Blog

December 2010 - PS Insights

WHAT’S A GOOD IDEA WORTH?

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What’s a good idea worth – and where do you get one? All your marketing should be driven by one clear, compelling idea. Do you have it? Do you own it? Is it so uniquely yours that when people hear about it they automatically think about you? If not, put your thinking cap on and get to work. Or hold your agencies feet to the fire – tell ’em you want to see some breakthrough thinking and see what they show you. Make sure you’ve got the guts to support the big ideas they bring you. It will change your mutual expectations and take your game to a way higher level.

DOES YOUR CONTENT HAVE LONGEVITY?

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What’s the value of content that has no shelf life? As soon as you put it out there it becomes useless – that’s just content for content’s sake. Make sure what you create has long-term value to the target audience. Or, if it doesn’t, then don’t spend a lot of time and money on it.

DOES YOUR PRODUCTION MATCH YOUR MEDIA?

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Are you spending $100,000 (and more) for digital content that’s going to be viewed on a 2″ screen? Why? Don’t let your vendors talk you into overblown production processes and costs. There’s an old saying, “don’t let good be the enemy of great.” We say, “don’t let great be the enemy of finished.” Get it done – fast, quick and cheap (yes, these days you CAN have all three) and get it out there. The audience will let you know in a hurry if you got it right or not.

CAN YOUR CONTENT THRIVE ON MULTIPLE PLATFORMS?

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Do you create TV that can be webisodes? YouTube videos? Website content? PDA deliverable? Are your tweets headlines for important news? Are your blogs a preview of your next brochure? Everything’s got to work with everything else – make sure your content can thrive on multiple platforms, or you’ll waste huge amounts of time and money constantly redoing — and confusing — your messaging.

IS YOUR CONTENT STICKY?

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Is your content entertaining and informative? Almost as important as “simple and honest,” content in the digital age has to offer the customer a reason to connect. What information have you delivered to get customers to appreciate your message? To appreciate the fact that you were the one who provided that information? Have you provided that content in an engaging way? It takes sticky to inspire your customers to stick around.

IS YOUR CONTENT SIMPLE?

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Is your content simple and honest? If you only use two rules of thumb in judging your web content, those are the two you should use. Warren Buffet once said something cogent on the subject. If his people came to him and asked him about a grey area, he would simply reply “if you have to ask me if it’s legal, then it’s not.” The same applies for “honest” and “simple.” If you’ve got to ask, go back to the drawing board.

DOES YOUR CONTENT DEPEND ON YOUR BRAND?

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Could you remove your name from your ads or website and put your competitor’s name on it? If so, what’s your point of difference? Try it. Think about your #1 competitor. Now look at your marketing materials, cover up your name and put your competitor’s logo in the material. Does it still make sense? If so, then you haven’t really dug down and found your key point of difference. If YOU can’t tell the difference, how can your customers?

IS YOUR CONTENT CONSISTENT?

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Is your content consistent with your brand image? Banks and insurance companies are the worst at this – their ads say one thing, their physical location says something else. It’s amazing (or appalling) how some institutions try to have a hip, contemporary voice in their marketing materials, but when you walk into their offices you step back into a 40-year-old time machine. Stuffy locations, pompous branch managers – you know exactly what we’re talking about. Are you doing business that way yourself? Do you know what your “voice” is? Is it appealing, consistent and contemporary?

PARTNER WITH VENDORS

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Why are so many vendor relationships adversarial? Hint: it’s all about making them hired hands instead of business partners. Give your vendors a real place at the table. Stop telling them what to do and start inviting them to help understand and solve what you need. You can always ignore their advice, but by asking for it you’re giving yourself another set of brains instead of just another set of hands. We had a mentor who used to demand of us that we shut up when vendors came by – he wanted to hear what they thought, not what we thought. As he told us, “I can always ask your opinion anytime. This was a rare opportunity to find out what outsiders think.” So start utilizing the brainpower of your vendors. You’ll be amazed what a difference a partnership can make.

OPTIMAL RELATIONSHIPS

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 What’s the optimal agency relationship? Here are four key attributes. What others would you add?1. Partner, not vendor. Make them part of your team, not just hired hands2. Appreciate good strategy. Never take it for granted or start a creative meeting without it.3. Trust the creative. Big ideas are not comfortable. They have reach and risk. You hire great creative people to take you there.

4. Share in risk as well as reward. Make sure they have some skin in your game and can get rewarded along with you for the wins.