Friday, September 28, 2007

Direct response is what it says

Direct response is what it seeks: not a delayed action, but an immediate response. "Call today!" "Order now!" etc. They are the rally cries of direct marketing. Thinking about employing some direct response? Consider:

1. Copy is king. The right words in the right place at the right time have the power to grab attention, keep attention and get a response.

2. Definitions drive response. Define your audience and you create the pathway to their response. Insights on the target audience should drive your copy, your images and your desired response.

3. Media matters. Proper placement is one thing, proper negotiation matters even more.

4. Return rules. Measuring for the response can be "easy" but only when you have the proper tools in place.

Above all, design matters. When effective tactic is combined with effective design, well, look out. The results are unmistakable. The design doesn't need to be award-winning but it does need to be brand consistent.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Curiosity Sparks Action

Frame your communication to play to people's curiosity. Craft the right set of questions and you might be surprised at how curiosity about answers sparks people to action. Dan Heath shares a post he received about how the right questions drove attendance at a church finance meeting.

What's your question?
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Monday, September 24, 2007

Red herring, anyone?

It strikes me that Claire Gaudiani's call in an August Chronicle of Philanthropy sparks good conversation but may not be constructive for the very organizations represented by the "sector." She calls for use of "social-profit" to reflect the "investment, risk taking, and entrepreneurial imagination that have always been so essential to organizations that serve the social good.” Since nonprofit organizations, even while called nonprofits, can focus on investment, risk taking and entrepreneurial imagination, important energy needed to communicate that focus may be diverted. Rather than spend time discussing a new name for the nonprofit sector, we suggest spending time telling your social-profit stories to staff, clients, board members, donors and community. Talk about risk and return. Show results. Be accountable. Worry less about the name of the sector and more about creating the common good.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Positivity Plus

Penelope Trunk, blogger, Yahoo! columnist, and author of The Brazen Careerist, often points to the study of positive psychology to explain her views of the work world. One of the tenets of positive psych is to spend more time focused on areas of strength than trying to improve areas of weakness. Part of the reason is that people are happiest when doing what they do best every day. Does your organization focus on improving its strengths? Do you talk internally about identifying those strengths? How could your employees start daily doing what they do best?
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Risk for Reward

A reminder we all need from time to time: there is no box. In idea-based businesses, most of our limitations stem only from habit to censor before we create. We hate to be wrong, to look foolish or to appear vulnerable. But to move beyond business as usual, we have to risk all three so we can tap our innate creativity.

Need a push? Read these tips to overcome mental blocks:
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Monday, September 17, 2007

Straight Talk by CEOs: a place to start

Couldn't agree more with Frank Luntz that the time is past for CEOs to start talking in language that Americans actually use. It can be tough to change, but a great place to start is elimininating acroymns. An even smaller first step, don't shorten the name of your organization to an acronym when you write about it. The second step of that challenge, don't do it when you talk about it.
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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Magical Insight

Words from The Amazing Randi: “Allow people to make assumptions and they will come away absolutely convinced that assumption was correct and that it represents fact. It’s not necessarily so.” Necessary for magicians, yet dangerous for the rest of us -- whether as consultants, coworkers, family members or individuals simply striving to do good in the world -- dangerous when someone else assumes something and it truly isn't necessarily so. Reinforces the power of clarification and connection.
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Clarity helps with complicated GenXers

Want to get Gen X into your world, don't tell them what they are going to get of it. Create a sense of community, create an opportunity for connection. Respect the fact that many were shaped in a world filled with lies and they are always on the lookout for the next half-truth or false-proclamation. Since they are complicated, be clear in the true value you deliver.

If you're in the arts, read a post by Bridgette Redman that offers her research-based and first-hand experience on how this applies to arts marketing.
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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Connecting on your target's turf

Take a lesson from artist/activist Eve Mosher, who seeks to personalize the effects of global warming on New Yorkers through "High Water Line." Her chalking of a 70-mile line to show where waters could reach during storms if climate change trends continue stops people. They watch. They ask what she's doing. They open the door for her to share her compelling story about keeping the water from ever hitting that mark. The project is simple and relevant to her audience. High Water Line connects people in the familiarity of their environment and daily routines. It not only captures their imagination as they envision what that line represents but also invites connects them with the cause.

How do you connect with your audience? Do you engage them on their turf? Step back and find some creative ways for your customers to interact with you.

More information on Mosher's project is available in the August edition of Free Range Thinking.
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