Posts Tagged ‘positioning’

Meet “Skip.” Last name “Intro” (Vote “no” on pointless agency flash)

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Have you met Skip?  You know, Skip Intro, the guy who develops all those overdone flash intro’s for ad agency web sites?

Awhile back I answered the following very astute question on LinkedIn from Andrew Miller, who, according to his LinkedIn profile is now Founder and Managing Director at Capitalist, Inc.

“Why do most creative agencies’ web sites look eerily like? Should a creative shop treat itself like a client?”

My Answer:

“This is a great question. The answers are that (a) agencies are following each other instead of the market; and (b) agencies need to do a better job of looking at their businesses through the clients’ (and prospective clients’) eyes instead of indulging their creative/artistic fantasies. Ever notice how so many agencies’ sites start with a long/pointless flash intro? That is a good example of not recognizing that site visitors want to locate info not be shown a short film.”

Why am I posting this now?  Because, while the problem has gotten a bit better, I notice that all to often it still exists.  So next time you see a useless flash intro that is preventing you from getting to the content you want, contact the site’s owner, publisher, webmaster (whatever happened to that title anyway?) and make your feelings known!

Bob London is President of London, Ink, a B2B marketing and communications consulting firm based in the Washington, DC area.  He can be reached at bob (at) londonink (dot) com.
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Research: Small biz use of social networks will double in a year.

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Great info from destinationCRM.com and supports why companies should consider solutions like e.SSENTIALS from London, Ink, a fixed-price bundle of online/social marketing programs.  See e.ssentials.net for more info.

Given the state of the economy, Lamba writes that social networking is a relatively low cost solution that could help in fostering, “steady communication with existing partners, and clients as well as incubating new relationships” — a function both desired by consumers networking with friends and with employees in the workplace. The aforementioned IDC social networking survey, in fact, indicates that the majority of social networking users list communication as their number one reason for usage of such sites.

http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=51944

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London, Ink Previews Latest “Executive Perspectives” E-Newsletter Here: http://tinyurl.com/62h83p.

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

London, Ink Previews Latest “Executive Perspectives” E-Newsletter Here: http://tinyurl.com/62h83p.

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Want to sponsor my new patio? (A creative way to subsidize home projects during a recession.)

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Let me just say that since we are in an economic downturn/recession/bust/depression, money-saving or cash-raising ideas that before may have seemed tacky or ill-conceived now deserve another look.

That’s why I decided to try and raise money for an expensive home improvement–my new flagstone patio—by selling something I call Brick Sponsorships.

Here’s how I got the idea:  Just before breaking ground on our new flagstone patio my family and I were at a local park when something I saw immediately struck me as an innovative albeit potentially controversial way to save some coin.  The park’s developer had taken contributions from local families and businesses who in turn got, as a permanent, tangible representation of their gift: a brick engraved with their names.

These bricks, hundreds of them, formed the border around the play area and sent an overall message of community involvement and certainly gave the donors a nice warm feeling not to mention another way to lower their Adjusted Gross Incomes.

But at their essence the sponsored bricks helped the developers defray the cost of the park by a few thousand dollars.

Could this same approach be applied to private, residential projects such as my new patio? For the answer, let’s review an excerpt from a conversation with my neighbor Mac regarding the possibility of becoming a Charter Brick Sponsor for my patio:

Me: Mac, have I told you about a great new opportunity?

Mac: What’s that, Bob?

Me: Well, a limited number of our friends, neighbors and family have a special, once in a lifetime chance to see their legacies permanently and elegantly enshrined in a highly visible area while also helping beautify the neighborhood!

Mac: (Suspiciously.) Tell me more, Bob.

Me: Well, you know that Monica and I are planning a new flagstone patio out front, right?

Mac: Right.

Me: And you know how many people come by in a given month, from our friends and family, their kids, our kids’ friends, neighbors, my parents, Patti’s folks, Patti’s book club, the poker gang, the FedEx guy and too many door to door solicitors to count?

Mac: Yes!

Me: Well, you and a select number of other individuals have a unique chance to have a beautiful, high–quality, U.S.-made brick with your name and message placed around the edge of our patio!

Mac: Really!

Me: Just think of how many people will see your name! Mac, this is the most unique way I’ve ever found to get your name out there in a high profile, quality fashion without the high costs usually associated with other marketing programs.

Mac: Yeah!

Me: You know the Greene’s a block over?

Mac: That new family from Columbus?

Me: Right! They’re in for three bricks! One for themselves, one for their kids and one from his parents in honor of their new house!

Mac: Is that so?

Me: They’re absolutely certain that their investment in these permanent, high quality pavers will result in more rapid awareness and acceptance in the neighborhood!

Mac: Bob, this sounds…expensive.

Me: Mac, you’d be surprised how affordable a brick sponsorship can be. But first let me tell you about our sponsorship levels:

Our most affordable package is Terra Cotta, which includes your name and message on one brick, plus a full color photo of your brick that you can proudly display in your home. This picture can easily increase your reach by 30% – 50% depending on the traffic through your home and specific room placement!

Our next option is Grande Terra Cotta, which gives you three bricks for the price of two. Think of what you can do with three bricks, Mac! You can honor different family members, resell this exclusive opportunity to your parents at a price you determine, or use two or even three bricks together to display an even longer message! Of course this options comes with a photo as well, in beautiful panoramic mode!

Our highest value option–and quickly becoming our most popular, is the Founder’s Club, which gives you the unbelievably distinctive opportunity to engrave your name and message directly onto a 2 foot square piece of flagstone! You can select either a perimeter slab or one towards the center of the patio, to maximize visibility. Which options sounds best to you, Mac?

Mac: Bob, I don’t know how I’d ever choose.

Me: Well, before you choose, there’s one more thing: If you order today I can guarantee your brick will be in place by the holidays–which guarantees an extra 30% viewership by virtue of the increased Christmas, Hannukah and New Year’s foot traffic on our patio!

Mac: Wow.  I just have one question, Bob.

Me: Shoot!

Mac: Have you taken your meds yet today?

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From LinkedIn Answers: “Improving B2B marketing results”

Monday, October 6th, 2008

 

Question on LinkedIn Answers: “What should a B2B marketing department do to improve the results it’s generating?”

http://www.linkedin.com/answers?viewQuestion=&questionID=336562&askerID=9584467&browseIdx=0&sik=&report.success=vfLh7ZiQxNtkwQoO3efsNN1zAgQ8WXmCT24lKBBmlHq_pfcN7JydQUoVP_zdv4b8

Response from Bob London:

Great question–which begs several precursors: (a) what are the goals? (b) how are “results” defined? (c) what measurement tools are in place today?

Probably safe to assume a B2B marketing department is charged with generating demand (leads) and in many cases educating/priming the market while positioning the company as a thought leader.

Here are some ways in which a B2B marketing department can improve results and not get lost in the characterization that “we’re not sure what marketing does relative to the business.”

*Philosophical/Management*

  • Commit to the challenge of contributing ROI for the overall marketing budget–so that the department pays for itself at least 15 – 20 times over each year.
  • Exert internal marketing leadership–take on the business’s longstanding challenges/dilemmas, whether it’s “why do we churn customers?” or “why don’t we know which marketing programs work and which don’t? or “where is our most profitable 3-year growth going to come from?”
  • Improve accountability–measure everything that moves (and everything that doesn’t for that matter). Every weekly update should include a review of 30 days previous results and forward projections. Integrate all systems (CRM, marketing automation, accounting) that will provide an end to end view of the data.
  • Assume a budget of zero (regardless of how uncomfortable this may feel)–then implement programs in order of priority and results. This will force you to orient the marketing budget and department around the company’s goals.
  • Listen to the rest of the organization–don’t bump heads with it.

*Tactical Suggestions*

  • Devote/redirect as much budget as possible towards lower cost, online lead gen and thought leadership initiatives. For each business challenge, ask the question: how can we address this via online strategies and channels vs. traditional. This will make the entire budget work harder on a dollar for dollar basis since it will be easier to track results.
  • Every B2B marketer should use Google AdWords; at least do a significant test using .05% of your total annual marketing budget. Do not run a generic ad pointing to your home page; rather offer a white paper or other valuable subject matter content, and point the ad to a specific landing page dedicated to that offer.
  • Optimize your site content so that it shows up in targeted searches for whatever you are marketing.
  • Make sure you are using some form of prospecting/hunting to bridge the gap between lead gen programs and sales. Prospecting (i.e. outsourced or in-house telemarketing) serves as a lower cost way to qualify leads as well as gather market data on prospect hot buttons and what competitors/ substitutes/alternatives your prospects are using.
  • Implement a simple but formal prospect nurture process whereby you treat every inbound inquiry as a long-term suspect and stay in touch via e-newsletters, white paper offers and webinars.
  • Have an intern or staffer collect all stray business cards that have not been entered into the marketing database and enter them as part of your nurture process.
  • Have an intern or staffer mine LinkedIn for prospect names using company names and job titles. Relevant contacts should be fed into an outbound teleprospecting process to qualify; interested contacts should then be added to the nurture process.
  • Add a “living” FAQ section to your site and regularly publish your answers to client/customer questions. Your answers will invariably include relevant keywords that can bolster your natural/organic page rankings on Google, et al. Also, we all tend to get the same questions from multiple people, so rather than rewriting the answer each time or searching your hard drive, just send the link to your blog/site where your answer already resides.

Hope this proves helpful!

Best regards,
- Bob London

Bob London
President
London, Ink
On Target. On Site. On Demand.
www.londonink.com

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Good post from John Quelch on “How CEOs should work with customers.”

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Once again, John Quelch with Harvard Business Publishing, strikes at the heart of the CMO/CEO issue with this post on “How CEOs should work with customers.”

How CEOs Should Work With Customers

Yet an increasingly high percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs have not come up the ranks through marketing or sales. At the same time, in many companies, the chief marketing officer position turns over every two years. Facing the current economic downturn, companies need marketing skills more than ever. But while every corporate mission statement pays lip service to respecting customer needs, actual customer expertise is typically a mile wide and an inch deep.http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2835

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Good post from Karen O’Brien (Crimson Consulting) on benefits of Twitter for CEOs

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Worth reading even if (or especially if) you don’t see Twitter’s as a business tool.  (I don’t–yet.)

Twitter-ing CEOs: What is the benefit for busy execs?
Posted by Karen OBrien on 09/08/08 under Messaging, Positioning & Value Proposition, Interactive Services

There was an interesting story recently in Business Week on heads of companies and their take on Twitter. Given the amount of information overload and the pressure on CEO’s to be efficient with time, use of Twitter makes a lot of sense given its 140 character limit and ability to give/ get instant feedback.

http://www.achievemarketleadership.com/wp-trackback.php?p=264

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Everything I know about marketing I learned from summer camp. (Coordination is everything.)

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

We received a very nice DVD from our son’s sleepaway camp in the Poconos (Lake Owego Camp, if you’re interested) which had a lot of great photos, footage and interviews of kids, counselors, administrators from this past summer.

From the perspective of a CEO interested in marketing, the most notable element of the DVD was the timing of its arrival: Right after we received the bill for next summer’s experience.

One of the best ways to get a free bump in your marketing output is by coordinating the timing of various activities.  You would assume, in the above example, that the camp’s renewal and sign-up rates are higher among people who view the DVD and get the emotional lift during the time they receive the bills.

Here is a simple way that I have applied this principal to my business.  When I do an e-newsletter, I can either send it when it’s ready and when I have the bandwidth to edit/proof it to within an inch of its life (!), or send it one or two days before a big networking event where I know I will be seeing many of the people on my house list.

The cost of executing the e-newsletter is the same either way.  But by coordinating the timing with the event I get the combined impact of (a) seeing someone in person, (b) having them mention “hey, I just saw your email,” and (c) having something else to talk about that demonstrates I practice what I preach regarding nurture marketing.

And let’s face it: The more relevant things you have to say at networking events, the more at-ease and successful you will be.

Bob London is president of London, Ink LLC (www.londonink.com), a full-service marketing and communications firm, and serves as a Virtual VP of Marketing for growth-stage companies that need hands-on project-based leadership in marketing strategy and planning.
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Bob on Bisnow

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

From Potomac Techwire’s “Future of Software” event on Friday, September 5, 2008

http://www.bisnow.com/washington_dc_tech_news_story.php?p=1492

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Photo credit: Tech Bisnow

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