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Bad Marketing Advice

I was cleaning out my garage and came across this plastic frog and it lead me to write this article regarding the single worst piece of marketing advice I’ve ever received.

I was once asked to give a marketing seminar to large group of attorneys in NYC. The gentleman speaking prior to my slot was also set to give his advice on marketing to the same audience. To my surprise, instead of a typical introduction by the moderator, the speaker chose to stand at the back of the room. He asked the moderator to instead play a theme song which built to a crescendo as he charged down the aisle, throwing plastic frogs all over the unsuspecting audience.

If you haven’t already come to this conclusion, the entire premise of his presentation was about how important it is to get people to take notice of your brand when marketing your business. He went on to drive his point home by announcing that obviously none of us in the room we’re going to forget this particular presentation. In a way, he was technically correct, however, in a much more important way, his presentation was a disaster.

This  idea of “standing out at all costs” is extremely common in marketing. I’ve heard it over and over again, often, sadly, from other marketing professionals.

Another incident I recall was very similar, though on a smaller scale. I was at a local networking event. When we went around the room giving our 60 second elevator pitches detailing who we were, and what we had to offer the group,  one woman, a fellow marketer, decided to stand on her chair and deliver her 60 second pitch. She closed with “everyone will remember the crazy lady who stood up on her chair… and that’s what marketing is, being memorable.”

This is WRONG!

While, yes, it is important for marketing to be memorable to be effective, it is just as important for effective marketers to take into consideration the feeling their campaign conveys, the message they are sending,  and what they are striving to be remembered for. Consider McDonald’s incredibly successful “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign. You can bet each individual character within this short tagline underwent lengthy testing, with a number of focus groups.  A misplaced apostrophe, or an errant exclamation point could drastically change the feel of the campaign. The different between “McDonald’s, I’m loving it.” and “McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ it!”” is a 7 figure price tag on a successful campaign.

Good marketers know that even the fonts they use to create a tagline can instill a feeling which can ever so slightly alter the meaning of the words that make up a tagline. Fonts can feel formal, casual, trendy or fun. The job of a great marketing team is to note every aspect of a message, and to control it, delivering the feeling they want you to feel, with nothing left to chance.

While McDonald’s wants to be memorable, they also want to be memorable for the right reason. Would you want to be remembered for being associated with a cringe-worthy (I call them douche chills) circus style performance? No. And while I’d certainly remember a lawyer who gave cross examination while standing on his head in a TV commercial, the chances are slim and none that I’d actually hire him.

So, if someone recommends you run a print ad upside down because it will “make people stop and take notice,” unless you’re selling gravity boots,  hang up on them quickly, and get Generations Beyond on the phone!

babyCreatives are a funny bunch. They need to be cared for, appreciated and above all never fed after midnight. Occasionally, as in any other aspect of business, a creative conflict is bound to occur when working with these creatures. Now, a professional creative has been office-broken, and only has their hissy fits in private. They do this in their natural, cubicular environment far away from, and out of ear-shot of, the client. It is (or should be depending on your agency) a rare occurrence for any member of the general public to catch this act in the wild.


Should I be worried that my creative seems testy?
Not really. Consider this: when was the last time you showed any emotion about a topic you had very little passion about?
Lets say someone borrows your car and moved your seat? Is this annoying? YES, do you actually show visible emotion to the annoyance? Probably not. More than likely you made a mental note, addressed the issue, and moved on, never thinking about it again because it just wasn’t that important to you.
When your creative has a hissy fit, it’s likely because your project is VERY important to them! He or she may have begun to bond and care for your business logo, video or website design as they would a child or pet, and do not want any of the evils, or ugliness of the outside world to harm it. Many creatives even take pride in their work, and develop a sense of personal ownership over the projects they’re involved in. When a creative of this ilk senses that the artistic integrity of a project they’re working on is being threatened, they may become defensive, show bright facial colors, or even make barking sounds. This is entirely normal behavior, but, again, a professional creative, and one that is officebroken, will only do these things in private.


So a frustrated creative isn’t a negative thing? 
Not at all! Consider it a sign that your creative has developed a deep concern for the outcome of your project they they appear to be frustrated with the process. While an improperly officebroken creative is certainly not something you want to keep in a public environment such as a conference room, a creative that is prone to such behavior is that way because of their deep concern over your projects well being. If you should encounter a non-officebroken creative working on your project, this does not mean that the quality of work will suffer, however you may want to keep your distance from this unprofessional (and potentially dangerous) creative, as hissy fits do stem from a deep rooted passion and ownership for your project and can sometimes result in tossed snack foods.


For your enjoyment:
We caught a rare glimpse of a creative hissy fit within the hallowed halls of Generations Beyond  (far, far from client ears) and actually captured it on video. We hope you enjoy:


In the digital marketing world of eateries and nightlife, “social media” is the be-all end-all in self-promotional buzzwords. Anyone with a quality business establishment can benefit from using social media outlets to increase awareness of their brand, create dialogue with their current and potential future clients and even deal with negative comments in a public forum to turn negative press into positive.
But what happens when your business turns up on a social site that you cannot completely control such as Yelp?


What Is Yelp? Yelp is an online urban city guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what’s great — and not so great — in your world.


What happens in the (all too common) event when a disgruntled employee or even a local competitor fills your profile with hateful rants?


Without the ability to remove posts on Yelp, the way you can on Facebook, all the positive spin in the world will not quell the person with an axe-to-grind angrily from posting hostile reviews from the safety of their home.


So what do you do if your establishment encounters a “Yelp Disaster”?


The Knee-Jerk Reaction #1 – CRY TO MOMMY

The #1 response to a Yelp disaster is “I’ll get my friends and family to post glowing reviews to offset the balance!” Hold on there! You thought of it, and YELP has thought of it too, so they’ve created a “filtering system” to combat false reviews. While admittedly, it is still flawed, YELP is sticking to their guns and using their filtering system to weed out what they consider to be unrealistic reviews.


The Knee-Jerk Reaction #2 – I’LL SUE!

The second most common reaction is to pursue legal recourse. While this topic is still a grey area as to who is legally in the right and who is in the wrong, a case for defamation can easily be made and filed by any lawyer looking for a quick paycheck. Even if you’re successful with your claim, it will most likely a very long, and very public affair, and yes, Yelp has already thought of this too. They have a very lengthy FAQ about how they think you should handle your lawsuit questions and actions, so let’s move on…


Logical Reaction #1 – Use Yelps Other Tools

More than 50% of visits to a restaurants website will be on a mobile device. This fact means that most of your clients will have a mobile device handy while dining.


Encourage check-ins via the Yelp Mobile app. Reward or entice customers to check-in on the app. Studies show that people are generally kinder when they know their words will be associated with their identity in an in-person encounter.


In addition, your regulars are the most likely people to respond to such an offer, and they’re even less likely to bash you while they’re taking advantage of your special offer.


Logical Reaction #2 – Time & Volume – Do What You Do!

While self-admittedly flawed, in time, Yelp claims its filtering system brings “validated” reviews to the top and over time sends bad reviews to the bottom.
Here is a short video on their filtering system:

What’s the difference? A Yelp user who has a long standing history of holding an account with Yelp and has reviewed many establishments (fairly) holds a lot more weight according to Yelp than someone who just joined to post a scathing review minutes after joining then abandoning yelp altogether.


In short, if you are providing quality product and service, just keep doing what you are doing, in time your good name and good service will prevail and the cream will rise to the top and the unfair negatives will sink like a stone.

So who takes home the coveted prize for Viral Video Marketer for the toughest month of October? The top 3 ingredients of a typical, successful viral video is funny, sexy or scary. This makes October a month of high competition and the top dog always turns out something great. This month’s winner is a bit of a weird experiment…

Can you be a viral video marketer if you are not really marketing anything?

Stipulations aside, we’d feel remiss if we did not share this viral video marketing experience with you this month. Check out Take This Lolipop, sit back and “relax?”

Creator, Jason Zada claims “I just love Halloween” and that’s that. Write ups in the New York Times and Forbes coupled with tying into the holiday spirit along with everyone’s fears with sharing anything online certainly is helping this one make the rounds in a big way.


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