Category Archives: Marketing

Amazon is on the prowl: Be afraid, be very afraid!

Macy’s - Crossroads Mall, Portage, MI

This is a tech blog. Why are we talking about department stores? Because our old nemesis Amazon is on the move again.

The picture shown above was taken at a Macy’s department store in Crossroads Mall in Portage, Michigan, a suburb of Kalamazoo. The merchandise was beautifully displayed and plentiful in colors, sizes, name brands, and variety of styles. Most items were discounted, and prices seemed reasonable.

Two things were missing: customers and sales associates. It is hard to afford good help and enough of them when store sales are down.

About fifty miles North of this store, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amazon has just signed the papers to build a new one million square foot (that’s 1,000,000 sq. ft.) distribution center that will employ over 1,000 new full-time workers.

This will be the fourth new Amazon distribution center in Michigan (the other three are in the greater Detroit area). Where will these new workers come from? Other retail, wholesale, and service organizations in the area pay their warehouse people about $13.00 per hour. Amazon pays their workers about $17.00 per hour. You do the math.

As consumers, we all love to buy from Amazon. Variety (paper diapers to tablet computers), lower prices, no state sales tax (in some states), and free shipping (if I’m an Amazon Prime member.) Amazon is squeezing retailers from every angle and will soon offer same day delivery in medium-size cities (they are already doing this in larger cities.)

I was recently in the market for Philips Hue programmable LED bulbs and switches. I was amazed to go to my local Home Depot store and find that their selection of Philips Hue items was at the same discounted prices as Amazon. I have also experienced that both Staples and Best Buy will price match Amazon prices if asked and if Amazon (not a third party) directly delivers the product.

I would like you to consider shopping locally. Ask the merchant if they will match Amazon’s price. The worst thing they can say is no.

Unless we all want to work for Amazon and shop only Amazon (can you say the word monopoly), we need to keep local businesses alive. Regardless if the store is called ”Bob’s Books” or Barnes & Noble, keeping them alive brings wages to local employees and service company’s.

Here’s Why Image Counts: Tesla 3 vs. Chevy Bolt


Tesla 3
Tesla 3
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt

If you were in the market for a pure electric vehicle and the cost was the same would you buy a Tesla 3 or a Chevy Bolt?  A third of a million Americans just voted with their pocket books and the answer for them was a Tesla 3.

In comparing the two vehicles consider the following:

  • Both cost about $35,000
  • Both are total electric vehicles (no supplemental gas engines)
  • Both are made in the USA
  • Both have an electric range of about 215 miles
  • Each has a different “style” or “look” – I’ll leave which is more attractive to you, the reader
  • The Chevy Bolt will be available in late 2016
  • The Tesla 3 will be available in late 2017

If we are to believe that the two vehicles are so similar (except for that “style/look” thing) why are the following facts so dissimilar:

  • In the first week of ordering availability in late March of 2016 the Tesla 3 garnered over 325,000 pre-orders requiring a deposit of $1,000 each.
  • Since its January 2016 unveiling the Chevy Bolt’s parents (GM) has projected that it will sell 20,000 in the first year.

What?!?  How can that be??? How did the Tesla 3 beat the pants off of Chevy Bolt without any struggle at all?

Tesla basks in same sort of consumer “glow” as Apple.  Its high-end design, engineering, construction, fit and finish and a reputation for overall quality are admired by owners, and non-owners alike.  Consumer Reports magazine reviewed the original Tesla Model S vehicle and gave it the highest marks of ANY car ever reviewed.

The Chevy Bolt looks like it was designed by a committee on both the exterior and the interior.  While this is the company that brought us Corvairs and Vegas, it also brought us inspired vehicles like the Corvette Stingray. 

The Tesla 3 looks like a coordinated effort of a team that believes in synergy of both the exterior and the interior of the vehicle.  The Tesla 3 interior is of a minimalist design and the cockpit dash panel looks like an oversized iPad. 

To be successful in the long term, EV’s (Electric Vehicles) will have to be more than “boxes with wheels” that are re-engineered gas vehicles with batteries.  Only “clean sheet” electric vehicles that are designed from scratch will succeed.  And to totally succeed there will need to be nationwide electric recharging stations that can handle ALL the connectors from different EV’s and not just proprietary ones from one or two manufacturers.

We need to start thinking of personal transportation as “computers with wheels.” Those with out-of-box thinking like Apple and Tesla will most likely be the winners.  Can Detroit make the change?

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.  Thanks for reading Tom Gordon’s – The iTechGeezer blog.

Why there are no ads on my site.


Those who know me are probably gagging on their fourth cup of coffee as they read this article.  What? Tom Gordon – Mr. Marketing, Advertising Agency Guru – No Advertising? Has he gone mad?

My life WAS Advertising and Marketing:

Let’s start this blog article out by saying I believe in Advertising.  I was a practitioner on both the agency side and the client side of the desk for over 30 years.  I think advertising/marketing/public relations (now all heaped together as “communications”) help companies to grow, add new employees and fuel the economy.

My university degree is a Advertising (circa 1969 – before the word “marketing” was coined).  And no, I don’t need to be kidded about how the “B.S.” part of my degree relates to the “Advertising” part of my degree.

The first 1/3 of my career was working for advertising agencies on accounts like Dow Corning, General Electric, Magnavox and many others. The middle 1/3 was being a Senior Vice President for Marketing on the “client” side of the desk for a now deceased Fortune 500 company – U.S. Office Products. The final 1/3 was as a marketing consultant to emerging web companies.

Here is why you WON’T find Advertising and Marketing on our blog site:

Recently I’ve done a lot of soul searching concerning advertising on web and blog sites.  Quite frankly most of it is intrusive, outdated, not realitive  (to the particular site), and makes for a not positive experience.

When I started a few years ago my mission was to provide personal technology information to Seniors.  I’ve tried to be true to that mission.

My goals are to provide accurate advice, encouragement, information and direction that you could feel comfortable in sending your parents and grandparents to with no fear of finding “naughty” things, or misleading ads that are not realitive to our mission or goals.

Sure I wouldn’t mind picking up a few bucks from advertising on our web site.  A few bucks might buy some new technology, or a great lunch with friends. But I’m fortunate that I don’t have to make a living from blogging.  I respect those that do make a part-time or full-time living from blogging it is a tough way to go.

I’m sure that I’m not as pure and pristine as Consumer Reports.  I do have my “preferences” as to hardware and software brands.  I’m a stockholder in both Apple and Microsoft. We hope you will continue to support our blog by simply reading it, recommending it to friends and realitives and maybe linking your blog to ours.

Sincerely, Tom Gordon the iTechGeezer



Apple logo
Apple logo
I’ve been a loyal Apple “FanBoy” for many years.  Each year I either sit in front of the nearest Apple store – waiting for the store to open, or in front of my Apple TV and watch with excitement all about the new products from my favorite brand of technology.

Since I’m also a “Geezer” being almost 70 years old, and the writter of this blog, how do I look at the product introductions from the standpoint of being a senior?

Here is a simple overview of the new products Apple introduced today and how they might appeal to seniors…

  • New Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus:  Although they “look” the same there are several enhancements to both hardware and software. A 50% higher resolution back camera – can now record 4K video for extreme clarity.  New 3D Touch screen that provides additional commands with a firm push on the screen (saves steps going from one menu to another.) You will be able to summon Siri by simply saying “Hey Siri” out loud without pushing any buttons. Higher resolution front camera will provide a crisper clearer FaceTime and selfie experience. Gotta love those 4.7″ and 5.5″ screens that make it easy for seniors to read. New rose gold color available.
  • New Apple iPad “Pro” and iPad Mini:  Seniors will love the ease of reading on the new 12.9″ iPad Pro. It has all the same features as the iPad Air 2 along with a new more sensitive touch screen.  New Apple brand keyboards – one that is stand-alone, and one that is built into a portfolio type case for easy carrying, and typing.  New Apple Pencil stylus for on screen drawing is optional. New IOS 9.1 software allows for split screen multi-tasking.  The iPad Mini 4 comes with the same software and an even thinner design.
  • New Apple TV video streamer: Looking for a way to “cut the cord” on cable TV?  The new Apple TV (now in its fourth-generation) has new hardware and software that almost gets you there!  New voice operated “Siri” hardware and software lets you control your TV experience by voice – or totally new and improved remote control.  Apple is also adding an App Store for the Apple TV with games and home control software. 
  • New Apple Watch Accessories and model: Apple is introducing several new colors of Apple Watch Sport watchbands and also a new yellow gold and rose gold finish that is reasonbly priced (considering that the “real Gold” Apple Watch prices begins at $10,000).
  • New Apple Operating System Upgrades: Pretty much all Apple devices will receive FREE software upgrades – Apple Mac computers, iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads and the Apple Watch will get upgrades. Some applications like Photos and Safari will get minor upgrades also.

For more information on all the new hardware and software click on the following link: Apple, Inc. web site home page

There is a reason I’ve stuck with Apple since 1978.  Continuity in hardware and software and the Apple ecosystem.  Apple products are designed to work together and represent good values in design, construction and after-the-sale support.

Am I an Apple share-holder?  You bet!

Digital Magazine “Joy!” No, this is not an ad – but it could be.


My Favorite Magazines
My Favorite Magazines

The Bad News – Digital Magazines are a Nightmare!

I’ve messed with digital books, newspapers and magazines for over seven years.  I’ve tried them on everything from iPhones, iPads, Nooks, Kindle’s, Androids, Mac’s, PC’s and more…

IMHO the most difficult transition from print to electronic are magazines.  Books are much easier – any of the popular apps like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Nobles Nook make it very easy to read books – after all books are pretty much text and an occassional photo, drawing or map.  Newspapers are more difficult.  A good example of a digital newspaper done right is the USAToday app.
My favorite things to read are magazines.  But magazines vary in size, shape, design, use of photos, story length, publishing frequency, back issues and dozens of more “challenges.”

Over the years I’ve tried many digital magazines some in a horizontal format, some in a vertical format – some in both.  I’ve tried magazines on Mac’s and PC’s with large screens (up to 22″), tablets with 7″ and 10″ screens and smart phones with 4″, 5″ and 5.5″ screens.  Almost every attempt at reading magazines has led to disappointment.  Mostly because of small, almost unreadable text (requiring “Zoomed-in” text.) Poor formatting, and big download size (and time to download) were very discouraging.

Another big digital magazine hassle is the individual magazine app or Apple newstand app required to manage your magazine account(s).  Each required different log-in and password procedures, some required lengthy account numbers (from the magazine labels themselves) and on and on.


Sample  Magazine  Page
Sample Magazine Page

The Good News – “Next Issue” App solves everything

A realtively new company and app (for Apple and Android) is called “Next Issue” and has solved (for me) 95% of my digital magazine nightmares. The “Next Issue” app allows me to manage and read all the current and past issues of my favorite magazines.  The formatting is almost perfect on my iPad (10″ full size model) and actually usable on my iPhone 6 plus smartphone (5.5″ screen size).  The formatting features are pretty consistent from magazine to magazine.  The magazines download quickly (1-2 minutes, about 250Mb each).  It’s easy to download, delete, and re-download any issue of any of the over 140 supported magazines.  Web site links, video links, audio links and animation and special effects are all supported.

The cost – $9.99 per month for access to all monthly magazines that are supported.  $14.99 per month gets you all the monthly and the weekly (Time, People, etc.) magazines.  No contracts.  Free 30 day trial.  Actually saves me money because all my magazine subscriptions for the same print and or digital magazines was substantially more than $14.99.  Plus the same account can be used on up to five devices.

It won’t cost you a thing to check out “Next Issue” on your iPad or iPhone for the next 30 days.  Start here to see if your favorite magazine(s) are supported – I’ll bet most of them are: Next Issue Web Site (click this link.)  Then download the app from the Apple App Store or Android Play Store.


App in Apple App Store
App in Apple App Store
I’m very confident that if you enjoy reading magazines – you will enjoy “Next Issue” – and think about all the trees you will save!

Apple and Hallmark TV Spots Share the Love…


I love emotional television commercials. As a former “ad man” (much nicer than Don Draper of the TV show “Mad Men” I’d like to point out) I love to watch TV ads.

My favorite commercials are sweet – like the Budweiser horses and dogs, or sentimental like Hallmark – especially the older ones like “The Piano Lesson.” Apple has always produced great TV spots like the “Mac vs PC” series, and last Christmas’ commercial that featured a young man who filmed a documentary of his families Christmas get together. This years spot features a teen and her grandmother – romancing about the grandfather.

Great commercials can produce emotions – laughter, tears, empathy, even commitment to a cause (think Marlo Thomas and St. Judes.) There are commercials that move children, teens, adults – even geezers like me (more of the grandpa and grandma generation who grew up watching “The Walton’s”.)

Great television spots can be done on the cheap, or can cost a small fortune. Some sell products, others sell ideas. Good commercials are so fascinating that we watch a couple of “Best Commercials of 2014” type television shows each year.

“Click” the links below for a little nostalgia…

Apple 2013 Christmas TV Spot:
Apple 2014 Christmas TV Spot:
Budweiser “Clyde” TV Spot collection:
Hallmark Classic “Piano Lesson” TV Spot:

Enjoy – Oh… and better reach for a tissue or two before you watch them!

Taco Bell Breakfast and Technology


I’ve just finished my first breakfast at Taco Bell. The chain recently added breakfast items to its menu and their advertising sucked me in.

What does this have to do with senior mobile technology (the usual subject of this blog)? Not much, but at least I’m writing this post using my iPad and Zagg keyboard and able to post it using AT&T’s wonderful 4G LTE network (Taco Bell is too cheap to offer Wi-Fi as a courtesy to its customers like McDonald’s and others – but I digress…)

How WAS breakfast at Taco Bell. Well, taken from a Seniors standpoint it was hot, tasty and cheap.

I had a Sausage “Waffle Taco” (with the optional FREE syrup) – not bad – the waffle part was a little rubbery and tough – overall not bad. I also sprang for a hash brown patty, a 2 pack of Mini-Cinnabon, and a cup of regular coffee. The total? Without Michigan State Sales Tax of 6% it was $5.48. Not bad – and it surely beats “Bob Evans” where a similar breakfast cost me over $12.00 – bad Bob bad!!!