If I had to point to any single problem that nearly all companies had in common, it would be this: they only talk from one side of the argument.
Everyone is important. Every product is revolutionary. Every new business initiative is destined to rock the world and change Life As We Know It Forever. And when you approach your marketing from the perspective of only one side of the issue – the side that means you win – then you miss out on some of the best opportunities you’ll ever have for creating a truly effective sales message.
So how do you hit both sides of the story without turning your message into an ambiguous mess?
Everybody has a different idea of what design is – and that’s most of the problem. When you’re trying to wrangle the conflicting opinions and priorities of your creative team, your sales people, your product managers and your customer support staff, it’s only natural that consensus is going to be hard to find. We all agree that good design works. What we disagree on is how to make it work.
Most of us tend to notice design only when it fails, or when it suddenly meets all of our needs at once. Unfortunately, most projects have to aim for somewhere in the vast territory that exists between catastrophe and catharsis, and as a project manager your job will be to arrive at that destination safely and securely.
At Load Bearing Creative, we are committed to giving back. Whether it’s through services, expertise and advice or products, we are dedicated to contributing to our community.
As business owners, we know there’s more to philanthropy than just helping others – although that is our primary motive. Providing services to non-profits is a great way to build your business and promote employee morale and loyalty. Continue reading
Direct competition is bad business. You can see it every day, and probably could name at least three businesses operating in your own industry that are guilty of its excesses. Positioned the same, targeting the same customers, providing the same product, priced at the same level: in a world of increasingly diverse tastes, needs and resources, there are few more reliable ways to ruin your business than to busy yourself in offering up more of the same.
Direct competition destroys value. Eliminating significant distinctions between you and the next guy only guarantees that you’ll compete on price, which always turns into a race to the bottom – and a dash to see who can go broke first. On a grander scale, that destruction of value takes a serious toll on quality, markets and people.
We’ve all heard it before. The many voices of professional marketing, each touting a different buzzword as this year’s great revolution in business. Frankly, we’re as tired of them as you are.
At Load Bearing Creative, we do our best to avoid terminology and strategy that doesn’t really mean anything. You won’t hear much from us about the dynamism of permission-based channel relocations, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Your business doesn’t need that. What it needs is a practical plan for building sales and developing markets, and buzzwords aren’t going to get you there. Continue reading
On the face of it, a corporate case study is about the simplest type of technical collateral there is. Structurally, a case study is the basic three-act dramatic formula that we are all familiar with: set out a problem, struggle with the challenge, race towards a solution. Case studies present this basic storytelling format in context of a successful customer engagement, telling the tale of an everyday company that solved an important business problem with this wonder product or service. Continue reading
Looking back, it’s easy to remember forms of webtalk in days gone by and think, that’s quaint. Geocities comes to mind. MySpace. Even – as much as I hate to admit this – UseNet newsgroups. And one day, Facebook and Twitter will likewise go the way of Gopher, supplanted by some new and more efficient way of getting info out there.
When we talk with clients about their social media presence, occasionally we’re still asked about RSS feeds. RSS isn’t nearly the hot marketing medium today. Should we care about ensuring that our website has an RSS feed available?
And to that I say, absolutely yes.
When I was a little kid, I had a fascination with stage magic. I’m sure a lot of kids do. My father indulged me, with visits to local magic supply stores to buy colored scarves and interlocking metal rings and fake cup and ball tricks. One trick that I still remember very clearly, nearly forty years later, is the Magic Money Machine.
The Magic Money Machine was an astoundingly simple, nearly foolproof magic trick. Anyone could do it. It was a small plastic box with a slot, a roller and a crank. You opened the box to show the audience that it was empty inside. You closed it. You waved your wand. You inserted a blank piece of white paper into one end. Said the magic words. Finally, you turned the crank and WOW! A crisp, beautiful, absolutely legal dollar bill made its way out of the slot. Money from thin air!
Of course, the trick isn’t hard to figure out. You roll the dollar bill in beforehand, and the crank and roller are designed to carefully hide the bill until it is needed. But to a five year old, it was great – particularly if you dress it up in some dramatic showmanship, make the effort to sell it as real magic.
I tell this story to clients sometimes to try to make a point.
“To be, or not to be. That is the question.” – Shakespeare, Hamlet
In most tech businesses today, life revolves around the Gadget.
The Gadget can be anything from toasters to next generation telecommunication satellites. Gadgets can be thrilling. They often make great media stories. They are steps forward and bold promises. For those of us in technology marketing, pushing the Gadget’s many virtues – faster, cheaper, more efficient, more strategically aligned – is what we do. We work to sell the better mousetrap.
But truly effective tech marketing today goes well beyond the Gadget, because as a society we are reaching a saturation point for innovation. Last year, Mike Elgan over at Forbes wrote something particularly profound that highlights this evolution, pointing specifically to the growing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement.
“The reason BYOD is here to stay is psychological. It’s less about technology and more about culture—or even anthropology. It’s about a belief of what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me.’”
When a major marketing campaign is built around only a few words at a time, you can bet good money that those words were chosen with care.
The social human mind is full of fault lines, conceptual interfaces that represent the meeting of important forces. Successful marketers today work hard to find those pressure points and exploit them. There’s nothing necessarily manipulative in that – it’s just how effective communication works, and that’s the business that we are in. A single word matters.
One of the more interesting fault lines is where the value of time meets the value of money. Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase “time is money”. Psychological studies of recent years, however, suggest that this isn’t exactly true. We tend to value money and time very differently, and presenting value statements based on either money or time will produce different results.