Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Five Desk Feng-Shui Tips to Bring Out the Real Marketer in You

I particularly love the Monday morning Twitter stream. From the excessive #DeathToMondays tweets to the downtrodden posts lamenting the arrival of another week , Monday’s Twitter feed can be filled with some of the most slapstick, engaging posts of the work week. This morning, I was pleasantly greeted by a great picture by TollFreeForwarding (did I mention I love pictures on Twitter?). Check it out:

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And it got me thinking how the littlest changes we make on a Monday—like completing a first draft in 15 minutes and accepting that it may not be your best—can be a real game-changer in the business world. So when Monday hits next week, why not take a few minutes to Feng-Shui your desk to bring out the A-marketer in you?

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How Taking a Non-Traditional Different Approach to Social Media Reaps Dividends

When you think about a band’s social media presence, you’d probably think about profiles dedicated to promoting its music, merchandise and tour dates. And most of the time that’s true.

But not all of the time. CAKE, who readers might remember thanks to this song, takes a different approach to social media than most bands. On its Facebook page, the politically conscious Californian band often posts all sorts information and commentary on a variety of interesting news topics. The band makes great use of asking questions while generally ending their posts with a call to action. 762px-JohnMccrea
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Mercedes-Benz Shakes Up Its Marketing Strategy to Target Youth

mercWhen you think of Mercedes-Benz what comes to mind? Luxury, success, sophistication, wealth… youthfulness? If you’re wondering if that’s a typo, it’s not. The renowned car brand recently revamped its marketing strategy to target a younger audience.

According to Mercedes-Benz’s Nathan Tan, a supervisor of advertising, bringing in younger consumers has been a company goal for some time. However, stereotypes of the cars have made it difficult to break into a younger demographic. Young customers tend to view the vehicles as “stuffy” and “more for their fathers than for themselves,” Tan said.

So what did Mercedes do? It took to social media using several platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, to get their new, more “youthful” messaging out. Continue reading →

Three Signs you’re in a Writing Slump

shutterstock_171929309We’ve all been there—staring helplessly at the computer screen, resting your fingers limply on the keyboard and willing words to start magically appearing on the screen. It is writer’s block at its best and it is the evil of all evil for marketers. That’s because our job depends on our ability to put pen to paper, redefine originality and string together a series of nouns, verbs and adjectives in such a way that harmony is struck.

So what do you do when your brain starts to enter the “nothing box?” And, even worse, how do you avoid falling into a writer’s slump without noticing it? Let’s take a look at three tell tale signs that you might be slacking when it comes to your copy creation:

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If Your Blog Were a Refrigerator, What Would it Look Like?

Pouring mustard onto your hot dog should be one of the easiest things in life. Unfortunately, as “Good Eats” host Alton Brown pointed out in a recent YouTube post, it’s often a terrible process. Condiments tend to coagulate in the bottle, which makes it exhausting to squeeze them out. And since the bottles are bulky by design, storing them in a refrigerator rack is difficult, awkward and messy.

But as Brown proved, there is an easier way to organize your favorite condiments. By simply cutting off the top of an egg carton and storing the bottles top-down, you can solve both problems at once. All of the bottles can be kept in one place, and all of the liquid sits near the top which means easy access.

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The ‘Spoiler Effect’ and How It Can Transform Your Content

I love “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” At a glance these series seem to have absolutely nothing in common, but they do have one common denominator: they have the “spoiler effect.”

I’ve been seeing the “S” word everywhere lately, especially with the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” now at full speed. Every website you visit, radio station you tune into and tweet you see contains some sort of clause warning: “Spoilers ahead! Do not continue if you have not watched yet!” The fear that someone will stumble upon a juicy online review or overhear a spoiler-filled conversation has become a very real one. We’ve all probably seen irate fans share rants on social media about how people need to respect the fact that others haven’t caught up yet. This still happens even for “Breaking Bad”—whose series finale aired last September.

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Calling All Marketers: Picture Your Favorite Storytellers, Now Become Them

shutterstock_110537546Think of the last story you told. Was it about your recent vacation to St. Lucia? That embarrassing moment in a recent corporate meeting? Your kid’s game-winning shot during his soccer tournament? Chances are that no matter the story you told, it was rich with detail, emotion and descriptors.

That’s because when we tell our personal stories, we often speak from the heart—not pausing to consider the narrative, the flow and the descriptors. It just comes naturally. And what results are oftentimes some of the best, most engaging and truly organic stories that come from a place of honesty and from a desire to share our experiences with others.

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Inconsistent Branding: A Recipe for Disaster

blog pic 2You know it’s happened to you. You’ve chomped down on a Big Mac (or, if you are like me and abhor fast food insert your favorite mass packaged good) only to wonder, “How come this burger tastes considerably different than the one I get near my home?” And it’s a terrible feeling. After all, maybe this was the day you decided to cheat and go for something wonderfully delectable—and horribly caloric—and the inconsistent taste left you feeling wildly unfulfilled.

Now of course some brand inconsistencies are prone to human error. For example, the French Vanilla Coffee Coolatta you get from Dunkin’ Donuts may taste different from one DD to the next simply because the barista added more French vanilla this time around. But even so, we expect a level of consistency, satisfaction and dependability from our favorite brands. And when we don’t get it, we are left feeling confused, dejected and quite possibly irritated.

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Maxwell House Proves the Importance of Never Resting on One’s Laurels

Coffee lovers around the world are certainly familiar with Maxwell House, and though it’s not my personal favorite coffee—I’m looking at you, Peet’s—I’ve certainly gotten through many-a morning sipping it. Though a household name, Maxwell House decided to cut its advertising budget to $7.8 million last year, a substantial decrease from the $38.4 million the Kraft Foods-owned company spent in 2010.

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But the company apparently learned a lesson quickly: In marketing, you can never rest on your laurels and must always strive to push the envelope and continue to be aggressive. Having seemingly learned its lesson, Maxwell House recently announced that it plans to spend between $20 million and $25 million on its marketing efforts this year. What’s more, the company has high hopes for its investment as it plans to “grow [the advertising budget] through growing sales, reinvesting it back in the business,” according to Chris McClement, senior director for Maxwell House.

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Are You Boring Your Readers to Death? Here are Five Ways to Revitalize Your Content

Is your company blog a snoozefest? Are you boring readers to death with lame headlines, a lack of exciting visuals, and ideas or concepts that they’ve already read a dozen times before? I get it; making something like ROI and business analytics “sexy” isn’t easy. But don’t get discouraged, there’s a little Jerry Seinfeld in all of us.

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