Archive for July, 2006

Advertising Is Not Dead

Last week, Piaras Kelly posted about advertising and how it has not died. Here are my thoughts on the subject…

Advertising is not dead. In fact it is far from dead.

People who claim, “companies should dump their current advertising strategies and turn to YouTube et al,” are only looking at one or two industries. There are many industries where such strategies would simply not work because their target audience is not tech savvy and they do not visit sites like YouTube.

It concerns me that there are professionals out there who think that simply sticking a video on YouTube will generate leads. Many of the same marketers also claim advertising is dead because of the Web 2.0 movement. Maybe it isn’t advertising that is dying, maybe it’s just good marketing know-how that’s fading…

Piaras does claim that advertising is becoming less effective and to a certain extent I agree with him.

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Trade Show Promotional Items Ruined by Obtrusive Corporate Logos

I received a messenger bag (not the one pictured) from one of the industry trade shows in which my company exhibited last week. The messenger bag was an excellent give-away item. It was sturdy and well made. Most importantly, for me, it was pleasing to the eye – that is until I saw the giant, corporate logo imprinted on the center of the bag. Pity, I would have kept the messenger bag, if it weren’t for the hulking corporate logo on the front of it.

I have witnessed worse acts of corporate branding. Believe it or not, I have seen companies completely cover computers and Apple iPods with their logos. Doing so renders the highly popular give-away useless. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who receive such items rarely use them. Why? Consider this, would you want to carry around a messenger bag or an iPod imprinted with some other company’s logo? I wouldn’t. To me, doing so screams “corporate tool” and looks unprofessional.

I do not understand why marketing departments feel the need to ruin beautiful and useful give-aways by covering them with their logo.

If it were my company giving away the messenger bag, I would not print our logo in such a noticeable area. On the contrary, I would pick an unobtrusive area to display the logo – like on the tiny metal zipper. For iPods, I would use a subtle engraving on the back. With computers, I would use a tiny but removable sticker of our logo on the front. Items such as these are not meant to be handed out to every visitor your booth has. They should only be handed out to the highest quality leads. The recipient of such a gift doesn’t need your company logo to remind him of which company gave it him. The fact that you refrained from defacing the highly sought give-away will help him remember and he will be much more appreciative of the gift and your company.

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Marketing Sherpa Study: Blogs Excel At Lead Generation

According to a Marketing Sherpa study,

This year for the first time blogs have joined top-rated tactics to entice high-quality prospects to submit their contact information as leads.

Blogs are shown to be responsible for either generating 33% of leads or converting 33% of prospects into leads for technology service companies. However, blogs did not excel at lead generation for technology hardware companies.

This is definitely food for thought…

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Perfectly Good Email Campaign Found Dead: Too Many Clicks Fingered As Suspect

I received a promotional email from Apple today. Even though the email was well designed and contained engaging text, it still failed to get me to take the intended action. Why? Too many clicks, that’s why.

I admit that I am a fan of Apple products. As such, I will usually open and read every email they send my way. But with this particular campaign, Apple complicated the entire process by requiring me to jump through too many hoops.

Here’s What Happened:

The main action the email asked me to take was to click on a link to “get the facts about a Mac.” I thought this was a simple enough action to take, so I clicked the link. Clicking the link took me to a screen that required me to identify my university. This was unexpected; I thought I was going to get the facts about a Mac. A side note: This is where my frustration overcame my curiosity and I closed the email. I later came back to the email and went through the entire process only to write this post.

I complied with the request to identify my university. After entering my state and city name and then highlighting my university, I clicked the “Continue” button. Now I was finally ready to see some Mac facts, right?

Wrong.

Instead, I was given yet another screen. This time it was a shopping agreement form. After reading the small text, I clicked the “Agree” button.

Eureka! I had finally arrived at the Mac facts page.

So how many clicks did it take to reach the facts page? It took a total of five clicks and three different web pages. That’s a huge marketing no-no in my book!

What Should Have Happened:

I should have arrived at the facts page with only one click. Apple should have saved the other clicks (those asking for university information and the shopping agreement) after the facts page – when the email recipients have been given the benefits of a Mac and are more likely to buy.

If an Apple enthusiast, like myself, is unwilling to jump through all those hoops, would someone unfamiliar with Apple go through the trouble? I think not.

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Content is King But Not An Oppressive Ruler

We’ve all heard that age-old saying, “Content is king.” It’s true, content is king and corporate executives would be wise to remember that fact. Likewise, we all should know that a company newsletter, sent to customers, should be focused on the customers’ needs. But too much information, even customer-centric information, in a newsletter acts as a barrier to readership.

Very few customers will sit and read an entire company newsletter from top to bottom. Why? Because their time is valuable. As such, customers quickly scan your newsletter for information that is of interest to them. If you jam a bunch of articles into one newsletter, you complicate that process for them. The same is true for the content of the article. If the customer opens an article to find a 1,500-word expose, that customer will merely skim the article – or worse, never read it.

What can we as marketers and communications professionals learn from this? Stop putting too much content into our newsletters! At most a newsletter should contain only three to five articles. Article length should be kept to a minimum and only cover the necessary points or highlights. Write in the inverted pyramid style. If you find the article to be too lengthy, start editing from the bottom up. If the article is still too long, consider breaking the article into episodic parts to be published in next month’s newsletter.

There are many benefits of keeping newsletter and article length short. First, you will increase the “white space” of the newsletter. This lends to a cleaner layout, which in turn draws the reader’s eye to the text, increasing the likelihood of the article being read. Second, the reader will be able to read the newsletter quickly and will not have to block out twenty minutes of his day to read your publication. Finally, the reader will be less likely to unsubscribe from your hassle-free newsletter. Why? Newsletters that are a hassle to read eventually end up not being read. This eventually leads to deletion upon arrival which eventually leads to an unsubscribe request.

Content is king and very important but content should never be oppressive.

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Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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