Case Study Questionnaire

By Christopher Zoukis

Since you and your company are extremely successful, the following questions are designed to explore the foundation of your success.  Please provide as much detailed information as possible. 

Indeed, if you can think of more appropriate questions, for gosh sakes, draw a line through mine and substitute yours, along with the answers. If you prefer not to answer any question(s), please simply place your initials below the question and Image courtesy blogs.ft.commove to the next question. 

Please remember that your answers will be printed and published in Razzle Dazzle:  The Art of Marketing.  Thank you for your participation, your time, and for sharing your expertise.

1.    What luxury product or service do you sell?

2.    What types of marketing do you use?

3.    What form of marketing has proven most successful for your business?

4.    When an affluent customer purchases your product, what are they buying?  Simply a luxury product or is it something more, such as status or exclusivity?

5.    How do you market your product so it elicits an emotional correspondence in your customer?

6.    Do you track the successfulness of your marketing?  If so, how?

7.    Do you differentiate between men and women in your marketing?

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Passion and Fragrance

By Roja Dove

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

Perfume has been around a long time.  The oldest written record of perfume comes from Assyro-Babylonian texts of around 1800 BC.  The perfume was called qanu tabu.  Canaanite texts from Ugarit, circa 1400 BC, speak of a perfume designated smn mr – a liquid myrrh.  The Egyptian queen Hatshepsut had ‘white’ trees brought to Egypt around 1490 BC.  From these ‘white’ trees, her perfumers made frankincense, which was the “perfume that deifies.”  To the ancient Egyptians, perfume was the medium for wafting the soul to heaven and for putting demons and evil spirits to flight.  Image courtesy kinnelonconserves.net

Making perfume is part science, part art, and part passion.  In his book – The Essence of Perfume – Roja Dove relates how these three seemingly incompatible parts come together to form a fragrance.  And the book is as magical as its subject matter.

After providing a brief overview of perfume, Dove moves on to the birth of modern perfumery, which occurred in 1832.  That was when J. Mero et Boyveau began using solvent extraction techniques to produce essential oils.  This, along with the discovery of synthetic materials, “was the perfumery equivalent of the big bang.”

‘Methods of Extraction’ is the title of Dove’s third chapter.  Essentially, this is the scientific portion of perfumery.  In it, he explains steam distillation, solvent extraction, expression, enfleurage, and tinctures.  And he does so in very simple and very clear language.  It’s so beautifully done that it boggles the mind.  Only a writer of vast expertise could accomplish such a task. 

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Introduction of a Nut

By Christopher Zoukis

Almonds were introduced to America by Miquel Josep Serra iFerrer, who was born in Majorca, Spain.  When he finally arrived in California, he was Fray Junipero Serra, a priest in the Order of St. Francis.  He came to California to administer the missions on the Baja California Peninsula.  This system of missions had been founded by the Jesuits, who, because of their political intrigues, had just been forcibly kicked out of “New Spain” by King Carlos III. 

Father Serra brought along a bag of almond plantings, which he planted and attempted to grow.  His attempts failed, because the damp coastal fogs and high humidity of the area were not favorable to almond cultivation.  Image courtesy sfmuseum.net

Meanwhile, far across America, ranchers in New England and the Middle Atlantic States decided to try and grow almonds commercially.  At the same time, down in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado other ranchers were making the same attempt.  These ranchers thought that almonds should grow wherever peaches did.  It seemed only natural, since they were genetically similar.  It didn’t work.  Almonds bloom early and late frosts destroyed the harvests.  And if the frost didn’t get the almonds, because of the relative high humidity, disease did.  The venture was discarded as a waste of time.

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Bad Boys and Their Toys

By Jesus Angel Garcia

Reviewd by Christopher Zoukis

According to the Bible, prior to his fall from grace, the Devil went by the tag of Lucifer, Son of the Morning Star.  Not much is known about who Lucifer was or what he did all day long, except he was the epitome of virtue and sinlessness.  In other words, he was probably pretty boring.  After his famous crash and burn, the Devil’s tag was changed to Satan, which means ‘adversary.’  Plenty is known about Satan.  He’s the original bad boy, the Ur-bad boy.  Variously portrayed as exaggerated, quaint, and absurd, he is anything but boring.Image courtesy goodreads.com

Enter Jesus.  No, not that Jesus.  Jesus Angel Garcia, who is the author of badbadbad, a kick-ass novel, whose protagonist goes by the same moniker.  The storyline goes like this:  Jesus Angel Garcia is left in the lurch by his wife, who takes Jesus’ baby son with her.  Through chance or by the hand of God – who knows? – Jesus metamorphoses from janitor to webmaster.  In his new career, Jesus builds and maintains websites for churches.  This is his day job.

Jesus is introduced to his night job by the son of a preacher, the pastor of the First Church of the Church Before Church.  Cyrus, who is the son of the preacher, leads Jesus down the primrose path to another kind of job, which is more of a calling than a job.  Jesus’ calling involves – for lack of a better term – a kind of sexual therapy.  He finds his patients at fallenangels.com, an online social network for heretics, weirdoes, fetishists, and erotomaniacs.

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Marketing Book: Introduction and Goals

By Christopher Zoukis

There has been an explosion of wealth over the last twenty years. Not just in the United States, but throughout the world.  Millionaires are everywhere. They have lots of disposable income, and are looking for goods and services to purchase. The individuals and companies that identify, target, and market to these millionaires will profit handsomely. Indeed, they will become millionaires themselves. To be successful in this undertaking, these individuals and companies will have to position themselves correctly. Correct positioning equals attraction, and is similar to becoming a flower. Pretty flowers that smell sweet attract the bees. In the case at hand, the objective is not the most bees but the most prosperous bees. This book explains the ins and outs of becoming the flower that attracts the affluent bees. In other words, this book spells out how to attract and keep wealthy customers.

This book has three goals.  Photo courtesy tower.com

The first goal is to tell you how to attract and appeal to affluent customers. Make no mistake attracting affluent customers is very different than attracting multitudes of customers, who regularly shop at malls and department stores.  Affluent customers rarely visit the average mall, and they don’t shop at Penney’s or Wal-Mart.  Thus attracting and appealing to the affluent involves a whole new way of thinking. Which means a whole new way of engaging customers. For affluent customers are a segment of the populace that is almost invisible, simply because they are such a small part of the populace. To appeal to this niche market means using a new way of selling and marketing.

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Interview with Robert L. Thompson

Interviewed by Christopher Zoukis 

This interview took place at Federal Correctional Institute – Petersburg, a medium security federal prison in Virginia.  I sat down with Robert L. Thompson, who goes by the tag of “Bobby B.”  We talked about his fiction novel Corruption:  Everyone Has A Price, which was published by nHouse Publishing, an independent press located in New Jersey.   

CZ:  Tell me a little bit about yourself.

BB:  My name is Robert L. Thompson.  But most people know me as “Bobby B.”  In my previous life out in the real world, I was a DJ.  My blue-booker was “Bobby B.”  For the last decade I’ve been in prison for the distribution of crack cocaine.  While doing time, I co-authored a novel.

CZ:  Can you summarize your novel?  What’s it about?   Photo courtesy Amazon.com

BB:  Corruption is noir urban fiction.  The tale of a drug dealer who gets swallowed into the belly of the criminal justice system.  Once inside, he discovers a system spider webbed with self-interest and corruption.  Filaments of corruption extend to every part of the system, including attorneys and law enforcement.  From the outside, everything looks peachy.  However, from the inside, everything is not as it appears.  Thus although Corruption is a work of fiction, there is a river of truth running through it.

CZ:  What I hear you saying is that the novel is autobiographical.  That it reflects your own experiences in the system.  If so, could you elaborate on the connection?

BB:  Of course not!  As a federal prisoner, I advocate the very popular doctrine of ethical pragmatism.  You know the one where everything turns out to be the doctrine of self-interest.  Kind of like former president Clinton.  Only I’ve never been in the Oval Office, and I don’t smoke cigars. 

CZ:  Okay.  Let me rephrase my question.  What I hear you saying, is that Corruption is an indictment of the system.  Where did you get the inspiration to write the novel?

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Outline For Proposed Marketing Book

By Christopher Zoukis

Introduction:  Goals of the Book

  1. Attracting and appealing to affluent customers
  2. Understanding the psychology of affluent customers
  3. Marketing aimed at the psychology of affluent customers

PART ONE:  The Affluent Customer

Chapter 1:  Identifying Affluent Customers  Photo courtesy of pmba.econsultant.com

  1. The moneyed customer
  2. The rich customer
  3. The ultra-rich customer
  4. What the rich do differently
  5. Goods, services, and products the affluent buy

Chapter 2:  Affluent Women

  1. Appealing to the affluent female psychology
    1. how to sell to women
    2. the opportunity of “women only” marketing

2.  Selling beauty

Chapter 3:  Affluent Men

  1. Appealing to the affluent male psychology
    1. emotion-based purchases
    2. status-based purchases
  2. How to sell to men

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Barr’s Tips for Success

By Christopher Zoukis

Not long ago, I came across Nine Tips for Success.  The tips were written by Amelia E. Barr, and were included in an essay entitled “Words of Counsel.”  Ms. Barr’s tips are direct and pertinent.  I share them with you in the hope that they may stimulate you to success. 

“Men and women succeed because they take pains to succeed. Industry and patience are almost genius; and successful people are often more distinguished for resolution and perseverance than for unusual gifts. They make determination and unity of purpose supply the place of ability.

Success is the reward of those who “spurn delights and live laborious days.” We learn to do things by doing them. One of the great secrets of success is “pegging away.” No disappointment must discourage, and a run back must often be allowed, in order to take a longer leap forward.

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Chapter Summaries for a Proposed Marketing Book

By Christopher Zoukis

Introduction

The introduction presents three primary goals of the book. Each of the three goals is briefly examined. The importance of understanding the psychological make-up of potential customers is discussed.

Chapter 1: Identifying Affluent Customers

This chapter defines three different affluence levels. The levels are based on yearly income: $200,000 +, $1 million +, $5 million +. The chapter also explains that affluent customers use their money differently than the middle class. Goods, services and products commonly purchased by the affluent are presented. 

Chapter 2: Affluent Women

This chapter tells why affluent women purchase luxury goods. The psychology of female customers is different than that of male customers. Therefore, selling to women requires a different approach. How to sell to affluent women is discussed, along with the vast opportunities of targeting female customers. For example, women are more adept at perceiving emotions in people’s faces. Women are also better at multi-tasking because they are less channeled into one way of thinking than men. Men are better at reading maps, according to research presented in Newsweek. Which means both genders are emotional and spontaneous in making purchases. The difference lies in communication. These differences will be discussed. BMW was one of the first auto manufacturers to recognize and capitalize on this gender difference. Chapter two also delineates ‘beauty’ as a product that can be packaged as an idea and sold. How selling status to women is different than selling status to men.

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An Error in Judgment

By Christopher Zoukis

Some time ago, I came across short filler-article in the business section of the San Francisco Chronicle.  The title of the article indicated that five executives had been found guilty and would soon be sentenced.  Aha!  White collar crime, I thought.  And since I find white collar crime to be simultaneously fascinating and ludicrous, I read the article.  I am fascinated by what drives people to embezzlement, how they commit the crime and how it’s usually arrogance that trips them up.

The article named the five executives who had been convicted.  Then it went on and compared the fall of their company, NCFE, to the fall of Enron.  That’s quite a comparison, since Enron was the epitome of corporate greed, fraudulent business practices and financial collapse.  The shockwaves from the disintegration of Enron are still being felt today.  If it was comparable to Enron, why hadn’t I heard about it?  I was intrigued, so I did some digging.  My excavations turned up the following interesting information.

There’s a small town in Ohio, named Dublin, after the famous city in Ireland.  Commonly depicted as ‘gentrified modern,’ which is a quaint way of describing gold courses, strip malls and multi-plex theaters, Dublin – the one in Ohio, not the other one – is headquarters for Wendy’s International.  Most people have heard of the hamburger chain.  What they haven’t heard of is another big firm in the same city.

National Century Financial Enterprises.  Started in 1991, this outfit soon became the nation’s largest purchaser of hospital, physician and other health care receivables.  The buying up of receivables works like this.  NCFE buys the accounts receivable of small hospitals, medical clinics and nursing homes.  Because of their small sizes, all of these health-care providers are having money problems.  They are desperate because they have no money with which to operate, because they have to wait for payment from insurance companies.

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