Archives for May 2011

Please, never over-think what you think people think.

overthinking-internet-marketing

It’s a common phenomenon among marketing folks: over-thinking, over-analyzing details based on personal preferences.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘I don’t read junk mail’ or ‘I never go to sites like that’ or ‘I would never click on that.’ Well, the reality of whether you don’t read junk mail, or what your particular clicking preferences happen to be, are largely irrelevant when it comes to making strategic marketing choices. Successful strategies are built on facts, metrics and reliable consumer behavior data, not your personal preferences. Over-thinking strategic details based on how we feel consumers will respond can potentially waste thousands in ad spending, and cause major campaigns to crash and burn.

Welcome to the age of reason, and ROI.

Because the majority of advertising and marketing is conducted on the internet these days, pretty much all marketing is measurable, or can be tracked — marketing dollars spent to revenue generated. Every marketing initiative — email marketing, pay-per-click ads, social media, et al — can be tracked. If the media choice doesn’t perform, it gets the axe. Pure and simple.  So why would anyone make strategic decisions based on personal preferences?

Any strategic media choice, online or other, can and should evaluated on it’s potential merit. The media market has never offered more choices, and has never been more competitive. Yet some marketing folks commonly shy away from solid strategies based on numbers offering promising results and ROI because they ‘would never click on something like that.’

Newsflash: your personal preferences are irrelevant. Put more of your trust in numbers, and less on your gut.

 

 

Branding 101: three distinct types of taglines, and when to use them in your brand’s lifecycle.

best slogan or tagline

I’m was recently working with DemandQuest Marketing Institute on a few minor branding and marketing issues, when the subject of taglines came up.  Their website tagline read DemandQuest – Achieve Marketing Clarity. That sounded nice, but was it the right approach for a startup company specializing in marketing training? It dawned on me when I picked up their promotional pen they gave me at one of their seminars. It read DemandQuest – Marketing Institute. Not surprisingly, whoever made the decision to use that tagline had the correct instincts. Because, in the realm of branding and using taglines, there are three very distinct types, all used for different purposes at different phases of of the brand lifecycle:

  1. The Descriptor — In DemandQuest’s case, or any start-up unknown in the marketplace, this is the safest approach. Your tagline should simple describe who you are and what we do, in simple, straightforward terms. We’re not trying to get cute in any way: DemandQuest Marketing Institute. That’s pretty clear to anyone on any first impression, stating precisely who we are and what we do. This approach is perfect for the new business with a new brand when clarity is absolutely critical, and ambiguity is dangerous. If you want your tagline to work a little harder, try the next approach.
  2. The Selling Proposition — We’ve all seen these, the mini-slogan that states your value proposition in 3-5 words. For example, ‘Johnson Printing – top quality, lower prices.’ Personally I hate these, because they make you look needy, unless of course you’ve really got a great selling proposition, and you can pare it down to 3-5 words, like ‘the quicker picker upper’ or ‘good to the last drop’ or something catchy. Unfortunately, most start-ups don’t have the dough to pay a big-time writer  to create something like that. It’s not to say that a straightforward selling proposition or brand promise won’t work. Just keep it simple. Not sure what DemandQuest would use in this scenario, but ‘Achieve Marketing Clarity’ was not a bad attempt, it just muddied the message. It was more like the next approach.
  3. Aspirational — Finally, if your brand is all grown up, and well established in the marketplace, you may want to consider this approach. It speaks more to your philosophy, than your value proposition. Obviously, ‘Just do it’ is one of the all time greatest, and is perhaps best example of taking a brand to the next level where it’s not about the product anymore. This approach is more about connecting on a human level about a value, or just saying ‘hey, we’re just like you.

 

DemandQuest: the internet marketing institute whose time has come.

In the coming years, business owners and marketing people will need to know how to effectively market on the internet to compete. That’s a given. Because, outside of broadcast and print, internet marketing will comprise the lion’s share of all marketing activity, if not all. For small businesses, it will be the only low cost tool available. The cruel irony, however, many of the business professionals who will depend on this for success, will be incapable of using the tools.

That’s where DemandQuest comes in. After years of interaction with owners and marketers at businesses of all sizes – from independent business people to Fortune 500 companies – DemandQuest addresses an undeniable need running through every organization at some level: to create on-going new business revenue using the most appropriate, cost-effective tools available. Offering courses in planning and other educational resources, DemandQuest is a hands-on learning center designed to increase your marketing skill, and bring clarity, inspiration and enthusiasm to your efforts.

Here’s why the concept is a sustainable business model:

Marketing and small business people fall into two groups – the tech and internet savvy ‘haves’ and the meek, technology intimidated ‘have nots.’ Unfortunately the chasm between these groups will grow ever wider, as the choices of new tools becomes greater, and the skills to use them even more daunting to some. Business owners and marketing people will need unbiased direction and hands-on help to navigate the ever changing sea of new tools, and companies like DemandQuest will be valuable resources.

 

Borrowing from Banksy: hope he doesn’t mind but it makes a really makes a nice header for email template.

If you haven’t heard of the graffiti artist Banksy, you should really check out his work. A mystery man going only by the alias ‘Banksy,’ this cat is one awesome environmental artist who finds a unique way to intelligently mix images into urban landscapes, and provide needed editorial comment on culture and society at large. We used one of his images in our new newsletter banner and attempted to do to him what he does everywhere. If you look at his work in the video below, perhaps you’ll see what we mean.

Simple, yet awesome ecommerce platform: BigCommerce is a no-brainer.

If you’re looking for a simple, yet sophisticated ecommerce store, look no further than BigCommerce. It’s easy to set-up (days not weeks), even easier to manage, and their live phone support is truly unbelievable, and essential to any tech-squeamish ecommerce first-timer.

Setting up two different stores (Happytown Trading and MyNurish.com) was a snap, although the Nurish store was a little trickier because we needed to maintain main wordpress site for marketing and SEO purposes. But skinning the store to look like the main site was not too difficult.

For more info, go to BigCommerce for all the details.

 

BEPA takes WordPress and runs with it.

Business and Estate Planning Analytics (BEPA) is the brainchild of Attorney William White, whose new firm counsels business owners, families and individuals on how to reduce expense, risk and complexity through proactive planning. As Bill puts it, “the cost of doing nothing far outweighs the price of planning ahead.”

Zosel&Co had the pleasure to work with Bill, thanks to a nice referral from lawyer pal and fellow parochial school chum T.J. Conley, one of our first WordPress clients. We designed the branded website using the Genesis Framework which allows to create lots of nice functionality through widgets that allow you to place content in key spots all over the site, pretty much wherever you want.