Climbing persuasion’s ladder

The bottom rung: tell me about a feature. Show me a feature. Tell me about a benefit. Show me a benefit. Tell me about how I’ll feel, enjoying the benefit. Show me a person enjoying the benefit. The top rung: Engage my empathy by showing me the evocative, unexpected story of someone like me enjoying the experience of (alternatively, suffering …

Marketing’s Three Big Delusions

Delusion #1. Your audience will sit still. Sermons ain’t what they used to be. Many a 19th Century novelist would button up a story by marching all of the characters into church, where the preacher would deliver the moralistic uplift the author wanted these misbegotten souls to hear. The audience for your brand story today, by extreme contrast, won’t gather …

The newspaper death spiral speeds up

First Craigslist killed the classified ads, a major source of newspaper revenue. Now research shows iPad owners are canceling subscriptions at a rate described as “alarming.” We’re not alarmed, or even surprised. Does anyone need to chop down trees to get yesterday’s stock market results or sports stores?

The Rule of 3

If you’re #1 in your category, never mention #2. If you’re #2, get more visible than #1. If you’re #3 in your category, change categories.

Problopportunities

As we slip into December, will you set 2011 budgets by “adjusting” numbers from 2010? Take a little from this bucket, add a little to that bucket? That’s never the optimal strategy for marketing/branding/advertising, but this year especially it’s unwise. First of all, 2010 was not a “normal” year any way you measure it. A steep recession and a sputtering-but-real …

What’s the “opportunity cost” of a mediocre website?

“Oh, we never get clients from our website,” he explained. Just keep believing it, we thought to ourselves, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Survey your customers and see that they all, indeed, came from referrals, or trade shows, or print ads – certainly not from your website. Q.E.D. Case closed. No need to adapt or evolve: let’s keep on …

Are you optimized for your category?

How your website is found (or, he added darkly, not found) depends on what category the searcher is searching for. That statement is not as stupidly obvious as it first appears. Yes, it’s a Duh, but a Duh with interesting implications, because of what we call “category mismatch.” Every search defines the category wanted, whether the search terms are vague …

Memories of Ft. Wayne

Some years back, I was asked to give a talk at the Ft. Wayne Ad Club. I have 2 vivid memories of the visit. The first was my client in Ft. Wayne, a large insurance company, had their LearJet pick me up in Chicago. On a trip that short, there’s press you back in your seat vertical climb, followed by …

Can you answer 55 Questions?

We just designed and launched a new site for a new company which we named. Can you tell we’re feeling parental? 55 Questions is a particularly apt name, since its extraordinary founder, Dave Baney, uses the Socratic method to help CEOs and their management teams explore issues including finance, strategy, operations, marketing and branding, process, teamwork and most especially, accountability. …