Tips, W.I.P., News and The Hat We Want You Wearing

Friends and colleagues,

You are some of the smartest people I know. You’re also kind, philanthropic, a friend to animals and better looking than 47% of the population. You are The Most Interesting Man in the World which is all the more impressive since roughly half of you are female.

You’re still reading, right? And why is that the case? Because you like what you are reading and at some level you want to believe all of this is true. You want to be persuaded.  Sociologically and anthropologically speaking, we all have a deep need to be loved and appreciated – publicly if possible. What’s your point, Jay? It is, friend, this: people will tell you they don’t want to be marketed to and they don’t want to be sold anything, but the truth is if you acknowledge and embrace human nature, if you appeal to basic human needs, if you make people feel special, different and understood, they not only like marketing, they love it, want it and yes, even need it.

Mind blown? Or are your fingers balling into a fist? Either way, please stay with me because the entrée follows the appetizer and I need to know if the tips and WIP that follow are satisfying your hunger.


  1. Try the Find and Replace Test. You’ve written some killer copy.  It’s clean, compelling, concise and convincing. You’re about to reward yourself with a Snickers and Diet Coke. But before you do, try this: find and replace every mention of your company or product with the name of your key competitor. Does it still work, just not for you? If so, do the right thing: start again with copy that not only sizzles and scintillates, but clearly differentiates you.
  2. Infographics are the new black. When to wear black.  Ok, USA Today, you win. Your easy-to-process graphical representations of facts, figures, really any of information, are everywhere. In fact, there are so many of these things popping up, that Bieber-inspired questions of overexposure are emerging. So when then, do you go with an infographic? Here are some quick screening questions: 1) Will this tell your story faster, better? 2) Do you have the time resources that can make your infographic really “work?”  3) If not, do you own a phone?  If you’ve answered yes to question #3 call us or your marketing partner of choice.
  3. Test Facebook’s latest tool (but don’t buy their stock just yet). We’ve heard through a reliable grapevine that Zuck and friends are about to unveil a very cool targeting technology called “Audiences.” You can upload email (or phone and eventually name/address) lists as small as 20 or as large as you want and they match against their users (80%+ match rate) and that list becomes a cluster that you can run ads against. Given Facebook’s reach and frequency (500MM+ users login every day), this instantly becomes a really effective way to stay in front of your customers with personalized messages.
  4. Title tags trump meta descriptions. But don’t mess with meta. A little love for you organic (aka “natural”) search fans. And apologies in advance, this gets geeky. It’s important to remember that Google’s evanescent (SAT word from my daughter!) algorithms index title tags and meta descriptions. However, meta descriptions are not considered a tactic for ranking. That noted, meta descriptions are what users will see in their results that provide a description of the page and should use the same targeted keyword used in the title tag. Meta descriptions drive click through rates to that specific page. The takeaway: make sure these two kissing cousins inform one another clearly and compellingly. Make sense? If not, call me, maybe?
  5. Keep a “Good Work” file and steal like a felon. In moments of weakness, our team at Crossbow Group acknowledges that we’re not the only ones who do really good work – marketing and advertising that we think is well conceived and really effective. So every one of our folks, from the unruly creatives, to the Type A account and strategy directors, to the interactive guys with the funny t-shirts and Axe body spray keeps a good work file. And once every month or so we bring these files to a WIP (Work in Process; see below) meeting, share the best stuff and talk about what we will “appropriate” for our clients. You probably do something like this, but I’d suggest you formalize this larceny.
  6. Think like Claude Levi-Strauss. Just don’t dress like him. I hate giving credit to the French for anything more than fries, but they hatched a good one in CLS. His theories about structural anthropology held that scientific analysis of language and relationships can allow us to predict behavior. The appeal for marketers is obvious. The path to application is less so. But in short, CLS showed us the importance and value of distilling huge amounts of behavioral data into essential truths about how humans, regardless of cultural influences, act and communicate. His lesson: find the art in the science. Lourd, oui?
  7. Sweat the small stuff. Your perception of a company changes when you find a misspelling or factual inaccuracy on their web site, packaging or email… And that’s not a change for the better. So learn to love spellcheck and your irritatingly precise proofreader.
  8. Don’t sweat the small stuff. All of the t’s are crossed, the i’s dotted, leading and kerning are perfect. The colors and clearances are brand compliant. Messaging hierarchies have been applied, checked and double-checked. But the big picture is as muddy as a crawfish in chocolate pudding.  The point: you have about two seconds, maybe less, to make a positive first impression. If that first glance, the meta message, doesn’t grab your target audience by the lapels, all the precision and detail – the small stuff – won’t matter.


  • We landed three new clients, including RightAnswers, a leading Knowledge Management and self-service solution for large enterprises and organizations. As for the other two well-known brands, I can’t tell you who they are or what they do. No offense to my friends who are lawyers or in procurement, but you stink!
  • We’re formalizing a partnership with one of the hottest data management platform providers. This means you’ll be able to do things like customize your prospects’ user experience on their first visit to your site (vs. the second after you’ve cookied them). Interested? Call me at 203-222-2244.
  • We’re getting ready to release version 3.0 of WebVantage, our metrics-based, comparative web assessment solution. Stay tuned.
  • New news coming soon on Crossbow Group in the Bay area and NYC. How’s that for a vague tease?

The Hat We Want You Wearing:


You will look good in this and will receive knowing glances and conspiratorial nods. We’ll get you a free cap IF (you knew this was coming) you agree to beta test WebVantage (see 3rd bullet in News). In? Then email or call me at 203-222-1645.

There. We’re done. Until next time.

Your friend and colleague,


W.I.P. (Work in Progress)

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