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Saturday, 30 October 2010

What you can learn from the Mafia, a toilet bowl, a successful madam - and other business lessons

What a desperate old sod I must be!

I've been in marketing one way or another for over 50 years, but I still happily sit through EADIM talks hoping I'll learn something - and I usually do.

In the last 90 minutes I have learned - between bouts of laughter - from the marketing techniques of the Mafia, the New York Madam Sydney Biddle Barrows, penis enlargement ads, how the postman helped a firm sell more dog food, parking spaces for women, a simple way to discover your USP - and why there are images of flies in the toilets of some of the world's biggest airports.

If I had the time to write down all the examples I've heard during these three days I know I'd come up with literally hundreds of good ideas from the most unexpected, even bizarre places.

Why am I telling you this? Because if ever you have to explain to people what works in marketing - or anything else - don't just rely on the usual case histories and examples. Such predictable stuff doesn't stick in the memory.

For instance an hour ago Ales Lisac - who used the examples I listed above - analysed the techniques of a carpet seller in Istanbul to look at questions like whether you should discount your offer or try to give something away.

I always get surprises during these days: I just discovered that not only had Ales interviewed Ms. Barrows: so had Tony Gedge, one of our delegates who advised dentists on how to market their services.

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