N_ked Truths, Six Tips and News

Friends and colleagues,

With over 200 menu items, the average time to order at a Cheesecake Factory is almost 2.5x that of other upscale casual restaurants.  Why?  The paradox of choice.  When faced with too many options, many of them good, we often slow down, analyze trade-offs, overanalyze and eventually make a decision we second-guess.   There is, of course, a lesson for marketers here:  Don’t go to a Cheesecake Factory.  Kidding!  What we need to realize is that, more than ever, prospect and customer communications need to be artfully simple and clear.  Next steps should be obvious and easy to take.  Calls to action shouldn’t offer more than two paths and one should be prioritized.  No problem, right?  Well, then why is 50% of lead generating and nurturing activity we see larded up like the four cheese pasta at CF?

While you chew on that query, let me serve the rest of your meal:


  1. The deli guy test.  We work with some clients whose sophisticated solutions have complicated value propositions.  When they brief us for projects, they use a lot of acronyms and inside-baseball jargon.  They hire us to translate that Tower of Babel into communications that concisely, compellingly and yes, clearly tie features to higher order benefits.  When faced with this challenge, we often walk our concept work across the street to Oscar’s Deli and ask Mike, David (click here to see them both) and/or Harry to critique our work and tell us what they read and saw.   When they “get it” we know we’ve done our job.  When they don’t, we get back to work.  Our recommendation:  Find your “deli guy” and make sure he gets it.
  2. When regressing is a good thing.  You’ve got a problem.  Though you have reams of data about click-through rates, time on site, abandon rates, paths to purchase and, of course, sales, you don’t really know which data are most predictive of a revenue-producing conclusion on your site.  There’s an app for that and it’s called, wait for it, Excel.  Using multivariate regression analysis (click here for a quick tutorial), you can very accurately predict future activity and make better decisions on where to focus investment on your site.  And you don’t need a pricey data analytics firm or expensive stats package to do it.
  3. Listen and you shall hear.  Social media “listening” and interaction software would not only have helped Paul Revere get an earlier start on the British, it can help you enter a shopping or buying discussion at the time of interest.  Conversion rates and cost to convert are truly impressive.  If you want to learn more about options, contact us.  Like Flo at Progressive, we’ll tell you about ours and others’.
  4. The Agony and/or the Ecstasy.  Michelangelo believed sculpting was the removal of all excess marble from the form he wanted to realize.  In his view, revealing the essence of a scantily clad David was a matter of chipping away all the extraneous stone in which he was encased.  In the same way, we believe that the painstaking process of removing unnecessary words and pictures is the key to truly artful communication.   So how do we know this “works?”  We’ve tested long vs. short copy across a range of clients in the last 12 months.  And for now, brevity is not only the soul of wit, it’s the key to conversion.
  5. 25/50/25/You’re welcome.  For communications to the top 25% of your customers (by revenue), you should use just-the-facts, transactional words and fewer pictures.  Turn down the charm; they like you already.  For the middle 50%, you need to tell a story and persuade.  They’re not quite ready to commit to a long-term relationship.  The bottom 25%?  Send one upsell or win-back effort and then get back to work on the middle 50% who will make or break your quarter.
  6. Employ irony.  He’s a low-cost employee and he’s kind of fun.  See Tip 4.  Enough said.


  • We now have a Prix Fixe menu for omni-channel campaigns.  We’re offering fixed price solution bundles for finding new customers and building share of wallet among existing customers.  More on this next time or give me a call at 203-222-2244 to learn more sooner.
  • We can now serve client needs in more than 35 countries around the world.  As a member of the InterDirect Network (click here to learn more), we can provide business-building insight in over 10 languages.
  • Our content marketing team (click here to learn more) is building out and implementing editorial calendars for four clients.  It’s a relatively low-cost way to communicate your value and perspective to clients and prospects; it’s great for your organic search ranking and you can use the output for native advertising and retargeting campaigns.
  • We’re putting our social media listening and conversion capability to work for a number of B2B and B2C companies. The technology is pretty slick and the results it generates even slicker.
  • We’ve added some new folks to our team.  We think you’re going to like them.  A lot.  More on the new archers in the next note.


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 CRM system?  Ask me.

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