Hair Pulling, Misplaced Blame, Tips, Work in 3D and a ______ Picture

My mother emerged from the downstairs playroom with two handfuls of my brother’s blonde hair and we both burst out laughing.  Let me be clear: My mom was and is a kind, patient, peaceful person.  But my three brothers and I could have incited Gandhi to violence.  On that day, many years ago, I had placed a baby snake on the counter where my mom was baking cookies. When she discovered that this was not a Gummi worm, she emitted a blood-curdling scream,  spotted me scurrying downstairs, and gave chase.  When she turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs she ran headlong into my younger brother Eric, who had popped up from his Atari console (Google it, Millennials) when he heard the commotion and darted by me toward the stairs, unaware that he was about to be the victim of a painful, albeit hilarious, case of mistaken identity…

The moral of this story, friends, and yes, you too colleagues, is that sometimes we get it wrong.  We punish the wrong people for the wrong reasons; we blame creative, when it was the media buy; we outsource competencies we should own internally; we believe that marketing automation systems actually deliver exactly what salespeople promise; we assume we can do it better than the experts we used to rely on; we wear flannel in July…  But there is much to be learned from mistakes.  There is great, redemptive power in recognizing we aren’t always right, and that we can and should do better.

Right then, thanks for indulging me good people.  On to meatier fare, tips drawn from the hard-earned experiences of our client-archers.

Tips and Topics

  1. Pump up your personalization.   Someone yells my name on a busy street in Gotham.  I’m focused on my destination so I may or may not turn around and take notice.  There are, after all, lots of Joes named Jay.  But then someone yells, “Hey, Jay Bower, below average football player from Waverly, PA.”  Well then, of course, I stop, turn around and pay attention.  This person must really know me.  In much the same way, you can and should push personalization in your prospect and nurture campaigns to another level by pairing names with geography or another definitive characteristic.  I bet you a Philly cheesesteak your response, open and click-through rates will increase dramatically.
  2. Why use YouTube vs. Vimeo.  If you are like, well, everyone, you are using more video on your site(s) and producing more for use on social channels.  You’re doing this because by 2021, 82% of all Internet traffic is predicted to be video. Like the static content you’re posting now, you want your video to be readily found by the people (and by people I again mean everyone) using search engines for answers, knowledge, insight, cookie recipes, etc.  And though Vimeo video quality is often better and its users more discerning, you have to go with the big dog.  Because YouTube is the second most searched site on the Internet and is owned by the most searched site, your video content is much more likely to be found there.
  3. Really sick of it?  Then embrace it.  When speaking to other marketers, I often hear members of our beloved community bemoaning the recurrence of tactics they’ve repeatedly seen.  For example, if I see one more “Five reasons why….” list, I think I might bite off a few of my fingernails.  But nibble my cuticles I must.  Why?  The fact is, we see these colors, words, offers and formats all over the place because they work, consistently delivering control-beating results.  So get off your high horse and put a saddle on that old gray mule you want to put out to pasture.
  4. Take this month’s 30-second MBA for Dummies course.  Michael Porter is the Michael Jordan of b-school strategy gurus; he dunks with his brain… His Five Forces model has always helped us put clients’ market dynamics into a broader perspective that helps us craft smarter go-to-market plans.  By assessing 1) competitive rivalry and intensity 2) the bargaining power of suppliers 3) the bargaining power of customers 4) the ability for new players to enter the market and 5) the threat of substitutes, we can better calibrate the strategic and investment recommendations that inform our work.  So clients get better bang for their buck because fewer course corrections and changes in scope are needed to succeed.  Class dismissed.
  5. Heck to the yes, you need a content strategy.  91% of all B2B marketers use content marketing, but 63% of businesses don’t have a published content strategy.  That, folks, is what we at the Crossbow Group Institute for the Startlingly Obvious, call a “disconnect.”  So may be suggest a solution thoroughly research and approved by our scientists:  Get one. Otherwise, you will spend more time and money than you need to and publish content that may not meet your targets customers’ needs and/or meet your business objectives.
  6. Make the brand and product folks nervous, uncomfortable, even queasy.  You read this right, good people.  This paradoxical truism has been beaten into my brain after years of hard experience with highly intelligent, well-meaning brand and product managers. If the prospect-facing content we’ve developed for them covers 100% of the features, benefits and messaging they’ve lovingly shepherded and curated, we’ve likely developed work that will overwhelm, bore and maybe even irritate the target audience even as it pleases the taskmasters who funded it.  Why?  Because we have failed to brutally prioritize for, and empathize with, a mobile customer with a three-second attention span.  Brevity is not just the soul of wit, it’s the key to consideration.
  7. SEO Pro Tip:  Make sure your text to HTML ratio is 10% or higher.  This one’s for you propeller-heads and would-be CX gurus. Your text to HTML ratio indicates the amount of actual text you have on your webpage compared to the amount of code. Search engines are focusing on pages that contain more content. That’s why a higher text to HTML ratio means your page has a better chance of getting a good position in search results. Less code increases your page’s load speed and also helps your rankings. It also helps search engine robots crawl your website faster.


“Fact or Fiction” Integrated (aka: Multi-channel) Lead Generation Campaign for Cigna Healthcare:

A ______picture

We have an inherent need to fill in the gaps.  That’s especially true for marketers and thinkers like you who were drawn to this blank canvas.  Think about how you can ask your customers and prospects to do the same thing.

As always, if I can do anything for you – make a connection, share some experience, pen a poem in your honor – please let me know.

Thanks again for your patient indulgence.   Have a great day!



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