Tag Archives: Marketing messages

So How Do Your Customers Show They Love You?

Customer love is the food of business

February is the month for LOVE. I am pretty sick of the constant use of  “I ‘heart’ chocolate” or “I ‘heart’ foreign films” or even “I ‘heart’ you!” Can’t you just say the word, LOVE? Wouldn’t it be great if all of your customers would break into simultaneous voice singing, “I Got That Lovin’ Feeling?” Would make you feel pretty darn good about what you’re doing, right, even though I think if every single one of your customers says they “love” you, maybe you’re not pushing the limits of your offering enough.  Think about that one – although maybe that’s fodder for another blog post.

As a key component of every Strategic Marketing Plan I write, I like to interview several customers of my client to see not only what they thought about the “purchase experience” but also about how they first found my client and if they would recommend their products or services to others.

Recently, as I was contacting customers for my client, I ran across one who literally gushed love for my client’s work. Everything they did was “exceptional” and when I asked if there was anything specific she could say that would have made the experience better she said, “Absolutely not, they did everything I asked plus things I didn’t know to ask. I really believe in these guys!” Wow, nice testimonial huh?

This, of course, got me thinking about how to really leverage this recommendation, make it something special, bring out the human side.  How could I make this even more powerful than just putting her comments in a “Testimonials” section of the website.  Of course, Video!!

There’s no doubt about it, video has come of age and with the technology and software available to everyone, the price has gone down as well.  It is my belief that a marketing strategy which incorporates the use of relevant video, especially on the website, is and will continue to be successful.  Here’s why:

Why Video?

  1. Pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are worth a million
  2. It is a great way to put a human face to an inorganic thing called a “company.”  It is a way to show there are real people that work here.
  3. If your customer is giving a testimonial, they are also real people with real problems that you solved.
  4. It is a perfect way to incorporate storytelling.  Read my blog, “How to Use Storytelling in Your Marketing Message.”
  5. Search engines, in particular Google since they also own YouTube, love video and now incorporate video into their “blended search results.” As Benjamin Wayne says in his article “How To Use Video SEO to Jump To The Top of Google Search Results,” Google will index 100% of all website videos and you are 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking.

So, now we’ve determined that video should be something you implement on your web presence, but how can this be executed?

Executing a Website Video Strategy

  1. Why not have a video of that incredible testimonial we mentioned above?  Give your customers a powerful way to show they love you.
  2. Be sure that you are not “selling” but rather educating or providing content that viewers will value and want to come back for more.
  3. Try the method of the interview, where someone off camera is asking questions.  The person on camera will likely be more at ease when providing answers.
  4. Be sure to rehearse what you are going to say so it doesn’t ramble on
  5. Be brief and concise. Keep the videos to 90 to 120 seconds, nothing more because no one has that much time.
  6. Release new videos over time, not all at once, to derive the most search value.
  7. Make sure that the videos utilize proper descriptive titles, proper keywords, a text transcript, links to related material and useful metadata so the video can be indexed by the search engines.

Come on, this is yours or your customer’s chance to be a star, use video to really boost your marketing message and get results.

All my best,


Your outsourced Chief Marketing Officer

Can You Say, “I’m Sorry” Too Much?

I know I’m going to show my age here, but in 1970, Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw starred in the movie “Love Story” and there was the line where Ali’s character said, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  At the time, this line took on a life of its own being adopted, reused, rehashed and thrown around as if it were something sacred.  But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to consider it one of the most ridiculous lines I’ve ever heard.  The simple reason that we are human and therefore by nature certain to make mistakes, means it’s absolutely critical that we own up to our mistakes by admitting we were wrong and apologizing, especially to the ones that we love.

If we consider our customers to be important to us, and I would think that since they pay us money for what we do, they are, then shouldn’t we wish to please them by admitting that we made a mistake?

This is why it certainly caused me to think twice after reading an article by Neil Berman, writing for Email Insider who wrote about “Our Love Affair with Apology Emails.” In his post, Neil talks about receiving “heaps” of apology emails over seemingly trivial offenses, and that perhaps the companies sending them were either afraid of being “outed” by their customers on the social networks, or it was some false sense of self-importance almost egotism, to assume that the mistake was significant and made a difference.

I believe there is a real danger in what Neil is proposing.  Yes, I believe that if you say you are sorry constantly it becomes disingenuous or hallow, kind of like the boy who cried wolf too much.

Where I believe Neil is straying into a tricky area is by implying that we marketers know so much about our target audience as to be able to determine what is or isn’t important to them.  He cites the example of receiving a birthday coupon when it was not the correct day and receiving an apology, oh “how offensive,” but Neil, that is your opinion.  Does something have to be offensive or as grave as releasing financial or sensitive information to warrant an apology?  Where do you draw the line as to whether something was offensive?  Aren’t you taking a very real risk of the dreaded “unsubscribe” when we marketers are always striving to build our lists of suitable email candidates?

Now, Neil might say that if this person is so sensitive that they unsubscribe at the slightest provocation they are probably someone we want to glean from our list, and in many respects he would be correct.  But again I say that to make the assumption whether a mistake was or was not important to an individual is fraught with problems.  Why take the chance, when a well worded apology could make all the difference in the world to that individual.

I don’t mean to bash on Neil’s article too much.  He has 5 very good guidelines to follow for every apology email.

I’m sure there are multitudes of opinions on this, so I imagine the debate will go on.

If you struggle with the right kinds of messages in your emails and need help, drop us a line, we’d love to help.


Your outsourced Chief Marketing Officer

How Much Do You Trust Advertising?

Wise Old Man

The trusted advice of an age old sage has been the stuff of many a story, from those seeking the meaning of life, to the love lorn wondering whether cupid’s arrow has struck true.  There’s something comforting in the gray-haired wise man whose experience and insight make us feel good that what he tells us is the truth and can be trusted.

The stigma that age carries in our society is a very complex issue and even varies from region to region and country to country, however I think everyone can agree that as we get older, we view things in our surroundings in a different light.  Our experiences color our perception of what our senses tell us and we in turn draw conclusions that may differ substantially from what we once thought when we were younger.  This is especially true when in comes to the kinds of marketing messages and advertisements that capture our attention, and according to the results of an Ad Week/Harris Poll study, it is our age that is a large factor in whether we believe and trust those ads.

This caused me to think again of the importance of segmenting your target market, particularly by age.   This would include your email and direct mail lists, allowing you to take full advantage of the differences in perceptions to adjust your marketing communications accordingly.   Since Ad Week’s research indicated that one in five adults age 55 or older never believe that advertising is honest, versus one in ten adults age 18-34, it is imperative that you find a meaningful way to build that trust relationship so your message will be believed.  Otherwise, you stand the distinct chance of wasting your precious marketing dollars.

I attended a webinar recently about how you can improve your marketing Return On Investment by combining the data you gather through your email marketing efforts and the information you have in your Customer Relationship Management system (or CRM).  For those of you unfamiliar with the benefits of CRM, some would refer to it as a sales automation tool, which is certainly true, but is really only a tip of the iceberg.  Your CRM can be an absolute gold mine of information about your customers activity which can in turn help you in predicting the behavior of those who are currently not a customer but could be.

Your CRM system can be instrumental in helping you segment your lists as well as your target market.  What caused your current customers to trust you enough to believe your message and buy from you?  What incites can be harvested from the notes taken by your customer service representatives helping with call-in inquiries?  What feedback can the sales team provide on leads that have been sent to them to be worked?  How can you use this information to tailor your marketing message so not only is the timing correct, but the message is believed?  How can this data be useful for real-time testing to drive better results?

This is just a brief look at CRM benefits which could be a post all by itself.  If you feel you lack the time or expertise to explore this critical business tool, drop us an email, we’d love to help.



Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer Services

Local Pride Can Influence Purchasing

Local farmer's market produce

It’s very vogue right now, buying produce that has been locally grown.  Nutritionists say that we should definitely eat locally grown and produced food, something to do with the bees and the effects of their pollination on the fruits and vegetables that grow from their efforts.  In Europe, it is customary to only prepare foods that are in season and in fact when my wife was living there and wanted to prepare a meal using squash, her hosts looked at her incredulously and said, “Squash is not in season now.”

As a country, we have grown accustomed to eating whatever we wish whenever we wish, regardless of where it came from.  Those days may be numbered, as the amount of energy required to ship produce all over the globe may make this practice untenable as the price of that energy goes up.

I can’t say that it hasn’t been this way in the past, depending on events, but we are seeing a definite trend in this country to purchase products that are “made in America.”  According to Jack Loechner, writing for The Center for Media Research, in his article “Made in The USA Influences Buyers,” a recent Harris Poll survey suggests that a sense of national pride is manifesting itself in how people part with their money.  As a percentage of all US Adults, 61% indicated that they would be more likely to buy a product with the label “Made In America.”  And if you look regionally, here in the Midwest, that percentage jumps to 67%.  Age is also a determining factor, however there is no doubt that we Americans like products made and produced right here at home.

I believe this same trend exists on a local basis.  Small local farmers are beginning to see real success in marketing their produce at farmers’ markets.  People want to do business with someone from their town as a way of supporting the local economy.  I recently attended a gathering of bright innovators who were demonstrating their technological creativity to a large group of people.  I found the pride I had in Kansas City grow as I saw with my own eyes these very bright people showing the results of their labors.  I wanted to find a way to do business with these burgeoning entrepreneurs.

The takeaway here is this: if your geographic area is local, be sure you are emphasizing where you come from.  Make it a part of your marketing communications so your target market will know.  Being a “hometown” company could very well give you the edge you need over your competitors.

I would love to know your thoughts.  Drop me an email.  Thanks.


The CMO Outsource

Do You Know Why Your Customers Buy From You?

Neon On Sale sign

I was really just going in the store to find an electric can opener.  It seemed to me that this very large, warehouse megastore was the best place to go and probably where I would get the best price.  I had really just intended to pop in, make my purchase and leave, it would only take about fifteen minutes.  As I walked down the isles looking from left to right, my attention was drawn to a sign.  It was not a sign that was overly colorful or large, I just caught its image out of the corner of my eye.  This product now had my full focus and best of all, as the sign informed me, it was on sale.  For a 25% price reduction, I could own an electric stapler.  What a great deal!  Even though my most practical, logical mind told me, “David, you don’t need this,” I still picked it up and put it in the cart.  I was sold.

Now tell the truth, you’ve been there too.  They call it impulse buying, and retail stores tailor their product locations and merchandizing just to hook us into impulse buying.  It is an extremely successful marketing strategy.

But what are the real reasons I bought that electric stapler?

Economists say that we purchase a product or service for two reasons: to increase pleasure or to decrease pain.  But it really is a great deal more complicated than that and psychiatrists would even go so far as to say that there are messages going on in our subconscious that can at times override our logical thinking resulting in an action we didn’t anticipate and may not be able to fully explain.

This is why it gets tricky from a marketing perspective.  How in the world do you create a marketing message that will resonate and create a reason to take action and purchase your product or service when your customer doesn’t even know the reason they are making that purchase?

There is not a simple answer here.  The most significant action you can take is to actually ask your customer why they purchased from you.  This may not be realistic, feasible, or may be simply too expensive to undertake, so you also need to apply a little psychology and a smattering of common sense.  Most importantly, actually commit to writing down the reasons people buy from you.

These reasons fall into two categories.

First is the actual attributes of your product or service.  It is best to be as specific as you can but here would be some more general examples:

  • Your product or service has the best price or value
  • Your product or service is the most technologically advanced or is proprietary so that no other competitor can match it
  • Your product or service is perceived as having the best quality
  • Your product or service meets a specific niche need
  • Your product or service has a track record of high performance
  • Your product or service makes an activity easier or more efficient to do

The second reason would be emotional motivators or the feelings that generate the action to purchase.  Here again are very general examples:

  • There is an emotion they are dealing with that the purchase will resolve such as fear, anger, regret, joy, sorrow, anxiety, or concern
  • Your product or service makes them feel better about themselves
  • Your product or service matches a cause or belief they are passionate about
  • Your product or service fulfills the need to compete with others
  • Your product or service provides instant gratification

By being very specific about the product attributes and emotional motivators behind why your customers buy from you, you can then begin to tie your marketing message and communications back to these and have a better chance of getting their attention.

Best of luck and if you find you could use some help with this, drop us a note.

David, the new owner of an electric stapler.

The CMO Outsource