From “Buy Me!” to “Follow Me!”

The addition of a social media aspect on the ads we see in real life is a perfect example of seamlessly integrating sales with marketing efforts. We live in an over-advertised and oversold society. Hard-sell sales promotions are no longer as effective as they were in past decades. Today, for a marketing campaign to be effective, it is important that the message can be immediately connected to reality. The promise of the brand must be met once it has been bought and used. Putting a “Follow Me” at the end of the ad is like a stamp of credibility. It also encourages consumers to share their experiences with the brand, painting a picture of trust, as well as utilitarian effectiveness.

It is much easier to ask people to visit a social site than to get them to buy a product. No money will be spent to engage with the brand, nor would it consume too much time. If the viewer happens to be one of the product’s loyal consumers, he would probably welcome giving digital support to the brand.

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Times Square in New York City is a place that is always abuzz with activity. Apart from the never-ending flood of people and vehicles hustling through the streets, the buildings are covered in colorful, sprawling billboards, promoting the latest movies and musicals, or enticing people to notice a brand.

For decades, agencies have tried to make the most creative outdoor advertisements possible, with the purpose of encouraging viewers to obtain the product or service they’ve blown up and put on display. Recently, though, I’ve observed a subtle change in the way a lot of billboards are being laid out. Rather than emphasize sales promotions, many are focusing on engagement marketing. It is not uncommon to see a Twitter URL or a Facebook fan page pasted somewhere on a billboard. Leer más “From “Buy Me!” to “Follow Me!””

Universities and Social Media

When we think about brands, what usually comes to mind are big-name products and services, such as popular apparel retailers or commodities whose logos are heavily ingrained into popular culture. The truth is a brand can be anything with an established identity. It can be a product, person, or even an establishment. And whatever its form or function, a brand must always work to boost its visibility and maintain its loyal following.

Schools are brands that seemingly don’t need to work as hard to maintain a strong brand identity. Once they get students, those students become followers for life. After all, they will be spending several years studying in the institution, and once they’re out of the school, they will always be identified as part of it.


When we think about brands, what usually comes to mind are big-name products and services, such as popular apparel retailers or commodities whose logos are heavily ingrained into popular culture. The truth is a brand can be anything with an established identity. It can be a product, person, or even an establishment. And whatever its form or function, a brand must always work to boost its visibility and maintain its loyal following.

Schools are brands that seemingly don’t need to work as hard to maintain a strong brand identity. Once they get students, those students become followers for life. After all, they will be spending several years studying in the institution, and once they’re out of the school, they will always be identified as part of it. Leer más “Universities and Social Media”

Real Time Insights into Your I3 Value Prop

Gone are the days when companies would simply create a product or service, market it and hope for a successful, profitable outcome. Products and services are now deeply commoditized and consumers are increasingly fickle and hard to please. People don’t just want something to spend their money on; they want solutions. They want something that can satisfy a specific need in a specific way. It is a must for companies and marketers to understand this basic consumer reality.


Gone are the days when companies would simply create a product or service, market it and hope for a successful, profitable outcome. Products and services are now deeply commoditized and consumers are increasingly fickle and hard to please. People don’t just want something to spend their money on; they want solutions. They want something that can satisfy a specific need in a specific way. It is a must for companies and marketers to understand this basic consumer reality. Leer más “Real Time Insights into Your I3 Value Prop”

Style and Function: The Power of Visually Appealing Websites


Whenever I look for a particular product or service, the company’s website has a lot to do with whether I engage with a vendor or not. I don’t disregard product or service quality, of course, but the power of the website is great: It can draw you in or turn you off.

We all know that today, consumers search for products and services online before making purchases. In order to get an advantage over their competition, companies create websites to gain visibility and promote credibility with their consumers online.

How then, can one stand out? This is where visual design takes a step forward.  Here are a few reasons why a good visual design can be powerful marketing tool:

Visually Appealing Websites are Fresh.

Visual elements that reinforce your objectives, appropriate and nicely done images of your products — these add up to your web site’s appeal to your consumers. Visual design supports a company’s brand positioning, thus effectively communicating information and interactivity to its readers. Leer más “Style and Function: The Power of Visually Appealing Websites”

Avoid the Overlapping Value Proposition

No brand is immune to competition. Even market leaders have their nemesis, and direct competitors keep a company from having the entire pie for itself. In many cases, competition can actually be mutually beneficial, as it keeps the competing parties from becoming complacent. In always trying to outdo each other, the companies push themselves to improve their brands and the products or services they carry. It is a welcome cycle that not many businesses want to admit (or enjoy).

Competitive analysis begins in much the same way a company would evaluate its own brand. You can examine your competitor’s value proposition in I3 terms based on their marketing claims. Find out exactly what they are saying that gives them an edge from their competition and compare that to your own unique selling points. If both of you are claiming the same thing, you end up canceling each other out on that factor, all other things remaining equal. I call this the overlapping value proposition: two companies making equally valid claims to a differentiator, neutralizing each other in the market on that attribute.


No brand is immune to competition. Even market leaders have their nemesis, and direct competitors keep a company from having the entire pie for itself. In many cases, competition can actually be mutually beneficial, as it keeps the competing parties from becoming complacent. In always trying to outdo each other, the companies push themselves to improve their brands and the products or services they carry. It is a welcome cycle that not many businesses want to admit (or enjoy).

Competitive analysis begins in much the same way a company would evaluate its own brand. You can examine your competitor’s value proposition in I3 terms based on their marketing claims. Find out exactly what they are saying that gives them an edge from their competition and compare that to your own unique selling points. If both of you are claiming the same thing, you end up canceling each other out on that factor, all other things remaining equal. I call this the overlapping value proposition: two companies making equally valid claims to a differentiator, neutralizing each other in the market on that attribute. Leer más “Avoid the Overlapping Value Proposition”

Selling is Not Smoke and Mirrors

There used to be a time when ads had to be written with hyperbole. ‘Amazing,’ ‘Miraculous’ and ‘Spectacular’ made common appearances in old print ads, usually in large bold letters. Add to that a few more impressive, flowery phrases and an image of a person with a wide-mouthed smile, and the product was almost as good as sold.

Selling meant singing nothing but praises, and getting customers to buy was the only end point for marketing efforts.

And then… it changed. Over the years, sales and marketing have become quite sophisticated due in part to evolving consumer behaviors and expectations. Today’s customers are not as so easily wowed by “smoke and mirrors”. It is not enough that marketers say their product is the best. Even ‘New!’ doesn’t work as well any more. We live in an over-saturated — over-messaged – marketplace. Nothing is really new, and every trick in the book has already been tried and tested. Smoke and mirrors, flowery words and calls to action do nothing except annoy consumers and make them ignore the product being promoted in that way. Of course, direct marketing and hard sells live on in the world of infomercials – but fundamental brand advertising has changed.


There used to be a time when ads had to be written with hyperbole. ‘Amazing,’ ‘Miraculous’ and ‘Spectacular’ made common appearances in old print ads, usually in large bold letters. Add to that a few more impressive, flowery phrases and an image of a person with a wide-mouthed smile, and the product was almost as good as sold.

Selling meant singing nothing but praises, and getting customers to buy was the only end point for marketing efforts.

And then… it changed. Over the years, sales and marketing have become quite sophisticated due in part to evolving consumer behaviors and expectations. Today’s customers are not as so easily wowed by “smoke and mirrors”. It is not enough that marketers say their product is the best. Even ‘New!’ doesn’t work as well any more. We live in an over-saturated — over-messaged – marketplace. Nothing is really new, and every trick in the book has already been tried and tested. Smoke and mirrors, flowery words and calls to action do nothing except annoy consumers and make them ignore the product being promoted in that way. Of course, direct marketing and hard sells live on in the world of infomercials – but fundamental brand advertising has changed. Leer más “Selling is Not Smoke and Mirrors”

One Hour Push

I’m sure many of you have read “Getting Things Done”, David Allen’s excellent book for managing time in a chaotic and heavily demanding work context. This is where you have so much coming at you all the time. The book and philosophy helps you organize and survive it all. One of David Allen’s rules is called the “two minute rule”. The two minute rule means that if something takes two minutes or less then just do it– don’t even put it on your list — don’t prioritize it — you just need to knock it out and get it done.

I have applied this principle with varying degrees of consistency over the last four years and it has actually helped me accomplish a lot of things and keep my ‘To Do List’ manageable. But there is another principle which I call the ‘one hour push’ that is a little different but still consistent with GTD or other time management systems.

We often procrastinate or don’t start a difficult task or avoid things that are just not in our sweet spot because we fear our ability to ever complete the task. This fear may be grounded in “Do I have enough time to get this task done?” or it could be grounded in the belief that “We don’t have the necessary resources, abilities or talents to accomplish the task”. More importantly, we fear that the task will consume more of our day than we would have wanted to allocate to it.


I’m sure many of you have read “Getting Things Done”, David Allen’s excellent book for managing time in a chaotic and heavily demanding work context. This is where you have so much coming at you all the time. The book and philosophy helps you organize and survive it all. One of David Allen’s rules is called the “two minute rule”. The two minute rule means that if something takes two minutes or less then just do it– don’t even put it on your list — don’t prioritize it — you just need to knock it out and get it done.

I have applied this principle with varying degrees of consistency over the last four years and it has actually helped me accomplish a lot of things and keep my ‘To Do List’ manageable. But there is another principle which I call the ‘one hour push’ that is a little different but still consistent with GTD or other time management systems.

We often procrastinate or don’t start a difficult task or avoid things that are just not in our sweet spot because we fear our ability to ever complete the task. This fear may be grounded in “Do I have enough time to get this task done?” or it could be grounded in the belief that “We don’t have the necessary resources, abilities or talents to accomplish the task”. More importantly, we fear that the task will consume more of our day than we would have wanted to allocate to it. Leer más “One Hour Push”