The MadAveGroup Blog
The MadAve Blog (301)
Sometimes, even the most obvious choices don't turn out to be the best choices a bit further down the road.
Take VoIP, for example. It stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Basically, it's a method of delivering telephone calls via the Internet.
For many years, VoIP has had a lot of I.T. and operations folks excited. Unfortunately, VoIP can also reduce the benefits that the Sales and Marketing departments derive from the phone system.
If you work in marketing and your company is considering VoIP, please protect your own interests. Take a look at this post on the BusinessVoice blog called "3 Things to Look for When Switching to VoIP," and then became part of your organization's conversation about VoIP.
How many fireworks displays have you seen? A couple dozen? Maybe 50?
But have you ever experienced fireworks like this?
You've probably seen more than a few piles of junk too, right? In a scrap yard, on a city street, even in your own garage. But did you ever think a junk pile could look like this?
The lesson: If you want to see something differently, change your point of view.
- When you're charged with finding a unique solution for customers, first imagine yourself in their shoes. What would you want if you were one of your company's customers?
- If you need to create advertising that encourages your audience to act, start by considering why they wouldn't act. What are their possible objections to your product or offer, and how can you overcome them?
- Rather than asking the same standard questions, ask seemingly unrelated questions. The answers may lead you to new insight and an entirely unexpected approach or solution.
- Talk with a whole new set of people for input or inspiration.
- Work in a dramatically different physical environment today.
- Begin even the most mundane task or project by asking "Is there a better way?"
Most people only see fireworks from the ground, but now you know how much more amazing they are when you can fly right through them.
Dare to change the way you look at everyday challenges and become the innovator who gives your team, your industry or even your world a new perspective.
RELATED POST: Want New Insight? Look For a New Point of View
You'll see why our team made certain choices, how they overcame an obstacle or two, and why they decided to use so much video on the site.
Not only did we want to show off the new BusinessVoice.com, but we wanted to share at least a glimpse of the thought that our WebArt team puts into each website they create, and give you an idea of how that might benefit your brand.
If you'd like to talk about your online marketing, please get in touch with Brad Timofeev at 419/724-8600.
Have you ever had to listen to a voicemail message more than once because the person leaving the message rattled off his phone number too quickly for you to comprehend it?
I've had to replay dozens of messages for that reason.
I'm pretty sure most folks don't get hopped up on Mountain Dew and amphetamines before using voicemail. So, why do so many phone numbers seem to whiz by faster than we can process them? And what does any of that have to do with your marketing?
Part of the problem is that we - as recipients of the message - aren't familiar with the combination of digits in the phone number or their unique rhythm. So, if the caller gives his phone number as one steady, ten-digit stream, we'll need to reach for the replay button.
But if the caller breaks up his phone number into several bite-sized chunks - for instance, 866 (pause) 473 (pause) 97 (pause) 33 – and then repeats that sequence, we'll be more likely to hear it and jot it down correctly.
In other words, just because a sender knows the specific elements of his message doesn't mean a recipient will process and retain the message properly.
The same truth applies to your marketing.
You may know everything there is to know about your company, but if your marketing messages are too long, too technical, too detailed, or not created with the recipients in mind, you may leave your audience confused, disinterested and looking elsewhere for solutions.
Take a look at your marketing content. Do you gloss over authentic brand promises and the value you deliver to potential customers just because that information is so familiar to you?
That basic story about who you are and what you do needs to be told more often than you might suspect. And it needs to be told clearly, in those bite-sized chunks, and with your audience's perspective in mind.
But broadcast and online media costs can be prohibitive, so how can you be sure that the repeated exposure you're paying for is money well spent?
Remarketing is a good start.
When a consumer shows interest in your company or product by visiting your website or clicking on an item in your online store, the automated remarketing process kicks in, exposing that consumer to more messages about your product or brand as she browses the Internet in the coming weeks and months.
It's really pretty cool, and a great way to target your media spend. Read more about remarketing in this WebArt blog post from Jessica Miller.
And since you know your callers have to wait on hold now and then, you think it might make sense to use your On Hold Marketing to thank them for their patience and tell them how glad you are that they're willing to hold.
Nice, right? Polite, right? Smart marketing, right?
Good intentions aside, it's not the best approach.
Take a look at this quick blog post on the BusinessVoice website. It's called "Why We Don't Thank Your Callers for Holding." You'll learn why our On Hold Marketing experts stay away from certain phrases.
By the way, if your company's On Hold Marketing consists solely of the same "Thank you for holding" message repeated every 30 seconds or so, please consider the negative impression that makes on callers.
Did you ever read a great blog post and think, "Hey, I've been saying that for years! I could have written that post for my own blog."
But you didn't write it.
Why? Probably because you didn't think the idea was important or special enough.
I had that same experience when I read Seth Godin's post on résumés called "References Available Upon Request."
In it, Seth advises ditching the self-serving objective at the top of your résumé, but including the sparkling testimonials you've collected from past managers or clients. Don't make potential employers ask for those references. They may not, which means they may never see your unique value.
In other words, give your audience information that will make it easy for them to choose you.
As I read Seth's post, I recognized the advice I had shared with others many times, but had never published in this blog.
I'll bet your marketing suffers from the same type of problem.
You probably do something very special at your company. Maybe many things. But you don't recognize them as special or unique because you do them every day. You don't see the value in them – just like I didn't see the value in my advice about résumés, until I read it in someone else's blog.
If your marketing content is obvious or safe or trite or expected (like a typical résumé objective), you're blending in. You're not making it easy for your audience to choose you.
So, look around. Identify those unique "nuggets" that are so much a part of your culture you take them for granted. Share those qualities or practices or commitments with your audience. That's the good stuff. Use it to differentiate your brand in an authentic way.
It seems that many people who work in retail have forgotten the phrase "thank you."
That's a shame. And it's a missed marketing opportunity.
When I am handed something at a store – whether it's a sackful of drive-thru food, a snappy beige turtleneck, or that foxy new rake I had my eye on – I say thank you. Always.
But I find that most retail workers I encounter don't thank me for coming to their store, or for giving them money, or for supporting their job. They simply respond to my thank you with "no problem" or "sure thing" or "you bet."
Those colloquialisms can be friendly, but they don't replace the powerful words "thank you."
They don't reinforce a customer's value to your company. They don't say "we appreciate that you chose our business over our competitors."
I'll go as far to say that anything shy of a sincere "thank you" is lazy and detrimental to your brand, especially if you show happy, smiley employees in your TV commercials or on your website. Customers may perceive the disconnect between your brand identity and their real experience as a broken promise.
But when you encourage a culture that breeds proactively polite treatment of your customers, a lot of your marketing goals will take care of themselves. People will happily come back. And they'll spread your message for you through friends and online reviews. (Here's another way.)
What could be quicker, easier and less expensive than acknowledging each customer's decision to buy from you with a simple expression of thanks? And what other modest investment could pay better returns?
When people say "I hate advertising," they don't mean it.
How do I know?
No one hates to be given unique information they can really use.
No one hates having their eyes opened in an unexpected way.
No one hates the feeling that someone identifies with - and can solve - their problem.
No one hates laughing or being moved emotionally.
And no one even hates spending a little time in exchange for true value.
Good advertising and marketing deliver many or all of those benefits.
When people say "I hate advertising," what they really mean is "I hate bad advertising."
So, don't settle for bad advertising - the type people turn away from or merely tolerate. Your brand is too important to attach careless phrases and images to it, and too valuable not to put intelligent thought into how it's presented.
Demand more. Hold out for better. It'll be worth it.
Are you saying the same thing everyone else in your industry is saying?
Or are you saying the same thing you've always said, the same way you've always said it?
For decades, flight attendants with all airlines have recited pretty much the same pre-flight safety speech. It's probably fair to say that most passengers have heard it so often that they stopped listening long ago.
Maybe that lack of attention is what inspired the Southwest Airlines flight attendant in the video above to come up with a new way of delivering familiar information.
Not only did she command her passengers' complete attention for a full three minutes, she turned a typically boring presentation into a treat. Any time you can begin a relationship with customers that way, you're off to a good start.
Laughter reduces stress and puts people at ease. When your brand is the source of the laughter, you pull people closer; you're more real, more approachable, more likable. (It's more fun for you, too.)
When creating humorous content for our clients, one thing we do is play with the conventions of advertising - exaggerating or poking fun at those familiar phrases or concepts you might expect to hear in a marketing message. That's exactly what this flight attendant did - to great effect.
Before you can deliver any message effectively, you must first get your audience's attention. The Southwest flight attendant still presented all the facts that other flight attendants do. The difference was that her audience was actually listening and engaged because of the way she did it.