I was approached today about possible work that I found rather interesting. I watched a video on the company’s website to learn more. The first thing I noticed is that the narrator has no energy in his voice and his voice droned (definitely not good). The slide presentation also needs some serious editing.
One thing in particular jumped out at me…a title on several slides, which included the word “COMPAIGN.” Ouch. Of course, that should be “CAMPAIGN.” If I was hired by that company, I would suggest that they take down the video until they fixed that error and tidied up the whole presentation (and hired a new narrator).
I don’t know who put that video together, but it shows what can happen when well-meaning people who are not marketing people or writers step into those roles. If your small business is low on funds and you (maybe an engineer or administrator) are wearing many hats, consider hiring a writer even for a few hours to review your website and marketing collateral. (more…)
When you’re talking to prospects, customers, the press, colleagues, or any stakeholder, it is important to STAY ON MESSAGE. What does that mean? Don’t let yourself get sidetracked; make sure you get your message across.
I learned this years ago when Texas Instruments sent me to media training in advance of my stint as Technology Spokesperson. TI had an impressive television studio in their Dallas headquarters and we were put through the paces. I learned some of the tricks that television and radio personalities use to get the answers they want. These include asking or saying the following:
I was in Toastmasters for 13 years and learned an easy-to-remember framework of three rules for creating a prepared or off-the-cuff talk. Here it is:
RULE #1 – TELL THEM WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO TELL THEM.
That’s what I just did in the first sentence above. I told you what I’m going to tell you. It alerts the listener/reader to what is coming and sets the stage for the rest of the talk or presentation.
There are lots of sites that allow you to publish a press release for little or no cost. So why not just send out press releases about anything? Any publicity is good publicity…right? The answer is not really.
Remember the story of the boy who cried “WOLF!” over and over and people finally started ignoring him because there was no wolf? When he actually DID see a wolf and cried “WOLF!” he was ignored because people thought he was just seeking attention without substance. It’s like that if you publish too many press releases that have little to no substance. You dilute your opportunities to get coverage and pretty soon your press releases are ignored.
Do you have a new product to introduce to the market? Yes? Do you have a product launch plan created? No? Well, you should. Ideally, as soon as the product is defined and goes into development, your marketing team should also go into development of a plan to roll out this new product to the market. At the very minimum, you should have three months to get ready to roll it out…six months or even twelve is better. Why twelve? You may want to plan your whole launch around a tradeshow that is several months out.
So what kind of things go into a product launch? Here are a few suggestions: (more…)
Having written hundreds of press releases over the years, I’ve developed a simple outline for how to lay out a press release. I’m sure other people have their own way of doing it. Here’s mine.
Headline that Grabs the Reader – So many press release headlines are BORING and the article is never read. Draw the reader in with a catchy title. Here are titles I concocted for two press releases I wrote for Javelin Strategy & Research. Both are evocative and make the reader want to read more.
“Consumers Play the Blame Game on Data Breaches”
“Android Adoption Skyrockets to 27% of Smartphone Market” (more…)
I’m a pianist and am currently practicing to play for a local theater’s production of the vibrant musical “Rent.” It is a fun thing to do.
It reminds me of the process of creating a new website (or overhauling an existing one). I recently worked with a web developer and we rolled out a completely new website for a client. Just as with practicing piano for a show, there is a lot of butt-in-the-seat time that isn’t always fun.
This time…for both practicing piano and developing a website…consists of:
First come up with the big picture of what the whole thing is about. I watched a DVD of the final performance on Broadway of “Rent” (plus I saw it performed years ago) and I get a sense of the rhythm of the show, what it is about, and the general feel of it all. In designing a new website, I first decide what image I want to portray for the company (that obviously fits with its overall branding), come up with colors and design elements I like, and decide on the overall structure and feeling I want a visitor to the site to have. (more…)
Do you enchant others…in your personal life and through your work? Have you ever considered the value of enchantment? Guy Kawasaki, author of the book “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions,” says that
“When you enchant people, your goal is not to make money from them or to get them to do what you want, but to fill them with great delight.”
Delight? How often do you come away from personal or business interactions feeling delighted? How often do you delight others? (more…)
Are you one of those business owners who thinks “I shouldn’t waste money on marketing. There’s no new business out there right now. No one has any money to spend on what I offer so why bother.”???
I just got through reading Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” and she says that we should challenge our beliefs and statements through inquiry to determine their validity and relevance. She gives us a list of four questions to ask ourselves:
Imagine that you want to buy a new washing machine. You go to the store and a sales clerk blasts you with the details about a certain model. There are many other washing machines to consider with different price points, functionality, etc. so you’re wondering WHY SHOULD I CARE about this particular washing machine? If the sales clerk really wants to make a sale, he/she should ask what is important to you in a washing machine and answer this question for you. If he/she prattles on about features you don’t care about, he/she is wasting your time; you’ll probably go elsewhere to make a purchase.
With PowerPoint, anyone can create a presentation…right? WRONG. Some people just shouldn’t.
Before PowerPoint, presentations were only created by marketing people who worked with graphics professionals to create slides. These are people who know how to write and how to design and use color. Most people now who create presentations don’t have a clue.
Here are some things NOT to do when creating a presentation. (more…)
Years ago, I was a Product Marketing Engineer at Texas Instruments (TI). In that role I wore many hats — writer, event planner, conference speaker, technology spokesperson on radio and television, tradeshow manager, and more.
One of the biggest hats I wore was to present to customers about our artificial intelligence (AI) products — the artificial intelligence expert system software for the PC called Personal Consultant and the LISP machine Explorer. I got quite good at assessing customers’ needs before meeting with them and tailoring my presentation to them. So good, for example, that I was hand picked to present in front of 500 people at a conference in Bogota, Colombia and to the Young President’s Organization there.
One thing I learned rather quickly was the power of story. (more…)
Are you one of those people who think Marketing and Sales are the same thing? Think that’s a crazy question? A lot of people confuse the two. They aren’t the same. They use different skills and perform different functions. I’ve had people try to talk me into taking work that was clearly Sales. Let’s break down what some of the differences are.
Perhaps you have a small business with a killer product or service and you’re just starting to do marketing. Or perhaps you are feeling the pinch of the economy, but are savvy enough to understand that if you don’t market what you have, no one will know about or buy it. Either way, your marketing dollars are limited. So where do you start? What’s the best way to spend your limited marketing dollars?
You’ve been trying to get your business going all on your own, but it’s just not working that well. Or maybe you’ve had some success, but want to take your business to the next level. Your expertise isn’t in marketing or PR or writing or any of that…it’s in your product or service.
What do you do? Hire someone to help you…right? What should you look for and what should you expect? Here are a few tips and questions to ask yourself. (And of course, you can always just call or email me about how you could work with THIS marketing consultant.)