Knowingness, 30 Second Tips, WIP and Contentment

Friends and colleagues,

I don’t know what I don’t know, but I think I do.  How do I know this?  Because a friend, responding to some advice I’d shared, sent me a note suggesting that I was subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect.  The D-K effect is, to quote Wikipedia, a “cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average.”  I don’t know what he’s talking about, do you?…

Whatever the case, let me impose my superior intellect on you with these above average ideas:


  1. Hopes and dreams for B2C; fear and loathing for B2B.  Ok, folks, this one is based on a lot of pretty rigorous testing. Consumers generally want to believe everything will work out perfectly. But as business people, we’re afraid it won’t. Rational or not, you can improve the results of your marketing efforts by appealing to these fickle emotions.
  2. Brevity is not just the soul of wit.  In mobile communications, it’s the difference between success and failure. So keep copy, calls to actions and graphics – especially on the home screen – 4th grade simple. Seems obvious, right? Then why don’t more of us try to apply what works in stationary media to the on-the-go world?
  3. Let the crazy in. Let’s face it, a lot of the most talented creative folks are half nuts. But in that insanity, there is often deep insight. So next time you ask your agency for concepts, tell the creatives to let the dogs off the leash. Even if you don’t/can’t use the work, I’d bet a Xanax it will lead to a breakthrough result.
  4. Score!  One way to shortcut useful feedback like “the color yellow reminds me of the cheese in my grandmother’s casserole” (yes, actual comment) is to establish three to five decision criteria for evaluating strategic or creative concepts. Ask reviewers to assign a letter grade for each criteria, calculate a GPA and let the top 20% of the class move on to the Lightning Round (i.e., testing).
  5. Can you draw a circle? Heck, can you draw four big ones on a piece of paper? And can you make them all overlap? Yes? Ok, now label them competencies, credibilities, deep needs and market trends. Here’s the hard part: fill these in for your company and/or product line. Be brief, be honest. The intersection of the Venn diagram you just created is your company’s sweet spot, the primary reference point for your firm’s positioning. In a hyper-competitive world, knowing this point, and refreshing it at least once a year, will help focus your marketing efforts.
  6. To animate or not to animate, that is question. And the answer? Animate! Email and banners that are animated outperform their static cousins more than 90% of the time.
  7. Stalking is good business. If you’re not testing re-targeting – using Google or other network advertisers to serve up ads to folks who’ve visited your site – you should. Results are typically 3-5x that of other “contextual” ads and you can tightly control your cost to test. Doubting Thomas (or Tonya)? Then call us.


What’s that, you ask. It is, quite simply, the feeling you get when you plug our team in to develop Thought Leadership campaigns that get your prospects engaged and converting at a much higher rate than they do when you bombard them with sales and marketing messages. Check out our new offering: Click Here for Pure Contentment.

Your friend and colleague,



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 or Responsys? Ask me.

W.I.P. (Work in Progress):

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