Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A B2B fact for online marketing

90% of business professionals say online sources influence their purchases.

Follow Up On Green Marketing

A site I like and visit frequently is called Market Research Bulletin.

They just posted a great article that digs deeper into this issue of what does "green" mean in terms of product marketing.

They use word clouds from focus groups to help marketers understand what resonates with buyers and therefore what you as a marketer should talk about to get engagement. Check it out. Very interesting!

As a writer by trade, these word clouds are quite helpful in delivering insightful creative.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Admiring a microsite for its creative

A short blog here on a very engaging microsite that is also quite educational for anyone purchasing chicken. I loved the intro flash and the clean site with great organization and information. Kudos!

See it here.

Great microsites aren't easy to accomplish, but these guys did it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A new condition from too much "green"

I was talking to a marketing friend the other day. She is focusing on "green" marketing, but in clean technology and sustainable energy. Anyway, we were discussing how all companies are on the "green" bandwagon it seems and yet most of them are just trying to make a buck off of it.

Ug. We are sick of it. Sick of all the fake green. Which led me to coin a new phrase--a new condition we are all suffering from: Green Fatigue Syndrome.

Do you have GFS? How can you tell when a company is truly bringing new, safe, eco-friendly products to the table and when they aren't? Do you just tune out all mentions of "green" now? How will it all shake out? Are you a marketer who really has a great green product or service but you aren't sure how to market it in the sess pool of marketing that's screaming the same thing?

Well, that's when you call on a marketing pro who knows how to make your product and message stand out. Make sure you ask probing questions before you give them your business and see what they've done to help other companies market green. Ask what their motivation for specializing in green is. You'd be surprised how many "pros" out there don't know the first thing about green marketing and yet have gotten on the bandwagon along with everyone else.

Because if you don't do your marketing the right way, consumers and clients (B2B has gone green, too) will lump you in with all the other fake greenies out there and Green Fatigue Syndrome will flare up and shut off the ability or desire to listen to you.

GFS. How will we recover from it? Will be interesting to see.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

People Ok being targeted by ads

The best banner ad ever?

A friend just posted a note about the agency he works for getting a Gold Lion at Cannes.

For a banner ad.


When he posted the link, I was in awe.

Yes, I am promoting an ad done by another agency.

They deserve it. It was and is genius. Do you agree?

Check it out here. And then let me know your thoughts.

Congrats to Bridge Worldwide in Cincinnati, OH!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Building a brand starts in the trash

I was walking today in my neighborhood. It was recycle day and most people had their receptacles out. As I walked, I started noticing what kind of bins were used, what was in them, and I realized this is a lot like branding.

You see, I started making decisions and opinions about people by their recycling waste. One person had tied all their magazines in string. I was impressed. Another had put their recycling in a PLASTIC garbage bag. I was not impressed. Still others had junk food boxes in them, and that created a snap judgment. Some had stuff that clearly was not recyclable. Puh-leaze!

Then I would look down their driveway, check out their cars, their yards, the entire package. And that's when I knew-- this is how people judge and create their image of a brand. Every little thing is looked at and a judgment is made.

So it is as a brand. Everything you do, every piece of communication, letterhead, brochure, webinar banner ad, everything, MUST convey the image you want your brand to have.

Times are tough right now and marketers are trying to save money. And in doing so might consider taking on some things in-house.

But do you really want to design that landing page yourself or write that direct mail letter? Are you trained and experienced in the true art of writing with a marketing bent? In professional design? Because I promise you that when you put out something that deviates from or degrades your existing brand, it is logged into the brain of all those who see it. And a judgment is made.

A customer might now think, "Oh, I really think that looks cheap. Maybe the company isn't doing good. Maybe their quality isn't as good."

Think I am being dramatic here? Go for a walk, and tell me you aren't looking at homes, yards, people, pets, whatever and making a little tick mark in your brain. As subtle as it might be, you do it. We all do. It is programmed into us. We learn to do that. It's not that I am some overly judgmental person or snob. I am pretty down to earth actually.

So be true to your brand. Let your agency or marketing firm do what they know how and are trained to do. And listen to them when they say, be consistent, be consistent in every tiny little thing. Because potential and existing customers are watching.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Biological fuel cells to power pacemakers

According to I Am Biotech:

University of Georgia researchers have developed biotech semiconductors that, according to a report in Chemical Science and covered by ScientistLive, is the first step in developing biological fuel cells that could power pacemakers, cochlear implants and prosthetic limbs.

Amazing. I do believe biotech is a field people should be watching! Hot, hot, hot. I am glad this is one of my areas of marketing experience and interest.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rules for Journalistic Tweeting

According to an article by Mashable:

Top 20 Take Away Tips for Tweeting Journos

1) Think before you tweet -- you can't delete an indiscreet tweet! (Well, you can, but it will survive in Twitter search for three months and it's likely live on as cached copy somewhere.)
2) Think carefully about what you're re-tweeting and acknowledge if it's unsubstantiated.
3) Be an active twit: tweet daily if you want your followers to stick.
4) Determine your Twitter identity.
5) Be human; be honest; be open; be active.
6) Don't lock your account if you want to use Twitter for reporting purposes -- this fosters distrust.
7) Twitter is a community, not just a one-way conversation or broadcast channel -- actively engage.
8) Check if your employer has a social media policy.
9) Be cautious when tweeting about your employer/workplace/colleagues.
10) Be a judicious follower -- don't be stingy but avoid following everyone as your list grows to avoid tweet bombardment.
11) If you quote a tweet, attribute it.
12) Expect your competitors to steal your leads if you tweet about them.
13) Don't tweet while angry or drunk.
14) Avoid racist, sexist, bigoted and otherwise offensive tweets and never abuse a follower.
15) Scrutinize crowdsourced stories closely.
16) Find people to follow. Foster followers by pilfering the lists of other twits.
17) Twitter is a 'time vampire' (via @anne_brand) -- you don't need to keep track of all tweets, so dip in and out through the day.
18) Prevent information overload by using an application such as Tweetdeck.
19) Add applications to your Internet-enabled mobile device to allow live-tweeting on the road.
20) Add value to your tweets with links, Twitpic and other applications for audio and video.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Branding: Value vs long-term equity?

I just read a great article by Brand Strategy Insider. And in a nutshell it discusses the problem with the commoditizing/genericizing of brands to the denominator known as Value and Price. Here is a quote:

"In today’s landscape, it’s more important than ever to differentiate your brand—to give people a reason to believe and, subsequently, a reason to buy. But now that we’ve entered an era in which price- and value-related tactics comprise a large part of many marketing budgets, how can brands avoid messaging that feels or sounds generic? "

Huh-boy I could not agree more. It is a slippery slope to go the price route anyway. You can't compete there and you know it. There will always be someone to undercut you. And what if you have been in a leadership position? Do you throw it all away for a value message that communicates desperation and no longer leadership?

So there are a number of ways to "get around" this problem when trying to talk economically responsible language without killing your brand. Ways that seasoned marketers and agency pros already know and understand. Like the following:

You have to find your "Value Voice," as the Brand Strategy article puts it. And try not to specify price. Instead stay in that brand voice and tout the obvious reasons to believe that you can offer a value without losing quality. Or find a back door into the conversation. Like Hyundai did with their "if you lose your job, we'll take your car back." Which also removed the RISK. Another issue people have right now, regardless of price. This applies to B2B in big ways, too. See below:

What if you are a biotech company offering a new testing system? You have cred, but now need to get in the value game. Well how about touting that your equipment isn't just better, but for the price, you actually can test twice the amount of product you could with other tests. So see, you didn't lose any of your brand leadership. Be smart. Be creative. Be careful saying the words value and price.....Be careful with what is now trite: More for less.

Harrods has sales, but they NEVER lose their high-end appeal. They use celebs to tout the event. They keep it upper-crusty.

So yes, we all get it that marketers want to, need to, sometimes play the price/value card. But be careful when you do and be ever thoughtful as you execute that strategy. And never lose your brand equity or position in the process.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The new Paperless Business Card for Greenies

Yup, it's here. The paperless business card. And now you can join the greenies going paperless. A few ways to do it. One way is if you are on Twitter. Go to this link and subscribe with your info. The all you have to do is an @reply and add the hash tag #twtbizcard to your message. The person you send it to will get a prompt.

The other one I like is from DUB. And it sends your paperless card from your mobile phone directly into the recipient's mobile address book. And you can use nearly any type or brand of cell phone to do it. You can even connect with Linked In from this app and to send your card via SMS, simply text 'DUBME' and your recipient's email address or mobile number (ex. DUBME name@email.com) to 32075.

So forget exchanging cards at shows or other functions. Save trees, go paperless with your business card!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

CEOs top fears when it comes to Social Media

Check out this article on what CEOs most fear about social media.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I found this fascinating quote today:

Let's take ten of the most popular new consumer technology products in recent years (with a couple of our portfolio companies in the mix): iPhone, Facebook, Wii, Hulu, FlipCam, Rock Band, Mafia Wars, Blogger, Pandora, and Twitter and let's try to describe in one sentence or less why they broke out (feel free to debate the reasons they broke out in the comments):A VC, Jun 2009

You should read the whole article.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is Bing Better Than Google? Test It.

A Microsoft employee created a fun way to test the strength of search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo side by side. You type in your search terms, hit search and in 3 columns next to each other results appear. You pick the column that you think did a better job with your term and then it'll show you which engines were which.

I chose Google.

Here, you try it: blindsearch.fejus.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How a heart attack can "sell" butter. Consumer insight alert.

I was being a consumer the other day. Grocery shopping with my husband for a few things. I had put a certain butter that I use (goat butter) in my basket and was on my way out of the store when we passed one of those sampling setups.

A large, overweight man was at the table and he had little baguette slices with butter on them to sample. Being hungry, I nabbed one. He went into his "sell" on the fresh-made butter. No unnatural junk or preservatives, made with cream and salt...blah blah. And it was GOOD butter. But I had my goat butter and wasn't interested in the cow variety.

Well this man says, as I am walking away, "I can't eat the stuff anymore myself, just had a heart stent put in yesterday. 80% blockage in an artery."

Seriously, mister? You're trying to sell me full-fat BUTTER and you just admitted it is killing you.

He sees the horror on my face and follows up quickly with: "Not that the butter is what caused it. I have always had very low cholesterol. This was genetic."

So what do you think happened next? Did I, as a marketer, explain to him how he needed a new selling story?

Nope. I put my goat butter down and bought his butter.

After we got home, my husband, also a marketing guru, asked me what in the heck I was thinking. So I pondered the emotions and my actions.


Rational: It was good butter and it was all-natural

Emotional: I COULD NOT walk away from that man selling his butter and having no more sense than to tell us his arteries were blocked and he couldn't eat the stuff any more. It's hard enough to take a "free" thing for most people, which is why those sampling tables are used, but to take that freebie AND know this guy was honest to a fault and also sick, just did me in. I couldn't walk away without buying. I didn't really want the butter. But GUILT made me buy it. I felt sorry for this guy. He just said a really stupid thing and he was sick and I ate the sample and....on and on.

And THAT is great insight. It's psychology 101. Yet we, as marketing professionals, would never sell that to a client or to ourselves even. We refuse to want to see the truth in why people buy. And I am not saying every person would buy from guilt as I did, but a good many would. And they could never tell you that or foresee it. No focus group would get to that. No interviews. No fancy marketing models. Heck most people couldn't figure out their feelings like I did to get to the reason why.

Sometimes it's just that instinct, that feeling we get that KNOWS why people tick and what they'll do. Sometimes the best marketing process to use, is in your gut. And not in your head.

Anybody want the name of the butter, I'll be happy to send it to you. It was really good.