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17 posts from October 2018

Smart loyalty: how to be loyal without becoming a pawn

I value loyalty as a behavior because it establishes stability. It offers predictability in a world that's changing ever faster. However, we have to be smart about our loyalty. In order to have a stable base from which we can handle change, we must build our platform carefully. We also have to inspect it and maintain it. When loyalty tries to consume us, or to move us around, it must be questioned and possibly removed. 

Loyalty exposes us to exploitation. This situation reminds me of the old saying "It's good to have an open mind but be careful that your brain doesn't fall out." I would say, "It's good to be loyal but be sure you don't become a pawn." 


Why the U.S. should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Now. (Ethics for marketers)

I had this feeling but I couldn't explain it. Fortunately, Scott Galloway can. 

No Mercy/No Malice: Brand & Bone Saws, 2018-Oct-19 by Scott Galloway

The Founding Fathers were, at their core, incredible marketers who knew the Constitution needed to reach beyond its grasp and paint the promise of America. The strongest brand in the world, delivering loyalty and irrational returns on investment — that’s the US. When you are 5% of the world’s population but command a quarter of its resources, then we, the US, are the Jedi master of brand. Core to our brand code is independence, equality, rule of law, liberty, risk-taking, generosity, work, and moral leadership.... 

The US is a 20 trillion dollar economy. To erode our brand code is to weaken the margins and loyalty of every product and service we produce. Billions of people buy our products and services based on our discipline to sacrifice short-term profits in support of our code. Eroding our brand in exchange for $15–$110B in arms sales (a value of 0.1%–0.6% of our GDP) is not only the wrong thing to do, but the stupid thing to do.


Next Generation Direct Mail

At some point in the future, almost all direct mail will be personalized to reflect all the data the sender has accumulated or discovered about us, including our past actions--online and off. That's because, as recipients, we are more likely to respond to highly personalized mail, making the mailing effort more profitable.  

In the meantime, the first company to provide physical direct mailings that integrate online consumer tracking data is PebblePost. Founder Lewis Gersh says... 

PebblePost is proud to announce the invention of Programmatic Direct Mail, which applies digital thinking to direct mail to help marketers drive great results. For example:

Website activity feeds direct mail segments. Through a simple tag, PebblePost identifies the best segment and offer for the visitor. This digital data kicks off the printing and sending of a mail piece, which arrives at the consumer’s door in three days.
Attribution of mail closes the digital loop. With a known recipient of the mail, marketers can track the funnel of return visits, overall conversions, and redemption of promotions when an offer is included.

PebblePost Blog: How to Close the Deal with Programmatic Direct Mail®, 2018-Jun-20 by Adam Solomon

In theory, digital retargeting should be more versatile than direct mail because it not only works for demand generation but it also enables you to send reminders. The problem with digital retargeting technology, however, is that it is enabled immediately so that the moment you leave a site after looking at, say, a pair of shoes, those shoes start following you around the internet. It’s not really a reminder to buy shoes if you haven’t had enough time to forget that you looked at them yet. And the doggedness of the pursuit can be intrusive and annoying.

A Programmatic Direct Mail® reminder hits the sweet spot: It arrives a couple of days after the online activity — just long enough to spark an “Oh, yeah — I meant to follow up on that” response. And, again, the tangibility helps the consumer. For one thing, you can take that piece of direct mail to the store with you. And if you’re not ready to go to the store just yet, you can put a Programmatic Direct Mail® reminder on the fridge or add it to your “to-do” stack. This is especially effective for brands like credit card or insurance companies where promotional codes and discount offers would be inappropriate.


Innovating, planning with options, and giving up on timelines

Over the last few months, I've been trying to move my project at into a full-fledged startup company. Since I am an innovator, I want to use leading-edge organizational tools.

  1. The company will be a Texas Public Benefit Corporation
  2. We'll use the new crowdfunding platform LetsLaunch to raise funds.

I've felt embarrassed by missing so many deadlines, but I've finally come to realize that finding the best option is more important than sticking to a timetable. I really appreciate what Jake says below.

The Mission: Why Most Plans are Terrible. And How to Improve Them. 2018-Sep-11 by Jake Wilder

The purpose of planning then isn’t to develop plans, but options. Options that set us up to adapt to the changing circumstances that are sure to happen. 


Why business owners take action: GEMPS

Remember GEMPS! The decisions made by independent business owner/operators are driven by a need for Growth, Ethics, Money, People or Self-fulfillment... and I bet the order of importance varies by person and probably over time. And I suspect these drivers don't much apply very much in larger businesses where decisions are made by teams. 

Flux Studio Notes: Stop Talking and Start Listening: Behaviour Change at Scale, 2018-Aug-15 by Ariel Lerner

So it’s not that these business owners don’t care about the environment, it’s just that there are other things they care about more.... 

...we uncovered five broad motivations that drive business owners and office managers: business growth, self-fulfillment, people, ethics and money. We also discovered that the financial savings to be made by individual businesses are so small that most don’t bother pursuing cost-cutting energy initiatives.... 

Few people would admit that they don’t care about the environment, so if a survey asks why an individual isn’t energy conscious, they’ll answer that they haven’t learned about what they need to do, or say they don’t have the money to make improvements.
These aren’t barriers, they’re excuses.

Because, ultimately, no one wants to feel like they’re being judged. The best way to encourage energy efficiency is to shut up about energy efficiency and start talking about the things that actually motivate people. 


Mailchimp's chief customer officer shares ways to get closer to customers

More than any company I've found, Mailchimp works to create better listening opportunities with their customers. It's not enough to pay attention when customers speak up. We have to prompt customers to share. At Mailchimp they try to make it fun and productive. 

Fast Company: MailChimp’s cofounder shares the best ways to get to know your customers, 2018-Sep-23 by Dan Kurzius

Visit your customers where they live or work... 

Invite customers into your office... 

Be your customer for a day... 

Early on, we decided that our motto was going to be, “Listen hard, change fast.” For us, this meant constantly looking for improvement and innovating quickly, and letting the customer dictate our focus as a company. 


Best practice... Get out... the newsletter

If you work in a big company and your job is getting the newsletter out, you have challenges, but the newsletter gets out there. For people like myself, independent or in small organizations, regular release of the newsletter is hard. 

Getting a newsletter out is a matter of "showing up." You wouldn't miss an appointment with a client, would you? Never blow off the newsletter because is going to be late. If you miss an issue due to catastrophe, share that story with your readers. Act like it makes a difference, and it will. 

I highly recommend Ann Handley's newsletter to all communications professional. She's inspiring. Learn more.  

Total Annarchy: Email is the OG,... 2018-Sep-23 by Ann Handley

I talk a lot about the need to put your reader first. To serve an audience. To make something that you love in service to those who will miss you if you don't show up on time.

This isn’t an original idea: Lorne Michaels used to say that Saturday Night Live didn’t go on because the cast was ready; it went on because it was 11:30 on a Saturday night.

You show up because you promised others you would.... 

Years ago, I heard Darren Rowse of Problogger speak in Denver. He told the audience, “Your next big thing might be the little thing that’s staring you right in the face right now.”

Of course, for that little thing to grow into a big thing, you’ve got to make a promise to yourself to do it.

So many people I’ve met this fall have shared their big goals with me. They want to write a book. Or they want to be invited to speak more. Or they want to make an impact in one important way or another. But I don’t know where to start. Or how do I fit it in?

The truth is that it’s hard. But it’s not magic.

You have to show up. And then you have to start. Then keep going. One foot. Next foot.