Many years ago, I was a counselor at a summer camp, in charge of a group of 9 and 10 year olds.
We were taking a hike once, walking single file, when I spotted a patch of poison ivy. I wanted my campers to be aware of it, so I pointed at it and said, "Poison Ivy pass it down."
The boy behind me promptly picked it up, examined it carefully and then gave it to the kid behind him. He repeated my warning:
"Poison Ivy pass it down!"
The second kid passed it down to the third kid and on it went all the way down to the last camper. Every single one of them came down with poison ivy.
So if you enjoy reading this newsletter why not pass it down to a friend or business associate?
Need a new logo for your website, letterhead or business card?
How much would you expect to pay $1,000? $3,000? $10,000?
What if you could spend less than $500 and have several top-notch designers working on your business?
Sounds impossible? Recently I spent a day with a remarkable company called LogoWorks, based in Provo, Utah. I met Morgan Lynch, the founder and CEO, who created this revolutionary way to deliver custom logos.
The way it works is this: You complete a profile on your business and the image you want to portray, working (by phone or on the web) with a LogoWorks consultant.
They then offer your job to their network of independent designers around the country. They come back to you with 4-10 logo concepts from 2-5 different designers.
This process takes less than 72 hours. Then you choose the logo you like, ask for any necessary revisions, and you receive a CD with everything you need to begin putting your logo to use.
LogoWorks does more than just logos. They also do websites, letterheads, business cards and many other promotional products.
They've worked for over 30,000 businesses so far and not just for small ones. LogoWorks has done logos for companies like Walt Disney, Toyota, Microsoft and Chevron! You can visit them at www.logoworks.com.
As I was leaving LogoWorks, they asked me whether I had seen their billboard on my drive in. I confessed that I must have missed it.
Their marketing director, Lance Archibald, was the subject of a billboard for LogoWorks. The billboard had a huge photo of Lance with this message:
The billboard also included some of his "qualifications." They included:
There was a question mark after "Sense of Humor" because this was all a surprise to Lance!
He only found out when his team took him on a mystery drive down the highway and parked in front of the actual billboard. And yes, he did have a sense of humor.
Did it work?
In an amazing example of viral marketing, this outrageous campaign was covered on over 100 TV stations, and hundreds of newspapers around the world. The Date Lance website received nearly 1 million hits and the LogoWorks site received twice as much traffic as their previous high.
Lance appeared on the CBS Early Show, and has so far received over 2,000 submissions from people who want to Date Lance.
I recently received a postcard from Esquire magazine. It was a Happy Anniversary card that congratulated me on my previous years' subscription.
It did not ask me to renew which is why it was so unusual.
Instead it simply assumed that I wanted to renew and informed me that it would be done automatically. The postcard read:
If I didn't want to renew it was my responsibility to "forward my request to Esquire at the address below."
So, in other words, the responsibility to cancel was in my court. I had to do all the work and Esquire is betting that I wouldn't want to go to all that trouble.
This "Till Forbid" option means I will receive Esquire magazine for the rest of my life, and perhaps beyond, until I (or my widow!) make the effort to cancel.
The book and music clubs used to do this until too many people complained about it. However, as abhorrent as I find this technique it usually works. And it might be something to consider in your business.
The question to ask is:
How can we make it easier for people to continue buying our product than to stop buying our product?
I don't blame you because most of us have no idea of what "Fungible" actually means.
Recently, I spent an evening in Indianapolis at an Adam's Mark Hotel. I'd never been in one before, so I was given a brochure on their Gold Mark Rewards program.
The cover of the brochure included a strong call to action:
Um...so it's simple and fungible? And what does fungible mean, anyway?
Inside they defined it for me: Fungible is defined as "capable of being interchanged or substitutable; used to describe commodities that can be traded or substituted for an equal amount of a like commodity. It's also the last word in frequent guest programs."
Please, please, please use only simple words in your headlines and body copy. Avoid jargon. Don't try to impress me. Just tell me what you mean and what you want me to do.
As you may know, I worked on the AT&T Winback program for many years.
Our job was to win back customers to AT&T, and we developed the very first check package. (I can't take credit for it it wasn't my idea)
We did many, many highly creative packages that focused on the check, including:
None of them worked as well as a serious, straightforward approach, which led me to write this simple headline, which far outperformed any of the others.
I thought that was pretty good. Until I received a direct mail package from the U.S. Census, requesting me to complete The American Community Survey questionnaire.
Their outer envelope headline was the first one that I've ever seen that was much stronger and much more effective than mine:
I sure wish I could use something like that for my clients!
A couple of years ago, I was hired by Myers-Grace department stores in Melbourne, Australia. They are the largest department store chain in Australia, and they called me in to re-launch their credit card.
After an exhausting 17-hour flight, I was met at the airport by one of their marketing people who insisted on bringing me down to the store's headquarters to meet their Marketing Director.
"But I just flew in I need to shower and change!" I protested. "He just wants to meet you for a few minutes," I was told. And so I reluctantly agreed.
I was led into the Marketing Director's office, where he had the following words up on a huge white board.
"That's our challenge!" he said, "We need to re-launch the card, and come up with a program that will get everyone excited about it."
Bleary-eyed and exhausted by my flight, I walked up to the white board and crossed out a few letters. It now read:
"That's it!" the Marketing Director enthused, "We can do a campaign on My Card, My Fashions, My Savings, My Family..." The best ideas are usually the simplest ideas.
I recently had the same experience with Smithsonian Journeys, the educational travel arm of the Smithsonian. They offer amazing travel packages including private jet tours that can cost as much as $50,000. per person. However, their advertising looks like every other travel company.
The solution that we came up was a campaign called:
The headlines will reinforce their uniqueness. For example:
By the way, this is an excellent exercise for your company. Write down "Only <YOUR COMPANY or PRODUCT> and see how many unique benefits you can come up with...
...you ever received?
It could have been about your career. It could have been about direct marketing. It could even have been personal advice.
I'm trying to compile answers from different people and if you share your best advice with me I'll send you a copy of the collected wisdom.
Just e-mail me at Arosenspan@aol.com
If you haven't signed up for the DMA Annual Conference yet it's in Atlanta, from October 15 -19th, 2005.
This years theme is "Marketing is Evolving" and they'll have more than 100 different speakers on topics such as multi-channel marketing, CRM, interactive marketing, search engines and direct mail.
I'm will be one of the speakers doing 4 different sessions on creativity, strategy and offers.
I have always found that attending the DMA Annual Conference is well worth the investment, and I always bring back a lot of different ideas I can put to use. You can get more information at www.dma05.org.
By the way, if you do attend, please stop by and say hello. I am always happy to meet one of my newsletter subscribers.
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© Alan Rosenspan & Associates