I have been in the marketing field for almost 20 years now. And, this not only makes me old, but it also gives you the understanding that I have been there and done that with a lot of things…particularly when it comes to market research and direct marketing.
Recently, I was speaking with someone who was relatively new to the field of marketing…you know the one…the person who uses the word “advertising” as a synonym for marketing. This person had no idea that how you approached marketing differed depending upon whether your marketing effort was aimed at pure brand building play or if it was focused on getting someone to take immediate actions (direct marketing).
Here’s briefly what I told the marketing novice:
- Know what success is before you start—make it specific
- Give them an offer they can’t refuse—also known as target your message to your target market
- Give them the WIIFM—if they know what’s in it for them, they are more likely to respond
- Make responding easy—and don’t assume everyone wants to go to a landing page/website or email you…some of us old timers want a good old-fashioned business reply card
- Don’t be a one-shot wonder—you need to think campaign, not once and done (which I like to call once and none)
- Include your Superman copy—make sure your copy gives them your unique selling proposition (aka how you are faster than a silver bullet and leap tall buildings with a single bound
- Test and learn—don’t shoot the wad before you know your direct marketing strategy is going to work
- Spend enough—think about your prospects and what will motivate them to respond and hopefully convert and spend accordingly—think lifetime value of customers you bring on board
These insights were helpful to the novice, I hope they are helpful to you as well.
Bad graphic design and more specifically bad Photoshop work is the bane of the advertising world’s existence–especially when people (such as our target audience) notice.
Over the years, I have seen some pretty bad work, some done by professionals and some done by amateurs.
Want to know how to spot a fake or a mistake like a pro? Here’s how. Look for:
Strange or bad shadows—while a photo may look perfect, the graphic artist will likely miss the mark when it comes to accurately portraying the shadows associated with the people or objects in the picture. Worst yet…they probably knwo that the shadow problem exists but don’t want to spend the time to fix it. They are betting you (and their client) wont notice (see picture above).
Soulless eyes—they say that your eyes are the window to your soul. Well that may be, but when it comes to spotting “fixed” eyes, it’s pretty easy, especially when there is more than one person in the photo. To spot the changed-out eyes, you just need to look for the eye position..are everyone’s eyes in the same position? And you need to look at the lightness of the eyes. If they swapped out the better eyes from a different picture, it is likely the angle was different. If that’s the case, the brightness of the eyes will be different between the people.
Cloning—too much grass in the picture? Is the pool a bit longer than it should be? The graphic designer probably took something out of the picture and had to make up for it by cloning the background around the missing piece to fill in the space. Cloning isn’t a problem…unless you can see it.
Bad blending—even those good with Photoshop can have what we call fringe problems. This occurs when the edges or fringes of an object doesn’t fit the back ground. To detect this problem, look at the fringe or edge of an object to see if the background looks consistent both from a color and shape perspective. Edges can also look too sharp or too soft.
The no freaking way factor—this is what I call the “does it make sense part?”. This is where we use our collective brains to determine if what we are seeing makes sense…like a shark jumping out of the ocean in an attempt to catch a helicopter. While a cool picture…not realistic. FAIL!
Want to see some Photoshop failures? Check out this link: http://www.boredpanda.com/worst-photoshop-mistakes/
Can you spot a fake?
For those of you that follow my blog, you know that I don’t use my blog as a rant platform. Well today, I am sorry to say, I have to diverge from my normal blogging style. But, don’t worry…it will still have to do with branding and marketing. I promise.
Southwest Airlines has been the Gold Standard (Platinum even) when it comes to customer focus and service. Not just among airlines, but among most American companies. Over the years, they have built a brand based on one singular notion…the customer comes first. I have to say, based on my experience with them today, I believe they may be veering away from that focus—which in my humble opinion will make them like all the rest of the big carriers. What will come of their brand? Not sure, but it can’t be good.
One of the best things about flying Southwest, besides the friendly staff and great fairs, was their flexibility when you had to make a change. Have to cancel a non-refundable ticket? No problem, we will still let you use the money for another flight. Have frequent flyer miles you want to use to buy a ticket for someone else? No problem. Have travel funds from a canceled ticket you want to use to fly your mom out to see her grandkids. Bring her!
Guess what…not anymore. Brand promise conflict? I think so.
Here’s what happened you decide…
- I had to cancel a business trip because my son was going to have surgery
- Southwest was nice enough to allow us to cancel the ticket and have a co-worker use the funds from the old ticket to buy the same ticket under her name so she could cover my meeting
- I found out last night that the surgery has been rescheduled for July
- My co-worker canceled her ticket so that I could reinstate my flights because I have to go on this trip
- Southwest told me to go pound sand, the ticket will cost $1000 (from Reno to Chicago and back)
- I told them that it was my ticket to begin with and that the whole process had started before they changed their policy on transfers today (yes… my luck… today)…again, go pound sand
So is what Southwest did wrong? No, it’s now their policy. Did their brand take a hit from me on social media from me today? Absolutely! And, more importantly, will experiences like this take their brand to a place it really doesn’t want to go? Maybe. Do they just want to be a commodity carrier and not a caring carrier? Only time will tell.