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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Due to Lack of Interest, the Future Has Been Canceled


Almost a score of years before the Allies were deadlocked on the western front, a Polish banker foresaw with uncanny accuracy the coming of trench fighting. But the war offices and the general staffs paid no attention to his predictions. As always, they were preparing for the last war.

The Washington Post, November 1936

Are there grim signposts among all the green shoots?

Just days before its doors were to open, Future of Events, a first-time trade show slated for late August in Amsterdam, was canceled due to lack of interest. The organizer has filed for bankruptcy.

Grim predictions of irrelevancy surround the producers of large trade shows, but most—like the war offices and general staffs—pay no heed. They're too busy preparing for the last war.

The new war is being waged to win over GenXers and Millennials.

Boomers' tactics won’t work.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cash Cow


Event producers are gaga over a cash cow who never stops lactating.

It's the broadcast technology known as live-streaming.

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses exemplifies those bullish producers.

AAOHN wanted to engage the 80% of members unable to travel to its 2016 annual conference, says David McMillan of PCMA. So it live-streamed the content, charging the same price for the virtual as the face-to-face experience. Sixty members ponied up the $500. Better yet, a sponsor paid $25,000 for the right to hand out free tickets to customers.

With more footage in the can, AAOHN is "sitting on a stockpile of additional educational content and potential revenue," McMillan says.

But live-streaming does more than immediately monetize events; it publicizes them.

Live-streaming "operates far beyond the traditional broadcasting model," says Tom Owlerton on CMO.com

"At its best, live-streaming helps brands go from storytelling to storyliving; they can broadcast behind-the-scenes at big, topical events to share footage that people wouldn’t otherwise get to experience first-hand."

Live-streaming from events, due to the buzz it creates through social media and word of mouth, "can create a huge impact."

The kind that converts to moo-lah.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Slip Slidin' Away



Although "Death by PowerPoint" is universally dreaded, B2B marketers continue to create overstuffed "megadecks."

"Decks have hundreds of company- and product-centric slides," says Christina McKeon on SiriusDecisions' blog. By stupefying audiences with unwelcome information, "sales reps are missing out on a small window of opportunity to establish credibility with the buyer."

Marketers should instead create decks driven by the buyer's questions.


"Winning sales presentations are buyer-centric," McKeon says. Decks should deliver only what the buyer needs to know at the moment, and omit slides focused on "internal processes and constructs."

Decks should also be designed to prompt a specific action by the buyer. Early in a relationship, that might mean validating her organization's needs; later, it might mean preparing to onboard her organization as a customer.

Marketers also need to "think beyond slideware," McKeon says. Content can be delivered through media other than slide decks, such as leave-behinds or a sales proposal.

Lastly, marketers should confirm their decks actually work. "Marketers should ride along on client calls to get live feedback on how the material is working, so necessary adjustments can be made," McKeon says.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Why Face-to-Face Works


As we all know from Star Trek, the strongest force in the universe is gravity.

The second strongest may be mimicry.


Mimicry is the reason face-to-face works—better than broadcast, direct, email, mobile, outdoor, packaging, print, PR, social, sponsorships, telephone, web, wearables, word-of-mouth, or any other marketing channel.

Like gravity, mimicry is an inborn and inescapable "hidden force" compelling us to behave in predictable ways. 

Mimicry makes us automatically imitate the expressions, gestures, postures, actions and language of people around us.

And mimicry generates trust between parties. It's why couples who share the same manner of speech are 50% more likely to date; why servers who repeat their customers' orders get 70% bigger tips; and why negotiators who imitate their opponents' postures are 500% more likely to win.

Because it builds trust, mimicry "shapes professional success," says Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger in Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior

"Mimicry facilitates social interaction because it generates rapport," Berger says. "Like a social glue, mimicry binds us and bonds us together. Rather than 'us versus them,' when someone behaves the same way we do, we start to see ourselves as more interconnected. closer and more interdependent. All without even realizing it."


So it's just natural this vast hidden persuader works its black magic at conferences and trade shows, deleting distrust and making us all members of one federation.

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Happy 50th, Star Trek. Live long and prosper.

Friday, August 26, 2016

How to Get Your Emails Read Every Time


Part with a buck, pull in thirty-eight.

Email's ROI is remarkable, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

But you'll never hit that average, if your emails go unread.

"There are many reasons for failure and many relate to design," says Tanya McGinnity, brand journalist for Onboardly

She offers 10 rules to get your emails read:

1. Stay consistent. Discover a look and stick to it. "When recipients hear from you, they shouldn’t have any doubt that it’s you," McGinnty says. Where to start? Mimic the look of your website.

2. Choose a tailor-made template. "Just grabbing the first template you see and slapping some branding and copy in there isn’t going to make you any fans," McGinnty says. Choose the template suited for the job (newsletters aren't product pitches; event invitations aren't customer surveys; new-product announcements aren't time-limited offers; and so forth).

3. Leverage graphics. "Some of the best emails are simply visuals with a simple call out," McGinnty says. 

4. Leverage copy. Smart, well presented copy can grab more readers than graphics.

5. Keep it brief. Don't be the guy at the party who won't shut up. Remember, you can always blast the same readers another day.

6. Think small. Don't go overboard on big images. Big images will send your emails to the spam folder, or blow up a reader's inbox.

7. Optimize the size. Readers use a variety of devices. Make sure your emails are viewable on them all.

8. Trust the inverted pyramid. McGinnty urges you to think like a journalist about your emails. "At the top, a snappy headline that highlights the core message, supported by information and visuals that help persuade readers to click through. Then a no BS call to action button that gives no room for confusion on what to do."

9. Use one call to action. Ask readers to take just one action at a time, because that’s all they can take. "An infinite series of calls to action only confuse the recipient," McGinnty says. Philips Sonicare split-tested two different emails, one with a single call to action and one with four. The email with one call to action produced 371% more clicks and 1,617% more sales.

10. Edit, edit, edit.  Strive for clarity by cutting anything that can distract readers or go into another day's email. "Be tactical and review your email marketing piece like a chef eyes a plate before serving it up to a popular food critic," McGinnty says.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Top 10 Worst Marketing Problems and How to Fix Every One of Them!

Clickbait, "just another name for language editors have always used to try to get readers to pay attention," has a long and checkered history, says renowned editor Terry McDonell.

Ever since Joseph Pulitzer moved to outsell William Randolph Hearst, clickbait has assured editors fat readerships—and the fat bonuses traditionally tied to newsstand sales.

"If you were good at writing smart, selling cover lines, it was like a gift," McDonell says. "Some of the best editors I worked with were lousy at it, in the way some people can’t tell a joke."

But if you lacked the comedian's gift, you could turn to tabloid tricks like "Garden of Eden Found!” and “Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby.”

Today's hacks use slightly—but only slightly—different gimmicks.

"If you want a clickbait mantra to use this afternoon," McDonell says, "it helps to think like a behavioral scientist and not forget about the pull of upworthy motivation, information gaps, exclaimated questions (?!), pre-programmed cute-seekers, listicles and, of course, why everything works better if you include odd numbers."

But while clickbait builds readerships, it doesn't build trust; in fact, it diminishes it. That's why it's bad for your brand.


Trust comes from standing for something—from owning a viewpoint and covering a subject avidly, reliably and without compromise. And trust is prerequisite to any purchase.

As content marketing expert Tom Webster says, "When you continue to write "20 Ways to Write 15 Great Lists of 10," you're not standing for something other than traffic."

POSTSCRIPT: I initially considered headlining this post "Crap Content is Destroying the Ozone!" But headlines that start with "The Top 10" anything attract more eyeballs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Without Wallander, We Don't Care



Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.

Robert McKee 

Henning Mankell, the creator of Wallander, said his crime novels—like your company's products—took root in an idea.


Returning to his native Sweden from a stay in Africa in the spring of 1990, Mankell noticed racism had taken a stranglehold on the nation.


"It soon dawned on me that the natural path to follow was to write a crime novel," Mankell said. "This was obvious because in my world racist acts are criminal outrages."

Writers like Mankell understand: while ideas alone don't compel audiences, stories do.

But what makes a story a story? How do you tell one? 

You have to find a hero. Forget about Citizens United v. FEC. Corporations aren't people. Your story can't be about your damn company. It has to offer us a flesh-and-blood hero who struggles to overcome a cruel world. Without Wallendar, we don't care.

You have to create suspense. Page-turners, plays, movies and TV shows grip audiences because of suspense. The setup teases and you want to know, What happens next? No tease, no story. Right away, you have to put Wallander in a mysterious jam.

You have to appeal to emotions. Most facts are unmemorable. And most people aren't fact-minded. Stories tug at emotions. Fear. Uncertainty. Confusion. Ambition. Greed. Admiration. Wonder. The soft stuff.

You have to personify. An idea like "racism" is intangible, difficult to understand, and not especially gripping. Not so Wallander combatting victimizers of people on the margins. Convert ideas into characters and storylines.

You have to paint pictures. "Show, don't tell." Lightly sketch each scenario as your story unfolds and let your audience connect the dots. Don't feel compelled to lecture. You're a storyteller, not a preacher or teacher.

You have to find a niche. Long-term success comes when you find a niche you can own. Wallander tapped the popular niche known as "Nordic Noir." Every novel in Mankell's series is propelled by a backdrop where mean streets are walked by morose Swedes who themselves are neither mean, nor tarnished, nor afraid. You can tell stories—endlessly—when you find a niche that appeals to your audience.

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