Sounding Smarter by Eliminating “That” Stuff

A colleague at work recently shared this article on “how to sound smarter.” And reading through the words the author would like to eliminate from conversation. I agree wholeheartedly. Business Insider Article

One of my search and find words is “that”.  Are you in interested in the that thing that does that?  Huh? In the work I do, I am constantly crossing the word out of communications written by others – but also in my own writing.  It’s part of a conversational style, but gets in the way of clarity of message.

So take a moment, do a search for “that” and get rid of every last one. You may not sound smarter, but you will certainly get your point across more clearly.

Viral Posts Have Common Threads – and it’s all in the mind

fractl_viral_content_emotionsEveryone in business wants their content to go viral.  But sadly, most but a few select winners who happen upon the right message, at the right time, in the right place succeed. That being said, there are some psychological factors that go into Viral Content that gets picked up and shared.  And these are based on data – so take a gander.

1) Have a great title – can’t argue with a good hook

2) Have an emotional connection – positive is best

3) It should be long – but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity

Read more from kapost.  It’s interesting stuff – has a good emotional tie and is long.  ;)

image taken from kapost blog post referenced above.

Leaving them laughing…

I had to share this with you. One of my favorite brands, IKEA, has released this video which pokes fun at Apple style marketing/promotion with a tongue in cheek product introduction.

see it here

Why do I love IKEA’s branding – it’s an end to end experience. I always leave their catalogs with great ideas, their shop floors with interesting items – and they encourage creativity by encouraging IKEA hacks. Do a search on Google and you’ll find alternate uses of all their products.

It’s priceless promotion.

What is content marketing?

Clearest and most to the point definition of Content Marketing to date:

Content marketing is the process of developing, publishing, and distributing useful information that engages prospective customers and propels them toward purchase. 

Thanks to Kapost for a great summary article – worth the read 




Is there a difference between donors and customers?

I’ve recently been working with an educational entity who solicits gifts of time. talent and treasure from its community. Going into this arrangement I thought there might be significant differences between marketing to a donor base versus a customer base. However, there isn’t.

Customers like to be recognized for their purchase – so do donors.
Customers don’t want to be given a small token worth less than $1 – neither do donors.
Customers want to be a part of your community – so do donors.
Customers who engage want an experience, not just a purchasing transaction – same with donors.

Above all, people want to interact with your brand at a level appropriate to their investment – time, talent and treasure.

More to come on this one. It’s an interesting comparison.

11 Things to Remember for Marketers


The basic techniques that separate the winners from the losers are sometimes ignored even by the most seasoned of marketers. Some of these I’ve paraphrased from sources I no longer remember.  Most were learned along the way. These basics can be the difference between a great ROI and a flop.

  1. Know Your Audience – why what where when how why.
  2. A “Like” doesn’t matter to your ROI, but “Talking About This” matters to your brand.
  3. Facebook is a personal water cooler conversation and LinkedIn is a business conversation in a conference room. Remember and modify your message to match.
  4. Design may be beautiful, but if the content isn’t right, it won’t be effective.
  5. A customer only buys when they are ready to buy.
  6. People do business with people.  People do business with people they like. People do not do business with companies.
  7. Be where your customer is — integrated marketing strategies work only if your customer is there – social media, web, email, print, direct mail, broadcast.  If they aren’t there to listen, it’s money spent unwisely.
  8. A relationship with the customer doesn’t end at the sale – it’s only beginning.
  9. It’s not the small that get eaten, it’s the slow that get beaten.
  10. Testing, testing, 1 2 3.  Make sure the message works before you put large $$s behind it – market research doesn’t have to be big – a simple survey can do wonders in understanding your customer response. A/B Split testing is even better!
  11. Don’t sell on price – it’s the value proposition that will bring in the sale.



Superbowl Ads: A plethora of Blah and some Rah!

So the NY/NJ Superbowl is now over and everyone is left with a feeling of BORING! This year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials was one of the least inspired in recent memory. So let’s take a look at the least and the most. And the lack of an integrated maketing plan carried through by some companies.

The worst, in this marketer’s opinion are the ones you don’t know what was being “sold” or what they stand for.

1) SquareSpace – Creepy commercial. I get what the company was saying about the cluttered and confusing state of the web today… but there’s nothing to tell you what they do or offer. What’s in it for me, SquareSpace? Where’s the conclusion? There was no story wrap up.

My Conclusion: When your Super Bowl ad doesn’t set you apart or tell who you are, it doesn’t work! I don’t know what your brand promise is, SquareSpace.

2) My second nominee for the worst commercial – and it pains me to say it because they usually stun me with their creativity and focus on the 21 – 25 market. Bud Light’s Dancing aluminum bottle. Very simply, it was boring without a focus and a great time to take a bathroom break. There was no social media tie-in or brand representation to make an emotional tie.

My conclusion here: A Blah commercial for a Blah SuperBowl. Again – what’s the brand promise, Bud Light?

3) One final worst – Johnny Galecki, oh why did you get involved in this one. Car commercial? Why aren’t you doing a tech themed commercial where your audience will respond to your comic genius rather then being confused by you and Dennis Miller. I was waiting for you to wake up and think it was all a dream except for the beautiful girl next to you – now that would have been a great finish. No continuity, no story, no true content and no point.

My conclusion: Hyundai wanted a star, they chose Johnny Galecki but didn’t choose him for his fan base. The commercial would have been more effective if an action show based star was used like Kevin Bacon or Chris McDonald where things blow up on a regular basis and the characters have to handle it. Or turned it into a dream with comedic moments. Again – no continuity between the commercial, it’s brand and the characters.


However, when it comes to the best commercials, I have to say the old traditional emotional tactics that pull the viewer into the brand and make them feel for it are the ones I think are the winners.

1) Take the Clydesdale and the Puppy for Bud. It tells a great story for the brand – an iconic stoic and serious image (Clydesdale) is connected with a rambunctious pup and the Clydesdale brings him home. The brand brings together old and new; men and women; transitions the love of brand from an older generation to the younger. Smart moves from Bud on this one.

My conclusion: Stick with what works – dancing bottles vs. emotional connection. The emotion will always score like the SeaHawks did.

2) Now for another winner – Ian, oh Ian. I want to believe you weren’t an actor and just agreed because a beautiful woman asked you to come with her and you had nothing better to do – I really want to believe you weren’t in on the staging. So I’m going to let myself believe – Don Cheadle with a Llama, Arnold in pingpong and then a One Republic concert. Bud Light – this one you did well. Your brand stands for going with the flow, having a good time and putting a smile on those around you.

My conclusion: Bud Light (with one of the worst and one of the best) should have invested in ONE type of commercial rather than the unconnected set of three we received. Your quarterback needs a substitute.

3)So my final winner – and no Budweiser is not paying me for my opinions here. My emotional response was verge of tears to this one – as should be. A Hero’s Welcome was poignant, smart and had legs beyond the commercial – there’s a documentary about the homecoming of this soldier that’s added content – and then they had the Lt. Chuck Nadd and his wife AT THE SUPERBOWL. They were real people and Bud paid for them to enjoy the game from a box. Classy in a number of ways. Also – pointing out that EVERY soldier should have a homecoming of praise and love and cheering. This one hit me in the heart.

My conclusion: Way to go Budweiser. Great subject, great tie ins with social media and the documentary. This one has legs that will run miles for the company. Sponsoring a return party or parade or raising money – this campaign can go far. My hope is to see how far you’ll run with it so that all returning service members get the star treatment they deserve.