Blog

December 2015 - PS Insights

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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(Pictured) A decorated house in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. If you haven’t strolled that neighborhood during the Christmas season, you’re missing a world-class treat. Season’s best to everyone–we’ll be back after the New Year!

 

VISUAL LANGUAGE

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We’ve written a lot about the new English and the new rules of grammar. In marketing, there’s another language as well: Editing. Simple fact is, younger audiences can handle more cuts, more camera movement and more visual effects than older (over 40) audiences. As you edit your video for either TV or the web, make sure the visual pace of the spot matches the ability of your audience to process the input. How do you optimally connect with your target audience when doing a commercial?

ELEVATING THE VALUE PROPOSITION

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A few years ago we blogged about car dealerships moving from “Used Cars” to “Pre-Owned Vehicles” as a way to upgrade the value of what they sell. We recently came across a sublime example on the History Channel TV show “American Pickers.” This is a totally mindless reality series where a pair of Iowa pickers travel the country looking for stuff for sale and then resell it in their Memphis and Iowa stores. During a recent episode, the hosts were chatting in their van and one of them summed up their job perfectly. “We don’t shop for antiques,” he said. “We shop for junk and sell it as antiques.” How do you maximize the value of your “dated” merchandise?

THE MIDDLE WAY

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Zen masters teach “the middle way.” But the middle seems to be disappearing. In every area of our lives. Moderate politicians? Gone. Middle class? Gone. And we’re noticing the trend with ad messaging, as well. We’ve seen some zippy :10 and :15 second spots. We’ve watched some 2:00 and 3:00 minute viral videos. But a :30 second spot—long enough to deliver the message but not so short so that everything has to be rushed—is fast disappearing. How do you find The Middle Way in your marketing messaging?

AD BLOCKING

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Don’t want ads? Fine. How much are you willing to pay for that “privilege?” Everyone enjoys bashing advertisers, commercial breaks and all other “non-permissioned” messaging. Until they realize what it really costs them to go commercial-free. And would you really want a September issue of Vogue that was 40 pages thick (instead of 700) with no ads? Or, what would you be willing to pay to watch the Super Bowl? Be careful what you wish for—there are always unintended consequences. How are you thinking about reaching your target audience “with permission?”

MARS/VENUS

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22 years ago, John Gray wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. 50 million copies later, it has sparked no shortage of other analogies (some not suitable for print). But we recently came across the pictured ones—a millennials-old truth expressed in a 21st Century way. “Men Are From Bluetooth: he is connected to you when you’re nearby, but searches for other devices when you’re away.” “Women Are From Wi-Fi: She sees all available devices but connects to the strongest one.” Are you aware of the latest terminology and do you keep your analogies and clichés up to date?

HARD MARKETING

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Craft beers are the growth engine of the beer business today. Now comes the opportunity to add a little pop to soda. Hard root beer, hard ginger ale, hard cider are becoming a significant new beverage subcategory in the U.S. Have you looked at your markets to identify a product mashup that could create a new experience?

EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS

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The millennial mindset is more about experiences than things. Their attitude is, “We have enough stuff, but never enough positive experiences.” More and more of us are feeling this way and it represents the opportunity for a real shift in marketing priorities. What are you doing to deliver greater meaning in what you sell rather than selling the acquisition of just plain goods and services?

WHO’S YOUR GEEK?

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We’re seeing an interesting trend in small businesses. They’re hiring Millennials who come on board and are surprised by how unconnected their new employer is. After their third or fourth question (“Why isn’t our website set up for mobile?” “How come customers can’t order online?”) the owner says, “Okay, you’re in charge of bringing us into the 21st century.” But the person in question has no real IT skills beyond knowing how to use the devices and ask the questions. Sort of like asking someone who knows how to use a telephone if they would wire your building for phone service. How are you bringing your company into the new age?

TWO DRAFTS

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That’s the minimum amount it takes to get anything written well. From an eMail to a memo to a corporate annual report. Writing and editing are two different skills. The trouble most of us get into – a bad habit left over from high school and college when our goal was to get it written, get it done, get to the party – is we try to edit as we write. Can’t be done well. One is a left-brained activity, the other is right-brained. Which is why we tell our creatives to “Write drunk, edit sober.” By which we mean “go as crazy as you want with your first draft. Don’t edit yourself. Then catch your breath, take a break, and come back to the work with an editor’s eye.” How many drafts does it take you to get your message brilliantly and simply right?