General Motors

The Emerging Importance of Online Video
July 29, 2009

As incorporating video onto the Web becomes easier and the quality of video gets better and better, consumers are expecting its presence on Web sites more and more. Video offers so many opportunities for marketers to get their messages across in a more compelling, and more informative, way.

D-Day and the End of the Bloomingdale’s Catalog
May 15, 2008

Whenever things go wrong and I get depressed, my wife Peggy says, “Cheer up, nobody is shooting at us.” I used to know Francey Smith, who ran the Bloomingdale’s catalog for years. She was a marketing genius who combined database wizardry with great merchandising savvy. She was one of the best in the world at what she did. Now the Bloomingdale’s catalog, which has been around since 1886, is being killed off by Macy’s. It has an active file of 472,609 12-month mail-order buying households. A ballpark estimate would be that each household has an average of four people, which means a total of

E-commerce: Roll Out the Red Carpet
June 1, 2007

The idea that word of mouth helps sell products and services isn’t new. Asking a neighbor, friend or colleague how they like their new car or new wireless service provider is standard party or office cooler conversation. But as the online environment enters a new phase of maturity in the consumer’s life (some call it Web 2.0 or even 3.0), marketers have learned that they can leverage this social connectivity to enhance their audience’s experience, glean consumer feedback and even boost sales. Although customer reviews and comments have been appearing on some Web sites for as long as eight years, consumer-generated content still is

When and If to Pull Your Ads
April 17, 2007

Don Imus—and his producer, Bernard McGuirk—have a long history of using the airwaves for sexism, racism, gay bashing and borderline slander of people and organizations that crossed them or whom they simply found to be irritating. Management would wince, but always give Imus a pass, because of the gorgeous lucre he brought in annually—a reported $22 million to CBS Radio and $8 million for MSNBC. When he stepped over the line with his gratuitous slur of the Rutgers women’s championship basketball team, Imus was suspended for two weeks by MSNBC and CBS radio, which carried him on more than 60 stations. The CEOs figured

Prepare to be Mushroomed
April 12, 2007

The massive leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company by Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell—the 65th richest man in America according to Forbes, with a personal fortune of $4.5 billion—is in the beginning stages. My bet is that it will result in a tsunami of layoffs, buyouts, firings, and wrecked careers and lives. According to the Jan. 25, 2007 Newstrack, the media industry slashed 17,809 jobs in 2006, an 88% increase over the 9,452 jobs lost the prior year. Last year, we watched The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News fall into the hands of a local consortium of investors that has neither newspaper experience

Are People Reading What You Write?
September 19, 2006

Jill Goldsmith’s 27-word lead is classic Variety—slightly outrageous and an attention-grabber—and looked too good to miss, especially since we’re considering ditching Comcast for DirecTV. A good headline and lead will get a reader into a story or a memo, e-mail, white paper, book, story, report, blog or letter. The problem most of us have is losing the reader along the way. I’m delighted to welcome an old friend and long-time colleague, Bob Scott, as a guest columnist. Since the 1950s, Bob has been using Robert Gunning’s formula for helping writers make their prose clearer, more coherent and comprehensible. This is a piece you may well want

Satellite Radio: Seriously, Folks, Are XM and Sirius Serious? Ignoring Marketing Basics Can Cost Big Time
August 31, 2006

The dry test is a beautiful thing. If you have an itch to start a magazine, two ways exist to scratch that itch: 1. Dry test. Spend $100,000 to find a universe of likely subscribers, create a direct mail package that makes your magazine so real that people believe it exists, offer three issues free, and see if anybody responds. You won’t know retention, which only comes after the publication has started and readers either love it or are ho-hummed by it. But a dry test will let you see if your idea fogs the mirror. 2. Spend millions starting a magazine and hope someone buys it. A

August 15, 2006

Note: Denny Hatch responds to all correspondence. Readers respond to “Three 800-Pound Guerrillas” published Aug. 8, 2006, which compared the war in Iraq to the General Motors business model. I enjoyed the “800 Pound Guerilla” piece today and I feel compelled to comment. The unfortunate truth of our current situation is that almost everybody knew it would turn out this way, but nobody had the guts to admit it. Ego and greed have always been, and will always be man’s downfall and those are the two key reasons for our involvement. I appreciate you having the courage to discuss the war in your newsletter.

Three 800-pound Guerillas
August 8, 2006

If the Iraq War is considered a business model, it is unraveling—just like General Motors (and Ford and DaimlerChrysler). A number of knowledgeable experts have declared our Iraq incursion not to be winnable. It does not take a language scholar to read between the lines of General Abizaid’s and General Pace’s testimony to see that the Pentagon is beginning to agree. That’s because no one has a clue about how to deal with three 800-pound guerrillas. The three 800-pound guerillas are al Qaeda plus Sunni and Shi’a murderers that are turning Baghdad into a scene reminiscent of Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” on the altar wall of the

Arrrggh! What Did You Expect?
January 31, 2006

Why Such Shock and Horror at the Obvious? Jan. 31, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 8 IN THE NEWS Rice Admits U.S. Underestimated Hamas Strength LONDON, Jan. 29 — Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice acknowledged Sunday that the United States had failed to understand the depth of hostility among Palestinians toward their longtime leaders. The hostility led to an election victory by the militant group Hamas that has reduced to tatters crucial assumptions underlying American policies and hopes in the Middle East. —Steven R. Weisman, The New York Times, Jan. 30, 2006 GM net loss $4.8 billion, much worse than expected DETROIT (Reuters)