Marketing So Absurd, It Becomes Memorable

Posted by John Park on Oct 27th, 2008
Oct 27


Because Halloween is just around the corner, there are some really creative advertisements on TV, Radio and the Internet.  I heard an interesting one on my drive home today.  The ad was promoting chicken stock.  You’re probably thinking “how do you make chicken stock interesting?”  Well, this particular advertiser’s suggestion was to give out chicken stock instead of candy this year for Halloween.  The whole premise was that candy is so “yesterday” and if you really wanted to be cool and be part of the “in-crowd”, you would give out cans of chicken stock to the kids as they enthusiastically say “trick or treat”.
As I was listening, I had a grin on my face because I had recognized their strategy.  Now, we all know what would happen if you actually did what they suggest.  You would be removing rotten egg and apple debris from your front door for at least a few days after Halloween.   The marketing angle is so absurd, it becomes memorable.  Of course, they don’t expect for you to actually follow through.  They just wanted you to get a good laugh because it is such a ridiculously absurd idea.  And, if they really get their wish, some people might even blog about it.  Can you imagine if you were given the task of advertising chicken stock?  Well, whoever thought of this angle was up to the challenge and hit it out of the ballpark.
Executing this marketing angle is not easy because humor and absurdity has to work well together.  But if you can hit the right note, the advertisement will become incredibly memorable and many people will become your unpaid ambassadors.  And because of this absurd radio ad, I will always know that this place has great chicken stock.
If you’ve read more than a few of my posts, you know that I like to point out marketing homeruns whenever I come across them.  The advertiser I am praising is Trader Joe’s, a specialty neighborhood grocery store with 250 locations nationwide.  KUDOS!

Eyeballs and Call-to-Action Advertising Tips

Posted by John Park on Oct 22nd, 2008
Oct 22

call to action advertising

Having many choices presented to you is often a good thing.  However, there is a specific situation when choice should be limited.  When creating an advertisement, one of the biggest mistakes made by businesses is to cram everything and anything they can on the ad.  This need to fill every corner and crevice creates a scenario where it is almost impossible for the perspective buyer to determine what the true CTA (Call to Action) is.
Upon first glance of an advertisement, the primary CTA should be readily identifiable.  CTA is what you want the perspective buyer to do.  Tell them exactly what you want them to do.  Be clear and be concise.  It’s true that some advertisements can have more than one CTA.  Nevertheless, the primary CTA should be found quickly and without hesitation by the perspective customer.
So, what is your CALL TO ACTION?  When defining your CTA for an ad, be sure to seek the optimal end result.  For example, would you define Barrack Obama’s CTA as his goal of having you vote?  This is incorrect and a common mistake of stopping short of the finish line.  His actual CTA would be for you to vote for him—not just vote.  In the business world, an advertisement might ask you to visit a web site or call a phone number.  Again, this is an example of stopping short.  Visit the web site or call a phone number to do what?  The desired end result should be stated clearly.
Once the primary CTA has been defined, you must now construct your advertisement in a certain way to draw the eyes to it.  In the marketing and advertising business, this is called directing the “eyeballs.”  It’s somewhat crude but it’s straight to the point.  If correctly configured, the primary CTA should be the last thing the perspective buyer sees or reads.  The challenge is to get them to follow a certain path with their ‘eyeballs” until they have arrived at the primary CTA.  Below is an example of how your “eyeballs” might follow a directional path.
( Correct Example:  How eyeballs might follow a advertisement path )
View 1:  Attention getting photo or phrase
View 2:  The secondary attention getting item that ties in with View 1—SALE
View 3:  More detail about the item or items on SALE
View 4:  CTA – purchase now by doing…
( Incorrect Example:  How eyeballs might get distracted )
View 1:  Various large photos or titles
View 2:  Trying to tie one of the large photos or phrases to determine path
View 3:  Not enough information about the chosen path (little of everything, not enough about one thing)
View 4:  CTA – learn more, call, stopping short
View 5:  GIVE UP!  Buyer doesn’t know what they are seeking.  Too much effort and too much time.
This is a complex advertising topic, which I’ve tried to summarize in a single blog post.  Next time you’re creating an advertisement for your business, try the formula above.  If the ad has been developed with the CTA EYEBALL PATH in mind, your perspective customers should follow with their eyes to the primary CALL TO ACTION.

The Death of Capitalism in a Presidential Election Year

Posted by John Park on Oct 18th, 2008
Oct 18

Abraham Lincoln Pro Capitalism

In this year of 700 Billion Dollar bailouts, 85 Billion Dollar loans to companies that like to spend 500K on company retreats, and possible write-offs of loan amounts speculative homeowners willingly signed for because of greed and envy: I can’t help but fall back on my true to the core capitalistic principles.  The fact that our politicians are now taking the lead from financial market decisions made in Europe might have something to do with it as well.
Both Barrack Obama and John McCain have abandoned CAPITALISM for an election.  In a Capitalistic Society, some will fail and some will succeed based on decisions made by individuals and because of market conditions (Timing).  Government should implement policies to grow these principles and afterwards, GET OUT OF THE WAY.  Government should not serve as a deterrent to failure.  Without failure, success cannot exist.
Now, you know how I REALLY feel.  Would you expect a Biz Crusader to have any belief other than the above?
As an example…I would like to offer you a few quotes from another Biz Crusader.
“Property is the fruit of labor…property is desirable…is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”
“The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages a while, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land, for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. . . .  Many independent men, in this assembly, doubtless a few years ago were hired laborers. . . .”

Saying Thank You The Old Fashioned Business Way

Posted by John Park on Oct 15th, 2008
Oct 15

Business Thank You

Believe it or not, my little business blog has logged over 18,000 page views and just under 1,000 unique visitors in the first 3 months.  In the big world of the WWW, these stats are not that big of a deal but nevertheless, I am very pleased to see that so many of you are enjoying my posts.  If you’ve read more than a few of my rants, you already know that I have somewhat of an “inner conflict” about technology.  In many cases, use of technology will make your business better but there are times when it will encourage you to abandon the basics.  This post is about one of those times when it can hurt your business.
Don’t forget to say Thank You.  If you have kids, this phrase is probably very familiar to you.  I must utter these words at least once a week to our 5 year old.  After saying it again today, I thought it would be a perfect topic for discussion with my business owners.
In today’s fast-paced world of the Internet, e-mails and instant everything; many business owners are abandoning traditional business basics.  The bottom line is that it’s just too easy to send an e-mail or leave a VM when more is required.  Saying thanks in a proper way is a basic business etiquette that should be practiced no matter what the circumstances or economic conditions.  The good news is that so few business owners send proper thank yous these days that it will be much easier for your business to stand out above the crowd.  Unfortunately, it has become all too common for customers to spend thousands of dollars and not get so much as a thank you card in the mail.  In most cases, they might not even get an e-mail thank you.
Saying THANK YOU matters because of a few reasons.
1)  You will immediately elevate the positive perception of your business in your prospects’ or customers’ minds.
2)  You will immediately separate your business from the competition.  And by doing so, you will give your prospects and your customers a reason to remember you.
3)  Give your prospects and customers a positive memorable experience and watch them turn in to your business ambassadors. 
4)  Your closing ratios will increase.  Your repeat sales will increase.  Your referral business will increase.
Times to say THANK YOU via USPS mail
1)  After meeting a prospect.
2)  Upon securing a sale or contract.
3)  When a customer has referred you to someone.
4)  Periodically with long term customers.
NOTE:  NEVER use form letters.  They are worthless and you might as well not send them.  Handwritten cards and notes are best.
Like all worthwhile efforts, implementing a proper THANK YOU program for your business will take a commitment by you, the business owner.  As an example, when my sales representatives secured a deal, I would not allow the processing of that order until he or she handed in a hand-written thank you card with the sales order.  It was one way to implement the policy.  Remember, when it comes to these kinds of basic business principles and practices, easier for you does not mean it is better for your business.

Key Time Management Tips for Business Owners

Posted by John Park on Oct 10th, 2008
Oct 10

Business Time Management

Where has the day gone?  This is a question business owners often ask of themselves at the end of every work day.  In many cases, the day might come to an end with a sinking feeling of low productivity.  This is only natural because small business owners wear many different hats throughout the day. 
Now more than ever, it is crucial for business owners to prioritize their tasks so that they may survive and perhaps even thrive during these tumultuous economic times.  Time management is one of those elusive “art forms” especially if you spend your day putting out business fires.  Bestselling books have been written about it.  One of the great ones I recommend is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.  Although the book is not completely focused on time management, it does explain in extensive detail how successful people are those who’ve mastered how to prioritize their tasks.
My advice is to schedule your business day with a firm regiment of time blocks.  Of course, you won’t follow the schedule to the exact minute because we are not robots and the unexpected will always interrupt you.  Do your best to stick to the regiment.  At the very least, the time blocks should serve as a constant reminder of your business priorities.  If practiced correctly, this daily schedule will give you a much better feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day.  And most importantly, you will have moved your business forward.
BLOCK 1:  ???am to 11am — New Business, Sales Calls, Sales E-mails
BLOCK 2:  11am to 12noon — Return Client Phone Calls & Client E-mails
BLOCK 3:  1pm to 3pm — Client Care, Deliverables, Employee Relations
BLOCK 4:  3pm to 4pm — Return Phone Calls & E-mails
BLOCK 5:  4pm to 5pm — Administrative Duties
BLOCK 6:  5pm to ??? — Wrap-up, Organize, Plan for Next Day
1)  BLOCK 1 is the most important to accomplish every single day.
2)  Don’t let BLOCK 5 overwhelm your day.  If you’re able to, find someone else to take care of this block.
3)  You do not have to respond instantly to e-mails no matter how strong the urge.
4)  Learn to turn off your e-mail program.  It’s OK to do so.
5)  Technology should make you more efficient and not more distracted.
I hope you’ll give my 6 Blocks a try.  My time blocks will force you to move your buisness FORWARD regardless of the economic times or business circumstances.
***If you know other business owners who might benefit from this blog, be sure to forward it along.***

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