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CASE STUDY: Anatomy of a successful home page

CASE STUDY: Anatomy of a successful home page

Last year, we partnered with the team at Allianz Global Assistance to improve sales and renewals for their Tuition Insurance product. Tuition Insurance is a wonderful product that can give additional peace of mind to families sending their children away to college. It goes beyond the limited refund options provided by the institutions themselves, and…+

The 5 Things Any Great White Paper Should Have

The 5 Things Any Great White Paper Should Have

On the 5th Day of the 12 Days of Great Content we consider the humble-yet-powerful white paper. It can be easy to overlook the white paper in favor of more glamorous options like Instagram posts and digital video. But the truth is, a well-written white paper can open doors like no other content. Now clearly, white…+

To video or not to video?

To video or not to video?

Here, on the third day of the #12DaysofGreat Content, we’ll take a quick look at the role video can (SHOULD) play in your content strategy. A good content strategy should enlist a wide variety of tactics and techniques. And one of them, without doubt, should be video. When HubSpot asked consumers what type of content…+

Understand what Facebook can (and won’t) do.

  The powers that be at Facebook understand that consumers are engaged in a decades-long game of hide-and-seek with marketers. And the last thing Facebook wants to see is users leaving their platform because they feel that FB has become “just another advertising medium.” So, the first thing you need to do is understand Facebook’s…+

(The 12 Days of) Great Content Marketing

(The 12 Days of) Great Content Marketing

Introduction Not too many years ago, the end of the year would probably put you in the mind to focused on what you should be telling consumers in the coming year. Now, it’s much more important to cultivate a conversation. And to do that, you should be focusing on generating good content, and developing your strategy…+

Why Liberty Mutual is such a Good* campaign

Why Liberty Mutual is such a Good* campaign

There’s a campaign that’s been running for some time now. You’ve seen it, probably several times. Bet your first question was Are they really in front of the Statue of Liberty? not “How does it measure up on that scale of Good* advertising I saw on that blog? See? It really is Good* advertising, and here are…+

How do you know if your idea Is Good?

How do you know if your idea Is Good?

One of the most difficult tasks we face is deciding whether a creative concept is “good.” Not just clever, or witty, or well executed, or edgy. That’s easy. No, what’s really difficult is determining whether it is Good, as in Will it accomplish these two primary real-world goals? Will it make consumers do/buy more? There’s…+

UPDATE: Who holds the Championship Belt for worst tagline?

UPDATE: Who holds the Championship Belt for worst tagline?

A little while ago I ranted a bit about what I felt to be some offensively bad copywriting (see below). Recently I heard a line just as head scratching. Now, it was on a podcast, so there’s a good chance it wasn’t written by a professional copywriter … which, right there, shows again the dangers…+

Why the best Creative Directors are Pedestrian Thinkers.

Why the best Creative Directors are Pedestrian Thinkers.

Everyone in advertising and marketing has a tough job … constantly asked to do more with less, and engage consumers who just really don’t want to be bothered. But Creative Director is a uniquely challenging role because it demands two types of thinking that don’t generally go well together. To be successful, a Creative Director…+

Do You Know Me?

Do You Know Me?

Hi there. I’m the consumer. (Actually, I think I prefer The Consumer.) Remember me? I’m the one onto which all your marketing attention should be focused. But I think maybe, just maybe, you spend a lot of your time thinking about things like Channel Strategy, and Content Optimization, and Shopper Marketing Fundamentals. And that means…+

Design Team or Creative Team? Why Semantics Matter.

Design Team or Creative Team? Why Semantics Matter.

What do you call yourself? Throughout my entire career, I’ve always identified myself as part of a Creative Team. Recently, though, I’ve changed my thinking and now see myself as contributing to the efforts of a Design Team, and here’s the main reason why: Creative Teams create assets. Design Teams design solutions. And, as creative…+

Overcoming Donor Skepticism: The First Step

Overcoming Donor Skepticism: The First Step

I’m a brand and consumer advertising specialist whose also had experience in fundraising. Now, ordinarily i would agree with you … that’s nothing but trouble. We’ve all seen the results (mostly bad) when general agencies and branding consultants have gotten their hands on a non-profit appeal. You get something that looks nice but doesn’t raise…+

Without this, you are doomed to FAIL.

Without this, you are doomed to FAIL.

Without this, your social media strategy is doomed to fail. and it doesn’t matter how many followers you have, or what time of day you post. You. Will. Fail. Without this, your digital campaign will fall flat. It doesn’t matter if you have the best u/x and most mobile-friendly website in the known world. You.…+

Introducing the 7 Stages of Consumer Skepticism

Introducing the 7 Stages of Consumer Skepticism

You’ve heard me say it before. Regardless of the channel you choose for your communications, your messaging must cut through the clutter … or it IS the clutter. Okay, so that might seem straight from the Captain Obvious playbook. But you’d be amazed by how many marketers these days think the medium IS the message.…+

What’s Wrong With the New KFC Campaign?

What’s Wrong With the New KFC Campaign?

So, what’s wrong with the new KFC campaign? The one that reintroduces a chicken-crazed world to one of its its foremost harbingers, The Colonel, Harlan Sanders. Before answering that question, let’s take a look at the problem this advertising is looking to address. KFC, like its fast-food pioneering cousin McDonald’s, has been seeing sales go…+

How to Choose the Right Ad Agency

How to choose the right ad agency.

According to Agency Spotter, there are over 120,000 companies and entities that choose to define themselves as advertising agencies in the U.S. alone. Worldwide the number is over half a billion. That’s quite a universe. How can you possibly choose the right one? Or, maybe more importantly, avoid choosing the wrong one? There are several…+

New! The 7 Stages of Skepticism

New! The 7 Stages of Skepticism

One of the things I enjoy most is copywriting. I love the challenge of moving someone from indifference to action. Because, as much as we love the brands, products and organizations we represent, there isn’t a human being anywhere who wakes up saying “Yes, today is the day I buy that new laundry detergent! Open…+

Are Buick, Cadillac and Dodge driving away from their legacies?

Are Buick, Cadillac and Dodge driving away from their legacies?

Three prominent car makes (or, as Ford would prefer you to think of them, “brands”) have recently taken a stab at redefining themselves for, they must believe, a misguided public. Buick, Cadillac and Dodge have each taken different approaches to the challenges, and they work to varying degrees of success. From least to most successful,…+

Cowardly …

Cowardly …

If you live in the South, you may be familiar with the Food Lion supermarket chain. Food Lion is the kind of supermarket you go to because … well, because it’s the closest, I guess? Well, as many re-marketers do from time to time, seems the folks at Food Lion decided they needed a brand…+

The Best Story You See This Holiday Just Might Be An Ad

The Best Story You See This Holiday Just Might Be An Ad

Good storytelling doesn’t require a lot of time. In fact, when done expertly … masterfully … a great story can be told in just about 90 seconds. Like this: Clearly, Misunderstood packs a real emotional punch It’s heartwarming and clever, plays against stereotype, utilizes a twist ending, and, as a result, tugs at the heartstrings…+

Why having a personal brand is so important.

Why having a personal brand is so important.

Not too long ago, I was looking for something up in the attic, and I came across some old promos — marketing materials I created a few years ago when I was first looking to promote myself as a consultant. And here’s a key frame from that … Times have changed a lot since then…+

Looking for a Winning Strategy? Try the Constanza Method.

Looking for a Winning Strategy? Try the Constanza Method.

You, me, and everyone we know have gotten to where we are today by leaning on a few tried and true techniques … approaches … strategies. Call them your go-to moves. Or your core competencies (if you are in that kind of TPS-Report-kind-of-organization.) Our brains are hard-wired to repeat what has been successful in the…+

George Costanza on … Giving Feedback

George Costanza on … Giving Feedback

UPDATED: May 2, 2017 There’s a question that I get asked, over and over, usually by Account Executives and other strategy folks. They’re nice people, and they want to be accommodating AND they want to make sure they are getting the most out of their creative partners. So they ask, quite nicely (and rightly) “What’s…+

The Demands of Sales vs. The Importance of Brand

A few days ago, a friend asked me a question that really got me thinking. (That seems like a total BS excuse to just go ahead and write a blog post, but I assure you, it really happened.) And no, it wasn’t from Mr. Richard Fader of Fort Lee, NJ, either … The question actually…+

4 things you can do RIGHT NOW to improve your creative process

4 things you can do RIGHT NOW to improve your creative process

If I had a time machine and could go back to visit the younger me, I believe he would be bewildered and dismayed by my later-in-life embrace of process. He’d rail at me at how creative people – you know, the really creative people – won’t let themselves be restrained by a set process. He’d…+

What goes into a good Creative Brief.

What goes into a good Creative Brief.

I think that if Creative and Strategy didn’t have the Creative Brief to argue about, someone would have to invent it. Everywhere I’ve ever been – and I’ve been on the agency side and the client side, in traditional agencies and in-house creative groups — the discussion pretty much goes the same: “If only we…+

Everything is a user interface. (Yes, even print.)

Everything is a user interface. (Yes, even print.)

Here’s a challenge that all marketers face … and it can be a particularly daunting one, particularly for those who are still developing their marketing chops. What, exactly should you be looking at when you’re assessing creative? There are about as many answers to that as there are people who look at creative. But there’s…+

Case Studies

Case Study: 35% Response Rate

Case Study: 35% Response Rate

How do you get a 35% response rate on direct mail? (How about 40%?) I was showing some of my past work to a prospective client the other day, and I happened to pull out a dimensional mailing we did years ago for Nordstrom … the one that got nearly 40% response when it was…+

Bringing Together 2 Iconic Brands

Bringing Together 2 Iconic Brands

When Capital One acquired ING Direct (INGD), the opportunity was great … and so was the obligation. ING Direct was not a typical business, nor was it a typical brand. The brand’s success was the result of intentionally differentiating itself as much as possible from the way other financial institutions presented themselves. And, as relatively…+