The Bizz by AnyPromo.com

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

Advertisers Beware: 2013 Is the Worst Year in Traditional TV’s History


The past 12 months have made up the worst year in traditional TV’s history. Advertisers need to be wary of TV as a primary marketing channel, and may need to invest in other marketing channels to reach younger crowds.


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by Fausto Mendez / graph & data by The Atlantic, Quartz (Ritchie King), Moffett Research, Netflix

    If you’re a young person in America, the likelihood that you’ll ever sign up (or continue paying) for a traditional TV subscription, such as Cable, is at an all-time low since TV blew up as a staple in American culture. The total number of cable subscriptions continue to free fall off the charts, and satellite and telecom service providers can’t attract new customers fast enough to counter Cable’s fall. It looks like the trends will only get stronger over time, but your TV shows aren’t in peril.

    Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and iTunes will take care of your shows (and even produce new shows and/or episodes) as TV producers, directors, writers and actors take to the Web as a primary, first-rate broadcasting channel. Actually, it’s the TV networks that have a lot to worry about. Their cash cow, the TV commercial, is losing value fast, and other marketing channels are eating up all the left-over profit.

   Suddenly, companies with innovative and incredibly sophisticated targeting techniques, like Google and AdRoll, are moving in on TV’s territory while historically stable marketing channels, like promotional giveaways, trade shows, direct mail/email, and billboards, remain strong.

    Furthermore, mainstream social networks tout massive audiences that dwarf those of even the biggest TV networks, and it’s easier than ever to accurately target your audience on these networks, ensuring that you don’t pay for irrelevant impressions or clicks. Topical blog sites also do a great job of attracting smaller niche audiences of the Web, and many of those sites employ creative advertising teams that partner with businesses to build and serve relevant ads to their audiences.

Ditching Traditional TV in My 20s 

    In my own experience of 27 years on this planet, I ditched cable on my way to college. I was an avid TV fan growing up in my parents’ home with Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, The X-Files and much more. Sadly, I would often construct my daily schedule around my favorite shows and not the other way around. Clearly, that’s not how life should be. TV should adjust to my schedule. 

     As a college student with robust university-grade Wi-Fi, I discovered a beautiful truth. The Web and a-la-carte methods, such as Netflix DVD subscriptions, are more liberating and satisfying ways of watching TV. The best part is that it costs much less than cable or satellite.

    No, scratch that. The best part is I’m no longer forced to sit through long stretches of ads in between cliffhangers of my favorite shows. 

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind the occasional commercial as long as it’s relevant to me, but I can’t stand a long stream of irrelevant commercials every seven to ten minutes. Neither can my peers.

    For example, if I was ever in the mood for Saturday morning cartoons during a weekend study session, Cable would force me to sit through tons of relentless ads for too-sugary cereals, poorly-designed action figures, and make-your-own jewelry kits. As a 19-year-old male, these ads would be wasted on me, but no matter what I watch on the Web, the shows either come ad free or only slightly interrupted with very relevant ads.

    As a result, TV’s fatal flaw is that it can’t segments audiences very well, and TV networks are way too greedy, steadily and stealthily increasing total ad-broadcasting time throughout the history of TV. Marketers, be careful of your strategy on TV; depending on your audience, the marketing channel could turn into a huge waste of money for your business. If your goal is to reach folks under 40, your best bet is probably not TV.


    Join us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh, non-stop marketing advice, and insightful business analysis - plus: free fonts, easy-lunch recipes and more. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

How to do Better Business: Stellar Graphic Design Caused Massive Boost in Sales of Classic Novel Pride & Prejudice


In marketing, stellar design and great presentation are critical if your goal is to maximize brand awareness and sales, and this point is clearly illustrated with the sales spike in 2009 of the classic, heart-wrenching novel Pride & Prejudice


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by Fausto Mendez / photo by New York

    Design and presentation are often overlooked by too many small businesses because it can be costly (if you don’t know how to manage a graphic designer), and many hard-core, data-driven, business managers don’t believe that good design is worth their time and money. Personal opinions aside, it’s hard to argue with hard data, such as sales numbers. 

    In the above graphic, New York magazine put together an insightful bar graph of total sales of Pride & Prejudice at different points in time. For each point in time, Pride features a unique cover design. As you can see, less-exciting covers, such as the 1993’s text-book-looking Pride failed miserably. 

    However, the recent success of the Twilight novel series prompted Pride’s marketing team to design a cover that features a similar attitude as Twilight's cover. Clearly, Twilight's cover designer has a much better understanding of what moves the genre's target audience. The result was a massive spike in sales after the cover launched in 2009.


    Join us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh, non-stop marketing advice, and insightful business analysis - plus: free fonts, easy-lunch recipes and more. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

When Big Marketing Budgets Don’t Matter So Much: Social-Media Marketing & Trade Show Marketing


Jeremy Waite shares priceless truth & wisdom on social-media marketing, but it’s not exclusive to social media.


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By Fausto Mendez

    Waite’s graphic above (and quote below) explains why social-media marketing is not so reliant on massive budgets. The same principal can also apply to trade-show marketing too.

jeremywaite:

"Too many brands running around trying to join the dots between all their different properties and hoping that one day they may be able to compete with the top brand in their industry.

Social business doesn’t work like that. It’s a level playing field. It’s like moneyball economics. Social “media” or whatever we chose to call it these days is still one of the only areas of business where you don’t need to outspend your competitors in order to beat them.”

    The big disconnect between trade-show marketing  and social is that having a big budget can make a pretty big difference at trade shows. Fortunately, trade show marketing is not all about big budgets, massive booths and extravagant displays.

    A little creativity can go a long way, and the fact that your smaller company shares the same space and traffic as much bigger companies really helps to even out the playing field despite budget differences. You don’t get that kind of “equality” on TV, paper ads, billboards or any other marketing space except for social media. Of course, it’s not an easy feat to outshow a showy brand like Sony or Samsung, but you can attract massive amounts of attention anyway. 

    There are lots of ways to do this, and you’re only limited by your creativity. One relatively easy way is to flood the trade show with attendees that are wearing your company shirts, hats or other apparel. But how can you coerce masses of people to wear your promotional apparel?

    One way is to launch a contest that requires participants to wear your shirt during the trade show to win prizes. I put together a detailed plan on that strategy at a previous blog post titled, "How to Get Everyone to Wear Your Promotional Shirt at the Next Trade Show.”

    The basic idea is to bring along some extra employees to walk and search the show floor, randomly handing out prizes - such as free products, gift cards, money or coupons - to attendees wearing your shirt. In order to attract the most attention from each prize giveaway, the key is to use bold extroverts with a showman’s attitude as your prize patrol. They should be loud, attractive, attention-grabbing people that you can’t ignore - perhaps accompanied by music, a short siren and/or light effects. Like I said, you’re only limited by your creativity.


    Join us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh, non-stop marketing advice, and insightful business analysis - plus: free fonts, easy-lunch recipes and more. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

What Scams Should You Watch For When Hiring an SEO Firm?

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By Fausto Mendez

    Finding and hiring a great SEO provider is tough. Some businesses can never find one, and worse, other businesses fall for dirty scams that cheat them out of thousands and thousands of dollars. That’s why you should watch out for the following scams when hiring an SEO firm.

    Our experiences with SEO companies has not been so great. Actually, we’ve never worked with an SEO firm that impressed us with measurable results and a reliable work ethic. As a result, we have enough experience to know what to look for in an SEO company that only offers ineffective services that are only designed to eat up as much of your money as possible.

    Search Engine Journal has a great piece on SEO scams. We summarize SEJ’s list below, and we follow up the list with a few scams that we’ve seen ourselves.

+ Don’t fall for “free” services. There is no such thing as a free SEO service that also works. It’s possible that the company selling you “free” services is stealing your data, your customers’ identities, or learning your trade secrets. In the best case scenario, a free SEO service is just a way for the company to get its foot in your door to sell you more expensive services.

+ Watch out for first-page guarantees. Any company that guarantees first-page rankings is (pardon my French) full of shit. Don’t get me wrong. Getting on the first page is certainly possible, but nobody has the power or skill to achieve first-page rankings so consistently that they can actually guarantee it. Real marketers never make guarantees except to guarantee to do their absolute best.

+ Beware meaningless services attached to big numbers, such as “submitting your site to hundreds or thousands of search engines”. The truth is that there are only a handful of relevant search engines, and it’s not hard to “submit” your site to these search engines. Anyone with a minimal level of skill and knowledge can do it.

+ Don’t believe anyone that says they have connections at Google. I’ve heard this line from every SEO company that we’ve talked to. It’s most likely a lie, and even if it’s true, NDA agreements and fat paychecks prevent Google employees from giving out insider knowledge or favors. 

+ Beware anyone that assumes they know Google’s Search algorithm. No one knows Google’s algorithm very well, not even former employees or even current employees. Google Search is developed and maintained by several sets of teams that specialize in smaller aspects of the engine. There probably is someone in the world that manages these teams and has better insight into the algorithm, but I’m sure that guy is paid far too well to risk getting caught handing over secrets to an SEO company.

+ No one has a secret formula for successful SEO. The information that you need to be a great SEO marketer is freely available to anyone that wants it. Even so, SEO is hard work and requires a lot of daily research. Any company that claims to have a secret formula is playing you for a fool. In SEO, the only secret is that there is no secret. Most successful marketers know what it takes to rank well. The problem is most people don’t want to do the hard work that gets them there. 

    SEJ’s list is great, but it feels somewhat incomplete. Here’s a few scams some companies have tried to sell us before.

+ Never (ever) buy backlinks or use a backlink farm. Google killed this strategy a long time ago, and any website that creates unnatural backlinks in mass is only going to encourage Google to drop the hammer of penalty & pain. 

+ Avoid companies that don’t have experienced and well-trained copywriters on staff. SEO firms that outsource copywriters often outsource really, really bad writers that only write English as a second language. That’s because they don’t have a writer on staff, so there isn’t anyone that recognize great copy. Google is getting much better at recognizing well written (user-friendly) content, and if it finds that you are creating a great user experience for your site visitors, your site should rank better over time. However, bad copywriters may actually hurt your rank.

+ Avoid companies that create tons of low-quality content to help your site rank better. Why? See the above details on bad copywriting. Basically, you don’t want to associate your site with low-quality content.


    Join us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh, non-stop marketing advice, and insightful business analysis - plus: free fonts, easy-lunch recipes and more. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

How to Get Everyone to Wear Your Promotional Shirt at the Next Trade Show - #MarketingMonday

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By Fausto Mendez

    Trade show giveaways, such as free shirts, are one of the most effective ways to boost brand awareness within your target audience, but the key is making sure your giveaway is not prematurely chucked into a trash can or hidden in a bag. Achieve this effect by designing a marketing campaign around your promotional giveaway instead of just handing out free stuff. 

    Handing out promotional giveaways at trade shows is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book. The goal is to turn fans and potential customers into walking billboards for your brand - and also sell to those same swag-wielding folks - but since everyone at the show is handing out promotional items to everyone else, it’s harder than ever to get attendants to use your giveaway in public. 

Giveaways Are Not Marketing Campaigns

    Most trade-show exhibitors assume their free giveaways are their marketing campaigns, but that’s not how you should craft your presence at the show. The giveaway should only be a small component of a larger marketing machine, not the machine itself. Below, I craft an easy example for a video game publisher, but you may need to adjust the details of the plan to better fit your business and audience.

+ It all starts with a brand that other people want. If no one could ever want your brand, no amount of skillful marketing is going to change that. However, if your brand is worthy, you should see great success from this campaign. If you are confident that your brand would sell if people were introduced to it, you are on the right track. For this example, let’s pretend we run the marketing team for a gaming company.

+ You’ll need a low-cost promotional shirt or hat to give away at the trade show. Of course, you’ll add your logo, URL and/or message to the shirt, which is a service provided by a company like AnyPromo.com. You’ll need a lot of shirts, which is why they shouldn’t be expensive, but you don’t want to go so cheap as to encourage folks to prematurely trash your giveaway. If the shirt is of decent quality, fans will wear it long after trade show. For this example, let’s pretend we ordered 2,500 Hanes tees for less than $2.00 each from AnyPromo.com. These shirts brandish our brand logo, game logo, store URL and fashionable artwork.

+ Before you arrive at the trade show, craft a plan that encourages others to actually wear the shirts on the show floor. It is not good enough to simply give the shirts away. One of my favorite ideas is a contest that awards random shirt-wearing attendants at random times throughout the show.

A video-game publisher would bring along a few extra employees to covertly search for shirt-wearing attendants all over the show floor in order to offer them free copies of games. Coupons, gift cards and actual money are also great prizes. The goal of the campaign is the buzz it can produce as fans, potential customers and competitors will certainly discuss the masses of shirt-wearing fans, and once word spreads, you may even find a line at your booth for free shirts. A long line is also one of the best marketing tools your brand can have at a trade show.

+ For the next trade show, you may switch out the shirts for tote bags or another promotional giveaway that appeals to your audience. You don’t want to repeat the same campaign at every show as its effect will wear out if it’s used too often. However, you may decide to pull the same stunt at the same show every year. It could be a fun and memorable tradition that your fans anticipate.   


    Join us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh, non-stop marketing advice and insightful copywriting tips - plus, free fonts, easy lunch recipes and more. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Finished Work: Custom Rally Towels for Achievers Realty Group

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By Fausto Mendez

    AnyPromo’s design and production teams love to show off their #finished work. This is just another design of the many, many designs they finalize on a daily basis.

    We proudly salute the Achievers Realty Group with a sizable box of promotional rally towels, screenprinted with an unbeatable red paint that will last as long as the towel itself. We’re happy to serve another fantastic customer, actually a fellow Californian neighbor out of Burlingame.

    We customized these ourselves in Southern California, thanks to our experienced and growing production team. We just updated our warehouse with a variety of new machinery, including “The Spider”, an extra-large screen printing machine that automates for big orders. We just shipped in this bad boy - along with a couple of amazing embroidery machines - to help us meet the increased demand for custom apparel. 

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    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh, non-stop marketing advice, free fonts, easy lunch recipes and more. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Thank you, Evening Entertainment Group!

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By Fausto Mendez

    AnyPromo customers love to share stories of their shopping experiences with the company and its massive catalog of over 40,000 promotional products, marketing giveaways and event supplies.

    Stephanie Lowe of the Evening Entertainment Group reached out to us in search of high-quality promotional hats that they would like to give away to customers that win online tournaments. We embroidered their logo onto a beautiful baseball cap, and Lowe and her co-workers loved it.

"We love the hats we ordered from you guys. We use them as promotional giveaways for online tournaments, and will also be wearing them when some of the staff goes to the WSOP finals in vegas."

- Stephanie Lowe, The Evening Entertainment Group

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Bring-Your-Own-Lunch Recipes: Mini Cheeseburger Pies #BYOL #WTF

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By Fausto Mendez

    Every week, we suggest a fascinating, unique and delicious dish that is easy to reheat at your office lunchroom. This week’s #BYOL recipe: Mini Cheeseburger Pies. 

    This is perhaps one of the most convenient and unique #BYOL recipes that we’ve ever posted, and if you love hamburgers, you have to try it out for your next in-office meal. It’s basically all the ingredients that you’d put into a burger but in the shape of a pie… or a muffin.

    It’s a pie that small looks more like a muffin, actually, but that’s enough small talk. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and throw on an apron.

Step 1 - The Grocery List

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+ Burger mix: one pound ground beef, one chopped onion, one tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, one teaspoon garlic salt, one cup shredded cheese.

+ Baking mix: half cup milk, half cup Original Bisquick mix, two eggs.

+ Optional garnishes: twelve mini dill pickles, one chopped tomato, ketchup, mustard. 

Step 2 - The Prep

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+ In a skillet, preheat the beef and onion over a medium-high flame for five to seven minutes. Frequently and thoroughly stir. 

+ Let the beef chill for three to five minutes, and add the Worcestershire sauce, cheese and garlic salt. Thoroughly mix. 

+ In a separate bowl, drop in the baking ingredients, and stir, mix and poke until thoroughly blended.  

Step 3 - The Bake

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+ Cover a 12-muffin pan with cooking spray or your favorite cooking grease.

+ Spoon a small tablespoon of your baking mixture and a one-fourth cup of burger mixture into each of the twelve muffin cups. Spoon another tablespoon of baking mixture into each muffin cup in order to “sandwich” the burger mixture in between baking mixture.

+ Bake for about 30 minutes. A sign that it’s done is if you can insert and pull out a clean toothpick and there’s a nice golden-brown shade to the tops of the mini hamburger pies. 

+ Allow the mini hamburger pies to cool for ten minutes outside of the pan. Add garnish, thank My Kitchen Magazine for the recipe, and eat!


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#MarketingMonday - How a Coffee Brand Attracts Big Crowds at Airports by Trading Yawns for Free Giveaways

By Fausto Mendez

    Coffee is a fact of life in America. You can’t approach a crowd without eventually getting hit in the face with that odd but attractive aroma, and it’s virtually impossible to go anywhere without seeing the ever-present Starbucks cup. In the same spirit, coffee brand Douwe Egberts is making a name for itself at a local airport by making sure everyone in the building is holding a Douwe Egberts cup. 

    Exactly how is this up and coming coffee shop achieving this effect? It’s handing out free coffee, but it’s not as simple as that. As you know, a promotional giveaway, such as free coffee, is a very effective marketing tactic. It can introduce the brand to new customers and revive it to old customers, boosting positive feelings about the brand and catalyzing an emotional effect that makes the brand even more memorable.

    The emotional effect in such a campaign is critical since emotionally-charged experiences are almost impossible to forget, so Douwe Egberts maximizes the emotional effect of its promotional giveaways by setting up coffee machines that are activated by simple yawns. 

    Yup, that’s right. In order to get your free cup of coffee, you have to yawn at the machine, which will dispense a free cup of coffee in return. Trading a yawn for some coffee can easily bring a surprised smile to a weary traveler’s face - an emotional effect that should make the experience a hundred times more memorable. The campaign is called “Bye Bye Red Eye”, says Mashable, and it’s cleverly spreading the Douwe Egberts brand with one of the oldest forms of marketing, the promotional giveaway.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

3 Smarter Promotional Giveaways for Trade Shows, Expos

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By Fausto Mendez

    At massive trade shows, like CES in Las Vegas, promotional giveaways have morphed into an art form as companies from around the world aim to outdo each other with more effective giveaways, and it’s become clear that the best promotional campaigns are more creative, utilizing a strategic combination of products, messaging and distribution.

    Below, I list three (smarter, more effective) promotional giveaway ideas that can apply to most trade shows. We haven’t seen these ideas out in the real world - not exactly as we present them here - so they might give you the winning edge over the guys at the next both. 

Flash-Drive Bracelet as a Contest Entry

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    We’ve seen wearable flash drives at CES and other press-heavy shows, but they are almost always used to distribute basic information, like brochures and links. These are especially popular with companies that target reporters because they make it easy to deliver press shots, link lists and other important details while allowing the reporter’s attention to stick to whatever’s more important. This is a pretty smart tactic, but you’re limiting the bang per buck if you stop here. 

    Remember that the main goal of most giveaways at any trade show is to act as a billboard for your brand, so you should design your campaign in a way that keeps these bracelets on your targets’ wrists. One way to do that  is to launch a contest around the bracelets.

    As you hand out the bracelets, tell your targets that one of your employees randomly delivers prizes to people that wear the bracelets on the show floor, but you won’t know who or where he is because he’ll be dressed like everyone else.

    Make sure that you have the prize on display at your booth to tempt your audience. Of course, the more valuable the prize, the more likely that people will wear it, so it’s probably better to hand out a few big prizes than many low-quality ones. Still, there may be situations in which your target audience might prefer an inexpensive prize. For example, condoms might be a very popular prize at SXSW.

 Promotional T-Shirts, Tote Bags or Backpacks as Coupons

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     This idea can work for any trade show where you aim to sell to attendees, and all you need to do is print a coupon on your promotional shirts, tote bags or backpacks, preferably next to a very large version of your logo and slogan.

    The key is to hand out shirts away from your booth and to require the customer to wear the promotional item during purchase in order to redeem the coupon. As a result, attendees will put it on and later walk to your booth to make the purchase. The result is crowds of people wearing your logo and buying your stuff; of course, that’s assuming you have a product that people want. 

 Mugs, Tumblers or Cups for Access to Free Coffee, Alcohol or Water

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    Promotional mugs, tumblers and cups are some of AnyPromo’s hottest sellers, but if you hand someone a free cup, you’re not pushing your campaign to the max if he hides it in his tote bag right away. As a result, your best bet is to offer free drinks to attendees that have your mug, tumbler or cup in hand. 

    Whether you offer caffeinated drinks, alcohol or water depends on your specific situation, but the goal is to create a buzz of “that brand that is giving everyone free drinks if you just use their cups.” Furthermore, you can use the opportunity the catalyze important conversations with individuals that may be interested in your product, brand or cause, and the cup will serve as a friendly, non-intrusive ad after the show. 

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

3 Copywriting Tips Supported by Scientific Research

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By Fausto Mendez

    Copywriting is very much an art, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hard science behind some of the principles used by more successful writers. These scientifically-backed #copywriting tips should graduate your game to the next level, no matter your skill level.

    Teaching copywriting is difficult. You can only lay some ground rules that point people in the right direction, and most tips and advice are merely opinions based in anecdotal evidence, relentless practice and educated guesses. So it can be hard to know what works and what doesn’t. Thankfully, Gregory Ciotti put together a list of seven copywriting tips that are supported by some level of scientific research. We summarize three of his more useful tips below.

1. Leverage an Emotion That’s Already There.

+ Tip: Find an emotion that your target often feels, and make them feel that again. Don’t tell them what to feel. Like a novelist, the goal is to craft copy that leads them to that place on their own. Then, mix your message into that good emotion.

+ Science: Mirror neurons can make you feel what you see. It’s why men cringe when they see another man get hit in the balls. Make your target relive the emotion by showing them a scene that takes them back to it. The emotion makes your message more attractive and more memorable. 

2. Don’t Sell Money. Sell Time.

+ Tip: Even low-quality brands hardly advertise their low prices. It’s something stores do for brands, but you almost never see a brand thumping its chest about its absurdly low prices. That’s because it doesn’t really work. Time is a more precious resource, so sell good times, not good prices. Miller’s slogan (“It’s Miller Time”) is the perfect example. 

+ Science: Customers are willing to pay more for good service, which means they are generally more concerned about quality than price. That doesn’t mean lower prices can’t help you outsell your competitors, but it does mean that you’ll have to convince your target audience that your lower prices don’t mean a reduction in quality as well. Focus on the quality of the product. The low prices market themselves.

3. Don’t Avoid the Counter Argument

+ Tip: Your product, service or brand is not the answer to your target audience’s every problem. More importantly, there is usually a clear argument against it. Don’t ignore the opposing argument because it will be recalled by the target when you present yours. As a result, it’s best to tackle those opposing viewpoints head on. Think about it: Pepsi doesn’t ignore the existence of Coca Cola, not even in its own ads. Apple doesn’t ignore the existence of Windows, and I’m sure you’ve seen car commercials that feature the competitors’ products. 

+ Science: Psychologist Charlan Nemeth tested two styles of debating, one that acknowledged the opposing viewpoint and one that didn’t. Of course, the arguments that did better are those that didn’t pretend there is no opposing viewpoint. That’s because when you’re “real” with your target audience, they are more likely to trust you, and when you answer their questions, they don’t have the opportunity or the desire to find answers elsewhere.  

   Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

How SoBe® Used Promotional Giveaways to Go Mainstream

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By Fausto Mendez

    John Bello used promotional giveaways to grow his beverage brand, SoBe®, from a niche set of bottled drinks to a mainstream phenomenon that PepsiCo eventually bought out. Today, he’s building up new brands with strikingly similar marketing strategies. 

    Promotional giveaway campaigns work. Need proof? Just ask John Bello, founder of SoBe, which he sold for $370 million, and the architect of SoBe’s wildly successful promotional campaigns. How’d he do it?

Promotional Products 

    Bello leveraged the power of promotional products and a fascinating and unforgettable logo. Combine the two, and you have a series of high-quality promotional products branded with SoBe’s iconic lizard. Here’s how it went down.

    His team would deliver a box of promotional giveaways, such as keychains, to as many SoBe dealers as possible, and the SoBe dealers would hand out the branded products to SoBe customers. The SoBe customers are already fans of the product, and the iconic lizard logo is beautiful and striking enough that it can be appreciated on its own. So the giveaway has two main effects.

Customers as Brand Ambassadors

    First, it makes the customer feel appreciated, and in the customer’s mind, it creates an association between those positive feelings and SoBe (and sometimes the store itself). That effect makes SoBe more memorable, so the customer is more likely purchase SoBe products in the future. The store owners tend to appreciate the free marketing as well. 

    Second, the customer would wear or use the promotional product in his or her day-to-day life, and the eye-catching lizard logo would attract others’ attention. As a result, the product becomes a conversation starter for the customer’s friends, family and acquaintances, and this introduces the brand to new fans.

Rinse & Repeat

    As Bello continued SoBe’s relentless promotional campaign, his effort slowly paid off as the brand grew to mainstream proportions, but he’s not one to take too many days off. After selling the company to PepsiCo, Bello launched a new beverage brand, and he’s using the same proven marketing strategies all over again. 

    In similar fashion, the new company’s logo is often sought for the mere fact that’s beautiful. “Part of the trick is having cool giveaways and a cooler logo,” says Marketing Officer Bruce Burke. The second half of the trick is getting those products into the hands of the target audience.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

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