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Way at the top of unpaid Google search results on brand strategy is HubSpot’s post “7 Essentials for a Strong Company Brand.”   Point one is about brand purpose and brand promise. Not bad places to start I guess, but a little too soft for me.

Brand strategy is not about a promise. It’s about a claim. A prideful statement of consumer value that “is.” Not a might be, or a try-to-be.  But a fact. A fact found at the nexus consumer care-abouts and brand good-ats.

If you have your brand claim right then everything you do in sales and marketing should be about proving it. Promise and purpose help may get you to your claim, but claim is the quintessential essential.  7 is too many essentials anyway. Water, air and food are essentials.







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Salesforce, a spectacular online business, ran an ad today in the NYT paper paper using a tried and true ad tactic “the testimonial.”  Amazon Web Service was the customer. Both are great companies, but the ad was so weak. It’s what my dad Fred Poppe might have called the “doggy’s dinner.”

Central to the idea is something called the (initial caps) Customer Success Platform. Oy. Luckily, the Customer Service Platform is powered by (initial cap) Einstein artificial intelligence. A skootch better.  It “qualifies leads, predicts when customers are ready to buy, and helps them close more deals.”  This is actually stuff a real copywriter could work with — but as written it’s all claim, no proof.   

To make matters worse the ad ends with “What if you had a way to help your business take flight?” followed by the Salesforcrce logo (When did they lose the .com in the logo?) and tagline “Blaze new trails.”  Flight? Trails? Talk about mixing your metaphors.

It’s as if someone used an ad-by-numbers kit.

For a company as successful and powerful as Salesforce, you’d think they could put together a cogent, well-craft print ad.  Maybe they should download a Hubspot template. JKJK.  




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Just as Wyoming is transitioning from a coal mining state to a wind farming state, so will change the advertising business. I was one of the first people who poo-pooed the death of the TV Advertising commercial. When HubSpot came out proselytizing inbound marketing would replace advertising, I giggled. It wasn’t too much longer that they were investing in TV ads themselves to build business.  But conversely, back in the 90s, I asked Bob Cohen “Where are the online spending predictions?” His answer? “Too small to track at this time.” Bob was a McCann employee and the world’s leading ad spending economist.

The not so simple fact is advertising has been change irrevocably by online. And by the algorithm. Putting active queries into the marketing mix has up-ended everything. I’m not exactly sure what the 21st century ad unit of choice is but it will be somewhere between a video ad and a data-driven delivery system. And Google will not hold on to all the business the way it has today.  As Pearl Jam says “It’s evolution, baby.”

So we must begin to plan and ready ourselves for the future.  I’ve been writing and getting some traction around the comms planning tool Twitch Point Planning. I’d love to work with a smart brand to develop a Twitch Point program. It would be merely a step but as a mentor of mine once said “The idea to have an idea is sometimes more important than the idea itself.”

Let’s go! Peace.           


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Yesterday was Community Manager Appreciation Day.   Here’s a story about Community Manager one dot oh.  In her early 20s, right out of college, she took a job working at a bowling ball manufacturer as an admin all the while looking for a job befitting her marketing degree and minor in English Lit.  She was hired as an intern at a regional 1,000 employee services company with a respect brand name and made social media community manager. All good companies had one.  She was asked to write the job description for HR because, lucky her, she was a pioneer and the company’s first community manager.

On day one Ms. Community Manager was introduced to the marketing staff (she, red-faced) and told to report to the director of marketing (who didn’t have a Facebook account and was awfully busy).  Given a pod, a computer and introduced to the IT person – off she went.  She went to BrandHackers and a few other meetups in NYC and Brooklyn, met a guyfriend, and picked up some tools and jargon along the way. After 5 months she had talked the company into subscribing to HubSpot (who taught her a thing or two), but she felt as if she were on an island. “Where’s the community manager job description?” HR asked.  “One more week please.”

After 6 months, the company had a new look for its Facebook page, two Twitter handles (one for product, one for customer service), a Pinterest account and Instagram photos. They had a dashboard telling them that March was a good month for web hits. The company also bought a video camera for Ms. Manager and finally got its job description. 

On the anniversary of her 8th month, Ms. Manager got a job at a digital ad agency in Brooklyn by telling them she had built a dept. and generated high “time in site” and “registration rates.” This she did, all this without a whiff of a brand strategy. And off she goes.  Like a virus. Peace.

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A couple, two, tree years ago I predicted the trivestiture of Google. It will still happen but perhaps not for the reason I initially thought. One of the businesses that will spin off will be an analytics business. The more the cloud powers the world, the more data actions are recorded. And I’m not just talking about purchases, I’m thinking mobile apps, geo-location, word capture in texts, searches, likes, LOLs, picture tags, etc.

Big data allows a lot of this now, we just don’t have the tools to use that data. HubSpot is a dashboard company that offers rudimentary analytics, but they don’t do much more than offer reports.  One of my first big clients AT&T once told me, “It’s not enough to capture data, you need to do something smart with it.” Google has the scientists, computing power and cash to use consumer and business data to predict purchase behavior. A data action seen in the cloud such as the search for new Netspresso machines for the office can indicate small business growth. Predictors of commerce is a business.

When an entire industry has grown up with a .250 batting average – that industry being advertising – the time has come for a marketing tool with a bit more clarity and exactitude.  That marketing tool is data-based. And it’s in Google’s sweet spot.  Unless Amazon beats them to the punch. You think Google makes money on advertising now, you just wait. Peace.

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Hubspot, in Boston, is a company  doing a very nice job marketing itself.  Their logo is pretty poor and they probably invented using the word “so” to start every sentence, but I used their free website grader a long time ago and it proved their digital marketing chops.  Some of Hubspot’s overzealousness about traditional is a bit grating but, hey, they’re selling.

 So (hee hee), Dan Zarella a real social dork (as he likes to say) put on a webinar yesterday highlighting some best practices of Facebook marketing and they were quite well done.  Dan is a social scientist, which means he really parses the data, so his insights are real.  Here is a topline:

– People have profiles, brands have pages. (Thought I’d start easy.)

– Facebook is not about making new friends, it’s about improving relationships with existing friends.

– On Facebook you are a performer – and being judged.

– Help your users look cool.

– Let your users perform in a brand-relevant way and you win!

– Women have 55% more posts on their walls than do men.

– Pages with lots of marketing buzz words don’t have as many friends, e.g., leverage, productivity, etc.

– Facebook users like food.  And they talk about it.

– Most “liked” activities: movies, books, music, TV show, television.

– Least “liked” activities: real estate, auto dealers, religion, dogs,

– Be entertaining — lay off marketing stuff.

– Social proof is big.  Lots of friends, likes, tweets, vitality wins over the opposite.

– Posts with the word “video” in them are shared more on Facebook than Twitter. Way more.

– Posts with digits (numbers) in them index high for sharing.

– Sex indexes highest for sharing. Positivity, learning, sharing, work, media and constructive are words and ideas also highly shared.

– Least shared idea: negativity.

– Write plainly and simply.  Don’t use lots of adjectives and adverbs.

– 51% of companies block Facebook.

Good stuff Dan. Peace!

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