It’s a Start

3 02 2009

Martin Moleski
mmoleski@igpr.com

Warning! Really long post…begins now.

Today, Republican leaders called out specific earmarks they want removed from President Obama’s $900 billion stimulus plan. This list is incredible on so many levels. I’ve put my first reaction to each item in parentheses.

  • $2 billion earmarkto re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient. (What state is our president from?)
  • A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film. (Who still uses film? Isn’t everything HD?)
  • $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program. (Biggest waste of money….ever)
  • $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (I thought global warming was taking care of this?)
  •  $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters. (I was always told  Democrats didn’t care about Homeland Security)
  • $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees. (So with the mpg savings, they’ll just drive to more “blue-ribbon committee meetings. No deal.)
  •  $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters. (My home furnishings don’t equal half the purchase price of my home.)
  • $400 millionfor the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD’s (Government trying to be parents for everyone.)
  •  $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs. (Literally throwing money away.)
  • $125 million for the Washington sewer system. (Literally flushing money down the toilet.)
  • $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities. (Just a simple “No” from me.)
  • $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion. (With all the illegal immigrants in our country, why even do a Census?)
  •  $75 million for “smoking cessation activities.” (I disagree with this one. The long-term health care savings would more than make up for it.)
  •  $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges. (I didn’t receive a free computer when I went to college.) 
  •  $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI. (I’ll give them this one.)
  •  $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction. (Sadly, this is probably not even enough. If it’s not sustainable, it has to go.)
  • $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River. (Don’t live in a bowl, and you’ll be fine.)
  • $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas. (And then what?)
  • $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings. (No, only because I don’t like the guy from the Re-Power America commercials.)
  •  $500 million for state and local fire stations. (If a community won’t pass a fire levy, then they don’t deserve fire protection.)
  •  $650 millionfor wildland fire management on forest service lands. (Is that how much they are paying Smokey the Bear?)
     
  • $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs. (Wow, what happened to capitalism?)
  •  $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service. (Didn’t we learn anything from the former Merrill-Lynch CEO?)
  • $412 million for CDC buildings and property. (To do what with, exactly?)
  • $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland. (Give this money to Walter Reed…now!)
  •  $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service. (Isn’t paid volunteer an oxymoron?)
  • $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration. (The “green” movement sure has some good lobbyists.)
  •  $850 million for Amtrak. (Is this to pay for inevitable derailment lawsuits?)
  • $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint. (Don’t lick the walls and you’ll be fine.)
  •  $75 million to construct a “security training” facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies. (It doesn’t say this is a “green” building so why even attempt to build it?)
  •  $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems. (What? Isn’t that like paying the Amish to update their web site?)
  • $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations. (Shouldn’t they be marching in formation, instead?)

You have to wonder, after reading this extensive list, what else could be left?? Well, add up the numbers above and it only comes to $19.0905 billion. Hmm.. that leaves $880.9095 billion of our money. I hope this puts things into perspective.

On a personal note, I actually don’t mind investing in “green” technology as I think it could become our next industrial revolution. But from looking at the list above, I think they are missing the mark. Let me explain. Green technology is great, except nobody ever talks about the behavioral changes that go along with it. The way I see it – and research will show in a few years – people who drive hybrids or own green homes are more likely to use more gas or electricity than if they weren’t living a green lifestyle. Why? Because the feeling of getting more for your money leads to greater consumption. It’s like going to the mall and spending $500 because you saved $50 by opening a credit card. It’s the mentality of “The more I spend, the more I save.” With green technology, it leads to a “Because I’m saving, I can use more” mentality. What we should be investing in is wind and other renewable energy sources that can lead to sustainable manufacturing and service jobs. Trust me, the research isn’t out yet because green technology hasn’t been around long enough.

Wow, I just got a great idea. Let’s use some “stimulus” money to pay me to do the research on green technology. My fee is a competitive $150,000. After looking at the numbers above, it sure seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

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The Media Starts to Pay Attention

23 01 2009

-Martin Moleski
mmoleski@igpr.com

I had originally planned to use this post  to outline my ideas to rebrandstructure the Republican Party, but it will have to wait at least a week. Perhaps I’ll wait until a new party chairman has been decided, but I’ve been collecting my thoughts on how the Republicans can come back stronger than ever, so prepare for a lengthy post next time.

Shocking news out of the MSM (mainstream media) today as President Obama is not playing nice with the media and “frustrations” are starting to grow.

Better late than never, I guess.

What seems to be the problem? It mostly has to deal with the fact – yes, fact – that the MSM gave Obama a free ride all the way to Election Day. Now, as Obama closes out his first week as president, the media is starting to dig a little bit and the new president, plus his administration, aren’t really interested in discussing specifics.

This outright defiance by the Obama administration should surely stop Chris Matthews’ “thrill up his leg.”  Right?





Am I Becoming Immune to this Stuff?

18 12 2008


There has been so much to cover, politically speaking, in the last few weeks that I struggled to decide which major catastrophe/political goldmine to discuss. We had the Rod Blagojevich scandal, auto industry bail out collapse, an Iraqi journalist who apparently is not a fan of President Bush, a new Meet the Press moderator, more President-Elect Obama appointments, the Madoff “Ponzi” scheme, snow in Vegas, the possibility of another Senator Kennedy and today we found out which foreign nations gave millions of dollars to President Bill Clinton’s foundation causing an immediate conflict of interest with HRC set to become the next secretary of state.

Oh, and of course the most read story involved Jennifer Aniston and a striped tie. Go figure.

So where to even begin? I figured I could write, and write, and write all day about each of the stories I mentioned above. But that is probably not the most profitable thing for The Impact Group.  It’s not that I don’t want to write about all those stories. And I’m not getting lazy. I guess I’d just rather write something that doesn’t leave me sitting here shaking my head in disgust/disbelief. The bad news just builds on top of the news from the day before. I think I’m becoming immune to this stuff. So instead, I’ll attempt to clear my head and just leave you with the best political ad, in my opinion, of the 2008 presidential election. 

What made it the best ad, for me, was the simple, honest, genuine and unique message of the ad during the most heated part of the campaign, just a few weeks prior to the Iowa Caucus. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that this ad didn’t help seal the deal for Gov. Huckabee, who was outspent nearly 20-to-1 in Iowa by Gov. Mitt Romney.

Yes, we find ourselves in difficult and uncertain times. Yet we still hold true to the belief that there are better days ahead.  So with that in mind, I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.

-Martin
mmoleski@igpr.com





10 Ways to impact growth in 2009

15 12 2008

I can’t imagine a single educated person in a position of influence that hasn’t been affected by the negative news of late. Market volatility, political changes, bailouts and an overall uneasiness of stability has defined 2008. How will YOU prepare for a better 2009?

Things are no different here at The Impact Group. We are a full service marketing communications agency in Hudson, Ohio. We are experiencing clients and prospects that are taking a longer time to make decisions, shrinking budgets, disappearing cash flow.

The time is now to create a better growth strategy. Exclusively using the same marketing methods of the past and not incorporating “new media” will be a major mistake for organizations trying to thrive in this time of survival.

Understanding the shifts in the way people obtain and share information will be a critical component of marketing success in 2009. Being able to quickly apply that understanding into marketing outreach campaigns (social media marketing, online publicity, online marketing) that complement past / current methods (print materials, web, advertising, direct mail) is THE challenge for marketers in 2009.

The Impact Group has come up with 10 points to think about for a solid growth strategy in 2009.

1. Redesign your brand. What does a new car, new outfit, new haircut or a new coat of paint do to the psyche? The same thing a fresh corporate identity make-over can do to an organization. Even a modest change to an organization’s look can provide new energy to employees, media opportunities, excitement to current customers and new business opportunities. Check out some samples: Portfolio of work

2. Video Video Video!!! With the advances of video compression technology, video has never been easier to use for marketing purposes. Video is 5 times more effective than print for someone to remember your message, so throw away the print and replace it with video wherever possible. Use a video spokesperson to explain your website as people visit your homepage. (Sample: www.igpr.com) Incorporate video email for your sales and marketing outreach. Post video explanations and commercials of your products and services on your website (podcasts) and on sources like youtube. (Sample: www.trinitypension.com) 2009 will be the year direct mail will take a back seat to video email campaigns in cost efficiency and effectiveness. Get started before your competitors figure it out! More info on the effectiveness of video – http://www.vidpro.org/videomkt.htm

3. Listen to your customers. I can’t think of a better way to recalibrate your marketing message for 2009 than the recommendations from the customers buying your product in 2008. Do you have a simple print survey that can go in your invoices? How about an online survey that when completed, provides a coupon? We encourage gathering satisfaction data and recommendations year round. There are more comprehensive methods like focus groups, surveys, polls that can provide statistical certainty to strategic directions. I recommend starting with getting into your car to visit a few of your best customers, wish them a happy holiday, tell them why you appreciate their business and ask them for advice on how you might be able to grow into next year. Free marketing advice from the people that already buy your product can give you some good ideas for your 2009 growth strategy.

4. Social media marketing! The major trend in successful marketing is moving from the high impression factors of the past (one Super Bowl commercial brings 50 million + impressions on a broad audience for a 1 outreach : 50,000,000 target ratio) to the PERSONAL impression factor (1 personal trusted message : one target). This trend of one to one marketing can be most effectively done through online social networks. With the rapidly growing use of MySpace and Facebook and the ability to publicly follow a person or organization on Twitter, one to one marketing is ready for the savvy marketer to make an immediate and powerful impact. Read more on Social media marketing – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media_marketing and Social Media Marketing

5. Blog. 2008 was a year of exploring how blogging could impact an organization’s marketing efforts. Blogging (if done effectively) showed a powerful marketing ability to drive relevant traffic on a website, influence credibility for a product or service, grab mainstream media attention, and shape consumer behaviors. Blogging is providing the ability for the smaller company to have a louder voice. Read more on Blogging – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

6. Online publicity. The web has provided small and large organizations alike a wonderful medium for disseminating news. Public relations, which used to be reserved for mainstream media, is now more effective when implemented through online channels – called Online Publicity. Not only do the major media receive notice of your news, but individuals and organizations can receive info directly to their inbox through things like GoogleAlerts and RSS feeds. Getting your news online – through your website, blogs, news sites, social media, and others – can make a huge impact in 2009.

7. Hire experts. Most organizations trust a CPA for their tax filings, attorneys for legal issues and doctors for medical matters. The problem with “expert” marketers is that there isn’t a universal accepted and measured accreditation like the previously mentioned professions. Most marketing firms are a few folks that took a couple design courses and now lay claim to most marketing capabilities. On the other end of the spectrum are the extremely expensive large agencies that need their invoices to match their high rent and huge payrolls. Check out this article on small vs large agencies for some thoughts. http://adage.com/smallagency/post?article_id=111233  Marketing techniques have gotten very complex due to the reliance of new technology and the critical timing of delivery. The right marketing group will help you create and implement a growth strategy for your organization and allow you to streamline resources. How to select an agency – www.ehow.com/how_2052377_select-right-marketing-firm.html  Start your agency search – www.igpr.com

8. Redefine your marketing message. Is your marketing message brief, simple to understand, interesting and able to distinguish you from your competition? Is it easy for someone interested in your product or service to get information in order to make a buying decision? What are the sound bytes? Everyone is too busy and you are competing against a world of information being thrown at your potential next customer. Your message must be able to cut through and motivate specific action.

9. Rebuild your web site. Most web sites are now outdated in information, technology and appearance. With the low costs of web technologies and the high value a good site brings to an organization, your website has to be a top priority in 2009. The ability for your products and services to show up on the top of the search engines is so important for growth. Your website appearance and relevance will be one of the main factors of establishing credibility in your future customers. Your website should be the centerpiece of the way you market.

10. Get your story told in the news. I’ve already talked about getting your news on the web. But, print and broadcast PR opportunities still exist in a big way. There are niche magazines for just about every industry in the world. And, while most news in a down economy is doom and gloom, media outlets are looking for positive, uplifting stories to tell. Getting the word out about that new client you landed, the product launching or the new hire…all these things are welcomed good news to the media, AND your prospects, clients and employees!

2009 has the potential to be a banner year, if you approach it with enthusiasm and knowledge. Take these points to heart. And, let us know how we can help. www.igpr.com

Don
dpolyak@igpr.com





Image Is Everything!

3 12 2008
Uh, yeah.
Uh, yeah.

 When running for the Senate from Georgia, it is important to uphold a certain image that reflects you as a candidate, and which resonates with your key targeted voters. Mr. Martin, this image has circulated across your state, across the country and, with the aid of the internet, across the globe.

Many of us recall the image of Governor Dukakis in the tank.  Or, more recently, Senator Kerry in the space suit that looked like he just came off the Hollywood set for “Outbreak”.  Or, how about George H.W. Bush throwing up in the lap of the Japanese prime minister??  Image is everything!!
Best of luck in your next career. I am sure the hip hop community will be very supportive of your endeavors.
-Kerry




President-Elect Obama Starts Early, Forever Tied to Bush Administration

2 12 2008

Martin Moleski
mmoleski@igpr.com

I may be young, but I don’t ever recall the United States having two presidents at the same time. In fact, I’m pretty sure our Constitution prohibits it. I am, of course, speaking of the unprecedented action of a president-elect while the current president is still in office. Don’t get me wrong, some of our nation’s problems could probably be better solved with two presidents in office, but I tend to look at things purely from a political perspective.

First off, let’s talk about President Bush.  Am I supposed to feel bad for him at this point? The length of his lame-duck presidency is going on two years. He became somewhat more relevant during the beginning of the fiscal crisis, but it has been particularly difficult to watch him since November 4.  At this point, all he can say is, “I’m sorry,” and hope that his successor can deal with the problems that have happened during his administration. I’m not defending some of the actions his administration made during the past eight years, but I’m still a firm believer that the root of the financial collapse, which included banks giving Americans mortgages they couldn’t afford for houses they didn’t need, started well before he took office. If you don’t believe me, read this article and pay attention to the date. I’m sure you have your own reason for why we are in this mess, but I choose to pay attention to the facts.

Now, on to President-Elect Obama.

By starting his administration two months early, President-Elect Obama is taking a huge political risk. Again, think about it purely from a political perspective. America is in the midst of fighting two wars and a historic financial collapse where billions, soon to be trillions, of American taxpayer dollars are bailing out banks, financial institutions, the auto industry (?) and eventually states, such as Ohio, that are strapped for cash. Obama is walking on a frozen Minnesota Lake….in April. It’s just waiting to crack.

Obama ran a masterful campaign that focused on one word; change. It was the right message for this election, which is why John McCain tried to steal it.  So why on Earth would he try to tie himself in to the problems our nation faces before he even takes office? Obama will be 60+ days into his honeymoon period before he even takes office and Americans will already be questioning his decisions.

Some of those decisions he has made, while good for the nation, are beginning to show how difficult being president really is. For example, the nomination of Robert Gates to continue on as Defense Secretary is the right move for our national security, but it also begins to validate some aspects of the Bush Administration.  I know that may be difficult for some of the readers to comprehend. However, Obama spent two years bashing Bush’s handling of the war and then nominates the current Defense Secretary. While this is just one isolated example, I have to ask if this is the change Obama voters were really looking for?

President-Elect Obama had an opportunity to start fresh. Out with the old and in with the new on January 20. That opportunity is now gone.  The long-term implications of serving as president prior to being inaugurated comes one year from now when we ask ourselves, “Who was president when we learned the United States was in a recession?”  We live in a nation that wants our president to be the problem-solver-in-chief. It is not possible. My gut tells me that Obama will shoulder some of the blame from decisions made by his predecessor. Unlike President Bush, however, Obama will only have himself to blame.





“Searching for new targets……acquiring……acquiring…..”

19 11 2008

Elected Congressional Officials……You are the next target!!

I attended a meeting of elected officials recently where a noted political veteran gave an overview of the elections and predictions of things to come. Very enlightening, and quite a wake-up call to those in office today…..and hoping to remain there going forward!

Regardless of your personal political convictions, consider the following:  Ohio and Michigan’s economies are in the tank, and yet the Ohio Governor has a 60% approval rate, and Michigan voters just re-elected the majority of current elected Democratic leaders.  Their reason?  They are not targets.  Yet.

The 2008 elections were aglow with “Blame Bush” rhetoric.  Economic troubles? Blame Bush. War on Terror? Blame Bush. Gas prices really high? Blame Bush.  (Although when prices come down they Blame Bush and his “oil buddies” and call for increased gas taxes….go figure!)  In the end, the Call For Change that resonated across the nation resulted in significant election gains for Democrats, as well as the election of Senator Obama.  The problem for the majority, however, is that Bush will be gone soon.  Then who will people blame??  The target has been on Bush’s back for his entire 8 year reign will now be redirected.  At you??

As the American electorated realizes that the new administration cannot fix all our problems overnight, and with the inevitable stumble and mistakes that all new administrations make, watch the rhetoric turn ugly. And, quickly!  Congressional Democratic leaders are buzzing with their new-found strength and expanded majority. However, polling shows that Congress has an overall approval rating of under 30%, below even that of George W. Bush.  Plus, 50 million people did not “Vote for Change”, and they are now the rabid minority who will be quite vocal.  The target may quickly be on the new leaders…..and with the economic forecast for the foreseeable future…..I send a warning to ALL incumbents for 2010, Be Advised!!

Think this is empty banter?  Look at recent history:  In 1992, Bill Clinton came to power on the campaign of “Change”.  In his first two years in office he enjoyed a Democratic House and Senate, and a laundry list of special interests who wanted their issues addressed immediately!  What happened? A huge tax increase, which became very unpopular very quickly, the appointment of under-qualified cabinet positions that turned over quickly, scores of military bases closed and local communities impacted by the job losses, and, of course, the universal health care program which was built under secrecy and died a horrible death in 1994.  (It was the Democratic Congressional leaders that killed it, not the Republicans as many conjecture incorrectly)

Ther result??  In 1994, the relatively unknown Newt Gingrich and other Republicans overwhelming retook the House with the Contract with America. President Clinton, who was nicknamed “Teflon” for his ability to avoid blame, reached out the conservatives under the so-called “Triangulation” strategy of working with the opposition. Two years later, even with a travesty of a campaign which featured Bob Dole and his tired, old school rhetoric, Clinton was re-elected, but Republicans increased their majority again.  Why?  It was very easy to blame Congress and ineffective leaders.

In 2008, we are still at war in two countries, the economy is facing its largest challenges in two generations, scandals continue in corporate America and in Washington, and a relatively newcomer is taking over in the White House.  Senator Obama faces incredible challenges, but is very popular due to his brilliantly engineered campaign. So for the next two years? Again, current Congressional members…..you ARE the next target!

The elections showed that while Obama won the election handily, the country overall has not swung hard to the left, as some groups would like to think.  If massive tax increases and greatly increased government programs are the leading initiatives in 2009, I would not want to be in the congressional majority come election time 2010!  I guess we’ll see where the priorities are placed by Congress for the next two years.

Better start handing out the teflon…….

-Kerry