Campfire Stories and Small Business Marketing

A great campfire story compels the audience to listen, eager to hear what happens next. And they will remember the story, to share with others later. Wouldn’t you love for your marketing to capture some of that feeling? Unfortunately, small business marketing tends to focus on tangible features and benefits, i.e., “Enjoy life in your […]

The Creepiest Marketing Strategy

Here’s a cautionary tale and follow-up to last week’s defense of marketing implementation. Be wary of implementing any marketing communication without an effective strategy. Marketing strategy is really important! Check out this startling example of bad marketing implementation I stumbled across while Googling ‘hallway lighting:’ After reading, “Lighting So You’re Not Clutching the Walls at Night,” […]

Is Your Small Business Tagline Great… or Lackluster?

When a business doesn’t understand its customers or know what’s important to them, it’s tempting to “throw things at the wall to see what sticks.” The result is usually confusing and bland (what a combination!). Check out this supposed tagline on a newsletter I received from an HVAC company: More Choices. No Worries. Less Hassle. Time & Money […]

Make it Easy for Customers to See Your Marketing Content

When marketing your small business, keep in mind that customers are naturally less interested in seeing your marketing messages than you are in sharing them. One simple way to make it easier for customers to engage with your marketing content is to always think about removing barriers to accessing the content. Let’s say you have a […]

Just How Excited Should Your Marketing Copy Be?

At lunch yesterday, one of my favorite diners, The Echo, proclaimed some pretty extreme excitement over its new brunch cocktails. As you can see, there are exclamation points galore (Except for the Irish Coffee. Apparently, it doesn’t deserve any enthusiasm). As a rule of thumb, seven exclamation points in about 50 words of marketing copy are […]

Microsoft’s Social Media Marketing Fail

Some marketing campaigns are so groan-worthy you have to share (and turn them into an object lesson). I received the following email from Microsoft, proclaiming, “You’re social, we’re social”: Object Lesson #1: Don’t Beg There are few things more pathetic than a brand begging you to be friends with them. I’m sorry, Microsoft, you can’t join […]

What Church Potlucks Taught Me about Marketing

There’s a curious phenomenon at church potlucks, which anyone who has cooked for one has witnessed. Simply cooking a dish you know to be delicious is not enough to entice people to eat it. As my mom taught me, you have to nicely display and properly portion the food. Slice meat into individual servings, and cut […]

5000 Marketing Mistakes – Should We Keep Them?

My colleague Joanne Glass recently shared an experience with me that all marketers can learn from. It starts with this excerpt from a deli’s marketing communication: During a quick glance at the menu, Joanne also spotted “Chichen Salad,” along with “Tow locations.” This menu was so replete with errors that she was prompted to ask the […]

Marketing Mistake Double Down

A Reminder to Always Proofread Your Marketing Copy When a business makes mistakes in their marketing communications, there are several problems: The business looks stupid. The business looks careless. The business’s marketing communications strategy to address the mistake is inevitably complicated, because there’s no good solution to the problem. Recently, I received a series of […]

Should I be on Twitter?

If you answer “Yes” to the following two questions, you should probably include a Twitter presence in your marketing plan: Are you interesting? Are your customers on Twitter? That is my basic litmus test to answer if a business or person should be on Twitter. More specifically, personalities, speakers, authors, thought leaders, news organizations, technology companies […]