Cause marketing has long been another tool in the work belt of advertising and public relations professionals. Everything from Breast Cancer Awareness to Crone's Disease has been co-opted and utilized as a marketing ploy to get consumers to buy, switch, or upgrade, just to build a brand. 

So much helping-hands-to-help-me is prevalent that there is more than a serious risk that we have desensitized consumers to helping a good cause for good, just because.

There is another way. Perhaps a brand could make a real impact by embracing the cause in 'cause marketing' and letting the marketing follow. I know it is revolutionary and contrary to modern marketing concepts, but think about it. You gotta zag when the others are zigging.

Imagine a company-corporation-business just doing the right thing. Helping for the sake of providing help; doing good works. And when the consumer tries to look behind the curtain for the motive? "Just doing good here.". Then you let your brand journalists loose to report on it for you. But no gimmicks; no 'a portion of every sale up to a preset amount we have already budgeted and paid goes to the cause'; no 'just buy our specially tagged-colored-packaged item at an inflated price and show your friends you cared enough about a cause to buy our product instead of helping the cause directly on your own'. Nope. None of that. Give it up. Stop being so convoluted.

Just help.

OK, I'll go... In my part of the world there is an historic piece of architecture --the Kirkbride Building--what had been a main building at the closed Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, NJ.

 

greystone.GIF

Designed a few years after the Civil War by Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan, it is a French Renaissance/Second Empire style building.  In the 1800s, Dr. Kirkbride for whom it was named, was seeking to create benevolent settings for patients. Every window in the Sloan design had a view of the surrounding pastoral countryside.

Sloan was no one-hit wonder. He also designed the North Carolina Executive Mansion, the official residence of the Governor of North Carolina and family, and the The Asa Packer Mansion, home of railroad magnate and founder of Lehigh University.  

Everything old is new again must be demolished

The 678,000-square-foot Kirkbride Building, constructed in 1876 and closed in 2008 when a new, modern hospital opened nearby is slated for demolition by the state (Governor Christie). Meanwhile Preserve Greystone (preservegreystone.org) -- made up of preservationists, historians, environmentalists and interested local residents-- is trying to salvage it; not as an empty monument. They are working to put it in the hands of people who could create something out of it-- new uses for the building instead of demolition of a storied piece of the state's history

Richard Upjohn, a Sloan contemporary and then president of the Institute of Architects mourned back in the 1800s that so few early colonial buildings remained and that if the Institute should be able by its influence to preserve these kind of  "interesting fabrics from demolition, it will be doing a good work."

On the destruction of a great building back in the 1870s, Sloan wrote: "Architecture and the art of building have not arrived at so much perfection in America that the loss of such an example can be afforded..."  

Preserve Greystone (preservegreystone.org) is dedicated to protecting the open space and historic buildings on the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital property in Morris County, NJ.   Please consider signing the petition on their website to keep it in our midst. You'll be doing good.

Marketing with content more often than not requires a reliance on words, (pictures can rarely tell the whole story) and certain words are more powerful than others when it come to helping attract attention, drive sales, or deliver a message. There are thousands to choose from, but here are six tried and true, powerful words to wake up, or flag your content.

because
now
free
how

(ok, so that was really two words)

new

Here's how to make your business successful. Use these pathfinders as an easy way to alert your prospects and customers, divine new content, or refresh previously published material. Because they are worth your time and effort. Act now. They're free.

__________________________________________________

Bob Namar is the Namarketer, a professional writer, editor and Internet marketer providing promotions and marketing via custom content to businesses in New York and New Jersey.

attract-customers-to-your-blog2.jpg

Every business, big or small, has the opportunity to be showcasing its expertise. For larger businesses, you may already have a blog installed (though have you developed a strategy and are you a regular publisher?). Smaller business may have been dragging their feet, but they should not. You can embed one in your site for little more than the cost of assigning an editor to it; or even if you do not have a web site for your business, you can still promote yourself by creating one for free.

But your blog has to be used and used well. To serve up content that will drive business, I suggest you P-L-A-T-E it:

  • Provide a call to action. Tell readers what they should do with information you just shared. Read more about the product or service, click to ask a question, visit the online Q&A, or another meaningful activity. Get them moving.
  • Link to other sources for your customers. Industry associations, news sites, experts, even other blogs that support your vision, all serve to educate, motivate and engage your readers.
  • Aggregate content for your visitors. That means bring information from other sites to yours. Putting a lot of good content in one place is convenient for your readers, projects authority as your readers see you can recognize good content, and can create a spring board from which ideas can grow. You can find some help here.
  • Target your community, and by that I mean your customers and prospects. This isn't a forum for your political or social beliefs, or your personal complaint department. You're doing this to be a leader and to attract people who want to do business with you.
  • Embed visuals. It's eye candy and makes your posts more interesting. Use charts, product pics, photos of your staff and operation, events and tradeshows, etc. Show AND tell. 'Nuff said.

If you aren't already blogging about your business, dive in. If you are, make sure you're doing it well and have a qualified editor putting it together for you (this is not an intern project). PLATE it, and you'll be serving a new wave of customers sooner than you think. It's your blog...Use it.

 

Bob Namar is president of Namarketer, a content marketing, publicity and promotion agency in the NY-NJ metropolitan area. Visit Namarketer.com.

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Authorbob namar

Re Namar Namarketing

Redesign  ... Reimagine     ... Reinvent

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the same mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." As a marketing leader, you have to be able to see the a company image as it really is, and also to imagine what it could become. Then you can bridge the gap.

Your brand image is who you are as a business. But even though the business may not change (though certainly many do) it is vital that your brand REmain fresh, new and inviting.

Companies are increasingly recognizing that today's turbulent times require nothing short of continual reinvention. Weathering today's storm isn't enough. You have got to REact.

REcreate your customer pledge, or your look. Add a word or a color, or change one. REplace old content. Use different copy, case studies, images; ones that REflect your company values.  REimagine your service; what if you performed-delivered-created things differently? Could it be better? Ask your staff; employees know how the company works and they are the closest to seeing its flaws or ways to improve. Use that knowledge to REinvent a new approach.

Pointing a critical or at least inquisitive eye at a company's image is bound to help it REvitalize, REjuvinate and REanimate.

REally.

QUALITY. It's the buzzword we all chase, for our businesses, for our clients or customers, and for our personal lives. But what is quality?

image

It is sometimes called 'excellence' or 'merit' or something else clever that the company is using to communicate they are "better than" somebody else. But it is usually a false chase. What quality is not is perfection. Too many minds get caught up in the 'it's got to be perfect to please, to work, to serve'. But it doesn't; because nothing is perfect.

But it can be free of mistakes; and it should be.

Namar on quality

So proofread that sales sheet three times over, then give it to someone else to proof, too. Double-check that list you are about to send to. Recheck those logos; are they the right color/size/shape? Is the copy saying what you really meant it to?...what you want it to?

Customers, clients, business partners may overlook an error; but they won't forget it. And repeating those errors is worse that being wrong, because it says you are being sloppy and uncaring about your relationship with them.

Quality is getting it as right as you can, consistently, confidently.

Go forth and make quality.

noerrors

Why is it that the best results for email are seen in the p.m., but the vast majority are sent in a.m.? Performance is everything. As a marketer, when you launch an email campaign, you try to focus on all the elements that could make it a success--or a failure: subject line. length, offer, creativity, images, and so on. One factor that usually gets the most attention is: When do we send?

email as social media

Conventional wisdom has long held that early in the day, when people are fresh and at work, is the best for performance (open rates and clickthroughs). But new research from Experian shows that while a.m. is by far the most popular time to send out that email, p.m. is better in terms of performance--far better. While performance will obvious vary by industry and other factors, in general, later--much later--is better. Between 8 p.m. and midnight, the open rate is more than 30% higher; and the clickthrough rate is almost 80% higher than their early-to-rise counterparts.

The reason? While open for debate, it seems rather straightforward that people have more time in the evening, to not only to spend time online, but to engage. The Internet, like a good nightclub, is a place to go for action after dark.

Namarketeers, take note.

Namarketinggears2 Social Media is an important part of every digital marketing playbook. But many marketers still struggle with using it effectively. Keeping up with the constant changes that evolve seemingly daily separate weak marketing from strong marketing. Those who are able to adapt quickly will be far more successful than those who don't.

How to leverage this newest medium? Here's a few tips:

  1. The highest engaged piece of content is an image. Stills and videos; graphics, art. The picture is worth many thousand words.
  2. Tell Don't sell. 80 percent of your marketing should be education for the audience; information that they're want to interact with and is not disruptive to their user experience. Only 20 percent of the content that you push out should be promotional.
  3. Have a call to action. After all, that is what you are there for, to get a reaction.

For 2013, and likely forever beyond, the keyword is optimize.

A social enterprise is an internal social network. Think business version of Facebook where all colleagues are able to collaborate in real-time on documents and projects. It  is a truly collaborative environment to service and support customers and prospects and make better use of employee time. No more waiting for email or hoping someone will pick up the phone. It takes away the geographic boundaries and massively increases business efficiency.

Namarketer social enterprise

Made possible through cloud computing, businesses are extending this familiar model to establish a similar synergy between their employees, customers and business partners — thus, employing a new social enterprise.

The value of the social enterprise is simple. It allows customers to get closer to their favorite brands, offers them a voice when they have something to say (good or bad) and encourages them to make better buying decisions. For companies, it magnifies the voice of the customer, allows them to identify macro trends, improve their customer service, maximize sales through new channels and even improve employee satisfaction.

The social enterprise is a strategy, not simply a single system or idea. It impacts an organization’s culture, processes, systems and bottom line. Leveraging social media in the enterprise is new to many, but time is ticking for those who haven’t developed a social enterprise strategy — chances are competitors have a head start. The cost of not taking action could be high.

Posted
Authorbob namar

"We really felt that the tomato is the hero of ketchup, and it was the right time to make the switch on our label," -- Noel Geoffrey, director of ketchup for Pittsburgh-based Heinz. Namarketing branding brand

After more than 110 years, H.J. Heinz Co. gave the tomato top billing on its namesake ketchup, bumping the pickle from the label of one of America's most iconic brands. Founder H.J. Heinz used a "pickle pin" to attract attention to his booth at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893. The pins were popular, and the branding stuck.

Along with the "Grown not made" tagline, the new branding set Heinz apart from the growing threat from private-label brands, which often cost less, as consumers look to save on their food costs.

Never compete on price because, (all together now): brand beats pricing.

Before the Renaissance, the letter J had been merely a glyph variant of I. After the Renaissance, it became conventional to treat I as a vowel, and J and as a consonant. Thus, the Latin "gesta" for "deeds," turned to "geste" in Old French, "to carry, behave, act, perform, and became the root for words such as con-gest-ion, in-di-gest-ion, sug-gest, re-gist-er, belli-ger-ent, con-ger-ies, and ex-ag-ger-ate.

The letter J was officially set apart from I in the 16th century; probably first been used by Petrus Ramus, a French humanist philosopher, logician, and educational reformer, known for being an outspoken critic of the Aristotelian philosophy which dominated European universities at that time. He advocated a more natural approach to logic which would conform to the way in which the human mind actually approaches the world around it, and made a distinction between logic and rhetoric.

Ramus objected to the way in which young students were made to memorize meaningless facts and rules of logic, and set out to reform the curriculum of the faculty of the arts into one that would teach students to use reason to advance their knowledge. He advocated the “freedom to philosophize,” maintaining that the use of reason would eventually lead a person to discover the truth.By emphasising the central importance of mathematics and by insisting on the application of scientific theory to practical problem solving, Ramus helped to formulate the quest for operational knowledge of nature that marks the Scientific Revolution.

Science and math have not only advanced the world politically and socially, but economically as well.  This is no more evident that with the recent introduction of Microsoft's gesture controlled advertising

Lynx, Toyota and Samsung are the first brands to take advantage of Microsoft’s “game-changing” NUads platform for Xbox that uses Kinect gesture control to make ads interactive.  The ads will appear on Xbox Live this autumn.

Lynx

Xbox says the NUads platform “transforms standard TV ads into engaging experiences” by allowing users to use the voice and gesture controls on Xbox 360 to control the ads.

Unilever will adapt its Lynx brand’s cops and robbers themed ad for Lynx Attract - its first fragrance for women - to ask users whether the Lynx Effect should be given to girls. Viewers can then answer yes or no using Kinect’s gesture controls.

Toyota will use its “Reinvented” ad that ran during the 2012 Superbowl to ask viewers what they would like to reinvent. The car marque then plans to use the feedback from users to inform the direction of future campaigns.

Gesture controlled ads deliver the one thing traditional TV advertising is missing - engagement. Brands can get real-time feedback from audiences, making TV advertising actionable for the first time, helping establish a dialogue with consumers.

Gesture and voice-based Kinect technology have great potential for creativity. No jest.

Not every site needs an FAQ section, though if you’re selling something, providing a service, or giving information about a complex subject, an FAQ can make life much easier for your visitors.

There’s no “right” design method for delivering FAQs, but any way you shape it, FAQs are content, and content is king. You must be sure the content you’re presenting is efficient and effective.

Bad FAQs

  • have outdated information
  • answer nothing
  • are not organized
  • take the user through circular links
  • are recycled information from the sit

Good FAQs

  • answer questions your customers are really asking. If you have a customer service department, support center or call center, find out what questions they regularly answer.
  • include timely questions. Are you answering the same questions today as you were last year? Maybe there is an issue there to be fixed.
  • are straightforward in their answers and clear in their expression.
  • resist the temptation to use marketing-speak. Customers want answers to a question, not a commercial.
  • are professionally written. Nothing turns off  customers faster than getting a techno-geek answer when what they need is well-written, plain-language instructions.
  • are easy to find and search.
  • are referenced throughout your site.
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Authorbob namar

AN advisory board helps you focus your editorial marketing content

Content Advice

One of the most underrated, but most valuable parts of any content generating groups is the editorial advisory board (EAB). Even if your business isn't content, if you publish anything tot the outside world (and if you don't you likely should) then you should have an EAB to help you with your content and your content calendar.

These boards are generally made up of the publication editors or your chief content office and a handful of internal (and occasionally external) experts on your business. Keeping the group small will make it exclusive, more desirable and sought-after. Their expertise could be about your product, your service or even you sales force.

Your content will improve immeasurable with input, advice and suggestion from these boards. Now, they do not direct your content, so you are not surrendering power or decision making; rather they provide subject matter ideas, comment on content that was produced, and provide opinion on topics or projects underway.  Often, the cross-talk generated between board members in your regularly scheduled meetings (important) will be valuable in itself.

Who to choose?  In  compiling a board, choose members from different disciplines, regions or business groups; you want a variety of opinion. Don't pick friends; you will learn more from agnostics or even those who not so friendly -- they will be more honest (and you may improve a relationship). Most importantly, they must commit to you schedule of meetings. It is pointless to have an adviser who never makes it to the meeting. Compensation is generally the honor of being asked, but can also include where appropriate a listing  within the publication or on a company website.

Start simple, but start now. The creation of a content marketing advisory board will completely revolutionize your content marketing and your marketing overall. You will see and hear about  things that you had never considered. Content ideas will flow like a river and direction and priority over content will reveal itself in a golden shaft of light.

Start emailing invitations.

_______________________________________________________________

February is Library Lovers Month

Perpetual calendar pictured available here.

It's the time of year for Top Ten Lists. Here's ten of the most interesting ones:

Forbes list starts with autos in the $1 million range.

10. Top Ten Most Expensive Cars for 2012. The Forbes list starts with autos in the $1 million range.

barranquilla-carnaval-columbia

9. Top Ten World Carnivals of 2012. Ancient hedonistic feasts have become modern version of drinking, dancing, and dressing up!

Byron Wein's endlessly entertaining year end forecasts,

8. Top Ten Surprises for 2012. Byron Wein's endlessly entertaining year-end forecasts,

Quantum Conundrum is the latest project of Kim Swift, co-creator of the classic PC puzzle game Portal. Like Portal,

7. Top Ten Original Video Games for 2012. Quantum Conundrum is by the creator of puzzle game Portal.

Commodities, the recession and President Obama's future.

6. Top Ten Market Predictions for 2012. Commodities, the recession and President Obama's future.

food and drink trends

5. Top Ten Food and Drink Trends for 2012. Trends in food and drink from the Ingredients Network.

bad music

4. Top Ten Worst Albums of 2012. Music you won't want to hear...or will you?

privacy and security

3. Top Ten Privacy Trends for 2012.   Privacy and security professionals look into the crystal-ball for 2012.

2. Top Ten Tech Trends for 2012. Nokia has a prototype of a flexible screen.

Space tourism is a job that will be hot in the next several years.

1. Top Ten Hot Careers of Tomorrow to Prepare for in 2012. Space tourism is a job that will be hot in the next several years.
Posted
Authorbob namar

Christmas is a season where people are predisposed to spending and therefore an excellent marketing opportunity for most businesses. And the time to plan your Christmas marketing campaign may be right now. Yes...for next year... Take some notes on what impressed, what impacted and what cut through to you this season and file it away for consideration when you plan your campaign in the late summer.

Developing a strategic marketing campaign to reach your target market, engage with them, and achieve your goals is a lot more difficult.

Your Advantage: Planning three months in advance, yes in the summer time, is the best way to kick off an amazing, results-driven Christmas campaign.

But, first you need to figure out what your objectives are, how you are going to measure your success and who you want to reach out to. Then you will need to develop deadlines to make sure you campaign achieves everything you wanted it to. After all that "shopping," you'll finally be able to relax and unwrap the gift you are giving yourself.

Merry Christmas.

Posted
Authorbob namar

One of the keys to creating a competitive advantage over your business competitors is to develop a strong marketing message. Some companies lose their way getting there. Some are inflexible, adhering to a concept or a theme that doesn't resonate, doesn't motivate or simply doesn't get attention. The message the committee developed last January in the seclusion of a meeting room may not be the one that will work today, in this economy, under today's circumstances. Change, evolution is a necessary part of the process.

Francis Ford Coppola, director of films such as Patton, The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, said that producers create a picture three times. First they write it; then they shoot it; then they edit it.

Those changes can be very significant, changing the entire message of a story. Important films have often changed even the ending of the story.

The Grapes of Wrath, a 1940 film directed by John Ford and based on John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel,  switches the order of story sequences from the book so that the family ends up in a "good" camp provided by the government and events turn out relatively well. The ending of the book is far less optimistic.

In the film, The Natural, from the 1952 book by Bernard Malamud, Roy Hobbs is victorious and fulfilling his dreams of glory, hitting the game-winning, pennant-clinching homer. The novel shows a Hobbs who is crushed by his own hubris and must live as a forgotten man, striking out in his ultimate moment.

If filmmakers, the executives of arguably America's most successive industry, can change the message  of their film to accommodate their audience (clients), why shouldn't you?

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Authorbob namar

Almost 100 years ago, in April, 1912 during the sinking of the Titanic, the ship's radio operators sent out distress calls begging for help. They intermixed "CQD" and "SOS" distress calls, hoping someone would respond. French was, and still is, the official language for international postal services.  The letters CQ, when pronounced in French, "sécu", resemble the first two syllables of sécurité, and were therefore used as shorthand for the word. It is still used in this sense in international telecommunications.  In English-speaking countries, the origin of the abbreviation was popularly changed to the phrase "seek you" or, later, when used in the CQD distress call, "Calling all distress". CQD appears to have died out shortly after this event, but SOS has lived on into today in popular culture.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the letters SOS were chosen because they are easily transmitted in Morse code; a continuous sequence of three-dits/three-dahs/three-dits, all run together without letter spacing. They were not an abbreviation, acronym or initialism for "Save our Ship", "Send Out Succour", or "Save our Souls". These were 'backronyms,' and came into popular use after SOS went into effect.

Today, marketers can rescue their business from its distress by intelligently applying content to their blogs, websites or tweets. Their key to success is as simple as S.O.S.: Solve Or Share.

But leave out the "sell"

Your blog should focus on your customers. Solve their problems; share your resources. Don't sell. As tempting as it may be to force yourself on your customer once you make a connection, resist!

In the movie War Games, Mathew Broderinck's character needed to 'break into' a computer (the WOPR) in order to prevent WWIII. The generals all stood by and watched as he chatted with and coerced the computer to play a game with him. As soon as he accessed the game, the generals jumped in and tried to manipulate the WOPR and it immediately shut them out. He had more work to do to get back int he good graces of the WOPR, which he did, and saved the world.

Like those generals, marketers are anxious to force themselves and 'news' about their company, products and services as soon as any tenuous connection is made with a consumer/customer.

But that won't engage prospects or attract customers. You need to write about what they care about.

What should you include? Ask your sales force or customer service staff  about the problems or questions they frequently encounter. What search terms are popular on your site? Think like a customer, or a reporter, not a salesperson.

When the Titanic was sinking, customers wanted to know where to get a life-jacket and how to find a lifeboat. They were not interested in the total tonnage displacement of the ship, or how many years of brilliant service the captain had under his belt.

Give your customers what they want and need, and it'll be smooth sailing.

----------------------------------- A new truth about the sinking of the Titanic?

Posted
Authorbob namar

What exactly do you do with content? I am not asking those of you who write, design, produce, create, edit, shape, film, review, strategize, draw or otherwise "make" the content. This is a question for those who have recoiled at the term 'consume' and are tired of being referred to as consumers. Marketers are quick to label people and their actions, but to me at least, this term rings true. While the first definition of consume is usually "to expend" (consuming gas, air, energy) the more appropriate use in this case has been "to use". When it comes to content, reading is using. Watching, listening, looking is using. Using is using.

How else can we refer to what we do with content if we don't "consume" it? Here is a word cloud of some other options.

Sure, you can appreciate content. You can absorb it. Assimilate or enjoy it. But I'd say these are redundant to the idea of consuming. We do consume. We are consumers.

Bottom Line: When it comes to content, after all is considered, the Consumer is King.

Consumers are the Kings of Content, and vice versa.

Posted
Authorbob namar