Here’s how a company can easily lose its valuable trademark!

trademarkIt’s simple really. Don’t file the proper paperwork to keep your trademark alive, and it gets cancelled.

If you are a marketing person, win points with your client and find out if they have maintained their trademark. There’s a quick way to check, click on the trademark link below after watching the video.

Also, view the “Post-Registration Issue” video below for an overview of the most important issues you should be aware of after your application has matured into a registration. The video explains the required maintenance documents that you must file to keep your registration alive, as well as discusses an optional filing to enhance the legal strength of your registration. Failure to file the required maintenance documents discussed in this video can result in the cancellation of your registration.   Trademark check

Push Yourself to Play Outside of the Box to Increase Your Revenue and to Stay in the Game

Watch this YouTube video on how I created and installed a 10 foot outdoor sculpture for an office building in Clearwater, Florida. It was quite the challenge, as it was the first time I’ve ever created a sculpture. How did I get this job? I’ve given my clients the impression that I can deliver to them what ever they need, and if I have to learn something new to do it – I will.  Why?

Because if your customers consider you as a valuable resource to get the job done, then it opens the door for additional opportunities. I’ve been on my own as a designer for almost 20 years, and there isn’t anything I’m doing today that I did 20 years ago because technology changes and so does the needs of customers. There is a first time for everything, and if you believe you can do it – and learn from others, you have a better chance for success:

The Best Email Marketing Campaign Tips: 7-10

best practice email campaigns

7. Customers have specific needs and what they consider value-based content. Because of that, it is best to divide the email list of customers into sub-categories which allows you to send even more highly targeted information to you customers – it could be by product categories, geographic location or even by titles of decision makers. The key is to more closely match the customers needs with your messages. Sometimes being made aware of other products they may not normally buy in addition to new versions of what they do buy, would be of value to them and another way to segment the lists. You could also provide referral bonuses for repeat customers or special introductory offers for products they don’t currently buy as a way to test them out.

email strategy of coordination8. Channel coordination. By using the same product promotion, language and images in social media, the website and the email campaign, it creates an integrated approach that enhances the brand and helps the customers remember that product that they may not be currently buying. Reinforcing a message is always a good thing, and if action is required, make sure it is up front so you are not telling a long story before getting to the call-to-action.

9. Test best time to send.  According to direct mail research studies, the best time statistically to send an email is between 2pm and 5pm. The largest volume of emails people get is typically between 10am and 2pm. You could also do an A/B split test for the emails and look at open rates from the email analytics so you can optimize the lists.

strategic email


10. Design and layout. Of course the email needs to be visually appealing but where the pictures and graphics are located, the headline, subhead size, and text formatting is a science unto itself. When I worked at AT&T we commissioned an outside firm to do readership studies of ads, website, product packaging designs and other marketing materials. We would have test groups look at the messages and lasers would track their eye movement, as well as we tracked when they stopped reading and lost interest. So designing an email to be effective involves helping the reader to move their eyes in an order that feels natural to them so they read the content you want them to read in the order you hope they will. In a nutshell, people read messages best that are designed in the shape of an “F”. Best at emailingHeadline is read left to right, then down to a shorter width subhead or image, back out to a longer subhead or larger image then down to a narrower width text content. The goal of the headline is to get the reader to the subhead, and the subhead then to the text – but pictures and graphics not carefully placed or sized can interrupt that flow, causing people to skip ahead or bypass key parts of the message. The design is as important as the content of the message – and an effective layout can move people to read the entire message.

Email marketing campaign tips: 4-6

It’s easy to follow just some of these guidelines – send an email out to customers and then check it off the to-do list. That said, all of these suggestions contribute to success. If the subject line isn’t compelling or communicates value, the customer may never read it. If the basic structure isn’t followed as mentioned in the previous email, then again it will decrease the potential for a successful Strategy for email campaignsprogram. Emails are like an offense in football, the quarterback, receivers and offensive line all need to do their part well for the play to work, if one guy is not on the same page, most likely the play fails. It’s the same with an email marketing campaign – all of the details matter. Tips 4-6 below focus on frequency, content and compelling subject lines.

Subject line for emails is critical4. Write knock-out subject lines. Do I have your attention? We could have the best content and message in the world but it may not get read because of the subject line. Writing a subject line is a marketing art – I actually attended a seminar just focused on writing email subject lines, that’s how important they are. The subject should grab the reader’s attention quickly and explain exactly why the message is valuable. Most important, keep it short – around 6 to 8 words because readers on mobile phones only see 25 to 30 characters in the subject lines and laptops around 60 characters.

Let customers know your email frequency5. Frequency. The readers will want to know how often we’ll email them. Whether you plan to email once a week or twice a month, its important to be up front with the frequency information so they know what to expect, (and stick to those expectations). Many times people sign up for informative emails and get deluged with daily emails, so these days people are skeptical, and telling them the frequency they can expect would be very customer-friendly and appreciated.

Email content needs to value in a campaign6. Great content, not just marketing messages. Your customers are going to unsubscribe to your emails if it’s just marketing and advertising messages. The content needs to offer value – new technology, products that help their lives or business, product installation tricks and tips, as well as customer testimonials – all are  value-based messages. Then over time we find out what interest customers the most through the email response analytics (click-through rates, user surveys, etc.). Questions asked in forums, social media or asked directly to your sales staff are also ways to find what content would be of value to the customer. ==> Be careful of sending frequent advertising specials and coupons in email blasts because it could dilute the perceived real value of your products. The content still needs to focus on the value the product is to the customer.

Tips for email marketing

Again, leaving out one of the above tips and not thinking it’s important will result in a sputtering offense, and miss the opportunity for a real score.

10 best tips for email marketing (1 of 3)

Email marketing tips 1-3 of 10 best 1. The first email. First and most important is that the very first email that goes out establishes and communicates the purpose of the email. If it doesn’t communicate value, some recipients might consider it intrusive, unsubscribe or worse – label it as spam. Attention to detail is important. (If you want to develop a consumer email base, provide a sign-up form on your website and  social media sites with an incentive such as a discount coupon for signing-up to build your list. Email tips for business Email-opt-out2. Provide an Opt-out option and a Forward button. It’s frustrating for customers to get emails they don’t want and can’t easily unsubscribe to, plus it’s legally required to do so at the bottom of each marketing email. Bonus – provide a “forward” button so that the recipient can forward the email to another person in the company that might be an appropriate person to also get the email, as well as providing a link for them to also subscribe to the emails. Make sure your business emails are mobile friendly3. Make sure the email is mobile-friendly. Many people these days read their emails on phone and tablets to check in while they are at lunch, after work or waiting somewhere – and are doing so to kill time. It’s an opportunity if the email can easily be read on a mobile device – if it’s interesting to them they will know to read the email on their computer when they get back to the office. If the text is to small they will skip to the next email, if the pictures are not optimized (taking to long to load), they will skip to their next email and may automatically delete it when they get back to the office. Mobile-friendly email many times get read twice – and it doesn’t cost any extra to make it mobile-friendly. Also important, if there is a call-to-action, make sure you link it to text and not a photo that may not have downloaded correctly. If you need help with your email marketing program, click here to drop me an email.

Storyscape; Explaining this marketing trend and my 6 basic principles for marketing success.

“Storyscape” is a coined term for the latest alternative to traditional advertising and media plans by getting the consumer more involved in the “brand’s world” through various media channels. Create a world for the consumer using StoryscapeThe consumer wants to feel like a part of a story and think, “wow, that is cool” about the brand. The concept is to build a brand story that builds an emotional association that inspires the consumer’s behavior. That is the key, creating an emotional connection between the consumer and the product. Apple products are a perfect example of that – their customers have an emotional connection, a story to tell about their iPhone or iPad and how it changed their lives, which compels them as devoted customers to share their experience with like-minded people.

That said, there should be one strategy – versus a strategy for social, a strategy for events, a strategy for digital, and a strategy for public relations – there should be just one cohesive plan for all, Strategic thinkingand it’s directed by the big idea that organizes those activities. I ask my customers, “what’s your purpose?” Today’s customer wants to be able to connect to brands they trust, believe, feel are authentic, fill their needs and are able to take part like they are part of the company’s culture. They want to feel they connect with the company, like a friend, and are proud to say they are loyal supporter and part of the brand’s story.

So how is that type of marketing accomplished? It’s about creating a world or landscape of ideas that could be physical, virtual, emotional, and more than likely it’s all of those things. For Storyscape strategyexample a Storyscape for selling a new house; baking chocolate cookies in a model home’s oven for visitors so it has a nice homey smell, the website touts your model dream house and has free cookies when you visit, offer a recipe for the cookies in a blog and on Pinterest so that a story or idea for engaging the consumer crosses all media platforms. That way the consumer looking for a house creates their world or story about that experience at all marketing touch points – so they not only experience a world they helped create, but they also tell a story about their experience.

The social media world changes so quickly. The traditional media plan keeps different media in separate boxes with target dates – where as we need to be more fluid and to think about how the different media interact and affect each other, as well as being affected by an event that causes a rippling effect throughout the media plan. The key difference with Storyscape, it’s designed to give the consumer control over which marketing connection points they wish to be engaged with and then encouraged them to interact across those channels — all supported by an organized idea and not the marketer choosing, based on analytics and data, which channels might be more efficient to reach them.

It’s a more organic or worldly version of a customer testimonial. In traditional marketing, the marketer writes the customer testimonial Customer-testimonialso it fits the needs of the marketing plan and gets the customer to signoff on it or tweak it for approval. The hope is that it resonates on one particular level with other consumers. Where as Storyscape opens up the world to all possibilites, so when the consumer’s exposed to the “idea” – they have an experience in the world they helped create that is a life-changing and they are willing to share it with other like-minded people.

The marketing industry is famous for creating new trends. Keep in mind, every couple of years a marketing person coins a phrase for a “new” approach to marketing, sells a bunch of books and it becomes the latest defacto marketing tool to be used. A year  later, another marketing approach is the latest thing to do.

Marketing trendsRegardless of the latest marketing trend or coined name, it has been my experience for marketing to have been effective for the last 10-15 years –and going forward, it has these 6 basic principles:

1. Understand what the customer wants or needs,
2. provide a logical and emotional dialogue so the consumer has the information they need to help them make a decision,
3. give them plenty of opportunities for that exposure,
4. make sure customers feel connected to the brand’s world and product,
5. provide them with easy access (distribution points) to purchasing the product and,
6. after the sale, make the customer feel special and part of the brand’s family.


5 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2015

social media analytics

 Use advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms

My social media marketing predictions for 2015 should be your resolutions …

1. Digging Deeper into Data. Using advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms is key in knowing what to write about as well as knowing your visitor’s likes, shares, engagements, demographics, etc. Making the most of your metrics will help you identify the right prospects and pinpoint the right offers at the right time.

2. Eliminate Advertising-based Content. Over and over again I see companies writing blogs that are just product descriptions and – essentially just a landing-place to copy and paste content from data sheets. Write to your customer’s needs, not just what you are selling. Content Marketing is all about providing content that has value to consumers. It can offer practical information, tell a touching story, or be outrageously hilarious. It should forge emotional connections that nudge people toward the business that rolls out the content. Make your content stand out in 2015 by performing thorough keyword research, present new information, offer something innovative, and distribute it to your customer base effectively.

3. Being Candid and Honest. Zig Ziglar once said, “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” TTransparencyhe same principle rings true for current marketing trends. The best brands will give an accurate and real-time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.

4. Social Media Connections. Your target customers have some traits in common, but that doesn’t mean that they all are the same entity. People want to feel they are part of a group, crave connection, and participate with others of like-mind. Consumers buy from friends – companies can be perceived as a friend by sounding more personal in their writing styles. When you are writing, talk to your customers and future clients like each one really matters, because they do.  
Personal Social media marketing 5. Personalization. One way to send personal messages is via triggered emails. When a customer joins your rewards program or signs up for your newsletter, send a warm welcome. You can even include a special freebie or stellar discount. On your customers’ special dates, such as birthdays – send a friendly greeting. These automated messages can make recipients feel that you care about them.

No one can say for certain what the future holds, but the current direction of marketing shows that the above trends will impact marketing in 2015. Expect marketing to move strongly in a digital direction and focus on transparency, technology, personalization, and quality.


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