Sep 30, 2009

Ad Man's Book of The Month: September 2009 Choice

Announcing The Grand Opening

Ad Man's Book of The Month Club:
September 2009 Choice

Duane E. Knapp - The Brand Mindset: Five Essential Strategies For Building Brand Advantage Throughout Your Company

This book deserves to be in your bookshelf if you have ever wondered what branding really is, how is it done, and what can you expect as results from it.
The Brand Mindset is a marvelous and a simple book with lots inspirational case-studies. The examples include branding success stories like Starbucks, Whirpool and Hampton Inn just to name few.

The greatest value from The Brand Mindset comes to the reader when learning step-by-step how does branding process work. And how to do it. Duane E. Knapp highly recommends for companies to use an outsider to lead and guide the company through the brand building process. He explains that this way objectivity is guaranteed when you have a brand steward on board, and the best outcome is achieved. I couldn't agree more.

I recommend this book to all people who are working with marketing and advertising. It gives you an excellent understanding about branding concepts, techniques, and of course; results. The Brand Mindset is written during the internet era, so you can expect very accurate examples. Get the book and step to the next level on branding.

Chapter 9: Branding Tools

The last chapter includes 40 pages (!) of branding tools that are ready to use in any company or organization. If you would read
only 40 pages of The Brand Mindset make sure it's the last 40 pages. They are made of pirate gold.

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Sep 29, 2009

Ad Man's Book of The Month Club: Opening Tomorrow

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Sep 28, 2009

In Search of Advertising That Sells

When was the last time you saw an ad that made you want to buy the product? I'm not talking about feeling good towards the product. I'm talking about a burning desire to get the product. For me, it has been too long since that has happened. And yes, I do work in the advertising business.

Bad advertising costs more

Seeing companies running lousy ad campaigns was the reason how got interested in the advertising in the first place. How did I know that money was being thrown out of windows even before actually working in the advertising? You don't have to be Einstein to realize that something is out of place when it comes to ads.

Do this simple test. Think back to the last time you watched TV. Try to memorize the last commercial break.
In your mind place yourself in sitting in front your TV. Are you there now? When you are, try to memorize which products were advertised on that last commercial break you saw? Just picture any product or an ad you remember. How many items can you recall?

Do I have your attention now? I'm betting you can remember only one or zero ads from the last commercial break you saw on TV.

What is wrong in the advertising if it doesn't sell? In my opinion advertising has no other function than to sell. To sell your product, service or idea. (If you know a different function for advertising, please write it to the comment field below.) Where do you learn how to sell? In art schools? In business schools? What you think? If you think you will learn to sell in the school, then I'm more than happy come to your faculty as a full-time student. However, if you think that schools may not be the best place for you to learn selling, how come most people in the advertising industry comes from schools?

People with a wrong education is the reason why I think today's advertising costs more and more, and sells less and less. Many people,
with a lack of motivation, are in the ad business. Rather than trying to sell client's products, art directors and copywriters are simply satisfying their own urges to play and have fun on their client's expense. The most advertising people have the need to be creative for almost at whatever the cost. For years I have been against advertising, if it's only trying to be creative. Here is the biggest reason why I feel so strongly about the topic:

“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product." -David Ogilvy

There is still hope for those of us who demand advertising that sells. Hang on. The internet is soon becoming a vital part of every form of work. It means that everything can be measured. With the measurement we can finally prove to advertisers that simply being creative is not enough, you need advertising that sells. One of my favorite bloggers Seth Godin wrote an excellent post about how we all will work on a commission soon, whether we like it or not. I'm looking forward to it.

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Sep 25, 2009

Why Ad Agencies Will Not Take Their Own Medicine?

Why are advertising agencies afraid to be different? We as marketing professionals speak every day to clients about how to differentiate and position yourself, but we ourselves refuse do the same.

Do you think that "creativity" is Unique Selling Proposition for your agency? Think again. How many people in the advertising industry have you met who told you that they are not creative? Please drop me an email if you find one.

How are you special?

Being creative is a standard requirement in this business. It is not something that makes you different. You might be different from a bank teller, but you are not standing out as something special above your competitors in the advertising.

What is there left if everyone is creative?

How about using your creativity? Try burning midnight oil and finding something that your clients will love. Something more than just creativity. Sure, you are in a good company if you feel creative, but so does everyone else.

The power of why

I just met one of the greatest advertising gurus in Finland, who kindly brought me back to Earth during an 1,5 hour coffee with him. He got me thinking little bit harder, rather than just fantasizing how creative I was. Every time told him about something I wanted to do or get in this business he simply asked; why? Why do you want it? Why is it something that your clients should care? Or better yet; Pay? To be honest I'm still pondering with that question.

As always in a creative process answers will come, as long as you keep thinking. When the answer is clear I will share it with you. Until then, try to take some of your own medicine from the bottle that says: "Differentiation".

You may find these related articles interesting:

Sep 23, 2009

+156 Harvard Marketing Articles

Here is a goldmine about marketing. +156 Harvard marketing articles. Enjoy.

To visit Harvard's website click the link below:

Sep 19, 2009

29 Tested Methods - How to Make Your Email Marketing Sell More

Here are 29 easy tips to improve the selling power of your email marketing. These are tested methods from direct-response advertising. Try them yourself. You will see the difference in sales.

1. Set a goal for every message.

Why do we send this? What are we trying to accomplish? These are basic questions you need to ask from yourself before you write anything.

2. Be consistent.

Have a purpose for your every message, which supports the bigger picture and brings clarity to your communication. Your goal should be to have an impact that grows stronger over time. Being consistent helps to achieve it.

3. Simple is better.

Mind can only one thought at a time. Just try thinking about an airplane and Mercedes-Benz at the same time. Can you do it?

4. Clarity above all.

This could be number one on this list as well. It's not how you say, but WHAT you say.

5. Headline makes 90 % of your success

Use most of your time to write a clear headline with a promise in it.
Your email will only get opened if your headline promises something worth reading. 
Try to think email marketing like this:

a) Headline brings customers in.
b) Your copy text brings
home the sale.
c) Never send a single message, just because you feel like you should something.

Remember that you are only one click away from Spam folder. Think "Spam buttom" like you would get bitten by a vampire. It will not take long after that for you turn into a living dead.

6. Never spam.

Do you want cheap wins or customers who will still love after 20 years of marriage?

7. Be interesting and keep Dale Carnegie on your mind.

Customer: "What's in it for me?"

8. Subscribe and read Emarketer Daily and ClickZ newsletters.

9. Test your advertising constantly.
"Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving" -David Ogilvy

A simple A/B testing to every message will do wonders to your sales curve. Milk your winners.

10. Study your competitors.

Subscribe to all of their material you can lay your hands on. When ever you find some method repeating itself you discovered their winning horse.

11. Subscribe to, Apple Store and eBay newsletters.

Copy all of the best ideas from these. They are tested and proven gold mines.

12. Leave empty words out.


13. Direct-response experience is a must for your email marketing planner.

14. Buy John Caples - Tested Advertising Methods 
"Tested Advertising Methods" is your new bible when you are writing your next ad. It includes simple instructions with lots of examples about how to write a direct-response ad that sellsGet also:

Bob Stone - Successful Direct Marketing Methods
Seth Godin - Permission Marketing

15. Collect lists of tested email marketing methods.

16. Build a simple path for your reader to take action.

17. Use carrot.

"Do this, you'll get that."

18. Try different colors and layouts constantly in your emails.

19. Cash your winning horses all the way to the bank.

In other words: repeat your winners as long as you can.

20. Don't use exclamation marks. Again, you are not a spammer, are you?

21. Use sub-headings.

Help your reader to read your emails more easily.

22. Use text which can be read even if pictures in your email will not open.

23. Be honest.

Be open about why you are collecting information from your customers. And how they will benefit from it.

24. If possible, advertise only one product per message.

Clarity, consistency and goals easier to achieve this way.

25. Use open ended questions in your email.

Words like How, What, When, Where, Why are more interesting. Consider this classic: "How To Win friends & Influence People" who wouldn't want to learn more after reading that headline?

26. Be personal.

Email has made possible to establish a conversation, which can be made as personal as a door-to-door salesman. Build a conversation with goal, a goal to sell.

27. Your advertising has to sell.

Advertising has only one purpose: to sell your product, service or idea.

28. Leave your headline open - no dots.

A dot at the end of the sentence will end it. Dots in your headlines doesn't increase readership in your emails.

29. Use expiration date to get action now.

"This offer expires on October 24th - Act now. Click here"

Those were the few basic tips to improve your email marketing. Digital direct marketing is a great tool because you can test and measure everything with little or no cost. Keep studying, continue testing and your advertising will never stop improving ... 

But don't forget a good email marketing software. For example, try ActiveCampaign absolutely FREE today. It's almost magical.

Sep 16, 2009

The One Thing in Advertising That Sells More Than Sex

Let me give you a hint. It is not creativity. No matter how creative you may think you are, if you don’t understand how advertising works you will not get very far. Most advertising agencies focus to emphasize how creative they are. Just google few of them and you will see it yourself. So why not take a different approach?

Advice from the advertising guru

According to David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising agency giant, “Advertising has only one purpose: to sell. Everything else is secondary.” And how do you sell? He gives this example from selling: If you are at a party and a woman next to you asks which car to buy, what would you do? Would you start describing to her adjectives of the car such as pretty, cool and nice or would you give her the facts? Which one do you think sells more?

The forgotten professional secret

The one thing in advertising that always sells is information. That is what you want when you are buying something and that is what you should get. However, people working in the modern advertising tend forget what they are suppose to be doing. To make advertising that sells. Even all of the digital buzz campaigns and online communities around your brand has only one purpose; to sell – or at least they should have.

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Sep 12, 2009

Why You Should Blog

After reading "Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing The Way Businesses Talk with Customers" by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, there is a little doubt in my mind about why blogging is for every serious professional.

The book shows with lots of examples, from a tailor to PR specialists, how they went from nobody into somebody thanks to their blogging. You can do it too, if you are dedicated enough about your topic.

Overcome your insecurity

From my experience most experts are frightened to share their knowledge with others without a decent pay. They think they will lose something if they let people know how much they know. (That would give them an Expert status, but of course that's not desirable outcome, right?) Sharing your expertise with others will only grow your business, not shrink it.

Test yourself - Are you an expert?

There are lots of examples online about so-called "experts" who use trendy words to sound professional with little substance. Who knows maybe your blog will also fall into this category?

The challenge

I challenge you to try blogging for 21 days. It will improve your Google rankings, bring you new contacts and help you to connect with your customers. Give it a go. After all, it's free.

If you have a blog already, feel free to drop your link to comments.

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Sep 9, 2009

Venture Capitalist's Anti-portfolio

Here is an interesting link from the blog of Finnish advertising agency called Zeeland Society. It has an anti-portfolio of Bessmer venture capital firm. Check it out if you think that sky is falling and this recession will never pass.

To read Zeeland's post about the same topic in Finnish click here.

Sep 8, 2009

Sustainability and Transparency - Business or Bulls***?

These two words, sustainability and transparency, have been rising from the horizon of greedy consultants for years. Now it looks like they are finally breaking through the clutter (also a hot word among most experts). Is corporate social responsibility through transparency and sustainability just another way to sell more consulting services to companies or it is something that actually makes any sense (money)?

Most of it is just hype. Bloggers, agencies, consultants and authors are trying to find their latest niche to cash in. Today in 2009 hot words are sustainability, transparency and CSR. "Hey, what's you CSR strategy?" sounds a lot cooler than asking how much your sales has grown after you started working with that new agency? Many managers will fall into this trend topic hype just because everyone else seems to be doing it as well. And you don't want stand out from the crowd, do you?

However, if you are serious about the social responsibility, there are genuine companies who can help you. I hope they can turn their social agenda into money as well. That would make buying their services a lot easier for clients.

For more information about companies who seem to be
sincere about trying to change to the world through transparency and sustainability. Check out these links.

Glasshouse Partnership

Saatchi & Saatchi

Sep 5, 2009

Does Your Company Make These Mistakes In Marketing?

The brand experience was ruined. After finally making a decision about getting a new mobile modem for my laptop, I went to the store determined to get the modem. I was hyped until the following happens.

It was 4 pm afternoon Tuesday. Most people seemed to be there coming straight from work like me. The store was full of customers, but half of the customer service stations were empty. A usual understaffed store. We were advised to take a number and wait. The store would be closing at 5 pm. I decided to stay and wait. No way buying a modem would take more than 20 minutes. At least that's what I thought.

55 minutes later

At 4.55 pm it was finally my turn. I was frustrated and thirsty after drinking too much coffee at work, and standing an hour in the small waiting area with a dozen other people (the water cooler in the store was from the early 90's and it didn't work). Behind the counter was a lady in her fifties.
I stated the name of the product I wanted to buy. After few seconds of hesitation, she gave an empty look and asked me to be little more precise. I asked if I could get the offer they'd been advertising on TV, online and print for months now. I mentioned that it was the same offer they have an ad on the street standing in front of their store at this very moment. It didn't help. She started to google according to my description.

"Is that it?"

Finally, she found the deal from her computer screen. "Is that it?" she asked from me. I told her yes. Then I asked whether I can have it right away with me. "Oh, no. You have to wait a couple of days to get it from mail." The only reason I came into the store rather than placed my order online was to get it right away. I told her I wanted it to get a wireless modem now. She offered me a cable modem which she told I could have right now. "Is it wireless?" I asked. "No" she responsed. After over an hour wasted in the store I said "Thank you and goodbye."

Where 100.000 can do the work of a million

When get your customer ready to buy, make sure you know want to do when that green light goes on. Anyone who has ever worked in sales knows how much effort it takes to close the sale. Don't ruin your chances at the finish line. In this case the mobile operator had spend millions of euros to advertising. But they didn't invest any money to the only experience that really matters - human contact. Their staff was poorly trained and the so called "flag store of the company" was working against itself. Did I say was? It still is.

Advertising - The mistake that most companies make

Advertising is just cosmetics if fundamentals are out of place. The fundamentals like customer service, number of staff and basic employee training. As much as you can blame the company you can also ask where was their advertising agency's focus? On cosmetics or fundamentals? Sure, one million makes bigger billings for the agency than getting 100.000 from unsexy staff trainings and workshops.

Bad PR will kill you

We have moved into the world where negative experiences spread faster than you can put out fires. The chances are you might actually piss off someone who is an influential like this guy.

Further reading:

Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Robert: "United Breaks Guitars"

The Huffington Post: " 'United Breaks Guitars' Did it Really Cost The Airline $ 180 Million?"

Mashable: "United Breaks Guitars Surpasses 3 million Views in 10 days"

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Sep 1, 2009

Three Buckets of Branding

All you need to know about branding are these three buckets. When you have fulfilled all of them you are done. You have a brand, a strong brand.

Bucket 1

Your employees are in the first bucket. Your brand is an inspiration to them.

Bucket 2

Your customers goes to the second bucket. Your brand is a promise to your customers.

Bucket 3

The third bucket is for the brand owners. Your brand is a profitable investment to its owners.

Think about branding experts favorite example: Volvo's brand "Safety". It promises customers a safe car to drive, while motivating and giving direction to the whole Volvo organization. At Volvo everyone is working to sharpen their competitive edge - safety. When employees and customers are happy, owners too, are happy.

In branding all three buckets have to be full. Otherwise your brand will not survive competition.

Coming up more about branding and how to do it successfully.

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