ADM logoADM Marketing & Research Consulting
              News From The Top Floor
In This Issue
Communication is King
Visability vs. Commercialism
Upcoming Events
Quick Links
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
November 2010
ADM logoClosing in on EOY
It's hard to believe that 2010 will be over in a few weeks. It's not been our busiest year but we are looking forward to an interesting first quarter of next year.

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and then the December holidays. In the Market Research "world" it is a dead season for data collection. Adding to the usual reluctance of people to participate in surveys, the holiday season exacerbates these cooperation rates. So don't worry about being accosted in the mall, or being bothered by telephone research; have a very happy Thanksgiving!
Communication Is King
How Many Times Do We Have To Say It?? 

This mid-term election was actually pretty typical for a first-term president. The same thing happened with Reagan, Clinton, and Bush. If memory serves me, in 2002, George W. Bush admitted to getting "a thumpin'." President Obama said pretty much the same thing today, but without the folksy reference.
Without getting too much into political issues, it seems pretty clear that the White House was unsuccessful in communicating their accomplishments (or what they viewed as accomplishments) to the public. How can that be? How can one of the most successful campaigns in history be so obtuse? They were so smart, only 2 years ago, using social media to get out the message; using research to hone the message; and using phones and e-mail to get out the vote. Yet, as soon as they moved in to the West Wing, they became arrogant, insular, and just plain dumb. They stopped listening, and they stopped communicating. It seemed as if the communications staff, who allegedly are at the top of their professions, had checked their brains at the door.

So let's just review, once more, Communications 101:
  • Learn and understand what is important to people--not just what they want to hear, but what really matters. BP didn't get that, and I don't think Axelrod, Emmanuel & Co got it either.
  • When you have addressed these things that are important to people, make sure you let them know. Whether you use traditional methods--press releases, newsletters, byline articles--or newer media, let them know. Chuck Schumer is actually very good at this. He's a camera hound. He never passes up an opportunity to get in front of a microphone or camera to let people know that he is (a) in his state, not Washington; and (b) working to benefit his constituents. Maybe that's why he got 65.5% of the vote on Tuesday.
  • Then, let them know again, perhaps from a different perspective, or a different medium, or in a different voice, but say it again. It takes numerous exposures to a message (some say at least 7; others say to deliver it through different media; and then there's targeting) for it to be retained. Moreover, studies have shown that public relations activities are more credible than paid advertising. So rather than running repetitive ads, as any candidate with a few thousand dollars in the bank cannot resist doing, get the word out through publicity. Interviews, talk shows...well I'll leave that to my PR professional friends.
  • Measure your results. No, this is not merely shameless self-promotion. It is necessary to assess how well your message is getting across. It gives you the opportunity to modify it, or even to change it altogether. People make fun of focus groups--especially in the political arena--but they are a fine way to really LISTEN to real people. This is true for companies, too. Surveys are fine, and they have their place, but they usually don't give you a visceral appreciation for what people are thinking and feeling, much less how they make choices. Note than when the President wanted to defend his healthcare bill, he cited real people dealing with real situations.
Last week, Chuck Todd of MSNBC asserted that public opinion polls were suspect because most are unable to reach young people, because they are wireless. Yet, in most places the polls were right--except Nevada. People love to blame the polls, but I think that's a red herring. When people, consumers, customers, or voters aren't doing what you want them to do, it is usually because they aren't convinced by your messages (assuming they are getting any messages); or, conversely, because the competition is doing a better job. Blaming the pollsters is like shooting the messenger.
Visability vs. Commercialism

Tasteless Marketing or No Marketing?Auschwitz entrance


Last month, when we were in Krakow, the plethora of Disneyesque ads for tours of Auschwitz--the notorious Nazi concentration camp--in the main sightseeing areas of the city was inescapable. The notion of Auschwitz as a tourist destination made me queasy. I couldn't bear to look at them, but they kept popping up every few hundred feet.


Given that the Auschwitz "brand" generates decidedly negative images (an understatement, to say the least), it was disconcerting to see its enthusiastic promotion. But it made more sense, once I saw the excellent educational facility they have created there, with exhibits that pull no punches. Our personal guide, whom we hired beforehand, is a licensed expert and showed great knowledge and sensitivity about what happened there. We saw many groups of people from all over the world, speaking languages as diverse as Japanese, German, Swedish, Polish, and Hebrew.


Hence, my conclusion that the crass commercialism of Auschwitz tourism promotion far outweighs the alternative--forgetting the barbarity of what happened there, or whitewashing it. In this case, awareness and visibility trump commercialism. Perhaps the promotions for Auschwitz should better reflect the gravity of the site and use an "edu-tainment" strategy, rather than a "tourist destination" approach.

My thanks to Dixie Comeau for critiquing this article and providing the wonderful term "edu-tainment."
Upcoming Events
November 10, 5:30-7:30pm

The International Association of Business Communicators, Long Island, continues in its new venue: The Melville Marriott, 1350 Old Walt Whitman Rd, Melville, but we've moved the time to 5:30 this month. If you've been unable to attend our events because they are in the middle of the day, this should be more convenient for you. The intractable John Kominicki, publisher of Long Island Business News, and Dr. Robert Papper, chair of Hofstra University's School of Journalism, will go head to head on the topic of how news gets reported in the 21st century. Don't miss the face off of these two intellects and great wits, as Bob fires the questions and John takes the hot seat! Go to to register with PayPal; or sign up at and pay at the door.  I look forward to seeing you there! 
November 10, 8:00-10:00am
SMPS-LI is holding an exciting program, Developing Your A/E/C Firm's Strategic Advantage at The Woodlands, One Southwoods Road (in the Town of Oyster Bay's Golf Course), Woodbury. Go to for more information, and to register.  

November 15, 6:00-8:00pm
Check out Adrian's Network,, to find out the schedule for virtual networking calls and face-to-face meetings on Long Island and in Manhattan.
NY Women in Communications is holding a concert benefiting its Foundation's Esperanza Scholarship. The concert features Argentine pianist Rosa Antonelli, and is being held at Steinway Hall, 109 W. 57th St, in New York.  Go to for more information and to register.

This practice is dedicated to helping companies become knowledge-driven, rather than assumption driven about strategic and tactical decisions concerning lines of business, branding, communications, and various marketing activities. For more information about how we do this, case studies, frequently asked questions about marketing research, and testimonials, please visit our web site:

Ann Middleman