The Hard Rock’s Tasteless Display

psI would like to welcome the Hard Rock to Palm Springs, a true oasis and one of the most beautiful destinations on Planet Earth.  I received an email today from my cousin Jerry who writes for the music section for regarding an article in the British publication The Daily Mail covering their grand opening.   The grand opening of The Hard Rock Palm Springs featured pictures of Audrina Patridge and other attendees, donning eye goggles and hard hat, smashing twelve guitars on the Hard Rock’s stage with the headline “She Rocks”!

What marketing genius came up with this idea? As Michael Seven, I was a singer/songwriter for many years in New York City and Hollywood. There was a time when the only thing I owned was a guitar. Great music comes from struggle, and in my opinion the display at Hard Rock is distasteful, trite, and decadent. This is not Pete Townshend and the 60s. They could just as well have lit a barn fire full of old 45” vinyl records and thrown Liberace’s cape on top. This is what they consider controversial? They obviously generated attention, and in that respect they succeeded, but did this display earn respect in Palm Springs? No, at least not from this former musician. It would have been far better to give away those twelve guitars to some struggling musicians. Imagine the music they could have produced!

There is a great deal of history and creativity in the Palm Springs area with its famous galleries and museums.  I would hope the Hard Rock continues with its legacy and would be mindful of its artists.

About the Author: Michael Castello is the owner of since 1995 and CEO/President of the Castello Cities Internet network, Inc.
Related:  The Amazing Ascent of How Michael Castello Turned a Free Domain Into a $3.1 Million Sale

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Palm Springs style will guide Desert Fashion Plaza redo - Part 2

Continued from Part 1:

Looking outside

The Arizona firm was chosen out of a pool of four — hailing from San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Scottsdale — interviewed by Wessman Development in April.

Some residents said after the announcement on Wednesday that they are disappointed the money that will be spent in the conceptualization process won’t stay local.

Don Ricart of Palm Springs wrote in an email to The Desert Sun: “So sorry to learn the entire state of CA is so bereft of enough architectural talent that we have to send our local dollars to AZ.”

A thread of similar comments were posted on and were the buzz around town.

“With this project being the big thing that is supposed to revive downtown, I can’t believe the first thing they do is choose an architect from a different state. It just seems backwards thinking to me,” said Palm Springs resident Robert Kalin. “They should use local architects or closer-to- home architects because local tax dollars should stay as close to local as possible.”

Mayor Steve Pougnet and Councilman Chris Mills, who are on the council subcommittee for the project and served as advisory members of the selection panel during the April interviews, take issue with the argument that the mall project must be designed by valley architects.

Mills, a local architect himself, said the project called for expertise that no one in the Coachella Valley possesses.

“It was very important for John (Wessman) and very important for the project to use architects that have experience working with — and the reputation to attract — the type of tenants the project needs,” Mills said, “and there aren’t architects locally that have that experience. Not one.”

See the final installment in my next post.
Best regards,
John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

Palm Springs style will guide Desert Fashion Plaza redo

Part 1.  Reprinted from the Desert Sun, June 12, 2012.

PALM SPRINGS — Award-winning architects from Arizona have convinced city leaders and a prominent local developer they can bring magnificent change to downtown Palm Springs.

Now they have to convince residents they’re the right firm for the job.

Allen + Philp Architects/Interiors of Scottsdale, Ariz., has been chosen to set the tone of the lofty Desert Fashion Plaza revitalization project spearheaded by mall developer John Wessman.

“John has got some great vision and he wants to do some legacy things that we think are very exciting,” said Kenneth Allen, president of Allen + Philp Architects/ Interiors. “This project can be quite the turning point for Palm Springs.”

The firm will design the first two blocks of the project, which includes the site of the demolished Bank of America building where “Forever Marilyn” currently stands and the massive, decaying part of the Desert Fashion Plaza that once housed Saks Fifth Avenue.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013 with completion of the project expected by the end of 2014.

Allen describes the firm’s style as “more about specific opportunity and location.”

“We don’t have a particular look. Some of our stuff can look very edgy and contemporary, but we’ve also done projects with Asian influences and Moroccan styles,” Allen said.

The key, Allen said, is that they “don’t come into it with a preconceived idea.”

While the firm is not ready to make public their sketches for a reimagined Desert Fashion Plaza, Allen emphasized that the design will respect the community and its unique characteristics.

Allen said the project “may touch on midcentury components that Palm Springs is known for,” a style they echoed when they renovated the Hotel Valley Ho in Arizona.

“What is fact is that there is a large ugly mall in downtown and we’re not going to replace it with another large ugly mall,” Allen said. “We want each block to have its own character, and each building within the blocks to have its own character.”

Allen also emphasized that the firm isn’t going it alone.

They have met with Wessman Development officials weekly to discuss designs.

“We’re all working hard on a design concept that I like to call ‘design within reach,’” said Wessman, president of Wessman Development. “We want to build a project that looks amazing but one we can afford so that we can fill it with great tenants and complete it.”

See Part 2 of this article in our next installment.

Best regards,

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

Demand is the Key Element in Job Growth

I have been following congress the past few months while they struggle with different philosophies dealing with how to create new jobs.  The conservative side says to give tax breaks to the rich and small businesses and that will translate into new jobs being created.  As a small business owner, I know that their argument is inherently false.  The only way to get me to hire people in my business is for the public to demand more of my services.  If I get enough email blast orders, I would need to hire more copy writers to help me get the work done.  I would need to buy more capacity on my email blasting system in order to get all the emails out for my clients.

So if we agree on demand being the key to job growth, then how do we get the increased demand?  I think it is relatively simple.  Give tax breaks to the middle class and watch them spend.  The middle class is the key to job growth.

And trust me, the small and large business owners will create the jobs when demand exceeds their capacities.  It’s simple economics.

Thanks for reading.

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

Business is Booming in Palm Springs

With the economy beginning a comeback, the Valley is experiencing a very busy season.  Every weekend is booked to capacity and no end is in sight.  Even during the week, many hotels are booked and restaurants are having great seasons.
The demolition of buildings in the old Fashion Plaza has begun and the excitement that is generating is making many look at relocating their businesses to Palm Springs.
If you are considering coming to Palm Springs and opening up a business, give me a call or drop me an email and let me know how I can help.  Besides my marketing business, my experience as the past CEO of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce has given me many contacts that can help you get your business off the ground.
Best regards,

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

A Great Way to Combine Discounts and Get Great Deals

Over the past couple of years, many companies have sprung up that offer daily deals to customers who subscribe for the on line service.  These deals range from restaurants, spas, hotels, salons and just about anything you can buy.

In the desert, we have several companies taking advantage of this type of marketing but there is one that stands above the rest.  Uncle Sam’s Daily Deal is a byproduct of the American Saver Klub or ASK.  This company uses a credit type card that they sell to consumers who then get discounts at any companies that sign up with ASK.  The card is good for a year and customers get great discounts all over the valley.

The Uncle Sam’s Daily Deal is a new venture of ASK and offers customers a great deal each day.  An email is sent to the customer and they can buy the deal right then or wait and buy it later.  Deals range from 50% off local restaurants to great deals at hair salons, spas, etc.

As long as the retailer is a member of ASK he automatically becomes a member of Uncle Sam’s Daily Deal.

This way, the consumer gets two great deals from the same retailer.  What could be better.

Contact me for more information on ASK or Uncle Sam’s Daily Deal.

Best regards,

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

E-Mail Marketing gets you the most bang for your buck

Over the past 5 years, I have been using email marketing to help my clients reach a targeted audience in the Coachella Valley.  Some clients want to reach homeowners, others want to reach restaurants, and still others want the broadest reach I can provide.

What these clients have in common is the knowledge that they are getting their message to people who want to hear what they have to offer.  From an expense standpoint, email marketing is much less expensive then print, TV or radio because the Internet is still basically a free commodity.

I currently offer my clients the ability to reach out to over 17,000 households and businesses in the Coachella Valley.  Depending on how many emails they wish to send, the cost ranges from 0.032 per contact up to $0.065 per contact.  For instance, if my client wants to send one email blast to 1,000 people, the cost would be $65.00.  However, if the clients wants to send 4 emails to that same group of 1,000 people over a 4 week time period, the cost per email would only be $35.00.  Over that one month period, the client only spends $140 to reach 1,000 people 4 times.  In advertising they say repetition is the key to success.  As you can see, this repetitive way of reaching the public has a cost effective balance to it that cannot be equaled by other forms of media.

So the next time you are considering how to spend your advertising dollars, try email blasting for the best bang for your buck.

Best regards,

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

Measure J Passes in Palm Springs

The voters went to the polls last Tuesday and passed Measure J.  This penny sales tax will raise $200 Million over the next 20 years and will be the driving force in revitalizing downtown Palm Springs.

John Wessman, the owner of the closed Fashion Plaza Mall in downtown, will begin work shortly on demolition and seeing the first phase of the project built.

Mr. Wessman envisions an outdoor promenade type mall that will attract both locals and tourists.

For more information on how to get involved with this huge project, give me a call and I can steer you to the right people.

Best regards,

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

City of Palm Springs Job Creation Incentive Program

The Job Creation Incentive Program, created by the City in 1999 and amended in 2010, provides for reimbursement of building and development fees to a company that locates or creates a minimum of 50 new full-time jobs within certain industries and certain zones within the city.  It was created as an incentive to retain Bird Medical Products after they merged with another company. The assistance led to the relocation of nearly 100 jobs from the Riverside area to Palm Springs.

The most recent application is from The Abbey Company, which undertook improvements to facilitate the location and expansion of Desert Medical Group, Inc. to the Airport Park office complex.  Under these agreements, Desert Medical Group pledges to create a minimum of 50 jobs at the site, for which the property owner would receive a reimbursement of building and development fees up to $1,000 per certified job created by Desert Medical Group.  In 2010, the Council amended the program guidelines in order to further foster business development and job creation in the City of Palm Springs, by reducing the employment requirement from a minimum of 100 full-time jobs to a minimum of 50 full-time jobs. In addition, the program was originally structured for Owner-Operators of businesses, so the guidelines needed to be amended to accommodate a landlord/tenant/TI relationship.  The applicant’s tenant exceeds the minimum number of jobs created for the owner to qualify for the reimbursement.

For more information on this program, please contact  Cathy Van Horn, Economic Development Administrator with the City of Palm Springs.  Cathy can be reached at or 760-323-8175.

Best regards,

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs

The Staggering Dollar Value of Email Marketing

Most everyone on the planet is aware of the Google juggernaut, a gargantuan company that has dominated the online sphere for years. However, how many people know that the market capitalization (or total value of the company) of Google is actually less than the amount of money earned through email marketing? If that seems too incredible to believe, consider that you can add the market cap of Google to those of Microsoft, IBM, Xerox and Hewlett-Packard and still not add up to the mountain of money that email marketing has generated for its users. Indeed, based on Direct Marketing Association (DMA) statistics and linearly extrapolated back to 1995, email marketing so far in its short fifteen year life has made more money than the market cap of Apple Computer… twice over!

A Prodigious $671 Billion!

Mark Twain’s famous quote about “lies, damned lies, and statistics” does not apply in this case. The total value of email marketing from the time when the total number of marketing emails sent annually first exceeded the number of direct mail pieces sent through the post just fifteen years ago is a staggering $671 billion dollars. That represents enough money to:
  • Bail out General Motors 13.4 times
  • Equal 242 times the total worldwide box office take for Avatar
  • Purchase all the beef produced in the world for the next two and a half years
  • Pump all the petroleum exported by Saudi Arabia for more than two years
  • Buy all the Intel microprocessors produced in the next 16 years
  • Add up to the entire gross income of Wal-Mart for one year and eight months
  • Account for all the bilateral import and export trade across the U.S. / Canada border for more than a year
  • Run the entire U.S. Department Of Education for almost eight and a half years
  • Operate NASA for nearly 37 years

42% of Email Marketers Don’t Know Their ROI

Given this completely unfathomable volume of cubic cash flowing into the coffers of email marketing there is still a worrisome lack of comprehension among many email marketers of the massive Return on Investment (ROI) generated by campaigns. According to the Econsultancy & Adestra Email Census, fully 42% percent of email marketers do not know their email marketing ROI. This is particularly surprising given the universally acknowledged efficiency of email marketing:
  • Datran Media’s Marketing & Media Survey established that the majority of marketers expect the ROI from their email campaigns to be higher than any other channel.
  • The DMA found in their Integrated Marketing Media Mix study that email marketing generates 21.6% of total revenues from all company campaigns tallied together. The Association also stated that email marketing is the most effective online marketing method for retention, scoring well above search engine positioning, banner ads, sponsorships and other programs.
  • Epsilon Research found that the majority of customers stated they had a more favorable opinion of the companies that send them email, while Cross View Research found that only 9% of customers prefer to receive promotional messages on social media sites or via SMS.
  • Econsultancy’s How We Shop in 2010: Habits and Motivations of Consumers survey stated that 68% of US consumers aged 18 to 26 use emailed coupons online.
  • ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans, and Followers: The Social Profile study proved that Internet users engage with an average of 11.8 brands via email, compared to 9.4 brands via Facebook and 7.9 brands via Twitter. The same study established that 56% of US Internet users interact with brands only via marketing emails, compared to 1.3% who interact only via Twitter and 0.7% only by Facebook.
The profusion of statistics proving email marketing is the most unbeatable promotional channel on the planet is equivalent only to the shiploads of money that is generated by its practitioners!

My thanks to Hal Lacino of Benchmark Email for this contribution.

Best regards,

John Pivinski
Vision Marketing of Palm Springs