Cover Story : 43 Top Tips of 2013
The year’s best ideas from our direct marketing expertsDecember 2013 By Target Marketing editorial staff
To close out the year, the Target Marketing editorial staff reviewed all the content from the magazine, Today @ Target Marketing e-newsletter and blogs in 2013, hunting for some of the best marketing ideas and tips from our top experts to share with you.
1. "We are performing analytics to gain an understanding of what our business customers want, trying to get a 360-degree view of their activity. Then we have a thoughtful approach on how we create push content in emails and also our Web content. We want them to match how the customers think about who we are and how we can help them."
Dan Marks, CMO, First Tennessee Bank
"Taking Care of Business"
2. Simply put, B-to-B marketers need a mix of push and pull. Limiting your strategy to pull alone will reduce your market, and limit your ability to identify all the prospective buyers who might need your solution to their problems.
Ruth Stevens, eMarketing Strategy
"Push vs. Pull Marketing: In B-to-B, You Need Both"
3. Establishing your company as a knowledgeable authority in your field is Job One for a B-to-B website. ... This is a classic content marketing play; whereby, you provide libraries of case studies, research reports, presentations, archived webinars, blog posts, how-to videos and all manner of information intended to help visitors learn, and to present yourself as their trusted partner in that task.
Ruth Stevens, eMarketing Strategy
"5 Essentials for Every B-to-B Website"
4. The best, most effective content marketers are updating how they execute it. They're designing it [content] for sales. They're structuring blogs, videos and such to produce leads, not friends, followers, shares or engagement. They also are giving valuable advice away online, in exchange for leads. Ultimately, they're creating confidence in prospects in ways that give "results in advance."
Jeff Molander, Molander & Associates
"Stop Measuring Content Marketing"
5. Unless you understand what a chart or graph means, don't use it until you do. It is extremely embarrassing to cut and paste a diagram out of a client's PowerPoint into your copy and then, when the client asks you why you used it, to have to answer "I don't know." You should understand each visual so well you can write a clear descriptive caption for it—and then do so.
Bob Bly, freelance copywriter and consultant
6. Nowadays, there are serious adult-level articles, books and TED talks encouraging us to play. Experts ... all want us to set up play dates. They want us to take play seriously. They remind us how important it is to unplug and unwind. ... To give our multifunctioning, always-on brains a rest. These experts nudge us a step further and call play a necessity. A must do for long-term vitality, for peak performance. Samuel Johnson believed, "All intellectual improvement arises from leisure."
Andrea Syverson, IER Partners
"Two Summer Must Dos: Play and Play On!"
7. Odd numbers are more believable than even numbers. In a recent fundraising appeal from my alma mater, Kansas State University, it included charts and graphs that showed alumni donations in the last 10 years have increased 45 percent as tuition rose 138 percent and state support for this state university declined 26.3 percent. Notice that instead of rounding off to 26 percent, the university used a decimal with an uneven number for specificity and added credibility.
Pat Friesen, direct response copywriter and creative strategist
"Writing by the Numbers"
8. There are so many proofreaders, grammarians or other online expert sources available (not to mention a nifty little tool in Microsoft Word called "Spelling & Grammar") that there is simply no excuse for any company to be executing marketing materials that are anything less than perfect.
Carolyn Goodman, Goodman Marketing Partners
"If Content Is King, Grammar Is Queen"
9. Nothing's funny about direct marketing. But direct marketing certainly helps funny. And funny helps direct marketing. Things are more likely to be clicked when they're funny.
Steve Hofstetter, comedian
"5-Minute Interview With Comedian Steve Hofstetter"
10. The sooner intervention begins with an at-risk customer, the easier and less expensive it is to fix the problem; so, it is clear that the best plan is to have a system for identifying these customers.
Michael Lowenstein, PhD, CMC, Beyond Philosophy
"'At-Risk' Customers: Do You Have a System for Identifying, Stabilizing Them?"
11. Before signing off on any marketing scheme, put yourself inside your prospective customer's head. Think how he thinks. Feel what she feels. Become your own customer! As your customer, you'll know exactly how you want to be treated every step of the way and can set up your systems accordingly.
Denny Hatch, direct marketing consultant and author
"The Challenge of a Huge Bargain and Complex Fulfillment"