’s moniker, you don’t move here for the weather.

I assumed, naively, that native New Englanders were used to the weather and might even enjoy it.

Boy was I wrong.

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