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Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

We’ve all seen those marketing campaigns that went, oh, so very wrong. They’re often around to clog up our social media feeds for a couple of days, garner some negative attention, and then they die off.
But the real question for marketers is: how damaging was the campaign to the brand?
We’re taking a look at whether or not all publicity is good publicity, and whether you can expect to recover from a serious popular culture blunder.
Everyone’s Goal: Good Publicity
Logically, no marketers set out to epically fail when it comes to their latest marketing campaign. One company — Dollar Shave Club —ran that risk but nailed it when it made a promotional video filled with swear words (something most marketers would never do).
The Dollar Shave Club is a subscription service that delivers men’s razor blades. The video that we’re talking about featured Michael Dubin, the startup’s co-founder. It cost roughly $4,500 to make and within a week it had three million views.
In this case, the video greatly helped grow Dollar Shave Club’s brand — even though the swearing may have been offensive to some. They started their own YouTube channel, and they now have two million subscribers to their service. Unilever were so not offended that they paid $1 billion to buy the then 5 year-old start-up company.
But not every attempt at twisting humour is so successful. One hugely controversial example is the Protein World campaign that has marketers divided.
Walking the Line: Good or Bad Publicity?
The now infamous Protein World advertisement appeared across London Underground stations. It featured a model in a bikini and the tagline, “Are you beach body ready?”
The relatively straightforward ad led to a huge ‘body shaming’ backlash and marketers today still can’t determine whether running an ad that’s so controversial is a good idea.
Protesters gathered a petition calling for the ad’s removal and collected more than 70,000 signatures. The campaign even collected it’s very own hashtag – #everybodysready – that took off on social media channels.
According to Protein World, they think the ad was a good move. They maintained that they did not mean to imply that everyone should look like the model, and they became a household brand name. They also claim the ad resulted in 30,000 new customers and an extra £2m in one week.
Maybe the ad drove sales, but it’s a very fine line to walk as a marketer when you disregard public opinion in order to generate leads.
You’re Doomed: Bad Publicity
Sometimes, you just can’t come back from your mistakes. They can’t all be spun into something positive like Protein World’s controversial ad.
When Carrie Fisher, the world-famous actress died, Cinnabon tweeted an image that generated a hugely negative backlash from social media.
The baked goods brand posted a drawing of Fisher as her best-known character, Star Wars’ Princess Leia, with her famous hair buns replaced with Cinnabon’s trademark cinnabon product. They commented “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll always have the best buns in the galaxy.” The backlash was enormous. And in this case, there’s no public proof that the campaign increased Cinnabon sales.
The problem with these types of campaigns is that hindsight is 20-20. How do you know when you’re producing something that it will be seen as funny, middle-ground or widely negative?

Guidelines You can Follow
While predicting the outcome of sarcastic and cultural campaigns is next to impossible, there are some guidelines you can follow.
First, promoting news to people who aren’t likely to become clients or customers, just for publicity’s sake is almost never worth it. In the event that it creates negative public relations (PR), you might end up reducing traffic to your website.
If the outlet or medium through which you’re distributing doesn’t have the best reputation, you can harm your reputation by association. You can control this by posting your content on your own site where you can take it down if needed — just be prepared to take the full brunt of the backlash should the campaign turn out to create negative feedback.
No one knows your audience and your customers better than your brand. Use your best judgement when it comes to generating the best publicity to help your organization stay successful.
 
Image Sources:

Huffington Post
CBS News

Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

A few days ago I posted an article called The Stupidity of Silence where I suggested that ceasing all contact when someone doesn’t give you what you want is a really dumb strategy.
Here’s another one.
We’re looking to sell our house at the moment. Part of the process is interviewing real estate agents. Theirs is an incredibly competitive business where all they’re offering is reputation and the perceived ability to persuade people to buy.
The first agent who came to our home said all the right things, had all the requisite collateral detailing sales successes etc. and was a nice guy. The only problem was that he completely ignored the adored family dog.
It’s a small point, I know. You could say that his job is to negotiate hard and to sell real estate on our behalf, not to get all cutesy with every pampered pooch that may slobber on his expensive suit.

But you could also say that his job is to effectively engage people and a simple short-cut to doing that is to understand what their emotional hot buttons are. It’s not much of a stretch to assume that a spoiled pet fits the hot button bill for the person – the property’s owner – the agent is trying to influence.
Not surprisingly, that agent didn’t get the business. The agent that did pat Mocha closed the sale.

For those of us who need to emotionally engage and influence people for a living, it’s easy to forget that little things to us may be major things to our market/s. Recognising what that is (by research, experience or assumption) and reacting accordingly can make the difference between success and failure.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
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The Stupidity of Silence

For my sins, I’ve been brought up to say “please” and “thank you” and even, heaven forbid, open the door for ladies. I know that such behaviour is archaic, uncool and totally unexpected in today’s ‘every man for himself’ age, but it works for me.
That’s not to say that all people don’t appreciate manners. Take me, for example. Not surprisingly, I love it when people are polite. Mainly because it shows that they actually give a damn about our interaction.
That’s why it always astounds me when people in business don’t follow-up with a simple thank you email or even a note – when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? – after we’ve had some type of interaction.
This is particularly the case when someone has unsuccessfully asked for a meeting, a job or a sale. Most of the time, if I say “no thank you” I get nothing back. Silence. They’ve moved on to new prospects because I didn’t give them what they wanted.
How stupid. As the old sales expression goes ‘No doesn’t mean no, it just means not now.’
For the cost of spending 2 minutes writing a “Thanks, sorry we couldn’t do a deal this time. Maybe we can work together in the future…” email, their last impression with me would have been a positive one. Instead, their silence showed me that the decision not to work with them was probably the right one.
We’re all in sales, so rejection comes with the territory. You have to look beyond today’s no and focus on the long-term relationship you can form with the person who has just rejected what you’re offering. It’s important to remember that they didn’t reject you, they rejected what you were selling.
Some of the best clients I’ve ever worked with said no for several years until the time was right for them to say yes. The only person who misses out if you don’t keep in touch with the person who just said “thanks but no thanks” is you.

Keep in touch. Keep showing up. Show you care. It’s the smart thing to do.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

Donald Trump teaching you marketing lessons? Seriously? Yes, seriously.
Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has made the race for the White House fascinating. And fascinating doesn’t happen by chance.
Exceptional marketing combined with good old fashioned, in-your-face salesmanship are central to the success of his campaign – so far.
So putting aside your opinion on his politics, let’s look at what can be learned from Trump’s ‘Making America Great Again’ campaign.

Know Your Audience
Contrary to the opinion of many, Trump is no fool and knows his audience incredibly well. He has identified the pain and passion points of his supporters and has moulded his campaign accordingly.
As a digital marketer, this should be the first thing you do when devising a strategy. You need to know who you’re targeting, how to address their needs with valuable content and then get them to take action.
Yes, it sounds obvious but it’s astounding how many digital campaigns don’t have any compelling customer reasons for being.

Engage Your Audience at Every Touchpoint
Trump is particularly well-known for his power to motivate, outrage, and entertain his audience on Twitter but it’s not the only platform that his campaign uses.
Today’s campaigners are connected through multiple digital channels and are faced with an array of methods to reach out to their voters. This brings opportunity and challenges in equal measure. Get your content’s message, tone, and platform right, and you’ll win loyal supporters. Get it wrong, and your audience clicks over to the next hot thing.
Engaging with your audience through relevant social media platforms is important. While Facebook will always take a leading role, this year’s election campaign has seen candidates reaching beyond the social giant to more niche platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

Zig when Everyone Else Zags
From suggesting he paid Hillary to attend his wedding to the claim that Ted Cruz’s father was involved with JFK’s assassination, Trump marches to his own beat.
He does the opposite of what other politicians have been taught to do, but clearly it’s working.
Hillary Clinton says that all is wonderful with the USA; Trump says the complete opposite. By graphically highlighting the country’s problems real or supposed he offers the ultimate solution: him. America will only be great again if you vote for Trump.
The takeaway here is to take chances. Do something different. When everyone is focusing on eBooks and blogs, create a podcast or set up a Periscope account. When everyone goes horizontal, go vertical.

Want to Stay in the Game? Don’t Be Boring!
How many times have you listened to Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz? Do you remember a single thing they said or tweeted? I can’t either.
So how about The Donald?
Like most of us, I can easily rattle off any number of quotes, tweets and incidents from his campaign. Many of Trump’s tweets have taken on a life of their own, garnering enormous global coverage.
What does this tell you about his marketing?
Right from the outset, Trump has been outrageous, disrespectful, rude, controversial and, without fail, utterly compelling.
While his opponents were trying to cut through by spending many millions of dollars on advertising, Trump’s messages and style have earned him more free publicity and media time than all of his erstwhile Republican opponents: combined.
In the marketing world, Trump’s content stands head and shoulders above his competitors and makes people take notice. As a marketer, if you market the same old boring content everyone else is putting out there, no one’s going to see it or care.
From a content marketing perspective, be like Donald, not Jeb.

Build Rapport with Everyone, Even the Haters
This is a risky way to approach a digital marketing campaign but if your brand is ready to take a little heat, you can even get value from your haters.
Of course, while most of us don’t want to “feed the trolls,” Trump has a knack for beating his detractors
to the punch. When Ted Cruz didn’t endorse Trump on day three of the RNC, Trump was quick to tweet about it and turned a negative into a positive. Brave and smart.

Manage Your Brand or Domain
You may have heard about Trump redirecting Jeb Bush’s website to his own. Due to poor brand management, Bush’s team forgot to renew payment for their domain which meant that the address became available to anyone else. Trump’s team grabbed the opportunity and automatically redirected all visitors to his website.
Lesson: don’t be a digital dill. Make sure your domain payments are up-to-date or outsource management to someone who knows what the hell they’re doing!

Lessons Learnt
Trump understands just how dramatically digital communication has changed the way we engage and has invested in his online presence. He has more than 23 million social media followers / likes, dramatically more than any his competitors for the Republican nomination. And 50% more than Hillary Clinton.
Like any successful digital marketer, Trump maintains an active presence and regularly tweets, posts and interacts with both friends and foes alike. He also stays abreast of the latest digital trends (he announced his intention to run on Periscope).
Offensive, buffoonish or smart? Whatever you feel about the man, there’s no denying his masterful use of digital marketing. There a thing or two we can learn from The Donald; or at least from his campaign.

Images:
a) Getty Images, Tom Pennington
b) Twitter
c) CNN Money

Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

Did you see Chris Rock at last night’s Oscars? Man, he nailed it: loose, funny, topical, irreverent, black.
Hang on, what was that? Black? You can’t say that! That’s, that’s, well that’s racist!
In isolation it’s jarring to refer to someone’s skin colour or any other personal feature when judging work they’ve just completed. Of course, it’s also completely irrelevant.
But let’s back up a bit. This year’s Oscars were all about race. After the nominations were announced in January there was a furor about the lack of black nominees. Plenty of black presenters and entertainers appearing on the night mind you. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite swept the twittersphere faster than you can spell equality.
In the midst of all this hullabaloo along came host Chris Rock. From the opening monologue he hilariously answered the question on every observer’s mind: how is he going to deal with it? He dealt with it by confronting it head-on. As in citing lynchings, rapes and racism. Full-on you might say. He didn’t pretend it wasn’t happening. In fact, it was his recurring theme for the night. Rock didn’t just confront the elephant in the room, he invited the elephant on to the stage and into our lounge rooms to share hosting duties.
Here’s the funny thing, though. Rock managed to get the message across and demonstrate his support for the cause by metaphorically inviting the audience to join him. Too often zealots bore and antagonise the very people they’re trying to influence. They’re so wrapped up in their own self-righteousness and feeling that everyone else is wrong/stupid/ignorant that their words and actions isolate them even more. In the end, more harm than good is done and no-one wins.
Rock took a different approach. His performance was so nuanced and clever that we couldn’t help but warm to him AND his cause. He made us laugh while making the points that needed to be made. He took us along for the ride because he earned the right to do so by taking into account what we wanted: to be entertained.
Many marketers often take the zealot approach and try to get us all hot and sweaty about their cause by breathlessly telling us about the most banal facts about their product / service. They use their media budget to repeatedly bludgeon their market/s with their offering which is usually no different to the other 20 options that are available.
Most of us aren’t in the entertainment business. Selling breakfast cereal and ball bearings will never have the inherent interest of the Academy Awards or one the world’s best loved comedians. We are all in the persuasion business, though. We all need to market with empathy and flair lest all is lost. By that I mean that if we fail to bring our customers along with us we’ll end up in the mire, cutting prices until the cows – or liquidators – come home.
Chris Rock took many risks last night. There was no guarantee that his many potentially controversial jokes would work*. The alternative, however was even riskier: to be an apologist for both sides and end up pleasing no-one.
We marketers also need to take risks and make a memorable stand on behalf of what we’re promoting. Often, it’s the only way to stand out. Our customers are crying out to be engaged, entertained, cajoled, informed and even just included. Take them along for an enjoyable and memorable ride and you could well end up at the cash register more often than you could have imagined.
*Apparently Rock did try out his routine at an LA Comedy club over the past fortnight. No matter how much you practice, however, you still need to step up on the day and take a leap of faith.
Images:

www.foxnews.com

Surreal Reality TV

Few of us over the age of 40 have not been saddened by the death of David Bowie this week. Whether you liked his music or not, he was undoubtedly an original talent who had a profound impact on much of the culture of the 70’s and 80’s.
Contrast the outpouring of love and nostalgia we’re now seeing due to Bowie’s passing with what’s happening on UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. By sheer coincidence, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie is currently a ‘resident’ in the Big Brother house.
There are two key points to put in context what subsequently played out in front of millions of Britons:

The only reason the former Mrs Bowie has any ‘celebrity’ status and as such is qualified to be in the house in the first place was because she was once married to David Bowie
By her own admission she has not even spoken with the rock star for 40 years!

The producers of the reality TV show decided to air Mrs Bowie’s reaction to hearing the news of her former husband’s death.
Confusion, tears, confessions, grief. It was Shakespearean. It was also, apparently, compelling viewing.
Do you, like me feel a little diminished that this sort of bile was lapped up by a vast audience eager to observe a mawkish freak show? While there were 200 complaints made to the Media Watchdog, that was a price Big Brother’s franchise owners were no doubt prepared to pay for the worldwide headlines and ratings it garnered.
I realise that all of this pales into insignificance compared to the atrocities being committed around the world and other genuine issues like poverty, famine and racism.
But it is troubling that such is our collective fascination with cheap and tawdry titillation that the lines of decency and respect for human values are becoming increasingly blurred.
Watch or re-watch Jim Carey’s brilliant 1998 movie ‘The Truman Show’ and see for yourself that sadly, what was fantasy has become our surreal reality.
 
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The One Immutable Law of Selling

If you haven’t read Al Ries & Jack Trout’s ’22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ do your 2016 a favour and do so. It pinpoints the art and science of marketing better than any other book I’ve read.
So if marketing needs 22 laws to sum up its undoubted power, how about the other side of the commercial coin? How many laws does it take to encapsulate selling?
Of course there’s no shortage of books, courses and websites devoted to answering that question. In fact, I’d wager that there are probably 10 times more resources focused on selling than there are on marketing.
When I first decided to add sales to my marketing bow I read, watched and listened to many of them and then implemented a good deal of what they suggested.
I actually made a cold phone call to a prospect once after listening to a sales course and opened by saying “If there were a way for you to achieve greater…..” No “hello, my name is..”.
I know: embarrassing.

Not surprisingly, the prospect cut me off by curtly saying “What are you selling?” Needless to say, I didn’t close that sale.
What I’ve learned is that sales is a darned sight simpler than marketing. Not easier mind you.
Selling is both the hardest job and the easiest job in any organisation. Hardest in that you’re often given a desk, a PC and a phone and then the rest is up to you. Easiest in that when you’ve made the sale, all the others who can’t or won’t sell have to deliver what you’ve promised.
Of course, that’s a simplification and there are many variables that can change the picture to some degree. But overall, that’s pretty much it.
So what are the key learnings? Sales scripts suck; you’re not fooling anyone, we know you’re reading!! Closing techniques have no place in professional services business development. And not believing in what you’re selling is always futile.
So what is the one immutable rule of selling? In my experience it’s all about taking consistent action. Picking up the phone, going to networking functions, sending emails and LinkedIn InMails to prospects and being active on social media. Make things happen, push through rejection because there’s always a lot of it and work consistently to politely and professionally get in front of people who need what you’re selling. Do that and you will succeed. Do anything else and you won’t.
I realise that this is not particularly insightful or new. After all the courses and the books I devoured, the same thought occurred to me. It is, however a simple to implement success formula for anyone who wants to promote a product or service no matter what their background.
Some may disagree with this bare bones summation of sales success but I think it’s pretty hard to argue with the overall sentiment: consistently do lots of things that are relevant to your target market.
I loved a piece of graffiti from Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ that used to be daubed on a wall near the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It sums up what I’m suggesting: Action is Eloquence.

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Has it Been That Long?

Hello. Anyone there?
The last time I uploaded a post was in August. Seriously. That long ago. Do you remember what you were doing in August? Me either.
What more can I say other than “I have failed you!” You have gone Tick Yes blog-less for almost three months. Inexcusable.
Of course there are 500+ previous posts that you can access any time for your consuming pleasure, day or night, we never close. Then there’s also the small matter of 260 million other blogs you can also visit.
But that doesn’t really cut it, does it. In this disposable, fast paced world reading a post from March 2011 is not particularly appealing no matter how well written it is. Assuming you think it’s well written which is another story altogether!
We used to post 2-3 times per day which was exhausting. And stressful. We walked the talk and we truly were a publisher, exactly like we tell our clients they should be. Boy, it was hard work! Doing that for clients is one thing but doing it for ourselves where we have so many other priorities – like looking after the aforementioned clients – is another thing altogether.
I have tried to assuage my guilt for my posting sloth and indolence over the past few months but it doesn’t work. Slack is slack.
So for you, our loyal – and patient – readers, this post gives you signs of life. We’ve just been REALLY busy, too busy to upload any new well researched and considered posts for some time.
Will you forgive me?
 
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The Decline and Fall of Free-to-Air TV

Free-to-air (FTA) TV is gone, over, finished, obsolete, outta here. Everyone is on their mobile phones, tablets, PCs etc etc. NO-ONE watches TV anymore, right?
Wrong.
FTA, of course is not finished. It merely has had a bit of a turn and is having a lie down. It will be back bigger than ever, right?
Wrong.
Once the staple evening and weekend fare of every self-respecting baby boomer and Gen X’er, television is no longer our ’electronic hearth’. We have plenty of other glass that we can stare at now. And that glass allows US to be the creative director, programmer and consumer where, when, what and however we choose. It’s exciting, flexible and fun!
All of which leaves poor old FTA looking like a threadbare old coat gathering dust in the corner while the flashier Zegna suit alternatives sashay out the door.
Nothing new here. Technology is being regularly rendered obsolete. Depending on your age, this list provides a reminder of what was once vital and is now irrelevant (did someone say floppy disk?).
Sure, multi-year sports mega-deals with FTA networks still make news but now there’s this little thing called ‘digital rights’ that sporting franchise owners have carved off. Before you know it, those same sports will be running their own multi-media empires and they won’t need external TV stations anymore. Why? Because they can. They own what viewers want which is why broadcast rights are so valuable. That’s why ‘narrowcast’ rights are even more valuable. The more focused you are, the more valuable you become.
This could not be starker than in network television’s own ecosystem. According to Forbes, sports focused ESPN is worth $50 billion+ compared to the generalist ABC network’s $3.2 billion valuation.
And then there’s cable, Netflix and Apple TV and Amazon TV. All of which are vertically integrating by creating and controlling their own content through to its eventual distribution and
marketing. And we haven’t even mentioned YouTube.
In a complex, tangled and confusing electronic content dissemination world, FTA television seems firmly stuck where it was king of the heap: the 70’s. Of course, FTA still attracts enormous audiences but as with all declining technologies, while the trend is gradual it’s not looking good. What FTA TV will look like in 10 years time is anyone’s guess.
Mourn not though. Globally, television executives have at best paid lip service to the hyper-connectedness facilitated by digital communications. Throw up a few websites, syndicate our media releases on a Facebook page and enable SMS voting for our talent shows and we’re sorted. They’re so not sorted.
There are collectively hundreds of millions of viewers out there who have never had any personal interaction with the FTA TV channels they’ve slavishly supported for decades. Some could argue that they never needed to connect with viewers beyond offering them fabulous programs to watch. Which still works. To a degree. Trouble is, we’ve all been spoiled by what we can do and what we can control.
So while it’s unrealistic to think that regular emails and SMS’ to viewers will halt the declining trend, it can’t hurt.
But the clock is ticking, and it’s very loud.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images:

legarde-rob.com

How to Avoid an Ashley Madison Type Disaster

1. Don’t cheat on your spouse / partner.
2. If you choose to ignore point 1, don’t explore your ‘opportunities’ online where everything you do leaves a trail.
3. If you choose to ignore points 1 and 2, call a good lawyer. You’ll need one.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.