W.I.P., Tips, News and Fleecing

Friends and colleagues,

Ever been punched in the face?  Growing up with three brothers, I have.  Many times.  My immediate reaction was “my goodness gracious, I’d like very much for that not to happen again”.  In the same way, when team members or clients start a creative review session with the words “I think” I can almost see my brother Eric pulling his fist back like an oversized crab apple in a slingshot.  Why?  Because what you think or I think doesn’t really matter.  In fact, it complicates, obscures, distracts and yes, it hurts.  Like a right hook to the jaw.  What does matter are the mind and voice of your customer.  And oh yeah, transactional data.  In other words, what target customers think, say and do.

Ok, enough preaching to the choir.  Let’s get to the beef and barley.


  • If you’re app’y and you know it….   Before you start developing an “app” and putting yourself through Apple’s and Android’s rigorous review processes, consider building a mobile-optimized web site.  It may be a little less cool, but if it serves your business objectives you may be able to save your company time and money.
  • Win hearts first, minds second.  When prospecting for new customers focus on targeting customers’ “deep” needs and try to establish emotional connections.  Once the brand bond is established you can focus customer communications on rational appeals since you’ve already gained consideration.  Obvious, right?  Then why do so many Fortune 1000 companies market features first?
  • Invest in unstructured observation.  In other words spend time watching your customers do what they do – in their environment.  No surveys, no double-blinding, no two-way glass, no moderator.  Just spend time with your peeps, watch them use your products or services.  I can almost guarantee you’ll gain at least one significant insight that will change the way you do business.
  • Read it aloud.  Most effective marketing copy “reads” conversationally.   But the only way you’d know that it is to read it aloud, preferably to others.  I guarantee you’ll find ways to improve what you’ve written once you hear it.
  • Assume the sale.  We’ve been having great success with acquisition communications – mail, email – that don’t sell, promote, or persuade, but rather notify and direct as if what we’re asking is something the prospect or customer should simply get done – right now.  Let me know if you want to see some examples.


  • Despite tip #1, we’re building apps, lots of them.  Demand is there so we’re responding.  Contact me if you want to learn more.
  • We made top agency lists for B-to-B and Ad Age.  Again!  Who knew?
  • Westport is the new Seattle (minus the grunge movement).  The sun stayed out for a full day here for the first time in almost 30 days.

We want you wearing our colors.  That can be a tattoo or in this case a Crossbow fleece.  Be one of the first 10 friends to reply to this note and we’ll send you the 2011 edition post haste.

That’s the latest.  Be well and be good.



P.S.  Rather not receive these occasional updates?  Just let me know and I’ll take you off the list, no questions asked.

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