Joe Pulizzi Knows Content Marketing. You Can Too.

Do you want to get smarter about using content marketing to grow your business?

Then read Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi. Recognized as a content marketing evangelist, Pulizzi is the author of three books and the founder of the Content Marketing Institute.

His third book is full of practical tips that are integrated with solid marketing discipline.  It’s easy-to-read, has lots of examples, and contains “how to” implementation steps.

Whether you’re an up-and-comer marketer or a skilled practitioner, there’s something to strengthen your marketing tool kit in this book.

4 NUGGETS PLUS 5TH BONUS TO GET YOU STARTED

1.  Content Marketing Definition.  “Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services.  They care about themselves. their wants, and their needs.  Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.Continue reading

Sports Marketing Triple Play: Team, Retailer, Shoppers Win in Free Furniture Promo

Credit: Ashley Furniture - College Station, TX.

Credit: Ashley Furniture – College Station, TX.

The Texas A&M football team made a lot of furniture shoppers very happy last week when they beat South Carolina 52-28.

The margin of victory in A&M’s season-opening win meant that customers of Ashley Furniture HomeStore in College Station, TX would get their just-purchased furniture for free.

It was an exciting moment for the team, store and customers.  Maybe not so much for the insurance company.  Learn more in this mini case study, plus four keys to your sponsorship and sports marketing success.


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Hain Celestial Gives Rice Dream Easy-Open Top

Consumers of Rice Dream rice drink can now prepare their morning cereal faster thanks to a new packaging innovation.

Credit: The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

Credit: The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

The Hain Celestial marketing team is phasing-in a new, easy-to-open screw cap atop its familiar Tetra Pak carton.  Offering this consumer benefit continues a trend of  making the pour easier, although it’s been quite some time since the last update (pull-off foil strip) was incorporated.

Anyone who’s ever had a pull-strip malfunction, which then required puncturing the seal with sharp or blunt force, will appreciate the new closure.

More good news for shoppers:  the new convenience feature appears to have been incorporated within the brand’s existing price structure, as retail pricing is unchanged at present.   Continue reading

Humorous Twitter Character Fights Severe Drought in California

Changing behavior is one of the hardest things to do in marketing.

In drought-stricken California, the nonprofit Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) has rolled-out a creative marketing campaign to persuade consumers to conserve water.

Photo: Southern California Water Committee.

Photo: Southern California Water Committee.

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Mr. Selfridge’s Philosophy is Timeless – And Still Valuable

Photo: PBS.org

Photo: PBS.org

Thanks to the PBS Masterpiece series Mr. Selfridge, viewers on both sides of the pond have been introduced to the world of retail marketing and merchandising innovator Harry Selfridge.

In 1909, Harry Gordon Selfridge launched his eponymous London department store Selfridges, which today is an iconic landmark.  The store revolutionized the shopping experience for British consumers, and observers credit it for helping to propel major societal changes in pre-World War II Britain.

The current Selfridges store pays homage to its namesake founder:

“Harry Selfridge was the first in the UK to allow customers to touch and interact directly with the store’s products and the first to sell a broad mix of inexpensive and extremely luxurious items under one roof.  Effectively, he wanted for every customer to feel welcome at his store.  He was also the only one to relentlessly use his store as a theatre, an exhibition space and a playground to delight customers with unexpected experiences.  Retail theatre was born.”

While the TV series is outstanding, I’ve especially enjoyed learning about the business philosophy that underpinned how Selfridge operated the store.  More than 100 years later, his breakthrough thinking remains spot-on and valuable to today’s marketing and business practitioners.

In 1918, Selfridge published The Romance of Commerce, in which he articulated his philosophy and explained his business ideas.

Photo: Adams Media

Photo: Adams Media

Last year, Adams Media released an abridged and updated version, from which I’ve selected and organized some of his timeless marketing and business ideas.

Take a few mid-summer reading minutes and soak-in the timeless wisdom of Harry Selfridge.

 


Leadership

  • This ability, therefore, to organize, to breathe into others that fire of enthusiasm, that quality of judgment, that spirit of progress, has long been considered by thinking men of commerce as the final and greatest of all qualities, the test of supreme commercial genius.
Photo: Selfridges.com

Photo: Selfridges.com

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Pro Teams Score with Direct-to-SportsFan Marketing

Increasingly, professional sports teams are taking their important communication messages directly to fans.

Powered by the ubiquity of the Internet and fan tethering to social media platforms, direct-to-sportsfan (D2SF) marketing offers pro teams an unprecedented, and unfiltered, communication vehicle to their fans and season ticket-holders.

Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins. Photo: Brooklyn Nets website.

Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins. Photo: Brooklyn Nets website.

What is direct-to-sportsfan marketing?

D2SF is a hybrid marketing strategy designed to enhance the relationship, connection and relevance between teams and their fans, especially season ticket-holders, via the creation and direct sharing of special access, customized content.  It’s a combination package of marketing communications, content marketing, public relations, customer engagement and social media marketing.

Tactics include:

  • In-house Broadcasting.  Teams create their own reporting and broadcast content, typically with their own, paid journalists.
  • Coach-To-Fan Communication.  This takes the form of letters, short videos and recorded telephone messages.
  • Owner-To-Fan Communication.  Public letters, season ticket-holder messages and tweets are commonly used.

Communications expert Ivy Cohen, president and CEO of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, provides some perspective to help understand this developing marketing philosophy:

“The fan-team relationship is a symbiotic one.  Teams need fans to establish the value of their brands and keep the franchise flourishing.  Fans want to connect with their favorite teams for the psychic rewards of competition, winning, belonging, and a variety of benefits that come with entertainment, love of sport and following a season.”

Cohen adds:

“When player contracts were long-term, fans felt strong ties to individual players, the team brands were represented by a steady player roster and fans had strong team brand loyalty and player attachments.  Since that system eroded, fans need more and meaningful ways to feel an ongoing connection to a team.  Fans want to feel connected to their team and are seeking a persona to contribute that.  Owners and coaches can be strong representatives for their teams.”

Overall, as a targeted sports fan recipient myself, I like to see what the coaches or owners have to say unfiltered.  It’s a nice supplement to all the sports journalism.  And, as a marketing observer, it’s interesting to note what and how teams decide to communicate.


Let’s look at two examples from the past few weeks.

Jason Kidd Letter to Bucks Fans.  Posted 7/7/2014 to Milwaukee Bucks website.

Jason Kidd Letter to Bucks Fans. Posted 7/7/2014 to Milwaukee Bucks website.

Jason Kidd is the new coach of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, having controversially orchestrated his departure from the Brooklyn Nets sideline. You can read his letter of introduction to Wisconsin fans:

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Make Your Mission Statement Actually Mean Something

A book search on Amazon.com for “mission statement” produced 29, 303 results.

Wow!  I suppose that means there’s a lot of interest in the topic – or a lot of help needed!

Cartoon: tomfishburne.com

Cartoon: tomfishburne.com

For sure, companies devote precious time and dedicate significant resources on a variety of strategic identity work, including mission statements.  Some is well-spent, others not so much.

A mission statement should be a catalyst to drive the organization forward in the same direction.  To do that, it should be: Continue reading