I am really excited to announce that I am now blogging for the Jewish Music Report, a brand new team blog and website covering everything in the Jewish Music arena.

JMR was started to give everyday people (like myself) a voice in covering and commenting on the industry as well as reviewing new releases. It is very conversational, although "Menhal Zemer" the founder of the site, pledges in his welcome message:

"..to do everything that we can do to be careful about Loshan Hora. Aside from Loshan Hora, we also respect that artists, musicians, producers, composers, arrangers all rely on this medium to make a Parnasah and we would never want to compromise that. What we’re looking to do is not just discuss Jewish music in an open and comprehensive way, but to celebrate and promote it!"

This is aligned very well with what I am trying to do here at OCNM. My focus will be mostly on the changes in the way the industry and its stars are marketed. I had the great opportunity to interview Lipa Schmeltzer and we talked about his website and what marketing is like in the YouTube/Facebook  era. I will be continuing to blog here as well about general things of interst, inclusing continuing our series on e-mail marketing.

Check out my page at JMR right here.



In this 3 part series, I will highlight the benefits, as well as the mistakes that are made in the realm of e-mail marketing.

A little while ago I started noticing that radio advertising rates must be at an all time low. More BtoB companies are starting to use the medium, including Constant Contact, an e-mail management service. It brought to mind the fact that e-mail marketing is becoming more and more important as a way to touch base with your customers.

In this economic climate, we tend to go into panic mode. When businesses go into panic mode they tend to cut their marketing budget as a way to improve their margins. Unfortunately, this often limits the very survival of the company. As I mentioned in the last post, you need to give your customers a reason to keep coming back.

E-mail marketing, when done right, is a great way to increase sales and keep your customers engaged and loyal. The numbers are staggering: For every dollar spent on e-mail marketing, $40-60  has been made back in recent years.

Here are 5 benefits to running a successful e-mail campaign:

1. Stay on your customers' radar

2. Easily inform customers about special offers and news (like changes in hours, etc.)

3. Test different headlines and copy to see which garner more of a response (you can track clicks from most services)

4. Learn more about your customers and find out what makes them tick

5. Become an expert in your field by publishing articles of interest to your readers.

In the Part 2 of this series, we will look at the do's and don'ts of e-mail marketing.


John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing offers these 7 tips to help you survive the recession. Yep, it's officially a recession. What are you gonna do about it?
7 Recession-Busting Marketing Basics

Additionally, I would like to add as well that it's extremely, extremely important to engage your customers. Take the time to talk to them and really find out their needs and concerns. Make it your business to keep them coming back and perceive the value of your relationship. In this kind of climate you must differentiate yourself and give people a reason to patronize YOU specifically. If not, cost-conscious customers will shop the lowest price or decide not to spend at all.

And you certainly couldn't afford that.


Actually, they found me! More on this later.


It's been a bit of a while since my last post. I just wanted to give a quick hit about 2 books that I am presently reading which I feel are very important for anyone working in this space to check out and read.

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Seth Godin

Seth doesn't "just write books". It seems that each book is a building block in the overall formation of his thesis about marketing and how society works. His latest book pulls everything together and posits that the internet has really escalated the trend towards people, products, organizations and companies of developing a following which is led - not managed - by leaders. I will expand on these trends in and how they impact our community in a future post.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly
David Meermman Scott

The New Rules of Marketing and PR - David Meerman ScottThe internet and on-demand era has really changed the way people consume information and interact with businesses and products. This is a must read for pretty much anyone who runs a business or works in the field of advertising, PR and marketing. We tend to do things the old way in our community - maybe because we don't know any better. This blog has always been about those companies and people who embrace the new rules.

Going Forward - I am mulling over a switch to a new blog platform and structuring of the site. I reiterate that this is a movement. Marketers are starting to get it. I am looking to get this Tribe together within our tribe so that we can educate and innovate within our marketplace. Let's band together and spread the word. Please e-mail me at michael DOT szpilzinger AT gmail DOT com or comment on this post if the ideas resonate with you.


Pomegranate Supermarket had its grand opening this week, amongst lots of buzz.  Some of the local papers weighed in. Here is what one blogger’s response was.

Would I shop here? Yes. But you must be very careful about the prices and about the "sales" items which may be much more expensive than the other neighborhood stores. 

I strolled in last night and I must say the place is stunning. The fact that they were quite crowded at 9:15 on a Summer weeknight is also a good sign, although it might just be the novelty of something new and buzzworthy that is bringing in people. As far as the prices, I would say that some are pretty reasonable while other items are about 15-25% higher than the other stores in the area.

The challenge will be whether they can sustain a steady flow of customers who want high-end, fancy cheese and willing to spend $25-50 more per shopping trip. A year ago, when the store first started undergoing its metamorphosis, Whole Foods was the all the rage and people were demanding higher end stuff. Now with the economy putting the squeeze on grocery shoppers, and with Whole Foods feeling it too, Pomegranate might be hard pressed to win back the market share that was lost and the money that was invested in their 14 month closing of its doors.


Here is what I like about what they are doing.

Presentation is a major portion of shopping experience and they certainly score big points in that area.

The personnel are very clearly distinguishable with uniforms. I can’t tell you how many times I had difficulty finding a store employee when I needed one in the past. There are area managers for each of the sections. I was hoping to grab a chat with Mayer Gold, the head manager, but he was quite busy as you can imagine. If they can provide stellar service, I think that they will really develop a loyal base.

Free parking lot with parking attendant.

 I was hoping that they would have a website where you can shop online, but one of the owners informed me that they rejected the idea as too much trouble. I wonder how it is working out for Glatt Mart. Pomegranate hopes to have a website up soon, but I am guessing that it will just have information and specials.



Yesterday my wife was looking at a brochure she had designed for a company that sells dental supplies. All of a sudden, her jaw dropped as her eyes noticed something. The piece, which had already been printed (thousands, that is) was missing a late change that had been requested...a change that could spell big time embarrassment for the company if not corrected. And this was a new client!

Panic, followed by frustration, and then despondency.

"What do we do now?" she cried out. The issue arose because a short power outage had undone the change she had made. To pay the re-printing cost out of pocket would have been quite a difficulty for our design and marketing company. One person's advice was that she just leave it, as the company possibly would not notice it. My concern was that if they do notice it and get upset, it would put us on the defensive and the explanation of what happened would sound like an excuse. I decided that she should contact the company outright, explain what happened and ask them what they feel the direction should be. Come out and be candid; let them know our concern is for their image, not our bottom line.

You know what? In the end they downplayed the whole thing and dismissed the possibility of us incurring the re-printing charge. At this point, the decision hasn't been made as to what they will do, but they are happy to have been alerted to the issue and have options.

I have a feeling that we will have a long relationship with this client.


From FrumWire: Yidsense Launches Pay Per Click Advertising for Jewish Websites
Yeah OK, it might be a bit of a corny name. I have never been a big fan of "Judaifying" non Jewish brands. But still, when I mention YidSense to people, right away the light goes off in their heads and they grasp immediately what it is.

Pay-per-click advertising is a nice way to earn a bit extra for your blog or website. You can be assured that you won't be running inappropriate ads (which is not true of Google's AdSense).

Currently, the people at YidSense are trying to iron out the kinks, but I think it has great potential. (Disclosure: The founder of YidSense is a close personal friend and I am an advisor to the company)


When the Kosher Gym originally opened in Brooklyn, it was quite a different world. I would imagine that the gym had a pretty sound business plan at the time and was pretty successful. However, the internet revolution changed everything. Customers are more empowered than ever.

Here are some points that every business owner needs to know about doing business in this era:

1. Focus on customer value - not ROI
It's a very competitive world out there. If your business does not establish itself as providing value for its customers, it will churn right through them. If your vision is only on how much you are making per customer, you lose the opportunity to build long term loyalty. Marketing budget is better spent keeoping your customers happy than trying to acquire new ones. Happier customers means more renewals and referrals as they will want to share their experience with others.

2. Open the communication channel
Every time a customer complains, it is an opportunity - a gold plated chance to engender good will and loyalty. It also presents you with a new insight into how you can truly innovate and grow.

3. Follow up with "Deadbeats"
You have the ability to track the comings and goings of your patrons. A call every now and then from a gym rep can go a long way in helping you help them get the most out of their membership. When you wait until their membership has lapsed or is close to it, you may have already lost the game.

4. Build a community driven website, not just a brochure
If all your website does is provide pictures of your facilities, you send the message that the site is about you, not them. There is a place for your brochure, but you can create a great value add for your customers by having a site where you can post blogs, videos and tips. Invite your members to take part. If you have done a good job making them enthusiastic about you, then they will do most of the "heavy lifting" for you by engaging others. Plus, it will be a great way to Point #2 as well.

5. Don't pretend the competition does not exist
You may be the only "Kosher" gym in town, but don't forget, you are competing against other separate gyms. Actually, your biggest competition is yourself. Your patrons don't need a gym - they need to be fit. If they don't sense that they are getting that value from you, then they will leave. They may buy equipment or start jogging and eating better. They may decide to keep the money and stay unfit rather than spend the money and be just as unfit. Some may just join another gym, separate or not. Either way, you have to understand what their expectations are as far as the services you provide. If classes are free in other clubs, than by golly make them free at yours. Remember, the more the gym helps them achieve their goals at a fair price, the more willing they will be in continuing to pay that price.


I still remember my dating years and the challenge of trying to figure out what to do. I would  ask (and now that I am married, get asked) "Where do you think I should take this girl?"

Well, now there is Mikomos, the directory of dating spots that answers that question. Like Wikipedia it is a collaborative effort, with all invited to partake. Here and there you see some great examples of the fact that they don't take themselves seriously.

Overall, it is organized pretty well and should prove to be quite useful. Leveraging the community is so key for a site like this. As they say on the about page

This wiki was created to help people locate mikomos for dating (especially those who are married and are now dating their wives).

Finding and posting information about all the good mikomos would be too daunting a task for a small group of people. A project of this size is most suitable for a wiki. A wiki is defined by wikipedia as: a website that allows visitors to add, remove, edit and change content, typically without the need for registration.
Kudos Mikomos for "getting it!".