Category Archives: Communication

I Got a Fever for a Testimonial



“Can I have a witness….Can I have a witness?”


Ah, the beloved testimonial, proof positive that you are as good as you think you are, that your product does in fact please people and everyone should trust what you say.


So why don’t more people ask for testimonials?


I think there is inherent doubt in all of us. In some, it’s hardly noticeable, while in others, it stands there and demands to be out front and noticed. There is a hesitancy to ask if someone likes your work or your product because they might just say, “no.”


But the testimonial, the witness to your company and what you work so hard to achieve, is like a gold mine. Testimonials foster trust in you by those you want to sell to. Testimonials are what can bring great satisfaction to your work. I’m not sure anyone out there starts a company just to make lots of money, although there is nothing wrong with making lots of money. It’s just that money alone is somewhat empty. But when someone makes a point of telling the world how great you are, why it’s almost a religious experience, a sure fired boost to the ego.


Here’s a big no no I’ve seen. To have a “Testimonials” page on your website and there’s no testimonials. Whoa, that is like a huge red flag saying, “can somebody please like me and what I do?” It’s better to un-publish that page so it can’t be seen rather than have a website visitor try to see what people are saying about you and find a big fat Zero!


Social properties like LinkedIn, make it easy to ask for testimonials but better yet, give someone you know a recommendation and they’ll likely give you back a recommendation. Or at least you hope they will.


So go ahead, ask for the testimonial. Can I have a witness?


What are your thoughts?




Courage Defined

It’s been a while since I have last written and by no fault but my own. It could be said that I lacked the courage to persevere, to write even if I felt that what I had to say may not bring value.

By the blessings of some good friends, I realized I must get back on that horse, so, here we go, even though this may not be strictly “marketing” oriented.

Albert Einstein had a great quote on courage, “The ideas that have lighted my way and, time after time, have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.”

I identify with Mr. Einstein, especially recently, as I have learned of the illness of a good friend of mine, someone I have sung with on many occasions and whose courage I appreciate. The doctors have diagnosed that she has cancer in many parts of her body, and as she prepares, both physically and mentally, for the grueling regimen of chemo treatments and radiation, her courage stands tall as a bright beacon in a dark night.

She writes of her hope that if just one person decides to start a healthier lifestyle, or give up cigarettes, or live each day more fully, she can be content with this new path in her life. She says that there must be something in this disease she can learn from. Although she has lived an incredibly healthy lifestyle, the randomness of cancer demonstrates that anyone, at any time, can be facing this same battle.

It is through her courage, her kindness and her beauty I am reminded that perhaps it is I who is to learn something from the malady that invades her body. I pray I am a good student.

Live each day as if it were your last.



Give ‘Em a Mixed Media Message!

Who knows how it began. Did man first begin to communicate over distances by beating a hollow tree trunk or by lighting a torch and standing on the highest ground? Was this just a means of alerting friends to potential danger or were there variable messages governed by the rhythm of the beats or the way a torch was held? Smoke signals by Native Americans or Signal Flags by soldiers were a means of sending variable messages and instructions during war, at least prior to the telegraph and Morse code. And sailors relied heavily upon signal flags and light houses to warn of possible danger.

Regardless how it began, we humans thrive on communication, don’t we? We have created so many ways with which to exchange information and ideas across space and time – radio, TV, CB’s, telephones, email, texting, instant messaging, direct mail, snail mail, webinars, video streaming, YouTube, just to name a few. Whether it’s passive or active forms of communication, it can be pretty mind boggling and the thing is, each of us prefer certain kinds of communication over others. Certain media gets our attention and others don’t.

I have never been big on texting or IM but I use email extensively. Maybe it’s my fat thumbs on my mobile or maybe I just haven’t learned the lingo. I know that probably ages me quite a bit, however I think there’s an important point here. Unless you sell your product or service to a very narrowly defined, niche demographic, you probably need to consider the possibility that it’s going to take a number of different kinds of media to reach everyone in your target market with your marketing message. We all have different preferences for how we would like to be communicated to.

This is why I can really appreciate the concept of asking the question, “How would you like to hear from us?” For customers who have purchased from you or from those who have expressed an interest in your products or services, to ask them how they would prefer to be communicated to, shows that you respect their opinion and their time.

Granted, some of the forms of media cost more. Anyone can tell you that direct mail is not cheap, however if your customer or prospect really wants you hear from you in this way, make sure you comply with that wish.

There are many companies who provide printing and email services who have jumped on the multi-media bandwagon and can provide a cost effective solution to giving your customers their preferences. A sign-up website portal can be an excellent way to be able to respond to individual wishes. The real benefit is that your customers and prospects will appreciate just being asked.

So, in your marketing planning, make sure you are building in the capability to put your marketing message out there in a number of different media. It’s a little harder to manage but well worth the effort.

If there is a concern whether you have the time or abilities in-house to handle this, let us know, we’d be happy to help.


Your CMO Outsource


Copyblogging 101

Taking an exam

Do you remember back in school when you were taking a big test – also the most quiet time of any school day – and you could almost “feel” the eyes of the person next to you stealing looks over at your work to see how you had answered a particular question? The natural reaction was to take your non-writing hand and casually put it over your work in a way that made it impossible to see your answers. This was of course unless it was this really cute red-headed girl named Tricia who I had a huge crush on and for whom I would have crossed a bed of burning embers. She could have any answer she wanted!!

Over the last few years, there has been a cataclysmic change going on concerning published content and material covered by copyright, especially on the Internet. The old saying, “What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet” is definitely true, however with the propagation of content around the world, it becomes extremely difficult to monitor whether someone is “trying to copy your answers.”

I have blog readers from all over the world and for all I know, someone may very well have copied and pasted content from my posts into their website and claimed it as their own. I certainly don’t have the means to investigate the millions of blog posts that are put onto the Internet every day to see if someone stole my content so how am I supposed to protect what is rightfully mine? Guess what, you can’t.

This may be quite discouraging to you aspiring authors who envision one day publishing a book but the fact is, there are millions of bits of information put out into the world every day, of which 1% could easily be saying the same thing in a slightly different way and therefore construed as copying. But who is really capable of a completely, totally, original thought?  Aren’t we all influenced in subtle ways by every experience we have, and therefore when a thought does come, are we absolutely positive we came up with it? Or, as is more likely the case, the idea was planted in our brain by some experience and our thought is really just our spin on it.

Seth Godin, in his blog “Originality” says that those who truly are the idea creators, the ones who come up with that completely original thought, are generally shunned by society as being weird, crazy, out-of-touch, eccentric or just plain off their rocker.

This article isn’t about condoning outright plagiarism, and for those that do steal, there is a special and very warm condo reserved just for you in the after-life, right next to the lava river and scenic volcano, where you’ll become very familiar with a pitchfork.

No this is about being sure to give credit where credit is due. If you want to put your spin on an idea that you got from someone else, be sure and give them credit. Anyone’s idea can be improved upon in a thought provoking and interesting way, one that has your special experience and flavor.

I’d love to know your thoughts and if you need help with a strategy for blogging, please get in touch with us, we would love to help.


Your Outsourced CMO


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