Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mad Marketing

Attorney Nicholas Wooldridge has been researching the marketing side of the legal business. What he learned took this lawyer from mad marketing to the peaceful valley.

After some thought, Wooldridge decided that one assurance ties all strands of legal service together. One promise covers every client’s need—from getting a will made, to cleaning up a tax issue, from overseeing a bankruptcy, to managing a high-stakes merger, to defending an assault charge. Every client wants peace of mind.

Mad Marketing Tactics To Replace
Mr. Wooldridge outlines some common sales pitches and mad marketing moments that miss the mark.

• Selling time. “Never in history has anyone bought or sold even one second in time,” he says. Time is not a commodity and, therefore, has no innate value.

• Selling expertise or excellence. Specialized knowledge has no intrinsic value, but proves itself only when applied to a client’s particular need. Ditto “excellence.”

• Selling solutions. Wooldridge thinks solution without context adds up to another meaningless buzzword. Before solutions, we need to hear the client’s problem … which may turn out to be less of a problem than a need for information, reassurance, or guidance.

• Selling value. Obviously, value doesn’t materialize until the client decides. Our job is to help clients pinpoint need and then offer specific solutions.

Hmmm. Our clients' peace of mind … a worthy aspiration to consider. Thanks, Nicholas.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Monday, May 25, 2015

Do Millennials Read?

Yes. Especially print.
Iron Mountain Knowledge Center asks, "Do you think the world is abandoning the printed page? Research indicates that a trend toward the tactile—even among Millennials—is opening up exciting new creative opportunities for fulfillment collateral."

In 2014, more than eight out of ten American adults would rather read magazines in hard copy than online. Similarly, 67 percent would rather read a book with a spin than one that glows. This information comes from a report by JWT, the New York marketing communications firm formerly known as J. Walter Thompson.

Do you know what's even more surprising, midway into the second decade of the 21st century? This trend is consistent among generations, even the grew-up-online Millennials, according to the same report, "Embracing Analog: Why Physical Is Hot."

Eight out of 10 Millennials say, "Physical cards/letters make me feel more connected to people than digital notes (emails, SMS, etc.)." These findings, as well as other studies, are calling upon the printed page to play a larger role in your marketing collateral and fulfillment efforts.         

Yes. Especially plain vanilla text and “print-like” apps.
A September 2014 article in The Atlantic reports that 88 percent of Americans under 30 said they had read a book in the past year compared with 79 percent of those over 30. At the same time, American readers' relationship with public libraries is changing—with younger readers less likely to see public libraries as essential in their communities. But wait … there’s more.
         “Moreover, young mobile readers don’t want apps and mobile browsers that look like the future. They want apps that look like the past: 58 percent of those under 50 and 60 percent of Millennials, prefer a ‘print-like experience’ over tech features like audio, video, and complex graphics. That preference toward plain text ‘tends to hold up across age, gender, and other groups’.”

Yes. Except for “e-versions.”
In her June 24, 2014 LinkedIn article Millennials: Digital vs. Print, Anna Burnham, coordinator at Everthrive, Illinois, tells this story: “…I hate e-versions. I own a Kindle, and it has been sitting in a drawer dead since I received it as a gift. Of course I use Twitter to get the majority of my news, but that is because the quality of magazines and newspapers has devolved into what I believe to be tabloid quality news … It is tempting to say that Millennials are e-version addicts who don’t appreciate the ‘older’ ways of doing things; that we are the ones driving the market. But in reality, what Millennials all crave is a media source, a book, or a show, which guides us and shows us the meaningful side of aging into adulthood just as books, the radio, newspapers, and magazines did for the generations before.”

Comme ci; comme ├ža.
In April 2013, Edelman’s Research Insight featured an article by Alex Abraham, senior VP of Edelman’s 8095® Millennial Insights Group. His article was titled “Millennials Hate Traditional Media. Or Do They?” Here’s what Abraham came up with:
• 93 percent of Millennials had read a magazine in the previous 60 days.
• 23 percent of Millennials had read a newspaper the day before, which was not that much lower than the general population.
         Abraham concluded, “One thing I have learned from my research of the Millennial generation is that for every study proving a point, there is likely another saying the opposite. But the insights above do show us that we have not yet entered a world where everything has to be digital to reach Millennials.”         
Yes. With visuals, please.
The Millennial Marketing blog made a “Yes-But” case in its post titled, “Do Millennials Read? Yes, But They Read Differently.”

“Perhaps the biggest take away is that Millennials are capable of taking in a lot of visual information at once, probably more than older generations, provided it is presented in an attractive and easily digestible way. This makes good design as important, if not more important, than good writing. In studies where we have had an opportunity to compare age groups, it is striking how much more attuned younger consumers are to the way information appears on the page. Older consumers tend to overlook poor design and focus on the meaning. Millennials have a hard time getting past the way it looks.”

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This Is My Favorite Marketing Newsletter Because ...

I get about 60 digital newsletters a day. I love this one.

The graphic header is recognizable, yet shallow enough to show the crux of the blog post without scrolling down. So critical. 

Hubspot sends this out multiple times a day (two? three?). I always glance at it and I often read the intro. I click through maybe four out of 10 times.

Sometimes I tweet it. Every month, I draw from it for Marketing AdVents, the award-winning monthly newsletter of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DC), which I edit. 

This newsletter meets the objective: It makes me click through to the blog.

Yes, the blog content is superb, but the enewsletter design gets me there.

Finally, this is the only enewsletter I receive that looks like this and persuades like this.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Serving Enewsletters? Get to the Meat!

©CreativeCommons by Heather Joan
I got an e-newsletter today-- one of about 60. This one featured four boxes, each with a stock photo. Every box had a headline, 35 words of fluff copy, and a link to the company’s blog. The meat sat on the click-through. I never got there.

Here's a better recipe for electronic newsletter tidbits:
1. Skip the headline.
2. Cut the intro.
3. Jump to the meat.
4. Serve.
5. Repeat.

This copywriter served four dishes and four headlines:
• 10 Easy Ways to Grow Your Social Presence Now
• Is Your Brand Too Bland? Avoid These Pitfalls of "Wallpaper Copywriting"
• Reputation Management — the Secret Weapon
• 3 Twitter Tips That Will Boost Your Twitter Marketing

Not horrible, but very commonplace headlines. “Nothing to see here. Move on."

So what brought me back?
Nothing tasty, that's for sure. Just curiosity. A couple minutes later I wondered if these guys could teach us all a lesson. I went back to my trash folder, retrieved the email, and checked to see if they had anything to offer.

Here's my review.
• I've seen those headlines too often.
• The short 35-word intros to each item were even more trite than the headlines (for example, “Twitter is a fast moving social network. New content pushes older content out of the way fairly quickly, meaning that it's easy for your tweets to go unnoticed. If there's an important tweet that you want your customers to…”) [yawn]
• The meat was buried on the click-through link. I never made it there.

If you want readers to look further, tell us one thing we don't know. A single item we don’t know is better than four items of old news.

Sadly, the meat (see below) was there! But it was buried in paragraph three on the blog post. Why not put this on the cover page instead?

"When you pin a tweet, it's the first thing visitors will see when they come to your Twitter page …Here's how to pin a tweet:
• Locate the tweet you’d like to pin.
• Click the three little dots (extra tools) menu at the bottom right of the tweet.
• Select 'pin to your profile page.'"

Forty-eight words of pure meat. So why didn’t the writer serve me this tasty morsel first?

Beats me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How They Forced Me To Choose "Yes" and Like It

Crossroads by CarstenTolkmit @CC
GraphicDesignBlender came up with a sneaky way to push website visitors to choose “yes.”

I hopped from their excellent Design Blender newsletter to an article on the myriad benefits of featuring testimonials on your website.

When I landed at the article, a free offer popped up on the screen. The pop-up invited me to download a free ebook. I was in a hurry and started to click “no.” That's when I noticed the wording Design Blender had attached to my "yes/no" options:

___ Yes, please send me your free book on "How to Find Clients."

___ No,  I already have enough clients.

I didn’t particularly want the book, but I simply could not check a box that said, “I already have enough clients.”

Call it superstition, call if fear of tempting fate, call it gut reaction. I just couldn’t do it. I gave them my email address -- which was, of course, their purpose -- and downloaded the book.

Their spine-chilling “No” option was the only reason I caved.

Magic, huh? And an awesome way for copywriters to score.

p.s. The free download is actually pretty good.

scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is Personal Branding A Load of Manure?

Photo courtesy of Ardonik @Creative Commons

In their early November podcast , Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster dissected the value of "personal branding."

Does everything we do (or don't do) -- on or off the social web -- end up creating our personal brand, like it or not? Should we care?

Mark says yes. Tom says no.

Check out their differing points of view.

Schaefer POV
• Today, we have the ability to create a reputation/image/brand through what we do, say, and write on the social web. Therefore, it's important to establish our reputation online to demonstrate our values, how we work, and how we think.
• A few years ago I had the opportunity to interview at a Fortune 500 company in NYC, but a friend of mine told me to be sure that I would be allowed to continue to work on my personal brand, even if I were employed by this company. I never thought of it that way before. In my experience, when you worked for a big company, you were subsumed by that company.
• Personal branding and authenticity go together. Tom has talked about how he is careful because he represents his company in some way. Like it or not, a certain "containment" or "formula" guides what we choose to present or not present on the web. That is part of our "brand."
• Marketing myself would never occur to me while I'm working for a company, but today that is probably a smart thing to do.
• What can an accountant, for example, do to become "known" for his brand? He/she could create a blog about new principles/regulations, which would create a brand. It's also about networking, speaking, and writing. He/she could become established on LinkedIn or other online networking tools to demonstrate, "This is whom I am, this is how I think."
• The brand you present can be commensurate with your experience. Even if it's not a lot of experience, you can show, "This is what I believe, this is what I read, this is who I know, this is what I am curious about, etcetera."
• Personal branding also involves being smart about building business relationships. You still have to connect person-to-person. Social media doesn't deliver business like personal relationships do.
• I would encourage marketers to think about personal branding strategically. Even if you are secure in your job today, think about creating a long-term online presence.

Webster POV
• In short, I'd say personal branding is a load of manure.
• Where does "brand" come from? It's where a product or company tries to give itself a personality. I already have a personality, which is a result of what I have done.
• To me personal brand was invented and discarded by Tom Peters 50 years ago in his book on 50 ways to build brand "you."
• Personal brand is not about spreading your fame. What is most important is that a group of my colleagues and clients believe that I will do what I say I will do.
• Your personal brand needs to take second place to the corporate brand. When Mark talks about developing "personal brand," he is talking about displaying your skill.. which makes him unique from, say, an accountant.
• To me personal branding is telling a story about yourself, not simply having an online presence. Networking, for example, is as old as the hills.
• I get that it's good to have things you own that demonstrate who you are: content and so on. The dark side of personal branding is that inexperienced people who do this, often demonstrate that they aren't very good. In other words, mere links, if they're weak, don't drive business.
• In the early phase of social web, you could be at the top if you were good at content marketing. However as the web matures, you also must be good at what you do, not just good at content marketing or how you present yourself.

Thank you, gentlemen, for a fascinating conversation that, we're sure, is to be continued ...

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Monday, September 22, 2014

Starved for Content? Feed This.

Creating content from other content isn't about repeating or copying. It's about repurposing. Start with a rich source, then add to, expand upon, enhance, comment about, or -- in this case -- condense from that source. Voila! New and different content. 

Recently, I downloaded Curata's eBook, "How To Feed the Content Beast." And now I have my own blog post, short 'n sweet.

In other words, learn and share at the same time.

1. Turn an ebook into a series of blog posts, or a series of blog posts into an ebook.

2. Create a transcript so content “snackers” can scan the information from a webinar.

3. Host a real-time tweet chat and republish it as a crowd-sourced blog post.

4. Pull sound bytes out of a long-form report and use them as tweets and Facebook updates.

5. Give quotes new life as graphics for use on visual platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo