Keep Your Website Up To Speed

Your website must download as fast as your competition. Typical shoppers expect websites to download in 2 seconds. That's down from 4 seconds in 2007. Research from a leading search engine reveals that a delay of 2 seconds results in a:

• 1.8% reduction in queries

•3.75% drop in clicks

• 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor

Slow load times have a significant harmful effect on sales revenues.


TWO Talents : Graphic artist by day, musician by night

Chris MacCarthy started taking drum lessons at age 13, guitar lessons at 16, piano lessons at 17 and started song writing at around 16.

How long have you been playing and singing?

I performed my first original songs at high school recitals, then at cafes and bars/clubs while in college. I formed my first band at 18 while a freshman in college. It was a 3-piece with me on guitar and vocals, a bass player and drummer.

Who is your favorite group/singer?

My favorites are always changing, and there are too many to mention all of them. To name a few...Sonic Youth, Hovercraft, Viva Voce, The Frogs, Joni Mitchell, Radiohead

What famous people or venues have you played with/at?

I’ve performed in Santa Monica, San Diego, and Minneapolis. The majority of venues are in Chicago, including: Subterranean, The Beat Kitchen, and Uncommon Ground. I once performed at an event at The Hideout with Billy Corgan, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), and others.

What are your future plans, aspirations?

I’ve recently started playing with a new band, wish to continue playing shows around Chicago and I am recording a new album with them. My past solo work has been fairly mellow and soft. My latest band is fairly loud and heavy.

How can someone hear your music?

My music can be found on iTunes, amazon.com, or @ chrismaccarthy.com


TWO TIP: When Not To Mail

When there's a close presidential election, a national or global catastrophe — any big event or crisis — people stray from daily habits to keep up with the news. They stay glued to web news sites, TV and radio.

Direct mail and e-mail go unread as more arrive daily. After things return to normal, people eliminate clutter by throwing away unopened standard mail and purging email inboxes. Response rates suffer.

You can't predict horrible events like war or political assassinations. But you should pull the plug at the lettershop and pause e-mail tests until the crisis passes.


Find Your Marketing Edge

Why should someone choose your company over your competitors? If you answered because your company is the “Best”, can you explain why? If not, then keep reading!

Current economic conditions are causing consumers to cut their spending, which means everyday purchase decisions are highly influenced by price. This makes it difficult for businesses that offer high quality products and superior service but are not known as the “value” or “low-price leaders”.

So how do you influence new customers and increase market share when competing with the “blue light specials” and “every day low prices”? You need to strategically develop a compelling competitive differentiator, a.k.a. a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

A USP is a well defined trait that sets your company (or product) apart from your competition. This factor is crucial to your survival and placement in the market. Your competitive differentiator/USP should be a clear concise brand statement that is the essence of what you are selling. It should be integrated within everything that you do.

A good example of a company that differentiated themselves from their competitors is Domino’s Pizza. They selectively targeted a central group of customers, working parents. These moms and dads often come home late and are too mentally and physically tired to prepare a meal for their family. So Domino’s cleverly positioned their brand as the fast or free meal with this USP: "Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it's free." They did not have to lower their price rather they focused on a consumer benefit “time” and simply offered a money-back guarantee if they failed to deliver as promised.

At The Weinstein Organization we follow these six steps to develop a USP, and determine what a particular client’s edge is in their marketplace:

1. Examine company attributes, natural resources and human personnel.

2. Identify core strengths, industry player differentiators and performance gaps.

3. Look for something that is “unique” and not easy for competitors to imitate.

4. Consider what factors would benefit and persuade a potential customer.

5. Determine how best to position advantages to obtain high perceived value.

6. Repeatedly promote and integrate into all marketing communications.

When your USP is recognizable in the marketplace and reinforced in your marketing, you will acquire a competitive differentiation that can boost your sales, re-position your brand, and enable you to dominate your market category.


Ode to Server and a Happy Thanksgiving

We have much to be thankful for. Our staff, clients, vendors, friends and family, and extra long weekends on national holidays.

On this Thanksgiving Day we give thanks to the one who never stops working.

The one who can launch a 1.2 million-email campaign, update a Facebook status, and tweet about it all at the same time.

While directing phone calls and internet communications data over miles of circuitry.

The one who makes it possible for us to go home and sleep at night (well, maybe not the folks in IT).

Doing the heroic work of many, in total anonymity.

Sitting in a cramped, cold, windowless office. Usually with the lights off.

So while we digest our well-earned Thanksgiving harvest, let us think of

the one who keeps on at it, even while the office is "closed for the holiday".

Who even has the tortured indignity to aid and abet the publishing of this very blog entry.

We thank you, we raise our glasses to you in honor.

To the Server of The Weinstein Organization: we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks indeed.