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Tell me again why you don’t blog?

December 18, 2006

Dear corporate America…little one man business…and everyone in between,

You’ve heard it before.  New media, blogging, YouTube, text messaging  etc. etc. etc.  We’ve talked about how the power is shifting from you to the consumer and how you’d better get your voice back in the conversation.  Well guess what, now it’s official.1101061225_120

Time has named their Person of the YearAnd it’s you.  And me.  And all the other voices out there.  No doubt this will be discussed and re-discussed among the blogging community as a sort of triumphant validation for being an innovator.  Interesting but not relevant for 99% of the businesses out there.

The only part of the whole discussion that you need to pay attention to is this:

How long can you afford to be silent?

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Ease into the week — brand of your youth?

December 17, 2006

I don’t know about you but Sunday nights are time for me to catch up.  On my reading, on my work, on my relationships — all with an eye on Monday morning and knowing that the 180 mph pace is about to resume.

Sundays also seem to be my day for deep thoughts.  I thought it might be fun to ease into the week together with a question that is sort of about branding and marketing but also has a personal element to it as well.  A chance to get to know each other AND talk shop.  Perfect for a Sunday night.

In the comments section of my recent post…This is your brain.  This is your brain on brands there’s an interesting discussion about the emotional connection we make to brands.  There’s no time when our emotions are more at the surface than when we’re kids.  So here’s this week’s question:

Glove_1 What is the brand that best epitomizes your youth?

Mine…without a doubt, Rawlings.  They made the best ball gloves.  I can remember getting my first one…and oiling it with such attentive rapture.  As I got older and my hand got bigger, I had to make the bittersweet move to a new glove.  But soon, I loved the new one as much as the old one.

The great thing about a baseball glove is that, much like jeans, the more you use it, the more perfect it becomes.    I slept with my mitt under my bed for months, molding the pocket to just how I wanted it.   But it didn’t really achieve perfection for a few seasons. Then…it was (and still is) just right! 

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The perfect combo gift

December 16, 2006

Menards_2 I was shopping tonight and came across this aisle sign. 

Do you think the employees were making a commentary on holiday shopping or perhaps they didn’t bother to look at their work from the customer’s point of view?

It made me laugh.  But it also made me appreciate the team at MMG who take pride in every thing they do for our clients.

Drew’s helpful holiday shopping hint:  Just because they’re in the same aisle, does not mean they make a great combo gift!

Drew’s helpful employee training hint:  If your employees don’t understand that they deliver your brand…you’ve got serious trouble.

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No friend of mine

December 16, 2006

Mailbox We know the drill.  A company wants to do a little one-to-one marketing.  They determine their right audience, design their direct mail piece and buy a list.

My full name is Andrew.  But really, unless you’re my mom and I’m in trouble, no one calls me that.  So when I get a letter  addressed to Andrew, I know its no friend of mine.

Here are the options available to the mailer (not counting the option of not sending the piece.)

  • They can address each letter individually, knowing that some Kathryns, Andrews, and Elizabeths are going to be on to them.
  • They can "guess" on nicknames.  In my case, they’d guess Andy.  And they’d be wrong.  Kathryn could be Kate not Kathy and Elizabeth could be Betsy, not Liz.  So perhaps risky business but odds are they’d be right as often as they’d be wrong.  So have they reduced their risk by 50%?
  • They can address the envelope but not personalize the letter (just use a letter block format) and reduce the impact of potentially using the wrong name.

What do you think?  Do consumers excuse the misuse of their name?   Or does it make them feel less kindly towards the sender?   Do you think they even notice?  In a recent post, Seth Godin suggests that people thrive on seeing their name.  Does that mean it really ticks them off to see it incorrect?

Salutation or irritation?  That’s my question.

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Five Tips to Increase Online Book Sales

December 15, 2006

Book It seems like just about everyone who has written a book is pitching it on the web.  Even me!   Marketing sense tells us that the web needs to be part of any author’s strategy today.

Here are some easy and smart ways to juice your online sales.

  1. Create a blog on the same topic as your book.  I know I am probably preaching to the choir here, but it is worth saying.  Blogging is a place where birds of a feather gather together.   Gather your birds in your own nest!
  2. On your book’s/author website (or blog) include a calendar that outlines your public appearances, book signings and presentations/readings. And provide a place for people to request an appearance too!
  3. Post a sample chapter that can either be read or downloaded so they can get a taste of your style and how you approach the topic.
  4. Give the buyers lots of choices.  Don’t only have your book available on your site.  List it on Amazon, BN.com, 800CEORead, etc. as well.
  5. Identify some other authors who write in your same subject area.  rather than seeing them as competition, make them a co-conspirator!  Promote each other’s books, do some mutual giveaways and take advantage of each other’s fan base.

Rocket science?  Not really.  But you’d be amazed at how many authors think those books will sell themselves!  If you’re an author, give a couple of these a try and let me know how they work.  If you’re a reader…reward some of those authors and pick up a book or two for the holidays.

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Find a new read or two

December 15, 2006

Mack over at The Viral Garden has ignited a new idea in his post Revenge of the Z-Lister to spread the word on some blogs that really deserve more attention and traffic than they’re getting.  Some are pretty new while others are just still a well kept secret.

Here’s what Mack suggests we do to create some viral buzz for this worthy blogs:

"What YOU can do is simply create a new post on your blog, but CUT AND PASTE the list I have below, and then ADD any blogs you feel aren’t getting their due either. It can be 1 blog, or a hundred(or none if you simply want to repost the same list), but the idea is, find those great blogs that, for whatever reason, you feel aren’t getting their due, link-wise.

Then after you leave your post, the next blogger will do the same thing, cut and paste YOUR list, and add THEIR blogs to the list, then repost it. Add the same instructions in your post that the next blogger should cut and paste YOUR list, and add any blogs they feel should be on it to THEIR list. The list will get increasingly long, and all the blogs will get a sort of reverse ‘pyramid-affect’ of link-love. "

So….Mack posted his list.   Chris Brown added a couple.  Which inspired Mike Sansone to add a bunch.  Now, I’m going to keep the torch lit and add three more and then hope you’ll grab the torch and keep this going.

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Blogging 101 from the expert

December 13, 2006

It’s rare that you get to listen and interact with a true expert.  But if you happen to be in the Central Iowa area…you’re a lucky son of a gun.

Why?  Mike Sansone is a business blogging expert.  Many a business blogger (myself included) can point to their success and standing right behind that success is Mr. Sansone himself.

Mike’s generosity is well-known throughout the blogosphere.  He demonstrates it again by offering a free blogging workshop series.  The first one is tomorrow (Thursday, December 14th).

Take advantage of the opportunity. Go interact with the expert.

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Let them set your prices

December 12, 2006

Price_tag What if you did just that?  You let your customers determine your value.  Do you think it would work?  Would they pay you more than what you’d set as a fee or would you constantly be undercut?

What do you suppose this pricing strategy would say to your clients?  Is it a message you want to send?

One of my resolutions for ’07 is to try this with at least one client.  I’ll let you know how it works.

Want to read some more interesting thinking about pricing.  Check out Mike McLaughlin‘s Guerrilla Consulting’s pricing section.

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This is your brain. This is your brain on brands.

December 11, 2006

Mri Wow. 

Just stumbled upon a WSJ article from 11-28 of this year that talks about new research that suggests that  brands can stimulate the  the human brain.  When shown the well known brand, there was a strong pattern of activity in the part of the brain associated with positive emotions, self-identification and rewards.  The lesser known brand "provoked activity in the parts of the brain associated with negative emotion and memory — suggesting that the brain has to work for a response."

The use of MRI technology to track responses eliminates the risk of dishonest or incomplete answers according to the researcher, who did this test as an add-on to a more traditional research project.

Cool eh?

Tip of the hat to David Wolfe over at Ageless Marketing for spotting the article and writing about it the day it hit the paper.  He has some very pointed and valid things to say about those in the marketing world who suggest that because of new age of one-to-one marketing, branding is dead. 

You of course, already know that’s a load of garbage.  As marketing grows more intimate and closer to the consumer — branding becomes even more vital to doing business today.  Any stranger can shout at you.  You sure don’t let just anyone whisper in your ear.  Branding matters.

Just in case the WSJ decides to take down the free posting of the article…you can download the PDF here.  Download 112806wsj.pdf

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Ease into the week — An oops policy

December 10, 2006

I don’t know about you but Sunday nights are time for me to catch up.  On my reading, on my work, on my relationships — all with an eye on Monday morning and knowing that the 180 mph pace is about to resume.

Sundays also seem to be my day for deep thoughts.  I thought it might be fun to ease into the week together with a question that is sort of about branding and marketing but also has a personal element to it as well.  A chance to get to know each other AND talk shop.  Perfect for a Sunday night.

Oops No matter how good a company is, they’re going to make mistakes.  It’s a given.  The question to be asked from a brand perspective is how do you brand the fix?  How do you make sure your brand promise is present as you work to make that client happy again?

Tom Vander Well tells a great "brand fix" story about Best Buy’s geek squad over at his blog QAQnA.

So here’s the question:

What company best lived up to their brand when they initially disappointed you?

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