What kind of marketing is the most effective?

sneezr.ca Have you ever asked yourself that question? I did. In fact, many years ago I spent countless hours trying to figure it out.
The answer turned out to be quite simple: word of mouth marketing. Or as I call it: the art of cultivating recommendations.

Surprised? Probably not. With recommendations, there is no sales pressure and no credibility issues. When your friends, family members or trusted co-workers recommend something or someone to you, they are genuinely trying to help you. That means a lot, which is why you usually remember it for a long time. But here is the catch: recommendations must be earned. How do you do that? Where do you start? How do you give people a reason to talk about your products/services? How do you nudge your story into every day conversations? I launched sneezr.ca to help you answer those questions.

Are you offering painkillers or candy?

Creative people often offer candy-only (nice-to-haves) to clients who need painkillers (a sales-focused landing page, ad, or email ).

Back to you: are you offering candy-only to clients who need painkillers? I am not telling you what to do. I am telling you to decide. A subtle but an important difference.


If your business is not a brand, it’s a commodity.

For all of my interviews with an author, I usually write a short intro that introduces the person to my readers.
Since Jeremy Miller is all about action, before we begin the interview, let me just say three quick things:
a. Jeremy is an inspiring person and the president of Sticky Branding, a brand-building agency;
b. His ideas are actionable;
c. His new book reminds us that the most effective branding actions are within the reach of everyone.

Jenan: Jeremy, through hard work and a pinch of luck, some people manage to develop a mind that gravitates toward things that are new and progressive. Or, to paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, they tend to go where the puck is going to be. You strike me as such a person. What is one idea that you think is not on business leaders’ radars right now that should be?

Jeremy:  Compression. Your business is being compressed. Your brand is being compressed. Your strategy is being compressed. And this can be summed up very clearly, “What made you successful won’t make you successful.”

The issue of compression is relatively new, and it is being accelerated by the rapid advancements in communications: high speed Internet, mobile technologies, digital communications, and social media. These tools are all having a profound impact on the way we connect with one another and the way we do business.

As amazing as these technological advancements are, they come at a cost:

1. Lower Barriers to Entry: The barriers to entry are falling in every industry. It has never been easier to start a business, and many industries are fracturing. I saw this in the recruiting industry with my family business. In the nineties professional staffing agencies — recruiters that specialized in finding and placing full time employees — had revenues over $10 million on average. Today, the average size of these firms is less than five employees with sales under $500,000.

2. Rapid Commoditization: Great ideas are copied in no time. We all have access to enormous amounts of information. We can all see what our competitors are doing in real time. And we all respond extremely quickly.

3. Declining Customer Loyalty: Customers have an inordinate amount of choice, and the means to discover their options. One of the key advantages of search engines is you can find anything, and that’s exactly what people are doing. If they’re not satisfied with their options they can easily find something else. And even if they aren’t dissatisfied, the volume of choice enables them to explore more products and services and be less loyal to any one brand.

These three forces are having a profound impact on business leaders and their approach to grow successful, profitable companies. And this can be seen in branding. A brand used to be pretty static. A company could “set it and forget it.” Companies could operate for ten to twenty years without making many significant changes to their value proposition, positioning, or approach to marketing. That’s not the case anymore.

Branding has shifted from a feel-good marketing activity to an essential part of business strategy. The influence of compression means organizations are being forced to rethink, reimagine, and reposition themselves far more frequently — every three to seven years on average. This is a completely new skill set for business leaders. It’s no longer a question of creating a great product at a great price. They’ve got to keep monitoring their marketplace, spotting trends, seeing shifts in buyer behavior, and responding rapidly.

The most effective organizations today are continually reinventing themselves. It’s part of their DNA. They know what made them successful won’t make them successful and they are always challenging, “What’s next?”

Jenan: Thank you for your time, Jeremy — all the best until next time!
May 12 2015


Your turn.

Are you excited to send someone to your website?

May 2, 2015


“Take the story of…”

The word ‘story’ alone is a magnet.
It’s 2015, but the technology of the soul has not changed much, no? :)


Super sad true biz story :(


Have you ever witnessed this scene: a new business opens in your city. You maybe notice it as you drive by because a small banner says “Open.” A few weeks later, you notice they’ve put on a huuuuuge “Now Open” banner. Without thinking much, you mentally give them your 2¢: “Why would you say now open, again?” You are likely not alone. Even to a casual observer, the folks behind the business seems to be fighting hard to get and cultivate what they think is the scarcest resource: attention. It’s true that attention precedes everything else, but it is not as scarce or as valuable as people think it is.

There’s something that’s more difficult and more valuable to cultivate than attention. That something is a feeling of connection. The business from the beginning of this story either does not appreciate or understand that. Two months later, the “Now Open” banner is barely hanging on. Six months later, it’s replaced by a fresh “For Lease” sign.