Tips, WIP, News and What We Owe You

Friends and colleagues,

I’ve heard some genuinely crazy, insanely stupid ideas. You know, the kind that either make you laugh out loud, spray your coffee all over your desk, wince in pain or avert the needy glance of the person delivering them. I’ve been pitched advertising on toilet seats. I’ve been asked by a tech CEO if he should appear naked in his firm’s ads. I’ve been asked if a talking duck could sell disability insurance…  Admittedly, some of these lead balloons have come out of my mouth. But in almost every case the idea that could never work led to the idea that really did. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible creates a bigger playing field.  So as a guy we admire once wrote, “Here’s to the crazy ones.”

Ok, now on to the mixed greens:


  1. Community before commerce.  Recently, for the fourth time in two years, we tested a three email sequence with a hard sell message vs. another three touch series where touches one and two spoke about the kinds of people who used the product and told some stories about their shared experience; there was no selling, not even a link. Only the final touch presented a trial offer. Can you guess which sequence generated an average of 30% more revenue in our tests?
  2. Feed your CRM.  And your SFM, ESP, ERP or whatever acronym’d system you’ve invested in the last few years. Why? These “solutions” are not plug and play. They’re useful and efficient only when they are managed thoughtfully by cross-functional teams, informed by customer needs, driven by the customer life cycle, loaded with reliable data and emit carefully curated content with a touch of love. Ok, that last part may be too much to hope for. But you get the idea: Put garbage in and you’ll deliver garbage to your customers and prospects.
  3. Go native. Keep your clothes on people; you’re not tech CEOs (well, some of you are…)! But I would suggest you test native ads which are designed to fit into the context of your target market’s user experience. They are, in short, advertorials which are decidedly not on steroids and you’re going to be “experiencing” a lot of them in the next six to 12 months because they’ve been consistently outperforming their flashier competitors.
  4. Time to go postal.  What’s more 2008 than mail? It can be expensive, there are fewer creative resources that do it well and it’s hard work. But here’s the thing: When done right, there aren’t other channels that are as measurable, scalable and effective. This is especially so when everyone is busy chasing the flavor of the day media, leaving your mailbox empty. Contrarian play for sure, but one well worth testing.
  5. Show don’t tell. This is a zen corollary to “know, say, do.” It’s based on a series of tests we implemented that proved that prospects are as much as 35% more likely to click on “View Demo” call to action vs. “Watch Video.” Why? Because people want you to show them what to do. This is especially true in B2B marketing.
  6. For the mobile nerds. Multi-screen is much more important than multi-device. How devices are used, especially for search, is becoming less differentiated when it comes to functionality. So it’s important to focus more on how you deliver messaging and graphics in different aspect ratios.  So hey marketers, we need to do a better job creating a seamless experience for prospects no matter the size of screen we’re serving.
  7. Humor is the new black. Need a way to navigate an ADD-addled marketplace? Make your pitch fun, funny, different. TV advertisers have learned that the best, and maybe only, way to keep viewers from skipping past commercials is to make them almost as interesting and entertaining as the shows they bookend. Marketers in other media need to learn from our black turtle-necked colleagues’ experience.


–  We’re growing, looking to add new team members on the east and west coast.  More on this soon.

–  We’ve added a new content marketing group (click here to learn more).

–  We’re adding two new analytics partnerships to enhance our ability to turn your firm’s data into actionable insights.

– This was going to be the fourth bullet that started with “we,” but I’m guessing you’re tired of reading about us for now.

What We Owe You

Four alternatives to a strategic or tactical marketing challenge you‘re facing.  And here’s our promise:  At least one of them will be an idea worth pursuing and one will be ridiculous just because (and see tip #7 above).  If we don’t deliver some value, we will send you a Crossbow cap.  Fair enough?  Ok, now get your queries on.

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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