The Wax Blog

By Jenny Martel The only energy drink I remember from my younger years is the highly caffeinated soda called Jolt Cola. I don’t recall that kids drank it or that they tried to get us to drink it with marketing. As a teenager, I didn't really know what to make of Red Bull when it was introduced. Today things are different. After reports of increased emergency room visits and even deaths from excessive caffeine consumption by children under 18, Red Bull is one of three energy drink companies embroiled in controversy concerning their marketing practices  to kids and teenagers. Last month energy drink makers Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar came under fire in a Senate commerce hearing . During the hearing energy drink makers were asked to describe their marketing practices to children and teenagers. Expert physicians and researchers were also asked for their opinion on the effects of caffeine consumption on kids and the effects of marketing to those children.  US Senators Rockefeller, Blumenthal and Durbin seemed determined to prove that children and adolescents are a major target of the energy drink companies via websites, events and other non-traditional marketing practices. [caption id="attachment_5454" align="alignright" width="200"]Austin Lancaster, a "private" in the Monster Army is just 15. Austin Lancaster, a "private" in the Monster Army is just 15.[/caption] Although Monster CEO Rodney Sacks stated that Monster's primary demographic is young adult males and that it "does not focus its brand initiatives on young teenagers," the drink maker sponsors a so-called Monster Army to support and develop teenaged athletes including some as young as 12 years old! Red Bull and Rockstar were not able to support their claims of not marketing to kids either, to the scorn of the Senators on the committee. 

I'd rather work with millennialsI suppose it's rather trendy for people my age (I'm right on the cusp of Gen X and Baby Boomers, if you're being generous) to complain about the millennials, or GenY. In fact, I even promoted a book about that once.  They're narcissistic, they're not loyal, they can't grow up, they won't leave home blah blah blah. Frankly, that hasn't been my experience. Since I can't afford super "seasoned" workers I've worked mainly with this generation since I started my business. Many of my clients are in their thirties and I've had a few in their late twenties. Given the choice,  I actually would rather work with millennials. I'm not saying that I've done extensive studies, or that my comments here are anything but empirical observation. OR that I don't have some really fun people I work with who are in the 40's, 50's, 60's or even 70's. I even had a 92-year old client  who was a total blast. HOWEVER,   if you let me stretch the age range just a tiny bit further into the mid-thirties, I would say IN GENERAL these are my favorite people to work with. Here's why:

By Jenny Martel Last week I talked about how moms DON'T want to be marketed to. This week I'll be positive (I promise) and tell you that I prefer two tactics, education and humor when firms market to moms. I want varied portraits of different child-focused families and I want to know how to get there. I want to see a child-prioritized domestic universe featuring an intelligent mother making good, information-based decisions. Use a unique format to educate me about your product and how it will assist me as a mother. I’ve seen very few educational commercials that capture my interest. Perhaps this is because we are "multi-minders" as Stephanie Holland mentions  in a post at  Holland says that we  “multi-minders” are unlikely to be ever pay full attention to just one thing. In fact, we're quite likely to be concurrently engaged in several other things. According to Holland, the best place to reach a mother’s full attention in online with interactive, informative marketing on websites. I love what Joy Geduza says  in her post on PPC Performance in the Wax blog. Basically, Geduza thinks intelligent and educational marketing starts with an intelligent marketer. I think this is really important when you market to moms. We're smart, not frazzled! (Okay, we're smart AND frazzled.) She suggests starting by placing your product in the right place with the right keywords. Then continue building with the right sort of evidence at the right moments, especially with trust-building information like convincing data and testimonials.   What's a good example of a great commercial, in my humble opinion?

By Jenny Martel

You and Your Family Will Be Infested With Scary Germs and Die (unless you buy this product.)

Companies love to market to moms with this theme. The Bounty Duratowel is the commercial that first comes to my mind. The ubiquitous innocent baby is devouring spaghetti in the messiest way possible off the vulnerable surface of her high chair. Vulnerable, people, that surface is being invaded by the enemy. This is one of my least favorite  tactics used to market to moms and I'm sure other mothers share this opinion. Or there's another popular tactic to market to moms I call the “Octopus Mom". She needs eight arms to keep all her balls in the air. This is the mom tearing down her suburban staircase in a business suit while carrying a laundry basket. She has an iPhone plastered to her ear and there is a pot boiling over on the stove. Children, one of whom has just ridden his muddy bike across the cream-colored Tibetan rug, are yelling and running about the house. Insert product that is going to help you, Octopus Mom, deal with your chaotic, multi-tasking life. (Personally, I think that ancient ad from Calgon "Take Me Away" started this whole thing.)   Fear-based advertising reacts urgently on the mom psyche. The fear of not getting everything done, not protecting your family from bad things,  the fear of having your sweet domestic solace invaded by the greatest foe of all, THE GERM. So why are these themes such a mainstay when advertisers market to moms? 

I was browsing through MarketingProfs' extensive content looking for some blog ideas when I read a comment by the very smart Ann Handley who said a certain book was the one that "changed the way I approach marketing—from mostly outbound to mostly inbound—and shifted my thinking about the nature of the buyer-seller relationship." I've always had a certain amount of frustration with my industry for believing so fervently in the power of commercials and outbound marketing tactics to actually sell something. I've always believed that commercials and outbound campaigns work because they either start, support or accelerate an ongoing conversation. I also believe that the customer we all want - the one that not only comes back time and again, but recommends us to others - typically believes they've made a decision about selecting our product or service. In other words, they haven't been sold.  New marketers believe in the power of attraction rather than promotion. And this isn't a new idea. There's an organization that has never competed, never spent a dime on public relations, never had a sales campaign and sells all of its products at cost. Nearly all members remain anonymous. Despite all this, it has become one of the most influential organizations in the world in the fight against alcoholism and drug addiction. [caption id="attachment_5368" align="alignright" width="150"]Even the AA Big Book cover is devoid of message. Even the AA Big Book cover is devoid of message.[/caption]

Here's something that doesn't cost anything on LinkedIn - using it for content marketing. My friends at the Vocus Blog wrote an excellent primer on using LinkedIn for content marketing in June of this year. Rather than re-invent the wheel, here's an excerpt from that...

I admit, it's been a while since I had to create career pages in LinkedIn and generate job postings.  When I went to do so for a client recently, I was shocked by the hoops LinkedIn has created to try to get paying customers. It's one thing to generate revenue, I've got no issue with that. It's quite another to generate hours of mickey mouse work for someone trying to create a career page. Here's how my story goes.