Tag Archives: Marketing and Advertising

Are you a political news addict? Here’s how “the addiction” engages the audience.

CNN news I am a political news addict, and I’m trying to kick the habit. There I admitted it. News addiction? I did some research – and here’s the most powerful drug ever: the visceral gut feelings of outrage relieved by the most powerful emotions of all . . . the thrill of your tribe’s victory over its enemy and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Movies and TV shows use that psychological formula to engage the audience – so why the news?
Because it’s done for ratings: The outcomes of news debates are carefully fixed by the producers – whether you watch CNBC, CNN or Fox news – it’s fixed so the home team has the best chance to win. That keeps viewers coming back again and again, which means more advertising dollars. How to apply that addiction to social media marketing? Stay tuned, it’s a little later in this blog.
Neuroscience has known for years that “news junkies” or “political junkies” were in fact addicts… junkies …who got their addictive dopamine hit from the emotional roller coaster of unbridled outrage followed by the dopamine releasing experience derived from the thrill of watching the victory over your ideological enemy tribe.
Does your product appeal to everyone? Does your product have an enemy you can identify? Can you target a specific demographic that can emotionally side with your product versus your competitions product or service? Can you develop a tribe-like addiction to your services or products?
Are you or your client are willing to play an aggressive role, like a politician or news channel, and possibly at the expense of “your brand?”  If so, then just maybe you can create addicts to your services or products. I’m not condoning the approach, just engaging news addicts …

Best shark photo ever?

Here’s the National Geographic Photo of the Year for 2016, (supposedly). This is a pretty dramatic effect and it would be a great photo – if it was real. This is a  pretty good attempt at visual impact, but I’m sorry to say – it’s Photoshop art. Can you spot the clues to this being a fake photo? Give it a try, my 7 clues are below the photo. Are there any other Photoshop clues you can spot that I missed?

Great white shark photo

1. The strong lighting is coming from the left on the shark but the lighting is subdued  on the surface of the water, no strong highlights on the waves – so they just don’t match up to the lighting on the shark.

2. Note the waves coming straight up out of the water – with that weight and volume there should be a swelling up or surge of water surrounding the dramatic waves, not just cut straight across.

3. Because the shark is so smooth and sleek, there wouldn’t be a large cotton-like puffs of water pushed above his head– they would be trailing more behind him.

4. A bloody mess. I’m thinking this shark had to swim pretty fast to jump this high, so it seems reasonably that the blood around his mouth and nose would have been washed off from that much effort.

5. With the sharks mouth partly open I probably would have made streams of water flowing out of the corners of his mouth.

6. The color of the background is much easier to work with when just a simple fade from light blue to medium blue is used. Looking through the wave at the color of the sky behind the left lower side of the shark’s body, it should match the sky behind it – it’s slightly a different blue color.

7. Water surges would flow up based on the drag of the force shooting up. The dramatic waves flowing up don’t quite match the shape of the shark. A little short on one side, a little wide on the other, and in the middle there isn’t a part of the shark that would cause that large water surge to drag up.

Anything I missed?  If you liked this, please share it with one or more of the social media buttons below.

Features, Benefits and Advantages: Finally – the differences explained.

Business writing

When writing text for a company’s products, clearly communicate the value and benefits of a product.  Figure out what the benefits and advantages really are, and don’t just creatively describe the features as given to you by the company’s engineers.  Most copywriters and marketers don’t differentiate between features, benefits and advantages because it’s like pulling teeth to figure out why a customer needs a product and why they should buy it. Yes, it takes time to think that out, but think how long it took to design and develop the product – and the marketing of the product is just as important as the product itself, so it needs proper marketing effort for the product to sell.

You should know thisThe difference between the features, benefits and advantages:

A Feature is the function of a product – specifically what it can do.

A Benefit is why a product’s feature is desired, needed or a good thing.

An Advantage is why someone should buy the product and why it is a better choice than the competition.

Here’s a simple example of using the above definitions:

kayakFeature: This kayak is made out of hardened fiberglass
Benefit: So it won’t ever leak or break
Advantage: Meaning you can take on more extreme rapids than ever before

So many times I see the features of a product called a benefit, and or features mixed in with benefits and written under the heading of benefits. Clearly communicate the differences between a Feature, Benefit and an Advantage – and let the follow-up info for responses to inquiries be used to fill in additional information on the features. Give customers a reason the product is needed and is better value than the competition’s product.

Building Relationships is a Valuable Marketing Tool, Here’s Why …

If you do not start somewhere, you will be nowhere. In order to get business, you need to get out and meet people and push your comfort zones. You need to form relationships with people outside of your immediate influence and industry. Join organizations whose members are business owners and senior people in organizations – as they are your potential new clients.

businessman connect to social network

You aren’t going to be building much of a business if the only people you know are those you are meeting through work. You must get out and meet people outside of work. This means going to events where people in your profession are networking for business are likely to be present, but it also means going to events where you are likely to stand out because you are one of the few who do what you do.

Networking-PartyThere are hundreds of potential social situations you can inject yourself into. It’s important that you get involved in as many social situations outside of work as you possibly can. This networking will give you the ability to meet new people and connect. These people may have the ability to refer relationships to you, or they may not. If you do not start to form relationships, however, then you will not be someone who can get business in the first place. Get out and form relationships!

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.

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.

 

Creating more effective sales presentations: Part 2 of 3.

The next customer types are the auditory people. Auditory people absorb information by listening – they need to be able to clearly hear what it is that they are being told. They will look you directly in the eyes to hear you better, where as visual people are looking around, searching for visual cues so they can comprehend better.Sales presentations

Auditory people enjoy talking with others and conversation is something that they find very interesting. They might lean forward to engage you, just to test and hear if what you are saying is true. They will remember what you say – and possibly challenge verbal claims you make, later on in your presentation. So dial down the BS button with these folks.

Auditory people like to use phrases like, “that sounds good”, “that is clear as a bell” and “listen to me”.

Simply put, auditory people understand spoken language more than anything else. Therefore, when making a presentation to them, focus more on your verbal part of the presentation, (and with less speaker prompts to guide you, you will need to know your product benefits better). Verbally communicate your 5-7 main benefits (or value propositions). Tell them what you plan to tell them using a verbal roadmap of where you are going with your presentation. Writing things down or trying to create a vision for them may appear condescending to them.

If your website has videos describing your product, service, and other values, that can play an important part of your sales process – they will have other people in your company to listen too that tells them the story of your company and its products. Click here for an example of a video I created for a website that communicates directly to an auditory type person.

For auditory people their world is represented by sound, therefore, to get their attention and engage them, you must say something that sounds very appealing to them. Also make sure you clearly annunciate and be careful with embellishment – this group “hears” right through the BS.

Just as visual people like to look at directions, auditory people would rather hear directions read out loud by someone else, because retaining information by looking at it can be difficult for them, whereas hearing is better comprehension for them. If they are that type of listener, don’t waste your marketing budget dollars leaving behind your standard folder full of literature – ask if there is anything else they need, and listen to them like they listen to you.