Sans of Humor? Salty Language, Tips, News and a Honeypot…

Friends and colleagues, 

There is nothing funny about what’s happening in the world right now.  But personally, I believe it’s important to maintain a sense of humor and perspective.  I don’t have much else to lean on.  I’m not the brightest light on the lamp post.   And I have been told I look a bit like Matthew Broderick or Mark Wahlberg – if they’d repeatedly been punched in the face, stopped working out and misplaced their Grecian Formula.  And despite my firm belief that I am not asleep, my daughters tell me that I am not fully “woke.” But I am a pretty good listener and observer.  I will chuckle before I sneer.  I learn well the lessons of failure.  And I know – I am absolutely certain – that better days are coming. 

So that’s me.  A lot of “I’s” in that last paragraph.  Not that interesting, right?  But these tips and trends, curated by our archers, ARE worth your time.  Promise. 

Tips (and Topics)

  1. Know your Lingua Frank(a).  We work in some business segments populated by gritty, no-nonsense, roll up your sleeves, doers.  Like Ernest Hemingway, they are not big fans of adjectives, hyperbole, long-form copy or drinks with umbrellas in them. And this is the problem:  Many of the product marketers and copywriters charged with advertising products and services in these segments dearly love adjectives, hyperbole, feature-laden copy and yes, canopied cocktails.  Our solution:  We have our clients and writers spend at least a day virtually talking shop with market participants and sharing sample copy. They learn to talk plainly to and with (vs. at) the customer.  They cut to the chase, simplify the language used, focus on one or two relevant benefits and provide one clear, primary call to action and one secondary, more passive engagement option.  And guess what?  Frank notices that you speak his language, pays attention and responds.
  2. Icon or I can’t.  Developers, publishers and marketers are using these little digital badges to get people to what they want without using too much real estate on the handheld screens we all spend more time on every day.  But as intensely negative reaction to Facebook’s new user interface design indicates, using vague, coded iconography that doesn’t immediately translate, will frustrate and even enrage users.  So before your hipster designers run amok, user-test the heck out of their handiwork to ensure that at least 80% of your customers clearly understand what the icon means and does.
  3. How to rock your virtual event.  You won’t be heading to Vegas or Orlando anytime soon and for now, that’s not a bad thing since what happens in Orlando never stays in Orlando…    But we are all spending a lot of time working on digital substitutes for things we used to do in person.  Having worked on more than a few of these virtual events in the last few months, we can offer the following advice:  1)  Don’t charge much, if anything, for attending.  2) Make registration stupid-simple and fast. Collect additional information after the first submission. 3) Don’t overpromise on the user experience.  Though there’s some decent virtual event software, it most certainly is NOT a proxy for face to face engagement; what’s promised by over-eager market entrants does not do everything advertised.  4) Be crystal clear about live vs. recorded sessions so users understand the commitment needed.  5) It’s still about networking.  Make it easy for attendees to connect with one another. 6) Use your CRM tools to provide behaviorally triggered custom communications, well-timed event reminders and hyper-relevant calls to action.  Capeesh?
  4. How to avoid analysis paralysis.  In the age of accountability and attribution, there is a tendency to build dashboards and spreadsheets chock full of graphics, sliders, columns and yes, way too much data.  The irony is that the more information that’s presented, the harder it becomes to draw actionable conclusions.  And the truth is that paying close attention to three to five metrics – the true drivers of business performance – will allow you to spend much less time collecting, filtering and presenting data and more time using insights to work in and on your business.  Yet another deposit in the Bank of the Frighteningly Obvious, but I bet you a three wood that more than a few of you are working on yet another dense executive briefing package right now.
  5. Want to double your conversion rates?  Form fill rates dropping?  Folks abandoning shopping carts and landing pages at higher rates?  Assuming your answer is yes (because that IS the answer for 90% of you), I’d strongly suggest you test the following approaches: 1) If you are marketing to existing customers or a customized target segment, pre-fill forms with customer data so that all your interested visitor needs to do is click “Submit” or “Yes, I’d like that” or “I’m in!” when they get to the water’s edge.  2) Test the use of an AI-enabled engagement bot.  Many of you know I am no fan of robots, but firms like Drift and Fizzybot use decision trees and AI-enabled questions and characters that make it easy and/or even fun to engage.  In our tests, both approaches significantly increased lead-to-opportunity rates.
  6. Instagram is Reeling.  In the era of ever-shortening attention spans, short-form video is having its moment in the spotlight.  Witness (or ignore) TikTok.  But if you’re not into twitchy teens, preening prima donnas and life-threatening leaps, you have another, more grown-up option if you want to tell your brand’s story using this A/V format:  Instagram Reels.  Rolled out to most users in August, this feature allows you to film 3-15 second videos which can be filmed as one full take or a series of takes stitched together.  Then using the Facebook (Instagram’s doting parent) advertising platform, you can target these videos at a more sophisticated demographic.  Interested in learning more?  Ping one of our archers.
  7. How to be a beacon of sanity in a world that’s gone mad.   Start here:  understand and leverage three key factors shaping consumer behavior.  One, gratification. It has, in short, been delayed for most of us.  We all want to do what we used to do.  So tell folks how your brand will facilitate that brighter future.  Two, agency.  We all feel like we have less control over our lives and outcomes.  So talk about how your product or services puts the power of choice back into the hands of your target consumers.  Three, stability.  Man, if that was a beverage wouldn’t we all want to supersize it?  So remind your peeps how your brand provides a reliable and predictable experience, something they can count on when other parts of their lives simply don’t make sense.  Shout-out to our friends at The Blake Project for germinating this tip.


  1. We are launching a new site and a new logo.  We turned 21 on September 1 so we are planning to update our look, feel and message.  And then we’re heading out for a cold one and we want to treat you all to a round of refreshments.  Vague enough for you? More on that soon.
  2. We have always offered integrated marketing services on an agency, outsourced or supplemental basis, but as of February we also offer bridge/temporary/fractional team staffing and training, as well as full-time placement services.  So, no matter the nature of your marketing needs we are here to support you, allowing you to use one resource to meet your needs.  Want to learn more?  Contact me or our archers.


A Honeypot…

I want to tell you I’m above using free gear as a honeypot for engagement with you, my community, my team, my people.  But I’d be lyin’.  So if you want some vintage Crossbow gear (shirts, hats, arrows, etc.) we have a limited supply to distribute to the gluttons for punishment who made it to this point.  Reply to my note and we’ll see what we can do to make you even cooler than you are now.

As always, if I can do anything for you – make a connection, share some experience, serve as a background singer for your Zoom cocktail presentations – please let me know.

Thanks again for your patient indulgence.



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