It’s raining here in St. Louis, MO, USA…  …which reminds me of the time my twin kiddos summoned a drought-ending thunderstorm with a rain dance.   We were at my inlaw’s farm in central Missouri. It was bone dry for weeks.   But (finally!), we adults could smell and feel the rain coming.   As the wind picked…

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My friend Cabanne Howard (a great marketing strategist) sent this picture to me the other day… It’s a closeup of this Duraflame log… Cabanne thinks it’s a great example of story-powered marketing.  And she’s right.   Feeble marketing focuses on features.   Better marketing focuses on benefits.   The best marketing — story-powered marketing — promises  transformations.   A Duraflame log  features sawdust…

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Last week, I had one of those days when nothing went right.   It made me grumpy. And as I grumped around, I focused more on feeling sorry for myself and less on staying focused and productive.   That made it worse. I got past it, but it made me think about how easy it is to…

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60 Minutes presented an interview with Jerry Seinfeld on Sunday, and it was great.  Here’s the link to the video.  Seinfeld said so many funny, profound, and wise things. I’ve rewatched it three times.  And now I’m sharing some of the highlights.  Asked if Covid has killed New York, he scoffed and said: “When you were…

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I was walking my dog, Moose, around the block the other day and came upon a neighbor who was manicuring his lawn.   This wasn’t your standard roll-the-mower-over-the-grass job. This was high-intensity fuss-over-the-fescue.   He was on his knees with a hand clipper, working the edges, getting everything right. Not just good enough. But perfect.   After he…

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Long before Apple and Android turned phones into pocket-sized computers, Palm dominated the mobile device market. The simple, compact PalmPilot handled four functions: calendars, contacts, memos, and tasks.  Jeff Hawkins, the product team leader, carried in his pocket a PalmPilot-sized block of wood.  When other team members suggested new functions beyond the core four, Hawkins…

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Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway won a bar bet by writing a story that contained just six words. Here’s the story:  “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” That tiny story reveals a giant truth for marketers:  Great stories don’t have to be long stories. In fact, one of the greatest marketing stories I know…

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When I was a kid, I remember my relatives talking about some Great Aunt I’d never met. They called her an “Old Maid.”  I had no idea what they were talking about, but I could tell they considered it an insult.  Years later, I learned the meaning: A woman who has — gasp! — never…

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For those of you who would like to produce good, business-building content… …with less time-consuming, costly effort… …here’s a story for you.  On Wednesday, I was one of the speakers at an online networking event.  The guy who organized the event, called me a few weeks in advance, and asked for a presentation topic.  Earlier…

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In 1925, John Caples was a rookie copywriter working on an ad for home-study piano courses. He drafted several headlines that he shared with his boss. Here are a few: “Can you play the piano? Neither could I three months ago?” “They laughed when I sat down at the piano. But when I started to…

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