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These pages of Marketing Ideas are designed to share ideas and news articles that we have found to be particularly interesting.

Quotations to Make You Want to Shake Your Head and Quickly Hire Marketing Development Resources, Inc. - Examples of a lack of creative thinking.


"640K ought to be enough for anybody."  -  Bill Gates, 1981.


"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1½ tons."  -  Popular Mechanics Magazine, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.


"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -  Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943.


"Everything that can be invented has been invented."  -  Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

"But what ... is it good for?" -  Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.


"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -  Ken Olson, President, Chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977.


"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -  Western Union internal memo, 1876.


"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -  David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920’s.


"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." -  A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)


"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."  -  The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957. 

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"  -  H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.


"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." -  Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind".


"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -  Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles, 1962.


"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." -  Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.


"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." - Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notes.


"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, ‘No’. So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet'."  -  Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.


"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." -  1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard’s revolutionary rocket work.


"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." -  Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.


"Aeroplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -  Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.


"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." -  Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.


"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." -  Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen


A Satisfied Customer Isn’t Enough

I stayed at the Hilton in Washington the other week. Check-in was a little slow - in Washington, everything seems slow to New Yorkers - but the clerk had style, and I was grateful he asked if I wanted frequent-flier credit for my stay, which I usually forget to request. A sign on the counter warned people they would be charged $50 if they cut short or lengthened their stay unless they spoke up at registration; that seemed curt, but it didn’t affect me, and I understood the logic, the capital in summer being jammed with tourists. The room was fine - not big or gorgeous, but this was a Hilton, the price was fair, the room cheerful enough, the staff friendly and professional, breakfast excellent. If I’d been given a "How did we do?" survey, I’d have said, yes, I was satisfied. But when the clerk at checkout wished me Godspeed and hoped to see me back, I said to myself, "Don’t count on it."


Thereby hangs a tale. It turns out I’m typical: Satisfied customers often don’t come back. Xerox did some pioneering work on the subject early in the 1990’s, which inspired a 1995 Harvard Business Review piece by Thomas Jones and W. Earl Sasser Jr. called "Why Satisfied Customers Defect." One Xerox datum is startling: If satisfaction is ranked on a 1-to-5 scale, from completely dissatisfied to completely satisfied, the 4’s - though satisfied - are six times more likely to defect than the 5’s.

We’re used to thinking - assuming, really - that satisfaction and loyalty move in tandem, like handholding young lovers. The assumption’s wrong. Satisfaction and loyalty are more like such famously wary pairs as Lizzie and Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, or even Cramden and Norton. In vigorously competitive markets, a graph - with satisfaction on the horizontal axis and retention on the vertical axis - doesn’t rise diagonally. Instead, it dawdles along a curve; Loyalty rises a bit as satisfaction increases, swooping abruptly up only at the highest levels of satisfaction. In monopolistic or oligopolistic markets the curve goes the other way; since these customers are more or less stuck, loyalty - if that’s the word - rises steeply even at low levels of satisfaction, inching up only a little more at the highest levels.


Which gives you two strategies: Neuter competition or satisfy customers completely. One way to create uncompetitive markets is to limit customers’ choice. Patents do this, as do regulations, airport landing rights, broadcast licenses, mergers that tiptoe past the sleeping dogs at Justice, and the like. You can also maim the Invisible Hand by making it inconvenient or expensive for customers to switch. Frequent-flier plans are a great example, so powerful that few airlines even try to make flying pleasant. Location is another; I prefer Burger King to McDonald’s, but when my cholesterol is too low I go to McDonald’s because it’s closer. De facto standards also raise switching costs: The ubiquity of Windows, the dollar, and gasoline-powered cars makes it harder to switch to Macs, the lira, or electric vehicles.


Those are mostly plays, however, and even if you can keep competition caged - a big if - cranky captive customers cost you, as any schoolteacher can tell you in early June. A better way to stop customers from playing the field is to marry them - to forge intimate, mutually beneficial partnerships based on exchange of knowledge about each other’s desires, needs, abilities and character.


So here’s the problem: You want my steady business, and you don’t want to compete on price, but if you’re honest with yourself you have to admit that you’re not selling anything intrinsically different or more valuable than the guy next door. Hertz or Avis - who cares? Wells Fargo or Bank of America - big diff. Gateway or Compaq - pick ‘em. Hilton or Sheraton - let Bollenbach and Aroskog duke it out. American or United - if it weren’t for the miles, who’d give a flying toaster?


In cases like these, customer satisfaction - deep satisfaction, the kind that creates loyalty - isn’t likely to result from one big thing. True, beyond-the-call-of-duty performance when something goes wrong can create good will, but unless you’re Harry Houdini or Fran Tarkenton, you can’t build a business on the basis of a knack for hairsbreadth escapes. A customer’s decision to be loyal or to defect is instead the sum of many small encounters with your company. Their impact can be huge. According to Frederick Reichheld, author of The Loyalty Effect, more than 90% of car buyers are satisfied or very satisfied when they drive away from the dealer’s showroom - but fewer than half of this once happy crowd buy the same car next time. The few marques that buck this trend - like Lexus - are notably those that work assiduously to keep the thrill of ownership alive through service.


You want ordinary events to carry a whiff of the wonderful . . . You should express or reiterate the promise of your brand not just in the product itself but at every point of contact between you and the customer.


Analyzing the branded customer experience is a way of putting bones and muscle on amorphous language like "customer satisfaction." . . . Quality and price are the two most important determinants of a company’s reputation . . . But customer service, responsiveness to complaints, and the behavior of your staff rank right after them, and are equally able to burnish your logo.


Frequently, however, companies don’t see the chance to brand every event they can; worse, customer encounters often contradict the brand’s promise . . . Southwest Airlines [is] an interesting example because its brand stands for the opposite of special treatment. Southwest delights its customers by making and keeping a promise to be cheap and fast, and the airline doesn’t miss a trick when it comes to reminding you of it. With its casually dressed employees, color-coded and tattered boarding cards, sheep-shearing boarding process, and lack of food, Southwest seizes every opportunity to point out to its passengers the frills it eliminates. . . Other no-frills airlines, like Delta Express, try to disguise what Southwest flaunts; in effect, they make necessities out of virtues.


Canadian Pacific Hotels - whose twenty-seven properties include Toronto’s Royal York and Skydome Hotels and that grand old Rocky Mountain pile, the Banff Springs Hotel - has spent the past couple of years working . . . to put its brand on every aspect of its relationship to customers. . . Frequent-guest programs were out: Customers said they preferred getting airline mileage. What they wanted was recognition of their individual quirks and preferences. So CP Hotels offered customers a contract: Join our frequent-guest club and tell us what you want - twin vs. king-sized bed, low floor vs. high, etc. - and we’ll move heaven and earth to get it for you every single time.


Easy to say, but . . . making it operational was remarkably difficult. The company began mapping every bit of the "guest experience," from pulling up at the hotel to accepting the car keys from the valet. For each event - there were dozens - it prescribed a basic (high) level of service, based on what customers said they expected. . .The payoff: Last year CP Hotels’ share of Canadian business travel jumped 16%, though the market as a whole increased just 3% and CP added no new properties. Behind that growth lies the fact that a quarter of CP Hotels club members have stopped spreading their business around and instead are sticking to CP.


The CP Hotels experience demonstrates that a brand is not one promise but many. . . When you put together six or seven preferences and do it consistently, you suddenly have people who think you’re listening and responding. No one element - a newspaper, a soda - makes the difference between satisfaction and loyalty. But their sum does.

- - - Thomas A. Stewart writing in Fortune magazine



Quotations to Jump Start Your Creative Juices


To ask the hard question is simple. - W. H. Auden


Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought. - Basho


An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it. - Basho


Because we don’t know when we will die we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood? Some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it. Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise, perhaps twenty and yet it all seems limitless. - Paul Bowles


Life is "trying things to see if they work." - Ray Bradbury


Whenever man comes up with a better mousetrap, nature immediately comes up with a better mouse. - James Carswell


No matter how old you get, if you can keep the desire to be creative, you're keeping the man-child alive. - John Cassavetes


One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak. - G. K. Chesterton


When the way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass through. - I Ching


No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time steady eye. - Winston Churchill

Music is the art of thinking with sounds. - Jules Combarie


Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I will remember. Involve me, and I will understand. - Confucius


No one travels so high as he who knows not where he is going. - Oliver Cromwell


Marketing is awesome. - Hal Danser


Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration. - Thomas Edison


The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them. - Albert Einstein


The mere formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science. - Albert Einstein


I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein


Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein


Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can't, you're absolutely right. - Henry Ford


In the creative state, a man is taken out of himself. He lets down as it were a bucket into his subconscious, and draws up something which is normally beyond his reach. He mixes this thing with his normal experiences and out of the mixture he makes a work of art. - E. M. Forster


What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it. - Goethe


To live is to have problems and to solve problems is to grow intellectually. - J. P. Guilford


Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind. - Samuel Johnson


An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. - Dr. Edwin Land


In creating, the only hard thing's to begin; A grass-blade's no easier to make than an oak. - James Russell Lowell


It seems that the creative faculty and the critical faculty cannot exist together in their highest perfection. - Thomas Macaulay


Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young. - W. Somerset Maugham


The obvious is always least understood. - Prince Metternich


If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. - Isaac Newton

Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true -- but it's father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife. - Jonathan Schattke


The notes I handle no better than many pianists, but the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides! - Artur Schnabel


Few people think more than two or three times a year. I've made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week - George Bernard Shaw


There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions. - Charles Steinmetz


I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge. - Igor Stravinsky


In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few. - Shunryu Suzuki


Change is not merely necessary to life - IT IS LIFE. - Alvin Toffler


The "silly question" is the first intimation of some totally new development. - Alfred North Whitehead


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