Archive for May, 2007

Bad News for Blogging Evangelists?

May 30th, 2007 by Bob Bly

According to an article in Internet Marketing Report (5/25/07), 52% of U.S. adults never read a blog, and 16% don’t even know what a blog is.

The article concludes that investing a lot of your marketing budget in blogging “doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

Do you agree with that conclusion? Disagree? Why?

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Category: General, Online Marketing | 49 Comments »

Corona Light’s USP

May 25th, 2007 by Bob Bly

I just heard a radio commercial for Corona Light beer, and the unique selling proposition (USP) was clearly articulated: “It’s the only light beer that’s also a Corona.”

My instant reaction was favorable because:

1. The tone implies that “of course, you know that Corona is a great beer” — and therefore, Corona Light must be the best light beer, because it is the only light beer with Corona quality.

2. It is unassailable — no other brewer can say, “Our light beer is also like a Corona.”

What do YOU think of Corona Light’s USP, “the only light beer that’s also a Corona” — good, bad, or terrible? And why?

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Category: Branding, General | 25 Comments »

Is Direct Mail Obsolete?

May 21st, 2007 by Bob Bly

I’ve been raked over the coals by blogging evangelists and branding consultants all over the Internet.

They call me a “dinosaur” because I am a direct mail guy — derisively referring to direct marketing as “intrusion marketing,” implying it is old hat and ineffective, and stating that blogging, branding, and the like are what’s in and what’s working in B2B marketing today.

Not so, according to an article in BtoB (5/7/07, p. 3.), which notes that 42.9% of B2B marketers’ total budgets go to direct marketing — while only 16.1% is allocated to brand advertising.

Within direct response, direct mail receives the largest budget share — 27.5%.

The smallest share of total budget, a mere 1.5%, goes to “new media — RSS, blogs, and the like.”

Does this mean that branding and blogging don’t really work for B2B … or that they DO work, but B2B marcom managers haven’t gotten up to speed in these areas yet?

Are you surprised that B2B marketers spend more on good old-fashioned paper DM than they do on online marketing?

Could it be that B2B prospects are so bombarded online with blogs, e-mails, ads, and other Internet content, that a piece of paper in the mail breaks through the clutter?

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Category: Direct Marketing, General | 44 Comments »

More Nitpicking

May 17th, 2007 by Bob Bly

It’s a small thing, but it bugs me.

Continental Airlines, in their commercials in inflight video, talk about how their dedication to service includes “meals at mealtime.”

First of all, it sounds redundant. When else would one serve meals?

Second, it’s odd, old-fashioned phrasing.

At various times of the day, I get hungry, and think it’s time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

But I never mentally say to myself — “It’s mealtime.”

Why does this matter?

Because copy should be written the way people think and speak.

To me, Continental’s wording is oddly jarring, which distracts from the message and makes one aware that one is heading scripted commercial copy.

Do you agree that “meals at mealtime” doesn’t exactly flow off the tongue?

Or am I being too much of a nitpicker on this one?

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Category: General | 17 Comments »

What’s Working in B2B Marketing?

May 15th, 2007 by Bob Bly

When I got my first job in business-to-business marketing in 1979, the most important marcom tools were, in this order:

A. Product brochures.
B. Corporate capabilities brochure.
C. Product data sheets.
D. Bylined articles in trade journals.
E. Application briefs.
F. Case studies.
G. Ads in trade journals.
H. Trade show exhibits.

Today, A and B seem to have vanished, but C through F still exist — if not in print than at least online. G and H also exist, but seem diminished in importance and effectiveness.

If I were to attempt to compile a list of the most effective B2B marketing communications today, it might look something like this:

A. Company Web site.
B. Search engine optimization.
C. Online ads.
D. White papers.

Would you modify my list above? What am I missing? What REALLY works like gangbusters in your B2B marketing today?

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Category: General | 32 Comments »

Must Copywriters Use Good English?

May 4th, 2007 by Bob Bly

A recent radio commercial selling land in Florida informs us that “monthly payments are as low as $300 a month.”

It’s clear and factual. But of course, it’s redundant. If the payments are “$300 a month,” you should call them “payments” and not “monthly payments.”

It’s a small matter, but as a professional writer, I tend to notice — and am bothered by — these little mistakes.

But are you? More importantly, are your prospects?

Does inferior writing convey an impression of an inferior company selling an inferior product?

Or are readers today too busy and illiterate to care?

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Category: General, Writing | 20 Comments »

When Copywriters Don’t Think

May 2nd, 2007 by Bob Bly

With all the increased emphasis on copywriting education today, it’s amazing how much bad copy gets written.

Case in point: the headline on a recent ad selling a book on big band music, which said:

“Swing has never gone out of style!”

It fails because it is so clearly in opposition to the truth, which is that swing HAS gone out of style.

The big bands survive as a shadow of their former selves. Many famous band leaders now perform with smaller groups, since the modest ticket sales don’t cover the costs of a full orchestra. One big band trumpet star was even reduced to giving private lessons to supplement his performing income!

The headline is also off base because it assumes that we big band aficianados CARE that our music is out of style.

We don’t. We love listening to swing, and pride ourselves on the superiority of our eclectic taste in music.

Really, the copywriter was aiming at the wrong audience.

He was trying to get general book readers to buy a book on big bands by making the case — false and not believable — that swing is still hot.

What he SHOULD have done is forget those readers and concentrate on the real market for a book on the big bands: people who love big band music — don’t you agree?

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Category: General | 14 Comments »