Marketing Monday: Catch 'em Off Guard

It's not exactly a secret that the best marketing is effective. And maybe the second-best marketing is effective because it is memorable. I'm sure there is some science or reference articles or extra-long think pieces I could link to to prove this thesis, but it's Monday of a hectic week and so I'm going to own that that sounds good to me right now and it fits in with my point today: this bear is owning it. 

This bear. This bear, man. Pop-ups are annoying. This bear is owning it! AND he's being charming about it, which is what made me stop, look twice, laugh, show my husband, screenshot it, and post about it here two days later. 

Look! Look at him!

Smug little fella.

Smug little fella.

Full disclosure: It didn't make me fork over my email address (rarely does anything make me do that, in fairness), but it did endear me to the brand and branding and ensured that I would be back. And that I will probably sign up for that discount when I'm ready to buy something.

PS - My 2016 Gift Guide goes live one week from tomorrow! I'm featuring some Emily McDowell products this year, and trust me when I saw you want to check out her stuff. 

Marketing Monday: Why the Why

Today, I'm into this blog post over at KAI Partners, from a friend of mine, Sarah Walsh (this isn't in any way sponsored: I just like this post a whole lot). Sarah's talking about 'why', and why it "seems to be having a moment" in business. The article focuses mostly on making transitions and change go more smoothly, but 'why' is–and must be–a crucial touchpoint from the ground up, in everything from changes to the software your employees use to your marketing plans.

If you don't know the why in your marketing plan, then you don't know the who, which means you don't know the how or the what. And where does that leave you?

Photo from LinkedIn SlideShare, Simon Sinek, via Kai Partners.

Photo from LinkedIn SlideShare, Simon Sinek, via Kai Partners.

When I speak with prospective clients, I ask them some standard questions. I ask them about who their competition is, what sets them apart, who their ideal client is, how their clients find them, and how they'd like their clients to find them. I ask them questions that paints a picture of who they are and what they do. But all of these questions are designed to get at the root of who they are, of what they stand for: of why they do what they do, of what drives them. Sometimes this is really easy. Sometimes it's harder than you'd expect.

Have you heard of the Five Whys? It's a way of getting beyond superficial reasons to a real root cause of a problem, and it's essentially what my questions get at. Yes, in order to be successful we need to know where we're going, but as the old (butchered) saying goes, you need to know where you're coming from and why you're on the train in the first place and what's fueling your train and how to keep fueling it and who's on it in order to get the outcome you want. 

Screenshot from the example at

Screenshot from the example at

The pinned tweet on my Twitter profile is this one:

Which brings us full circle: all of this talk about 'why' goes to authenticity. Authenticity is easy to believe in, whereas selling (proverbially) something you don't believe in is not. In general, but in content marketing specifically, what you're really selling is the story about what you're selling. At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to. And people don't want to be sold to or talked at. They want to have a conversation, be told a story, and believe in what you do. 

Marketing Monday: Brilliant Ad Copy

If you've watched any amount of TV lately and not fast-forwarded through all the commercials, you've likely seen some of these State Farm TV spots. They've ingeniously written ad scripts where the meaning changes completely depending on how the lines are delivered by the actors. The scripts & delivery serve to illustrate both the good and bad in life, and how State Farm has what you need in both cases. Or as they put it, "State Farm knows that for every one of those moments, there's one of these moments."

This is some seriously brilliant copywriting. As any copywriter knows, the smallest, punchiest lines can be the most difficult to write, and when I watch these ads I often imagine the struggle. I've no idea whether this is remotely accurate, but I picture a round table of writers yanking their hair out as they test lines in various voices until they all start to feel like they're going crazy. These are the kind of lines that I imagine were tested out on family, friends, and around the water cooler. "But if they say it like this does it sound more exasperated?" "Would a thief say this? Is this believable? What if he says it like this?"

I'm curious about the process here. If it were me, I think I'd start by writing the 'good' side of the ad first, then test it out in the 'uh oh' voice. The comedic element might be more natural that way, exactly as it's delivered in the videos. How would you approach it?

Video descriptions on YouTube continue to perfectly capture both the individual videos, and the services offered. 

1) "State Farm is always there, with car insurance, for when things go wrong. But also here with car loans, to help life go right." 

2) "State Farm is always there, with renters insurance, for when things go wrong. But also here, with a rewards credit card, to help life go right."

3) "State Farm is always there, with car insurance, for when things go wrong. But also here with car loans, to help life go right."