$*&(*^% Advertising, Tips & Your Age-inappropriate LinkedIn Profile Photo

Friends and colleagues,

I hate advertising…

I must, right? Because this weekend I paid Hulu to stop interrupting my program with, you know, ads. And then yesterday, I found myself repeatedly changing the radio station when ads ran between classic rock ballads I was awkwardly lip-synching. Ironic that a person who makes a living creating advertising and marketing doesn’t always want to eat his own cooking? Well, good people, like you, I reckon, sometimes I don’t want to have a four-course meal prepared by a renowned chef. Yes, sometimes I intermittently fast (read: choose to say no to marketing). And you know, that’s ok. What we do connects people to goods and services that make their lives better. But knowing that people don’t always welcome ads and marketing and sometimes actively avoid both should fuel our strategies, challenge our creative impulses and make us better marketers. And humans. You agree? While you ponder your answer, indulge in the tasty delights that follow.


  1. Not all clicks are created equal. The do-no-evil Googlers (yes, this is their founding credo and what they call themselves) have recently rolled out a litany of AI-powered programs (e.g., Performance Max and so-called “Smart Lists”) to increase the number of clicks your search programs generate across their various platforms. Here’s the problem, friends: These programs work. You can double your clicks and attendant cost in days, but without the oversight of a really savvy search geek (you know, a human or, better, a Crossbow archer), you will be buying a lot more chaff than wheat and will likely see your cost per conversion and sale increase, maybe dramatically.
  2. Study Meta-physics. Zuck’s ducks (no, Facebookers most certainly do NOT call themselves this) have developed a series of video tutorials and online workshops that do a very efficient job of 1) explaining how things like Facebook ads and Instagram Reels work and 2) disintermediating social media agencies. So why am I tipping my cap to Mark’s Meadowlarks? (again, nope, not a moniker they embrace) Because the base these primers provide makes it easier for you to understand what it takes to do this work well, shows you why you sometimes need outside support, and increases the odds that you’ll develop campaigns that are kinda wonderful.
  3. Why bullets are silver. As attention spans continue to compress to mere seconds, it’s important to remember that one of the main drivers of distraction and inattention, the so-called world wide web, is not the place for long, narrative writing. Instead, web readers prefer copy formatted for ease of scanning, which allows them to easily skip through chunks of text to get to areas of interest. Readers perceive bullets as shortcuts to succinct, high-priority content. It’s not surprising that, in numerous usability cursor-tracking studies, we note that readers almost always gravitate toward bulleted lists. So Annie, get your gun.
  4. SEO Pro Tip #6. Ok, time to geek out for those of you so inclined. We now know that ~70% of web page meta descriptions (the copy not visible to casual surfers, but critically important to the crawlers) is overwritten by Google automatically. This does not mean we shouldn’t write them thoughtfully or abide by character limits of between 138 and 160, depending on content. But it does mean that you should include the most-important information about the content within the first 100 characters you serve up. Gobbledygook to you? Call one of our propeller-headed archers.
  5. Find your brand’s soul at the intersection. All successful, well-positioned brands live somewhere near the intersection of four roads, namely Competency, Credibility, Deep Needs and Market Trends. On their journey for sustainable, profitable growth, the best brands consider: 1) what they are truly good at, 2) what they are perceived to be good at, 3) what their target needs at an almost primitive, unconscious level, and 4) prevalent trends—you know, the anthropological stuff, like use of social media, driving market behavior. So if your brand is heading toward the highway or stuck in traffic on a side road, get your marketing GPS out and get yourself back to the intersection.
  6. Trumpet your “__est”, herald your “___ers”. Birkenstock-wearing product and brand marketers have a completely understandable tendency to assign a torrent of adjectives and adverbs to the many wonderful features and benefits of their product or service. They are, after all, proud of their hard work and will assume prospect audiences are as excited as they are to learn more. But it ain’t so. What time-starved prospectors do want to know as they develop short lists of finalists for consideration is: 1) who is the fastest, simplest, cheapest? and 2) who is better, smarter, user-friendlier? If you can credibly claim and own an “_est” and/or and “__er” you should clearly, concisely, compellingly and single-mindedly communicate these advantages to your target consumers.
  7. You should draw conclusions. And chart them too. Why? Because our brains process visual data 60,000 times faster than text. So the people you need to convince—about the results of a test campaign or user-experience study—will be 60,000 times more likely to notice and understand. So if you’re not following this one, now you know why.

As always, if I can do anything for you—make a connection, share some experience, get one of our art directors to Photoshop your obviously dated LinkedIn profile picture—please let me know.


Thanks again for your patient indulgence.



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