The current Idea Email
 explains how and why ad-blocking isn’t just a browser plug-in hack. Blocking ads is also a multi-billion dollar business. It’s based on the notion that advertising doesn’t always need to be at the transaction intersection when dollars are exchanged for content. Oftentimes, customers become so overwhelmed by the crush of ads on the internet and traditional media, they are more than willing to pay media companies for the chance to view (listen to, watch, read) ad-free content.

And many media companies have learned that there are billions of dollars in potential revenue in allowing people to pay for ad-free content, rather than subjecting them to personalized ads or the sheer magnitude of ads that appear on a web page.

Here are some examples of ad-free content providers and how they make money (or hope to).

Screen-Shot-2015-09-20-at-2.54.35-PMThis month marks the beginning of Hammock Inc.’s 25th year as a marketing services company focused exclusively on what is now called “content marketing.” During the last 25 years, we’ve been able to work with many great clients in developing all forms of print and digital media used to build long-lasting relationships with their customers. 

One important thing we’ve learned during the past quarter-century is that unlike traditional advertising, customer media and content can play an important role throughout the relationship between marketer and customer. To explain what we mean, we’ve published the Hammock Idea eBook, Content Along the Customer Journey. You can download it below.

While there is no way to know, I’m guessing there’s never been an election where everyone at Hammock HQ has voted for the same candidate. And as Nashville is in a run-off mayoral and Metro Council election with outstanding candidates, there’s a good chance we won’t be breaking our 24-year-history of never agreeing 100% on who we’ll vote for — at least that’s my guess.

However, we do agree on one thing: How hard it is to figure out exactly when and where to vote early in this run-off. For example, every day, the polls close at a different time: 7 p.m., 6 p.m. or 4 p.m. So to find out exactly what time today the polls close, you must visit the Davidson County Election Commission’s webpage on

voting-sked-beforeThere you can download a PDF of a page filled with  SHOUTING-OUT ALL-CAPS listing the time the polls will close.

We appreciate the effort, but this approach, with line-after-line of information just doesn’t work for us.

Rather than complain, we decided to create something we could share in the office that makes it a little clearer when and where one can vote early. Thinking we’re not the only confused voters, we then decided we’d share it here with anyone who would like to use it.

We’re not trying to get you to vote for a specific candidate. We’re just trying to get you to vote.

We’ve posted it with a Creative Commons license that grants anyone the right to take the page and use it any way you’d like. So, for example, if you are a supporter of a candidate in any of the run-off races, feel free to use it any way you’d like — except not in a way that appears like we’re endorsing a candidate. Do that and at least 50 percent of us would be mad.

(Click: for a Large JPG)
(Click: for a PDF)

(Feel free to share, even adapt, this.
It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.)

Photo of voting booths:

god metric

Anyone who has read this blog with any consistency or subscribes to Hammock’s Idea Email will understand why I think the article “A mile wide, an inch deep” written by founder and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams should be required reading for marketers.

[Hammock’s Current Idea Email was released today.
Subscribe now to receive your own issue, once every two weeks.]

the hammock idea email brings smart marketing ideas to your inbox

Idea: How to Add Magic to Your Marketing in 2015

“People are 100 times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you.” That quote may sound familiar if you’ve ever read Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People

marketingsherpaAlmost two years ago, we decided that something was broken with the company email newsletter we sent to our clients, friends and those who requested it. It was easy to decide that, as fewer and fewer recipients were opening it. So we decided that instead of sending out a traditional email newsletter reporting on all the great things we’re doing, we would put to practice what we preach and send out something we think can help people communicate better with customers and prospects.

Banners_and_Alerts_and_Idea_Email__Map_Your_Way_to_Content_SuccessSo we launched Idea Email. Internally, we’ve called it an “un-newsletter” as it breaks lots of rules. And it’s working, say the email marketing experts who have analyzed the mailings’ approach and metrics. The novelty of sending out a short e-mail that is intended to help a reader and not overwhelm them with too much information is a curiosity, it seems.

2014_winnerHammock Inc.’s work for clients has earned six Apex Awards, including a coveted Grand Award, in the just-concluded competition.

The Grand Award went to American Spirit, the bimonthly member magazine of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, which we have published for DAR since 2002, and which has taken a number of Grand Awards.

The competition’s judges lavished praise on the November-December 2013 issue of American Spirit, saying that, “This is a magazine  that never fails to appeal. The design and layout are richly stunning, but the editorial well is the tour de force here. Features are thoroughly researched and presented in a lively and engaging manner. You find yourself reading each to the end, even when the topic is one you didn’t think would particularly interest you. Top drawer in every respect.”

Apex Awards of Excellence were accorded to:

In November, 2012, we titled our very first Idea Email with a line inspired by the sentence Apple used to introduce the second generation of the iPad: “Technology at its very best is invisible.”

In our version, we substituted “marketing” for the word technology.

In that first Idea Email, we wrote what we still believe to be the goal of great marketing:

The goal of great marketing should be to make the customer smarter, stronger, happier, or whatever the customer wants when they purchase a product or join an association or sign up for a service. When you emphasize how your product can help customers achieve something, they don’t think of it as marketing. They think of it as help. And that’s when marketing is at its very best.

Hammock CEO Rex Hammock spoke today on the topic of “How to Go to Market with a Marketing Services Business” at an American Business Media’s Marketing Services Council meeting in New York. Earlier this week, ABM’s Scott Fried interviewed Rex with some questions about being a provider of marketing services and what trends he’s seen in the industry during his career.

ABM: What does it mean to you to be a marketing services provider? How does that differ from being a traditional media company?

Rex Hammock: Here is a simplistic way I describe the difference: a traditional media company creates and manages media and content that support a traditional media business model (advertising, circulations, events, data, etc.). We create the same types of media and content but they support our clients’ various business models: the association business model, the healthcare business model or retailing business models.

Hammock - RexHammock Inc.’s eponymous head-helper, Rex Hammock, is among the 12 “media and publishing” Nashvillians included in the 450 top business, political and civic leaders honored in the Nashville Post’s 5th annual “In Charge” list. This is the second consecutive year the list has included Rex, the eponymous.

The Post post notes that Rex was “a trailblazer in blogging (he was the first person to blog a meeting with a president, in 2004) and social media (his Twitter handle is @R)”  – which gives you an idea of how closely he follows developments in social and other kinds of media.

Rex founded Hammock in 1991 as a specialized marketing services company creating media that companies and organizations use to communicate directly with their customers or members. He also helped to found the national trade association, the Custom Content Council, of which Hammock Inc. is a founding member.

(And if you’re wondering what that photo is all about, it accompanied a story on the Google Enterprise blog when we were an early-adopter of Google Apps for Business.)