101 Things I Learned in Advertising School
by Tracy Arrington with Matthew Frederick
“To some, advertising has no soul, no center… It’s the art of lying.” Advertising executive Tracy Arrington writes, “I would argue the opposite. Advertising is the art of telling the truth. An ad campaign succeeds when it brings forward an embedded truth—about the product or service, our needs or idiosyncrasies as consumers, our daily foibles, or the fixations and biases of our culture. An ad campaign resonates when it shows us, at some level, who we are.”
Here’s a sampling of the expertise shared by the author. Continue reading
Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me: How to use storytelling to connect with the hearts and wallets of a hungry audience
by Greg Koorhan
Greg Koorhan’s main message is to “stop sounding like everyone else and tell your own, unique story.”
“A study by the Emory Institute in Atlanta… found that just thinking about an action triggers the same emotional and sensory area of the brain that performing the action does… So by telling a story associated with you or your business, you can trigger the emotions that make your customer feel, even for a brief moment, as if they’ve experienced the same benefit… Assuming it’s a good experience, don’t you think they’ll want more?”
“When looking at data, the language areas of the brain light up, but not the emotional and sensory areas. These areas are triggered only by stories. This means that your story can engage your audience in ways data can’t… When data and stories are used together, audiences are moved both emotionally and intellectually.”
“Your Story IS Your Brand… Your brand is actually tied closely to your values. And by nurturing your values, you develop a theme. And out of your theme grows your story… Start with your values, then your theme, character archetype and emotional tone. Once you’ve got the elements of your story in place, your entire marketing and advertising platform can grow out of it.”
The Art of Relevance
by Nina Simon
This book explains how museums and other nonprofit organizations can expand audiences and build stronger connections with targeted communities. The author is executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH).
“I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work. I believe relevance is the key to a locked room where meaning lives… Behind the door is a room that holds something powerful—information, emotion, experience, value… Relevance is the key to that door.”
“Instead of talking about ‘traditional’ approaches and ‘new’ ones, I find it more productive to talk about insiders and outsiders…” Continue reading
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
by Ann Handley
Everybody Writes is a catchy title, although a more accurate one would be Writing Tips for Content Marketing.
Here’s the secret formula: “The multiplication signs are important, because if the value of any one of these things (Utility, Inspiration, or Empathy) is zero, then the sum of your content is a big fat zero, too… Utility x Inspiration x Empathy = Quality Content.” I think she means product—not sum—but I like the idea.
Everyone’s a Critic: Winning Customers in a Review-Driven World
by Bill Tancer
I must admit that I approached this book with a certain bias. Having read a lot of Amazon reviews, it becomes apparent there are a lot of games being played in the world of online reviews. Bill Tancer acknowledges the shenanigans, but focuses on using customer reviews to drive revenue and to provide competitive intelligence.
Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers
by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
“Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have are enough customers.”
“Traction is a sign that something is working. If you charge for your product, it means customers are buying. If your product is free, it’s a growing user base.” Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares draw from their own startup experience as well as interviews with some 40 other founders and marketing experts. The book starts with five foundation chapters followed by chapters explaining each of the 19 traction channels.
PayPay founder Peter Thiel says, “It is very likely that one channel is optimal. Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution—not product—is the number one cause of failure.” Continue reading
Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business
by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
“Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company. Once you understand that, you can manage your business from the outside in… To achieve the full potential of customer experience as a business strategy… you must manage from the perspective of your customers, and you must do it in a systemic, repeatable, and disciplined way.”
The benefits of providing exceptional customer experience are “higher revenues resulting from better customer retention, greater share of wallet, and positive word of mouth, plus lower expenses due to happier customers who don’t run up your service costs.” One example from the book is a $1.7 billion per year savings in customer service costs and bill credits as a result of Sprint simplifying its confusing plan options. Continue reading