Search Results for: marketing

Marketing: are you a solution looking for a problem?

If you’re old enough to remember the corporate business scene back in the 1980s, one CEO’s passing comment revolutionised the entire IT caboodle when presented with another amazing new box of tricks from IBM, or ICL, or …well, it doesn’t matter who. (There were enough of them suffering from the same syndrome back then: being engineering-led, not marketing-led.)

Marketing: are you a solution looking for a problem?

“I don’t give a **** what this IS. What will it DO for my bottom line?”

The IT giant’s sales team had just plonked their engineers’ most recent brainchild down on the client CEO’s desk and told them what amazing tricks it could do, as briefed by the entire engineering team and backed by the C-Suite board wallahs.

The CEO said, “I don’t give a **** what this IS…”

…”But what will it DO for me and my business’s bottom line?”

And there fell, flat on its face, the whole perception of IT and its erstwhile role in the marketplace up until that point.
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UPDATE … see the comments below for more on this, er, interesting period in the marketing of IT…
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About Suzan St Maur – best-selling author, author coach, publishing and marketing consultant

Do you have a great idea for a book, but don’t know how to go about writing and producing it?
Does writing a book seem a lovely idea, but as such a large project is a bit scary – especially if it’s your first one?

Or … do you want to start a bit smaller with one or more booklets – and/or eBooks – to establish yourself and your credibility with a lesser commitment (and reduced cost?)

Get your book written and published - without the scams

That wonderful feeling when your new book is actually published and out there…me with my latest. (And over-bleached hair – apologies.) Photo by Kate Everall https://www.kateeverallphotography.com/

The help you need to write your book and get it out there

[Read more…]

Email marketing: how to p*ss off your readers or spamees

When a classic email marketing no-no gets through your spam filter into your inbox, much as it’s annoying it’s worth taking a look to see what we can learn from it.Email marketing: how to piss off your readers or spameesIn this case (see below) its arrogance is diluted mainly by its authors’ ignorance of how to write properly in English.

Why native English matters when you’re writing for marketing, or even for spam

[Read more…]

Business and marketing messages: think first, write later

There’s no doubt about it, clear
Business and marketing messages: think first, write laterthinking is the most important part of getting a business or marketing message right, before you even attempt to write anything down. Sure, you’ve got all your background information together. But without the benefit of your creative little grey cells, as Hercule Poirot called them, that information isn’t worth much.

To make that information morph into a powerful message, it needs to be brought alive by a clear, unobstructed thought process on your part.

Trouble is, that isn’t always easy with the pressures of modern business to contend with.  Here are some of the obstacles that can get in your way, and some ideas on how to overcome them.

We’ve got to respond NOW or lose the opportunity

Not really. There aren’t many opportunities that can’t wait five minutes, even if it means saying you’ll call right back or email them immediately with a fast message to help close a sale. You’ll benefit enormously from those five minutes even if all you do is walk over to the water cooler and back before responding.

Business and marketing messages: think first, write laterPeople prone to temper tantrums are told to count to ten before they say anything, and the theory behind that works here too.

To react with a knee-jerk can make you look like one, so don’t take a chance on it unless a snap decision really is unavoidable.

The deadline isn’t for another week

This is the other side of the same coin. Because you’ve got other things you have to finish before that week’s up, your deadline keeps getting shuffled to the bottom of the deck.  Before you know it, it IS another week.

Of course, long lead times can be demotivating, and often if you start working on a message too early you then spend the rest of the time tinkering with it. The result is the message loses all its momentum and has about as much energy and spontaneity as a mouldy tomato.

Don’t let deadlines drive you. Take the wheel and drive them, without rushing, but with just enough time pressure to focus your mind sharply on getting your message right.

I know this subject matter backwards

Yes, and that’s the trouble. Familiarity breeds contempt. It also breeds tired, worn-out marketing messages. Don’t reach up to the top shelf in your brain and pull down last month’s solution, no matter how well it worked that time.

By all means add your past experience into the message. But remember to keep experience in its proper place – the past. No matter how many similarities there are in surrounding circumstances, never assume you can get away with producing a clone.

It’s fresh, original thinking that makes business/marketing messages work, and most things in life are only fresh and original once.

I know what the audience wants to read/see/hear

Not necessarily. Just because a message got them clicking or calling or buying in their droves last time it doesn’t mean they’ll respond the same way now. A couple of weeks or even a couple of hours can make an enormous difference to the way an audience will perceive you and receive your message.

A workforce before and after the announcement of a plant closure? Consumers before and after a media exposé about the dangers of a chemical sweetener in your chocolate bars?  Shareholders before and after a market crash?

Always, always take a fresh look at the circumstances of your audience, and ensure your message takes those into account.

I’d love to do something new, but it’ll never get approval

Oh, those corporate politics again. Yes, approval can be hard to obtain, especially when it involves getting through a committee of umpteen experts all with their own agendas and axes to grind. Well, no-one said being creative and original is easy. I’ll bet even the person who invented the wheel got a hard time from his or her committee to start with.

Provided you can justify your marketing message with solid evidence and common sense, most superior beings (even committees) will see the logic and give you the go-ahead. It never hurts to try, anyway, and once your message gets out there and proves itself successfully, the next time should be easier.

I can’t think straight with all this racket in here

Clear thinking is relatively easy if you happen to work in a cozy log cabin set in a verdant pasture or forest or whatever with not a single soul, cell, or cellphone for that matter, to mar the magnificence.

Business and marketing messages: think first, write laterGiven that large offices are to log cabins what express trains are to bicycles, clear thinking in this environment can be more of a challenge.

Here’s a trick. Go and sit quietly somewhere other than at your desk. At the risk of offending some of you, the toilet is a good choice. Yes, in a cubicle, sitting down. I’ve done some of my best thinking and got some of my most useful ideas in precisely these surroundings. (And I’ve heard all the jokes about it, too.) I think it’s because you’re cocooned in a small, plain space with absolutely no external mental stimulation. That frees your mind to focus on what you want it to focus on.

If the restroom doesn’t appeal to you, then go sit quietly somewhere else – like your car, or the staff restaurant outside of meal times, and close your eyes. Discard irrelevant thoughts one by one as they occur, and keep nudging yourself back to the project. Don’t “rack” your brain; just let it work by itself. Soon you’ll find things settling into place and you’ll be able to prioritize and organize your thoughts.

Happy thinking!

An earlier version of this article first appeared on the USA marketing site, MarketingProfs.com

More good thinking for your business and marketing messages:

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

photo credit: Humphrey King via photopin cc

Think you need a marketing expert? Think again.

It might interest you to know the following points, neither of which are very flattering to our current masses of “marketing gurus…”

The difference between marketing and marketing communications

One: they may believe what they do is marketing, but there’s a good chance it’s marketing communications, which is only part of the story.
Two: if they know that what they do is marketing communications but they tell people they do marketing, they’re telling a porkie**.

But in fairness, it’s not that simple.

What does “marketing” really mean?

So that you don’t have to take it from measly old moi, here are some very respectable definitions: [Read more…]

Why 2 stage translation is essential for multi-lingual marketing

In a business context, proper translation is no more a luxury than blankets are on your bed when the weather is cold. Yet in our international marketplace, you still see terrible … often laughable … translations of business elements like website text and social media posts that just don’t make sense.

Why 2 stage translation is essential for multi-lingual marketing

No matter how brilliant a bi-lingual or tri-lingual translator might be at keeping up with trends in their languages, something’s got to give.

Let’s face it: although English is probably the most widely-used business language in the world at the moment, those who speak it as a second or third language often do not use it as correctly as a native English speaker will. That may be good enough in conversations. But in text, and in scripts for audio and video, good enough is just not  good enough. [Read more…]

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