The MadAveGroup Blog
The MadAve Blog (309)
Marketing is no laughing matter - except when it involves pitting pairs of marketers head-to-head in a joke-off of semi-epic proportions. Happy holidays from all of us MadAveGroup.
If you have anything to say about how your brand sounds, you'll want to check out these blog posts. They're from BusinessVoice, our Caller Experience Marketing agency. The team also creates radio commercials, audio logos, and other forms of audio marketing.
1) In “One Way to Tell Your Story to Callers On Hold,” we profile a very special On Hold Marketing production we created for a local school. It’s won several awards, primarily by winning the audience’s collective heart. We also suggest a way you can capture the same type of emotion in your OHM and other marketing channels.
2) Does your company advertise on radio? If so, there’s a very good reason to let someone other than the local air talent or production director write and record your spots. See what it is in the post “Don’t Let the Radio Station Produce Your Commercials.” (Listen to our MarCom Platinum Award-winning radio campaign for Ray's Trash.)
3) Yes, your callers on hold are out of sight, but have you put them out of your mind as well? If so, that’s a problem. In this post, you’ll hear an example of how one company is clearly not thinking about their callers. We break down their approach to help you avoid wasting your callers’ time on hold. Read and listen to “Are You Subjecting Your Callers to This?”
4) And because every one of your company’s touchpoints can make or break a customer relationship, don’t miss the post “Are Poor Phone Skills Costing You Money?”
Want to build instant trust with a new customer?
Resist any urge to oversell.
My wife called a new-to-us HVAC contractor when our furnace wouldn’t kick in for the first time this season.
One of their techs arrived the next day. He was friendly and answered my questions in plain English. Turns out that our furnace just needed to be cleaned.
I paid the tech, then asked if I should call him every fall for a cleaning. He stood there with the $90 I’d just given him for about 10 minutes of work and said, “No. Maybe every couple of years.” Boom! Immediate trust!
He turned down my offer of more frequent business and more money because he knew I didn’t need his service. I understood right away that he had my best interest at heart.
Our agency works with an automotive services provider who doesn’t want us to try to boost the per-ticket revenue for each vehicle that pulls into their shops.
They don’t like to overwhelm their customers with larger maintenance or repair bills. Instead, they work toward building trust and long-term relationships. Yes, they let customers know what type of service their cars need, but they prioritize those needs, encouraging drivers to “come back in six months” when the work will actually need to be done.
High-pressure sales tactics don’t feel good. And any time a customer senses you’re more interested in your wallet than hers, you risk losing - or never earning - her trust.
I AM A MAN.
The phrase appeared on signs carried nearly 50 years ago by striking sanitation department employees in Memphis, Tennessee. The African-American workers were protesting low pay and poor job conditions following the deaths of two co-workers.
In my role as a blogger, I'm always looking for marketing and communication lessons to share. And I see an important point we can take away from the signs those striking workers carried.
I AM A MAN.
Just four simple words. An obvious statement. Yet, it’s one of the most jarring sentences I’ve ever read.
In a documentary about the event, James Douglas, a strike participant, said the protests were about claiming “the same dignity and the same courtesy any other citizen of Memphis has.”
The thought that, still, in 1968 - during my lifetime - these American citizens needed to remind their fellow countrymen of their equality - and even their humanity - was and is deeply disturbing.
The person who wrote or chose the phrase “I AM A MAN” as a rallying cry understood - and knew in his bones - what those words meant. As he, too, was likely denied the basic rights of manhood in his own society, he most certainly felt the empowerment in that declaration.
I'm not equating the struggle for human rights with selling soap. I'm encouraging you to mean what you say - or write - about your work or your mission. Feel it first before you express it.
As you craft your own message, keep this simple, compelling phrase in your heart:
I AM A MAN.
Then ask yourself: Do I believe what I've written? Would it change anything? Will it matter to people?
Will you create a memorable experience for your clients or customers today?
Will you listen a little more intently for unspoken needs or frustrations?
Will you offer an unexpected solution?
Will you push yourself a little bit harder to deliver an encounter they'll remember, come back again to enjoy, and even tell others about?
Will you find a way to add value and give more than is expected of you and your company? And will you do it willingly and cheerfully, recognizing the joy in that effort?
Not only is that how you earn loyal customers, it’s how - little by little - you make the world a better place.
It’s all up to you.
Our Creative Consultants write a lot of copy: On Hold Marketing, blog posts, website and social content, emails, video scripts, radio and TV commercials.
And we talk often about how to improve what we do.
So, we compiled a few thoughts on creating marketing content. If you write for your company, you might find these suggestions valuable. (Let us know if we can help.)
1) Your title is your promise to your reader. If someone starts reading your article or blog post, it's likely that your title drew him in. If he stops reading, it's probably because you didn't deliver on that title.
No one wants to feel like they've been suckered. And you don't want to earn a reputation for misleading your audience or wasting their time. So, a) don't use click bait-style headlines to hook readers, and b) make sure your content stays focused on the idea, information or solution promised in your title.
2) No one cares. When writing and editing, start with this assumption: “No one cares about what I have to say with this copy.” That helps you avoid the “if-I-write-it-they'll-read-it” fallacy.
Then, get to work on making your audience care! Deliver value to your readers. Surprise them with new information, original thought, or unique insight. Challenge them. Give them take-aways they can apply in their life or work. In other words, write to encourage your readers to come back for more.
3) Respect your readers' time. Long blocks of text can seem overwhelming, and for busy or slower readers, they represent more of a commitment. You owe it to your audience to do the work of honing and tightening your copy.
Especially in today's time-crunched world, effective writing is about communicating efficiently. Every word you leave on the page should count. So get to the point!
On June 13th, 2017, the 120-year-old Wachter Building next to our UpTown Toledo offices was destroyed by fire.
As news of the fire spread, people from neighboring buildings poured into an adjacent parking lot to watch firefighters attack the blaze.
And as many of those people pulled out their cell phones to capture images or video of the scene, I noticed something: they all stood in one spot - far from what was happening - and shot what had to be merely an “overview” of the action.
This was hardly an everyday occurrence: a three-alarm fire was engulfing an historic structure. There were a dozen fire trucks and 70 firefighters onsite; motion; intensity; the sound of sirens in the air; thick, black smoke everywhere; a collapsing building.
And all most people saw - and recorded - was one perspective.
As a contrast, take a look at the video above. It was shot from every side of the burning building. Long, cover shots mixed with tighter views. Pans and tilts, cuts and crossfades. Quick visual side stories of the people fighting the fire, their trucks and equipment.
Your company’s story is not one-sided. To tell a more interesting version of that story, you have to be willing to look at it from all possible angles. The big picture and the details. The obvious and the unexpected.
Separating your company or product begins with your curiosity about what else is possible. So poke around. Ask questions. And then, tell your brand’s story by compiling insightful “shots” one at a time, giving your customers a unique look into your world.
Remember - from the parking lot, everyone’s view of the fire was the same.
The photo on the left was taken in 1939 and appeared in Life Magazine.
I saw it in June of 2015, and it has stuck with me ever since.
The online caption read, "After realizing that poor women were using flour sacks to make clothing for their children, some flour mills started using flowered fabric for their sacks."
Man, I love that.
So simple, yet so powerful.
It’s an example of a company relating to their customers’ needs - needs, by the way, that had nothing to do with the flour mills’ actual product - and then making an adjustment to help.
It’s a sweet story of people getting creative to make life a little better for others.
We’ve covered that idea several times in this blog:
- The hotel that joined with a local animal shelter to encourage pet adoptions.
- The barber who gives away free haircuts to kids if they read a book while in his chair.
- The artist who turned weeds into sidewalk art.
- The high school track team that took shelter dogs for a run and set off a nice chain of events.
If you want to differentiate your brand, stop thinking about it as differentiating your brand - for at least the time being - and start doing something extra that matters to your customers, your community, you and your team.
Make it real. Make it human and heartfelt. Make that adjustment, and then make a difference.
I went to my son’s high school graduation yesterday. It was a ceremony filled with many moving moments, and, as I reflect on it today, a few marketing lessons.
1) Be an inspiration. Just like a great commencement speaker, your marketing and advertising should inspire your audience.
That might mean providing them with reasons to follow and engage with your brand, or showing how you’re leading by example to improve your corner of the world. Paint a vivid picture of what’s possible with your products, services, philosophy or team.
2) Share stories. Graduation season is a time for reflection. That often means revisiting memories and telling stories about teachers, friends and all the good times.
The stories you share in your marketing content will give your audience a better feel for your company’s personality and what it’s like to work with you. Stories are also easier to remember and relate to than cold, hard facts. Check out a few of our stories here, here and here.
3) Celebrate. Sure, give your team a big shout-out on your website or social media for their latest award or accomplishment. Just make sure to tie the message back to your audience.
Why should they care about your good news? How can they apply the details to their own needs? How does the information make the decision to buy from you easier?
4) Be yourself. Graduates wear long, shiny robes, along with oddly shaped hats, cords, sashes and medals. In other words, stuff they’d never be caught dead in normally.
That's all part of the pomp and tradition of graduation, but ask yourself if your marketing accurately presents your culture and who you are, or are you “dressing it up” for the public?
5) Dream. New graduates often dream about the future: their next steps, pursuing their goals and passions, making a difference.
When’s the last time you put your feet up on the desk and dreamed about what you could be doing with your marketing? How much more effective - and fun - could it be? What are some of the other metrics you’d like to pursue? What will your marketing legacy be?
Let us know if you’d like any help making those dreams come true.
Brad Timofeev, our Director of Digital Marketing, is getting married to Lauren this Saturday (May 27th).
“Earlier today,” he wrote to me, “I had an unbelievable experience with Amazon.”
There’s a 90% chance that Brad and Lauren’s outdoor wedding is going to include rain. Lots and lots of rain.
With no real indoor option, “Lauren was in pure breakdown mode this morning. It looks like everything she had envisioned for her wedding isn’t going to happen. She’s never broken down like this before.”
Brad told me the rest of the story.
“I felt awful for her, and I tried scrambling for churches, but after about two hours, we decided to embrace the day for what it’s going to be: wet.
"So I needed to find 30 or 40 clear umbrellas in a few hours and get them here in two days. My first thought was Amazon because I know their shipping times are always reliable.
"After I ordered the umbrellas, I immediately called Amazon to confirm that the order was accurate and that the shipment would arrive by Friday.
"First off, the hold time was only about 10 seconds, which was a huge shock because, of course, Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world.
"Then, John answered the phone. He said all the umbrellas were in stock and that he’d make sure they got out the door today for delivery by Thursday afternoon - a full day sooner than I expected. I ended up getting emotional on the phone because I was so thankful to him. After the craziness of the morning and seeing how distraught Lauren was, I just couldn’t keep my feelings bottled up any longer.
"The fact that someone cared that much about a complete stranger and understood our situation was so nice. It felt like everything was going wrong, especially for Lauren. But John’s help and his reassurance reminded me that people still care. It was an unbelievably positive experience that I didn’t expect.”
Brad’s story is a good reminder that your customers may come to you with important needs, urgency, and a complete lack of time, all with plenty of emotional trauma mixed in.
When you handle those situations with care and compassion, you not only make life easier for your customers, you can make customers for life.
Congratulations Brad and Lauren. We love you.