Guilty on All Three Counts

NERD ALERT!

This chart shows that nearly 30% of U.S. consumers use their cell phones and/or computers at the same time they watch TV.

And, I have to say that I’m guilty on all three counts and possibly four, because I can hold a conversation at the same time – at least I think so – but, don’t ask my wife!

The integration of marketing messages across platforms is becoming more critical by the minute – as well as the ability for Brand’s to create clear, easy to understand and remarkably meaningful communications.

Keep this chart in mind the next time you try to pack 60 seconds of vanilla milkshake copy into a 30 second television commercial!

Source: Experian Simmons DataStream 4.13.10

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Email Marketing to Double by 2014

Forrester says that by 2014 (see Advertising Age article), you and most of your customers are going to get over 9,000 email marketing messages a year which is about 25 messages per person per day or two times what you both got last year!

And, email marketing spending will increase to $2 billion in 2004 – about 2X what was spent last year!

So, what’s all this mean for marketers like you and how can you overcome your customer’s email irritation and overload?

Here are three ways to immediately improve your email marketing:

  1. Integrate email marketing with social media communications since most young adults (18-24 year-olds) prefer it over email; over 20% of adults prefer it too
  2. Segment email databases into smaller/tighter unique groups and send relevant, timely messages
  3. Be religious about testing your email campaigns and work to improve your creative executions and copy writing

Good luck!

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Modern Family Marketing Rocks

…and “Average Joe Marketing” is for losers!

If you’re wondering why your “family-based” marketing strategy isn’t working like it used to, maybe it’s because you’re treating everyone the same. Sure you should treat your customers the same with regard to being respectful and being nice, but your marketing should treat them different with uniquely targeted messaging, services and products.

Today, America is a big diverse nation of over 300 million, with no single dominating household arrangement. America’s “nuclear family” of today consisting of a married couple with their own kids is a prejudiced old-fashioned, out-of-date model often seen as the quintessential average American family.

In 1970, 40.3% of U.S. households were nuclear family ones, but today these households count for <25% of all American households. And consider these facts:

  • Married couples without children count for 28.7% of households (bigger than nuclear ones)
  • Single households – single persons residing alone – count for 25.5% of households
  • Single male households are about 11% of all households

Telegram: There are no average American families – no average Joe’s or Joannne’s!

If your marketing is “family-based,” make sure you’re speaking the right language and using the right visuals. A big reason, this year’s big TV hit series and family comedy Modern Family is doing so well!

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You Take Dollars to the Bank

…not percentages.

Following yesterday’s post about testing, someone asked me about testing promotional offers and wanted to know which has more appeal, a dollar off coupon or a percent off coupon.

After saying, “Test them both,” I told him that in my experience a “dollar off” promotion typically outsells a percent off promotion. Dollar offs, BOGOs (buy one get one free, cash rebates etc.,) rock harder than a simple percent off promotion.

Why?

One big reason.

Money talks and you know the rest.

It’s far easier for busy people (aren’t we all) to understand the value of a dollar figure vs. calculating percentages.

But hey, don’t take my word for it

Check out this Marketing Sherpa article which supports my view and highlights how one brand’s test proved that its dollar off promo delivered 170% more revenue.

Test people test.  And, always remember you take dollars to the bank not percentages.
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Email Timing and Testing Best Practices

For our clients, I find that emailing campaigns early in the morning and early in the week provide better results. Early morning emails work better for us because it’s easier to get people’s attention before they jump into their daily activities. See B2B Magazine article here and this eMarketer chart which both agree. I’m sure early morning deployments work well for both B2C and B2B businesses alike.

Giving people ample time to react and respond along with a respectful reminder works wonders too. Marketers forget that not everyone opens their email every day and often their addresses are personal (non business) and may only get opened once a week.

Email timing is critical to the success of a marketing campaign. And, deciding the right time of day, and the precise day to deploy your email message is as important as the message itself, but many brands don’t pay enough attention to timing.

You need to get the timing right because your message competes with every other message received by land line phone, mail, social media and smart phones.

Pivotal Veracity discovered that the average elapsed time between when messages are first sent to when they are first seen is growing to about 26 hours.

See their report here: pivotal_veracity_email_engagement_index_q1_q3_2009

In addition, another email marketing best practice involves testing.  Email testing is pretty easy to do and I continue to be amazed by the lack of it by brands of all sizes. eMarketer reports that only about 63% of Marketers test their email campaigns! Ugh!

According to a recent ExactTarget study, 40% of email marketers’ lists are unengaged recipients and another 44% have a low level of engagement.

Different strokes (messages) for different folks is key to having an engaged database.

So, what can you test?  What should you try? Well, just about anything and everything! Check out just some of the opportunities in this chart:

Marketers need to  maximize message relevance and avoid sending email subject matter to people who do not care to receive it.

Try creative copy split-run email tests by taking your list and divide it in half (or thirds) and simply test two/three different subject lines or calls to action or other features such as copy, design, offers or more.

Start testing your email marketing campaigns. It’s easy…just do it!

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Lt. Col. Allen West – A Marketer’s Dream

I don’t have many favorite politicians – check that – I don’t have a one! And, I’d bet most of you don’t have one.

Until maybe now.

Republican candidate for Congress and former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel Allen West is someone I’ve been following throughout his race in the Sunshine State!

And you should too.

Allen West, is a former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and is running this November as a Republican candidate for the United States Congress in Florida’s District 22.

Watch this video of West in action. No notes – pure passion and conviction – clear message coming from experience – a complete mastery of the power of video and the mastery of the public speech!

When the Republicans and McCain and Co., got outgunned and derailed by the Obama campaign in the last presidential election, there’s no question that one of big contributing factors was that they were far behind in mastering the New World Order of interactive and social media marketing tools.

In the next election/s, you’ll see that everyone will be on the SMM bus. And, it will be somewhat of a level playing field in terms of marketing execution since most everyone will be wearing a pretty nice SMM tool belt and carrying a well equipped toolbox.

Check out West’s Web site and you’ll see its complete with all the appropriate SMM tools however, his talent, integrity, character and clear brand message and performance rules.

Certainly money helps, but in this online, always on world we live in, citizen journalists can help West even out the playing field for his underfunded brand.

Watch out for the Allen West’s of the world (performance based brands with character, integrity and trustworthiness) and remember that tools are cool, but tools don’t rule because anybody can buy them and learn how to use them.

To excel these days, recognize that for today’s informed consumer, what truly matters is a clearly communicated and meaningful brand promise delivered from a trustworthy, proven brand. Guaranteed.

P.S.: I call Lt. Col. Allen West a Marketer’s dream because it’s so easy to promote a brand you believe in. I’ll bet West wins in November – this American Patriot prays and hopes that he does – we need more good people like him in government.

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Square Watermelon Marketing Innovation

I suppose with all the beautiful newness and growth that Spring brings, I find myself more inspired and looking for ways to help my clients breakthrough  with innovative new ways of doing things.

Spring never fails me.

I truly work on being innovative and constantly look for inspiration inside and outside of my industry.

And, it’s always awe inspiring to me to see common things done in an uncommon way.

How about square watermelons?

As you know, a round watermelon can take up a lot of space in your refrigerator and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves.

Innovative Japanese farmers have forced their watermelons to grow into a square shape.

They do it by inserting the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine.

Here’s a picture of the packaging.

And, here’s one way Mr. Clean uses Crosswalk lines for advertising/product placement:

And, here’s another use by a local office supply store:

If you’re inspired to become more innovative – anyone can learn to be more innovative – try using Ideo’s method cards and/or reading: The Ten Faces of Innovation: Ideo’s Strategies for Beating the Devil’s Advocate & Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization. And, read a few of Roger Von Oech’s books too. Roger and I go back a long way – he’s been giving me whacks on the side of my head for many years..

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Small Biz Benefits of Social Media

If you’re feeling confused about the benefits of social media marketing,  uninterested or if you lack subject matter knowledge that’s OK. A lot of your peers feel the same way. Research on the effectiveness of social media marketing is mixed. Check out this recent chart by eMarketer and Ad-ology.

Again, it’s OK. Anything relatively new is bound to have mixed results.

For me, I’ve learned a long time ago that a few marketing best practices are to pay attention to new trends, don’t always follow the crowd, be an early adopter of new technology and to “fast fail” in my efforts.

I fall in the 16% of those who find that social media marketing helps me drive leads, stay up to date with industry shifts and competitive intelligence. And, like any form of exercise, the more you do it, the better you become.

For me, lead generation has been my biggest benefit of social networking driven by the thought leadership of my  Blog and showcasing our good works.

Small businesses rated Facebook the most beneficial social networking site, but I’ve found LinkedIn to be as effective and I’m surprised YouTube isn’t ranked higher.

We use YouTube a ton for Web site storytelling, email marketing, product demos, and customer testimonials and find it incredibly effective. You get out of things, what you put into them.

My recommendation with new technologies to clients is to set up a small team (or you take the reins by yourself) responsible for executing a plan and challenge them to understand the subject matter better, jump into it, experiment and lead.

Don’t believe your customers aren’t into social networking, because all research points to the fact they are and your next new round of younger customers are already fully immersed in it.  Or, aren’t you interested in surviving and thriving in the next decade?

Everyone’s busy and no one has the time for anything new that’s a fact – but, another fact is that you need to find the time, because these technologies aren’t going away and consumer use will continue to grow via new technologies that make it easier to understand, access, and use on a daily basis.

Can you say, “IPod, IPad and Smart Phone?” I Thought so!

Get on the bus and enjoy the ride!

Sources: eMarketer, Ad-ology, Citibank

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American Idol’s One Big Marketing Lesson

I’ve never been one to watch much TV and running your own company doesn’t leave you much time at all, but I’ve found myself tuning in to American Idol a lot. Love Siobhan, love Crystal’s talent too, but too much cocky attitude for me. Lee’s my fave guy…OK that’s enough. Oh yeah, I’m into it big time.

What’s been driving my nuts about this show is this over used contestant quote that seems to arise every time someone’s performance tanks, “I had fun…I was just trying to have some fun with it.”

Are you kidding me?

I don’t care if you’re on American Idol’s stage, your high school’s stage or a kindergarten school stage and you have non-speaking role as a tree or a rock  – you have to bring it!

Have fun later counting your money or bowing to a genuine applause.

And, if you’re in it to win it – you better be or don’t waste everyone’s time – listen to the judges (or in business your customers, sales receipts, food critics etc.,). It’s amazing to me how few of these kids actually listen to the judges who have been around the block a few times. They’d rather pay more attention to the over the top audiences who give everyone a standing “O” whether the rock or not.

These are the same Little League parents who give trophy’s to every team regardless of where they finished. Thanks Mom and Dad!

BTW – Do you notice how the word “great” is used so many times – not just on AI, but generally speaking? Ugh!

When these AI kids tank and say, “I had fun,” (when it’s clear the judges and I didn’t have any fun at all) I just want to reach through my TV and slap them. I’ve been waiting for one of the judges – Simon or Ellen would be perfect – to say, “Well we’re not having fun listening to you, so STOP IT!

These “having fun” kids are choosing songs they feel are safe simply because they’re afraid to fail. Are you like them in business?

Put another way, instead of trying to win…they’re trying not to lose…they’re not giving it their all and leaving everything out on the stage.

Note:  Similar to the NFL’s “prevent defense” – I hate it – worst scheme ever designed – that’s another post.

If these kids gave their performances everything they had – and not be afraid of failing –  there would be less tears because they knew deep in their heart they gave it their very best and they’ll sleep better at night.

Live with no regrets.

It’s certainly been true for me. And, I see it in business every day with the lack of breakthrough ideas and vanilla milkshake task mentality efforts.

A few months ago on one of the world’s biggest stages – the Winter Olympics – if you paid attention to sports like downhill skiing, you’ll see that those who really pushed it and got on the edges of their skis either broke world records or crashed – there’s no in between – but both kinds of skiers probably slept well at night knowing they gave it their all.

Breakthrough, WOW performances are always a delicate balance between “edgy” efforts and crashes – both are memorable!

However, if you’re just trying to have fun, boring and in middle road – I guarantee that you’ll get run over!

P.S.: One more thing.  Notice how the judges often say, “I think” which is weak language. Instead of saying something like, “I think that was your worst performance ever.” Say, “That was your worst performance ever.” Much stronger and effective use if language.

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