What To Do When The Sincerest Form Of Flattery Pisses You Off

I've been in marketing long enough to know that there's very little new under the sun. I get that almost everything being done creatively is a variation on something else. But when a competitor rips you off so thoroughly, so brazenly, and so shamelessly that they steal your photographic style, your product positioning, your selling messages and visuals, and even the basic layout and language of your website, what do you do? Sue them? Nah. Wouldn't be worth the effort. But the fact is, it really pisses me … [Read more...]

Fresh Perspectives On SEO From The Next Generation

I started this blog a year and a half ago to share some of the insights into marketing and brand development I've gleaned through more than a quarter century of trial and error in a business where constant fascination, experimentation, reinvention, and refinement are keys to a long career. Stop learning, and you stop growing. Stop growing, and you become irrelevant real fast. You gotta keep learning to keep up. One of the areas in the marketing realm where the velocity of change can be most daunting is in search … [Read more...]

It’s Not Rocket Science. Five Easy Steps To Making The Most Of LinkedIn For B2B Marketing

I had a long conversation over the weekend with a friend who owns a creative services firm and was questioning the value of LinkedIn as a marketing tool for his company's work. He was stuck in the world of direct response marketing and didn't understand how using LinkedIn to connect with people in the industry would dovetail with his mailings and e-mail blasts. How very 1990s of him! The fact is, relying on traditional direct marketing techniques to drive business today is akin to relying on an old-fashioned Rolodex … [Read more...]

Takin’ It To The Streets: Why Sales Training Programs Can Be Your Most Effective Marketing Tool

Let’s face it; we marketing types love to create intricate campaigns that combine multiple on- and off-line tactics to maximize awareness and motivate customers and prospects to take action. Preferably to take action NOW! It’s what we live for. But unless we realize that the ultimate “action” we’re trying to facilitate is a sales rep showing up in person to detail the product, overcome objections, and make a sale, we may underestimate the most important make-or-break element of the entire campaign. Sales … [Read more...]

Keeping It Real: Why Science and Ethics Matter For Medical Marketers

Since when did marketing medical devices become akin to hawking penny stocks a la The Wolf of Wall Street? Recent legal proceedings found that one high-profile medical device manufacturer used "malice, fraud and oppression by clear and convincing evidence" to bring its product to market, while another was found to be "using trickery to sell medical products that divert tax dollars for treatments that aren’t approved as safe and effective."  Both led to the companies being slapped with multi-million dollar fines and … [Read more...]

Content Marketing Make vs Buy: Why You’d Be Crazy To Do This All Yourself

Part 3 of a 3 Part Series OK, as you probably can tell by now, I'm a firm believer in marketers "owning" the process and end product associated with their content marketing programs and not abdicating this responsibility to an agency. Fair enough. But is that practical? Absolutely. Does that mean you're going to be able to develop and deliver everything you need with in-house resources? Nah, not really. Unless you are an over-caffeinated marketing automatron with a diversified team of in-house creative … [Read more...]

Content Marketing Make vs Buy: Why You Absolutely Need To Do The Work In-House

Part 2 of a 3 Part Series Sergio Zyman, the one time "enfant terrible" of marketing and the man who brought you New Coke, once famously said that companies didn't need agencies to develop their marketing strategy for them. In his 2002 book The End Of Advertising As We Know It, Zyman was adamant in his assertion that most agencies overemphasize art and entertainment at the expense of creating work that actually sells a product. Fast forward a little more than a decade later, and I think the same can be said of agency … [Read more...]

Content Marketing Make vs Buy: Do You Really Need To Hire An Agency?

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series When it comes to delivering the quality and quantity of digital and traditional materials needed to fuel content marketing initiatives, one of the first questions a lot of marketers ask themselves is: do I really need an agency? Which is usually followed by: can I really afford to hire one? The answer to both questions is yes. And no. It's not an easy decision. A lot of it has to do with your organization's ability to staff up with the talent necessary to produce the quality of work that … [Read more...]

Ogilvy On Content Marketing: “Tell The Truth But Make The Truth Fascinating”

David Ogilvy was the master of content marketing. Yes, I know Ogilvy died in 1999, years before the term "content marketing" came into everyday use, but his insights into what grabs the attention of consumers and jolts them into action are just as applicable today as they were in his "Mad Men" heyday. And just as simple. Even though Ogilvy was practicing his craft in the halcyon days of print and TV, he never got caught up in the "creativity" of the ad game. He knew that in order to be successful, his ads needed to … [Read more...]

Getting Social Media Marketing To The “Next Level” By Aligning Programs With Broader Business Goals

Social media marketing is not all fun and games. Despite what some people may tell you, there's a lot more to the discipline than posting, tweeting, liking, and sharing. Done right, social media adds a powerful accelerator to your marketing programs. One that amplifies your messaging and facilitates the customer acquisition process. The challenge is proving it to a skeptical C-suite that wants you to draw them a straight line from a sent tweet to a closed sale. While we all know that "connect the dots" approach to … [Read more...]

For Great Content Marketing, Think Like An Editor

Sometimes, as we build our content marketing programs, we get so caught up in identifying and creating useful content that meets the needs of our audience that we can overlook what's required to package and present that information in a way that breaks through the clutter, gets attention, and prompts action. This very concise post by one of my former colleagues, Greg Loh, passes on some useful info he picked up from Forbes editor Randall Lane at the recent Content Marketing World conference where Lane outlined how to … [Read more...]

Why Bait And Switch Bites: A Message To Would-Be Social Media Sham Artists

This morning as I was scrolling through my LinkedIn news feed, I came across a link titled "5 KPIs Every Marketer Should Be Looking At." Always one to look for a better way to measure the effectiveness of the marketing programs we develop, I clicked on it. But rather than being taken to a post that gave me some useful information (information I wanted to see), I was taken to a page with a sign up form to receive an "exclusive video demo" of the  Domo marketing dashboard. Not cool. The only thing worse than that … [Read more...]

What I Learned From A Year Of Making Mistakes, Dropping Balls, And Pressing On For All The World To See

One year ago, I decided to start putting some of my thoughts on marketing and communications into the blog you're now reading. Partly to get out of my head and onto "paper" some of the tactics and strategies I've learned over the years through trial and error. Partly as a kind of creative release. But never with the expectation that anyone from Nigeria, Uruguay, Albania, or Azerbaijan might find something useful here. And certainly not with the expectation that thousands of people from nearly 80 countries around the … [Read more...]

Finish What You Started. Three Tips For Resurrecting Failed Content Marketing Programs

If it's true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the road to content marketing consistency must run along a parallel path. Whether it's a customer-focused blog linked to your website, a social media marketing initiative designed to foster conversations with customers, or a media-rich digital magazine to showcase your company's good works, a consistent content marketing program takes commitment, hard work, and resources. And that's so why many of them fail to maintain momentum after a while. Some … [Read more...]

Don’t Skimp On Visual Imagery. Unleash The Power Of Pictures To Humanize Your Brand

One of the most daunting challenges in medical technology branding is expressing the brand in a way that humanizes a lifeless piece of clinical hardware. That's where pictures come in. Pictures bring your brand to life by communicating complex emotion simply and viscerally, while providing a continuity that allows cross-platform communication to work together to build recognition and familiarity. And if you are building a corporate brand that extends over a broad range of products, technologies, and market segments, … [Read more...]

More Lessons From Rock Stars. What Marketing Pros Can Learn From Today’s Greatest Live Acts

In the late '70s I wrote an over the top "Springsteen is God" concert review for my college newspaper after experiencing a three-hour tour-de-force at Cornell University's Barton Hall on a cold November night. It was the third time in as many years that I had seen him play, and to say that I was a true believer would be an understatement. Fast forward thirty plus years and Bruce is on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine as the best live act of 2013 and I'm still a fan. Talk about long-term customer retention and … [Read more...]

From Moments And Memories To Mundane And Monotonous. Observations On The “New” Kodak

I spent eleven years of my professional life living and breathing all things Kodak. As a partner in an ad agency serving multiple divisions of the iconic company, my every waking moment in the '90s was consumed with feeding the yellow beast. From high-end film for professional photographers to digital cameras for consumers to x-ray film for dentists to computer-to-plate technology for commercial printers, I got a chance to work on a multitude of products and technologies in the Kodak portfolio. It was fun. It was … [Read more...]

Embrace the Three S’s. Keep It Searchable, Snackable, And Shareable For Content Marketing Success

I came across a great infographic from Boston-based content marketing company Skyword that I thought really summed up the importance of developing and disseminating bite-sized, high-quality, well-crafted marketing content (verbal, visual, and video) that resonates with and actively engages your customers.  Skyword defines content marketing as "the art and science of creating web content that informs, entertains, and converts" and goes on to further explain what they see as the keys to content marketing … [Read more...]

Can Thinking Like A Rock Star Help Your Business?

There's a pretty cool little book by Mack Collier called Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies that Turn Customers into Fans. In the book Collier says that thinking like a rock star means treating customers like fans and becoming a part of their community. He explains that getting closer to your customers by reaching out to them, interacting with them, and living in their world can help you build a more sustainable fan-centric business. Too often, he says, companies spend so … [Read more...]

Combine Clinical, Financial And Emotional Messaging To Jump Start Your Marketing Efforts

With so many stakeholders involved in the decision to purchase a new medical technology, it's not always easy to know what to lead with when framing your marketing message. Do you lead with a straight clinical sell? Incorporate a financial rationale right up front? Appeal to the emotions and emphasize why the technology will help clinicians make patients safer and happier? The short answer is yes. By incorporating all three product purchase decision drivers--clinical, financial, and emotional-- into a … [Read more...]