By Rex Hammock

Since this is the last Idea Email of 2016 (we will be back on Thursday, January 5), I decided to save you some time by suggesting these four New Year’s resolutions for managers and marketers.

By Rex Hammock

“The KISS principle” was a short-lived business buzzword in the 1970s. Borrowing a U.S. Navy acronym (Keep It Simple, Stupid), it was the theory that business systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. 


On the Tuesday before each Thanksgiving,
we share this idea. And with it, we send our deepest thanks.

Not long ago, the most powerful word in marketing was the word FREE.

That era ended with the creation of filters that automatically translate the word into “spam.”

Now, the most powerful word in marketing is THANKS.


By Rex Hammock, Founder and CEO

Yesterday, the morning after the 2016 presidential election, I received an email from an investment company. Its subject line: “How could the election impact financial markets and the economy?”

Besides being a great example of savvy timing (it was the first such email I received) and an impossible-to-ignore subject line, the message demonstrated what a company must do to be perceived as an “opinion leader.”

By Rex Hammock, Founder and CEO

If you ever speak to someone in product development at the software company Intuit, you’ll hear this sentence within the first few moments: “We fall in love with a customer’s problem, not with our solution.”

I heard that sentence firsthand earlier this week, when I attended Intuit’s annual conference in San Jose, California. Most of the 5,000 attendees were accountants, developers and users of QuickBooks Online, Intuit’s cloud-based financial management platform. Attendees traveled from around the globe to spend two days learning about what’s next from a company they know will help them solve their problems.


Hammock Idea Ebook

Outcome Marketing:
Using direct-to-customer media and content to build long-term marketing relationships

In a marketplace of commodity products with similar features, the most powerful way to market a product or service is to go beyond selling and start helping customers use those features to reach their goals.

In Hammock’s new Idea Ebook, Outcome Marketing: Using direct-to-customer media and content to build long-term marketing relationships, you will learn about this powerful form of marketing that does not focus on products, services or features. Instead, outcome marketing focuses on the goals and outcomes that customers want to reach or accomplish.

By Rex Hammock, Founder and CEO

This Idea Email breaks our long-standing practice of keeping this biweekly essay hype-free. But this week also marks the 25th anniversary of Hammock, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

I’ve discovered such a milestone generates comments like, “I bet you’ve seen a lot of changes during that time.” Or, if you are a parent of witty Millennials, “What was it like before electricity?”

Don’t worry: We’re not covering politics on the Idea Email. However, we are going to remind you of a political phenomenon we’ve touched on before: the “backfire effect.” Identified through the research of political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, the backfire effect can be summed up this way: When individuals declare their support for a specific candidate or cause, no amount of evidence or fact-checking will convince them that they are wrong. Not only that, but the more you tell these supporters they are wrong, the more they will dig in their heels and refuse to budge.

By Rex Hammock

In a few weeks, Hammock Inc. will be 25 years old. While only a small percentage of businesses last a quarter century, our tenure isn’t as impressive as that of some of our clients. Indeed, one client just celebrated an anniversary a full century longer than ours.

On the 50th anniversary of the magazine McKinsey Quarterly, Ian Davis, former managing partner of McKinsey & Company and now Rolls Royce Holdings chairman, outlined some of the keys to business longevity.


Chances are, your grade school teacher once said, “You must learn the rules before you break them.” Apparently, learning that maxim is part of the curriculum when majoring in education.

During the last two decades of the commercial web, those of us who use the internet as a marketing platform have experienced wave after wave of new rules that, within a few months of their creation, are treated like commandments handed down on chiseled stone tablets.