BrandMill Wins 3 Pittsburgh PRSA Renaissance Awards

Fact WRII Poster finalLast Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) honored the region’s
best public relations campaigns and tactics, as well as its most admired communicators, during the 2009 Renaissance Awards.

Held in the East Club Lounge at Heinz Field, the Renaissance Awards were emceed by Andrew Stockey,
anchor of WTAE-TV Channel 4 Action News. In attendance were some of the country’s leading communications professionals representing global agencies, Fortune 500 corporations, and elite higher education

An independent judging panel from the Los Angeles Public Relations Society of America evaluated nominations for more than 40 award categories, such as special events, media relations campaigns, and direct mail pieces. The top entries earned the coveted Renaissance Award, while runners-up received the Award of Merit.

I’m proud to report that the Pittsburgh Public Relations Society of America honored BrandMill with three First Place Renaissance Awards for Best Public Affairs Campaign, Best Press Kit and Best Poster for the Whiskey Rebellion II campaign to “Axe the 10% Drink Tax” in Allegheny County.

These three PRSA Renaissance awards complement BrandMill’s and F.A.C.T.’s (Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation) Marketer of the Year award in the Sports Entertainment Hospitality award (and third runner-up overall for Grand Marketer of the Year) for its Whiskey Rebellion II campaign given by the American Marketing Association of Pittsburgh this past December.

Here is a link to the Pittsburgh PRSA’s press release about the 2009 Renaissance Awards.


Worldwide Email Open Rates

Time and again, my clients are always curious about open rates and how to increase them.

Here is an eMarketer chart sourced from MailerMailer detailing worldwide open rates.

Email open rates worldwide

We all know that shorter subject lines perform better than longer ones, but how well?

In this study, subject lines of less than 35 characters yielded an average open rate
of 19.6% and a 3.1% average click rate. E-mails with subject lines of
35 or more characters drew average open rates of 14.8% and average
click rates of 1.9%.

Email may not be as sexy as other digital marketing tactics, but it still works well if you do it well.


U.S. Online Advertising Spending, Viewing and Use Growing

Here's another great chart detailing U.S. Online Advertising Spending trends.

eMarketer estimates that paid
search spending will not only rise in 2009, but double between 2009 and
2013, when it will approach $24 billion.

Even if the economic crisis levels
off this prediction, made in August 2008, the accountability of paid
search makes it more valuable than most other forms of advertising,
online or offline.

Marketing accountability is key.

US Online Advertising Spending

Here are some other encouraging links charts about online advertising viewing penetration.

U.S. Online Video Advertising Viewer Penetration

And online advertising viewing too. .

U.S. Online Video Advertising Viewers

Certainly this is an area to increase your marketing skill as most marketers agree!

Tactics marketers plan to increase


Text Marketing On The Loose

Nielsen: Text Marketing to Become More Prevalent

Text message marketing is high on my list of new marketing tools to offer my clients and here are just a few reasons why.

According to Nielsen’s Telecom Practice text messaging is starting to catch on because of consumer's heavy use of texting.

Check it out:

  • U.S. consumers now use their cell
    phones for text messaging more often than for talking
  • The average
    U.S. wireless user makes 204 calls and placing 357
    text messages each month
  • 70% of consumers who've responded to a mobile
    marketing offer say they’ve responded to a marketing text message vs. 41% who’ve responded to a survey and 30% to
    email offers

Marketers are using SMS marketing in a
number of creative range of ways such as simple information messaging, rewards
programming and couponing.

Here are some impressive national SMS campaign results:

  • Coca-Cola’s My Coke Rewards program engaged 1.1 million AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers as of
    Q3 2008
  • Radio station Alice 97.3 KLLC-FM in San Francisco
    invited listeners to send messages to the station to make requests, win
    prizes and enter polls. According to Nielsen, more than 1 million
    transactions with the short code A-L-I-C-E were sent.

A recent Nielsen study found that U.S. consumers now use their cell
phones for text messaging more often than for talking, with the average
wireless user in the United States making 204 calls and placing 357
text messages each month, writes CourierNewsOnline.

Some 70 percent of consumers who have responded to a mobile
marketing offer say they’ve responded to a marketing text message –
compared with 41 percent who’ve responded to a survey and 30 percent to
email offers – according to the Direct Marketing Association.

Check out this eMarketer chart showing how text messaging has overtaken phone calls.

Text messaging overtakes mobile voice calls

Now these numbers may have shifted a bit due to our current economic crisis, but you can be sure that the amazing trend for Mobile advertising will continue.

U.S. Mobile Advertising Spending

Sources: Adweek, eMarketer, CourierNewsOnline, Direct Marketing Association, Nielsen.


Neuroscience Marketing Rocks

NeuroI’ve been following neuroscience marketing for a little over a year now and I continue to be amazed at the breakthroughs and key learnings being discovered seemingly every day.

I’ve been applying some tactics based upon insights I’ve gained. In the areas of fundraising for non-profits and new business generation initiatives, I’ve been quite happy with the results.

Here’s a link to a great blog post that details a unique twist on the use of personalized handwritten notes in marketing communications.

A survey was mailed with three different cover letters:

  1. A printed letter.
  2. A printed letter with a handwritten message.
  3. A printed letter with a handwritten message on a Post-It note.

Here was the response rates for each tactic:

  • 36% response for the plain printed cover letter
  • Adding
    the handwritten note improved the response rate by one third to 48%
  • The Post-It more than doubled the response to 75%.
  • A second test was done to see if some magic in the Post-It note was
    responsible for the higher response rate included cover letters with a
    blank sticky note attached. That approach generated only a slightly
    higher response rate of 42%.

What seems to cause the
boost is a “reciprocity” effect. That is, the recipient recognizes that the
sender put some personal effort into the mailing, and is
more likely to reciprocate with some effort of his own.

Try it, you might like it.


Tom Peter’s advice for tough times

I've been a big fan of Tom Peters for years and thought you'd welcome his advice for these tough times ….

  1. Excellence. Get on with doing the business you have and see it through brilliantly.
  2. Stick to the basics. Keep it simple! The devil is always in the details. 
  3. Opportunism. there may be a lot of room for it–will pay off through speed off the mark and excellence in execution. 
  4. Visibility. March toward the sound of the guns. MBWA. People have to see who they are working for and who they are dealing with. 
  5. Transparency. Be absolutely straight with people, especially those at the front line. People who play the blame game in any way, shape, or form are straight out of here!
  6. Demeanour. Banish “gloomy” from your persona, even if it kills you! But remember, “sunny” is pretty stupid, too. Who do you think you are kidding?
  7. Paradox. Have a Positive Mental Attitude AND be ready for the worst (this recession might easily go on for 24 months).

I'll add one – quickly, effectively and profitably deliver a true advantage!

Source: Tom Peters Company, 17th November 2008


7 Keys to Building Your Brand Message

7Great ideas and messages have these seven common traits.

  1. They are Short. Brevity breeds clarity.
  2. They are Simple. Make it meaningfully clear and easy to understand, remember and pass along.
  3. They are Surprising. Generate interest, excitement and buzz.
  4. They are Strong. Make your message have teeth – something you can bite into and be solid.
  5. They are Sound. Is your claim credible, believable?
  6. They cause a Sensation. Does your message move people? Does it appeal to their emotions?
  7. They tell a Story. Can people quickly and effectively remember and ass along your unique story.

Does your idea or message have just a few or all seven?

If your message is holding all seven cards you've got a great hand!


The Message is the Message

Marshall McLuhan
would be laughed at today if he would be so bold as to say his familiar quote, “the medium is the message.” He'd be laughed at because he'd be flat out wrong!

Today, marketers still think too much about the medium – TV, the internet, email, direct mail etc. – but the medium does not matter if the message is strong, powerful, meaningful and true.

It's the message – YOUR MESSAGE – stupid!