Marketing Genius

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Marketing Genius: Tools for Peace and Marketing to Young People


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


One of the most disturbing moments (of many) in the recently released Fed Up – a scathing documentary about the role of sugar in the rise of obesity in the United States – shows an exec from McDonald’s testifying before Congress.

When asked about the company’s advertising practices in marketing to young people, the exec doesn’t blink an eye.

“We don’t market to children,” she tells the committee in an unnerving monotone, as if brainwashed. “Ronald McDonald informs and inspires by magic and fun.”

Scary stuff. Hey, some mega-chains decide to do the right thing, and some don’t. Sometimes, it takes a nonprofit to teach them a little corporate responsibility – or at least set a good example for others.

Yes, McDonald’s makes trillions marketing to young people. Tools for Peace just makes the world a better place marketing to young people.

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Marketing Genius: Marriott Joins Publishing Brands With Multiplatform Content


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


Is Marriott the first company to pivot into content marketing and publishing? No way. Are they the first hotel chain to do so? Not necessarily, depending on your definition. But they’re definitely unique in the energy and resources (which, of course, as a corporate property, they have more of than most) that they’re investing in a push billed as an industry breakthrough.

After partnering with the likes of Fast Company, Mashable, and Wired on their “Travel Brilliantly” campaign earlier this year to pair sponsored content with prestige editorial, Marriott now counts itself among businesses transforming into publishing brands. As it turns out, they were just dipping their toe before diving in.

Their September 29 announcement of a new “global studio” says that it will include “content development, production and distribution teams – dedicated to publishing, distributing, and sharing digital and filmed content across film, television, online, digital, and print distribution platforms.”

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Marketing Genius: Exo’s Cricket Flour Power


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


A few months back, we all arrived early at the BuzzFarmers office – a cosmic occurrence in and of itself – to find a mysterious package sitting at our door.

We wondered what it was, of course, but we also wondered where it was from and who had sent it. Usually, we have the privilege of exchanging pleasantries with the UPS and FedEx folks bearing new books from industry iconoclasts, an exotic floral bouquet from yet another thrilled client, and paper bags of cash providing some cushion for a previously scheduled deposit of gold bullion, but this delivery was different.

For starters, it seemed to be humming. And not like your typical miniaturized-barbershop-quartet-singing-telegram-in-a-box type of humming, either. 

Each of us looked up and down the hallway. Each of us offered up a theory. Each of us was afraid to touch it. Each of us realized that we couldn’t enter our workplace without doing so.

So, Amanda, being our leader and the adventurous soul that she is, directed Napa the Dog to flip the parcel over onto its side, which he did without hesitation. The humming swelled, becoming an incessant chirp.

Everyone’s gasps of terror soon turned to shrieks of delight, as we saw the great mark of Quarterly. It could mean only one thing: Our Tim Ferriss Quarterly box had arrived, right on schedule. Napa demurely stepped back as the rest of us ripped into it with Bacchanalian zeal.

We lifted our heads, holding bars between our teeth.

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Marketing Genius: The CVS Rebranding Strategy


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


It’s not often that we shout out major corporate chains, but sometimes we gotta give credit where credit’s due. And since this company is our neighbor and a crucial driver of the economy here in Rhode Island, we feel like it’s especially justified.

CVS has had a busy and interesting 2014 so far. If you’re on their Christmas card list, brace for an epic family update. 

First, in February, they decided that all tobacco sales would cease in their stores by Oct. 1. This alone would have been a big enough shakeup to sustain, but earlier this summer, CVS also announced that the opiate-overdose deterrent Narcan would be available without a prescription.

Oh, right, and they changed the name of their business.

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Marketing Genius: San Francisco’s ForageSF Knows Storytelling in Business by Heart


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


During our recent work retreat in North Conway, N.H., our team hiked through the forest near Diana’s Baths. During the trip, my coworker Chris pointed out all of the mushrooms and flowers that were edible. While we were there, it reminded me of a childhood friend who’d explained to me which flowers taste like Fruity Pebbles – and also which plants were poisonous. Since finding food in the forest isn’t something I think of every day, I enjoyed our mountain treks, but soon stopped thinking about the nourishment that hides in plain sight.

That is, until I read a recent email from the San Francisco company ForageSF. An email that’s mostly about … whales?

No, ForageSF isn’t a whale-centric company; they consider themselves “a handmade community,” with classes and events, and even a kitchen where one can rent space. Their mission includes supporting San Francisco-local foragers and also the local food economy by teaching people how to find free food in the wild and also providing affordable cooking facilities.

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Marketing Genius: Startup Customer Service Done Right at HipChat


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


If communication leads to community, then BuzzFarmers has the strongest community known to man. We’re storytellers, so we have a lot to say (some more than others). Good discussion is at the core of the BuzzFarmers culture, and no topic is off limits.

We facilitate that discussion with one of the most popular apps in the BuzzFarmers office: the instant messenger tool HipChat. HipChat is a startup that offers free and paid private chat services for internal communication and collaboration. Unlike AIM, Google Talk, and Skype, HipChat was built for businesses.

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Marketing Genius: WhistleGPS Hits 10k Pre-Orders With Cute Dog Photos


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


Everyone at BuzzFarmers is always on time, because there’s no such thing as sneaking into the office if you’re late. The second you open the door, you’ll receive a friendly – and frenzied – greeting from Napa, the office dog and housecarl (who has his own blog: Napa’s Daily Growl). Although he’s not very good at answering the phones and sleeps through our weekly meetings, his fuzzy face is a reminder that there is a world outside the workload.

As much as we love our co-workers (and I think I speak for everyone), the connection we share with our pets is one of the most important bonds we have in life. Not only do pets reduce stress after – or during – the workday, but they also motivate us to exercise. Our four-legged friends keep us healthy and active, but who’s taking care of them?

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook in 500 Words and Four Examples

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook in 500 Words and Four Examples

Oh, happy month, I had the pleasure of reviewing Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook on About.com for one of my favorite social media dudes.

Gary Vaynerchuck (@garyvee on Twitter) was originally known in the social media world as the guru of wine, and I think he can take a lot of credit for making wine cool again through Wine Library TV, where he shot videos sampling different wines in an Average Joe kind of way. At least, he had a lot to do with how I came to love wine. I’m getting married in Napa, for cripes’ sake!

But what makes Gary stand out in the social media and business world now is his hustle. Inc. dubbed him “the hardest working man in social media.”

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How Businesses Are Saying Happy 50th Anniversary to Dr. Who

Are you a Dr. Who fan? I’ve been watching Dr. Who here and there for several years, starting with the originals, and then more excitedly when it came back in 2005. I love the current doctor, Matt Smith; I think his storyline was the best yet. If you follow the #drwho hashtag today, you’ll find yourself among lots of happy fans celebrating the 50th anniversary and TV specials.

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So You Think Nobody Buys Things on Facebook? Grace Graffiti Proves They Do.

Illustrated by David Flanagan

I just witnessed, before my very eyes, a small business with a killer sales strategy on Facebook.

Meet Grace Graffiti, a small retail shop in Downtown Brunswick, Ga., that specializes in handmade wood decorations and accessories.

The Fourth of July is coming up, so GG decided to put up some of their patriotic items in a “first one gets it” kind of way. They told fans, “First to comment SOLD gets it.” And guess what … it worked.

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