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Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of IER Partners, which has guided and strengthened brands of all sizes with savvy best practices for creating customers for life. Combining her passion of adventurous listening and working across diverse industries, her "outsider-insider" creative branding and merchandising expertise and objectivity has been valued by companies as diverse as Spanx, Ben & Jerry's, Celestial Seasonings, CHEFS and Boston Proper.  She holds an MBA and has dedicated more than 20 years to providing clients both domestic and international with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She is the author of  two books in which she shares her hands-on approach for both brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators, and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants. You may reach her at asyverson@ierpartners.com.

We're huge fans of optimization here at HubSpot. But we also know that optimization can be exhausting. Most marketers have a lot on their plates—it’s enough to try and design a marketing strategy, write an ebook, and hit your monthly lead gen goal without the worry of testing and optimizing everything. So rather than reaching for a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s and hiding until all this bad noise about A/B testing stops, think about how much more efficient optimization can make you in the long run! Because I am an optimization nerd, I think about how to optimize everything—from

I have always been a cheerleader for the underdogs. They just plain try harder. This is why I favor companies like Caribou Coffee over Starbucks, Frontier Airlines over United Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s over Breyers and Chipotle over McDonald’s. Not only do these “underdogs” try harder, but they also seem more comfortable in their own brand skins. They are original. They are daring. They are independent thinkers. They are the real deal. Is your brand the real deal? I bet your customers know the answer. Stand Out from the Crowd As you look at the vast choices of products and services customers have today,

With March Madness beginning, it rapidly becomes clear that one win is nice, but it doesn’t ensure that your team will last through the first weekend. The “One and Done” scenario is similar in the direct mail arena, where one-year subscriptions and one-product-only purchases are certainly useful but don’t build success in the long run. Rather, you want to increase overall sales and orders; a.k.a., get more wins. To do that—and thus get more return per package—consider the following five ways to upgrade your current offer. To help craft this winning formula, Target Marketing leaned on two reputable “coaches” in the field: Alan

Your best customers can be your finest salespeople. Finding strategies to put this force to work for you, without ponying up commission, is the primary challenge of referral marketing. Working Assets Long Distance (WALD), the long distance carrier that donates a percentage of customers' monthly charges to progressive causes—chosen by the customers themselves—relies on a motivated customer sales force. The Archive received a mail piece that asks, á la Ringo Starr, for a little help from one's friends. The mailing contains a letter and a four-panel pass-along device that extends the company's longstanding control offer of one free

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