The Jolt! from ckwrites 04.09.2014

Nice to see the world thawing out a bit. I turned 65 over the weekend which had more to do with freezing over than thawing out, but hey think of the perspective you get. Many thanks to everyone who tweeted and posted their best wishes.

Here’s The Jolt!


Are you looking for a way to refresh your elevator pitch?

There is lots of discussion about what makes a good elevator pitch… or if you should even use one. I come down on the “yes you should” side, because getting anything down to 30 seconds creates focus and that’s the first place people fall short – they ramble and wander and digress – none of which contributes to making a good first impression.

Draw Your Elevator Pitch comes from the Harvard Buisness Review. The cartoons which illustrate the article were done by a cartoonist for The New Yorker, so phrases like “too clever by half” quickly come to mind…

The authors offer up 5 reasons why this approach works. The best one is that cartoons are memorable, whilst the most disingenuous one is that they facilitate A/B testing which seems off point.

Storyboarding is part and parcel of the agency skill set. Would make for a great internal orientation tool too.

Stick figures can do; we don’t need to be artists. We just need to be able to think with clarity, concision, and discipline. That’s not easy — but that’s business.


How far do you go with your personas?

OK – so maybe that’s a little tongue-near-cheek. Marketing Personas: The Complete Beginners Guide goes a lot further than I ever imagined. This is a very robust article – highly recommended because this is something you should be doing for every event you work on.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s an increasingly formalized approach to developing an understanding of your target audience. Personas help you to understand the nuances so that you can do a better job of creating content – or as we used to call it, writing.

Intuition and data are combined to create a dimensional description. Here’s their take on where to start.

  • Check your site analytics – which can tell you who is coming and what they do when they arrive.
  • Involve your team – if you’re working with a client organization engage some people from the service and support areas, people who actually talk to customers…
  • Social media research – no telling what a little searching and listening might reveal about the company, the products or the relevant trends.
  • Ask your audience questions – yes of course survey. At the very least start with the last post event surveys. And interviews. Think about a Google Hangout for a low cost focus group.

With personas, businesses can be more strategic in catering to each audience, internalize the customer that they are trying to attract, and relate to them as human beings.

The Big AHA!

Do you give good interview?

Getting to the Heart of your Audience: How to Conduct Effective Customer Interviews is a great companion piece to the Personas article.

This article presents techniques and tips, and follows that with a useful checklist of question types.

Under techniques there are a few you seldom come across (ah that UK sensibility.)

  • Ask for problems before solutions.
  • Create a safe space for honesty.
  • Allow tangents.

Interviewing a diverse pool of customers means not only looking at gender, income, age, etc., it also means looking at where interviewees are in the conversion funnel, and if you’re B2B, looking at where customers are in the decision hierarchy (CEO vs. office manager).

Metrics & ROI

How are you measuring web content?

10 Charts That Are Changing the Way We Measure Content neatly captures the emerging debate about what really matters online. Even if your involvement is limited to event websites, this discussion will give you some new ideas about how to evaluate the success of a site – and the metrics you should be presenting your client.

Three key ones.

  •  What we engage with can’t be measured just with shares or clicks. The new math is all about how much time someone spends with your content.
  •  Many people don’t actually read the articles they share. So counting shares is perhaps not a useful indicator of much besides whether the headline is appealing. A corollary to which is that…
  • Specific emotions trigger the most intense sharing responses. Which is why campaigns that trigger emotional responses are often the most effective.

The article that started the debate is by Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, a company which studies content for a living. What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong is a must read if only for Myth 4: Banner ads don’t work. Why?

66% of attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold. Yet most agency media planners will still demand that their ads run in the places where people aren’t and will ignore the places where they are.

Oh – if after you read all this you feel manipulated and perhaps a little soiled, I don’t blame you. Heck it might make you mad enough to share The Jolt!

Marketing 501

Are you keeping up with Gary Vaynerchuk?

You know, Gary. The Russian émigré who is the author of The Thank You Economy and now Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story In a Noisy Social World. The guy who created the hugely successful Wine Library out of his Mom and Pop’s liquor store in Jersey by posting over 1,000 episodes of Wine Library TV on YouTube starting in 2006. The guy who is now CEO of VaynerMedia.

Gary is the subject of a certain amount of fear and loathing in ad agency circles. He had 11 pithy things to say at the recent Ad Age Digital Conference. Here are three choice bits.

  • “Marketers ruin everything,” he said. “It’s what we do.” Marketers try to find a place where people are spending time and squeeze the living crap out of it.
  • “The easiest way to go out of business is to be romantic about how you make your money.”
  • “I would buy a Super Bowl ad over almost anything.” That’s because it’s live and attention is growing. But the rest of TV is still seeing that incredible commercial avoidance.

Good stuff for your next client lunch!

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