8 Valuable Takeaways from Mozcon 2013

Every year, Moz brings together some of the most innovative and forward-thinking online marketers for three full days of presentations that are overflowing with insights and tips. Here are some of my key insights from Mozcon 2013.

moz-1Become an Early Adopter to Get Disproportionate Rewards

Darmesh Shah talked about how he was one of the first people invited to publish articles on the new LinkedIn Today publishing platform and already has over a million views. He suggests that in order to get leverage in marketing you can’t do what everyone else is doing. First movers who can take advantage of new opportunities have an advantage in inbound marketing.

Like Engineers, Marketers Can Make a Huge Impact by Using Leverage

Darmesh Shah observed that engineers and marketers both make an impact by using leverage. For engineers the leverage is the code for software that is used by the masses while for marketers a piece of content can also be leveraged to impact large audiences.

There’s No Excuse for Not Producing High Quality Videos

Phil Nottingham gave a compelling argument for producing high quality video and explained how it is fairly inexpensive to produce “White Board Friday” quality video content. He showed how using a $100 lapel microphone and a $500 lighting rig makes a tremendous difference and looks highly professional. He gave an example of Zillow’s smart strategy to interview local realtors which naturally led to the realtors embedding the video on their own site. Interviews of customers or tutorials also make great content which can be transcribed to produce unique text content for product pages.

Changing Copy or Images Can Make a Huge Impact on Conversion

Kyle Rush, who worked on the Obama Campaign, suggested focusing on changing the copy or the image on landing pages to make the biggest impact on conversion. Changing the headline on a page to be more direct: “Now, save your payment information”, led to a 21% increase in conversion. Also, changing the image for the contest to win dinner with the President from a first person view to an image of two people having dinner with the President led to a 19% increase in conversion. Conversely, focusing on colors or shapes of buttons was largely a waste of time.

Be Prepared When Google Eats Your Lunch with New Search Results

Dr. Pete’s presentation showed numerous variations of search results that can make your top ranking irrelevant. In many cases they are providing answers and information in the search results so that you don’t have to leave Google. This is frightening because Google can intercept a lot of your traffic overnight if it targets your vertical. Some examples provided include auto insurance comparisons, flight information, and sports scores. Dr. Pete recommends focusing on selling before ranking so you are less dependent on Google.

Google +1’s Have a Surprisingly High Correlation to Rankings

According to Moz’s 2013 Ranking Factors study, Google +1’s are highly correlated to rankings. The .3 correlation that was calculated was the second highest correlation found and higher than the number of linking root domains (.29). Facebook shares (.26) and Tweets (.21) also had relatively high correlations. Are social signals catching up to links? It looks like social signals have become more of a factor in the algorithm.

Email Communication Hacks to Be More Effective

Carin Overturf from Moz shared some valuable tips for being more effective with email communication. She suggests to use your subject line as a headline that sets expectations for the recipient. Using bold and underline can make your email easier to skim and make your team’s communication more efficient.

Internet Traffic Will Shift to Smart Phones

Karen McGrane discussed the digital divide that many people don’t realize still exists in the United States. 20% of Americans have no Internet access and 35% don’t have broadband Internet access at home. However, almost everyone has a phone and most will eventually have a smart phone. Will Critchlow shared the fact that 77% of mobile searches are done at a location where a PC is available. Matthew Brown stated that 30% of Internet traffic will be mobile by the end of 2013 if the trend line continues. As most of the population shifts their Internet time to mobile, marketers will need to provide a great experience for smaller devices.

More Mozcon Coverage

MozCon 2013 Highlights & Quotes Content Harmony

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Presentation Slides from Mozcon:

Charles Sipe is an online marketing specialist from Seattle. He shares interesting marketing links on Google+ and Twitter (@charlessipe).

How to Target Different Audiences with Content Marketing

Determining a well-defined target market is the first step towards a successful marketing strategy. Ask yourself who is already interested in your product or service – as well as who might be – and you can attempt to address their needs (as well as reach your clearly defined marketing objectives) with specific content marketing.

For instance, this article’s target audiences are:

1. Marketing Enthusiasts
2. Content Providers
3. Web Developers

Each of these audiences will be looking for a different thing from this piece. A marketing enthusiast might have searched ‘effectively targeting different audiences’, content providers might have tried ‘how to use content marketing’ and web developers/tech experts perhaps went looking for some combination of the two, such as ‘different types of content marketing.’

The point is, each of these groups is looking for, or drawn to, something different. Whether actual content or simply the way in which that content is presented – different things appeal to different audiences, so it’s essential to understand and cater to these preferences.

Using the above mentioned target audiences as examples, here’s a quick guide on how to use differentiated content (and content forms) to raise awareness, build trust and make sales.

Marketing Enthusiasts
A marketer’s main objectives are making a product known, understood and desired by its target market. They are likely to search for resources and tools that can help them do this. Examples of content that will cater to this need include:

1. ‘How-to’ guides and useful articles or blog posts
2. Webinars, podcasts, tutorials and demo videos
3. Marketing trend reports and whitepapers
4. Features guides (that show them how your product or service can help them achieve their goals)

Content Providers
A content provider’s goal is to create (and sell) high quality web content. This content could be written, visual or audio. As creatives they are likely to be looking for inspiration and ideas, mental stimulation that could serve as a springboard towards developing their own unique content (especially when suffering from a creative block). Examples of content that will be useful to them are:

1. Collations of inspirational examples (top ten lists, showcases and picture galleries etc.)
2. Interviews with industry pioneers
3. Viral videos, images or infographics
4. Relevant industry blogs, news and critiques

Web Developers / Tech Experts
Tech devotees can be subdivided into further target audiences, but for the purpose of this article, some technical goals might be creating custom websites; sourcing useful hardware, software and apps; as well as searching for a little inspiration. They might be looking for data-driven content that is direct and to the point. Examples of content that would be useful to them are:

1. Webinars, tutorials or demo videos
2. Reviews of useful tools, products or services
3. Case studies and customer testimonials
4. Pricing guides

All of these forms of content resonate particularly with certain kinds of target audience, and each can be adapted to enhance your business’ online presence. They are by no means exclusively suited to the specified audience types, but based on their mindset (discoverable with market research) they may prove more valuable, which is what creating good, sharable content is all about.

Targeting content is just one element of a comprehensive content marketing strategy, which you should develop in order to start seeing measurable benefits for your business.

Content marketing is already huge, and it’s growing. It can be an inexpensive way to generate sales, leads, and customers and help you beat your competitors.

If you’ve not jumped on the bandwagon yet, now is the time to do so.

Julianne Staino writes about marketing trends, technology, and Nuxeo– a company specializing in helping you manage your content and digital assets.

Hit Your Target Market in the Bull's Eye

In a competitive economy, learning and knowing your target market like the back of your hand is essential to succeeding and differentiating yourself from competitors. The advantages of understanding how to learn about your target market and capitalize on it are many:

  • Ability to relate with your customers and thus improve your marketing message
  • Improved conversion rates and closed sales by targeting highly qualified potential customers
  • Improved customer loyalty as you continually improve based on research
  • Efficiently budget for marketing costs to maximize return on investment

Marketing research and learning about your customers used to cost a fortune and be available only to companies with large marketing budgets. However, with the rise of the internet, customer surveys and market intelligence are in the reach of businesses of all sizes and budgets. Learn how to best utilize online marketing surveys and focus on your market with these actionable tips.

Include chance to participate in survey after customer action

The beauty of a website is that you can code feedback on the design, functionality, and user-friendliness right at the point of question. For example, at the end of purchase you can have an optional feedback box asking customers how their eCommerce experience was. Another example would be to include a place on product pages that customers could let you know what kind of products and varieties the customer would like to see that are not currently offered.

Offer an incentive to customers to encourage participation

Many customers, especially if upset, will give you feedback on your business without any type of incentive. However, you cannot depend on the good will of others to give you enough information to learn about your areas of improvement. Offer some type of incentive for the customer’s valuable time, whether that is a gift, a chance to win a drawing, or even just a discount on future purchases.

Keep time required to a minimum

If you find that there are 50 questions you would like to ask to gain insight into your market, that can be a challenge with the amount of time it would take to answer. There is an alternative with online surveys, especially if your website already has high traffic volume. If you keep the questions down to a minimum, you are more likely to receive participation because you require less of the customer’s time. If you program your surveys to ask random questions, over time you are going to get the sample size you need for enough information to take action.

Include a permanent virtual “suggestion box” on your website

Adding a suggestion box to your website will not only give you valuable customer feedback and market research, it will also create a sense of loyalty in your customers as they see you are open and willing to change to meet their needs. This suggestion box also will give the customer a chance to direct the conversation versus normal survey questions with only a few choices. You can learn a lot from a customer with open-ended questions.

Send an email blast asking for participation

As you grow your email list (you do collect email addresses, right?), you will gain a valuable source of participation from customers who have willingly opted in to receiving emails. Take advantage of this and send out an email blast to your existing customers asking for a few minutes of their time with an incentive of course.

James Daugherty created this post on behalf of Ask Your Target Market – Market Research has never been this easy.

Photo by viZZZual.com

Marketing Lessons From Patagonia: Review of Let My People Go Surfing

The following article is a guest post by Jess Spate.

let my people go surfingUntil quite recently, Yvon Chouinard’s name wasn’t well known outside of the extreme sports community. He was respected largely as a leader in the Yosemite National Park rock climbing scene during the ‘Golden Age’ of the 1960s and the blacksmith who created new rock climbing gear that made getting up high safer than ever before. The first company he founded- Chouinard Equipment Ltd- is long gone but still enjoys a great deal of respect amongst rock climbers.

However, Let My People Go Surfing has more to say about Chouinard’s second, more popular venture. Patagonia clothing is sold in outdoor stores from the USA to France to Australia, and almost everywhere else. Sales are in the hundreds of millions of US dollars per year. It’s seen as high-end stuff, expensive but worth the money.

From the start, Patagonia was not quite your average company. It was one of the first to commit a serious percentage of their profits to environmental causes, one of the first to address health issues in the employee cafeteria, and one of the first to introduce on-site care for the children of the workers.

The book’s title reflects a real Patagonia policy. If it’s sunny and the surf is up, the workforce is free to take an afternoon off, get out there and enjoy it. They can take up to two months of paid leave per year as long as they spend it working for a not-for-profit cause. The company also offers each and every employee $2000 dollars to put towards the cost of an environmentally-friendly car.

The question most business-minded people will ask is this: How can any company afford to give away a minimum of 1% of all sales, pay for so much employee time spent maintaining hiking trails and preserving wilderness, take such good care of the workforce, and still make a profit?

Let My People Go Surfing has a lot to say about how to run an ethical company successfully (and Patagonia has not always been safely in the black), but one of the strongest messages is that environmental and social responsibility do not have to be a drain on company resources. They can be fantastic marketing assets.

Ethical consciousness has never been higher amongst the general public. In Britain, where the trend is very strong indeed, four out of every five shoppers recognize the Fair Trade symbol and know what it means. About 50% of the adult population regard themselves as ethical consumers. Even in the USA, where it’s less pronounced, more than $300 billion dollars are invested in funds that declare themselves to be socially responsible.

Chouinard’s book provides a fascinating insight into the way ethical behavior can be used to build a brand. It’s essential reading for any marketer who wants to reach out to the growing number of environmentally and socially minded shoppers out there.

Jess Spate works for Appalachian Outdoors, a Pennsylvania-based outdoor clothing and equipment store. They sell a wide range of Patagonia products, and are also involved in their own environmental and social projects.

Marketing Should Be First When Starting a Business

The following article is a guest post by Bryan Cochand, a freelance writer for Adobe.

coke happinessAs an entrepreneur with a risk-taking spirit, you’ve begun the steps to start your own business. However, before you get too far in the process, start to think about and make plans for marketing your business. Going through this process first will help you make sure you have a large enough target market to fit the niche you are trying to fill. Somewhere along the line, you will be trying to raise capital through loans, grants or investments, and you should include the amount of money needed for marketing start up costs in your proposals.

Determine Your Target Market and Niche

Before you even decided to start your own business, you were probably thinking about the niche you wanted to fill and the people that would fill that niche. Below are a few questions to ask yourself as you determine whether your target niche and market are relevant. As much as resources permit, you should conduct formal or informal market research to find the answers.

  • Is my product or service something that people need or want?
  • Is it something they can get from another business?
  • Would people choose my product or service over a similar business? Is it different enough? Is it
    more cost effective? Is it more convenient?
  • What type of people would most likely choose my product or service over a similar business? (This is your target market)
  • What are your target market’ s characteristics? What is their income, location, education, ability to find and buy from my business (technological ability if on the internet, location if a store front), etc.
  • Is my target market large enough and capable of making my business successful?
  • If you can’ t answer yes to the last question with confidence, keep brainstorming for more relevant business ideas; if you can, you’ re likely to have a successful business, so keep the process going.

Find the Perfect Name

Your business name is your number one marketing and branding tool, so choose wisely. It should be something unique but also understandable and memorable. Find a name that fits these characteristics:

  • Clearly depicts what you do. At first glance, people should know what your company does.
    Make sure it is different enough from other companies in your niche that people won’ t confuse
    you with another business, and definitely do your research to be sure you are not copying another
    company’s name.
  • Incites Customer Interest. Cause the customer choose you over competitors by finding a
    name that makes you stand out.
  • Easy to spell, pronounce, and remember. Creative names can be unique and fun, but if noone can spell or pronounce it, they’re most likely not going to remember it either. If you have an idea for a name, test it out. Say it out loud and have others try to spell it. Write it down for other people and ask them to pronounce it. Carry on with your conversation and ask them to recall the name 10 minutes later. Does it pass the test? Avoid using an acronym, as it will be hard for people to remember what it stands for.
  • Universal. Most companies, whether you plan it that way or not, are global because they are on the Internet, so choose a name that people anywhere can relate to and understand.
  • Looks to the future. Naming your business after yourself may seem personal and friendly, but it’s not going to fly if you decide you want to sell the company someday. Be careful not to choose names that follow current trends either, as we all know how quickly trends can change.

Develop a Brand

Once you have identified your niche and how your business will uniquely fill the needs of your target market, you will need to define your brand. Using ideas from your business plan, craft a one-line statement that describes your company. Think specifically about the impression that you want to leave on potential customers. Based on this, create a logo, tagline, and an overall visual identity. Make sure that everything you create and do consistently follows the brand you have created.

Craft a Marketing Plan

By following the above ideas, you have already started your marketing plan. Now, you just need to determine relevant messages to reach your target market and the channels you will use to get those messages to them. These channels include direct mail, media, Internet, phone book, networking, trade shows, and pretty much anything your creative mind and advertising research can come up with. Almost all of these tactics will have some cost involved whether it is paying a professional to design your website, buying online advertisements, or printing direct mail and
brochures. Include marketing expenses in your marketing plan and proposals for loans, grants or

Bryan Cochand is a freelance writer for Adobe. Adobe services, such as digital signatures and signature validation, revolutionize how the world engages with ideas and information; anytime, anywhere, and through any medium.

Image credit: Arabani

Why Apple's Marketing Is Different by Simon Sinek

This is a great presentation by Simon Sinek about how some organizations are able to achieve so much more than others with seemingly the same amount of resources. Why did no one buy Gateway’s flat screens or Dell’s MP3 players? The following video, which I think marketers should watch over and over, explains why.

The most important Simon makes is that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. I love the following quotes:

“If Apple was like everyone else a marketing message might be: We make great computers. They’re user friendly. Want to buy one? …Here’s how Apple actually communicates: everything we do, We believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

So start with why instead of what when you are rethinking your marketing strategy, and this flip can change how people think about your company and why they should do business with you.

People do business with companies that believe what they believe because of our strong tendency to want to align our actions with our self perception. This is why people who identify themselves as Republicans or Democrats, will vote against their self-interest. We don’t want to experience what psychologists call cognitive dissonance – “the uncomfortable feeling of holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously” (Wikipedia). Therefore companies that have a strong identity often become very strong brands.

7 Things Marketers Can Learn From Apple

Whether you love them or hate them, Apple has been one of the greatest business success stories of our time and it can be argued that most of their success is attributed to their marketing. Here are the top 7 things marketers can learn from Apple.

Create suspense around new products

Apple is known for its obsessive secrecy of new products which helps build anticipation and excitement for new releases. There is such a strong thirst for information about what’s next that fans of the brand will create and visit rumor sites. Creating a sense of scarcity around your new product’s information can increase demand for that information.

Draw a crowd

Apple clearly communicates a release date for new products so that it draws long lines of fans eager to be first to get the new product. Apple takes advantage of the popularity effect that influences people to mirror the behavior of the crowd. There is also a full restaurant effect which implicitly communicates that if people are lining up to buy – then it must be good.

Create something remarkable

Apple’s remarkable products encourage people to tell their friends and family about why they are excited about their purchase. Excited friends will influence others who will want to also feel the same excitement themselves.

Simplify the marketing message

When portable MP3 players first came out it was a revolutionary technology that was completely different from prior technology. So a clever person from Apple came up with the tagline “1,000 songs in your pocket” to explain the value proposition in an extremely simple way.

Compare yourself to the competition

By directly comparing itself with the competition in its advertising, Apple was able to effectively communicate the main differences between a Mac and a PC. Before their Mac vs PC ads, the average consumer probably couldn’t explain why a Mac was different. Now many more consumers could probably name some key differences.

Take Advantage of the Halo Effect
Apple’s great success in selling iPods created a halo around its other products like laptops and desktops, helping Apple gain significant market share.
See Creating The Brand Halo Effect by Branding Strategy Insider

Create a great experience around a product

From the time a customer walks into an Apple retail store to opening the product packaging to Genius Bar support, every step is a planned experience that aligns closely with the brand of elegant design and simplicity.

What other lessons can marketers learn from Apple?

Also see the Marketing Apple blog by Steve Chazin

A New Model for Marketing: Interview with Bob Gilbreath Author of The Next Evolution of Marketing

I am excited to be talking to Bob Gilbreath, author of TBob Gilbreathhe Next Evolution of Marketing which outlines a new approach to marketing called marketing with meaning. He has also worked as a brand manager for P&G where he was recognized by AdAge for his turn around of the Mr.Clean brand. He is currently Chief Marketing Strategist at Bridge Worldwide, a digital and relationship marketing agency and blogs at Marketing With Meaning.

1. Your book has a ton of great examples of companies from Xbox to Yoplait who have used meaningful marketing to improve sales while adding value to consum
er’s lives. Can you summarize why you think this is a better approach compared to traditional forms of interruption-based marketing?

The fundamental problem with most marketing and advertising has always been that our customers don’t like it, and now they have growing power to avoid it. They have always disliked being interrupted by our messages whether they are trying to watch a television program or driving down the highways. Historically they had no choice in the matter, as print, radio and television advertising was forced on them. But today people have more and more freedom in their media. They no longer huddle together in mass in front of a handful of TV programs, and they are using media ranging from iPods to the Internet, which either lack advertising altogether or the advertising is easy to skip or ignore. As the future unfolds, people’s power over media choices will only grow—and no one is choosing more advertising interruption, no matter how “targeted” it is.

So those of us in the marketing business face an enormous challenge. We need to find ways to introduce people to our brands, products and services, but if we cannot interrupt them what do we do? Well, I believe that the only choice is to create marketing that people choose to engage with, and advertising that itself adds value to people’s lives. This is what we call “Marketing with Meaning” – and a growing number of brands are beginning to results in this entirely new model for marketing.

2. What advice would you give marketers who have bosses that are afraid of the risk they associate with changing their strategy from traditional marketing to marketing with meaning?

I actually was in the shoes of these marketers as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble, so I know that there are many, many challenges to drive change within an organization. I really wrote the book to be a guide for the marketer that is looking for a new model, and I include many suggestions and stories of how to “sell in” this kind of change. One suggestion is to convince senior management to invest a modest percentage of the budget in a meaningful way as a test—perhaps as part of a large initiative, or in a way that is “pay-for-performance” (i.e. the money only comes out of the budget if the program delivers results). The key is to make sure that the program’s results are measured, show business results, and then are shared broadly across the organization.

3. Can you still achieve meaningful marketing by using traditional forms of media like television or direct mail, although they are inherently interruptive forms of media?

I think the right way to start is to create a meaningful marketing plmarketing with meaningatform or service as the heart of marketing efforts. Once you have this, you may need to get on the radar through more interruptive media to draw attention to the program. What happens is that people actually pay more attention to your interruptive advertising when you are pointing them to something valuable. One example is the gift recommender site that MasterCard launched around the holidays. The brand created a free, relevant tool and used television advertising with Peyton Manning to draw attention and traffic to it. To me, this is much more effective than Visa’s advertising at the same time, which simply reminded television viewers that Visa exists.

4. Can meaningful marketing work for any company or are there situations where non-meaningful marketing, like a standard billboard or commercial, is more effective?

I am convinced that any business has an opportunity to grow sales and long-term loyalty through meaningful marketing. If you can narrow down your business objectives and unearth some insights about your target customer’s higher-level needs, then it is simple to begin coming up with ways that you can shift your marketing funds and sales approach toward adding value to their lives. By offering something of value, your customers give you the gift of attention that eventually can lead to sales.

5. Can meaningful marketing stand on its own or does it require a mix of other traditional methods of marketing as part of the overall marketing strategy?

I really think the key to success is to re-think the purpose and measures of marketing. Interruptive marketing is based on the premise that the more people who are exposed to your ad, the more will buy your product. Meaningful marketing is based on the premise that the more people who choose to engage with your value-added advertising, the more will buy your product. You may decide to use television or print as part of a meaningful marketing program, but instead of measuring “exposures” you measure how many people followed the ad to your website, iPhone app, or in-store event. All the old and new media alternatives are still applicable, but they should now be held to a different, higher expectation.

6. What advice would you give to young marketers who would someday like to get to your position in marketing?

I think too many new marketers feel that they should come into a company and simply learn how to follow the established “rules” so that they can climb the organizational chart. But this is a time where companies actually need people to come in and challenge the rules and lead their thinking, so young marketers should look for ways to take risks and lead the organization. I always found success by asking myself, “What can I do that no one in the organization has done before to grow the business?” That’s gotten me a long way so far!

Create Valuable Marketing: The Next Evolution of Marketing

In The Next Evolution of Marketing, Bob Gilbreath describes an alternative approach to marketing called “marketing with meaning”, in which marketing becomes a product or service in of itself that people choose to engage with. Gilbreath provides a ton of examples of how marketers can create marketing that is meaningful, like Nike’s social network for runners that tracks member’s runs and Charmin providing luxury restrooms in Times Square. While some marketers have been trying to invent “innovative” advertising that cuts through the clutter, meaningful marketers creates marketing that adds value to people’s lives.

Some advantages of meaningful marketing are that consumers are more willing to listen to your message, it often drives word of mouth and attracts media attention, and it can build loyalty beyond reason. It can also improve attitudes about your company and I think people tend to reciprocate when brands improve their lives with marketing.

I think this is a valuable read for marketers and was one of the best marketing books of 2009 (full disclosure: I received a review copy). I like that it provides tons of examples and also goes into depth on how to implement a meaningful marketing campaign, including how to get key people in the company to sign on and how to work with creatives. If you are in B2B or small business, know that this book focuses on B2C and has few examples outside of B2C, but I think the concepts are transferable and useful.

Here are some of my takeaways from reading this book:

Create an information resource as marketing

Gibreath writes “The Web offers marketers a significant opportunity to help people uncover whatever it is they want to know, whenever they want to know it…Companies that provide answers to our endless information needs have a great shot at earning a steady stream of interested customers.”

Home Depot offered free courses on home improvement after they had the insight that people were skeptical of commercials showing people doing home improvements on their own. Blue Nile provides buying guides on their site that educate guys about jewelry, highly-sought out information for men buying important high-ticket items. And Sony created an online learning center called Sony 101, providing education on topics from digital photography to HDTV’s.

Lower the risk of switching by offering samples

If you have ever shopped at Costco and been able to have a full meal from the free samples alone, you know the value that samples can have for people. Samples can also lower the perceived risks and cost to consumers of trying new things.

Gilbreath writes “According to a survey conducted in February 2007 by the Promotion Marketing Association, nine out of ten consumers say that they would purchase a good or service if they experienced it and were satisfied”.

Cause marketing can be a strong differentiator
Gilbreath writes “A 2008 Cone/Duke University Behavioral Cause Study showed that a whopping 87 percent of consumers will switch from one brand to another that’s comparable based on its association with a good cause – that’s up 31 percent since 1993.” This is compelling evidence that associating your brand with a worthy cause can be a strong differentiator. An example is Yoplait’s pink caps that support breast cancer research.

Keep business objectives in mind when creating meaningful marketing

Some marketing efforts have been hugely successful in generating buzz and adding value to people’s lives, but have failed to achieve any business objectives. An example of this from the book is Office Max’s Elf Yourself. Despite tons of media coverage and millions of people who made elf videos of their family members, many people couldn’t recall which major office supply store was behind the campaign.

Customer service is extremely important for retention
Studies suggest that customer service is the main reason people switch brands across every major industry. An Accenture study found 67 percent had switched brands because of poor service taking an average of $4,000 of business with them.

Marketing Lessons from the Most Successful Spy in US History

If you haven’t seen the movie Breach, don’t read this post because there will be spoilers. Breach is a movie based on the capture of the the most “successful” spy in US history, Robert Hanssen. He worked in the FBI for about 25 years and spied for the USSR/Russia for about 22 years, and was even assigned to lead a team to look for a mole in the FBI (which was himself). What can we learn from the success of Robert Hanssen’s ability to evade the authorities for all those years? Here are my takeaways:

Sometimes the best answer is the most obvious:

According to the wikipedia article, Hanssen did several things that should have raised red flags that he was a mole. He hacked into another federal employee’s computer, he would search his name in the FBI data base, his brother-in-law found stacks of cash in his drawer and reported this to his superior. He even walked into the Russian embassy and showed his face and gave his code name name to a Russian officer. The FBI spent millions to find intel on the mole, but ignored the obvious clues. Often in marketing, firms will spend millions on complex marketing research, when they can just listen to the customer complaints and often find out what the problems are.

Don’t underestimate your competition

In the movie, Hanssen’s biggest mistake was to underestimate his clerk, Eric O’Neill, who was actually undercover to observe Hanssen’s every action. At one point Hanssen said told O’Neill that he was as dumb as nails. Because Hanssen underestimated him, O’Neill was able to gather valuable evidence from Hanssen’s PDA. Often large firms will scoff at the small guy that they are competing with, and often the small guy takes over the dominant amount of market share because of the bigger firm’s carelessness.

Did you learn any lessons from the movie? If so, please leave a comment.

Eric O’Neill Wikipedia
Robert Hanssen Wikipedia