marketing

Who is it You’re Talking to?

Customers come in different flavors.

And each customer type has their own specific culture. Think of your favorite hardware store. Imagine a few customers who come in the door one afternoon. The Gardener sees your business from a different perspective than the Young Family, The Contractor has different needs than Dad who takes care of house and yard.

CUSTOMER LIFESTAGE NEIGHBORHOOD PURCHASE
 urbanhomeowners New Homeowners  20-something couple  urban rowhouse latex low-VOC trim & wall paint, rollers & tray, baby-proofing latches,
 contractor Contractors 40 yr old business owner  close-in suburb  5-gallon paint, drop cloths, pro brushes, solvent
 FixitDad Home Fix-it Dad  48 yo homeowner  small city/town  toilet parts, faucet washers, screen repair, 2 cycle oil, weed whip refill
 emptyNester Serial Re-Decorator female empty nester   midscale burbs new vanity, decorator paint, faux finish supplies, garden center items

Target Marketing Power

When I worked for a company that invented Market Segmentation I learned how distinct Target Markets help you aim your marketing campaigns. There is a great deal of subtlety to be found in consumer data. Because you scan your loyalty card at the grocery to get discounts, we know you prefer roast beef to pastrami, Perrier to Pepsi. There is data about what we buy, read, watch, and do,, making full scale Segmentation incredibly predictive.

“But…” you protest “I don’t have 75k to license to those tools! How does this apply to a small business person like me?” Excellent question.

To Get More from Social Media, Think like an Anthropologist

This article in Harvard Business Review encourages us to think like an anthropololgist, (def. one who studies the norms and values of societies.)  The author points out the shortcomings of a strictly big-data approach to studying customers on social media, pointing out that: “the internet was made for people, not for companies and brands.” And, that by only studying data, one could miss the meaning.

As a small business person, your ability to Listen is incredibly powerful, since your customers are talking via social media. You can invite them into conversation with a poll or survey. You also have the Insight to understand how your particular customers fall into clusters based on their lifestage and interests. Which is essentially their culture.

So go ahead, think like an anthropologist! Sketch out your target groups and imagine what they’re like. Let me know what you see, or ask any questions about how to take it further. I’d love to hear what you discover!

Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row

What should bloggers know about copyright law?

copyright-symbolQuite a bit, it turns out.

As a blogger, content marketer, writer, designer, course creator, you are constantly generating valuable intellectual property assets as you build your business. You really want to protect your key content. Your proprietary content is found in self-published books, infographics, online courses, workshops and speeches should be protected from copyright infringement.

from copyblogger:

When you federally register your copyright, you obtain the following advantages over common law copyright:

  • You alert the world that you are the creator and owner of the work, which makes it hard for infringers to claim they didn’t know the work was yours.
  • You obtain the right to bring a federal lawsuit; registration gives you the right to file a claim of copyright infringement in federal court.
  • You get to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees in that lawsuit — the infringer has to pay all of your lawsuit costs.
  • You have an easy and official way to sell your ownership of the work.

How to avoid this mistake
Register the copyright for all of your prized content — namely, your work that makes you the most money, like your online courses, self-published books, and award-winning copy.

Registration is fairly easy and inexpensive. You don’t even need an attorney. You can register online by submitting some basic information and uploading a copy of the content to the U.S. Copyright Office website.

The fee is either $35 or $55, depending on what you register. You can also register multiple pieces of content at once, such as all of the articles you’ve posted on your blog since 1998, or the epic writing course you launched last year.

THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE mentions other legal moves you should be aware of. Check it out and make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row!

WEB-ducks-in-a-row1

Advertising an Issue, Then & Now

While we can laugh at the 70’s style , the ‘crying Indian’ ad is still legendary in environmental circles. It rallied a nation to care about their environment, and to support creation of clean air and water regulations.

What strikes me today is how light the pollution and litter look.

The Issue has Changed & So Has Marketing

Compared to what washes up along the Potomac River today, the video’s litter looks cute. At this year’s annual river cleanup, volunteers removed over 300,000 pounds of plastic bags and bottles, foam cups (all light weight materials) in three hours. Walk the shore a week after and it’s covered again; the tide of trash is relentless.

The Ferguson Foundation has been working on river cleanup for 28 years. When I first took part in 2003 they called their effort “Trash-Free Potomac 2013.” They’ve since dropped the date. But the work goes on, and it really engages people to care about the river.

But there’s worse things fouling the waters. Excess ‘nutrients’ from farms, sewage, run-off and lawn fertilizers are choking our streams, rivers and bays with aquatic plant overgrowth and algal blooms. This disturbs and eventually ruins habitats, and can even create dangerously toxic conditions. 

Few people take time to consider how lawn chemicals, street run-off or farm waste are affecting their natural environment. There are campaigns to educate the public, but they aren’t as widely seen as the public service campaigns of the 70’s.

This video by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is probably only viewed by people on their mailing lists or or those who seek them out. Too long for TV, it’s not likely to reach as broad an audience as our Indian, above.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years. Habitat destruction, poaching and pollution have eliminated half of the living creatures on the planet.

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is a consequence of the way we choose to live. Nature, which provides food and clean water and air, is essential for human wellbeing.”

That we need marketing to convince us the the natural world is essential strikes me as absurd, but in our busy-busy world it’s somehow become the norm to take the natural world for granted.

One of the biggest challenges today is the multitude of media channels, unimaginable in the 70s. Network TV no longer reaches families – people from multiple generations -watching the evening news together at the dinner table.

Messages must be targeted not only in content but especially by delivery. I recently marketed a musical event relying heavily on Twitter and Facebook, and missed a swath of an older audience. Not a mistake I will make again!

If you had to mount a campaign to protect your favorite cause, where would you start?

How would you prioritize the audience? What channels would you choose to reach them, and why?

Twitter Demystified

Twitter can look like a stream of chaos or frivolous chatter to the untrained eye. But there’s gold in that chaos. Strategic use of Twitter can harness the power of Social Media like nothing else.

Hashtag2The secret is the #Hashtag, a special keyword that allows you to follow a thread conversation within all the noise.

A hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic. For example, right now if you type #CivilWar you will gather thousands of tweets about the latest Marvel movie, Captain America – Civil War, rather than the 19th century American war between the states.

Other examples

#aCreativeDC is a hashtag to promote arts, events and artists in Washington, DC. #Preakness2016 is for the upcoming Triple Crown horserace. Don’t confuse it with the ‘@‘ sign— that designates a Tweeter. Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist has his own Twitter account: @TheNyquistHorse and my Twitter handle is @ClearlyCreate

Some are just fun: go try #RemoveALetterSpoilABook for some laughs.

Twitter has some good tutorials on the basics, and here’s a bit more on marketing with Twitter.

Go experiment with hashtags and see what kind of conversations you can follow, like a favorite TV show or movie. Discover how businesses are using hashtags to promote their products by following a few B2B and B2C companies.

And feel free to ask questions and share your stories!

Christmas Time Blessing to All

Advertising can indeed be a thing of beauty.

Enjoy this beautifully told tale of friendship, gifts and shared holidays:

This animated holiday ad was created for John Lewis,the UK retailer by Laurent Simon and Aidan McClure of DDB Worldwide. I highly recommend watching the Behind the Scenes video. It’s a combination of stop-motion and hand drawn animation that’s quite extraordinarily detailed.

Brand Responds to Social Media

upforwhateverAnheuser-Busch’s effort to engage social media got them in  hot water. Tapping into that legendary ability of alcohol to reduce inhibitions, Bud Light printed this on their labels:

the perfect beer for removing ‘no’
from your vocabulary for the night

No doubt it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Part of the #UpForWhatever campaign, the slogan is one of 140 different messages that are followed by “The perfect beer for whatever happens.”

The twitterverse erupted in criticism, citing issues of consent and college rape, as well as drunk driving and other questionable behaviors that the tagline could be condoning.  Ere long, Anheuser Busch issued an official statement within hours of widely read Mashable post:

Bud Light Vice President Alexander Lambrecht delivered a statement to Mashable stating that “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”

However, no effort was made to remove existing bottles from circulation. The New York Times suggests they might become collectibles.

According to the Washington Post, former VP of communication Franzine Katz, who resigned in 2009 and sued the brewer for sex discrimination (she was paid far less than half of the male VPs), learned of the faux-pas from her 20 something daughter. Her reaction?

“Oh my God, are they kidding?”

The current communication head, also female, engaged in twitter bickering, calling the slogan “an honest mistake.”

Visual Information: Impact of Vacinations

In a clear and compelling illustration, these charts of disease incidence before and after the introduction of vaccines show dramatic decline in illness from measles and polio.
Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 9.44.31 AM

This data from Project Tycho and the Center for Disease Control shows the numbers of infected people by state and year, (at the scale is cases per 100,000 people.) When the vaccine is introduced there is a brief lag and then marked decline in cases.You can see more examples HERE, including hepatitus A, rubella, whooping cough and small pox.
Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 9.47.44 AM

5 Ways to Reap Social Media Value

Here are five useful ways of thinking about social media and it’s potential to empower your business.

IBM’s ambitiously-titled Center for Applied Insights ran a study and produced this video that brings focus to five key areas where Social Media creates value for business.

Most of us marketers are pretty familiar with #3, but the other four concepts have loads of potential.

Many of us who are virtual workers miss the spontaneous collaborations in the hallway, elevator, water cooler. The creative power of quick collaboration opens up new ways for those sparks to travel. How can you use your social network to:

  • Collaborate with colleagues you don’t just ‘run into’ anymore?
  • Reach out to encourage and support less experienced team members?
  • Inspire customers to get more value from your products?
  • Source expertise from all your communities – users, colleagues, prospects and maybe even competitors?
  • Create new avenues of feedback and improvement?

Share an example in the comments of how your business benefits from Social Media.

The Eyes ARE the Brain

I’m a lifelong fan of the power of the visual mind. An artist since I was a child, the power and richness of imagery has always captivated me.

Although we seem to value text and numerical data over mere ‘pictures,’ over 90% of all information processed by our brains is visual. Since we perceive the world in rich, colorful moving three-dimensions, a great deal of processing is required to sort all of that data into information we can make sense of. That’s why over half of our brain is dedicated to visual processing.  The retina and optic nerve are actually extensions of the brain itself, conducting massive amounts of image processing.

The near-instantaneous speed and broad bandwidth of our visual thinking is what gives advertising and movies their mesmerizing power.

Here’s a section from a cool infographic from NoeMam Studios that does a great job of telling that story:

imageprocessbrain

Click on this image to see the entire Infographic

 Why is this important?

If you’d like to learn more, here’s a great article on the miraculous visual nervous system and how it takes the raw data of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (what we call ‘light’), collects it, and assembles it into the coherent visual world we take for granted. It really gives one a profound appreciation for the sheer processing power at work in our very own grey matter.

Stop and See the Roses

Take time to appreciate what your visual cortex does for you today, when you notice the fall colors, enjoy your child’s smile, or find your attention captured by an advertisement or book cover.

And don’t neglect to harness this awesome power in your marketing.

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If you’d like to talk about custom infographics for your business, please get in touch.

Why You Need a Good Writer

typingYou know your business. You can probably construct a decent sentence, too, if you got this far. But there are times when you need a professional writer.

We aren’t always the best promotors of ourselves, or even our products. We hold back where we should crow the loudest, or we display proudly the details that aren’t all that meaningful to the audience. It’s hard to remember, but you are not your target market.

Also, it’s very likely that the value of your time has risen to great heights as your business has grown. The cost of a copywriter will pale in comparison to the value of you, creating product and/or business in the way that’s made you successful.

Here are five situations when you need to hire a writer:

1. You’re just no good at it. Not everyone is a great word slinger. If writing isn’t for you, hire or partner with a really good writer to make sure that part of your business is getting the attention it needs.

2. You don’t have the bandwidth Writing is a time-consuming endeavor. there’s a limit to how many words we can consistently get onto the page or screen every day.

3. You need particular expertise You might need a subject expert, or a persuasive sales writer

4.  You’re too close to the topic. The reason it’s so hard to move from features to benefits is that it can be really tough to be objective about your own business.

5. The stakes are high.  If you’ve got a big launch or an important marketing campaign, you need to make sure your copy is making a great impression.

from Copyblogger

A writer who’s focus is on engaging the customer can see from a perspective you do not have. And the copywriter’s skill as a story-teller can bring intrigue, mystery, drama: the right kind of lively interest-engaging energy by virtue of that detachment.

Would you benefit from a writing pro on your current project?

Have you used freelance writers in your business? Tell us about your experience.