mike welch

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Yesterday while driving to work I found myself singing the Mavis Discount Tire song with the radio.  Later I heard the familiar voice of the Winthrop University Hospital announcer. My friends Mike Welch and Jack Schultheis handle that advertising, but even so, I immediately knew it was Winthrop from the music and voice.

Radio is still a powerful ad medium.  It’s a unique way, at a reasonable cost, to condition consumers to listen, associate and remember. When working on North Shore-LIJ Health System years ago, I used lots of radio to extent the TV work.  It worked brilliantly.

But while singing the Mavis Discount Tire radio song I wondered if it was a reason to buy?

I reckoned consciously I knew the price is right, thanks to the name, but with the web and search so prevalent is name awareness enough to tip the scales?  Has the ability to simply slip a phone from my pocket and say “best tire prices near me” changed the formula for advertising?   

Search changes everything in marketing. The first page web experience is critical. We “twitch to buy” today. Radio needs to recognize and account for this.

My kids are in their twenties. Both have two phones. When they sing the discount tire song are they Google searching for other tire stores? You bet they are.





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Elon Musk is a fascinating character. His bets on the future with investments in battery operated cars, solar energy and space are legendary. Where the “rust belt” businesses at? Nowhere in this portfolio.

There’s a news report that Mr. Musk might be trying to collapse Tesla and SolarCity into one company. That’s a little rust belt thinking if you ask me.  It’s corporate governance at its worst. A lawyer-focused, tax-focused parry that will, likely, diminish both businesses.

The thing about Tesla, as my friend Mike Welch points out, is that the battery charger goes into the wall and the wall is often tethered to nonrenewable energy fed power plants. SolarCity is a smart bet, albeit losing money today. Tesla is a good near term bet but more apt to innovate away from nonrenewable energy if left by itself. Too much could go wrong with a bifurcated business plan.

In 30 years, if both companies are still alive, SpaceX may be a potential partner. (Mr. Musk’s space exploration company.)  For now, it is good business to keep the companies separate.

Stop crossing the DNA.  Peace.




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