Good thought leadership shows that your company has vision and talent to back up the big claims. But there are plenty of pitfalls between you and a mind-blowing keynote. Here's how to avoid them.
When corporate websites boast about the benefits the company offers to customers, they're implying — or stating — that such benefits are unique. So how come what they're saying is so generic?
How do you generate leads? With "lead gen": direct mail, print and online. Stuff you send out to individual people to make them click and move one step closer to buying. It's not cool, it's not cutting edge, and nobody talks about it on marketing blogs. But in both B2B and B2C, direct mail is how frontline marketing still gets done. DM budgets may be dropping in favour of advertising, but conventional wisdom still tells you to buy large lists and send out direct mail. Is it the best way?
Remember when companies used to put AOL keywords on their marketing communications? Doesn't it seem quaint to us today? But the same thing is happening all over again with Facebook pages. Some are even predicting that top brands will move all their web presence to the social networking giant. We think it's a bad idea — and here's why.
As of the time of writing, we follow 155 people, businesses, shows, publications and fictional beings on Twitter. Even acknowledging the fact that we can't read everything that those 155 people post, that's quite a firehose of content to monitor, and of social connections to maintain. We're at our limit.
The internet is full of "top X" lists on copywriting. They can be fun and useful, at least when the subject matter is clear. But they can be dangerous, they lull us into thinking that we can produce great copy (and improve business results) by following a set of bite-sized rules about things like headlines and calls to action. We believe that when it comes to wordsmithing, quick fixes alone simply don't work.
We all like to read — and write — about success stories. But you can learn just as much from looking at what businesses do wrong. And believe us, when it comes to examples, the failures are much more fun than the successes. Here are three ways we see companies get outpaced, outmanoeuvred and overwhelmed.
I'm in the middle of packing for a motorcycle trip. Space is at a premium, and I'm having to make hard choices about what stays at home. Take too much and the bike won't handle; but leaving my waterproofs behind, for instance, will no doubt end in one soggy, grumpy biker. So it's the hardback books that I'm sacrificing instead. Every time we set about writing copy we've got the same problem. In a Google text ad you might only have a few characters; a 50-word slot in a newsletter; half an hour in a presentation or 5,000 words in a white paper. The scale of the problem varies, but the methods for dealing with it are the same.
Presentations (the decks, at least) are something that most people do badly. It's become a cliché of business life: "death by PowerPoint"; boring slides, too much text, too long. But what people generally mean is that the message wasn't relevant to them, or that there was no clear argument. Often a good presenter will be able to work around even the worst set of slides. But wouldn't it be better if the slides supported the presenter?
For years, Amazon has been selling us stuff to clutter up our houses, so it was only logical that it would take the next step and start offering to sell us a bigger house so that we can buy even more.
Recent days have brought renewed news coverage of the amended EU e-Privacy directive, and what it means for online marketing. As usual with news about the internet and EU regulations there's been a lot of hyperbole. Here's our summary of what it could mean for you.
At first glance car hire, the home of ratty old Corsas and sneaky fees for mileage or petrol, is an unlikely example for customer loyalty. But I'm so loyal to one company that now I don't even bother to check their prices against competitors. That's a great position for any company to get into. And it's the three services Ps that earned my loyalty.
Feedback is a fundamental part of the client-agency relationship, at every stage of a project. And just as in any relationship, it's when communication breaks down that you're in real trouble. Many clients turn to us in the first place precisely because they've had a communication breakdown with their incumbent agency — it happens all too frequently. Here's our advice on communicating effectively to achieve better results.
We're big champions of the value that a consistent and high-quality style can bring to any written document, but what makes a good style guide? Do you lead or lag? Do you have one voice or many? Do you write the way your readers want?
It's a big field, so how do you get where you want to go? In this short primer we answer the six fundamental questions. It will help you to avoid the pitfalls and achieve more, more quickly.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been plagued by people promoting their “must-read” book on social media and social network marketing. Here are three good reasons why you shouldn’t buy any of them.
Royal Mail really don't get marketing. Their "Business Solutions Pack" provides a great lesson in how not to design and execute a campaign. Read our critique and make sure you don't fall into the same traps.
When you're marketing to businesses it's easy to forget that you're still talking to individual people. But you can get avoid the trap, and we've got three pieces of advice to help.
The Royal Mail is upping its bulk delivery costs by 7%. You could see that as another pressure on your marketing budget, but we think it's a good thing.
We’ve already looked at the two mistakes that kill customer advocacy programs. Now let’s look at the solution. We’ve got five pieces of advice that can help you make a real success from your customer references.
Surveys show that customer references are the most influential marketing tool around. Your customers can advocate for your business with a level of credibility that you simply can’t achieve on your own. Yet most marketing people will say that capturing customer advocacy through a reference programme is one of the hardest activities they manage.
When you're a small business it's tempting to try and grow as quickly as you can. If you're selling physical products, especially products that people still tend to buy in stores (instead of online), you'll be feeling doubly pressured to grow your distribution channels by taking on any new retail partners you can. Is that the right approach?
I've been promising myself that I wouldn't write a post about Wikileaks. But I couldn't resist drawing a simple lesson from it that marketers — or indeed anyone who works for a company, because we're all in the business of marketing — can learn.
I'm an Amex corporate cardholder. I opted out of receiving marketing communications from Amex when I joined (I know, a little hypocritical from a marketeer, but hey). Despite this, I got this gem from them recently.
In the battle of big companies versus small, scale is often the decider. Big companies have vast resources to draw on. They also have vast inertia that stops them changing direction like their smaller, more agile competitors. The usual analogy is a supertanker versus a speedboat.
I've been thinking about a simple test for company taglines. I call it the "van test". The principle is simple: If you're out driving and a company employee is ahead of you in a van, could you work out what the company does, and why you'd give it business, just from the tagline on the van?
I passed a 96-sheet billboard the other day that got me thinking about brands. It was for the new Volvo S60 and showed a glorious picture of the curvy red sports saloon with a simple tagline, something along the lines of "meet the new boxy". The tagline makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to Volvo's square styling of yore, and in my opinion it's a sublime bit of brand-aware advertising that teaches us three great lessons.
When you are defining the security requirements for your site or online tool don't implement military-grade security on user accounts just because you can — it's not big and it's not clever. Focus your efforts where they will really make a difference.
Search engine optimisation is nonsense. Perhaps a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. It's certainly true to say that the SEO tricks peddled by most of the self-proclaimed experts out there are at best useless, and at worst damaging.
Montblanc make some beautiful products and charge accordingly. Imagining how much the pay the agencies that look after their brand makes me feel feint. Despite all the money that they spend, they can fall foul of the same problems as everybody else.