A pencil has an eraser for a reason

A pencil has an eraser for a reason

#chalkboarddaily

 

 

 

In this age of technology, where everyone types and swipes on computer keyboards, tablets and smart phones, I still keep a pencil and paper nearby.  Call me old school, but I still like making my to-do lists and writing important notes with pencil and paper.  It helps me retain the information better and when that piece of paper or post-it is staring me in the face on my desk, or from under a magnet on the fridge, it’s harder to overlook than when it’s mixed in with the myriad of texts, emails and other electronic distractions.

The other thing I like about writing things down is the feeling of accomplishment when you can literally cross something off your list or place a big checkmark next to it.  Instant gratification.

And then, with pencils, there is the eraser.  That pink, rubbery substance at the top that sometimes leaves a chalky residue, and granules of the previously written words, that you need to sweep off the paper.  With an eraser, the mistakes on paper can be made to disappear quickly and once that area has new words on it, the old mistake is very quickly forgotten.

I got to thinking one day: wouldn’t it be great if the mistakes we make in life could be erased as easily as the mistakes we make on paper?  How great would it be if we could erase and re-write our lives to correct our mistakes and imperfect actions?

While this can’t be done in reality, it can be done in a conceptual way.  Imagine for a moment a mistake or past event that occurred that is plaguing you.  If you wrote it on a piece of paper, you could simply erase it.  If you take that physical activity of erasing it and make a mental activity of it, could you also erase that mistake from your mind permanently?

What if you took it one step further and then re-wrote something over the area that you just erased?  The new content could be an idea, a to-do item, a happy thought, inspirational quote or anything else that re-directs your thoughts to a new place or sets you on a new path.  Now you have something else occupying that “space” to further help erase the old mistake and give you something new to focus on, to create a new, positive event.

The next time you find yourself mulling or stressing over something in the past, take a moment to write it down on a piece of paper with a brand new No.2 pencil.  Then erase it.  Then take a moment to write down a new goal or something positive in that empty space on paper and let only that consume your thoughts moving forward. It’s purely psychological but it may work for you.  It is just one of many tools that works for me.

If you don’t have any, go out and buy yourself some good old-fashioned No. 2 pencils today.  Maybe I’ll see you there, buying more for myself.

Note about the chalkboard in the image: I started doing a #chalkboarddaily a few months ago.  This one I decided to develop into a blog post.  If you would like to see more chalkboards, follow me on Twitter and http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/jenniferpanepinto/

 

 

 

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La fortuna bussa alla porta (opportunity knocks)

Entry doors in Montecatini Alto, Italy.

Earlier this year, I launched this blog because my pent-up ideas needed a place to be shared.  I made a number of posts before a new and unexpected possibilità di carriera came my way – an opportunity I couldn’t pass up – which stalled the blog for a few months.

The opportunity to become Marketing Director at Bonfiglioli USA

came through a client of Market Write’s (thank you Carla) and it was the kind of opportunity I said it would have to be for me to leave my consulting practice.  After sette anni of working in my jammies (only sometimes!) in the comfort of my home office, I was faced with 8 to 5 every day an hour away from home.  Additionally, I would need to build an US marketing program, from minimal activities to a full-fledged marketing program, for multiple market segments I know nothing about.

Was I pazzo to accept the opportunity?  Per niente (not at all).  Bonfiglioli is a great company!  They are a leading manufacturer of gearboxes and gearmotors for a wide variety of applications in the mobile (as in moving vehicles), wind (on and off shore wind turbines) and industrial markets (material handling and manufacturing).  They also design and manufacture inverters and other products for utility-scale solar fields. They’ve been around for over 50 years and the company is worldwide leader in the industries they serve.  And they’re headquartered in Bologna, Italy.  Fantastico (bonus)!  🙂

Those who know me know I love challenges, and I love learning about a whole segment of industries I knew nothing about.  I’m especially excited that two of the company’s markets are in renewable energy, something I think this planet really needs.  In this role, I can make an impact on more than the company’s bottom line as the company’s products are installed in renewable energy: i.e., the more solar fields being installed with Bonfiglioli inverters, the more windmills with our gearmotors (one in three wind turbines around the world already have them), the more we are saving the planet, by using the resources that are right there in front of us every day.  Fantastico #2!

Since the ideas haven’t stopped percolating in my mind, and because I have a few new perspectives given the role I’m in now, I’m back to blogging.  I can’t promise “ogni mercoledì all’una” (every Wednesday at 1), but I can promise interesting and thought-provoking reading.  E molto più italiano sprinkled in.  I do work for an Italian company now, after all. 

A presto,
Jennifer

p.s.- fantastico #3: espresso ogni giorno! (espresso every day)!  Now THAT’s Italian.

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Marketing via the Babushka Principle

It's Hip to Be a Babushka

My mother’s mother was from Russia.  My great-grandmother, my Baba Stima, was born there.  And even though the rest of my family is Italian, it is the Slavic traditions I grew up with.

I love these traditions, especially washing your face with a silver dollar on Christmas eve to keep the wrinkles away (it’s working!).  Being Russian is a tiny part of my heritage but a huge part of what makes me who I am today.

I was reminded of this (and inspired to write this post) after a story about the Babushka ladies on NPR.   It’s a heartwarming story about how these iconic images in Russia are wooing audiences with their singing.

I started thinking that for many companies, their branding is the iconic image that tells a whole story about who they are and the culture they impart: see the classic Coca-Cola or McDonald’s logos and it immediately conjures up memories of childhood.  Just as the Babushka ladies did for me.

Company brands are the same way.  Whether a start-up or a 100-year old company, there’s a story behind how they came to be and the logo and brand for each creates an impression in each viewers mind, good or bad.  Further, each person that works at a company brings their own history and uniqueness to the company, and then makes history and strengthens (or weakens) the brand while they are working there.

This rich history is often overlooked when companies are marketing their products and services.  Many companies become so wrapped up in creating quirky marketing and obtaining the highest number of “likes” and “followers” that they neglect to integrate their roots and heritage in their marketing.

Why do companies feel like they constantly have to re-invent themselves and their brand?  New branding won’t save a failing company, because the reasons that led to the failure will still exist.  If the brand is strong, it will survive with marketing that emphasizes all the good qualities of the brand.  It will survive because it creates warm memories and urges us to share that brand with our children.

If you want your true brand to be revealed in marketing, ask yourself the following questions before you launch your next marketing campaign:

  • What’s our history?   How did we get to where we are today?
  • What makes us who we are today?
  • What is that made (or can make) us successful?
  • What’s unique about our company?  Our people?  Our processes?  Our products?  Our services?
  • How do we conduct our business?  That is, how do we treat our customers and how do we expect to be treated in return?
  • What kind of people do we hire?  Why do they like working here?
  • What is it that people like about our company, products and services and why do they want to “like” and “follow” us?

These are just some of the questions companies can ask themselves to ensure their heritage, history and personality is integrated into their marketing.  Or, just think about the Babushka ladies and how these icons of Russia still embrace their brand.   And love every minute of it.

A la prossima volta (until next time),
Jennifer

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What’s your M.O.?

Is it smooth and seamless, or is it downright criminal?

Remember the TV crime shows of the 70’s?  I used to watch all of them – Columbo, Starsky & Hutch, ChiPs and my favorite, Charlie’s Angels.  In those shows, (if I remember correctly) police relied more on instinct and intelligence to catch the bad guys, versus the ‘crime scene investigators’ of today’s TV crime dramas.

I still watch TV crime shows today (you almost can’t escape them), but there’s one term that seems to be missing from today’s dramas.  It’s also missing from most companies’ websites:

“M.O.”

In those crime dramas, the M.O. referred to a criminal’s “modus operandi,” or mode of operating.  It can refer to your website too, but with a dual meaning.  The first is still the mode of operating – as in, how the website is configured, its layout, etc.  But the second meaning is far more important because it can greatly impact your company’s ability to reach consumers who are on the go and convert them into customers.  When done well, it can increase foot traffic in your store or online purchases and prevent a consumer from switching quickly to your competitor.  The second meaning I’m referring to is “mobile optimization.”

Companies like Gap, Inc. have figured it out.  They have made sure that their site is as easy to use on a smart phone – and make a purchase from – as it is on their online website.  They have made sure that their site doesn’t take forever to load on smart phones and other mobile devices, and made it simple and easy to navigate.  In short, their site is optimized for mobile use.

Considering more and more people are using smart phones to access the web, this is the mode by which all companies should operate.  As a new site is being developed or an old one redesigned, mobile optimization should be a top consideration.  How do you get started?

First, you can check out this blog (scroll down to the 3rd article and below).  This blog contains a few tips – some a bit more technical than you might like – for getting your site ready for mobile use.  (This blog also contains information about mobile SEO but this is different from mobile optimization; I encourage you to understand the distinction).  Here’s another site that contains some great dos and don’ts.

So, if you are in the process of updating your website or creating a new one, keep these things in mind:

  • People on the go who are searching for information about your company are likely ready to buy at the time they are searching.  Make it easy for them!
  • Avoid flash or graphics that take a long time to load, or you risk people abandoning your search and moving on to your competitor.
  • If you are already, or are planning to, have a mobile marketing campaign, make sure it is integrated with and points people to your mobile site
With these things in mind, it will be easy to optimize your site for mobile use.  If you don’t, well, that would be just criminal. 🙂
A la prossima volta,
Jennifer

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Construction Ahead: Roadmap Included

Copyright Toothpaste for Dinner

Chances are, if your website is more than a couple years old, it’s looking like a strada (road) that was built in an hasn’t been updated since the 80’s: it still provides a way for people to get where they are going, but it looks every bit of its age.  That doesn’t mean people won’t travel on it.  They will.  But they’ll be frustrated with its overall condition and wish it weren’t quite so bumpy .

Websites are the same way.  The ones that are old and need repair still work just fine but the viaggiatore (traveler) wishes the site were more up-to-date and easier to navigate (pun intended :)).    With all the new technologies and free options available, why is it that so many companies have yet to update their websites?

Since I’m in the process of updating my own website, I have a few clues.  The first: it is overwhelming!  There are so many choices for platforms – everything from free, do-it-yourself to expensive, custom-built – and so many new and very cool technologies that it’s difficult to decide where to stop.  Additionally, the choices for layout, themes, add-ons, widgets and more becomes almost dizzying.

If you are thinking about updating your website, here is a roadmap for getting you to your destinazione safely (and with less bumps in the road).

  1. Determine what it is you want your website to DO.  That is, is it going to be strictly information-based or will you want visitors to interact with it in some way (watch videos, “build” something or peruse a catalog and make a purchase).  This will help you determine what platform to use.
  2. Talk to your customers and prospects.  I cannot overstress the importance of this!  When you find out what customers and prospects are looking for and what will be most helpful for them when they visit your site, it’s a lot easier to determine the appropriate content and navigation.
  3. Do your research on site platforms and options.  Carefully investigate the capabilities of each versus your needs but don’t just think about today’s needs.  Look 6 to 12 months down the road and make sure the platform you pick will have the longevity and flexibility to grow with you.  Otherwise, you’ll be starting this process all over again in a year or two.
  4. Determine your budget.  Yes, I know, there are a lot of free site platforms out there and many of them are good for basic websites.  However, if you need something more involved or want to use something other than the templates available (and trust me, you WILL want to), you will most likely need to have a budget to cover the technical resources you’ll need to create exactly what you want.
  5. Assemble your website team.  You’ll need copywriters, graphic designers, technical experts, social media experts and subject matter experts – all of whom can provide input on the best possible options and content for the site.
  6. Develop the content.  Use the findings from the research you did to determine the most appropriate messaging and what content you need to include.  You’ll also need to optimize the site for search engine optimization so find a copywriter who is savvy in this area, too (that would be me – wink ;)).
  7. Test it, test it and test it again.  Before you go live have a few different people proof read and review the site to make sure all the links are working, all the pages load, images load, etc.  Something that’s helpful is to take the top 5 or 6 things your clients said they wanted on your site and ask the reviewers to try to “do” it on the site.  They should be able to get to the right place within a couple of clicks; if not, it’s back to the beginning.  Also, make sure it’s compatible and loads easily on mobile devices (more on this in a future blog).
As you’re working on your site, you’ll need to decide whether you want to keep your current site running or shut it down until the new one is ready.  If it’s going to be a long time, and your site is an e-commerce one, it’s probably best to keep it running.  If it’s damaging your brand (like I think my own personal site was), it might be best to shut it down until the new one is ready.  I caution against shutting it down completely, though: at least leave the home page with a note that changes are on the way, and leave the contact page, directions,  and the like running, too (like I did on mine.  I also link it back to this blog :)).
When the new site is ready, let everyone know about it – especially your clients and prospects.  If you’ve used all the tools (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc), it won’t be hard to do.
Buona fortuna (good luck)!
Jennifer

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Is your marketing fit, or fat? 8 considerations for keeping your campaign healthy

I'll take exercise and wellness any day over the alternative!

Those of you who know me, know that I’m a fitness nut.  Exercise, especially running, is very important to me and is part of my daily routine; I’m also in the gym a few days a week, and golf whenever I can.  Lately, though, I’ve been plagued by a couple of injuries (ITBS being the most recent – grrr) from trying to do too much too quickly.  I started thinking that marketing is the same way: you can be fit and lean and still plagued with injury if your daily activity isn’t well thought out and properly aligned with your goals.

So how do you know if your marketing is fit (in buona forma) or fat (grasso)?  Let’s think about it in terms of a typical personal fitness assessment, which analyzes and measures a variety of factors including things such as strength, flexibility and endurance and determines what you need to stay healthy.  Each can easily be applied to your marketing strategy but don’t worry, we won’t get too technical here!

  1. Strength.  How much muscle does your marketing have?  That is, is your marketing strategy or campaign concept strong enough to support the budget and resources behind it, or does it need some additional fuel (an energy bar?) to muscle past the competition?
  2. Mechanics.  Just as with your body, the mechanics of your marketing strategy can make or break (literally, in fitness) its success.  Think of marketing mechanics as all the components and activities (e-newsletters, advertising, social media, etc.) that comprise a campaign.  They all need to complement each other and work together for optimal performance.
  3. Flexibility.  Ah, flexibility.  The thing that plagues my physical fitness the most!  It plagues a number of marketing campaigns, too.  Marketers need to constantly assess how well campaigns are working and be ready to adapt when they’re not.  And as you implement new activity, consider how flexible you need to be for long-term, positive performance.
  4. Endurance.  How long can you sustain your latest marketing campaign?  Does it have longevity?  A good campaign is one that can be used successfully over and over again and most importantly, be remembered.
  5. Composition.  In fitness, composition refers to body composition or, % of body fat.  You certainly want this to be a low number (20-25% is ideal for most people) but in marketing, the less grasso the better.  Think of “marketing fat” as anything that weighs down your campaign and detracts from your ability to reach your goals.  This could be anything from putting resources on unproductive activities to having too many activities going at once (which can sometimes dilute the overall results).
  6. Reach.  Well this one is a bit of a stretch when comparing to marketing (no pun intended, lol) because the terms mean different things, but reach is one of the most critical factors in a marketing campaign’s success.  Who is your target audience and what do you need to do to make sure your message reaches the right people at the right time?  Should you focus on a smaller target at first and then work your way up to something of a larger scale?  In many cases, a gradual increase is best to prevent “injury.”
  7. RDA’s.  Once your campaign is in place, what does it need to sustain it?  Just like your body needs enough of the right combination of calories every day to stay healthy, a marketing strategy or campaign needs a certain amount of daily attention, too.  Marketers need to feed their campaigns, be keenly aware of any deficits and be prepared to supplement as needed.
  8. Recovery and Fluids. This, by far, is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy.  Bodies need plenty of fluids and time to recover from injury or they risk new or recurring injury (a HUGE nuisance); however, constant hydration and taking the time to nurse an injury back to health ensures the greatest chances of long-term success, and will get you to your goals faster.
A la prossima volta (until next time)!
Jennifer

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Pensare in Modo Creativo (Thinking Outside “The Box”)

Have a reader? Snap this image!

Do you know what the image at left is?  No doubt you’ve been seeing this funny little box popping up everywhere lately: magazine ads, newspapers, coupons, business cards, websites and more have them, and all kinds of companies are using them (especially retail and B2C).  They have been in use in Japan for quite a while and have finally made their way to the U.S., and tech-savvy marketers are rapidly adopting their use as a new way to interact with consumers.

They’re called QR, or Quick Response, codes.   Designed to work with mobile phones (or any camera-enabled mobile device), QR codes are basically a 2D barcode that can contain a URL link, an SMS messages, V-card info or just plain alphanumeric text.  The codes are easy and free to create, and easy to implement, and they can be printed on any medium, including fabric – and even skin, by way of a temporary tattoo!   (This site has a great list of possible applications).

The question is (the same question all marketers should ask themselves before campaigning with any new technology): does this application have bottom-line business value for my company?  Further, does it provide something of value to the consumer that will stimulate action on their part?

I think of these codes like I do Facebook and other social media.  They’re all really cool tools and when they’re used properly (with well-thought out strategy) they’re an incredibly effectively way to thread multiple mediums together such as TV, print, direct mail, Web, digital signage or mobile.  But if they’re implemented just because everyone else is doing it, the results can be less than desirable (it kind of reminds me of the lesson we heard as kids: if your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?).

Another consideration is how quickly consumers will adopt the use of QR codes as a way to interact with companies.  For those that have smart phones, it’s relatively easy to download a free application that reads the codes, and once you have the software you can use it over and over again to read any QR code (I personally prefer i-nigma for my blackberry, as it seems to be the most accurate).  As long as marketers find creative ways to integrate QR codes into their campaigns, the adoption rates will likely be quite high.

First, I’d love to hear if your company is using QR codes and how it’s going.  Then, put your consumer cappello (hat) on and let me know how you feel about these codes. Please take the polls below.

A helpful link!

Grazie!

So what about the QR code above?  If you’ve snapped a picture of it, you’ve discovered an alphanumeric message da mi (from me).  Here’s another one, with a URL link.  Once you’ve downloaded it to your phone and opened the link, it’s something you can bookmark and refer over and over again.  🙂

A la prossima volta,
Jennifer

p.s. – Special thanks to my friend and fellow marketer, Louie Hollmeyer of 121 Marketing LLC for introducing me to QR codes.  Louie is a very tech-savvy marketer and knows all the latest technology innovations, especially those related to personalized, interactive marketing campaigns.  He provided input to this blog, including the suggestion to add the polls – a great idea!   Grazie mille, Louie!

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Proof of Life (in 10 seconds or less)

Is there life on your website?

Hello?  Is anyone there?  That’s sometimes how I feel when I’m visiting a website (or writing this blog, LOL).  But seriously, when there’s no evidence of new activity, no scrolling news, no social media links or video, no “vita” it typically only takes about 10 seconds for me to decide whether a website is one I’d like to explore further, or whether the company is one I might like or want to do business with.  Some marketers call the ability to keep a visitor on your site “stickiness,” some call it “prova di vita” (proof of life).  I call it “you better have something here that captures my attention or I’m moving on to your competitor.”

Think about your own experiences: how many times have you gone to a search engine like Google or Bing and then started visiting the sites that come up in the search results?  We’ve all done that, sometimes multiple times a day.  After we click on a link and go to a site, we can usually decide very quickly (within 10 seconds or so) whether the site offers what we’re looking for.  If not, we go back to the search engine results and try the next one.  We go through this process over and over again until we find a site that captures our attention and practically screams “Hey, I’m alive and I’m updated and I have what you’re looking for!”  That’s what every company should strive for when developing their website.  Today’s attention-deficit, time-deprived society practically demands it.

What can you include on your site that engages visitors within 10 seconds?  A lot!  There are plenty of choices for exhibiting “prova di vita” including:

  • A short, informational video (really hot right now.  We’ll cover video in more depth in a future blog).  Just please give me the option to hit the play button versus having it auto play.
  • A blog roll, or other scrolling item.  If you have social media posts to display, display them (rolling, scrolling or news reel is good); if you have customer testimonials, rotate them.  If you have news or press releases, animate those too.
  • Quality images (smaller in size, proportional to other content and strategically placed is better).  Images of people that actually work at your company, of customers and clients using your products or of your products themselves are ideal. (see last week’s blog “The popularity of the peep show” for more on images).  If you have multiple images, rotate them.
  • Offer to download tangible, relevant information.  Did your company publish a report or whitepaper recently?  Include a link to download it for free.  Do you have a fact sheet or informational piece that is relevant to my needs today?  Give me a link.  The more I have to look at (for free), the longer I’ll stay engaged.
  • Links that work.  Old, outdated links frustrate visitors and diminish your site’s credibility.
Other things that will keep your visitors from defecting to your competitor include:
  • “Browser safe” fonts.  These are fonts that are not only easy to read (critical) but are compatible with all types of browsers for both Windows and mac.
  • Engaging headlines and copy that draw the reader in.  Intrigue me, tell me what you can do for me and CLEARLY depict what your company does.
  • Sensible navigation. It should only take one, maybe two clicks, for me to get to exactly the information I need.  And please, put all the navigation in the same place!  Nothing annoys me more than having to look at the main navigation bar (or bars) and then the footer of the site to find something as simple as contact information or directions.  If I can’t find what I need in one click, I’m moving on.
  • Directions.  If you’re a place people visit frequently, put a map or directions front and center.

These are just a few ideas.  You don’t need to be a website developer to know the website dos and don’ts.  There are even more suggestions on websitehelpers.com.  I love the information on this site (especially R7…I definitely need to keep this one in mind) and wish everyone developing or re-developing a website would check it out (and then call me to help write the engaging headlines and copy 🙂 ).

How much “vita” is on your website?  If you want to find out, try Hubspot’s free website grader.  I’ve done it, which is precisely why my own website, market-write.com, is currently “down for maintenance.”

Buona fortuna (good luck)!

Jennifer

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The Popularity of the Peep Show

I admit it.  I’m guilty of indulging in a peep show now and then.   And so are most of my friends.  We do it every day!  It’s become somewhat of an obsession for many people.

This is not your typical peep show! LOL

No, I’m not talking about THAT kind of peep show (or the one to the right).  I’m talking about the peep shows on social media like Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn.  Millions of people collectively spend countless hours every day poring over their friends’ fotografie and using LinkedIn to see what business connections, whom they haven’t met yet, look like.  I admit, I am guilty of that myself. 🙂

Why?  Because it’s fun!  And because people love pictures.  They love to see who they’re connected with.  They love to see what the old high school flame looks like 25 years later.  They love to see pictures of kids and babies, animals and more.  This is why social media like Facebook has become so wildly popular.   The pictures people share tell a story, reveal their true personality and provide a peep into their life we wouldn’t otherwise have unless we saw that person every day.   We learn more about our connections through pictures than we do from reading their bio or a website and we get more views and comments when we share a picture versus a simple written post.  (This is the same reason YouTube is ridiculously popular.  We’ll cover video in a future blog).

This all reminds me of one of the things I learned when I worked in restaurants years ago, something that has always stuck with me: “presentation is 95%.”   Basically, the better your food looks when it arrives at your table, the more happy you will be with your selection and the more likely you will be to think it tastes good and enjoy it, even if it’s not that great tasting.  On the other hand, if it looks like dog food, it’s an automatic turn off and you’re more likely to be dissatisfied with the way it tastes, even if it’s the best-tasting dish in the world.  The same thing works in marketing.  If it looks appealing, a consumer is likely to buy it.  Yes, it’s mostly psychological, but isn’t that what mostly all marketing is?

As marketers, we constantly seek to discover ways to influence consumer purchasing behavior.  We spend hours doing research and thousands of dollars on focus groups and surveys to determine which packaging and advertising will resonate best with consumers.  We use psicologia to determine what images and messaging will have the greatest influence on behavior and purchase decision.  And we use pictures to tell a story about our product or service or give insights into the culture of our company.

E’ vero (it’s true), some industries and professions lend themselves better to pictures than others; tangible products will almost always be easier to sell with imagery than service-based industries (how many handshake pictures can you really be influenced by these days?).  But overall, pictures do make a difference, so here are a few tips for including pictures in your own marketing:

  • Use images of your real customers and clients.  People who see people they know will be more likely to use your product or service, too (it serves as a “visual” referral).
  • If you have an online store, show pictures of each product you sell.  Provide dimensions and other details as needed. (I was on the Home Depot website the other day and was thrilled that they included the assembly instructions with what I wanted to buy.  Made my decision to purchase much easier, especially since the picture of the product was exactly what I wanted).
  • Make sure the pictures are clear and sharp and that the faces of the people, especially, are easy to see.  Grainy pictures get less attention and views and leave a negative impression of quality.
  • Tell a story!  Use a series of pictures to show a product’s progression over time or to provide a visual summary of an event or activity.  (A series of pictures in a powerpoint presentation serves as a nice low-budget “video” option).
  • If you are sharing pictures from an event, show as many pictures of different attendees as possible.  People will be more likely to attend your next event or party if they see people they know – or want to know.
  • Include captions!  Something funny or something that tells a story about the picture is more engaging.  Just make sure the comments are in good taste and not insulting or derogatory in any way.
These are just a few thoughts on adding pictures.  If you have other ideas or suggestions, please share them on this blog!
A la prossima volta (until next time)…
Jennifer

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From Penny Pinching to Panty Pitching

Believe it or not, one of the signs that the economy is improving is an increase in underwear sales (men’s, in particular).  Apparently, when times get tough and people are counting their pennies, the last thing they think about updating is their collection of unmentionables.   But time and again, statistics show that as confidence in the economy improves and expenditures pick up, one of the items people start buying again, is biancheria (underwear).

As recent as two weeks ago, shares of Hanesbrands, Warnaco, Limited and Maidenform were thriving compared to a year ago (high-end retailers like Victoria’s Secret may have to wait a little while longer, but are likely to improve soon as well).  After having gone a while with less than whitey whities, it appears people are ready to replace the worn out with something new in order to feel good.

This phenomenon is not unlike marketing expenditures.  It’s very common that as companies start cutting back, marketing is often one of the first areas to suffer.  Marketing departments are thinned, budgets are slashed and the “bottom” line (pun intended) is still covered, at least in the short run.

However, the effects of reducing marketing expenditures today can have significant negative effects on the long-term bottom line.  Companies that neglect to market in the downturn lose visibility and market share and the holes in their marketing (just like the holes in worn-out underwear) become painfully visible – and intolerable – all too quickly. Companies then have to work twice as hard and are likely to spend twice as much to replenish their staff, recover their market positioning and re-establish their brand in order to keep up with the competition that kept marketing when the threads were thinning.

I hope this panty phenomenon really is true (I, for one, can attest to its validity considering a certain retailer’s Platinum card I have recently used) but more so for my marketing friends and colleagues than for myself.  I look forward to the day when the next marketing mixer or networking event I attend has more people gainfully employed in marketing than those who are “in transition.”

If you’re reading this, get off your culo (bottom) and think about your own panty drawer…um, I mean marketing.  Is it worn-out and gray or fresh and vibrant?  If it’s the former, it may be time to start pitching the worn-out strategies and replace them with proactive marketing strategies and purchases that make you, and your company, feel good.  Panty pitching can actually be quite liberating. :~)

Buona giornata!
Jennifer

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Filed under General, Marketing Strategy