The #1 Best Marketing Tip Ever in the History of Marketing Tips

One of the biggest challenges marketers run into when being asked for “great ideas” on how to market a product is what to do when a product just isn’t very good or interesting. It’s one I’ve encountered many times in my life, and it’s a tough position to be put in, as you want to be helpful … but you also don’t want to be a jerk.

The truth is though, no matter how great of a marketing strategy you have behind a product, service or brand, if it’s something that no one wants (or might want), then it’s doomed for failure. Yes, you might sell a few ice cubes to eskimos, but sooner or later they’re going to realize they got bamboozled. That’s not a business. That’s a scam.
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A Strong Marketing Strategy Requires a Strong Foundation

One of the key tenets I espouse to anyone looking to improve their marketing effectiveness is that marketing should be looked at holistically.

Each part of what we do with our business, particularly in the ways we present our business or brand to the world, is part of marketing. And, whether those actions are online or offline, they all need to work together to build a a greater whole that none of them could accomplish on their own.

That’s a main part of what I do when I’m working with clients – look at their goals as a company and how all their channels and communication are working together to help elevate the brand. This includes looking deep into the data to understand how the channels intersect, where breakpoints are occurring and where things may be missing altogether.

But none of this does any good without a strong foundation.
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VR, AR and the Inherent Challenge to Promoting What Must Be Experienced

This past holiday season, one of the hottest tech trends I saw being promoted on TV was Samsung’s swing at VR: their Gear VR headset. The commercials were on pretty constantly (at least on the programming I watched) … but there was one big problem with them. There’s no way to really show the VR experience in an ad.

It’s a challenge both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) marketers are going to have to figure out how to surmount in order to get the kind of widespread adoption the technologies need to survive. But with all our ways of marketing, pretty much none of them can get across what the actual experience is. Sure, you could write an article “explaining it” in words or you could show a picture or video of what the person might be seeing on-screen … but I just don’t see how those are going to get the job done.
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Sad Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday 2016: A Case of Cyber Monday Withdrawal Blues

Today is Cyber Monday. And for the first time since the invention of Cyber Monday … no, since before Cyber Monday even existed, I’m not working for an e-commerce retailer.

And it’s really weird.

I’ve been caught up in a lot of projects lately that have been taking my attention, but today is one of those days where I feel a bit emptier. As the consumer world goes on their mad rush to find the best online deals, e-commerce marketers are busy watching the returns of their long-planned campaigns, hoping their sites don’t go down and that every promotion goes off without a hiccup.

It’s really one of the most exciting days to work in e-commerce … and I’m missing it. Instead of sitting behind a monitor watching sales roll in, cheering for records to be broken and the marketing plan to be a hit, I’m busy working on other things.

They’re fun things, to be sure. Pretty exciting actually (especially a few things that are in the hopper I can’t talk about yet). But they’re not the rush of Cyber Monday.

So all you e-commerce marketers – while you might get a little stressed out today, try to take everything in. It’s the most exciting retail day of the year for you – and probably the one day you’ve been planning around the most over the last few months.

Enjoy it.

Ride the wave.

Celebrate the successes.

Learn from the mistakes.

Try to take a breath.

Or two.

And then remember this. Cyber Monday isn’t even the biggest online shopping day of the year.

That’s not until Green Monday … which for 2016 means you have until December 12th to really start freaking out.

Oh how I miss it.

How’s your Cyber Monday? Or how was it? Any big successes? Colossal failures? Heart attacks? Share below.

12 Must-Do Marketing Tips to Give Your Small Business a Rock-Solid Digital Strategy

Even though the bulk of the career you see on my resume is working with multi-million dollar businesses, in my day-to-day life I, like pretty much everyone else, interact with people outside my professional circle. Be it the local coffee shop, an independent publisher, a digital design firm, a newly-launching small clothing shop or even an accounting agency, one thing is for certain – every business looking to succeed is also looking for some tips on effective online marketing.

Since the basics of marketing are honestly the same regardless of your business, any research you can do into the basics of how marketing works will be useful. Better yet, look at bringing on an agency for a short engagement. But if you want my list of quick tips on things I think every small business should be keeping in mind when they look to grow through marketing, read on.
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An Excellent Resource on How to Calculate Your Marketing Budget

Through my career I’ve worked with small businesses who are just tinkering with marketing all the way through multi-million dollar huge-name companies. Some of them have no actual budget in mind for their marketing. Others have set aside a subjective amount – basically what they think they can “afford.” And others work with a set marketing budget.

The problem I run into the most though when companies try to figure out how much they should allocate to marketing is that most of them really have no idea what is a good starting point.
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Marketing a Single Product vs. Marketing a Service / Brand

A few weeks ago I released my second fiction novel. As far as I can tell, since launch I have yet to sell a single copy. It’s a common issue a lot of authors deal with, but to be honest, I thought I might be an exception to the rule. Having been a professional marketer for almost 16 years now, I thought I knew all the tips and tricks of how to market something. I built out targeted ads for Facebook and Google, announced across my social channels, and even did a few giveaways. But still, not a single copy sold.

Now, you could argue that the reason it’s not selling is because it’s not any good. It is entirely possible that I’m simply not a good writer – but I’m pretty certain that this isn’t the issue, as people aren’t checking out the product and having a negative experience. They’re not even getting that far. As of this writing, there are three customer reviews on Amazon (from people who got advance review copies) and all three are positive. It’s not negative word-of-mouth that’s hurting.

And so, I’ve taken a step back to see just what it is that’s not working and I have come to the conclusion that I’m frankly going about things all wrong. So far with the launch of the book I’ve been focusing on promoting the product. Getting it in front of the right people, hoping that once they come across it and read the marketing blurb I’ll get them to take the hook and make a sale. I’ve been taking everything I’ve learned in my experience and applying it to this new product to push it out there to people to get them to bite – and that’s where I’ve been going about this all wrong.
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