Archive for the 'Marketing Takeaways' Category

Read This Post. Or Don’t. I Really Don’t Care

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014


In psychology, desensitization is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus after repeated exposure to it. It also occurs when an emotional response is repeatedly evoked in situations in which the action tendency that is associated with the emotion proves irrelevant or unnecessary.

Don’t believe me: Read all about it on Wikipedia.

Here’s the point, though: I’m sick of media screaming to me. Every headline is jam-packed to bursting with insistent superlatives. The Huffington Post is a particularly horrid case study, as evidenced by just a few of today’s headlines:

“This 3D Printer, Capable Of Building A House In A Day, Could Change Construction Forever” (Forever? Really?)

“This Guy Will Forever Change The Way You Think About The ‘Friend Zone’ ” (Forever? Really? Oh, and WTF is a friend zone?)

“The Way We Watch Video Will Soon Change Forever” (Forever? Really? What, we’re gonna watch through our sphincters?)

My email inbox is another irritating case study:

“This changes everything!” (It’s an ad for the eM14 conference in San Francisco. Nothing changes.)

“Super-charge your logo with this awesome techie gift” (It’s an ad for portable USB chargers. Yawn.)

“Clarity 2.0 – The Best Advisory Board Ever Created” (It’s an ad for … oh, never mind.)

Then there’s all the articles on my LinkedIn feed:

“Best way to get a job nobody’s using” (Really? Nobody’s sharing passion?)

“5 Free Apps No Salesperson Can Survive Without” (Really? I bet plenty are.)

“Will Link Building Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?” (Really? You have to ask? No, it won’t; don’t be a dolt.)

Let’s not leave out my Twitter feed:

Facebook pokes holes in Princeton research with a hysterical parody (Sorry, it’s really not that funny.)

10 Examples of Amazing Viral Marketing Videos (Sorry, a couple of them are okay, but amazing?)

An unbelievable marketing resource! (Sorry, it’s actually quite believable … and relatively common.)

Everything everywhere is screaming READ ME! READ ME! READ ME! The problem, of course, is that the imperative reason stated for having to read the content in question is virtually never fulfilled.

Sorry, HuffPo: Your article will not change my thinking forever. Sorry, advertiser, your event or product will not change me forever.

Collectively, this sort of messaging hurts everyone. Readers, as a whole, are becoming desensitized to the idea of headlines having any meaning whatsoever. The rhetorical arms race is rendering language ineffective.

I fear it will get a lot worse before it gets any better — but in order for it to begin to get better, communicators need to unilaterally disarm by shelving the extreme superlatives.

Takeaway for marketers: Enough, already, with over-promising and under-delivering. Don’t you get pissed off when you’re on the receiving end of that one? Try under-promising and over-delivering … and think for a minute how you feel when you’re on the receiving end of that one.

Misery Loves Company Dept.

Thursday, March 21st, 2013


Ragan’s PR Daily shares 9 phrases that PR firms hate hearing.

Takeaway for marketers: If you’re asking yourself, “What’s wrong with those?” then you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The One Reason Why You Need To Always Test Your Email Campaigns Before Deploying Them

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013


So you don’t look like a complete and total amateur schmuck by sending out the pretty appalling email that was forwarded to me today (thanks, Ann), a portion of which you can see in the screen shot above. Yes, that’s an actual email — a press release, to be precise — and if you were to see the top paragraph you’d learn that it’s sent by “Avalanche Creative Services, Inc. a leader in direct response television advertising” touting their selection for the Top 100 Diversity Owned Business Award. It’s a good thing they’re not selling themselves as a leader in online direct response advertising. Sheesh.

Takeaway for marketers: Think, test, and test again before you hit that send button. C’mon, people — this is email 101.

Tech Skills for Marketers

Saturday, February 16th, 2013


Forbes lists six of them, but I think they left out an important one: learn html.

By learning at least the basics of html, you’ll start to understand how easy — or how difficult — it is to accomplish things on a web page. This will give you a leg up on other marketers for a few reasons: You’ll be able to make more educated requests of your tech partners, you’ll have a greater appreciation for the work your tech team accomplishes, and you may even come up with some new ideas for your website or landing page that you otherwise may not have.

Years ago, there was an outgoing art director of Entertainment Weekly magazine who was being feted in that issue’s editorial. It was noted that “the best artists think editorially, and the best editors think artistically.”

Similarly: The best online tech people think with some marketing context, while the best online marketers think with some tech knowledge.

Takeaway for marketers: Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dig in. Knowledge is power. Learn some html; you won’t be sorry.

How Not To Request Feedback

Thursday, February 14th, 2013


Rule number one: If you want someone to respond to your request for feedback, make sure your email can be read.

This is an actual screen grab of an actual email received from an actual hotel chain. Grey text on black background? This is not okay.

Come on, DoubleTree — you say you value my opinion, but evidently you don’t value my eyesight.

This is amateur hour crap, and it reflects really poorly on Hilton.

Then again, so does Paris … but that’s another story for another blog.

Marketing takeaway: Test your email on all sorts of platforms and in all sorts of email clients. If it looks like this, fix it.