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The MadAve Blog (309)

Thursday, 24 August 2006 13:40

Marketing Pluto

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Maybe if Plutonians hadn't slashed their Point-Of-Entry Marketing budget years ago they'd still be living on a legitimate planet today.

Instead, their tiny ice sphere has just been downgraded to "space pebble" status.

It's not easy to promote your benefits and maintain top-of-mind awareness within the planetary community when you're floating on the outer edges of the solar marketplace. The Plutonians knew this, but they dropped their On Hold Messaging program anyway.

Big mistake for such a little place.

(BusinessVoice is proud to be the official On Hold Messaging provider to planet Earth.)

 

Wednesday, 09 August 2006 03:34

Marketing With Precision

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In the town where I live, the local newspaper distributes packets of advertisements free of charge each week to households that are not subscribers. These ad packets come in a distinctive pale blue bag and in some neighborhoods you’ll see them piling up under bushes, on porches and in driveways where homeowners obviously have no interest in them.

Here’s the punchline; the packets are emblazoned with the logo “Precision Marketing.”

Irony aside, how do you “market with precision” when your message is going out, not in blue bags, but in the what you tell every person who calls, visits your website or stops into your business?

You can be more precise in your marketing by developing a unique selling proposition (USP). The USP clearly answers the question, "Why should I do business with you instead of your competitors?"

Some of the most famous USPs are considered mere slogans, but typically it’s more than just a catchy phrase. When Domino's Pizza promised fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or FedEx was ready to deliver when your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight, those were unique selling propositions. Perhaps the first USP was for M&M's - the milk chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

What do you provide that sets you apart from the others in your field? That’s precisely what you should be marketing. If you can’t answer that question, it might be time to look for some way to stand out from the rest of your business peers in the products or services you offer. Otherwise, your message runs the risk of being ignored like all those unopened blue bags that promise “precision marketing” but don’t deliver.

Monday, 07 August 2006 15:50

What's The Hurry?

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Have you ever received a voicemail message that you had to replay over and over and over again in order to decrypt the a name or phone number that went flying past you at warp speed?

Keep that painful experience in mind the next time you leave a message and use the "pause" button in your voice.

You...don't...have...to...talk...like...this...but take a quick beat between your first name and last name and use the hyphens that are part of every telephone number to add some short pauses. Make it "419...473... 9000...extension 333," instead of "fouroneninefourseventhreeninethousandextensionthreethirtythree."

I know you might repeat your name and telephone number dozens of times a day in messages, but the person you are calling only wants to hear it once - and clearly too. When it comes to leaving messages, the race to receive a callback isn't necessarily won by the swift.

Monday, 24 July 2006 05:41

Dr. ZZZZZZZZ

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Chrysler's Dr. Z campaign puts me to sleep, which is hardly the ideal car-buying state.

These spots are everywhere and, yet, they are so remarkably underwhelming. The copy isn't clever, funny or memorable. And, while I'm sure Dr. Z. is a nice guy, he comes across as interesting as wet cardboard on screen. He should be replaced by a talking U-joint that wears a funny hat, or maybe Billy the Chrysler Monkey.

Monday, 17 July 2006 09:31

What, The Shell?

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CBS-EggI read in this morning's AAF SmartBrief that the CBS television network will "stamp 35 million eggs with laser images of its logo" and egg-related puns about its programming.

I'm torn. As a marketer I applaud CBS's ingenuity. But as a guy who enjoys eating omelets in the privacy of his own home at his advertising-free kitchen table, I'm a little creeped out.

How far is too far? How deep into our personal lives should marketers venture? Do we really need to be reminded to catch the season finale of "Two And A Half Men" as we crack open our quiche eggs?

Which begs another question: do "Two And A Half Men" even eat quiche?

Tuesday, 11 July 2006 13:56

Oh, Thank Heaven!

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Today is 7/11. In celebration, I took our entire Creative department out for a Big Gulp and a carton of Marlboros.

When optimizing our new website title bars for search engines, we were faced with the choice of spelling our company name correctly as one word - "BusinessVoice" - or breaking it up into two words - Business Voice.

Theoretically, the two-word version would help us rank higher in a greater percentage of natural searches, but, as one of the "keepers of the brand," I wasn't willing to bastardize our name, no matter what the SEO consequences.

Have you had a similar experience when marketing online? If so, how did you handle the need to present your company and brand consistently with the desire to maximize the pull to your website?

Itrip have a friend who's owned a recording studio for about two years. A couple months back, we were discussing how he could bring more clients through the door. "Precious Gem Tuesdays," I shouted, forgetting that he'd actually have to buy a whole mess of rubies to give away.

We talked about marketing and eventually got on the topic of his unique selling proposition.

"There are three or four other studios in town that do the same type of work you do," I reminded him. "Aside from your clean bathroom, what reason does anyone have to choose yours?"

He stared at me, breathing through his open mouth.

As is so often the case with business owners, he was stumped when it came to defining what he does and the way it's different from how the guy down the street does it. So, I suggested surveying his existing clients.

I composed an email with 6 or 7 questions that were designed to solicit his client's true feelings about my pal and his studio. The response rate was great. And by analyzing the answers, we were able to find three very strong reasons why nearly every one of his clients keeps coming back.

The answers to "who are you" and "what do you do" - his unique selling proposition - became clear in the replies to that short email survey. And because the feedback came from a large sample of actual clients, we were able to trust that the written USP we developed could be trusted as accurate by his new and potential clients.

Monday, 05 June 2006 09:06

King Ralph

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ralph_stanleyMy wife and I saw Ralph Stanley in concert Friday night at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Ralph is a true original, and one of the last remaining members of the first generation of bluegrass musicians. You might know him best from his contributions to the soundtrack of "O Brother, Where Art Thou," but he's been singing, playing banjo and ridin' the road for 60 years.

You'd think he might have earned the right to retire by now, yet at age 79, he's still marketing himself. Before and after the show, he was seated at the CD table, signing his box sets and T-shirts and 8x10s.

About half way through his set, he announced from the stage, "It's commercial time," then tossed it to his guitar player who ran down the litany of merchandise we really ought to have to make our Ralph Stanley experience complete.

Ralph then made special mention of the two CDs on his own label, StanleyTone, pointing out that he gets to "keep all the profits" from those discs.

You gotta' hand it to anyone who finds a way to make a life and a living out of doing what they love, especially when what they do also brings so much joy to others. And you gotta' give it up for any marketer who makes "commercial time" so much fun.

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