Monthly Archive: July 2014

Q: What Does A New Website Or Ad Campaign Cost? A: What Are Happy Customers Worth To You?

In my quest to make it easier for prospective clients to say “Yes,” it’s imperative that I frame our pricing in the best possible light. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Recently I came across a great piece from John Follis in Small BIz Trends, wherein he discusses the pricing problem in detail.

If your business has a set fee structure, then you can quickly and easily respond, if you choose. For other more service-type businesses (creative services, marketing, etc.) the answer isn’t so simple and often depends on project specifics.

For many smaller, creative service-type businesses it may also depend on the current workload and even the desirability of the client or project. Regardless, I will say that any price you give will be too much if the person asking doesn’t fully know, understand, and believe in the value of your product. This bares repeating. Any price you give will be too much if the person asking doesn’t fully know, understand, and believe in the value of your product.

If people do not understand or believe in the value of our services, I might reasonably conclude that my job is to provide more and better education. But I would be a sucker if I believed that and pursued that path—I speak from experience on this.

The real way forward is to find prospects who already believe in the value our work.

Qualifying leads is a tough task. I ask what I perceive to be pertinent, but somewhat innocent questions like, “How much do you plan to spend on marketing in 2015?” You want to know our rates, and I want to know if you have a budget for the things we’re discussing. But the real qualifying gets done in much subtler ways. The fact is, I’m looking for clues about your operation. How your company treats staff is often a great indicator. I’m also looking for clues that you value brand and marketing. If there are no such clues that you value brand and marketing, this itself is a clue that we’re probably not meant to work together. Of course, respect is a two-way street. You also need clues that I, and everyone on the Bonehook team, care about your industry and your company, in particular.

One thing I care a lot about is customer experience. Did you blow your customers minds last time they stopped in? Red Iguana (not a client, just a favorite), for one, always blows my mind.

The good news is, I am required to care about your company and its customers. I tried it the other way. We all want “win-win” here, and to get to this desired place where you see a return on marketing investment, a match has to be made. Do you need intelligent communications to help drive your enterprise forward? Fantastic. The door is open to further dialogue and future success.

Here’s Your Chance To Provide Real Value (Something Your Customers Want From You)

Content marketing, I’m sad to say, is fast becoming the new social media.

In other words, what has always been a fundamental part of the marketing mix, is now a cliché falling from brand manager’s lips at an unspeakable rate. And this means noise — lots and lots of noise.

As with advertising, the trick with content marketing is to provide prospects and customers real value, not more unwanted noise.

Patrick Spenner, managing director at CEB’s Marketing & Communications Practice, argues in Forbes that “breaking through the noise to simply win the customer’s attention isn’t enough. High quality content has to fundamentally change the customer’s direction, and it does that by teaching and motivating the customer in specific ways.”

Spenner clarifies, “This is a different kind of teaching—it’s teaching the customer something new about their own business.” He adds, “Content that changes customer direction provides compelling reasons why action is necessary.”

I like the sounds of Spenner’s voice, but I would caution that the line between teaching and becoming a didactic bore is thin indeed. Brands are not professors; therefore, they can ill afford to stand in front of the room and blather on about things that may or may not be on the test. Brands are in the persuasion business. Granted, in oder to persuade, especially in B2B scenarios where the cost of one transaction can be in the millions, education is a large part of the persuasive process.

Imagine buying a John Deere* tractor for $269,000. It’s not as simple as which new Ford pickup appeals to you most, it’s a decision that may boost productivity, or if the machinery is faulty in some way, it could cost the farm operations dearly. In cases like this, education is going to play a major role in the purchase decision. There are countless other examples where education is key, but there are far fewer examples of brands that get education, or their content marketing, right.

*John Deere is a pioneer in content marketing, courtesy of its magazine The Furrow, founded in 1895.

This article first appeared in

People Don’t Go Steady With Brands, But They Do Develop Loyalties And Preferences

Delivering content via social channels is a disruptive force in marketing today.

As someone who came up in the agency business seduced by advertising’s reach and power, I can safely say it’s great to see even better things on the horizon for purveyors of brand marketing.

Bonehook specializes in content and social media marketing. These two tactical approaches to solving marketing problems for clients fit under the larger MarCom umbrella known as Relationship Marketing.

Relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value of customer relationships and extends communication beyond intrusive advertising and sales promotional messages.

Yes! And how do we grow the “long term value of customer relationships?”

With email marketing, one-to-one marketing, event marketing, direct marketing, content marketing, social media and influencer marketing. They all work together like spokes on a wheel. Advertising too has its place on this wheel.

Here’s one recent example from Microsoft that shines a light on what is possible today.

Bonnaroo wrist band
Bonnaroo, which took place June 12-15 in Tennessee, required attendees to register a ticket bracelet embedded with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology before arriving for the festival. Microsoft promoted its cloud-based OneDrive software—which stores photos, videos and documents across devices—during registration. At the event, attendees could check-in and collect photos from live performances at six different stages. The photos were then sent to a OneDrive account so they could be viewed later. Fifteen percent of Bonnaroo’s 100,000 attendees participated in the promotion, saving an average of eight photos each.

Brands that create favorable experiences win.

A person might recall a TV spot, provided it runs 10-100 times a week. On the other hand, when a brand invites you into a stylized world and enriches your life in some way, you’re going to not only recall the experience, you’re going to share it for days and maybe years to come.

That’s how you amplify word of mouth—you engage online to drive real life activity and community engagement offline, followed by digital re-engagement, drive to store promotions and back again to digital in virtuous branded loops.