Shock and Awww, Tips, Work and a Holiday Wish…

Friends and colleagues,

I did it again.  I rendered an entire room of people speechless.  Was it my boyish good looks, you ask?  No, not that. One of my daughters once described me as a “turd with hair.”  So was it my melodic singing voice?  Nope, most people would pay me not to croon.  The truth is I was speaking a language my audience didn’t fully understand.  By trying to impress with my knowledge of marketing, branding and technology, I lapsed into jargon, acronyms and platitudes.  I forgot that these good people had hired us to develop a clear, compelling launch campaign; to speak with them, not at them.  So my question for you, fellow marketers, and less fortunate non-marketers:  Are you speaking to your prospects and customers on their terms?

Ok, we good?  You hungry?  Then enjoy this holiday feast prepared by our dedicated archers:

Tips and Topics

  1. Try the Shock and Awe Test.   Ask your creative team, be they an internal group or an incredibly talented team headquartered in southwest CT, to show you at least one campaign idea a quarter that scares, amuses, befuddles or yes, shocks you.  You may not use it, but I guarantee it will help you redefine and re-establish boundaries.  And may make you laugh.  Or cry.  Or both…
  2. Interface or in your face?   Is your website the digital equivalent of the Griswold’s house in Christmas Vacation?  That might be ok if you’re a challenger brand in the consumer space trying to get attention and grab visitors by the lapels.  But if your site is chock full of animation, auto-looping video, dense copy and pop-ups you may be pushing prospects away. So make sure your page designs are in service to the desired user experience, not the other way around.  Or even Cousin Eddie might not come to visit.
  3. Personas please.   These days simple segmentation isn’t enough.  You need to understand your target customers’ behavioral tendencies as well as you do their demographics.  You need to know if young, urban, vocal professionals are driving the dialogue in your market.  You need to pivot if line operation managers are driving decisions more than the c-level decision makers your media plan was focused on.  Then you need to build data models that allow you to find and recruit more of the kind of people, the personae, who truly drive your business.
  4. Balance responsiveness with searchability.  As the conversion from desktop-driven sites to those optimized for tablets and handheld devices continues, we’re seeing many organizations abandoning content-rich pages for sleek, fast-loading pages that present well in a smaller format.  That’s understandable since Google is rewarding these decisions, but we counsel our clients to be thoughtful about not dumping all of their highly indexed content (on the first page in organic searches) just to accommodate responsive design theme templates.
  5. Lies, damned lies, and statistics (i.e., focus on metrics that matter).  Some marketers focus intently on metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) that are not aligned with their objectives for their digital activities.  For example, overall traffic is the most cited stat and perhaps the least useful.  If your traffic doubles, but the new visitors aren’t your target customers, what, in fact, have you achieved?  Or if you track time on site for a web presence that’s designed to be a lead generating “lily pad,” can you really improve your customer experience using that metric?  So what now, Bower?  May I suggest the following:  Find out which three to five metrics are predictive and actionable and focus on them to the exclusion of all other digital stats that may be interesting, but aren’t driving your business.  You’ll have more time to focus on other strategic priorities (like filming your department’s Mannequin Challenge.)
  6. Fill in the gaps, Part Deux.  Every company should not only be able to finish the following sentences, but the senior leadership team should be able to do so verbatim.  We are in this business because _______.  Our best customer, our highest expectation customer (nod to Julie Supan), is _________.  Our “est,” the thing we do better than everyone else, is__________.    The most successful companies, those whose goals and objectives are completely aligned with their target markets’, are almost always able to get an “A” on this pop quiz.  Will yours?
  7. Search and ye shall find… much less traffic coming to your unsecured site.   Beginning in January, Google is going to label sites that collect confidential information as “Not secure” unless they’re protected with a dedicated IP and SSL certificate.  So if you collect sensitive information or transact online (like ~20% of sites…)  and don’t do so with an additional layer of security you can gain through a quickly, relatively inexpensively procured SSL (Secure Socket Layer as the propeller-heads out there know already) search results which include your site will essentially have a big red “Enter at your own risk” sign on them.  And that people, is going to materially suppress your web traffic.   Our reco:  ask you resident web geeeks, webmasters and/or outside resources if your site is in fact secured.  There, I said it.

Work in Process

We’re working on some fascinating projects for clients who are trying new things:

  • Developing an interactive assessment tool that uses branching logic and a predictive algorithm (that is, it points customers down a specific path based on what they do and tell us about themselves).
  • Re-naming and re-positioning an existing software solution with significant equity in their current branding, but serious headwinds in their competitive set.
  • A five-country launch of a new website with a fully dynamic content management and distribution platform. In other, simpler words, this site updates messaging on the fly.
  • Integrated campaign for Invisalign:

A Holiday Wish

First, thanks for your patience and patronage.  You are good people who deserve the best.  Ok, some of you are going to be lugging around really heavy, coal-filled stockings in a couple weeks.  But just a wish that you pay something forward professionally and/or personally.  Do a solid for someone who can’t or won’t give you anything in return.  Give as much or more than you take.  Listen as much or more than you speak.

And if I can do anything for you – make a connection, provide a perspective, provide a high interest loan – please let me know.

Thanks again for patient indulgence.   Have a great day!



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