I’m a _ _ _ _, Tips, News and Giving Back

Friends and colleagues,

Sometimes you have to be a jerk.  You have to be the one who not only tells the emperor he’s nude, but that he really needs to get to the gym.   In our world it means we need to go back to the drawing board when a client tells us what we don’t want to hear, but need to know: We’ve missed the mark with a campaign concept.   It also means living up to our obligation to insistently share the experience our clients hired us for, even if sometimes they’d rather we kept our opinions to ourselves.  I am, for example, a huge jerk.  And yes, I know a lot of you are nodding knowingly.  But I know that for every client who’d like to kick my shins, there are three who are glad that I told them to put their clothes back on and do some push-ups. So my wish for you this year:  Be an angel at home and when you have to be, a jerk at work.

Ok, while you shake that one off, let me share some learning and suggestions from our band of archers:


  1. Take the Fitty Sense Test.  If campaign analyses reveal that 50% or more of your audience is viewing your website or email on a mobile device, reduce your desktop-optimized copy by 50% and increase font sizes and calls to action (CTAs) 50%.  You could see a 50% increase in engagement.  “You’re exaggerating Bower,” you say.  But our recent, repeated experience indicates I ain’t.  Try it and let me know!
  2. Try to Fly the Blue Sky.  Most of us spend too much time working in our businesses than on them.  The results more often than not are half-baked ideas that feed mediocre processes which lead to lackluster outcomes.  But what if you scheduled one hour per month with your team to talk about what you would do to improve your business, if all the real and perceived “limiters” and bureaucratic shackles were removed, predispositions set aside and inhibitions shelved?  What if you explored the ideas you had while standing in line at Starbucks or during rare quiet moments between the six hour-long conference calls that can sap your day of creativity?  My recommendation:  Ask your team to bring five of those crazy ideas to your monthly Blue Sky session and talk about which one you will make happen no matter the 10 reasons why it can’t.  I’d bet a Crossbow “I am an archer” hat you will come up with one idea per quarter that will drastically change your business and outlook.  Do it!
  3. Whither Customer Experience Guidelines?  You have detailed, prescriptive brand guidelines and you enforce them with missionary zeal.  But how many of you have developed and published unambiguously clear expectations for the experiences customers and prospective customers have when they meet with you, visit your website or receive communications from you?  How many of you specify tone of voice, pronoun usage (e.g., you vs. we), time to solution?  How many of you detail path to primacy, acceptable net promoter range, outcome expectation, etc. I’d bet a partridge in a pear tree (I have an extra one from the holidays…) that those of you whose businesses do, are outperforming those that don’t.
  4. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.  We all have a tendency to fall in love with our own creative ideas and solutions.  I know I do, but then again my team has no problem telling me when I’m being stupid, stubborn or both.  And that, my friends and colleagues, is a good thing for you.  But back to our story.  How do we guard against this?  Let me suggest using three screening questions:  1) out of three to five opinions, are you the only one who likes the idea? 2) is your data based purely on gut vs. data and transactional experience? 3) is there a 50% or better chance that the costs and risks of executing it could lead to a greater than 50% loss of your investment?  If you answer “Yes” to more than one of these criteria, you should consider revising or shelving your idea.
  5. Use Emoji-only Instant Messaging to Communicate with Millennial Customers and Employees.  In recent testing, we found that the elimination of actual words and phrases facilitated significant increases in productivity among this precocious population.  And no, I am not serious.


  • We recently launched a new site with Invisalign providers.  Check out www.provider.invisalign.com.
  • Our Ad Tech Optimization Services are increasingly popular.  We’re helping both Fortune 100 companies and a few SMBs (smaller to medium-sized businesses) realize a higher return on their significant investments in new technologies.
  • We picked up two new marketing services assignments where we’ve replaced a staffer who left for another role and another where we’ve been hired instead of a full-time marketing team.  The trends toward outsourcing and making marketing more of a variable, performance-based “cost” (we like to call it an investment) continue to benefit our business and our new clients.
  • There are some exciting changes happening in and with our international agency network, InterDirect Network (www.interdirectnetwork.com).  So note that I’ve cleverly referenced our global capabilities and gratuitously teased these changes here.  Remember, I’m a huge jerk (see our new site in January for more details).

Giving Back

We’re making a contribution in the name of our clients to two charities (also, clients) whose mission and contributions are near and dear to us:  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the American Cancer Society.  The only reason I’m mentioning this:  If you have to skip a lunch in the next few months, send that $ to an organization that means a lot to you or someone who needs a helping hand.  You’ll feel better and they’ll be hugely grateful.

Thanks again for patiently indulging me. Have a great day.


P.S.:  If, for whatever reason, you’d rather not receive these occasional notes, please let me know.
P.S. #2:  Want to know why I don’t mass customize these notes through an email service provider like Constant Contact, MailChimp, Responsys or a CRM system?  Ask me.

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