Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing December 2013 Newsletter.
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Simple Ways to Get Your Customers to Listen to You
By Lindsay LaVine, enterpreneur.com
In a crowded marketplace, how do you distinguish yourself
from the competition?
If you're in business, chances are you're trying to get
someone – a customer or prospective client – to do something, whether it's
call you, visit your website, or try your product. But in a crowded
marketplace, how do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
Enter Tom Haley, Group Creative Director at Chicago-based Jellyvision Lab,
an interactive conversation company specializing in providing personalized
multimedia content on behalf of its clients. We spoke with him about how
businesses can better educate and communicate with their customers. Here
are his five tips:
1. Cut out what's not important.
It's important to make every sentence as clear and efficient as possible,
Haley says. "If you can omit a word, a sentence or a paragraph that's not
key to helping someone understand something, do it," Haley says. For
example, if you sell lawnmowers and you're trying to explain why your
lawnmower is better than the other lawnmowers on the market, the customer
probably doesn't want to hear about the company's history.
"Don't presume the audience has any interest in what your message is,"
Haley says. Business owners are consumed with their business, but forget
that for customers, their interaction with you is just a small part of
their day. They want help, not necessarily the history of the product,
2. Explain things before you name things.
If you work in a field with special terminology or jargon, be sure to
explain the term and concept before using it over and over because people
may not know what they mean. For example, if you own an insurance company,
customers have heard of copays and deductibles, but may not know the
difference between the two or what they mean. By explaining that a
deductible is money that a customer pays before the insurance policy kicks
in, you ensure everyone's on the same page.
3. When possible, use metaphors.
Haley says using metaphors can help explain complicated concepts to
consumers. For example, if you're selling a complicated suite of business
software tools, you could compare the solution to a busy restaurant, where
the head chef efficiently directs her staff while keeping diners happy.
4. Be funny.
"Humor is at the core of what we do," Haley says. Jellyvision has found
that people learn more and have a better experience if you can make them
laugh. "It's not about jokes or gags," Haley says. "It's more about being
human, approachable and personable." No matter what you're doing, always
remember you're just talking to a single human being, Haley says.
5. Tell the story in chronological order.
In storytelling, it's easy to get the order of events wrong, Haley says.
Therefore, it's important to use real-life context when you're trying to
explain something to consumers. For example, Jellyvision created an
interactive conversation experience for a utility company to educate its
customers about how to read their energy bills. Instead of reading line
item charges and trying to guess what they mean, you can start by saying
something like, "Energy is generated in power plants, which is delivered
to your home, but that process costs money, which appears on your bill as
an energy charge."
Marketing Buzzwords That You Really Shouldn't Use
by Greg Satell, Forbes.com
Ask any marketer what they do and you’ll
get a different answer. That’s because marketing is a hard discipline to
We don’t cure people like doctors or build things like
architects or even blow up the economy like those slick Wall Street guys.
The truth is what marketers do most of the
time is meet and discuss—endlessly. We discuss the brief and trends and
the consumer mindset and just about everything else you can imagine.
Crucial to these discussions are buzzwords. These serve as shorthand for
more complex concepts that nobody really understands, so they save the
time and energy that we would otherwise spend actually thinking about
things. The problem is that some of the ideas buzzwords represent are
themselves nonsense and lead us astray. Here are four of them:
Engagement is a prototypical buzzword because it is so marvelously
sublime that nobody can actually define what it means. Basically, it is a
very vague way of pointing out that what you do should interest consumers
and not bore them. It is, in essence, a value distinction and not a
A much more operable term is value exchange, which can either be related
to the product (Apple), content (Michelin Guides, American Express Open
Forum) or social experience (a local pub, Zynga).
While not a perfect term, thinking about value exchange leads to more
serious strategies for building assets in the marketplace, rather than
optimizing for questionable metrics such as tweets, likes and video
We have to get away from speaking about engagement as if it were a
definable quantity. If consumers perceive real value, they will be
Ever since Malcolm Gladwell formulated the Law of the Few in his
bestselling The Tipping Point marketers have been obsessed with
identifying “Influentials.” These magical people, so the story goes, have
“rare social gifts” that enable them to set trends for the rest of us.
Look at any social epidemic, Gladwell argues, and you’ll find
Influentials at the center.
As I’ve noted before, Influentials are a waste of time. We know this
because a vast body of empirical research has found no evidence that they
are either necessary or sufficient to produce the long viral chains that
we know as social epidemics. Further, a common sense appraisal of events
like the Arab Spring would show that influence is, at best, a moving
Of course, that doesn’t mean that some people don’t have more influence
than others. Some, like celebrities and heads of state, wield influence
through mass media or the powers of their office. Others, like managers
and moms, have influence over particular purchase decisions.
Yet we don’t need any mysterious terms for people like this.
“Celebrities”, “managers” and “moms” are perfectly sufficient. In truth,
social epidemics are driven by networks of people who are passionate
about an idea and these can adequately be identified through conventional
Marketers love loyalty and are quick to point out that it’s easier to
retain a customer than to win over a new one. So when sales are
suffering, it’s tempting to try to inch up loyalty metrics rather than to
increase market penetration. After all, even a small improvement in
loyalty will be leveraged across the entire customer base.
Alas, the truth is that market penetration and customer loyalty are
highly correlated, so the best thing you can do to improve loyalty is to
sell to more customers. While this may seem counterintuitive, it does
make sense. High selling items tend to get more shelf space, so
strategies likely to increase initial purchases are likely to increase
repeat purchases as well.
Further, there’s not much marketers can really do to increase loyalty.
Studies show that loyalty programs are generally not effective and that
the most important factor for instilling loyalty is customer experience,
an area in which marketers are only tangentially involved.
So don’t get caught up in the loyalty trap. Your time and effort will be
much better spent promoting advocacy through effective social marketing
and value exchange than devising gimmicks to promote repeat purchase.
When Jack Welch first took over at General Electric, he decided that
every business must be #1 or #2 in its category or it would be divested.
It was a successful strategy for a while, until his managers got wise and
simply defined their category in such a way that they would be leaders.
Marketers like to play the same game with “unique selling propositions,”
narrowing down the product definition so that they are unique in a
category of one, like “the very best nail salon with a blue awning on the
west side of town.” This is a complete waste of time.
First, you’re probably not unique in any significant way. Second, if you
were, it would be obvious enough that it wouldn’t take a long drawn out
discussion to uncover just how unique you are. Finally, research suggests
that differentiation plays a limited role in purchase decisions anyway.
After all, how many “unique” items do you buy?
So while buzzwords can be useful and are sometimes even unavoidable, they
shouldn’t blind us to simple good sense. If you able to identify viable
markets, offer true value and communicate effectively, you’ll do far
better than most.
Insider Tips to Effective Direct Mail Campaigns
by Lynne Saarte
Designed with sharp attention to detail and realistic strategy, direct
mail such as postcards, flyers, and sales letters is now a good way to
achieve high return of investment.
It is not surprising that many business owners have
regarded direct mail as the "Shrek" of print marketing. Why would it not
be? It is loud, misleading, and messy, often sent to unknown recipients
around the globe.
Fortunately, direct mail marketing is now improved and created more cost
effectively, causing many business owners to find the rewards this
technique has to offer. Designed with sharp attention to detail and
realistic strategy, direct mail such as postcards, flyers, and sales
letters is now a good way to achieve high return of investment. If you are
considering embarking on a direct mail campaign today, here are smart
tactics for you to consider:
1. Know what works and what does not.
People receive lots of letters in their mailbox each day. The next time
you get your mail, observe which mail catches your attention first and
what repels you. Are there a lot of advertising mails in your box? Chances
are most of the mail you received is junk mail. It is best to study this
type of mail to recognize what should be avoided when creating your direct
2. Educate through your materials.
Keep in mind that your target customers do not know anything about your
products. So, make sure to educate them with your materials. To do this,
your headline should be good and catchy to grab attention easily. You can
include provoking images and text in your materials, but make sure to
create copy that is direct and to the point. Use words that are easy to
understand to clearly and accurately communicate your message.
3. Be careful with color choices.
A colored material would always catch attention first than black and
white. But this does not mean that you should use any color your desire.
The wrong choice of color would channel the wrong impression to your
readers. If you want simplicity and freshness, you can always go with ward
colors. But if you want to go loud, choose bright colors. The best way to
decide on which color to choose is to think about your product and your
business. What image would you like people to see in you? Once you have
answered that question, then it will be easier for you to decide. Make
sure to check with your printer to see if your color choice is available
and is affordable.
4. Decide on what material to use.
There are basically a lot of materials you can choose from in direct mail
marketing: postcard printing, sales letters, brochures, and flyers. Each
medium can be created in varying prices. If you want the cheapest way,
then go for post cards because they cut down cost by eliminating the need
for envelopes. Whichever medium you use, make sure to use high quality
paper to effectively and clearly deliver your message. Keep in mind that
inexpensive paper delivers a different image compared to high quality
paper, so be careful with the paper you use.
5. Make it personal.
Nothing can be more convincing than a personalized message written
specially for the recipient of your direct mail. Keep in mind that people
look for a sense of familiarity in businesses they want to transact with.
So, if you want them to check out your mail first, then emphasize their
importance to your business by creating a personalized message.
About the Author:
Lynne Saarte is a writer who hails from Texas. She has been in the
Internet business for some years now, specializing in Internet marketing
and other online business strategies.
Win Brooklyn Nets Tickets!
Enjoy a great day of Basketball!
We are giving away two tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets.
All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t
hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to
leave a message. Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11. These
tickets are great seats!
Wednesday December 18, 2013.
Nets vs. Washington 7:30 PM.
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Five Simple Ways to Get Your Customers to Listen to You
Failed Marketing Buzzwords That You Really Shouldn't Use
Five Insider Tips to Effective Direct Mail Campaigns
Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably
View Samples of Our Work
Direct Mail Humor!
Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster
Mike's Favorite Links:
Some interesting links...
onextrapixel.com - A digital
community devoted in sharing web design and development freebies, great
tutorials, useful Internet resources, online tips and tricks for web
creativelive.com - Free live online
workshops taught by world-class experts. Learn photography, Photoshop,
software, design and more. All workshops available live for free.
packdog.com - Website for people who
love their dogs.
programmr.com - Get better at
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movievisor.com - Discover great
movies to watch online with Movievisor. What are you in the mood to watch
right now? Movievisor helps you find something to fill your cravings.
liquor.com - Your expert guide
featuring award-winning articles, hand-selected cocktail recipes, bar
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evernote.com - Free application.
Save your ideas, things you like, important notes. You can search by
title, tag, or text. Works with every computer and mobile device.
areavibes.com - Instant city data
and demographics. Great application for mailers looking for community
Did you know Talon offers the following services?
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Direct Mail Humor!
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