Tag Archives: marketing

Stop wasting marketing dollars and start getting creative

To get a clear picture of how much money marketers waste each week all most people have to do is simply take out the trash.

Every week marketers send out thousands upon thousands of pieces of direct mail. If they’re lucky, some will get a quick second look by their recipients before they end up in the garbage or recycling bin. Along with the money, marketers time and effort are also being taken out with the trash.

When most people find direct mail in their inboxes, the immediately classify it as “junk” and quickly dispose of it. To really catch your audience’s attention, you have to find a creative way to get noticed and make people take a second look.

Because we all receive multiple pieces of junk mail daily, it takes a truly creative approach to stand out from the crowd. Will V. at The Better Response Blog recently tacked the issue and shared some ingenious examples of direct marketing that isn’t a waste of money.

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

Two dollar bill DM campaign, The Better Response Blog

The first example is of a piece by the Seattle Art Museum to promote the Life Liberty and Pusuit of Happiness exhibit. The marketing piece took the form of a two dollar bill, something most people don’t see everyday. Will admitted he’d likely read it before throwing it away. At least it’s a step up from landing directly in the trash, without so much as a slight glance.

“The point I am trying to make is we should always try to create a piece that no one else is creating. Part of marketing is to stand out and not be typical. Being typical will not catch any attention and is a waste of money. This may be a thought that is always in the back of our minds, but we don’t always factor it into our marketing initiatives,” Will says.

Will showed another good example of a direct mail campaign that not only stood out from the crowd, but was “highly personalized.” As part of a sensory-based direct mail campaign, Proximity London crafted a letter made entirely out of chocolate. Yes, real chocolate.

I don’t know about you, but receiving a chocolate letter in the mail would catch my attention close to 100% of the time. Before I devoured it, you could bet that I would also be spreading the message and showing the piece to everyone in the office.

We’re not expecting you to go out and print your next direct mail piece on chocolate, but if you do just make sure I’m on the mailing list. What we’re saying is that it’s time to start getting really creative with your marketing.

“Do not send out postcards because your competitors are sending out postcards. Send out something you know your competitors will not be sending out. Remember, you are not just competing with your competitors’ pieces, but with the 50 gazillion other pieces who are not even from the same industry,” Will adds.

Ask yourself truthfully if you would stop and read what your company is mailing out. If you think it’s going to land in the trash, it’s time to rethink your idea. Stop wasting your marketing dollars and start grabbing people’s attention.

What creative techniques have you used recently in your marketing to grab your audience’s attention? Or, have you been the recipient of a cool piece of direct marketing? Let us know about it …

Great B2B subject lines tell the truth

I know, I know … April Fool’s Day was a week ago, but this was too good to pass up sharing.

Next year when April 1st rolls around, make sure you don’t find yourself in someone’s blog post covering the worst examples of a bad April Fool’s joke and pay attention to the lesson outlined in a recent post from Andrew Lennon at the Daily Anchor.

Lesson one: Don’t use your Facebook status to try to get a rise out of your significant other on April Fool’s day.

You can take a look at the screen shot of an example of this bad April Fool’s joke here. When you joke that you’re worried about “how to break the news” to a boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook, chances are they’re not going to appreciate it. Even worse, all of your Facebook friends will be embarrassed for you and your bad decision.

Lesson two: If you’re going to joke around with your customers on April Fool’s Day, tell at least a half-truth.

On April 1, Brenthaven sent its customers an email with this subject line: “Today Only! Buy a Brenthaven – Get a FREE CAR!!!”

When customers opened the email, they found out that it wasn’t a joke — they would really receive a free car with their purchase. Unfortunately, they would never be able to get behind the wheel of that car because it was a HotWheels.

If this email was sent out on any day other than April Fool’s, I’m sure there would be an incredible amount of upset customers calling the company and complaining. Since it was the funniest holiday of the year, they got away with it.

The moral of this story: Unless it’s April Fool’s Day, make sure your B2B email subject lines only speak the truth.

B2B agencies showing “gloom and doom” the door

Business-to-business ad agencies had it tough last year, with total ad spending down 2.6% from 2007, according to Nielson Monitor-Plus.

Though advertising took a hit, many b-to-b agencies were able to grow their business last year, with some reporting their most profitable years ever.

How did they do it?

According to a BtoB Online Special Report, those businesses found success by focusing on three major areas:

  1. Understanding their clients;
  2. Developing relevant, compelling creative
  3. Expanding into new areas such as green marketing and social media

Winners from this year’s Top Agencies Special Report added that in order to succeed in today’s market, B2B businesses will need a healthy dose of “optimism, boldness and creative thinking.”

“If you are smart, you get lifted up by the recession, not pulled down by it,” said Rick Segal, CEO of HSR Business to Business, Cincinnati, winner of the midsize category. “It is an opportunity to grow and become more profitable in terms of building your business and bringing new ideas to clients, even if they’re not asking for them.”

With an increase in revenue by 30%, 2008 was HSR’s best year on record. The agency explored new opportunities in online video and social media, even with some of the company’s most traditional clients like John Deere & Co.

“We live in a time of extraordinary change—change that will be amplified and accelerated by the recession, ushering in perhaps a new age of business transformation,” said John Favalo, managing partner-group B2B at Eric Mower & Associates, runner-up in the midsize category. “Business models, marketing and communications will transform, and successful agencies will be instrumental in helping clients through the dramatic changes.”

Read the full BtoB Online article.

How has your organization responded to the changing market? Are you using new media, including online video and social media to improve your chances of success?

Still think you can’t have fun with B2B marketing videos?

So, you still think there’s no way to create fun business-to-business marketing videos? Watch this:

Fun business to business marketing video

Fun business to business marketing video

The xCELLigence from Roche Applied Science “monitors cellular events in real time without the incorporation of labels by measuring electrical impedance across interdigitated micro-electrodes integrated on the bottom of tissue culture E-Plates.”

If a company that technical can create fun B2B marketing videos, so can you.

Three types of people in B2B sales, who are you?

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, There are only three kinds of people in business to business sales:

The “Stallers”
– These people make up the majority of the population and are “empowered to stall.” They’ll ask for so much more information that you’ll feel like you’ve been sent “after the broomstick of the wicked witch of the west.”

The “No” People
– Those that have the ability to stall, but also possess the authority to hand you a big, fat “no.”

The “Yes” People
– This group is the smallest of the bunch, but full of those with the power to say “yes” to your offer. They may participate in stall tactics, but just for the fun of it.

If you’ve ever been part of a business to business sales team, most of your experience comes from dealing with “stallers” and “no” people. It’s a great day when you get to deliver your pitch to one of the “yes” people, but it may only happen rarely.

“You have no chance (zero) of moving someone from one category to another. The reason this system evolved is straightforward: the yes people are rare in a typical organization, because they have responsibility and power. So they are busy and need to be protected. The no people are easy to train at saying no, and they’re waiting to be promoted to yes people. And the stallers? They represent the dip, the barrier salespeople have to get through to show that they are serious.”

Instead of trying in vain to move someone from one category to another, Seth says to get up and start playing offense if you want the best deal.

“The opportunity for marketers in search of media is not to play defense, to stall people with clever ideas or small platforms, but instead to stop stalling and start looking. The bargains are there, just waiting.”

It’s a great post that hope everyone had a chance to read, visit Seth’s blog for even more great advice.

So, who are you? “Staller,” a “no” person or a “yes” person? Leave a comment and let us know why.

Who says B2B videos have to be boring?

There’s been a debate going around recently that business to business marketing has no place in social media. For everyone who questions whether B2B viral videos can be successful, we’ve found another example of how they can.

Since Cisco posted this video on January 29, it has had more than 140,000 views. Find out how you can show your love through Cisco in this funny B2B marketing video:

Of demons and customer service

Seth Godin wrote a blog post last week, titled “Demonization,” that ties in seamlessly with our Tuesday post on what can happen when terrible customer service hits the Internet.

Here’s what Seth says:

The closer you get to someone, something, some brand, some organization… the harder it is to demonize it, objectify it or hate it.

So, if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.

If you interact regularly with your customers in the places they like to hang out (blogs, forums, Twitter, etc.), an unhappy customer will be more likely to approach you first, before telling all of their friends about the horrible experience they had.

Be open, engage your customers and help them when they ask for it. Instead of telling everyone how terrible you are, maybe, just maybe they’ll spread the word on how absolutely wonderful your company is.