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From Cookies to Creepy: Is Marketing Tracking Going Too Far?

Remember when “cookies” on websites were controversial? People used to be uncomfortable having cookies track their activities on the web. But cookies are nothing compared to the tracking technology available to marketers today. Sophisticated tools enable marketers to follow your every move online and even in real life in a retail store. Having such in-depth customer knowledge and the ability to pinpoint prospects so precisely is a marketer’s dream – but some of the latest technology makes me wonder if we’re on the verge of going too far. Here are some thoughts on the...

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Creating a WordPress Website: 10 Tips & Tricks

re you creating a new website for your business? You may want to build it on WordPress. WordPress is a free blogging and content management system and a hugely popular website platform. More than 60 million sites are on WordPress, with 330 million visitors viewing 3.4 billion pages each month. We recently created WordPress sites for one of our clients and for our strategic marketing consulting firm in Cleveland. Here are some tips and tricks we learned about WordPress that could be helpful to your smart marketing strategy....

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How Trader Joe’s Creates Branding Magic with Facial Tissues

Trader Joe’s, the quirky grocer and wine merchant, is destination shopping for many consumers. There’s a Trader Joe’s near my home in Cleveland, Ohio and my friends often find a way to squeeze in a trip to Trader Joe’s when they visit. Why is Trader Joe’s so popular? Because it does two things exceptionally well: It sells high-quality food and wine at value prices and masterfully brands itself and its private label products. Here’s how Trader Joe’s turns an ordinary private label product – a box of facial tissues – into a...

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When Does “Edgy” Marketing Go Over the Edge?

Have you seen the new “Ship My Pants?” ad campaign from Kmart? The TV spot is a viral sensation with nearly 16 million YouTube views. It’s been featured on CNN and The Today Show and it’s everywhere on social media. But just imagine the discussion that took place at Kmart when the company’s ad agency, Draftfcb Chicago, proposed an idea that sounds a lot like what happens when you don’t have time to make it to the bathroom. When is “edgy” marketing over the edge? Would you have said yes to “ship my...

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Should You Hire that Marketing Agency? 7 Questions to Ask

Choosing a marketing agency to help you develop and execute a smart marketing strategy is a critical decision for your business. But how do you know if a new agency is right for you? And how can you avoid making a mistake? Here’s some advice for advertisers about evaluating agencies, from my experience on the agency side and as a former client....

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More than Swag: Why Branded Premiums are Smart Marketing

Branded premiums and promotional products can be an extremely effective tactic in a smart marketing strategy, especially for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Here’s why you should be using branded premiums and seven tips for selecting a premium for your business....

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Marketers, Please Stop! 6 Creative Themes to Banish Forever

It was the Honda Presidents' Day Sale TV spot that finally put me over the edge: Yet another marketing campaign with an overused creative concept that makes consumers roll their eyes and wonder what marketers and their agencies are smoking. Why do so many marketers continue to develop ad campaigns that have no originality or insult the audience? Can’t we agree as agencies and marketers to stop the madness? As a marketing consultant, I’m sure I speak for millions when I say I’ve had enough. Here are six marketing approaches I’ve seen...

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7 Tips for Creating a Powerful Tagline for Your Brand

A brand identity is an organization’s public face. The visual representation of a brand – the logo – is often paired with a short marketing tagline that positions and differentiates the brand in the marketplace. The tagline’s role in branding is straightforward: Communicate the company’s most important advantage, benefit, or point of distinction in a few compelling words. But it’s harder than it looks – and most marketers fail. In part two of this two-part post, here’s advice for creating a powerful positioning tagline for your brand in a smart marketing strategy. ...

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Branding Strategy: The Power of a Positioning Tagline

Which candy “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand"? Which car is “the Ultimate Driving Machine”? Which auto insurance company puts you "in good hands"? If you're an American consumer, you know the answers to these questions without even having to think, because smart marketers like Mars, BMW, and Allstate have created unforgettable positioning taglines that have become powerful components of their brands. What is a positioning tagline? Does your brand need one? And how do you create a great one? In part one of a two-part post, I explain why...

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Is That Super Bowl Ad Effective Marketing? 7 Ways to Judge

An estimated 111 million people will be watching this year’s Super Bowl and a recent survey showed that many American adults prefer watching commercials to watching the game. That’s why marketers are willing to spend an average of $3.8 million for a 30-second spot. When you have an audience that big and that eager to hear your message, your ad had better be great. But how do you know if an ad campaign or creative concept will be a winner -- or be worthy of such a huge marketing investment? What makes...

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