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d.trio Archives - d.trio marketing group

Double black diamonds, anyone?

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Some people think I’m crazy because when I go on vacation, I don’t relax. I go. Hard. For instance, I like to go to the top of the mountain, feel the sun on my face, ski the double black diamonds and fall into bed exhausted at night (ok, maybe after a little wine too).

So what do double black diamonds have to do with business? A change of venue, change of pace and mindset in the great outdoors makes me more productive and creative in the long run. It releases the brain to think more broadly and makes me feel a sense of well-being. Here’s additional reading about the benefits of exercising outdoors.

My brain works hard at my job, but like most of you in business, I sit a lot. Not something I do well naturally, so when I feel a little burned out from thinking and sitting the best antidote to that is moving. And being in nature. Go to top of the mountain and your problems seem surmountable, or run or bike on the beach and look at the ocean – commune with nature, you’ll see.

It feels good to get outside and push yourself in different ways than you do in business, and test your limits. Even if you’re not that athletic, you can take a long walk or get on a bike and explore some new terrain. The fresh air and change will do you good, your ideas will flourish and you’ll sleep better than you ever have. I guarantee it.

About Us – It’s Not All About You

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Many companies desperately need “a cleanup on aisle 13” – and that aisle is the “About Us” section on their website.  It seems the majority of these sections I read are vague, confusing, trite, jargon-filled diatribes that do little to inform the audience, establish credibility or spark interest in moving deeper into the site.

Your “About Us” should be honest, clear, descriptive and (gasp) interesting.  It should convey confidence and give a sense of your company’s personality.  Visitors are often comparing you to the competition so it’s critical you address your unique selling proposition.  And speaking of visitors, this section is most often read by first-timers to your site, so remember you’ve only got one shot at a first impression.  This is essentially a speed-date, so don’t be boring and unremarkable!

As with any marketing copy development, it’s important to put yourself in your readers’ shoes.  Make it relevant and leave them with a feeling of wanting more.  This may be as far as they get on your site, so you may want to include a call to action (company phone number, email, video link etc.).

Enough talk about “exceeding expectations” (duh), “striving for excellence” (I should hope so), or “creating solutions” (unless you are a chemist, I guess).  Get real, to the point and add some flavor beyond salt and pepper.  You’re asking for someone to consider a relationship with you.  Act accordingly.

Google Glass and Me

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I’m not someone who is normally considered an early adopter of new technology. Technology and I have a sort of mutual respect for each other, meaning we, (or more accurately, I) keep a respectable distance until new and technical becomes easy and less complicated,  mainstream with most of the bugs worked out. When Google Glass was announced, I took my typical “stay away from me” stance and could not imagine anything that I would ever want less in life than to walk around tethered to the internet day in and day out. Never. Ridiculous idea. Not to mention the obvious driving and zombielike walking issues. So, what happens when this tech-averse human finds herself unexpectedly at Google headquarters and some very excited, very nice Google Glass ambassador hands over a pair? WOW. To summarize my experience: it really is all that cool. It understands you and answers questions and commands in a manner that will make Siri pea green with envy. The itty bitty little screen up in the corner of your right eye is actually pretty easy to see and unless you lock onto it, or ‘glass-out’ in Google speak, it might not always impede your vision. moglasses My love affair was short lived as there were others waiting in line like school children eager to take their turn. Will I buy them? Not likely. But will I view them on others with the same disdain? Honestly, probably not as much. I can see now that they actually might have some purpose for some people, but the obvious human interaction problems will be hard to eliminate. Google has just put out a Google Glass Etiquette guide in an attempt to help users understand how to behave while wearing the Glass. It makes for some pretty hilarious reading with advice such as…’respect others who have questions about the Glass and don’t get snappy with them’ and ‘how to avoid being a glasshole.’ For more information, check out the Daily Beast.

Lasers, Juice and a Briefcase of Money

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When I picked up the phone, my client almost burst out of it with excitement as they shared with me their new, brilliant idea! I was thrilled they had picked me to help and as my gears started grinding, I began to envision an implementation plan that looked sort of like this:

atob

Then reality set in. As we started working through the implementation process of this great idea, the path to implementation looked more like this:

atobb

Sound familiar? This happens to the best ideas. Implementation buzz-kills, such as a budget, compliance and time can get in the way. The good news is, there is hope.  I have three ideas to support the implementation of your next great idea and they include: juice, lasers and a briefcase.  That’s right.

  1. Sharks with laser beams.  Every good idea can get even better, right? Maybe not. Identify your challenge and goal in the beginning and keep a laser-sharp focus on your plan. Each decision you make should support the goal.  Do not waiver. If the idea doesn’t support your original plan, set it aside. You may have just come up with another great idea!
  2. Soak up the creative juice. I know your idea is really awesome and you can’t wait to share it. Give it the time it deserves and let the awesomeness marinate. During that time, you can gain the internal support you need and think through issues that may arise as you move forward.
  3. Deal…or no deal briefcase.  Without the restraints of a budget, I’ve seen ideas transform from awesome to mind-blowing-ly amazing. It can also create a big buzz-kill when the reality of budget parameters stomp out the mind-blowing-ly amazing idea that now doesn’t fit into your budget, leaving clients deflated. I don’t like to see clients deflated. Make sure you know how much money is in the briefcase before you make your plan.

Before you run full speed ahead with your next great idea, make sure your idea is supported with lasers, juice and the right briefcase. Those three things, along with your new idea may be the ticket to your next promotion!

A few tips to improve your photographs.

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Tim is an Assistant Account Executive at d.trio.

It’s been said that the best camera is the one you have on you. That’s a very true statement, considering that you can’t take a photo unless you have a camera on you. There are a couple easy ways to make photos better and once you understand these you can start to pick better photos for your albums, or your marketing and advertising campaigns.

The rule of thirds is the most important rule to remember. Divide the photo you want to take into three parts, horizontally and vertically. If you have ever taken a photo with an iPhone it will show the grid automatically. Also put your subject off-center, it will make your shot more interesting. So when you’re scrolling through hundreds of potential photos for your next mailing – make sure your image as interesting as possible to draw in the target.

A second thing to remember is to make sure there is contrast. Whether that is color, size, or shape depends on your subject. Below is an example of contrast in size. You’ll see that the person on top of the cliff in the photo provides some perspective into how large the cliff actually is. If you apply this principle to your marketing pieces it can help give your target as much information as possible about what your ad is about with a quick glance.

These are just a couple of ways to improve your photography but the best way is to practice. Start taking photos and you’ll be better at picking out the perfect photo for your next campaign.

wave_lg

 

Real time marketing makes for a pleasant surprise.

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Patrick Bettenburg is currently working with d.trio as an Account Executive.

A radio commercial I heard recently is a great example of how marketing in the moment, done well, can be very memorable. I had just read the ADWEEK article Real-Time Rules that highlights several national successes of this marketing trend, and here I was listening to a fun example of it right here in Minnesota.

The radio campaign promotes the Ely tourism group. Now there’s really nothing new about fall travel in Minnesota; it’s the second largest season for tourism. But the ads break through the clutter and make a connection. They created a timely importance with a fake, breaking-news style that gave some urgency to the moment in a humorous way. An effective example of marketing in the moment, which many brands are still learning to do.

Real Time Marketing, or RTM, is about tying your message to the most current realities of your audience in a timely manner in order to create relevance. The closer your content relates to what’s on your audiences’ mind the easier it is for them to connect with your message. It’s that stuff that content creators dream of. Everyone remembers the Oreo ad about dippin’ in the dark that ran after the Superbowl blackout.

The ADWEEK article by Tim Nudd does a great job of reviewing several RTM examples, as well as laying out the risks of not getting it right. These days many brands are cranking out content just to get some attention and some are facing unintended negative consequences.

The successful RTM campaigns are skillfully done and surprisingly well planned. They seem to be born in the moment but are actually well crafted to connect with the brand and appear to be freshly created. To really ‘market in the moment’ today you need to have a well-stocked content creation tool chest of brand messages and creative ideas in order to be ready when the right moments come. That way you will be prepared to respond to the completely unexpected, such as the Superbowl blackout.

Is your brand ready for the next opportunity to market in the moment?

We’re Designed to Crave the Unexpected

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Patrick Bettenburg is currently working with d.trio as an Account Executive.

This month our word is Surprise and with Halloween around the corner, tricks, treats, and surprises are top of mind.  A recent blog reminded me of the value that the element of surprise is as a marketing strategy. Titled Why Surprise and Delight Marketing Really Works, it cites some serious research that proves the potential of this often overlooked marketing strategy.

Having always been fascinated by how the power of branding works in the human brain, this post affirmed to me that some of the best marketing is built on neuropsychology. This was proven in a study at Emory University and Baylor University that was published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Scientists studied the MRIs of subjects who were reacting to sequences of pleasurable stimuli. When the sequence was predictable, the level of enjoyment visible in the brain was less than when the sequence was unpredictable. The subjects whose stimulus was unpredictable registered the greatest pleasure in the brain, resulting in a stronger connection from the experience.

The HBR quoted Dr. Read Montague, professor of neuroscience at Baylor, stating that the results show that people are “designed to crave the unexpected”. People’s brains respond more when surprised, making it a very powerful tool for marketing. The surprise becomes a new stimulus that encourages learning and interest, and can make customers more receptive to new things, like upgrades and new products or services. And, that surprise can actually make a stronger connection in the brain with your brand.

For marketers this means that if we create campaigns that are not expected, but rather more of a pleasant surprise, we can build a stronger relationship with the customers. This is a golden ticket for loyalty marketing. Instead of ringing the same old chimes, try to create a connection that is unexpected.

We are seeing a lot of this trend in social media. Going viral is the new ‘word of mouth’ advertising, something that is surprising or unexpected gets repeated or retweeted. So surprise your customers in a delightful way and see how it might engage their brains or more importantly, their loyalty.

Revisiting “Principles of Improv”

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About a year ago, I wrote a blog on the principles of improv and how they fit into my professional life. Revisiting this blog for our September “Improvise” month, it’s amazing how much these ideas still ring true.  So much of what makes a strong account manager is how well you can read others and adapt to the situation at hand. Some of the best improv I’ve seen wasn’t funny at all; it was just really believable and sucked me into the story. If you can do the same in a client presentation, you’re golden.

How do you think improvisation helps you in your work?

-Jordan

Marketers and cyber security

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If you’ve worked in marketing, especially direct response marketing, for any length of time you are already well aquainted with the need to protect customer data. From locking data tapes in a safe to requiring a badge swipe to enter a secure section of the print room to recommending a reply envelope rather than a reply postcard, marketers have been guarding the personal information of their clients customers for decades.

Technology has forever changed the way businesses interact with their customers and the simple fact is that technology and marketing are chained together forever. We transfer data files over the internet to our printers, we require registration to access information on the company website, we build apps that give customers access to their account data no matter where they are, We develop lists of email addresses and real names in databases for retargeting and future contact, we sell products with the push of a button.

With the rise of new technologies, the cloud, and mobile networks, control of the data infrastructure has moved beyond the control of the corporate IT manager. Hence, new regulations and requirements of marketing companies working with corporations. For example, one of our large financial services clients recently changed their policy and now classifies all apps, whether they have any link to customer information or not, as a high threat to security. Which means the app we’ve been developing for them now needs to be scanned and certified before we can deploy it (even though it connects to no user information and doesn’t even require a registration). The requirement surprised us as well as our client and is based on the recent sensitivity to cyber security concerns. So, that’s what we’ll do. And the next time we start an app project we’ll know to ask the question of any company we’re working for. Like always, marketing moves with the times and develops new skills as we go. Because if we don’t, bad things can happen as demonstrated in a very creepy way in this Belgian ad:

http://mashable.com/2013/07/09/belgian-bank-ad-online-identity/

On the flip side, having cyber security in the news so often could be a great thing for one of our other clients. For the last few years we’ve been helping the University of Minnesota: Technological Leadership Institute market and promote their Master of Science in Security Technologies. The program is a leader in the field covering the foundations of security science as well as risk/threat management and policy.

Regardless of which side of marketing you work on, every marketer needs to understand the increasingly complex security demands of the technology they use. Be safe out there.

-Beth Seitzberg is the art director and technology manager at d.trio marketing group