Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

I am so thankful for all the love, grace and happiness in my life. Every day, I feel so blessed just to be here at this moment, at this time. Since Thanksgiving 2017 is this week, I thought I would share my appreciation with those of you who read my blog each week. I’m so thankful to have the love and support of family. It is the true nourishment of my life that sustains me. From my 90-year-old mom Bea, my wife Ra El, my children Sarah & Adam, Fanny & Tony – thank you for filling me with love, kindness, and laughter. And to my siblings and their families, I’m so blessed to be woven together into the fabric our stories. After writing 850 blog posts over the last seven years, I’m thankful for the thousands of people I don’t know, who read my thoughts and ramblings. It is an honor that you give me even a few moments each week to read what’s on the marketing portion of my mind. I hope that you learn something that helps you in your work. I learn every day from the comments, emails, and notes you send to me. I’m thankful for teachers I keep learning from through books, lectures, podcasts, webinars, clients, and colleagues. There are too many to name but through the amazing times we live in, I can learn something new every day, and that is such a gift. I am so thankful to be here. Wishing you a joyful day overflowing with the important kind of nourishment we all need every day. Photo credit: Photo by John Baker on Unsplash...
Dumb Ways to Die

Dumb Ways to Die

Isn’t it interesting how one topic can keep coming up over and over again? Several new clients asked a variation of the same question: “Why isn’t our marketing more effective? Why doesn’t it breakthrough the clutter. We create content, but no one is listening.” These companies all thought that they could sell to their clients by sharing facts about their product or service. Their content was very right brain – logical, factual and practical.  What was absent from each tactic was heart. There was no soul or compassion for the problems they solved for customers. Just a laundry list of boring features. Every aspect of their marketing was average, dull, and no one would ever notice. People Act or Buy for Illogical, Emotional Reasons We make decisions based on irrational, and illogical reasons. We may try to convince people to act or buy based on a long, rational argument, but most behavior is rarely motivated by logic. We rationalize purchases but that is different from what drives the motivation. When a small marketing agency in Melbourne, Australia was challenged to help prevent accidental train deaths, they decided that one more sign was never going to get noticed. The obvious marketing approach was to create a sign or a PSA to scare people. Warning signs blend into the landscape, and no one pays attention to them. So they created a bunch of crazy characters and some addictive music showing all the dumb ways there are to die. They entertained an audience first – and their important message broke through at the end. People noticed it. In fact, Dumb Ways to Die...
Experiential Marketing

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is an important approach to bring a brand to life and to create an emotional bond.  Imagine going into a shoe store who doesn’t sell shoes. Instead, you can try on every style and type available and experience the brand. But if you want to buy, someone will order the shoe online and send it to your home. The store is designed to experience the brand and to allow online to live and breathe in front of your eyes. Shopping patterns are changing – how are you adjusting? M.Gemi, an NY based high-end shoe retailer, needed to find a way to allow consumers to engage with their products in a more profound way than if they just went to the website.  They “drop” new shoes every Monday, not only seasonally like other shops. But e-commerce doesn’t allow for tangibility or to touch, feel and interact with real human beings. Customers would spend a few minutes online, but the owners thought they needed a way to enrich the brand’s experience. They opened a physical store in Soho and one in Boston. Each store is not transactional, and you can’t walk out with shoes. They call them “fit shops” that allow you to try before you buy. The store allowed the online retailer to bring a human and personal touch to life that pixels can never do. By blending digital and physical, they created a more satisfying and successful shopping experience. Parachute, a Santa Monica based e-commerce home furnishing company, also wanted to bring the Parachute lifestyle to life by creating both a storefront and a rental apartment filled...
Marketing Testing

Marketing Testing

Are you testing every aspect of your marketing efforts?  If you send out emails, are you testing different subject lines to see which gets opened the most? A simple A/B test can increase the number of people who read your email and the test is free. Are you testing packaging design in two markets to determine if one label is more effective than the other at gaining awareness? Yes, it costs more to test two ideas, but what if one might hurt sales by double-digit? Did you test your promotional offer last month with your distributors to see if one offer is more effective versus another at getting customers to place an order for something new you are selling? When you designed a new logo, did you show two similar groups of consumers/customer the logos to gauge their reaction, or did you just show one? Packaging change requires lots of tests. In creating a new tradeshow booth, did you just present one idea to your sales team or did you ask them to choose among two concepts? Taking the Marketing Test Marketing is a series of tests. When a new client asks me if a new approach will work, I always tell them I don’t know, but we can create a small test to learn if we are on the right path. Making sweeping changes can be dangerous, just ask big orange. When Tropicana changed their packaging several years ago, it was so disastrous that sales plummeted by 20% at a cost of $30 million dollars nationally. Why they didn’t test the new packaging in a limited region is still...
The Exclusive Club – Scarcity Marketing

The Exclusive Club – Scarcity Marketing

I had a fascinating confidential conversation this week with a company that sells luxury goods. Because I promised to keep the details private, I can only tell you in general terms about her approach to marketing and how she gets customers to wait in line to buy her special products. Imagine having the power of turning away customers because what you sell has a scarce, limited and was created with an exclusive marketing mindset from the start.  When Denise (not her real name) got into her business, she didn’t want to market her upscale, luxury product like everyone else. She knew that she needed to tap into the powerful desire people have for something they can’t easily get. Marketing Scarcity – The Exclusive Club She started by creating an exclusive club that you have to wait in line to become a member. There wasn’t any cost to join the waiting list, and there was no guarantee that you would be able to get into the club. But everyone had to wait in line at least one year to become a member. Waiting in line made membership valuable. Denise also didn’t sell her goods in places that his competitors sold their products because she didn’t want any competitors. She knew that being in a store or on a shelf would give the perception that this product was like every other product on the shelf – just packaged differently. She only sold directly to members who had waited at least one year to buy from her. Imagine the stories his customers shared that they had to wait one year to buy from...
Easy to Spread Marketing

Easy to Spread Marketing

When you are with friends or work colleagues, do you hear them sharing stories about brands? The savvy marketing professional is always listening to hear how information gets communicated from friend to friend. Whether online or in person, there is much to learn by observing what happens right in front of you. At a gathering of friends a few weeks ago, I heard several brands mentioned with important information passed along. How much did the company or brand contribute to helping make the story easy to spread? Was the message being spread what the brand manager intended? Spreading the Marketing Message How are you enabling information about your brand to be spread to others? If you serve an audience with a special need, people within the community will tell like-minded consumers (veterans telling other veteran families about services owned by veterans). There are veteran Facebook groups where people share stories about their own fellow veterans. These communities offer powerful opportunities to spread positive stories if you avoid an overly commercialized message. What community exists for your products and services?  Does the brand behave differently than you would expect from the category? Patagonia encouraging consumers not to buy too much of their product. Imagine a brand running ads that are counterprogramming what you expect. Don’t buy more than you need – that’s a message you rarely here in retail and Patagonia had their message spread millions of times in social media. Can you create counter-category messaging to separate yourself from the pack?  Posting bite-sized story nuggets that customers can easily share with friends that will entertain or educate them without being...