Customer Service Wins = Marketing Wins

The closer we got to the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski area, the more crowded it looked, and the more tension I could feel building from all sides. When finally directed to turn around and park on the access road without even getting close enough to see the mountain, the uncertainty grew. It could have been a customer service fail but this quick article reveals what the parking lot attendant did to save the day and turn a fail into customer service win that also won one for the marketing team. […]

How Customer Service Fails Infuriate Marketing Managers

Customer service fails infuriate marketing managers and waste precious marketing dollars. On this anniversary dinner in a restaurant overlooking Lake Tahoe, one, surly waitress turned an otherwise perfect evening into an experience worthy of a training course for the hospitality industry. […]

Direct Mail Scores 21% Percent Response, Wins Election

When it came time for me to run for local office in a write-in campaign, I took my own recommendation and turned to direct mail. Yes, I won. Find out by how many votes. […]

Are these outdated advertising techniques killing your response?

Material Handling & Logistics magazine recently posted this gallery of full-page ads from the 1960s and three key differences from today’s advertising immediately jumped out. See what they are and how you can use the design elements of the 60s to develop effective creative today. […]

What people think when the intern designs your advertising

You think you saved a few dollars having the intern design your advertising. Here's what everyone else thinks about your decision-making... […]

Paul Entin in the News! Comments for CNBC, NY Times, Internet Retailer

An effective public relations program integrating feature articles, press releases, videos and other content delivers quantifiable returns as sales leads, clicks and social media engagement. But its more powerful abilities have a hard time fitting into a metric that can be neatly measured like clicks. Among these abilities are buzz, brand recognition, positioning for leadership and more. […]

Writer admits images more powerful than words

As a writer, it's hard to write this but while images and words working together deliver far more impact in advertising than either working alone, if I'm forced to choose either images or words to convey a message, I'll choose the image almost every time. […]

Sales Training Is Practice, Do It Before the Game

Ready to sign the advertising contract, I called the sales rep to verify the numbers and get a premium ad position but the rep was out of the office for sales training. How ironic! Unavailable to close the sale to attend training to learn how to sell? […]

How to generate B2B leads with PR for content marketing

Industrial companies relying on high profile public relations programs for lead generation already understand the power of PR in commanding visibility and driving their sales efforts. But thanks to the Internet, these savvy marketers are enjoying access to ever larger numbers of prospects and generating ever larger numbers of highly qualified sales leads. Their PR has become immortal as online content. And from an epr analysis of Google Analytics referrers, this PR content sends traffic to the company Web site month after month after month – year after year. Here's how it works. […]

Customer service: really worth going the extra mile?

It was the clear, cold, windy prelude to the next day's blizzard and our firewood pile wasn't going to last through the storm. I tried to call the guy around the corner with the gigantic firewood pile but could not remember the name of the company. Finally, he showed up, then this customer service lesson happened. […]

Airlines and oil prices – is media anti-biz or really that dumb?

Newscasters on CNBC, Fox, CNN, Bloomberg and other stations have asked their guests in recent weeks why airlines won’t cut their prices since the price of oil and, therefore, jet fuel, has dropped. Framing the discussion in this way implies the price of a ticket is determined based on the input costs. Of course, it is not, and to even imply that reveals a stunning lack of business acumen from journalists who claim to be experts in the field. The price of a ticket is based on: […]

New York Times: Business plans relics of the past?

When I was contacted by a New York Times reporter writing an article about whether startups still need to write a business plan, I was happy to offer what I'd learned after writing two business plans for two, different companies that secured two microloans - and helped get them paid in full. Since the numerous conversations by phone and email were cut to two short paragraphs in the actual article, I thought I'd make use of the time spent thinking about why I'd still recommend entrepreneurs sit down and write a formal business plan and sum it all up right here. […]

Proper care and feeding of content marketing programs

It isn’t enough to sign onto industrial content marketing platforms such as GlobalSpec, ThomasNet and ChemicalsTechnology and sit back and wait for leads. If these programs are to deliver any results then you need to continually feed them fresh content that's relevant to the target audience. Here are some examples: […]

We didn't have to pay, but I'm grateful we did

We'd agreed to sell our company with the expectation that the parent company would go public within the year. Then the dot com bubble burst. Here's what happened when the parent company refused to pay our staff. […]

Marketing by accident - know a gift horse when you see it

Sometimes the most effective marketing happens by accident, and when it does, you just need to recognize that it's happening and jump on the opportunity. Know when you're staring a gift horse in the mouth - and enjoy the ride. […]

How to use Twitter for trade show marketing success

These are some of the top recommendations to help boost the impact of your Twitter efforts and increase the value of your trade show investment. […]

One more B2B magazine gives up on print advertising

Publisher Crain Communications recently announced its Waste and Recycling News would no longer produce print magazines, only digital, citing a decline in advertising pages due to industry consolidation, among other factors. As challenging and competitive as today's business environment may be, several other publishers continue to produce thick print magazines loaded with ads of all sizes. What makes them different? […]

One Link Sabotaged Your Email Ad

I clicked the email ad to learn more and was brought to the company’s home page, which was a confounding maze of dozens of different products. All they needed to do to call their email advertising successful was include a deep link bringing people directly to the product instead of merely to the home page. Here's what happened instead. […]

Direct Mail Marketing Promotions on Your Birthday

You probably wouldn’t schedule a trip to Sunglasses USA on your birthday just for the 10 percent discount but there is something subconsciously special about birthdays that makes us pay slightly more attention to birthday messages than to others. Here's what happened when ski resort Okemo Mountain sent me a birthday promotion. […]

When to Go Big with a Bang

Sometimes we need to attack like it’s overtime and the next score wins the Super Bowl. Leave nothing on the sidelines. It’s time to go big. These are a few situations when a big marketing bang might win the big game and raise your sales numbers to another level. […]

Tale of Two Marketing Teams

When the marketing team gets it right - when they exhibit at the right shows, advertise in the right media and make contact with the right journalists – and put in the effort to generate leads and create opportunities, it’s critical for the other departments to take the baton and run with it when it’s their turn as part of a coordinated team effort. It only takes one rude person to drop the baton and scuttle the effort for everyone. […]

Anger At Root of Staples Easy Button Campaign

I’m not sure it’s that everything has gradually become more difficult. I think it’s that everything we’ve been led to believe is easy to use and would make our lives smoother and easier has failed to do so. We’re all angry about it and the Staples Easy Button ad campaign taps our frustration. […]

Letter Urges Action in Government Affairs

Monumental efforts are required today to keep even more burdensome government involvement from decimating our companies. We need to be involved, especially at the local level, per this letter published in the March Textile Services. […]

Tell Your Advertising Agency the Good News - and four other ideas for superior results

I was asked by a friend what he should be doing to make sure his advertising agency delivers superior results in selling his consumer product. I was impressed at the question, at the recognition that his actions directly affect the results, that he felt a responsibility for the success as a partner rather than feeling he had simply hired a vendor. The more we talked, the more I realized others might find this useful so I condensed our conversation into this post. […]

Lowe's Boycott a Lesson in Media Planning

Sure, some PR person will soon write up a case study declaring what the Lowe's PR team did wrong amid the uproar over the company's decision to pull its advertising from the TV show All-American Muslim but the fatal failure in this fiasco falls not upon the crisis PR response but upon the media planning. […]

Superior Design Gets Prospects Ready

After a few months of reading about architecture and a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, I happened upon a manufacturer’s spec sheet and it occurred to me that the art of building design is very much like the art of graphic design. We don’t always recognize superior graphic design until we see examples that don't measure up, which is what sparked this post. […]

Word Up! Get Command Of English To Boost Your News Coverage

One of the more uncomfortable questions I’m often asked is, “What do you think of this press release?” Sometimes the most valuable selling point is buried towards the end. In other cases there’s so much fluffy nonsense it’s hard to figure out why the press release was even written. But in nearly every case, they read as if very little importance had been placed on the words selected. Here's why words matter. […]

Eyeing Hurricane Irene Logos

It's always fun to see whether a news story earns its own logo. […]

Beware Mind Control Power of Your Logo

Chain restaurants try to ensure that what you get at one location is exactly the same as what you get at every other location. This consistency minimizes the perceived risk in selecting a restaurant. The idea originated with McDonald’s and most others fail to do it as well as the golden arches. But six-year olds don’t know that. They do, however, know their logos. […]

Enter Awards And Boost Your PR Coverage

If you want to be sure your product or service gets the editorial attention you know it deserves, submit it for an award. While some busy editors may delete your press release even before reading it, they’re quite careful to review entries to their awards programs. […]

So Much Focus on the Medium, Don’t Forget the Message

Many marketing professionals obsess about finding the ideal mix of advertising, direct mail, publicity, social media, email, TV and other media, the “media mix” per advertising textbooks. Certainly, it’s effective to use several different channels but many of these marketers seem so focused on the medium and the ratio that they forget about the message. Remember, the point is to deliver a sales message. […]

Readership Down: Dumbing Down Speeds Media's Demise

If print magazines, newspapers, and any publisher for that matter - print or online - want to be relevant, their editorial departments need to continuously provide useful information that actually helps their readers. Rather than dumbing down their information, I’d suggest they ramp it up with details and insights and challenge their readers to think, to learn and even to reflect or take action after finishing an article. […]

"A Must Read!" Review of Economics In One Lesson

Having read a number of books about economics and banking, history and politics, I believe that Economics In One Lesson stands out as the most important book, and one that everybody needs to read. […]

How lunch nearly cost millions in sales

As the phone rang, two interior designers worked away at their sandwiches while my friend – the third interior designer – stopped lunching and picked up the phone. By the next day, she’d secured a six figure order from a pitcher on the Red Sox. When the phone rings, answer it. […]

Oh, the Impact of Bad Press (Releases)

When I’m invited to speak about public relations, publicity and press releases, the marketing professionals and engineers in the audience usually want to know how to use PR to generate leads and get the word out without heavy investments in paid advertising. They want to use PR for good. But few consider the dark side: the use of PR with good intent but bad execution. […]

Afraid of What Your Web Site Inventory Might Reveal?

At least every year, manufacturers, distributors and retailers typically conduct a physical inventory of their warehouses and shelves to see exactly what’s on hand. I recommend conducting a Web site inventory. Here are some common items to check - your customers are already checking but they won't tell you, they'll just leave the site. […]

Wanted: Workers Willing to Work

A Cintas laundry route driver said it best this morning as he loaded heavy mats onto his van, “You have to have the will to work.” Small business is still creating jobs, despite federal interference. What’s missing seems to be skilled people willing to get to work. […]

Book Review: Meltdown

In Meltdown, the author explains the root causes of the economic collapse and proposes policies to prevent such a collapse in the future. […]

In Praise Of Good Ad Sales People

There's no torture quite like a phone call or meeting with an awful ad sales person to make an advertising professional appreciate the good ones. I try to give a pass to the rookies who are working hard but haven't been given the training or marketing education they need to sound credible and make an effective case for advertising or for their own publications. But it’s still torturous being on the other end of their learning curve. The good ones understand advertisers are actual people, and paying Clients I might add. Enjoy this actual conversation: […]

Your PR Program As Content Generator

Think of your PR program beyond publicity - beyond the media. Think of it as a content development program. It’s a planned, coordinated attack that consistently develops the information your prospects need to feel comfortable buying your products and/or services. Done properly, it’s presented in a style, structure and format that entice journalists to publish the information in their magazines, email newsletters, on their Web sites, blogs, and in other media. […]

In Praise of Print Media

Now that we’ve had several years to grow accustomed to receiving digital versions of print magazines, I’ve noticed a few things that might be useful for publishers to consider: […]

Steamboat Brochure Says Nay to Skiing

It's precisely that Billy Kidd photo that gets skiers excited to go skiing. That’s the product. And one of the most important rules in developing brochures, ads, postcards, Web sites and other marketing materials is to show the product. Don’t show me horses unless you’re trying to sell me horses. […]

How to Write a LinkedIn Recommendation

If you have a LinkedIn account then no doubt you’ve been asked by a colleague, friend or long-lost acquaintance’s nephew’s roommate to recommend his/her work, abilities and expertise. I’m not going to discuss here whether you need to provide a recommendation to everyone who asks. But if you decide to recommend someone, here is a guide to writing the recommendation quickly and easily. […]

Green is nice benefit but cost savings get sales

Green is a nice benefit but no competent manager is going to buy a product solely for its green benefit. They buy products, equipment and services either to increase sales or to cut costs, or both. […]

How to boost Google rankings

I'm often asked about how to get higher rankings in Google. Some people insist on spending large sums of money with search positioning companies that guarantee top placement fast only to get mixed results. I pay attention to SEO trends but I do not claim to be an SEO specialist. I have developed and fine-tuned a program, however, that has been proven to increase Google rankings. It works because it's not based on tricking, cheating or staying one step ahead of Google. Instead it's based on taking full advantage of how Google was designed to work. […]

Forget About A Recovery?

Forget about a "recovery". Nearly every publisher selling ad space is claiming we're "entering an economic recovery" or we'd "better get ready to advertise in time for the recovery" as if accepting the fallacy that the time to advertise is after the economy has recovered. Meanwhile, a small group of publishers is claiming that "the time to advertise is during a recession" and they cite studies and statistics to support their cases - and they are largely correct. […]

2009 Top 5 Tweets that triggered most un-follows

These are the year's five tweets that caused the most un-follows. […]

Get the power to put your competition on their heels

Tom Brady has pocket presence. Randy Johnson had mound presence. Mark Messier had locker room presence. Presence is not easily defined. It cannot be quantified. Yet we know it when we see it. This article addresses how presence inspires the sales team, attracts top talent, and pounds the competition into submission. […]

Proprietary content marketing program boosts Google rankings

Some people insist on spending large sums of money with SEO companies that claim to guarantee top placement fast only to get mixed results. I recommend a system that has already proven to increase Google rankings and doesn't require any SEO fees. It works because it's not based on tricking, cheating or staying one step ahead of Google. Instead it's based on taking full advantage of how Google was designed to work. […]

Why Discounts Often Fail to Lure Buyers

Price is a significant but not the most important factor in a buying decision. Discounting in and of itself can strip a product of its value. Here's what happened when I opened my mailbox to a slew of direct mailers offering major discounts. […]

If you're not helping you're hindering

It occurred to me today that a company running poor ads that push an uninspiring or off-target message in an amateurish or clichéd design style is actively hindering its own marketing efforts, just like at summer camp when my counselor explained that if you're not helping to paddle the canoe then you're hindering. […]

Direct mail campaign triggers family vacation

Years ago, the thought of skiing Smuggler's Notch, "America's Family Resort," would have been inconceivable. So how I got on their direct mail list I'll never know but I'm about to book a family vacation there for the next spring break and it's not because of the direct mailing I received today but because of all of the direct mailers I've received for years as part of their long-term direct mail program. […]

How I became a sales lead: tracking the intangible

After what I thought was a harmless "What if this room was bigger?" conversation, we had suddenly become hot prospects for a log home company. Like many such prospects, we searched the Web under "log home manufacturer new jersey" and found a handful of directories and pay-per-click ads. Some of the company Web sites instilled confidence and we left messages or emailed for details. We left other Web sites without contacting them at all. Do their marketing people know their online advertising attracted a hot sales lead? Probably not. Do they know their Web sites failed to advance a qualified lead towards the sale? Probably not. Here's how an example of how a prospect becomes a lead and, ultimately, a sale. […]

Aggressive sales team reap greatest rewards of advertising, publicity

When your marketing and public relations programs bring in qualified leads on a daily basis, it's easy for some sales people to rely on this treasure trove of ready-to-close leads and become passive towards prospecting for new business. As they devote their efforts to lead response and proposal development, sales meetings and follow-through, they close one sale after another - and another - and everyone cheers the sales reports. Could there really be anything wrong with this scenario? […]

Keeping Web site attractive

As published in Mercer Business, 1996, this feature article on Web design presents some valid points that are, oddly enough, still valid nearly 20 years later. […]

How ad frequency drives response

I just lived a textbook example of how advertising works. This experience demonstrates the critical role played by "frequency" in the impact and success of any advertising campaign, print, broadcast, outdoor or online. […]

E-commerce mantra this holiday season: customer service

In this feature article by epr President Paul Entin published in Interactive PR & Marketing News, 9.17.99, the author comments on why e-commerce totals may fail to approach eStats' projections unless online retailers pay close attention to their customers, not as entries in their databases, but as people. Still relevant 15 years later. […]

Banner advertising: alive and clicking

This 1999 post from epr President Paul Entin reads today as eerily prescient. Entin's belief in the adoption of email marketing and the need to integrate banner, email and other forms of online advertising with traditional advertising has certainly come true and proven accurate. […]

Candid PR visionary blames bad PR people for rift with journalists

"Most PR people waste so much time and energy worrying about petty details that they forget their email, phone call or news release is supposed to include a meaningful idea," says Mr. Entin, who has earned awards for writing, media relations, and press kit development and was recently invited to join the Journalism Advisory Committee at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pennsylvania. "Nine out of ten of the news releases, queries and phone calls that I see coming from PR people to our publishing industry clients either lack substance or have no relevance to the editorial approach whatsoever. If I were a reporter, I might think twice before answering calls from PR people." […]

Email newsletters build community

In this 2002 feature article for leading fitness industry magazine Club Industry, epr President Paul Entin presents the case for health clubs to stay in touch with their members via email. […]

Internet is to retail as the VCR was to motion pictures

Remember when people weren't sure about buying online? This feature article published in ADV - Advertising and Marketing, Philadelphia, May, 1997, by epr President Paul Entin, will bring back memories for early e-commerce adapters. For millenials, it offers a snapshot of life before anything could be ordered by Amazon.com. […]

People read what interests them, sometimes it's an ad

Write an ad that interests your target audience and enjoy dramatic results. Remember the billboards for South of the Border on I-95? We read them because they were interesting and novel, not because we set out to read paid ads. We flip the channels when a car commercial is shown - until we're ready to buy a new car. Only then do auto dealer ads become interesting, and we quickly respond. […]

How to Read a BPA Statement and Why You Should

Many people invest in mutual funds without reviewing the prospectus. Others buy stock without reviewing company financial statements. And many marketers invest in advertising without studying circulation statements. Rather than place advertising, these people could more accurately predict their returns by placing chips at a roulette table. But careful review of the BPA audit can help enssure stellar returns that meet and exceed expectations. Here's how. […]

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