Influence people

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Things Worth Reading

The things worth writing about, and the things worth reading about, are the things that feel almost beyond description at the start and are, because of that, frightening. 

— Douglas Coupland

Andy Crestodina's annual survey of bloggers is out. It shows 2 of 3 bloggers focus on SEO, up from 1 of 2 three years ago.

Given people's content shock, why bother?

Why write for robots, when you could write things worth reading?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Fat, Dumb and Happy Revisited

I guessed eleven months ago American Society of Association Executives wouldn't contact me after I'd enrolled—even once—until it wanted me to renew my membership. I guessed correctly.

Associations need to do better than that, to stay in business. 

Perhaps ASAE should consult the FBI. It would learn the Bureau frowns on advance fee schemes.

This Land

It is difficult for the common good to prevail against
the intense concentration of those who have a special interest.

— Jimmy Carter

Healthcare, housing and education—while increasing in cost, but declining in value—have a stranglehold on the US economy that will eventually plunge most Americans into near-poverty, says a recent report from Gallup.

Now accounting for almost 40 cents of every US dollar spent, the inflationary price tags on healthcare, housing and education mean most Americans will never, as previous generations liked to say, "get ahead."

Ironically, white Americans are sicker than they were 40 years ago; live in older, smaller homes farther from their workplaces; and don't know what the Constitution is, or that the earth orbits the sun.

Other things are amiss in this land, too, according to the report. 

High healthcare costs are not only hammering businesses' profit margins, but dampening entrepreneurship and full-time hiring. And in industries where hiring is brisk, employers can't find Americans who are well enough, or smart enough, to perform the new jobs. Employers are forced to favor foreign-educated workers.

What's behind our downward spiral? Special interest groups, Gallup says.
    • In healthcare, paperwork, "defensive" medicine, and doctors' excessive salaries are driving up healthcare costs. Patients spend more for less, as a result. Trade groups like the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians are to blame.
    • In housing, zoning is distorting housing markets. Localities in demand allow only a fraction of their land to be used for high-density housing, which drives builders to start single-family homes in faraway places, at a pace that lags demand. The resulting undersupply drives up prices. Groups like neighborhood associations and The Sierra Club are to blame.

    • In education, runaway administrator costs and unaccountable teachers are making education unaffordable and ineffective. From pre-school to grad school, the system rewards foolish initiatives. Unions like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are to blame.

      Price Wars

      While shares of retailers like Macy's and J.C. Penney continue to plummet, shares of Apple climb. Apple is not only the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, it has generated better investor returns than any since 1926, including blue-chip stalwarts like Dupont, GM, and Procter & Gamble.

      Why? The answer's simple.

      Whereas mass retailers like Macy's layer flash sales on top of loyalty programs on top of coupon discounts on top of even more discounts for using their branded credit cards, Apple sticks with price integrity (and a premium price, at that).

      While retailers engage in relentless price wars, Apple enjoys peaceful prosperity.

      Retailers brought the wars on themselves.

      "Retailers could have chosen to focus on deep customer insight to deliver more relevant personalization," says consultant Steven Dennis. "They could have invested in product innovation. They could have seen their physical stores as assets to leverage in creating a more harmonious and remarkable customer experience, rather than as liabilities to cost reduce and shutter."

      Meantime Apple and its shareholders flourish.

      There's a lesson in this―or 10 lessons.

      HAT TIP:
      Many thanks to Ellie Summers for offering me her infographic.

      Sunday, October 29, 2017

      Best Book Ever on Business Ethics

      A book on business ethics must be a very short book.

      — Arthur Dobrin

      An old joke goes: A businessman is counting the daily receipts and observes that a customer has mistakenly paid $1,000 instead of $100. It sinks in with the businessman that he faces an agonizing ethical question: Should he tell his partner?

      While most B-schools require students to take ethics courses, there's no evidence the training works, if you read the news of corporate fraud.

      Students in those courses must read professors' papers with titles such as Managing for Stakeholders, A Note on Rights, and Ethics at the Frontier.

      But the best book on business ethics for my money is, thankfully, a very short book (130 pages). 

      It's titled Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

      Written by philosopher Immanuel Kant in 1785, Groundwork argues that making the right ethical choice is easy, if you know how to make a rational decision.

      When you make any decision, you act on a "maxim," Kant says. 

      If you trade stocks at high frequencies just to earn rebates, for example, it's because you value your own gain above that of your clients. "I love money" is your maxim. 

      All decisions have a maxim behind them.

      Morality is merely a set of maxims. But moral maxims differ from other maxims (like valuing money) because they apply equally to everyone.

      According to Kant, your choice between two actions, one right and one wrong, is easy. You just have to ask: "Would I want everyone to make the same choice?" If you can answer "Yes," it's the right one.

      Kant calls such a maxim a Categorical Imperative. You can’t take or leave a Categorical Imperative as you want in the moment. Making a choice you'd deny to everyone else isn't selfish; it's irrational.

      Like reason itself, morality is universal ("categorical"). Neither depends on what might satisfy your selfish desires; and neither ever stops applying to you—even when you don’t care.

      Here's a delightful podcast on Kant's Categorical Imperative, courtesy the BBC.

      Saturday, October 28, 2017


      Like it or not, life is a series of competitions.

      ― Harvey Mackay

      When career first appeared in English in the 16th century, it was used to refer to a jousting field or racecourse. Knights who jousted were said to "career" at tournaments.

      The word came from the French carrière, also denoting a racecourse, which came from the Latin carrus, meaning a chariot.

      It wasn't until the 19th century that career came to mean the "course of one's professional life."

      For a fortunate few, careers are smooth, steady, genteel affairs.

      But for most of us, they're pretty brutal, halfway between a joust and a chariot race.

      Friday, October 27, 2017

      Event Marketers Missing the Boat

      When it comes to leveraging attendee data, event marketers are missing the boat, according to a new study by Cvent.

      The company asked 400 of them what they believe:

      • Only 29% say they're good at collecting attendee data
      • Only 20% say they're good at integrating it into their systems
      • Only 23% say they're good at using it
      • Only 38% say they understand what attendees do on site
      • Most―75%―say they're missing opportunities by not integrating more attendee data into their efforts
      It's not as if nobody cares. 

      Among event marketers, 81% say collecting and harnessing attendee data is "extremely important."

      Thursday, October 26, 2017

      Nonprofits: Running on Empty

      Most nonprofits are running on empty, according to a new survey by BDO.

      Forty percent have less than six months' reserves; thirteen percent have none.

      The financial picture's worse among small nonprofits (those with annual revenue under $25 million).

      Loss of revenue can cripple a nonprofit. That's why BDO recommends keeping liquid reserves for at least six months.

      Executive directors and board members in a bind over money have a clear choice: they can hide their heads in the sand, or take action now to bolster income and reserves.

      The economy's rolling, but the joyride can't last forever.

      Pick up the phone an call a few revenue-generation experts today.

      Wednesday, October 25, 2017


      The main thing I've learned over the years is that the McGuffin is nothing.

      ― Alfred Hitchcock

      Alfred Hitchcock named the mysterious―and incidental―thing that triggers frenzy in a film the McGuffin.

      Famous Hollywood McGuffins include the toy sled in Citizen Kane, the transfer papers in Casablanca, the black statue in The Maltese Falcon, the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz, and the government secrets in North by Northwest.

      Directors love McGuffins.

      Managers do, too. Consultants call workplace McGuffins administrivia, which The Urban Dictionary defines as, "mindless bureaucratic tasks imposed on workers by management in order to crush the soul and prevent one from achieving anything useful or fulfilling."

      McGuffinish time-wasters are inescapable. The seven worst are:

      • Deciphering thoughtless emails 
      • Learning seldom-used software platforms 
      • Attending purposeless meetings 
      • Assembling management reports 
      • Explaining the obvious to untrained people 
      • Explaining what everybody heard, but no one else wrote down 
      • Redoing good work 
      If McGuffins like these are triggering frenzy during your day, my advice is:
      Until you learn to deal with workplace McGuffins, you'll never get off the crazy-making, value-destroying treadmill.

      Tuesday, October 24, 2017


      And now a word from Captain Obvious: women will no longer suffer harassment from the Weinsteins, O'Reillys and Trumps of the world when more of them preside in C-suites. 

      I know. From experience.

      For the first half of the '80s, I worked for a Fortune 500 company, managing an in-house agency staffed largely by women.

      One day, the company announced its appointment of a new CMO, a man who'd been a behind-the-scenes operative in Republican presidential politics for two decades.

      It wasn't long before a few of them came to me, independently of one another, and told me of his many unwelcome advances. I asked the other women who reported to me whether the CMO had hit on them, as well. He had. 

      I didn't hesitate to report my conversations to my boss, who went immediately to HR.

      The CMO was fired, unceremoniously, the same week.

      I failed to mention: women filled many of the senior executive positions in the company at the time.

      In themselves, firings, lawsuits, board resolutions, and employee training won't put an end to harassment, or to organizations' file cabinet compliance with civil rights laws.

      Those will end when more women lead.

      Monday, October 23, 2017

      Elitist Clickbait

      The American fascist would prefer not to use violence.
      His method is to poison the channels of public information.

      ― Henry A. Wallace

      The Trump Administration has redefined truth as "elitist clickbait."

      In May, the president appointed Nancy Beck, a former lobbyist for American Chemistry Council, his chief deputy at EPA's toxic chemical unit.

      When New York Times reporter Eric Lipton sent EPA a letter asking the agency to explain why it's appropriate to appoint a lobbyist for the chemical companies to rewrite EPA regulations, spokeswoman Liz Bowman replied:

      "No matter how much information we give you, you would never write a fair piece. The only thing inappropriate and biased is your continued fixation on writing elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country."

      Sunday, October 22, 2017

      Who Invented Branding?

      Josiah Wedgwood may have been the first marketer to brand his products with a logo, but the 18th century potter didn't invent branding.

      Eleventh century European monks did.

      By design self sufficient, medieval abbeys routinely sold surplus meat, cheese, honey, wool, brandy, beer and wine to local laypeople

      The abbey's name on any of these products was a mark of consistent quality.

      Ten centuries later, the vestiges of medieval monks' marketing smarts remain, most notably in the wine industry. 

      Many of our most recognizable wine words derive from the abbeys, including 
      clos, hermitage, prieuri and commanderie.

      HAT TIP: Our resident medievalist Ann Ramsey suggested and researched this post.

      Saturday, October 21, 2017

      Who Invented Marketing?

      When asked to name the inventor of marketing, many fans point to Eve (of the Garden of Eden); but many more point to the early 20th century Chicago adman Albert Lasker.

      Trained as a newspaperman, Lasker conflated advertising and reporting until the day he met the bibulous freelance copywriter John E. Kennedy in a saloon and was persuaded advertising is "salesmanship in print."

      Lasker used that single insight to build a small agency into a powerhouse, launching brands we still recall today: Frigidaire, Lucky Strike, Palmolive, Kleenex, Kotex, Sunkist, Quaker Oats, Van Camp's, Pepsodent, Wrigley, and Warren Harding (the president).

      Besides injecting sales-driven creativity into advertising, Lasker introduced other innovations we now take for granted: A/B testing, tracking, market research, the value proposition, discount coupons, sports team sponsorship, and the sponsored radio show.

      But labeling Lasker "the father of marketing" discredits late 18th century potter Josiah Wedgwood, truly "the man who invented marketing."

      Unlike his contemporaries, Wedgwood took full advantage of middle-class consumers' exuberance at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, turning a regional pottery-making venture into a world-class company.

      An autodidact, Wedgwood was unafraid to experiment. He was the first to find that shop-window displays move luxury products; that celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing engage prospects; that trade show exhibiting spurs demand; that premium pricing attracts "aspiring" consumers; and that customizing products boosts sales.

      Wedgwood also introduced the first sales catalog, the first traveling sales reps, and the first salesman's sample-kit; he introduced free shipping, the money-back guarantee, and the customer testimonial; and he introduced the paid product placement, the product name, and―most importantly―the brand (literally stamping his name on the bottom of each piece of ceramic).

      Friday, October 20, 2017

      Do Shooters and Presidents Dream of Electric Sheep?

      Evidently, the humanoid robot consisted of a solitary predator.

      ― Philip K. Dick

      We puzzle over why a wealthy man would become a mass shooter, or a wealthy president tell a grieving widow her dead husband wished to be in harm's way.

      It's the absence of empathya condition natural to solitary predators.

      Empathy is a new word in English, only 110 years old. 

      It came into the language thanks to philosophers of art, who borrowed the word from the Greek empatheia, meaning "passion." They believed our ability to appreciate works of art stems from our ability to project "fellow feelings" into them.

      Novelist Philip K. Dick, in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (adapted for the screen as Blade Runner), imagined that manufacturers in 2021 will purposely omit empathy from androids' programming; and thus, a simple "empathy test" will be able to prove who's an android and who's a human.

      Early in the book, Dick portrays the main character, the policeman Deckard, reflecting on the ease with which the test can detect an android:

      He had wondered, as had most people at one time or another, precisely why an android bounced helplessly about when confronted by an empathy-measuring test. Empathy, evidently, existed only within the human community, whereas intelligence to some degree could be found throughout every phylum and order including the arachnida. For one thing, the empathetic faculty probably required an unimpaired group instinct; a solitary organism, such as a spider, would have no use for it; in fact, it would tend to abort a spider's ability to survive. It would make him conscious of the desire to live on the part of his prey, Hence all predators, even highly developed mammals such as cats, would starve. Empathy, he once had decided, must be limited to herbivores or anyhow omnivores who could depart from a meat diet. Because, ultimately, the empathetic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated.

      Thursday, October 19, 2017

      Should Event Producers Mimic Luxury Retailers?

      Luxury retail is dog-eat-dog. Unlike event producers, players in the business must stay ahead of audiences to survive. That's why they're hyper-focused on consumer trends.

      Sabre identifies five of those trends in a new report, The Future of Luxury.

      To survive in luxury retail, the report says, you must satisfy "individualized and transformative forms of luxury consumption" that deliver a cosmopolitan and existentialist jolt.

      "More consumers are becoming aware of the isolating effect of social media ‘echo chambers.'" the report says. "This is accompanied by a growing desire to not only broaden personal horizons, but to find purpose and cultivate empathy for others while doing so."

      Consumers' craving for self-actualization manifests itself in these five trends—five trends event producers would do well to acknowledge:

      The Quintessential Self. Luxury brands that abet self-discovery are hot. For just $3,500, Maverick Helicopter’s Yoga in the Desert will whirl you by helicopter from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park for a 75-minute yoga class.

      No-Frills Chic. Luxury brands that shout "simple" are hot. For just $140,000, Airstream will sell you a camper trailer you can haul into the woods.

      Premium Redeemed. Luxury brands that better the planet are hot. For just $2,125, you can stay a night in Nekupe, a posh resort in Nicaragua’s countryside that helps local farmers earn a living without the slash-and-burn technique.

      Extravagance on Demand. Luxury brands that harness phones are hot. For just $3, Recharge lets you book a high-end hotel room in New York City by the minute.

      Customized. Luxury brands that are personalized are hot. For just $169, DNA Unwrapped lets you plan vacation trips based on your chromosomes.

      Wednesday, October 18, 2017

      Which Content's King among Executives?

      Which B2B content rules among corporate leaders?

      Content agency Grist asked 200 of them.

      The answer: leaders want to read 800-word articles about customers' experiences.

      The executives' detailed responses about the content they value are eye-opening:

      Whose viewpoints do you want to hear?
      • 57% said clients'
      • 53% said industry experts'
      • 44% said consultants'
      • 42% said the public's
      • 36% said peers'
      • 36% said motivational speakers'
      • 32% said government officials'
      Which formats do you prefer?
      • 63% said 800-word articles
      • 57% said 500-word blog posts
      • 45% said 1,200-word articles
      • 31% said slides shows
      • 28% said white papers
      • 28% said e-books
      • 26% said videos
      • 25% said podcasts
      • 20% said infographics

      Tuesday, October 17, 2017

      Sponsors Want Spillover

      Rigid thinking causes most trade show organizers to continue peddling sponsorships like they were ads, when today's sponsors want something much more valuable.

      Sponsors want spillover.

      Spillover results when attendees transfer their good feelings about an event to its sponsors―an effect no ad can produce.

      While today's marketers believe awareness―the outcome of advertising―is hard to measure and cost-justify, they don't feel that way about engagement―the outcome of sponsorship.

      Today's marketers will sponsor an event to engage people within communities; to build relationships and demonstrate market leadership, customer care, and social responsibility. 

      They'll even do it merely to block a competitor from doing it.

      But they won't sponsor an event for awareness.

      Monday, October 16, 2017

      Can You Overpost?

      Is it possible to post on social media too often?

      The answer is: yes, if your content screams, "Buy from me" (a single post like that is one too many); no, otherwise.

      Remember: only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of your audience ever sees your posts.

      Sunday, October 15, 2017

      How to Ignite More Attendees

      That's seven times the dwell time—a duration likely to rise soon with the increase in ad-blocking in the coming months.

      So how can you use influencer marketing to promote your event? 

      Experiential agency Legacy Marketing suggests these 10 ways:

      Find the right influencers. To find thought leaders in your category, surf on social platforms using hashtags and trending topics relevant to your event.

      Set reasonable expectations. Understand both the positives and negatives of the influencer's preferred social network when you establish goals.

      Chill out. Let influencers do what they do. You can mention guardrails they should keep within, but don't dictate their posts.

      Build a relationship. Don't treat the influencer like another vendor. Make her part of your family.

      Strive for quality. Quality trumps quantity. You're better served finding an avid "micro-influencer" with 1,000 followers than a haughty generalist with 1 million.

      Run contests. Engage the influencer in helping you promote contests.

      Minimize brand-speak. Give the influencer talking points, but let her do the talking.

      Track. Ask the influencer to use tracking tags when possible, so you can measure her efforts. Be sure she also includes a link to your website!

      Be patient. Influencer marketing takes time.

      Be authentic. Influencer marketing works because it’s a way to leverage a trusted voice. Don’t compromise that trust by inserting marketing messages where they're not welcome.

      Saturday, October 14, 2017

      Magic Beans

      Nobody can "soldier" without coffee.

      ― Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin

      Coffee fuels every worthwhile enterprise. It has for 500 years.

      Voltaire drank 50 cups a day, despite his doctor's warnings. So did Balzac, who once said, "Were it not for coffee one could not write, which is to say one could not live.”

      Kant, like clockwork, drank a cup after dinner every evening. L. Frank Baum drank five, every morning, loading each with cream and sugar. Kierkegaard preferred to add only sugar to his―30 cubes per cup.

      Bach, Bacon, Franklin, Johnson, Proust, Mahler, Sartre and Camus guzzled coffee all day long. Bach wrote an opera about coffee-drinking. Franklin marketed his own line of beans.

      Beethoven drank coffee as his breakfast, brewing it himself. His recipe called for 60 beans per cup, which he'd count out by hand meticulously.

      Teddy Roosevelt drank a gallon of coffee a day, sweetened with a new invention, saccharine. His 
      son said TR's favorite mug was “more in the nature of a bathtub” than a cup.

      Gertrude Stein adored coffee nearly as much; she called it a "happening." Patti Smith reports in her memoir she can drink 14 cups with no effect on her sleep. And Margaret Atwood so loves coffee she has her own brand.

      Cartoonist Flash Rosenberg understands coffee's pivotal role better than anyone: “I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee."

      Friday, October 13, 2017


      If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.

      ― George Orwell

      While Facebook is nation's leading source of news and largest recipient of display-ad dollars, its COO, Sheryl Sandberg, insists it's not a media company.

      “At our heart we're a tech company; we hire engineers," she told Axios. “We don’t hire reporters, no one’s a journalist, we don’t cover the news."

      As Wired rejoined, "Facebook does not want to be viewed as a media company, which would bring a responsibility to the truth and potential accusations of bias.

      "Admitting Facebook is a media company would require Facebook to take responsibility for its role in the spread of fake news, propaganda, and illegal Russian meddling in the US election."

      War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Facebook is a tech company.

      Thursday, October 12, 2017

      Perfect Genes

      After weaklings like Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, JFK, and Reagan, I'm delighted we at last have a man in the White House with "perfect genes."

      Trump and his men are pleased to point that out; and the few who are not are quick to remind us the president is a bit underschooled in history, so all should be forgiven.

      The rest of us hear Trump's claim and eye our bank balances, to make sure there's enough to get us to Canada or Belize or you name it.

      That's because we know the eugenicist's self-assurance isn't harmless snobbery, but hate.

      It wasn't long ago (1899 in the example above) Irish immigrants were depicted in newspaper cartoons as apes, and slighted nearly as much as the brothers.

      That vitriol is easy to forget, when you're not the target.

      Me, I'm triggered when I walk through the cereal aisle and spot a box of Lucky Charms.

      Wednesday, October 11, 2017

      Stating the Obvious

      John Hall's new book, Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You, is getting rave notices.
      There's a reason.

      The author, CEO of a PR firm, has caught the wave we call influencer marketing, which he describes as a "content utopia" where your marketing messages are published and shared routinely by industry leaders.

      This "top-of-mind strategy" can leapfrog your organization "from no online presence to industry domination," Hall claims.

      And I'm sure the claim is true. But, for my money, Hall's book is a bust.

      He spends most of the 180 pages of Top of Mind stating the obvious. Crack open the book and you'll find a lifetime supply of kindergarten lessons like these:

      • "Listen to your target audience; engage and communicate with them in ways they find helpful and meaningful; and repeat."
      • "Storytelling and sharing knowledge is a big part of our humanity, and we wouldn't be where we are today without it."
      • "Giving someone a gift is a nice way to establish a personal connection."
      • "The more personalized you can make your audience's experience, the more special and valued you will help them feel."
      • "To generate trust, you need to create a relationship; for that to happen, you need to open up lines of communication that are honest, meaningful, and authentic."
      The greater source of disappointment stems from Hall's goal: it isn't to show you how to leverage industry influencers, but to become one yourself.

      That's simply not something most marketers need, want, or are able to do.

      Most, I think, are wondering: How can I use influencer marketing to sell more flow sensors, flood insurance, or file-sharing packages?

      Hall doesn't offer much specific or practical help here, though he would.

      He does sandwich halfway through Top of Mind four "best practices" for executing a "top-of-mind strategy;" but they're pedestrian as can be (set goals, find content, commit to a process, publish and repurpose). And he devotes his last two chapters to "turning your team into an army of thought leaders;" but good luck with that.

      Besides, how many more GaryVees does the world really need?

      Save your $26.

      Tuesday, October 10, 2017

      Can You Ever Send Too Much Email?

      Does a rise in unsubscribes mean you should cut email frequency? Does a decline in opens and clicks?

      Maybe not, says IBM.

      Standard email metrics can deceive, unless you allow for the "frequency math effect," according to the company.

      To understand the frequency math effect, you must assess unsubscribes, opens and clicks both per message and cumulatively over a sending period.

      Looking at only the per-message metrics can mislead you to think you're sending too much email. Only by knowing both your per-message and cumulative metrics can you know whether frequency has an overall net-positive or net-negative effect.

      For example, suppose you double frequency to four from two times a week. You might see unsubscribes rise, and opens and clicks decline from one message to the next.

      But should you panic?

      No. When you send email frequently, you should expect more unsubscribes—but, in the long run, more opens and clicks, as well.

      Monday, October 9, 2017

      Why Art Directors Should Never Overrule Copywriters

      Adman Bill Bernbach is credited with first teaming art directors and copywriters. The idea spread rapidly across ad agencies everywhere, because it inspired terrific work.

      Art director/copywriter teams produce solid work when the members are coequals. 

      But when one or the other dominates, the work often fails.

      I'll give you an example.

      I recently submitted a direct mail package to an agency. The package is meant to convert military officers into association members.

      With the account team's initial okay, I took the classic direct-mail marketer's approach: sell a bundle of tangible benefits that the research shows are the benefits most valued by the target audience.

      In this case, the bundle included such benefits as free career consulting, free resume-writing, free financial planning, interest-free loans, and a monthly magazine full of expert advice about retirement planning, child-rearing, healthy living, vacation planning, and similar "lifestyle" topics. 

      I wrote a four-page letter building up those benefits and "asking for the order."

      After two drafts, the art director insisted we scrap the package and begin again.

      His view was:
      • You shouldn't tell stories. You should write short and just list every benefit the association offers in two pages. "Military officers are trained to take orders. Just order them to join the association," he said.

      • You should sell lobbying. The whole reason to pay dues is to underwrite lobbying by the association, he said. "Military officers know more about lobbying than the people on Capitol Hill."

      • You should downplay the magazine. "Nobody reads the magazine."
      The new direct mail package he ordered up, I predict, will bomb. 

      Big time.

      The art director's copy direction discounts nearly everything I know about association marketing, association membership, direct marketing, direct-mail copywriting, marketing research, military officers, and human nature. 

      It also suggests he doesn't read, he has never joined an association, and he doesn't know much about military officers―or sales, influence, or human nature.

      That's not teamwork. 

      When the art director wins, the copywriter loses.

      So does the client.

      (The same goes the other way round.)

      So how do you sell association memberships? It's not by selling lobbying. That's "Inside the Beltway" stuff. Instead:

      You offer prospects help. People need help. They need help finding jobs, meeting employers, managing expenses, handling problems, staying up-to-date. Sell they ways you can help, and you'll attract new members.

      You offer prospects savings. Life is expensive. People want to save time and money, avoid risk, and keep hassles to a minimum. Sell the ways you can save them time and money, and spare them risk and hassles, and you'll convert them.

      You offer prospects community. Life can be lonely. People crave connections (it's why they join clubs and churches). Sell ways you can connect themmeetings, trade shows, online groups, webinars, magazines, newsletters, podcasts, videos and directoriesand you'll win them over.

      Sunday, October 8, 2017

      All the Way

      The standard B2B marketing tactics are obsolete, says Evy Wilkins, VP of Account Based Marketing at Traackr.

      Disruptors like ad blockers and email filters have outmoded them.

      Thank goodness there's influencer marketing.

      Influencer marketing works, Wilkins says, because most customers rely on expert opinions  to make buying decisions. 

      They find the opinions on social media. 

      When you win the love of opinion leaders (who'll parrot your sales-talk on social media), you can again begin to romance customers.

      But it takes a change of heart.

      "For decades, marketers have been in a rhythm of campaign-based activities," Wilkins says; but "influencer marketing is about long-term relationships that don’t go up and down with budget levels."

      Influencer marketing, Wilkins says, is "always on."

      You can't woo an influencer, for example, to love your brand for eight weeks, targeting only 30-year-old English-speaking males who work in greater San Francisco.

      It doesn't work that way—even when you pay the influencer.

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