My Furrowing Brow, Tips and the Elephant in the Room

Friends and colleagues,

I have deep creases between my eyes; my brow literally furrows. It looks like I have either been thinking hard (whatever that means) or worrying constantly.  My kids delight in telling me that this is the early onset of a resting b_ _ch face. I hope they are wrong because I’d rather not be misperceived as misanthropic (you know, a jerk). The truth is we’re all worried about projecting an image inconsistent both with who we think we are and who we actually are.  With both people and brands, misalignment of perception and reality can be painful and expensive.  But let’s get back to my problematic forehead… and tips curated by Crossbow’s growing team of dermatologically gifted archers.


  1. Tag, you’re it.   Remember Tag, the game we all played as kids?  Well, this has nothing to almost nothing to do with that.  But Google’s latest dynamic tagging solution allows you to gain new levels of insight into when, where and how prospects and customers “convert” (that is take an action you want them to take) on your website.  If your web geeks already use Google Tag Manager you’re already “it”;  your existing tags will convert automatically.  But if you don’t, or you’ve been living in a cave, get Google Analytics installed and dynamic tagging in place.  You’ll learn more, know more, and be able to improve your website user’s experience.  Perplexed?  Flummoxed?  Verklempt?  Call us.  We’ll get you in the game.
  1. A/B, see?  With the explosion of data at every level of the so-called “funnel” we have seen a noticeable drop-off in basic testing.  Why?  Because your growing teams of data scientists and analysts think they can answer almost any question based on crunching transactional history, yours and others’.  This is what we in the trade call “irony.”  Though the factors that drive activity CAN be measured faster and in more detail than before, simple things like an email subject line can change response as much as 50%.  So why not conduct a simple A vs. B test of different lines with 5-10% of your list before you roll-out to your entire list.  You’ll not only see more clearly, you might get invited to the data team’s Dungeon and Dragons get-togethers.
  1. Lead, follow or get the L out of the way.  Well intentioned Allbird-wearing  user experience practitioners spend a lot of time adding bells and whistles and heaps of rich content to sites in order to increase engagement among new and repeat visitors.  But too often all this cool new stuff noticeably slows load time and increases lag (the dreaded “L” word) time.  No big deal you say, our loyal peeps won’t mind waiting a beat or two more to enjoy this feast.  Au contraire mon frère.  In the age of the disappearing attention span, your users will not tolerate anything slower than what they have now. So make sure all those plug-ins, videos, widgets and forms can be delivered as quickly or faster than before.
  1. A word to the whys.  Actually a few words.  When introducing, refreshing or repositioning your brand, I urge you to clearly, concisely and compellingly answer these three questions:  1) Why do you exist?  2) Why do you do what you do?  3) Why does your product, service, your organization make the world a better place?  Why Jay, you ask slack-jawed.  Two reasons:  1) Answering these questions allows you to tell your story and share your narrative in a way that appeals to both hearts and minds.  And 2)  In a business environment where ESG (environmental, socials and governance) factors are ascendant, your community – your employees, investors, supporters, customers, prospects, etc. – want, no, require, the answers to these questions.
  1. If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway?  New ownership and/or executive leadership ride into town with new energy, an appetite for change, visions of grandeur, yada, yada, you get it. But all too often they focus on retrenching perfectly fine trenches, the same ones that worked so well that the business sold at a high multiple.  They pay branding firms to develop new logos and invent new fonts.  They hire self-important, Westport, CT-based integrated marketing firms to develop new go-to-market plans to replace campaigns that might only need tweaking or –  wait for it – don’t need any change at all.  We love the missionary zeal, but the truth is change for the sake of change, not backed by rigorous analytics, voice of customer and industry best practices, is indulgent, arrogant and can damage your brand.  Ok, rant over, I’ve slid off my soap box.
  1. For the 3,418th time, make it about them.  We just watched a live web event publicized as a news event related to that company.  The marketing for this event didn’t mention the target customer. It didn’t address their challenges or opportunities.  It didn’t preview potential benefits.  You know who showed up for the event?  Everyone who works for that company.  And maybe one prospect.  ‘nuf said?
  1. Be solicitous.  If you’re a B2C company and you have a segment-leading product or service that your customer can’t live without, we strongly suggest you ask them to share that experience and make it ridiculously easy for them to provide a positive review on your site and/or others.  That means ensuring you have an updated accurate Google My Business listing, an active Facebook Business page and URLs that direct folks to the Review sections of these pages and listings.  We’d further recommend you use tools such as Place ID finder to create a link that automatically opens a review form for users.  Need help building an action plan?  Call your local archer.
  1. Try before you buy (a _ _ _ _-ton of media).   If you’ve worked with us, you know we roll.  We recommend that before you commit to a huge media buy, you test that very same media at as low a cost you can, consistent with achieving statistically significant results.  Bower, that’s stupid obvious, you say.  But then why do companies and organizations – some of them run by growth-crazed execs chronicled in tip #5 above – continue to bet the farm even though the crop yield is high, the cattle well fed and the fowl fertile?

The Elephant in the Room

Here he is.  And so are you.  Marketing!

As always, if I can do anything for you – make a connection, share some experience, remind you that a t-shirt and denim cut-offs might work at home, but probably not back at the office – please let me know.

Thanks again for your patient indulgence.



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-personalize and mass-customize these notes through an email service provider like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or a CRM system?  Ask me.

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