No matter what your profession, if you have an extensive file of retrievable, cutting-edge information that directly relates to your business and industry, you can lace your memos, emails, letters, reports, advertising copy, speeches, PowerPoint presentations and whitepapers with tidbits, factoids and statistics. This shows readers you know a lot, are on top of your job and are a force in your industry.
Peggy and I recently spent a weekend in Manhattan to see two Broadway shows. Pushing 80, I find NYC traffic and crowds overpowering. However, the Internet and computers can make all the difference in terms of getting around and paying.
Swim boxers. During a recent conference call, a senior-level marketer who shall remain nameless tells a group of marketers and me that he's working next to the pool during his vacation. Therefore, he says, he's dressed for the role he'll be using during the majority of the day. This marketer isn't much different from his audience, which is filled with businesspeople and consumers who are no longer chained to offices and cubicles with desktop computers.
Direct marketers have long had a love affair with data-driven media buying. In the world of direct mail, for example, list rentals and exchanges are filled with data cards (once print, now electronic) rich with audience measurements—the very attributes marketers need to intelligently target their offers to would-be buyers.
Urban Outfitters sold a "bloody," hole-filled "vintage" Kent State University sweatshirt until Monday. While it's possible some Americans may not know about Kent State, the massacre is burned into my mind and I wasn't even alive when it happened. In 1970, four unarmed students who had been protesting the Vietnam War were gunned down by Ohio National Guard troops who fired into the crowd. So many iconic images and still-popular songs resulted from the shootings that employees at Urban Outfitters shouldn't have even had to open a history book to understand why selling that sweatshirt was offensive. Then there's also the fact that the company is based in Philadelphia—in a state that shares a border with Ohio.
As I reflected on a client interaction I had this week, I thought about how helpful it is for organizations to learn from the past and then also to let go. I had facilitated a meeting where we tried to embrace failure not as life-over, but simply as feedback—to have a more positive outlook on the unplanned learning lessons that failure brings a brand. It was a tough sell. These young, smart, good-hearted brand builders were perfectionists. They only ever saw A+ on their report cards. Red Fs would have been scarring.
If NFL stood for "not for long" instead of "National Football League," the debate would center on how much more time it would take for its reputation to recover from a perceived cover-up of a crime—Ray Rice punching and knocking out his then-fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer, in February in an Atlantic City casino elevator. Or "NFL" could continue to stand for what comes up in Twitter searches on Wednesday for the trending topic of #RayRice: "Related Searches: #nfl, #domesticviolence"
As marketers, we all put a lot of thought into our email marketing campaigns. We spend hours picking the right template from a designer, or going the DIY route and designing it ourselves. Racking our brains for the perfect subject line. Writing the copy. Finding the best images. The list goes on ... right up to when you hit send. The question is: when?
Who still sends direct mail? Many of the most successful companies in the U.S. In fact, nine of the top 10 on this year's Top 50 Mailers list are also on the Fortune 500 (including GEICO, which is a part of Berkshire Hathaway), and the one that isn't happens to be one of the world's largest nonprofit clubs (AAA). Once again, Target Marketing has teamed with Who's Mailing What! (WMW!) and its impressive library of current direct mail to track the top mailers of the past year.