Shower of Babel, Tips, News and That Cool Hat I Owe You

Friends and colleagues,

A business development manager recently emailed me about “a new kind of DMP operating entirely in the Cloud.”  This was curious to me since I know the company’s founders and they are in fact running a fledgling software company out of a seedy SoHo walk-up.  The only thing cloudy there is the likelihood of securing their next round of funding.  Lucky for him, I get it; I’m a member of their unruly tribe (i.e., marketers).  But the danger here is that the sales guy assumed – and many marketers and salespeople assume – that their target audience understands their jargon, knows what their acronyms mean and you know, gets it.  Truth is, the majority don’t.  And they shouldn’t have to search the Interweb or ask a Silicon Alley hipster to figure out what we’re talking about.   So I ask you friends, colleagues, marketers – are we speaking our prospects’ language?

Ok, while you noodle that query, let me share some learning and suggestions from our merry band of archers:


  1. Try the Gut vs. Brain Test.  Next time you review draft creative, assign a one to ten score (ten being best) to your first three to five seconds of initial, visceral reaction.  Then use that same scale to score the work on your considered evaluation, what you think after three to five minutes of thoughtful review. If your brain beats your gut, there should be a rematch.  In the age of the disappearing attention span, the gut must win!.
  2. Personalization works better with B2B text email.  In recent testing, the use of a name and other personal information (e.g., location, occupation) in a graphical email did not have a statistically significant effect on response.  But in a text version of the same communication, response improved over 30%. Why?  Text personalization feels more genuine and well, personal.
  3. Find your “…est.”  You’d think this one is a withdrawal from the obvious bank.  But recent experience indicates that it’s not.  If your product or service is the cheapest, fastest, smartest, most efficient solution in your competitive set, embrace that fact immediately, unabashedly and single-mindedly.  I promise you will find that your marketing strategy will be easier to craft, and execution will be measurably more effective.
  4. Retarget through email click-through. You probably know that retargeted digital ads (i.e., cookie-fueled banner ads that appear on sites you subsequently visit) perform at 2-4x other “targeted” ads.  But you may not know that you can re-target customers who view emails you send them.  And performance is very good.  Want to learn more?  Holler back.
  5. Time to explore your softer side B2B marketers.  The best consumer brands build an emotional bond with their customers.  They understand the higher order benefits (e.g., life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness) their products and services deliver. In recent years, B2B marketers have also realized that finding and keeping customers requires more than a cold, concise, calculated articulation of features and benefits. It means tapping into the egos and psyches – and yes, emotions – of your target audience to more clearly communicate how you make their lives and their customers’ lives richer and better.  It’s ok and even smart to make them smile, laugh and cry before, during and after you sell them say, accounting services.
  6. In mobile, less is more, and certainly faster.  Keep in mind that with a responsive site – where content shifts as the viewing device (i.e., tablet, smartphone) and aspect ratio change – items on your site (i.e., images, navigation, calls to action) shift or hide, but they do not transform without more complicated code that would significantly increase load time and back-end processing.  The result:  abandon rates spike and click-through rates plummet.  So better to think carefully about what content you can afford to lose as your site gets smaller.  Too much Babel?  Call me.
  7. Parse your web video.  Increase views and usage of longer form (i.e., more than say, two minutes) videos by breaking them into discrete scenes and sections that users can access through a clickable table of contents.  Based on our experience, it will increase engagement rates by 25% or more.


  • Two new clients in two new verticals.  In one case we’re supplementing an existing creative services group.  In another, we’re replacing one of these groups.  We love learning new businesses and working with great people.
  • I was proud to serve as judge for an international creative competition last month and I can tell you our colleagues in other geographies have some impressive digital chops and serious game.
  • Our digital team developed three new controls (first in measurable performance) and a bunch of responsive sites in the last three months.  Crazy proud of these folks.
  • We’re now working with the top five CRM system providers on integration projects.  When used intelligently, ad tech can supercharge your productivity.  Duh, right?

That Hat I Owe You

We’re giving ten of these hats away.  Why? Because like many of the top hip hop artists, corporate chieftains and Westport transients who are wearing them, you look smarter and sleeker when Crossbow is not only on your mind, but on your head.  So we’ll ship one of these to every 5th responder to this email who lets me know what here made sense, what didn’t, what your best practices and worst mistakes are.

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 CRM system?  Ask me.
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