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Vol. 5 , No. 26     June 27, 2006


In this Newsletter:

  1. The Empire Writes Back: 'We, Me, Them & It' by John Simmons
  2. The Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing Professional Services Online
  3. The Art of Online Conversion: Four Steps From Interest to Acquisition
  4. How Voice of the Customer Got Its Groove Back (and How to Stay in Tune)
  5. Seven Steps to Writing Copy Your Market Will Actually Want to Read
  6. The Media Planning Myths of Cable TV
  7. Marketing Challenge: Two Tradeshow Alternatives

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Premium Content

Richard Pelletier
The Empire Writes Back: 'We, Me, Them & It' by John Simmons

Your organization is struggling to emerge from an overcrowded marketplace and forge a separate and unique identity—to create an enduring and powerful brand. How do you do it? Simple, says the UK's John Simmons. In "We, Me, Them & It: How to Write Powerfully for Business," Simmons suggests: Write differently.

Beyond the basics that most firms lean on to distinguish themselves—graphics, colors, logos, essentially a visual identity overhaul—language, and more specifically tone of voice, is a powerful way to forge a distinctive identity, writes Simmons. Branding, after all, is about differentiation. And describing a brand begins with words.

Get the full story.

For more on this subject, please click this button to download our Marketing Guide: Branding and Brand Equity.

Note: This Marketing Guide is available to paid members only. Get more information or sign up here.

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The Ultimate Question – A MarketingProfs Virtual Seminar with Fred Reichheld

In this 90-minute online session, best-selling author Fred Reichheld talks about good profits, bad profits, and the one question you should be asking your customers. You can attend this special event as a MarketingProfs guest!

When & Where: At your desktop, July 11th at 12pm Eastern. Learn more.

Doug Stern
The Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing Professional Services Online

Selling intangibles is hard work. Putting together a successful Web site that peddles intangibles is even harder.

Here's a look at the top sins that many professional services sites—maybe most—commit... along with some suggestions on what can be done about them.

Get the full story.

Brian Dempsey
The Art of Online Conversion: Four Steps From Interest to Acquisition

Make no mistake: Online, your success in converting interest into acquisition depends on your ability to connect with prospects precisely where they are in the buying process. B2B and B2C buyers go through similar stages in that process as they consider their purchasing decision: needs assessment, requirements analysis, evaluation, purchasing.

Using this model, there are four distinct methods you can use to successfully transition prospects from first click to conversion.

Get the full story.

For more on this subject, please click this button to download our Marketing Guide: Marketing ROI & the Sales Funnel.

Note: This Marketing Guide is available to paid members only. Get more information or sign up here.


A Note to Readers

Are We Richer or Lonelier?

I was talking to my pal Mike Wagner today. In passing he mentioned that a good number of his reader comments come from folks in Europe. "So I can't complain that I'm stuck in Des Moines, Iowa any more. With my blog I'm not stuck anywhere," Mike said.

Contrast Mike's perspective with a story I read last week in the Washington Post, Social Isolation Growing in U.S., Study Says. Poynter's Al Tompkins commented on it today, saying, "This story says something really sad about the times in which we live."

According to the study, one-fourth of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal issues. "That is almost triple the number who said the same thing in 1985. How many people would you say are in your closest circle of confidants? The national average, now, is two," Al writes.

Here's what I wonder: Are social ties really fraying? Or are they just shifting, and reweaving themselves in a different pattern?

We are living in interesting times, in which the very definition of "social circle" is shifting, expanding, and growing. Our "friends" don't fit the typical mold of bowling pals, maybe. But they are friends nevertheless, and it feels shortsighted to suggest that the social fabric of America (or the world) is fraying, when it seems, as Mike suggests, to be doing quite the opposite. "With my blog I'm not stuck anywhere."

In the WaPo piece, University of Toronto sociologist Barry Wellman said people's overall ties are actually growing, compared with previous decades, thanks in part to the Internet. Wellman has calculated that the average person today has about 250 ties with friends and relatives.

"I don't see this as the end of the world but part of a larger puzzle," Wellman said. "My guess is people only have so much energy, and right now they are switching around a number of networks.... We are getting a division of labor in relationships. Some people give emotional aid, some people give financial aid."

Wellman's interpretation feels more reasonable to me. But what do you think? Is your world a richer place? A lonelier place? Or a combination of the two?

Email me or comment here.

Until next week,

Ann Handley
Chief Content Officer


Last Issue's Top 5

  1. The Six Ps of Creating Lasting, Profitable Customer Loyalty in Highly Competitive Markets
  2. The 10 Truths of 'Real' Guerrilla Marketers
  3. Copy and Content: Avoiding What's Familiar
  4. The Power of Unexpected Context: User Delight and the Guy-From-the-Train Phenomenon
  5. The Nike+ iPod Partnering Strategy: Develop Unique Lifestyle Relationships
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What can YOU learn in 90 minutes?

June 29, 2006
The New Rules of PR: How to Use Press Releases to Reach Buyers Directly
The Web has changed PR. David Meerman Scott will explain how to develop a direct-to-consumer PR strategy.

July 6, 2006
Direct Marketing Creative Clinic: What Works in DM Communications
Listen in as direct marketing guru Ruth Stevens offers feedback to members about their current campaigns.


Promise Phelon
How Voice of the Customer Got Its Groove Back (and How to Stay in Tune)

Remember back in the '90s, when voice of the customer (VOC) was all the rage? It was a process discipline, a way for companies to gather customer insight to drive product and service requirements.

But VOC got lost amidst a booming tech sector, abundant resources, and the many, many new markets, customers, and transactions that companies pursued. Somewhere along the way, pulling out all the stops to delight the installed customer base got lost.

But today, VOC is again moving to the center of the radar.

Get the full story.

This author conducted a related survey with us. Click to view the B-to-B Voice of the Customer Benchmark Survey Results.
Note: Benchmark Survey Results are available to paid members only. Get more information or sign up here.

Daphne Gray-Grant
Seven Steps to Writing Copy Your Market Will Actually Want to Read

In a classic "New Yorker" cartoon, a man approaches the pearly gates. Saint Peter, greeting the new arrival, gestures to a sign saying "Birth, Death & Beyond" and comments, "Actually, I preferred 'Heaven,' too, but then the marketing guys got hold of it."

Ah, the dreaded "m" word. Instead of inspiring awe and admiration, it's now more likely to prompt contempt and eye-rolling.

Get the full story.

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Doug Garnett & Dan Zifkin
The Media Planning Myths of Cable TV

Traditional TV tends to deliver measurable advertising results only for true mass-market products—in part because you need about $15 million to begin even the smallest mainstream TV campaign.

Cable TV, on the other hand, is a powerfully viable alternative, delivering much higher ROI on much lower budgets in a national campaign. With cable TV, significant impact can be seen from as little as $500,000 in media spending.

Get the full story.

Meryl K. Evans and Hank Stroll
Marketing Challenge: Two Tradeshow Alternatives

For some organizations, there's no business like tradeshow business. But diversifying your marketing efforts leads to better results. So what are the alternatives to tradeshow marketing?

Get the full story.


Publisher:Allen Weiss

Content: Ann Handley

Strategy and Development:
Roy Young

Director of Premium Services
Val Frazee

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