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By Martin Lindstrom OVERVIEW Martin Lindstrom gets into people's heads — literally — to find out what they feel about certain brands and why they make specific buying decisions: He conducts fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) studies that show how the brain “lights up” when exposed to certain brands. He gets heavily involved with neuroscience to examine how consumers become addicted to their possessions. He even conducts a multimillion-dollar experiment on word-of-mouth marketing. What does this all add up to? Well, for one thing, I was stunned by some of the revelations that Lindstrom presents. Marketers are doing some amazing things to trigger our subconscious. There are some truly frightening insights about how companies use personal data to target their customers. WHY READ IT? Of all the information that Lindstrom presents, the chapter on word-of-mouth marketing will resonate the most with action sports retailers. We all know that word of mouth is incredibly persuasive, but Lindstrom explains in exquisite detail just how effective it can be. While most shops can’t afford the ridiculous marketing budgets of the chain stores or Fortune 500 companies, they can definitely modify some of Lindstrom’s concepts and ideas; it’s just a matter of scaling them to size. This book is about the psychology of desire and how our emotions play a huge role in our purchase decisions. If you’re in the business of retail, I am quite confident it will give you at least half a dozen excellent ideas on how to sell more product. That’s well worth the $25 investment.


By Chuck Mache OVERVIEW This gem of a book was published more than four years ago, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking it up. Mache presents this timeless information in a very different way than most business books. He uses a story to expose the traits and characteristics of four types of salespeople: Parker the Performer, Paula the Professional, Craig the Caretaker and Sarah the Searcher. This book explains how and why salespeople excel — or don’t. It provides a clear and precise description of how each type goes about selling, exposes their strengths and weaknesses and provides expert insight on what each type of salesperson requires to achieve next-level success. WHY READ IT? We all recognize it’s important to hire the right people for the job. But when it comes to hiring sales staff, it’s vital that you hire correctly, because if sales aren’t happening, you’re in big trouble. This book can be the catalyst to motivating your top salespeople to become even stronger, and it can offer piercing yet thoughtful insights to those who may not really be cut out for a career in sales. A great tool for separating the wheat from the chaff without burning up the farm.

OVERVIEW I am big fan of Seth Godin. In fact, I own most of the books he’s written and always come away with a few good ideas. If you’ve never read his work, I recommend you start with The Purple Cow. We Are All Weird combines some of his greatest ideas from Tribes, The Purple Cow and Linchpin. This book is a manifesto about creating something remarkable that competes with the “middle-of-theroad normal.” He pleads with readers to embrace the fringe: “If you persist in trying to be all things to all people, you will fail. The alternative, then, is to be something important to a few people.” Specialty retailers are living, breathing examples of being on the cutting edge. They offer unique products and support to their customers. The question is how you continually move things forward in this age of aggressive competition. WHY READ IT? Although this book is slim, clocking in at just under 100 pages, it delivers some thought-provoking ideas. However, it’s not simply another manifesto on “niche” marketing. It’s about embracing your passion and doing productive and useful work for the tribe that cares about you. Finding, cultivating, organizing and leading this tribe and embracing their weirdness can be a challenge, but, Godin says, the rewards are truly wonderful. AXS

AXS LONGBOARD RETAILER NEXT ISSUE – Arrives Early Spring 2012 • Satisfying Gear Heads • Brooklyn’s Longboard Loft • More on Bearings


Laura Ries has some terrific insights on the power of focus and branding. While the pace of her posts has slowed somewhat, there is enough information to keep you thinking for days. Here are just two examples:

For a dose of marketing reality, you can do no better than to jump over to this site, written by Bob Hoffman. He’s an advertising guru with decades of experience in the business. Hoffman revels in calling BS on a lot of what we are told is correct about social media, marketing and advertising. You might not always agree with him, but you’ll be fascinated by his insights.

Google is a monster today. And like most monsters, it thinks it is invincible and not subject to the laws of marketing. But nothing could be further than the truth. Google should study history. They don’t want to be the AOL or Yahoo of tomorrow. Google needs to surround its strong search brand with other brands and other brand names that dominate new emerging categories. Toyota did that with Lexus, Prius and Scion. Google that Google. Broad ideas like confidence and quality aren’t specific enough to be ownable. And even if you want own something like “great customer service,” you don’t do it with a “we love our customers Facebook page.” You do it with a specific and tangible concept like: “Free shipping. Both ways.” The concept that put Zappos in the mind and gave Tony Hsieh something to tweet about. 5 0


Top-down branding works in a few categories – fashion, booze, cigarets and some luxury goods. Account planners, marketing coordinators and others with limited vision think that because these are heavily advertised categories this is how advertising works in general. In fact, about 95% of the stuff we buy is not fashion, booze, cigarets or luxury goods. It’s mayonnaise and toothbrushes and shower curtains and socks. If you are not in the business of selling fashion, booze, cigarets or luxury goods, you would be wise to forget about “brand” advertising and focus your ad dollars on differentiating your products. The strongest brands are built “bottom-up” – by outstanding product advertising. As we always say around Ad Contrarian headquarters, we don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product.

AXS Longboard Retailer  

for those who wish to learn about the business of selling and marketing longboards

AXS Longboard Retailer  

for those who wish to learn about the business of selling and marketing longboards