Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Heavenly Smart Marketing

I attended a training seminar today. Midway through the day, I was served a tasty boxed lunch from Heavenly Ham. What excited me just as much as the delicious food was the flyer that they had inserted into the box.

Easter is coming up, right? Meanwhile, I was enjoying a tasty ham sandwich. (Experiencing the product.) Why not offer me something else - a wonderful baked ham to serve at our upcoming Easter dinner. Perfect timing!

This marketing was all kinds of good: direct, timely, relevant, relatively low-cost and well produced.

Great marketing doesn't have to be flashy or expensive. To be a marketing genius one doesn't have to ham it up. Kudos to the marketing geniuses at the local Heavenly Ham store--they know this to be true.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Just Say No

Once in a while, we all find ourselves in a position where we have to turn down an opportunity or a request. Perhaps we've exhausted capacity. The timing could be unfavorable. There can be any number of circumstances that might make a potential new order troublesome or untimely.

For a growing business, it is a great problem to have. Yet, it can be daunting to the business owner trying to make sure that the bills are paid. It may even feel counter intuitive. On the one hand, you want the business and you need the income; on the other, you do not want to disappoint and tarnish your reputation. In such case, we have to just say "no."

Just this week, I turned down a request ... said "No." It would have been a great project, right up our alley, so to speak, under normal circumstances. The key being normal circumstances.

I candidly and politely told my client, "No ... we are not going to be able to help you with this project." I offered advice and alternate forms of assistance, while explaining the unusual circumstances.

The ending? Most importantly, the client was fine; he appreciated the candor. In addition, our reputation remained intact. The interaction may have even bolstered our reputation.

I've only turned down a handful of opportunities, or orders. Never have I regretted the decision.
Though it is entirely unusual to turn down an order, the marketing genius knows that it is far better to do that, than to accept the order and handle it poorly.

Labels: , , , , ,

DreamLink - a Jam Session for Your Business

As an entrepreneur and a vocal advocate for entrepreneurship programs, I am a big fan of the West Virginia Conference on Entrepreneurship. This marks the fifth year of this inspiring, educational conference, now known as DreamLink. The conference will be held on May 15, 2007. Mark your calendar today, and save this date.

DreamLink truly is a jam session for your business ... and who doesn't need one of those every now and then! Each year, attendees come away feeling rejuvenated, motivated and connected. At last year's smash-success event, 250 entrepreneurs enjoyed keynote speaker and marketing guru Harry Beckwith. If you are anywhere in the Eastern United States, I encourage you to make plans to attend.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Thanks, Bob!

I had a great meeting recently with Charleston blogger, Bob Coffield. He's the founder and publisher of the Healthcare Law Blog. We had an excellent exchange of ideas, observations and experiences concerning blogging. We are collaborating on an upcoming presentation on corporate blogging for the Charleston Area Alliance. (Thanks to Matt Ballard for connecting us.)

Bob's energy and enthusiasm for blogging re-inspired me and led me to commit to rejuvenate this blog. He also educated me on some of the latest features, add-ons and enhancements to blogging.

Thanks, Bob! And kudos for the tremendous success you've earned with your blog. It's good to be back in the game, and I look forward to co-presenting with you on April 4th.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

SPAM is Out of Control

More thoughts on e-mail marketing. SPAM is clutter, purely and simply. We would all like to ignore it ... perhaps make it go away. That does not appear likely to happen. Consider the following:

"Nine out of every 10 messages delivered on the Internet are SPAM. The volume of SPAM has doubled in the last year."
Source: New York Times, Dec. 6, 2006.

And the Times may have lowballed the estimate, in light of the following:

"Volume of SPAM has tripled in the last six-month period."
Source: Return Path, Inc., 2007.

Unsolicited messages are junking up the e-mail medium, choking it with useless clutter. If we want to conduct effective marketing via e-mail, we must keep tabs on such conditions. The marketing genius will learn to mitigate the threats and challenges associated with SPAM.

Two insights immediately emerge. First and foremost, you have to get your message opened to stand a chance to be effective. That means that our message has to stand out from all of the SPAM. It has to appear legitimate, relevant and compelling. It has to appear to come from a recognizable, trusted source. Does your message appear to originate from your company ... or does it appear to come from a third party ... or does it originate from some cryptic source? Check your "From" field. Are you utlizing your "Subject" field effectively? Never leave it blank. (We'll cover this in depth later.)

Finally, we don't want our message to look like SPAM. Not even a chance of being confused as an unsolicited message is tolerable. If your message causes the recipient to hit the "Mark As Spam" button, your e-mail reputation could be tarnished. You could wind up blacklisted (more to come on this topic).

Alas, marketing genius, do not despair. A little knowledge combined with some best practices will enable you to conquer the SPAM plague.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, March 22, 2007

E-Mail Explosion

More on our continuing series on E-Mail Marketing. Here's another eye-popping set of statistics--
  • The average residential e-mail user receives 35 messages per day on average.
  • The average business e-mail user gets 105 messages a day.
Source: Silverpop Systems, Inc.

What does this mean for the marketing genius who's aspiring to do some effective e-mail marketing? You'd better be darn good, to cut through all of this clutter. You might want to be mindful of having a great subject line. Get to your point--and get to it fast. And finally, you might need to plan for increased frequency to overcome these challenges.

My closing thought: e-mail evolution has crossed an inflection point. It does not work as well for me as it once did. This channel has (and will continue) to change. We'd better keep an eye on it.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Scarcity and the 94% Factor

As the founder and leader of this blog, I am issuing a public apology. I am sincerely sorry that there have been so few posts of new material over the past several months.

November - 1 post
December - None
January - 2 posts
February - Zilch
March - 2 posts to date (including this one)

Scarcity? That's pretty obvious. New material has been scarce here. That will change.

The 94% factor? Allow me to explain.

Over the past six-month period, our team at Maple Creative (the marketing firm of which I am a co-owner) has worked at 94% utilization. Whew! What a stretch it has been! Virtually every available hour across our 14-person team has been devoted to serving our clients. To say we've been busy taking care of our clients would be an understatement. We're thrilled to do it, and we hope it continues. That's what it take to grow our business. Serving clients has been, and always will be job number one.

Along the way, this blog has taken a back seat. It has been unfortunate, but it was what it took to get the work done for our clients.

Going forward, I'm making a renewed commitment to this blog and to you, our marketing genius reader. Won't you please stick with us, as we learn to balance the demands of a growing marketing firm? And, by all means, please tell us what you'd like to see here.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

E-Mail Marketing: Troubling Stat

Only 27% of e-mail messages are ever opened.
Source: Silverpop Systems, Inc.

The e-mail space has become more crowded. The marketing genius knows that it has become harder to stand out in the e-mail channel. At the same time, the potential reach and cost-effectiveness associated with e-mail marketing are very appealing. So, what is the smart approach?

This post will begin a series on e-mail marketing. We will be sharing some eye-popping statistics, useful resources and helpful recommendations.