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.
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!
Have you heard the good news? There’s an amazing pillow you can buy that eliminates insomnia, sleep apnea, acid reflux, even cerebral palsy!
The only problem is it doesn’t fix any of that stuff.
So consumer protection officials in California slapped the makers of MyPillow with a $1 million fine for making those false health claims in their advertising.
It’s no secret that, over the years, more than a few marketers have stretched the truth a bit when describing the products they sell. But I encourage you to fight that urge should you start to feel it.
Here’s a quote from one of the internal training videos we produced for our new Creative Consultants - our writers:
“First and foremost - don’t lie. Don’t ever lie with your copy. Don’t even exaggerate. People will figure out very quickly when you’re full of bologna and when your copy is misleading just to get them in the door. We don’t want to be those folks. Instead, shine a light on what is real, what is unique, what is valuable about that client. We’re not here to try to fool anybody, because it’s just not going to work, and it’s going to come back sooner or later to haunt the client.”
That honest approach to marketing and communication will endear you to customers.
It may also force you to examine your company’s value. The reason: If you can’t develop a message or create content that paints an appealing picture of your product without resorting to wild assertions and hyperbole, you’ll need to ask yourself why that is.
Then, maybe, instead of spending time and money to advertise exaggerated claims, you can commit those resources to building a better product, process or experience that’s more likely to sell itself.
TV and Online Video Campaign - Revere
We created a series of ten commercials for Revere, a new player in the digital communications world. The content takes a humorous approach to the needs and frustrations of small business owners. Nick Heath, a Commercial Sales Rep for Revere, said, "I think the commercials are brilliant!" Revere President Jeff Ansted liked them, too: "They're all funny, and I think they'll get people talking." Watch four of the spots below.
Giving Campaign - St. Paul's Community Center
This end-of-the-year push for support included billboards, social media, multiple press releases, and a partnership with a local radio station. Joe Habib is St. Paul’s Executive Director. He wrote, “Thank you for everything you do. This is good work. I love the Change Jar idea. It is new and keeps people talking.”
The MadAveGroup creative team took away a nice haul from this year’s MarCom Awards: four awards total, including two platinum trophies and a gold. Take a look at the work and a few details below.
Platinum Award - SensoryMax Website
Designer: Greg Stawicki
Copywriter: Scott Greggory
Developer: Charley Hobbs
Platinum Award - Binkelman On Hold Marketing / “That’s Pretty Hot”
Writer: Scott Greggory
Voices: Scott Greggory and Amy Scott
Recording Engineer: Don Binkley
Gold Award - International Translating Company On Hold Marketing / “Talented Tongues”
Writers: Cody McCloskey and Scott Greggory
Voices: Scott Greggory and Bob Seybold
Recording Engineers: Don Binkley
Honorable Mention - Arrowwood Lodge On Hold Marketing / “Flippin’ TV”
Writers: Andrea Poteet, Cody McCloskey and Scott Greggory
Main Voices: Scott Greggory, Bob Seybold, Amy Scott, Ed Hunter and Steve Lovvorn
Recording Engineer: Chris Zaharias
The MarCom Awards honor “outstanding achievement by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design and production of marketing and communication materials and programs.”
MarCom judges review about 6,000 entries from 34 countries and 300 categories related to print, web, video and strategic communications.
Can you recall the last time you overheard a member of your sales or telemarketing team calling a prospective customer?
Or the last time you dialed into your main number and navigated your Interactive Voice Response system?
Or the last time you mystery called one of your locations to see how well the front-line phone staff cares for callers?
Once you have systems and employees in place it's easy to take for granted that everything is running smoothly. And everything might be running smoothly. But is your team providing the type of caller experience that converts cold calls into customers?
Are your incoming callers treated so wonderfully and efficiently that they tell others about your company and look forward to calling back themselves?
Are your automated systems making it very easy for customers to get what they called for?
If you didn't answer 'yes' very quickly and confidently to all three of those questions, there are a few blog posts you might want to check out.
“Is Your Calling Style Costing You?” recounts a few bad phone calls I've received recently, and how similar approaches to outbound calling can hurt your top line.
“Why Telephone Etiquette Training is Worth the Investment” reinforces the idea that you have an opportunity to build customer loyalty with every phone call.
“IVR: Interactive Voice Response and The Human Touch” is a reminder that, as amazing as digital technology can be, it still requires thoughtful input to make it effective.
For all things related to caller experience, please call our BusinessVoice team at 800/473-9005.
There’s a very specific behavior that has puzzled me for years. You can see it for yourself in the video above.
When a plane comes to a complete stop at the terminal, a tone signals that it’s safe for passengers to remove their seat belts.
For many, it also means “stand up quickly and start unloading luggage from the overhead bins amidst dozens of fellow passengers who are doing the same thing at the same time in the same very confined space, and then stand there for 10 minutes not moving.”
But I’ve never seen any of those passengers who jump to their feet make a move for the door in order to be first off the plane. They seem to respect the unwritten rule of “no cuts.”
So, why stand up right away?
Do people stand because everyone else is standing? Do they not want to “miss out” on establishing their place in line? Do they really think that what they’re doing will move them forward any faster?
Now apply those same questions to your marketing efforts.
Are you doing what everyone else is doing just because everyone else is doing it? Investing time, for instance, in all the social media channels? Talking about the things you “have” to talk about in the way you “have” to talk about them?
Is there any value in what you’re doing, marketing-wise? Or are many of your efforts akin to standing around in a crowd, not moving forward?
Do you have a Pavlovian response to whatever “tone” it is that signals you to react? (“It’s December, so it must be time for our winter promotion because that’s what we do in December.”)
If you could ask every one of those people in the video why they stood up at the tone, what reason do you think they’d give?
And if you asked every member of your team to explain the reasons your company markets the way it does, would their responses leave you wondering why?
Today is July 4, 2016. More than 240 years ago, a bunch of guys had a pretty good idea: to formally break away from an oppressive ruler and form their own nation; a nation built on personal liberties and a government of the people.
Crazy? Impractical? Even suicidal?
It must have seemed that way to many people back then. After all, humans aren't equipped with 20/20 foresight, so who could blame the doubters, right?
But thank God for those crazy, impractical dreamers who, yes, risked their lives for their idea.
It could have gone down in flames as history's most poorly conceived experiment. It's certainly come close to collapsing a few times over its nearly two-and-a-half centuries.
But because of the tremendous pride, passion, fight and flexibility of the generations that descended from those founding fathers, the idea has survived.
So, here's to ideas. Bold, risky, costly, courageous, game-changing ideas.
Ideas that don't stand a chance...until they do.
Ideas that fail miserably, because they are the fertile soil in which the most fruitful ideas grow.
In your work, be a dreamer. Ask “what if...?” and “why not?” Imagine. Push for better. That group of people with the grand idea did, and you owe your entire way of life and work to their revolutionary thinking.
Now, it's your turn.
MadAveGroup has been recognized once again for "outstanding achievement" in the field of marketing and communications by the 2013 MarCom Awards, an international creative competition that includes entries by media conglomerates and Fortune 500 companies.
BusinessVoice, our On Hold Marketing agency, received the highest honor - a Platinum MarCom Award - for "Binkelmania," a humorous On Hold Marketing production we created for Binkelman Corporation. (Listen in the video below.)
We also earned a Gold MarCom Award for a series of three radio spots we created for Spirit Services. (Listen to them in the video below.)
"The radio spots we produce for Spirit are not only designed to encourage a specific response," said VP of Creative Services Scott Greggory, "they support the company's brand identity. We want that audio to sound like what their website and social media channels look like. That way, there's a stronger connection with the brand as people move from the radio to Spirit's online world."
"That's one of the advantages of working with an agency like ours. Radio and TV stations are in the business of production and distribution, not necessarily great content creation. We focus on each client's message, supporting their brand identity, and strengthening the audience's perception of their company in a creative way," said Greggory. "Ours is a consistent and long-term approach."
Tired of hearing about Toledo's brain drain? Then you'll like what MadAveGroup is doing in Toledo's UpTown district.
The agency has been developing The MadAveCollective, an open work space for writers, designers, videographers, photographers, animators, website developers and other creatives who want to work in a relaxed, affordable shared space, yet need a professional address where they can invite clients, hold meetings, and give presentations.
V.I.P. OPEN HOUSE & RIBBON CUTTING
To open The Collective, a V.I.P. party will take place Friday, October 25th from 4 to 7pm at 1600 Madison Avenue, Floor 2, Toledo. The event will showcase the newly renovated Collective space.
At 4pm, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, a representative from the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and MadAveGroup CEO Jerry Brown will participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony.
At 5:30pm, speakers from the public and private sectors will address the media during a press conference. Among the topics: future plans for Toledo's UpTown District.
There will also be free food and beverages from Manos and Manhattan's, live music, and the opportunity to network with local business and political leaders.
"The idea of The MadAveCollective is to bring a lot of creative energy to one area, so companies and agencies can find the talent they need for specific jobs, and talent can find freelance work," said Jerry Brown. "We hope that UpTown specifically and Toledo as a whole will benefit from that focused energy as well."
Members of The MadAveCollective also will be featured on a website where they can promote their services and portfolios. The site will include a rating system that allows users to choose creative talent based on the input of their past clients.
For more details on The Collective, visit http://www.madavegroup.com/collective/. To schedule a tour or to reserve your space, please call 419/473-9000.