Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What the Heck Happened to the Today Show?

OK - I'm admitting this. I am a PR person and I still sometimes watch the Today Show. I like to see what they are covering and what they consider important. But there's so little there.

Today I turned off Jenna Bush's pregnancy. She announced it on the air (I was still trying to figure out who she was) but when they called up George and Laura it became pretty clear that she was their daughter. The one who didn't get into trouble - the one who got married - became a teacher like her mom - and can't wait to have her baby. Really?

I turned it off while Jenna was still glowing and someone brought her flowers. I give her credit she cracked a joke at what they looked like in all their white roseness. But I cannot even remember what it was.

The Today Show was once a good program - what has happened to it? I can't watch it for more than 10-15 minutes without becoming profoundly annoyed and bored. That's not a good sign. So I watched a bit of the advertising and called a Hallmark ad in the first five seconds of it. Schmaltz as my grandmother would say.

Chasing the news of the moment, perhaps is the downfall. The fiscal cliff - enough already. And that's the most educated thing they talk about explaining it in terms an eight year-old could grasp. 

Every day there is another insipid story that is about people and is supposed to be inspiring. I sit here trying to remember one and I can't. It's too blurred with all the other nonsense on television.

Often I just feel horribly sorry for Matt Lauer. Still hanging in there while his co-hosts get even younger, and the pretense of journalism is no longer even that. 

OK let me just say it then - I am not a mindless idiot - please stop treating me like one. I know that network television has become one long reality television program but at least give me something other than canned celebrity interviews, silly stories and news dumbed down. I am an intelligent person, and you've lost me.

The only other thing I've noticed is that the lines outside the studio are very small compared to most years. I guess it's because of Sandy and the lack of tourists. Or maybe it's just that the fan base doesn't really care anymore. Either way whatever happened to The Today Show?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marketing Accomplishments - Take Credit for Your Work

It's been a grueling political season, and on both sides of the aisle, I've seen talented leaders who don't take credit for the good work they've done. I know there are polls and pundits and fear of saying the wrong thing and having it end up going viral, but there are ways of outlining your achievements that make sense and can help teach people who you are and what you believe in.

In these last few days before the presidential election we're beginning to see more of a focus on accomplishments, and as a citizen and a voter, all I can say is thank goodness. There's only so much negativity one person can handle before it all starts sounding like noise.

Metrics don't just matter, they help seal the deal. Unfortunately, the metrics of this presidential election don't always add up and that diminishes the value of the ones that do. But we live in a world of metrics and we should use what we accomplish both qualitatively and quantitatively. 

Anecdotes are great and they pull emotional strings, but nothing competes with sales figures for marketers, or how many people were driven to a web site and what drove them there, and how long they stayed. 

For PR people, it's where the article about the client ran, how prestigious the media that wrote the story is, how many people clicked within a press release and where they went from there. And then there's the value of strong messaging - messages people remember that don't sound like what your competition is saying. 

So in this last week of the presidential election, no matter who wins, I implore you to stop attacking each other and run on your results. You've got them. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why Your News Release Should Not Be Written Like One

As I sit here writing yet another news release, it occurred to me I have never really talked on this blog about why I write them the way I do.

The best outcome of a news release is when someone decides to do a story on a topic. But in today’s online world, chances are small anyone is going to pick-up the phone and interview whoever is quoted and do their own story. You can call them back - particularly if you know them - and maybe get a story out of it. But someone write a story on their own volition based upon most of the awful news releases that are written today - I don't think so.

But there’s a much greater chance that a blogger or reporter will use what the news release says – often close to verbatim – and put their name or no name on it and run it as is, as an article. Why?

Picture a 22 year-old junior reporter, straight out of college, with 10 stories to write that day, or who has a job as an aggregator who finds news by looking at other resources. If he or she gets a news release that is already written as an article, it can be repurposed as a story. Or a blogger can pick up your release and run it, if it's relevant to what he or she writes about.

News releases that are written as news releases can stay up a few hours or just a couple of days, if they go through wire service or other distribution. They are usually not highlighted. No matter where they are picked up, they are categorized as news releases and go to a special place on media web sites that is kind of a dead zone unless I’m looking for a story at that particular moment, that is exactly what you’re writing about, or I find it before it comes down and it's a source on a story I'm working on.

And what's one of the major purposes of a news release. To generate as much traffic as possible to a company's web site and create a bigger online presence than before.

Just write the darn story for them

So your best bet is to write the story for the blogger or reporter – keep it under 500 or at most 600 words. Now do reporters actually do this - depends on who they write for, what the rules are and how much time they have. But all except the ones at top notch media sometimes will and I have the track record to prove it.

Tie your news release to search terms that are popular at that moment – a holiday, current news item, hot topic, industry terms or best yet a celebrity, or big brand name, and media will find it quickly. Put that popular term in the headline if you can. That’s much better than something which says so and so was hired by so and so to do so and so. Sleeping.

So the releases that I’m writing tells the story of your news in a way that I know a reporter or even an algorithim will respond too. The problem with many PR people is they don't want to write a news release that moves away from the traditional format they were taught before Instagram. (If you don't know what that is you are definitely out of touch or don't have kids). 

I mean news releases filled with long, clunky thoughts, industry jargon, several lengthy quotes by all the people who matter, and missing anything that might possibly be perceived as negative or upset someone somewhere along the line.

Hello news release trash bin. 

Writers are not going to take the time to put up something that they have to edit and with quotes they can’t use.They want to go home before midnight like the rest of us.

The style of quote that is being used in many news releases is way too long, and has multiple points in it. The point of a quote is to amplify the thought that comes before it. Like a journalist would use one. That extra step – the editing and changing someone else's words requires permission. Even the laziest of reporters knows darn well they can't alter someone else's words. So they won't bother with your news release.

Finally headlines have got to attract the attention of a broad audience, even if your audience is fairly narrow. So for instance, a company that gets a new client or puts out a new product that doesn't change the world - what does really - no one other than a very few trade reporters will care. But if you can tie that news to a broader industry trend, or information on how this is going to change the way business is done, or bring new insight, that’s better. 

Is there a way you can make this greener, cheaper, better, smarter, or a major benefit to big players in your industry or world? Go for it. Just watch the use of big adjectives and tell me the story as a reporter would write it.

That's my rant for the day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No Great, Great Aunt Bess You Cannot Be My Facebook Friend

When a 90-something relative tried to friend me on Facebook a few months back, I was shocked. I know a growing number of seniors are using the Internet and yes it’s a wonderful way for them to connect with and make friends from their own homes.

It’s one thing to be Facebook friends with my 16 year-old son, but letting a great, great aunt read some of the stuff my friends post. I don’t think so.

Well a new study from the Pew Internet Project shows that online communication among seniors is skyrocketing, and I’d better get used to it.  

As of April 2012, 53% of American adults aged 65 and older report using the Internet or email. For the first time half of all seniors are online. After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are a definite and important trend for marketers to take note of.

Here’s some additional data:

Daily Internet Use – Among adults 65 and older, 70% of them use the Internet daily, compared to 82% use by other age groups. Once you get into the mid-70s age group, the number of Internet users falls off to 34%.

Cell Phone Usage – 7 out of 10 seniors own a cell phone, up from 57% in May of 2010.

Social media – One in 3 seniors who are online use social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Email – 86% of seniors 65 plus use email, and about 48% use it on an average day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Your Business Charity Does Not Begin in My Home

Do I ask your company to subsidize mine? Of course not. So why are so many business executives these days asking parents of college students to subsidize theirs?

This is a rant in case you haven't figured that out yet. Every day online, I see a new posting from companies offering unpaid student internships for the summer. It makes me crazy. It's so totally wrong.

I understand that business is still not what it should be. Businesses figure it's a fair trade to give college kids experience while they make money on their work. Well I'm here to tell you that there's another side to this story.

As the parent of an almost college student looking at annual tuition in the tens of thousands of dollars, I can tell you that the kids don't profit from this approach. The next generation of workers aka college kids, need to learn that when they work hard they get paid for it. That companies value their time and skills enough to compensate them. That when students give their time, it should be to causes they believe in where there are clear benefits for those less fortunate than they are, the environment, the world at large. Not some businesses' bottom line. 

That's how kids develop a value system that will carry them forward and make them productive, compassionate people. Of course there are parents who are willing to subsidize their kids getting business experience but that's because they can afford it. Most parents are not the one percent whose kids take "gap years" and can afford to work all summer long on mommy and/or dad's income. 

My kids will work before, during and after college. It's an economic necessity. And it's good for them to learn the value of work. How can this nation ever create "real jobs" if businesses are taking advantage of student time and saddling they and their parents with more debt? Yes the job market is still lousy and it's doable. But that doesn't make it right.

We're a small company and we always pay our interns. We don't pay them a lot because we can't, but we want them to care about the work they're doing, learn how to do it right, and make a contribution to our growth and theirs. Of course, we could find free interns, but we do it because we don't believe in taking advantage of students and their families. Period.

Besides what happens when your student interns work for free? You get trust fund babies who can afford to do unpaid internships. Not my magnet program son or any of his friends. The best and brightest end up working in a store or a restaurant or a camp or someplace that pays them wages. They have to earn money over the summer to help pay their way. 

They're the children of the 99 percent. And the other one percent of kids. They're on vacation.

Pay your interns because in the end you get what you pay for. And it's not my job to subsidize your company. I don't ask you to subsidize mine. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Marketers: Are You A Better Writers than a 7th Grader?

How much is too much when it comes to trying to get someone's attention while marketing a product or service? I've been reading a series of blog posts by different authors and I found some perfect examples of trying to hype products and services that didn't need all the hype. And of course it was done with way too many adjectives.

Folks when you use big adjectives to describe BIG things, you sound like my 7th grade daughter when she doesn't feel like doing the work and makes stuff up. It's the I really, really, really liked this book affect. From the first sentence, the teacher knows she didn't read the book because she's trying to make it sound very, very important.

Then my 7th grader comes up with a couple of half thought out points and says them in as many different ways as she can think of, so it sounds impressive. And of course, by the time I'm done reading - and you give your audience more credit than it deserves if you think it's going to finish reading - they don't believe a word you said.

We live in the world of the Internet - superlatives aren't needed and when you're reading them on a screen sometimes they sound even more ridiculous than when they were on paper. I often come away thinking your product sucks because you're working so hard to make me believe it doesn't.

When it comes to marketing copy, just tell me a story and why I should take whatever action you want me to take, or even just care. Bullet items and use a header that will capture my attention. Concise, well written prose is better every time.

So are 7th graders better writers than most marketers? Probably not - but just to make my point here are some some of the most egregious phrases I have seen lately.

1. Creative entrepreneur - By definition an entrepreneur is a creative.Entrepreneur gets your point across just fine.

2. Legendary engineer - OK there could be a secondary point in there but an engineer can't be legendary unless you tell me why - and the writer didn't  I'm willing to bet that this one isn't legendary because you feel the need to tell me that he or she is.

3. Real-life neurologist - Really? Is there such a thing as a ghost neurologist? Or a fake one? Or to quote the Wizard of Oz's Dorothy not a neurologist at all? Gives you pause doesn't it?

4. World renowned experts - I love this one. It's not good enough to just be an expert which is really all you need, you have to be renowned (as in recognized as an expert by other experts?) and the whole wide world has to know that you are. Wow.

5. Impressive, world class products - Isn't world class enough? If it's world class shouldn't we already be impressed? And if we're not impressed why are you telling me I should be?

6. Hands-on, interactive - I see this term used all the time in educational materials and I don't get it. It's saying the exact same thing twice. If I'm putting my hands on it by definition it's interactive. If it's not interactive I'm not involved in it - right?


Monday, April 9, 2012

E-Books Take Off But Don't Bring in New Readers

A study released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, doesn't offer much hope for the future of print. Turns out e-reading is getting more and more popular especially with those over 50 (due in part to the fact that you can adjust the type to any size you want). Yet digital books are not bringing in new readers - they're taking business away from the book printers. Not a great bell weather for the future of print.

Here's some information from the study. Those who have taken the plunge into reading e-books are relatively avid readers of books in all formats: 
  • 88% of those who read e-books in the past 12 months also read printed books.
  • They read more books. 
  • They read more frequently for pleasure, research, current events, and for work or school. They buy books rather than borrow them.
  • They are more likely than others to say they prefer to purchase books in general, often starting their search online.
The demographics echo what we hear about avid readers as well. They are better educated, more affluent and more likely to love reading.

So what does all of this tell marketers? As we move more into digital in many phases of our lives, we have to for now, think in two worlds. Will print ever die? Hopefully not in my life time. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

If the Tech People Can't Measure Social Media ROI, Who Can?

If tech firms can't do it, where does that leave the rest of us?

While nearly half (49%) of technology executives say that their firm will increase their expenditure on social media in the next 12 months, over half (57%) say they are unable to accurately measure the impact of the investment. By contrast, only 23% say they can measure it, according to a Eurocom Worldwide study. 

Wow - if the tech people don't know the value of social media - then who does? I mean really, so much money is spent on this distribution channel and we have no idea what we're getting back. That's pretty incredible. 

A Plug for Online PR

The survey finds that 74% of respondents consider online PR to be very or quite important for their company’s search engine optimization (SEO) with 37% saying it is very important.

“The significant role of online PR in search engine optimization is often underrated but clearly not by technology firms,” commented Mads Christensen, Network Director, Eurocom Worldwide.

Respondents to the survey were also asked about the primary source of social media content and messaging for their company. The majority (78%) cite in-house sources with PR agencies the second most important source at 12%. Digital marketing agencies and advertising agencies combined account for the remaining 10%. 

The study also highlighted that one out of five technology firms has rejected a job applicant because of something he or she included on a social media profile. 

So remember, watch what you say and what you video. And tell your kids to do the same. And most important, remind them to use the privacy settings on Facebook. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trying to Win a Communications Award? Advice from a Recent Judge

I judged a communications awards competition recently that was open to companies, non-profits, colleges and universities, etc. I’ve entered these before, and wondered how work I’m really proud of doesn’t even make it to the finals. Now I have some answers. Hopefully they'll help you as well.

The category we judged was print publications. First of all what we saw – especially in an age where visuals are everywhere and so important in getting attention – was just not very sophisticated.

Here were some common problems with the entries.

1. Didn't Answer the Questions

Many entries ignored certain questions or gave vague answers. That costs you. Those most avoided:

Results. At least 50% of the entries didn’t answer the results question at all and the ones who did weren’t very specific. If you don’t answer the question that shows you were successful, you are done. Also, if your measurements don't match your goals you get dinged on that.

Budget. I think there was only one entry that answered the budget question. Not all entries are created equal. So what if you don’t have glossy pictures, great stock, and beautiful design? If your budget is small we have more information to judge on. So tell us what your entry cost to produce.

2. Pay Attention to the Rules

Your application package. You have to follow the rules of the competition. If your entry form is only supposed to be two pages, don’t submit more than that. Yes you may have more to say, but you’re going to get disqualified.

Type size. We almost eliminated someone because their font was smaller than what was asked for. In the end we didn't because the entry did not score well anyway, but making a font smaller to fit more in, doesn't help you.

3. Your Narrative

Quite frankly, the narrative answering the questions and explaining the goals, objectives, etc. of the publication was in many cases far better than the actual work. A strong narrative helps you depending on how the competition scoring is set up, but if the category is publications judges are going to judge mostly by design. Remember that before you enter.

3. Your Design

All design is subjective but there were a few glaring problems we found over and over again.

Keep it simple. There’s a magazine on the newsstands and available digitally called Real Simple. That should be the mantra of every print and web designer. Far too many entries had really busy pages. We don’t need subheads, and pull quotes and captions and explanations of a headline and charts on one spread. It makes your head spin.Also it looks like design by committee, which it probably was.

One photo is better than ten. I used to work with an art director who was adamant about this. She hated collages. One great photo is far better than several and run it as large as you can. It will draw the reader in and make them want to read.

Don’t run your captions across photos. I don’t know if this is some new design style or what but a number of publications splashed their captions in dropped out type across photos. Why? It just ruins the picture.

Stock quality shouldn’t be nicer than your magazine. We saw some celebrity wedding invitation level stock in magazines that clearly didn’t need it. The printing alone probably ate a big chunk of cost. Design, stock, publication quality should all be equally weighted.

I could go on for awhile but I’ll spare you. We did not judge content, other than the way it was presented but one thing I noticed was a mix of number of columns, font overload, type that would have made Victorians happy, and again a sad lack of simplicity.

If you’re going to do a print publication, and I don’t want print to die, study the look and feel of digital and learn to work in formats that people under 40 can relate too.

Best of luck next time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Trying to Find a Reporter's Phone Number - Good Luck

No wonder it’s so hard to find a good media list these days. Some large media corporations have taken a Machiavellian approach to make PR people reach any form of live person. It’s even worse when you try to find something on the web site resembling a phone number - oh and don't bother filling out any of the forms they just go down the rabbit hole.

At least the dating sites like send you a robo response telling you in badly written manual that you have a problem they don't understand. 

Part of the problem is is automation because when they gave up operators of any kind the system was only as good as its programming. If they locked all the programmers in a room and made them try to find something out on the system they designed you can bet it would improve.

Why Media Databases Cost So Much

Picture the poor minions who must update media lists regularly. They start with an email and a phone number that goes to nowhere and a journalist who probably has been laid off or if lucky gotten another job. The thing about interns is they grew up with technology designed to make you text, email and social network without dealing with a real human. So they have no understanding of how to find information in a different kind of world.

I had an intern last summer from an Ivy League school who couldn't get past Then she wondered why nothing that she sent was picked up in the press. Turned out if you sent something to a local Gannett paper it had to be specifically about the county they operated in. If it was the county next door it got tossed. But she never got far enough into the system to learn that. 

This is why companies like Vocus and Cision can charge up to $5,000 a year for their lists and a system that helps you maintain them, which provides actual access to reporters information. Oh it's not always a direct extension but it's a name of someone who has worked their recently.And even if that doesn't work there are other names of people you can call and say things like "I'm trying to reach X but I can't figure out your voice mail system," as innocently and nicely as possible. And they will help you.

I've protected the identities of the media companies I'm talking about except the really good ones, but let me remind everyone that these are communications businesses. Start there.

The Hair Pulling, Screaming Worst – A very well known trade magazine has absorbed two others and is owned by some global media behometh with a name that makes me remember something about fire, gods, power and revenge. The names of the absorbed media outlet are still listed and they've gotten the name of one publication completely wrong in a ridiculous iPhone mistakes kind of way. 

Their telephone system works like this – You call the giant media company and get a dozen options, find the one you think you want, click through a couple more levels, then get a list of the properties they own. The one I'm looking for goes to a voice mail of the editor that I’m pretty positive no one ever listens too. Oh and don't try the old method of hitting operator then # - there is no such thing unless you go back up three levels and it's a robot.

So how do you get reporter's phone numbers if you don't already know them? Well there's no person you can talk too - I've tried calling the VP of sales because he/she must answer the phone to do their jobs. But they don't answer either. I don't usually leave a message because lying enough to get them to call you back is not me.

Oh you can definitely find email addresses for the reporters, some next to their bylines, others buried a few levels into the web site. If they've written stuff elsewhere you can try finding an email that way. You can look on LinkedIn, and send a message to them which probably won't be answered. You can find most of them on Twitter (but if they don't follow you, you cannot send a message). 

The Frustrating, Obnoxious Second Worst – This is also a trade group that I have begun to think uses only freelancers whose information it just refuses to give out. They have some sort of listing on LinkedIn – some of them – but again you're stuck with their system to contact them through. Or you can Google them but it still doesn’t yield an email. One guy I tried to find recently lives behind a wall so thick I have to conclude he's not in the office, not on staff and perhaps on the other side of the planet.

On this system there is no such thing as a live human being you can talk too. It just isn't set up that way. You can send emails but no one will answer them. The next step is probably to go to the buildings they proudly list as their addresses on their web sites and see if they're really there.

The OK System that Doesn't Make You Curse at the Machine – The major consumer news bureaus have people who answer the phones or a voice activated system where you can dial by name - first or last depending on who it is - and get to their actual voice mail. The voice mails offer email addresses and sometimes even cell phones with a warning not to use them unless it's an emergency. That's old-school or at least young, ambitious and well-trained reporter.

Unfortunately you sometimes end up pitching into a machine which is kind of like leaving a message for a date you should wait to have call you. Will he listen to the voice mail in its entirety or hang-up as many people do the minute they realize it's a pitch? Well if he's interested, either way he'll get back to you.

But that's assuming that voice activated system work which can be a crapshoot. You do have option of going back to the operator who usually does come back on and will try to help. The brand name media of my childhood does this, the secondary tier does not. They are the ones where the people don't exist anymore or at least work there, yet they act like they do. 

The Best - four stars for effort. At a major newspaper I find a real phone number (not a circulation office) get a real operator, transfer to a real person who doesn't pick up. I go back to the operator and ask if there's someone else in that department who might be able to help. She tells me that most department don't have assistants anymore. Then she spends the next few minutes on the phone trying to help me find someone until I give up, feel guilty, thank her and go on to the next publication.

Kudos to a trade publishing group too. Behind the name of the writer is a bio - with a real email address or a link to one and yes, a phone number. And people answer their phones, not all the time but they do answer them. With this trade group I was 2 for 3 in actual conversations which is quite good. And they were nice, really nice. Didn't get what I wanted from them yet but I felt better about life after that experience. One of them even called me back - that made my day.

I've been winning new business pitches lately against companies whose leadership drops lot of reporter names and gives the impression all they have to do is pick up the phone and your story will run. Let me assure all of you marketers out there that it's not true. You're probably better off with the media list and a very persistant PR person who knows what they're doing. The story will get out there it just takes time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

NPR Reports High School Grads Can Succeed in the Federal Government

Here's some info on the federal government's pay and benefits practices that we should pay attention to from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). If you have a high school diploma and want to get ahead - don't go to a fast food chain - go work for the federal government.

Overall, the federal government paid 2 percent more in total wages than it would have if average wages had been comparable with those in the private sector, after accounting for certain observable characteristics of workers.

A quick rundown:

High School Grads Go Work for the Government
  • Federal civilian workers with no more than a high school education earned about 21 percent more, on average, than similar workers in the private sector.

Bachelors' Degree Federal Benefits Rock
  • Average benefits for federal workers whose education ended in a bachelor's degree were 46 percent higher than for similar workers in the private sector.
PhD or Professional Degree Salaries Lower

  • Federal employees with a professional degree or doctorate received 18 percent lower total compensation than their private-sector counterparts, on average.
And for the Taxpayer . . .

On average, the benefits earned by federal civilian employees cost 48 percent more than the benefits earned by private-sector employees with certain similar observable characteristics.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Millenials are Different - So What Generation Isn't?

A lot of consultants have made a lot of money spouting expertise on the Millenial Generation, those who are 20-31 right now. Born from 1979 to 1991, they are more socially conscious, more technology savvy, likely to job hop, demand more in the workplace, latch-key kids and harder to convince sitting in a cubicle all day is a way to get ahead, etc., etc., etc.

Doctoral dissertations are written about them, businesses are grown around them and it still goes on.

But aside from the fact thatey have every generation before them beat on tech savvy are they really all that different from previous generations? I mean I really don't like their music and they spend more time on Facebook than I do but my parents didn't like our music and we talked on the phone all night long.

Oh and I forgot that millenials don't communicate as well in person because they're so used to texting all the time. But what kid whose in college, just got out or has not been in the workplace for awhile is really literate in grown-up, corporate speak?

I've worked with this generation and I think many of these studies, and many of the "Millenial Consultants" are spin masters. First of all, the recession has completely levelled the playing field. Those Millenials who went out and got jobs right after college or graduate school are no longer able to demand signing bonuses, raises or many of the other things they got away with when the economy was soaring.

Many have had to accept jobs that are not as lofty as those they envisioned and they've learned how to deal with that.They've been humbled by the economy, as we all have.

Second, there are always generational differences in the workplace, and some Millenials have a strong work ethic and others have been handed everything by their parents. How is that different than the world the rest of us grew up in? Doesn't it really come down to good parenting versus spoiling your children rotten?

So I propose that Millenials and those that follow them (other than the fact that my 12 year-old can program my iPhone and GPS while I have to watch her) aren't that different than previous generations. They're learning what they have to do to get ahead and figuring it all out as they go.

I saw a "Millenial Consultant" a couple of years ago at a trade show and she was in jeans and extremely entertaining. But personally, I would have preferred someone who taught me how to market my business rather than deal with a generation gap.

More power to the consultants who've created an industry out of this they've found the golden goose. But in the end, that was a fairy tale too.