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.


http://www.valueprop.com

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”

Marketing To Women: Focus On Relationships

“I’m a woman. I think, feel and see differently. How well do you think you really know me?

There are few smart guys (even experienced husbands) who wouldn’t welcome these words of wisdom when jammed up in a “what did I do now?” situation. Of course, truly knowing and understanding women doesn’t just apply to relationships. (I know I’m on thin ice writing this – but I am trying to make a broader point, so please hang in there with me).

Women are the primary purchase decision-makers in most American households. According to one study, women make up the majority of all consumer purchases — clothes, computers, new homes, vacations, healthcare, food, etc. It was found that although both partners work in a particular household, it’s the women that direct how 80% of the combined income gets spent!

So what does this mean for marketers, especially those of the male kind? (and by the way, this includes women marketers – because so much of the profession has been historically documented by men)


“I’m a woman. I think, feel and see differently. How well do you think you really know me?

There are few smart guys (even experienced husbands) who wouldn’t welcome these words of wisdom when jammed up in a “what did I do now?” situation. Of course, truly knowing and understanding women doesn’t just apply to relationships. (I know I’m on thin ice writing this – but I am trying to make a broader point, so please hang in there with me).

Women are the primary purchase decision-makers in most American households. According to one study, women make up the majority of all consumer purchases — clothes, computers, new homes, vacations, healthcare, food, etc. It was found that although both partners work in a particular household, it’s the women that direct how 80% of the combined income gets spent!

So what does this mean for marketers, especially those of the male kind? (and by the way, this includes women marketers – because so much of the profession has been historically documented by men) Leer más “Marketing To Women: Focus On Relationships”

A Second Look At Blogging And Your Business

Whenever my marketer friend visits a website, right after looking at the product or service, he goes directly to the company’s blog. He tells me, “Show me a company’s blog and I’ll tell you if that company will be successful or not.” He makes an interesting point.

A blog, when used strategically, is an effective way to communicate with customers and clients – it’s also a powerful tool that can help directly generate revenue.

Blogging doesn’t require upfront expenses (well, except the time to create the content, which is something that can be managed by a dedicated person). Built attractively and written well, a blog can also drive traffic from search engines. Since each blog post can stand alone as its own page, marketers can merchandise relevant products and services on those pages, without any direct cost!


Whenever my marketer friend visits a website, right after looking at the product or service, he goes directly to the company’s blog. He tells me, “Show me a company’s blog and I’ll tell you if that company will be successful or not.” He makes an interesting point.

A blog, when used strategically, is an effective way to communicate with customers and clients – it’s also a powerful tool that can help directly generate revenue.

Blogging doesn’t require upfront expenses (well, except the time to create the content, which is something that can be managed by a dedicated person). Built attractively and written well, a blog can also drive traffic from search engines. Since each blog post can stand alone as its own page, marketers can merchandise relevant products and services on those pages, without any direct cost! Leer más “A Second Look At Blogging And Your Business”

How David Can Beat Goliath

The story of David and Goliath is, of course, a classic Biblical story. Some of you might have heard it at Sunday School when you were kids.

The headline would read: “Shepherd boy defeats giant, using only slingshot and a few carefully chosen stones!”

The story is often told as a metaphor for the victory of the underdog — how a small, usually insignificant entity can overthrow the dominating opposition.

In the realm of marketing and sales, the Davids are small businesses while the Goliaths are big, established brands. The latter overshadows its little competitors by their sheer size and reach. Everyone knows about Starbucks, what to buy there and how much it costs. The same cannot be said for the local café down the other block.


The story of David and Goliath is, of course, a classic Biblical story. Some of you might have heard it at Sunday School when you were kids.

The headline would read: “Shepherd boy defeats giant, using only slingshot and a few carefully chosen stones!”

The story is often told as a metaphor for the victory of the underdog — how a small, usually insignificant entity can overthrow the dominating opposition.

In the realm of marketing and sales, the Davids are small businesses while the Goliaths are big, established brands. The latter overshadows its little competitors by their sheer size and reach. Everyone knows about Starbucks, what to buy there and how much it costs. The same cannot be said for the local café down the other block. Leer más “How David Can Beat Goliath”

How’s Your Website’s Landing Page?

Question: Is your value proposition reflected in your landing page? Can people tell right away:

* What you are offering?
* Who you wish to appeal to?
* Why they would be interested in your offer?
* What they need to do to participate/purchase?

If you own a website, a particular challenge that you’ll face is how you can be found amidst a throng of like-minded individuals who are also grappling for a potential customer’s attention in this free-for-all space. What will make you stand out from the rest? What will set you apart?

As trivial as it may seem, first impressions really do last, so look your best the first time. And this is where landing pages, the first thing that they will see, will play a crucial role in your business.


August 6, 2010

Question: Is your value proposition reflected in your landing page? Can people tell right away:

  • What you are offering?
  • Who you wish to appeal to?
  • Why they would be interested in your offer?
  • What they need to do to participate/purchase?

If you own a website, a particular challenge that you’ll face is how you can be found amidst a throng of like-minded individuals who are also grappling for a potential customer’s attention in this free-for-all space. What will make you stand out from the rest? What will set you apart?

As trivial as it may seem, first impressions really do last, so look your best the first time. And this is where landing pages, the first thing that they will see, will play a crucial role in your business. Leer más “How’s Your Website’s Landing Page?”

Reaching the New Master Social Networker: Mom!

Moms are such sociable persons, moving from one social event to another, not only get-togethers or work-related events, but in social networks online! The new mom is really the master social networker – making the rounds of her children’s parties and school events, employing her smartphone and computer heavily as she manages a home or online business. While this is happening, she also has a thousand Facebook friends and hundreds more following her on Twitter.

This makes mothers a formidable force in the wonderful world of consumer marketing. And marketers must sit up and notice. The new millennium ushered in smart, tech-savvy, discriminating moms who can really rave about a product or service that they really like and rant and beat you to a pulp if they’ve been had. But that’s just one Mom. Imagine this mom telling other moms who will tell other moms who will tell other moms…you get the picture. Moms can really spread the word around like some kind of virus and voila! You have an effective viral marketing strategy already working for you.

There’s no magic trick in knowing what clicks well with moms. Just get to know her. Some tips:


Moms are such sociable persons, moving from one social event to another, not only get-togethers or work-related events, but in social networks online! The new mom is really the master social networker – making the rounds of her children’s parties and school events, employing her smartphone and computer heavily as she manages a home or online business. While this is happening, she also has a thousand Facebook friends and hundreds more following her on Twitter.

This makes mothers a formidable force in the wonderful world of consumer marketing. And marketers must sit up and notice. The new millennium ushered in smart, tech-savvy, discriminating moms who can really rave about a product or service that they really like and rant and beat you to a pulp if they’ve been had. But that’s just one Mom. Imagine this mom telling other moms who will tell other moms who will tell other moms…you get the picture. Moms can really spread the word around like some kind of virus and voila! You have an effective viral marketing strategy already working for you.

There’s no magic trick in knowing what clicks well with moms. Just get to know her. Some tips: Leer más “Reaching the New Master Social Networker: Mom!”

Are Your Marketing Materials Consistent?

So you started your business with a clear mission, vision and values. You know your objectives, and you’re excited to implement your marketing strategies.

You know you need to build your communications based on your value propositions, so you look at some of the most commonly used marketing materials and decide which ones you’ll create for your company such as brochures, newsletters, product sheets, and business cards.

With a copywriter and a great graphic designer, it should be easy right? So why do we still see some inconsistent marketing messages in some marketing materials?

The importance of consistent look and feel

A few weeks ago I was at a mall with a friend and we were handed out these brochures and flyers by a real estate developer. At first look they were pretty nice, but after reading through the materials I spotted several grammatical errors and inconsistencies in the contact information. At home I checked their site to look at photos of the residential housing units they’ve developed and saw the same inconsistencies, this time including themes and colors.

As a marketer and writer, I’ve developed an eye for these things, and this tells me that as business owners, marketers and salespersons need to be reminded of the importance of the consistent look and feel of all marketing materials. These materials are the ‘face’ of the company, so it’s important that they deliver the right, consistent messages in order to be attractive and effective. Some guidelines:


So you started your business with a clear mission, vision and values. You know your objectives, and you’re excited to implement your marketing strategies.

You know you need to build your communications based on your value propositions, so you look at some of the most commonly used marketing materials and decide which ones you’ll create for your company such as brochures, newsletters, product sheets, and business cards.

With a copywriter and a great graphic designer, it should be easy right? So why do we still see some inconsistent marketing messages in some marketing materials?

The importance of consistent look and feel

A few weeks ago I was at a mall with a friend and we were handed out these brochures and flyers by a real estate developer. At first look they were pretty nice, but after reading through the materials I spotted several grammatical errors and inconsistencies in the contact information. At home I checked their site to look at photos of the residential housing units they’ve developed and saw the same inconsistencies, this time including themes and colors.

As a marketer and writer, I’ve developed an eye for these things, and this tells me that as business owners, marketers and salespersons need to be reminded of the importance of the consistent look and feel of all marketing materials. These materials are the ‘face’ of the company, so it’s important that they deliver the right, consistent messages in order to be attractive and effective. Some guidelines: Leer más “Are Your Marketing Materials Consistent?”

Disney – Why People Wait on Line

That’s how we felt after six days of shifting between Disney’s three theme parks, Universal, and Universal’s Island of Adventure (where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Wizarding World of Harry Potterdebuted this year). I don’t want to merely repeat the thoroughly covered subject of Disney’s service excellence. But, I do want to share some observations about the whole theme park experience and its relevance to all service business models and marketing.

For one, there were a lots of similar rides, experiences – clearly a lot of copying going on in this industry of best ideas and similar concepts. In itself that’s certainly not a bad thing. We really had a great time, but there were a few things that stood out.

There was Disney’s queuing system and methodology that has become the standard of how to make 1 hour lines not feel like one hour lines. Everything from a lot of twists and turns peppered with a lot of entertainment along the way. Basically everything and anything possible to distract you from the fact that you are asked to wait an hour or an hour and a half to enjoy the ride.

And here came my question… ‘Why do we wait in line for an experience?’


Exhausted…

That’s how we felt after six days of shifting between Disney’s three theme parks, Universal, and Universal’s Island of Adventure (where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Wizarding World of Harry Potterdebuted this year). I don’t want to merely repeat the thoroughly covered subject of Disney’s service excellence. But, I do want to share some observations about the whole theme park experience and its relevance to all service business models and marketing.

For one, there were a lots of similar rides, experiences – clearly a lot of copying going on in this industry of best ideas and similar concepts. In itself that’s certainly not a bad thing. We really had a great time, but there were a few things that stood out.

There was Disney’s queuing system and methodology that has become the standard of how to make 1 hour lines not feel like one hour lines. Everything from a lot of twists and turns peppered with a lot of entertainment along the way. Basically everything and anything possible to distract you from the fact that you are asked to wait an hour or an hour and a half to enjoy the ride.

And here came my question… ‘Why do we wait in line for an experience?Leer más “Disney – Why People Wait on Line”

Do You Have The Right Marketing Mix?

If you asked anyone today about money – a family member, a co-worker or a friend you’re sure to hear about some kind of financial difficulty or challenge. So do businesses.

When money’s tight, a business should focus on tactics that can reach your desired, qualified prospects cost-effectively. Every business wants (or should want) more customers now, but choosing the right marketing mix is not always easy. It’s always a challenge to choose and implement the right marketing tactics that will win sales and then sustain business.

Whether your business is just off to a flying start, or you simply need to review your methods, here are some tips in creating a marketing mix:

Understand your target market.


If you asked anyone today about money – a family member, a co-worker or a friend you’re sure to hear about some kind of financial difficulty or challenge. So do businesses.

When money’s tight, a business should focus on tactics that can reach your desired, qualified prospects cost-effectively. Every business wants (or should want) more customers now, but choosing the right marketing mix is not always easy. It’s always a challenge to choose and implement the right marketing tactics that will win sales and then sustain business.

Whether your business is just off to a flying start, or you simply need to review your methods, here are some tips in creating a marketing mix:

Understand your target market. Leer más “Do You Have The Right Marketing Mix?”