Master Creative Momentum

Congratulations to Bubba Watson for winning his second green jacket having won the 2014 Masters tournament this past weekend. If you had the opportunity to watch any of the tournament coverage, you know that Bubba’s demeanor and style of play was nothing short of admirable and inspirational. The 35-year-old veteran was calm under pressure and was intent on playing his own golf game, even when most would have pulled back the reins during his Sunday approach on fifteen. With a three shot lead and 190 yards away, rather than laying up, Bubba hit a knock-down 6 iron through the trees that landed just off the backside green. A gaMasters 2014sp came over the crowd, the commentators and even Bubba’s closest competitor playing along side of him, Jordan Spieth and his caddy Michael Greller. “We were shocked,” said Greller. “We were watching him over there and were both like, “What in the world is Bubba doing?”

When you’re playing solid golf, don’t let risk drive your decisions. For Bubba, it made sense to keep grinding away, it’s what he does best. And it worked. That’s “Bubba Golf”.

Much can be said for creative successes in the workplace. If you’re performing at an optimum level, and your creative decisions continue to pay dividends, does it make sense to begin taking a more conservative approach? Take advantage of your creative momentum… you may not be awarded the green jacket, but your competitors will be green with envoy.

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Surprise and Delight

Bringing a smile to someone’s face is always an enriching experience.  From a marketer’s perspective, it warms the moment and leaves an indelible image that helps foster positive outcomes.  It’s no wonder surprise and delight has been an integrated strategy in most successful loyalty programs.

Lately more and more marketers are embracing the simple tactics of making their customers feel special.  And if they strike the right emotional connection, their customers are touting their praises over social media in real time.  Good deeds don’t go unnoticed, especially in a digital environment!

Surprise and delight doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  And it doesn’t need to be part of an elaborate marketing strategy.  Sometimes all it takes is a human touch.  You never know, a simple heartfelt thank you can start the conversation.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day everyone!

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Breaking through the clutter

I recently attended the National Postal Forum in San Diego with over 4,000 professionals all whom were in the business-of-mail. At the conclusion of the 4-day conference it was clear that despite the decline in mail volume over the last five years, the USPS is still very bullish on mail. That’s not to say we’ll see a return of pre- 2006 mail volume, but hopefully a sustained spike in advertising mail over the next 12 months.

According to Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, 75% of US businesses are not using mail as an advertising channel. Advancing technology has created a plethora of alternative media choices and as a result, the mail channel has suffered. However no matter how you slice it, when executed the right way, direct mail does work. The PMG recognizes this as a huge opportunity for the USPS; so much so, they launched a money-back guarantee to select businesses that spend over $250 million in advertising outside of the mail channel. If a participating advertiser mails a minimum 500,000 pieces of first class or standard mail and fails to meet the established metrics, as verified by a Postal Service representative, the USPS will refund up to $250,000 in postage costs.

To further boast the value of mail, the USPS is currently in the development stages of a B2C integrated marketing campaign including TV spots and direct mail. Building on the success of their package marketing campaign “If it fits, it ships” which resulted in a 35% boost in flat-rate box year-over-year sales, the PMG noted the USPS hadn’t focused on promoting mail in over ten years and this new campaign would be “a little unusual, but it could also be very powerful.”

As a proponent of direct mail, I applaud the USPS for breaking through the technology clutter and shedding much needed light on the mail channel – one that brings not only accountability to marketers but “tangibility” to customer engagement.

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Mobile Relationships

It doesn’t matter how old you are, who you are or where you are, we’re all caught-up in our mobile devices. Whether we’re posting, texting, gaming, shopping, surfing and oh yeah, talking. More and more of us are either obsessed with our devices or at least always in arms reach of away. It comes as no surprise to learn consumer adoption rates for mobile smartphones (including tablet computers) are going through the roof. Couple that with perpetual innovation; very soon the stationary desktop computer will be as obsolete as your VCR.

Mobile technology is not only changing the way consumers interact and behave, but also how they shop. A recent study of more than 1,400 consumers shows that over 50% are now regularly using their smartphones to enhance their shopping experience – by comparing prices, finding other store locations and seeking discounts. With this activity on the rise, marketers need to look beyond the curve if they want to continue connecting, engaging and sustaining relationships with their customers.

Nearly 80% of businesses today lack a mobile presence. That will change dramatically over the next 18 months, and not by the big brands alone. According to Borrell Associates, local advertisers will contribute much of its growth from spending $500 million last year to $3.3 billion by 2012. Mobile is the fastest growing media, now is the time to get involved.

So before you get too caught-up in your own device, initiate a mobile contact strategy to catch-up with your own customers. Your future relationships will depend on it.

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A love letter.

Love is in the air and so are the sounds of ringing cash registers! This year the average spend among Valentine’s Day consumers is expected to reach $116 per love struck person and topping close to $16 billion in overall related sales. That includes Valentine’s Day Cards, Candy, Flowers, Jewelry, Dining, Apparel and the hustle and bustle to bring it all together. Love, it’s a wonderful thing.

But don’t fret if you’re not among the masses contributing to the sounds of Valentine’s Day. Money need not be exchanged to express your feelings. A simple love letter is worth far more than you realize to the ones you cherish. Nothing warms the heart more than the written word finding you beautiful, captivating and all consuming. In our seemingly non-stop, high-tech world in which we spend our days, the mere pause and reflection it takes to pen a love letter is worth far more than the retail spend of today. How you feel is priceless and can never be compared. After all, true love is a wonderful thing.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Super Bowl, Super Impact

The big game is near and although my team will not be in attendance, I still plan on watching along with 171 million anticipated viewers this year. A recent survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, revealed more people (in the 8 year history of the survey) plan to celebrate the Super Bowl whether they’re hosting a party, attending one or patronizing their favorite watering hole. The survey also says the average fan is expected to spend $59.33 on game-related merchandise, apparel and snacks. That’s up from $52.63 last year, bringing the expected super spend totaling over $10 billion. That’s a lot of guacamole!

Of the millions of people planning to tune in on February 6, almost half or 47% say the game itself is the most important part, but over 25% say they’ll watch primarily for the commercials. And that’s good news for advertisers. With ad inventory for Super Bowl XLV all sold out, Fox has fetched nearly $3 million per 30 second spot! Before you pass judgment, consider this, according to a Millward Brown Optimor study, a spot on the Super Bowl is equal to, on average, 250 spots on regular TV. This means that to get the same sales lift, advertisers can spend $9 million on 250 regular TV ads or $3 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl airtime. Do you think Fox used that in their sales pitch?

Let’s face it; the Super Bowl is a super opportunity for many. For me, among them are friends and family being reunited since the holidays, brands get to showcase their agency’s creativity and two teams get to battle for NFL supremacy. And despite the fact my team will be watching just like me, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Have a Super Sunday everyone!

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2011 Customer Engagement, Next Left.

The rubber has met the road and 2011 is well upon us. Does your business have the traction it needs to reach your goals and objectives?

Despite the GDP slow rise, there is still much apprehension among consumers in how and where they spend their discretionary income. So how are successful businesses adjusting their marketing strategies to sustain or even capitalize in this slow economy? One answer could be engagement.

There are many engagement strategies you can turn to and one includes empowering your best customers. You already know your most valuable customer is not only a profitable one, but one that advocates your products and services. And in these economic times of uncertainty, consumers tend to rely more on word-of-mouth and personal recommendations from their own peers. A Nielsen statistic states 14% of people trust ads, while 78% of people trust consumer recommendations. By engaging with your best customers, developing a dialog and strengthening their trust you can empower them to become brand apostles – helping promote your business. And it’s the brand apostle, your brand apostle, that can help you better develop new “best customer” relationships.

The road to economic recovery will no doubt take a longer than expected. In the interim it is imperative to take full advantage of all your business strengths, which whether you recognize it or not, includes your very own customers.

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