Nov 30, 2009

The Best Way to Improve Your Advertising

You came to a right place if you are looking answers on how to improve your advertising. I'm afraid the answer you find is something you already knew. Here it is: study advertising. Pretty lame, ugh? Bare with me, I have good news to you as well.

When you study how advertising works your knowledge is going to improve your marketing efforts. This means more sales, which means more profits. Consider this: most people don't read books or take courses and seminars. They simply go along with a knowledge which is from eighties. Some have even pre-historic skills from the seventies. Don't laugh when you meet these people. They are the real deal. As matter of fact 80-90 percent of your organization consists of people who haven't studied anything since they left school.

Do this simple test. Take a look at people sitting in your coffee room. What are they reading?

Instead of judging outdated people, make sure you are not still talking about how "the web" will revolutionize everything when you become over 50 years old. Social media is cool, the internet is great, but at the end of the day - the only thing that really matters is how do you handle change. That's all there is, turbulence and roller coaster rides. The web isn't going to be young forever. Neither will you.

The best way to prepare yourself for the future is to study. In your case study how advertising works, especially study what doesn't work. How can you know if your advertising is good or bad? Can you track it down to a single ad or are you counting that "awareness" will increase your sales? I'm not saying it doesn't work. I'm simply asking - How do you know if your advertising works?

I started Ad Man's Book Club
few months ago. Every month in this blog I announce one book worth reading. You can find November's choice here My goal is to educate readers like you about advertising, direct marketing and how to influence people more effectively. I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I enjoy writing them. Your comments and opinions are very much welcomed. Please, keep them coming.

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Nov 28, 2009

Your life?


"Some people are making such thorough preparation for rainy days that they aren't enjoying today's sunshine."
William Feather



The picture is from Flickr user John-Morgan CC 2.0

Nov 26, 2009

Ad Man's Book Club: November 2009 Choice


Successful Direct Marketing Methods


Bob Stone and Ron Jacobs

"A must read for anyone who wants to generate more sales. This book makes your marketing more accountable and profitable."

If David Ogilvy's Ogilvy on Advertising is to copywriting what bible is to Christians, I do not know how much further can any other marketing book go. Except when it comes to Bob Stone's and Ron Jacobs' Successful Direct Marketing Methods.

The book is 600 pages of platinum. Anyone who owns it, owns a piece of proven knowledge from the world's greatest direct marketing professionals. In my opinion, you qualify for an university diploma of
advertising after studying this book. Why: because in a marketing industry not many people read books of our trade. But you will. That's why you will flourish.

What you should know about this book

Successful Direct Marketing Methods is a marketing treasure in your business book collection. Despite the fact that it has over 600 pages, it's a very easy and interesting book to read. The book includes wide sections on:
  • Strategic planning of direct marketing
  • B2B Direct marketing
  • Database building tools and resources
  • Advice on how to use media
  • Specific information about internet direct marketing
  • For creatives: Tips how to generate more responses and how to design direct mail whether on- or offline.
  • Modeling and managing your customer relationships
  • Innovation through creativity and testing
  • Research for direct marketers

I would consider this book as a handbook of direct marketing. Read it and re-read it. Tested techniques from Bob Stone's and Ron Jacobs' Successful Direct Marketing Methods can be applied to general advertising as well. It's a must read for anyone who wants to generate more sales. This book makes your marketing more accountable and profitable.

"What is Ad Man's Book Club?"

Ad Man's Book Club is a free online book community that shares information about marketing and advertising books that can help you to improve your skills and knowledge.
  • The newsletter is never send more than once a day. You can unsubscribe any time.
  • You stay on tune about the latest marketing and advertising insights.
  • Join us today for free. No commitments.

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Nov 23, 2009

DMA09: How To Promote Direct Marketing Industry

In this year's largest marketing conference, DMA09, attendees were asked for ideas how to reinvent direct marketing industry. DMA09 event was organized by Direct Marketing Association. The participants wrote their ideas on napkins. Ogilvy's re:direct movement which is very actively promoting direct marketing published the ideas here.

I picked the few most interesting ideas for you
  • Make direct marketing as an exclusive industry to attract new talent.
  • Write white papers and articles why direct marketing (DM) is the future of marketing.
  • Different language Direct TV (DRTV), what about Hispanic audience?
  • Think beyond direct mail. Digital is the future.
  • Pro direct marketing speaking series and contents in schools.
  • Change a compensation of direct marketing. Shared risks and rewards.
  • Direct marketing should be environmental friendly.
  • Direct is the personal way to do business.

Now, it's your turn to answer these questions

  1. What would you do to improve direct marketing as an industry?
  2. What could be the way to spread awareness that direct marketing is the golden opportunity of advertising?
  3. What could be a downside for those who miss this marketing opportunity?


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Nov 21, 2009

What Does A Dead LinkedIn Account Tell About You...

You have seen them, haven't you? I'm talking about dead LinkedIn accounts. You were doing a Google search of a person. Naturally, you landed on their LinkedIn profile... "Wait a minute. Can this be right?"

How to recognize a dead LinkedIn account

Beware when you see these characteristics of a dead LinkedIn account
  • Less than ten connections
  • One or two positions as an employment history
  • No avatar picture
  • Short or no summary of skills
  • LinkedIn URL is not personalized like http://fi.linkedin.com/in/timojappinen instead it's only something like this http://fi.linkedin.com/in/zzzewxx55jfdu23
  • No links
  • No applications
  • No recommendations
  • No groups
  • The last status update was made: A. Never B. Over 90 days ago.

What does a dead LinkedIn account tell about its owner

  1. The person is not very active internet user in general.
  2. He or she gets excited easily about new fads. Probably has a Twitter account by now, which is dead as well.
  3. The person doesn't really understand social media. Being part of every available service doesn't increase sales or awareness of you or your product.
  4. The owner of the dead LinkedIn account is only interested in themselves. Otherwise, why not just delete the account rather than let it misinform people searching you?
  5. He or she doesn't consider the internet as a major force in business, rather thinks it's just something you "have to" be part of.
  6. They don't want to be part of the web.
  7. If it would be up to them, we wouldn't have this new and confusing technology which requires different approach than before. The information Age asks for participation, communication and transparency from us all.

This was a heavy judgment on people who are only being natural, when avoiding change. Unfortunately, you can't hide laziness online. It's what old teen disco poster said: "Be There or Be Square".
The same is true online. Nothing has changed.


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Nov 19, 2009

7 Articles Every CMO Should Read

Here are seven the most useful articles of this blog for marketing directors.

1. Why Ad Agencies Will Not Take Their Own Medicine?

2. In Search of Advertising That Sells

3. 3 Signals: Why The Future of Advertising is Digital Direct Marketing

4. The Golden Opportunity of Advertising

5. Why Digital Agencies Aren't Ready to Lead

6. 21 Reasons to Start Building Your Company's Brand Today

7. Does Your Company Make These Mistakes in Marketing?


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Nov 16, 2009

Direct Marketing: The Quick and Easy To Build Your Email Database

Find out how to build your email database quickly. The idea to this easy email marketing campaign came from David Ogilvy and Facebook. This example is from Estonia.

Here is the creative:


Translation in English:

"I will take off my top when 500 subscribes
to the free CentBidder.com newsletter."


The promise of the headline is irresistible. The copy text gives you also the second reason to sign up: "Sign up to and enter a competition to win an iPod". The copy said you have to be over 18 years to qualify. At that point we weren't sure who was our the most fruitful target group, we only knew it was people over 18 since this was a gaming site.

We received 500 subscribers within one week after putting the website up. This was a teaser for our future permission marketing campaign. We didn't do any advertising except that we told a few of our friends about the site. The campaign spread through social media and achieved measurable results.


Where the idea came

I once stumbled upon to a Facebook group called something like this: "When 100.000 members join I will take off my bikinis." There was also a picture of this beautiful girl as that group's avatar. She was posing in very tiny pink bikinis.

We had plans to take things little bit further this idea. I remembered another campaign from David Ogilvy's book called "Ogilvy on Advertising". There is on the pages 26-27 three billboard ads from the year 1981 in Paris. Assuming you have read the book, do you know what would have been the next step in our permission marketing campaign?



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Nov 14, 2009

5 Keys to Online Sales Success

The secret formula to an online sales success is not taught in prestige business schools. You have to learn it yourself. Through trial and error I have discovered it. There are five keys to the online sales success...

#1 Questions

The more you ask questions, the more you sell. This builds trust with your prospect, whether it's off- or online. The beauty of the internet is that you can automate this dialog and still make it personal.

#2 Listen

You are busy, I know, but try to listen. Nothings shows more that you care than listening your customer. First you ask questions, then you listen the answers. (Did you notice that you haven't even mentioned your offer yet?) Listen always carefully whether it's Twitter, Facebook, an email, a forum, a chat or a feedback form. Your customer wants fast service, but what they want even more is to be understood.

#3 Analyze

When someone takes time to send you message, be grateful for it and make sure you read it. Answer to the question handled. How many times have you had a situation when you asked something from a customer service, you got a response which didn't cover your topic completely, and you had to get to the rep again? This still happens even with the most successful web stores today.


#4 Offer

After you have asked qualifying questions, listened carefully and analyzed the answers, you are ready to move the fourth part of the online sales process. The offer should only be made after you have discovered your customer's need. Think yourself as a doctor trying to find a cure for your patient (customer). Only when a complete analysis is done you can move to the offer. This is also increases your chances of making the sale.

A hint for you: Make sure your automated online recommendations are personalized correctly. After shopping at Amazon.com for years now, I still get email offers to buy women's shoes from them. And they still address me as "Dear Customer" instead using my real name in every message they send.

#5 Care

The last one is caring. This means show that you care from your customers. While I think that Amazon.com has lot to do, they are one of the best examples of digital direct marketing in action. They keep sending me recommendations based on past purchases which are (mostly) accurate and interesting. It doesn't cost them anything to maintain this relationship even after the sale is made. You too can send recommendations via email, you know. It's a great way to stand out in this digital world.


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Nov 12, 2009

Frustrations of a Creative Man

If your chest starts to ache after you have read this, then my goal is achieved. This post is about creativity. Do you know how it feels when you get an idea that makes you unable to stay still? The feeling is so strong that you get an energy overload in your body. You get full of adrenaline. Right now, as I'm writing, that's exactly what I'm experiencing.

The second part:
Frustration

After you get the rush of adrenaline, you feel either energized or frustrated. Why? - Because either you have managed to do something or you have failed to do something
with your idea. In my case I failed.

An idea came, I tried to deny it at first. Acting like I didn't notice it. It's like that awkward situation when someone is attracted to you and you don't know to tell that you couldn't care less about him or her. That's the kind of awkwardness I was experiencing with my idea. Crazy? You bet. Here is what happened next...

The idea broke through my defense. "Why do I have to defend myself from ideas?", you may ask. The reason is the frustration. An unsatisfactory feeling you get when you can't make your idea to a reality. It's easier to ignore some ideas than go through that emotional roller coaster of excitement, joy, hype and failure. On the other hand it can, of course, lead to an even bigger high: success.

How to deal with frustration

You can only trust to yourself on decisions whether to ignore or accept your ideas as they came. The decision is yours, and yours alone, to make. Unfortunately, both can be painful. When you remember that you are only responsible to yourself, it gets a little easier. You set the bar, not anyone else. You decide if you the idea is good enough and if it fits your purpose. If not; pass along. You will get new and better ones (I hope).

As I was dealing the frustration of having an idea, I called my friend for advice. He told me that creative people tend to get lots of ideas, some suited for you and some not. To me, it just feels like waste to pass good ideas. Why not try to do something to them?

I have five questions for you:
  1. Why people get ideas that are not anywhere near to their goals or purpose in life?
  2. Why aren't those ideas send directly to someone in a position to act upon them?
  3. Should you pass ideas or not?
  4. Why some people are frustrated that they are not creative, while some are frustrated when having to many ideas?
  5. How could we connect those people together?


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Nov 9, 2009

Lester Wunderman: "Direct Marketing Means... "



A very few legends of modern advertising are still alive. Lester Wunderman is. He is the founder of Wunderman direct marketing agency. Did you know that he started it over 50 years ago? No, this is not a typo, Wunderman was founded in the year 1958. Watch this video to listen what Lester Wunderman would call Direct Marketing if it was invented today.

Nov 7, 2009

21 Reasons to Start Building Your Company's Brand Today



Here are 21 reasons why you should start building your company's brand today. I'm also going to explain why it is important to use a proven branding process to increase your company's revenue and value.

  1. A strong brand is a real competitive advantage that is hard to copy.
  2. Customer's loyalty increases towards an appealing brand.
  3. A whole staff works more efficient towards one direction.
  4. A strong brand is easier to choose as a customer.
  5. Employee satisfaction increases if your company's brand is clearly defined.
  6. The branding process reveals your company's core strengths.
  7. A strong brand gets a better price.
  8. You are going to stand out from competitors when position yourself clearly in your market. (This is an excellent book about positioning from Jack Trout.)
  9. A brand that is understood trough out the company makes managing easier.
  10. Your company's value starts to increase more rapidly when your whole organization works consistently together and starts live your brand. (Think about Volvo's over 50 years period of consistent work to their cars' safer.)
  11. Any company in any industry can build a brand for itself.
  12. When your competitors are tightening budgets, you have an opportunity to differentiate yourself in a way they cannot expect - or copy.
  13. Branding is an investment, if you consider it as an expense, consider finding a better branding agency for your company.
  14. Branding process always starts inside your own people. (A brand is not a logo, a name or a visual element.)
  15. Building a brand usually requires an outside consultant who is experienced and leads the brand building process objectively. (Your company and staff are not excellent in everything they do - that's why you need a someone to remind you to focus on your real competitive advantage.)
  16. A strong brand appeals to job seekers. The stronger your brand is, the more motivated your staff is (Think about Apple, Google, GE, or Starbucks).
  17. Your products and services perceived value is higher if your brand is clear and strong.
  18. A powerful brand is recommended more often.
  19. A clear brand wins in a comparison to an undefined brand.
  20. A strong brand makes it more difficult for new comers to enter your market. (Think about Gillette)
  21. For the most successful companies, it is their brand that sets them apart from their competitors.


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Nov 6, 2009

Why Digital Agencies Aren't Ready to Lead

Ana Andjelic wrote an interesting article for AdAge about "Why Digital Agencies Aren't Ready to Lead" She also blogs frequently about marketing. Here the main points from the article as I see them. What do you think?

  • Digital agencies know only about technical end of the game. They are not experts in marketing. What else can you expect if a person comes from the engineering world?
  • Clients are conservative when it comes to spending. Old and familiar is easier to buy rather than something completely revolutionary. "What if it fails?" Is often the question, not "What if it succeeds?". Sad, but true.
  • Credibility issues when dealing clients. While it's great to have fun, results and control calms CMO's nerves better. Social media is another jargon word if you can't prove how it brings in more money.
  • Creativity is still only valued on the agency side. Clients want results. Execution is more important than your ideas. Is your agency a doer or a dreamer? Can you prove it?
  • More geeks are coming into ad business. How are they familiar with marketing? What happens when you put engineers and artists under one roof? Who will handle the business? Does anyone anymore know (or care) how to sell?
  • The business model will not take care of itself. This lesson is sometimes hard for digital agency people to realize. Being cool doesn't guarantee sales.

There is also a vivid conversation going on around the AdAge story about digital agencies. Here are some of the juiciest parts for you:


"I don't know who these "digital agencies" you are referring to. I have a degree in art and design and I understand creative. I have also studied the evolving world of marketing for 10 years. I partner with my client for strategic business solutions. And I am programmer.

This article sounds like sour grapes to me. Though, you did a good job of hitting all the false stereotypes. I am not worried about you and the rest of the dinosaurs. This economic meltdown already has put a lot of you out of business. I don't think I have seen a single Web designer out or work." Username johnnance01

"Digital agencies ( production companies ) are not ready to leave as they do not understand branding. They are tacticians that do not have big idea thinkers. It's up to them to grab traditional talent or be eaten." Username alanm

"It would make for a great little column if James March's exploration vs. exploitation concept aligned neatly with digital vs. traditional, but it doesn't. Not by a long shot. Instead you end up creating artificial categories and then using them to mount sweeping generalizations." Username unsettler


The more I watch what is happening around the marketing industry, the more convinced I am that The Future of Advertising is Digital Direct Marketing. What about you? What do you think that is going to happen?

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Nov 5, 2009

Shift Happens

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:
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Nov 2, 2009

An Online Marketing Lesson From ArcticStartup

I made a decision today. It was inspired by a fellow Finnish blog called ArcticStartup. They are far more popular blog than the one you are reading right now. It is about start-up companies around Scandinavia and Baltic. "So what?" I hear you saying. "You are an ad man, and this is suppose to be a blog about advertising that sells."

Let me explain.

The only thing we have in common with ArcticStartup is our language: English and Finnish. ArcticStartup.com is run by Finns but written in English (Make sure you visit them after you read this post). Their success gave me courage to keep writing in English although I'm a native Finn, currently living in Finland, and working with Finnish clients. Almost all of the readers of this blog are from Finland as well.
"Why on Earth are you writing in English - along with lots grammar mistakes?"
That could be your next question. Fair enough. My answer to is that I believe in great content. I also believe that if you are still reading this post, you understand English pretty well. The goal of this blog is to educate. To educate you about possibilities of direct marketing, especially online. And if, and this is a big if, there is anyone who interested in reading my thoughts - then by God, my job is to deliver those thougths in every possible language I can.

ArcticStartup guys are writing interesting articles for their audience. Doing so, they teach a little bit of English and share the latest news on the start-up frontier for a larger audience than just Finns. Although, I bet their largest readership still comes from Finland. But they also allow Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Swedes, Norwegians, Danish, Russians and anyone else who are interested in their field to join the conversation. That's what makes them great in their start-up community.

The moral of this story: Your audience will find you if your content is great. Make sure it is, and your marketing will take care of itself. That's the wonder of online.

What do you think that makes a blog worth visiting more than once? Please write your answer to comments below.


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