Target Marketing publisher Ethan Bolt quotes Steve Cuno in his new article "7 Tips Copywriting Tips That Should Be Put to the Test.” This is the third time Cuno has been quoted in the magazine.
Steve Cuno's latest Deliver article
I cringed when I read an article on how to launch a successful business. The author claimed that after deciding upon a product or service, the next most important step was to come up with a “catchy slogan.” The article appeared in a national magazine. Heaven only knows how many more lame slogans you and I will have to endure as a result.
To be fair, there are good slogans. It’s hard to argue with… (click here to read the rest)
Steve Cuno’s latest Deliver Magazine article
My friend shared an office with another direct marketer in a respected agency. One fine morning she watched as her colleague eagerly opened and flipped through the new catalog samples that had just arrived on her desk. This was her project, her baby. One hundred pages, perfect-bound, a real gem of a catalog, on its way to mailboxes all over the country at that very moment. But she didn’t beam. Instead, she wordlessly drew the wastebasket from under her desk and vomited into it.
(To read the rest, click here and download the current issue of Deliver, free. This article is on page 20. Excerpts from other articles by Steve Cuno are in this issue on page 11.)
If you’re an advertiser, TiVo can bring both bad and good news. On the bad side, it lets people zip past your ads. On the good side, it tells you which ads are skipped and which aren’t, so you can learn something about appealing to viewers.
TiVo just announced the least-zapped televised movie promos for yesterday’s Oscar contenders. During the past six months, “Up in the Air” with George Clooney was zapped the least. Similarly titled animated feature “Up” was a close second. “Avatar” came in third.
I might add that TiVo finds that the most-watched categories of TV commercials in general are, first, movie promos and, second, direct response spots. Think about that next time you’re about to sink your budget into a self-indulgenty entertaining spot just because your ad agency assures you it will win a Clio.
Kudos to the billboard company that made—and fixed—a mistake on one of our campaigns.
Yesterday we hopped in the car for a look at the newly posted billboards we designed for our client. The first board we checked looked fine, except for one small detail. The billboard company had posted the top half of our design at the bottom and the bottom half at the top. Which meant, to anyone driving by, the board wouldn't make much sense.
We called our billboard rep. His response? Chagrin, an apology, and "I'll take care of it." No excuses. No "you gotta unnerstan my position.”
Anyone can goof. It takes a professional to own and fix it. By admitting and taking care of the mistake, our rep earned our trust. We won't hesitate to work with him again.
An honest apology is a wonderful thing. It is also rare. Whether the fesser-upper is a private citizen, public figure or corporate entity, you almost never hear "I blew it, I'm sorry, and here's what I'm doing to make amends." More often you hear something passively self-excusing, like, "…if mistakes were made, we are truly sorry," or something that, in the guise of an apology, attempts to shift blame, like, "We're sorry people reacted in that way."
So I prepared to cheer when a new Toyota TV spot opened with a statement about their having learned a valuable lesson. But the cheer died on my lips when, instead of admitting faults and enumerating how Toyota would set things right, the spot told viewers to visit their local dealer to learn more.
Visit a dealer to see how sorry they are? Come on. When I make a mistake—an activity with which I am not unacquainted—I don't send a message saying, "To see how I've changed, come see me." I show up, in person, on bended knee, and disclose.
For Toyota to ask the market to make a trip to their turf and offer to listen while they plead their case is a foolish display of unconscionable arrogance.
Want customers to take immediate action? Offer something free.
Today I received a B2B email from DataPartners offering me a free $15 Starbucks gift card if I would take their survey. I have ignored other emails from them. Not this one. I took the survey.
Of course, to receive my gift card, I had to give up my address. I was in their database before but, having responded to this offer, now I'm really in it. Fully aware of that consequence, I acted anyway.
And, funny thing. Completing the survey led me to think a little deeper about our data needs and how DataPartners could help us. So now there’s a chance I'll do business with them.
The old "act now and get this free gift" strategy still works. Don't try telling me that your customers are "too sophisticated to fall for that." The higher your customer registers on the education-income continuum, the better free offers work. This hasn't changed in over 100 years.
(If you’re a viable prospect for data services and you want to hear from DataPartners, you can take the survey by clicking here. Please don’t take advantage of their offer if you’re not a viable prospect and you just want the coffee.)
It's time for Mr. Joe Szymanski, fellow principal here at the RESPONSE Agency, to visit the dentist for a semi-annual checkup. When he called just now, however, the receptionist didn't give him an appointment. She gave him a reservation.
I like that word choice. Only testing will reveal if reservations with a dentist sell better than appointments. But I wouldn't be surprised if they do.
On Sunday, gun rights activists marched into a Virginia Starbucks wearing plainly visible guns. They hoped to provoke Starbucks into tossing them out so that they could raise a First Amendment fuss.
Starbucks ignored them.
That was smart PR by Starbucks. Staying out of a fray takes vision, smarts and guts. And, that was bad PR by gun rights activists. The public is less likely to agree you're being picked on when you go around provoking confrontations.
(Click here to read the NPR story.)
An angry client hauled me into his office, slammed our latest ad down on his desk, and told me to pull it. Why? It was (and I had to concede this) ugly. Why his underling approved it was beyond him.
I happened to have brought along a spreadsheet showing the results. The ad was outselling its more pleasingly-designed predecessor seven-to-one. "Keep running it," growled the client.
Don't get me wrong. I understand the importance of design. I understand that the look of your advertising reflects upon your brand. And bad design is certainly never an objective.
But sometimes bad design is a valuable tool. In fact, sometimes bad design outsells good.
Consider all those ugly ads in in-flight magazines. You know, the full-page ads crammed with three columns of 8-point type without the slightest regard for design. Know why they never go away? Because they sell oodles of products.
Sometimes successful direct marketers run ugly ads because, starting out, they don't know better and/or can't afford a designer. When profits roll in and they spruce up the ads, they often find the improved look makes no difference in sales. Sometimes the makeover even drives sales down.
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