Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Target Marketing HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 
Ken Magill

The Whole Magilla

By Ken Magill

About Ken

If there’s one word that most aptly describes Ken Magill’s coverage of online marketing, it’s fearless. For more than a decade, Magill has built a reputation for calling it like he sees it no matter who may get offended. Some marketers read his column just to make sure they’re not in it. In a trade-publishing market populated mostly by vendor representatives who must watch what they say, Magill stands out as the one guy who says what he thinks. Moreover, he often writes what others are thinking, but are afraid to say. He can even be very funny.

Having been a direct marketer, and having covered online marketing since 1997 for DM News, Direct, Chief Marketer and Multichannel Merchant magazines, Magill offers a unique, informed perspective on the evolution of digital selling. He was also founding editor of trade weekly iMarketing News and Magilla Marketing, a newsletter dedicated to e-mail.

He is currently founding editor of the recently launched trade weekly email newsletter The Magill Report.

 

Here's What Counts

Chuck McLeester
How Big Is Your Halo? 3 Ways to Measure the Branding Effect of Your Direct Promotions
Jan 29, 2015

Direct marketers take pride in accountability. But as I've said before, they can be their own worst enemies when it...



The Integrated Email

Cyndie Shaffstall
The Problem With A/B Testing
Jan 26, 2015

This week we set up an elaborate A/B test on subject lines. I liked "How 1.75 Billion Mobile Users See...



Making Social Sell

Jeff Molander
Making LinkedIn Sales Navigator Work for You
Jan 23, 2015

LinkedIn Sales Navigator can be great investment. But recovering the money you invest means having an effective, repeatable way to...



Direct Mail for the Modern Marketer

Summer Gould
5 Tips for Effective Multichannel Campaigns
Jan 22, 2015

Your audience is in more than one place—you need to be too. Multichannel marketing means reaching your audience across more...



Reinventing Direct

Gary Hennerberg
5 Positioning Ideas When Leading With Price
Jan 21, 2015

What works best? Selling product benefits, then revealing the price? Or revealing the price, followed by selling benefits? There are...



Brand Matters

Andrea Syverson
Redefining the Art of Minding Your Ps and Qs
Jan 20, 2015

You know hospitality when you feel it, or as officially defined by dictionary.com it's "the quality or disposition of receiving...



Big Data, Small Data, Clean Data, Messy Data

Stephen  H. Yu
How to Be a Good Data Scientist
Jan 15, 2015

I guess no one wants to be a plain "Analyst" anymore; now "Data Scientist" is the title of the day....



Marketing Sustainably

Chet Dalzell
Golden Nuggets: Advertising’s ‘Data’ Wave Has Arrived
Jan 19, 2015

When I look at the world of advertising, by way of my career path through the Direct Marketing Association and...



The Power Punch

Carolyn Goodman
How to Treat a Client
Jan 16, 2015

Over the holidays, I relocated my office a few doors down the hallway in order to accommodate some staff changes....



Mobile-First Marketing

Greg Hoy
5 Mobile Marketing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2015
Jan 14, 2015

I don't have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to...



IMM-Possible ROI

Stephanie Miller
3 IMM Trends to Watch in 2015
Jan 13, 2015

Happy New Year! As we look ahead this year with confidence in our ability to reach those aggressive goals and...



Ruthless B-to-B Marketing

Ruth P.  Stevens
Exciting New Tools for B-to-B Prospecting
Jan 12, 2015

Finding new customers is a lot easier these days, what with innovative, digitally based ways to capture and collect data....



Keeping Search Profitable

Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.
Setting SEO Strategies and Priorities for 2015
Jan 6, 2015

As you turn the calendar to 2015, it is time once again to revisit the SEO successes or unmet challenges...



The Data Athlete

Mike Ferranti
Data Athletes in Modern Organizations
Dec 16, 2014

Let's look at the ideas, insights and strategies for becoming what I have termed a "Data Athlete." This term has...



Muscle Marketing

Wendy Montes de Oca
Converting Your Social Media Triple-Fs: Friends, Followers and Fans
Dec 16, 2014

I've heard many gurus, marketers and publishers brag about their social media followers. They'll say things like, "Isn't it great...



Marketing Nuggets

Michael Lowenstein
Marketing Success Is (Almost) All About the Data: Optimizing Customer Loyalty Behavior Initiatives
Oct 7, 2014

Much of what I've learned over the years about sales, marketing and customer service has to do with the critical...



Triple Venti Dolce Data...

Vince Pickett
Clue Me In, Please
Aug 21, 2013

So here we are, halfway through 2013. You, along with everyone, are still trying to find that magic formula to...



Who's Your Data?

Rio Longacre
Instagram: Does It Matter That It Will Make Money on Your Pics?
Dec 19, 2012

Instagram announced the company will soon begin using your content to sell targeted advertising products to the highest bidder. Does...



SEO & Content Marketing Revue

Heather Lloyd-Martin
5 Tips for Top Positioning (And Converting) Page Titles
Aug 11, 2010

Wondering about a SEO content strategy that offers the biggest impact in the shortest time? Try tweaking your page titles....



Yblog

Yory Wurmser
Privacy in the Age of Big Data
Jul 10, 2013

Consumers reveal more than ever before consciously through social media and, just as importantly, unconsciously through their behaviors. This data...



Online Video Marketing Deep Dive

Eve Grey
Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?
Feb 3, 2014

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it's safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and...



Think Mobility

Greg Hickman
‘I Can't Because, I Need ... ’
Oct 7, 2013

Does this sound like you? Have you ever set up a goal, but then realized (either quickly or too late)...



Denny Hatch's Blog

Denny Hatch
The Internet Can Make You a Chump—Forever!
Sep 25, 2010

Trouble is, the Internet is rife with misinformation and if you get caught advertently or inadvertently propagating this nonsense in...



How a Dirty Mind Can Help Save Your Creative

3
 
My journalism mentor Charlie Adair [RIP] was an utterly twisted human being, but in the best way imaginable for a student who wanted to learn to be the best reporter he could be.

He could have taught marketers a thing or too, as well—for example, about empathy, hitting deadline, and always thinking on one's feet.

The final exams for Charlie's infamous interviewing course were legendary for putting students in excruciatingly uncomfortable positions.

According to a post on his eulogy, one class "was merely given phone numbers to call for interviews. The students discovered people who were blind, who had AIDS, who were in great distress—all assembled by Charlie for the exercise."

"Typical Charlie," I thought as I read it.

For another exam, he loaded the entire class into an Econoline van, drove them to the front gate of New York's Attica state prison and told them to go in and get quotes from lifers.

The final exam for my interviewing class was a quote scavenger hunt that included having to find, phone and quote people who were obscurely referenced—maybe by just a name or nickname. This was before the Internet.

My exam also involved getting a quote from Buffalo, NY's then mayor Jimmy Griffin, a man legendary for physical altercations with reporters.

I aced that exam. For example, I knew Mayor Griffin would get increasingly agitated by the calls from Charlie's students and would stop accepting them, so I made sure I was first.

Charlie called his interviewing class "boot camp for the terminally over privileged."

Just before he died, I met him for lunch during a trip back to Buffalo. After we shook hands, I produced a copy of iMarketing News, the dot-com trade newspaper I had launched for DM News.

"Everything you taught me is in play in this newspaper," I said. "Your name's not on it, but you're all through it."

He died in 2000 from unexpected complications from what was supposed to be minor surgery. He was 58.

I think of Charlie often, especially when circumstances arise that he warned us would come about.

In fact, I thought of Charlie recently and how he would have chuckled when an email arrived from the Obama team with "Michelle" in the "from" line.

"Sometime soon, I want to meet you," said the subject line.

Team Obama could use a Charlie Adair.

One of the simplest but most enduring lessons he taught me was that the best editors have dirty minds. They can help avoid publishing embarrassing copy with unintended meanings.

For example, I once saved a reporter from including a line in her piece about a football practice bubble that had been "problem plagued since its erection."

If a Charlie Adair were on team Obama, he would have told them that subject line in the "Michelle" email sounded like something from a pornography spammer.

Everyone can use a Charlie Adair on their copy team-including you. That guy or gal on your team with the dirty mind could mean the difference between a sale and a giggle.

Sections:

3

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments: